Mid-Season Restyle

It's that time in the season, you know the middle.  The middle where you're either sick of everything you're wearing or you're wearing the same favorites over and over again, or both.  I think I have written about this in the middle of almost every season but I think it's worth mentioning again.  It's a great time to take a look at your wardrobe and perhaps do some cleaning up, some purging, some organizing perhaps. 

Let's talk purging in general.  The middle of the season is actually a great time to do this.  If you don't want to do a full a full wardrobe clean-up, just take a look at what you haven't worn at all this season.  If the item is only for certain occasions (i.e. ski sweater for skiing) leave it.  However, anything else?  Now is the perfect time to get it out of your wardrobe.  If the reason is something like - this year you don't like the way it fits or the color or cut - take it out.  If it's showing obvious signs of wear* - take it out.  It's no longer "in style"?  I think this one is a little trickier - pay attention to the item.  Is that the only reason you aren't wearing it?  Maybe it just doesn't fit your style anymore?  That's okay ...take it out.  All of these reasons are great motivators to getting these items out of your wardrobe.  

Next step - clean them (if needed) and get them to their next home.  If they are in great condition it's the perfect item for consignment.  Many of the consignment stores are close to switching from winter to spring so check before you take it.  If that's the case, no worries.  Pack the clean items in a container labeled "fall consign" and put away until then.  Items more worn but still in good condition?  Donate them to your favorite non-profit.  Items not fit for wearing or painting in?  Either trash them, use them for rags or find a non-profit that can take them and recycle.  Please don't take anything you yourself wouldn't wear and donate for someone else to wear.    This same process is true for shoes, coats, and accessories.  Take advantage of the mid-season gray days and do this now.  I know for me, this week alone, my favorite clogs literally split both soles and my favorite rain boots started leaking.  Bye bye to both.  

The good news about all of this is 2-fold really.  First and most important to me...you'll feel better, maybe a little more put together even.  Maybe you'll be inspired to create new outfits with what has been kept.  Second - and * from the paragraph above - those items you love but are worn out?  You will find most of them on sale right now to replace.  You don't even necessarily have to wear it this season.  Pack it away new for next year and it will be a fun surprise when you unpack for fall.  

Here in West Michigan it's that point in the season when you feel like Spring is not coming.  I love doing something like a closet refresh to bring a little sunshine in.  I hope I've inspired you to do the same.  

Thoughts on the fanny pack ...

Fashion trends are a funny thing sometimes.  What is certain though, everything will come around again...it's all a cycle.  A current return is not one of my favs so I though I would politely offer some alternatives.  Let's see what you think...it's the fanny pack.  The last time I remember this little package of wonder being popular was sometime in the 80's.  I can't get behind it this time, sorry.  I get the convenience to it - pack what you need - hands free- no strain on the shoulders or back.  I also "see" the convenience - it sits on your belly or side or perhaps you take it at face value and rest it on your fanny.  For me, this isn't my most flattering look.  It isn't a fashion piece that helps me #ownmystyle.  I prefer an alternative. 

I like the idea of hands free, less strain on the shoulder, fashionable all of that.  So I introduce to you the crossbody bag.  I am quite certain you've met before, especially if you are a fan of handbags as I am.  There are soooo many styles, materials, colors and sizes of crossbody bags it would be impossible for you to not find one you love.  I've pre-shopped for you - here are some of my favs :)  Unless of course you are a fan of the trend - in which case - snap it on and carry on.  

To wear or not to wear ...

Do you have a favorite pair of pants?  You can't count jeans!  I do.  Well, more so, I have a favorite style of pant.  I found 2 pair I love equally, from different brands, so I bought them both.  The pants?  A simple wide leg cropped pant in black.  The fabric on both is a mid-weight washable fabric that makes these pants perfect for almost any time of year.   The styles though very similar, have just enough different details that it was worth buying both.  One pair is plain, zip in the front button closure.  The other pair zips on the side with silver buckles at the waist on each side.  The seaming on both pair make the pants flattering for all body types.  

pants 1.jpg

This look I paired with my MaryJanes, tights and a layered blouse and cropped sleeveless sweater for a holiday party.  If the temps had been really cold I would do fleece lined tights for warmth but otherwise I love this look for colder months.  For me, the wider leg balances my body shape and helps me own my style.  

pants 2.jpg

This look is great for fall or spring.  I have the mules I'm wearing in both fur-lined and unlined.  I paired the pants with the mules, a sleeveless mock sweater with a denim jacket.  I love the mulit-strand pearl necklace to add a pop to the outfit.  All these elements together for this outfit again, helped me own my style. I have also worn the pants with a simple long sleeve tshirt and mules and a light cardigan (or the jean jacket) for Spring or Fall.  In the summer I do the same thing with a short sleeve shirt and sandals or wedges, depending on the occasion.  I love all the options for these pants.  I have added a khaki green pair in canvas recently because I am such a fan of this silhouette.  

If you want to get technical, in most cases you see 2 key silhouettes if you are searching for a wide leg pant.  A search for a full leg/wide leg full length trouser will most likely show examples of palazzo pants. A cropped version is often called a culotte which typically reaches either knee length or calf length.  For my style, I like the cropped length better because, you guessed it, there are more options.  I love a full palazzo pant for a dressy look.  I think, if styled with perhaps a glittery top, can easily replace a cocktail dress. But, I digress or trail off... here are some examples of the cropped styles:

One of my favs....

cropped black pant - dressy.jpg

If I have a fav look, this might be it.  I paired the pants with tights and my MaryJanes (surprise!), a beautiful flowy top and used a scarf as a belt to complete the look.  This outfit I wore in the winter as well and it was perfect, regardless the temps.  This outfit was perfect for a holiday dinner the Mister and I attended.  I topped it off with my vintage pink wool full length coat which adds just the right amount of "dress" for me.  Once again, I was able to own my style in this look.  I am 5'4" which some would say is too short for a cropped wide leg pant but I disagree.  First, I don't like rules like that and second I don't think it's true.  What's always been most important is that you own what you're wearing and make it yours.  I think confidence is the best thing you wear.  

What's your favorite pant?  How are you wearing it?  How are you owning your style?

Gray Dress

I love a piece in my wardrobe that really "pays" for itself.  A piece that can be worn in different ways for different occasions and all the while easy to wear and doesn't cause any stress.  I have mentioned before about investment pieces in your wardrobe.  The pieces that will remain in your wardrobe for any length of time are worth spending a little more money on.  Having said that it's not about always spending more money as much as it is about finding quality pieces to build your wardrobe.  I found this gray dress last year on a sale rack at TJMaxx.  The silhouette of the Aline along with the ease of the fabric makes the dress flattering on many body types.  The neckline allows for so many options of accessories from a simple strand of pearls to a scarf to layers of necklaces.  Options ...we always need options.  I love that I can totally change the feel of the dress based on footwear.  Pair it with tights and boots, tights and my fav MaryJanes, booties or even pumps.  I can layer underneath with a long sleeve tee to give it a more casual vibe or keep it simple with a scarf around the neck and no layer underneath for a totally different look.  

I love going to the closet and pulling something out to wear that didn't take much effort but still looks great instantly.  There is always mention of a Little Black Dress but not often of the gray dress.  A dress like this I would have been willing to spend more than the $30 bucks I spent but I was lucky enough to find a bargain.  If you don't have a versatile dress like this, find one you love like I did and have fun finding all the different ways to wear it.  

gray dress layered
gray dress simple with booties
gray dress layered again

Investing in Winter

If you're like me and it's winter where you live, stay tuned.  

I will state some obvious things first.  Winter is cold.  Fashion is great.  Getting a great item on sale is awesome.  Staying warm while looking great is even better.  Just because you love fashion and live where it is cold right now doesn't mean you still can't look and feel fabulous.  Having stated the obvious, I have to state the practical as well.  You can't forgo function for the sake of fashion.  In addition, and equally important, there are key winter pieces that will be investment pieces.  Pieces you need to spend money on in order to get the quality and function you need.  The bonus?  There are sales everywhere right now so you may be able to find the high quality you need for a lower price.  Here is what I mean:

Let's start with the coat.  If you live in a cold climate winter is not the time to buy the cute lightweight jacket.  You need to invest in a piece that's going to keep you warm.  At the same time I know, you don't want to look like a marshmallow.  I believe the best place for outerwear is Eddie Bauer.  No one told me to say that, I just believe it's true.  (full disclosure, I did work for Eddie Bauer a million years ago).  The coats are down-filled but not overly heavy and guaranteed to keep you warm.  The color choices and design will add the fashion necessary to take away any feelings of frump.  The quality is second to none. You will truly be able to wear this coat for many years and with the classic style you won't have to worry about whether it's on trend or not.   Bonus*--many styles are on sale right now.  Don't forget the gloves.  Look for a pair with thinsulate lining  so even though they aren't think sausage fingers, you hands will be warm.  

Boots - I am not quite as brand loyal on boots but I will say, again this should be an investment piece.  You need to spend money to get a great pair of boots that will not only keep your feet warm, but more importantly dry.  Again, I like a cute pair of boots with heels as much as the next fashionista, but you need function here people!  Pictured are a great pair of Sorel brand boots.  They "check off all the boxes" for what to buy in winter boots.  They will keep your feet warm and dry, they are excellent quality, AND super cute.  I would pair these boots just as quickly with a cute sweater dress as I would leggings and a sweater.  

Speaking of sweaters and dresses.  I love the look of a sweater dress in the winter.  You can still make that happen and look great.  Pair the dress with fleece-lined tights and the boots and you still look like you own your style.  I think it's important to mention, whether it's a sweater or sweater dress - spend you money here.  Don't buy the cheaply made trendy piece.  Either save up fashion dollars for the investment or better still - buy the better quality on sale.  January is a great time to find cashmere and high-quality merino wool on sale.  

I know for many of us, we are thick in the middle of snow and cold cold weather, but at least for me, I want to still own my style.  Stay warm and not frumpy out there fashionistas!!

NYE in...

Whether you're spending New Year's Eve in at your home or the home of a friend, you don't have to leave sparkle behind.  

I love the thought of a casual party at someone's home versus all the mayhem of being "out" somewhere.  Sometimes when the party moves to someone's house the party attire gets left behind.  Regardless of the occasion or the venue, don't lose your chance to own your style.  You can still be comfy but have some sparkle to match your style.  Here is one idea:

A simple gray cashmere sweater paired with dark straight, simple jeans. Jewelry includes a bold statement necklace and crystal stud earrings. I always opt for one or the other - statement necklace and simple earrings or statement earrings and simple necklace.  Next, add an adorable shoe - I love the pop of red from the block heel maryjanes or the simple sophistication of the pointed suede pump.  Finish off the look with a sequin clutch and you are party ready.  If you love a blazer or jacket add a simple tee or screen print tee underneath in place of the sweater.  Not a "heels" type?  Add a great pair of sneakers like the Adidas with the gold stripes on the side.  As I always say, what's most important is that you own your style.  

 

Cheers to the New Year - who's with me??

12 Days of Gift Ideas - Day 12 Last Minute Gifts

It is Christmas Eve and we are at the "Last Minute Gift" moments of this holiday season.  Consider some of these suggestions for your last minute gift ideas before you head to the gift card station first.  

 

Print a favorite picture of you and the person and frame it.  If you have a picture of a place they have been you could easily print that as another option.

Purchase one of the subscription services or boxes I have mentioned previously in this 12 days of gifts series.  Some of the subscriptions offer short time frames or even a 1-time purchase.

Make a grown-up version of a coupon booklet for your person with fun stuff such as:  a day at their favorite museum with you, a movie with you, dinner or lunch with you.  You can customize this booklet just for them as I mentioned in the gift ideas for moms with littles.  Maybe it's someone who needs extra help around the house or help with a project.  You can offer your time in a more creative way by creating and printing something out.

Make a basket of some of their favorite things.  You can be so creative with this.  Choose their favorites from several different things.  For example, a favorite dvd, favorite snacks, favorite socks, favorite bottle of wine, etc. 

Happy Shopping!

A very Merry Christmas to you !

12 Days of Gift Ideas - Day 11 Gifts for the Fahionista

Can you believe it's almost Christmas???  I can't!  We are at day 12 of gift ideas and today's list is one of my favs.  Gifts for the fashionista.  It sounds easy right?  Just buy her clothes, right?  It's not that I don't think you will buy the right thing, but here are some great alternatives:

Starting with the first group on the top right and going clockwise:  

Jewelry is always a good option.  The fashionista knows how to put it all together and make it her style so giving her pieces that she can layer are best.  The necklace is one of my favs because you can have it engraved.  Choose what you want - a special date, the coordinates of a special place, her name, etc.  You may not notice your fashionista wearing a watch, but a watch that is also a fashion statement can't be a bad idea.  Olivia Burton watches are beautiful.  You can choose the one pictured here full of floral details or they do have simpler versions as well.  Last in this category is a beautiful pen from Tiffany.  Your fashionista should have a beautiful writing pen as an accessory she has with her all the time. \

Next up are a couple of fun gifts.  First, one of my personal favs - the Fab Fit Fun Box.  You can purchase gift cards towards this, purchase a subscription for her, or currently the editor's box is available so you could that as well.  As I have mentioned many times before, the box is filled with a variety of items, all of which, your fashionista will love. The fashion emergency kit is great for all people, not just fashionistas frankly.  It's like a first aid kit for dressing - who doesn't need that??

If you want more "utility" or usefulness to your gift then the last group is perfect for you.  the jewelry box is from Lori Grenier.  Her jewelry boxes are special because the inside is a "silver keeper" lining so sterling silver pieces don't tarnish.  The pieces come in a variety of styles and sizes including everything from travel cases to full length towers to the box pictured here.  Another storage option is the box pictured next which allows the fashionista to organize her watches and several pieces of her jewelry.  If she travels, especially by car, this box could go with her, which is a bonus.  Keeping with storage the last piece is a storage unit for all her cosmetics.  What fashionista doesn't want her beauty products to look great too?  

Though a couple of these items are sold online only,  a majority of these things can still be purchased in a store so you still have time to get them.  Take a deep breath and get out there!

Happy Shopping !

 

12 Days of Gift Ideas - Day 10 Gifts for the Candy Lover

Are there really people who don't like candy?  Some sort of candy, whether it be sugary sweets or chocolate??  Really?  Well, if you don't have someone on your gift list that is known for their sweet tooth then I guess you can take a pass on today's gift ideas.  For the rest of us...here you go:

I think these are all great gift ideas but one of my favs are the champagne gummi bears.  They are a little more unique and packaged well - I love that.  Dylan's Candy Bar is a great site to purchase lots of fun stuff from including gift tins like the one pictured and many more.  They also have "barns" and "cans" with yummy treats to choose from.   Available at both Amazon and Dylan's are gift sets of nostalgic candy.  You can choose from your favorite decade of treats for each package.  

I still think one of the best ideas is a box from a subscription service like Chococurb.  There are many choices as to price range and length of subscription.  I love the unique idea behind this gift - especially for candy!  

You could easily make your own treat basket very specific for your candy lover.  I think this is fun to do with all candy local to your area. 

Today is a good day to finish your shopping!  Good Luck !

12 Days of Gift Ideas - Day 9 Gifts for the Stationery Lover

If you are shopping for Christmas gifts it's getting down to the wire, as they say.  If you have someone on your list who loves all things paper, handwritten notes, pens, planning and cards this is for you.  

Here are some ideas to inspire you.  As with all my ideas, this is a gift guide to get you started.  Though there may not be time to order some of these items you should still be able to shop for any of these locally.  There are 2 items that are personalized so obviously you wouldn't receive them in time, but you could still purchase. 

Here is your inspiration in more detail:

I have rarely met a person who  loves stationery and doesn't also love paper planners.  The planner I have pictured is one of THE planners (if you know what I mean).  The Erin Condren LIfe Planner has tons of options for customization and personalization.  If you choose to order the standard "insides" you still have the option to personalize the cover.  Along the same idea of a planner would be a journal.  Shinola makes a beautiful journal with many color choices for the cover along with a choice of lined or unlined paper.  

Next is paper!  Personalized note cards can be purchased from a variety of places at all different prices.  I think this is one of the best gifts for someone who truly loves stationery.  If you don't want to personalize, a beautiful set of note cards is always an option.  One quick idea for this:  purchase a variety of inexpensive note cards, place in a beautiful container and give as the ultimate note card collection.    Paper - writing paper either plain or decorated runs a close second to note cards.  You could take this purchase a step further and personalize paper as well.

Don't forget something to write with!  Whether you go extravagant with a beautiful pen from Tiffany (yes, it's possible) or add variety with an assortment, of shall I say less expensive pens, don't forget the pen!

I hope you're inspired to check off one more person from the list today.

Happy Shopping!

p.s. be kind out there - it's getting crazy - people are getting stressed!

 

12 Days of Gift Ideas - Day 8 Gifts for the one who loves to cook

Today's picks are  all about the person in your life who loves to cook.  I have given some great ideas for what to buy and most of the items should be easy to find.  I think the important thing here is variety and quality of the item for the one on your list who loves to cook. 

Starting in the top right corner and moving clockwise:

The first 2 are gifts of spices and salt.  Sure, if they love to cook, odds are they already have spices on hand.  However, buying them a variety of spices all together in a set is a great idea.  The set pictured is from one of my favorite places to buy spices but if you have a local spice merchant in your area you could easily create a set tailored to your gift recipient there instead.  Second pictured is a set of salts, which I think is another great gift for the person who loves to cook.  It gives them a chance to show off their talents and creativity as well.

The next group of 3 are all kitchen tools for the person who loves to cook.  The cutting board is an obvious necessity for the well stocked kitchen, but this board is personalized for your gift recipient.  A kitchen scale is a must have for everything from burgers to baking in a kitchen.  Last in this group are kitchen towels.  Again, I am sure the kitchen is already equipped, but new good quality towels are always welcome in a well stocked kitchen. 

The next 2 items are necessary cookware.  The first is the beautiful dutch oven from Le Creuset.  The flame colored pot pictured here is from the outlet to save on some dollars.  High quality, useful and will last forever, this piece also looks stunning just sitting on the stove when not in use.  Second is the cast iron skillet.  This piece is another must have for the person who loves to cook.  

You know my list wouldn't be complete without some sort of subscription or service.  Cooking classes can be fun for a person who already has skill in the kitchen as well.  Nation-wide stores such as Williams-Sonoma and Sur La Table both offer a variety of classes year round.  This is a great option if your recipient doesn't live in your area.  If they are part of a community you know well, look for classes from a local chef who offers the same service.  The other item I didn't include but something to think about would be a meal delivery service.  Even though recipes are included in these services there is always room for a little creativity when preparing.  In addition, a busy person that loves to cook will appreciate the "busy work" already done for them, especially after a long day.

This list, as all my others, are meant to give your inspiration.  As we draw closer to Christmas you could easily take these ideas to a store close to you and find many of the same things.  Stores like TJMaxx and Home Goods would have many of these items (or similar) for you to purchase without waiting for shipping.  I hope this helps you check another person off your list!

Happy Shopping!