Back to School & What to Wear

Back to School & What to Wear

 

Let’s do a little classroom exercise. Raise your hand if you enjoy being your child’s Uber. Raise your hand if you are excited about running to Staples six times in three days this week. Raise your hand if you enjoy screaming at your kids to go bed and then yelling at them to wake up in the morning. I’m assuming no one has raised any hands so we will try a different question. Raise your hand if you would like your outfits picked out for you this week so you can get up and get out the door faster. Okay, that I can help with. I can’t plan ahead for meals or a weekly family dinner menu but I can to that with outfits. True story – this text below is an exchange between me and one of my very good friends.

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Whereas this is what happens when I go to events at her house.

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So I’m going to stick to what I know and let my friend shop for Octopus. Below are suggestions for those mornings where you just need a starting point. I’m throwing in as many realistic type of photos I can find on Pinterest to help with some visual inspiration, (so no pics of celebrities wearing Chanel and 6 inch heels since we know we aren’t going to go to Staples this week in that). It’s all on this little cheat sheet below so you can save the plan and reference it. Hope this helps and good luck this week!

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MONDAY – Back to Basics Black

Keep it simple and go all black. It could be a little black dress, jumpsuit, or pair different textures of black together. Keep jewelry minimal or go for larger statement pieces like a cuff or chunky necklace.

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MONDAY – Opposites Attract

Pair a trendier cut or style of denim (frayed, distressed, cropped) and pair back to a classic white top. The more casual the denim the dressier your top can be. If you can’t wear jeans to work try throwing on a jean jacket as a blazer back to a pencil skirt o pants, or over a dress.

 

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WEDNESDAY – Start With The Shoes

Pick a pair you haven’t worn for a while and build your outfit around the shoes. Pull out colors from your closet that will coordinate with the shoes, or choose a cropped pant or flared hem that features the shoes.

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THURSDAY- Pick A Pattern

Go with something classic like a striped shirt or mix it up with a floral skirt. Leopard, polka dots, and checks are all easy prints to pair back to solid or to wear as a dress.

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FRIDAY- Keep It Simple

Solid black with solid white. It’s a classic combination and you can’t go wrong. Even a black t-shirt with white jeans looks pulled together.

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Well, hopefully you made it till Friday night. Time to take off the bra, put on your comfiest oldest t-shirt, sweatpants, and pour yourself a gargantuan glass of wine!

Betty White likes wine ...BIG Glasses!!

 

*Insider Tip – Are you a night owl or an early bird?

Personally I am pretty useless when it comes to brain after dark. I could possibly be solar-powered but not sure. But if you are one of those proactive organized types who likes to get as much done at night in order to streamline your morning, then try finding a spot in your closet, or maybe a hook on the back of your door, to designate as your O.O.T.D. (Outfit of the day). Just like when you were a kid, or maybe for your own kids, laying out your outfit the night before can save you so much time and ease that pre-morning coffee sluggish brain into getting dressed. Or, if you are more like me and like a glass of wine before bed, you are better off not picking out your outfit at night because Lord knows what you could come up with. (Poor Kylie, clearly she has new mommy brain because this yellow thing is not a good choice).

 

Drawing inspiration? The 20-year-old reality star tapped into her inner Walter White from Breaking Bad (pictured right) as she slipped into a daring boiler suit

 

Thanks for reading!

XO

Suzie

 

 

Shop and Support – This Thursday

Shop and Support – This Thursday

 

 

March was Brain Injury Awareness Month, but I want to bring attention to it in April. Why? Because when someone suffers a traumatic brain injury (TBI) it doesn’t go away, ever. Month after month, year after year, the sufferer may look healed, or may look like nothing ever happened. But just because they look okay doesn’t mean they feel okay, which is a very tough thing to explain to other people who can’t see what is happening inside their brain. They can’t put band aids on their brains and it wouldn’t work anyway because the boo-boo will always remain under the band aid. In an ideal world, TBI sufferers would have little caution signs on them that would say things like:

I don’t like loud or sudden noises.

Sometimes I can’t remember things.

I can’t always be friendly because my brain is using all its energy on thinking versus feeling.

I may be feeling anxious, annoyed and/or angry but I don’t know why.

New people and situations are hard for me.

Imagine feeling all those things but no one else knows that. They expect you to look and act like everyone else, to remember their name and to be friendly and social. Everyday is a challenge.

 

This is exactly why awareness is so important. One of the most critical times for a pediatric TBI patient is during the initial recovery. There is a fight to want to be “normal” but “normal” activities don’t work the same. The Maddi’s Bag foundation  was created by one of my best friends, Jenny Raimondo, in the hopes of helping other children who have suffered a traumatic injury to the brain. Jenny and her family know all too well how important it is to have some comforting items to pass the time while in the hospital for recovery. Their daughter Maddi Raimondo suffers from TBI and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder after she miraculously survived a fall from a building while on a family trip to Mexico. Jenni and her family collect everyday items to put into bags that they give to pediatric hospital patients in the TBI unit. The items in these bags help both the patient and the family to spend time together and provide some comforts from home.

 

Want to show your support? This Thursday, April 6th, from 10am – 8pm, is Spring Girls Shopping Day in Kennett Square. Ashley Austin, Houppette, No. 109 and Chantilly Blue will all have sales and specials for you to kick off your Spring wardrobe. Chantilly Blue has graciously partnered with Maddi’s Bag to show their support by requesting you bring in any item off of the list below.

 

Besides knowing you are helping an amazing cause, for every item donated from the list,  you will receive 20% off one full priced item. Bring one, bring ten… No Limit!

That’s 20% off of premium denim, and not just any premium denim but denim fit to YOUR body by the denim doctor herself, Lisa Baldwin of Chantilly Blue. Lisa and her staff take the confusion out of the fit challenges so many of us encounter when shopping for denim. They know our bodies and they know their brands, so you don’t have to spend hours in the fitting room or going through the racks wondering what a slim, skinny or straight leg is and which one will look best on you. There are lots of colors, lots of shades and, as always, lots of sizes.

They also have gorgeous pieces in for Spring that will take you into Summer and beyond. Need help on how to put it all together? I’ll be popping in to give you ideas of how you can pair your new buys with your existing wardrobe. I am all about putting versatility into the wardrobes of my clients and Chantilly Blue nails it when it comes to easy pieces that can be used to dress outfits up or down. I stopped by the other day and put together these  few outfits in just a few minutes, all paired with the latest and greatest jewelry from Power Beads by Jen.  I had so many more ideas but I was limited on time so I can’t wait to go back and put together more!

 

*Insider Tip – Avoid Shoefusion (when you don’t know what shoe goes with what pant).

The question I hear the most when I am putting together outfits for a client is ” What shoes should I wear with that?”  Many of my clients buy their denim and take it right down to Ashley Austin to find the perfect shoe. I’ve also had clients fall in love with a shoe at Ashley Austin and head right over to Chantilly Blue to make sure they find the perfect pair of denim to show off their new shoe. Denim can be tricky, especially with all of the various lengths, cuffs and hems. Here are some ideas to help. All shoes from Ashley Austin. 

  1. Cropped and frayed denim?  Wear a heel to lengthen the legs and elongate the ankle and show off this season’s most popular look.  And try to wipe the drool off your face after you look at these beauties below.

2.  Flared hem? You need a pointed toe and or a platform to lift the jeans off the floor and show off the cut. Open toe works too just make sure they is enough of a platform to keep the hem from dragging on the ground.

 

3. Skinny to the ankle? Try a pointed style flat or a classic stiletto. You want to the look to be clean at the bottom, avoid any ankle detail so you don’t have to worry about the hem getting in the way.

 

4. Cuffed hem? Ankle boots, platform sneakers or a chunkier block heel work well, just make sure to show a little skin between the bottom of the cuff and the top of the heel.

A good rule of thumb is that the chunkier/heavier the hem, then the chunkier and heavier the shoe. The tighter to the ankle, the taller and more delicate you can go with the shoe.

Need more help? Schedule a Spring Styling Session with me – 610.517.2983.

And don’t forget to please treat other people with kindness, patience, and respect. After all, you never know who is wearing an invisible crown.

Thanks for reading!

Suzie

Spring, The Ugly Stepsister of the Seasons

Spring, The Ugly Stepsister of the Seasons

“Oh my gosh I am so excited to go shopping for spring clothes!!” – said no one ever.

Poor Spring, it’s one of the prettiest seasons and one of the most overlooked. Much like Thanksgiving is being wiped away by the rush to get to Christmas, Spring is being overlooked as buyers go straight to shorts and swimsuits. I also feel sad for plaid. It gets so much attention in early fall and then after Christmas, even if it is freezing cold, most people feel it can look too Holiday. The same goes for items in red, leaving us with a sea of gray that mirrors the gray weather of January and February.

The weird weather patterns don’t help us out much either. Mother Nature can be one moody chick, and these random temperature spikes show us that she may very well be in menopause. In most parts of the country we have four seasons, even if the temperature doesn’t transition as smoothly as we’d like it to.  Spring has that random cool in the morning and warm rain in the afternoon type of weather that makes us want to pull our hair out when it’s time to get dressed. We are sick of our winter clothes and busting out our summer stock just seems premature.

Even Spring Break itself is geared toward shopping for summer clothes, mostly because people are traveling to warmer climates. Let’s face it, unless you have a truly glamorous staycation planned you aren’t going out shopping  to hang out at your house. And if you do get the chance to go away for Spring Break this will undoubtedly complicate your wardrobe. You still have to pull out all of your warm weather gear, see what fits and what needs to be replaced, and shop for updates. Stores make this easy on us because they know how excited we are for warm weather and sunshine. This is exactly why your local Target has placed all the colorful bathing suits right near the entrance of the store. Like moths to a flame we are drawn to all the bright colors and pretty patterns.  Again, all this is great when you are going on vacation but what happens when you get back. It’s depressing because you have tasted summer but March is still doing its “in like a lion, out like a lamb” thing. This is where most of my clients get so frustrated with what to do and when that they end up leaving the suitcase out after they returned, half unpacked half in limbo. Do you put out summer? Do you put away winter? What you need to do is put out Spring.

So what pieces are needed to have a successful spring wardrobe?

Think layers and versatility. This is a great time to up your basics (tanks and t-shirts) and invest in lightweight jackets and sweaters. Lighter shades of these will take you right into and through summer, while neutral shades will work again into the fall. Cardigans, blazers and even suede or faux leather can take a basic tank and jeans and elevate it into an outfit that is casual, chic and looks effortless. 

 

 

 

 

Having cute basics to wear underneath your jackets will allow you to work around unpredictable weather.

 

 

Casual button downs are so important in your wardrobe because they can be worn under sweaters in the winter, by themselves in fall and spring, and open over a tank from spring to summer. I never use to give these type of shirts any thought and then I discovered the softest most amazing button down shirts from Chantilly Blue in Kennett Square. I’m not going to lie, at first I thought it was a little pricey for a button down. But after I invested in one I was hooked because I realized how vital they were to my wardrobe. They feel cozy in the winter under sweaters and they keep me cool and comfortable in the summer back to shorts. They elevate my casual look just enough and they make me feel pulled together in a flash. Fabric and cut are key so make sure to find the right style for you to maximize your cost per wear.

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Picture by: Webber / Splash News

 

Same shirt, same shoes, same bag, different looks. 

 

 

For occasions that require something other than denim, choose a lighter weight jacket or a lighter color to bring to ease into your summer dressier pieces. This is why getting dressed for an Easter brunch or dinner makes women want to punch someone. 

Ready for some ankle or cropped cuts? These look great with wedges to anchor the heavier denim. Just throw a wrap on top and you are all set for cooler mornings. 

You will see a lot of the cropped look this season when it comes to pants. Tread carefully with this trend as it can be tricky with regard to proportions. With the right shoes and the right cut it can bring something new to your closet. The blush colored crop pant below looks amazing with this longer sweater jacket and sleek heels.

Maybe your feet are ready for summer but the rest of you is still warming up. This is the perfect time of year to break out some fun stilettos to lighten up a cute blouse and simple skinnies. Ashley Austin in Kennett Square keeps posting drool worthy kicks in all kinds of fun colors and styles. I like to treat myself to one new pair every spring so it’s about that time!

 

*Insider Tip – Real Style Is Timeless

When I was searching for celebrities showing off their transition style, it suddenly occurred to me that I was pulling pictures from all over the past 10 years, not just this season. I can’t say it enough…trends will come and go but if you invest in classic pieces that speak to who you are as a person you will always look modern and up to date. Take a look at these stylish women below and you’ll see just how cool classic is.

Jackie Onassis knew that a classic trench would always work for her in nearly every season.

(Photo by Ted West/Getty Images)

A simple t shirt and bright color leather is perfect for spring. Lauren Hutton is the queen of cool and she rocks this look.

Can a simple button down be sexy? Take one look at this pic of Jane Birkin and you can tell it’s all about HOW you wear it, not just WHAT you are wearing.

Cindy Crawford could be wearing a $10 tank or a $1,000 tank…it doesn’t make a difference because it’s a great fit and creates two different looks when paired with denim and heels and again with white jeans and sandals.

Oh and you know how people always worry about white style jeans are in or not in? Here’s Cindy rocking some flair….timeless, classic and chic, because they flatter her shape and her figure.

Classic doesn’t mean old, classic means that it has stood the test of time. So go grab some great pieces for Spring ….your closet will thank you!!

Closet Stalker

Closet Stalker

Have you ever been out at night, maybe in a car or walking your dog, and looked at the houses you are passing? Have you ever stared a little bit longer into the homes where the light is on and you can see inside the windows? I’m not talking about climbing into a tree and watching a family eat dinner, that is illegal, weird, and probably pretty boring in all reality. I’m talking about when you get a glance at certain pattern of fabric on the curtain in the window, or when the tv is on and you think, “That family watches The Bachelor”??? Getting a glimpse into someone’s home isn’t really about them, it’s more about seeing the inside of a space. It’s why I look at real estate listings even though I am hopefully never moving again. I want to see how a space is decorated, what color rooms were painted, what was remodeled or updated. So if any of you are slightly stalker-ish like  me, I thought it would be fun to take you inside the closets of one of my favorite clients, I’ll call her Client A.

Client A and I have worked together for a couple of years now. With that length of time comes a comfortable relationship that creates the beauty of me knowing her fashion style and her life style. She is a very busy wife and mother, multiple kids at multiple schools with multiple activities. Time to herself is limited, as is time in general. She lives in a lovely home with lots of storage spaces, but they weren’t necessarily efficient. She needs to be able to get dressed and feel pulled together quickly. Last year we spoke about shelving and hanging options to add into her existing closet space, as well as storage in what were essentially large storage spaces on a finished 3rd floor. This summer she had the shelves put in and the results are beautiful. But Client A ran into a problem that lots of people do. It’s great to have organized storage options but it can be overwhelming to figure out where to put what, and how to find the time to put it there. If you have ever moved into a different house you can relate. It can be overwhelming to  put the kitchen items away in a manner that you think will make sense for you and your family. It’s common to over think the process, become overwhelmed, and then paralyzed from action. Client A knows that I know what works for her and asked if I could come over to help her do a few things; edit out clothes that no longer fit her or her style, switch seasons so that fall/winter are in her master bedroom closet, and put things into her current closet as well as her off-season closet. Here’s a peek inside:

This is one of the upstairs storage spaces that was essentially an empty small room.  Shelves, drawers and hanging space now make this small storage room deliver huge storage options. Off season clothing and accessories, along with less frequently worn items from the current season, are hanging and ready to go.

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I used a garment rack to organize what needed to go downstairs for fall and winter. These racks fold up and are great to have on hand for organizing when packing, switching season, or even during parties for coats and jackets. No one really likes going into a bedroom and rifling through jackets on a bed. Plus remember that episode of Friends where they flashback and Ross drunkenly kisses his sister Monica because he thinks she is Rachel under a pile of coats at a party? Not good.

 

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The master bedroom closet was already a custom-built installation from the previous home owner. In order to make it work better for my client, I suggested added additional shelving onto a small existing wall, as well as creating additional hanging space for longer items in front of a window that is never really opened (there is a very large bay window at the front of the closet to give plenty of natural light). My client’s contractor was able to add to the existing closet to make it all work together and look as if it had always been built this way.

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So what to put on all those new shelves??? Shoes!!!

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Also organized and ready to go is this client’s enviable collection of denim. I sorted them first by cut (skinny, cropped, straight or flared) then by color and wash. I faced the waistband toward the end of the shelf so that it is easy to check the brand label and the size to find the pair she wants.

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*Insider Tip – Creative Closet Storage

The container store is awesome, but it can be overwhelming. The key to finding good storage solutions is to look outside of your closet. This client has a fab collection of clutches. They work well because they can be stashed into larger bags and make for a quick grab and go. They also allow you to add a stylish accessory to your outfit, without having to break the bank on a larger size handbag. Lots of people like to keep their bags inside a dust cover or maybe even in a drawer. The problem with this is out-of-sight-out-of-mind. To keep them stored safely yet easily available hit up the kitchen accessories section at any home store. I grabbed these racks, technically they are for storing the lids of pots and pans, baking sheets or cutting boards, and repurposed them to keep the clutches upright and easily sorted. I bought the dark color for her main closet and white for her storage closet. They were $6.99 each and I bought 4, putting 2 together upstairs and storing the other dark finish one away. This way if my client decides to purchase more she will already know she has a matching storage rack ready to go. Stylish and simple, these racks keep things in sight and easy to access. So next time you are struggling for storage ideas try looking outside of your closet for solutions!

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Let me know how you liked snooping into other people’s closets…I have been into hundreds and I love them all, looking at them, organizing them and talking about them. You know how men go into a home and check out the basement and the garage? I’m all about the closets! I’ll make this a regular type of post to give you an insider peek if you are interested. It’s guilt free stalking!

Want to know what else is fun to look at? Someone’s old school photos – here’s a picture of me from elementary school – clearly a blind, drunk monkey was my hair stylist, either that or my mom requested a feathered mullet. I’m rocking the preppy 1980s Eagle’s Eye wool cardi, and I still love my cotton turtlenecks to this day.

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Thanks for reading!

Suzie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fall(in)spiration

Fall(in)spiration

A good friend called me the other day and asked for some wardrobe advice. She was attending a work party that would be held outside on a country farm. So how do you create a look that is fall farm chic? My advice was to incorporate some essential fall pieces, as well as footwear that works from porch to patio and from gravel to grass. Because it is a work event her goal is to look casually polished, not too relaxed and not too glammed up.  Check out the pics below for examples of outfits that make you happy it’s fall.

all pics below from Pinterest

Plaid

Plaid is popular because it is such a classic. Yet it can go from punk to preppy in a second, all depending how the print is used. You can wear a little of it (belt, shoes, etc.) or a lot (cape, jacket, dress).

Blackwatch Plaid Scotland Wrap: Wool plaid zip mini skirt | Gap:

Shop Devon Baer: weekend gear | style at a certain age:

Fur Vest (real or faux)

This is such a snuggling easy piece to wear yet most people think they can’t pull it off without looking like a high a maintenance Real Housewife. The trick is to pair the fur with something super simple (plain turtleneck or long sleeve t-shirt) or something opposite, like a plaid shirt. Oh and if they vest feels too bulky then try to look for one that has a knit back, so the fur is only in the front, giving the overall look a slightly sleeker feel.

Faux fur vest with plaid top: Clothes For Older Women: Tips For Those Seeking A Style Boost:

Trendy Combinations for Plaid Flannel Shirt: CAbi ize this with the Sleeveless Blazer over Fall 12 Tavern shirt with a contrasting denim on bottom (either lighter or darker than your denim top). Cabi Cocoon Scarf in Snow Flurry makes the perfect finishing touch!:

Tall Boots

Yes, I know, you haven’t been wearing them because ankle boots and booties have been all over the place. I never tell clients to get rid of something like this because regardless of what is in/out I think they are a classic. There is something about that riding boot style that just evokes that country fall feeling. Plus they keep your legs warm if you opt for a dress or skirt!

The Northeast Girl | A displaced northeast girl's lifestyle blog about family, fashion, friends, and the military. | Page 7: Would love to pull this off: pencil skirt, plaid shirt, riding boots, pearls, outfit-I would need a shorter skirt, add tights (maybe?)...:

White Blouse + Jeans: Like the look of the quilted vest. Found a similar one at Old Navy that I liked, but it was too boxy and just added bulk. Any chances that there might exist one a bit more tailored?:

Oversize Scarves

This makes  my inner toddler happy because it means I get to walk around with a little blankie to snuggle with all day. They also solve the “what necklace?” issue because they add texture, pattern and definition. And yes, they too will keep you warm at an outdoor party. Picture the outfits below without the scarves. They are still cute, but they definitely don’t deliver the same chic look. The oversize scarf can be belted, draped, tied or looped, basically you can accentuate or decentuate whatever you want.

What to Wear on a Plane: jeans, blazer, pashmina  Gwyneth Paltrow: Belted blanket scarf by batjas88:

travel tales | style at a certain age #overfiftyblogger: Bundle up with this cozy plaid button scarf, and add both function and style to your outfit! Plaid is a classic, timeless choice, yet on trend for fall. You have your choice of 4- color options.:

Blazers

I absolutely adore a great blazer. There is something about putting one on that makes me stand a little taller and square my shoulders a little bit more. If there was a quest for world dominations I would want to be wearing a Chanel jacket. They add a pulled together polished look to almost any basic outfit.

Get a Style Nudge from over 40 blogger Cherie | Fabulous After 40: Screen shot 2014-02-10 at 4.59.21 PM.png:

Our favorite look: White button down, cashmere sweater, statement necklace, and tweed elbow patch blazer.: The Perfect Navy Blazer.:

*Insider Tip – Yes, really, you can wear white denim, ALL YEAR

Here’s the key: Pair it back to something in a neutral color that is textured or heavier (think of a classic cream colored fisherman’s wool sweater) and/or a classic fall/winter shade (navy and gray look great). Make sure you shoes reflect fall and you will stand out in a crowd for all the right reasons. Still not convinced? Check out these pics…

rainy day in the tuileries:

 

camel and white jeans - LOVE #fallfashion: White jeans in autumn? Why not?:

This is so classically elegant. <3: Gwyneth Paltrow:

 

Class:

 

Thanks for reading!

Suzie