Drawer Wars

Find calm among the chaos in your drawers….

I am a completely visual learner. I need to see something to understand it. I am also a visual dresser. I need to see it to wear it. My closet is lacking in the space I want so my dresser drawers have to be used wisely. I know for many people, especially my own children, folded clothes in drawers do not stay nicely folded. Unless you are a man, or, you opt for the LIFO method, (the LAST shirt put in is the FIRST one out), you will usually find  yourself rifling through a pile to find what you need. You end up with a jumbled mess, squeezing everything in just so you can jam the drawer shut.

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The Solution?

STEP 1 – Empty the drawer.

Take everything out of the drawer and throw it onto the floor or the bed.

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STEP 2 – Sort.

Are you really wearing that white t-shirt with the yellow in the underarms? No. Or for that matter please don’t. Scared you won’t find a new one? Write it down in that essential notebook I keep bugging you about. And trust me, when you don’t have one it will force you to go out and buy one. Holding on to a bad one just because you are afraid of not finding a new one is bad logic. It’s like when you keep dating the jerk guy just because you are afraid of being alone.

The going, going, GONE pile.

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STEP 3 – Rethink how you fold.

The usual method looks something like this:

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Try folding in thirds, like this:

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STEP 4 – Organize.

I prefer to sort by color. Printed t’s go in one column, solid colors in the others. I don’t worry about v-neck or crew-neck because when you fold in thirds you can see the neckline. Although I do keep all my short sleeves in one drawer, tanks in another, and long sleeves in another one. Yes, I have a t-shirt problem.

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STEP 5 – Admire your clean and organized drawers!

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*INSIDER TIP – HANG YOUR FAVS.

I do have some favorite t’s that are my go-to pieces, they are the ones that I prefer to hang to dry. I like to keep those out and hang them in my closets.That way wrinkling is never an issue, and they are right there in my view when I need them. I can grab and go.

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* INSIDER TIP – PACE YOURSELF.

Truth be told this really doesn’t take long. You can do it while are watching tv at night, while you are on the phone with a friend, or in between sets up sit-ups, (not me, but maybe you will). You can even bribe a child to help you. Keep going and you can apply this method to all of your drawers. I do the same thing with my “I-don’t-excercise-but-I-wear-excercise-clothes.”

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I organized the zip-ups on the right, and yoga tanks on the left.

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Sorry for the dark pic but this is the bottoms drawer. I sort it by shorts and tennis skirts, (I tried it once), capris, and full length leggings and yoga pants.

So grab a glass of wine and get going! You will be so proud of yourself! You may even be motivated enough to put away laundry. Maybe. Okay, probably not.

Like the idea but still feel like this is just not fitting into your schedule? Call me! You can go out to dinner and by the time you come back it will be all done! And I promise not to spill any wine while I am sorting 🙂

Erin go Bra(gh)

image via zazzle.com

Don’t worry. I’m not suggesting you wear shamrocks on your boobs. This post is about what lies beneath. THE BRA.

Breasts, gazongas, the girls, jugs, melons, your rack. None of these names work well but for the sake of this blog entry I’m going with boobs. Boobs are one of those annoying things that if you have too much you wish you had less. If you have too little you wish you had more. And at one point you just want them to stand up straight, no matter what size they are.  I wish they could be an accessory and we could select different sizes to make certain things look better.  Big, bold, long statement necklaces look best on a flatter canvas. Strapless dresses, on the other hand, look better when there is something to hold them up.

Lilly Pulitzer® 'Payton' Print Fit & Flare Dress
Lily Pulitzer dress via Nordstroms.com

Either way, you can’t build a beautiful outfit without a solid foundation. The right bra makes ALL the difference. Although it can be a pain, it is worth investing the time to find the right one for your shape. There is no universally flattering bra because boobs are like snowflakes, no two are exactly alike. Sometimes even on your own body! But over the years I have learned a few helpful hints.

1. CONSULT AN EXPERT

There is a correct way to get measured for a bra. If you go into a shop and ask for help, and they DO NOT ask to fit you then consider going somewhere else. Even if you think you know your size you might be wrong. The size you were last year is not necessarily the same size you are now. Be open to change and to a new number or cup size. There is no prize for how big  your cup size is versus your rib cage, so be willing to try on something you might not have tried before.

2. RETHINK HOW YOU TRY ON

If you just put the bra on as is it WILL NOT FIT.

Lengthen the straps.

Everyone’s torso is different, and the length of the straps needs to be accounted for. Do this before you even try it on. Start on the largest band setting. If you buy the bra it will stretch over time. The goal is to start on the LARGEST SETTING, so that over time you can get more wear out of the bra by tightening the band in.

Give the girls a hand.

Lean over and put your chest into the bra. This way you know you are not smooshing or cramming them in. Conversely there shouldn’t be room to store extra change or snacks. If it is too small or too big try a different cup size.

Adjust the straps AGAIN.

The band should be carrying most of the load, maybe like a 75/25 split, shared with the straps. Make sure they are doing some work but not so much that they are digging into your shoulders and creating marks. Check your back. The band should be even all the way around. Look sideways in the mirror and make sure it is not riding up.  This is another indicator that the strap length needs to be pulled out. Each strap on each side may need different adjustments.

3. PUT YOUR SHIRT BACK ON

Try to come prepared by wearing something simple and semi-fitted, like a white t-shirt. This will allow you to check your profile in the mirror. Experts say the ideal location for your bustline is halfway between your shoulders and your elbows. This provides the right amount of life off of your ribcage and can make your look 10 pounds thinner.

image via gap.com

4. FIND A SHADE OF SKIN

This is also where the white t-shirt comes in handy. A perfect basic bra should match your skin tone as closely as possibly. White actually shows through most whites so find the right hue of nude. It might not look pretty but you want it to almost blend in. Look for names like nude, latte, and buff.

5. VICTORIA’S SECRET IS OUT

I may get some backlash for this, but I think the secret is that their bras are terrible. I also have a problem with the sales staff constantly saying panties. Ewww.  Are their bras gorgeous? Sure! Do they fit? Beautifully, if you are Heidi Klum, or if you are in the kind of shape that you plan on strapping angel wings to your back.  I think they do have their place in our wardrobe. Or should I say when we are not wearing our wardrobe. But as foundation pieces to build our outfits on? Not so much. All that lace and boosting can create some funky effects under the clothes.  Sometimes the uglier the bra the better it looks under clothes.

6. BE PREPARED TO DROP SOME DOUGH

Unfortunately a great bra is not cheap. It’s kind of the same thing as jeans. Once in a while you may luck out and find a reasonable priced option, but usually the better bras are in the range of $50-$80. Sometimes my bra has actually cost more than my entire outfit. Conversely the wrong bra can ruin an entire outfit. So it is worth it.

*Insider Tip – Watch your back.

Many clients find the right fit for the front, but are dismayed that the back creates bulges above and below the bra line. It doesn’t mean you have back fat, it just means that the band is too narrow, and you need a different style. Look for styles that have wider bands around the back and seemless edges. Spanx and Sassybax have almost limitless options.

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image via soma.com

*Insider Tip – Share your favs.

Help out your sisters, mothers, friends and share your wealth of information. What worked for you? When I first started at Elizabeth Maar I met a rep from the Le Mystere line of bras. She gave me an education in bra fitting, and made me look like I had a lift done at the doctor’s office.  I am hopelessly devoted to their Le Mystere Dream Tisha bra, also known as Oprah’s favorite bra. And if it is good enough for Oprah it is good enough for me! Another friend of mine swears by the Soma Intimates store. They are a national chain with locations all over, and a very knowledgeable sales staff. Please feel free to share your favorites in the comment section.

Le Mystère 'Dream Tisha 9955' Underwire T-Shirt Bra
Le Mystère ‘Dream Tisha 9955’ Underwire T-Shirt Bra
image via Nordstom.com

*Insider Tip – Buy Insurance.

Found your fav? Buy 2! Rotate them to give the elastic in the band time to rest in between wearings. You never know what could happen if you only have one. When our dog was a puppy he ate mine. Weird and gross,but true. I guess there are worse things a dog could do.

12 Dogs Share Their Most Embarrassing Confessions

Have you checked out dogshaming? It is the best site.

Need another laugh? While I was/am recuperating from my recent surgery I almost busted my stitches from laughing at the new show on the E channel called Burning Love. It nails the train wreck of a series that The Bachelor has become. So good! I’m rooting for Agnes, the 84 year old cougar contestant. For all the contestant’s (faux) bios click here.

Thanks for reading!

Suzie

Accessory Anxiety

I have been very open about my fear and loathing towards cooking but that doesn’t mean that I don’t like to accessorize my kitchen. Hence my desire for a shiny bright red  Kitchen Aid stand mixer. I didn’t really know what I would do with it but I longed just to look at it.

Pretty…now what do I do with it?
image via bargainjack.com

I got my wish as a birthday gift from my mom and my sister a couple of years ago. After feeling overwhelmed by the sheer size of this beast of a machine I got up the nerve to try to make cookies. I made a mess. I broke down and called my friend Lauren. Lauren is one of those people who will bake all night long. She is crafty and creative and makes it all look effortless. But she is sweet as can be so you have to like her. Since she was kind enough to talk me through my mixer so I am happy to help her about with a little dilemma.

“My husband and I actually managed to get out for a date night (so very rare) and of course I was trying to pull something together that was a) clean and b) didn’t look like I’ve been living under a rock for the past 8 years!  Anyway – long story short – I managed – but it got me thinking that at some point you need to write some advice for those of us who feel like our 5-year-old playing dress up anytime we try to accessorize with more than a gold chain and our wedding ring.  You post all these pictures of pretty chunky necklaces or cool boots, etc – and I love the LOOK of them but I feel so silly when I put them on… almost like I’m playing dress up or trying too hard.  I can’t be the only one who suffers from this!  Anyway – just food for thought if you ever get writers block – you can just share for us your tips on not feeling ridiculous with accessories! 🙂  I love the look of a scarf or necklace or belt ON SOMEONE ELSE, but whenever I put it on me, I just feel silly :-(” – Lauren

I do know what Lauren means. When my kids were really little I almost stopped wearing any kind of jewelry. Big necklaces would be pulled on by toddler hands and dangling earrings look a toy to a baby, one that I don’t want pulled through my ears.  Once my kids got a little older I had to get back into the practice of accessorizing again.  And yes, at first it feels weird. But practice makes perfect. So here’s some tips to help you find your inner Holly Golightly.

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image via Pinterest

Start Small.

I mean this in the financial sense. There are fabulous accessories in the under $50 range. It could be as simple as a scarf in a bright color.

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image via Pinterest

The outfit below looks clean and polished. But the gold chains really pull the look together and finish the outfit. Chains like this are sold anywhere from Target to Nordstroms.

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Image via Pinterest

Keep it Simple.

Want to try a big necklace? Skip the earings or go for a simple stud. And don’t worry about it matching. The less effort it looks like you put into it the more casual it will feel.

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Image via Pinterest

The reason the outfit above works so well is because she kept everything else simple. Her hair is pulled up into a simple ponytail and she skipped earrings. Even her bag and shoes are understated.

Here’s another example.

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image via Pinterest

Here she has one of my favorites, the “Bubble” necklace. But she paired it with a simple button down and casual shorts and ballet flats. She looks comfy and stylish.

Mix it Up.

Use dress up jewelry but dress down your outfit. I love the look of a fancy pearl necklace with something opposite, like a broken in denim shirt.

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image via Pinterest

A glam necklace with a simple gray t-shirt.

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image via Pinterest

Or the simple elegance of this white on white combo.

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image via Pinterest

Coordinate with Color.

If the glitz and the glam is not your thing go for a pop of color.

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image via Pinterest

I love how leopard can read as a neutral and go with every color. Here’s the bubble necklace again and it looks amazing!

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image via Pinterest

This black dress goes from beautiful to beyond by adding in the orange for summer color.

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image via Pinterest

Still feeling unsure? Remember, as long as you pick out something you like you really can’t mess it up. There are no rules except to have confidence in what you are wearing. If you look like you like what you have on other people will see that in how you carry yourself. If you feel really uncomfortable accessories are easy to take off, they are not as big of a committment as a jacket or shirt. Sometimes you try something and we just know it’s not for you. I love the look of red lipstick but I end up looking like I made out with The Joker. I have no lips so it ends up everywhere, on my face, my teeth. Now I just stick to the sheer stuff.

*INSIDER TIPS

Host or attend a jewelry party. Stella and Dot is a fabulous company and their stylists are trained to help you find out what looks good on you. My sister is now a rep for the line and we are having so much fun with their spring collection.

Go to a boutique. Bring your outfit with you! The sales staff will be happy to help you accessorize your outfit perfectly. And if they aren’t then you are in the wrong store. Personally this is one of my favorite things to do to help a customer when they come in shopping. Picking out the accessories is like putting the icing on a cake – it makes everything look perfect!

Need a specific color? Try Charming Charlies. But be warned you will be overwhelmed. They are thousands of pieces and everything is organized by color. I don’t love everything but I love the idea of when I am in a rush for a specific color I can quickly scan a particular section.

Yellow jeans meet Yellow necklace.
Image via Pinterest

Oh and remember, if anyone looks at you funny or asks you why you are “all dressed up?”

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image via Pinterest

You’ve lost that summer feeling…

You’ve lost that summer feeling…

image via kdhamptons.com, photography by Arthur Elgort for Vogue

You know that time of year. It may still technically be summer but even if it the temp hits 98 degrees and Nick Lachey pops out for a reunion tour you are not wearing a sundress any more (and word is the boy banders are coming back… ) Summer is over. It is done. At least on the fashion spectrum.

image via televicious.com

My kids went back to school today. Probably a good thing because it was starting to become like the Hunger Games around here with my children ready to fight each other to the death, all for control of the right to decide to watch Sponge Bob or Good Luck Charlie on tv. I want to kill myself when I hear the theme song for either show and was very tempted to toss the tv altogether, except with my love of trashy shows it would have been like cutting off my own nose to spite my face, or however the saying goes.

image via fermentationhouse.com

Summer may be winding down but transitioning out of that summer wardrobe can be tricky.  You may be done with summer but don’t forget to double-check those sales racks. There ARE fabulous finds.

Try your very best to be a buy now wear now and wear later shopper.

image via pinterest

I scored an AH-MAH-ZING silver sequin jacket at Chantilly Blue in Kennett Square for $25!!!!!!!!!!!!  And yes you will see me wearing  it right now with white skinny denim (in my opinion white denim is a year round classic) and again in the fall over black.

image via bbdakota.com
 

When it is still sticky and hot I love looser shorts in a light fabric because they are so comfortable. They are wonderful right now with a simple white t-shirt and necklace, and perfect as it gets cooler paired with a black blazer, pointy flats or heels. Bonus points for extending your summer tanned legs before the pasties of winter take over.

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“now and later” by sgaffney on Polyvore
Pinned via pinmarklet

Elizabeth Maar and the Just Girls Boutiques in Newtown Square and Haverford still have their steal of a deal of 50, 60, and 70% off of their sale merchandise (buy 1 item get 50 off, 2 get 60 off, and 3 or more get 70%). That is only 30% of full price!! I work at the Newtown Square location on Wednesdays and it is so much fun to make complete ready for fall outfits right off of the sales rack.

The MVP of every wardrobe – a black tuxedo jacket, black lace tank, and Habitual classic dark denim, all for 70% and right on trend for fall.

*INSIDER TIP –

Many stores offer deep discounts not only on summer sale but also on the start of their fall merchandise. How not to miss out? SIGN UP! Make sure you are on the email lists, like the store on facebook, etc. You will then be among the first to know when a sale is and you won’t miss out.

 Stay tuned for some fall must have features!

I will be posting interviews and guests posts from some of the most amazing and stylish women (inside and out!) that I know, click on the links below to like and follow them on Facebook and be the first to know about promotions and events. Not only are the owners fantastic but their staff are all kind, helpful, and knowledgable, allowing for your shopping trip to be an enjoyable experience. While you’re at it feel free to like my Facebook page as well in case you haven’t yet. Nothing like a little shameless self promotion!

Also if you are local save the date for a ladies night out shopping event in Kennett Square on Thursday night, September 27th. I will be helping out at Chantilly Blue and available for any styling questions and/or advice! And if you are not local? All of these stores below are happy to mail you anything fabulous you see on their site!

Ashley from Ashley Austin Boutique

Lisa from Chantilly Blue

Nellie from Elizabeth Maar Boutique

Kristen from Just Girls Boutique

Suzie Gaffney wardrobe consultant

The Great White T-Shirt.

The Great White T-Shirt.

I was in a cold sweat the other morning tearing the house apart looking for my favorite white t-shirt. I was ripping through closets, drawers, dirty laundry, even accusing the dog of taking it.  Then I had the opposite of  a Oprah Aha moment, it was more like a Homer Simpson D’Oh moment.

image via blackwaterdog.wordpress.com

Remember my post the other week when I showed how great different necklaces look against a plain white t-shirt?

Yes, there it was. On my Marshalls/HomeGoods mannequin. Our 5-year-old son is already fascinated by the anatomy on it.  Okay so now all is right in the world. But it reminded me of the importance having that perfect white t-shirt in your wardrobe. I think we all know the horrors of pulling out last year’s perfect white t-shirt and seeing that tell-tale yellowing of the armpits. Why oh why must we have to sweat? It is just not fair, to us or our clothing.

image via smartbrandclothing.com

When shopping for a t-shirt, in any color, the cut is crucial. Do you have a rather large bosom? Aka the girls, boobies, knockers, ta-tas. Whatever you call them they can be a blessing and curse. Having been pregnant I have been on both sides of the spectrum. A v neck or scoop shape is the saving grace for the large expanse of chest. Not too deep and not too short.  Stay away from the higher crew neck which just has too much fabric over the expanse of boobs.

image via navigatingnorth.com

Are you the opposite in the chest department?  You can do a v-neck but make sure the fabric has a little drape to balance out  your smaller frame. A classic crew neck is also a good option.

If I had Kelly Ripa’s arms I don’t think I would wear sleeves again. Ever.
image via radaronline.com

Somewhere in between? You can really wear any of  the above.

image via soupforthegirlysoul.com

As for sleeves. Cap-sleeves are a four letter word in my house. They are evil. They cut off at the worst part of every woman’s arm. If you have great arms you are better off in a sleeveless style. Otherwise opt for a little bit longer than the cap sleeve. Just the tiniest bit more fabric makes all the difference.

Scooped Neck Cap Sleeve T-Shirt
image via tshirtwatch.com

Do you hate your arms? Opt for this season’s very popular cold shoulder top. A little skin is exposed at the top of the arm but is connected underneath the sleeve. Batwings be gone!

image and shirt from zappos.com

The other biggie is fabric, very important with white. Just like with the denim it can be a Goldilocks situation, not too sheer, not too thick, just right. Just because the fabric feels great to the touch doesn’t mean it will be flattering on. I had a customer that kept buying t-shirts based on the way they felt but she hated them on. We had to re-work strategy for her t-shirt shopping. Some of the nicest feeling fabrics are the ultra thin ones. But the ultra thin ones often drape too much and hang funny and cling in all the wrong places. A t-shirt needs some structure to gently skim over your particular shape. One hundred percent cotton is great, but look for keywords such as ringspun or pima to ensure it is not too thick and has enough stretch. My favorite is a blend of cotton and modal. I pretty much walk across hot coals for an item with modal  as I love the way it feels on my skin and the way it fits.

Some favorite brands?

Low-cost $15 and under – Target’s Mossimo line has great options. And Hanes men’s t-shirts in small or even a boys large.

Mid range – $15-$25 – J. Crew, especially their vintage cotton, Ann Taylor Loft, Lands End semi-fitted.

Pricier but worth it- $25 and up – Splendid, Three Dots, James Perse,  and Michael Stars are some of my favs.

*Insider Tip – When trying on t-shirts I’ve witnessed so many women pull them down as far as they can go. Stop that! It should fit with a little bit of movement, even if you tuck in it shouldn’t be stretched taut. It looks more natural and relaxed if there is a little fabric gathering around the waist. Pulling down all the way to the hip just makes it too long and unflattering. If you are hippy than it stops at and highlights your hips. If you have a little extra in the middle then it stretches it right over it.

The iconic Lauren Hutton – looking amazing as always.
image via rawdenimbar.blogspot.com

*Insider Tip – It may be a t-shirt but wash it with care. Bleach is  not good for the fibers because it can break them down. If you have stains try oxy-clean or vinegar, diluted with water. Wash on delicate, throw in the dryer for a short stint, then hang to dry. Is this convenient and practical? Hell no. My husband requests this treatment with his golf shirts and I basically tell him to do it himself. I am a serious domestic failure.  But will it save you time and money when your perfect shirt is hanging perfectly ready to go in your closet. Hell yes. I’ve ruined too many to keep on being lazy about it. Or I’ve lost them on a mannequin.

Yes, it may be time to have a talk with our son.