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Make the World Better. Get a Stylist.

  • by Amy Salinger
  • June 14th, 2010
  • My Style

Guest post by Lisa Nielsen, The Innovative Educator

I’ve always believed I could make the world a better place. My dad thought I was dreamer; my mom preferred I go into business. Despite this, I followed my passion and started working as a teacher more than a decade ago. The work was great and I began making a difference in my school. Next I began working on programs that helped many schools. Today I work on programs that receive city, state, national and international attention and I have the pleasure of sharing some of the ideas about which I am most passionate on my blog, in magazine and newspaper articles, and by speaking to others interested in teaching and learning.

The problem was that while I was acting the part, I was having a hard time dressing the part. Sure, I looked okay, but it didn’t come naturally. Fashion isn’t really my forte and I HATE shopping. As a result, while I have a full wardrobe of clothes, many are left over from when I was in my 20s. Now I am a professional in my 40s and I need to look the part. Don’t get me wrong, like most of us who get up and go to work each day, I can certainly put on a suit and a few accessories, but I don’t look entirely put together. There’s usually something slightly off… wrong bag, shoes, shirt, necklace, scarf, earrings.

As an educator I know that some people have talents and passions in particular areas and they have the ability and motivation to be successful in those areas. Then there are others that certainly want to be talented in a particular area but they don’t have the passion, interest, or talent, and for them we give extra help. The later described me when it comes to fashion. I wanted to look a certain way but it really wasn’t an interest, passion, talent, or something I enjoyed or studied. Stores frighten me. The crowds, all the clothes, figuring out what is a good deal or what will look good and the dreaded dressing room and trying on all the clothes. I have no interest in fashion shows or magazines, and in general I’ve never developed a keen sense of what goes with what or what was in style. Additionally, I have a hard time getting rid of clothes (I get emotionally attached), so my closet tends to be overstuffed with items I can no longer wear or that are not appropriate for a 40-something professional woman. And quite frankly, I really just don’t know what looks best on me.

I needed a fashion education, because as I learned from experts like The Brazen Careerist if you are pulled together and look great you’ll feel better about yourself which boosts your confidence and helps others feel better about you as well. I decided I needed a professional who could teach and guide me when it comes to letting me know what goes best with what and who could help me understand my personal style. So, I hired Amy Salinger, fashion stylist (www.amysalinger.net), and I couldn’t be happier.

Here’s what she did for me…
1 – Closet Cleaning:While, this is a service the stylist can provide, (and you don’t even need to be present!), being a bit of the pack rat that I am, I tried to save a few bucks and take on most of this myself with the support of a friend. By the time Amy arrived I had already tossed five bags of clothes. I needed about an hour more time of her time to help with the things I wasn’t sure about, as well as help to go through the clothes I loved, but no one else did. At that point, the focus is to organize, sort and clean out the rest. In the end, although I had donated seven bags of clothes, I felt like I had even more clothes, because I could see what I had and it was organized.
2- Closet consultation:The real point of this is to see exactly what you own and how to evolve it. The aim is not to throw out everything in your wardrobe. The stylist takes a look to see what can be saved, what can be tailored and how to up the current style value of your wardrobe. It is also to organize it so you can actually see what you own and actually wear it all! She organizes it in a way to help you with styling so your brain doesn’t hurt when you are trying to get dressed:) 3 piles are made, “salvation army”, “maybe keep” and the “tailoring” pile. In addition, she will create a “fill in the holes” shopping list during the consultation. She will discuss a shopping budget with you once your exact needs have been determined. This lasts about three hours and in the end you will be able to utilize what you own and be ready to buy exactly what you need.
3 – Shopping:I have very little time or interest in shopping, so here is what my stylist did. She bought the bulk of my list at Loehman’s which has designer clothes at a discounted price. She also gets an additional 15% off there as well which she passes along to the customer. She brings these items directly to her customer. No shopping, no hassle, no need to be present…unless, of course, unlike me, you have the time and interest. Then you can join her on the shopping journey. The best part is she discusses a realistic budget with you beforehand so you know exactly what to expect!
4 – Styling:This is the final portion and lasts about 3 hours. As fast as you can change is as fast as she will work! During this time she will combine the new items with your existing wardrobe and photograph each look. You will not put on a completely new outfit every time. Rather you may switch out the top half a few times and then the bottom half a few times or just change up the accessories. This enables you to discover multiple ways to wear everything you own and make the most of your wardrobe! When she is done, you will have about 30-40 looks from which to choose. This portion is also designed to provide a learning lesson so you will actually have the knowledge to create many more looks by yourself because you will own the right pieces!

Time to look the part.
Following our time together I had a V.I.P. party where I was networking with others sharing ideas about how businesses could support our students. I had on the right sling back shoes, broach, suit, lacy shirt, and bag. It all came together. Following that I spoke on a panel to business people about the importance of social media in education and not only did I feel the part, I felt I looked the part. You can see for yourself in this video.

Am I an overnight expert? No. but that’s where technology comes in. Amy Salinger took pictures of me with all sorts of different outfits to remind me of what goes with what and what to wear and when. Now I get up in the morning, t. Think about what kind of day it’s going to be, go to the collection of pictures sorted by clothing style i.e. formal, business, business casual, casual-are there more?, and pull it together.

Here is a peek into some of the outfits that comprise my new style.

Now I look on the outside the way I feel on the inside. Confident, excited, powerful, and ready to work with others who want to help make the world a better place with and for our children.

What do you think? Are you ready for stylist? If so, stay tuned for my next post, “10 Tips for Getting Ready for Your Stylist – Advice from a Fashion-Phoebe.”

Visit Amy Salinger at her website, www.amysalinger.net. You can also view her web series, Sass N Style, for more fashion tips at www.youtube.com/ahsalinger.


HOT Summer Work Looks

Just because the temperature is up doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice style! Let’s face it, according to me, unless you are traveling through the insect infested backwoods of the country, you should never sacrifice style. Come down on me summer heat, I will fight back and do it in fashion.

The key to fighting this insane heat that is about to descend upon us is to layer on, layer off. Going to the office is much different then being IN the office. Why do they always put the thermometer at a lovely 50 degrees when it is pushing 100 outside??? Apparently the person paying the bill is not setting the temperature…..

Just as this look from J Crew is showing you, the most important thing in summertime is to look like you weren’t trying too hard. It should be easy and breezy, just as your summer attitude is! Nothing too structured, nothing too overwhelming, the layers should almost always be able to go from daytime to nighttime. This lovely variable gives your summer wardrobe a lot more flexibility then any other season. Materials are light and breathable, meaning that any sort of lining might be stifling. Only suits should really present the possibility of having 2 layers to contend with.

The sheath dress is a fabulous option to play with during the next couple of months. You can easily layer items on during the warmer months and utilize it later in the year by layering under! I love versatility. A neutral color, such as this tan, allows you to truly play with it as a foundation piece and change it up completely depending on what you put with it. Change the belt, necklace, shoes, layering piece and bam, it is an entirely different outfit. The style works on most body types from straight to curvy, it really just depends on how you style it. Make it works ladies!

If you work at a location that requires you to wear a suit, don’t fret. I can style you fabulous no matter what! Again, the most important factor is to keep it looking like you didn’t try too hard. I know, I know, “How do I do that with a suit???” Easy. It is all about how you “wear” the suit and style it. Rolling up the sleeves is key. This automatically gives it a more laid back feeling. It becomes a bit more accessible rather then stiff and uninviting. Adding a blouse that is colorful and printed will help to brighten the overall look. Keeping the material loose and the shirt un-tucked may seem inappropriate, but remember ladies, you are wearing it under a suit! You are already so put together that wearing the undergarment in a more casual way will NOT throw off the entire ensemble. No one in the office will be staring you down for your inappropriate attire!

The final touch on any FAB ensemble is the jewelry! It is easy to buy, easy to style and a fairly inexpensive way to pump up any look, any season. For summer I always promote colorful stones. It pushes whatever outfit you have created into the playful, summer outfit you aspire to create! From necklaces to bracelets to earrings, adding a fun summer bauble is the final touch that your amazing outfit needs! Remember ladies, don’t overdo it. A fantastic look really only needs one pop piece. Choose one great item and make it shine! Then, your whole outfit will be like a ray of sunshine………….

J Crew Leopard Skirt/Top/Cardigan
J Crew Sheath Dress: $158
Banana Republic Jacket:$150
Banana Republic Pants: $79

Ann Taylor Loft Necklace: $39.50

Summer Shorts CAN Work For You!

You have no idea how many people are horrified by the idea of wearing shorts in the summertime. I am here to tell you that (for most people) there is a style that can be flattering! You WILL feel stylish and sexy when you leave the house…. I wouldn’t let you leave if you didn’t!

Almost every designer showed some version of a summer short during fashion week. Trust me folks, this is a trend that isn’t going anywhere. Let’s face it, the heat will not allow it. Function and fashion go hand in hand and when something fits the concept so perfectly, you better open your mind, because it is here to stay.

Now, let’s talk styles and options:

The short short: First thing that comes to mind for most ladies, ug. I get it, unless you have perfectly toned thighs, this style is petrifying. That is why it is an option and you don’t HAVE to own them. Truthfully, I hate throwing out rules, but if you are over 35, this might be past your prime. I am 31 and I love them, but it appears to be countdown time to the end…..

Pop quiz: Which one of these shorts is too short even for the most in shape person? Um, if you don’t know the answer I am scared. The orange shorts from J Crew are a perfect option for anyone that is looking for a fun and flirty bottom half. The silk material allows it to go from casual to dressy just by adding the right jewelry, bag and high heel shoes.

Now although this model clearly has the upper hand based on the fact that her legs are a mile long, don’t let that deter you from choosing the same style of shorts! This mid-thigh option is a perfect choice for most women. Because of the slight pleating, there is room for movement and comfort, yet it is not adding on the pounds. Pleating can often be a gal’s worst enemy, but this easy draping is masking flaws rather than adding them. In addition, the tie string draws the eye to the the middle and gives the shorts a bit more of a stylized look. Legs of all shapes and sizes can be happy in these shorts by Aqua at Bloomingdales!

Now if you are seriously still not convinced that shorts are your thing, let’s try out one more style you might be comfortable with. The Bermuda short is great for a little more coverage, but still rocking the shorts look. They should be straight and be form fitting. A flat front is going to be the best option for a long short, otherwise you are going to be swimming in fabric and it will not look good! If you are extremely wide through the thighs then this is not you pair, but even if you have curves you don’t extremely love, you have to make sure these skim the body. Otherwise, your sexy curves will turn to, well, fat. You get the idea!

So there it is folks. Three basic styles that should fit most women. Options are key and finding a pair that suits your body and lifestyle is the most important way to feeling and looking great!

J. Crew Dejeuner Silk Shorts: $88
Aqua Slouchy Paper Bag Pleated Shorts: $58
Lauren by Ralph Lauren Bermuda Shorts: $49.50