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This is a very odd Style blog, but so 21st century. I just learned that Steve Jobs passed away today. I didn’t know the man who started my writing career, I just know that before the “Cut” and “Paste” I couldn’t organize my thoughts well enough even want to write. When I sat down in front of a Mac and learned that I could “Edit” and “Save” with the click of a mouse my world widened exponentially.
Personal computing and the Internet now give us more control over our lives than anytime in history. Even if you can’t afford the Grand Tour you can virtually see the world from your desk chair and talk with the natives in distant lands via chatting on any subject you can imagine. It’s all about access. You and I have access to each other to learn and share IDEAS. You can find out ANYTHING you want to know by typing a few words into a search engine. You can see the latest fashions from Milan, Paris and Tokyo before they appear in magazines. You can find resources for products, for anything you can dream of. And if you can’t find it you can create it, get it manufactured, sell it one the Internet and make a fortune.
So what does all this have to do with personal style and fashion? The freedom to pursue Personal Style in all areas of your life: Creating who you are, how you are perceived and how you want to live your life has never been more available. How you dress is still your business card but how often do you see a black on white business card these days? We don’t have to live black on white lives anymore.
At a 2005 commencement address at Stanford University, Mr. Jobs shared the philosophy that drove him.
“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life,” Jobs said. “Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”
Thank you, Steve Jobs for making Personal Style available to the whole wide world.
From Wired.com: A tribute to Steve Jobs
Epiphany in the closet! Some people get their best ideas in the shower, some taking a run or a walk. For me, it’s the closet. Here’s my latest: I was looking at a beautiful sweater that I own(ed). I have worn it a few times and it’s a great color for me. I even get compliments on it. But it just didn’t feel right. So I asked myself, “How do I feel when I wear it? …I feel DOWDY.” AGHHHHHH, that thing had to go, immediately.
Eureka! That’s when I came up with this little exercise to help you edit your wardrobe so that it works for who you are right now. No compromise, no shoulds or ought to’s, no guilt allowed. Here is the drill:
Go through your wardrobe piece by piece, including lingerie, workout gear and accessories and ask yourself this question:
When I wear this I ____________________ . Fill in your unedited reaction and prepare to be surprised. Here are some of my results.
When I wear this I …
- always have fun. (blue striped cotton shirt)
- want to take them off as fast as I can. (too tight jeans)
- feel hip and professional. (Navy blazer)
- feel like I’m trying too hard. (polyester print blouse)
- get a lot done. (favorite jeans)
- am cool. (sailor stripe long-sleeved T-shirt)
- feel fat. (Pants that have detail on the back pocket)
- feel dowdy. (this was the sweater that started it all)
- am confident. (Anne Klein grey green windowpane suit jacket)
When I finished I had a small pile of clothes that I hadn’t been wearing. I would put them on and take them off but didn’t know why. Now my closet holds only those items that I love right now and that make me look and feel great. Before, I had some things that I kept telling myself that I should like because they looked good on me but somehow I just didn’t want to wear them. I found out why and let them go. Yeah!
Florals have been and still are very popular. In doing this exercise I remembered I how much I love spots and stripes but prints, especially florals, not so much.
Have fun with this and let me hear some of your reactions.
Lunching at an upscale restaurant last week and here’s what I saw: Logo T-shirt (shapeless), khaki shorts and flip flops, on both women and men. We are talking Shoreline Grill, not Maria’s! Whoa… I started thinking about this and identified 6 reasons for the ultra casual (some would say style-less) body covering that passes for getting dressed in Austin.
1) You work at home and only dress when you go out to avoid getting arrested for indecent exposure.
2) You are on vacation and are taking the kids to Schlitterbahn after lunch.
3) You want to look like you don’t have to work (#5 wannabe).
4) You have surrendered to the weather and now wear a T-shirt, shorts and sandals no matter the occasion or location.
5) You are 21, sold your startup and can wear whatever you want because are $oooo rich.
6) Your mother used to lay out your clothes so you are absolutely clueless on how to dress yourself. In this case you need to call me or another stylist pronto!
Having been here now for 5+ years my own look is more casual and I can accept other viewpoints on being well-dressed. I understand why so many get dreamy-eyed when I tell them I live in Austin. It is HOT but who wouldn’t want to live with immediate access to parks, hills, lakes, rivers, great live music and some pretty fine restaurants?
That said I can’t resist putting in an endorsement for thinking independently and creating “a look” no matter what your occasion for getting dressed. Unfortunately I don’t see much of that in our fair city. Grunge went out years ago. Shorts and cowboy boots??? Only if you are under 14 or at the ranch. And style is NOT about money, not when you can find good design at the vintage, resales and thrifts and Missoni at Target.
What it means to be well-dressed here should be more playful than other business-type cities. Austin is a resort and a refuge for indies.
Even if you are in a profession that requires a suit, dressing well is about individual creativity and is an act of generosity – once you’re dressed you don’t have to look at you but everyone else does. Play to your audience and don’t be surprised if you get applause.
Personal style items are jackets, scarves, shoes, boots, jewelry and purses that are anything but basic. They add flavor and individuality to a wardrobe like spices help foods be more flavorful. Some people like lots of such items and collect them. If you do, you probably love to shop and find your treasures anywhere from vintage and thrift shops to the most expensive boutiques.
Here is a checklist to help you decide if you are having a passing fancy for an item or if it will be true love. Each “yes” answer increases the wardrobe mileage you will get from the items you buy and gives you the maximum results from the clothing dollars you spend.
Before buying, ask these questions:
Is it in your color range?
Does it fit well, flatter your figure and express your personal style?
Does the item work with at least 3 other pieces currently in your wardrobe?
Can you get at least 3 different looks from it?
Is it versatile enough to go from a day of work to dinner out with friends or family?
Can you wear it without having to buy new accessories to complete the look?
Is it well made?
Will it be outdated next year or stand the test of time?
Is it worth the money (cost per wearing)?
Do you REALLY love it?
The first two are non-negotiable, after that if you get four more YES’s, go for it!
- Put up your portable clothes rack and hang your new clothes and accessories where you can see them as you go about your daily routine. If you don’t have a clothes rack, hang the clothes over doors, windows, or wherever you can put them so that you can see them. Add to these the outfits you have now completed.
- Keep your trusty notebook close by.
- Take some time to enjoy just looking at all the beautiful things you now own.
- Try on all your new wardrobe and experiment to integrate them with your existing clothes to make new outfits.
- Try some unusual color combinations too. You can get even more mileage from your basic pieces by scanning the fashion magazines to see how they are currently being worn and how the ensembles are accessorized.
- Make photos of your new outfits and put them in your notebook along with notes for other ideas and accessories. Add additional magazine photos that give you more new ways to put together your pieces.
- As the season changes from Winter to Spring use the magazines to help you transition your wardrobe. The pants you bought to wear with a sweater and boots may look just as great with a blouse and sandals. Your new dress is perfect with a jacket. It may also look smashing with a lightweight cardigan in a fresh Spring color.
- Turn your notebook into your own “Look Book”. Then you use it whenever you need wardrobe inspiration.
Follow this plan and you can be well dressed and out the door in 30 minutes for any occasion. Finally, celebrate and enjoy all the changes you have wrought to your closet, your wardrobe and the smooth functioning of your life! You look amazing!
Spring is in the air – and so is the urge to get organized. Last week I did three Closet Editing and Organization consultations. The major items missing in each of these closets were:
1) a full-length mirror
2) a hand mirror to use to see the back view
3) adequate lighting to determine color matching
These are not luxury items but necessities for any well-dressed person. You have to be able to see what you look like top to toe to determine whether an outfit really works on you. AND you need at least a hand mirror to be able to see the back view. Trust me, this is not something to leave to chance!!!
Finally, lighting matters! Colors are impossible to match in a dark and dreary surroundings. You will have a lot more success and fun putting together ensembles if you can actually see what you are doing. And you will save yourself the embarrassment of showing up in a jacket and slacks of two clashing colors. Even black has to be color matched!
If you need help with setting up a proper closet, give me a call. I can help you organize the closet and give you recommendations on closet designers or resources if you want to do it yourself. Typically, this service takes about 2-3 hours.
“Now that I’ve done the Panache Basic Workshop, I am so excited about creating my personal style. I have become so much more aware of what message I want to send via my physical presentation…and how to communicate the right thing. I am already more comfortable in my clothes because I am identifying who I really am…while stripping off who I am not and never was, and never wanted to be. This new knowledge is opening up the ME I’ve always felt inside or looked forward to becoming, but got lost in the shuffle and chaos of livingness…And as a final accolade, Jean, what is even more amazing is that even though all of us in the workshop were so different, you were able to point up and get us each to recognize our own individual assets and how to use those assets to put forth the best in each of us. I was startled to see each person transformed into a true beauty with just the right cut of jacket, style of pants or skirts. This is truly magic!” EN
Warning, this post is going to take some concentration. It’s long and is full of knowledge I use with my clients. Stay with me on this and you can have an amazing wardrobe!
This week you are going on a shopping expedition and like any other expedition you need to be prepared. You will encounter unexpected bargains and the occasional temptation of pieces that cry out to you but don’t fit your needs or your budget. Be strong! Your quarry is a complete, cohesive wardrobe that will delight you, work for you day in and day out and take away wardrobe anxiety for a whole year.
Preparation: Plan your shopping to be successful: Shopping like a pro means sufficient preparation for much faster and easier shopping.
First a little fun: Ladies, f you haven’t rethought your makeup routine in the past few years, now is time to do this. Dated makeup makes you look older and will detract from the new, more current clothes you will be buying. Go to your favorite cosmetics counter for a makeover and to purchase the needed products. Take some magazine photos of the makeup looks you want for day and evening and the stylist will be glad to help you learn how to create those looks. Or you can call me for a consultation!
Set your budget and decide how you will pay for the items you are going to buy. This is particularly important if you know you need some big ticket items like a new handbag, suit, or a complete evening ensemble.
NOTE: I use the word suit to mean any two-piece ensemble that was made to be worn together. It could be a traditional jacket or duster and pants or skirt, or a coordinating top and pants or skirt. Often you can break up a suit and make many more outfits so think about cost per wearing and buy the best you can afford for what you will wear most often. You will get the pleasure of wearing beautifully made clothes, they will last longer than cheaper merchandise and most important, give you the confidence you need to help you achieve your goals.
Sometimes you find a deal on an expensive piece and it frees up money to spend on other items. Sometimes you have to spend more than you had planned and then need to become more creative to complete your shopping list. Having a budget will also help when you are in a dressing room and suffering sticker shock on the perfect dress/suit/coat that will complete five or more outfits and know that you can scrimp elsewhere. Budget and shop for your completion items first as they will make your whole wardrobe more useful. The biggest waste of money is items you already own and don’t wear!
- Take a last look at your poster board to make sure you have the concept of the wardrobe you intend to create.
- Tuck your list of events and goals for the coming year into your purse along with the shopping lists you made in Week Two.
- Put the pieces of your incomplete outfits into the car now so that you can match them in the stores without having to guess at whether the color and styles will work together. If you are a boutique and/or consignment shopper, remember that their merchandise is generally not returnable, or only for store credit.
- Pack a tote or knapsack with the various undergarments, shoes, etc for the types of clothing you will be trying on. Keep this in your car too. Ex: Ladies, if you know you will be shopping for an evening dress, bring your strapless bra or make sure to buy one when you buy the dress. Gentlemen, if you plan to wear a shirt under a sweater, bring the shirt. Same goes for undershirts.
- Remember your goal is to complete every outfit.
Plan on two or more outings, depending on the size of your lists. Schedule the time so you won’t be rushed. Usually 3-4 hours is the maximum time one person can tolerate without having the assistance and support of a professional shopper. Make sure you bring some high protein snacks so you don’t resort to the chocolate bar at the checkout counter for sustenance. Take breaks and bring a bottle of water. If you just aren’t finding what you want or just aren’t feeling the shopping vibe, don’t put yourself down, go to another store or come back another day. Shopping takes endurance and has an element of luck to it. Happy hunting!
The final week in this series will be tips on integrating your new purchases into your existing wardrobe. This part is truly magic…you are going to feel so smart and look so awesome! Stay tuned…
This seminar is being repeated by popular request!
Scarves are so beautiful and can finish an ensemble like no other accessory. There is an air of mystery and sophistication that goes with wearing one well…but so many women tell me that they have a drawer full of scarves and never wear them because they don’t know how to use them. If this is your complaint, The Art of the Scarf Seminar is for you.
In this 2-hour interactive seminar you will learn to wear scarves easily and with great Panache!
- Demonstrations how to choose and wear scarves based on your face shape and body type.
- Each seminar participant will receive personal instruction.
- After the seminar you may participate in the “Scarf Swap” so that you can let go of the ones that don’t work for you and perhaps acquire some new ones that make you look great.
- All unclaimed scarves will be donated to Dress for Success.
What to bring/wear: Bring all your scarves! Wear an open neck blouse or top similar to the one in the photo so that you can experiment with different scarf techniques.
Handouts you will receive:
- How to choose a scarf that will flatter you
- Scarf tying tips and tricks
- How to store and care for scarves
Class size: 15 participants
Sign up now!