Feb 032015
 

The foundational first step in most of what I do is something I am calling the Style Line Analysis. Without it, I could look at the clothes in your closet and have little to no idea whether they would suit you are not. With it (and your measurements), I could pretty much do your shopping for you while you did something else. 🙂

So what is a Style Line Analysis? Basically, it covers the big considerations in putting together an outfit: shape and proportion. From a photo or in-person consultation, I identify your silhouette and proportion considerations; then, give you insight into techniques for creating balance and harmony with your clothes.

In my Spokane personal style consultancy, I require the Style Line Analysis before I do a Closet Consultation or any personal shopping; however, it is also available remotely via email. Introductory pricing for this service is only $45 – less than you were going to spend on clothes this month – 😉 why not hit the pause button and get some clarity first? I can only offer 10 of these this month, so email me today to get on the calendar: rebecca (at) between my peers (dot) com.

If the idea of hiring a personal style consultant still seems strange to you, you may appreciate this post Bridgette Raes wrote last year: What You Need to Know Before You Hire a Fashion Stylist.

Jan 272015
 

Now that I have completed my training as a Personal Stylist, I’d like to put up some posts explaining what it is I do. Spokane readers can reach me at rebecca@betweenmypeers.com to inquire about Color Analysis and Closet Consultations. Most other services are available via email.

About Color Analysis: The system I use has 16 palettes based on temperature, value, and resonance. From those 16 palettes, I can add or subtract individual sticks to create a completely custom color harmony. Your unique palette supports your coloring and your personality.

IMG_3538.JPGHere is mine, a mix of warm and cool, plenty of light color values and a few darks, primarily tinted and saturated, straightforward hues.

I realize Color Analysis is a complicated and somewhat controversial topic. I not here to disparage any other system; I just love this one! Fine print: the swatches are custom-made to order, so there is delivery time, and I have you do a little bit of homework ahead of time. 🙂

Dec 192014
 

By now you have probably heard that Pantone announced its 2015 Color of the Year: Marsala. When I saw that, my first thought was “not for me, thanks!” Then I thought, “somebody who is a better style blogger than I will undoubtedly do a “How to Wear Marsala” post. Find that here.

While I think that alot of that particular shade would be tough for me to wear, I can see it on quite a few of my friends and family. If you can wear that color lipstick, you should absolutely put a pair of Marsala shoes or boots on your shopping list! Women’s Boots & Shoes are now 50% off at Macys.com!! Shop now during our One Day Sale!! Valid 12/19-12/20

Nov 132014
 

Throwback Thursday. The pictures in this old fashion lab illustrate a good way for a woman with my body type and proportions (hourglass with short, curvy thighs) to combine color values when wearing jeans tucked into knee-high boots. The picture in the middle is, in my current opinion, the best: the sweater (too bad I don’t still have it) maintains the arc through the waist perfectly, among other things that are working.

In comments, my late friend Wendy mentions mid-calf scrunch boots for shorter women; since boot heights are currently in transition, I would like to mention something else I have been thinking about:

Boots which stop short of reaching the knee can be used to fool the eye into adding some of the lower leg to the upper leg, thereby optically lengthening the thigh.


When I first noticed the practice of tucking jeans into knee-high boots being revived, I thought to myself, “I’ll just sit this one out”. Until one day last week November 2006. Walking at noon with my husband, I happened to notice a lady on the other side of the street. Her boots were very like mine, and she looked quite normal wearing them with jeans tucked in. With the color value similarity of the dark jeans and brown boots, her legs looked like legs (not hams on pedestals, which was my fear).

The other thing I noticed was that her top was a light color, in contrast to the pant/boot combination.

“Ah ha!” Maybe that’s the trick.

So here you have it:

  • What I actually wore today. Since I was the greeting mentor at our MOPS group, I wore my Eddie Bauer Seattle Suede jean jacket over my sweater.
  • The look I am testing: dark jeans, tucked into knee-high boots, topped by a light colored top. I think it works!
  • For the sake of comparison, the same look only with a dark brown top.

What do you think of jeans tucked into boots? What techniques have you successfully used?

Nov 072014
 

IMG_3053.JPGFull disclosure: I am not affiliated with Fabletics, although I think I can put a link here that would give me a referral fee.

This is another tip from the locker room. Well, not technically from the locker room, but the actual exercise studio. One of my co-sweaters (an inverted triangle with a high hip) was wearing this really cool top that created an X at her waist in the back. It was so flattering! That is how I learned about Fabletics, the subscription site for quality athletic wear, (Kate Hudson, founder). Before I even went to the site, I was ready to sign up; because if I buy the clothes, I will look like Kate Hudson when I’m exercising, right? 😉

Seriously, folks, it is the ease and affordability, the automation factor, if you will, that appeals to me.

How it works:

For as little as $25, you can get your first complete outfit when you become a member (mine was $35). There’s a little quiz that’s actually building your profile, then they give you recommendations. Unfortunately, the quiz isn’t detailed enough to for everyone to receive recommendations as spectacular and specific as my friend did; I still needed to know what works with my silhouette and proportions. And be warned: once you go through the quiz, the clock starts ticking and you have one hour to shop and join. I don’t know that failing to finish in the allotted time precludes joining later; I just would have done the quiz after looking around rather than first if I had known.

(Fabletics referral link)

Here’s where the automation comes in (the fine print):

  1. Shop Your Outfits – On the 1st of each month, we’ll send you outfits selected just for you and your workouts. Complete outfits start at just $49.95 for VIP Members, a savings of up to 40%.
  2. Buy or Skip – Purchase the outfits you love, or if nothing catches your eye, simply skip the month by the 5th.
  3. Accrue a Credit – If you don’t make a purchase or skip the month by the 5th, you’ll be charged $49.95 for 1 member credit on the 6th. Each member credit can be redeemed for 1 outfit — use it to shop anytime.

Honestly, exercise clothes are a great candidate for automation: they are less complicated to fit, they need to be replaced more often, and I just don’t want to have to put alot of creative effort into being appropriately dressed at the gym. (But I do try to be well-dressed everywhere I go.) I don’t plan on buying every month (nor does anyone else I talked to), but at these prices I could see getting a new outfit once every two or three months.

I hear the quality is good. When I experience it for myself, I will confirm. Btw, there are a ton of reviews on the Fabletics site, so I have a feeling I am a little bit behind on this one.

Oct 302014
 

In this post, originally from November 2007, I used pictures of Gap dresses to illustrate length proportion balancing. I am no longer affiliated with Gap, but somehow the pictures are still here.

Pleasing proportions follow the Fibonacci progression: 1:2, 2:3, 3:5, and so on. Mathematically, they approximate 60/40.

Women: Colorblock shift dress - navy
This first one is a little complicated (there are often multiple ways to look at a problem). I suggest that the dress + shoes = 5 (the reason I think mid-thigh dresses are hard to wear is because by themselves they are 4 head-lengths). In this case, I am not figuring the head into the equation. The legs = 3. It works. With greater understanding of the artistic principles involved, I think that the garment itself is a good design: the top is the larger part of the whole and the different widths of the blocks of color on the skirt make it interesting.Women: Pleated shirt dress - tawny

The  next one is super simple: knee-length is the easiest length to wear. The dress = 5, everything else = 3.

Here are pictures of looks I DON’T think work:
Women: Navy wool henley dress - navyWomen: Pleated shift dress - bitter chocolate-brownWomen: Cableknit sweater dress - black

I have said many times, “proportion is key to avoiding frumpiness”. It is challenging to explain. Thankfully, many people seem to get it naturally. To refine your own sense of proportion, join me in trying on lots of outfits. And taking pictures. Then save yourself some work later by keeping notes of what works!. 🙂

Oct 282014
 

imageHa ha! Is it bad that it took me four years to get around to answering this question? Years ago, Janel Messenger asked me about length balancing when the body is seven head-lengths, as opposed to the eight prescribed in the triumph of individual style. Then last year, when I was costuming Carrie the Musical, one of the shorter actors mentioned her proportion challenge. So, it has been on my mind.

Fast forward to these past several months, when I have been exploring my own personal proportions challenge:
Because my hair and skin are close to the same color value, my head length is my actual head length, including my hair
.

imageHere is a little experiment I did concerning body-length proportions. As you can see, the model (wearing Pucci) looks fabulous – and is only seven head-lengths. I
would point out that she has the strong breaks in her outfit at head-lengths, as do I.

I also wonder whether more youthful styles work better with this proportion. Thoughts? After all, children’s heads are longer relative to their bodies.

Oct 252014
 

image
Ok, so I have had alot of life happening, keeping me from blogging and other important stuff (like joining Instagram, which is probably a better home for stuff like this – just outfit photos). Anyway, last night we went to a fundraiser/auction with “glitzy carnival chic” as the theme/dress code. This is what I wore.

(You can’t really see the pants and shoes: the pants are a really cool dark green corduroy, almost velvety; I am wearing vintage, kitten-heel booties.)

I would make one technical comment about it: because the neckline of the black argyle sequin pullover is exactly at my first balance point and the collar is at my second, a necklace would have been just too much for me. You should be proud, though, I still used a good number of accessories 😉

Oct 072014
 

In the artistic composition that is you, what are the dominant characteristics? They may be things that create the most challenge for you; they may be your greatest strengths. Those could be the same.

For example, today when I saw myself in the yoga studio mirror, I noticed something I hadn’t really noticed about myself before: my outline (silhouette) is comprised of short, broken lines – straight and curved – in combination. Even my shoulder line presents such. In the past, I always saw those curves as bulges; but, in reality, it is simply my design pattern.

In principle, the concepts that are likely to yield the best return aesthetically are, IMO: silhouette, length proportion, color value contrast, and style personality. Identifying the first three can be done inexpensively from a photograph.

I am still trying to develop/adapt a diagnostic instrument for what is arguably the cornerstone of personal style: personality.

Oct 022014
 

Knowing that I started blogging with an incomplete understanding of the principles involved, part of my strategy in posting reruns on Thursdays is to clean some stuff up, clarify the concepts, and correct where I was wrong. Like in this case (originally posted October 23, 2007).

I found it amusing, when considered alongside what I said here, that Bridgette Raes just posted Why You Need a Green Handbag (my apologies for not providing a link, but my linker appears to be broken and I cannot devote any more time to it right now). But I have no problem explaining the ideological discrepancy:

Within one’s inherent color palette, the greens will harmonize with the other hues”

As I move more fully into the color component of styling, I am super-excited about the potential for the custom color palette. For example, I just did one which ended up being six parts one palette, three parts another, and a single stick of yet a third, but blended into a beautiful, harmonious whole.

Recently it occurred to me that green, while an easy color for many to wear, doesn’t necessarily lend itself to mix and match. A quick trip around the color wheel reveals why:

  • yellow: too 1960s. Not bad if you’re young and you throw in white.
  • orange: resembles the autumn landscape. Do you want to look like a deciduous forest? To approximate a single tree, pair green with brown.
  • red: at best, red & green are reminiscent of 1990s interiors; at worst, a color-challenged Christmas. Pink is sometimes doable, but grass green and pink is too young and sweet for me to wear.
  • purple: throw in the right shade of brown and it works.
  • blue: safer than most other color combinations. Just wear your green sweater with blue jeans and everything will be just fine.
  • green: when combined with hunter orange, two or more greens make a perfectly coordinated “sport” ensemble.

Which leaves the neutrals:

  • black: the hag chorus in Little Women is wearing mostly green and black.
  • grey: finally, an option that seems current!
  • white: a better choice for Christmas outfits.
  • metallic: ditto the above.

Which leads me to easy ways to wear green. In a print.

Or as an accent.

How do you like to wear green?