Sunday, March 24, 2013

Spring Cleaning Your Closet

As I look out a window of gray skies, and temperatures still hovering in the 40's, I find myself daydreaming about Spring and and my Spring wardrobe. Here we are, late March in DC and it remains strategically tucked away in my shoebox of an apartment in the city. It's just not time to switch yet, which is becoming a test of my patience. I love my Spring wardrobe, it's full of my favorite dresses and skirts and shoes, having evolved mostly from my shop. Some of my favorite dresses are going on 5-8 years old, and I am so ready to ditch the sweaters and coats and gloves for a long while.

Others have not waited, some have started wearing those light Spring dresses, and shoes sans covering, looking kind of freezing and odd as most everyone else is still dressing appropriately for the weather, which in DC, is not resembling its typical March self. I want to be in that Spring dress and sandal, too! But alas, the temperatures aren't forecast to go above 50 this week though, and that's with rain. Maybe next week...

As I do have such limited storage, I think I've had to become an expert editor with my wardrobe. There simply isn't the space to acquire new things without something leaving my closet. My storage is 2 dress bags under the bed, a big box in the closet, and my largest suitcase, that's it. The good thing about this, is that switching my closet out takes hardly any time to do the actual task. But why I love spending a few hours doing it, is because it gives you the opportunity to really see what you have, which things need to be replaced, and where the holes are, which are your opportunities to add a few new things from this season's styles.

Spring seems to be a good time to replace your layering basics - tee shirts, camis, cardigans - all these things are on sale in Spring, and it's the easiest way to add some color interest to your Spring wardrobe. We've all been in black and gray for months and months at this point, I'm so over it, aren't you?

When you're switching your closet, it's also time to try everything on that zips. The moment of truth, did you gain weight over the winter. Confession, once about 6 years ago, nothing with a zipper fit. That was a big wake up call for me. I had gained about 8 pounds over the winter, and until I tried on my Spring clothes, I really had no idea. I went on Weight Watchers for 2  months, lost it, and that was the end of that. Ever since, my weight fluctuates a few pounds, but not a size. I decided that was not a road I wanted to go down, especially at my age where losing weight takes a major concerted effort. Not fun, and I'm happy to have apparently gotten the hang of maintenance for the duration.

Another great thing to do when you initially switch out your closet is to put all the hangers in the closet in opposite direction. It's the simplest way to figure out what you're actually wearing. By June or so, you can look at those pieces still on opposite way facing hanger and figure out why. If you're just kind of done with the item and it's just taking up space, this is the time to choose whether to consign it or donate it. It really depends what it is, and what kind of money you're talking about, but I find the most satisfaction in donating work pieces to an organization like Dress for Success, and consigning dresses and dressier pieces for cash to go towards a new item.

Spring is also a great time to take a good look at your shoes. I feel like I have been in boots forever at this point, and am so looking forward to putting them away for next Fall. I think we all have more Spring/Summer shoes just because they're so much more fun to wear - flats, sandals, our heels - in colors, metallic, prints, the possibilities are endless. Look at your shoes from last year, how are the heels, the fabric, the leather? Take care of your shoes if they are meant to last. Maybe that worn out flip flop can be thrown out and replaced...

Ahh, flip flops, and thoughts of the pool, and the beach, and glorious warm weather and sun.... It's inevitable, right?

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Signs of Spring

One of my favorite things about living in DC, is that Spring comes early. Being from the New England coast, March is often the cruelest month, as hopeful crocuses and daffodils are often pummeled by snow and bitter winds. We would stay well bundled up though March there, so over wearing sweaters and tights and boots. But here in DC, March days brings the first 60 degree days, budding trees that will soon make DC pink and white, and, thanks to the hour of sleep we lost on Sunday, daylight that stretches into the evening, and we're all out, with less layers, enjoying our early Spring.

But alas, with the warmer temperatures, comes the onslaught of the abundance of crimes against fashion. Already, with just the few nice days we've had, our streets are spotted with articles of shoes and clothing that should just never be worn together. There are 2 types of shoes with which I cannot stand to see on the downtown streets of the city as I walk to work each morning, Tom's and flip-flops.

1. Tom's Shoes to Work. No.

Let me begin by saying, I love Tom's Shoes. The philanthropic objective is admirable, and the product is a fun and comfortable shoe. BUT and this is a big but, when worn with the appropriate everything else. Like here...

And here, if you need celebrity inspiration...

Shorts + Tom's = perfect

Jeans + Tom's = great

**Leggings + Tom's = ok

**Leggings are not pants ** (that's going to get a post of its own, obv.)

Skirts + Tom's = More complicated.

Fun when done casually, like a t shirt and a short flirty skirt and Tom's can be perfect running around the city on the weekend, brunching, walking, biking. But Tom's with a pencil skirt, or other more business cut attire, well, that actually makes me angry, in a fashion anger kind of way. It is just wrong on every level - it makes an otherwise sharp look, which you need to kick ass during the day, look frumpy, unorganized, and absolutely not professional. It is the paradox of the Tom's. Can be fabulous, can be a disaster. And too many women I see in DC are undermining themselves in this crime against fashion.

Which leads me to my near absolute no-no with Tom's.

Dresses + Tom's = Ugh.

Pretty much unless you're Keira Knightley, and really not even her. Better shoes for that dress are right next to her, which makes me think she was at a Tom's event, but whatever. Liv Tyler's outfit works, but it is specifically casual, that's not a professional work look obviously, so the fun casual Tom's appropriate spirit is happening there. Point is that a dress has a zillion other much prettier options. Like these...

Pointy flats are back! Ladies, this is news! To me, they are the perfect city shoe, as they are flats that you can wear all day, but like their sister the pointy heel, they make you look skinnier and taller! Shoe nirvana!

Why they had pretty much evaporated from the market for the last 4 years, I have no idea, but I am rejoicing that I can FINALLY replace my favorite matte gold pointy toe flats. Those shoes have been to the cobbler every spring for the last 3 years for a tune-up as I would once again not find anything to replace them. Currently lusting over the options...

I know pointy toes scare some, but I promise you, try them and you have have the love I do of them. I always put some lambswool in the toe (available at CVS for less than $5 for a bag with the foot stuff) and of course, Dr. Scholl inserts. Flats so often just have no support, even the more expensive ones, so these ensure you have arch support and cushioning - really important if you walk a lot, but something everyone should consider. I am still stunned that there are a lot of ladies walking around in shoes that aren't comfortable. Super unnecessary and silly! These are my go-to's that work in all of your shoes, not just your flats. There are ones for guys too, they need the support, too! I've tried the CVS brand, and they're a few dollars less, but they just aren't as comfortable and they definitely get worn out more quickly.

So that's my Tom's rant. Spread the word ok? No Tom's during the workday. No Tom's in offices where suits and dresses are happening, ever. Thank you.

2. Flip flops

Just. No.

So everyone will read this and I won't see this on my walk to work anymore, right? ;)

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Dressing DC

When you leave your house in the morning, whether dressed to the nines, or dressed in sweats and a baseball hat, you make the choice about how the world will see you. And all the world's a stage, right? Well, treat it like one, and you can show the world that you are confident, you are fabulous, and you are ready to take it all on - and then watch what happens. That's the really fun part. You open yourself to the power of knowing that whatever happens as you go about your day, you are projecting your best you: your style. And that's when the really good stuff happens. ANYthing can happen. Really, I've seen it. And better yet, I can help you get there.

When I was younger, going to Catholic school and wearing a uniform every day, I became obsessed with a new show called, "Style with Elsa Klensch." It was on CNN on Saturday mornings, and basically this English woman would, in her lovely voice, talk about the couture collections being shown in Milan, Paris or New York. Of course I realized right off the bat that these fashions weren't really realistic for me, but as Coco Chanel so eloquently put it, "fashion is transient, style endures." How fun to figure out what would look great on me, what my personal style was. And I decided that since I had to get dressed every single day, I was going to do it the best I possibly could.

This rather simple realization at a relatively young age, has stayed with me all these years later. I know absolutely what looks good on me and what doesn't while still having fun with it.  Eventually I realized people, both men and women, were often asking me about their style, what to wear to a specific event, how to be appropriate for a specific meeting, or even for help with their entire closet. And so it evolved, and I began dressing others, long before I really understood the term "stylist" was. As mentioned in a previous post, for a little while I had my shop where I did this full time with clothes I chose from the current season's offerings. All a very fun and successful venture.

So here we are. Or here I am, no longer focused on dressing others as a career, but here in DC. Back to professional work attire most days, casual Fridays, going from work to social event, and weekend events. These are dressing challenges we all face. Some are doing it well, some not so much.

I think I live in a pretty fascinating place to see style and fashion. When I lived in DC last time, in the 90's, no one was going to mention DC and style in the same sentence. Now, evidenced by the idea that DC has become Hollywood East, and with it, an influx of fashion, the good, the bad and the ugly. DC also has an enormous population of 20 somethings, those the fashion is most evident on, again in its best and in its most tragic incarnations. I am all for innovative fashion choices, but Toms with a pants suit, nor a club minidress with a jacket over it, does not count. Ever. And leggings are not, and will never be, pants.

And so this will be my venue to talk about dressing, because it needs to be done, and I know that I can help. Stories from clients, and hopefully eventually stories from people that may actually read this will be shared anonymously, as well as just my take on what I'm seeing and why it's so right, or so wrong and how to fix it. Learning some guidelines, getting your wardrobe to a place where it becomes almost a no-brainer, that anything you put on is going to be the best it can be for you, is incredibly powerful in its most basic level. When you know you look good, you feel good. And when you feel good, look out world. It doesn't cost a lot of money, it doesn't take a lot of time, and the benefits are spectacular.

Game on.