June 2, 2014

THE STYLE CLASH



When our true style is in conflict with professional work attire

Have you ever considered how your 2 world are so vastly different?  Your work world and your LIFE?  For over 70% of us, that means we work full-time and have kids. http://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2013/ted_20130510.htm We spend an average of 10 hours a day, every day, working and attending to tasks. http://www.bls.gov/tus/charts/  In other words 10 hours a day not sleeping, being with our family and friends; 70 hours a week. 

Now let’s think about what most of us sassy working mom’s do for a living.  What kinds of clothing we are required to wear for work. For most of us that look is a traditional professional style. The disconnect is considering what kinds of clothing we like, that we choose to wear when we are living our lives, looks much different than the attire we wear to work.

Consider your Style Personality, the clothing you wear is a direct reflection of who you are; your personality. You feel the most beautiful, confident and the most like your TRUE SELF when you wear a great outfit that reflects who you are.  The conflict comes when we spend 70 hours a week (some weeks more!) in our career wardrobe that doesn’t look anything like our real Style Personality.
Think about it this way; it can feel like for 8+ hours a day you are wearing someone else’s clothes. They aren’t they colors you like or the style you like. You can’t wait to get home and change clothes. The instant you are able to pull on your favorite jeans and that amazing top you feel like you can take a breath. Your mood shifts from subtle annoyance to happy go-lucky I CAN TAKE ONE THE WORLD!

As a certified Stylist and Image Consultant, I encourage my clients to see their wardrobes as one complete thing.  I don’t believe in creating a “work wardrobe” and a “Life wardrobe”.  That is a very expensive wardrobe plan and as working Moms, we need to get the most out of the budget we set aside for ourselves.
According to Michelle, a high level marketing executive for a large bank, “For years I found I was altering the real me at work; I was trying to be who I thought my colleagues and clients wanted me to be.  I need to be rather conservative with my attire at work, and I took that general apparel direction to the ‘nth degree. With my friends and family I am the life of the party. At work, I was feeling dull and lifeless.  This conflict caused a lot of tension with my career.  I noticed it and so did my co-workers and boss.  I gave myself permission to infuse some of myself real self into my professional world.  One of those steps was with my wardrobe. I began to see I was making professional gains I didn’t think was possible. I know this is because my confidence level increased because I was being myself, not trying to be someone else.”
No More White Blouses and Suits!  Perhaps the most un-creative professional look is the navy (or black) suit with a white blouse. Make a stand against the professional look everyone has. NO MORE WHITE BLOUSES! Add color and pattern to the great tailored suit. The blouse you love to wear in the summer with shorts and capris can work with your power suit. Don’t shy away from tucking it in and adding a bold belt (with the skirt, under the jacket). 

Un-Suit your suit.  Who said you HAVE to wear that jacket with that skirt? Who wrote the fashion law that says “you can only wear a suit as a suit, you shant ever wear the pieces separately!”  The answer? No-one!  Mix things up: khaki suit jacket with black suit pants, a leather suit jacket with the pencil skirt from your power suit, make cardigans your new go-to jacket. If your workplace will allow, infuse some denim with your suiting pieces. What could be more office-chic than a smartly tailored denim shirt with a pin stripe suit? Or perhaps your favorite jean jacket with a pair of trousers and silk blouse.  

Permission to buy new shoes.  Yes, I am giving you permission to go shoe shipping.  You are welcome. Adding some of your Style Personality into your professional wardrobe with shoes (or any accessories) can turn a forgettable drab suit into a memorable ensemble. Think about it; a great pin stripe suit with an Ahhhhh-mazing pair of bright red stilettos with a silver spiked heel. Not your style? What about that suit with a zebra print kitten heel?  Get away from being matchy-matchy with your shoes and your outfits. Try new combinations. Start your “what to wear today” internal conversation with “I will wear these shoes today with…” 

Tailoring.  For many of us, it can be hard to get rid of things in our closets we have invested in. Suits can be at the top of the list. If the style is one that was in-vogue years ago it needs a little revamp. Consider shortening the skirt, take the sleeves of the jacket to ¾, give trousers a new silhouette - a peg leg, add an interesting gathered detail at the back of the jacket. 

Cocktails at work?  Did I just hear thousands of women all over Michiana yell “yes, PLEASE!”  Well….I am not suggesting THAT kind of cocktail, but more the jewelry variety. Bring your favorite party, evening and cocktail jewelry pieces into your professional wardrobe. Add a sparkly brooch to that boring suit jacket, rhinestone necklace layered with a non-descript chain, a statement cocktail ring as your ‘every-day-right-hand’
 
I’m not suggesting you go against corporate norms.  The first impression created by a professional and polished image is critical to overall career success.  I am, however, suggesting you infuse your REAL Style Personality into your professional life.  After all…you spend a lot of time there.  You might as well feel your best!

March 5, 2014

Spring Fashion Challenge


[as seen in the March 2014 edition of SASSY Magazine]

New trends. For many of us, we see new looks in magazines or at the mall and think they are cute, but we never try them.  Getting stuck in a style rut (or comfortable with an outdated style) is very common, and very easy to remedy.
Challenge yourself to try one new thing this season. Step out of your box; embrace a revved up YOU this spring!  

 Here are some ways to challenge your style:
COLOR CHALLENGE
The ‘it’ color this season is Violet Tulip, a beautiful soft purple.  A common style-rut (especially coming off such a frigid winter) is the monochromatic (i.e. all black) wardrobe. One sure way to lift your spirits, change old habits and get instant style points is to infuse this spring tone into your winter basics. Sprinkle something violet into your look with a vibrant necklace. Maybe invest now in a violet blouse or summer sweater and layer those pieces with your winter basics. Want to be daring?  Violet tights and a leather skirt! 
Maybe you don’t look your best in this hue of purple?  Try something with more punch, like Dazzling Blue!  This very-wearable color is an attention getting.
STATEMENT CHALLENGE
There are several trends this season that will make a big statement in your wardrobe.  Like winter, statement jackets fall into this category.  There are 2 for you to try this season; one is the boxy jacket, and the other is the bomber.
The boxy jackets on the runways are in a variety of colors and fabrics.  With this style, keep proportion in mind.  This jacket has a “swing”  unstructured nature to it, pair it with a pant or skirt that is slim and not free-flowing. 
An easy look to try: skinny jeans, shoe boots, tunic length t-shirt or blouse with your new statement boxy jacket. 
The other style is the bomber.  Not the bomber of days gone by; think chic colorful bombers.  This sporty look can take you from the boardroom to cocktails in an instant.  Juxtaposition is key when making this style look sophisticated.  The nature of this cut of jacket is casual.  Pair with pieces that are tailored or have a professional feel. 
An Easy Look to try: Your favorite stilettos, those trouser pants from a suit, a basic cami and a hip satin bomber. 
Before you invest in this season’s statement jackets, think of at least 3 different ways you can wear this piece.  Being stuck into wearing a statement piece one way is not a wise investment for your wardrobe. 

Simple considerations would be: Can I wear with jeans? Can I wear with a skirt? One new unique way to wear this piece?

ACCESSORY CHALLENGE
Adding accessories is the one thing that will take a very basic look to one that is va-va-voom! Using accessories in the right way is the difference between wearing an outfit and having style. So many of us busy women don’t stop and think about being accessorized. 
This spring, I would like to challenge you to wear at least 9 things every day that you can consider an accessory. These could be:
  •  Necklace – try wearing more than one!
  • Rings – do you wear a right hand ring?
  • Bracelets – try layering some bangles with charm styles
  • Eye glasses
  • Bold pattern in your outfit
  • Unexpected shoe – maybe your leopard kitten heels are your new neutral shoe you wear with everything?
Spring is a time to renew. A time to be done with the old and welcome change. Take just a little time this spring to focus on you!

February 28, 2014

Dream Weddings...on a budget?

This morning I was on WNDU TV sharing information about the Little White Dress expo event in Mishawaka tomorrow.  This one of a kind event will feature fashion shows with wedding attire from Goodwill.  All of the vendors will offer tips on how to plan your dream wedding on a budget!

Here is a link to info on the event:  Little White Dress

Here are some other tips for saving your budget while planning your dream wedding:

 Before You Start
·        What parts of the wedding are important to you? Focus on those and find ways to save money on the rest.
·        Hire A wedding planner.  Professionals can save you money because of the relationships and business they already give to vendors.  They also have years of creativity planning weddings and can offer alternatives to save you money that you might never have thought of.
Invitations
·        There are hundreds of great, professional and classy options to print at home.  This can save a ton of money.
·        Guest List = omit kids. If the number of co-workers you have seems to be significant, eliminate all work relationships.  Keep the numbers down for your wedding party as well: Fewer attendants means less money spent on bouquets, boutonnieres, presents, and transportation.
Attire
·        Your Dress: Plan on reselling your dress, look for a vintage beauty from a consignment shop or thrift store. Buy a dress from a thrift store and have it custom tailored into something perfect for you.
·        Your Shoes: Buy shoes that you'll wear again after the wedding -- something you likely won't do with white heels. Make your shoes the “something blue”, or coordinate your stilettos with the color theme of your wedding party.
·        Men can wear a nice suit and avoid renting a tux.
Flowers
·        Use what is in season, and the same flower throughout the event.  Choose a flower that is large (you won’t have to buy as many)
·        Cutting out the middleman by calling on a grower will allow you to source flowers for.   Look for farms or related associations; for example if you want gerbera daisies, google search and call the American gerbera daisies Society and ask for a local grower. 
The Wedding Event
·        An officiant can add to your bottom line by hundreds of dollars. Have a friend become your officiant. Universal Life Church (ulchq.com) and Esoteric Interfaith Church (northern way.org) are two organizations that "ordain" laypeople so they can officiate weddings, which most of the 50 states will recognize. Be sure to check the laws in the state you will be getting married to be sure this meets with local criteria.
·        Schedule the wedding in off-peak times. You might be able to save 20-30% by scheduling your wedding in non-wedding-peak months.  Have to be on a Saturday?  For a destination wedding, every day feels like a Saturday!  Or consider a Sunday afternoon or Friday night.
·        Location, Location, Location!  Look at non-traditional settings; barns, a beautiful back yard, a park.
Reception
·        Time of the day of your wedding can save a ton of money.  Time your wedding around a meal time.  Then you can just serve refreshments as opposed to a full meal.
·        Theme: maybe a Tea party kind of feel. Simple, elegant and much less expensive
·        Alcohol can drive up the price of a reception like nothing else.  Only offer Signature cocktails rather than open bar.
·        Cake: one small beautiful cake and cut sheet cake for guests. Eliminate cake all together and serve donughts (tiered on a cake plate)
Photographer
·        Look for a photography club and invite them to shoot the wedding
·        See if your photographer will offer a CD with the photos rather than a book or prints
·        Disposable cameras for guests might get the best pictures to capture memories

February 18, 2014

RELEASE THE DRAB WINTER WARDROBE


[from the January edition of SASSY magazine]


Seems like this time every year, we work really hard at pushing through to spring.  Maybe it’s the cold weather, maybe its from being exhausted from all the holiday cheer, or perhaps the truth is that the holiday cheer ended up in our midsection.  Fear not – we are ALL feeling the same way.   

Most winter wardrobes are havens for all things black and grey.  We bundle ourselves up from head to toe to stay warm…and all that bundling doesn’t do much for our silhouettes!  With the new year comes new trends and new colors. Although the weather isn’t quite spring-ish yet, bring some life into a drab winter wardrobe with some key spring pieces.  The best way to do that now is with jackets! 

Cropped Jackets
Shorter jackets will be a big trend this Spring.  When adding this silhouette into your wardrobe, be sure that you balance the boxy-feeling of this jacket with form fitting pieces underneath. Many cropped jackets have a very glam Chanel feel; wear this style in an unexpected way: jeans and a white t-shirt, and layer with gobs of jewelry. Instant chic!

Make sure the length of the jacket is flattering to your body shape.  Rule of thumb is the shorter the jacket, the more flattering to the hip area. Remember, where the jacket hits your torso that is where all the attention will be in your outfit.  In other words, make sure THAT is where you WANT people to be looking! 

Bomber Jackets
This style will be a big trend this Spring. Think “grown up baseball jacket”…or “flight jacket meets a bolt of silk fabric”.  A sophisticated fabric takes this sporty cut to a whole new level of cool.  Love this look with a slouchy trouser and a sky-high stiletto. Keep the layers you wear with the bomber monochromatic.  Let the bomber be THE statement of your look.   

My favorite take is a feminine flirty dress (think ruffles and lace) with a rugged leather bomber. 

Car Coats
Car coats.  You know, the very lady like over coat that hits at your knee.  The trend will be a swing coat with no collar.  If you are petite, this might not be the best look for you.  Car coats can be a bit overwhelming for a slight frame.  

The length of this style coat should be the same length of your skirts and dresses.  For most, the most flattering length will be mid-knee.  

ONE THING TO INVEST IN FOR SPRING
A crisp White Blouse.  All the design houses are showing this key wardrobe staple as a fundamental layering piece to a ton of looks this spring.  To be honest, if you don’t have a good white blouse in your closet already, it’s about time to get one!

BE ON THE LOOKOUT FOR
This spring, there will be a lot of fun styles introduced.  I am excited to see the take on these trends at local stores!  Some things to keep an eye out for include:

·        Fringe – not just a little fringe, but 10-12” flapper style fringe!
·        Hi-Low skirts…new take on the hi-low dresses and skirts that were so popular last year.  The new take on this trend is with the hi-low on the side (not front to back).
·        Micro pleats – tiny pleating in skirts, pants and blouses.
·        Shine - the shine all the top designers are talking about is lame`. Now…for those that are products of the 80’s, yes THAT fabric!  It will be interesting to see how it is translated into a more modern look!