It took 15 years of my being in the fashion industry for the mainstream to finally come up with a name for the type of footwear appropriate during that sometimes warm/sometimes cold period between the end of Winter and full-on Spring. A shoe to fill the style space between boots/booties and bare sandals. While I have been using the term "transition shoe" for a few seasons now, I admit to using other less-eloquent sounding descriptors, including, but not limited to, "in-between shoe," "like a bootie but not really," "more covered-up sandal," and "high-heeled gladiator." No matter what you call them, get yourself a pair to wear with your jeans and tops and even dresses. Here are some of my picks of the season. (Note: be sure to click the arrow to see all of the columns, they like to hide.)
While I'm known for always wearing some sort of heel, most of my (less height challenged) clients prefer something more sensible. In the South, there is that span of time in between boot weather and sandal weather, otherwise known as Spring. What to wear before baring those pedicured toes? A ballet flat in a neutral nude or metallic is the most versatile, easily coordinating with the whites and colors Spring brings. When I was recently asked by a client to find online some of my favorite options in this category (that take comfort into concern and will stay on her feet), I decided to share the wealth here. Click on picture for more information on each style. (Want a transitional style with a heel? Stay tuned!)
One of the bits of advice I share with clients during consultations is about the tools and products I use to make being stylish and polished just a little easier. Here are the Top 4 Tools of the Trade:
1) Fabric shaver (Fave: Evercare's Giant Fabric Shaver, below)
Add life to your pilled sweaters with a fabric shaver. This gadget is instantly gratifying in that the attached container catches all of those nasty little fuzzballs. Most models come with a plastic guard which should be used when shaving more delicate knits like cashmere to prevent snagging. Tip: Don't think you can shave your sweater and head out the door. To get the most benefit, spend a minimum of 10 minutes running the shaver over the garment.
2) Seam ripper (Fave: Mighty Bright Lighted Seam Ripper, below)
Whether removing a price tag, label or vent stitch, avoid damaging your garment by having a seam ripper on hand. You'll end up finding a multitude of uses for this little tool. Tip: Invest just a few more dollars in a lighted, magnified version. Your eyes will thank you!
3) Wrinkle release spray (Fave: Downey Wrinkle Releaser, below)
This product actually works and has changed my life. After burning myself with an iron as a kid (ok, I was doing one of those faux stained glass craft projects, not ironing clothing), I pretty much swore off the chore. I have prepped entire photo shoots with this stuff, not to mention how great it is for travel! Simply spray the wrinkles, pull/tug taut and let dry, and voila! Wrinkles gone. Tip: Don't be afraid to saturate your garments. While I don't receommend for silk, I have had no problem using on cotton or synthetics.
4) Personal steamer (Fave: Jiffy ESTEAM Hand-Held Travel Steamer, below)
When stubborn wrinkles just won't relax with spray, the situation calls for a steamer. While I do own an industrial steamer, I find I don't want to dedicate the space required to keep it set up 24/7 nor do I have the patience for the heat-up time. Back in the days of Parisian being my biggest fashion event client, I was introduced to Jiffy Steamer’s ESTEAM, the most powerful hand-held steamer on the market (3 times more power than most others), and the only one I would ever use. This simple-to-operate steamer is ideal for use at home, in the office or on the road. With a quick heat up time of less than 2 minutes, it will steam continuously for 15 minutes per filling. Tip: This steamer also works for upholstery. It has proven invaluable for my linen slipcovered furniture.
I've said it before and I'll say it again...being healthy is STYLISH. And I don't just mean wearing your cute organic cotton dress to shop at Whole Foods. I'm talking PREVENTION, folks. And why am I talking about it? Because it is CHIC and SIMPLE to be smart about your health.
You already know October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, but did you know Brookwood Medical Center is hosting an all-day (as in 6AM to 10PM!) mammogram event on Thursday, October 22? With those hours, your excuses are really falling by the wayside (you know you were going to DVR How to Get Away with Murder anyway.) So call 205-802-6900 to get an appointment that fits into your schedule that day or evening. Parking is FREE, just bring your ticket for validation.
THE FUN STUFF
There will be entertaining and informational activities going on throughout the event (no boring waiting room here): a fashion show, cooking demonstration, holiday makeup consultations, swag bags for all, breakfast/lunch/dinner served (hello?!?), and bra fittings by Belk/Wacoal. If you think that last offering sounds funny, consider this: 80% of women wear the wrong size bra. I see evidence of this all the time when working with clients, and a proper fitting is where we begin. Belk & Wacoal are partnering with BMS on this event, donating $4 to Susan G. Komen for every woman who participates in a complimentary fitting. (No purchase necessary.) I will be at the event from 9:45-12:45 with the B-Metro Magazine Live Blogging Team. Stop by then or Tweet/Facebook message me to tell me you got your mammogram earlier or later!
THE MEDICAL STUFF
No referral is needed for a mammogram screen. Baseline mammograms are recommended at the age of 35 and annual mammogram screens are recommended annually at the age of 40. 3-D Mammograms will be offered as well. This technology helps doctors find breast cancer earlier. All patients may upgrade to a 3-D mammogram for an additional $50.
Here's the clincher that made me decide to make time for a mammogram: do you know someone special to you who has been touched by breast cancer? What's the one thing you could do in their honor that would have the most impact? Yep, so do it. Make your appointment for 10/22.
1666: Year King Charles II of England copied French king Louis XIV by demanding that men in court wear waistcoats, trousers, and ties. Alas, creating the first "dress code." This is on my mind as I head out today to give a style seminar to a group of bankers on how to spruce up theirs.
Issuing a dress code was where the similarities to the French ended, as Charles specifically wanted to get away from "French fashions," placing out of favor the big wigs and red high heels popular at the time.
Instead, court would adopt what essentially became the three-piece suit: a long waistcoat to be worn with a knee-length coat and similar-length shirt (made of English wool, not French silk). The emphasis was on cloth and cut, not ruffles and accessories. One could argue that the English suiting tradition began here – concentrating on silhouette and quality of wool rather than colour or decoration. The outfit was finished off with a sash, stockings and buckled shoes. Over time the waistcoat became shorter and shorter, until by around 1790 it reached the length we recognize today. It has been sleeveless since the 1750s.
Sometimes, after careful consideration, there are items we feel worth the investment. Sometimes we just want a quick fashion fix. The options are always there, so you decide!
Buffy York of The Style Gathering asked me to contribute to her fabulous blog, with some advice on how to reduce the stress of packing for summer trips (and avoid overpacking!), whether business or pleasure. So hop on over to The Style Gathering for my tips and tricks!
Seeking a 1 month summer Intern (age 16 & up welcome) to begin Monday, July 6th, ending Friday, July 31. Weekly hours will vary, some weekend work may be required. Internship is unpaid, for course credit or experience only. Tasks to include assisting Tracy with clients (shopping & closet revamps), fashion editorials, on photo shoots, at style seminars and daily at Fashion Camp (7/9-7/31, 9am-2pm each day). Fashion experience and writing skills preferred but not required. If interested and for more information, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with "Internship" in the subject line.
From Preparation H (gross) to green concealer (been there, done that), women have tried just about everything to tackle undereye circles and bags. I don't know about you, but I've never found anything that works. Well, my fellow bloggers and I were blown away tonight at the MD Wellness & Aesthetics Grand Re-Branding event to see in action Instantly Ageless, a powerful anti-wrinkle microcream that acts quickly and effectively to diminish the visible signs of aging. Peeps, I'm here to tell ya, this stuff actually works!! Lindsey Lutz of Life Lutzurious graciously volunteered her pretty peepers to the cause, and HELLO?!..look at her results!! The "After" picture was taken 2 minutes after the first - it looks like she has been photo-shopped under her eyes!
Apparently the key ingredient is argireline: a peptide that works like Botox, without the needles. Here are the benefits claimed by Instantly Ageless, and I gotta say, none are BS!
-VISIBLY DIMINISHES THE APPEARANCE OF FINE LINES & WRINKLES
-ERASES THE APPEARANCE OF DARK CIRCLES & PUFFINESS UNDER THE EYES
-MINIMIZES THE APPEARANCE OF PORES
-HELPS TO EVEN SKIN TEXTURE
-MATTES SKIN FOR A FLAWLESS FINISH
-RESTORES SKIN TO OPTIMUM APPEARANCE
Here's the bottom line: Instantly Ageless comes in a package of 50 applications, each of which lasts til you wash your face, and costs $75, which equals out to about $2.50 per day. Seems like a reasonable price to pay to get rid of some baggage! Swing by MD Wellness & Aethetics in Inverness Corners to pick up some and try for yourself!
"Florals? For spring? Groundbreaking." OK, so Miranda Priestly in The Devil Wears Prada had a point. But it wouldn't be spring if we weren't ditching our dark winter duds for bright prints. While florals (feminine to funky) certainly abound for spring/summer 2015, a variety of other patterns are splashing their way across garments this season. Of those garments, my hands-down favorites are the cute, semi-dressy shorts in stores now. (Full disclosure: I have a bit of a shorts addiction, owning no less than 20 pair.) Not comfortable in shorts? Not to worry...there are just as many super chic printed pants out there that offer the same advantages as the shorts: eye-catching style and fabulous comfort.
My affinity for printed shorts and pants is in part because I like fashion that defies predictability. When I work with clients who are style beginners, I initially teach them to "paint by the numbers," so to speak. Solid-colored wardrobe staple bottoms, paired with printed tops. But once they have that down, I offer tips and tricks to spice things up - how to mix patterns, create creative color combos, etc. Or, simply reversing the initial formula, and selecting printed bottoms and solid tops. There's something about boldly printed shorts and pants that seem slightly impractical and thus frivolously fun. As if to say, "Take THAT, boring black pants and khaki shorts!"
A question I often receive is, "Can women with pear-shaped figures wear print on the bottom?" The answer is YES. To borrow a phrase from my mentor stylist Tim Gunn, I am a "make it work" kind of girl. Dressing to flatter involves camouflaging those areas we aren't crazy about and highlighting our attributes, and while there are many tricks of the trade to achieve this, in most cases, keeping proportion in check is key. Therefore, if you are pear shaped, a slim ankle or track style printed pant, paired with a loose top may be a better bet than a loose, flowy palazzo pant. That said, I am a big fan of wearing what you love and makes you happy, so if you love the printed palazzo pants, wear 'em! Just pair with a shorter, more fitted top to avoid looking overwhelmed or tented.
When it comes to shorts, many ask about proper length. Inseams range from 3" to full Bermuda, and your choice is a personal preference based on age, leg shape, etc. The 3" and 4" inseams are the most prevalent, but if you are more comfortable in a longer length, selecting a slim cut will keep the look current.
So pick the printed britches that speak to you - floral, abstract, graphic, painterly - there is an option for everyone. Find the one that best expresses your own personal style.
Note: this article was originally published on 5/7/15 as a guest post for StyleBluerprint
Designer collaborations with discount stores have been all the rage for the past several years. The Lilly Pulitzer limited-edition collection for Target lands in stores early Sunday, April 19. Then on April 23, Kohl’s will debut MILLY for DesigNation, also a limited-time collection.
Target’s Lilly Pulitzer collection is huge - as in 250 pieces! - including apparel, accessories and shoes for both women and girls, along with outdoor entertaining décor, beach gear, travel accessories and home accents. Prices range from $2 to $150, with most less than $30. Some items will be sold online only, like plus-size clothing, a new and welcome offering for the brand. Along with scarves, sandals, totes and clutches, clothing choices include a palm print jumpsuit for $44; eyelet shorts, $26; palazzo pants, $28; and strapless maxi dresses, $34, and shift dresses, $38, in different prints. Check out the rather innovative webpage for the promotion, where you can "mingle" at a party of Pulitzer-decked guests via a 360 degree virtual tour. Check out the party and the Collection Lookbook here.
Lilly Pulitzer, a Palm Beach hostess, founded the brand in 1959 after making print dresses to hide the juice stains that happened while working in her husband’s citrus grove juice stand. The dresses caught on with those in her social circle. Pulitzer died in 2013, but her iconic brand continues.
Kohl’s MILLY collection was inspired by designer Michelle Smith’s trip to Capri. Influenced by her Parisian training at Christian Dior Haute Couture, Louis Vuitton and Hermes, Smith is known for merging American sportswear with French style.
The 71 pieces of women’s apparel feature stripes and florals, and include conversational T-shirts, full skirts with sheer detail, feminine dresses, pencil skirts, shorts and jumpsuits in a chic but Prices range from $38 to less than $100. Browse the Milly for Kohl's offerings here.
Both collections are expected to be a hit, with sell outs in a short amount of time.
One of my favorite aspects of Spring is designers bringing color to the fashion party. While the versatile neutrals of winter - black, grey, cream - are always comforting and classic, by the time warmer weather finally rolls around, my visual senses are ready to be reawakened! And Spring 2015 has not disappointed! Hues run the gamut from the softest blush pink to the boldest orange and cobalt. Shopping in Gus Mayer today, I loved seeing all of the shades of this season represented all over the store - in shoes, cosmetics, accessories and clothing.
Prints abound in a variety of ways - florals, abstracts, graphics, and painterly designs. Add a colorful handbag or jewelry piece for a fashion forward mix, or let your accessories pack all of the punch against a clean slate of head-to-toe white. When it comes to cosmetics, Chanel has a new collection of both delicates and bolds. I've officially traded in my vampy winter nail polish for more delicate and bright shades, so I want to try Paradisio, a super-soft icy green, and Desirio, a vibrant berry-licious pink. Sun-kissed hair and (faux) bronzed skin looks great complimented with a shimmery lip gloss. Kevin Aucoin's glosses have been a recent fave of celebs.
So now that I've got you making out your wish lists as I was today, here's some good news - Gus Mayer is offering TAX FREE shopping ALL DAY this Thursday, April 9, in conjunction with their Girl's Night Out event that evening, 4PM-8PM. In addition to the tax-free shopping, the event will feature a Style Bar showcasing the latest trends, a Color Lab at which you can discover the best way to freshen your look this Spring, and of course, hors d'oeuvres, cocktails and prizes throughout the night. Come one, come all - it's April, peeps! Spring has officially arrived!
Registration is now OPEN for my 8th annual ORIGINAL Fashion Camp at Brookwood Village, THE day camp for budding fashionistas aged 5-13! With various date choices throughout July, visit the official page for information on this year's fun agendas and how to register. Don't miss the chance for your mini-fashionista to attend this confidence-building camp that launched all of the others!
□ the ever-popular "Accessories Game" at Claire's
□ how to care for & style your tresses at Belk Salon
□ how to match & coordinate clothing pieces
□ learning the proper names for various handbag styles, shoes, sunglasses and fabric patterns
□ a sit-down lunch with etiquette lesson
□ end of day runway show
Just as I try to avoid being too "matchy-matchy," I've never been a fan of jewelry that comes as a set. This is just a personal preference, mind you, but there's something about the matching pieces that is too predictable for me…a bit too "paint by the numbers." There's no decision to be made, no creative hand to play. Alternately, when jewelry pieces are mixed, it creates a feeling that one is wearing collected pieces, thus making the overall look more interesting, and in my opinion, making the pieces themselves appear more expensive.
So I have been delighted by the trend that began several years ago of layering necklaces and stacking bracelets, as this truly presents the opportunity for custom accessorizing. This is a great example of a trend that can be interpreted in a way that fits your lifestyle, age and personal style. You can layer/stack traditional, preppy pieces or artsy/funky pieces, and everything in between. As designer Kate Spade said, "Accessories are what make an outfit just a little bit more YOU."
No where have I seen this on better display then at the recent Valentine's event at Diamonds Direct. The place was packed with individuals and couples from all walks of life, each coming in to find pieces that reflected their own personalities. The jewelry line highlighted for the evening,
Gabriel & Co., had a variety of pieces that could be mixed and matched. (I know, because I created several custom combos!) From delicate gold necklaces that when layered give the effect of passed-down heirlooms, to hip silver shapes, some sprinkled with stones, that would make any fashionista swoon. Perhaps because I animatedly speak with my hands, and because the hands and wrists are such a visible and oft-noticed part of one's body, I am a big fan of bracelet stacks. I especially love a stack that tells a story… one bracelet a gift from a special someone, another a souvenir from a favorite destination, and so on. I have no problem mixing costume jewelry with fine pieces. (Gabriel & Co's simple, slim diamond cuff looked fab added to my own bracelets I wore to the event.) The point is to actually WEAR your jewelry - too many leave it in the safe, waiting for a special occasion!
While watching the action at the event, it occurred to me that Diamonds Direct has truly tapped into the modern way of selling jewelry - offer gorgeous choices and let the customer customize. For it is those items that we feel reflect our personalities the best that we love the most.
A client with a difficult-to-fit calf recently reported back a rave review on a pair of boots to which I had directed her, so I thought I should pass along my source! When searching for tall boots, many of my clients have issues resulting from either skinny or wide calves. Because I know the styles and brands to look for, I can often find workable pair, but when that fails, I turn to DUO BOOTS. This UK based company handcrafts each season’s unique collection of boots in up to 21 calf sizes. In addition, they have recently added shoes and ankle boots in three width fittings: narrow, standard and wide. Sophisticated, made-to-measure style with a tailored fit. Prices are much more reasonable than you would expect, with free shipping worldwide. New customers receive 15% off.
The SAG Awards is the particular awards show that makes us non-actors a little envious of the esteemed club of which we are not a part. They do seem like a fun lot. Unlike at the Golden Globes, fortunately at this event, the "worst dressed" list is a little shorter. Opinions varied wildly among the style critics, with some listing the same dress among the Best that another media outlet deemed the Worst. Here's my humble opinion on the matter.
1. Lupita Nyong'o in Elie Saab
2. Reese Witherspoon in custom Giorgio Armani and Tiffany & Co/Harry Winston jewels
3. Kaley Cuoco in Romona Kaveza gown and Forevermark jewels
4. Jennifer Anniston in Vintage Galliano
5. Julia Louis-Dreyfus in Monique Lhuillier
6. Paula Patton in Aiisha Ramadan gown and Kimberly McDonald jewels
7. Sophia Vergara in Donna Karen Atelier
8. Danielle Brooks in Christian Siriano
Rosamund Pike in Dior Haute Couture dress and shoes
SAME SONG, SECOND VERSE
Emma Stone in Dior
1. Amanda Peet in J.Mendel
2. Naomi Watts in Balenciaga
3. Amy Ryan in Honor
4. Jared Leto in a black tuxedo a Louis Leeman loafers
5. Joan Collins in a sequined...something
Julie Bowen and Ariel Winter
As "wardrobe prepared" as I like to think I am, that does not immunize me from the occasional malfunction. Just yesterday I was expressing love for my "travel boots," my oh-so-comfy tall waxed leather Clarks (not the sexiest brand, but a guilty pleasure of more than one in the fashion biz) that have pounded the pavement of many a city, this week the streets of Chicago. Had I followed the advice I would have given a client, I would have had said boots preemptively repaired at the beginning of winter when I realized the zipper of one was a bit sticky. But instead, as I slipped on the right boot this morning...you got it, the zipper gave out. Unlike some wardrobe malfunctions that can be temporarily repaired with a bit of creative rigging, there was no fixing this baby. I always carry a few safety pins, which come in handy for a broken bra strap or snagged hem, but 2 pins wasn't going to do the trick here.
Because I like to pack light, the only other pair of shoes that traveled with me were my suede stiletto platform booties - perfect with a sweater dress and tights for dinner out, but not so much with my BCBG skinny pants and heavy Burberry sweater for a day during which I would surely log 16,000+ steps on my Jawbone...not to mention the risk of unsightly frostbite on my ankles.
So what's a girl ready to hit the streets of Chicago to do? I'm proud to report I solved my issue within 30 minutes, here's how:
1. After changing my brunch reservation via Open Table to give me a cushion of an additional 30 minutes, I Googled Clarks, finding there was one only 3 blocks away (the benefit of staying in a hotel on the Magnificent Mile).
2. I fastened my boot together with the 2 safety pins I had, not winning any beauty contests, but improvising enough to get me 3 blocks. (If only I had about 100+ more, I could've resurrected the vibe of Elizabeth Hurley's infamous 1994 Versace dress.)
3. Walking out of the hotel, I telephoned Clarks to alert them of my dilemma, asking salesperson Jake to pull every similar black boot in my size (for travel boots, I always buy a 1/2 size larger to accommodate a full gel insert) and set aside for me.
4. Arriving at Clarks a mere 10 minutes later, Jake was still setting out options, but in looking at the styles already before me, my choice was clear. I had already decided my skilled cobbler back home could indeed replace my zipper, so I knew I didn't want to get a second pair exactly like them. Therefore, I eliminated those styles. As for the others: wedge boots - got 'em, laced boots - 'got em. The only style not represented in my closet were the moto mid-boots that were the first I spied among the choices. Add to that the durable lug sole and waxed leather finish, not to mention the 50% off price...sold!
5. After grabbing my gel insoles from my old boots and inserting them into the new (since my insoles were already molded to my foot, this took out any worry of having to "break in" the new boots), I popped the old boots into the box of the new boots and handed them to Jake, who was going to ship them back to Birmingham.
I was in the store barely more than 10 minutes, thus still made my brunch reservation in River North. Today was a day I was able to demonstrate my motto (borrowed from mentor Tim Gunn), "Make it work!"
I love a good vest. All kinds - fur, puffer, leather, jersey, wool...all year round - over turtlenecks, with jeans, over dresses, with shorts, etc. This added element to an outfit can add interest, depth, color or texture and make an outfit appear more complete, more polished. Not only is a vest smart for us Southerners from a climate standpoint, but ultimately, it can be highly flattering. Who needs a better reason than that to try this garment? See the versatility of the vest in this picture gallery of some of my favorite picks currently in stores.
Theory "Zita" Leather Moto Vest, $895
Elie Tahari "Tonya" Vest, $348
Johnny Was Linen Vest, $64
Elizabeth & James, $345
Theory "Jala" Asymmetrical Ruffled Double-Breasted Vest, $375
Rebecca Taylor Buff Leather Vest, $449
Theory "Womira" Lofty Quilted Vest, $695
Ambition Military Vest, $64
Essentiel "Hillbilly Rothko" Faux Fur Vest. $288
Escada "Meg" Vest, $555
Rebecca Taylor Floral Leather Vest, $348
St. Laurent Embellished Suede Gilet, $4790
Haute Hippie, $395
Ralph Lauren Polo Cotton Quilted Vest, $198
If I had one word to sum up the red-carpet looks from the 2015 Golden Globes Awards, it would be "underwhelmed." No celeb wow'ed me nor was a clear front runner for Best Dressed. Not sure what is going on with the Hollywood stylists this year. For what it's worth, here is this Southern stylist's take on the best and worst of the night:
BEST DRESSED (in no particular order)
1. Sienna Miller in a Miu Miu gown and Tiffany & Co. jewelry
2. Taylor Schilling in a Ralph Lauren gown with Salvatore Ferragamo shoes and clutch
3. Emma Stone in a Lanvin jumpsuit
4. Salma Hayek in Alexander McQueen
5. Kate Hudson in an Atelier Versace gown and Forevermark jewels
6. Julia Louis-Dreyfus in Narcisco Rodriguez
7. Eddie Redmayne in Gucci
8. Reese Witherspoon in a Calvin Klein gown and Tiffany & Co. jewels
9. Kate Beckinsale in an Elie Saab gown with a Rauwolf clutch and Bulgari jewels
10. Jennifer Lopez in Zuhair Murad with Stuart Weitzman shoes
WORST DRESSED (in no particular order)
1. Keira Knightley in Chanel
2. Amanda Peet in J.Mendel
3. Lana delRay in Travilla
4. Ruth Wilson in Prada
5. Amal Clooney in a Dior gown and Harry Winston jewels
6) Kate Mara in Miu Miu
7. Jennifer Anniston in St. Laurent by Heidi Slimane and Neil Lane jewels
8. Rosamund Pike in a Vera Wang gown and Fred Leighton jewelry
9. Lena Dunham in Zac Posen
10. Julianna Marguiles in Ulyana Sergenko dress and Bulgari jewels
11. Robert Downey, Jr.
The "I COULDA BEEN A CONTENDER!" List
During the show, my girlfriends with whom I have watched the show for at least 10 years and I serve as the ultimate fashion critics, voicing our displeasures and disbeliefs aloud. Many times, I lament over looks that could have been worlds better had just a few changes been made. Here are 2 examples from this year's collection:
1. Claire Danes in a Valentino gown and Lorraine Schwartz jewels
2. Katie Holmes in Marchesa