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

Meal Planning for Your Outfits

Meal Planning for Your Outfits

A recent article on LinkedIn asked what Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs and President Obama have in common. The answer? They wear the same thing every day. Some of this can be chalked up to branding. Mark Zuckerberg’s hoodie presents the exact image he wants to portray. It says I don’t care about impressing others with my outfit because I am too busy working on my empire. Steve Jobs simple black turtleneck? Clean, simple lines, modern, much like the apple product itself.

(all pics in this post via Pinterest)

steve-jobs-large.jpg (1080×450)

The branding effect can be sort of like the chicken and the egg so there is something else going on with these men too. They all have to make a lot of decisions in one day and apparently what to wear is not one they want to waste any brain power on. In a 2012 interview in Vanity Fair magazine President Obama said that he only wears gray or blue suits.

 “I’m trying to pare down decisions. I don’t want to make decisions about what I’m eating or wearing. Because I have too many other decisions to make.”

He may want to narrow that choice down to one color.  Research studies have actually backed up the fact that our brains can only make so many decisions within one day.

“The mere act of thinking about whether you prefer A or B tires you out. So if I give you something else that takes discipline, you can’t do it — you’ll quit faster. If I have lifted weights in a gym, later trying to lift a 30-pound weight is impossible.

One of three things is likely to occur when people have too many decisions to make — consumers end up making poor decisions, are more dissatisfied with their choices or become paralyzed and don’t choose at all.”

–  Professor Barry Schwartz of Swarthmore College, author of the 2004 book, “The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less.”

Needless to say there was an avalanche of backlash to the LinkedIn article from women that have to make the same, (if not more), decisions in one day as their male counterparts, as well as look the part of a pulled together professional. While hoodies aren’t commonplace on any female CEO I can think of, there are plenty of women in the fashion world who preferred to go with some sort of staple or signature item. Carolina Herrera? Her signature white shirt allows her to get dressed in under 10 minutes.

carolina herrera white shirt uniform - Google Search

Vera Wang? Her black leggings have been her uniform of choice long before the leggings became back in fashion. As she explains on her blog:

“In the end—even as a fashion professional, or fashion insider, someone who’s looked at fashion for so long, and from so many different angles—there is a uniform that works for you. And that uniform can be modified, and it can be changed, and it can be dressed up, dressed down, explored, taken more street, taken more couture, but in the end, it’s an editing process. And as you become more certain of your own vision, and your own taste and your own style, as you evolve, as a person, not just as a woman, you do end up in a uniform.”

Uniforms

I’m hoping all this research justifies why I HATE dinner time. Maybe I am done making decisions. Cooking food for me is not an easy process. I never really learned how, I don’t really want to and I don’t have the patience. And cooking to meet the needs of 4 different palettes? I’d rather be forced to go on another school field trip…well maybe not.

I'm hungry and my refrigerator is full, but...

Unfortunately we all still have to eat. Every day.  A big part of my problem is even deciding what we all want to eat. Sites like Pinterest are super helpful and there are a ton of blogs out there that give great ideas to tell  you what to buy and how to prep for the week ahead. I am a big fan of the theme night idea. Meat free Mondays! Taco Tuesdays! You get the idea, have a theme to help you stay focused. Recently a client confessed she was having trouble getting dressed. We had edited her closet, we shopped for new clothes but she was still feeling overwhelmed and under inspired when it came time to put together an outfit.  She’d been in her “mom uniform” of yoga pants and t-shirts for years, putting together actual outfits in the morning was still a new and somewhat daunting process. My solution?

Meal Planning For Your Oufits

Monochromatic Monday

Mondays are hard. Let’s not make them any harder. Simplify your life and go with one color. Black is an obvious choice but don’t be afraid to try with shades of  navy, cream, beige. You can always break it up with an accessory or accent. Big bonus is that this typically makes everyone look long and lean.

all black with statement necklaceVictoria Beckham - and this is how you wear white after Labor Day!Wanting to wear winter neutrals like Alessandra Ambrosio all season long.

denim on denimKate Beckinsale looked elegant in a black Helmut Lang pant suit, Christian Louboutin shoes, and a DVF clutch at the Sept. 28 Eva Longoria Foundation dinner in Hollywood.25 #Cute New Looks For Spring 2014 - Style Estate -

Texture Tuesday

Pick a fabric and build your outfit from there. Could be a cashmere sweater, a pair of cords, tweed jacket or a furry vest. You get the idea.

Poncho + hunter bootsCute and casualLeggings with a tweed jacket...I like this look since I will be wearing leggings as I get bigger;)Faux fur + radiant orchid

Burgundy corduroy skinny-leg pants with gray sweater over striped blouse, worn by The Classy CubicleLove this winter lookMichael Kors Beige Poncho Sweater, LV bag, and fur.

Wild Print Wednesday

Pick a print as your inspiration. Leopard (my fav!), stripes, checks, chevron, plaid and floral are just a few.

 love the skirt!Leopard Coat

Puffy vest...yes please! Old Navy plaid shirt :) Southern Curls & PearlsChevron dress, mustard cardigan, brown boots // Love at First ShopThe Northeast Girl | A displaced northeast girl's lifestyle blog about family, fashion, friends, and the military. | Page 7

Try-it Out Thursday

You know that one thing in your closet that is little different? The one you bought cause you were attracted to it but you are not sure you can “pull it off?” Give yourself this one day a week to try a look that is slightly out of your comfort zone. This is a great way to try out a trend, wear a color you don’t usually go to or pull out that statement necklace that you set aside. Pinterest is an excellent source for seeing something new that catches your eye and using that outfit as an idea. Think of it like trying out a new recipe!

 belted scarfcape coat

Sorelle In StylesparklesLove this look for work.

Flaunt Your Favorite For Friday

Everyone has one favorite part of their body. Some days it could be your waist and other days it could only be your feet!  Feeling yucky? Pick a comfy pair of leggings and loose top and killer shoes. Love your legs? Go for the skinny jeans or a dress. Do you like your upper half better than your lower? Go for bold color, a deep v neck or a fabulous necklace. Tall? Rock the flair jean. Petite? Try a mini skirt and tights. The idea is to point out the positive.

The Classy Cubicle: Coat Crush {fashion blog, young professional women, office style inspiration, corporate work wear, fall fashion trends, reiss, geometric print, silk pants, heirloom, silk button v-neck top, sheer sleeves, ralph lauren, prada, asos, ankle strap heels, silver choker}This is Beautiful **navy AT top w/gold bow+ white AT pants+ navy or black pumps+ green coatPawleys Island PoshPop of patternHelmut Lang:: hello holiday ::Love all of it:: color, color, color ::Simple Fall Layers.

Not feeling great about any one area? Then that’s when you go with a favorite. It could be a neon colored sneakers (that your wear to run a million errands instead of a 5K), an item of clothing in your favorite color or  your go-to denim that always makes you feel good. The point is that it’s Friday! You have made at least 5,627, 863 decisions this week and what to wear on a Friday should simply be whatever makes you feel good.

Mustard yellow + glitter + jeans = yes please

*Insider Tip – Less is More

You know when you have a terrible cold/sinus/allergy thing going on and you go to the store to grab medicine only to discover there are 55 choices and you are just too damn tired to read all the descriptions? That is also what it feels like when you have too many clothes stuffed into your closet. As scary as editing your wardrobe can sound it is so much more peaceful and easier to look and choose from an uncluttered closet filled with only what you love.

 

*Insider Tip – Accessories are the key to happiness.

I know there are some of you who are sick of wearing a uniform. It could be scrubs, a company logo shirt or even a strict dress code. You are not without options. Learn to love your basics and appreciate that you don’t have to think about them. Inject personality into your accessories by choosing jewelry, shoes or even a handbag that fits how you are feeling when you get dressed that day. Every outfit should be put together with the mindset of what YOU like.

"Aging gracefully is about no heavy make-up, and not too much powder because it gets into the wrinkles, and you know, to not get turtle eyelids, and to not try to look too young. I think you can be attractive at any age. I think trying to look like a spring chicken when you're not makes you look ridiculous." Legendary style icon Iris Apfel.

Thanks for reading!

Suzie

It’s Almost Here! The Nordstrom Anniversary Sale!

 

Anniversary Sale 2014 Early Access Catalog

 

I hate to use the dreaded F word, you know, FALL, but believe it or not it isn’t that far away. Clothing suppliers operate on their own calendar and we are pretty much forced to follow in order to get the best picks. For example, try getting your size in a pair of shorts in August. Good luck, as they will be in short, no pun intended, supply. Retailers start stocking shorts as early as March and by July most summer items have been moved to the clearance section. So as much as I can’t stand thinking about cashmere just yet, it would be foolish and irresponsible of me to not remind you all that this Friday starts the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale. This isn’t just any sale. This sale is different because the launch brand new items for fall at heavily discounted prices. I’m talking like 40% off the shoes that you will be wanting to wear this fall. But don’t get carried away just because you see deep discounts, you will need to have a game plan. Let this post be your guide of what I consider to be must have purchases at worth-it prices. Act quickly! Prices go up August 4th.

 

The Faux leather jacket from BLANKNYC. Everyone needs a motorcycle jacket to bring out their inner rocker chick or to balance out a feminine floral piece. It is the perfect topper to wear over summer tops and dresses to transition them into fall.

SALE PRICE $98.90, AFTER SALE $148.

 

BLANKNYC Quilted Faux Leather Jacket | Nordstrom

STYLE AT EVERY AGE: Wednesdays Wardrobe Staple - The Leather Biker JacketSTYLE AT EVERY AGE: Wednesdays Wardrobe Staple - The Leather Biker Jacket

 

Attilio Giusti Leombruni ballet flats and wedge shoes. More commonly referred to as AGL because 90% would butcher the heck out of the Italian name.Many of my clients have foot issues and they all swear by this brand for its consistent comfort. This is usually the shoe that most of my clients wear on a plane when traveling. Their colors are neutral and metallic so you can’t really go wrong no matter which ones you choose. They are pricey so nabbing them on sale is worth it.

 BALLET FLATS SALE PRICE $199.90, WILL BE $325

OVAL WEDGE $229.90, AFTER $365.

Anniversary Sale 2014 Early Access Catalog

Aquatalia by Marvin K, another tried and true favorite of my clients. This boot marries function and style and it’s quality craftsmanship will hold up over time.  It is waterproof and made with a stretch woven back so you get that perfect fit.

SALE PRICE $359.90, AFTER SALE $550.

Aquatalia by Marvin K .'Obsession' Tall Boot (Nordstrom Exclusive) (Women) | Nordstrom

 

Cashmere sweaters. Can we all remember the tortuous winter we just went through? I would have worn a cashmere snuggie just to stay warm. These sweaters are available now for under $100. Buy some basic colors like black and ivory and maybe one fun pop of color. I also love the embellished sequins style. Hello! It’s a party on your sweater!!

SALE PRICE $84.90 – $98.90, AFTER $128 – $168.

 

Halogen® Long Sleeve Cashmere Sweater (Regular & Petite) | NordstromHalogen® Embellished Cashmere Sweater (Regular & Petite) | Nordstrom

 

Spanx Skinny Britches Mid-Thigh Shaper. This is the go-to shape wear for under skirts and dresses. The laser cut legs ensure you don’t get that tell-tale thigh bulge where the shaper ends. They are not too thick but deliver just the right amount to smooth out any lumps and bumps. Stock up because they are almost $20 off their regular price.

SALE PRICE $37.90, AFTER $58

SPANX® 'Skinny Britches' Mid-Thigh Shaper | Nordstrom

 

Kate Spade New York initial pendant. I’m thinking ahead, way ahead, like Christmas gifts ahead. At this price this is the perfect gift to buy ahead, or grab one for yourself!

SALE PRICE $37.90, AFTER $58

kate spade new york 'one in a million' initial pendant necklace | Nordstrom

 

 

 *Insider Tip – Become a Member.

If you have a Nordstrom credit card you can shop their sales earlier than offered to the public (July 10 these special prices were made available to rewards members).

 

*Insider Tip – Get a personalized shopping list.

Do you know you need new items but just not sure exactly what to buy? Contact me for a personalized shopping list. We can discuss your needs and I can send you a virtual list personalized for you and your specific needs. This way you can just click on the items and have them delivered right to your door. Shipping and returns are always free so there is no hassle if something doesn’t work. Shopping list consult  – $50. 

 

Thanks for reading!

 Suzie

 

 

 

 

 

Does this outfit make me look happy?

It is official, it is SUMMER!

 

collage

 

My kids finished the school year and are the years really are flying by fast. Thanks to great teachers they did well in school. My daughter came home with one particular award that brought tears to my eyes, the class Fashionista award.

2014-06-20 13.01.02
via suziegaffney.com

Yes, I am mother to a budding fashionista. I both proud and terrified. Proud because she picks out all of her own clothes and outfits. I pick my battles and that battle is way to bloody for my taste. Terrified because this means her teen years will be crippled with outfit perfection stress. Hopefully she will continue to remain true to herself. As long as my kids are clean, (and that is harder than it sounds with a 7-year-old boy), I really prefer to let them express themselves through their own style choices, provided my daughter doesn’t attempt to wear cutoffs that resemble bikini bottoms or shirts that say things like “I know what boys like.” Right now she is obsessed with wearing oversize bows in her hair and I am cool with that, but fully aware that she could be over it all by next week.

2014-06-22 19.02.33
via suziegaffney.com

How do we keep our kids feeling free to express themselves instead of worrying about what others’ think of them? I feel like we start out that way, young,  open minded, full of creativity. And then something shifts. We start to compare ourselves to others by wishing we could be taller, shorter, blonder, curlier. We start to shrink in our own minds, pushing our own thoughts and opinions into the far back of our childhood. We look to others for what we hope is inspiration but can turn to jealousy and feelings of low self esteem. I don’t know why that happens but I know I will try hard to stop it with my daughter.  But the fact is that is easier said than done. I only started to feel comfortable in looking different than everyone else in my 30s. I wish I could figure out what shifted back but I really don’t know. Maybe the security of those around me? Knowing that I was surrounded by a family who loved me even when I have no makeup and sleep in t-shirts that have holes in them? I think it is more than that. I think the shift is in my own attitude.

#truth
via Pinterest

 

When I was younger and insecure it was because I was busy worrying I was being judged. And the ugly truth is that I was busy judging others. That is so awful to say but sadly I know it is true. I think it took getting older and going through more life experiences for me to gain some perspective. Years ago I would have looked down on the disheveled looking woman wearing her pajamas into Target. Well guess what, there have been times that I have been that woman. Your whole family is sick, you are stressed out and sleepless and you have five minutes to run to Target to grab some more tissues.

Be kind -  for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle. #quotes #kindness
via Pinterest

 

I watch the shows on Disney and Nick with my kids. Nothing has changed. There is still the popular and cool kids and the dorky nerd kids. I don’t want my kids to be the mean kids and I don’t want them to be picked on either. I’d love for this to go away but if we look around there are the same cliques among us now as grown ups. And trust me all groups can be mean. I have heard people judge other women for being too made up or overdressed. The same woman who judges another woman for wearing clothes from consignment stores is also being judged by others for spending too much money on designer clothes. The truth is that our appearance IS important, but not because of what it shows to others. It is important because of how it makes US feel on the INSIDE. The woman who came overly dressed up for the casual kids’ soccer game? Maybe her mother is sick in the hospital and putting on some makeup and a nice outfit made her feel better.  When we start to dress for ourselves and wear what we want we are able to more accurately match our outside to our insides. Don’t be afraid. If someone’s not going to like you the right outfit won’t change that. The best way to stop judging others is to stop judging yourself.

 

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via Pinterest

Cleaning out my clients’ closets is so much more than just organization. It’s a clean out of their past in order to better organize their future. When you let go of the sizes that are too small you let go of that part of you that says you are not good enough the way you are. When you let go of that thought you can let in the appreciation for who you are RIGHT NOW.  This is a big part of the reason that people hire me to help them instead of trying to tackling it themselves. I promise you that I will be there to hold your hand every step of the way and in the immortal words of Elsa from Frozen “Let it go.” By the way if you listen to the lyrics for this song they are really good, and it’s a good sign that it is loved by so many young girls.

 

"Let It Go"- Elsa from Frozen. "The cold never bothered me anyway..."
via Pinterest

 

*Insider Tip – Defend your friend. 

The next time you catch yourself thinking negative thoughts about yourself try to stop. Ask yourself if you would let someone talk to your sister or your best friend that way? If you would defend them then you should start defending yourself. Stop the negative. Be nice to yourself.

sequins x well loved denim
via Pinterest

 

Thanks for reading! I am going to take some time to try to not go crazy while my kids cry that they are bored. If you see me feeding my kids froyo for dinner and looking zoned out while wearing sweatpants please know that I am doing the best I can. 🙂

 

Suzie

 

Craving and Saving…

I am all about shopping small and local. Nothing can beat the individualized attention and personal service that a boutique has to offer.  But I will say it has been pretty hard to ignore the influx of pre-fall sales jamming my email. So I took a quick peek.  Here are the items I am crushing on big time…

Click on the pics for links in case you want to further your cyber window shopping experience!

From Anthropologie:

Lydia Cutout Loafers #anthropologie

Is the word LOVE too strong? Because I think I am in LOVE with these. They are perfect in every way. You know how a big trend is mixing prints? This pattern is a safe bet to mix back to a small-scale pattern or a black/white color scheme pattern. It is a no fail.

Also from Anthropologie

Tilden Booties #anthropologie

I really, really, really, want these. They will make anyone feel like a rock star. Or at least like you are dating a very cool rock star.

 Ann Taylor Loft

Every girl needs a trench. Because no matter what you are wearing underneath (even your pajama shirt), you can throw it on and look like a sophisticated adult woman.  Even if you are just running late and dropping the kids off at school. This one is trimmed in black so it keeps it a little bit fresh and modern.

The Gap

I admit it. I am somewhat of a jean snob. I believe in paying more for my favorite basic denim from brands like Paige and Hudson, because I know that the quality and fit will never disappoint. But sometimes it is fun to try a trend for denim, and I do not believe in spending a lot of money on a trend. I think the fit with Gap can be hit or miss, but I do love the cute styling of these with the zippers at the top and at the ankle. And they are on sale right now.

J. Crew

Ponte peplum top

The peplum. I know it came on strong as a trendy item but honestly it is so flattering it is here to stay. They look good on everyone because they help to create that ideal hourglass figure. This one from J. Crew is in a Ponte Stretch. Anytime you see Ponte you know that it will be stretchy (spandex) and soft (cotton). It is the perfect layering piece to update a conservative classic cardigan into something more feminine and fashion forward. It looks great with shorts now and with jeans later. Just make sure to get the size right, even if you take it to a tailor for some tweaking. It has to be worn fitted, too big and it just looks sloppy.

J.Crew Factory

Factory zigzag sequin tank

Ummm…it’s sequins…it’s chevron…it sparkles! What’s not to love?  I love this color palette for now (under a white blazer – so fresh!) and switch it up for fall under a leather jacket or a LBJ (little black jacket). A sequin top really belongs in everyone’s closet. There will always be some occasion where you just need to bring out the bling.

Nordstrom

They pretty much take the cake with THE best sales when it comes to their anniversary sale. It’s for a limited time and it is good.

Vince Ribbed Poncho Sweater

This sweater poncho from Vince looks very simple but it is a workhorse. You know how Jennifer Aniston has the effortless style look down pat? She wears a lot of pieces by Vince. I purchased this sweater last year from Elizabeth Maar Boutique and would have worn it 5 days out of the week if that wouldn’t have been so weird. I am so paranoid that something will happen to it that I am very seriously contemplating buying a back-up, just in case. It feels like the world’s chicest sweatshirt. The high cashmere content is a plus.  I wore it over a tank, turtleneck, white button down, long sleeve t. Back to leggings, printed denim, skinny jeans. It was the exact shade of neutral to blend with everything and anything. And the neckline is just right for showing off statement necklaces and pretty scarves. It is an investment but I promise you will not be sorry.

Frye 'Melissa Harness' Boot

Let’s have a moment of silence for the perfection that is the Melissa boot by Frye. If you bought just one shoe for fall this should be it.  The brown patina will just get better and better over time. And they will ALWAYS be in style, year after year. Buy them now. If you wait until after August 5th the price goes up by $130.

Trouvé Draped Leather Jacket

If I am going to be a rock star I need the quintessential leather jacket. This one is 60% off and comes in just under $120. And the cool factor is priceless. Think this style is too young? You can make it more refined by pairing it with a plain white tank,  a blank pencil skirt, and classic black pumps. Simple perfection.

*Insider Tip – Get on the list.

Don’t forget to sign up to receive email notifications from your favorite stores. And be picky. Nobody wants an inbox full of junk, but sign up for the stores who style and fit you know you love. You will get first dibs on sale styles.

*Insider Tip – Check back.

Stores like J. Crew will change the stock of the sale items practically by the hour. It is true, I asked the sales people. So if you don’t see your size or a color of something you want, make sure to go back and check the sale site again a little later. It just may pop up. And on the flip side, if you really do love an item put it in your cart and check out asap. Good deals and sizes go fast.

So tell me…what are you lusting after for fall? I’d love to hear!

Already have a wish list but no time to shop? Contact me to do the shopping for you!

Thanks for reading!

Suzie