About Administrator

Our founder, Karen Lucas, has a degree in Textiles & Apparel and worked in the Fashion industry for many years. She has experience as an Accessories Buyer, Assistant Store Manager and Department Manager for several Specialty stores and a major Department store in the Washington, DC area. Karen has been trained in the art and science of style by the guru of style, Stacy London of “What Not to Wear”. As a trained stylist, Karen continues Stacy’s Style for Hire belief that “everyone – not just the rich and famous – should be able to get personal help with style.”

I’m ready to get away!

Summer officially starts on Thursday and in this area the kids will finally be out of school today! That means a summer getaway is probably not far behind.  So what can you do to make the escape easier on you from start to finish? Pre-planning and packing light.

If you are going by car with endless room you may not worry about it, but if you are flying, packing can be a challenge.  I always want to take things I usually don’t wear at home; you know that cute maxi-dress you bought on your last tropical outing that’s a bit on the wild side for wearing out to dinner at home. Let’s see if we can squeeze it in.

Let’s start with the pre-planning. How many days and how many outfits can you realistically wear?  Do you plan on an outfit for day and change for the evening?  Think back, did that really happen the last time?  If you are in a bathing suit all day are you really going to get dressed for dinner and is the location you are going to require something more than a casual outfit? These are the questions to ask yourself.  If you are not going to the beach, is it a climate that might need a heavier layer than a t-shirt?

With these answers we move on to selecting what to bring. Also think about creating your own travel checklist.  I started one several years ago and tweak it every time we come back from vacation.

First pick a neutral shade as your base color.  You can do this for either the tops or bottoms, but I would suggest it be your bottoms for the most flexibility.  According to where you are going that may include jeans (dark is preferable as they can go dressy or casual), a skirt or dress and a pair of slacks (again maybe a pair of the trendy soft pants or an ankle pant). In tropical locations, I always bring a denim skirt and opt for sun dresses over shorts for comfort.  And remember, neutral does not always mean black and tan.  Gray and navy work really well to maximize your options. I always use the fewer bottoms to tops ratio when packing and if you are going to a warm destination, always consider that you will only wear the top once (unless it’s a layering piece), particularly in the summer..

Select tops to add color and interest to your outfit.  If you brought along a pattern bottom, you can opt for a solid top or you can really go trendy and use another pattern as long as both patterns have the same dominant color.  No matter what tops you select be sure that each top goes with at least 2 bottoms to give you maximum options.

Now add the accessories.  Scarves and jewelry can change the feel of an outfit from casual to dressy in an instant.  I would recommend gold over silver jewelry if going to the beach to avoid damage to the silver, but whichever you choose, only take one metal color. Or opt to bring your costume jewelry and leave the good stuff at home.  Patterns in a lightweight scarf can pull together a great outfit that has a solid top and bottom. A belt in either silver or gold is a great way to accentuate the waist and dress up jeans for an evening out.

Did you remember a small purse for evening and shopping? And don’t forget your pashmina for the plane, train and evenings out.

There is plenty of debate on the best way to pack all those clothes; fold, roll, bundle or investing in wrinkle resistant clothing.  A recent article I read suggests the best method is a combo and I would agree.  I started using packing envelopes over 10 years ago and just loved them particularly for a trip that moved around a lot.  Then 2 years ago I was given a set of packing cubes by the tour company we were using to go to Europe.  These were even better.  I had one for undergarments, sleepwear and scarves and another for dresses, pants, shorts and tops (in this one I rolled the bottoms and folded the tops). It keeps your clothes neatly folded, maximizes space and you really don’t need to unpack.

Put jewelry inside your shoes so you use every inch of space.  Swap out the jewelry for dirty clothes on the way home.  And if at all possible, wear the bulky item on the plane. Trust me on a long trip the only people that will notice that you wore those same jeans 4 times is you because you had tops and accessories to make it look like a totally new outfit.

Enjoy!!

What outfits are hiding in your closet?

Trends for Spring/Summer 2018, Color and Style

Color Trends

The color trends for spring are moving away from the traditional shades that one associates with spring and are moving to a more expressive trend.  The Pantone Institute has expanded the color selection to be used as another form of self-expression.  In addition to the 12 colors for spring, for the first time this year, the report also includes four classic colors, which transcend seasons and provide structure to any wardrobe. The classic colors are a wonderful way to keep continuity in a wardrobe and push the boundaries to color outside the lines.


Meadowlark

This bright yellow shade speaks spring.  It’s a color that says I am confident and outgoing.

Cherry Tomato

This color is a mix of orange and red that will make any outfits come alive and exude energy. If you are bold, I could see this mixed with Meadowlark.

Little Boy Blue

Similar to a clear blue sky, it’s calming.  This color mixes well not only with Meadowlark, but some of the pastels and neutrals in this season’s palette.

Chili Oil

This color is an earthy brown based red that adds flavorful definition to the spring 2018 palette.

Pink Lavender

Pink Lavender is a soft and romantic violet rose that will have you thinking of soft spring breezes and blossoming trees.

Blooming Dahlia

A wonderful mix between peach and pink, it mixes well with some of the bold colors of the season like Arcadia and Chili Oil.

Arcadia

This color is cooler than green yet with some blue undertones which makes it a color that works for more women.

Ultra Violet

This Pantone Color of the Year, is a bold statement and not for the faint of heart.  Not a bold person? Add a splash of this color in a scarf or belt will look great or pale it down to a shade of lavender, another important color this season.

Emperador

This rich chocolate is a great neutral to mix but can also stand alone.  Mix it with Blooming Dahlia or Pink Lavender if you don’t like to wear brown tones alone.

Almost Mauve

This color adds a sense of nostalgia to the spring 2018 palette. It works great as a neutral in lieu of white.

Spring Crocus

A more toned down shade of fuchsia, it works well with Emperador and Arcadia.

Lime Punch

This sharp color is another one that makes a bold statement. 

Spring 2018 Classic Color Palette:

Sailor Blue

This and any shade of navy is always in style

Harbor Mist

Shades of gray have been important for many years.  This hint of gray will be seasonless.

Warm Sand

Warm Sand is a comforting neutral shade that effortlessly connects the seasons.

Coconut Milk

A great alternative to white or off-white that can carry through the seasons.

 

Style

Many of the spring trends this year are a throw-backs to trends of the 90’s.  Here are the ones that I think will be around for a few seasons and seen in many ready-to-wear fashions.

Rubber

We are not just talking accessories here, but entire outfits.  These items are made out of 100% Nitrile / Synthetic Rubber.  I don’t know that I am ready to try one of these as I can just feel the sweat rolling off me during the steamy Maryland summers.

 

 

 

Ruching

This is not just in small sections of the bodice but will be found over the entire dress as well as down the sleeve.  Done right, it can enhance the balance of an outfit based on your body type.

 

 

 

Asymmetrical Necklines

Fashionable for several seasons, the trend continues strong.  It’s not just about exposing a shoulder, but having various cut-out areas of the garment.

 

 

Square Necklines

If the asymmetrical neckline is not for you, how about the square neckline?  It is very flattering and will be found in everything from cocktail dresses to everyday tees.

 

 

The Fanny Pack

I remember the last version of this well; it was a staple for the skier in years gone by.  Now it is showing up as a mainstream accessory. It does give you the convenience of freeing up your hands.

 

 

 

Lavender

I have already seen this wonderful color in garments in my NYC preview a few weeks ago.  It is definitely color for day or evening.

 

Dark Denim Sets

This wash is not just for casual wear and is by no means replacing your light-wash jeans.

 

Black and White Polka Dots

If floral prints are the number one pattern for spring, these dots are number two.  Don’t be afraid to mix them with your favorite floral that has a predominant black or white in the pattern.

 

 

White Tank Top

The basic white tee will always be a staple, but for this season, add to that the white tank.  Wear it either alone for under a top for layering and you can’t go wrong.  Although they will be seen with screen printing, I prefer the basic with no pattern.

 

 

 

So check out your closet before you run out the door to shop for spring.

 

What outfits are hiding in your closet?

Vacation Closet Postscript

 

If you have been following my posts in the month of January, you know that I was away in a much warmer climate; Apache Junction, Arizona which is east of Phoenix.  During that time I shared what I packed in my suitcase and the outfits I created from those items for the month.  Now that I’m back I decided to do a review of what worked well, what didn’t and things to consider for the next time.

The temperatures were predicted to be in the 40s at night and upper 60s to low 70s during the day which was pretty close to true with a few mornings being a little colder and a few days being upper 70s to low 80s. This is a place where you can be busy all day, or just sit by the pool and read.  My husband and I chose the former.

As a reminder, these were the items in “my vacation closet.”

Here is the suitcase (25” hard side) I used. I also carried a backpack on the plane and a cross-body purse.

 

In addition to all the clothing pictured above, I packed in there 5 days worth of undergarments, 2 bathing suits, a hooded sweatshirt, lounge PJs and the items pictured below.

 

For just about all my travel (plane, train or car) I always layer an outfit and wear leggings, for this trip it meant black leggings, bronze colored tank top, denim shirt and a cashmere wrap.  I also always wear my sneakers on the plane as they are bulky to pack and no matter what, they always come with me; experience has taught me that.

When I packed, I chose colors that were versatile enough to mix and match just about everything in “my vacation closet.”  As you could tell from photos, there was a lot of mixing and matching and although I brought several scarves to add patterns and upper interest to my outfits, it just wasn’t that dressy of a place to use them.  I had anticipated eating out maybe once a week, but instead we rotated fixing dinner among 3 couples and only had dinner out once.  But we did have a dance once a week and a concert once a week, so that was considered the evening casual looks.

I got it right items:

Daytime Tops – All of the casual cotton short sleeve tops, top and center left in the “My Suitcase” collage, along with the black/white top center bottom worked well either alone or, if it was a little cooler, layered with my hooded sweatshirt or the denim shirt.

Daytime and Evening Bottoms – All of the bottoms worked well, from the casual gray shorts, beige capris to the 2 different weight leggings, skinny Chico’s pant and jeans.  The jeans, Chico’s pant and heavier weight leggings were good for the cooler days and evenings as this is a place that has very little humidity so as soon as the sun goes down, so does the temperature.  A tip for your leggings, they can do duel duty as capris if you pull them up to create a “seam” just below the knee as I did in bottom left picture of the “Mix and Match” collage in the Facebook post.

Evening Tops – Here is where the mix and match came into play a lot.  The tops in the center and bottom right of the “My Suitcase” collage were my staples along with the cashmere wrap.  I used these a lot, both alone and layered with a camisole underneath.

What I didn’t use:

I got very little use out of the 3 tank tops.  It was a little too cool to wear alone during the day and only used a cotton one once as a layer under the denim shirt for a very casual evening.

I also didn’t need the pair of bronze colored flats.  If I needed shoes, the short boots worked fine.

As I mentioned before, I didn’t get much use out of the scarves, but I would continue to pack scarves in the future as they take up very little space and add interest to your outfit.  This was true for the belt as well.

In lieu of the purple long sleeve top pictured in the “My Suitcase” collage, I would have packed a different top as it would have been more versatile.

What did I need but not pack:

I originally had a denim skirt out to pack but changed my mind.  Go with your first instinct, I should have brought it.

I also would have gotten use out of additional leggings to go with the burnt orange tops and denim shirt.  I did purchase 2  pair from LuLaRoe  when we went shopping at Mesa Market Place Swap Meet (great place to go if you ever get out that way),  They are a nice pattern, go with both tops and are oh so comfortable.

As I mentioned earlier, I should have packed another long sleeve tunic length top (to take the place of the purple top) that would have given me more options with leggings (butts covered please).

All in all, the amount and type of clothing worked well, but there is always room to refine the selection.  I will admit I like a lot of variety in what I wear so towards the end of the trip I got a little board with my options.  The addition of the LuLaRoe leggings was a nice boost.

Remember, pick either a pattern for your tops or bottoms to give you the most possibilities to mix and match, always bring your sneakers, pack some accessories (belt and scarves in addition to jewelry) and go with your first instincts when pulling clothes for a trip.

What outfits are hiding in your closet?

Do’s and Don’t’s of Denim

Here are a few tips for keeping your jeans (and any denim) looking like new.

  • Yes you can launder your jeans, but you don’t need to wash every time you wear them.  Every three to five wears should do, unless you’ve been playing in the mud!
  • The best way to keep those dark washed jeans dark is to skip the heat. Always wash in cold water and in a laundry bag as the less heat and agitation the better.
  • When picking out a skinny pair of jeans, look for ones that have Lycra in the fabric content.  It helps jeans keep their shape longer and form fits to you.
  • Are you looking at a new pair with some bling?  I really don’t like to hand wash as I just don’t think they get as clean.  So when it’s time to wash I turn them inside out and again, so to my mesh laundry bag.  I wash on delicate cycle and they never go in the dryer.
  • And remember, heat is the worst thing you can do to your denim, no matter if it’s a shirt, skirt, jacket or jeans.  Always hang to dry.  This is a must to prevent shrinkage.

 

What outfits are hiding in your closet?