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Style & Fashion

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Can You Wear Suede in the Summer?

Three times this past month I’ve been asked if it’s okay to wear suede in the summer. Three times!  And you know what? That’s not uncommon. I file it under questions I get asked every April & May. Along with “Do, I have to wait for Memorial Day to wear my white jeans?”

Is it because suede has traditionally been known as a cold-weather material? Along with textiles like cashmere and shearling? Or is it because of certain fashion faux pas rules that have been ingrained into many of us through the years? You know, those combinations that, when worn, will send the fashion police after you with their sirens blaring.

Supposed Fashion Faux Pas

You CAN’T wear:

White after Labor Day
Blue and black together
Sequins during the day
Suede in the summer
I call bologna on all these cannots. And am here to assure you that the fashion police no longer give tickets for any of these offenses. In fact, I’d say, every single one of these supposed faux pas now falls in the category of a fashion DO. Funny how that works, isn’t it?

Is It Seasonally Inappropriate?

But back to the subject at hand: suede in the summer…

The Best White T-Shirts

Last week I got another one of those SOS messages…

“Help Hallie! I’m headed on my first vacation in over a year and looking for some great white t-shirts. What are your favorite brands? Thanks!”

And it got me thinking… Like white jeans, a great plain white t-shirt is one of those items we’re always on the lookout for. They need to be replaced often (every year or two) in order to stay clean and bright. And if you’re like me you have a favorite that you’re holding on to for dear life and then others that you like, but maybe don’t completely love.

IMHO – a white t-shirt is a foundational piece in a wardrobe. And it’s not a one size fits all proposition (ha-ha pun intended!) I typically recommend having a short sleeve, sleeveless and long sleeve version in your wardrobe. Unless you have specific reasons for not wearing one of those styles (like modesty – no sleeveless, or hot flashes – no long sleeve) they each play a role in your wardrobe.

The Essential Elements to Look for in a White T-Shirt:

Do you Remember How to Get Dressed? We’re So Out of Practice.

Yes, it’s the best news ever that vaccines are plentiful, and travel is resuming. Weddings, Bar Mitzvahs, general socializing, and gatherings are happening again! I’m cautiously optimistic. Are you? But in the same breath, the idea of getting dressed again and wearing going out clothes feels a little scary. We are sooooo out of practice!

I know I’m not alone in this because I’ve received emails, texts, and a bunch of DM’s asking for help dressing post-quarantine. 

“Hallie, we’re going out for the first time in over a year this weekend; I’m so excited but also confused. I don’t remember how to get dressed! What should I wear to go to [INSERT OCCASION HERE] Dinner With Friends, On A Date, Girls Night Out, My Friends Wedding, etc.”

Yes, we’ve gotten dressed this past year of covid/quarantine, but not in the same way. And it feels strange. Because we’re out of practice, big time. It’s like the runner that ran every day and then took 12 (ok 14) months off – it’s difficult to just pick back up where you left off. You’ve got to ease into it and build up that muscle memory and stamina again.

But don’t worry too much. It’s like riding a bike. Once you get going, it’ll all come back to you.

Hot Vax Summer = Going Out Clothes

Retailers are reporting that sales of “going out clothes” are on the rise! Hallelujah! The hope is that it’s signaling consumers are ready to kick their “comfy clothes” to the curb, or at least put them in the drawer for a bit. According to Marshal Cohen, retail analyst for market research firm NPD Group, “apparel and footwear sales are starting to show some signs of life.”

Some are dubbing Summer 2021 “Hot Vax Summer.” The feelings of hopefulness combined with the pent-up energies post mass isolation draw some parallels to the roaring twenties. Hot Vax Summer may be hedonistic for some, but it will be a good old celebration of life for many others. As Cohen states, people are saying, “I need a new outfit. I need to feel good again. I need to feel alive and refreshed.”

Get Ready for Some Peacocking

The other forecast is that there’s going to be a “peacocking effect.” According to Wiktionary, Peacocking is “Ostentatious dress or behavior employed by a man in an attempt to impress women.” But this summer, the prediction is that post-pandemic folks will be full-on peacocking – both men and women – for all to see. The belief is that there will be a return to dressing to impress. Get your going-out clothes ready. Not at the level of wearing ball gowns to the grocery store. But there’s excitement surrounding getting dressed up.

Don’t worry; I’m Here to Help.

Who Doesn’t Love a Shopbop Sale?

This started as one of those quick posts. A down and dirty roundup of the best white t-shirts. And then I realized it was the Shopbop sale. And not only do I love me a good sale, but the Shopbop sale is ALWAYS a good one. If you’re a long-time reader you might remember I snagged the Lela Rose dress I wore for my daughter Maggie’s Bat-Mitzvah at this sale a few years ago. And that dress is still one of my most favorite pieces in my closet.

So, next week you can look for the best white t-shirts round up. And this week are my picks from the iconic Shopbop SALE!

This is how the sale works this time around… the SALE ENDS APRIL 16 AT 12:59pm (PACIFIC TIME)

 The Search for the Perfect White Jeans

It’s that time of year. The weather is warming up and we’re all beginning to think about our “summer” wardrobes.  And for many, that means the eternal search for the perfect white jean. BTW, this quest happens every year. This year it’s compounded by the fact that many of us didn’t get dressed or go out or shop in 2020. So we’re out of practice.

Summer clothes are a happy place for some people. However, for others, it is a stressful season for getting dressed. The weather is hot (hello sweat). And summer clothes are more revealing. So those (myself included)  that feel more comfortable camouflaging our perceived body imperfections in darker colors and layers are out of luck. Not really, but it can for sure feel that way.

A Warm Weather Staple

White jeans are a warm-weather wardrobe staple. They feel “summery” because they’re white. Yet they still cover. So that’s good. BUT finding the perfect white jeans is like the search for the holy grail.

And add to the equation the fact that white jeans need to be replaced more often than their blue denim counterparts, and we feel like we’re constantly searching for the perfect pair of white jeans!!

When to Replace Your White Jeans

White jeans, like white t-shirts, require more frequent replenishment. White is crisp and bright. It goes with everything. And it also yellows and stains more easily. When it loses its luster, it is time to say goodbye. Refreshing white clothes with OxiClean or Clorox is a good idea, but be careful. Those products break down the clothing fibers and then the pieces get holes or just look worn out.

Another white jeans issue is that they’re not extraordinarily forgiving. So gaining a pound or two (or ten) factors into the replacement factor as well.

So needless to say, every woman I know is always looking for “that” pair of white jeans.

How To Find Your Perfect Pair

The Ultimate Guide To Pairing Shoes With Different Pant Styles

Remember last time, we chatted about the longevity of skinny jeans? And the fact that some newer pant styles, with wider legs, are making their way onto the scene? And do you also remember that I said because of this shift, there’s an ongoing conflict about what shoe or boot to pair with these wider leg styles?

Well, this week, I’m addressing that very issue. It’s a subject that’s been coming up over and over again with clients, blog readers, and social media followers too. And for good reason. Shoe and pant combinations are an area many people struggle with. Even before the shift toward wider pant styles, it was challenging to know what shoes to pair with pants.

When the pants and footwear of an outfit are out of sync it feels off. It’s like having Froot Loops and filet mignon at the same meal. On their own, or in a different combination, they’re fantastic. Together, not so much. There’s an incompatibility.

Why is the shoe/pant situation so difficult? Well, for a few reasons…

Hallie Abrams, The Wardrobe Consultant wears the Madewell, Ruffle wrap midi skirt in Spring Fling, two ways

Let’s Get Dressed Up – Spring Dresses for Passover + Easter

What a long, strange trip it’s been… With the one-year anniversary of the “two-week lockdown” to “flatten the curve”, it feels at once like both the longest and shortest year in history. Last year at this time, there was no thought of spring dresses. I was struggling to wrap my head around what quarantine meant in regards to the spring holidays (and life in general). And happily, this year, there’s hope.

There literally is an energy shift I’m feeling. Are you feeling it too? The weather is getting warmer, vaccines are becoming more available, people are joyful, and looking forward to connecting again! Just in time for the spring holidays too – Passover and Easter. Plus, the CDC said fully vaccinated grandparents can hug their grandchildren. So now we have a good reason to get dressed and celebrate!

Spring Dresses for Passover, Easter, Mother’s Day, Graduation, and more

For many years I’ve written a post on spring dresses for these holidays ( knowing that type of dress can be worn again for Mother’s Day, Graduation, bridal, and baby showers). There’s something about getting a new dress for a holiday that makes it feel extra special. Maybe it’s a throwback to childhood and going shopping with my mom and grandma for Passover dresses.

When I was little I’d need a new dress because I was “growing like a weed”. And the previous years’ dress was too short. This year, I’ve also grown, but not in the vertical direction!! So if you’re like me, and some of your favorite dresses from years past might not be fitting like they used to… don’t fret. Think of it as a time to celebrate your new size and do a little spring shopping. That’s precisely what I’m gonna do!

Are Skinny Jeans DEAD?

Oh. My. Gosh. Have you seen ALL the drama that’s happening over on TikTok? People (non-Millennial women, mainly) are in an uproar! The excitement involves the status of skinny jeans and what wearing them signifies. The basic premise is that hair parted on the side, the crying emoji, and wearing skinny jeans are all outdated (aka, for old people!!). 

I get it. As the years pass, things become classified as more in or out. And it’s the role of the younger generations to differentiate themselves from their parents and grandparents generations. It happens through music and fashion in particular. Think Elvis (and his gyrations, banned on TV) or Madonna (and her Like A Virgin tour, along with her lingerie as clothing). 

That’s evolution from an art and style standpoint. And, it’s the same reason I kind of cringe when I see my high-school hairdo (serious 80’s BIG HAIR). I’ve evolved, and (thankfully) that style no longer represents who I am. When we look at ourselves in the past, it is purposely meant to make us feel uncomfortable because that means we are continuing to grow. Evolution and progress happen from a beauty and fashion standpoint and on a human psyche level. In both hair and character, I hope that I’ve moved forward in the last 30 years. 

Evolution or not, labels sort of annoy me. Marking something “in or out” or “young or old” can be an unfair description. That being said, I do believe some styles are more modern and current the same way some styles are more flattering. Nonetheless, if it makes you feel comfortable, confident, and you like it – you should wear it! You are the ultimate maker of your own style!

But Are Skinny Jeans OUTDATED? 

Skinny jeans, are NOT outdated. Rather they’ve moved to the category of a classic style. So yes, you can keep wearing your skinnies if you like them. And I personally am keeping a few pairs in my wardrobe. However, if you’re like many of my clients and readers that are writing in saying they’re feeling ”off” when they put on the skinnies they once loved, I’d recommend adding a crop, flared, or straight leg jean to the denim repertoire. A wider leg (notice I said wider, not necessarily wide, just not skinny) is the most recent trend for ladies of all ages.

I’ve been talking about this for a while. In fact, my post from 2017 about how to wear skinny jeans but make them feel updated still rings true. In the past four years, there has been a steady shift away from skinny jeans. It doesn’t mean they are out entirely, but you’re seeing in stores and on people, jean styles other than just skinny jeans. So the time is right to add a new jean style to your denim collection.

What’s the New Rule When It Comes to Jean Style?

Spring 2021

Spring 2021 it’s here, and I’m ready for it, sort of. I have to be honest, in normal years I’d have spent weeks, even months getting my thoughts together about the upcoming season. It’s historically a process I love and one that energizes me. I look at all of the runway shows and read up on fashion editors’ trend reports.  Taking note of what retailers are showing for the season. I then scour street style to see it in action, off the runway. And I observe people, on the street, at the airport, at restaurants – like creatures in their native habitats, lol!  And THEN, I compile my lists – what is speaking to me, what I saw showing up in multiple places, what’s looking modern, and what I think real people (not models or influencers) would and could actually wear.

But this last year has been anything but normal. Some days it takes all of my reserves just to get dressed and to be pleasant (note I didn’t say nice or happy, just pleasant, as, in not a raging B word) to my family. Fashion, style, and pretty things in general, traditionally lift my spirits. But, this last year has been a challenge for all of us, and hitting the pandemic 12-month mark, leaves spring 2021 feeling like a conundrum to me…

Feeling Hopeful, but Confused for Spring 2021

On one hand, I’m hopeful. The days are longer. The weather a bit milder, at least this week. And the vaccines are providing optimism. A glimmer. We can go out and get dressed in the near future!

Yet, on the other hand, it’s confusing. When we go out, what will going out look like? Will the clothes I have even still fit? Have styles kept evolving this past year even though we’ve all been wearing lounge sets? Will I even remember how to get dressed?

To put it in perspective, these are questions some my clients have shared. And if I’m being authentic, they’ve crossed my mind as well. Dressing up is a happy place for me, not typically one of worry. So for those that have a complicated relationship with clothes and getting dressed, this season can feel like getting dressed stress, on steroids!

Don’t Worry, I’ve Got You