Archive | October, 2010

Boooo!

31 Oct

I love Halloween. It’s a great excuse to act like a loon and dress a bit sleazy.

Every year our neighbors hold a local Halloween parade with the little ones. From there we meet up at each other’s houses to pass out candy and dive into homemade pizzas and vino. To finish off the night we watch a categorically bad horror film – Child’s Play is screening this year.

For these kitschy holidays, I turn to some of the masters such as Rachael Ray and Martha Stewart for inspiration. Rachael Ray has a whole site dedicated to October 31 debauchery! One particular idea that I LOVE is to create goody bags for children that include fun things such as candy, erasers and bubbles, instead of just the run of the mill Snickers bar. I also like her snack ideas for young and old including worms and eyeballs and salsa cheddar dip with witches hats.

Decorating the house for Halloween is one of my favorite things to do. I skip the bizarro Halloween flags and grave stones, but I am wrapping part of the front porch in “Caution” tape, playing scary music and stretching cobwebs throughout the rafters. I also got plenty of pumpkins, candles and hay – frightfully festive!

One thing I always get a bit tripped up on is the costume. Dressing up isn’t just for kids! Get into it!
Not sure what to be this year? Get some Hollywood inspiration – check out this fun feature from my favorite magazine,  Harper’s Bazaar. Whether you mimic a Hollywood star or not, be sure to use your imagination! Also remember that a little effort goes a long way and makes for that much more of a fun night. Not sure where to get a crafty outfit? Try Boston Costume, Garment District, or your local Target from cheap and cheerful solutions.

Have fun being tricky!

Wink,

Style Girl

Coaching for Confidence

27 Oct

Confidence is the best accessory a girl can have. One of my dear friends is an image consultant and career counselor out of the UK (Confidence Inside Out). She has a great website that features articles and resources for women – all of which focus on building confidence. One of her features this week really caught my attention. She summarizes a new article in the Harvard Business Review that features Michelle Obama and her influence on style and trends in American Fashion. Just like Jackie Onassis, Michelle Obama and her fashion choices have been front and center in the media and American just can’t get enough. To read the Harvard Business Review article click here.

All of this got me thinking…is it Michelle Obama’s clothing that attracts so much attention or is it her confidence? There is something magnetic about her. Her smile, her poise and yes, her ability to mix J. Crew and Marc Jacobs into the perfect ensemble. If you’re dreaming of having the kind of confidence that comes with being Michelle Obama or that perfect woman in your office who looks great all the time despite working 12 hour days, personal coaching could be the perfect tool for you. Personal coaching focuses on individual growth and often involves goal setting and skill building. The programs are often flexible and can also be affordable. The benefit to a coaching relationship is that you’re not just setting goals with your self. You’re setting goals for yourself and with SOMEONE else – meaning there is accountability. There are many resources when it comes to coaching and counseling. You can identify a peer, a mentor, a career counselor or an individual consultant (like Confidence Inside Out). You can also search for local resources but keep in mind that going off of a referral is always best.

Whether you’re changing careers, changing your look or overcoming fears that have held you back from your potential, working with a personal (life) coach can not only be rewarding, but could possibly be life changing.

Here’s a little something to get you going!

Wink,

Style Girl

Pretty As a Bow

26 Oct

I don’t know if you’ve noticed but bows are everywhere this season. On bags, on shoes, on belts – everywhere. I am not usually one to wear bows. They can seem a bit over the top and junior to me. That being said, I am becoming a convert. I am really fond of the ways that designers are using bows this season. For example, the other day I was wearing a great dress that required a belt. I’m not sure what I was thinking when I left the house but what I had put on simply did NOT work. I need a quick fix and I needed it fast. This is when I’m thankful for the chain shops. I wandered into Anthropologie and picked up this beauty. Voila! Problem outfit solved.

Other ways to wear bows? I love bows on headbands. Depending how they are worn they can look very elegant (warning: it’s also easy to look like a 5-year-old so be careful here!). Here is one of my favorites from Ralph Lauren and here is one that I love from Top Shop but just don’t have the gusto to pull off. Here’s another feature on headbands from In Style magazine that might help inspire you.

Every other pair of shoes I see seems to have a bow on it. Louis Vuitton had one of the hottest bow adorned shoes on the runway and in Hollywood this fall. I only wish they were in my closet too! You can also find this look on loads of ballet flats available this season. From Nine West to Prada, you’ll be able to find a pair to suit your budget and style.

And on handbags. When it comes to bows, I prefer the smaller clutch bags. Some can be really fun –  a bit rocker and 80s. Check out this Chole bag that carries the perfectly balance between feminine and punk.  You can always count on Betsy Johnson to create something wild and perfect for the party. I love this one! And then there are the more simply stated bow purses that are a little more “day” appropriate such as this beautiful bag from Kooba (swooon).

So don’t fear the forever girly bow. Tie one on!

Wink,

Style Girl

Pumpkins and Gourds, Oh My!

25 Oct

This past weekend I ventured to see good friends in Philadelphia. While it took us 7 hours to get there from Boston, it was all well worth it.  My good friend just moved into a gorgeous neighborhood on the Main Line (Ardmore) where all the houses are perfectly positioned and there isn’t a stitch of vinyl siding in sight. Most of the houses were adorned with fall decorations – pumpkins, hay, leaves, etc.  We ventured out to the pumpkin farm on Sunday to find our own harvest decor. While the “all you can carry for $19.99” deal was enticing, I was drawn to the rows and rows of oddly colored gourds. White, grey, yellow, green – it looked like a autumnal rainbow.

Pumpkins are for carving and eating – that’s about it. They are otherwise quite boring. Have some fun with color this fall and look beyond the basic pumpkins. Gourds come in a variety of sizes and colors (over 100!) and look great presented together. Not only do they make good outdoor decorations, but they work well inside too. Assuming they are kept away from moisture, your gourds should keep well until the Thanksgiving holiday so use them as centerpieces, on window sills and as stand-alone decor. You can use them as part of floral arrangements, place a group of small gourds in a glass bowl, carve out a piece and use them as votive holders or have fun with the kids and paint them. The list of gourd activity goes on (and on…)

If you’re looking for specific design ideas, check out this Better Homes and Gardens feature. Where can you get your hands on some? Check out your local supermarket or one of the many pumpkin farms/apple orchards in the area. A few of my favorites are Honey Pot Hill Orchards, Russell Orchards or Shelburne Farm.

I’m going to go enjoy my grey and white “pumpkins” now…

Wink,

Style Girl

Matchy-Watchy

21 Oct

I saw a girl at lunch today who was wearing a black shirt, a purple skirt, purple shoes and a purple bag. I wanted to throw a bag over her head and drag her to the nearest department store . She needed help.

With the exception of the jumpsuit (a style I love but just can’t wear on my short self) and the stylish oh-so neutral pallet for fall (beige anyone?),washing yourself in one color should be avoided. No one wants to walk around looking like Barney. In addition to the costume effect, monochromatic looks can wash you out, make you appear bigger than you are (with the exception of black, of course) and makes for a dull outfit. Why not mix it up a bit? There are so many gorgeous colors and textures in stores this fall. Don’t be afraid to wear different types of plaid together, sport jewel tone sweaters with vibrant skinny belt s or wear a beige bag with red shoes. A mixed palette can work well, especially if you play to your strengths. Here are a few things to consider:

Skin tone – everyone’s skin tone falls into a different season. Understanding skin tones is important to picking clothes that will look best on you. For example, if you are a winter tone, you should avoid pastels. You can go online to learn more about your skin tone or go to your favorite make-up counter for a consult. My personal favorite in Boston is Bobbi Brown at Neiman Marcus in Copley.

Contrast – Instead of matching your clothes, try contrasting them with complimentary colors. For example…black looks great with bright blue and pink. Greens look fantastic with  blues and yellow and brown are a great combination. The rules that apply to great interior design, apply to fashion too so check out paint color palettes for new ideas.  Check out Benjamin Moore’s personal color viewer to expose yourself to new ideas and combinations – it’s a cool online tool.

Patterns – Mixing in patterns with your look is an easy way to avoid the matchy mess and keep it interesting. To avoid  overdoing it,  don’t wear two different bold patterns together – they’ll compete with each other and overwhelm your shape. Also consider the weight of the pattern – lighter weighted patterns/fabrics work well against heavier weights. Finally, consider distance – sometimes two patterns that are very different can work well together if they are placed far away from each other ( a shirt and heels, for example).

Friends, no one wants to walk around looking like an animated character. Don’t be afraid tomix it up and play with colors and patterns!

Wink,

Style Girl

You Are Here

19 Oct

I’m feeling reflective.

There are so many things that I want to do and so many places that I want to go. Sometimes, in my rush to next adventure, I miss the things that are going on around me. I’m not alone in this. I think that “idea people” often have a very hard time appreciating the here and now. So, how can one be more “present”? How can you maximize all of the opportunity around you? Here are a few things that I do to keep me centered and invested…

Journal – there is amazing power in journaling. Expressing your hopes, fears and thoughts in writing is extremely therapeutic. I’m inspired by pretty journals and stationery. The right tools certainly make it more fun! Here are a few of my favorites:

Smythson – British and beautiful

Paper Source – Carries several styles that will look great as a table accessory (if nothing else…)

Black Ink – this funky shop with locations in Beacon Hill and Harvard Sqaure carries a lot of artistic options

Kate’s Paperie – this is one of my favorite shops in NY but don’t despair – you can shop online too..

Learn – I’m a life learner – always taking classes and reading up on something new. Invest in yourself by nurturing your interests! Check out some local classes offered at adult learning centers such as the BCAE and the CCAE – from cooking and photography to creative writing, you’ll be amazed at all the different classes that are offered. Or, if you’re really ready for a task, take on a Master’s program at one of the many colleges and universities in the area. You can’t use lack of options as an excuse, that’s for sure!

Give time – giving back to the community is one of the most fulfilling things you can do. I spend a lot of time with the Boston Public Library, Junior League of Boston and Dress for Success. Not sure where to start? Looking for a perfect volunteer opportunity? Check out Volunteer Match and Idealist.org. Both sites let you input specifications that result in a list of opportunities that reflect your interests. Still not finding anything? Look local – volunteer at a local school or animal shelter.

Center – I have never successfully meditated and I generally have a hard time sitting still. I am, however, inspired and motivated by a little namaste and zen. Taking time to relax and strengthen your body and mind is so important. For many this is achieved through yoga or other physical exercise. Having a hard time getting motivated? Look for team training opportunities at your gym or find a gym buddy who will keep you on track. Sometimes finding the right environment is the key to success. I enjoy yoga at Back Bay Yoga and South Boston Yoga. Both centers have great instructors and wide open spaces to find a little “ohm” in your life.

Friends – this is last but certainly not least on my list. To enjoy your life every day, surround yourself with people who make you happy. Take time to stay connected: create a standing monthly dinner appointment with friends, call a friend to say hello (versus a quick text) or send a card. Maintaining relationships is work – but it is the most rewarding work you’ll ever do.

By focusing on some of these things, I have accepted where I am. I also feel grounded and supported.

So, where are you?

Wink,

Style Girl

Second Chances

18 Oct

I believe in second chances. I really do.

Certain clothing stores have wowed us season after season and others continue to disappoint. We all have stories…times when our tried and true “go-to” store has failed us. This season I have stumbled upon a few success stories that are worth sharing.

L.L. Bean

Once a hunter’s supply store, L.L. Bean has been outfitting outdoorsy types since 1912.  It is known for quality and value and for having a relatively poor score on the style scale.  This year L.L. Bean has introduced its new Signature line. The new line has evolved the traditional “cozy” style to include great wrap dresses, beautiful leather footwear, and more modern lines. Some of the pieces actually look like something J. Crew would carry! I scored a pretty silk hunting scene blouse and a floral bohemian chic dress (think…Sienna Miller). The prices are right too. Check it out here.

Talbot’s

Did I seriously just tell you to shop at Talbot’s? I think I did. Although still a bit stuffy, Talbots had reinvented itself a bit. In late 2008 they introduced a new chief designer (Chris Jackson from Calvin Klein) and it shows! The stores have a more youthful, modern vibe and feature a lot of fresh, on-trend colors that I am going crazy over. For example the dome button coat in cassis is adorable. It has a nice swing to it and carries a bit of a 60s vibe once on (yes, I bought it!). Another great find is a double ruffle jacket in this fun bubblegum color. Peruse the website – I bet you’ll be surprised!

Limited

This place has gone through more personalities than Lady Ga Ga but if you want to score trendy items that are of decent quality (vs. Forever 21 fall apart bargain), this may be the place. They are carrying a bunch of my favorite things right now such as sweater dresses (check out the cable cowl neck dress), a bunch of mini skirt options and fun colored tweed separates. With a price that can’t be beat and a new online store, you should give them a look.

I hope I’ve inspired forgiving behavior. Everyone deserves a second chance.

Wink,

Style Girl

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