Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Sometimes we're confronted with an invitation that strongly suggests that we get super dressed up.  EEEEEK....

If you're sure that it's absolutely obligatory that you dress to the teeth, just brace yourself and go shopping.  But if you are pretty certain that you just need to be dressy, maybe a simple dress with some well-chosen accessories might be just the ticket!

black dress with metallic cardigans
black dress - Acne, earrings – Monies, bronze sequined cardigan – Simona 
 Barbieri, bronze bag – Lanvin, bronze sandals – Touchups by Benjamin Walk,
 gold cardigan – Golden Goose Deluxe Brand, onyx stud earrings – Chen Fuchs,
 fringed bag – Sabrina Tach,  gold-trimmed pumps – Cole Haan

black dress with sequined cardigan
black dress - Acnegrey moonstone earrings – Vivien Frank, silver cardigan – 
Golden GooseDeluxe Brand, clutch bag – Roque Bags, pewter pumps – J. Renee
sequined waterfall cardigan – Donna Karan, lace earrings – Liz Law
clutch bag – MeDusa, black pumps – Vince 

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Monday, December 30, 2013

a wardrobe "Cluster" built around a grey wool dress, with 2 options for shoes, hosiery, scarves and jewelry
The grey winter dress "cluster"
It's an absolutely unbreakable rule for cleaning out your closet - you're supposed to take EVERYTHING out of your closet, pile it somewhere like on your bed, try EVERYTHING on, and then sort things into piles for things to keep, things to donate, and things to "work on".

I can picture that chez moi:
  1. Open bottle of wine.
  2. Take all clothes out of closet and put them on the bed.
  3. Look at stacks of clothes and feel a terrible combination of shame, panic, and sense of being completely overwhelmed by the situation.
  4. Drink wine.
  5. Try on a few of my favorite garments, and put them back in my closet.
  6. Take another drink.
  7. Throw up my hands in despair and put things back where they were...
I'm sure that some of you have done this the proper way, and have had great results.  I'm eager to hear from you about how long it took, and what it was like to execute the project properly.

a wardrobe "Cluster" built around a black velvet skirt, with two sweater options
The black velvet mid-calf skirt "cluster"

But for me, an incremental approach is the only way this is going to happen.  So I'm going to go the "cluster" route.  It works like this:

  1. Pick a dress, pair of pants, or skirt.
  2. Figure out at least two ways that I'm going to wear it.  In the example of the dress above, I can be sort of casual-ish with opaque tights and flats, or it can be dressier, with sheer stockings and pumps. Your "cluster" might be three different ways to wear something - there are no rules here.
  3. Segregate EVERYTHING necessary to this "cluster".  I'm thinking of putting things onto my portable hanging rack for a few days, shoes on the floor, and accessories... somewhere...
  4. Move on to the next core garment, build the cluster, segregate the garments and accessories in the "keeper" area.
You could set aside part of your closet for the completed clusters, or you could put them somewhere entirely separate for a few days.  (lots of people show photographs of storing their clothes on an open rack in their home, which looks cool, but bear in mind that light and dust are damaging to clothes - there's a reason we have closets...)

I'm going to pursue this idea in my closet, because it will help me not only get my clothing under control, but it will also help me to see what shoes, hosiery, scarves and jewelry are actively being worn.  Just trying on clothes won't necessarily address some of my worst areas of clutter - I need to get a better handle on my accessory madness.

When I get to the point that I have a favorite item in my hands, and I see that there's no outfit "cluster" in which this item works, I'll have some clear-cut ideas about what shopping I might want to consider.

Items that never make it into a cluster - get donated.  There's a ton of people in the world who could use the things that are laying dormant in my wardrobe.

a wardrobe "Cluster" built around a grey dotted skirt, with two options for sweaters and jewelry
The grey dotted skirt "cluster"

a wardrobe "Cluster" built around a pair of grey flannel trousers, with two sweater options
The grey flannel trousers "cluster"

I've got four clusters chosen right now, and I've only used one Hermes scarf; the black and white scarf with my velvet skirt is an ancient Dolce & Gabbana.  What does this tell me?  (uh, my life has changed a LOT recently?)

And wouldn't 3 or 4 clusters make a GREAT suitcase?

For those of you who were wondering what Susan would buy with the $25 gift card for Novica, dash over to see her at Over 60 and Over Here today, where you can admire her lovely choices...


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Saturday, December 28, 2013

Pastel silk tunics can go undercover during the work day, but look gorgeous after work.  Some dressy earrings, a small bag, and some dressier shoes, and you're all set!

Cardigan – Theory, suede loafers - Aetrex, silk and cotton tunic – Schumacher, velvet pants – L’Agence, earrings – Ifat Nesher, clutch bag – Maison Martin Margiela 11, cap-toed flats - Softwalk

Cardigan – Mint Velvet, oxfords – Splendid,  silk blouse – Mason’s, jeans J Jones New York, amethyst earrings – Khun Boom, metal clutch – Volum, loafers – See by Chloe

Cardigan – Boy by Band of Outsiders, tan loafers – Clarks,  peach silk cotton blouse – M. Grifoni Denim, corduroy pants – Viyella, earrings – Alexis Bittar, cross-body bag – Givenchy, ballet flats – Paul Green

Navy cardigan – Samya, navy leather loafers – Lacoste, seafoam silk tunic – Sass and Bide, navy trousers – Chloe, earrings – Yoola, clutch bag – Torula, navy cap-toed ballet flats - Vaneli

Friday, December 27, 2013

I don't see a lot of bracelets in the world, and I think that's too bad.  Bracelets elevate any outfit to something much dressier, and they're particularly effective at the dinner table.  Make sure that you're choose bracelets that aren't too bangy or clinky or clanky - you want to be beautiful, but not to the point of distraction!

For all of these outfits, I've shown a very simple 3/4 sleeve ("bracelet" sleeve) top, in a color matching the pants, and for day I've topped them with a cardigan that makes sort of a statement, and some simple loafers.  Then after work, in addition to pulling on your bracelets, I'm suggesting some shiny shoes - always flat and comfortable though!  A change of flat shoes is easy to carry in your bag, and can make a lot of difference in how you look and feel for your evening out.

Cardigan – Suss,  penny loafers – Sebago, ¾ sleeve blouse – Uniqlo, velvet pants – L’Agence, woven bracelet – Achara,  brushed silver bracelet – Achara, patent loafers – Natural Soul by Naturalizers

Cardigan – Seasalt, flats – Dr. Scholl’s, tee shirt – Uniqlo, corduroy pants – Viyella, links bracelet – Alice Menter Jewellery, Coptic patterned bracelet – Seawolf, bronze flats - Orthaheel

Cardigan – Beckley by Melissa, silver loafers – Lauren Ralph Lauren, tee shirt – Uniqlo, jeans – J Jones New York, round pearl bracelet – Bhavesh, pearl dangle bracelet – Buana, perforated flats - Earthies

CardiganEast, navy loafers – Trotters, tee shirt – Uniqlo, navy trousers – Chloe, gold honeycomb cuff bracelet – La Corzaby Sabo Designs, navy chain-trimmed flats – Bella Vita, crystal cuff bracelets - byrufina

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Another one of those unexpected, but really eye-catching, uses of accessories to breathe life into dark outerwear, on dark days.
Duffle coat- Yves Saint Laurent, messenger bag – Fossil, boots – Cole Haan,  down jacket – Moncler, shoulder bag – nette’ leather goods,  boots- Steve Madden

Collarless coat- Dosa,   cross body bag – Fendi, boots- MIA, nylon car coat – Aspesi, shoulder bag – My Choice, buckle boots- Timberland

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Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Every day, not just today, look for ways to inject more love into everything you do.

Every conversation.

Every interaction.

Every email.

Every glance at a stranger.

Become the person known for radiating love (and therefore peace) to the world.

I love you all, and appreciate everything you bring to the world,


Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Sometimes, the easiest way to prepare for an evening out is to take a moment behind closed doors, slip out of your blouse or tee shirt, and button your cardigan (not quite all the way up!) over bare skin.  If your cardigan is lightweight, not at ALL scratchy, and buttons up far enough for you to be comfortable, it's a great option to consider wearing it on it's own.  Add more festive footwear, and some beautiful jewelry, push up your sleeves a bit, and smile!

Cardigan – AustinReed, chalcedony bracelet – Sikara and Co., loafers – KG KurtGeiger,  tee shirt – Dorothy Perkinsnavy trousers – Chloe, chalcedony earrings – NeeruGoel, ballet flats - Rockport

Cardigan – CC Fashion, silk scarf – Esther Bonte,  black oxfords – Propet,  tee shirt – T by Alexander Wang, velvet pants – L’Agenceamethyst earrings and ring Alok Jain, flats – DV by Dolce Vita

Yellow cardigan – APC,  scarf – Antagoniste, driving shoes – Bernardo, tee shirt – Sophie Hulle, grey trousers – Boss Hugo Boss, yellow zircon necklace – Bottega Veneta, silver grey flats – Via Spiga

Even if you are a VERY casual person, sparkly shoes and a serious necklace will elevate your jeans to an evening-appropriate ensemble.
CardiganAiayu, sneakers – Onitsuka Tiger, orange Henley – Uniqlo, jeans – J Jones New York, carnelian necklace – Narayani, sequined flats - Aerosoles

Monday, December 23, 2013

Men have worn camel and grey together since... forever?  but I don't see women wearing camel very often, and very seldom with grey.  It stands out in the oceans of black that I see this time of year, and looked very chic on the cold streets of Chicago!

Wrap – milleneufcentquatrevingtquatre, Camel jacket – Austin Reed,  grey jeans – 7 for All Mankind, fabric flats – Aerosoles, wrap coat – Jaeger, shibori silk scarf- Cathayana,  wedge pumps - Aquatalia
Camel collarless coat- Sonia Rykiel, scarf –Ana Maison, boots – Dr. Scholl’s, A-line coat –Viyella,  scarf- Etro,  boots- Aetrex

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Saturday, December 21, 2013

Some people just don't feel comfortable wearing bright colors, or colors that extend much beyond their chosen neutrals, and they've been despairing that there was no way for them to be sufficiently dressy for after-work activities.  My suggestion - don't underestimate the effect that a metallic colored or finished top can bring to your everyday clothes!

These, again, are three of the "suit-like" looks that I used a few days ago.  (I am NOT doing this because I'm lazy - I'm trying to show the inherent versatility in neutral basics.  Some people think I'm taking the easy way out...)

Starting with the cardigan or jacket, and the pants, a neutral pair of comfortable work shoes are all you need for day. To switch to evening, add some eye-catching earrings, a cross-body bag that leaves your hands free for drinking/nibbling/hand-shaking, and some pretty shoes, still in your neutral.  Nothing flashy, still nicely neutral, but unquestionably dressed up for the event!

 Even khakis can go out to dinner with some pretty silk and some dressy earrings.
CardiganA La Fois,  oxfords – Franco Sarto,  gold tee shirt – Aula Aila, stone jeans – CC Fashions, peacock earrings – Giuliana Valz-Gen, crossbody bag – Cesca, metallic flats – Walking Cradles  
This tee shirt looks so comfortable, but the metallic sheen makes it dressy enough for many a soiree.
Blazer- MaxMara, black loafers – Walking Cradlesvelvet pants – L’Agencebronze tee shirt – Harvey Faircloth, smoky quartz earrings – Khun Boom, black mesh cross-body bag – Whiting and Davis,  jeweled flats - Bandolino

Love this little velvet bag....
Knit blazer – BARK,  loafers – Aravon,  metallic tee – Tia Cibani, grey trousers – Boss Hugo Boss, teardrop earrings – Gianluca Anzani,  velvet cross-body bag – IngeChristopher,  jeweled flats – David Tutera