Apr 072015

Before considering how to mix prints, it is a good idea to examine whether you should mix prints. Is the idea exciting to you?

IMO, or perhaps I should say IMP (in my philosophy), style choices are driven by both external and internal indicators. In the case of wearing multiple prints together:

  1. External indicators: your appearance has alot of visual pattern (patterned smoothness), such as streaked hair and/or freckles. Sometimes texture, such as curly hair, gives an impression of pattern, as well.
  2. Internal indicators: a high-energy personality. Putting things together in less-expected ways is also indicative of a creative approach to life that can be supported by mixing patterns.

In the matter of the first, I do not qualify. Color-blocking (as seen here) works. Most anyone can wear one well-chosen pattern at a time. But my freckles are nearly gone and my hair is almost, but not quite, uniformly white. HOWEVER, I still feel more comfortable mixing prints than not. So I might do it 😉

Of all the technical aspects involved in styling, print-mixing is one of the only ones that comes somewhat naturally to me; therefore, it is more challenging for me to to explain the how. I refer you to such experts as Lauren Conrad, Tory Burch, and Clinton Kelly.

Do you like to mix prints?

Mar 272015

This post is inspired by people who are restricted in what kind of shoes they can wear. And by the changing season: today it is supposed to get to 70° here, the temperature at which I am comfortable without socks. 

Lately I have been thinking about a question I got via email, in which the implication was that it is necessary to wear heels to be stylish. Perhaps some think it is. I do not. Neither does Carla. Whenever I heard a student, including myself, ask if wearing heels would be the solution to a particular style challenge, she always answered something along the lines of, “it doesn’t have to be”.  

So I learned not to depend on heels to create a balanced proportion. 

While each person’s footwear challenges may be different, I suggest building a personal style that incorporates the shoes that work for you. 

While I was thinking about this, I stumbled onto the Crocs Sexi Flip. For the price (around $30 American), so much fun! I have never worn Crocs, but looking at these (and the ones I see on the ladies at the gym) I think I am gonna start! The following pictures contain affiliate links; if you click on them and make a purchase, I will make a little money 🙂

Happy Toe Liberation Day! Btw, do you wear Crocs?

Mar 102015

Over the weekend, I stumbled onto the Style Identity series being presented on the blog Truth is Beauty. I recommend it to you. The quote I wish to illustrate here is:

The effect of clothing context on our apparent masculinity or femininity is analogous to the effect of color on our skin.

The apparent color of your skin changes, for better or worse, depending on what color is next to it. That’s because of simultaneous contrast.

And the apparent qualities of your face and figure, including the apparent masculinity or femininity, change depending on the context that surrounds it.

If almost everything in the frame reads as boyish, then the viewer mainly notices what’s not boyish – and so the Gamine’s feminine qualities actually stand out more.

The more boyish the context, the more beautiful Gamines look.

From Style Identities: The Gamine

Do you see the brilliance in that? How beautiful it would be if mothers of tomboys could get comfortable with that and quit trying to force the pretty little dresses and such!

In my own life, it made me think of these two pictures I took the day I got my hair cut.

Since learning I don’t technically need my glasses all the time, I have gradually decreased wearing them. They are mostly reading glasses now. In the same time period, I have also changed how I wear my hair, and I’ve been getting alot of compliments.

I do like my hair. But I’m also wondering, could people be responding to seeing me without glasses? When I got these glasses, I really liked them. Now that I know how glasses are supposed to fit, I know they are a little bit wide for me. Two problems with that extra width:

  1. It makes my eyes look very closely spaced. Not quite cross -eyed, but you know what I mean.
  2. My eyes also look smaller; therefore, I appear more … shall we be PC and say yang rather than masculine?

Alot more could be said. Allow me to just close with this important point about fitting glasses:
glasses should line up with the sides of the face.


Btw, I am affiliated with Warby Parker now. If you use my link ( they will pay me a little fee. Thank you!

Mar 042015

IMG_3651.JPGI love wearing dresses. Simply put, they are the easiest way to have a coordinated outfit. The challenge, for many women, is fit: A dress must fit both top and bottom, unlike separates which can be purchased in different sizes as needed. 

Enter Eshakti. Although they do sell standard sizes, for the bargain price of $7.50 your garment can be made to your measurements. Included in the customization fee are some options for modification such as changing the neckline, the hem, and/or the sleeve length. You might expect the prices to be high but they are not; they are moderate. For example, the dress pictured was $79.95; I have also ordered a wool dress for around $100. They do run sales and they don’t sell only dresses.

Initially, what got me to look into eShakti was a post on another blog to which I subscribe recommending them as a good resource for cotton. When I got to their site, I was pleasantly surprised to see that below each tile, as you scroll through their offerings, is the fiber content; they don’t bury it in the FinePrint. The dress pictured is cotton.

(I was so excited about eShakti that I joined their affiliate program. If you order via the links or ad on my website, they will pay me a small commission.)

FREE Customization on ALL first time orders! Casual Chic! Shop
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Now, a little bit about the outfit: this is what I wore to CYT Spokane’s production of Honk! at the Bing Crosby Theater last weekend. And to church on Sunday. With slightly different accessories, I will wear it tomorrow evening to the hero’s annual company party. I call that automation! 😉


Feb 102015

Do you need encouragement? Encouragement can be a help in refining focus and direction. Recently, I had the opportunity to be a subject in an “I need a new look!” webinar at Body Beautiful, with Erin and Carla Mathis as stylists. (You can purchase a a virtual makeover for yourself, or the webinar, at their website.)

The thing I found most encouraging was the inspiration to translate words about my essence as a person into style elements. I asked family members to help me answer the following question, “how would others describe your personality?” The words we came up with were loud, sparkly, strategic, and initiator. Until Carla suggested I try more “edgy” styles, I would never have seen the connection between the words and my personal style idiom. Of course, it would help if I knew what “edgy” meant 😉

edgy defined: wearing new styles ahead of your demographic; early adopter; initiator.

I am pretty excited to include this spin on encouragement in my own stylist work. How do you think people would describe you? Any thoughts about translating those words into style elements?

Jan 202015

In recent client conversations, riffs on the following came up:

I want more (insert design concept or color) in my wardrobe, but instead I keep buying …

Believe me, I get that! Some things are easier for an individual to fit and/or find, such as when I buy another basic cashmere crewneck when what I really need to find is a more interesting winter top.

But that is not the whole story. As human beings, we have an amazing ability to scan the horizon, interpret massive amounts of visual data, and select what is pertinent. Thus, when shopping, it is not unusual to dismiss a look without actually giving it consideration.

So, in these days of refining my own look and helping others to discover theirs, I am recommending the following practice:

practice scanning for things you know you want but don’t typically buy

Changing habits takes retraining the brain. Welcome, Captain Obvious, to the blog!

What are you working on retraining yourself to notice? I have a whole new custom color palette! (More on that to come…)

Dec 162014

(Clearly I have fallen off my blogging routine! Sensing some changes coming, I will try to be more predictable in the new year; in the meantime, you can subscribe by email. If you still use email 😉 )


The first step on my official Color Training, although I have been successfully doing color analyses for awhile, is somewhat of a personal visual identity and attitude assessment. One of the early steps in that journey was collecting a pictorial history. Looking at pictures of myself from various stages and times of life and identifying how I feel about how I looked at the time has been a very productive process; if you struggle with self-acceptance on any level – and who doesn’t? – I thoroughly recommend it.

The Christmas season is a great time to get together with loved ones and look at pictures. Consider, after all the gifts are opened and before the post-frenzy letdown sets in, looking at pictures together – maybe even doing some scrapping.

Nov 062014

From February 2009, a post in which it begins to dawn on me that my aversion to avoidance of accessories is working against me. Unfortunately the article referenced is no longer available.

My philosophy has more or less always been that the personality is more significant to the idiom than is the persona; my ambition is still to create a system that uses personality, rather than physicality, to suggest style. I will get there!

idiom: A style of artistic expression characteristic of a given individual …

personality:  an individual’s behavioral and emotional characteristics

persona:  an individual’s social facade or front that reflects the role in life the individual is playing; a mask

On this blog, I use the term “style personality” to describe one of six types based on personal characteristics such as how quickly we adopt new styles, whether we prefer to stand out or blend in, and how much fashion pain we will tolerate.  “Idiom” includes everything:  personality plus silhouette, signature color, lifestyle and geography, etc.

Now enter “persona”.  Sometimes used interchangeably with personality, I am snagging this word to make an important distinction:  personality is based on what you think, persona is based on the opinion of those who see you. 

A persona can be almost like a cliche.  When a man wears a navy polo shirt, khakis, and neatly groomed hair, it conveys a certain look, along with a certain set of expectations.  If any man (who had all his teeth) wanted to put on the traditional persona for a casual setting, all he would need is a navy blue polo shirt, pair of khakis, and a trim. 

This is all part of a recent epiphany I had while reading an article on Style Personas.  This outstanding quote says it all:

Whether you like the idea or not, other people will be classifying you and making certain judgments…why not help guide them in the direction you wish them to go? If you are looking to make a certain impression, it pays to know how you will be interpreted.

Jennifer Skinner

She then goes on to describe five commonly understood personas, along with some of their sub-sets, and the characteristics commonly ascribed to each. 

Having previously struggled with the question “how do you wish to be perceived by others?”, trying to identify one attribute at a time; with the attributes clustered by persona I was instantly able to see both which one I want (CHIC/SOPHISTICATE) and what my problem has been (A chic dresser favors black and neutral colors with bold accessories).  Without the bold accessories, I look either conservative or earthy.

But it doesn’t really explain my compulsion to seek out groovy prints!  Five and a half years later, I am wondering whether the Chic/Sophisticate was/is authentic to me, based in the fashion of the day, or rooted in some sort of faulty thinking. But I still love the groovy prints 😉

Oct 172014

Allow me to state the obvious:
Anytime you appear in public wearing something completely of your own choosing, it could be considered “Street Style”

While that may seem too obvious for print, to me it is a helpful thought. Why? For the sheer inspiration value! Remember school? The great thing about it was you could really wear whatever you wanted, subject to the weather and your ability to withstand peer pressure. (Of course, in High School, it helped to talk your friends into wearing a dress the same day.)

For the past many years, I have aspired to dress in Smart Casual when I was out and about; at home, it was always something that would not be ruined if I happened to splash bleach on it – as if I was actually deep-cleaning on a daily basis 😉

Now, as I transition to (image) professional, I still have a lifestyle with few restrictions on what to wear – aside from artistic requirements. Most days, I go to the gym and run errands in the morning, then work in the afternoon. I can wear whatever I want, without regard for the persistent peer pressure (in my head) to not dress UP any more than strictly necessary. But who, at the YMCA (or any of those other places) is going to critique what I happen to be wearing?
imagePhoto shamelessly ripped from Pinterest.
In a sense, it is because the places I go are primarily “in between” places, where people go incidentally dressed as they are. So, if I think of my walking around clothes as “Street Style”, that allows me even greater flexibility than “smart casual”. While I probably will never wear a ball gown, I could wear a tutu (that is, a “tulle skirt” – sounds more respectable).

Hey, what are some other settings that allow the flexibility to wear “Street Style”? There are, no doubt, many; I find that often my perceived limitations are self-imposed 😉

Oct 162014

purple-velvet-jacket.jpgWe talked about this haircut back in 2008 and it actually looks alot like what the front of my hair looks like now, although my bangs haven’t grown all the way out yet. And my glasses and my hair seem to be getting along okay 😉

If only I still had the velvet paisley blazer!

Lots of good scarf comments on this post, too. It is interesting that, after all these years, I still like this look and feel the same about it – except that now I am willing to try the sideswept bangs (with Carla’s encouragement.

Oh, and, btw, I have completed a first draft of a style essence calculator based on existing personality profilers! 🙂

From the top.  Hair:

  • Presently, I’m okay with my hair.
  • This haircut – without the turned under, uniform smoothness of the other – suits me better, both style idiom and hair texture.
  • Here’s the problem:  hanging across my face, hair would goo up my glasses.  Yet Christopher Hopkins would say that asking for this haircut but with bangs is like asking for chocolate chip cookies but without chocolate chips.   (I don’t think my stylist would mind doing it.)
  • Comments on how this haircut would suit me?

Next:  If I were to wear a scarf, unlikely as that is, this application is one I would consider. Thoughts from you accessory people?

Finally, twenty years ago, when I had a fashion retail career, I considered myself a “pink suit”. Daily I wore suits. But they were feminine and colorful, not mannish. Now I am finding myself with a strong preference for velvet blazers. Currently in rotation: blush pink, brown paisley, and grape.  My favorite way to wear them is with white oxford button-front shirt, collar flying.

So, all in all, this post was just an excuse for running the photo, which captures the stylistic essence of my personal idiom (me on the inside), everyday-wear.  Now, I’m off to the studio.  In a little over a week, I have the final for my beginning watercolor class.  I need all the practice I can get.