One of my favorite things to do is to go thrift shopping. I love it. There is something wonderful about finding an absolute gem in a thrift or vintage store. It feels like a fashion excavation trip! Here’s what I found this week:
It’s a cutie cute skirt from Ann Taylor Loft!
What first grabbed my eye was the pattern. It can go with so many different types of tops and can be paired with tights or leggings when it’s a bit chilly. It’s conservative enough to wear to the office, but interesting enough to go to to a restaurant when the work day ends. The best part? It was cheaper than a latte at Starbucks.
This little beauty will not stay with me. I am going to pass it on to someone I love beacause I think she will get SO much use out of it. Plus, it’s just exciting to give someone a little gift for no reason at all other than to say, “you are wonderful!”
Have you been thrifting lately? Find anything good? Do tell!
P.S. I was quoted in the Washington Post Express today on an article regarding petite fashion. If you would like to read it go here.
it’s okay to take a fashion risk. Wearing a necklace that feels a bit out of your comfort zone is an easy way to start opening up to new things. If you get to work and feel nervous about the necklace it’s not a big deal – just take it off!
everything doesn’t have to match perfectly. Many times people don’t wear jewelry because they don’t have anything that “matches.” Don’t worry so much about everything going together completely. Trying on new colors / patterns is a way to make outfits visually interesting.
not to take ourselves too seriously. A necklace is an easy way to take a small risk while not being caught up in how everyone is going to respond.
that it is okay to include things in your wardrobe that bring you joy.
that a necklace can make an outfit look completely different! You don’t have to collect jewelry like mad – just have a small selection that you enjoy. It will give you options when you go to your closet and will expand your wardrobe choices.
Ooooh, I had so much fun making this Valentine’s Day present that I had to share. I present - tie roses. Yup, that’s a bunch of flowers that are actually ties.
I wanted to stay within the spirit of Valentine’s Day while giving my sweetie something he could actually use. The idea of a tie gifted in a fun / creative way came to mind, so I after a few failed attempts I came up with a tie that looks like a rose. Each rose took less than 2 minutes to create and I spent a total of $6.00 on the project. Yeah!
Tie Rose Materials
Only 2 materials needed!
Turn your tie so it is label side up. I folded the end of the tie down just past the label. Basically, I knew that I was going to roll it and I didn’t want to roll forever because ties are pretty long.
Then, start rolling.
After you have rolled it about 2/3rds of the way down stick in 1 safety pin so it stays together.
Take the remainder of the tie and fold it in half.
Now twist while you wrap it around the roll.
Stick in one more safety pin at the end to hold it all together.
And, you are done! You have a rose!
Note about ties: I found some FAB ties at vintage stores / thrift shops. I decided to give him 4 because a dozen tie roses sounded a little overwhelming. But, if your sweetie is in need of a tie overhaul I say go for it! I ended up hitting the jackpot and found the following-
Blue Rose – Brooks Brothers
Red Rose – Michael Kors
Pink / Blue Rose – JCrew
Brown Rose – Don’t know the brand. Just thought it was cool.
I ended up sticking these guys in a small vase, but use your imagination when it comes to the presentation!
For those of you who are near a craft store you can purchase wire flower stems / flower tape and work to create roses that stand up in a clear vase. You can also put M&M’s at the bottom of a glass jar (to mimic glass stones that you would put at the bottom of a vase) so then you have both tie flowers and an instant candy jar.
You can put bows around the vase. You can wrap another tie around the vase instead of a bow. You can put the flowers “floating” in a bowl so you don’t have to worry about stems at all, etc. etc.
I don’t think this gift has to go to a romantic partner at all. It can also be a sweet present for a dad, guy friend, or uncle. To me Valentine’s Day is just a celebration of “I think you are special and I want to tell you.”
Why I Ask Fashion Clients to Name A Favorite Movie
As a fashion consultant it’s important that I get to know my clients before we go shopping, do a wardrobe edit, or schedule a style workshop. I can certainly point out a good shirt or organize a wardrobe, but real changes occur when we talk about someone’s life – their dreams, their likes / dislikes, and the things that inspire them. The idea is that we merge together the internal and the external. That way clothing becomes an expression of self versus following trends or just wearing something because a stylist says it is best.
I ask lots of questions in the beginning because part of my job is just listening to people’s stories. I’ve written about my hardest question, but I also ask clients to name their favorite movie. This may seem like a throw away question, but there is actually method to the madness. Movies give hints to questions about style.
Thomas Crown Affair is one of my faves!
For instance, if someone describes their style as “preppy” and then tells me their favorite movies are Sleepless in Seattle, When Harry Met Sally, and Love Actually, I know there is a romantic heart right under the surface. Thus, the client may be willing to introduce some fanciful elements into her wardrobe.
If another client states that her favorite movies are Happy Gilmore and Superbad I know she really loves to laugh and have fun. She may be willing to wear brighter colors and patterns.
This doesn’t always work directly because people’s faves tend to be across genres. But, it does give me a bit of insight. Style isn’t just about clothing – it involves different parts of our lives and goes across mediums.
I know it's a Christmas movie, but It's a Wonderful life will always be one of my favorites!
Also, describing what we like when it comes to clothing can be difficult! Usually if someone is given a picture of an outfit they can say that they like it or not, but putting fashion choices into words can be challenging. Asking lots of questions – including a question about movies – gives me another entrance into a person’s personality and sense of style.
What are your favorite movies? Do you think they say anything about your personal style?
Have you seen OK Go’s new video for the song Needing/Getting? If not, take 3 minutes to watch it. (Totally worth it, I promise.)
Amazeballs. THE CAR is playing the song.
Here are some business lessons I’ve taken away from their latest installment of awesomeness:
1. Creativity Still Counts
Doing something wildly inventive has set OK Go apart as a band and a brand. Do you remember Here it Goes Again? The video was just four guys on treadmills – a complete 180 from the big, flashy, full-of-bravado videos that were coming out at the time. It was refreshing. They are continuing that trend with their latest song, albeit with a larger budget. Creativity remains at the center of what they are producing. Which brings me to the next point….
2. It’s Fun
Were you ever part of an Odyssey of the Mind team when you were in school? I totally wish these guys were on my team back in the day. They have taken what is seemingly ordinary – a piano, a car, aluminum wind chimes, trash cans – and turned it into something extraordinary. And it’s a blast to watch. It makes me think about business in general – are we creating something new out of what is ordinary? Is it a joy to interact with?
Of course, fun isn’t everything, that’s why it’s important that….
3. They have the Talent to Back it Up
They started out with a great song that stands on its own with or without the video. They did their jobs as songwriters and musicians and that takes talent.
The OK Go Car - a suped up Chevy Sonic
4. Collaboration is Key
Some of the criticism about the video is that it is a three-minute long car commercial (it is) and that OK Go is selling out (they aren’t).
It’s important to remember that OK Go is in the midst of creating a new business model. In 2010 the band left a large record label and struck out on their own in order to have more creative freedom over their product and its distribution. In order to produce their music the band has partnered with corporate sponsors to pay the bills. Lead singer Damian Kulash said,
“If you want to spend your day making stuff, somebody is going to have to help you pay for it.”
The band’s partnering with Chevrolet gave them financial freedom to make a video. In return, Chevy is reaching their targeted audience. Both parties needed each other to come up with a better final product than what they could have created on their own.
5. It’s about Planning and Practice
Needing/Getting took planning – and lots of it. The car was modified, Kulash went to stunt-driving school, a MIT engineer developed the driving course, and one of the band members wrote a computer program to ensure the song was rhythmically converted to miles per hour. In short, they worked hard.
OK Go's Musical Driving Course.
Hard work is what gets us from point to point. It gives us room to learn so we can produce something that is innovative and spectacular.
As a small business owner one of the most important parts of my job is keeping myself inspired. Inspirational input means creative output. It also gives me a way to see things differently so when it’s time to create new things (like outfits!) I have lots of ideas versus getting creative block and panicking.
Sometimes inspiration comes after seeing an amazing art exhibit or going to a concert. But, when life gets quite busy (as it often does for all of us) smaller things feed my inner creativity. Here are 5 things that are inspiring me today:
It may sound bizarre to be inspired by a thermos, but this is no ordinary thermos. The design is amazingly smart, and it does its job better than any other thermos I’ve ever encountered. Example – I filled it with coffee the other day and 6 hours later (!) it was still piping hot. It makes me ponder how I can take something seemingly ordinary and turn it into an extraordinary product.
This color is soft and beautiful and it makes me happy every time I look down at my hands. It’s important for me to keep small pleasures in mind for myself and for my clients. Life moves so fast that people forget to take care of themselves, especially when it comes to pleasure for pleasure’s sake. Many times happiness can be found in the details of life.
One of my goals this year is to write and create in my journal more often. There was a period of my life where I wrote every day and it really fed my interior life. I want to get back to that space, and this book is serving as one of my creative tools.
Marc Maron is a stand-up comedian who produces an amazingly popular podcast called WTF. (You can find it for free on itunes or his website.) Maron interviews other comedians about their lives and careers. He is an unlikely interviewer – he’s a bit of a curmudgeon, but there is also an earnestness and kindness to him that is very appealing. The typical celebrity interview format is so routine and insincere that his show stands out as something real and refreshing. It also helps to hear how other people made their creative dreams a reality. It usually involves a ton of hard work, drive, and a bit of luck. These interviews inspire me to keep pushing toward my own goals.
Short Story Club
Why it is inspiring me:
I belong to a group that gets together once a quarter to read short stories. (Because we are huge nerds.) It’s kind of like a book club, but we read stories aloud based on a theme. On the night of our meetings we have a meal together and then take turns reading our stories to the group. It makes me feel connected to an older tradition – an evening of entertainment that is simple but so full of joy. The theme for our next meeting is love. I will be reading, “The End of the Affair,” by David Sedaris.
She was quiet for a moment and then proceeded to read the following sentence:
“Liza Minnelli, however, is one of entertainment’s most compulsively watchable broken unicorns.”
Uhmmmm….What?! What a horrible sentence. And an amazing sentence. And a brilliant sentence.
Ralph Wiggum is a broken unicorn too.
Rubenstein was writing about Liza in order to reference the red Halston dress she wore for the number, “I Gotcha” in the concert film Liza with a Z. The dress was sexy, unique, and a revelation – much like Liza herself. The turtleneck minidress became a cornerstone of her style for many years, and Halston later used the exact same shade of red when creating costumes for the Broadway musical The Act.
Work it, gurl! Turtleneck Minidress by Halston for Liza with a 'Z'
It’s SO much fun to read a fashion book when the author understands fashion’s historical relevancy, honors the medium, and at the same time realizes that fashion can sometimes be silly or amazingly fun.
Case in point – the inclusion of Carol Burnett’s Curtain Dress from her famous “Gone with the Wind” parody. The fact that this made the book as an unforgettable dress makes me incredibly happy.
The Curtain Dress from Carol Burnett's Gone with the Wind Parody
Whether the sketch itself stands the test of time is debatable (after watching it again it I was taken back by Vicki Lawrence’s performance). However, the Curtain Dress was a great moment in TV costume history and holds up as a fantastic visual gag.
The dress appears around the 3:20 mark. You can see the first part of the sketch here.
Have you read any good fashion books lately? Do you think Liza really is a broken unicorn? Did you know about Carol Burnett’s Curtain Dress? Do tell!
The New “It Girl” is in Her 60′s – and She’s Fabulous
Meryl Streep on the cover of Vogue. Vera Wang posing in her bathing suit for Bazaar. Diane Keaton in an ad campaign for Chico’s. Suddenly women over the age of 60 are appearing in media looking powerful and sexy. Hallelujah. It’s about time!
Vogue, Jan. 2012
The average Vogue cover girl is 30 years old (30.3 to be exact). At 62 Streep is the oldest model to grace the cover during Anna Wintour’s tenure – and possibly in the magazine’s 110-year history.
Vera Wang in Harper's Bazaar
At 63 Vera Wang is rocking a photo shoot for Bazaar. Forget 20-something starlets, Wang is proving that 60 is the new sexy!
Finally, Diane Keaton is looking just radiant in an ad campaign for Chico’s.
Doesn't this picture just make you want to smile?
It’s not just that these women are gorgeous. There is a joy and strength coming through these pictures that is so refreshing.
We still have a way to go when it comes to acceptance in the world of fashion. We need to see women of different ages, races, body types, and abilities more frequently in media as a whole. But, it gives me hope that these women are being acknowledged for who they are, their business savvy, and their dreams. Keep it coming!
What do you think of these cover girls? Are you seeing more examples of women of different ages pop up in media?
When I book a new client I schedule a phone call and ask lots of questions. This is so I can get a sense of the client’s personality and so we can focus in on their style goals. The questions are quite fun – some are just surface questions that tell me a little about a person’s particular taste (i.e. “What’s your favorite movie?” “What’s your favorite color to wear?”). But, I have one question that people stumble over EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.
Here is the question:
What do you like most about your body?
100% of the time there is a pause. Sometimes I get an answer. Most of the time I don’t.
To be fair, I think if someone asked me the same question out of the blue I might stumble with my answer too.
The big thing is this: We are used to seeing imperfections and “problem areas” (which I really don’t believe in, by the way). The language we use to talk about our bodies is overwhelmingly negative. So, pausing to think about what we love feels odd and quite foreign. But, it’s amazingly, astoundingly important.
So, I will ask you. What do you like best about your body?
Do you know what today is? Today is the FOURTH anniversary of my fashion consulting business, Closet Caucus! Yeah!
Four years ago today I set out to create a business that would encourage and support people. It’s such a blessing to still be here.
I couldn’t do this job without the help of my friends and family. A business grows with the input and love of other people. For those of you who have helped through kind words, solid business advise, and giving me pep talks when I really needed them – THANK YOU! You helped build my dream.