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.”

It’s almost time for vacation.

This weekend kicks off the unofficial start of summer.  Soon the kids are out of school, which means it’s time to think about that summer getaway.  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 pair of shorts you bought on your last tropical outing that are bit on the wild side for wearing out to a casual dinner at home. Let’s see if we can squeeze them in.

Let’s start with the pre-planning. How many days are you away 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 your destination 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. This is where creating your own travel checklist can help. 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  (maxi would be great) and a pair of slacks  (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).

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 and there should be tops that can be layered.

Now add the accessories.  Scarves and jewelry can change the feel of an outfit from casual to dressy in an instant.  Patterns in a lightweight scarf can pull together a great outfit that has a solid top and bottom. For jewelry, I would recommend taking only one metal color.  Because the beach can be harsh on metals,  bring your costume jewelry and leave the good stuff at home. A metal belt is a great way to accentuate the waist and dress up jeans for an evening out.  Now on to footwear.  I have made the mistake of not taking sneakers on a trip; never again.  I always wear them on the plane and pack a pair of flip flops (good for the pool and as slippers in the room) and another pair of casual shoes based on my destination.  For my upcoming cruise to Alaska that will be a pair to black patent flats, for a beach resort it would be a pair of dressy sandals.

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. I have used  an envelope packing system such as the one from Eagle Creek for years. It keeps your clothes neatly folded,  maximizes space and makes it easy to pick out items without unpacking the entire suitcase; handy when you are on a multi-location trip.  You can find other versions on Amazon and at Target and Walmart.

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. Avoid the urge to throw in one more thing as you are about to walk out the door with your suitcase in hand.  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 every time.

What outfits are hiding in your suitcase?

Spring 2017 Styles

Mother Nature continues to “toy” with us on spring weather, but as April approaches, we know it will be time to switch to a wardrobe with lighter colors and lighter weight fabric.  It you are looking to freshen up your outfits, here is a glimpse of some of the popular styles that I see as items that are main stream and can be adapted into styles for casual and/or business attire.

 

Banker Stripes – the staple of Wall Street has been transformed for Women’s Ready-to-Wear.

 

 

 

 

 

Beach stripes – these are fun stripes that can go in any direction.   Vertical will give the  illusion of making you taller and thinner,  horizontal stripes can add shape to the “not curvy” figure and diagonal stripes can be a fun look for any body type.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Foldover – replacing the belted waist by adding interest at the waist can take a casual style to a dressy, fun look.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Khaki – we are talking about the fabric rather than the color; I consider this a staple in the closet as the khaki look never goes out of style and can cross seasons.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Continuing the trend to show a bit of shoulder, they are showing up as…

Off the shoulder

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

and Shoulder  cutouts

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sleeve slits – if the shoulder showing styles are not for you (and not all can wear it successfully) try one of these.  And add some bangles to this look for added interest.

 

 

 

 

 

 

White shirt dress – the classic item for work wear with new interest at the waist and/or hem

 

 

 

 

Whether you plan on shopping for a few new pieces or an entire wardrobe update with the seasons newest trends, ask yourself these questions:

  • Do I love the look?
  • Does it create the illusion of a curvy (proportioned) body type?

If the answer to either is “no” then put it back on the rack.

What outfits are hiding in your closet?

 

What colors will you be wearing for Spring 2017

Pantone’s spring colors for 2017 have been described as bright and vivid yet with a feel of earthiness.  These colors were very prevalent in the styles showcased in the New York Fashion Week shows presented last September.  This translates to the colors you will see in ready-to-wear for spring/summer 2017.

The first group of colors are those that are found in awakening of the coming season.  Primrose Yellow reminds you of a sunny day, and Kale reflects the desire to get outdoors after a long dreary (and not so cold) winter.  Another outdoor color is Greenery.  Its yellow-green brings to mind the shades we see when leap buds start to form on trees that have been dark and gray for the winter.  Another color that reminds you of the entrance of spring is Pale Dogwood.  The pale pink shade is great for many skin types as a primary or accent color to add a feeling of tranquility.  Rounding out this group is Hazelnut as the anchor neutral of the season.  It is a color that can bridge many seasons.

Continuing the outdoor theme in the form of tropicals for this season is Island Paradise; who wouldn’t want to be surrounded by a wardrobe piece that reminds you of a warm inviting sea.  Pink Yarrow is bright and sassy to spark fun for your wardrobe.  Flame is another color, with its red-based orange to add a fiery touch, particularly as an accent color.

No season palette is complete without a shade or two of blue.  Front and center is Niagara.  It is a classic denim-like color that will be the most prevalent color for spring, and speaks of a desire for ease and relaxation.  And finally Lapis Blue, which unlike Niagara will energize any outfit and exude confidence.

So as you start to pull out those spring/summer wardrobe, organize your closet by color.  Do you have pieces in these colors?  Is there a shade or two from Pantone’s list that you might want to add to freshen up your look?

What outfits are hiding in your closet?

Are you ready to find your ideal style?

So you made friends with the tape measure from our last “Style Tips” post and now you know what body type you have.  As with any body type, the ideal is to create the illusion of having an hourglass figure.  Trust me, it’s easy to work with once you key in on the styles and style tricks that will work best for you.  Here is a quick rundown.

Bigger on Bottom –

Tops – structured, accentuate the waist, end at the hip

Skirts – soft, falling nicely from the hip and hemmed to hit around the knee, whether just above or just below to accentuate your leg, particularly if you are petite.

Pants – a mid-width leg straight from the hip. One of my favorite pants for this body type are the ones with no waistband and a side zipper.

Legging  – yes these will work for your body type if you add emphasis to the top, of course covering your butt and pair with a nice flat or tall boots that have some room at the calf (this will give the appearance of thinner legs).

Accentuate the waist, and put emphasis on your top, whether with a structured or layered top or with a color that looks good on you.

Scarves and statement jewelry are great ways to keep the emphasis on the top. The last tip is a pointy shoe.  It will add length to your image to make it look long and lean.

Bigger on Top

Tops – Show skin around the neck, no soft fabrics

Skirts – A-line that hits just below the knee

Pants – fall away from the hip rather than skinny silhouette and definitely not leggings.

Jackets – button jacket that cinches at waist and end at hips.

Scarves and necklaces – long to give you the illusion of additional height.

If prints are used in the upper half, they should be small rather than bold which also applies to colors. If a bold color is on top it should be repeated on the bottom in some form.  Keep in mind that you are trying to minimize the top and add to the bottom.

The absolute must, a great fitting bra.  Before you buy your next bra have a professional fitting by a staff member at the store, whether it is a Department store or a local specialty shop.

A little extra in the middle –

Tops – structured, meaning no soft fabrics.  A top with princess seams (seams that run vertical on a garment from the shoulder across the bust and shoulder blades to the waist) or v-neckline work well for this body type.  These will also give the illusion of elongating your body.

Pants – slightly wider leg and a crease will increase the illusion of height.

Jackets – fitted and hit just above the waistline or have a silhouette that hits at the hip with a 1 button closure to create a waist.

Dresses – empire waist.

Statement necklaces will add interest to the face along with pendant necklaces and chandelier earrings that will add length to your frame. The same concept for scarves should be followed; colorful scarves across the shoulders to add interest or oblong to add length. A glimpse of a colorful belt is a great addition peeking out from under a structured jacket.

Curvy –  

Tops – a blousy top should be accented with a full flowing bottom.

Pants – skinny work well with a close fitting top or cropped at the waist.  You still want to keep the emphasis on the waist to maintain that hourglass figure.

Jackets – structured, boxy, or even duster length (if worn open for interest)

Dress – simple wrap a la Diane Von Furstenberg or one with a waist seam.

Accessories – use to maintain your proportion; oblong scarf to maintain length and no large volume of scarf at the neck.  Balance a statement necklace with a trendy or eye catching shoe.

This body type can wear just about any style as long as the proportions remain in line.

Not Curvy –

Tops  – from body hugging to volume adding, such as tops with sleeve interest, diagonal or even horizontal stripes.

Pants – from body hugging stretch jeans to volume adding wide leg pants like the ones that are great for summer.

Skirt – look for the pencil skirt that tapers in at the hem or a full skirt.

Accessories – emphasis at the waist with belts, which  can be of any width to give the illusion of the hourglass figure.  You should also use other accessories like scarves and statement necklaces.  But be sure to counter the volume on top with volume on the bottom.

Remember, volume can be created by style, color or pattern.

What outfits are hiding in your closet?