All posts filed under “style

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Spring Style : Kristin

P1000390 after!

 

My business partner and I have been casually toying with the idea of expanding our interior design consulting business to include personal style as well (any stylists out there looking to collaborate – get in touch!), so to start we got some friends to volunteer to have their closets rifled through.

 

My friends were very game and gracious about the whole thing. And what I learned was pretty surprising – some people are kind of unmotivated about clothes the way I am about cooking/eating.

 

Ok, that’s not really that surprising. Most of us live in a hectic whirlwind, and when something doesn’t come easily, it tends to get overlooked – for me, cooking/eating, and for others, shopping/dressing. Throw in a little body dysmorphia (I think most of us have a slightly skewed vision of what we see in the mirror), and suddenly a perfectly cute girl isn’t dressing up to her full potential.

 

Like cooking and eating, I think the key to foolproof dressing, in real life, are trusty pieces and combinations thereof that you can return to time and again, and tweak as needed.

 

When picking those items the single most important thing to consider is fit! Even a cute piece of clothing will still look awful if it doesn’t fit you, and vice versa. So when shopping take along someone you can trust to be honest, and whose honesty won’t hurt your feelings. It’s the only way you’ll really know how something looks.

 

I was surprised by how my friends were hiding under oversized clothes because of a perception of their perfectly smokin’ bodies that had been created when they were teenagers and never discarded. So I really cannot stress it enough – shop with someone who will tell you how hot you are, and who will tell you when something is not accentuating that hotness!

 

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before!

 

For this little experiment, I met up with Kristin, who is a perfect example of someone who was hiding under clothes that didn’t fit! Even if your office is cold, bulky sweaters can still hug curves, and are best when paired with skirts and leggings to balance out the look.

 

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during…

 

I critiqued a lot of her existing wardrobe in terms of fit (I thought this would be so hard, but surprisingly I found it easy to bust out my brutal honesty, and I was relieved that she found it helpful!), and we tried to create some new outfits from existing pieces that would be work-appropriate, but still young and stylish.

 

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after!

 

After our meeting, I made her a Pinboard on Pinterest of pieces I thought she could use:

 

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I recommended a lot of work-appropriate separates – tops and bottoms that can be mixed and matched, and dresses that can be worn with a cardigan for work and without for after-work drinks and dates.

 

Heels are universally flattering, and can still be comfortable and manageable if they’re in the 2-3” range, especially if they’re wedges.

 

A modern cut, well-fitting suit is crucial if you have to wear one once in a while, but most offices and interviews are fine with dressy separates these days. My thoughts on suits are: if you have to wear them on a regular basis, you should probably getting paid enough to go get a couple custom-tailored for you. 🙂

 

P1000391An “okay” suit… and definitely not the worst I saw during my “makeovers”…

 

Stay tuned as I showcase my other two victims, mwah ha ha ha.

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Money, Beauty, and Self-worth

A lot of what I’ve been reading lately has made me come back around to this post which I wrote in December but was previously too chicken-shit to post, because ya know, there’s just oodles of people out there reading. 🙂

 

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my most favoritest picture, taken by sej

 

When I picked up Smart Couples Finish Rich I was NOT expecting to have a major life revelation. But for a number of reasons, some big issues that had been in the back of my brain were dragged front and center, culminating in an SCFR-induced meltdown.

 

It began with a post of Meg’s that talked about fashion and created a great analogy about taking risks, and owning your choices. I was really loving on it until I read a downer comment that got into how not cool the commenter thought bringing fashion into things was.

 

See, I have this thing where I am super empathetic. I have been told it is admirable, and many people like this about me, but man, it can get in the way sometimes. I read comments like this, and think, oh wow, this girl kind of has a point. She’s clearly very hurt, and while obviously it wasn’t directed at her personally, I see what she’s saying about the exclusivity and elitism of fashion.

 

But then I let the dust in my head settle for a while, and thought about it again. And this time my reaction went more like: "Uhh, noooo. Stop taking it personally! Look at the bigger picture! Fashion isn’t your thing, but that doesn’t mean you should demean it being anyone else’s!”

 

Because the thing was, I was sitting there feeling GUILTY about wanting to put more fashion on my blog, all because *this* girl didn’t like fashion?!

 

What had seemed particularly unfair was that the blogger Meg referenced in her uncommon references to fashion was someone who seemed very committed to making it accessible not elitist! And this is something I believe in strongly. I looove clothes, and shoes, and generally wearing them, and my friends tell me I’m pretty f*cking good at it, so why wouldn’t I post things about how I shop and how I pick and choose things, on my average Target-scaled budget, so that people who are looking for inspiration or advice, etc. might enjoy it?

 

It is crazy how intrinsically we women can let ourselves be intimidated by other women. If someone is better or has more experience at something that you are interested in than you are, then aren’t they someone to learn from, not hate on?

 

Lesson learned: Be proud of what you love and some people will respect you for it. Others won’t. You can’t be all things for all people. This I have difficulty remembering.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

It’s this mindset of scarcity that brings me to the next thing I learned. Meg said it best: yesterday:

I’ve been thinking about how, as women, we often undervalue ourselves, our life stories, and what we’re capable of, and that leads to lost potential. We think, "I can’t do that, I can’t dream that big, I’m being selfish to even think about this, I don’t deserve to earn (or have my company earn) that much money, I shouldn’t have delusions of grandeur." And when this happens, we all lose. Think of all those projects that could have been created, those businesses that could have thrived, that money that could be flowing back into our communities. When we cut ourselves off at the knees we lose all that, our communities lose all that, we all lose.

[Read more: http://apracticalwedding.com/2011/04/reclaiming-wife-women-money-and-self-worth-part-ii/#ixzz1IuH3j7A7]

 

So at the beginning of Smart Couples Finish Rich, they ask you to define your values. (I will save the discussion of how Scott and my values did and did not align and that portion of the subsequent meltdown for another day.)

 

It was the first time I thought openly about why I wanted to earn money, umm, ever. Usually I just chalk it up to my upbringing, and my single mother scarring me into feeling I needed a stable job that paid the bills. (The concept of depending on anyone else for any kind of financial support was totally out of the question.) But I’ve recently realized that some of my “wants” are scary ingrained. Like, why did 5-yr old me get hooked on Travel + Leisure and Architectural.Digest  before I could even read? So I think what my mom was really saying was that I needed to get a job to pay the bills so that I could afford what I already wanted deep inside.

 

Beauty.

 

It’s not easy to admit it, because I think culturally beauty gets tied up with vanity, and materialism, and greed, but it’s the driving force behind my life.

 

In the heat of the moment, here is what I wrote about my values:

 

I want abundance.

As in, I want A LOT of money.

There I said it, it’s out there now, and there’s no turning back.

See, I was once a little girl with big ideas.

And then somewhere along the line I was made to feel that those big wants and big dreams were silly and unrealizable.

And that little girl almost faded away, and I’ve been fighting to bring her back ever since I noticed she was gone.

But years of ingrained expectations and norms are stubborn.

Nice girls don’t need a lot of money. Much less A LOT of money.

That would be greedy.

Well, then I need to learn to own my greediness.

Why do I want all this money?

Because I love beautiful things.

Dear god, I just flat out said it, and there’s no stopping me now.

Beauty feeds my soul.

It sustains my very existence.

I want to be surrounded by it at all times, and you know what, that’s A-FUCKING-OK.

And I want to take my big ideas and DO THEM.

And take the people I love for the ride, and make a difference in the lives of others.

I want to save beautiful things and places from the brink of destruction.

And I want to be fulfilled by it, by knowing I made a mark somewhere.

And by the security of my success, of knowing that I can help anyone I love who needs me. Because so many people have helped me already.

 

And then I let Scott read it and he just looked at me and shrugged, in that boy simplicity. The “This is all the crying is about? Yea, ok cool.” And I kind of wanted to stab him, because, this IS fucking scary, this admitting for real what I want, what I need, out of my time on the planet. Even in the most general of terms.

 

Lesson learned: Admitting your deepest needs gives you everything and nothing. Because, now that I know, what next?

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Wedding : Shoes, check.

P1000500 Packard by Harajuku Lovers

This whole winter’s last vengeance bullshit that’s occurring outside my NYC office window right now is making me lust for spring shoes even more than I already have been for the last week.

Shoes that do not require multiple pairs of socks and are decidedly NOT waterproof. Shoes like my “wedding shoes.”

I’m soo excited to be wearing a very awesome pair that have been sitting in my closet just waiting for the right occasion. And I JUST decided that white fishnets will be the perfect shoe to dress transition for mid-September. Yay.

[Doesn’t our floor look just fantastic. It’s tar with a hint of abestos.]

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Rebecca Minkoff is f*cking hilarious.

 lindsay-lohan-rebecca-minkoff-bag2 "We gave Lindsay Lohan a bag. Back when she was someone you wanted to give bags to…"

Because I’m an irresponsible blogger I can’t say much more than that about this evening’s event at the Learning Annex. In fact, it didn’t hit me until the last 30 seconds that I could/should be approaching the evening as a blog-related outing. Whoops.

 

Instead I randomly saw the seminar on Ideeli and it sounded like a nice "me" time event. And it was. Even though I haven’t wanted to be a fashion designer since I was 5, I found myself scribbling down the names and websites of sources for everything from bag hardware to "factors" (which is like a fashion world verson of an elderly Jewish uncle with cash to loan). I was blown away by her hilarious candor and utter willingness to share all this information freely. She is an encyclopedia of resources, and based on tonight’s talk, I think I can safely say that this is not a woman who believes in scarcity. This is a woman who believes that what you give, you’ll get back tenfold, and that the more people succeed, the more success there is for all of us. It reminded me of Meg and APW in a way, so warm fuzzies there.

 

And did I mention she’s hilarious, in a very wryly unintentional way? I wish I’d had a tape recorder. But then I would feel guilty about blogging about what seemed like insider info. A reporter I really am not meant to be.

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Style Mentor : Kate

 

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pc: whowhatwear

 

Sometimes I wear things that are a little…"risky"? Winter shorts was one of these. I tried this look back in October, felt like I was getting stared at (not in a good way), and abandoned it. Ugh, I need to stop listening to that feeling. If Kate can wear it, so can I. Stay tuned for when I try again, which probably won’t be until March when there’s less than a foot of snow on the ground.

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Say “No” to the Dress

Weddings are a crazy land of finality (I mean, you’re only *supposed* to do it once), and "suppose to’s" and "shoulds." To draw a parallel, while I was OK with "proposing" myself, I could not let go of feeling like I should be proposed to as well, because this is what I have been fed since childhood. I’m the kind of person that gets quite set on certain things being certain ways, and for me that was one of them, even though intellectually I wanted to be above it.

 

I think there’s a room for A LOT of those feelings in the whole world of weddings and it’s a tricky course to avoid them—it’s like an undertow. You can’t see or anticipate those things that will not you off course—but suddenly you’re crying over confetti (or something else).

 

For example, "THE Dress." Much like one’s fiance, one is conditioned to look for the ONE. (Or the TWO, in these days of excess that I may or may not participate in…)

 

Despite my usually unconventional tastes, I’d always dreamed of getting married in Oscar de la Renta (unconventional tastes yes, befitting of my budget no). Well, when it occurred to me that people just might sell off their OdlR dresses at well below the retail price on the interwebs, this childhood fantasy was suddenly close to reality.

 

Of course, the ones that have come up so far haven’t exactly been very "me", and that’s been a tough line to draw… what’s more important: Oscar? Or not getting married in a cupcake?

Oscar de la Renta wedding

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I chose to say "no" to these Oscar dresses on ebay even though they got verrry close to my budget… It was NOT easy, but I’m trying, *trying* to stick to my fashion—and other—principles…

 

(And there’s another little number I’ve got my ebay-stalking eye on…)

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Theme of the Day, or Month, or Year…

I don’t really believe in coincidences.

 

Eons ago, I did a blog for a few months where I tracked those random things that would pop up in clusters. Sudden frequent references to flugelhorns, or talking mice, or the French Revolution.

 

sfh-300GRhires1mice_friends travel-france-pic-liberte

It was uncanny. And of course recording it seemed to breed it. I’m sure one could argue it has something to do with cosmic energy or the Law of Attraction, but regardless why, I know it happens. And when the material of the coincidences is weighty, I know to pay attention.

 

Well that’s what’s been happening a lot over the last few months, and dear god, now that 2011 is here, things are really adding up.

 

First Mondo Beyondo, then Brené Brown, kept coming up places like APW, and then it was suddenly everywhere. Money, self-worth, values, martyrdom, all things that were discussed on APW became huge lessons to be learned in real life. I started reading Smart Couples Finish Rich…had a huge value-related breakthrough, but switched gears when I found Tim Ferriss, and then through him, I Will Teach You to Be Rich. But now I’m taking Mondo Beyondo, and guess what we’re talking about? Values.

 

Full circle, weirdly-connected internet/real-world world.

 

This all has prompted me to create myself a 2011 syllabus where I will explore all these people and their writing and philosophies with the intent of carving out my own little life philosophy, and finishing up all the work I’ve been doing on myself for the last 2 years. I think really knowing myself and who I want to be while I’m still a few years shy of the big 30 is as admirable as a PhD, so there you go. (Not to say I’m not totally going for the PhD sooner rather than later.)

 

So I will be spending the next few months reading, and thinking, and dreaming, and hustling. And writing. I plan to accomplish one heavy thinking post (based on a little prompt I create in my syllabus) each week. 🙂

 

And I still have some of 2010 to recap too…

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wedding tumblr

i have one. it’s a super fun thing to do. and quite helpful in terms of organizing inspiration. thanks aimee for the tip.

 

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(and apologies for the borrowing of anyone’s pics without permission. i tried to give credit as appropriate, and will likely be it all down post-wedding. but please contact me to request something be taken down immediately.)

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Black & White & Yellow All Over, Cashmere Edition

So I finally (16 months later) caved. Apparently $69 + shipping & tax on Ideeli was cheap enough to make me a cashmere convert.

 

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And, oh my god, was I ever converted.

 

Being as broke as I generally have been, I’ve never bought myself cashmere I have a couple cashmere/partial-cashmere hand-me-downs. But man, are they nothing like KnitWit. It’s like wearing a hug, I swear to god.

 

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DSCF1057knitwit hoodie, victoria’s secret pima cotton turtleneck tunic, jcrew pearls, yellow puffer jacket courtesy of my late mother & sears circa the ’70s, american apparel circle scarf, jeans from charlotte russe

 

I’ll probably usually ignore the yellow accents on the hoodie, but for its first outing I choose to embrace them, and the results happily reminded me of this wedding, visually one of my favorites:

 

 

Next up, actively preventing myself for blowing my savings on KnitWit hoodies…