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Hallie Abrams

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What’s a Nap Dress?

This summer has been HOT, HOT, HOT. And rainy, but let’s not talk about the rain. As a woman, especially a woman of a certain age, I’m solidly in my 50’s now, there is an extra getting dressed struggle in the summer. We ladies tend to run warm at this stage of life. And what works best to counteract heat? Ventilation! A nap dress is essentially the ultimate ventilated dress.

Thankfully, trend gods are looking out for us (although this trend is not just for the 50+ crowd). Fashion girls/women of all ages and stages are embracing this style of dress. And it’s the answer to our collective overheating issues.

What’s old is new again…

The nap dress is not a new concept. It’s a breezy dress with an ethereal, Jane Austenesque feel. Think of a nightgown you’d feel ok going out in; that’s a nap dress. Fans of the 1970’s sitcom Three’s Company might call it a Mrs. Roper dress, a mumu (or muumuu), or even a caftan (or Kaftan). They are similar as they are all dresses that are roomy and provide built-in air conditioning. And, equally important, are all dresses considered to be stylish in 2021. Yet, there are subtle style differences to each. 

Here’s my quick rundown of each style:

Muumuu: “a loose often long dress having bright colors and patterns and adapted from the dresses originally distributed by missionaries to the native women of Hawaii” Merriam-Webster

Caftan or Kaftan: “a usually cotton or silk ankle-length garment with long sleeves that is common throughout the Middle East” Merriam-Webster

Nap dress: a nightgown style dress that feels possibly appropriate for guests, or a dress that feels remotely appropriate for bed. (this term is new, so it is not in the dictionary yet)

What makes a dress a nap dress?

Curly Girl Hair

Buckle up, this is a really long and detailed post. It’s no secret that this summer has been hot and humid and rainy. The perfect storm (haha – I’m so punny) for us curly hair girls to be at our witts end. Having curly hair has its own special kind of challenge. And only other curly hair girls understand the love/hate relationship we have with our tresses.

What’s universally most frustrating, I think, is the inconsistency. One day your curls will literally be swoon-worthy, and the next, even if you use the same exact technique and formula, it can be a frizzy, flat mess. Ugh. This is a total IYKYK (if you know, you know) kind of situation. It’s our own personal curly hair purgatory. I won’t call it hell, because it is not all bad, it’s just also not all good all the time.

Curly Girl Hair Frustrations

I typically wear my curly hair straight. I’m a grandma and get a weekly blowdry or use the Dyson Airwrap (read my full review here – it’s amazeballs!) But with the current rain and humidity, my curls are breaking thru. I was publically airing my curly hair dirty laundry on my Instagram Story and sooooo many people responded. Sharing their favorite products or techniques to achieve curly, bouncy, soft, non-frizzy curls. Curly hair girls are the best! And not only that, many of you have reached out wanting to know what I learned and if I’d share. The answer to that is ALWAYS a yes! I am a sharer, possibly an oversharer. But it did take me a while to collect all of the good info – but here is it, finally!

What’s The Best Topper To Wear With Your Dresses and Skirts?

As I was curating a client’s virtual closet for the summer months we talked about making sure to add a wrap, sweater, or jacket to all of her outfits – even her summer and Florida outfits. Why? Because even when it’s sweltering out – when you go inside the AC is blaring and it gets COLD. Or when the sun goes down it gets chilly. Another reason, some ladies want (notice I didn’t say need) to cover their arms. Or for modesty reasons, some need to cover their arms.

Yes, all valid reasons to need a third piece. In addition to the fact that a layer often adds an extra element of interest to an outfit (and ya know how much I love that). However, even though there are so many reasons to throw on that third piece, there is a perpetual issue when it comes to adding a layer to outfits with a dress or skirt. If it’s the wrong piece – or more specifically, if it’s a piece with the wrong proportion, the functional layer ends up looking dowdy and ruins the whole outfit.

Or the third piece looks like an afterthought instead of an intrinsic part of the outfit. Sort of like when someone is going to a black-tie event and throws their Northface puffer over it. Yes, they’re both items of clothing, but they don’t go together. It’s like eating Filet Mignon and Froot Loops at the same meal.

So what’s the best topper to fix this common dressing dilemma?

Nordstrom Sale Wish List

Every year at the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale I get excited, then a little disappointed… But then excited again. As I’m scrolling through page by page creating my Nordstrom Sale Wish List, this is how it normally goes:

Ohhh it’s the NSALE! I’m going to stock up, for myself and my clients! I’ll get all of our fall shopping done in one fell swoop.

Then I look through the preview and it’s a little ho-hum. A whole lotta cake and not a lotta frosting.

And then I remind myself that, that is precisely what the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale is about. It’s a time to stock up on basics – especially the items that need replacing year after year (like pj’s, jeans, tee’s, sweaters, outerwear, boots). With that reminder, I feel a little better and begin my browsing with a different attitude.

Questions to ask yourself when shopping the Anniversary Sale

White Blazers for the WIN

Do you know how some people are bag girls? And others shoe addicts? Well, I consider myself more of a jacket junkie. In other words, I love me a great jacket, or any topper actually. It’s the third piece that really finishes an outfit. And my white blazer is on heavy rotation right now. 

And this season, my most worn wardrobe addition is my white blazer. There’s something about it that makes even my oldest and most repeated outfits feel fresh and new. Therefore, it’s my newest wardrobe MVP.

Really, you can wear a white blazer the same way you’d wear a black blazer. But in the hot summer months, it feels more seasonally appropriate. And even in the spring and fall, a white blazer gives an extra dose of polish to an outfit.

A few things to look for in a white blazer…

Start at the bottom and build your outfit UP.

With the world opening up again (thank you Pfizer and Moderna), travel seems to be on many people’s minds. Travel and special occasions – but I’ll save party attire for another column – this one is all about travel shoe tips!

Some things have changed in the 18 months we’ve all been grounded. Getting back in the swing of travel, airline travel especially can be challenging. Even in pre-pandemic life, packing for a trip caused many people stress. And now, with being so out of practice, it’s even more so.

I help my clients pack for trips both big and small. Regardless of the final destination, a common theme (both pre and post-2020) has been the dire need for travel shoes. Another common theme is the desire NOT to overpack in the shoe department. Most people think they need waaaay more shoes than they do to go on a trip. Shoes take up A LOT of room in your suitcase (and your luggage weight restrictions). That space is precious – use it wisely!

In the past 16 years, my team and I have helped pack for NYC, Aspen, California, Arizona, Florida, Italy, France, Portugal, Ireland, Vietnam, Israel, Japan, Iceland –  you name the destination, and we’ve probably assisted in packing for it.  And, it doesn’t matter what the weather is at the final destination, hot, cold, humid, or wet, all of these traveling gals have had the same conundrum, what shoes to pack and how many are really needed? So, I figured, hey, if this has been the common theme, then why not put it out there for you, too. 

Travel Shoe Tips from the Pros:

It’s Time for the June Hot List

If you’re a long-time reader, you know I sometimes think these Hot List, round-up posts feel like a cop-out. Even though you all seem to love them…But I also feel like that’s my negative talk, self-doubt rearing its ugly head. I know we all have self-doubt, and sometimes the mean voice is louder than others. I also know and but need to remind myself, that what we see of other people’s lives, especially when it comes to social media, is the very well-edited, highlight reel of their life. And so you know – that goes for mine as well.

So, let’s have at it -the top 5 things I’ve been loving this month.

Unrealistic Expectations  – the truth about off the rack clothes

Tailoring may not sound like the most exciting topic but it’s a chat we need to have. My inspiration for this blog often comes from conversations I have with my real-life styling clients. My “creative” process typically goes something like this…

On Monday, client A asks a question. It could be about a new style they’ve been seeing. Or an event or holiday on the horizon. Or even a fashion struggle they’ve been wrestling with. Then on Tuesday and Wednesday, clients B and C will ask something similar. That’s when the bell in my head starts going ding, ding, ding. Ahem, listen up, lady – This topic is blog-worthy! I know if an issue comes up with multiple people in a few weeks, it’s one of those things that is actually on more people’s minds and therefore needs to be addressed.

This past week, the subject that kept coming up as a particular pain point was how frustrating and even tear-provoking it is to buy off-the-rack clothing as a woman. 

Although a very unrealistic expectation, many women have an expectation that mass-produced clothes should fit them perfectly when bought off the rack. And that if the clothes don’t work, straight away, there is, therefore, something wrong with them and their body.

This is SOOOO NOT True…