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?

 

Your Closet Called ….

 

 

The weather in the Washington, DC area is not going to be pleasant for anyone without ice skates this weekend.  And since your closet called – it could probably use a review of what is working and what is just hanging around.  There are outfits lurking in there, you just need to discover them, but in order to find them, it’s time for a bit of housecleaning and organization.  It’s time to stop pushing around pieces that don’t work anymore.

Now that you are a few months into your Fall/Winter wardrobe, take a second look at everything you own (the first should have been when you brought out this season’s options).  Are there things you have not worn yet?  Why? Are they too big/small? Are they out of fashion?  Answer these questions on every piece.  Even though most styles come back into fashion at some point, there is usually just enough change that you may not be able to use it again the second time around.  Or is it an item you just can’t find anything to go with?

As you sort through things, make several piles.  Ones that you consider past any hope of being worn again as they are torn or stained, ones that just aren’t right for you anymore; whether style or size, and those that are good, but just do not fit the style image you want to project.

Once you get through this exercise, organize the items left in your closet.  If you have not already done so, your closet should be organized by tops, bottoms and dresses.  Within these groupings, organize by color.  This is the best way to take a fresh look at what you have, what you may need to add and what may truly be a new outfit right in front of your nose.

With the January sales in full swing, think about items you may be able to pick up at a great price that will create an entirely new outfit or 2. The items in your closet should not be a one-to-one relationship.  And don’t be stuck on always finding a garment to create that new outfit, look to accessories to make the difference.

Here is some insight into your options for what to do with those items you took out of the closet; don’t look back and don’t second guess yourself.

Donations –
There are many options for donating usable clothing, some with pick-up service that are nationally known such as Vietnam Veterans of America and The Salvation Army. These are 2 of my favorite as the clothing is used for a good cause.

For donations that have seen better days, don’t just throw them in the trash, recycle them and get a discount in the deal. H&M offers H&M Conscious in their stores. They will accept any clothing, not just an H&M brand, to be recycled. You can bring into the store up to 2 bags/day and in return get a 15% coupon toward a purchase. What a deal! And H&M is a great place to pick up a new trendy item at a great price.

Swap some clothing –
There are many sites on the web that offers this type of deal but what about throwing a swap party with your friends? This is a great idea for a girl’s night out. It would also be a great place to swap not just clothing but scarves, belts and jewelry. If you want a little education added to the mix, Your Style IQ would be happy to join the fun and give you a mini session on the accessories for each body type.

Earn some extra spending money –
True you invested in every one of those garments you are about to send out the door, but there is no reason not to recoup some of that as spendable cash rather than a tax deduction. Every town has local consignment shops with varying percentages of what you will earn on clothing they sell for you.  Check the web for a local list as some of the shops my clients have used in the past no longer exist. There are also many options on-line with their own app. Be sure to check carefully as every store or site has a list of “labels” they will accept.

Now you are ready to find new outfits right in your closet.

What outfits are hiding in your closet?

What will be “in” for Spring/Summer 2016

It seems that mother nature doesn’t want to let us forget who’s boss when it comes to the weather, but we are inching closer to those days when we’ll be wearing those new colors for 2016 I talked about a few weeks ago and sandals instead of close toed shoes. So what are the newest styles you’ll see in stores now and in the coming months? Here’s a rundown of some of the trends and how you might incorporate it into your wardrobe.

Spring 16 styles

1 – Victorian influence – The trends of this era can be seen in many styles, from the high neckline and ruffles, to subtle floral prints. Interpret this trend with a floral print dress with a ruffled neckline.

polyvore - victorian

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2 – Lightweight Denim  This is a classic, whether your go-to style is a dress, pants or a skirt. Lightweight denim skirts are a great alternative to shorts in spring and summer.

polyvore - denim

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3 – X-factor  This is a combo of a halter top look with the off the shoulder look.

4 – Fringe – It looks like this is a trend that is here to stay.

5 – Paper bag waist – Not the easiest style to wear, this style pairs this easiest effect with wide-leg pants and loose skirts.

6 – Pleats  Gone are the wide car-wash pleats of the fall. Spring styles are showing much smaller knife pleats.

7 – White shirt That staple that everyone should have in the closet had a makeover for this season.

8 – Spanish influence – This will feature a lot of red (which was not one of the predicted colors from Pantone) to styles that remind you of flamenco dancers with flounces and full sleeves.

9 – 70’s inspired suede  This era continues to have an influence in fashion.  For those of us who remember the original, it may be something you want to pass on, but combining it with suede?  This one is simply a personal preference that has no boundaries by body type. Why not get your 70’s look along with a fringe statement with accessories.

polyvore - 70s

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As always, every trend is not for everyone. For example, the woman with a little extra in the middle should not even think about wearing a paper bag waist style. And of course you need to look in your closet first. You may very well have something with fringe (maybe a scarf) and have that light denim shirtdress stuck in the back of the closet.

 

What outfits are hiding in your closet?