Archive for the ‘Accessorize’ Category
How many times have you looked in your closet, heaved a heavy sigh, frustrated that you “have nothing to wear?”
Fact is, you literally can’t see the outfits for the tees. An overstuffed closet is worse than actually having nothing to wear, because you’ve clearly invested a small fortune into its bulging racks.
The kindest cut
The best thing you can do is cull your wardrobe. Pull out everything and lay it on the bed. One by one, TRY ON each piece. Do you love it? Is it in good repair? Is it the right colour for you? Is the style still current? Does it fit you today (not some day when you’ve lost 10 lbs)? If the answer to any of these questions is ‘no,’ then set the item aside to donate or discard.
(A word about donations: just because people in need may receive your items for free doesn’t mean they have to accept crap. Please do NOT use your local charity as a garbage bin. If the items are ripped, worn out or stained, throw them out!)
You’ll feel better once your wardrobe is reduced to a manageable size, containing just the items you love and wear. You will be able to see components of outfits at a glance and will likely end up making new combinations right before your eyes.
I haven’t posted for a while – it seems the day job has been keeping me busier than usual! A flurry of social events, meetings and client activities means my wardrobe has been put to the test.
In the past two weeks alone, I will have been to a couple of cocktail parties, a black-tie gala, a book launch, donor recognition event and an auto show (for a client).
Having a flexible wardrobe means having the ability to shift gears (no pun intended) quickly and still be suitably attired for each event. What works for me:
- A couple of go-to cocktail dresses that work in all seasons. That means sleeves or a bolero jacket to cover up, plus a couple of stylish wraps.
- A formal gown for the one or two times a year we attend black-tie functions. See my earlier post on the challenges of finding a suitable evening gown that isn’t either Princess Barbie or Queen Mother in style.
- Lots of separates that can be combined – jackets and trousers or skirts provide a great range of possibilities.
- Dresses – because they are a complete outfit. Just add shoes and accessories and you’re good to go.
- A few great suits, for business meetings or more conservative events.
- A large range of shoes – gentlemen, in case you’re wondering why we have so many, it’s because we have to not only be appropriately attired, but also seek some comfort and the ability to change them up after a long week.
What works for you?
When considering options, nothing compares to the style and comfort of a dress. Dresses come complete. Top and bottom, perfectly cut, matched and coordinated. Dresses always look more chic than anything else a woman can wear (in public). Dresses are cool when it’s hot. And, with tights, dresses are comfy when it’s chilly.
Dresses hide a multitude of issues. Tuck a tummy, hide your hips, lengthen your legs. Dresses are appropriate for work, play, special occasion, picnics, dances… Dresses are flexible – worn with a jacket for day, a wrap for evening.
A dress with pearls is sophisticated. A dress with a wooden bead necklace is bohemian. Blingy costume jewelry adds sparkle.
Ballet flats or stilettos, boots or booties. Ah, a dress. Is there anything it can’t do? Tomorrow, slip into a dress and see how it instantly makes you feel better.
French women are famously chic. It starts with their self-confidence and the way they are always appropriately dressed for every occasion. They are effortlessly elegant, perfectly poised and always au courant. Their mannerisms are refined; their deportment is flawless. And, I find them inspiring. If they have a certain je ne sais quois, it’s because of the time and attention they pay to their appearances.
Having recently done a little research into the stylish French, here are some things I’ve learned:
- Quality matters. Always buy the best clothes you can afford. It’s better to have fewer clothes of higher quality, than an overload of cheap or poorly made clothes.
- Wear clothes appropriate to the event, and when in doubt, it’s generally better to be overdressed than underdressed. (Although black tie is only appropriate for black tie events.)
- Pull together your entire look thoughtfully: top, skirt/pants, shoes, hose, handbag, jewelry, belt. Always check a full length mirror before you leave the house.
- Dress ‘up.’ Never leave the house in yoga pants or sweats unless you’re on your way to work out. Throw out all your old, misshapen, oversized t-shirts. Even if you’re just going to the mailbox or corner store, wear jeans or trousers and a nice top. You never know who you’ll see.
- Be neat and clean. Throw out anything ripped, stained or damaged. Make sure your clothes are clean and pressed. Use a lint brush. Shine your shoes.
- Accessorize judiciously. A scarf or statement necklace can complete an outfit. Wear one or the other; not both. Balance is important. Resist the urge to wear too many pieces at once.
- Put your best foot forward: shoes complete your look. Pumps, booties, wedges, platforms or penny loafers… choose the right shoe for the right occasion. Never wear flip flops (even bejeweled ones) to work. Match your socks to your shoes, not your trousers. Wear hose with pumps, and bare legs and a cute pedi with strappy sandals. Match your shoes and your belt – but it’s not necessary to match your shoes and your handbag.
Find your personal fashion style – and own it!
In recent years, I’ve been fortunate to acquire some very special pieces. Some are classics. Some are fashion-forward. Some, however, are beyond my reach – so I’ve created this wish list if that lottery win ever comes in:
- Chanel handbag. I love the classic style quilted handbag with the chain strap.
- Burberry trench. The iconic trench would be an amazing addition to any wardrobe.
- Louis Vuitton carryon luggage. I would NEVER trust a full set of luggage with an airline, but having a carryon bag (that I would protect and keep my eye on) would be amazing.
- Carolina Herrara dress. Having had the opportunity to see the workmanship, detailing and tailoring, I would love to own a CH dress. Her collections are always very wearable.
What’s your dream collection? I’d appreciate hearing from you.
This past week, I was incredibly fortunate to participate as a dresser for runway shows at New York Fashion Week (NYFW). I had a surreal opportunity to get up-close with top designer fashion as I helped out at eight runway shows.
What’s it like to be a dresser? Intense. Stressful. Amazing.
Here’s what a typical call looks like:
Arrive. Wait. Get assignment. Go to racks. Review “look” card. Understand the styling, accessories, shoe changes. Use lint brush. Meet model. Have her try on her shoes.
Start from the inside out, bottom up. That means hosiery first, then skirt/pants, then top. Shoes and accessories last. When pulling dresses or tops over the models’ heads, put a “head scarf” over the model’s face to protect the garment from her makeup. Send her to the runway line up where stylists, hair and makeup staff do final touches.
If your model has to change mid-way through the show, that adds to the pressure. A game plan is needed to gently remove the first look and put on the second look. Sometimes, shoes are shared with another model, so coordinating with other dressers is important. Attention to detail is critical. The model’s finished look must match the display card, right down to scrunching gloves or tying bows on belts. Oh, and you only have about three minutes to change into second looks and get your model back into the runway line up.
When the show is over, dressers are responsible to re-hang all the clothes in “showroom ready” condition. That means all zippers zipped, buttons buttoned and snaps snapped. Looks are usually pulled together into one garment bag. The designer’s staff does a final inventory to make sure all the pieces are there, and then we are dismissed.
The entire backstage crew was wonderful to work with – very professional and patient as I learned my way. Thanks to Barbara Berman for giving me this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity as part of my studies as an image consultant through the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) in New York. It was a wonderful ‘hands-on’ experience to augment my coursework and helped me better understand the fashion industry.
NOTE: Check out all the looks from NYFW online at Vogue: http://www.vogue.co.uk/event/new-york-fashion-week
For many, it’s already been a long winter. Snow came early in Alberta and wearing warm sweaters and multiple layers is getting old.
While we won’t see spring here any time soon, there are some easy ways to channel spring into your winter wardrobe. Try some of these ideas:
- Wear bright colours, or at least a pop of colour, to brighten what can otherwise be a dark winter wardrobe. Fun, flirty scarves or bright tops under jackets can bring a hint of spring to a cold day.
- Find fun nail polish colours that lift your spirits. Bright pinks, oranges and fun nail art can help you feel spring-like, even on dark winter days.
- Change up your fragrance to a lighter scent. Citrus notes, for example, can remind us of warm summer days.
- Lighten up your make-up. We tend to use a heavier hand in the winter… remember the warm summer days ahead and reflect that in your look.
- Lastly, many boutiques are starting to receive spring stock. Check out the beautiful fashions arriving in stores now.
These are simple steps to help you cope through the final weeks of winter. Enjoy!
Ok, folks. You have a wife, mother, sister or aunt to shop for and have no clue what to get. You want something useful… or significant… or memorable… or fun. But you don’t know what she wants.
I do. You see, I am a wife, mother, sister and aunt. So here are my suggestions to help you choose the perfect gift for the woman in your life.
- Tickets to a concert, ballet, opera or symphony. Festival passes. Art show admissions.
- Salon gift card for mani-pedi, cut and colour, day of pampering.
- Brunch. With you.
- Gadgets – Samsung Note 2, iPad Mini, Kobo or Kindle.
- Skincare products – Be a detective: check out her vanity shelf for her favorite brands. Don’t just randomly pick a bunch of bath products. Instead, what’s her favourite skin regimen? I love Estee Lauder and Kiehl’s products – and you can find them on my vanity shelf.
- Charms and bracelets – if she collects Pandora, Thomas Sabo or Tiffany, choose a charm carefully and thoughtfully to reflect your special memories with her.
- Scarves – every woman loves a luxurious scarf. Indulge her with a Hermes or Chanel scarf.
- Small leathers – a beautiful wallet with matching key fob is a lovely gift. What colours does she wear predominantly in her wardrobe? Choose colours in small leathers to match or coordinate.
- Magazine or newspaper subscription – for the news hound in your life, choose magazines that reflect her special interests. Those who love politics may enjoy a subscription to the Globe and Mail, National Post, New York Times or Washington Post.
SOME GENERAL NOTES:
- Sue’s basic rule: if it plugs in, it’s a household item not a gift. (Gadgets notwithstanding) This is what women mean by “it’s the thought that counts.” Make it personal.
- Research the woman on your list. How? Does she have a Pinterest account? Polyvore? What does she talk about on Twitter or Facebook? Is there a shop she loves to frequent?
In other words, with just a little effort you can easily find special gifts for all the wonderful women in your life.
Yes, it’s true! Soon you will be able to order your own pair of custom made boots, fit just for you.
A new venture is launching in November that’s sure to take off. Poppy Barley is an Edmonton-based company that specializes in helping women find not only a beautiful boot, but made-to-measure fit.
The company has been vigorously testing its product since June and will make these fabulous boots available for online purchase next month. The key is in delivering quality boots that address any and all fit concerns you may have.
“While custom fit boots are available in some industry sectors, such as equestrian riding or the RCMP, there were no fashion equivalents,” says co-founder Kendall Barber. “We took the concept and applied it to fashion.”
The result is amazing. As I sat with Kendall over coffee, I had to take a moment to admire her company’s handiwork:
“We’re launching with three classic looks: riding boot style, military style and a chic style,” says Kendall. “These are looks that will stand the test of time and provide great value over the long term.”
Boots can be ordered with the colour of leather and trimmings that you desire. Leathers come in caramel, a rich brown (see photo) and black. Buckles and trims come in gold tone, silver tone and antiqued finish. Boots are lined with a signature blue leather – Poppy Barley’s calling card.
The company does not plan to operate a retail storefront; rather, it intends to take its products to anyone who is seeking to find a handmade, custom boot with exquisite styling made of the finest materials.
Ladies, step this way.