Wardrobing

KonMari Me

Okay, okay, this is the last Marie Kondo-inspired post (maybe!); but recently my good friend, Tina, asked me to help with her closet and of course I jumped at the opportunity.

See, some people find pleasure in completing the daily crossword puzzle or deep cleaning the grout in their bathroom. My organizational therapy comes in the form of “closet clean-outs” or wardrobe makeovers. Few activities give me as much joy as seeing a closet go from messy and stuffed to neat and color-coordinated.

Not to toot my own horn, but I was reorganizing closets before Mrs. Kondo’s book was published. While we have very similar methods, I’m less into folding and more into arranging items in a way that makes sense and feels second nature. Unfortunately, I was so eager to begin with with Tina that I forgot to take a Before photo, but keep scrolling to get a glimpse of what we accomplished in a four-hour whirlwind!

Step 1: Remove Everything
Seriously, take everything out of your closet and put it on the bed (or clean floor). This step is crucial to gaining perspective of how much stuff you have versus how much you actually wear. Then go through piece by piece and determine what you want to keep. Since I work with Tina, I was able to recognize items that she wears regularly for quick approval.

 

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Step 2: Keep or Release
Having trouble deciding what to keep? If I found an item I had never seen Tina wear I asked the well-known question, “does it bring you joy?” If she hesitated to answer I knew right away it didn’t belong in her closet. You either love an item or you don’t! It’s also important to try things on. Love an item but haven’t worn it in a while? Chances are it doesn’t fit (or fit properly). If something just needs tailoring, great, put it aside. Otherwise, get rid of it. This was true with a super cute pair of pink shorts Tina had bought but never worn. Being the gym enthusiast she is, they no longer fit in the bum. Other items we got rid of were just straight-up dated, like early 2000’s styles that didn’t make the cut into today’s “throwback” fashion trend.

With all the pieces that served you well (thank you, next) make piles based on condition: brand name clothing in good shape can be sold at your local consignment store ($$), where as older or more worn items are better taken to a donation center.

Step 3: Reorganize
Once approved, rehang garments to face the same direction, zip up zippers and button every other button (helps prevent wrinkles and isn’t as annoying as doing every single button), and return the item to your closet. But wait! Don’t just put it anywhere! Although you may end up shuffling things around as you go, try to keep like items grouped together. For Tina, I kept all of her work-appropriate shirts and blazers on the top rack (she’s taller, so it’s at eye-level) and her more casual/activewear tops on the bottom. Longer items will require more space; ideally, you would separate outerwear (jackets and cardigans) from dresses, but in Tina’s case we were working with a shared space. Still, by keeping categories separated, she has easy access to what she needs depending on the occasion. Organizing this way makes getting ready in the morning so breeze — you know exactly where to reach!

 

Now personally, I like to have all of my hangers match in material and color. This may be a slower transition for some, but at the very least get rid of wire hangers! They are tacky and I hate them.

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If you have quite a collection of wire hangers, I suggest bringing them back to your trusted dry cleaners for reuse. We want to reorganize your closet, not create more waste.

 

Let’s talk about what’s on the higher shelves: things you don’t reach for often. In Tina’s case, if she’s not at work it’s likely she’s at the gym (or in athletic wear). We stacked her jeans (grouped by color) so they are visible, but not cluttering her go-to sections. What’s in the shoe boxes, you ask? Not shoes! In the past, Tina had kept almost all of her shoes in boxes, something I’m not a fan of. Not only does this habit take up more space, but you forget what you have when you can’t see it! More on that later. We reused boxes in good shape to store miscellaneous garments and accessories. One box contains sporty pants and shorts (neatly folded into thirds) while two others house her scarf collection (lightweight VS heavy). We made use of matching shoe boxes for His & Hers glove and hat storage in the main coat closet.

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Over her dresses we displayed her fancier footwear. Makes sense, right? If she’s donning on a dress, she’s more likely to reach for one of these than a pair of flats. In the far corner, tucked away, are her situational shoes, i.e. cycling shoes and hiking boots. These are not regular activities, so the shoes don’t need to be easily accessible.

What about all those boxes I was talking about? Check out the Before & After of Tina’s every-day shoe collection! Sneakers are stashed at the bottom (same level as her casual clothes), while her most often worn are front and center.

Yes, we purged a lot of dated and worn shoes. Getting rid of the boxes also helped create space and a more visually appealing display. Shoes so often get tossed around and abused, but they are one of the most functional pieces of fashion. Give your shoes the respect they deserve and display them with pride!

Step 4: Replenish
While going through Tina’s expansive clothing collection, we came across several items that are wardrobe staples, but were too worn to keep. We began making a list of purged items that needed replacing. Some items she had multiples of, like white camisoles: I had her keep two that were her favorite and ditch the rest. Now, when she needs to get a new version, she knows exactly what brand and style she likes best.

Organizing by color also lets you better see your shopping trends. If you have way more black shirts than white it’ll become quite clear. Similarly, if you gravitate towards a certain color you’ll notice it more. In Tina’s case, she had two hot pink items that just didn’t seem to suit her (she’s more of an Autumn). I pointed out that literally nothing else in her closet was the same color and she agreed. Tina can now recognize her color palette and add to her wardrobe accordingly.

Since making over Tina’s wardrobe, she’s been keeping up with the practice and actually enjoys going into her closet! She has added a few pieces, but with intent and understanding of her personal style. She even talked her boyfriend into getting rid of superfluous denim and adopting the Thirds folding technique. Treating your closet like a boutique really does make getting dressed in the morning a pleasurable experience. Fashion should make you feel good and it all starts there!

Have questions about how to organize your own wardrobe?
Want to schedule a one-on-one consultation? Let me know!

 

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Lifestyle, Styling

Spark Joy

Unless you live under a rock, by now you’ve watched – or seen enough memes to know – the Marie Kondo special on Netflix. This petite Japanese woman has simultaneously inspired and shamed all of us into getting rid of stuff that doesn’t “spark joy.” So while doing my own household purge, I began to consider the Konmari Method in terms of life and mental health. If we say Thank You and let go of a shirt that doesn’t serve us, why can’t we do the same to friends and activities that leave us feeling like a deflated balloon?

Think of it like this: what events do you participate in that spark joy? That you find energizing and fulfilling? Do more of that! And surround yourself with friends who support and encourage you versus the ones who thrive on drama and negativity. In addition to my yearly resolutions to work out more and drink less alcohol, I’m making a promise to myself to get involved with people and projects that make my heart happy!

 

In the digital age, social media has us hanging on every like and share. We get FOMO seeing other people’s party pics and spiral into overthinking when a crush doesn’t text us back (but follows all of your IG stories??). Do these actions make us feel good? Hell no! So thank you, next. This year is about trying the new restaurant alone instead of not at all. It’s about staying in for a little R&R on a Saturday night instead of feeling obligated to go out. Above all else, this year is about putting your mental and physical health before your social (media) status.

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A hobby I seem to always go back to is singing. I’ve been singing since I was a kid and have performed numerous times, but at the end of the day I sing for me and no body else. Sure, the applause is nice (credit to my Leo Rising), but nothing beats the feeling of pouring your heart into a song that conveys the emotions you can’t quite explain. Maybe that’s why, as I’ve grown older, my taste has shifted from early 2000’s emo classics to jazz standards of the early 20th century.

 

About five years ago I began singing with a jazz band which transformed into starting a group including my dad and brother, Olive & the Martinis. We recently had a photo shoot to update our website and it’s so cool to see how we’ve all changed. A big difference for me is my body, as I’ve recently embraced my curves instead of trying to fight them. While quite a contrast from my slim collegiate figure, it’s nice to have the sense of self and confidence to know I am more than my physique. I want to treat my body well and keep it healthy, because it allows me to do all those things I enjoy, but I no longer base my value on my ability to conform to society’s very narrow ideals of female beauty. As long as I can sing and dance, garden and create, I’m happy!

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So say Thank You to the friends who taught you that you deserve better, because they did not value you. Thank you to the experiences that helped shape the person you are today, because they showed you how you don’t want to live. This year, embrace yourself and remember that no one but you can define your own success. Continue to find ways to bring joy to your life and spark joy in other’s!

 

 

Special thanks to Cortez Raleigh (location) & Megan Long (photography).

Wardrobe styling by your’s truly 😉

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Styling

Can you dig it?

From Gucci to The Deuce, the 1970’s are in the air this season. If you live in The South, then you know it’s finally cold enough to fully embrace cozy layers and vintage furs (thank you #bombcyclone). I teamed up with two of my favorite local shops, Raleigh Vintage & Quercus, to bring you some far out fashions set against the grit of downtown Raleigh.

In the 70’s stripes reigned supreme. Tube socks, crop tops, and even your mom’s couch were covered in stripes! To make this print more wearable in 2018 look for muted colors and high quality fabrics.

This wool skirt from Raleigh Vintage is a wardrobe staple for any professional woman. Paired with a 1940’s lace blouse, what could easily be a drab ensemble now has an element of mystery. Just ditch the cardigan to take this look from boardroom to bar!

I love how the delicate jewelry designed by Lauren Ramirez (owner of Quercus!) brings a feminine touch to traditionally masculine textiles. Her pieces are small enough to stack together or wear individually, depending on your mood. Personally, I like to put on as many as possible! Check out collections from Tory Burch and Chloe for additional workwear inspo.

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On the other hand, if you’re a fan of the vibrant colors seen in 70’s subcultures, turn to modern designers Gucci and Kate Spade for technicolor styles. The arts&crafts aesthetic of the hippie movement popularized embroidery accents in fashion. Distressed denim and a boho blouse make a groovy pair, baby.

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This is a look that could easily been seen at your neighborhood’s trendy brunch spot or on that cool girl perusing the local flea market. I’ve styled Raleigh Vintage’s 70’s threads with black boots to keep the focus on top, but you could totally throw on your craziest pair of shoes to make this look your own!

Quercus carries a curated selection of unique designers, each with their own vibe. I’m personally obsessed with Hart Variations and their use of iridescent butterfly wings in geometric shapes. It’s probably not intentional, but I also like the idea of their pieces being “reversible,” choosing between the dark and bright side.

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I don’t know about you, but when I hear “winter” I think fur. Everyone will have their own take on the ethics of fur – I only buy vintage or faux – but it’s a hard trend to avoid during this time of year. You can run with the pack, or you can be unexpected and trade your fox for feathers! Marc Jacobs and Loewe have mastered the use of fur, but look to Prada and Alexander McQueen for fine feathers.

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I absolutely adore this feather scarf from RV and if you think these accessories are reserved for formal occasions then think again. Fur and feathers are fabulous textures to elevate any ensemble, be it casual or for an evening event. I’m digging the contrast between the 1970’s wide-leg denim, retro letterman’s sweater, and glam scarf.

I’ve accessorized this very vintage look with simple, yet eye-catching accessories from Cat Bates. Large gold studs are understated and bring out the warmth in the mustard sweater and burnt-orange scarf. Same goes for the indigo-dyed cord bracelet – sometimes a minimalist approach goes a long way!

 

Make sure you check out Raleigh Vintage’s pop-up shop at 19 W Hargett St before they close this weekend! Of course, they’re always available online or at their showroom by appointment. While you’re in the area, Quercus is just around the corner on 201 S Salisbury St. Much love to these fantastic ladies for letting me play dress-up and to Deb for taking stunning photos!

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Styling

The Library Look

For those of you in the Triangle area, I’m sure you’re familiar with NC State’s D.H. Hill library. Erected in the mid-1950’s, D.H Hill was the epicenter of Main Campus and the main library until the completion of Hunt almost 60 years later.

Sometime during the 1960’s, in the midst of the Vietnam war and the Civil Rights Movement, campus decorators presumably decided to cheer up the drab library with mod furniture. Thus, the Ball Chair, designed by Eero Aarnio, became part of the studious scenery.

My favorite local vintage curators, Raleigh Vintage, managed to score one of these during an auction of D. H. Hill paraphernalia a few months back, so naturally we decided to do a photo-shoot! When Andi approached me with the idea, I immediately began thinking about what that chair had been through – like a “if walls could talk” with furniture. I was inspired not only by fashion of the decade (late 60’s/early 70’s), but also how that period mirrors today’s political and cultural climate.

Think about it; during the 1960’s we had a sketch president (Nixon), were in the middle of a war no one wanted to be in (Vietnam), were fighting for equality between races and sexes, and breaking gender roles of the 40’s and 50’s. Sounds familiar, right? So it was quite appropriate to feature a fierce female as the star of the show, being an intellectual and a fashionista, reflecting the similarities of today and yesteryear.

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(Too cute size 7.5 floral flats available online!)

This Ball Chair has seen numerous students, male and female/black and white, sit in its seat to study. This was the era when women began to recognize their value outside of the household. A time when the African-American community began to establish themselves as a group of educated people with more to give than working manual labor jobs.

Here we have Mara with Simone de Beauvoir’s A Very Easy Death. De Beauvoir was a well known intellectual and feminist writer of the early 19th century. I have to assume that some young ladies attending NC State and studying at D.H. Hill were doing so to make their own lives, their own living, and to become their own person (not an extension of their husband).

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This was probably one of my favorite ensembles from the shoot: playful turquoise shorts, a super 70’s ruffle-front blouse and colorful crochet vest. Be on the lookout ladies; sweater vests are back! Gucci and Prada’s Spring collections are a nod to 1970’s workwear, along with J. Crew and their affinity for frills.

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Color is a personal statement, especially in the 1970’s. Current mainstream fashion is too consumed by neutrals and trying to look “understated,” while the 70’s were a time of technicolor: crazy prints and a full spectrum of hues. It’s not just the political atmosphere that feels familiar, but the stylistic choices made by leading designers is a nod to colors and silhouettes popular during the late 60’s/early 70’s (btw, fashion trends do not simply span a decade, but rather cross over between the early parts of one and the later of another). Balenciaga, Miu Miu, and Missoni are just a few of the big names bringing back the vibrant mod aesthetic. (Psst, this Lanvin shirtdress is still available!)

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Too often, today and in the past, females have been the object of the male gaze (see Cindy Sherman). I decided to switch up the roles for this shoot and have the girl go for the guy: because, why not? Why should women play the damsel in destress when we can take care of ourselves? Having a man on your arm is not a need, it’s a luxury. An easily missed detail in this shot is Aziz Ansari’s book, Modern Romance. A highly recommended read that discusses the nuanced differences between dating in the 21st century and how our grandparents got together. A most fascinating chapter talks about how 50+ years ago, people married to get out of their parent’s house, whereas now we have the freedom to become our own person and therefore seek a partner to grow with (not just a body to keep us warm at night).

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I went a little off script with this look. The sweater is from the 50’s and the skirt is totally 80’s, but opposites attract! Mixing decades is one of my favorite things because, just like politics, fashion is cyclical.

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I cannot take full credit for this outfit: Andi is a genius, creating contrast between the vibrant red of the chair and a gray-scale mod ensemble. The coolest thing about this look is that the boots double as pants! Yes, you heard me right. These boots/leggings are the cure to your lazy Mondays. They were also knocked off by Balenciaga for their Spring 2017 collection.

If you want to continue your 1960’s binge, I suggest you watch Good Girls Revolt (Amazon Prime exclusive): a feminist response to Mad Men. It’s a sartorial dream that will inspire your wardrobe and motivate you to stand up for what you believe in. Take no shit: challenge the rules and demand respect wherever you go.

 

Huge thanks to photographer Rodney Boles, models Mara and Ryan, hair by Keisha, makeup by Amity, and wardrobe provided by Raleigh Vintage. Concept and styling by yours truly.

 

 

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Styling

On Point

A few years back I feel in love with a vintage needlepoint handbag from Revolver. Although it was gifted to me that Christmas, it wasn’t until recently that I found a new appreciation for its aesthetic. When I was younger, I felt it could only be worn with more “housewife” ensembles; uber feminine with a touch of kitsch. Now I rock it with distressed jeans and a random white sweatshirt from an Icelandic university. Without fail, I receive compliments on its unique design everywhere I go.

Recently I was visiting with Andi from Raleigh Vintage at their studio and noticed their fantastic collection of needlepoint bags. “I have to do a styling tutorial with these!” Everyone asks where I purchased mine, but they’re all one-of-a-kind. Of course contemporary designers (like Gucci, Tory Burch, and Stella McCartney) have brought embroidery back into the spotlight, but there’s something special about the authenticity (and lower price point) of an original needlepoint handbag.

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So I went into Raleigh Vintage and created three rad ensembles based on their fab handbags. The first was such a thrill: a 1940’s jumpsuit likely used for camping (it unbuttons on the butt!) paired with Prada heels. I love the monochromatic palette of this look, as it allows the colors of the floral print to pop. This is one of those outfits where you can throw it on, put in little effort, and look amazing!

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The next outfit was inspired by my love for mixing prints: I found this great, dark background floral design that picked up the subtle green in a 1940’s check blouse. Paired with an Edwardian skirt, this outfit definitely has some edge.

Tip for curvy girls: this top is a larger size! Not all vintage is an XS! Raleigh Vintage often has pieces made for fuller figures 🙂

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I must admit, this look was not inspired by the bag so much as this amazing 1960’s “carpet” vest! I was channeling my inner Woodstock hippie here, with a touch of menswear influence. This ensemble is not for the shy: not only because of the missing shirt, but it takes a strong sense of personal style to mix different floral prints (plus stripes!). Courage is rewarded, as this look was one of my favorites from that afternoon.

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The last look I put together was actually out of my own wardrobe. I walked in wearing “vintage fit” jeans from GAP, a front-tie white blouse from Anthropologie, and lemon yellow sandals from Steve Madden. I immediately picked up this beautiful bag and loved how it matched perfectly! Neutrals are a great way to start experimenting with a statement piece. Note how my shoes bring out the accent color in the print, tying the look together from head to toe.

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You don’t always have to wear vintage with vintage. Even if you do, try mixing decades! Fashion is cyclical, therefore what was trendy in the ’60’s can certainly be worn with something popular now. The key is to knowing your personal style and prioritizing that over any fad or fashion. I always say, style is in the act of intent: so find a beautiful needlepoint handbag and be inspired!

 

Special thanks to Andi of Raleigh Vintage for taking my picture :]

 

 

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Styling, Wardrobing

Is It Spring Yet?!

Sometimes I wish I lived in California, or Florida, where it’s 70 and sunny like 24/7. Growing up in Raleigh I’ve become use to, and sometimes fond of, our unpredictable weather patterns. We have a saying; “If you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes.” and it’s pretty true: two weeks ago I got sunburned and the next it snowed. But as charming as it can be, our bipolar weather really confuses my wardrobe! As soon as I change over to Spring we have a week of cool 40’s. Over the years I’ve come to transition slowly, mixing bits of winter with the inevitable spring season. Oh, and always bring a jacket wherever you go.

Last September I shot with one of my favorite photographers, Terrence Jones. It was a similar situation – technically Fall but with temperatures hovering around 75 degrees. For my styling inspiration, I decided to mix “winter” fabrics and colors with “spring” prints and silhouettes.

One of my favorite combinations is contrasting a cheery floral print with dark colors. This sheer vintage dress (not for the shy) has a petite scattered floral print to keep the look from becoming too bright. Black & white accessories give the feminine frock some edge.

“Florals? For Spring? Groundbreaking.” Sure, florals for spring isn’t new, but the color palette can be unexpected. Also, leather! I love this look – a little bit schoolgirl, a little bit wallpaper in an opulent home. Together these textures and colors can transition from hot to cold, work to drinks, and everything in-between.

For those less print friendly, try rocking a pastel knit. Personally, I’m obsessed with this vintage 1930’s dickie from Raleigh Vintage. It’s a great layering piece that can be styled jazzy or classy. Throw a leather jacket over your shoulders and hit the bar (like C. Grace) without feeling out of place.

Pastels not your thing? Just show some skin. Not in a slutty way, but in a “I’ve already got my beach bod so bring it!” confidence way. Plus, a fabulous scarf can help cover up should you feel the need (or just get a chill). Also, I’m a firm believer that a fabulous hat can elevate any look, no mater how technically simple it may be. This is one of those situations where less is more. Choose your pieces wisely.

How are you dealing with the sporadic weather? Need help dressing for the seasons? Let me know! I’m here to answer any and all of your fashion questions.

 

Look 1: Vintage everything – except shoes from Art of Style
Look 2: Vintage hat, Ray Ban shades, Topshop top, J. Crew skirt, Marc Jacobs heels
Look 3: Vintage hat, thrifted bralette, Raleigh Vintage knit, Art of Style trousers, Nasty Gal platform heels
Look 4: Vintage hat, Alexander McQueen scarf, thrifted bralette, Art of Style skirt

Big thanks to Melissa G. S. for creating my face and assisting me with my curls 🙂

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Lifestyle

Good People

Surround yourself with good people

People who make you use big words
Who get you talking about something other than boys

People who make you want to be great
Not because they’re better,
but because they encourage you to be better

Surround yourself with good people
Friends who can pick up a conversation from six months ago
… or six years ago

Friends who love you for you

Surround yourself with good people
and you will be good people

 

Coming from The South, it is not uncommon to hear of a single person being referred to as “good people.” This colloquialism ultimately serves to specify a particular person as being respectable, down to hearth, and just generally good. Throughout my life I’ve come to use the phrase to refer not only to my best friends, but to people who I can count on. “Good people” doesn’t have to be the most law-abiding citizen. “Good people” may curse and drink too much, like to gossip and have their lazy days, but when push comes to shove they stand up for their friends and don’t take shit from anybody.

For 2017 I hope to meet more good people and keep them in my sphere of influence. Good people are crucial for personal development. You are who you surround yourself with.

Thank you to the good people I have in my life. You remind me every day that I’m not crazy, that not everyone is stupid, and our world is not doomed 🙂

 

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