segunda-feira, 29 de abril de 2013

Coral or olive?

We have another question!
I was wondering if you could help me style these jackets and could help me decide which to keep.I am in high school and live in California so its pretty hot right now. My typical outfit would be a jean shorts and a light sweater with sandals. I am around 5'6 with black wavy hair a little past shoulder length.
I have medium to dark olive skin and dark brown eyes. I have an oddly proportioned body- long legs and a short torso and I guess I'm pretty skinny

I'm assuming both jackets have a good fit on you, so I'll help you decide based solely on the color.
  • When do you intend to wear this jacket? You live in a pretty hot place but is this a spring or fall coat for you? It seems that you'd get more mileage out of the coral coat in spring and of the olive one come fall
  • It sounds like both of them look good against your skin. If you can, hold each coat up to your face (or a similar colored piece) against a mirror. If one of the colors just makes you glow, you don't have to wonder anymore!
  • Do you already have a thin coat? If you already have a lightweight neutral coat, go with the coral, if not, your best bet is to secure neutrals that go with everything and then branch to color

Outfits and styling
I don't know much about your personal style but I'll keep things simple so you can customize it and replicate the outfits on your own closet.

In the spring, wear it with your usual shorts and sandals. Keep in mind that if the sandals have a "busy"/embellished look to them, you should keep the top simple. If you are self consious about your long legs you may feel better in knee length shorts. These are usually hard to come by but have been seen on the runways this year and look more put together than tiny cut-offs

For fall, I'd pair either coat with a solid neutral sweater in a noticeable texture (open weave might be a good choice for your climate, but remember to wear a tank underneath!) and a longer length along with a pendant necklace to showcase your personality and elongate your torso. Just finish off with your regular jeans and ankle boots

To keep things stylish, add your own accessories. A long necklace or big earrings would be best to draw the eye to your face. Also keep in mind that when working with simpler pieces/outfits, you need small details to "keep interest" so a littlt ruffle or beading (or studs) will go a long way. You can also tie a belt over your top but not at the natural waist. Sling it lower for a trendy drop-waist effect that lets you elongate your torso as much or as little as you like.

Did this help? I sure hope so! Which coat do you think she should keep?
Leave your opinion and tips in the comments!

sábado, 27 de abril de 2013

Thrifting tips

I started buying in flea markets after stumbling across one during a summer afternoon stroll. Later I found online where and when these small markets happens. People set up shop selling their castoffs for amazingly low prices, some of them just for fun! After a couple of successful purchases I was hoooked!
Thrifting helped me define my personal style much better, especially because I personally struggle with the regular shopping experience. It's also a big money saver!

If you are going to a second-hand store or flea market, it can be easy to get lost in so many bargains and vintage finds, especially after the "buying used" recent surge in popularity. Being dellusional about your ability to fix or alter things can make for bad purchases. Paying a bargain for stuff you won't wear is a waste of money and of a clothing item someone else could make better use of. Especially if you are just starting out, keep in mind these tips:

Be prepared

  • If you have the time, purge your closet beforehand to better identify what's lacking
  • It can be easy to be overwhelmed by the sheer amount of merchandise. Have a clear idea of what you want before stepping in.
  • Make a list of the things you want/need in your closet but without being very specific. You never know what you'll find and "solid dress" is much easier to find than "purple dress". Still, stay true to what you want, just know that the more specific it is, the harder it will be to find
  • Wear comfy shoes (flats or sneakers) and try to come up with an outfit that allows you to try things on over your clothes. Snug fitting tees and pants are best
  • Don't forget to bring cash in small bills and water (maybe a snack) and make sure your purse has room for a couple of purchases, as sometimes bags are not available.
  • Set priorities and standarts beforehand. What can/can't you fix? What are your dealbreakers? To me it's materials, if something isn't 95% or more cotton or wool or other natural fibers it stays behind.
While browsing
  • Touch the racks and only take out pieces that feel good to the touch, no matter how cute they are. If the fabric is low quality and has a "bad feel" you don't want it.
  • Try on everything. If the fit is off, put it back unless you love it so much you're willing to get it altered. Even so, caution. Things cannot be made bigger and some alterations aren't worth the hassle and are best left for more experienced shoppers.
  • Only after finding a great fitting piece can you decide wether you want it. Does it fit your personal style? If not, it will just sit in your closet, no matter how cute it is.
  • Will it "play well" with your existing wardrobe? Do you have anywhere to go in it? Do you already have a similar item? Refer to your list and keep your priorities straight. Try to come up with a minimum of two/three outfits for it at the top of your head. If you have absolutely no shoes to go with it, it's not a good purchase
  • Check the tag. Where was it first purchased? What is it made of? Is it dry-clean only? If it is, think about the extra cost and hassle associated before making a decision
  • Last but very important: inspect the piece. Look out for stains, ripped seams, tiny holes or flaws with the piece. Leave it behind if doesn't meet your standarts and be realistic about what you can fix. A missing button or falling hem sure, but stains and holes are most often than not unfixable
  • Keep a watchful eye on prices and consider looking up haggling techniques if you're just starting. More often than not, you can haggle for a lower price, especially if you are taking more than one item
  • Do not haggle at charity shops. If the proceeds are going to the less fortunate and you think the piece is worth the price just buy it
At home
  • Immediately throw in the wash anything with tags saying it's okay and make plans to dry clean the rest
  • Decide where these things will go in your closet. If you purged well, you should have plenty of space
  • Spend a little while coming up with outfits for your new pieces. A good number to start is between three and five. Make a consious effort to wear the new piece in your new outfits. After a little while, it will become second nature
  • Make sure to make plans to care well for your new purchases and stick to them. Thrifted items sometimes require some TLC to return to their former glory. Take shoes to a cobbler for new soles or buy leather paste to care for a new purse.
What about you? Do you buy second-hand? Why/Why not?
Share your thifting tips in the comments! And remember, if you have any questions (about thrifting or otherwise), I'm here for you!

sábado, 20 de abril de 2013

How to wear a collared shirt for spring

While some people may have an aversion to button-downs (or button ups) the truth is that they are incredibly versatile for a multitude of personal styles and can be worn a million different ways.

Plain white shirt

Although any of these ideas would work with any solid colored shirt, I'll use a white one as an example.
In a casual setting, your options are almost endless. Most people choose pants as bottoms for their shirt but there are so many ways to style it!

The obvious choice is jeans. This makes a great plain canvas for other statement pieces like bright shoes or a big necklace or you can leave it as is for a great minimalist outfit, maybe with loafers for the weekend. Feel free to adapt this to your personal style, as it's a classic that goes with everything.

Often people forget that due to it's plain-ness, the solid shirt is a perfect pair for trendy pants, both the solid statement ones or the print jeans. Just remember to keep color pairings in check (use the color wheel for help if you have doubts). A white shirt with colored jeans just begs for a patterned piece like a cardigan or shoes but printed pants are already a big attention-grabber so keep all else simple. If you could use a hand in adapting these to your personal style or incorporate then into your personal uniform, leave a comment at the bottom of this post!

 Dress up

You can also take your new casual staple to a more formal setting with a few teaks. It wouldn't seem so at first sight but these shirts go very well tucked into formal skirts. Add some heels and fancy accessories and you're ready to party in style. For a more laid-back yet still formal look, try plain flats and let your hair down.

Try shirts tucked into long-ish shorts (no denim or hot-pants for this!) for a relaxed look. This would go well with a shiny long necklace. For a more cocktail-like approach, skirts are in order. A plain shirt goes well with either patterned or solid skirts but keep in mind the same advice as for pants: if you choose the patterned one, keep the rest simple, if you go with the solid, add some spice.

You can do this with any solid shirt, but it's trickier. Start with white or other soft colors (nude, baby pink) before trying to make formal outifts with a cobalt blouse.

Patterned shirt

Most people have a patterned shirt that speaks to their style. Wether it's flannel plaid, zebra stripes or soft florals, you can wear it in many outfits. Add more variety by layering a coordinatig solid top underneath and leaving a couple of buttons (or all of them!) undone.

The obvious pairing of choice for any patterned top is jeans. But don't limit yourself to blue! Try other colors that go well with your print and black or white, which are safe in most cases. If you have casual skirts, this is a great way to wear them on the weekend, with flats and a denim jacket if it's your thing.

Do you have more ideas on how to wear shirts? Share them in the comments!

sábado, 13 de abril de 2013

Pamper yourself

You may not realize this right away but grooming is a cornerstone of your style and personal image. It signals others about how well you treat yourself and, consequently (whether you want it or not) how others should treat you.

I'm not talking about the various messages one sends with makeup or nail polish choice. Even more basic is our personal grooming: how often we shower, our choice of bath products, etc.

This week try treating your skin like the most exquisite silk ever made. Moisturize liberally after bathing and pat dry skin instead of rubbing it. Use your beuaty products like they are the best ever made and like you spared no expense. Apply according to directions, yet gently.

Treat yourself to a manicure (your hands often speak volumes, even if there's no polish color) to keep cuticles groomed and nail length even. Moisturize hands before sleep. Do a facial at home.

Do you know all those things you're supposed to do to "stay beautiful" but never get around to doing. list them and do them! Get a blowout every now and then, try a new mask every couple of months and have a good relaxing soak in the tub.

You should treat others the way you want to be treated. But try treating yourself the way you'd like others to treat you and you'll see what I'm talking about! Sometimes all it takes is a fancy looking outfit and a good home-spa day to make you feel like you can take on the world!

domingo, 7 de abril de 2013

Tear off your labels!

Disclaimer: The brands mentioned are only examples

How much do you care about which label is stitched on your clothing?
Would you be willing to pay more for the exact same item with a fancier label?
Does the brand you're wearing affect your mood?
Do you own any items with the brand sprawled across it? This is most frequent in hoodies or purses.

Although some people are imune to labels/brands, most are not. And it doesn't apply only to clothes. Beauty products, cars, even school supplies see this fenomenon too. Of course you feel better when owning/wearing quality items but did you ever stop to think how much does the brand influence your percieved quality of the product?

Invisible logos (on the inside)

I too am a "victim" of this, and it isn't always a bad thing. It's a bad thing when it's what matters most to you about the product. I was gifted a Chanel perfume last Christmas and it smells amazing. But the thruth is I feel an extra boost of amazingness and fanciness by knowing that I'm wearing Chanel.

The other side to this: a couple years ago, I started buying second hand items in markets held in my town. I often found items with no label whatsoever, that I liked and bought. Or labels I had never seen before. What I think of that item is 100% mine and not influenced by the image the brand tries to project.
Other times I found pretty unique items from previous collections of not so unique brands like Mango or Zara. I no longer remember why it came to me to snip away some labels but it might me one of my best ideas yet: keep only the labels that boost your mood!

Do you have an investment piece or splurge from a brand fancier than you usually wear and that you feel great everytime you wear it? Keep the label. Is it only a so-so thing? Cut it off! It is no longer an H&M sweater, it's YOUR sweater!
This can also be a freeing experience if you're concerned about size. Last year alone, I've bought things that are every size between 32 and 40, XXS and all the way up to M. Sizes in stores mean nothing nowadays and your self-esteem is likely better off without a size label.

On the outside

But now let's talk about labels on the outside of clothes. Do you have a hoodie with a really big store logo in front of it? What about a purse covered in it's brand logo?
How do those items make you feel when you wear them? Do you think you magically become the embodiement of the image the brand project? Spoiler alert: you don't.

Is this what you want to look like?
Having a Coach purse on your arm does not change who you are one bit. You don't suddenly become just like the lady in the advert/catalog. You're still you, with a purse. So think very well before paying to advertise for a brand. That's right: you're paying to become a walking billboard!
There are only a couple of reasons why someone would cover themselves in logos on purpose: to show off wealth and to "hide" who you really are, projecting a brand's identity instead. You may as well be wearing a sign saying: "I do whatever advertisements tell me to"

Seriously consider showing off good taste instead of money (that's right, they don't always go hand in hand) and creating your own personal style to project your personality, instead of hiding it behind branded polos, pants and the like.
A good place to start is to understand the message your clothes are telling others, and comparing it with the image you want to send. Are they the same? Get second opinions if you must, and try the exercises suggested here.

This weekend, cut off any inside labels that don't boost your mood and give away the stuff with big and loud logos to charity and tell me how it went.
How do you feel about labels? Do you see yourself in any of the cases mentioned? Tell me all about it in the comments!