Mar 312015

Could you use more time in your life? Lately I have been experiencing growing pains in my lifestyle. On top of the household responsibilities I have been accustomed to fulfilling, I have been trying to create space for the following priorities:

  1. helping women achieve their personal style goals,
  2. building the muscle I am gonna need when I am a little old lady
  3. repurposing various areas of the house to better serve the Empty Nest season

Running in the background are these concepts I heard from Rory Vaden, author of Take the Stairs and Procrastinate on Purpose. Basically, (click here for the official explanation) the idea is to focus on those activities which create more time. For example, consider #2 above: when I exercise in any given day, I typically get the time back immediately in sleep quality, and it is expected to multiply in longevity.

But, of course, it always comes back to how this applies to creating/curating the wardrobe and other elements of the personal style idiom. Because, when I became a Personal Style Coach, I kinda gave up the option to slack on getting myself ready as a way to gain time. I didn’t realize just how much I was relying on that one strategy! Lol.

Help me brainstorm!

What else?

Mar 052015


Yesterday I got my hair cut. After studying a multitude of factors impacting hairstyle, doing some hairstyle design consultations for clients, and getting the expert input from My Virtual Makeover (for which my hair is not yet long enough), I finally stopped long enough to crank through the considerations myself. It took the better part of two days.

ALOT goes into hairstyle design. It is informed by each of my Essential Series of services.

Although it is only my second day with the haircut, I believe it is both more complicated and more flattering than what I would have come up with using the standard methods: asking a hairstylist or looking on Pinterest. Which, btw, I am finally on Pinterest (@rebeccamielke). 🙂

Feb 242015

Are you an accessories person? In my Essential Series of style services, I offer a Facial Themes Analysis to help with selecting accessories and defining the best prints. This image consulting service is available via email to clients in Spokane and around the world.

But you might be wondering, “What is a Facial Themes Analysis”? That’s reasonable. Using a photograph, I trace your face and then look for patterns. image. Repeating those patterns in your accessories will enhance your natural beauty. I also identify the scale of your features, and other artistic elements relating to necklines, accessories, and prints.

In this photo, shamelessly lifted from YouTube, you see a beautiful woman enhancing the triangle shapes in her face (see her lower eyelid?) with her v-neckline and her side bangs. Analyzing your face for line and shape is difficult, but ever-so-valuable in selecting the details you wear near it.

Dec 022014

In connection with a (near) future collaboration opportunity, I picked up the classic Looking Good: Wardrobe Planning and Personal Style Development. I had never read it.

Despite its dated-looking illustrations, this book contains some really useful material. For one, it features several pages of drawings illustrating the use of line in selecting clothing. My thought is this:

if The Triumph of Individual Styleis the equivalent of a college course in the principles of art applied to clothing choices, Looking Good is perhaps analogous to a high school text, a good place for any adult to start.

In looking up links for this post, I discovered the reason I got this book for pennies: there is a newer version, entitled Looking Good . . . Every Day: Style Solutions for Real Women.

In other news, I am busy working on the costumes (my fingertips are cracking and bleeding) for a Christmas play my son-in-law, the music teacher, is directing; the hero and I are doing some serious nesting, now that it is truly all ours; and I have been struggling with insomnia, which I understand is not uncommon at this age and season of life.

More words to come! Happy Holidays! 🙂

Oct 142014

Still thinking about my hair. I think it looks good, but I am still conflicted. Lol. At least I don’t have hair that I know looks bad! image

A number of people have commented that the stacked bob is modern and very popular among the chic, younger (20s and 30s) crowd. That may be. But, aside from the fact that it has topped the haircut charts since 2006 (thank you, Mrs. Beckham), it is also a great haircut for with-it retirees and has numerous technical and practical advantages (which is why I requested it). But I don’t see it on any of the many amazingly beautiful “stars” in the 50 and nearly demographic.


IMG_2993.PNGI don’t actually see it, but I get told alot that I look like Meg Ryan. Guessing from this picture, she has a version of stacked bob. Hmmm. I wonder if I could do this with a flat iron …

Back to the question at hand: what message do you think the stacked bob communicates? I am honing in on my authentic personal idiom; more on that in the near future. 🙂

Sep 152014

Perhaps not surprisingly, I talk to a lot of people who are interested in letting their hair go natural. Or so they say 😉

Recently, I have nailed down some of the concepts in dressing that change when your hair is gray. Of course, it does make a difference what gray you have. That, parenthetically, is the apparent reason so many women lack the confidence to let their hair go gray: they have no idea what color that will be. Then they discuss it with the hairdresser, who has an obvious interest in continuing to color. She says, “not yet (insert excuse)”. Not to say there aren’t reasons.

One critical compositional concept to keep in mind whenever you change your hair color value:

Repeating the color value at the other end of your composition, in this case the shoes, allows the eye to continue to move around the composition without getting stuck and make it back to your face, the focus of your look.

Aug 122014

For quite some time, this question has been in my mind:

are you a builder or an editor?

(Not that I really know what that means. Usually it pops into my mind in conjunction with the idea that I’m getting rid of some article of clothing but I don’t really have anything to replace it in my wardrobe.)

So, the way I see it, each proclivity – building or editing, shopping or biffing – has its problems. And either could wind up with nothing to wear. Most wardrobe advice seems to come from the angle that we all have a closet stuffed full of clothes and nothing to wear, but that is not the case for me or for most of the people I have talked to about it. I had somebody tell me recently that if we were to do a closet audit she would have to go shopping first or there would be nothing to audit!

So, how much is a reasonable amount to spend on clothes? In Dave Ramsey’s budget worksheet, 2 to 7% is the suggested amount. Even with our moderate income, I have been spending less than that. Actually, I have not spent enough For some people (builders), the budget should be taken as a limit; for others (editors), it needs to be a minimum. You can live on less for a season, but perhaps it shouldn’t become a lifestyle. If “He makes me lie down in green pastures” (Psalm 23:2), why do I want to settle for scorched earth?

My suggestion: if possible, budget 2% per person, up to 7% for a family. Beyond that, creativity and economy can be employed to stretch the budget around the number of kids you have. Chances are, if you are consistently spending too little, your wardrobe isn’t really working for you.

May 192014

Alot has changed since I started this blog; for one, there is WAY more valuable information accessible via the Internet. Lately I have discovered some useful concepts, and some things about myself. I am having fun again. 🙂

Over the course of the last few months, my thoughts have changed about what colors look good on me. If my coloring is so muted, why do I look so much better with *white* next to my face? And when I took that pile of tee-shirts into the dressing room at Target, why was the deep apricot the worst color, and the tomato red the best? As I explore the wearing of brighter colors, I feel more like myself.

Psychologist Diana Divecha writes of her own rejection of fashion’s values in an article at The Monthly:

As a teenager in the ’70s, in a small town in northern Minnesota, I sewed most of my own clothes. For inspiration, I studied Glamour magazine’s “Dos and Don’ts”—which featured girls with visible panty lines or the “wrong” blouse—and was a little terrified that there were rules of fashion that were arbitrated from New York and enforced by the printing of innocent girls’ dress violations in a magazine. I boycotted the pressure and decided to dress in a way that said looks don’t matter, I’d rather be taken seriously.

In the 1980s, I got my first academic job in a mostly male-dominated department. My colleagues commented that I added “estrogen” to the room and wondered aloud that I could be pregnant and smart at the same time. Being a woman was clearly a liability, something to downplay, and so I retreated even further into baggy pants, ugly boots and, I hoped, credibility.

What makes dressing fun? Using your clothing and accessories, your personal style idiom, as an expression of your inner self. Diana Divecha learned to do this by booking an appointment with John Kitchener and Hella Tsaconas. Most of us need to figure it out ourselves.

Conforming to the rules and expectations of others is confusing and frustrating. This John Kitchener video answered alot of my questions. I can’t wait to get to work on my wardrobe!

May 132014

I don’t know how many of us here at the bottom of the fashion food chain go for cosmetic dentistry, although I certainly considered it when I had my dental nightmare. Since going off fluoride altogether a year ago, my teeth have stabilized at the not-bad yellowish-white pictured on the left here. I am pretty content.

However, I do notice what the people around me look like and, consequently, wonder about teeth whitening from time to time. I have gone so far as to buy a kit of whitening strips, but then I was afraid to use them because of my tooth sensitivity. When Smile Brilliant offered me the opportunity to review their affordable, at-home, LED whitening system, I went for it. The picture on the right is after three weeks of two x week use (it can be used more frequently but I have a show which opens this Friday). 20140513-130733.jpg20140513-130745.jpg


  • I ordered the desensitizing gel, but I did not use it for fear of fluoride; I did not experience ANY discomfort in using the whitening process.
  • It is easy and convenient. I just put the whitener on, stuck the guard and the light in, set a timer, and sat down to do my blogging.
  • I let my daughter try it too and she noticed whiter teeth in a single application.

Smile Brilliant is offering a giveaway of an LED Whitening Kit like the one I am using.
To enter:
“Like” Smile Brilliant on Facebook
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Good luck and happy smiling!

Mar 252014

Comments on this recent post got me to researching what fades in our coloring as we age, makeup application, and a bunch of related topics. For example, did you realize that the facial skin of a Caucasian woman typically darkens with age? I certainly didn’t! Having been called “Casper” for many years, I was not inclined to consider being able to find foundation light enough to wear a bad thing 😉

Here are my takeaways from this train of research:

  1. Match foundation to a lighter area of the face, such as where the jaw and neck meet. I actually took one back and exchanged it (believe it or not there was one lighter shade). (Maybelline New York Dream Liquid Mousse Foundation, Porcelain Ivory Light 1, 1 Fluid Ounce is rated relatively non-toxic, feels lovely, and is very affordable.)
  2. Wear a little lipstick, as much as I hate to say it. Also, your David Zyla “romantic” color is probably youth promoting. Hey, do you suppose that is why young ladies typically dislike pink?
  3. 20140324-210550.jpgMary Louise Parker is less than a year younger than me.

  4. And, most critical of all: do your eyebrows!

Could it be that alot of the women who look overpowered by their dyed black hair have allowed their eyebrows to go soft?