Friday Five: Color Theory 101

color_wheel  

Ever wonder why certain colors look good together? Or why certain colors look great on some people, but not others? There's a whole science behind color, artists study it, designers are inspired by it, Pantone tells us which ones are "the color of the year" or "season" and fashion stylists study it as a theory.

When I started my certificate program at Parsons, one of the classes I was most excited about was Color Theory. So it was quite a disappointment when I found that wasn't on the curriculum for the Fashion Business track (they do offer it, of course, but it's on the Design track). So I decided to educate myself and bought a couple books on the subject. One that I liked is called Color: Messages and Meanings, by Leatric Eiseman, in collaboration with Pantone. Not only does it go through the color families, their moods and trends, but it also has a particular focus on brand, image and visual presentations. Great for someone who is looking for basic color theory information geared toward advertising or marketing.

Here's quick lesson on how to use this information to get dressed. There are 12 "pie slices" in the color wheel. Colors across from each other (Violet & Yellow, Blue & Orange for example) in the color wheel are Complementary and always look striking together. I would recommend using one color as the "base" of your outfit and the complimentary color for an accessory. Try white denim with a violet top and a yellow handbag or necklace! Monochromatic (using one color only) is also a fun way to dress, but can often be tricky. New Yorkers pull this off with their all-black outfits on the daily, but I think that's cheating a little. (Although I do remember a colleague wearing a fabulous pair of perfectly tailored black pants, a black turtleneck and black pumps and me thinking, "that looks really sharp!") For a monochromatic look that is NOT all black, try all white. Using tints of white (aka off-white, cream or beige), this look will be classy and not boring.  Analogous colors are those that are next to each other (using all the slices in one color family). Try a blue-green dress with a blue blazer and a statement necklace that incorporates green tones. Or check out this post for a darker palette. Obviously, there are many combinations to the color wheel. It's also important to know what colors look best on you. If you haven't read this post about Personalized Color Swatches, #rundontwalk there now! Here are some other fun formulas for using the color wheel while dressing. And in the spirit of Friday Five, I've collected five outfits plus a bonus "look for less." You're welcome.

I'll leave you with this inspiration for your weekend: In the words of one of my favorite designers, Kate Spade, "Live Life Colorfully!"

 

MONOCHROMATIC

 

kate moss

Kate Moss - Photo Credit unknown

monochromatic Shape mag pic

photo: Shape Magazine

Sydne-Style-gray-jeans-trend-citizens-of-humanity-fall-layering-chambray-shirt

One of my favorite bloggers, Sydne Summer

ANALOGOUS

jen aniston in gray shades - casual

Copy Jen's look with any combination of the above: olive pants, navy blazer + navy tee OR navy pencil skirt, olive peasant top + cardigan for an office look. Picture from People.com

 

 

COMPLEMENTARY

TB spring 2016 complementary

Tory Burch Spring 2016 Collection

navy LC dress KOHLS

Try Tory's favorite combo of orange and blue for a lot less here: LC Lauren Conrad dress

And here:

Orange KOHLS shoes

Kohls Canteloupe wedges

Friday Five: Spring Recipes

Friday Five: Spring RecipesClick here for outfit details!

Hey Guys!

Even though we're having a bit of a cool-down this weekend here in Charlotte, temps next week will be back to normal and  my spring attire is calling! I'm talking to you, open-toed sandals! I love it when the weather starts to warm up and the flowers begin to bloom. It's a beautiful reminder that God's mercies are new each morning (Lam 3:23).

Because this weekend marks the first day of spring, I've created some  "recipes" for some easy spring outfits. These are tried and true colors and patterns that always work in some of this season's hottest trends. The first row is one of my favorite mix of patterns: black & white stripes with leopard! You can NEVER go wrong with that combo, even though for some it may seem a bit much (just trust me, IT WORKS.. Because, remember, leopard is a neutral (repeat this five times). I've added a pop of red with a cute crossbody bag, which plays well with both patterns. You could also add red lipstick to this fun little mix.

Recipe #2 is a new obsession of mine: Athleisure. OK, part of the recipe, anyway. So if you take a chambray button-down and add faux leather leggings, you can really go either way with shoes - dress it up with some fringy heels (fringe is still WAY hot this season) OR go the extra mile (literally) in some black sneakers. I recently worked with a client that was travelling to Paris and in researching street style from their recent fashion week, I saw this look on so many models and bloggers. It's the perfect "walking around town comfortably but still looking awesome" outfit. And, who doesn't want a reason to wear faux leather leggings?!

The third look is a must for those who love their florals ("Florals for Spring? Groundbreaking.") -  Miranda Priestly in The Devil Wears Prada). These floral tops have an extra edge with the shoulder cutouts (aka "cold shoulder") and are great paired with jeans or crisp white pants. Another fun trend I'm seeing pop up again from last spring and summer is the raw-egde denim, but cropped iterations. I have mixed feelings about cropped pants...since I'm 5'0" I tend to stay away from cropped pants because they make me look shorter (they visually cut your legs) but sometimes I just say whatever and go with a trend. If you are under 5'4", pair them with pointed-toe heels. Otherwise, wear with flats or heels.

And to be true to the name of the post and give you a rounded out FIVE for FRIDAY, here are a few tips that would make these outfits work, date-night or church appropriate. For Recipe #1, add a pencil skirt instead of the jeans and if you work in a chilly office, a red or black  cardigan. For Recipe #2, switch out the leather pants for black or gray pants or a black pencil skirt. If you work in the creative field, you could potentially wear your sneaks to the office to show your fashionista skills, but any other field, stick to closed-toed pumps. Add a sparkly statement necklace to enhance the casual/elegant juxtaposition. Outfit #3 would look great with wide-legged beige or white pants instead of the cropped denim.

Have a great weekend! I hope you enjoy these "recipes!" As always, thank you for reading! Please let me know what you think! Are these tips helpful?

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Finding Luxe for Less

These days, it's all about how fast you can get something delivered or how easily something works or how inexpensively you can find something fabulous. I blame the glorification of busyness but that's a topic for an entirely separate blog post. And while I do my best to say no to things that will crowd my calendar, my closet or my life, I too confess to being too busy sometimes and find myself wanting to run away to an island. Or win the lottery so I never have to work for a paycheck...either one. Getting organized and simplifying life has been a top priority for me this year, as we are "paper pregnant." For those of you who've never heard that term, it means we're adopting and have finished all our paperwork. Yes, we still have education, interviews, a profile book and a home study to get through, and even after that could be waiting many months,  but I'm doing everything I can right now to get my house in order so I'm as prepared as one can be pre-baby (all you moms out there may go ahead and laugh at that statement, I know, "you're never ready..." but I'm talking organizing and finding things for less). So I've signed up for a couple things lately that I hope will make life simple. One is Stitch Fix. I know, you might be shocked at that statement. Why would a stylist need a stylist? (If you've never heard of StitchFix, it's a company that sends you 5 articles of clothing within a specified price range for $20/shipment. You can schedule as often or infrequently as you like and if you purchase items sent to you, the $20 fee is applied to those items.) Well, several reasons. Quite frankly, I'm curious! Everyone loves to receive gifts and I've heard such good things about them, not to mention I've seen some of my friend's picks and they are CAAUUUUTE. Another reason is while I love to style clients and friends in bright, fun colors I tend to stay in my neutral zone and sometimes need a push toward more color. Lastly, I'll admit - I'm scoping them out. I'd LOVE to work for a company like them and was curious to see how they operated, what kinds of labels they'd send and how the stylists interacted with me. I've only received one box so far but I can tell you I'm impressed. Both by what they sent and the level of customer service I've received. My box even included a note from my stylist congratulating me on our adoption! If you are interested in doing this, feel free to use my referral code.

Another is Blue Apron....we've just received our first order and haven't made anything yet but my SIL has been raving about it and we cooked one of her meals while babysitting our nephew. It was AMAZING - all fresh ingredients and very flavorful. And for $60/week for three fab meals, I say, "sign me up!" I'll share my free week code as soon as I get it! A friend of mine is doing EMeals...for $60 a year they send weekly recipes plus a shopping list based on categories you choose like Paleo, Low Carb, Low Calorie, Budget-Friendly, etc. Today I learned about an app called SuperDuper that gives inexpensive matches to designer nailpolishes like Chanel, Tom Ford and Yves Saint Laurent.

A cleaning company is also something I've been thinking about; I've been fanatical lately about cleaning (pretty sure they call that nesting!). I know I won't have the time or energy to really deep clean like I can now once baby arrives, so this would be great to outsource, maybe just once a month. If you know of any good local cleaning companies, please let me know!

So, back to luxe for less, sorry I digress...here are a few picks for you that are FABULOUS dupes of the real deal. Because sometimes saving money trumps having that label, am I right?!?!

  1. The Chloe Marcie - every top blogger and instablogger around has this fabulous handbag. And it's no wonder, the stitching detail is gorgeous, the shape is perfect and the tassels make me want to pack a bag and drive to Coachella. But, like I raved about in this post, Sole Society's Dayton studded whipstitched satchel is a very similar style for $64.95.

Chloe Marcie satchel

Chloe marciehtw_angelica_black_white_stripe_dayton_camel_ss259s_pink_multi_blank_nyc_evil_ways_jacket_meant_to_be_jeans_-2_a_6

 Sole Society Dayton Satchel

2. Kate Spade Meow sweatshirt - no longer available in the store, I did manage to find it here. I really don't know why I didn't buy a cute dupe I saw for $17 at H&M but recently found this cute one here on GroopDealz for $16.99. And between Etsy & make your own tee-shirt companies like Café Press, there's really no limit to what you can find or create on your own.

cats meow

Kate Spade Cat's Meow sweatshirt (XXS only)

Meow

GroopDealz Meow sweatshirt

3. Fringe necklaces - I've been seeing these beauties pop up all over my Instagram feed, but there is one local designer who does them very well. AND gives back to a great cause because of her story. So if I buy one, I'll be getting one from her. She handcrafts every piece, uses real leather and gorgeous accents on each unique piece. She is featured in several boutiques around the Charlotte area, you can check her site for locations. Below is a pic of "The Madison"...one of my faves. However, this IS a post about luxe for less, so I did find two similar styles at Forever 21 here and here, and while I'm VERY CERTAIN it won't be anywhere near the caliber of craft of the previous design, it does cost less and works if you just want to try out this trend to see if you like it.

ellison james

4. Aquazzurra lace-up shoes - These shoes have been all the rage since last fall (or was it the previous fall? I can't even remember...) when they were introduced. At any rate, they continue to be popular for spring. I've even seen a hot pink version! However at a steep $695, the Aquazzurra's are a tad too pricy for this girl, so I bought Shopbop's $65 version. Although I've seen them for as low as $25  here and here -  it just depends if you want suede, leather or neither.

aquazurra lace up flatsAquazzurra Lace up flats

Kady Ballet flats

Target Kady Ballet flats

 

lulus snakeskin flats

Zara Lace up flats

 

5. The Chloe Faye - a gorgeous crossbody with the stylish circular ring, every "it" girl at NYFW had one. At well over $2,500 I think I'll try the Forever 21 version, at an affordable $24.50.

Chloe Faye

Chloe Faye crossbody

shein bag

Shein chain-ring embellished satchel bag

I'd love to hear from you! What's  your favorite subscription, service or organizational trick that has saved you time or money. Share away in the comments section! Also, let me know if there's a topic you are curious about for an upcoming Friday Five.

 

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Friday Five: Spring Essentials

Spring is coming! Spring is coming! And quite frankly, even though it took a while for winter to arrive down here in the south, I'm already ready to be done with sweaters and boots for a while!  Everywhere I look - every magazine, talk show and blog seems to be talking about spring fashion necessities. So, here is my two cents on what every gal needs to freshen up her look this spring:

  1. Spring Jacket - a jacket in either of Pantone's Color(s) of the Year: rose quartz and serenity. There has been some buzz around varsity jackets, but if you want something classic, go for the ultimate chic-girl closet staple, the trenchcoat.pink macys trench

London Fog trench in Peony - Macy's

light blue trench

Light Blue trench coat - Amazon

2. GREEN - while some people define Spring's very essence with floral patterns, I prefer the fresh palette of green. Green is a great neutral and pairs well with so many colors. I love a pop of green with white denim. And there are so many pretty shades of green, too!

garden terrace dress

Garden Party dress - ModCloth

tassel earrings

Stone Tassel Earrings

pam breezely

Pam Breeze-ly - ModCloth

kate clutch

Kate Spade woven clutch - The Real Real

Florida top

Florida top - ModCloth

3. Sunglasses - Can you believe I've never bought an expensive pair of sunglasses? I never saw the need. Plus I figured I'd just crush them, lose them or scratch them. That was...until I tried on a pair of Ray Ban's...whoa. You can feel the difference in quality. They are much weightier, they fit my face better, I could go on and on. So I decided my next splurge would be a pair of those. Then I found a pair of Kate Spades at the outlet for WAY less and fell in love with the Audrey Hepburn-esque oversized shape. Regardless of what shape you like, there are always new trends out to try and spring is always a good time to protect those eyes! Oh, and if you've ever wondered what kind of glasses go with your face shape, I recently did some research for a client and found this handy little helper. You're welcome. :) Another way to try out designer sunglasses is through a cool company called Shop Ditto. You can rent from a huge selection of sunnies from $24 per month ($34 for prescription)! ANNNNDDDD....if you use code "scrubs" at checkout, you get your first month FREE! Also, check out this blog if you like to see her fun picks and say thanks for a free month!

kate sunnies

Kate Spade Lulu (other similar styles for MUCH less at the outlets)

raybans

Ray Ban Wayfarers - Nordstrom

 

4. New bag - New season, new bag - nuff said. It's time to put away that boring black bag you carried all winter and try out some fun colors! Or, if you prefer neutrals for your day to day bag (like me), check out this Chloe-look-alike at Sole Society that's only $64...I might lose my mind. And it's named after the city in Ohio I grew up in.  I think that is a sign I must buy it, right?

 

htw_dayton_camel

Dayton in Camel - Sole Society

5. 3/4  Sleeve Tops - Lately I've been OBSESSED over 3/4 length sleeves. Not sure if it's because they flatter my short little arms or that it's getting warmer here in Charlotte and they feel one step closer to a short-sleeved shirt! Either way, I've been seeing some CAAAUUUTE tops on all the boutiques I follow on Instagram. Oh, yeah, that's another #freestylisttip - boutiques are the WAY to go! Not only will you not be wearing what everyone else is, but boutiques offer patterns and colors you don't always see in department or other stores.  Now, don't get me wrong, you know I love me some LOFT, Banana Republic and even some of the chain boutiques (Vestique, Francesca's, Charming Charlie's) but the best ones are the little secret gems only true fashionistas know about. My local faves include Cheeky Bean, Tash, Copper Penny and KK Bloom. There are so many more online too! I've had good luck with @ilycouture and @ShoptheMint and plan to add something from @thecouturekitten very soon.

34 zuilily top

Navy Strap Wrap Hi-Lo Button-up - Zuilily

eyelet top

Tommy Hilfiger Eyelet top - 6pm

blue BR top2

Crepe Flutter Blouse - Banana Republic

Have a fabulous weekend!

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Friday Five - Spring Transition Pieces

I had so much fun this past week working with a new client! She chose the Closet Audit Package, so we went through her (very organized) closet to see what needed to go and what was missing. Recommendations were made, fun was had, lists were created. As we talked about closet staples, it got me thinking about transitioning winter pieces into spring.  The key to a solid wardrobe is a good mix of basic staples with some fun elements. Most staples can transfer from season to season (white tees, jeans, cardigans, trench coats) and then you can add in trendy, inexpensive items. Here's a few items on trend now that can transition into Spring with you.  

  1. Purse poufs - these fun furry poufs have been popular for a while now, ever since Fendi first debuted them at fashion shows last year. Everyone from Michael Kors, to H&M is jumping on the bandwagon. I've seen leather penguin charms at Coach and furry owls at Kate Spade; And since we're all just girls playing dress up,  I predict this trend will continue into the spring.

Frye-Shearling-Sheep-Bag-Charm MICHAEL-Michael-Kors-Selma-Key-Charm

 

Kate-Spade-Whale-Bag-Charm Dolce-and-Gabbana-Orange-Bag-Charm Burberry-Thomas-Pink-Bear-Bag-Charm

 

 

 

 

 

2. Gray denim - gray is fabulous for winter, I just found a pair at banana republic that fit like a dream (I'm a petite and have the HARDEST time finding anything I don't have to get altered). ANYHoo, I've been loving the soft combination of how gray denim looks with a cream sweater; just imagine these colors with Pantone's Colors of the Year rose quartz  and serenity (essentially, pink and a pale blue).

Express Gray Denim

express gray denim

Distressed Gray Skinny Ankle Jean - Gray

 Distressed Gray Skinny Ankle Jean - Gray

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. Plaid shirts - You've been wearing them all fall and winter, why not carry them into spring? Pair them with spring colors or pick up one in paler tones. Check out how cute these look with white jeans!

pink plaid + white jeansrails plaid shirt

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nordstrom Plaid shirt                                                                           Rails Plaid shirt

 

4. Rain boots! Not sure about your town, but Charlotte has a very rainy spring. The only thing that cheers me up sometimes is a bright outfit. And some fun rainboots. You can easily transition these to Spring with a tee shirt and trench coat. Plus, keep your eyes open, they might have an end of season sale on Hunters! I'll let you know if I see one! (Also, if you are a smaller size, like 5 or 6, you can actually fit into the Big Kids' versions of Hunters, which are way less expensive!) pink hunter bootsChooka rainboots

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hunter boots - PINK ON SALE for $104 (reg $150)               Chooka Polka Dot rainboots

5. Hats - While I'm not a huge hat-wearer (they always look weird on me), I LOVE seeing them on other people. One of my favorite bloggers wears them all the time, has them in all different colors; so I live vicariously through her. Here she is in today's post. Although I will caution you her hat is quite pricy; there are many cheaper options at Forever 21, Gap, Charming Charlie's and Amazon.

Aritzia-Turtleneck-Sweater-Astr-Dress-Nordstrom-Christine-Cameron-My-Style-Pill6-700x1050hat

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Janessa Leone hat                                                             Forever 21 straw wide brim fedora

 

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Friday Five - Resort Wear

I know, I know, Winter JUST arrived for most of us...but I'm kind of already over it! Yes, I'm enjoying wearing all my coats and gloves and hats and sweaters, but part of me is ready to see the first blooms on the trees and feel the warm sun on my skin again. I had to laugh out loud when I saw this video on Facebook today. My sentiments exactly, kid! Since stores are already gearing up for Spring with resortwear, activewear and swimsuits I thought I'd do a roundup of some of the great stuff that's available now. Some people don't know that's an actual "season" - Resort. That's why you see swimsuits at Target in January. It's a small season in between Fall and Spring lines, mostly brought on by the #jetsetters of the world who are wealthy enough to travel somewhere warm and exotic while the rest of us are shoveling snow and dealing with dry, cracked hands. Bitter? Never! Not me! I'll just be over here, dreaming about Spring.

1.Former model turned swimwear designer Tory Praver has created a diffusion line for Target. So CUTE! And this girl knows a thing or two about swimwear. Raised in Maui, Praver spent her days surfing and swimming. She modeled for Guess, Billabong, Sports Illustrated and more. Her designer collection can be seen here.

Pink TP design swimtop

Tory Praver Seafoam for Target

 

2.When I'm at the beach, I'm all about the "set up"...even though I don't spend the entire day roasting in the sun like I used to, I still like to have the perfect chair, the perfect towel, the perfect blanket...you get the idea. (I might be a bit of a perfectionist.) Although it's more about the hunt for me; I enjoy searching for a chair that is low, comfortable, has a cup holder AND can be carried like a backpack.

Last year I found the perfect one piece ! Honestly, it's been a battle between wanting to wear a bikini after 40 and wanting them french fries!!!  And to be perfectly frank, my family beach trip isn't the place for a skimpy swimsuit. I'd rather enjoy running after my nephew and bodysurfing the waves. BUT I do hate the feel of wet material on my tummy and sides, so the mesh on this suit is perfect for allowing the breeze in. It also met the criteria of no lines on top (but a strap to tie when running after said nephew), a lower-cut back (similar to this) so as not to get bizarre tan lines AND the added bonus of a slimming color-block pattern, YAY! So when I saw a pale blue linen cover-up on sale at JCrew that coordinated perfectly, I had to have it. The light blue is no longer available, but you can't go wrong with either white or black. Honestly, this cover-up is so pretty I'm going to see if I can get away with wearing it as a dress. Linen, fringe AND a tassel? Yes, please!

Splendid swimsuit (a few still available!) similar or  similar or  similarSplendid swimsuit

linen coverup

black linen cover up

JCrew Linen Cover up with Fringe

3. Have you seen these gorgeous ROUND beach blankets? Definitely on my Wish List for "the perfect blanket." 100% cotton and five feet wide, they can also be used as a cute coverup.

paradis-thebeachpeople

paradis-4-the-beach-people

 

4. Every summer I find myself in one pair of sandals. Last year (and maybe the year before) it was my trusty tan sandals from LOFT. But alas, they have been stretched to their limit. So I'm thinking these sandals shall be mine this year....but only if there's a good sale. Maybe putting it in print will make it more likely to happen?

TB_51138205_209_B

Tory Burch Miller Sandals in Vintage Vachetta

5. Lastly, you can't EVER go wrong with a gorgeous printed maxidress. And this one would look fabulous paired with a black leather jacket for those chilly Spring evenings. Another good site for resort wear is this one. It kinda reminds me of Victoria's Secret but with way more selection and much better pricing.

 

pink & black floral maxidress

 

Floral Maxidress

Only 65 days until Spring! But who's counting...

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Friday Five

Today's edition of Friday Five is for all you last-minute shoppers out there (and you KNOW who you are!). Luckily for you, today is the LAST day to be able to purchase at most major retailers and have the gift arrive by Christmas. That being said, I know some of you will procrastinate this weekend and then really be stuck scrambling at the last minute. So here are some ideas that I hope will help. You're Welcome! And Merry Christmas!!! As always, remember the Reason for the Season, our Lord and Savior, Jesus.

  1. Jammies  - I've always LOVED receiving jammies for Christmas, sets or just pants.  There's something about slipping under the covers after long day in brand new jammies. Slippers, scarf and glove sets or hats are also a good idea if you're shopping for the guy in your life.

jammies

1109_US_CA_M_Gifting_02

trapperhat

Banana Republic Kohl's  Macy's

2. A "Good Morning" basket. This could easily be done at any local coffee shop, Starbucks, TJ Maxx or Marshalls or even your local grocery or Target store, if they have Starbucks inside. Grab a cute mug, some coffee and either a nice journal and pen or a calendar or a cute little book. Sometimes a basket of smaller, related gifts can come off nicer because it appears you spent time thinking about it. But really, you can just tell the receiver your favorite blogger helped you out. ;)

papersource   KateJournal

eatcakemug

Swoozie's Nordstrom Kate Spade  Paper Source

3. A "Good Evening" basket. Same concept as above, but with either nice wine or old-fashioned glasses, a bottle of wine and a nice book. You could also include a gift certificate for a massage (sometimes local chains will have these available in grocery store kiosks).

reindeerwineholder

prosecco

coppermug

 

 

 

 

Total Wine  Crate and Barrel  Pier 1

4. Pre-made gift sets. These are the BOMB, ya'll. Usually they are filled with luxury items you'd never buy for yourself. Stop by any spice, olive oil or gourmet grocery store to find a WIDE variety of cool prepackages snacks, salts, gourmet spices, wines, etc. Paired with a cookbook, apron or something else (typically also available in gourmet cooking stores) that personalizes the gift will make it look as though you went the extra mile.

buildagift TJsteas

reserve_cold_brew_growler_32oz_summer2_us_ko

Trader Joe's   Sur La Table   Starbucks  Rush Espresso

5. Jewelry - When in doubt, people - go with bling! It never fails and if you don't know your BFF, SIL or MIL's exact taste, you can't go wrong with a gift card or even a gift certificate for a DIY day at a local bead shop. Some of my favorite pieces aren't real gold or true gemstones, but sentimental because a friend picked it out. Now, if you have time, you can certainly go to a department store or jewelry store, but below are a few unique and trendy options that the gal (or you!) in your life will love.

NCbarnecklace kendrascott

signet ring

Kendra Scott     Stella & Dot   Etsy

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Friday Five - Investment Basics

Hey there Fashionistas! It's that time of year where we are not only buying for others, but giving hubbies, boyfriends and friends gift ideas for us. And then there's always the "one for me, one for you" shopping that inevitably occurs (please tell me I'm not alone there)! I've been having to replace some of my well-worn basics lately and it got me thinking about doing a post on great basics to invest in. SO why not give these ideas to those that are asking for gift ideas? Of course, you can always find a great piece that fits your budget but if someone really WANTS to buy you a hand-crafted pair of Italian shoes...I'm not gonna say no!!! Here are five basics to splurge on that should be in every fashionista's closet.

1.White tees

While this may seem like a "duh" statement, the perfect white tee can add so much to your wardrobe. Paired with a cute skirt and sandals, it's an easy go-to for running summer errands, add skinny jeans, a leather jacket and heels for a night out with the girls, or a statement necklace and trench coat to liven up toddler drop off or pick up. I tend to go through my tees about once a year, so when you find that perfect fit I recommend buying more than one! Here are some of my top picks.

organic white tee company     rag&bone    alexander wang

womens-white-organic-cotton-round-neck-tshirtragandbonetee

twang4082812397_p2_1-1__UY295_QL90_

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. Trench coat/Leather coat/Winter coat

Ah, the ubiquitous Burberry trench coat...how you elude me. We won't talk about the time we saw one in our size at the #NSale  that was a three-in-one coat with a detachable hood and liner for over 75% off and didn't buy (WHAT were we thinking????). But I digress. Depending on what season it is and where you live, you need a good coat. I've been on the hunt for a new black leather jacket and actually put this one in my cart last night after reading the raving reviews. Also, a note for those of you who don't want to do leather for ethical reasons: Polyurethane (aka "vegan leather") has come a LONG way, baby. It really looks and feels like real leather.  Also needed in colder regions is a good winter coat. When I lived in the mountains of NC I discovered that warmth was more important than bulk, as were hoods! Faux fur is still hot this year so I've added this one with a great hooded detail.

 Burberry trench  Burberry on Ebay  Blank Denim  Bernardo Lands End  Columbia

burberryblankdenimorig

tanjkt2

landsend2

 

Columbia2

 

 

 

 

3. Black heels/Flats/Boots

Every girl needs a good pair of black heels. Period. The End. Here are a few options. Also, since we're making our Wish Lists today for others, why not ask for those fancy Tory Burch sandals you wanted all summer? Sure, you have to wait five months or so to wear them, but sometimes there are off-season sales on such items. Also on my list of coveted "basics" are Tory Burch sandals (Another sob story: I saw a tan pair in MY SIZE - FIVE, WHICH NEVER HAPPENS, at a consignment store for $80. To some of you that may sound like a lot, but they retail for over $200 and she was my fave designer throughout fashion classes. Unfortunately I had just promised hubby I wouldn't be spending AND he happened to be with me. SIGH. #thingsthatwillnevercomeagain Anyhoo....those babies are STILL on my wish list. Along with these boots (although if we're talking basics, go with black) and these sandals. Yes, I have a thing for Tory Burch.

Sam Edelman    Steve Madden  Hunter  Yosi Samra  Tory Reva flats

sam edelman heel

STEVEMADDEN-BOOTS_ODINA_BLACK

blkhunterboots

leopardflat TB_flats

 

 

4. Jeans

Every fashionista needs a pair of jeans that make her feel fabulous. Whether it's skinny jeans, flared (LOVING that this silhouette came back!), dark wash or light - you MUST have a go-to pair. That being said, I do have to break it to you that it will take time (and maybe 25 try-ons). This is where your stylist (AKA ME!) or a great salesperson can come in handy. Trying on pair after pair is really no fun; I can help by arriving to the store early and pulling a bunch of styles for you so they are waiting in the dressing room. Then, all you have to do is say "yeah" or "nay" and I'll refold and hang up the rejects. If you are in or near the Charlotte metropolitan area (or Dayton, OH area) and want my help, email a request for a quote - I promise I will work with you and your budget!

Paige Denim    Adriano Goldschmeid    Hudson

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AGjeans

smoke_and_mirrors_hudsonjeans

 

 

 

 

 

5. Handbag

Yes, yes, I know...you have a million handbags. Or you already have one that you love. Doesn't sound familiar? Great...keep reading. I typically go through handbags about every 3-6 months. But, since we're talking classic investment pieces today here are some lovely suggestions. I'm extremely picky about handbags - they have to have the right amount of space inside, have to be easy to access, have a shoulder strap to go hands-free AND preferably have feet (although I try not to set my good bags on the floor, EWW!) Whether your favorite neutral is black or tan, you cannot go wrong with these bags below.

Tory Burch York Tote      Kate Spade Ella     Rebecca Minkoff   Vera Bradley

yorktote

kateella RMhandbagveracheetah

 

 

 

 

 

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Friday Five...a little early

It's finally Thanksgiving this week, one of my favorite times of the year! I'm looking forward to enjoying time with family, good food and lots of relaxation. Like everyone else, my life has been way too busy and I'm trying really hard to live in the present, not worry about the future or regret the past. That being said though, let's talk Black Friday, shall we!?!? I love a good sale like anyone else but Black Friday has almost become more of a hassle these days than the fun outing it used to be.  From worrying about which stores are being unfair to their employees by opening on Thanksgiving to wondering if it's not a blessing to those who don't like their families or would simply rather work that day. And since my mom has just started radiation, she will definitely be too tired for an all-day outing like we used to do. I'll be happy with some good quality time and if we hit the stores, great - if not, fine by me. There's always Cyber Monday! :) With that in mind, here's a list  with a little something for everyone on Black Friday. Happy Thanksgiving!!

 

Thanksgiving

  1. If you are planning to go out on Black Friday, do your research. Check out this site, along with your local circulars and all your other favorite stores' websites for specials, coupon codes and deals.
  2. Wait until Cyber Monday! Sometimes these sales are as good or even BETTER than Black Friday deals.
  3. Stay home! Play dominoes with the family, watch your favorite movies, better yet - TAKE A NAP, revel in the fact that you (hopefully) have the day off and enjoy the downtime.
  4. Donate the money you would've spent to a local charity, specifically one that helps with food or clothing. Locally I like this one and this one and globally, you can't go wrong with this one. (Donating to these charities are also great Christmas gifts for those who don't need anything or that hard-to-buy-for relative).
  5. Make this year's newest dessert craze: the Cherpumple. It's three pies (cherry, pumpkin and apple) baked inside of a cake. Yes, you may have to go for a nine-mile run afterwards, but the experience alone is worth the street cred on social media. Take pics and let me know how it is! (my husband is serious about wanting to make this. Lord, help me!)

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  1. cherpumple

Friday Five

I've been doing some thinking lately about gifts for my styling clients. I'd like to give each client a parting gift of sorts, to help them care for the items we've just purchased. I don't want to give the same generic gift to everyone, but I also want it to be something I can buy ahead of time. So my thoughts turned to goody bags. I could have a few items ready that will benefit every client then add one special thing, something customized or special-tailored to fit each person's individualized needs. Some things I'm thinking of adding include Woolite Dark detergent, a travel sewing kit and a piece of Silvertex cloth. Then I thought, why not share some of my care tips with all my readers? So here are five of my favorite clothing care tips. Enjoy! And please pass along any tips you love! 1. Washing tips - ok, so you just bought a bunch of new clothes, so let's keep them looking colorful by using a special washing machine detergent for darks, like Woolite. This gentle formula will keep colors bright and your blacks black. No fading here!

woolite

 

2. Fabric pulls - It's inevitable. The cat or dog snags your sweater accidentally. Or worse yet you catch it on a piece of jewelry. So what to do with those strings? It depends on the fabric. If it's a wide-looped sweater (or something unlined) you can use something small and pointy (toothpick or safetypin) to gently push the fabric back in, while pulling gently from the other side. If it's a random string on a tightly woven piece (like a blazer or jeans), simply cut the string with very sharp scissors.

 

snag

 

3. Fabric pills - sometimes your favorite shirt or sweater will get knotted up fibers in areas like underarms from excessive wear or from rubbing against another fabric. In these cases, a fabric shaver can be used to safely remove those tiny knots resembling fuzzballs, as the shaver has a guard and won't take too much fabric off.

 

fabric pill

 

4. Silvertex - I just happened upon this great little trick while picking up fabric for a class project at Joanne's. The lady next to me was describing "that brown (or purple, below) fabric that lines hutches and keeps silver polished" when the associate said, "oh yes, you are talking about Silvertex." Being intrigued, I eavesdropped and found that this cloth can polish not only silver but basically anything else! I quickly bought a yard of it, cut it into small squares and have been using it ever since. The only caveat is you cannot wash this material, as the qualities that enable it to polish will be destroyed. But little 4"x6" square hasn't let me down in over two years! I put a piece in everyone's Christmas stocking that year and make sure it travels with me too, for shine on the go! Probably one of my favorite discoveries during my time at Parsons!

hutch with silvertex fabric inside 5. Stains  - While most stains can be taken care of with any good pre-treater, some are a little tougher to get out, like those that are oil-based (grease, salad-dressings) or something like red wine (or juice). For oil-based stains, try using Dawn dish liquid mixed with a little water. Gently rub the stain then launder. Some oil-based stains don't come completely out, but will at least fade enough to not be super noticable. For red wine or red juice, rinse as soon as possible with lukewarm water, then pour salt on the stain and make a paste of sorts. Pour boiling hot water over it and it should come out. It may take more than one round of salt & water. There is also this product, which I've used on my couch once or twice. But if you are anti-chemicals, you may want to check this out too.

 

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Friday Five

Hey Fashionistas! The travel season is upon us. Like I mentioned in yesterday's post, I'm traveling twice in the next two weeks - phew! So I've rounded up a list of my favorite travel accessories. I'd love to hear if you have any that you cannot travel without!  

  1. A battery pack. There are TONS out there, even cheap ones at the drugstore. But I have found that those don't last more than a couple months. I recently purchased this one with some Nordstrom points and it hasn't let me down yet. Plus it's really cute...BONUS!
  2. Trial sized items. I know, kind of a "duh" statement, but this girl LIKES her products. So it's critical for me, especially when traveling by plane that I have trial size or smaller for my carry-on. I never pack my makeup for fear of breakage or worse - it getting lost or delayed, quelle horror! There are a few ways to go about finding trial sized items. One is to simply go to the drug or grocery store and shop the trial aisle. Or you can stop by your hair salon, an Ulta  or Sephora to get smaller versions of your favorite high-end products. Yet another great place is here, a great site with lots of goodies you can't find anywhere else. Oh and if you're into online shopping, you can also shop here or here.
  3. Pillow, eye mask or blanket. Again, depending on where you are going and how you are getting there, you may need only one of these. Or you may need all three. Personally I LOVE an eye mask (it helps calm my brain for naps and blocks out the street light that's right outside my bedroom window) and have been using this since I found it at my fave boutique, Cheeky Bean, about a year ago. It's as soft as can be, washable and doesn't smush your face like some do. When driving, I bring my own pillow but here's a great article with links to a bunch of cool travel pillows. When driving or flying I wear a cozy sweater but if you prefer a blanket, this one is reasonably priced and not ginormous. And this one comes with it's own cute little pouch, which could be used for other items while traveling.
  4.  Shoe bags. Ok people, not to sound like a complete germaphobe but 80% of dirt in your home comes in through YOUR SHOES! Take a note from the Asian cultures and take them off at the door! That being said, you do not want the bottoms of your shoes to touch your clean clothes. This can be done cheaply, with any garment or purse bag you have laying around, or even a plastic bag works. However, if you want something cute, these fit the bill.
  5. Carry-on Bag. While this mostly applies to air travel, I always like to have a good bag that I can either stash everything into for a quick weekend getaway or all my toiletries/extras/shoes/whatever in when I also have a suitcase. I bought this expandable bag last year and let me tell you, I wish I'd bought like five. Not only does it fit under the airplane seat, but it's the most durable, best-sized bag I've come across in YEARS. When compressed, it's the perfect size for heading to the pool, beach or any weekend getaway (thus, the name, haha). It could probably also double as a great baby bag. Another bag I've been eyeing lately is this vegan leather beauty in a host of great fall colors. An instagram friend of mine said it was great, so of course now I'm obsessed. I missed out on their purse version of this bag, which ALSO had a bottom compartment for shoes, but the larger size may be more practical anyway. Finally, I use this in chevron for all my cosmetics. No, I don't have THAT many products! Which is exactly why I like it - it's large enough to hold several other items (night crème, toothbrush/toothpaste and brushes) when I travel. It's also durably-made, can be monogrammed and has a wipeable plastic interior. AND....it's on sale this month for only $5 with any $35 purchase. If you haven't checked out this brand, I highly recommend it. Not only are the products an organizer's dream, but it's a female-owned company focusing on empowering women by building relationships (based off of Proverbs 31). Oh, and they also have a fab new leather line. Just sayin'.

    Happy Travels, All!

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