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!

a functional wardrobe: fewer items, more outfits

If you follow my Out the Door series on my Facebook page, you’ll know that I wear many of my clothes frequently, especially basics like jeans, tees, and jackets. This is intentional. When shopping (at least 90% of the time new-to-me), I choose pieces that are classic in design and well constructed, so they go with many things and are long-lasting in terms of both style and wear.

more with less

As a wardrobe consultant whose niche is to practice sustainable consumerism, I follow three steps with my own wardrobe and model them when working with clients:

  1. Make your existing wardrobe as functional as it can be
  2. Shop new-to-you whenever possible
  3. Shop ethically when shopping new

It’s a personal choice whether your wardrobe is large or small, although studies show that most people wear only 20% of the clothing in their closets. Often the other 80% languishes because the clothes either don’t work anymore (don’t fit well, outdated, damaged/worn out) or you don’t know how to wear them. Making your wardrobe more functional by purging the ones that don’t work and creating multiple outfits with what does allows you to have more choices with less clothing.

define your personal style

I have a classic personal style with preppy and French-influenced overtones. Think gingham, plaids, loafers, and tailored fitted cuts. My signature style is a polished jeans outfit – you’ll find me in that most days of the year. It works really well for my personal style, my body type, and my life/work style. In the hot summer months I switch to dresses, shorts, cropped pants and jeans, and some skirts.

Having a defined personal style helps you to be intentional both in shopping and in putting together outfits, which ultimately makes daily dressing easier. When you are clear about the clothes that suit you – both physically and in reflecting your authentic self – you inherently become more selective. This eliminates those impulse purchases that end up as unworn regrets hanging in your closet. The clothes that you are holding onto for whatever reason but aren’t wearing can be purged without guilt. Knowing your personal style frees you.

feeling current

I choose trends carefully. It’s important to feel contemporary – wearing something that’s on trend can help you feel current and confident – but choose only trends that resonate with you and your personal style. Wearing something you don’t really like won’t bring you joy, even if it is trendy!

Trends that are more enduring, like colors of the season (they really are all just variations on a theme), classic prints like polka dots and plaids, and timeless pieces like trench coats and silk scarves, are worth the investment. They won’t be “out” next year and end up a regret in the long run. Not only will they last, they also help you feel like you are being intentional (that word again – can you tell how important I think it is?) with how you dress. And that makes all the difference.

capsule wardrobe

Many people are embracing the idea of a minimalist wardrobe, like Courtney Carver’s Project 333 (wear only 33 pieces of clothing for 3 months), to have a smaller wardrobe and less stress. The idea is to put together a wardrobe where everything goes together, so that you can mix and match to create multiple outfits with fewer clothes. One caveat is that wearing the same items so frequently will cause them to wear out faster and you may tire of them more quickly.

I have more than 33 pieces per season, but there is value in thinking about the capsule approach. Determining that you can make at least 3 outfits with an item before you purchase it, with the added commitment that you will wear it at least 30 times before discarding it will lessen those impulse buys and the guilt that often comes with them. It also is easier on the environment, reduces the demand for poor-quality fast fashion that relies on unethical labor practices, and is more economically sound for you in the long run.

function fosters confidence

Having a wardrobe that meets the needs of your life and that represents who you are helps you to feel good about yourself. And feeling good about yourself conveys confidence, which not only impacts how others see you, but also impacts how you move through the world. It’s a cycle – what you are wearing impacts how you feel, and how you feel impacts how you live.

A functional wardrobe allows you to dress intentionally,  which makes that cycle positive rather than negative. You don’t need a lot of clothes to achieve that – only clothes that serve you well.

 

 

ayos: a year of style, a year of success, a year of spectacular

 

ndwc_Roberta's A Year of Style video

meet roberta

I’m so excited to share this with you! Roberta just wrapped up her A Year of Style, my signature service package. She’s a rock star. She decided it was time to show her true, authentic self to the world. Hear her story in Roberta’s A Year of Style.

She had fun. (Me too.) She had success. She had transformation.

Through A Year of Style, Roberta and I formed a year-long partnership where she developed her personal style and rebuilt her wardrobe to reflect it. It was an amazing year.

it can be yours

Head over here to learn all the details about A Year of Style and to sign up today for YOUR year of spectacular!

let’s get started!

 

 

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3 myths about wardrobe consulting

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Saint Paul Magazine recently published a feature article about nancy dilts wardrobe consulting (fabulous article – super exciting!!), and for the last few weeks I’ve been getting the question, “Have you had tons of phone calls since the article?” The honest answer? No.

It makes me a little queasy to say that here. But it’s true, and frankly, I didn’t expect to get a huge increase in calls right after the article. Not because the article isn’t amazing or I don’t think my work is important or worthy – I KNOW it is.

Being in this business for several years, I also know that my clients don’t engage in my services impulsively. And that’s ok. In fact, for my work with clients to have the most impact, they need to be ready – ready to embrace feeling good and open to stepping outside of their comfort zones to accomplish that.

Some things that hold people back, though, are just plain myths.

myth 1: it’s too expensive

My tagline is “style for everyday: new to you – true to you.” New-to-you refers to my focus on practicing sustainable consumerism.

A lot of my clients have never shopped consignment before working with me. They are floored when they realize the quality of clothing they can get at 1/3 or less than retail prices. Even when you factor my fees into the overall investment, you are still spending less than you would on fewer items of retail clothing, and without the guidance, support, efficiency, and success you gain when working with me.

Here are some numbers to make it real: during a 3-hour personal shopping session at a consignment store with a client, we found 28 high quality top brand/designer items to rebuild her wardrobe – including two pairs of boots, two pairs of shoes, and a belt – for $300. I looked up the retail prices of each item, which totaled at a whopping $1,900.

The client had selected my True To You Style service package, which includes a 3-hour Wardrobe Consult in your closet, personal Style Guidelines and a digital “lookbook,” and a 3-hour personal shopping session for $525.

By working with me, she invested $825 overall, less than half the retail cost of the clothing alone.

myth 2: i can do it myself

Sure, you can do it yourself. But this I know: it will take longer, it will be harder, and you won’t have the same results.

When I tell clients we will get through their (typically-sized) wardrobe in three hours, they are amazed. I know from personal experience that going through your own wardrobe by yourself takes at least twice that long. The emotional energy required and sheer number of decisions to be made make it much more difficult to do solo. I also help clients create new outfits with the clothes they already own, adding energy and increased function to their wardrobes.

Clients are also completely certain that we will never spend a full three hours at one store when personal shopping or find more than 2 or 3 items. Most of the time, clients find as many as 20-30 items in a 3-hour personal shopping session, unless they choose to purchase fewer. And those are items that fit well, reflect their personal style, go with other items being purchased or items at home, and – best of all – make them feel excited about how they look.

myth 3: i’m not worth it

Women often put themselves last. We are inculturated to feel like it is frivolous to spend money or time on ourselves. We feel our needs are not worth as much as others’ needs. Some of us simply don’t have very much time to spend on ourselves because of the demands of work and life. I often hear women say they won’t address their wardrobes until they have accomplished some other thing, like weight loss or getting in shape.

Here’s the kicker: being intentional about how you dress – right now, as is – helps you to accomplish your other goals. Scientific studies show that when you feel confident in how you are dressed, it has a positive psychological impact, allowing you to have greater success overall. We are all worth taking care of ourselves, no matter where we are in our journeys.

the myth-busting truth

I’m a busy girl on a budget too, so I know about making choices with my time and my dollars. I also know that taking care of yourself, including how you are dressed, is an essential part of your overall wellbeing.

When you work with me, this is what you gain:
  • Assistance in identifying your current personal style and embracing it
  • Objective and supportive guidance in making your existing wardrobe more functional through purging things that don’t work, reimagining ways to wear the items that do, and identifying gaps to be filled and items to be replaced
  • Effective and efficient shopping support for rebuilding your wardrobe to meet your current needs in an affordable way
  • A closet full of clothing that WORKS for your body and personal style, instead of an overwhelming clutter of items that cause frustration
  • A better understanding of how to put clothing together to make intentional, polished outfits that reflect your personal style and suit you
  • Positive, honest advice and feedback and open communication (And even some laughter!)
  • Countless hours of precious time and energy saved
  • Renewed confidence and joy in your appearance and feeling your best

Working with me is about so much more than the financial investment or feeling like you shouldn’t. It’s about taking care of your outer self, which is really about taking care of your inner self too. It’s about having someone who can help make daily dressing SO. MUCH. EASIER. Which allows you to live your life feeling good about how you look, right now, today.

Today is a perfect day to start the process of feeling great about how you look.

I always ask new clients how they learned about my services. I won’t be surprised at all if for the next year, and beyond, I hear, “I saw you in Saint Paul Magazine, and I’m finally contacting you!”

What’s stopping you from connecting with me today? Because really, today is a perfect day to start the process of feeling great about how you look.

 

wear well, feel well

Many people feel that 2016 was a train wreck of year. I have both a lot to be grateful for this past year and a lot I’d like to leave behind. I am trying to begin the next one with hope and purpose.

Leadership and life coach (and friend) Hanna Cooper has a great exercise with a little twist for beginning the new year that I find to be really useful:

Make a list of the “challenges, losses, or failures” of your past year.
Make a list of the “successes, accomplishments, or wins” on a separate piece of paper.
Make a list of the things you have learned on another.
Once you have acknowledged both your successes and challenges, tear them up. (!!)
Using the list of what you’ve learned, make goals for the new year.

It is surprisingly liberating to tear up your successes along with the challenges. It equalizes the importance of the two, which I need to remind myself of often. And, really, it’s what you’ve learned, from both successes and challenges, that informs you when moving forward.

One of the things I have had to work at again this past year is to embrace – and love – who I am. This includes both the physical and emotional me. They are connected after all, in the obvious way and in that how you feel about your physical self affects how you feel emotionally overall.

I have a continuing journey with positive body image, and when you start to feel unhappy with your body – be it related to weight, aging, its limitations, or something else – those negative feelings can worm their way into everything else.

For women and men alike, the clothing you wear is a significant factor in how you feel about your physical self. It both reflects and impacts your emotional well-being.

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The psychology term for this is “enclothed cognition.” I’ve also seen the more layperson term “ensemble empowerment” to describe it. The bottom line is this: what you wear affects how you feel. It can change your mood, determine your level of confidence, and impact how successful you feel. It can alter, positively and negatively, your body image and your feelings of self-worth.

What you wear affects how you feel. It can change your mood, determine your level of confidence, and impact how successful you feel. It can alter, positively and negatively, your body image and your feelings of self-worth.

It’s true. I know firsthand that when I don’t really dress for the day, even one where I have no appointments – meaning I’m wearing whatever I threw on to take my daughter to school or go to the gym and then start working at home without getting “dressed” – I feel worse. I feel less confident; I’m less productive; I have less energy and feel all around icky and irritable. Dressing intentionally, even when it’s very casual, changes my whole outlook on the day and on myself.

The same goes for when you are wearing something for the wrong reasons. I used to wear very oversized clothing in an effort to hide my body. I also would pretend I didn’t care about how I looked, trying to mask my negative body image. It was a pretty miserable place to be, and that is what was really showing.

Wearing clothes that suit you – meaning they fit your body well (no matter your body type) and reflect who you are in your life right now – feels good. They help you to feel confident about your appearance and that confidence shows. It sends a message to you (and, bonus, to others as well) that you care about yourself – that you are being intentional in showing up in the world as your best, true self.

We have to get dressed every day. Wearing clothing that is very worn or old, holding onto clothes that no longer fit because you hope they will fit again, or ignoring that your clothing doesn’t reflect your current life or personal style brings a cycle of negativity to your life every single day.

Wearing clothing that is very worn or old, holding onto clothes that no longer fit because you hope they will fit again, or ignoring that your clothing doesn’t reflect your current life or personal style brings a cycle of negativity to your life every single day.

Dressing intentionally breaks the cycle of negativity. It disrupts your old habits, bringing mindfulness and even joy to the process. When you wear something that you genuinely like, feel confident about, and know reflects the real you, that spreads to the rest of your life. You can feel the difference in yourself, and other people notice it too. It can actually change how you interact in the world.

Give it a try. Put more thought than usual into what you wear tomorrow. Pay attention to good fit, color, and expressing your personal style with how you pair things, accessories, or fabulous shoes. Notice how it makes you feel to wear something intentionally. Wear well, feel well.

If you’d like a hand in making being intentional with your wardrobe a goal this year, let me know. I’m here to help you feel your best in your clothes, which, in turn, helps you to be your best, authentic self. And that’s what we all hope for, isn’t it?

 

3 outfits for transitioning to fall

The shift to fall clothing is always hard for me, and I can get a little irritable (my husband might say a lot…). The weather is still warm, but it’s September, school is in swing, and it doesn’t feel overly summery anymore. What to wear? It’s too hot for true fall clothing – fine-gauge sweaters, blazers, big scarves, booties and tall boots – but sundresses and shorts don’t feel right either.

Here are three outfit ideas to help ease the transition. Adapt them to your personal style using these basic guidelines.

shift from summer brights to neutrals and darker colors
wear cropped pants and jeans – cooler, but suggest fall
use lightweight silk scarves to add polish, but not warmth
replace sandals with close-toed shoes like flats, mules, and sneakers – still great for warm weather, but not too summery

Almost all of the clothing in these outfits is new-to-you. I’ve included where I purchased each item to give you a sense of the breadth of selection you can find when shopping consignment. Practicing sustainable consumerism rocks!

pair a summer dress with straight-leg jeans and flats

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Dress: Second Début | Straight-leg Jeans: Turn Style | Flats: Elite Repeat

This darker summer dress works great as a tunic over straight-leg jeans, giving it a little more mileage before I put it away. This makes me happy, because it’s one of my favorites. I can even layer a lightweight long cardigan over it and switch out the flats with booties as the weather gets cooler.

add a classic silk scarf to a short-sleeve tee and culottes

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Scarf: Second Début | Shirt: Turn Style  Culottes: Second Début | Mules: Elite Repeat | Belt: J Crew – US made

Neutrals work really well for fall transition. Add a pop of color with a silk or faux-silk scarf – they are lightweight and comfortable – and all the rage. For tying ideas, see this post. Open-heeled mules are on trend as well and add polish. My Cole Haan pair from Elite Repeat were a score – brand new and 85% off the retail price!

wear a lightweight jacket over a cami with cropped jeans

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Scarf: Second Début | Jacket: Turn Style | Cami: Intimissimi | Cropped Jeans: Turn Style | Sneakers: ThredUP

For casual, pair fun sneakers with flared or wide-leg cropped jeans. Add a fitted lightweight jacket – over a cami to stay cool – and a neckerchief. I typically shop at local consignment stores to be able to try things on and to support our local economy. Occasionally, I buy through online consignment venues like thredUP if I can’t find something. I had been looking for a pair of classic Adidas sneakers for awhile and couldn’t pass them up when I found them!

your turn

What are some ways you manage the fall transition? Share your outfit ideas (and pics! 🙂 ) in the comments below.

 

dressing intentionally

make it happen quoteA common theme that emerges when I do an Initial Consult with clients is feeling like they are wearing the same clothing over and over again. It’s hard and overwhelming to figure out different outfits or what looks good, nothing fits anymore, things feel old and outdated, there’s not enough time to branch out, or all of the above. Does any of this sound familiar?

What often accompanies this pattern is personal dissatisfaction and a growing lack of confidence, which can result in pretty much giving up trying anymore. No surprise that none of this lends itself to feeling good about yourself!

Dressing intentionally breaks the cycle of negativity. It’s the primary element of what I help my clients do in our work together, because dressing intentionally gives you the tools to embrace – and express – your true and best outer-self. Which in turn helps you to feel your best on the inside too.

Dressing intentionally breaks the cycle of negativity.

That’s why I love my work, by the way. I know firsthand how painful it is to want to just disappear into the woodwork, and I also know what it feels like to shift from having given up to experiencing the joy that dressing intentionally can bring. Helping others to make that shift is so gratifying!

Dressing intentionally means taking some time (more when you first begin, but less as you get used to it), to think about what you are wearing – the whole package from head to toe. It does not mean having to pay attention to fashion trends all the time and conform to them, even if you don’t like them. (If you do like them, go for it!)

It does mean defining your own personal style and finding cuts and colors that suit your body and skin tones. It does mean creating balanced lines with proper fit, the right cuts, and the right shoe. It does mean adding polish to an outfit with accessories such as a scarf, jewelry, or belt. It does mean “dressing up” for yourself, just to feel good.

When you do this, a transformation can occur:

Being excited about what you see in the mirror.
Feeling confident in how you see yourself and how the world sees you – and that confidence spreads into other parts of your life as well.
No longer feeling bogged down by clothes that make you feel crappy and by the time you spend in frustration of figuring out what to wear.
Having more time for the things that are important in your life.
Being empowered to be who you want to be – when your outside authentically reflects your inside, the results are amazing!

This is what my Year of Style service package is all about – being in a partnership with me to learn the tools and strategies for dressing intentionally and practicing it with guidance and support throughout.

Here’s what I say about it – SUPER FUN! Here’s what one of my Year of Style clients has to say about her experience:

“I have been retired for some years. The need to dress “up” was no longer there and my “oh-so-casual” style became more and more oh-so-casual. My closet was full of things that I had had for years, some of which I had never worn, some that I used to enjoy but no longer did and wondered why.

The items that I did wear were quite worn. I had the idea that I needed a uniform to wear and that would solve my problems. Clothing shopping was a nightmare that I couldn’t face because I no longer knew even where to start.

The Year of Style called to me as a way to have some guidance and hands-on direction and instruction.

Some goals that I set for myself with Nancy as we began my Year of Style

When I go to my closet, I want to feel like I am standing up and in control and happy about getting dressed.

I want to become my own expert on myself and my fashion sense and style.

I would like to feel in control of my wardrobe planning: to understand its needs, to feel confident about going about procuring them, to enjoy shopping enough to do it.

How it’s going so far

Clearing the closet was remarkably freeing. I can open the door and look in there now and feel good. As we tried on and discarded items, Nancy was able to tell me how and why something no longer worked for me, and I could then see it too.

Going shopping with Nancy was an amazing experience. I tried on and enjoyed items that I never would have thought would work for me, and now I have many things that are fun for me to wear.

I am challenging myself to dress “up” at times, even around the house. I am enjoying it. I am wearing occasional jewelry for fun.

Something that I didn’t expect to have happen that I have noticed is that I no longer seem to see myself as fat. Somehow, though my body has not changed in these few weeks, I am not as critical of it. Strange.”

That last statement is not strange to me. One of the things I address with my clients is working towards positive body image and helping them to see the beautiful person I see. Finding your personal style and combining it with cuts and colors that suit you can dramatically change how someone looks. It replaces discomfort with confidence. It creates balanced lines that help you feel your best. It is the difference between feeling defeated and being intentional. Again, transformative.

Ready to make it happen? Contact me today for YOUR Year of Style and the confidence and empowerment it will bring.

hiring a personal stylist – no way, not for me – or IS IT?

Client Insight
“I have had very little or any practice or any interest in paying attention to fashion stuff. It’s just not part of my identity, and I have prided myself on that. Hearing the news is more important to me than paying attention to my clothes! It’s more important to be with my child than to go shopping for me. It just truly does not matter. But at the same time, it DOES matter to me.”

Wardrobe consulting? Really? I can just do that myself! Besides, other things are way more important than how you dress.

My first career was in environmental education. What the heck does that have to do with wardrobe consulting? A LOT. It led me to my current work and is the foundation for my passion for embracing personal style and practicing sustainable consumerism.

In the world of non-profits and work focused on the “social good,” fashion is not the first thing people think about. I know all about mission-driven work; the focus is on just that – the mission.

No one cares about how you dress, right? Sometimes it’s even considered to be trivial or vain to care about it. But guess what – it’s not.

Fashion is a part of the bigger world of style. And STYLE is super important – for everyone – because personal style is how you show yourself to the world. It’s what makes you YOU. It’s how you show the inside you on the outside.

Let’s face it –no matter your field, your outer appearance is the first thing people see, and it says something about you. We draw conclusions from what we see. It’s human nature to do so. That is important, but not really the main point.

Here’s the point: feeling good about the outside helps you feel better on the inside, because you are being true to yourself. 

“Fashion doesn’t only express who you are to others but also to yourself. Psychologists have coined the term “enclothed cognition” to describe how clothing alters the mood and mind-set of its wearers.” – Ben Barry, Chronicle of Higher Education

Feeling good about how you are dressed helps you feel good overall. It helps you feel confident and lets the awesome person that is YOU shine. It allows you the time and freedom to focus on the things you feel passionate about in your life – your work, your family, your creativity, you name it – and to express yourself authentically while you’re at it!

Client Insight
“It’s like your nicest china – you never use it. You go through your whole life and never use it – it’s sad. I just wear the same things over and over. It would be nice to be more intentional and to celebrate who I am – to show who I am through my clothes.”

but…personal styling?

It’s not for everyone. You have to be in the right place for personal styling. And when you are, it can mean all the difference in the world.

When I say “being in the right place,” I mean that you are ready to take steps to care for yourself. It does NOT mean that you have to have all the answers figured out – do we ever, really? You are, however, open to the possibility of feeling great about how you look and willing to expand your idea of that. Again, you are ready to feel GOOD.

Client Insight
“Mostly I’ve ignored grappling with my image. I reacted instead when things were getting worn out. I hate to shop. Putting it on the calendar makes it a priority.”

Working with me means having someone in your corner as you take those steps towards embracing your actual, beautiful body – not denying yourself until you have the idealized, fictitious body our culture tells us we should have. It means having a partner in the journey, giving guidance and support all along the way to help you find your personal style and clothes that work and that you love.

For some folks, it may not be about body image as much as it is about the prioritization of time. It is more efficient and effective to work with a wardrobe consultant, saving precious time for other important things, but still being attentive to taking care of yourself.

Client Insight
“Having a buddy makes it a thousand times better most of the time. You get vastly more done in less time, plus you actually do it! It’s the work of prioritizing what you have to do, even though you don’t want to do it. You are so much happier later.”

Working together, my clients and I accomplish ten-fold what they would on their own. I bring efficiency, effectiveness, humor, and best of all, empowerment to the process.

A Wardrobe Consult for a typically-sized wardrobe yields a closet purged of items that no longer work (and are literally hiding the ones that do) as well as tens of new outfit combinations in just three hours. A Personal Shopping session (2-3 hours) results in multiple outfits and the knowledge of how to wear them instead of a frustrating, demoralizing, and fruitless search.

I take the mystery out of knowing what sartorial choices are best suited for your personal style and body type. We all have different strengths and skills. Just like I greatly benefit from others’ expertise in running revenue projections (My eyes instantly glaze over. Seriously.), others are completely overwhelmed by figuring out how to put outfits together. It’s just not their thing, even though they want to look good.

In my business, I still think of my work as mission-based. I support people in finding the clothing that will help them feel good, so that they can get on with their amazing lives. Without the stress of a non-functional wardrobe. Without the frustrations of shopping unsuccessfully. And WITH the confidence that comes from knowing you look good and feeling like your outer self reflects WHO YOU ARE.

Client Insight
“I’m deciding to get help. I’m prepared for the day better if I feel like I look like I want to. And that enables me to be the rest of who I am.”

*Client Insights used with permission.

“meh” to spring shopping right now? do what these friends did instead

Clothing stores, even new-to-you consignment venues, are making the big switch to spring stock. It’s February. In Minnesota. We will not be wearing spring clothing for at least three more months!

Some folks are inspired by shopping for spring clothes now – it’s the carrot that leads them through the last cold months. Others can’t even fathom it. Here’s another option.

Prepare your closet for the spring season. Then, when you can imagine wearing spring clothes – say in April – you and your closet will be ready! That’s what this group of friends did.

Jill, Jessica, Meredith, and Amy – each expressing her individual personal style after their Wardrobe Consults

Meredith has been a client since 2013. She first hired me for a True To You Voila Service Package (a Wardrobe Consult + two 3-hour personal shopping sessions), and then for other personal shopping sessions since. This time we did a Wardrobe Revisit, where we went back to her closet to do another round of purging and to integrate more recently purchased new-to-you items into her wardrobe. In essence, making her wardrobe fully functional and fun.

Amy, Jessica, and Jill are friends of Meredith’s and wanted to get in on the fun as well! Each of these fabulous women has her own individual style and desires for her wardrobe. We worked together (each on her own with me) to set goals for their personal styles and for making their wardrobes work better for them.

what does that look like?

The Wardrobe Consult is different for every person, depending on her goals (or his goals – I will use “her” in this post, since we’re talking about these specific women). Sometimes it’s doing a big purge of outdated or ill-fitting items. Sometimes it’s purging very little. In both contexts, I show a client how to pair items in new ways to best match her personal style and to make her wardrobe more functional.

During the Wardrobe Consult, we put together a “look book” of photos of new outfits (from clothes already in the closet) and ways to wear items so the client can remember them all. The photos illustrate many things: color pairings like Meredith’s teal cowl sweater with a fun pop of orange peeking out; the statement belt with the sweater partially tucked for definition; and skinny jeans worn with tall boots.

We also talk a lot about proper fit and cuts that are best suited for her body. I show my client the difference between something that fits well and something that doesn’t and explain “the why” behind it, so that she’s able to apply that knowledge later. When something fits well and is the best cut for your body, visual balance is created, which looks great. I help my clients literally see that with clothes in their own closets.

Accessories are an important part of an outfit – they add polish and personal style. A graphically-simple, chunky metallic bracelet goes well with this bold print tee and white pants for spring and summer.

Putting together color, patterns, and textures as well as accessorizing outfits are other big topics in the Wardrobe Consult. We use favorite accessories and incorporate others that have been sitting in drawers and closets unworn.

wardrobe consult - shoes and skirt pairing

As I tell all my clients, “Shoes can make or break an outfit.” These metallic ballet flats are perfect for creating balanced lines and adding polished fun to a knee-length skirt.

After the Wardrobe Consult, I put together a set of personal Style Guidelines and a shopping list for my client. With these tools, she can move forward with expressing her personal style and finding clothes that will fit well and be highly functional in her wardrobe.

let’s hear it from the girls

Here are some reflections from Meredith and Jill in their own words about their experiences in working with me.

Meredith

As an environmentalist, I’ve always valued “new to you,” so working with Nancy was a natural fit. Nancy embraces the “true to you” piece with her holistic approach – she is equal parts therapist and fashionista, both conservation-minded and fashion conscious.

“I was stuck in a bit of a rut after my daughter was born, clinging to all my pre-pregnancy clothing and feeling like I ‘should’ make them work for me again. But ‘true to you’ is not just about who we have been. It is also a window into who we are becoming.”

– Meredith

Working with Nancy has helped me get to know myself better, assess my goals, and focus on what’s most important. Feeling comfortable, purposeful, and confident in my own skin is not about having a jam-packed closet, but about having a few well-made, timeless pieces that help express what I bring to my professional and personal life on any given day.

Jill

My wardrobe, while clothing me fairly appropriately for work and fun, was dated and lacking in creativity and freshness. Nancy helped me purge my dated clothing while educating me on the subtleties of great fit.  She was discerning without being judgmental.  I really enjoyed our morning together — Nancy brought lots of curiosity and inspiration to our session.

Following our session, I have gaps in my wardrobe – but I’m excited by that because I’m armed with the specifics of what to look for (item, style, color, fit), and I will steadily refill my closet with functional clothing that is a joy to wear.

“At Starbucks this morning the barista took one look at me at and said ‘Wow!  Look at you.  You did great getting dressed this morning!’  When I looked at him with a quizzical smile, he said, ‘You look like a classy assassin.’

Maybe so…. and that makes Nancy Dilts my secret weapon.”

– Jill     

Ready to dive in to your closet? Contact me today to schedule your Wardrobe Consult.

3 easy ways to fight winter doldrums

Is it just me, or have the winter doldrums mounded up like those massive piles left by snow plows for you too? If you live in Minnesota, you know exactly what I’m talking about – 15+ feet high mountains of dirty snow that will be here…forever. At least until May. May!

This time is always difficult for me. It’s cold. It’s dark. It’s gray. I feel like the character Sadness from the movie Inside Out (If you haven’t, SEE IT).

19-inside-out-cry.sadness

Image: Pixar

Self-care is essential right about now. And what you are wearing is part of that self-care. How you look affects how you feel. Feeling good about how you look boosts mood, confidence, and how you interact with the world.

When temps dip below zero regularly, sweaters aren’t optional, nor are big, puffy coats. It’s easy to end up wearing the same things day after day.

It’s so easy for me to throw in the towel when it’s cold. I put on my boots and big mitts, pull up my hood, and do the ice shuffle.

the Minnesota Uniform:

  1. Down coat – I call mine my sleeping bag coat because it goes down to my knees
  2. Bulky sweater – often ends up being shapeless in addition to being bulky
  3. Winter boots

Again, these things aren’t really optional, unless you don’t mind hypothermia. Folks who love winter sports relish the snow and cold. I used to be one of them, but 23 years in to living in Minnesota, not so much anymore. Sports – yay! Cold – meh. It can be a struggle. Here are three easy ways to mix it up a little to fight off the winter doldrums. And I mean easy.

get outside

Every. Day. No, walking to the car doesn’t count!

I take walks with our dog, even when it’s really cold. Well, if it’s really, really cold, I sometimes wimp out, and my husband gets the honors. I try to walk in the daylight – to pretend I’m getting just a smidge of Vitamin D – to get fresh air and to help fight off Seasonal Affective Disorder. Getting light from the sun, however weak, helps.

To add interest to your winter armor, I mean ensemble, change out your scarf and hat. I know, duh. But it’s so easy to fall into a rut with the same scarf for outerwear everyday, when you have many beautiful scarves languishing in your closet.

A big, cozy scarf (or two) like the popular blanket scarf is warm AND adds a pop of color that can feel cheerful. A shawl-style scarf works well too.

Drape the blanket scarf loosely around your neck on the outside of your coat on its own or wear it long with a contrasting scarf around your neck for double warmth.

 

Kerchief-tie a lighter-weight print scarf you may typically wear as part of your outfit – they are surprisingly warm!

be a style star: Change up the coat too. Most of us have more than one (it’s darn cold here!), but it’s easy to grab the same coat every time. A new-to-you statement coat in a bright color or print is a great way to fight off winter blahs. Being intentional in our choices shows, and it exudes confidence and personal style.

get crafty

The pull to put on your biggest, bulkiest sweater, plop on the couch, wrap up with your fleece blanket (mine has owls on it) and binge-watch Netflix is strong. This I know. The Great British Baking Show, anyone?

Following the inspiration of those British bakers, fire up your own oven. I’ve had a tab open on my browser for this recipe for Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars for days. Time to give it a try. (Update: I did this weekend – SO TASTY.)

Knit or crochet something (added bonus: the result is something WARM). Boot cuffs are a simple, fast project – perfect for beginners – and spice up the ubiquitous winter boots. Wear them tucked in or over tall boots with skinny jeans. Peeking out of furry-rimmed boots is fun too.

My daughter and I have been teaching ourselves how to sew. So far she has whipped up a couple of colorful pillows and a case for her iPod.

Whatever gets your groove on, embrace your creativity! Draw a picture, make a collage with found items, take photographs on your walks. It doesn’t have to be fancy, complicated, or perfect – just fun.

style star: Scarves and hats make excellent first projects too! There are hundreds of free patterns online.

get together

Be deliberate about seeing friends. It’s easy to just stay in (the fleecy owl blanket is beckoning), but spending time with your people can be the difference between feeling right with the world and abject misery. And since you have plans, forgo the biggest, bulkiest sweater and dress up a bit. It does a body – and mind – good.

style star: A client recently purchased a lovely new-to-you sweater during a personal shopping session that is embellished with a whimsical feather neckline. It’s perfect paired with dark wash or white jeans and heeled boots to funk it up for a winter night out or dinner party. Be bold – and feel beautiful!

See – super easy. Being intentional with self-care makes all the difference. Comment below with your ways of staying sane in the winter months!

You likely noticed I tried something new in this post by including photos of yours truly demonstrating style fun. What do you think? More photos like this? Feature other real folks, rather than professional model pics? Comments (constructive, please) and ideas welcome. This blog is for you, after all. What would you like to see?