Monday Chic: Style Journey

2014.7.26StyleUniformClothes are really important to me. It may sound superficial, but I spend a good deal of time thinking about what I want to wear, what’s in (or isn’t in) my closet, and how I want to express myself on a given day. Some days it goes more smoothly than others and late last week I tweeted about my hatred of everything in my wardrobe. It was just one of those days. I know you have them too. I have long thought, known, and even pursued the hallowed “fashion uniform.” You know, that wardrobe perfection where every piece in your closet is perfectly mixable and matchable. You have investment basics and cheap trends. The closet itself is painted and your shoes are stacked neatly with fresh flowers on each shelf. For me, this thought is a mix of the attainable and the overly thought-out. YES – you do need a wardrobe that is easily navigable for your lifestyle, your budget, your personality and your likes. But do you really need those picture perfect closets on Pinterest? Not necessarily. But you DO need a closet that, again, works with those four items I mentioned above.

2014.7.26StyleUniform2These thoughts hit home for me last week when I finally launched into my closet renovation and read this post by Lauren Messiah, this one by Juley, and this from Liz, which sent me here (trust me, they are worth the read).  They all talk in some way about the importance of a simplified style uniform. How clothes are important, but not that important. And, my theory, how if you streamline your wardrobe to just those pieces you love, you will stop obsessing over clothes. Stop crying when you feel like you don’t look good. Stop throwing shoes and dresses everywhere while feeling nothing fits just right. To borrow from the Latin phrase, clothes make the man, but they aren’t as important as the man himself (or herself).

2014.7.26StyleUniform3Clothes are inevitable. You have to wear them. Sometimes you just need help figuring this out. I mean, heck, everyone does. I am a personal stylist and this past weekend hated everything I own. It happens. So what am I going to do? I’m going to finish my closet DIY closet renovation. Gain 6 shelves where before I had 2. Establish closet order (no flowers though), and only restock my closet with clothes I wear or fit what I am working on as my “style uniform.” I will get comfortable with the idea of spending money on clothes. I’m actually fairly afraid I won’t have too many options for a while.  I’m going to document this process here so you’ll see the new closet. But you’ll also see the wardrobe transformation, how I did it, and easy steps that walk you through the process. Getting dressed should be fun and too many women fear that morning ritual or aren’t satisfied with the final product. Maybe you’ll even want to join me on this style journey?

Outfit details:

top – thrifted / pants – Banana Republic / tank – H&M / shoes – Aldo / necklace – thrifted / ring – Nest

 

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Midweek Chic: Vests + Richmond Mag Best Of

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Two things.

1: THANK YOU to all my Richmond readers who voted  me as the Second Best Local Fashion Blog in the Richmond Magazine 2014 Best Of edition. I don’t even think the issue is online yet (or on stands), but Tuesday RVA subscribers were buzzing with the results of the categories. A friend texted the news to me and at first I was completely and totally lost. See, all I saw was Brian’s entry as the winner for Dirty Richmond (amazing RVA street style blog) and then the words “tie,” “Chic Stripes,” and “Need Supply Co.” The first thought through my mind was, “What is this? An article on Brian? Is there a photo? Is he wearing a tie made by some company with the same name as my blog? Weird. He also must be wearing something by Need.” OK so I’m a little slow on the uptake, but I’m super excited! You guys voted me in! WOW! Thank you!

2: My husband hates this vest/dress. But I love it! I also thrift-stole (yes, this is a word) it from my 5’10″ little sister. She’s too tall for it anyway.

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Outfit details:

t-shirt – GAP, Ashby / vest – Guess, thrifted / skirt – Forever 21 / sandals – Nine West / ring – Nest

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#SchoolofStyle: Class 2 and Personal Styling

SchoolofStyleClass2It’s hard to believe it has been almost a month since my last School of Style classes. After being enrolled in School of Style, I don’t know how anyone ever became a stylist WITHOUT these classes! Seriously, the level of knowledge and real world experience that you get is amazing. So let’s cut the chit chat and let me tell you just a little of what I learned:

  • Class 2 was introduced after Class 1 and what is now known as Class 3, the styling boot camp, when the founders started realizing that their students didn’t have the fashion background necessary to excel at the top of their game.
  • We did a lot of historical stuff – covering the top designers and getting to know their aesthetic (Versace = sexy, Calvin Klein = minimalist, Rick Ownes = edgy/goth), stylists, and photographers.
  • Rule #1 and #2: Never let anything be “before your time” and “do your research!”
  • Back to the two points above, research is critical. We covered important books, magazines, movies, TV shows, and online resources to help jump start our studying. One of the worst things about the fashion industry is that it moves so fast its almost impossible to catch up. But you have to put in the studying. The best tip I heard this weekened was to take 15 minutes (instead of, you know, reading Buzzfeed), and look up all you can about a specific someone. Example: I took 15 minutes to research photographer Herb Ritts and in that amount of time I learned a quick biopic, what he was famous for, and saved more than a few of his images for my archives (FYI – “archives” is your huge computer file folder of inspirations.). But note – some photographers’ and stylists’ work may not be safe for work.  This is your warning.

SchoolofStylePersonalStylingPersonal Styling was the class I had been waiting for and wow – it did NOT disappoint! I wish I had taken this back when I first even had the idea that I wanted to pursue styling. My major takeaways:

  • Know the difference between a personal stylist, image consultant, and personal shopping. These terms will be used interchangeably but actually have very different meanings.
  • Build your business plan around services you want to offer! Don’t like group styling? Don’t offer it!
  • Invest in your equipment. Lauren recommend start up costs between $2-$5,000 and I can definitely see that being a reasonable price for ALL that you need. Also, take into account you aren’t buying that wardrobe rack from Target or a pricing gun from Walmart. So far I’ve managed on minimal equipment or by buying it one piece at a time. I bought my hand steamer a few weeks ago for an upcoming job. I was paid for that job, so now I can purchase a wardrobe rack. I plan to keep doing this until I am fully stocked, book more jobs, or strike it rich.
  • YOU ARE YOUR BRAND. Per Lauren’s recommendation, I bought and read (in 3 days), A Brand Called You. I am both incredibly excited and incredibly overwhelmed having read this book, but it completely changed my perspective and helped solidify some changes I am planning on making as it relates to marketing my website and blog.

Can you tell I love these classes? My notebooks are filled with notes and I’m bummed that School of Style is no longer offering classes in cities other than LA and NYC, but hey, that just means a fun trip is in store for when I save up enough money to take my final class (Class 3) before becoming a graduate.

UPDATE: If you participated in this giveaway – the winners are Liz, from I Heart Veggies and Paula from The Perfect Skirt! Liz and Paula – be on the lookout for an email and enjoy your new accessories!

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Friday Chic: Dressed Down

2014.7.10DressedDownAnd once again, I’m in a dress. I originally bought this dress for my best friend’s rehearsal dinner and have worn it afterwards to everything from funerals to weddings. It’s an incredibly versatile dress and it works well even when dressed down with denim, lace and leather. With a little bit of sparkle for good measure.2014.7.10DressedDown22014.7.10DressedDown42014.7.10DressedDown3

Outfit details:

dress – J. Crew / chambray shirt – Banana Republic / bag – Coach from Baggio Consignment / necklace – J. Crew from clothes swap / shoes – Hudson won via giveaway / ring – Nest

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Wednesday Chic: Stacked

2014.7.9StackedIf you follow me on instagram (chicstripes), you may notice behind the scenes pictures from a shoot I styled yesterday. I’ll have more details on the story, snaps and the finished photos in a month or so, but let’s just say 11 people, 4.5 hours in hair and makeup, 3 harps, 1 photographer, 1 videographer, and a blue/black color scheme made for an amazingly fun (but long) shoot.

In other news, I love accessorizing simple outfits with standout accessories. For this, I chose a huge stack of bangles that I received from my grandmother. I don’t know the origin of each one, but she traveled the world (literally), so I like to think they are a small collection of those travels.

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Outfit details:

top – United Colors of Benetton / jeans – Banana Republic / jean jacket – H&M / flats – Lanvin from Baggio / bag – thrifted / bangles – vintage from my grandmother / ring – Nest

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Monday Chic: Summer Layers

2014.7.8SummerLayers3Happy Monday! How was everyone’s weekend? Ours was jam packed but awesome. My little sister joined us for a morning of mountain bike trail riding and an impromptu tour of an old water pump house in one of our local parks. While the building is in fairly rough condition, it was really awesome to see the old stone (from the 1800s) coupled with the iron and other intricate pieces. Our tour guide was a huge fan of the building, having been there for 14 years, and it was fun to hear him tell the history. One of our favorite things about the tour (besides discovering it totally randomly), was the second floor of the building. This floor opens up to the outdoors with huge windows and was once a public dance floor! The space can now actually be used for weddings or other events. We spent the rest of the afternoon on the river and Sunday we visited a new church (church hunting – anyone else feel my pain?). Sunday ended with a family dinner picnic style in a local park listening to music. All in all – a great weekend!

So I’ve said it before, but this summer I am living in skirts and dresses. I am not a huge fan of shorts, so my only other option is pants which really isn’t an option when you live in the south in the summer. The one downside to dresses/skirts is that they can be, well, plain. A fun way to punch things up a bit is to simply add a layer. Here I layered a long tunic top over another skirt. It certainly beats the high-waisted /top tucked in combo, of which I had gotten a little bored. Add a fun bit of color (or keep things serious with minimal or silver accessories) and your dress or skirt now has another life.

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Outfit details:

top –  AIKO from Clementine / skirt – H&M from Rumors / flats – Lanvin from Baggio / belt – thrifted / necklace – thrifted / ring – Nest

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Giveaway: Versona Accessories

VersonaLogo

VersonaCollage4 Richmond has been given a gift from the retail gods over the past several months. Short Pump Mall has been undergoing renovations and we gotten Athelta, American Eagle, Madewell, Michael Kors, Kate Spade, AND Free People. There is so much happening out there it’s a shopper’s dream. In addition to these great stores, Short Pump is now home to Versona Accessories, owned by parent company Cato Fashions. I have worked with Cato Fashions before styling a friend (here) and while they aren’t very petite friendly (they are billed as having clothes for the average woman, which, did you know is 5’4″, 163lbs.?), they had some great sales and fun pieces. When Cato contacted me to check out this new store AND offered gift cards for readers, I said why not? I love seeing what is new in the fashion landscape!

VersonaCollage1Before going in the store, I checked Versona out outline and saw a few cute accessories (specifically some sandals that I looked for in-store, but no go). Imagine my surprise when I walked in and saw a HUGE (literally huge) store stocked not just with accessories but TONS of clothes. The quality is similar to your average Old Navy, but think more of a bo-ho vibe with bright colors, silky fabrics, and lots of texture.

VersonaCollage2I think I wandered the store a good 2-3 times just to take it all in. I was most impressed by their accessory game (my favorites are above) which could provide a good, inexpensive update to a look. Again, most of the accessories were on par with their eclectic/bo-ho vibe (at least for the current offerings), which is not usually my personal aesthetic, although I did picture that beaded bib with a white t-shirt, cropped black pants and a blazer. Thanks to Cato and Versona I have two $25 gift cards to give away! To enter, simply make a blog comment with your name, email, and your go-to favorite accessory store. The giveaway will be open until Tuesday 7/15, 11:59 PM EST. This giveaway is open to everyone, but please make sure you have a Versona store in your area!

This post was sponsored by Cato/Versona Accessories. I was given gift cards for use in conjunction with this blog post but was not compensated monetarily.

 

 

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