WHAT TO BUY AND WHAT TO SAY BYE-BYE TO!
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WHAT TO BUY AND WHAT TO SAY BYE-BYE TO!
Our mailing address is:
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In fact you can’t even wear these items. But I promise you they are essential.
Item #1 – PAPER.
I know, super exciting, right?? Okay, on its own it’s not much. But, add in most important item number 2, and you’re off to great things.
Item #2 – A pen.
Or a pencil, or a crayon, or whatever you can write with – eyeliner works in a pinch but I don’t recommend it.
Besides the fact that you need both – I don’t want you writing on your walls so paper is important, and it’s of no use to use without a writing tool – together, these two items will create….
I know, you are probably thinking, “What is she talking about??? I can’t wear a “list”, and, the last thing I need is more stuff crammed into my closet, but hear me out.
What do you do when you are in your kitchen and you realize you are out of something? Maybe you have pasta but no sauce, dip but no chips, etc. Maybe you have eggs but they are expired. Typically you write it down, or, for the tech savvy, you type it onto a list on your phone. Your closet is similar to your pantry, or at least it should be. There are basics like bread, milk, and butter (white t-shirts, jeans and, hopefully, underwear). And then there are the extras, like a pair of red high heels, which become the fresh ground cayenne pepper we can use to spice up our wardrobe (corny pun totally intended).
How many times have you gone to the grocery store and forgotten your list? Isn’t it the most annoying feeling ever? You walk up and down the isles trying to be reminded of what you need. Instead you end up throwing random items in the cart and leaving without what you truly came to purchase.
There is not much difference with your wardrobe shopping list. Going into a store unarmed, without any kind of list, is dangerous. More than likely you will spend too much time, and worse, too much money, buying something that you don’t really need, or doesn’t have anything to go with it once it joins its other clothing friends in your closet. Human nature and instinct take over when we go into a store. Remember, with regards to food, we started out as hunters and gatherers. Clothing is no different in that we hunt (shop) and gather (buy) it. The problem arises when we shop for the wrong clothes, or we buy something we don’t actually need. Let’s say Fred the caveman hunted bison, while his wife Frida gathered poison ivy. They bring it back to the cave but their daughter Finley says she hates bison, (she’s debating on going vegetarian, typical teenager), and, Fred Jr. can’t use the poison ivy leaves as toilet paper because, well, I think that one is fairly obvious. Now Fred and Frida are tired, hungry, annoyed, AND they don’t have any toilet paper (i.e. leaves).
The point is that we feel the need to buy something, even if it is not the right thing, just to feel like it was worth our trip and our time. But this can lead to poor choices, like coming home from the Nordstrom’s Anniversary Sale with a cute yellow dress that you got for a total steal. You think it will be the perfect dress to wear on a lovely Spring day, you can even picture yourself strolling through a park, or the farmers market, wearing this exact dress. You go home and put the dress in your closet. And there it sits, staring right back at you, two years later, tags still attached. The reality is that you don’t really look that good in yellow, and the dress is a bit tight. And that walk in the park you pictured never happened, and your farmers market trips were done in sneakers and stretch pants, just like Jennifer Garner who always keeps it real when she is out and about. Love her! That dress purchase may have felt right in that moment, but it ends up being so wrong for you, your body, and your lifestyle.
It’s time to shop smarter. It’s time to save money. Keeping a notebook or notepad right inside your closet, along with a pen, ensures that when you discover you are about to run out of something, or, you are missing something to complete an outfit, you can write it down immediately, and remember it. This list needs to be kept in your closet as opposed to somewhere else, because in your closet is where you’ll be when you realize you need something. Once we walk away from that closet we barely can remember what we own. Have you ever gone into J.Crew and saw they have t-shirts on sale and they have every color under the rainbow? We have no idea what one we NEED, only which color we WANT. Only when you are standing in front of your closet will you be aware of what you are missing to complete potential outfits sitting right inside your own closet. When you go to toss your basic black cardigan into the donate bin (which I also suggest you keep right in your closet), you can quickly jot down that you need a new black cardigan. When you put on that beautiful printed skirt you bought at Anthropologie, but take it off yet again, because, you have no idea what will match with it, then write that down! Maintaining a list will help to keep your shopping focused and efficient. Much like compiling a shopping list for a specific recipe, you can compile a list for an item or even a type of outfit you think is missing from your wardrobe. This way, when you open that flash sale email, you can check your Need list and be prepared. No more buying stuff just to buy, needlessly adding more stuff to what could be an already crowded wardrobe.
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Afraid of being out and about and forgetting to bring your list? There is no need for that list to ever leave your closet. Every so often just take a picture on your phone of the list, then create an album under your Photos app and call it Shopping. This way, no matter where you are, you will know what you need. All you have to do is look at your list, and you can take advantage of buying something that fulfills a specific need, or want, in your wardrobe. Bonus points for taking a picture of that hard to match item, giving you a visual to reference if you are out. Show your picture to the sales staff for suggestions on how to complete the outfit. You can also take photos of your clothes as they are hanging in your closet and post those photos to the same Album. Now you will have a visual reference reminder of what is hanging in your closet. Even if you can’t see each and every item, it is still more helpful than drawing a blank on what you have and what you need. Say goodbye to impulse shopping and hello to taking control of your closet.
Compiled a list but not sure where to shop for new items? Don’t have the time, or the patience? I’m here to help! Choose any or all of the services below…
Didn’t get what you want for Christmas? Don’t get made, get shopping.
Best bets for the deepest discounts? Here’s the best categories to shop.
Cashmere – It may sound boring but make sure you have the basics covered – black, camel, navy, cream – these are the foundation pieces that will act as building blocks for your winter wardrobe. They add warmth without weight and can go with anything from distressed denim to a sequins skirt. Got your basic colors in stock? Go out of your comfort zone and get a color that will flatter you but it way out of your comfort zone. Bright yellow, cobalt blue or a hot pink all will add a jolt of life into your winter grays and blacks.
Coats – The stores want to get rid of the coats and they want to do it now. Expect prices to be slashed as coats are big and bulky in terms of taking up floor space on inventory. Stores need these to get out of the way to make room for resort wear – think bikinis, bathing suits and bright dresses. Again, make sure your basics are covered but by basics I strongly suggest going with a tan, camel or navy over a gray or black. Why? Because our winter wardrobes are sad enough. Banish the doom and gloom by going with an unexpected shade (purple, red, green) or an unexpected neutral like cream or navy. Your coat doesn’t have to match what you have on underneath because most people see you either walking in or around in your jacket or inside with your jacket off. So pick a color that will boost your mood and make you not so bitter about bitter cold.
Formal wear – Black tie event? Cocktail party? Prom dress for your daughter? Look now because many of these styles will still work come April, May and June and will work into your wardrobe for weddings and events this year and years to come. Go for a metallic shade that spans the seasons, or pick a color that you know you look good wearing whether you’re as pale as a pasty white Nun on a beach or as tan as a Kardashian on a yacht. And in this case you can’t go wrong by snagging a steal on a little black dress, it’s an especially good time to find one with sleeves. One of my other favorites? Jumpsuits! They are fun, flattering, and work on all ages.
Shoes – “Boots with the furrrr……the whole club was lookin’ at herrrr….” – It’s only about to be January so that means at least 3 more months of cold toes and freezing feet. Snap up winter styles now. It’s also a great time to try a different style of boots you may have been thinking about – over the knee and thigh high styles can be bought without breaking the bank. And don’t worry, you won’t look like you are trying to pick up Richard Gere and head back to the Wilshire. Choose a pair in a soft suede with a flat or very low chunkier heel and wear them with tights and a long sweater dress or use them to help transition into your spring dresses by wearing them under the hemline of a floaty floral dress. How are your trusty ankle boots holding up? If you are seeing more than a little wear and tear than grab your favorite style at a discount so you’ll have a fresh pair for next fall. Craving something new? Pick up a pair of ankle boots in a fun color, unique pattern or with metallic details.
Password is Suzie. And hurry! Sale ends January 2nd.
Yes, ordering online can be a pain because figuring out what size you need can be difficult. Save yourself a bit of hassle by order 2 sizes of the same item. Nordstrom has free shipping and free returns so in the end it won’t cost you anything to try both sizes. The return process is so easy that you can print out your return label or even bring the item back to any Nordstrom.
Happy Shopping and Happy New Year!
Thanks for reading!
Have you ever received a gift you had to keep and use, even though it was extremely embarrassing to do so? How about watched in complete confusion as something so ugly becomes extremely popular and trendy (think high-waisted pleated acid wash jeans, mc hammer style drop crotch pants, or skin-tight velour track suits, just to name a few)? The funny thing with fashion is that sometimes what at first seems so foreign, so strange, and so ugly, can slyly work its way into become a fashion must have that looks not only acceptable but desirable in a must have item kind of way. I’m going to use the famous “puffy shirt” to illustrate just how an early 90s joke became one of 2017’s most popular feature in fashion.
Even if you weren’t a loyal fan of watching the television show Seinfeld, you probably heard of the puffy shirt episode. This particular episode was so popular that the actual “puffy” shirt is now housed in little ole’ place known as The Smithsonian, in the Natural Museum of American History.
The quick version of the episode is that Jerry’s friend Kramer is dating an up and coming fashion designer who offers to create a shirt for Jerry to wear on a television for a homeless center fundraiser. Jerry says yes but really had no idea what he was saying yes to because Kramer’s girlfriend is “low-talker” and Jerry never really heard her. When Elaine, Jerry’s best friend who is chairing the fundraiser, shows up to see Jerry for the promotion she encounters Kramer who is insisting Jerry wear the custom shirt as his girlfriend’s career depends on this type of exposure. Elaine is horrified and freaks out. because the shirt is hideous and looks like Jerry is going to a pirate party, not promoting aid to the homeless. The promotion bombs, as does Kramer’s girlfriend’s fashion line, leading to hundreds of homeless men on the street wearing the now donated shirts that couldn’t be sold. Jerry spots the shirt and remarks that it really is kind of a nice shirt.
So how is it that Seinfeld’s Puffy Shirt is now available from dozen’s of designers from $50 to $1,500?
From Chico’s to Chanel there is a version of the Puffy Shirt everywhere this season. Why? Because the fashion industry requires change, and when options are exhausted fashion becomes cyclical. The puffy shirt didn’t start in the 1990s with Seinfeld, in fact no one probably knows the exact origins. But we do know that it’s been much longer than the 1990s, going way back to the Baroque period in history. Exaggerated bell sleeves, tiered ruffles on arms and at necks and oversize collars are nothing new. They may seem weird at first we are open-minded to bringing back in style statements that have been doormat because we get bored. It’s important to buy the best quality basics that we can afford because we know we won’t get sick of a basic. Basics are great because they ground trendy items. They allow us to mix it up without feeling like we are losing our identity or becoming fashion victim. The trends that gain the most momentum? As I often mention in my tagline for my company, fashion should “fit, flatter and make you feel good.” Well guess what a ruffle can do?
Ruffles can FIT most women. Depending where they start on the arm of the sleeve, they work on the small and petite to the tall and broad.
Ruffles can FLATTER most women. Ruffles draw attention. Thick in the middle? Ruffles that are a 3/4 length on the sleeve are perfect because they draw attention to your wrists and your forearms and away from where you feel you have excess. Feeling straight up and down and craving curves? The ruffles add a visual curve to those ladies who feel like they would like a little more oomph on the top. Too large and in charge in the bust area? No worries, opt for a v-neck style to elongate your waist and bring the attention away from the chest.
Ruffles can FEEL good. Listen, it ain’t Mr. Roger’s neighborhood out there anymore. Times are tense and tough and everyone is offended or afraid of offending. A little levity is a welcome addition to all the seriousness in our lives. A ruffle on the sleeve feels fun, feminine and makes us happy.
All good things.
Oh and the best part? They are available in all sizes in all price points in pretty much every color and every fabric – Click this link HERE for my favorite picks.
Buyer beware…watch the length of the sleeves. While a dramatic long tiered bell sleeve is indeed beautiful, it will look terrible if it gets covered in green bean casserole or lands just so into the buffalo dip at a party. Make sure the sleeves end at bracelet length, also known as in and around your wrist bone. You can’t help Aunt Marge clean up in the kitchen if your ruffled sleeves are scraping the plates and drying the dishes. Better to be safe than sorry so when you try it on do yourself a favor and pretend you are sitting at a table eating soup. If the sales person comes to check on you just tell them you are having lunch with your imaginary friend. And if anyone, and I mean anyone, makes fun of your ruffled top, just tell them you are making a list of who you want to walk the plank and if they want their name on that list.
While the pirate look is fun there is still the challenge of how exactly you stuff 6 extra sleeves into your winter coat? The solution lies with one of the items I get asked the most questions about – the wrap, aka the ruana, aka the cape. These oversize blankie type pieces are a fun addition to our wardrobe yet most people end up either feeling or looking like they are indeed wrapped up in a blanket. The key is in proportion. Taller and broader can do longer to look leaner. Tinier and petite should look for an abbreviated version in a scarf that they can hang over one shoulder while throwing the other end across the body and over that shoulder.
Use the lines of the wrap to bring attention to where you want it on your body. The rib cage, the waist and the lower hip all work on different bodies for different reasons. If you are afraid that the wrap will be fussy and that you’ll end up looking like Linus from Charlie Brown dragging around his blankie, then opt for a ruana (close to a poncho with a v shape in the back to contour over your shoulders, or a cape with a closure for no-fuss stay put polish. While I realize this won’t work in sub-zero conditions, wraps are a perfect solution for days when you will be running errands and in and out of the car and into all different temperatures as it affords you to drive without feeling like you are in a straight jacket as well as adjust a range of temps. They are also great for night outs or dinner dates when you are going from the house to the garage to the restaurant or party. No jacket, no bulk, just an elegant layer to invite in additional color, texture and pattern to your outfit. Oh and if you are a slob like me and inevitably spill on your sweater, they do double duty by hiding stains while still letting your ruffle arms party on.
Thanks so much for reading and have a lovely Thanksgiving with your family and friends. Remember to shop local and support small businesses this Saturday.
Some things just naturally go together, like peanut butter and jelly, Justin and Selena, and Trump’s thumbs and Twitter. Me and sports? It’s a car crash. I still remember in 7th grade they had us play a coed football game with the 8th graders. Everyone knew how to play and I was clueless. When the ball went into play I made sure I ran to the corner of the field, as far away from everyone as I could get. Of course now I know this made me a wide open receiver and suddenly the ball was thrown my way. By some miracle I actually caught the ball, not with my face as per usual, but with my actual hands. I was so excited! I looked for another teammate and launched my best throw, thrilled to be a part of the game. And that kids, is the part in the movie where the record skips and the music stops and everyone stares. In this case it was a look of confusion and annoyance with shouts of “What are you doing?” and “This isn’t rugby!” , which only confused me further since I only associated rugby with J.Crew shirts. You would think that this type of humiliation would have sealed the deal for me to abstain from sports but I went on to try out for, and get rejected at cheerleading, lacrosse and tennis. Only then did I realize that I couldn’t take not seeing my name on those lists any longer. Sports and I broke up, even through we were never really together beyond my mind.
Flash forward to becoming an adult and a mom. After becoming a mom you pretty much don’t get embarrassed by anything. Nurses who are strangers have seen you naked and helped you use the bathroom, you’ve been in a store when one or more of your children has broken something and/or had a very audible tantrum, and you’ve also walked around with what feels like an oversized pumpkin strapped to your torso while fearing you have some kind of fluid break out of you at any moment. In other words, it takes a lot to intimidate me. But I distinctly remember the first time I walked into Athleta. The store feels like a rustic meets chic NYC loft. I immediately wanted my name to be something cool like Skye. I’d meet my tan and toned friends Nadia and Sage every Saturday for 7 am paddle boarding, driving off in my vintage Land Rover when we done to go get a chai tea and granola. At lunch I’d rendezvous with Autumn and Lia and we’d do yoga in the middle of a gorgeous garden, never breaking a sweat but merely glowing with good vibes. For dinner I’d wear a comfy dress with the built-in bra that hugged every perfectly toned curve. I’d meet my surfer husband on the beach where our tow haired surfer babies would dance around a bonfire with other cool families. We’d go home to an eco-friendly but large home that has koi in the water feature out back.
Snap back to reality. I am about 15 lbs heavier than I want to be. My name is Suzie which really sounds like I should seduce you to death with my cuteness. My abs are long gone, replaced with something that looks like those paper fortune-teller things the kids make and use their fingers to move it back and forth, except I have a belly button in my center.
The fantasy of being sporty and cool crashes into reality and I am convinced one of the employees will offer me a power bar to leave before I scare off the other customers. But here’s the catch. The women that work there are nice, really, really nice. They are all different ages and all different sizes, and not everyone looks like they are about to head off to a spin class. Most of them are leading busy lives, just like the rest of us. My day may not be filled with yoga and paddle boarding, but it is filled with what sometimes feels like a day long marathon. Women crave comfort. This is why we whip off our bras as soon as we get home and throw on the hoodie and sweatpants. Nobody wakes up excited to wear pants with zippers and buttons, at least not when we have stuff that spills over after we zipper and button. Our bodies have changed, and even if we are at a number size we are happy with we still have to contend to that softening of our skin that makes things feel loose and malleable. During any given day we are climbing in and out of cars and SUVs. We are breaking a sweat while we race through the grocery store to grab pretzels for our child’s post game snack that they only told us about this morning. We are dashing into freezing air conditioning and then hiking through parking lots and fields to sit outside and sweat at a soccer game. We then have about 5 minutes of turnaround time to want to look and feel pulled together for back to school night and possible one quick cocktail with our girlfriends. All of this dashing, running, sweating and freezing means our heart is racing and our muscles are moving. We are squatting and lifting all sorts of stuff throughout the day. And no one wants to be flashing other moms with backside crack or wondering if they can unbutton the top button of their jeans without anyone else noticing. We want comfort AND performance. We are athletes of a different nature, working women who need layers that flatter and don’t require thousands of dollars of dry cleaning bills. We need athleisure clothes even though I haven’t figured out when the hell we get to leisure in them.
When Athleta asked me to do a styling session with their clothes and their sister stores, Gap and Banana Republic, along with a local neighbor boutique, Scout and Molly, for accessories, I was so flattered. In my mind I finally saw my name on the list for making the team. Last Saturday I went in to do a little research on the clothes and get familiar with some of the fits and to find my favorites. I was so thrilled at how practical and pretty the clothes were. Their leggings are known for their comfort and their support, and their higher rise option made me feel like I was all pulled in without feeling like they were going to give me indigestion from pressure. Their next brilliant idea is this longer tops, which they call CYA – for Cover Your Assets. Considering I don’t consider my ass to be an asset right now I am all about making sure it is covered.
The sweaters are thick enough that they don’t cling, warm but not suffocating, and while roomy they are still cut to layer and to flatter.
You can’t see the detail in this picture above, but I have on the leggings that look and feel like velvet cords. I could put on a stiletto and fun earring and go to a holiday party, or Ugg boots and a parka and go to my son’s ice hockey game. And see those buttons on the side of the sweater? They are actually snaps so you can layer, unsnapping it to highlight where you want to create focus. So if your waist is more narrow than your hips you can wear a white CYA type top and unbutton the snaps to highlight the side of the waist. If you want to take attention away from your belly and towards your narrow hips than keep the hemline focused at hip length.
You can see what I mean about hemlines when you see these 2 different CYA shirts. The one with the curved hem breaks up the hips where the white meets the black. The one with the straight hem lengthens the torso by bringing the eye down to the straight across hem. Both looks can work for different reasons, it really depends what you like. In my case I would probably like a jacket or cardigan that hits at the waist to bring a curve back to the straight look of just the tank and the leggings. This is my favorite part of personal styling because really it’s all an optical illusion and we have the control to gain or lose 5 lbs just by what clothing combinations we wear.
So it’s official. I am going to wear workout clothes, aka streetwear, aka athleisure wear to all of my holiday events so that I can eat, bend down to pick up my kids’ stuff of the floor, and take layers off to avoid feeling like a roasted chestnut by someone’s fire. Want to join me in finding clothes that fit, flatter AND feel good?
Just because I have become friends with some athletic clothes does not mean that I am about to abandon my love for all things sequined and faux fur. Versatility is a requirement for every item I bring into my wardrobe. I want to make sure I can dress it up or dress it down, which means it has to work with other items in my closet. Gap has long been a supplier of classic denim pieces and Banana has always been great for items that go from work to weekend. So how does one pair a top from Banana with a bottom from Athleta? If you are local come see me at the Glen Mills location of Athleta in the Glen Eagle square tomorrow from 10-1. I’ll have pieces in the store from Gap and from Banana Republic that we can mix and match back to Athleta. To finish it off they will be jewelry and accessories from Scout and Molly’s to pull it all together so you can rest easy knowing your outfits for all of your holiday events will be styled and pull together. Then you can look great while screaming at kids in Target and downing Starbucks for caffeine to tackle the mile long shopping list. Eggnog anybody?
Can’t make it in but want to shop my picks? Follow this link and see the items I loved under the Finds section. Find out how to wear them in the Looks section.
Thanks for reading!