Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Label Lust: A Shopping How-To

With television shows like Lipstick Jungle and Gossip Girl and red carpet events for movie premieres and award shows, it’s no wonder we have become quite the label obsessed society. Our shoe offerings boast of Manolo Blahnik, Christian Louboutin, and Jimmy Choo. We’re told to stuff our wallets into handbags by Fendi, Prada, and Louis Vuitton. And as for clothing, classics like Chanel and Yves Saint Laurent and modern fashions by Marc Jacobs and Zac Posen are top runners for choices. I could go into severe debt just trying to collect them all and really, how many occasions would I ever have to wear them? Oh wait, I don’t need specific occasions. Work, dinner with the girls, date night with my husband, shopping … I could find an excuse to wear these pieces everywhere—and I have. This is my tried and true how-to guide for shopping for the labels we lust.


One of the best times to shop for your labels is during major sales. Nordstrom’s hosts a half-yearly and yearly sale. Their half-yearly sale allows you to buy those pieces you’ve had your eye on all year and at fraction of the cost. But their yearly sale is my favorite. Fall merchandise hits the store in the middle of summer and at prices we can afford. For me, it’s a Christmas miracle! I can’t wait for my catalog to arrive in the mail! Check out this year’s sale on July 16th. 

The Saks Fifth Avenue Designer Sale is another favorite of mine. Clothing from top designers at 60 percent off and shoes from labels that only celebrities seem to sport are 50-60 percent off. Shop at your own risk! I have been lucky enough to be in New York several summers in a row to attend this sale in person and I’ve walked away with Christian Louboutins and Jimmy Choos that I will wear for seasons to come! If you plan a trip to the concrete jungle, try to squeeze in this event.

Sample sales are another great place to locate those must-have labels. New York Magazine provides weekly updates of these sales taking place through out the city. I’ve had terrific luck at such sales. Most recently, I purchased my first Rebecca Minkoff handbag and carried it during my entire trip. It’s a great cross-body bag that I will wear again and again. I also got great pieces from Michael Kors, Max Studio, and Soshanna. I also had success in San Francisco a few years back. Search online for sample sales in cities where you might be traveling. The Thread Lounge has a permanent store in Chicago and is currently trialing a store in San Francisco. You can sign up for their mailing list for notification of future sales.  


I love Rue La La, but this amazing website can be dangerous. Enter with caution! The only downside is that you must be invited to join. If you are a frequent reader of iforstyle and are interested in seeing how Rue La La can change your world, let me know! An invitation will be on its way. The site provides you with a daily e-mail alert of the featured boutiques of the day. Shop the labels you want, click the size you need, and check out. It’s as simple as that, I promise! They keep your credit card and shipping information on file. Just click and shop. No purchase required at any time. Just window shop if you want. Most boutiques are open for two days but be warned, item sell out very quickly. If you find what you’re looking for, and it’s something you can’t live without, purchase it and then go back for more shopping. is another online daily boutique site, but for more luxe brands. Again, you receive a daily e-mail alert with the featured boutiques of the day. These boutiques generally stay open for two days as well and sell out just as quickly. The items are much pricier than the items found on Rue La La, but they are just as worth it! 

Lucky Magazine is one of my go-to fashion magazines. They feature great pieces at affordable prices and have a wonderful online shopping guide. One of their regular features, called Lucky Breaks, consists of selected discounted items throughout the magazine that are also featured online. They provide you a discount code to apply when finalizing your purchase. (A side note: The magazine features a store directory. It’s a list of all their favorite stores throughout the country. Map out your assault with this handy tool. It’s been very successful for me.)

Instyle is another fashion mag go-to. They feature luxe labels while sprinkling in affordable lines, which makes it so worth the time to flip through. Their online shopping site allows you to shop by category and designers. The Deals & Steals feature provides discounts on selected pieces, also with a promo code to be used at check out.


eBay can suck hours out of your life, if you let it. But there are so many good finds in the process. My first foray with eBay resulted in my Prada clutch, which is a fantastic purchase that I use constantly. I also found my Balenciaga motorcycle handbag that I will carry for ages! It’s tough but oh-so-chic! I also found a vintage Gucci suede clutch for a girlfriend’s birthday. Take the time to browse and I promise you will uncover the find of a lifetime!

Outlet Malls and Discounted Retailers

You have to be very careful at outlet malls. Some are very deceiving. You aren’t always getting a deal. I recently shopped at The Legends here in Kansas City. The Legends features an array of stores, some are outlets, and I was surprised to find many stores I currently shop. I had major success at both BCBGirls and BCBG: Max Azria. They both carried this year’s styles, as well as some from past seasons. A dress that had originally been $148 was purchased for $29!! Same for a black, wool coat with ¾-puffed sleeves. And, for the low price of $29, I have an adorable new black coat for winter! Other items made their way into my closet and I will be back for more in the coming months!

Century 21 is one of the best stops on the retail trail in New York. There are several locations through out the city so check out their Web site for one close to you. I make sure I go every trip I make to the city. My Badgley Mischka suit was an amazing find and at a price I couldn’t pass up. I’ve also found pieces by Marc Jacobs, L.A.M.B, Tracy Reese, and Diane von Furstenberg. Make sure you add it to your site-seeing list! You won’t be sorry.

Places like Marshalls and TJ Maxx can be very hit or miss. I’m not a digger and in stores like this you have to want to take the time to dig for a bargain. However, I did find a fantastic pair of Dolce and Gabbana black heels at Marshalls. Imagine my surprise! They are a small patent leather weave, with peep toes and mirrored soles. Fantastic! I find that I now head straight for the shoes upon entry and it never disappoints. TJ Maxx, in my opinion, carries better designers in handbags. It’s definitely worth a trip as long as you’re prepared to dig.

Designers for Less

Finally, some major fashion designers are heeding the call to design lower-end collections at affordable prices. JC Penney carries some of these lines, such as Charlotte Ronson’s I Heart Ronson, Allen Schwartz’s Allen B, Nicole by Nicole Miller and Liz&Co by Liz Claiborne. Target has some amazing designers coming and going! I have been able to collect labels such as Botkier, Liberty of London, Eugenia Kim, and Cynthia Vincent. Most recently Target carried Zac Posen, Jean Paul Gaultier, and the late Alexander McQueen. I can’t wait to see who brings their designs next! Even Payless Shoes is on the label train with lines by Project Runway winner Christian Siriano and Alice+Olivia.

As you can see, there are so many ways to get the labels you desire and at prices you can afford. All you have to do is decide how you want to spend your time and money to get them. There are still labels out there that one day I will get my hands on. My wish list contains the iconic quilted Chanel handbag with chain strap, a simple black pair of Manolo Blahniks, and a Burberry trench coat. Maybe I’ll get them, maybe I won’t. If not, that’s okay. I have some incredible labels that I haven’t even begun to mention and they will last this girl a lifetime. Now, go get yours!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Cameltoe: More Comical Than Comfortable

So many rules of fashion are so passé these days; it seems the only rule is that anything goes. No longer do the antiquated rules apply. (You know those rules. Only wear black shoes with black pants and brown shoes with brown pants; your belt should match your shoes; your handbag must match your shoes; never mix prints. Please, I don’t follow any of these rules anymore and neither should you.) There are, however, faux pas that everyone woman must avoid.

Rule Number One: A visible panty line is a no-no! I cannot stand seeing the outline on any woman, especially when there are so many undergarments on the market to eliminate this very issue. Invest in thongs, ladies; they aren’t nearly as uncomfortable as they are made out to be. Get the right one and they can be virtually unnoticeable. I personally love the Body by Victoria line at Victoria’s Secret. The triangle is large enough that it’s not the feeling of dental floss like a string can create. Cosabella is another line of intimates that celebrities swear by. I have never tried their products but would love to invest in a few of their “Never Say Never Cutie” thongs. They come in fun, pretty colors and are oh-so-cute. It’s right there in the title. It’s also cut for those pesky low-rise jeans. SPANX offers a wide array of unmentionables that not only make you Hollywood thin, they also don’t show signs of having anything on underneath your clothing.

Rule Number Two: Please stop wearing pantyhose with open-toe shoes! And sandals! Stop wearing pantyhose in general! If you need support, refer to SPANX above and their ability to make you thin. I can’t stand seeing a woman dressed for success or a formal event and remark on how lovely she looks … and then I see the dreaded pantyhose and open-toe shoe! If you must wear the hose, you must wear a close-toe shoe. There is no way around it. This is a cardinal rule!

Rule Number Three: Make sure your pants and jeans are long enough to cover the back of your shoes. Your pant leg should fall over your shoe no matter what heel length you are wearing. Please pay attention to this detail. You never want to look like you’re waiting for a flood! The hem of your pant should hit where the heel of the shoe meets the seam. Anything higher than that and you burn those pants. We should never see the top of your shoes, and especially not your socks. 

Rule Number Four: A cameltoe, though comical when you see one, is so unattractive and a sure sign that your clothing is too tight. Let’s face it ladies, we aren’t the same size we were in high school or even in our mid-20s, so stop wearing a size that no longer fits you. Plus, it can’t be comfortable. Get thee to the mall and start shopping for appropriate-sized clothing immediately. As mentioned in a previous post on dressing for your age, going up a size is not necessarily a reflection of your weight. Not every designer uses the same fit model. Going up a size merely means your clothing will fit you properly and you will look more comfortable in what you are wearing.

Rule Number Five: This rule, based on my strict Southern raising, is never wear white before Easter or after Labor Day. Many fashion experts claim that you can wear white in the winter but really, wear it very sparingly and with great thought. There is such a thing as winter white, but that is really ivory. I do love the look of a wool, winter white suit. So rich and reeks of Upper East Side glamour. I own a sleek pair of winter white pants that I pair with cashmere turtleneck sweaters and rich-in-tone shoes to keep the look simple. And, last winter I also added a ¾ length, cream, wool coat with a beautiful pearl and crystal brooch to my coat-of-many-colors closet. Now, if you happen to live in the tropics, white in the winter is probably more acceptable; but until you live in those specific areas, store those white jeans, capri pants, and dresses for next summer.

I would love to hear what you consider to be a fashion faux pas. Again, these are my rules of thumb when either dressing for the day or shopping for myself and others. Invest in a full length mirror that you can hang inside a closet door and check yourself from all angles before heading out the door. I have mine hanging from inside the linen closet door and use it daily. I also rely on my husband for those areas I can’t see and trust me, he is very honest! If you can see them, others can too, and you don’t want to be the topic of their cattiness. (You know you’ve done it too when witnessing one of these for yourself.) Be honest with yourself, and to others if you’re asked, and those fashion mishaps will be a thing of the past! 

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

If I Were a Man, This is What I'd Wear

I was recently asked by a male friend, “What should we wear?,” and though I’m not sure I’m all that qualified to dress men, I’m going to give it my best attempt. Please keep in mind this is truly my point of view; these are things I like to see a man wear, things that compliment a man and make him look dapper. I again refer to these as staples.

A Suit

Every man should own a plain-and-simple, basic navy suit. No pinstripes or details. The suit coat should only have two buttons and worn with a crisp white button-down (staple number two), a simple tie, and black shoes. This entire ensemble can be worn for a first interview, wedding, funeral, or a nice dinner out on the town. When hemming the suit pant, keep in mind the length and break of the leg. I like a full break, which is hemmed to reach the top of the shoes’ heels, with the front of the hem “breaking” naturally over the shoes. Love this look!

Dress Shirts

There are two staples in a men’s dress shirt, white and blue. The blue is a standard blue, not French blue, royal blue, or denim. A dress shirt can be worn with almost anything in your closet. Above it was paired with a standard navy suit. You can also wear a white button-down with a simple tie, sweater, jeans, and a corduroy blazer for the fall season. Again, pair the white shirt with a black, wool trouser and a houndstooth blazer. Wear the blue shirt with jeans and a basic navy blazer (not your suit coat) for a laid back but sophisticated look. These two shirts have endless opportunities. They are an investment. Find one that fits and wears well. If you are unsure of the correct size, refer to this Nordstrom link on how to find the perfect fit.


This blazer is different than the suit blazer mentioned above. Again, a classic navy blazer can be paired with so many things and kicks your look up a notch. I love a man in dark jeans, a crisp white shirt, and a navy blazer. Simple, yet oh so chic! That same navy blazer, a blue button-down, simple tie, and a gabardine khaki trouser looks cool for a night at the theater and drinks after. Another invested piece that will last years. Keep it classic, not modern.

Another blazer staple is made of a cotton and corduroy blend. This is so versatile during the fall and winter months. It keeps your look casual but adds just a hint of style. Worn with jeans, a light sweater over a white button-down, and casual shoes, you can take casual Fridays by storm. I love when my husband sports a similar look for date nights.

Dress Pants

Again, a dress pant is different that a suit pant. When shopping for this look, try a light weight wool in either khaki or black. The wool is comfortable all year long, wears well, and looks polished with dress shirts, sweaters, blazers, and ties. This pant runs in typical men’s sizing.You can find them un-hemmed and if you chose to go this route, refer to the break rule mentioned above about suits. A flat front trouser looks best. There is less material to work with when wearing sweaters and blazers, and the look is a little more polished when shirts are tucked in.

A classic chino is needed as well. Not as dressy as a wool trouser but just as necessary. Cotton, flat-front chinos in khaki, black, and navy are all a must and can be worn with any of the items you would pair with the dress pants and jeans. 


Like women, jeans are a very important staple to a man’s closet. If you are part of a casual Friday environment, then you know jeans make up 50 percent of your working wardrobe. Gone are the days of your acid-washed, button-fly jeans of the ’80s. Instead, invest in dark denim with a straight leg. A relaxed leg is nice as well. I am not a fan of boot cut on a man.

Jeans go with everything. Dressy and casual blazers, polo style shirts, casual, print button-downs, sweaters, and the occasional t-shirt when appropriate. Your jeans should fit your waist. If you can see more than the elastic of your chosen style of underwear, put them back and try a different size. There is nothing more sloppy than exaggerated, baggy jeans.

Casual Shirts

A disclaimer: When I say casual I’m not talking about the shirt you’ve had since college. The one that’s faded beyond its glory days or ripped from that awesome night out with the guys; it is no longer acceptable to wear. I’m referring to cotton button-downs in either solids, stripesor plaids, polo style shirts, and the occasional t-shirt. T-shirts advertising a concert, company logo, or vacation print are best suited for shorts when lounging around the house or running errands on an early weekend morning. Take the casual look as seriously as you do your work look. It’s just sheer respect.


When living in the Midwest like we do, you know it gets hot in the summer. Shorts are a must! You probably wear them everywhere—after work, on the weekends, even out to dinner or backyard BBQs. Cotton, flat-front shorts are great. They can be paired with all the casual shirts listed above. I love the look of khaki shorts and a long-sleeved, Chambray shirt rolled up to the elbow. Too hot for that look? Go for a polo style or plaid, short-sleeved button-up. They are everywhere right now and look great with a contrasting t-shirt layered underneath. Please wear an undershirt when sporting these looks. It helps capture sweat that will otherwise leak through without it. Trust me fellas, no one wants to see that!

I would love to your get your feedback on what I consider men’s staples. If you like what you read but feel stumped, I would also love nothing more than to shop with you! Shopping for men’s clothing is just as much fun as shopping for myself. Again, these are just my ideas of what every man should have in their closet and it just so happens to be everything my husband owns, with a few exceptions. Like I tell my female readers, shop out of your closet first to see what you have. Fill in the gaps where needed. The links I provided are just some of my favorite designers and retailers but not the gospel. Find the ones that work for you and report back!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Safari Chic Contest

Hey Readers! Check out, where I was featured from her Safari Chic contest! See what I put together as my most Safari Chic creation!  What do you think? Would you wear this?

Friday, June 18, 2010

Accessorizing for Every Season

Clairee Belcher said it best in Steel Magnolias: “The only thing that separates us from the animals is our ability to accessorize.” And with that, I turn your attention to accessories and our need for them. Accessories add punch to an ensemble that might otherwise look drab. How you choose to accessorize is unlimited! 

It seems as though there is nothing to look forward to at the beginning of each new year. Sure, it’s the dawn of a new year; there are resolutions to make and follow and batteries to recharge for a new outlook on work. But after a while, you’ve stopped going to the gym, patience is no longer a virtue, and work, well it’s usually the last place you want to be. So how do you add some spice to your life? Accessorize! Here’s how to accessorize for every season.

Winter. I hate winter! I complain every year about it, but that’s what I get for living in the Midwest. So, if you are anything like me and require a coat every day to shroud yourself from brisk winds, stock your closet with coats of different shapes, colors, and lengths! I find that a winter coat is just an extension of one’s outfit. I once packed five winter coats on a trip to New York several years ago! Tired of wearing that same long, black overcoat? Then don’t! Invest in a classic camel coat. I love the look of a camel peacoat. Most peacoats generally hit at your waist, but you can find them in longer lengths as well. My closest is a variable coat of many colors. Red, green, yellow, fuchsia, gray, black-and-white houndstooth, and the typical black and camel coats. Find the color, length, and shape that works for you and watch how sunny your disposition becomes even when it’s cloudy outside!

Spring. This is a time of renewal for both mood and style. You probably feel the need to shop for new pieces for your wardrobe due to all the colorless clothing you’ve worn over the past four or five months. Why not shop out of your closet for the clothes, and invest in colorful scarves, beautiful handbags, fun shoes, or pieces of statement jewelry. I adore the look of a lightweight scarf, t-shirt, jacket and pant for work. Wear a solid color turtleneck sweater, scarf, and pant as well. There are so many scarves out there and at a variety of costs. I just picked up an adorable pink scarf with pompoms that dangle from the ends. I plan to pair it with a simple black top and jeans for this upcoming weekend!

Summer. The essentials are airy—cotton dresses, the new boyfriend jean, colorful tank tops, dressy shorts, and thongs (shoes! not the undergarment…). Instead of sporting those trusty Havaianas, which I don often, why not expand your summer footwear. I purchased a darling pair of blue-and-white-stripped, flat espadrilles last weekend and will pair them with my ripped-at-the-knee boyfriend jeans, a white tee, navy cardigan, and red accents to play up their nautical appeal. I rediscovered my tan gladiator sandals, a purchase made last summer, which I’ve paired with a muted-in-tone maxi dress. They also worked with my boyfriend khakis and a sweet sleeveless top with small needlework design for a summer picnic on the lawn.

Fall. My favorite clothing time of the year, this season is all about sweaters! I love them and have two huge boxes of sweaters to prove it. They are great with jeans on the weekend, skirts and boots for work, and look decadent with lounge pants when curled up on the couch in the evening. Arm yourself with a solid wrap sweater in chocolate or black. I prefer one that is knee-length, but they come in shorter lengths as well. Remove the tie provided and pair with a chunky belt for added flare. They can take the place of a coat on a crisp afternoon; and they make a great blanket when paired with those lounge pants on cool nights in. Sweaters are the original Snuggie!

Whatever the season, there is always a need for some sort of accessory. What you have to be aware of is how many accessories you add. Play up the piece or theme you are trying to achieve. If it’s your winter coat, add fun gloves and scarf or a broach for the lapel. Your spring scarf should be the only thing around your neck. A pair of simple earrings that graze the bottom of the scarf is all you need. Summer is the most simplistic season and should be kept that way. Find that fun, flirty shoe that can be utilized with jeans, dresses and shorts. Sweaters that are chunky, solid, and utilitarian are the best investment. Again, paired with a chunky belt, they take on a whole new vibe. Coco Chanel said it best, “Before leaving the house, a lady should stop, look in the mirror, and remove one piece of jewelry.” This is true for any accessory. Keep it simple but stylish and you can’t go wrong.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Eyes Have It

Cat eyes, smoky eyes, natural eyes, dramatic eyes… There are so many different ways to play up those focal points, so why are so many women afraid to take the plunge? I love to play with my makeup to change my look. It is one of the easiest things we can do, aside from haircuts, to make subtle or dramatic changes to our appearance at an economical cost. I remember my first appoint with a cosmetologist. I was 14. I had been wearing the horrible pinks and purples of the mid-’80s and needed someone to show me the ropes for appropriate makeup application. Since then, the sky’s the limit. I’m not afraid of color, and you shouldn’t be either. Once you have the right techniques, you’ll have all you need to get started.

If you have never been to a cosmetic counter at a local department store, then that should be your first step. My first visit at 14 was to a salon called The Hawk’s Nest. At 20, I found that my skin type had changed; it was suffering from breakouts along the cheek bone, so my aunt suggested Clinique. She had used them for years. Clinique is now my go-to for their cleansing line. However, they are not my go-to for all makeup purchases. Find a brand that works for you then make an appointment. Clinique is a great cosmetics line for the cost.

Most, if not all, beauty counters ask that you make a purchase after your makeover, but you don’t have to buy the whole line they present. Find one thing, whether it be shadow, liner, or mascara, and then fill in the rest with drugstore brands. Most drugstore lines are actually a subsidiary of the ones you find in department stores. For example, L’Oreal Group and L’Oreal Professionals produce Lancôme, Kerastase, Kiehl’s Since 1851, Maybelline New York, and Shu Uemura just to name a few.

I am a huge fan of MAC and Chanel. I love the deep, intense colors that both companies supply. MAC is infamous for their unconventional lines of makeup, of which I own at least three. Their Barbie collection consists of lime green, hot pink, pale pink, a tawny brown, and charcoal. All six colors are applied to the eye for a fun and flirty look. The Sailor collection contains various shades of blue that ranged from electric to navy. The result is like pools of water. The Cherry Blossom grouping is a deep burgundy, burnt orange, chocolate brown, and cream. The look is intense and perfect for fall. Take a look at their current collections.

Chanel carries a full range of colors in wonderful four-quad palettes. I highly recommend a makeover from their counter, especially if you are looking for colors that you will wear every day. I recently purchased their navy collection in Smoky Eyes. This is a great alternative to charcoals and silvers. Again, fill in the gaps with drugstore brands. Chanel quads are pricey but so worth the money.

If you are not up for a makeup counter experience, for fear you will walk out with a truck load of products that you won’t use again, head to your local drugstore and check out the cosmetic line from Almay. They offer trios of eye shadows for all eye colors called Almay intense i-color powder shadow. Recently, I purchased the Maybelline New York Eye Studio Lasting Drama Gel Eyeliner. It’s a small pot of eyeliner complete with applicator. It goes on with a silky, straight line that any beginner can create. Experts say that Maybelline’s Great Lash Mascara is the best on the market. Try that one for a wallet-friendly look.

Whatever look you are trying to achieve, always experiment first. I don’t typically follow my own advice—you know, “Do as I say, not as I do”—but I have been playing with different styles and techniques for years. Even I experience blunders (I haven’t perfected the cat eye but will continue to try). Browse through fashion magazines for the eye you think fits your personality or the occasion best. I get my inspiration from runways, red carpet events, and old Hollywood sirens. Makeup is an easy and semi-quick way to change up your look. Go forth and apply!

MAC Barbie Collection:

Chanel Smoky Eyes:

Natural Eyes:

Monday, June 14, 2010

What a Man Wants...

…is not Mel Gibson.

Men, I need your input! This post is about what men want. In a fashion sense of course. I received my first request for fashion tips in the men’s department. I need your feedback. What fashion advice are you interested in receiving? Having trouble putting it all together or shopping out of your own closet? Let me know what you want to read about and I’m your girl! Send now!

what about men?

Let’s hear it for us guys, Andrea!  What should we wear?

Friday, June 11, 2010

Panty Hose: A Mistake I'll Never Make Again

When you’re a teenager, you can’t wait to grow up. You can’t wait to wear a real bra, high heels, and, in the case of my preteen cousin, panty hose. As I’ve grown older, I’ve found that bras are annoying, heels can be painful, and well, panty hose are just plain wrong! What I’ve also found is that some women, despite the fact that we all wanted to grow older, have a hard time letting go of the past. 

If you are a woman over the age of 21, you should no longer be shopping for junior clothing at any major retailer. Honestly. Stop doing it. Juniors, by rule, are designed for girls in the age range of 14-18. I too fell victim to the juniors lure in my early twenties—not wanting to dress like my mom, I shopped in these departments to stay youthful. I wore skirts that were too short for my height, tops that were tight for my bust, and at times, looks that were entirely too youthful for my age.

If you are over the age of 25, run to the misses section immediately! Designers today are taking into account that women want to remain youthful and have created pieces that won’t make you look like your mother. Lauren Conrad has an adorable line for misses at Kohl’s. The pieces are colorful, trendy, and flattering to almost all body types. Pair the black, embellished skirt; the tie-dyed, embellished tank in deep claret; and a cute pair of flats for lunch with the girls or a date with your main squeeze.

If you are in your 30s and 40s, you’ve probably stopped tanning to eliminate wrinkles and given up desserts to stay in your skinny jeans. You should also avoid clothing that are odd numbered. Misses clothing is where you should have been shopping for the past five years, if not longer. Target has some wonderful designers for you to check out, especially Mossimo Black and Merona. Pair the Merona pencil skirt in pink/white, a basic white tee or camisole, the summer pink essential cardigan, and a silver sandal. This is a perfect outfit for a day at the office.  

For women who are 50 and over, there are still ways to look youthful without showing too much skin or looking too matronly. I look again to Kohl’s and their line from Dana Buchman. If you are anything like my mom, you might not be comfortable showing your arms, but still want to carry off the latest trends. Without going too far with the one-shoulder look, check out the feather asymmetrical tunic and its attached belt that helps create a cinched waist. Pair it with the wide-waist pant in black to keep the look slender, allowing you to elongate your body. Add a cute peep toe, kitten heel pump and your look is ready for a dinner party.

When shopping, no matter what age, avoid tops that hug your back along the bra line, v-neck tops that extend beyond the cleavage, skirts that are shorter than mid-thigh or longer than the bottom of your knee, and cardigans that pull at the buttons along the breast line. A shirt should skim along your body, not hug it. A v-neck should suggest, not expose, cleavage. A hemline should fall somewhere between mid-thigh and the top of your knee, which extends the length of your leg. A cardigan should hang nicely along the entire frame. Remember, going up a size doesn’t necessarily reflect your weight, it’s how the garment is cut. Not all designers use the same fit model.

If you are still unsure of how to dress age-appropriately, refer to these Hollywood women who know how. If you’re in your 20s check out the styles of Lauren Conrad, Anne Hathaway, and Nicole Richie. For your 30s and 40s, look at the styles of Kate Hudson, Jennifer Garner, Reese Witherspoon, and Jennifer Aniston. If you’re 50 or older, refer to Jamie Lee Curtis, Helen Mirren, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Barbara Walters. These women have perfected a style that is specific to their personalities, body types, and most importantly, their age. Give it a try!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Animal Prints: Only One at a Time, Please

“How do you avoid repeating an outfit?” I get asked this question a lot, and each time I have to laugh to myself. Of course I wear the same things twice! I frequently repeat pieces, but have found that it’s all about how they are worn—staples, and not the ones in your desk drawer, are the keys to an ever-revolving closet. 

Staples are things you constantly reach for when getting dressed for work, play, and/or special events. (Some refer to these as “basics.”) Staples are items you continuously purchase when the previous piece fizzles out. Here are some key staples you should always have in your closet:

Black Pants 

A pair of black pants in wool or wool blend is a necessary item for every woman’s closet. I live in mine and own a few pairs. I’m a firm believer in purchasing two of the same fit—you can trade off the days you wear them while saving on dry cleaning costs. Black pants are like a blank canvas. They compliment almost everything you pair with them. A crisp, white button-down; neutral shells and colorful cardigans; vivid silk blouses; and tailored jackets in contrasting colors are all pieces that go well with black pants.

White Blouse

A white blouse is so versatile. It is usually associated with conservative looks, especially when paired with a suit. But, if you wear it with your black pants and a colorful cardigan, jeans and a belt wrapped around the waist, or alone with jazzed up jewelry it breaks away from the traditional, white-collared look. Make sure you get one in a cotton stretch blend; this will keep it from stretching out, which makes the blouse appear larger as the day goes on. 


If you work in a business environment that allows Jeans Day on Fridays, then you know jeans now make up 50 percent of your yearly wardrobe. Finding the right pair of jeans is difficult, but once you’ve found it, those jeans will be your best friend.

 You read all the time about finding the right jeans for your body type. Want to make your rear appear rounder? Get a pair with large back pockets. Want to slenderize your hips? Get a curvy-cut pair that allow for room in the hips and thighs.

Get the picture? Once you’ve found the right pair, make sure you not only get more than one, but make sure they are in dark denim. Dark denim will make your legs appear thinner and longer, and will lean toward the dressy spectrum. I tend to purchase a straight leg jean; they aren’t cut as slim as the skinny jean trend, but are a little more tapered than a boot cut. They’re great with heels, flats, and sandals for summer. 

Jeans can be paired with almost anything in your closet. A sleek, dressy top is great for date night or a night out with the girls. For work, pair jeans with a cute top and either a neutral cardigan or a blazer. Remove the blazer and you’re ready for happy hour with coworkers.

Animal Print

With animal print, a little goes a long way. If you’re wearing jeans or pants, pair them with a cute animal print top. Wear your white blouse and wrap a cute animal print belt around your waist. Take jeans and a cute black top and pair them with a fun, animal print shoe. Just one print, please! No need to look like Georgina of the Jungle.

The Little Black Dress

The Little Black Dress (LBD) is the most essential piece of clothing for any girl’s closet. A simple black dress of either wool or cotton blends can be worn to almost any occasion. After wowing a potential employer in a suit, wear your LBD on a second interview with a fun heel and delicate jewelry. Wear it to dinner with pearls. It’s perfect for the office with a colorful shoe and funky jewels to add a little edge. It can also be worn to a wedding with that special jeweled pendant at the waist.

If you are going to a cocktail party, lean toward an LBD made of silk; the fabric is bit dressier for the occasion. And save those jeweled encrusted heels for those events as well; they are a little too dressy for work.

Again, staples, in my opinion, are the key to the ever-revolving wardrobe.  While writing this post, I created outfits as examples and have several options to choose from when planning my wardrobe this week!  You can do the same thing.  Experiment! Pull out the contents of your dresser drawers and closets and go for it!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Closet full of nothing

Has this ever happened to you? You get out of the shower, open the closet doors, stand in front of the contents for a good 10 minutes and exclaim, “I have absolutely nothing to wear!” This is almost a daily occurrence in my house. As I complain loudly about the nothing in my closet, my husband will state, “You’re right. You have two closets full of nothing to wear.” I eventually find something to throw on and sometimes with much chagrin. 

I love to shop! I’m really good at it, too! But why do I continue to shop when my two closets full of nothing are brimming with options? Maybe it’s an addiction. Maybe it’s because of the four fashion magazine subscriptions I own calling me to the nearest mall for the latest trends. Or maybe it’s my need to keep up with the Joneses. Whatever the reason, I love to shop, plain and simple.

My husband and I recently took trips to Las Vegas and New York, which happened to be within three weeks of each other. I started planning my wardrobe in early spring so that I would be prepared with cute outfits for both cities. I was armed with pairs of boyfriend khakis and jeans, tanks, cute tees, and little dresses for evening. What I wasn’t prepared for were the cool temperatures. Las Vegas, set in the desert of Nevada, is supposed to be hot and sexy based on movies, photos, and hearsay. Our first day in Vegas, however, had a forecast of 56 degrees and rain, according to Each day was supposed to get progressively warmer. I kept my eye on the 10-day forecast for over a week and as I planned that hot, sexy wardrobe, I found myself clueless on how to pack for Sin City.

For New York, I expected cooler temps for May, but really wasn’t planning on a high of 46 and rain for our first day. What was it about these first days in both cities?! The rest of the week called for chances of rain with highs in the 60s and low 70s. Again, I found myself mulling over what to pack. I had to look cute. Photos would be taken and posted to Facebook, and I couldn’t look like I do on any other day. It was vacation. 

That’s when I started shopping out of my closet. For the first day in Vegas, a pale pink, light weight jacket purchased for spring in the Midwest, paired with jeans, a long-sleeved, feather-weight tee and a floral scarf in pink, rose, and cream. With Vegas’ increasingly warmer days, those tanks and dresses for evening were perfect. Our first day in NYC, being cooler than Vegas, called for that very same pink jacket. This time with jeans, a tee, and a solid cream scarf. What to wear for the remaining four days? An awesome gray jacket that I wore last year in Los Angeles sprang to mind. Instead of the striped tank I wore with it in LA, I chose a black sleeveless turtleneck. A slate gray jumpsuit worn to a Giada De Laurentiis’ book signing and to the office would be great for a dinner downtown. Who needs a trip to the mall? I had it all right there in front of me.

I continue to try and shop out of my closet for every day outfits as well. A black-and-white, 50s-inspired dress that I bought last summer, but only wore with black patent pumps, was suddenly revived with a pair of yellow heels purchased two summers ago. A new gray sheath dress was paired with fuchsia Jimmy Choo heels purchased by my mom on that Los Angeles trip last year. I still wear pieces I acquired three and four years ago. The difference is I pair them with things I’ve purchased this season to keep it on trend. A statement necklace, fun heels, stacked bangles, a multi-wrap belt, or a vivid-color handbag. I will still continue to shop but I will look to the contents, in those closets full of nothing, as a canvas for future trends suggested by those four subscriptions that may continue to be my reason to shop.