starts at 9am 2/13, ends 9am 2/15
Feb 132017
 

It’s been a long time coming, but I am finally going to be launching an email newsletter.

Here’s who should sign up for it:

  • local ladies (Spokane WA area)
  • people looking for wardrobe planning systems and structures
  • anyone interested in what is going on in the world of Between My Peers and Signature Style Systems

Give me a week or so to see what I can do with Mailchimp and then look for the Just Between My Peers newsletter in your email inbox!

Do you still use email?



Feb 082017
 

After investigating a number of capsule-building methodologies, I realized the reason they didn’t make sense to me is because they didn’t explicitly explain how to coordinate the shapes – just the colors. So this framework popped into my head. I am posting it here without alo of instructions for the benefit of some people who will be seeing me in person soon.

If you have questions about how to choose the right pieces for you, I will do my best to answer. Or ask me about a Visual IDentity Analysis.

Download worksheet here: Capsule Worksheet.

Feb 292016
 

Style essence: the “character” of the look.

Some examples of commonly-used essence terms are Classic, Romantic, Natural, and so on. Which style essences resonate with you? There are many style systems out there; my opinion is that they work great, if you find the right one for you as an individual. My training, through Carla Mathis (author of The Triumph of Individual Style: A Guide to Dressing Your Body, Your Beauty, Your Self) and The Style Core, focused on building a look “from scratch”; my work revolves around helping women discover the elements of their Signature Style; my brain is constantly trying to systematize everything.

One well-known style essence system is that of Personal Style Counselors’ John Kitchener, popularized by Andrea Pflaumer in her book Shopping for the Real You: Ten Essential Steps to a Better Wardrobe for Every Woman – Fashionistas, Fashion-phobes and the Over Fifty. Kitchener likens the seven essences he uses to circus animals, with Classic in the middle as ringmaster, keeping the animals somewhat controlled.

Takeaway: the degree of Classic present in your face, body, personality, and/or lifestyle informs the appropriate amount of refinement for your Signature Style.

Btw, I am going to try to start posting little tips like this more regularly, but not promising anything. If you don’t want to miss one, they can be emailed to you. Enter your email in the subscription box in the sidebar.

Apr 172015
 

So, I have been having a ball, but also wearing myself out – in a good way. Alot is going on behind the scenes. As I have been working my tail off this week, I have also been thinking – the hero says that is my greatest strength 😉 – especially about how I can be most helpful.

One conclusion: There are some categories of high-value items that I seem to have a skill for finding, like fun leather jackets and cashmere sweaters; I may think of some others. In addition to continuing to offer coordinated outfits, I will start posting some of those items too. You might as well benefit from my finds.

(I know it is not sweater season, but it will be again. Did you know you can put your sweaters in the freezer to keep the moths out? And I wash my cashmere sweaters all the time – just don’t dry them.)

Eventually, I would love to offer mini-capsule wardrobes. Do you think that would be helpful?

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 172015
 

This is a fun season. I don’t mean spring, although this year (my first with an empty nest) is not bad so far; I mean this season in my professional/sartorial life. After years of reading, studying, talking, blogging, and generally obsessing about what to wear and, more significantly, how to know; I have a whole new world of technical information available to ponder. And one of my favorite things to do is to ponder a number of ideas concurrently. You never know what insights might emerge.

So, one day last week, these two excellent posts landed in my inbox on the same day:

And these two posts really got me thinking: about why I haven’t warmed up to the capsule wardrobe concept, about why it doesn’t really feel like it would work for me, about for which body types the styles pictured would work. Along with all the other resident concepts knocking around in my brain recently, these two confirmed my thinking that a capsule wardrobe is doable. But I don’t think it is as easy as we have been led to believe.

The three complications:

  1. silhouette: ideally, if I am to wear a fitted skirt, it will be with a top with a little volume, and vice versa. The best capsule wardrobes would be assembled of pieces which, when combined, create a unified silhouette.
  2. proportion: how many times have I tried to make an outfit with a really great top and bottom that don’t actually meet in the middle? It will be easier to create a cohesive capsule from pieces with length proportions which play well together.
  3. color harmony: even if I get the color values right and there is no apparent clash, there are just some colors I don’t feel as comfortable wearing together. Color combining preferences seem to be rooted in personality. What color is your coat? The simplest capsule wardrobe would include pants only in colors you like with it (your coat probably covers your skirts, otherwise same concept).

This is not a comprehensive list, just a peak into what that burning smell is coming from my ears. After chewing on this for a few days, an example of a smart casual capsule wardrobe that I think really works with these concepts arrived in my inbox via Youlookfab.

Thoughts?

Feb 172015
 

Since the early days of this blog, I have advocated a concept I called the uniform template. Basically, it is a formula of pieces which create a look you feel comfortable wearing in a given season and lifestyle segment. for example, I used the following templates last summer (illustration):

Leisure – shorts and sandals + tee + blazer
Casual – dress and summery flats
Active – yoga pants plus sleeveless top

Recently, I began to doubt the concept. Is it a little bit boring to repeat the same formula every day? I doubted until I began exploring the minimalist wardrobe-building material at Into Mind. What I call uniform template, she calls proportion. And it was the use of that particular word that made me realize the brilliance of the idea.

One of the more complicated elements in an outfit is the proportions. And it is a big deal! Once you have a really great outfit design, doesn’t it make sense to replicate it, rather than starting over from scratch? Using different colors, fabrics, and accessories will create enough variety that you will not look like you are wearing the same thing – a uniform.

I have reached a couple of conclusions on this topic –

  1. I think I like the idea of changing the vocabulary from “uniform template” to “proportion template”. Like? Or perhaps there is an even better alternative.
  2. I want to offer this, the creation of a personalized proportion template, as an add-on service to the Style Line Analysis.

What I would do: starting with the base you like to use (bottom and shoes), for the particular lifestyle segment, I would design a proportion template for your unique body type including the shape of the skirt or pants, how long the top should be, placement of the belt, etc.

Feb 122015
 

Recently I worked with someone who had a number of lovely dresses in her closet, which she would have been wearing if only she had the appropriate shoes! It reminded me of when I identified a major gap in my own wardrobe last November. At this time, my shortage was in the “tops” category; in this Throwback Thursday post from December 3, 2005, I had a different shortage …

Tomorrow is Sunday. No doubt when we leave we will all be dressed, but chances are good that someone will have had some wardrobe trauma in the process. Generally, one of us ladies is the one with the problem and one of the others is the one with the solution. Look out if two of us can’t decide what to wear!

I recall a time a few years ago when my own Sunday morning wardrobe trauma was pretty much weekly. My problem: I didn’t actually own a dress, but every Sunday morning I tried to select one from my closet to wear. My solution: I bought a khaki skirt that I could wear to church with my T-shirts. That skirt was one of the few items I ever paid full price for (I think it was $30 or so), but I wore it several years before selling it on consignment this past summer. In warm weather, I wore it with tanks and sandals. Come winter, it was turtlenecks and boots.

So, figure out your own formula. What do you like to wear to church? I guarantee you won’t find it in your closet on Sunday morning if you don’t actually have it.

Jan 052015
 

… Or forever hold your peace. If not forever, at least until next season.

Yesterday morning I got up and put on a cashmere sweater. I wanted to wear something under it, for any number of reasons not the least of which is to keep from having to wash it frequently, and I had nothing. The thought went through my head,

I should just go somewhere that has longsleeved T-shirts and buy a bunch of them

A little bit later, the hero wanted to do some grocery shopping – as usual 😉 – and we went somewhere that also sells clothes. It is not where I usually shop for clothes, but I was able to find a small wardrobe of longsleeved T-shirts: white and bright pink crewnecks, cream and violet scoopnecks. Two neutrals and two colors. On clearance. The pickin’s were slim, but at least I got some before they were all gone for the season.

January is the ideal time to stock up on basics. In my idiom, long-sleeved T-shirts are not a fashion staple; they are underwear. Suggestion: take the time this week to inventory your winter basics. Then make a plan for replenishing them. 🙂

Nov 202014
 

For TBT, since we have been talking about the limited wardrobe and laundry, I am revisiting my original formula for calculating how many of an item I need. Currently my focus is on tops (undertops: the t-shirts and blouses that are the first item of clothing covering nakedness and underwear on top); a dress could also fill this category. This post is originally from December 7, 2005.

There are those who think it amusing that I actually have formulas and mathematical equations that I use for shopping. Like the one I use to make sure I have the minimum of certain key pieces. Since I wear a wool sweater just about every day that it is below 40, today (7 degrees) is the day I will stop, count, and calculate whether I have enough. Just in case you weren’t absolutely certain that I was nuts, here’s what I do:

a) Figure out my laundry cycle. What’s the longest number of days something might sit in the hamper before it’s ready to be worn again? As an “empty-nester”, I can get my clothes back into rotation quickly after washing them (no baskets of clean clothes waiting to be folded); OTOH it could take me a week to collect enough of any one color grouping to wash a load. I am going to assume ten days as length of laundry cycle.

b) Calculate the percentage of days that I need to be able to wear this type of item. Well … I guess 100%. That is definitely going to make the math easier! 😉

c) Estimate how many days I can wear something before washing it. (When I had babies, I would estimate how many changes of clothes I needed per day.) Um, yeah. I can’t always wear a top more than once without washing it. OTOH, I don’t typically have to get dressed more than once a day. To be on the safe side, I am going to estimate that I can only wear a top twice one out of every four times.

The math:
Multiply a and b, and then divide by c.
In my example, a = 10 day laundry cycle, b = 100% (1.0), c = 1.25; therefore, I need 8 tops (100% of 10 is 10, divided by 1.25 = 8). If I were using 100% separates, working back down the Grow Like a Tree method I would have 8 tops, 4 layers, and 2 bottoms; a total 14 piece wardrobe. If I make all the pieces coordinate with each other, it is beginning to look suspiciously like a capsule wardrobe!

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