Monthly Archives: February 2012

Swimming in Style

Let’s discuss a topic that most women run from – swimwear. For years I hated shopping for a bathing suit. I see places on my body I didn’t know existed, road maps that lead to nowhere, and the dreaded C word – Cellulite!

So, I decided to take a different approach to shopping for swimwear. It has made my life easier and it just might do the same for you. I begin with the cover-up.

As you know, I love to shop in the lingerie department for the perfect “clothing” find. While shopping, I found a perfect sheer, leopard-print robe. The robe length is mid-calf, and it has a simple closure only at the waist. This allows the “cover-up” to show just enough, but not too much. The fabric is sheer enough to allow the silhouette of the bathing suit to show through, but not sheer enough for my perceived flaws to show. This is the basis of my swimwear.

The hard part is over! All I need is something to wear underneath the cover-up. So I found an inexpensive solid black one-piece to wear underneath. (I added a brown one-piece as well so I could switch up). There was no trying on swimsuits under the scary dressing room lights. No ordering of dozens of suits, only to be disappointed by how I thought I looked, and then sending them all back. I now have a cover-up AND a suit, or two.

Let’s accessorize. I add some black sandals with painted toenails included, a big straw hat, and sunglasses (they are bifocals, Ssh).

Sunscreen is a must for my mighty translucent skin, so I slather in it and wear a lipstick that has sunscreen in it as well. I keep my makeup to a minimum since the bulk of my face is hidden under a hat and glasses.

As I have a great respect for the water and am allergic to swimming, I sit under an umbrella and read a book, with my bifocals. But if I did choose to take a dip, I am dressed in style and confidence which allows me the freedom to enjoy the experience.

Stay Real,

Julia

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Dressing in Threes

I am a huge fan of dressing in threes. And by this, I mean a bottom, top, and jacket or version thereof. I dress in threes whether at work, social events, or casual days. It is “my style.”

So starting with this topic of dressing in threes, I have decided to play on these words and create a test for myself. Please feel free to join me in this, as I am interested in your comments.

I will choose three pants, three skirts, three jackets, three solid blouses, three printed blouses,three pairs of shoes, three purses, and three sets of jewelry from which to create outfit combinations. I am allowed to use only these items to come up with as many different non-casual combinations of outfits before repeating a combination. I decided not to set a goal of time, but rather a goal of how many different combinations I can create before creating the same look twice, or caving in to the other wonderful pieces in my closet. The changes of jewelry, shoes, and purses do not constitute different combinations; I just threw these in for giggles.

I will begin this challenge on March 1st, because that is the beginning of my spring season. Here are my tentative choices:

  • Pants:  Gray, Black, White
  • Jackets:  Black, White, Red
  • Skirts:  Black, Khaki Glen-plaid, Black and white tweed
  • Blouses: three solid, three multi-print
  • Purses:  Red, Turquoise, White with huge flower on front
  • Shoes: Black pumps, Dove Gray tasseled kitten-heeled pumps, Faux snakeskin sling-backs
  • Jewelry: 1.) Antique coin necklace with both white and yellow gold, coin bracelet with white and yellow gold, diamond studs, 2.) Silver pendant, silver cuff bracelet, silver studs, 3.) Gold necklace, gold link bracelet, and gold cuff hoops

All of these items should fit on ONE rolling rack. I will set this up in the guest room so I will not be tempted to visit my closet.

As much as I love my clothes, this will be a true test of my undying love for every piece I own. But if I succeed more than one month, then I might realize I have more pieces than I really need and dearly love. Nah, I really need and dearly love them all.

I will keep you abreast of my progress.

Wish me luck!

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Guess What I Did!

I decided that yesterday was the day to change my hair color. I wanted to change the naturally-dyed brown hair of yesteryear, to the naturally-stripped white hair I have today.

Boy were my eyes opened! I had no idea how hard this task would be. It only took a team of four to do this. Kudos to my hairdresser and team, because they succeeded.

I had decided the day before, on a whim, that it was time to be a big girl and accept my “natural” hair color. Now, I have not seen this natural color except when the roots begin to show. In fact, I have not worn my natural hair color since I was 18, but I have reached a point in my life where I want to wear my “natural” hair color. I see some irony here.

Since my hair was dyed its natural-brown color only two weeks ago, it was a nice, strong, dark color. And just two months before that, I changed my nine-year red color back to my “natural” brown. So, at the time I scheduled my appointment, I did not realize that taking dark-brown hair (over nine years of red color) to white, may take more than a couple of hours. In fact, I never realize the extent of time and effort of any of my undertakings until they are complete. Hind-sight is great teaching tool.

After three processes and six hours later, my hair is now stripped to its natural, white color. I love it! Maybe nature does know what it is doing.

But remember, hair color is an accessory and can always be changed on a whim. I am living proof.

Stay Real,

Julia

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The Color Wheel

A color wheel is a definite closet must-have.

Think of getting dressed as creating art. You are the canvas, and your clothing is the color medium used for creating the work of art. The color wheel displays the colors, defines the various combinations of color, and shows how the colors work together.

Let’s look at some examples of how a color wheel helps me put together a wardrobe that uses my best colors, while putting together outfits that go.

I have a pair of dark purple pants that I adore. They are the starting point of my outfit. Now, what do I put with purple pants? I pull out my color wheel and see that the complimentary color to purple is yellow. Guess what? I have a yellow jacket in my closet and it pulls together my basic “suit,” so let’s move on to the blouse. Well, I have a silk blouse with gray as the background. The blouse pattern contains the colors blue, red, and green. The print is large, so the gray basically fades away. Blue and yellow makes green, so the yellow goes. Green is the complimentary color to red, so that color also goes. And blue is close to purple on the color wheel, so that combination also works. I have just created a beautifully-colored outfit that is uniquely mine.

Now, let’s pull out that color wheel and see how many other “suits” or outfits we can put with that one blouse. Since I am big on mixing prints with pinstripes, this blouse goes with a navy pinstripe with ease. I also have a gray suit, three if I remember correctly, so this is a no-brainer. Black or white suits would definitely pop with this blouse.

What if I were to pair the blouse with jeans and throw on a red cardigan or jacket? And let’s not forget the yellow jacket. What a color combination!

The color wheel saves many a closet meltdown. You are running late, and you grab the first suit available that happens to be navy. Grab a blue or green blouse. Those colors are beside blue and will look polished and understated.

Color is used in art. Color is used in nature. But mostly, color is used in creating a beautiful style – yours.

Stay Real,

Julia

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Do You Know Yourself?

Can you pull one outfit from your closet that had to take you through today? The rules are you must wear the outfit all day, and the outfit has to include the clothes, one pair of shoes, one purse, one makeup look, and one set of jewelry or accessories needed to complete this outfit. Can you do it?  Would it take you one swift walk through your closet and all would be chosen? Or, would you sit in your closet wondering where to begin, what looks best, how can I narrow the outfit down to one? I hate this question.

For those that can answer a solid yes, then I applaud you. You know your style, you know your best colors, your body shape, but most of all you know yourself. You are the basis of your wardrobe. You can take this outfit, add a few pieces that “go,” and shine for the whole world to see. 

Now, if on the other hand, you stare at your closet, and can’t figure where to begin, maybe you need to get to know yourself. Getting to know yourself begins with honesty. You must be honest with yourself about your body shape, your best colors, clothes that represent your lifestyle, your stage in life. You! Remember, your wardrobe is an extension of You. One cannot build a wardrobe until they know themselves.

The great thing about knowing yourself is that you will begin to make the right purchases to achieve that perfect wardrobe, to present the real You. You will not be swayed by sales, fashion trends/nightmares, pressure from the sales clerks, or from friends.

Getting to know yourself is not magical, nor does it happen overnight. It takes trial and error to learn yourself so the world begins to see “You” emerging. I believe that failures are the best teachers.

Once you have reached the ability to pull the one outfit from your closet, and all the other pieces in your closet go with that outfit, then you will begin to know yourself.

Stay Real,

Julia

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Does this Match?

How many mornings have you had a closet meltdown because you couldn’t find anything to wear? You tried on different combinations, but they just didn’t match, so you just picked up whatever you could find and put it on.

Rather than asking the question: “Does this Match,” what if you replaced the word “Matched” with the word “Go?”

You do need your “black suit” to match, because it is the basis of your wardrobe. But, when I shop for non-suit pieces, I view each piece I add to my wardrobe as a work of art. These pieces do not always match, but they always “go.” Somewhere in the subconscious, I pick up on an underlying theme, be it color, style, or some other attribute. I know it will go.

As a lover of menswear fabrics, I match tweed with herringbone, hounds-tooth, glen plaid, etc. Do these fabrics match? No. Do they go? Yes.

I mix prints with pinstripes. Again, does this match? No. Do they go? Yes. In fact, many compliments are given on the creative use of fabrics in creating the looks.

So when purchasing items for your wardrobe, ask yourself, “Does this Go?” You might be pleasantly surprised by the difference.

Stay Real,

Julia

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