What Is Style?

I read something this morning that resonated.  Fashion and style are not synonymous; while one definitely informs the other, they are decidedly different.  Let me explain.  Fashion refers to the trends of the moment – the styles, fabrics, cuts, and themes that inform what is trendy and what is dated.  Fashion, by nature, is a moving target.  It constantly changes from season to season, year to year.  Style, on the other hand, is constant, transcending the moment.  Style is the distinctive way we act, dress and talk; style is the persona we put on for the world around us.  

I think there are some inherent themes that determine personal style.  Are you classic, tailored, bohemian, organic, sporty, funky, utilitarian, or edgy, for example? If you’re not sure, the style you gravitate toward in clothing, is probably also reflected in your life style, attitudes and decorating.  Would you, for example, choose a leather couch with clean lines (classic) or an overstuffed couch with an ethnic feel (bohemian)?  Or maybe you are more of a futon person (utilitarian).

Whatever your choice, personal style will affect every clothing decision you make.  How you wear a trend will have much to do with your inherent style.  A classic, for example, might take a trend like a velvet kimono and pair it with a collared blouse, belt it at the waist, and wear it with sleek black pants.  A funky would take that same kimono and pair it with ripped leggings, military boots and a tee.  Therefore, having a clear understanding of your style preference is the first place to start in your journey to dressing well.  

If you’d like to learn a little more about this idea, join me Friday, November 17th at 9 a.m. for the first in a series of Fashionable Friday live videos.  I’ll be discussing all of the elements of personal style like how to choose the best colors for your skin, how to use style to direct attention to your best assets, how to evaluate fit, how to dress your body type and more.  The very first live video in the series on November 11 will delve into this issue of personal style: how to determine yours and how to use it to make good wardrobe buying decisions.  Join me on my Fashion Crossroads Fashionistas Facebook Group Page at 9 a.m. next Friday morning to begin your journey to becoming a well dressed woman.  

We all want to feel beautiful, so always remember, you are fearfully and wonderfully made.

How Do I Wear Raw Edge Jeans

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A new and important jean trend is raw edge jeans.  If you are unfamiliar with this term, it simply means the bottom edge of the jean where there would normally be a hem is left unhemmed and has a raw edge.  All of our jean companies are jumping on this trend band wagon, so to speak, from our young contemporary jeans like Silver Jeans (pictured above) to our more missy jeans like Jag Jeans and Not Your Daughter’s Jeans.

In fact, let me stop right here and digress a bit.  Ladies, here is a great fashion tip that will serve you well.  Every brand has a target demographic.  You can get a sense of this by looking at the age of the models that the company uses to picture their product.  The missy lines will generally target women aged 45 to 65.  You will see this reflected in both the way they picture their product and in the features.  For example, NYDJ and Jag Jeans make their jeans with a regular rise (comes all the way to the waist), something that appeals to women over 40 because of our tendency to have a muffin top.  So, if NYDJ and Jag are producing a trend like raw edge jeans and they target a missy customer, you can feel secure that you can wear the trend without looking like you are trying to be a teenager.  This is a great tip for age appropriate dressing.

Once you have determined if a trend is something you should wear, the next hurdle is to figure out how to wear it.  If a trend is new to me, I pay close attention at market to see how other buyers and vendors are wearing it.  If I want to see pictures of the trend in action, I will google “how do I wear….”  and then click the images tab.  A search like that will usually lead to a plethora of pictures answering my question.  In fact, a search like that just might lead you to this blog!

In the picture above, you can see me wearing my raw edge jeans from Silver Jeans.  All the raw edge jeans that we have in the store are cut to an ankle length (an inch above the ankle bone).  This length works great with ballerina flats or Converse tennis shoes in the summer and perfectly with shoe boots in the winter.  When wearing shoe boots, you want the raw edge of your jean to hit the top edge of your shoe boot.  If the jean goes inside the boot, you not see the edge, defeating the whole point of the trend.  If the jean goes outside the boot, it may be too long for you.  Getting the right length is one of the most challenging things about the ankle length trend, but it really matters, so hold out for the right length for you! Too short looks odd.  Too long looks like you are preparing for a flood.  Smile.

Get out there and try some raw edge jeans this season.  No telling how long the trend will last, but it’s a fun twist on your basic jean and will make you feel trendy, a confidence booster to be sure!

How To Wear Velvet In The Day

One of things that trips us up sometimes is when a traditional way of looking at a fabric gets turned on its head by a new fashion trend.  This is the case with velvet this season.  Traditionally, velvet has been a dressy fabric, reserved for special occasions, holiday parties, and lounge lizards…smile.  (Don’t ask me why, but I just had an image of John Travolta singing “ah, ah, ah, ah…staying alive”).

Well this season, velvet has emerged as an every day fabric that can work for cozy weekend, work and date night.  Those of you who still think of  it as dressy only, may be struggling to figure out how in the world to wear this new trend.  The answer is really very simple: pair it with a casual fabric like denim.

Let’s face it, while the head to toe velvet active wear jogger is trendy right now, most of us (uh, um) older ladies are not going to go for that.  We can still do velvet, however, by toning it down and mixing it up.  For example, pair a velvet kimono with beat up boyfriend jeans and shoe boots.  Wear a velvet top with dark denim skinny jeans and boots.  Pair a velvet tailored jacket with a classic button down blouse, black slacks and heels.  Do you get the picture?  You have to re-think your old way of seeing velvet.

The truth is, this luxurious fabric is fun to wear.  What is not to like about velvet, unless you are like one of our employees who is wierded out by the fact that if you brush the velvet one way, it’s soft.  But, if you brush it the other way….yikes.  She is just skipping the trend all together.  If you have texture issues, you might want to join her.  For the rest of us, however, velvet is a wonderful fabric and should find a place in our wardrobes this season!

Amping Up Your Plaid

39Button up plaid shirts were a huge trend last fall and winter, so you probably purchased one – at least I hope you did.  This season, manufacturers have re-invented the plaid shirt by adding new details such as a contrasting back, like the one in the picture.  This one from Tribal Sportswear has a pretty floral print, capitalizing on two trends for the season – florals and plaids.  I also have plaid shirts in the store with solid backs as well as blouse tunic plaid styles with uneven hemlines.  If you didn’t get into the plaid trend last season, jump in now!

So what do you do to amp up your plaid shirt from last year that doesn’t have all these fun details?  I love adding a vest over a plaid shirt.  A basic button down blouse works great with any kind of vest, and plaid will coordinate with many fabrics including fur, leather and down.  The key to combining a vest over a blouse is to choose a complimentary color to your plaid.  A tan fur vest, for example, will work beautifully over an olive green, red, burgundy, or brown based plaid.  A silver grey puffy vest would be great over any plaid that has white in it.  I paired a vintage black leather and fur vest today over my olive green and rust plaid shirt as an example.  22281821_10154937840438085_4171428333840452733_nYou can even choose a vest with a little embroidery.  Keep in mind the rule for combining prints – both prints need to have the same colors.  If they do, you can get crazy and put a paisley printed vest over a plaid shirt.  The Tribal plaid is a great example of how to do this.  Get courageous and have some fun with your clothing!

How Do I Wear Velvet Without Looking Retro?

One of the biggest fashion trends for fall is velvet.  I have just returned from market in Las Vegas, and let me tell you, velvet was everywhere!  Some of you might be thinking, been there, done that, don’t want to do it again!  While I totally understand the strangeness of have a trend re-surface from a time when you were younger, there is a whole generation of young contemporary women who have never experienced velvet in their wardrobes.

You may be wondering how you wear the new velvet trend without looking like you stepped out of the seventies.  To keep it fresh and modern, manufacturers are doing fun things like pairing velvet with printed chiffon, especially florals.  The model on the right has a chiffon and velvet kimono with a floral print that is kept modern by pairing it with distressed jeans rolled to an ankle length and paired with shoe boots.  The velvet top on the left might have come straight out of the seventies, but it is presented in a new fresh way by pairing it with printed, skinny jeans.  Even though printed bottoms were also popular in the seventies, these are decidedly modern because of their animal printed theme, grey hue and skinny style.

These are both good examples of a fashion principle.  If you are wearing a retro trend like velvet, make sure everything else on your body represents a modern trend.  You would not, for example, want to pair a velvet top with high waisted, wide bottomed jeans unless you were intentionally going  for a seventies vibe in your clothing.  Instead, using on trend styles like boyfriend jeans, ankle length and skinny legged pants, and ankle boots, you can have a hint of retro without looking like you shopped from the thrift store.

Wearing velvet is a wonderful experience.  It feels amazing against your skin, and is a cozy fabric to put on in the dead of winter.  It does not need to be reserved for dressy occasions.  Velvet is a fabric you can wear any time by pairing it with the right bottoms.   If you have never had the pleasure of a velvet piece in your wardrobe, you are in for a treat!  Make sure you give one a try this season!

Behind The Scenes: Treska

After being a women’s clothing store manager and owner for eighteen years, I was so excited to get to see the behind the scenes process of one of my favorite jewelry vendors – Treska.  On a recent buying trip to Dallas, Texas, my mom and I had the opportunity to tour Treska’s warehouse and get an up close perspective on the jewelry making process.  We also got to shop straight from the warehouse shelves – we were like two kids in a candy store!

The process Treska goes through to design their jewelry is meticulous and time consuming.  First they begin with inspiration.  I found this inspiration board outside the bathroom (probably because that is the place everyone would see it multiple times a day).  It was such a great example of how an idea blooms into something tangible.  Take a close look at the items included on the board.    IMG_4192You can see how it represents themes, colors and textures for a group of jewelry. This particular design is playing off earthy wood textures and the soft tans and pinks in sea shells.  What a beautiful combination that represents the soft pinks and neutrals so popular in fashion right now.   It also appears this group might have some feather accents as well.  Won’t it be fun to see the finished jewelry that arises from this inspiration board?

Even more fun than the board was meeting Treska’s chief designer.  She was a Bohemain mama, dressed in colorful cottons and a graphic tank and seemed right at home in a jewelry design office.  IMG_4207She took the time to show us some of the pieces they were currently working on and how every necklace begins in a box as a conglomeration of colors and textures that are then formed into a unique necklace.  IMG_4210

While we were in the design room, we also got to see a Treska employee doing appoxy on some pieces.  This process requires hand painting metal pieces with a cue tip to create a patina look.  As you can see in the picture, each one is done by hand.  IMG_4206

Once a design is finalized, two master copies are made.  One is then sent to China where Treska has their necklaces assembled.  A production sample is sent back, approved by Treska, and then that sample is used by the Chinese to make the individual necklaces which are then shipped to the United States.  It’s quite a lengthy process requiring Treska’s designers to work ahead.  While we were there, they were working on Spring 2018.

Outside the air conditioned design room, the warehouse sprawled.  There were rows and rows of shelves with boxes of beads and bobbles.  Readers,  I am telling you, there were hundreds of thousands of beads.  It was mind boggling.

As we made our way back, we came to more shelves with completed necklaces available for sale.  This is where all the fun began!  Up and down the isles we wandered, grabbing necklaces, earrings, and a few bracelets of beautiful Treska jewelry.  IMG_4194

In the end, we came home with a whole bag full of Treska priced with a special discount just for you!  It is out and on the floor, so you will want to hurry in to get the best selection! IMG_4258

Not All Cold Shoulder Tops Were Created Equal!

I have found my go-to cold shoulder top, and I’m so excited about it,  I wanted to share it with you!  Sympli has added a new top to their line called the Nu-glimpse top, and it is the perfect cold shoulder top!

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Nuglimpse Top By Sympli available in store or online 

Why so perfect, you ask?  Well, let me tell you!  As I have watched a myriad of women try on various shoulder exposing tops at the store, I have noticed that not all cold shoulder tops are created equal.  Some are too big in the shoulder, causing them to fit poorly on the arm or droop. Some make it impossible to wear a bra which means fiddling with a strapless bra or bandeaux (just kill me now).  Some show so much shoulder, women feel a bit naked and too exposed.  This is why I love this top from Sympli!  It has shoulder cut outs that are the perfect size, giving you the cold shoulder look, but in a way that any woman can wear.  I also love that this top does not show your bra, eliminating the hassle that so many cold shoulder tops pose. Best yet, it has a slight a-line cut so it doesn’t show any extra weight you may be carrying at the waist.

What is also amazing about the Nuglimpse top is that you get all of the other wonderful features of Sympli – no wrinkles, no fading and no stretching out.  This top will look this black and this great 5 years from now.  With Sympli, you just wash in cold water and hang to dry.  It dries wrinkle free, and you are off and running! The use of 12 oz weight fabric instead of 9 oz weight, means that the fabric drapes rather than clings to your body.  It really does look amazing on.  The fact that it is the number one selling line in our 5,000 square foot store is a testament to this.

There is the issue of price, however.  Sympli is not inexpensive.  This top retails for $124, but when you calculate cost per wear, it really is a great value.  If you just wore this top 1 time a week for a year, you would only be spending $2.58 per wear.  Given the fabric’s longevity, you will have this top for much longer than a year so the cost per wear goes down the longer you own the top.  Considering the fact that it is black, it will work back into your wardrobe easily.  Given that it is a mid-hip length hemline that pairs with any bottom, the styling opportunities are endless! That $124 doesn’t seem so costly now, does it?  That is the magic of cost per wear! Spending more on a really great item ends up costing you less than spending less and having to replace the item in six months because it has pilled, lost its shape or shrunk.  And as always, Fashion Crossroads offers a great layaway program too!

So, that’s my product review of Sympli’s Nuglimpse top.  It is my favorite cold shoulder top in my own wardrobe, so I am unashamedly recommending it to you!