the unmentionables – DEFinitely worth a mention!

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When’s the last time you tried a different kind of underwear? Say what? Give me my cotton briefs and call it good, right? Nope.

the right underwear for your outfit is your best friend

Choosing the right underwear can transform what a garment looks like on your body. It can be the difference between something fitting – fabulously – and not.

And I’m not talking about shapewear, ladies. I’ll address that later.

As I tell my clients about clothing, “It’s not about the size number on the tag, it’s about proper fit.” The number doesn’t matter – they are arbitrary and not standardized in the industry. This goes for panties too!

the bottom line, or rather, NOT

Sorry, couldn’t resist the pun! Panty lines wreck what could be a gorgeous fit. Here’s some really good news – much of the time, it’s the cut of the panties that cause the lines! Wearing the right cut panty for the garment they are paired with makes all the difference in the world.

For any kind of panty, fit is important too. If the waistband or leg seams cut into your body, this can cause panty lines or bulges. If the elastic is particularly elastic it can contribute to the dreaded panty line as well. And if they are too small OR too large, panties can ride up, which is not only uncomfortable, but also can cause lines or bunches.

Panties should lie smoothly across your body. You don’t want them to cut into your body or to be gaping too much. Like jeans, finding the correct rise for your body can transform the fit of panties.

boy shorts

No-Show Boyshort Panty

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I love boy shorts with pants, jeans, and even some leggings. The lower-cut leg opening typically has no elastic and lies across the upper thigh rather than diagonally across the cheek like briefs, eliminating panty lines. They fit differently than briefs and can take a little getting used to, but it’s worth it!

hi-rise

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Hi-rise panties are just that – the top of the panty is very high on the hips just below the waist and the leg holes are high-cut as well. I often wear them with dresses and skirts, especially very fitted or thin-fabric ones, to give smooth coverage across the hips, stomach, and backside. Which leads me to seamless underwear.

seamless

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For dresses in particular or for more fitted pants, I wear seamless underwear, which is typically made of a micro-fiber fabric (I choose ones with a cotton crotch panel). Hi-rise, or very low rise both work well for me – if they are more mid-rise, they hit my hips in the wrong place and make bulges – not what I’m going for!

Take the time, and possibly some trial and error, to find the proper fit and rise for you to ensure they lie smoothly across your body. If they cut into your body, even seamless will show. A good fitting seamless panty with the correct rise for you won’t show under even a body-con (figure hugging) dress or clingy fabric.

Take the time, and possibly some trial and error, to find the proper fit and rise for you to ensure they lie smoothly across your body.

go commando with hosiery

If I wear hosiery with a dress or skirt, I go commando. Hosiery has a cotton panel built in – they are made to be worn alone, and frankly, they are much more comfortable without panties underneath! This also provides a really smooth foundation for under dresses. I pull the waistband of the hosiery up high to just beneath the bust for a smooth waistline.

color

The Short CAFE AU LAIT

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If wearing white or a light color, choose nude-to-you undies instead of white. White shows through white pants and jeans just as badly as a bright color does. Light gray and lavender also work with my skin tone under light and white fabrics, but this will vary according to your skin tone.

thongs

Some people swear by thongs. I hate them. They are so uncomfortable to me that I can’t focus on anything else when I try to wear one. And if you are really trying to eliminate panty lines, thongs are not always the way to do it. They will show through some fabrics just a much as a brief would. Seamless is your best bet. If you like thongs, more power – albeit less fabric – to you!

shapewear

I am also not a fan of shapewear. It has its place for a formal gown, special event, or a particularly fitted garment, but it should not be used for daily wear. Firstly, it’s not good for your circulation to wear shapewear regularly – for real. And secondly, it’s not good to be uncomfortable in your clothing on a regular basis. That does not contribute to your overall wellbeing. Take it from Tina Fey.

Proper fit for clothing is finding the right cuts and fit (remember, the size numbers mean nothing!) for your body without having to wear shapewear to make it happen. The right underwear can do wonders in assisting that proper fit.

 

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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.

 

ndwc turns 3!

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woo hoo!

The beginning of November marks the 3rd Anniversary of nancy dilts wardrobe consulting. In the world of entrepreneurship, this is a. big. deal. So many small businesses and solopreneurs don’t make it to see this anniversary, because it can be a long, slow haul to success. I’m here! ndwc is going strong and growing – year three has been a good year. And I’m PROUD.

I’m here! ndwc is going strong and growing – year three has been a good year. And I’m PROUD.

We’re always afraid to talk about anything other than the successes, but aren’t the challenges what we learn from most? Starting my own business has been a huge exercise in personal development – I’m out of my comfort zone much of the time with some of the business aspects of my work and am constantly gaining new skills, ideas, and perspectives as a result.

Being an entrepreneur definitely keeps it fresh! Sometimes it’s completely overwhelming – so much so that I have Dory’s mantra from Finding Nemo on repeat in my brain: “Just keep swimming, just keep swimming…”

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why I keep swimming

Even when things are challenging, I can’t see myself doing anything else. This work is my calling. Helping others to feel great about how they look through dressing intentionally and with confidence. Practicing sustainable consumerism for my work and sharing that model with others to have positive impact on the world. It is so gratifying.

Even when things are challenging, I can’t see myself doing anything else. This work is my calling.

gratitude

Of course, even solopreneurs can’t do it all on their own. I am so thankful for the support I’ve received (and still do) from so many people. My husband, in countless ways. Dear friends who have championed me and lifted me up when I’ve been down. Colleagues that have gone the extra mile to help. And especially clients, not only for their loyal patronage, feedback, and referrals, but particularly for the joy they bring me in our work together.

what’s next?

I’m continuing to offer all of my services and am thrilled at the response to my new A Year of Style service package – the deeper relationship that is the core of this service is what it’s all about for me. And be sure to watch for new ndwc services in the coming year!

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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.

stacy london’s The Truth About Style

You likely remember TV-show What Not To Wear with Stacy London and Clinton Kelly. I recently read Stacy London’s latest book, The Truth About Style, part memoir and part style makeover stories. Honestly, I just loved it. London is an engaging writer, and her personal stories are authentic and resonant. And now she’s kind of my idol.

stacy london_the truth about style

Do you see her silver streak? It makes me SO happy! Read why.

The stories of the women she worked with for the book are a good cross-section of many of the issues – body-image, self-worth, significant life-changes – that we all face and also reflect different personal styles, ages, and body types. Throughout the vignettes are plenty of good style tips as well as laugh-out-loud observations delivered in typical Stacy London bluntness. She has a way of speaking truth about body image, style, aging, and more without disparaging others – in the same way a great stand-up comedian is one who is side-splittingly funny without excessive foul language, misogyny, or bigotry.

Before I read the book, I didn’t really know much about London’s backstory other than she is a fashion expert. She had a painful (literally and figuratively) childhood and adolescence as the result of a severe skin condition, and she talks about it frankly in the book. The fallout from her condition led to other body-image issues, including disordered eating.

I realized that her ability to work so genuinely with “real women” stems from her very first-hand experience. She has not had a charmed life, and her grit (and intelligence) is what got her where she is today. And she has impeccable style. She knows how to work with women to find the clothes that help them look, and thus feel, GREAT. She’s all kinds of awesome.

When I first launched my wardrobe consulting business, a friend described me as “a greener, sweeter What Not To Wear.” That made me smile, because What Not To Wear is where it all began for me. Watching that show 11 years ago was the beginning of my personal style journey, which ultimately led me to starting my own business.

I spent a lot of years hiding my body. The 80s and 90s were great decades to do that with their respective baggy and boxy styles. The looser the better, in my book. My dad is 6’4″, and I would raid his closet for Men’s XL Tall shirts (I’m 5’8″, and the shirts came down to my knees). That shifted some as I moved forward in my professional life, but not a lot. I would experience physical symptoms of anxiety if anything was too form-fitting.

I remember stumbling on What Not To Wear when my daughter was a toddler. It was typical reality TV with over-dramatization, but there was something about how Stacy London and Clinton Kelly interacted with the makeover winners that resonated with me. It was obvious that they truly wanted to help these women embrace their bodies “as is” and feel good about how they looked. And they knew how to make it happen. Of course, to be good television, often the women were extreme in their previous clothing choices. But even so, Stacy and Clinton gave really good style advice that was applicable to everyone, including me.

I always loved clothes, just not on myself. What Not To Wear caught me right when I was embracing that it was time to put aside the negative messages I’d held onto for SO. MANY. YEARS. For my sake. For my daughter’s sake.

The show gave me the tools to find clothes that worked with my body, rather than hide it. And I felt better about myself as a result. The better I felt, the more accepting of myself and the more confident I became. How you look on the outside really does affect how you feel on the inside.

This doesn’t mean I don’t have bad days. We all do. But I have a much better perspective now and know to consciously step back and see the old, negative messages for what they are – a big bunch of hooey.

Reading The Truth About Style was a nice reminder of how much I love Stacy London’s honest, humorous approach that is backed by deep understanding and caring, as well as a passion for style. The book would make a great holiday gift for anyone who’s interested in embracing her true self and showing it with personal style.

fun for the holidays

The Holidays. We know they’re coming.

Halloween is over, chocolate peppermint is replacing pumpkin spice, and decorations are ubiquitous. Poor Thanksgiving is lumped in there, but just barely.

Frankly, it can be overwhelming – so many things to plan and do to celebrate with family and friends over the next six weeks. One of those things is to figure out what to wear at the abundance of family gatherings, holiday parties, and formal events that occur this time of year.

Consignment shops are a great resource for finding new-to-you accessories and statement pieces that can make beautiful, polished holiday outfits without breaking the bank. Adding a sparkly embellishment or festive plaid can transform an outfit. Or finding a gorgeous fancy dress at a fraction of its retail cost makes celebrating all the more fun.

dress-casual gatherings

Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Hanukkah family and friend gatherings often call for comfortable-casual attire, but you want to look polished as well. Neutrals in soft knits are the trend this fall and winter – try an easy white-on-white or blend of neutrals for a put-together look. White denim or winter white dress pants with a fluid knit sweater and scarf are a perfect choice.

fun for the holidays: casual neutrals

 

Or go more traditional with plaid accents like a cozy blanket scarf or flannel shirt peeking out of a fitted crewneck sweater. A plaid statement coat pops with white-on-white, and blue gingham or plaid offers a fresh alternative to red or green.
soirées

Mix it up a little at those holiday mixers by forgoing the little black dress and opting for a sparkly or shiny skirt in emerald, champagne, or bronze. A knee-length A-line or full cut skirt with a fitted dressy blouse or sweater and ankle-strap heels will stand apart. A vintage or statement coat over a simple solid dress will both keep you warm and let you shine. An embellished sweater paired with a wool pencil skirt and heels is a gorgeous classic look.

dress parties

Jacquard, lace, and embroidered fabrics are beautiful monochromatic textures for fancy dress. Again, instead of stand-by black, choose navy, charcoal, white, or a metallic for a contemporary look. The shift, sheath, and fit-and-flare cuts are all lovely on-trend, yet classic styles. Add an ankle-strap or ankle-wrap heeled sandal, a clutch, and a sheer wrap for elegant style.

fun for the holidays: fancy dress

accessories

Anything sparkly will instantly make an outfit feel dressier and festive for the holidays. Add a brooch, or even two or three paired together, to a fine-gauge fitted sweater or fasten one to a bobby pin for your hair. Choose a sequined scarf or oversized ring as accent pieces. Jeweled bracelets, earrings, and collar necklaces will dazzle any outfit.

fun for the holidays: accessories

 

shopping consignment in Minneapolis and St. Paul

The Twin Cities have countless consignment stores for all of your holiday wardrobe needs. In Minneapolis, Nu Look has many lovely blouses, sweaters, and skirts. Fashion Avenue in Edina has gorgeous formal wear and designer/couture pieces.

St. Paul’s Elite Repeat has beautiful scarves and dresses, as does Second Debut in St. Louis Park, where you can also find a great selection of sparkly jewelry. Clothes Mentor (multiple locations) has lovely dresses as well.

I hope everyone has a relaxing, reflective Thanksgiving next week. And if you’re brave enough to join the crowds the day after, consider participating in Plaid Friday, a national effort to support local and independent shops on the biggest shopping day of the year. “Plaid is the new black!”

my wardrobe consult

“Ugh! I need a wardrobe consultant!” I whined to my husband.

Recently, I made the switch in my closet from warm weather wear to fall and winter clothing. As I dug in, it quickly grew into much more than a switch. It ended up being a full-blown assessment of my wardrobe, which is what I do with clients in a Wardrobe Consult.

As discussed in my last post, my style has evolved some this past year. Partly because of the change in my hair color, and also inspiration from French fashion during our extended stay in Lyon last fall (nostalgic sigh). Things were piling up – I had added new-to-me pieces to reflect my new style, but hadn’t done a closet purge in several years.

My closet is on the smaller side, so I store off-season clothing in a closet in the hallway. This is actually good, because it forces me to directly interact with all of my clothes twice a year as I make the swap.

Notice I said “good.” Not “fun.”

Sound familiar?

I LOVE helping others to organize their wardrobes and to make them more functional and enjoyable. I can do that every. single. day. My own stuff? Not so much.

When it’s your own things, your emotions, and – let’s face it – baggage, become a part of the story. Facing stuff that has been lurking in your closet for years, if not decades, can bring up all kinds of internal stuff too.

why it can be hard to assess and purge

It takes precious time – before you begin, it feels like it will take FOREVER to accomplish anything.

So many decisions have to be made, which is overwhelming, and sometimes even paralyzing.

A lot of memories come up – some good, some bad.

Experiencing guilt of purchases you made that haven’t worked out.

Finding clothes that fit at one time and don’t anymore (too small or too big), or never actually fit, can trigger negative body image messages.

Finding unworn items you like the idea of, but never really were you, nor will be, can also trigger purchase guilt.

Items are outdated or just plain worn out, but have sentimental meaning.

Items are outdated, but aren’t worn out, so it seems wasteful to purge them, even though you aren’t actually wearing them.

Managing gifts from people you love that just don’t work for you, and you don’t want to hurt their feelings by purging them.

When it’s my closet I’m addressing, I quickly get overwhelmed by decision-making. I also can get caught up in self-scolding – this time around I pulled out a bridesmaid dress from a friend’s wedding that occurred EIGHTEEN years ago (or was it 19?) and several other dresses that were 15+ years old and too big, but I had saved them anyway. Why??

I also have the “it’s not worn out” guilt around things that are still in good shape but are no longer my style. Do I keep them, just to have as options? (No. Consign them!)

See, I needed my own wardrobe consultant. Because organizing and purging, especially your clothes, is actually grappling with your sense of self and your personal history.

Having someone who is objective and who can give you support throughout the process with encouragement and gentle, honest feedback can make the process much less overwhelming and much more effective. I help my clients keep a positive perspective, avoid getting bogged down, and have fun in seeing the potential in the items that do work in their wardrobes.

It took me 6-8 hours over two days to completely go through my clothing, which was more than double the time it usually takes when I work with a client. This reminded me how helpful – and efficient – it can be to have a supportive presence to help you along! Working together, we usually get through most if not all of a typically-sized wardrobe in three hours, not only purging, but also creating new outfits with the keepers.

I had a lot of conversations with myself while I was doing my wardrobe consult. The exact conversations I have with my clients. “When did you last wear this?” “Do you actually LIKE it?” “Does it make you happy to wear it?” “Why do you feel like you need to keep this?”

And I tried to treat myself as I do my clients – with encouragement, support, humor, permission to purge, and permission to keep certain items that just can’t be let go – yet. The bridesmaid dress and other late-90s delights did go. Again, why???

I took three garbage bags of clothes for donation, and I consigned 15 items. I feel much lighter to have cleared out clothing that was doing nothing but cluttering my closet. Others will benefit from my purge, and my wardrobe is ultimately more functional without those items. I also now know what I have and what needs to be added or replaced, which makes shopping more focused and fruitful.

Ready to take the plunge into your closet in a faster, less painful, more productive (and FUN) way? Contact me today to set up YOUR Wardrobe Consult.

grey matter

I recently met a friend I hadn’t seen for a few months for a walk. We hugged, and she said, “You’ve decided to go grey! I love it!”

To which I responded, “Decided? Sure, I guess you could say I ‘decided‘ to go grey.”

She laughed, and I did that laugh that’s more of a forced squeak accompanied by a slightly frozen smile.

Don’t get me wrong – I wasn’t offended in the least by her remark. It’s just that when you’re in your late 40s, all kinds of aging stuff happen all at once. (Can you say peri-menopause? But that’s an entirely different post – don’t get me started.) The grey hair is the tip of the iceberg, so to speak.

What my friend noticed is that I am no longer covering all of my grey with color, particularly right around my face. There’s still plenty of color in my hair, but not as much as there could be! My hair stylist (I love you, Bee) has been using her incredible talents to blend my grey with high- and lowlights to create a natural look for more years than I care to remember.

In the past couple of years, the hair around my face has become fully silver-white – a prelude of what’s to come eventually for my whole head. The added highlights there began to look brassy and decidedly un-natural. I also have the good fortune of fast-growing hair, meaning roots show at a rapid rate, which can be hard on the budget. So I decided to bite the bullet (this I did “decide”), and no longer color the hair around my face. Bee crafted my hair color to allow a powerful silver stripe there, which I like quite a lot. And there’s plenty of grey elsewhere, blended with lowlights.

Enough grey to be asked once if I qualified for the senior discount. That one did not elicit a laugh – not even the frozen squeak laugh. That one just floored me. Mostly because it was a woman much older than me who asked, not a teen or 20-something who might think anything older than 30 is just plain old (eloquent rebuttal at Forever Amber). I have to be honest; that one stung.

Since I’ve embraced (sort of) my grey, I get many more comments about my hair – some from friends, some from complete strangers. Most (but not all) of them are positive: “I like your grey hair.” or “Good for you for going grey!”

It is interesting that people feel compelled to comment on it at all. Friends, I get – they are noticing what’s new with me. I appreciate that they are paying attention, as long as they’re kind about it! But why do strangers feel the need, and the liberty, to comment about a natural aspect of aging? Are we that uncomfortable with it that it is an oddity?

Alyson Walsh, British style writer/blogger of That’s Not My Age, recently had an article written by the Guardian about her decision to embrace her grey. She had an “Ouch.” moment when the article was published, to which I can completely relate. She handled it with thoughtful grace that I can only hope to embody.

Everything about my business stems from the foundation of positive body image, and I am on a continuing journey towards this just as much as my clients. I have good days, and I have bad days. It sounds cliché, but aging for me has brought wisdom and a stronger sense of self. My 40s are the decade where I’ve learned to love myself for who I am, both in body and mind. Again, I have bad days. But they are now DAYS – no longer a mindset. My silver stripe (and all the 1000s of other grey hairs on my head) represents that for me.

As our bodies change with aging, it has implications on what we wear in many ways. I’ve written before about the idea of “age-appropriate” clothing, which also is trending on many style blogs. Alyson Walsh prefers the term “ageless style,” which I quite like. I feel that focusing on context- rather than age-appropriate clothing is a better approach. Women should wear styles that make them happy, regardless of age. Context is the considering factor.

I’ve had to incorporate my change in hair color into my wardrobe choices. My hair and complexion look different with my clothes now. I have had to rethink colors – less browns, more cool colors. White actually works better for me than before. My style has evolved a little as well to be more tailored/classic with more neutrals. It’s actually fun to style the silver stripe with clothes – it’s a built-in accessory!

Hair color is an intensely personal choice. The irony is that everyone sees it – it is likely one of the first things someone notices about another person. Many women (and men, for that matter) choose to cover the grey. Some would never consider color at all. Some are “hybrids,” like me. And some make choices they never thought they would make until actually faced with the reality of going grey, losing hair, or another aspect of aging. There’s no wrong choice, even though our culture has a lot to say about it.

Aging, especially for women, gets a bad rap. And, that, I fight against. I’m trying to wrap my (grey) head around my own aging, some days more gracefully than others. I do know that being true to yourself – meaning doing what feels right to YOU, not what the media or strangers or even friends say you should do – goes a long way.