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These Aren’t Your Mom’s Dungarees

Something no one ever says: “Jean shopping is my favorite!”

When I work with clients one of the first things they complain about is their jean collection. “These are too big.” “These are too small.” Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. Basically, most people have at least one thing they hate about each pair of jeans they have AND they usually own way too many pairs. Typically I find the reason is they seriously hate jean shopping and want to get out of the store as fast as possible leaving them with a purchase that is less then OK. I get it, no one likes looking at themselves in fluorescent lighting squeezing into skin tight jeans. I agree, that sounds like it sucks.

 

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So let me make this journey a little easier. First things first, spend more money on each individual pair of jeans. I know, the idea of spending $150 to $200 on jeans is a bit disconcerting, but I swear it is worth it. For anyone that knows me, I am all about a deal. But, when it comes to jeans, I pay full price. Why you ask? Because at the end of the day I truly believe that all the CEO’s of the jean companies got together, decided they should ALL charge ridiculous amounts and then consumers would be forced to deal with it. And you know what, they were right. Basically, expensive jeans truly are better. They last longer, you wash them because they are dirty, not because they are falling off your bum and the fit is impeccable.

 

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You should only own about 5 pairs of jeans at most. The color and style options are based on your particular lifestyle. For almost all of my clients the base of their jean collection is the same, dark blue with dark blue stitching (it is dressier then yellow stitching), gray, black and white. All of these MUST be skinny or straight leg. You need to have at least one pair to wear in boots (that would be skinny) and a pair to wear with flats or heels (that would be straight or skinny). I promote the ankle length, as seen above, because it is flattering on any body shape and you can wear them with any height shoe. Genius. What I do not promote is bootcut. I actually hate them. They are deeply unflattering to a ladies thighs. That’s right, they make them look BIGGER. A straight leg cut where the calf width mimics your thigh width is going to be the most flattering. And don’t shy away from skinny jeans because you think they will make you look fat. The key is to only wear them in boots with longer  tops if your thighs are a concern.

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Let’s not just think of denim as a pair of jeans. Denim has come a long way baby and you can pretty much wear it a ton of different ways. Lately I am very into the “jean tuxedo.” NEVER wear the same color jean on the top and bottom, but feel free to mix it up with different shades. I love a chambray shirt (it’s a fancy way of saying denim shirt) mixed with jeans. People down south probably think it is hilarious that us Yankees believe we have invented this new trend. I am giving you my best “city rodeo” look in this shot above. I think it’s working:)

old denim collage

Definitely reach back to the 70′s hippie loving era for some inspiration. I love a good bell bottom, but you really do need to wear heels with it if you are under 5’5″. It becomes pretty unflattering and can shorten your legs. I am also all about the denim vest. I love wearing mine over a sundress to give it a little edge. Not your thing, try a denim skirt. Basically, denim is universally flattering and never goes out of style. It also is a neutral material so it will go with everything you own.

denim skirt Current/Elliott bell bottomsdenim vest

new denim collage

If you follow my Instagram you know I am having a love affair with my boyfriend style ripped jeans. I seriously think they make everything I own look cooler. They are also ventilated:) It took some effort to find the perfect pair that didn’t just fall off, but with the right amount of effort I conquered the shopping challenge. Think outside the box with your denim choices. I am obsessed with the denim culotte craze and want to jump on board. I know this will be a passing phase, but I think I can get a good 2-3 seasons out of them. Totally worth the price. Denim shopping is always going to be a challenge, but remember, finding the perfect pair is worth fighting the good fight!

ripped boyfriend jeans, denim culottes, chambray shirt

5 TIPS FOR CLOSET ORGANIZATION

My closet is a disaster and I need help.

Yes, even fashion stylists lose control sometimes. Part of my job is to organize and purge people’s closets and I would say I am pretty darn good at it. The reality of having a great wardrobe to to first know what you own. With disorganization comes unnecessary shopping. It becomes easier to buy new things then search for the old ones. This is only adding to the problem itself. I have become a victim. Maybe not to the shopping part (I am pretty good at curbing myself even though it looks like I own a crazy amount), but my “stuff” is overwhelming me. Sometimes it takes a heavy hand to say, “WHAT IS GOING ON HERE???”. That heavy hand is t organizational expert and author of “Un-stuff My Life” Andrew Mellen. Save me Andrew.

 

The video above will help save your unorganized life. Cleaning out your closet is probably not on the top of your list for fun things to do on a Saturday, but once you are done, you will feel like you just completed a marathon. Accomplished. All of my clients say the same thing, they feel like a weight has been lifted off their shoulders and they can breathe when they walk in their closet. You know that little fact saying we only wear about 20% of what we own? It is true. Stop fighting through unnecessary, unworn clothing to get to what you really want. You think you want your closet to be full so you feel like you have a ton of stuff, but you don’t. Let it go…….

 

closet organization

The top 5 tips for organizing can actually make your closet clean out simple, or at least easier…. At the end of the day you need to emotionally allow yourself to purge. Seriously, do you really need that blazer from 1999 that your mom got you for Christmas? No. In the words of In Sync, bye, bye, bye……

  • The Organizational Triangle: This concept employs 3 simple ideas, one home for everything, like with like and something in/something out.

 

  • Proper Storage: I use garbage bags to store my off season stuff, bad idea. Clear storage bins and other organizational products will save your closet.

 

  • Switch and Purge: This basic concept will keep large shoulder pads OUT of your closet. Every time you switch out seasons, PURGE.

 

  • Matching Hangers: Make it a habit to throw out wire hangers when things are back from the dry cleaners and use ALL non-slip felt hangers. You will thank me.

 

  • Utilize All the Space: Even the inside of your doors can be great for storage. Hanging shoe racks allow you to use the floor space in your closet for other things.

 

The first step to accomplishing what may seem like a daunting task is to realize that after it is done, you will literally feel lighter. Yes you do need to block about 2-3 hours off so there is a time issue, but doesn’t everything worth doing in life take time? The real issue is the feeling of being overwhelmed. Rule number one for closet cleaning and organization, buy a bottle of wine and invite someone over who is around your size. They can be the heavy hand that encourages you to get rid of things, either because it is awful or because they want to take it home. This allows for you to purge AND carry less to the Goodwill. Double awesome.

hanging jewelry organizerstorage boxeshuggable hangers, and  hanging shoe rack

Become a Master of Flea Market Finds

I was not always a master of the flea market.

Like many things in my life, learning how to conquer a flea market took time. I learned from the best (my friend Danielle) who truly had a knack for it. We would go every Saturday to a crazy flea market in Chicago (think jewelry to car parts) in search of nothing more then something awesome. I would watch her sift and easily find gems hidden among the crazy piles of what looked like crap to me. But she saw something different. She saw the diamond in the ruff, she saw the sparkle, she saw the prize. This is where I began to hone my flea market shopping skills. First lesson learned, don’t go looking for anything in particular, go looking for everything. Your treasure will find you.

 

Kirppistelyä

 

Flea markets often look just like the picture above. They are overwhelming, un-merchandised mazes of everything from old shoes to cool records (you remember those, don’t you?). Sometimes it seems endless, there are tables upon tables with piles of “junk” scaring the average shopper into giving up. Don’t give up, follow these simple rules for becoming your own mater of flea market finds:

1: Accessories, mostly baubles, are the easiest thing to sift through. Your treasure hunter skills should be honed at any jewelry vendor that catches your fancy. Additionally, this is typically where you will find the coolest stuff that is in the best condition. There are so many amazing vintage pieces waiting to be loved by you, both real and costume. Price points can range, but this is a pretty inexpensive way to build your collection. And it is easy to sift through without having a coronary.

2. Fur is plentiful and the lovely ladies of the 50′s have lots to give. Some of my best vintage pieces involve some sort of fur. If a full fur coat isn’t your thing, check out the amazing hats and scarves. Yes they may smell a little funny, but at a quarter of the price they would be sold for in a store, you can get it dry cleaned!

3. Patience is a virtue. One of the reasons I LOVE flea markets is because you are not looking for anything in particular and there is a great joy in moseying along. My whole life is built around shopping off a list for clients so during my own shopping time being free of that makes me really happy. Remember, going to a flea market is about the experience and rushing through defeats that. Rest assured your treasure will find you if you let it….

4. Bargaining is fun. Nothing is ever what they say it is, so negotiate. It is almost offensive if you don’t! Half the fun of finding your new treasure is telling everyone what a steal you got it for. Like any good negotiation, you should not throw out the first number. But once they do, play ball.

 

flea market amy

 

This is one of my favorite pieces I own from a flea market. It is totally vintage and it is totally awesome. I practice yelling, “It’s fake!” to people who are about to throw paint on me, but it is actually very real. I figure some grandma really wanted me to have it and since I am buying it second hand, I am saving it from filling up unnecessary space in a landfill. Plus, I look really fabulous in it.

 

flea market amy 2

 

This dress was brand new and still had the tags on it when I found it. She is by DVF and only cost me 50 bucks. Occasionally  you  do come across these rare gems, but it is once in a blue moon. I am pretty sure this was a sample that never found a home…. Until I met her. It took an entire roll of double stick tape to hold it on (which is most likely why it was a sample), but I know for a fact that all of the older gentleman at the wedding  loved me. Apparently they still call me, “The girl in the dress”. Boo yea.

 

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This is just a small compilation of some of my favorite pieces I have acquired over the years from flea markets all over the world. I have not only traveled this great country in search of my latest and greatest treasure, but I have crossed oceans. The BEST flea market I have ever been to is in London and it is called Portobello market. Seriously, it is dope and I could have sifted my way through that thing for 2 days straight. Once you fully become a master of the flea market, you will actually get a high from your finds.

flea market collage

So now is the time for all of you who want to cheat the system. Those who want to look like they are genius flea market shoppers, but truly are not prepared for the tizzy it may cause. The collage above is filled with great look-a-like options to purchase directly from the internet. You can look like a master  of the flea market without ever leaving your couch. I won’t tell:)

coral Italian horn , cheetah fur coatstone cuff , western leather belt

 

5 ITEMS EVERY MAN SHOULD OWN

Own less, style more by building your wardrobe correctly.

There are very few men in this world that LOVE shopping. There are even less that know how to do it correctly. This is not a slight against all of the male population (although it may sound like it), just a very researched observation. Let me save you from yourselves and get you back to watching football. That is a lot of stereotypes in one paragraph:)

 

 

The video above says it all. What are the 5 items that every man should own to build the best wardrobe possible? It is simple, not overly complicated and will make getting dressed boarder line pleasurable. You will actually have pieces to wear to ALL occasions no matter what event you are being dragged to. Even for the men who do love fashion, building your bro style will be made easier by starting with these 5 items.

 

Men's Essentials

Let’s jump right in, shall we? For starters, every man no matter what his age, socio-economic background or size needs to purchase these 5 must have pieces. Here goes:

  • Classic white button down
  • Casual yet sophisticated blazer
  • Dark straight-leg jeans
  • English leather loafers (or oxfords)
  • Snazzy pair of aviators

 

It is all in how you mix and match the pieces with other items in your repertoire that make the look uniquely yours. As for the afore-mentioned variables including age and size, you need to be true to yourself. That means, be realistic about what size you are and WEAR CLOTHING THAT FITS. Most men go the “too big” route, but either direction is going to be detrimental to your fashion health. You should recognize that you do in fact have a body and show off that the gym has been kind to you. If you haven’t been bench pressing lately, wearing your clothing too big for comfort will only make you look bigger. All clothing should skim the body slightly. It should not be falling off or clinging to you for dear life. As for choosing the specific style, I leave that up to you and your personal taste. Remember, simple is typically better to get more use out of these basics.

Club Monaco blazer, Gitman Vintage oxford button down shirtAcne Studios black skinny jeans, Calvin Klein loafers and Ray Ban aviators

Best Coats for YOUR Shape

I always say your coat IS your outfit so choose wisely.

For most people, the winter is long. And because of this, your outer layer becomes your most worn piece. It literally is your look for much of the day and because of this, you should truly love it. I know spring is coming, but let’s be real, you still need a coat. Beyond a great color or design, choosing a coat that best fits your shape is vital. We are all built differently (thank God) so be aware of your body and what  works. Buying a coat 2 sizes too big to fit your thickest sweater is NOT an option. You have been warned.

 

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I am a big fan of a cinched coat. Basically, anything that is fitted through the middle is my friend. As you can see, all three of these coats are completely different, but have similar silhouettes. Knowing what works on you means staying true to it while altering the variables. In most cases that means color, material and style. I own a LOT of coats so going beyond basic black is kind of my thing. The neutral coat above is my most conservative look and often gets mistaken for Burberry. It isn’t, it’s Laundry by Shelli Segal and I bought it at Nordstrom Rack. How you like me now?!?

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I am obsessed with both the coats above. I usually use the gold one to dress things up, it is amazing because it works for both day and nighttimes. I actually bought it for full price at a boutique in SoHo. I must really love it because I do not pay full price, ever. The mod style gray coat is from a sample store. It is by Walter and has been loved by me for well over 5 years. I honestly don’t get that much use out of it because the boat neck style with 3/4 length sleeves is difficult weather wise in New York City. But, when I do take her for a swing around town people swoon.

coat collage 1

Both of the coats above are great for almost any body type. Curvy or straight, your body will be snug as a bug in a rug when you put this style on. For curvier people, it accentuates your shape and highlights (or creates) a small waist. For straight women it creates the illusion of an hour glass shape. This style is also amazing because you can fit pieces that are a little bit heavier underneath and still create a streamlined silhouette once you cinch the belt.

wrap coat,  double-faced wool coat

            coat collage 2

The ruler style coats above are for the straighter, taller women of this world. If you have strong hips or a very round bum, this coat is going to catch on them. It will lose the classic line and become bunched in all the ways you don’t want it to. I am a huge fan of the camel color duster coat. It is classic and elegant and literally goes with everything and every skin color. The royal blue double breasted coat is a fantastic option for someone wanting to try something different. Why is everyone’s coat always black? Be the pop of color in the sea of blackness and stand out.

duster coatdouble breasted coat

coat collage 3

A shorter coat is extremely flattering for more petite women. Additionally, with the temperature finally rising, this is a great option to stay comfortably warm without wearing a parka. I have always been obsessed with a big collar because it does double duty. It not only looks totally cool, it also allows you to leave your scarf at home. The less we have to carry (or lose) the better.

Love your shape, love your coat, love your style.

wool coat with fur collarbelted coat