the lowdown on cropped pants

by Danielle

As summer quickly approaches I’ve been considering how to balance staying fresh and cool outside with spending a lot of time indoors with heavy A/C on and places where shorts are unacceptable. The struggle to be comfortable is real! Here are some options for those who are in the same boat as me.

ankle

(skinnies and slim)

The ankle pant sits right above your ankle bone, that little bump that we usually only notice when we bang it on the coffee table? As a slim or skinny silhouette, it elongates the leg.

cropped

(flare, bootcut, straight, and skinny)

A cropped or high-waters pant fits somewhere above the ankle but below mid calf. Most often seen as a cropped straight or flare leg (notice how the last two looks seem fitted until the knee and then bell out). The most underrated summer jean, imo – the volume through the leg allows for both breathability and full range of motion for all kinds of summer activities.

clam digger/capri

(mostly slim fit)

Clam diggers end just below the knee, and capris end about 3 inches below the knee, and sometimes flare out just a bit. Just be sure they fall above the mid-calf to ensure good balance of lines. They’re more casual and feature your calves. I love both looks, either wearing them relaxed with a fitted top or close-fit with a tunic-length top to embrace the flowy feel.

big idea

All of these lengths are cute and fun, no matter where you’re taking them. Regardless of which you choose, be selective in your shoe choice. Since your ankles and possibly lower leg are bare, your shoe choice is fully visible. Being intentional about your footwear will elevate your look. Tips:

  • For a cropped pant, try a mid-height boot that covers your ankle or a heel to emphasize height.
  • Make sure the hem of your slim-fit ankle pants doesn’t compete with the opening of your shoe.
  • Keep your clam digger/capri shoes casual – it’s a low maintenance look, so a wicker wedge or flat sandal is perfection!

 

 

boyfriend jeans 6 ways

by Danielle Giesen

Danielle is a student in Fashion Merchandising at St. Catherine University and is NDWC’s Social Media Intern this semester. In the coming weeks, watch for more posts by Danielle here and posts on Facebook and Instagram. Go Danielle!

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Spring has sprung! This year I decided to tackle a new fashion trend I’ve been a little wary to try out – the boyfriend jean.

I love the silhouette it gives in outfits I’ve found on Pinterest. The contrast between the slightly slouchy boy-ish jeans and polished feminine tops is what appeals to me the most. I love contrast in everything! Colors, textures, aesthetics – anything goes.

Finding the right boyfriend fit for my body was tricky – I’m 5’8”, and finding proper fitting jeans in general has always been a struggle. Women’s “boyfriend fit” jeans aren’t long enough or end up being too tight through the leg and too loose in the waist. I actually ended up trying on some men’s fits at my day job and found a pair that are long enough to fold into a chunky cuff AND fit my waist properly.

1 new piece = 6 new outfits

To make these outfits, I bought only one item new – I already owned everything else I used to build the following looks. My favorites among these options are those with stripes or a polished shoe. I agree with Nancy on the power of a good shoe to really pull an outfit together. A flat creates a more casual and relaxed look, while a heel creates a more professional and elevated look (pun intended). I love using my shoes to create versatility!

I was very excited to try out a few of the other trends depicted – metallic shoes, a pop of color, or a long polished jacket, and of course embracing the beauty in contrasting feminine and masculine styles!

pinterest inspo

The first thing I did when trying to incorporate the boyfriend jean trend into my wardrobe was to look for inspiration, and Pinterest is my go-to. The compilation of outfits above shows what I wanted to accomplish with incorporating boyfriend jeans into my wardrobe.

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The first look I tried was something in my comfort zone – I love olive green, neutrals, and stripes, so having these familiar friends to wear with something I was still getting used to was very comforting. I like using a layering effect to make the outfit more casual – the sweater is the perfect solution for my afternoon class in a chilly lab!

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This second look is again in my comfort zone. Like the first outfit, I matched my shoes to my sweater. With the moodiness of spring, this sweater/bootie combo is ideal to make my wintery garments look appropriate for spring and keep me comfortable, despite the weather. When I wear this outfit, I might tuck partial-tuck the front of my lightweight sweater to add some definition at my waist.

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Of course I can’t have a boyfriend jean without a button up – here’s a classic white, but I also would consider wearing one striped like in one of the inspirational images. A popular trend among my favorite fashion icons is buttoning the top only until the waistband so you can leave the left or right half untucked. This is also a perfect canvas for a pair of super fun and colorful earrings or a long patterned silk scarf as a belt.

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Now this top I absolutely love. I adore how it looks with the boyfriend jeans! I got this shirt when I was in high school. It’s at least 6 years old, but the colors are absolutely timeless, and it has served me very well. When I wear it, I keep the top tucked in loosely to show off the flowy fabric.

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This outfit is the one that’s most out of my comfort zone. Sometimes color can be a challenge to work into my wardrobe’s muted color scheme. I got this vest from my sister, and it pulls out some of the yellow in the tee. I matched the metallic shoes to the print and the tarnished silver hardware in the vest. The wedge heel bumps up the casual look of the tee and vest.

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The best for last! This jabeau lapel jacket is my absolute favorite because of the brightness and color. Pairing it with a tucked-in white graphic tee and black checkered vans settles the rest of the outfit down to make the jacket the statement piece. I love these shoes, too, because half of the squares are black velvet instead of the regular canvas. The texture they bring is always really fun to play with, but it’s easy to wear them because they’re still all black – and clearly they’re well loved!

mix it up with what you already own

This spring I challenged myself to try something new to bring out a new side of my wardrobe, and I’m so glad I did! There are many new ways for me to wear what I already have, and all I had to do was find one item to open up a whole new side of my closet.

Happy Spring!

ndwc in paris

ndwc_paris video.pngWATCH: [VIDEO] NDWC Paris

This month I spent a week in Paris soaking up the fashion and style, history and architecture, art and culture, and yes, the food and wine. It was a magnificent trip that couldn’t have come at a better time.

french style

Every time I go to France I am so inspired by how aesthetics are valued in all aspects of life. The shopfronts, the food, the fashion – simple elegance and attention to detail are the norm.

The fashion especially gives me new insight in ways to pair clothing, use of color and accessories, and what brings style to an outfit. It energizes me in my own personal style and in making recommendations to my clients. I can’t wait to share this Spring!

Check out my latest video for a little Parisian inspiration. And follow me on Facebook and Instagram to see even more – I’ll continue to post fashion inspo and more from my trip!

Happy Spring!

 

 

grief

My mother died on Christmas Eve. I could say she died in late December, but acknowledging that it happened in the evening on Christmas Eve captures the wince those who loved her feel when we think about it.

My mother faced a lifetime of physical challenges. She had an early childhood illness that doctors then theorized weakened her spine and contributed to her developing severe scoliosis in adolescence. She had significant physical repercussions as a result of the disease – effective ways of treating it had not yet been discovered when she was an adolescent, which is when it must be addressed. She had an S-curve in her spine and uneven hips, shoulder blades, and rib cage.

When I was a child, I didn’t see any of this when I looked at her. I thought she was beautiful. As an adult, I of course knew the physical manifestations were there, but I still didn’t really see them. They were just part of Mom. And I still thought she was beautiful.

For the last 20 years of her life, scoliosis did the most devastating damage of all – her skeletal frame began to collapse on her heart and lungs, causing even more limitations, pain, and impairment that eventually caused her body to give out. She once was 5′ 11″, and was only 5′ 3″ at the end of her life. She lived to be almost 83 years old, and fifteen years longer than any doctor ever believed she would.

My mother’s defining characteristic was persistence. While scoliosis was ever present, she did her best to not let it define her. Even when it did.

It’s not hard to imagine that body image was something she grappled with. And that her experience shaped mine. That’s something for later, though. Right now, grief is in the driver’s seat.

The last chapter of my mom’s life was a struggle. We were all enormously relieved that at last she was no longer struggling, no longer in pain, no longer having to fight. But that doesn’t lessen the grief of her physical absence.

Grief has made me feel disconnected and fractured. I’m distracted, forgetful, and unfocused. I’m angry. I’m sad. I’m weary. And yet, I still have a child and husband and home, a father who is also grieving and needs his children’s care and support, and work that I love and feel like I’m ignoring.

All I want to do is lie around and watch tv, eat, and be under covers. And yet, see above. I was a little blindsided by this. My mom’s death wasn’t a surprise, so I should have been prepared, right? No.

I’m realizing that you can’t prepare for or ignore grief. You can’t push it to the side to deal with later. It just is and will be. And you do what you can within it. Things will keep.

When something big and difficult happens, it’s easy to abandon self-care. And that’s when it’s most important to practice it. There’s no prescribed way to do that – just acknowledge you need it and give yourself permission to not be at your best.

I’ve been completely roadblocked with writing for my blog. And I realized that what I needed was to take a break, and then write about this. Because this is me right now.

I’m glad you are at peace, Mom. I’ll get there too.

 

 

 

last-minute sustainable gift ideas

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If you celebrate Christmas and are like me, this last week before the holiday is a bit of a scramble to finish up all the preparations, including finding the perfect gifts for my loved ones. I do some of my gift selections earlier, but I also wait to make my final purchases to make sure I’m really choosing the right thing for each person. Ok, some of it is procrastination, but since many of my choices are sustainable, I don’t have to worry about the hot new thing being sold out.

Choosing gifts that are sustainable is easier on the environment, and can be easier on the budget as well. I don’t subscribe to the idea that something must be new to be a gift nor that it must be something that can be unwrapped. There are so many ways to show your love for someone while showing love for the earth at the same time.

Below are some sustainable gift ideas for you to explore for the important people in your life.

homemade

baked goods

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Who doesn’t love something scrumptious?

crafty fun

Instead of fighting crowds at the mall, get your maker hat on to create something big or small! Some of my most precious gifts are things made by my family members. Ornaments for the tree, coasters, book marks, knitted and crocheted hats, decorative pillows – the options are endless!

new-to-you

Consignment shops have so many amazing items that make wonderful gifts. Elite Repeat Consignment and Boutique (women’s clothing and accessories and giftables), Fashion Avenue (designer women and men’s clothing, accessories and jewelry), and Nu Look Consignment (women and men’s clothing and accessories) are all independent consignment shops that carry very high quality pieces. Look for:

cashmere

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At a fraction of the cost of retail, you can wrap your loved one in coziness without breaking the bank.

high-end jewelry and accessories

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Find luxury brand jewelry, scarves, ties, and more – again at 1/3 retail pricing.

items with tags still on

I frequently find gorgeous clothing with the retail tags still on them – meaning they are brand new! A client recently purchased something with the tags on it as a Christmas gift for her partner during a personal shopping session at a consignment store.

gift card for a new-to-you shop

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Not sure exactly what your loved one will like? Consignment shops sell gift cards, just like retail shops!

experiences

Experiences are one of the most sustainable gifts ever – less stuff AND creating time for your loved one to take a break to do something fun!

spa services – massage, facial, manicure, etc.

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I’ve mentioned how much I love my hair stylist Bee at Urban Village SalonSpa in previous blog posts. This fall my mother-in-law gave me a gift card (sustainable birthday gift!) to enjoy some of the other services there. LOVED. IT. I chose a massage with Sarah and a session with esthetician Whitney. Both were simply amazing. I would happily receive a gift card to Urban Village at every gift-giving opportunity! HINT.

plans for a date night with a gift card to a favorite or new restaurant

Simply making time to do something together can be the greatest gift. And the Twin Cities have so many fabulous restaurants!

cocktails and hors d’oeuvres at a fancy hotel or bar

The craft cocktail scene has exploded in the past few years. Two of my favorites are The Commodore in St. Paul, a gorgeously restored Art Deco venue, and Marvel Bar under The Bachelor Farmer in Minneapolis, which feels like a speakeasy.

wacky fun

Mini-golf and arcade games accompanied by adult milkshakes? Axe-throwing? Yep. Check out Can Can Wonderland for fun for all ages and FlannelJax’s for your favorite lumberjack wannabe.

gift card to a movie theater with enough for two tickets and treats

Classic fun!

tickets to the theater

We have such great theater in the Twin Cities! Get tickets to a play at The Guthrie or a touring Broadway show at one of the Hennepin Theater Trust venues.

gift certificate to NDWC – pair it with a consignment shop gift card!

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that I offer gift certificates for any service or dollar amount. Give the gift of living your life without your wardrobe bringing you down and feeling great about how you look. So. much. fun.

I hope you enjoy the holiday season with the people who are important to you. The gift of time to reflect and share gratitude is the greatest gift of all.

happy holidays!

collaboration – not competition

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WATCH: [VIDEO] Fashion Is Brewing by Emerald Rue

gratitude

November is a month for practicing gratitude. Many in the United States are celebrating Thanksgiving, and for me personally, practicing gratitude is a way to be mindful as the fever pitch of the holiday season kicks in.

I have a lot to be thankful for this November. It marks the 5-year anniversary of Nancy Dilts Wardrobe Consulting, which in the world of entrepreneurship is something to celebrate. It also marks a year of exponential growth for both my business and myself. It feels good. My hard work is paying off – I’m proud, and I’m grateful.

I couldn’t be celebrating these successes without acknowledging the support and collaboration of others, however. In our society today, it’s so easy to fall into competition and feeling the need to appear as “the best” or “the winner” or “having all the answers.” It’s a false construct – no one is the best at everything, no one wins everything, and no one knows everything. Certainly not me. Really, not anyone.

In our society today, it’s so easy to fall into competition and feeling the need to appear as “the best” or “the winner” or “having all the answers.”

competition or collaboration

This fall I had an opportunity to collaborate with some other women-owned businesses to support the non-profit Dress For Success – Twin Cities, an organization that helps women to gain the tools and skills needed to enter and advance in the workforce. It’s an amazing organization known for literally dressing women for success, and they are also doing so much more in their professional development programs.

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Jill, Jess, Nancy, and Missy | Photo Credit: Emerald Rue

I partnered with Missy Auran of Elite Repeat Consignment and Boutique, Jess Burke of Well Layered, and Jill Pavlak of Urban Growler Brewing Company to co-host the event – Fashion Is Brewing. Jen Martodam of Emerald Rue – Family Films and Lifestyle Photographs captured the event in photos and an amazing video, which I’m thrilled to share here. We all gave our time and expertise at no charge for this event – it truly was women supporting women. Working together to lift up each other and to lift up the women of Dress For Success.

Jess is another wardrobe consultant/personal stylist. The competition, right? Yes and no. We have different target demographics – with some overlap – and different approaches. Even if we were more directly “in competition,” I would have partnered with her anyway. Sally McGraw, whose blog Already Pretty and philosophy around body image and personal style I highly value, said it best when I was just starting out and seeking her advice: “There’s room for everyone in this work!”

Indeed, the abundance mentality – collaboration, not competition. Sally could have seen me as a threat to her styling work and not only chose not to, but also has been a staunch supporter of my business. It’s an example I aim to follow. As with Jess, to collaborate rather than see each other as competition will only help both of us. Personal styling is just that – personal. Our clients select the consultant that resonates most with them. Jess and I have different niches and appeal to different people – sharing the love supports each other rather than harms.

Fashion Is Brewing was a smashing success. So much so that we plan to do it again next spring. It was, and is, a powerful reminder that collaboration takes you so much farther than competition. We all win.

we are more powerful when we empower each other

 

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[VIDEO] raw hem jeans in less than 5 minutes

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WATCH: Raw Hem Jeans in Less Than 5 Minutes

Check out my latest video on DIY raw hem jeans! Multiple clients have asked how to best do this with jeans, and it seemed like showing how easy it is with a video was the way to go.

Upcycling clothes with simple changes or fixes makes your wardrobe more functional, reducing the need to buy more clothes.  And it can make something old or outdated feel new and on trend. It’s a win/win.

Enjoy!

 

secondhand score: i see red (pear and valiant poppy)

#secondhandfirst

This fall I want to refresh my wardrobe a little to bump up the level of dress – more dresses and polished blouses, skirts, and pants. Polished jeans outfits will always be my signature style, especially for work sessions in closets and shopping sessions, because I need to be able to move with ease. I’d also like to have more go-to outfits to be a little more dressed up.

I always, ALWAYS (except for undergarments) shop secondhand first. I have great results with consignment shopping, and my latest trip to Elite Repeat was particularly fabulous.

Remember Pantone’s colors for Fall 2018? Here’s a little reminder.

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This season’s palette is gorgeous. Red Pear and Valiant Poppy are two colors that really suit my complexion and hair color, and I had what I call a secondhand score shopping session – I found several pieces I’ve been patiently seeking, and I LOVE them!

i see red, and a little quetzal green

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I have wanted red oxfords for a long time. And I found unworn – meaning BRAND NEW – Cole Haan suede red wingtip oxfords. So comfortable, so stylish. I also found Quetzal Green – Pantone’s fancy name for teal – block-heel pumps. I’ll wear these with dresses and skirts, but also cropped raw-hem jeans, which instantly bumps up the level of dress and style of the outfit.

I’ve been looking for a longer (tea length), flowy red dress since I saw a gorgeous one on someone earlier this summer. This Red Pear geometric print one is perfect – it has a built-in tie at the waist, and sometimes I’ll put a structured belt right over that for more polish. A bonus is the other faux wrap-style dress, which combines fall colors and has flirty, but not too fussy, ruffles. I’ll wear this with my cowboy boots for fun and dress it up with booties or pumps.

The two blouses are perfect for wearing with jeans or dress pants. The contemporary bell sleeves on the solid one are just right for me – some bell sleeves render your hands practically useless with all the excess fabric, which is a total deal breaker for me. And I love the cutout embellishments. The dark floral is just what I was looking for to wear with dark-wash jeans – and the block-heel pumps! – and to pair with slim-leg ankle pants or a fitted skirt.

Happy Fall!

fall already?!

Say, WHAT? It’s back-to-school time! How did that happen? My daughter is starting high school this year (ulp – not ready…) and has already dived into volleyball every day – three weeks before school starts. So not ready.

The weather is still scorching, but here’s a little taste of fall to consider when getting your wardrobe set for the season change.

pantone’s colors for fall/winter 2018

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Wearing “colors of the season” can help you feel contemporary and fresh, which leads to feeling confident and great about how you look. As you pull out your fall wardrobe or make choices for new (to you) pieces, look for these colors. Have fun pairing them together as well!

My favorites are Quetzal Green, Saragasso Sea, and Russet Orange. I like playing around with color pairings – all of the colors on the Fall palette work together, and pairing ones that you wouldn’t typically think of can create an edgy, stylish look.

Use prints to try colors you may not have worn before so they aren’t so overwhelming, and pay attention to what works for your complexion and hair color. Orange never used to be a color that worked for me, but since I let my hair go grey, it works, and I LOVE it! Almond Buff is a gorgeous neutral, but would make me look dead if I wore it by my face without a pop of color(s), like Nebulas Blue or Quetzal Green.

Have fun with color, and as I tell my clients, use white to add brightness and black to add contrast to an outfit. Be intentional with the colors you choose – dressing intentionally is the key to feeling fabulous!

 

 

organizing your closet

I have nothing to wear

We’ve all had that feeling before. You open up the closet doors and look at the jumble. The despair comes creeping in. Even though the closet is full, you feel like there is nothing to choose from that will work – much less make you feel great – when you put it on.

A big part of the issue may be organization – you can’t actually SEE what the options are! As I said in my last post on my methods for clothing care, multiple clients have been asking about how best to organize their closets. Knowing what’s in your closet, purging the items that no longer work, and organizing it in a way that works for you is essential to a more functional wardrobe.

organizing 101

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Download this graphic for free! 

I organize my wardrobe in the hierarchy illustrated above. It’s not rocket science, which is why it works for me. I’m able to find pieces easily in each category, and nothing gets lost in the shuffle.

season

Even if your closet is big enough to hold all seasons of clothing (lucky!), it is still helpful to separate them. Some will be transition items that can either migrate or have their own section.

Organizing by season allows you to interact with your whole wardrobe at least two times a year, which helps you to remember what you have, think about what you are and are not wearing, and make decisions accordingly. This is a great time to purge pieces that you aren’t wearing, for whatever reason.

category

Some folks like to organize by work wardrobe and personal life wardrobe. I feel like pieces can be forgotten this way, and it’s easier for things to become disorganized. Organizing by category after season helps you to see regularly what pieces are there.

level of dress

This part of the flow chart is one that can make all the difference in the world. Many workplaces are becoming more casual, so pieces often cross over between work and personal life. Putting the pieces that can be worn both for work and casual between the two will make sure you see them when choosing outfits. These pieces can be used to dress more casually at work when appropriate and to dress up an outfit for going out or when you want to look more polished in your personal life.

color

I choose not to organize by color because my wardrobe isn’t that large, but some people find it to be really helpful. This way you know what all your choices are for the color you are selecting.

PRO TIPS:
  • Make sure you can see everything
  • Find a system that works for YOU
  • Organize by season, then use your system within that season
  • Engage with your whole wardrobe two times a year

you can do it!

The key to success is sticking with your system. Once you’ve got a system set, it’s easy to maintain, and the relief of not having to face the jumble every day is SO WORTH IT. And your wardrobe will be more functional, making daily dressing easier. And who doesn’t want that?

 

 

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