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

Your Closet Called…it asked for Fall!

Your Closet Called…it asked for Fall!

Tomorrow is one of my favorite days because it is the annual Girls Shopping Day in Kennett Square, PA.  You can get everything you need for fall, literally from head to toe at Ashely Austin, Chantilly Blue, Houpette and No.109.

Oh and want some help from a personal shopper and stylist? Come find me! I’ll be starting my day at Chantilly Blue and I will up and down the block until the early afternoon. I’m back to mom duty in the evening but if you can stop in for a cocktail they are open till 8pm!

Can’t make it in? Live far away? Call or text me, or any of the stores. We can send you pics and hold aside for you or even mail for you if you are not local. There are too many great things to miss this!

Chantilly Blue…

So I stopped in here yesterday and started screaming. I think this is Lisa’s best fall picks yet! Lots of color! And pieces to give you that polished casual that you can wear every single day.Rocco is Lisa’s rescued love bug and he is adorable. After falling in love with him Lisa wanted to give back to other rescue pups and shelters. Below is a list of some items they need. Oh and for every item you bring in? 20% off an item in the store! Premium denim, made in the USA, fitted on you by the denim whisperer herself and her amazing staff – on sale!!!

Gift card from Wawa, Walmart, Target, or PetSmart. Also, New or gently used dog harnesses (no collars, please ), dog leash, new dog toys, Dog bowls, dog crates, dog beds. Must be either new or in excellent shape. ATTT does the unbelievable by rescuing and rehabilitating dogs who have nothing good to associate with humans. Vet bills are staggering. They astonish. Beginning Thursday, any one item donated get you 20% off any full priced item. Bring one, bring ten, no limit to the donation and the savings.

 

This suede finish dress below? I’m in love.

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Ashley Austin….

Booties and Bags and Baubles!! So. Much. Good. Stuff. If you buy just one type of shoe for fall make sure you have an ankle boot to wear with cuffed denim or with a dress or skirt. It is the essential fall transition shoe! And if you buy suede don’t forget to spray and protect your shoes from the elements so you can keep them looking brand new. Need advice on fit and what flatters? These lovely girls at Ashley Austin know their stock. Let them help you find your perfect pair!

 

 

Houpette…

I am kind of obsessed with the Kevyn Aucoin lipsticks…they are amazing! Not sure of the color? No worries – they have experts on hand to make sure you get the color that works for you.

 

And No. 109….

Leather (faux) leggings? They are for every age and every body – they add an insta cool factor to a fun top or a cozy oversize winter sweater. Definitely my top pick! Craving some fun color or prints? Heather always  makes sure there are plenty of bright options, no matter what season it is!

 

 

*Insider Tip – Just Jenny From The Block

If J.Lo should ever find herself in Kennett Square she would be thrilled that she wouldn’t have to wear out her stilletos looking to check off everything on her list. From lockets to lattes, you can find everything you need up and down the same 2 blocks. So park your car and do some shopping. Then drop your bags back at your car and grab some caffeine. Then do some more shopping. Okay now that you have tried on all the clothes you can eat!

These places are small business owned, unique and amazing. Make sure to check them out. In case you can’t tell I really love our small town, and the best part is the amazing people in it. 🙂

Philter 

After you get over obsessing how perfect the wall color and the wall art is, make sure to enjoy what a truly amazing fresh brew really tastes like.Prepare to be spoiled.

 

Green Eyed Lady

You know how it would be so cool to raid the jewelry stash of you eccentric and well traveled Great Aunt Linda? Or craving something unique that no one else will have? All of my favorite cuff bracelets are from here. Their laid back vibe makes it the perfect place to peruse. Looking for something very specific? Ask Colleen and she will let you know if they have it or can find it for you.

Photo of Green Eyed Lady - West Chester, PA, United States

 

Talulah’s Table

You have probably heard of this place…and yes, it’s as good as everyone says. Try their grab and go takeout or sit with a scone and people watch outside. It’s so peaceful you may not want to leave.

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Shop Mamie

A new additon to Kennett Square just in the last couple of months, this sweet boutique with a Delaware flagship store is located just around the corner from Talulahs. This is the perfect place for both mothers and daughters to find something fun for fall. Also check out their collection of Scout accessories and some super adorable toddler size clothes to match mom…think matching faux fur vests…Christmas pic card…DONE.

 

Thank you so much for reading! Make sure to keep our money in our community…shop small and shop local!

Suzie

 

 

 

 

 

A Different Type of Client

Michelle is lovely, funny and complex. She has a lovely voice that sounds like a delicate whisper. She worries about the size of her arms in a sleeveless top and the size number on the tag of her clothes. She frets over finding the right makeup and how long it can take to grow out her hair. She can feel self-conscious when she walks into room, especially in a dress. She hates how much her feet hurt after wearing heels, and worries that her feet can look too big in pointy shoes. She stresses over what to wear for the always vague “business casual.” She is a typical woman, she always has been, it just took some time for her body to catch up with her soul.

A couple of years ago I received a phone call from a potential client, whom I’ll call Mike. He explained that he needed my services because he was going through some changes in his life and he would be needing an entirely new wardrobe. Probably a divorce I thought, and I immediately pictured a scene from the movie Crazy Stupid Love, where Steve Carrell’s character gets schooled on how to dress for dates by the super suave character played by Ryan Gosling. Oh this will be fun I thought! I get to throw out the dorky dad jeans and show him the magic of good tailoring.

Crazy Stupid Love:

I’m undergoing a transgender transition.

Whoah. I shouldn’t have answered this call while I was driving, because I just about hit the car in front of me. Two things about me that I know for sure, I will pretty much say or do anything to avoid offending someone, and Iam incredibly curious about other people and what makes them who they are. I pulled the car into a nearby parking lot so I could focus on hearing Mike’s story.

If I’m being honest, my complete ignorance to any information about transgender people gave me hesitation. I was worried I would be awkward or uncomfortable, but this was not about me. If Mike had the courage to contact me, than I could do the work to learn about the transgender community. Sometimes I’m embarrassed with how often I turn a normal conversation into an interview, but in this case asking lots of questions was key.  Keep in mind this was a couple of years ago, before the world met Kaitlyn Jenner, flooding us with that trademark Kardashian level of exposure, the one that turns everything into (K)rap.

I asked Mike a myriad of questions, some of which even Mike didn’t know the answers to. None of these answers are straightforward or simple, nor do they apply to the entire transgender community. There is no official handbook or guide.

What will your name be when you complete your process? Should I refer to you as that new name yet? How long did you know? How far will your transition go? What do your kids think? Will you be dating during this process? Are you attracted to men or women? Are you gay? Are you a lesbian? Are you scared? Are you excited? And…most importantly what do you want your style to be?

In order to know where Michelle was going, I needed to know where Mike had been, both in a physical and emotional sense.This is true for every single client. The reason they contact me is because something in their life is changing, or they want something to change.  It’s never as simple as “I think you should wear more blue”, or “v-necks are your most flattering cut.” My job is to dig down to the core of my client, to peel back the layers of who they really are. I want to soften the harsh insecurities and help them feel confident and beautiful.  I also need to understand where a client wants to go, so to speak. This is why I ask about dating, their career, their children and their life. A client who is divorced, up for a promotion and has kids getting ready to leave for college is very different from a client who is married and on a maternity leave with a newborn. I am very confident that I can help a woman discover or enhance her style, regardless of how different each client may be. But Mike was very different. I was perfectly up front with Mike regarding my lack of experience in outfitting his (changing) body type. It’s okay, he said, I’m new at this too. Good point.

Together we have gone shopping for everything from jeans to bras to gowns, her first official bra fitting was a big deal, and the staff at Nordstrom were incredible. And of course, like all my local clients, a trip to Chantilly Blue for the perfect pair of denim was a must. She has a terrific sense of humor so she can handle when there are discrepancies because her credit card says Mike but her driver’s license says Michelle.  It took a long time but I finally convinced her to wear skirts and dresses to show off her fabulous legs. I realize how simple this sounds but imagine, just for second, that you looked one way on the outside and had to dress a different way on the outside. There are people who treat you as if you have some kind of disease, afraid they’ll catch it if they even talk to you. It takes mounds of courage and a very thick skin to walk in a room where you know people think you are “different.”

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The gorgeous gowns awaiting Michelle in a Nordstrom fitting room. I was so excited to help her pick the perfect one to wear to attend the wedding of one of her fraternity bothers from college. For many of the guys who were attending the wedding it would be their first time they would say meet Michelle instead of Mike.

I’ve been lucky to be included in a part of Michelle’s journey. She has had to visit an astounding amount of doctors, both psychological and physical. There are meetings with lawyers, human resources, and letters sent from her company to her clients. This is the same brain that will be continuing the same successful career, but changing the body that performs the job has an enormous impact.  She’s incredibly patient and brave, one of her surgeries required literally breaking one of the bones in her forehead to create a softer, more feminine face. The entire process takes years. To say this is an uphill battle would be an understatement.

I’m not trying to change anyone’s mind on their attitude toward transgender people, but I ask that you take your time to become educated on the reality of her situation. You can think whatever you want on the inside but please watch what words are heard on the outside. It’s easy to make obvious jokes, to take a cheap shot at something most of us know nothing about. What’s difficult is to accept something different, and for some people compassion is harder to feel than hate.

Here are some staggering statistics in tMichelle’s own words:

After some recent debates I’ve had about the existence of anti-trans discrimination and
violence, I wanted to post some facts about transgender people:
-2x more likely to be unemployed
-4x more likely to live in extreme poverty
-20% have been homeless
-25x more likely to attempt suicide as a result of harassment and lack of acceptance
-2x as likely to be raped
-7x more likely to be attacked… by the police
-truly countless physical attacks by citizens
-25 murdered in the US in 2015 simply because they were trans; 14 thus far in 2016

So yes, I try to be careful of my environment and support awareness efforts. Maybe my world will become a little safer.

-zero credible reports of transgender people harming others in a bathroom

I am still learning to open my mind up to things outside of my definition of “normal.” As a society, we tend to want to put things into specific categories or boxes, or recently even bathrooms. But people do not work that way. We are not one size fits all. Saying I’m open-minded and actually acting open-minded are two different things, and I want to be the example to my kids that there is no room for hate in this world.  The older I get the more I realize that I don’t care to judge the way someone else lives their life. I care about kindness. Sometimes this world really scares me, out of ignorance comes fear and hate. Now more than ever we need to champion compassion and love.

Words by which to live.:

My prayers go out to those in the tragedy in Orlando.

 

The ONLY place to go for premium denim is….

The ONLY place to go for premium denim is….

I have a love/hate relationship with my jeans. They are like that loyal friend that you’ve had forever and will be honest with you no matter what. We need those kind of people in our lives but sometimes the truth is hard to hear. Jeans won’t let you get away with 5 or so extra pounds – in fact they will be the first to tell you when you’ve been hitting the Girl Scout cookies just a little too hard. They are not like our stretch pants leggings, who gently and softly hug us and tell us, it’s okay, I’ll still be there for you to wear even if you do down that entire sleeve of thin mints. Out jeans are also super loyal. They are the strongest item in our wardrobes. As long as we maintain our size they will hang in there and do their job for 10 years or more, even when we have put them through hell and back by wearing them thousands of times. I’d dare any other item in your wardrobe to stand up to that kind of use and abuse. Jeans are open-minded, they are that friend that says “Sure, why not? I’m up for anything!” You can count on wearing them to business casual days at the office, a night out with your girlfriends, and on a plane to travel anywhere in the world.  But finding an honest, loyal, up-for-anything friend, or a pair of great jeans, can be hard. It can take a long time to find the right one and sometimes you don’t even know where to look. Sometimes we need a living, breathing real friend to help us find our soul mate in the denim department.

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It was about 9 years ago when I clumsily entered into Chantilly Blue, awkwardly trying to maneuver a double stroller with a 2-year-old and a 6 month old. I had been sweating and struggling to shed some of the baby weight and although I wasn’t yet where I wanted to be, I was in a state where I just needed to know that I had one pair of jeans that would fit me right then, and I needed them to be versatile enough to go from the playground with sneakers to a night out in heels with my husband. It was a tall order, and I had a tired toddler and a cranky baby, which meant I had about 15 minutes before all hell broke loose. I needed a miracle. Enter the one and only Lisa Baldwin, the owner of Chantilly Blue in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania.

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Fast forward a few years and I have been to Lisa’s store hundreds of times. When I decided to launch Suzie Gaffney Styling I told every single client that THIS was the place they had to go for jeans. Some didn’t believe me. They were frustrated, overwhelmed and convinced it was too much work to find jeans that fit their body. Then they meet Lisa. Lisa and her amazing staff break through all the bullshit lingo of matchstick, skinny, boot-cut, mid-rise, straight, rinsed, whiskered and find you a pair of denim for your body. This is not the place to go for trendy, disposable denim, and Lisa will tell you that herself. This is the place to go to buy premium denim jeans that you will stay loyal, year after year. Every brand of denim is made in America and Lisa is steadfast in her commitment. I’ve had the pleasure of accompanying her on a buying trip to New York and she makes sure to touch, stretch and examine every detail and only buy the best quality.

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Lisa checking out the fit at the Hudson booth in NYC. photo via suziegaffney.com

But the real reason I recommend Chantilly Blue to everyone I know is because they are that honest friend. When you come in to the store they will politely direct you toward the jeans that fit your body. The wrong pair of denim can age you by making you look frumpy. The right pair can flatter you and take off years. They will ask you to come out of the fitting room. They will look at your butt, grab the fabric at your thighs and examine your waist. If it’s not right they will tell you. And they will save you time by bringing you the pair that fits your shape.  I am not kidding when I say you can be in your perfect pair of jeans and out the door in less than 15 minutes. Lisa is so good she has even done prescribed the perfect pair of denim for me to take to a client’s house, simply by looking at some photos of my client.  That’s a gift and that’s why I call her the denim doctor.

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image via figkennett.com

 

Remember when you were a kid and you would go shopping for new sneakers? You would find the right pair and they would be so nice and new. They’d feel so good you’d ask to wear them out of the store, throwing your old, stinky, sad pair into the box to take home to most likely toss. I can think of at least 5 occasions where my clients were so happy with their new jeans that they asked to have the tags cut so that they could wear them right out of the store. That is the best!

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Dayanne in her new jeans! image via suziegaffney.com

 

This week Chantilly blue will be celebrating…

10 Years of Honestly Awesome!

Thursday, March 10, 10-7!

Chantilly party

 

And did you know there’s more than just jeans at Chantilly Blue. Lisa has curated a complimentary selection of flattering pieces that feel as good as they look. Jackets, tees, dresses and unique accessories are easy to shop for. I will be popping in throughout the day so be sure to say hello and ask me if you need help completing your look. Personally I am coveting this ever so soft microfiber pink trench that feels as good as it looks!

trench

 

*Insider Tip – Take a pic!

Already a denim devotee of Chantilly Blue? Wouldn’t you love another pair? How about for free? Enter the contest below for a chance to win your own FREE pair!

chantilly contest

 

Thanks for reading and I look forward to seeing you this week!

Suzie

How To Choose Outfits For A Family Photo Session

How To Choose Outfits For A Family Photo Session

Awkward Family Photos:

Have you ever done a family photo shoot? My kids are now 11 and 9 and I’m ashamed to say that this is our very first time doing a photo session. Usually I only have to worry about getting myself dressed but this time I was styling my whole family. There are so many ways that the clothes can go so wrong (see above!) but I promise you I can make it go right. Make sure to click the link below to Beth Erisman Photography’s Blog, where I am guest posting. I’ll tell you how I can simplify the clothing selection process and make it stress free. Beth will take care of making sure you and your family aren’t straddling  a tree..

Suzie Gaffney Post on Beth Erisman Photography

Source: Introducing Suzie Gaffney… |

 

Thanks for reading!

Suzie