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Hallie Abrams

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Diana Vitantonio – Girl Crush

I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Diana for the past 20 years. As both a yoga instructor and socially through mutual friends. And while I could absolutely wax poetic about Di for paragraphs… she really does a better job sharing her passions and calling than I ever could. So read on to learn all about my girl crush, Diana Vitantonio.

My name is Diana Vitantonio and I am a Self Esteem coach for women.  Nothing lights my heart up more than witnessing another woman empower, heal and forgive herself.  She can begin to value herself in every decision she makes.  This is a BIG DEAL.  It seems easy, but this is the deep and hard work of diving into your interior.  All the parts of yourself that you don’t know that well yet.  Above all, It is how you truly love yourself.

Diana’s Work

One of the first things I do with people when I work with them is give them a list of words. Then I ask them to write down the definition. I’ve been doing this with people for over 10 years and what I learned is this…  No one has the same definition for any word.  No one. I learned that it wasn’t important that we all agreed on a definition.  What was important is that we agreed on different ones.  It’s about valuing our experience and everyone else’s at the same time.  No one sees the world like you do.  No one.  This is huge in understanding ourselves and each other. Certainly, it is paramount in healthy boundaries.

For most of my life, I have been able to act confident but I haven’t always had self-esteem.  To me, confidence is what it looks like on the outside. Self-esteem is what it is on the inside.

Sale. Sales. Sales.

There are a gazillion fabulous sales going on right now and specifically, the Shopbop sale is just beginning. It’s a great way to save money. Quite a bit in fact, because many of the sales are a buy more, save more concept. However, it can be overwhelming as well. Too many choices can be paralyzing. Sometimes less is more… So let me help narrow it down for you… And offer a few tips on how to best shop online sales.

How to Shop On-Line Sales:

READ THE FINE PRINT! Make sure to see when the sale ends. And the return policy.
SKIP IT IF IT’S FINAL SALE. Unless you’ve tried the item and know your size, without a doubt. If not, it’ll be yours, like it or not.
KEEP A FAVORITES FOLDER. Most stores allow you to “heart” or “favorite” an item. That way you can keep an eye on it and grab it when it goes on sale.
ASK YOURSELF THESE QUESTIONS BEFORE HITTING PURCHASE. Would you buy it for full price? Can you think of 3 ways to wear it with items you already have? When you walk away from the computer, can you not stop thinking about it?  If you answer yes, then ADD TO CART!
BUY A FEW SIZES AND RETURN WHAT DOESN’T FIT.  Items go fast during a sale. As long as things are returnable, I recommend getting a few sizes (if you’re unsure of the fit) and returning those that didn’t work. If you wait to exchange, chances are it might be sold out.
It’s All About the Timing

Freida Rothman Jewelry

I’m over the moon because a super cool jewelry brand, Frieda Rothman reached out to collaborate. Now when it comes to collabs, I need you all to know, I  turn down about 90% of them. The litmus test is this: Would I wear or use it myself, or recommend it to my personal styling clients. If yes, then I’ll start talking about details like rates, posting obligations, creative freedom (another must for me), and savings codes (I always try to hook you up with some kind of savings). Please know my obligation to serve you, and retain your trust, always supersedes the payout a brand might offer. If I wouldn’t use it, then I’m not sharing it with you all. Period. The End.

So when the Freida Rothman jewelry line reached out, it ticked all of the boxes. Great looking, fair pricepoint, a mission that aligned with my own, excellent customer service, and presentation AND a savings code to boot. I was in!

Use this link and code HALLIEA10 to save 10% off your order!

Red Walmart Scoop Blazer styled by The Wardrobe Consultant

My recent love affair with Walmart

If I do say so myself, I’m a dang good shopper. I take great pride in the fact that I could walk into almost ANY store and find a treasure. However, there is a big difference between finding one or two items and finding a whole slew you want to take home and wear/use ASAP. Sort of like when you go to a restaurant and like one thing on the menu, or want to order the whole left side of the menu – ordering the whole menu is how I’ve been feeling about my shopping experience at Walmart lately.

Yes, this is a sponsored post, and thank you Walmart for supporting my little pieces of the internet. But you all know I would not have taken on this collaboration if I did not firmly and enthusiastically believe in the brand and the products. For that, you always have my promise.

It Started 18 Months Ago…

My Walmart love affair actually started about 18 months before Walmart reached out. I was working with a styling client virtually. She lives in Texas and I’m in Ohio. We had completed the analysis piece of her wardrobe consultation (where we decide what stays, what goes, and what’s missing). And I was on to the shopping/sourcing part of the process. 

My search for a colorful topper to compliment her blue eyes and blond hair (yes, she’s a classic Texas beauty) led me to a turquoise blue blazer from Walmart that truly looked like it could have been a designer piece. Not seeing it in person, I was a little skeptical – but you don’t know if you don’t try, right? And you know what?!? It was FABULOUS! Well made, beautiful hand to the fabric, finely tailored, gorgeous on her, AND only $40! 

A HUGE score! First, no one, and I mean no one would guess that this blazer cost $40. And second, this allowed us to allocate more of her shopping budget to other areas of her wardrobe. A big ‘ol Win/Win, thanks to Walmart!

Fast Forward to Fall 2021

So when Walmart reached out to collaborate this fall I was really excited!

Shoe Purgatory: What It Is and How To Fix It

Shoe purgatory is a topic I feel like I can write about both every fall and every spring. And still, every fall and every spring, like clockwork, I receive questions about it. 

First, let’s start with what exactly is shoe purgatory? Shoe purgatory is that in-between time of year when it’s too cold for sandals and yet, not cold enough for boots.

I know, you’re nodding your head right now, because if you live in Ohio – or anywhere else that has seasonal changes, you’ve encountered this problem too. The cold hard truth is that many shoe wardrobes go straight from sandals to boots (or boots to sandals in the spring) and this in-between time (aka shoe purgatory) is a killer. I was going to say that it is hell – but I’ve used that pun before and felt it was getting stale!

The Shoe Struggle is Real

The other day, I received this message from a person in Cincinnati that’s a member of my private Facebook group, All Dressed Up With SOMEWHERE To Go. Which if you’re not part of, I highly suggest joining ASAP! It’s a private, carefully moderated group where people post fashion questions, ask for opinions, share great finds – and I weigh in with answers too. It’s a great group – everyone is really nice and supportive AND, bonus, it’s kind of a direct line to me, without having to actually hire me, lol!

Ok, anyway, back to the question…

Reader: Will you do a piece on shoe options in this warm weather transition to fall? Especially down in Cincinnati, where it stays hot. I swear, I never know what shoes to wear. It drives me crazy.

Bags, Bags, Bags – Are You A Handbag Person?

I received a question from a reader a few months back (sorry it’s taken this long to give you a complete answer!). Asking about handbags and building a handbag collection. The truth is, from a personal POV, I like bags, but I don’t love them. For me often function trumps fashion when it comes to bags. And in fact, If I can go bag-less and shove items in my pocket (or my husband’s – which does not go well, FYI) I absolutely will take that option.

For my personal wardrobe, I tend to gravitate to clutches and evening bags (often vintage or thrift finds) because I feel they add personality and dimension to an outfit. On the everyday bag front, I typically carry one for the season, and it’s often a tote (because it holds oh so much). And then I leave it in my car when I go into places (ugh, probably not good info to share on the internet but, it’s true).

So basically, this is my way of saying – I needed to outsource to an expert to answer this question.

My Handbag Guru – Pierce Morgan

So when this question was posed, I turned to my bag guru, Pierce Morgan for the answers. Pierce is the founder and creative director of Chicologie, a luxury collection curation and restoration business. Pierce is a walking encyclopedia of bags – old and new. He appraises, authenticates, restores, and sources bags for his clients. And one of his signature services is bag fittings – What bag is perfect for you? What bags should you try? Finding new styles, colors, and brands you’ll love. For more information check out Pierce’s website HERE.

Pierce is Taking Over the Blog This Week…

Fall Trends for 2021

Compiling a list of fall trends is quite an undertaking. But one I totally love! As a “fashion forecaster” and proud fashion nerd, I joyfully and intensely spend hours (maybe even days) surveying what designers, fashion editors, and store buyers are focusing on for the season ahead. I do big-time research each season – viewing the fall runway shows, reading all the old school, print fashion mags (Vogue, Marie Claire, In Style, Glamor, Cosmo, WWD, Harper’s Bazaar, Elle). And all of the digital publications as well (PopSugar, Who What Wear, Style Caster, The Zoe Report, and Pinterest, of course).

Then I create lists, upon lists, upon lists. Asking myself questions and categorizing…What did I see repeated? Did it resonate? Is it feeling new and fresh? And most importantly: what was wearable? Because while fashion is most definitely an art, styling people for everyday endeavors is the marriage of artful inspiration and real-life practicality. Both are integrally important in making one’s wardrobe feel fabulous.

If a wardrobe is purely practical, it can be boring, and conversely, if it is only artful whimsy, it’s super hard to wear. So what’s the sweet spot? The intersection of fresh seasonal inspiration and the way to actually wear it and feel great. Focusing on what key pieces to add that make the old feel new.

Fall Trends AKA, Trend 2.0

In the last 6-12 months I’ve been seeing a new kind of necklace and it’s completely captured my attention. A tennis necklace. It’s basically, a tennis bracelet (aka a strand of diamonds or faux diamonds) but for your neck. It’s not really all that new, but it feels new. Because as with most fashion, what’s old is new again. Or what’s new is a re-invention and new twist put on something that already existed. So too with this new(ish) necklace.

What to Wear When the Calendar Says Fall but it Feels Like Summer

My Jewish readers know the drill. Are the High Holidays early this year? Or late? It’s always a question, year after year. Because unlike Christmas that falls on December 25 every single year, the Jewish calendar is lunar. So our major holidays are always changing. For instance, in 2016, Rosh Hashanah began on October 2, and Hanukkah was on December 24. This year Rosh Hashanah falls on LABOR DAY!! Like, the actual Monday of Labor Day, AKA the official end of summer. According to some outdated fashion rule, it’s also the day you have to stop wearing white clothing (until the next summer, marked by Memorial Day). Just as an aside, I think that rule is total rubbish and you do not need to follow it. But that’s probably more for another column.

Anyway, Rosh Hashanna, for me, marks the beginning of autumn. It’s the big fall kick-off. The Jewish holiday version of the September issue of Vogue. In fact, as a girl, when my mom would take me on our annual back-to-school clothes shopping outing (because back then it was a good thing to outgrow your clothes each year – at my age now, not so much!) One of the most important items to check off the list was a new Rosh Hashanah outfit. 

Rosh Hashanah Usually Means Fall Clothes

Normally, my New Year’s outfit (Rosh Hashanah is considered the Jewish New Year) would be in a fabric or color that felt like fall – think wool, corduroy, or velvet and in colors like brown, camel, or burgundy. Nice rich colors and fabrics that are on point for colder weather. The same way there are distinct foods one associates with certain holidays that make it “feel” like that occasion, so too with specific garments.

I vividly remember the feeling of wearing my new outfit to every Rosh Hashanna family dinner and then to synagogue. And then I’d wear it again for the school holiday concert and any other colder weather events we had. Until, of course, it was time to shop for my new spring outfit (this time it was for Passover).

This shopping ritual to mark important milestones is not just a “Jewish thing.”  My Christian friends had similar seasonal shopping experiences. However, their touchstone holidays were usually Christmas and Easter. Ya know, same song, different tunes.

But, It’s Labor Day!

But this year, with Rosh Hashanah landing literally on Labor Day – a day I think of as reserved for pool parties and backyard BBQ’s – it’s throwing the whole what-to-wear, fall-debut, thing off. Big Time. Personally, as much as I might sacrifice comfort for fashion on occasion, wearing wool tweed when it’s 80 degrees outside is a definite NO in my book. Honestly, I’m sweating just thinking about it.

So the big question is what are we to wear for Rosh Hashanah 2021? The answer: something that’s covered but lightweight. Breathable for outside but can keep you warm in the air-conditioned synagogues. And is on the more modest side, because, let’s be honest, what we wear to a  house of worship should be slightly more conservative than what you’d wear to a club.

Ok, so let’s chat about how to ring in fall and the new year (this year it’s going to be 5782!!) and not melt…

And, BTW, this styling tip is not only for my Jewish readers… there are all kinds of events (work-related, family festivities) that happen when we think it’s autumn, but the thermometer says otherwise. This type of transitional dressing works really well for fall and for spring – the times when it’s usually the hardest to get dressed.

My Girl Crush, Kiya Tomlin

I originally discovered Kiya Tomlin because she’s represented by Hello LLC, a PR firm out of Chagrin Falls run by my friend Michelle Venorsky. Since then I’ve followed her on Instagram and am a big fan. Her designs and the overall brand concept are just WOW!!  

Custom designer, Kiya Tomlin, launched her collection of re-imagined sweatsuits in the Fall of 2014. Inspired by the energy and aspirations of today’s modern woman, the namesake line was designed for women, like herself, with a purpose and passion for life. Uniting cover girl glamor with the comfort and ease of a favorite sweatshirt, her designs embody femininity, versatility, and the constant pursuit of the place where style, function, and luxurious comfort intersect.

Kiya Tomlin is the ultimate female entrepreneur and I’m so excited to share some of her favorite things with all of you