[VIDEO] a spring in your step for mother’s day

Nancy Dilts Wardrobe Consulting_A Spring in Your Step[VIDEO] A Spring in Your Step for Mother’s Day

happy mother’s day

Celebrate the mother or important woman in your life! Watch my latest video for 1 outfit 3 ways by using shoes to change the level of dress for however you mark the day this weekend.

celebrate your loved one with a ndwc gift certificate

Give the gift of feeling great about how you look to your loved one with a gift certificate for any service, service package, or dollar amount. It’s a gift of confidence in what you are wearing, less stress around getting dressed, and precious time saved to live your life! Contact me today.

enjoy the spring weather!

 

i ♥ resale: 5 items for spring

resale reboot

Shopping resale is a great way to add a few key on-trend pieces to your wardrobe to keep things fresh without breaking the bank (and it’s easier on the environment). I always say only embrace a trend if it resonates with you – these trends are all classic and enduring, which I love.

You never know what you will find at a resale shop – and remember, consignment is much more reliable than thrifting. Both are great, but are very different experiences. Consignment shops have already applied the quality control and current style filters for you.

When I shop resale (90% of my wardrobe), I shop with an item or style in mind, and I’m open regarding brand and variation. I may find the exact item I want, or come across something that is only within the category, but is perfect for me. I reliably find what I want. Sometimes, if I’m looking for something very specific, it may take more than one shopping time – to me it’s worth the wait, unless I need something for a particular event.

Here’s what I’ll be looking for this Spring.

Find all of these images and more inspiration for Spring on my Spring 2018 Pinterest board

1. military green utility jacket

Utility jackets have been in for a couple of years and show no signs of going out, because they are so functional and so fun. I recommend them constantly to clients, but have never gotten one for me – that will change this season! You can almost always find them in the consignment shops.

2. oversized plaid blazer or top

This trend started last Spring, and I love it. I love classic prints, and plaid is the ultimate. This one may take a little looking and patience to find the perfect one for me – I don’t mind though – more reason to scope the consignment shops! 🙂

3. sheer embroidered floral dress or duster

I LOVE the feminine combination of sheer fabric and a small print floral, especially embroidered. This is a style where I will use the chic runway look as inspiration, but am open to variation. It could be a dress, skirt, or duster, and I’ll know the right one for me when I see it.

4. bold print blouse

Bold geometric and graphic floral prints as well as mixed-print blouses are a beautiful way to add a little edge and interest to business wear or to dress up a jeans outfit. This category of blouse is reliably in stock at consignment shops. Choose a print that speaks to you.

5. oxfords/brogues

Lucky me – during the preparation of this blog post, I found the bottom-left oxford (unworn!) in black and white at Fashion Avenue in Edina. Love them, love them, love them! Now the rest of the snow just needs to melt…

and one for summer – comfort sandals

I typically wear more refined shoes – clunky footwear can throw off the balance of lines of an outfit. The comfort sandal is very on trend now though with stylish Birkenstocks and big, cushy-soled variations. And, they’re comfy! I’ll be looking for something comfortable for a lot of walking to wear with casual outfits this summer, and I like the idea of a bright color or something with a little edge to it. We’ll see what I find!

Think Spring!

 

 

5 trends for spring 2017 (and a couple of ‘no way!’s)

Minnesota is finally (FINALLY!) starting to feel like spring. Here are some trends for the season to help you dress intentionally to feel contemporary and confident. Choose trends that resonate with you to express your personal style and authentic, awesome self!

spring 2017

1. black and white polka dots

Black and white polka dots are classic and so fresh for spring! Gorgeous for both work and play. Add a pop of spring color like the fabulous Pink Yarrow belt and purse above for polish and style.

2. bold stripes

As y’all know, I love my stripes! Bold, geometric, and multi-colored stripes are hot for this spring and summer. Have fun with statement pieces and color to brighten your day and boost your confidence.

3. garden party floral prints

Feminine florals – a spring mainstay – in all styles of dresses are an easy way to look put together for work or going out. Choose the sheath or shift cut for work and the maxi-dress or full-skirt for play. Add an ankle-strap sandal (low block or high heel) and you are all set!

4. striped oxford cloth shirt dresses

A more subtle look is the menswear-riffing shirt dress in classic oxford stripes. Pair it with cropped skinny- or straight-leg jeans for spring and wear it on its own in the hotter summer months. Belt it with a matching belt like above, or use a leather belt in a bright color to add structure and definition. If it’s really hot out, skip the belt for a breezy-cool stylish look. Mules, low-heeled slingbacks, flat sandals, and classic white sneakers all work well with the shirt dress.

5. classic trench coats

The trench coat is the quintessential spring jacket – it goes with everything and is timelessly stylish. Go classic with khaki, or have fun with a bright color or print. When cinching the belt, skip the buckle and tie a knot – easier and fabulous! Add a silk scarf for polished style.

just can’t do it

80s revival

Sigh. Oversized power shoulders – think massive shoulder pads and “puffball” shoulders from the 80s – are back. I was all over them then; not so much now. If it speaks to you, go for it!

underwear as outerwear

Bras, bustiers, and corsets worn on their own, on the outside of your shirt, or showing through a transparent blouse. Again – you do you – but it’s not for me!

what do you think?

Which trends resonate with you? Or don’t? Most importantly, wear clothes that make you feel great! Dressing intentionally will help that happen.

Happy Spring!

 

from ‘meh’ to ‘fab!’ in a single step

Here is a trick I share with all my clients because it is so stinkin’ easy to remember and to do. It’s all over the fashion blogs, and it is the primary reason stylish people look so, well, stylish.

Are you ready?

the third piece rule

Add a third piece to what you are wearing. That’s it.

You have to put on a top (1) and a bottom (2) for coverage. Add a distinctive belt, scarf, jacket, colorful or interesting sweater, or statement necklace (3) – instant ensemble! You can even feel daring and add a 4th and 5th element, like a hat, bracelet, or fun shoes to further express your personal style.

meh

IMG_8096.jpg

My stripey Breton shirt is kind of fun and is a favorite. I LOVE stripes. See my logo up there? I really love stripes. But even with the fun stripes, this outfit is kind of blah. With the high boatneck cut and long length, the shirt looks like a sea of stripes, which throws off the balance of visual lines for the outfit. (Another thing I talk about with my clients all. the. time.)

baby bear steps

IMG_8158.jpg

Lookey there. I added my third piece, a chunky jeans belt, and partial-tucked my shirt to highlight it. The sea of stripes is now balanced by the belt, and the partial tuck adds definition to the overall lines of the outfit, while maintaining an easy style with softer lines than a shirt tucked in completely.

mama bear

IMG_8185.jpg

Even though the belt acts as a third piece, let’s take it a step further. For me, I consider the partial-tuck and belt part of the basic ensemble, since I almost always use them when I wear jeans (and often other pants) to create balanced lines for my body.

Look at what the polka-dot scarf paired with the stripes does for the outfit! This is still a really simple, casual ensemble – great for knocking around on a gorgeous spring day. Adding the scarf shows I thought about my outfit. It also creates more balance by adding vertical flow to the visual lines. And pattern mixing shows even more intentionality and polish.

papa bear

IMG_8225.jpg

The structure of a jacket instantly adds polish to any outfit. A jacket particularly ramps up style when paired with jeans. It can be a blazer, military-style, denim, knit, leather, you name it. Jackets should fit well in the shoulders, provide definition, and full-length sleeves should hit at the base of thumb.

I’m going for a French-inspired look with my Breton stripes peeking out from a belted navy blazer. I did tuck the shirt in fully to maintain the clean lines of the jacket.

I love this blazer. It fits perfectly and will be so much fun to wear this spring.

goldilocks!

IMG_8330.jpg

To fully embrace the French look, you need a silk scarf. This one is Emilio Pucci, and I really love the vibrancy of the blue geometrical design. See how it pulls the whole outfit together with a pop of color and polish? Casual, but intentional. And this outfit makes me feel great. That’s what it’s all about.

Outfit details:

Breton-stripe shirt – JJill – old (I will be so sad when it dies – it’s been a great staple); jeans – JCrew – old; belt – SO old, but another great staple

Blazer – Sharagano Suits; polka-dot scarf – JCrew; silk scarf – Emilio Pucci; loafers – Cole Haan. All are from Nu Look Consignment in Minneapolis! I had great success during their winter clearance sale a couple of months back.

 

2 transition outfits

We are having some wacky-weird weather. It changes overnight from 30 degrees to 60 and then back to 30 again the next day. The snow is gone, making it seem like spring, even though it’s not. Today we have 40 MPH winds – I’m not exaggerating. Clients and friends alike are asking me, “What the heck to do I wear?”

The transition to spring is HARD in Minnesota. This time of year you want to shift away from winter clothing, even if it is still cold. Here are two outfits ideas to ease the transition – one dress and one casual. Apply the elements of these outfits to others to stay warm and think spring at the same time.

2017 spring transition outfit - work.jpg

Pair a bright, fine-gauge knit sweater and silk scarf – Pantone’s Spring 2017 colors Pink Yarrow and Lapis Blue here – with gray full-length or cropped dress pants to hint at the spring to come. Add a bold print coat like houndstooth for a fresh look, and don’t be afraid to pattern mix with a texture or smaller plaid. Wear classic black or contemporary gray ankle boots for sloppy or cold weather and shift to stylish block-heel pumps as it warms up.

 

2017 spring transition outfit - casual.jpg

Navy on white stripes always make me think spring. A client and I found a fabulous navy and white striped cardigan and green blouse during a personal shopping session last week that inspired the combination above. Greenery is Pantone’s 2017 Color of the Year and is a fabulous, refreshing color that adds energy to any outfit.

Layer a lightweight pullover sweater with a long, lightweight cardigan and comfy jeans for a look that is warm but not too wintery. Add light brown or cognac booties or classic white sneakers, or throw on wellies for rain or that last, irritating March snowstorm.

shedding the sweaters: embracing your body

Every Spring I go through a little mini-crisis relating to body image.

What? As a wardrobe consultant, I’m supposed to have it all figured out, right? Not even close. I have made big strides in embracing positive body image in that I see the negative messages for what they are and mindfully dismiss them. I do this most of the time. I still have days, though. And I try to be forgiving of myself and to give myself the same care I give my clients, friends, and loved-ones.

There’s something about shedding the sweaters – literally wearing less clothes as the weather gets warmer – that triggers the old anxiety for me. Layers of oversized clothing were my old way of hiding my body.

peanuts snoopy steals security blanket

Those cozy sweaters are like wearable security blankets, and I resist giving them up, even though I’m THRILLED with the warm sunshine. I have to wean myself from sweaters, usually by switching to tailored jackets or lighter-weight layers – but still layers.

shedding_sweaters

Add aging into the mix now, and it gets even messier. Those “Around the Web” ads on the Web that come up promising quick fixes for “crepe skin” are particularly horrid. Skin changes as it ages, and we’re supposed to think that is disgusting, not just a natural process. It is exhausting to think about all the things we’re supposed to hide, camouflage or fix – at any age.

Let’s BE PROUD of our bodies, and especially our skin with all its freckles, wrinkles, and marks! It means were here LIVING. Get over it Internet.

shirtdress_cropped jeans

So when it’s time to shed the sweaters, I do my little thin-layer thing – using camis underneath (just another version of a security blanket), fitted tunics and short dresses over cropped or skinny jeans, a close-fitting denim jacket as a shirt with a fun silk scarf. And I slowly start to reveal more skin and more body definition. By the time it’s warm enough for shorts and sleeveless tops in Minnesota, I’ll be ready!

Embrace your body – it’s the only one you’ve got. Take some slow, deep breaths and mindfully tell yourself, “I am beautiful. I deserve to show that to the world.” Say it again. And again.

Keep saying it until you feel your heart rate slow, your body calm, and your mind catch up with what you know deep down is true. You are beautiful. You deserve to show that to the world.

how to: jumpstart spring with silk scarves

Silk scarves – think Hermès and classic French style – continue to be on trend and are a perfect, easy way to help an outfit feel fresh and bright for Spring. Silk (or well-made faux-silk) instantly bumps up polish and style in a casual outfit and adds an element of dressy fun and interest to workwear.

And they are easy to come by. Most of us have vintage scarves from our grandmothers, mothers, and even ourselves hanging out in our dressers. You can also easily find them new-to-you at very affordable prices.

“How do I wear them without looking like an old lady?” you say.

First, don’t wear it this way. The Queen is allowed, but we aren’t, unless we are riding in a vintage convertible and channeling Grace Kelly.

The key is to make the scarf the statement piece and to go for simple, clean lines with the rest of the outfit. The French look fabulous with their scarves because they pair them with classic pieces like a blue blazer, a crisp white or striped collared shirt, or a simple shift dress. Going otherwise monochromatic with the outfit is a great contemporary way to wear them. Navy, black, white, and gray are good colors for highlighting the print of a silk scarf.

The scarf print is entirely up to you – I’m drawn to bold floral and geometric prints. You can go classic with paisley or more traditional florals or embrace signature designer styles. Do choose scarves that have saturated colors – you want it to pop, not wash out your complexion.

Check out these super simple ties and have fun!

the classic knot

Use a small square scarf folded in a triangle and then rolled with the points tucked inside. Take care to make a tidy knot, and wear it in front or off to the side. I’m wearing it with a boatneck tee here, and you can also pair it with a collared shirt or jacket.

the choker tie

choker tie

If you feel too much like a 1970s stewardess wearing the classic knot (you aren’t!), you can push the knot to the back for a choker tie. A collar or your hair can cover the knot, or you can sweep your hair up in a bun or ponytail to highlight the knot.

the French twist

french twist tie

This tie works best with a long, skinny scarf like the one I’m wearing, or you can triangle-fold and roll a large square. Start from the front of your neck and wrap the scarf around once or twice, depending on how long you want the tails of the scarf to be. Make a tidy knot off to the side.

the loose tie

loose knot

Triangle-fold and roll a large square and make a low, loose knot. This goes particularly well with a blazer or over a fitted, collared shirt. Aim for the knot hitting just above the bustline for balanced lines, and plump the scarf a little above the knot for a soft look.

the wrist tie

wrist tie

This is a colorful alternative to a bracelet and has oodles of style. I tied this one ALL BY MYSELF using the method in this tutorial with one tweak: I did the slipknot on the outside of my wrist and tied the final knot on the inside so I could use both hands to tie it and then slid it around. You can use a long skinny scarf as demonstrated in the tutorial, or a small square triangle-folded and rolled like I did.

the purse tie

purse tie

So easy. And so fun! Tie a small square in a classic knot around one purse handle. Fabulous. (Hint: No other scarves when one is on your purse – overkill.)

where to buy

My favorite places to buy new-to-you scarves in the Twin Cities are Second Debut in St. Louis Park and St. Paul, Elite Repeat in St. Paul, and Fashion Avenue in Edina.

Second Debut is owned by Goodwill and pulls designer and high quality items from their donations to sell there. They consistently have gorgeous vintage silk scarves – I purchased the skinny black and blue floral, the neutral circle print, and the orange and pink geometric print scarves there.

The long multi-colored swirl print scarf is from Elite Repeat, and I have found several other scarves there as well, including a long skinny silk Coach scarf in winter colors.

If you have a yen for designer scarves, Hermès included, Fashion Avenue is the place to go. I purchased a gorgeous textured plum winter scarf by Armani Collezioni for a fraction of its original price there last month. Their stock is just lovely.

your turn

What silk scarves do you have hiding in your wardrobe? Pull them out and give them a whirl for Spring! Often they have memories of loved ones attached to them as well – post a picture of your favorite and share a memory in the comments below.

wardrobe refresh: out with the old, in with the, well, old

caroline herrera quote

Earlier this month, I did a Wardrobe Consult with a client – sometimes these involve purging a lot of clothes that are outdated, worn out, or ill-fitting and replacing them with new to you clothing that offers a lot more fun and functionality for the client. Other times, we purge very little, but the client feels like they have a whole new wardrobe when we’re finished – this was one of those times.

Looking at different ways to pair clothing can increase the options in your existing wardrobe and transform it from a source of immense frustration to one of joy and confidence. By incorporating items that are worn very little because you’re not sure how to wear them, making old standards feel exciting again by wearing them with other items than before, and adding accessories like scarves, necklaces, and belts into the mix, clothing that feels ordinary or boring can instantly become contemporary and fresh.

Following are some of the things I discuss with my clients as we evaluate their wardrobes and re-imagine outfits in new ways:

the third piece rule

The “third piece rule” is something being talked about on many fashion blogs. It is an easy, memorable, and highly effective way to make your clothing go from mere coverage to a polished outfit. Simply add a third piece to what you are wearing. That’s it. You have to put on a top (1) and a bottom (2) for coverage; then add a jacket, scarf, distinctive sweater, or statement necklace (3) – instant ensemble! You can even feel daring and add a 4th and 5th element, like a belt, hat, or bracelet to further express your personal style.

Photo: Fashion Me Now - third piece rule

Third piece rule: adding the scarf makes a simple jeans and sweater combo an elegant casual ensemble. The hat adds even more personal style. Photo: Fashion Me Now

 

look for contrasting and saturated colors to add vibrancy to outfits

Use black to add dimension to outfits by creating a stronger contrast to colors, and use white to add brightness. If the outfit in the photo above included blue denim jeans instead of white, the crisp contrast between the sweater and jeans would have been lost, making the outfit much less striking. Saturated colors tend to bring out the warmth in any skin tone – unsaturated, or muted colors can wash out your complexion.

pair prints with prints

Don’t be afraid to wear prints with prints! Not every print goes together, but many do, and it adds spark and confidence to your outfit when you give it a go. Start small: try pairing plaid or herringbone dress pants with a bold floral or geometric print shirt or jacket. The pattern in the pants serves as texture and adds dimension and polish to the outfit. With all print pairings, one print should be smaller while the other should be bold – two prints of the same size compete rather than complement each other. Finding prints that share a common color can help pull them together as well.

For a bright, fresh look, pair stripes with florals – it is very on trend this spring and is a lot of fun. In the casual outfit below, the small floral print on the scarf becomes a texture next to the bold stripes of the sweater, and the navy and pink contrast each other nicely. In the dress casual combination, blue denim and small stripes pair well with the blue tones in the vivid floral pencil skirt; gray muted stripes complement the bold gray and red floral blouse in the dress ensemble.

Stripes and Florals

 

accessorize, accessorize, accessorize

Adding a belt, scarf, necklace, bracelet, or a combination of the above to an outfit adds polish and shows that you think about what you are wearing, which ultimately conveys confidence. All of us have jewelry in our drawers – be they vintage pieces from our mothers and grandmothers, costume jewelry, or gorgeous handmade works of art. Don’t let them languish! They are a perfect way to add interest and balance to an outfit. And scarves can add a pop of color, texture, or pattern to bring energy to what you are wearing.

shoes can make or break an outfit

Shoes are really important. Yes, for comfort; and also for how an outfit comes together. The shape of the toe, the vamp (covers the top of the foot), and the weight and height of the heel can change the balance of visual lines created by your outfit, whether you are wearing pants or a skirt/dress. The level of dress of the shoe can dramatically change an outfit, as can the color.

it’s all about balance

This is the statement I make most often with my clients. It’s not about looking tall, or looking thin, or looking whatever. It’s about balance. Proper fit and cuts for your body create balanced lines, which look beautiful. Working with items that fit your body well makes dressing so much easier and so much more fun.

With these ideas in mind, try shopping in your own closet for new outfits – there are likely many items lurking in there that could feel new again when worn in different ways. Want help? Contact me today to set up a Wardrobe Consult.

fresh for spring (yes, SPRING!)

Spring arrives slowly here in Minnesota. We’ve been getting a taste of spring the past few days, and it is delicious. It never lasts in March, but we enjoy every moment when it’s here. And it puts me in the mood to think about warm weather wear.

Spring is all about newness; it makes you want to throw off the woolens and down coat and look fresh and bright, just like what’s beginning outside. It’s a time to look with clear eyes at your warm weather wardrobe and ask, “Does it make me feel great? Does it reflect what I want my personal style to be?”

Pairing items from your existing wardrobe in new ways and adding just one or two new key items or accessories can make outfits feel brand new and exciting to wear. Two trends for spring this year to try are denim all over and floral prints. Neither of these are new things, but how they’re presented this season feels contemporary and fresh. And they are classic, which appeals to me and to many of my clients – I want to feel current, but not buy a bunch of clothes that will be out of style in a year. And these may be items you already have in your wardrobe.

Spring Denim

First the denims. For a long time, it was passé to wear denim with denim – you were considered a cowboy wannabe. Now it’s all about the denim on denim! To avoid the cowboy look, pair two different washes together, like a dark wash jacket with a lighter jean, or a chambray shirt with a dark wash jean. Or pair any blue wash with another color denim jean – white is a particularly lovely contrast.

Add a bright accessory – a silk or faux-silk square scarf in a classic wrap-and-knot tie around the neck peeking out from a collared shirt or a lightweight gauzy long scarf with a denim jacket. They add color and a little warmth while the temps are still brisk. Ankle booties in lighter colors are a great transition shoe as well, and as the weather gets warmer, switch to a bold print flat or fun sneakers.

Spring Florals

Florals, particularly vintage-style bold patterns, are making a comeback. I’m starting to get past the slight shudder I have whenever I remember the many upholstery-like floral dresses I owned in the 80s and early 90s. Seeing floral fabrics in contemporary cuts is helping. A bold floral pencil skirt feels very sophisticated rather than like being swallowed in draperies, as does a pretty floral classic-cut A-line or shift dress that falls right above the knee.

Sheer peasant, or “boho” (short for bohemian), blouses are feminine and fun. These prints tend to be a little less bold and are great paired with jeans for a casual, polished look. Floral tunic-style blouses in heavier weight fabrics (not sheer) paired with narrow-leg ankle trousers or pants and flats or low heels make a great spring outfit for work. With both of these styles, it’s important to pair the loose, flowy top with a more tailored, close-fitting pant to add structure to the outfit.

When wearing floral prints, choose only one statement piece. Too many florals together gets too busy – one on its own stands out and shines. Or try pairing a large, bold floral with a smaller stripe – look for a common color, like navy, in the two prints that pulls them together. And add a floral bag, scarf, or flats to a denim on denim ensemble!

Consignment stores are a great place to find one or two new to you pieces to freshen your spring wardrobe. In the Twin Cities, Nu Look in Minneapolis and Elite Repeat in St. Paul are great places for finding designer denim pieces at a fraction of the retail cost. They both have great selections of scarves as well, as does Turnstyle (various locations) where you can also find many beautiful handbags. For high-end fun, try Fashion Avenue in Edina.