Monday, October 4, 2010

One Dress - Twenty-One Day Challenge

Just around the corner in every woman's mind - is a lovely dress, a wonderful suit, or entire costume, which will make an enchanting new creature of her. ~Wilhela Cushman

Wardrobe stretching 101…….

Do you have that favorite dress that you wish you could do more with? Ever struggle to find different ways to wear your favorite clothes?

I am always preaching to my clients the importance of building a basic wardrobe, and this led me to wonder how I could help people see the importance of a versatile basic wardrobe.

So I created the One Dress – Twenty-one Day Challenge. You know the whole practice what you preach idea. I took my very cost effective basic dress (a Banana Republic factory store purchase) through the 21 workdays in September. Using only what I had in my own closet, I showed the versatility of a basic, and how to transition an item from summer to autumn. I really focused on making each look something that you can easily wear to the office, but also to any event after work, whether it is a nice happy hour with co-workers or a simple dinner with friends or your spouse.

I used my Facebook page to showcase these looks everyday in September. You can check out the pictures and my Facebook page here:

I have turned those twenty-one looks into a movie that you can enjoy right on my blog. Comment back on what day you love the most and share this movie with your friends. I want to hear what your “favorite day” turns out to be.

Grab some popcorn, sit back, and relax. I hope you enjoy “One Dress, Twenty-One Days” the movie.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Traveling Fashionable and Light

“I’m leavin’ on a Jet Plane”
- John Denver

Packing light to avoid the “Luggage Weight Restrictions”

I recently attended the out of state wedding of my niece. We were there for four days and would be attending two formal to semi-formal functions, and several casual events.

So…what do you bring, how do you pack for an occasion like this? With airline weight restrictions and baggage costs, it is not easy. I found that stretching my wardrobe helped me pack lightly and still look great for each occasion.

This trip is a great example of how building a basic wardrobe can make planning for those special events less stressful!

First my packing list: 1 khaki cotton shirt dress, 1 lightweight cream cardigan sweater, 1 denim pencil skirt, 1 green sleeveless sweater, 1 multi/brown light cotton t-shirt sweater, 1 cream tank top, 1 brown tank top, 1 gray wrap dress, 1 brown silk dress, 1 pair tan flats, 1 pair low heel metallic sandals, 1 pair red high heels, 1 pair high heel champagne silk sandals, 1 silk multicolor scarf, 1 lightweight multi color pashmina, 1 bracelet, and 2 statement necklaces: one formal, one casual.

Day One:
We flew out Thursday morning to arrive in Little Rock at noon. Planning a versatile travel outfit paid off, as we went from 55 degrees in Minneapolis to 95 degrees in Little Rock!

Layering was the key. I wore my basic cotton khaki shirtdress with a brown tank top, lightweight cream cardigan sweater, and tan flats. I kept everything neutral and monochromatic. I was then able to wear my dress for a casual lunch with the soon to be bride, by switching out my travel tank and sweater for a narrow belt, and statement necklace. I also changed my travel flats for a metallic sandal that was perfect for a casual lunch.

That evening we were attending a welcome dinner for out-of-town guests. Again this was a casual event. I wore my basic dark denim pencil skirt, with a lightweight green sleeveless sweater, and a fun silk and fringe scarf. My metallic sandals work perfectly for this outfit also.

Day Two:
My denim pencil skirt was perfect for the next day when we had some time to ourselves to walk and site-see. I paired the skirt with the flats I wore on the plane, and the multi/brown light cotton t-shirt sweater. It was warm outside but I stayed cool, comfortable, and put together.

That evening we attended the groom’s dinner. This was a semi-formal event and I wore the basic gray wrap dress for this occasion. I was able to dress it up with red heels and a beautiful red statement necklace. This outfit was simple yet elegant.

Day Three:
Saturday, was the wedding day, we had more time to relax and see the city that day. I was able to pair my denim pencil skirt with my lightweight cream cardigan sweater from the airplane, my cream tank top, and tan flats. The cardigan worked for going in and out of air-conditioning.

The big event, I wore a brown raw silk dress with champagne color open toe heels. The dress was elegant and I only needed a sparkly stone bracelet to complete the look. I brought my beautiful multicolor pashmina along for the evening chill as we were walking from the church to the reception and then to the hotel afterwards.

Day Four:
On our way back to Minneapolis after a perfect wedding weekend! I wore the khaki dress, tan flats and the multicolored pashmina. The pashmina was great for the chill in the airplane and the cooler weather in Minnesota.

Although I needed special outfits for the two special events, I was able to take pieces from the basic wardrobe I’ve built for myself and mix and match them to create four days worth of outfits.

My weekend was fantastic and I always felt put together. I would love to talk to you about creating your stress free basics wardrobe that will carry you through any occasion.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Fall Fashion Trends

“Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns.”
- George Eliot

Transition gracefully from summer to fall…

Fall always seems to sneak up on us with its crisp yet warm air and occasional falling leaves, and it leaves us stranded in our summer clothes.

I recently held a wardrobe analysis session with a client, she really has a great basic wardrobe, but we talked about adding pieces to update it a bit. So I thought I would share with you some of my favorite updates for fall. Adding just a few key pieces can update your wardrobe in an economical way.

The good news for those of you on a budget (who isn’t these days) is that many of your summer clothes can transition nicely into fall.

Dresses and skirts can be warmed up with tights, cardigans (don’t forget the belt), and some cute short boots (booties). Layering is great way to go from warm to cool, and vise versa. Scarves and pashminas are still going strong, and will help keep you warm when there’s a chill in the air. Carry your ruffle spring/summer blouses into fall by wearing them under an updated fall jacket or sweater.

You can really update your fall look with a few new trends, and keep within a budget. Here are just a few:

Faux Fur is a trend for Fall. Try it on a sweater coat (also a fall trend). Anthropologie has a nice chunky fur trimmed sweater jacket, the Rushcliffe Cardigan at $148.

Sweater Coats & Cardigans: go chunky, fur trimmed or coat length. J Crew and Banana Republic have great cardigans. I really like Boden’s Metropolitian Cardigan Sweater Coat at $148. And you can’t go wrong adding Gaps Shawl Cardigan to your wardrobe at $49.50. Don’t forget to belt your cardigans for an updated look.

Men’s inspired shoe: another big fall look and they are comfortable. Anthroplogie has great oxfords - they are a bit pricey. I like Banana Republic’s Reno High Heel Oxford at $140. Talbots has some nice men’s inspired loafers, and Piperlime has a great selection with a variety of prices.

Military Boot. Gaps Suede Wedge Bootie at $79.50 is great. Again Anthropologie has some great boots, but they are pricier. Piperlime has a good selection with a range of prices.

Retro: full skirts, long skirts and the 50’s inspired look. I have to say that Anthropologie does this look very well and the pricing ranges from $78 to $198. Talbots Bead Dot Shirtdress is very classic and priced at $149. Remember; when you do a full skirt keep the top more fitted.

Mixing prints and textures is a great way to pull your summer wardrobe into fall. Feminine print blouses look great with a fall hound’s-tooth pant or skirt. Fall’s hot colors are: cobalt blue, gold, purple camel, emerald green and red. To spice up a monochromatic look add camis, scarves, printed or textured tights in these colors. If you’re a more daring individual, then checkout the colorful tights at

I hope this has helped. I would love to talk with you about a wardrobe analysis; maybe we can find some hidden gems in your closet that will expand your transition wardrobe.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Image and Identity in Conflict

“When you look in the mirror, what do you like best about yourself?”
* Mr. Holland's Opus

Are the outer you and the inner you compatible?

I recently read an article and took the quiz to define your personal image. The beginning of the quiz asked you to define your style type, they gave a list of five possible options, classic, chic, whimsical, bohemian, and avant-garde. At the end of the quiz you would find out your real style type.

I chose classic with a touch of bohemian. I then proceeded to take the quiz. At the end my score was 5 for classic, and 3 for bohemian. It then told me I was classic with a touch of bohemian! It has taken me a while to realize my style and match my image to my identity. Although I was able to do this on my own, the point of the article and quiz were right. Style is achieved when your image (external) is in harmony with your identity (internal).

So I will ask you how does your image project your identity?

While working with a client recently, she wondered if she should keep a jacket she had purchased that was very casual, and not fitting her right. I asked her if it was representing her and the image she wanted to portray. The answer was no, she bought it under peer pressure. When you shop do you have a direction? Or are you shopping for someone else’s image?

One great way to help define your image is to create a style file. Look through fashion catalogs, and magazines for inspiration. Clip outfits, and ideas you like and create your own personal style file. Remember to put together looks you like for all occasions, professional, casual, special occasion.

One thing to remember is you do not have to be defined by one style. If you remember my style type was classic with a touch of bohemian. This may not sound compatible, but it does work. Once you have defined your style and matched your image to your identity I will guarantee you will always look and feel confident.

I would love to help you define your image and create a wardrobe that projects that image in harmony with your identity.

Monday, August 2, 2010

The Power of Appearance

Dress Code
Function: noun Date:1968
: formally or socially imposed standards of dress

Do you wonder why you have to look nice at work if nobody sees you?
Do you wonder why you get passed up for the promotion, or the new job altogether?

In a survey, 41 percent of employers said that people who dress better or more professionally tend to be promoted more often than others in their organization. Also surveys show that a first impression is made within seconds of meeting.

A while ago an old friend and I went shopping for a wardrobe for her new job as a customer service rep. We put together a great professional yet casual working wardrobe consisting of a suit jacket and pant, skirt, dark jean and a dress that could be worn for special occasions.

About a week after she started her new job I asked her how things were going. She told me everyone at her new company wore jeans and t-shirts, so she returned all of her new purchases. Except for the jeans, (which she had hemmed to a too short length). She than went back to the unwritten company dress code: ill-fitting t-shirts and mom jeans.

A few months later she called to vent about how upset she was over the fact that she was passed over for a promotion she was clearly qualified for. Who did they promote? The new woman, who came to work every day, dressed for the position she wanted, not the one she had.

Although we would like to believe that we are judged solely on our talents the truth is people form an opinion based on our appearance. Even if you have a job where you feel no one sees you, or everybody else dresses down, you can step it up a notch. I guarantee you will feel better, and you will get noticed (in a positive way).

You can still stay casual, and comfortable just follow a few simple rules.

*Casual does NOT mean sloppy. You should always keep it neat and clean. Your clothes should be clean, ironed and in good repair, no missing buttons, holes or tears. Fit is always important, not to small, not to big.

*Keep the slinky tops, tight pants and short skirts for clubbing outfits, if that’s the image you want to project in your personal life. You want to be taken seriously at work, so take yourself seriously.

*You can't go wrong with a few casual basics, khakis, blouses, dark denim jeans (if permitted), Flattering classic tee shirts (short sleeve, scoop neck; three quarter sleeve, v neck), cardigan sweater, and a great jacket, or blazer.

I would love to show you how with just a few changes you can stay comfortable, keep it affordable and always look great, which will make you feel great. Maybe even get you that promotion you’ve been wanting.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

It’s not the heat, it’s the humidity ………

“Hot town, summer in the city
Back of my neck getting dirty and gritty” - Lovin’ Spoonful

We can all relate to the feeling on a sweltering July day. Summer is here and we love it. But we all have that hot weather dilemma: stay cool, look polished and professional at work, and also put together a fun look for summer’s special occasions.

So… what do you do for your summer professional wardrobe?
Decide to go casual all summer in flip-flops, tank tops and cropped pants?

I recently meet with a client who told me she just did not know what to wear for summer. She wants to look professional at work, but would like to add a little summer fun to her wardrobe. There are so many options for great summer professional looks. Dresses being one of my favorites, you put it on add a piece of fun summer jewelry, a great open toe pump and you’re good to go. I’ve seen lots of shirt-dresses, and cotton shifts everywhere.

If you do have a meeting and need a suit, lightweight tops underneath are a great option, and remember, it is summer so pop a little color under that suit. Also, a short sleeve jacket in place of the classic suit top can be another option.

I have been to my share of graduation parties this year and I just want to say: there are some great alternatives to the cropped pant/flip-flop look. Don’t get me wrong, I do have a few flip-flops, but they do not go out in public! Right now most every store you shop has the best selection of summer sundresses, skirts and fun tops, and don’t forget the maxi dress. It is a great updated new summer trend that you can find in a wide range of prices. If you aren’t a “Dress Person,” try a walking short. As for footwear, “strappy sandals,” espadrilles, summer flats all look so much more polished than flip-flops.

As we are now fully into the heat of summer, I just have a couple questions. How does your summer professional wardrobe fair? Are you looking cool and put together or are you a hot mess? I can help with a cool pulled together summer work wardrobe. Contact me at:

Monday, June 21, 2010

To Market, to Market...

Shopping for unique fashion in London.

I visited two unique and interesting markets while in London. Spitalfields Market (a short walk from Liverpool Street tube stop) is a fun market with young trendy independent fashion dealers. It is a must for one-of-a-kind trip mementos. They have wonderful clothing vendors selling coats, dresses, hats, scarves, bags and jewelry. We purchased a few must have summer items: a great tote bag, with a London street scene (which of course included a few Minis!), a t-shirt with great original graphics from a local artist, and a silver bracelet from a gentleman out of Spain. There were also some nice straw fedoras (which are hot for summer). Check out Target’s version.

^ A shot of Spitalfields Market.

Portobello Road Market (close to Notting Hill Gate tube stop) is an old established market that specializes in antiques. They had lots of wonderful vintage sliver and the shops along the way offered many clothing items. I had my eye on some wool scarves from Ireland, but since I had already purchased three scarves on my trip I did pass them up. I did purchase a wonderful pen and ink fashion drawing by local artist, Jane Ryan.

^ Shoppers at Portobello Road Market.

My fashion suggestion from the markets: Fedoras will be hot for summer, and scarves are still in fashion everywhere.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

When in Rome…(or London and Paris): Fashion across the pond.

I just returned from a trip to England and France. It was great to get away and see fashion across the ocean. I started my fashion vacation in York, where we were fortunate to experience “The Races” (the local horse races in York is a very big spring event). York was overcome with racing fans of all ages and you could definitely tell that the fashionistas were out and about!

York had stepped it up a notch and all the women were dressed to kill: great summer dresses were the major theme (it was an unusually warm end of May in York). Of course hats, a race day must, were seen on most all discerning women. Maxi’s seemed to be the common thread that carried through my England visit.

London was full of fun fashion, with the 70’s inspired Maxi Dress being the item of the day (yes it was still unseasonably warm). Dresses seemed to be the dominant theme in my visit to England, which suited me just fine as my spring /summer wardrobe is all about the dress and skirt!

So my conclusion to part one of “Fashion Across the Pond?” The Maxi Dress for summer.

I’ve made the hunt a bit easier for you by finding some favorites online.

• Boden has a lovely Applique Maxi Dress
• Banana Republic represents well with the IKAT Knotted Halter, perfect summer sun dress
• Gap checks in with a youthful,fun, affordable Vintage Floral Maxi
• Old Navy has a very inexpensive (great to try the trend) “Surplus Drawstring Maxi, and $19 Maxi skirt
• Ann Taylor Loft has a pretty Silk Maxi that is now 50% off
• Anthropologie rounds it out with a very beautiful, but expensive Endless Skies Maxi Dress

So take a fun trend tip from our British friends and try a Maxi for summer.

Watch for my next blog about another England adventure: the Spitalfield and Portabella Markets.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

What's your style?

“Style is an expression of individualism mixed with charisma. Fashion is something that comes after style.”
~ John Fairchild ~

I received a DVD from my brother this past Christmas. He had pieced together our family home movies from the 50s, 60s, and 70s. When I watched it I was amazed at the women in them. No matter what the event, from a cocktail party to a simple picnic at the lake, each woman had style.

So my questions to you are:
Do you have style?
Do you know what your style is?

In our busy lives running here and there, working, volunteering, raising our families, we have forgotten about ourselves and really don’t pay much attention to what we are wearing. Most of us buy things and don’t even know what’s in our closets. So we end up wearing the same things over and over.

Building a working wardrobe can be daunting; and sometimes you can lose yourself trying to be “in fashion.” I believe every woman has the potential to look and feel beautiful; and with some help and inspiration, can look her best with little effort.

I would like to help you realize your style and build your fashion wardrobe around it
Together we will make your style “Simply Your Best.” Who knows maybe 30 years from now your grandchildren will look back and say, “My grandmother knew how to dress, she had style.”

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Who inspires you?

Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English, from Middle French, from Latin Musa, from Greek Mousa
Date: 14th century
1 capitalized : any of the nine sister goddesses in Greek mythology presiding over song and poetry and the arts and sciences.
2 : a source of inspiration; especially : a guiding genius.

I grew up with some incredibly fashion forward women in my life that have helped shape my style today. These women are just a few of the “muses” that guide my journey in the world of fashion.

My grandma “Nana” was a hard working, strong, and talented woman. She came to this country alone at the age of 16. Armed with perseverance and speaking only Norwegian, she carved out quite a life for herself. This was my first glimpse into the world of fashion. Nana was a Furrier/Designer for Marshall Field in Chicago. She had a great bohemian like fashion sense. I think I developed my creative, artistic sense of style from her. Really, who else could make an entire family of girls wear crochet hot pants?!

My mom is a beautiful, strong, and smart woman who overcame the hardships in her life with grace and dignity. She spent her life as a “professional mom,” raising eight children in a “Yours, Mine and Ours” family. Even with the responsibility of eight children she always looked polished and put together. Her style was - and still is - classical and timeless.

As much my older sister Claudia, hated her name, when I was younger I thought it was so romantic! She is a natural beauty with an effortless sense of style. The big sister you would look up to and admire for her cool mini dresses, great hairstyles, and cute little sports car.

These women taught me the art of looking your best and doing it simply and effortlessly. I would like to pass this gift along to other women. Believe me, I’ve made many fashion mistakes along the way (after all I did grow up in the 70’s!) But I have come to grow comfortable in my own skin and my fashion sense.

This is my inspiration. I would like to help you become comfortable in your style, and be “Simply Your Best”