Fashion Fridays: The Basics, Fad

Finally – the last in the four Fashion Fridays Basics series.  We covered fit, feel, and fresh, and now we’re covering fad.

I love fads.

I just don’t love all fads.

Embracing trend can keep you feeling modern and young, and there are ways to keep up to date on trends that fit your age and budget.  But there are some fads that are worth skipping.  Think jellies and parachute pants :)

What are things to look for in any given trend?

* The “color” of the season – it’s easy to spot by window shopping or picking up a current issue of In Style or Vogue.

* The “pattern” of the season – think of the Chevron pattern that swept fad a few seasons ago.

* The “shape” of the season – this can come in the form of cigarette pants or a hobo bag.  Most items of clothes get cut and recut and if you keep certain looks around long enough they are certain to make a return.

Filter through the various trends of the seasons.  Discard the ridiculous ones or the ones that don’t work for you (e.g., a balloon skirt or mustard as a primary color).  Gravitate to the ones which work beautifully for you or ones you can incorporate in small ways like a pair of earrings, a scarf, or a new costume handbag.

Check out a few fashion websites – according to Harper’s Bazaar, the trends that came into vogue this season were fringe, the poncho, poplin, and the color red (see style trends, fabric and color…):





You can probably see, like I did, that it would be easy to incorporate those first two looks into your career wardrobe.  While the next two items don’t translate as well as pictured, you could easily grab a poplin shirt, or a crimson blazer, and be on trend while making the fad work for your day to day life.

What is a fad you wish you hadn’t embraced?  What’s on trend this year that you LOVE?


Photo Credit: Harper’s Bazaar

No Workaholics This Summer: Unplug!

This is another one of my summer posts, yesterday was vacation tips, since I’ve got an actual week long family vacation to look forward to (my first week of a destination trip with the family since taking my job 2 1/2 years ago!). 

I read a great post this week encouraging women to REALLY take a vacation.  Not go someplace with their family and work, but go and recharge and reconnect. 

Boy did that hit home, and I am SO excited about our family vacation to Yosemite (and the lack of connectivity). 

Several of the tips I had started to adhere to already. 

After an ever moving vacation attempt last year, and ultimately not getting a trip away anywhere because of “work logistics” (self-imposed, not from work), I PENNED in my vacation this year.  We booked non-refundable plane tickets and reserved a home on the edge of the park and made our plans firm.  We weren’t moving it anywhere since we’re not fans of losing a lot of money. 

I notify my clients the Monday morning of my last week in the office and tell them I will be out of town on vacation with limited accessibility, but offer that I am completely free the leading week to complete any projects they need.  Folks are very supportive, and I wrap up a lot of loose ends before heading out.

I also send a short wrap up of what’s going in my areas of responsibility to my boss and the attorney serving as emergency back up for me, so no one is caught off guard.  (And I return the favor.)

So what works for you when you head on vacation?  Do you unplug, and how?

If you don’t really turn technology off when you head out with your family or friends this summer, then find time this summer to really turn off and tune in to those you love the most. 

Fashion Fridays: The Basics, Fresh

I hope you’re enjoying our four part fashion “refresher” series on The Basics!

We covered the all important fit first, and then covered the feel (or quality), and now is my very favorite installment:  FRESH!

Fresh is the unique perspective that you bring to your own personal fashion.  It’s what makes someone say, “I thought of you when I saw this!”

Some women have a very definite sense of their own style.  But some women are unsure.  And over time your style may have changed because of life circumstances.  My style has certainly changed over time.

Where should you start to gain some perspective on your style?

Pinterest, of course.  

It’s the modern way of pulling magazine pages.  Join Pinterest if you’re not on there already.  Ignore all the birthday parties and recipes; they’ll make  you feel bad about yourself.

Start a board that says “style,” and then click on the Women’s Fashion category.  START BROAD.  Do you not censor yourself.  Don’t ever say, “well I look terrible in mustard, I can’t pin that,” or “I love that look but I’m far too chesty to pull it off.”

Remove your figure or coloring from the assessment.  Literally click Pin It if the outfit, color or look aesthetically appeals to you.  You can always go back and edit.

If you want to focus your search, then use search terms for something you might need to wear: “work dress,” or “interview suit,” or “cocktail dress.”  Use broad terms rather than style specific or color specific terms because you may have aspects of your style you’ll never catch if you input “green blouses” or “vintage pumps.”  Right?

Now, after you have scrolled and searched and pinned for a half hour to an hour, go back to your board.

What are the commonalities?

Do you have those features in your wardrobe?

What colors, styles, looks, pieces are you drawn to?

I just went back and looked at my style board and found some interesting gaps.

First of all, I have a TON of color in my closet.  More color than not.  But on my board, neutrals dominate.  Particularly blacks and whites.  This really got me to rethink how I shop and how to edit my wardrobe.

Similarly, I pinned a lot of clean lines and narrow lines.  I think because I’m carrying more weight, I’ve shied away from more narrow lines, but if I buy them in my size, they could certainly still work (not tight clothes, narrow lines).

I lean toward the classic, and my wardrobe reflects that sensibility.

This fresh eyes review allows me to assess what I really admire in other’s wardrobes and how to tailor those things that appeal to me in my own purchases (and how to edit of my closet which is coming later this month, prepare yourself!).  This allows you the opportunity to shop without budget and get a better handle on what you like and what you should consider trying on next time you shop!

What IS your style?  How do you customize things to make them unique to you?

Fashion Fridays: The Basics, Feel

Welcome back to part 2 in our Fashion Fridays Basics series.  Last week we covered the ever critical “fit.” Today, we cover “feel,” or the quality of the clothes.

Most of us out there have budgetary constraints that prohibit us from buying high end custom clothing.  Or we want to do something more philanthropic with what we have rather than buy blouses that cost $300.

At the same time, if you have a career, and aren’t about to retire, you likely still want to present yourself as polished, confident and successful.

Quality clothes help achieve that goal.

However, there’s far more poorly made options on the market than the alternative.

This is another place where on-line shopping kills us.  I mentioned last week, if you are not willing to return the clothes (to the store or in the mail), then stop on-line shopping.  Because you end up with ill-fitting, poorly constructed outfits simply because you fail to return what doesn’t work well.  (At least, that’s how it works for me!)

What are things to look for to distinguish between well and cheaply made?

1.  Embellishments.  An embellished blouse or handbag can quickly make an outfit look high end or wretched depending on the quality of the material used.  This covers lace, sequins, buttons, snaps, zippers, buckles, really anything which shows.

I know you, looking at these two pictures, can tell me which item cost more.  So can everyone else who notices what you’re wearing or carrying.

purse purse1

{The first one is a designer bag from Nordstrom’s – real leather and hand stitched with high end embellishments.  The second is a $40 bag from Charming Charlie’s – poor construction and metals that will turn quickly, already looking dinghy.}

2.  Stitching.  This is one I often forget, but look at the stitching on an item of clothing.  How is it sewn?  How does the material come together?  Is the thread frayed or the fabric uneven?

It’s hard to depict in photographs but easy enough to spot when hems are fraying or lose, zippers lay flat or bulge, and pleats/shoulder seams/layers fall well or poorly on your body.

3.  Fabric/Material.  We most often think of the fabric when we think of quality and it is the most critical component in our clothes.  There are some on trend items where this matters less, take for example an inexpensive scarf in a “hot” pattern, but some clothing items should warrant a higher price tag and beautiful fabric.  Think of your go-to interview or presentation suit, your regularly used trousers, white button down, black blazer and cocktail dress.  This not only goes for the feel of the material, but the color.  You can tell when the dye used renders a beautiful or harsh shade.

So how about you?  What are your tests for finding quality pieces?  What is your go to shopping spot for well made items at less than a budget breaking cost?

And join us next week as we explore what our style brings to the fashion basics!

Cultivate The Habit


I recently heard a woman encourage others to develop positive habits.

Then she used this quote by Aristotle.

I don’t know about you today, but that is encouraging.

Leadership strengths can improve each year if you cultivate those skills.  If you develop habits that encourage positive and clear communication, goal setting and retooling, mutually beneficial relationships with your peers and those at all levels in your life and organization, consistent alignment with your life values and vision, and giving back to others around you, then you will be known for excellence.  Not because you are putting on an act, but because you have remained committed to a life of habits that improve your skills and abilities as well as those around you.