It’s the little things …

Jennifer Lawrence in her tangerine-red couture gown and slim black belt

Jennifer Lawrence in her tangerine-red couture gown and slim black belt- Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Details in dressing are important. It’s the little things that help you reach your style potential and create value that will take your look over-the-top. When I saw Jennifer Lawrence in her gown at The Golden Globes, the tangerine-red dress was beautiful, yes, but it was the slim black belt that made it stand out! Accessories, when done right, are accents that bring charm and identify you and your personality: a belt on a cardigan sweater, a necklace worn in an open v-neck, or the right bracelet on your wrist. Other details are critical, as well. I have spoken about the need for a good fit and having a tailor in your arsenal. Proper seams add sophistication to your shirts and jackets, and slacks hemmed appropriately for your size will do the same. Pops of color brighten an outfit, but more important, your mood. Think of a colorful handbag or clutch, or scarf worn around your neck, or even a manicure, the next time you want to feel brighter.

It’s the little things that bring huge benefits!

What do you think?

Marvelous Maggie!

Marvelous Maggie

Remember Maggie? She is getting ready for the holidays with her champagne-colored lace scarf and bright blue jacket. Her mix of color is festive and bright and perfectly seasonal!

The scarf – a pinky-champagne – I bought on sale. It’s so long and has pale sequins that match so well that you can barely see them. Also, when in need, you can throw it down for a table runner! LOL!” ~ Maggie

I love it, marvelous Maggie! Happy Holidays!

Solve your problem, shop on-line

I found my own pair of red suede shoes shopping on-line at Boden USA.

In the past two days, I have purchased items on-line that I could not find in the stores, once again reminding me: solve my problem, shop on-line. It is true that you can’t find everything on-line and also true, that items may arrive that are not right; neither the size nor the color or fabric. But it is also possible, more often than not, to easily meet your fashion needs by simply making a call or ordering on the computer. Problem solved.

Here is how the last two days went. First, I shopped in-store for a few corduroy slacks for my son, only to be told that they don’t carry his size at the store; I must buy them on-line. Next, I (and every other woman or man on a pre-storm tracking mission) traveled to The Home Depot looking for a cover for our patio furniture to protect it when Hurricane Sandy strikes (and I hope not too hard!), only to be told that the store is all sold out and I must order on-line. These two reminders, coming on the heels (no pun intended) of finding the perfect red suede wedge shoes at Boden (a favorite on-line destination, London-based clothing company).

When life gets a little crazy, make it easier on yourself. Shop efficiently and travel less. Solve your problem, shop on-line.

What do you think?

Heather: “Creating is the most fun …”

Heather, polishing her silver bracelets

When I met Heather at MONDO today, she was polishing silver bracelets that she designed, in order to keep them from oxidizing. It is one of the many details that make the process of designing her own jewelry completely personal. Her love of jewelry began as a child, raiding her mother’s jewelry box. She was always fascinated by color and enjoyed accessorizing from an early age. As Heather got older, “the fun part of my morning was  selecting the jewelry pieces I would wear and taking time to do it.”

When I asked Heather, now a wife and mother of two young sons, how she turned her fun play time into a solid business, she told me that it started simply enough, after she had her second son and had a little more available time (just a little!). She began to create her own bracelets and necklaces, because “my eye naturally goes to my neck.” Women would come to her and ask her where she found her beautiful jewelry, and when she would tell them that she made it herself, many wanted to buy it right off her wrist and neck! Eventually, Heather realized it was time to make jewelry for others. She started her business in 2006 and began selling her pieces at small, local schools and church events. Now for the first time Heather has her own retail space at MONDO, a lovely space in downtown, Summit, New Jersey, and is selling directly to her customers. She feels fortunate to be selling locally because that keeps it personal. “I am happy to be selling as an individual on a smaller scale. I think about my customers; I remember what they bought previously and I like to keep the relationship with them consistent and intimate. I think they appreciate that, too.”

Heather sleeps with her sketchpad next to her bed, ready for an inspirational thought that can come at any time. When her children were younger, she would take them to the playground with the sketchpad; they would be enjoying the freedom of play and so would she. Although she likes the entire process of making jewelry, Heather says that creating is the most fun and challenging.

I like to think of Heather drawing in her sketchpad, capturing the color of the world go by. I might be wearing that very image!

What do you think?

Heather’s watches: “Fun for a pop of color!”

Heather’s silver and beaded bracelets

Heather’s bangles

Aging: A slight shift in perception

Me, age 52

It is inevitable. One day you find yourself over 40. You look in the mirror and find that you are not the young person you were. I know about this: I am 52 and I have made this realization several times in the last few years. I am shocked when I notice any number of changes to my body: My arms look a little funny in a specific light, the lines on my face are increasing, I am more aware of the need to pull my stomach in, and my size and weight is up and doesn’t seem to be going down any time soon. A friend told me that she heard actress Goldie Hawn talking about aging, and she said that you must come to terms with the fact that after 50, you may indeed go up a dress size. Hmmm …

I say don’t give up on yourself! In your heart you are the same. Actually, because you have the wisdom of age on your side, you are more the same than ever before. You are still vibrant and want to feel good. You may have to make a slight shift in perception, but you don’t have to give up who you are. In fact, enjoy this new phase and let your fashion choices enhance your life.You may want to wear it knee-length, but wear that skirt. You may want to check the rise on your jeans, but wear those jeans (and wear them fitted; stay away from baggy and non-fitted because they actually make you look older). You may want to check the fit of a tee, but wear it if you like tees and sleeveless shirts as I do. Never forget to wear color. Black will always be slimming and chic. Smile back at yourself the next time you look in the mirror! And don’t stop wearing that dress, no matter what the size.

What do you think?

Smile back at yourself the next time you look in the mirror!

Scarves!

Scarves!

Scarves are the perfect accessory, especially as the weather cools. I have several cold-weather scarves that I wrap around my neck and ears and head – when necessary, just leaving slits for my eyes – as I battle the elements. But I also love to wear lighter weight scarves in this transition season. They are functional and fashionable. Arranging a scarf can be daunting, but I keep it simple ..

… a long scarf gives you the most options …

… wrap the scarf around the front of your neck, cross it in the back, and pull the sides back around to the front ..

… knot the two hanging sides and you have it! …

… or simply wear it long! You can’t miss!

What do you think?

Photos taken at Willow St. Boutique, Summit, New Jersey. Photographer, Janice Maydick.

Betsy’s cap

“I ran into to local 99-cents shop looking for one thing, and came away with this cap for $1.29. It is the best $1.29 I have spent in a considerable time. I wore it recently in Maine, and everyone noticed it and asked me about it. I think I could sell it for a lot more than I bought it! But I won’t.

I like it because it carries the Latin flavor. I think that the image on the cap is Our Lady of Guadalupe (the Latin Virgin Mary). She is always shown in radiant light. My mom and my aunt would often pray to Our Lady of Guadalupe. It was very personal for them to have a Latin Virgin Mary.”

~ Betsy

Betsy holding her $1.29 cap, Our Lady of Guadalupe

Back to school with Ana

Ana in her green dress

Ana is a teacher at an all-girls school. When I saw her on the first day of school wearing this winning green dress, she stood out. Here is Ana …

“One of the things I love about teaching is its cyclical nature; every year brings a new beginning and the chance for teachers and students to start again and set new goals. In the fall my students arrive resolute to give their best and those first few weeks of school offer the opportunity to inspire students to want to learn and grow throughout the year. On the first day of school I want my entire self to communicate: Let’s make this a great year! I start with my clothes. When I stood in front of my closet the night before school, this dress spoke to me. Among a sea of muted colors (yes I admit I am guilty of returning often to dark colors as my safe choices while striving for that professional look) this dress said, pick me!! Ahh – my green dress! I feel sweet yet so vibrant when I wear this dress.The color reminds me of life. It reflects my hope that even though nature will soon be changing, a little summer green should remain with us throughout the year. So this is the dress I wore to hopefully inspire my students to carry with them a little green while remaining positive; that even with the challenges to come, with effort, spring and summer are never too far away.”

~Ana

What do you think?

Blue on blue

Blue Man Group

Have you ever shopped impulsively and made a huge fashion mistake? Silly question I know. We all have. I made one today and I should know better. I bought a blue blouse – something fun and trendy. But I disregarded one truth; blue is not my color. I love blue – it is the color of the sky and the world and of course the amazing Blue Man Group. But blue doesn’t look right on me and it never has. Dark, light or medium – it makes no difference. Except that today I got sucked in to the trends and lost my mind for a moment.

So the blouse is going back. And now I’m blue ...

What do you think?

“I’m very aware of color and texture and fabric …”

Maggie at home with her artwork

… and I’m very tactile.” ~ Maggie

Maggie is an artist. She sees the world in color. She sees the world in music. She has a gift of expression. And even though she describes her style as clean, preferring simple, comfortable designs and natural fibers, like high-quality linen and cotton, it’s important to note that the artist in Maggie is never far away. As Maggie herself says, “I like to funk it up with earrings and jewelry. I wear a lot of vintage and I have a few preferred spots where I buy it, as well as the little flea markets, like the vintage brooch I wear on my blazer. I also love really good costume jewelry, like Alexis Bittar. A small strand of pearls looks good with everything, especially when you funk it up! I have a little edge but I always wear things that will last for several seasons.”

At 65, Maggie is aware that she is getting older and that affects what she wears: “I won’t wear t-shirts anymore.” But, I love Maggie’s philosophy on aging and fashion:

“Getting older never means it is okay to be sloppy. As you get older, start to wear more color around your face (I never wear black around my face anymore – only on the bottom half of me.). That is why I love wearing colorful scarves. I especially love sky blue and the blue/gray family around my face. I always wear lipstick, too. I used to wear red, but now I prefer a color with more blue in it; more pinkish with brown undertones (I wear Audrey, by Laura Mercier).” ~ Maggie

I think Maggie knows herself and her fashion well. She has earned that.

What do you think?