Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Summer and Fall Combined

Everyday I am seeing more and more signs of fall fashion ... richer colors, longer sleeves, more layers. But despite our deepest fashion desires to go full steam ahead with tights, scarves, boots, and sweaters, the reality of the weather forces the transition to be a slow progression versus a total transformation.

Becky captures the subtle seasonal evolution with a light weight, airy skirt that has a rich, bold pattern. The bare legs are reminiscent of the summer but the covered arms beg for fall. The tank allows her to take off her jean jacket if the mercury rises to unanticipated summer temps. And I absolutely love the juxtaposition of the bare legs and the closed-toed flats. The most perfect way to combine cold with hot.

(Skirt - Old Navy, jean jacket - GAP, tank - F21, shoes - Ann Taylor Loft)

And BTW, Becky is so clever. Her skirt is not originally high-waisted. But a small hand sewn stitch on the waist band allows her to tighten and gather the skirt around her middle. It stays hidden because of all the pleats on the top and the fullness on the bottom. Best of all, once the high-waisted trend has run its course, she can just cut the stitch out with no harm done.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Make It Work

In honor of Project Runway's re-emergence tomorrow, let me share some words of wisdom and advice from Tim Gunn on how to create a unique but focused personal style:

"Select your five favorite items from your wardrobe and ask yourself, 'What do these pieces have in common?' Is it color, simplicity of line, or a common fabric? Once you pinpoint what resonates, why not check any potential purchases to see if they share the same criteria?"

Photo source:

Thursday, August 13, 2009

BCBG Final Cut

BCBG Max Azria has recently started a new store format called BCBG Final Cut, and according to the website the store offers "designer mix of former-season favorites and always on trend pieces at fabulous discounts." So in simple terms an outlet store. Lucky us a Final Cut opened August 6th at the Tanger Outlet Mall in Branson, MO. I got to check it out over opening weekend.

Overall assessment: Definitely worth a trip if you are in Branson but not worth going to Branson just for a store visit. The retail space was bare bones with no atmosphere. However, the sales people made-up for what the atmosphere lacked. They were helpful and pleasant, but not pushy. Once clued-in on my name, they always addressed me as such. The merchandise was a hit or miss with both the collection and the price. The great: The dress selection (which is always one of Max Azria's strengths) is amazing with plenty of totally on-trend and sophisticated dresses perfect for any upcoming weddings. The good: I recognized several pieces from just this spring but at a third of the price. The OK: The collection is much too classic for my taste, but perfect for a chic, professional woman. The bad: All the items I wanted were still $80 to $100 ... too much for me to pay at an outlet.

I did get a very funky parachute, navy jacket that I can't wait to wear this fall, and I signed up for their email blasts so I am notified about sales and specials.

If you are not a NWA gal, while researching for this post, I found out that they have an online format of Final Cut. Check it out here and happy shopping!!!!

Picture Source:

Friday, August 7, 2009

Closet Intervention - Part 2

So now that you have purged and organized your closet (or at least thought about it), let's talk how to ideate fantastic outfits. Doing the prep work of creating 10 to 15 well thought out looks removes the stress of getting ready in the morning. Trust me ... this helps set a much better tone for the entire day.

3) Ideating

To get started choose 10 to 15 key pieces that you love or would love to create a look around. The pieces can be anything: pants, skirts, dresses, accessories, etc. Next, seek inspiration! Prior to an ensemble-building session, I get my fashion juices flowing by browsing through my favorite blogs, websites, and of course my trusty Lucky magazine. Don't take the inspiration too literally. Don't look for looks you can completely replicate because you likely won't find any. Instead, look for shapes, colors, and general concepts you can copy.

Once you are good and inspired, take one piece and begin to ideate and create. Think outside the box. Choose things to try that you never would. I made Katie try on three or four things before we found one outfit.

Here are the things I think about when I create outfits: Layer! I love vests, cardigans, and jackets. Layers make an outfit look more purposeful and put together. Use belts! Belts can transform an outfit's shape by taking a frumpy shirt and turning it into a sexy, hourglass look. Go for contrasting colors! I love two bright, off-setting colors that add a punch of intrigue. Seek balance! If you go flowy and voluminous on top, look for slim, streamlined pieces on the bottom (or vice versa). Finally, don't forget to accessorize! Choose layered necklaces or scarves to complete your look.

Once you are satisfied, be sure and take a picture. I use my cell phone, so I can easily browse through my options while standing in my closet.

Now to reveal some of Katie's new looks from her Closet Intervention ...

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Closet Intervention - Part 1

Every season I prep for the weather change by purging, organizing, and ideating outfits from my closet. Since fall is teasing us, I thought I could challenge you to conduct a Closet Intervention. I recently helped my friend Katie with her closet and have some tips:

1. Purge!

Create three piles -- 1) Donate, 2) Throw away, and 3) Mend. Become your own worst fashion enemy. I was ruthless with Katie. If it had a hole, was pilly, or she hadn't worn it in a year, I forced her to put it in a pile. Often people hypothesize that I have a huge closet of racks and stacks of clothes. Quite the contrary. It is easier to see unique combinations when you have less to pilfer through.

I know as women we can become emotionally and irrationally attached to things, including clothes. Taking this into consideration, I allowed Katie to keep five "emotional pieces" ... but that was it. What is the point of cluttering up a closet with clothes you don't wear just because it was the shirt you had on when you got your first kiss?

As you are going through all your clothes, make note of what you have and what you need. I had Katie create a wish list of wardrobe must-haves (Katie needed jackets/blazers, a tailored vest, and a good pencil skirt). This will help focus your fall shopping.

2. Organize!

To help see all the wonderful wardrobe options at your fingertips, you need to organize your closet. How you do that is up to you. I prefer to do it by sleeve length and Katie preferred to do it by color.

After organizing, comes the fun part ... But you will have to stay tuned for the next post. I will give you tips on how to create a whole arsenal of outfits and show you some of the outfits Katie now has to pick from.