Category

Style & Fashion

Category
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 The basic premise is that hair parted on the side, the crying emoji, and wearing skinny jeans are all outdated (aka, for old people!!).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

How to Wear Any Color and Look Good Too!

Let’s start by addressing the question: Can I only wear specific colors? The answer is: You absolutely, positively, can wear any color you want and look great doing so! Questions revolving around color are THE most asked questions from readers, Instagram and Facebook followers, and real-life styling clients… “what color should I wear?” “what colors should I stay away from?” “can I wear red (or yellow or pink or olive or any color you’re unsure about)?”

People are seemingly consumed with what colors they can and cannot wear. And honestly, it doesn’t need to be that hard. Maybe it’s because people had their colors done during the color analysis craze of the 1980s and categorized to be a spring, summer, winter, or fall. That assessment then dictated ALL the colors they would or would not wear for the foreseeable future.

Trigger Warning – Unpopular Opinion Alert

In my opinion, the whole concept of the right colors has become just too complicated. It doesn’t need to be, and I’d like to suggest throwing it all out the window. I might get some hate mail about this. Or color analysis devotees sending me dm’s to say how having their colors analyzed was a life-changing event for them. And, if it’s done right by you, that’s great – keep doing it. 

But the majority of people I see are hindered rather than empowered by their color category – the rules they’re trying to follow have made things more complicated, not easier. And that’s just backward. It’s frustrating to see. So if it’s frustrating for me to witness, it must be even more disheartening to experience.  Please understand, this is coming from me!! I’m both a rule follower AND a rule creator (cough cough, The Rule of One, The Third Piece Rule, and The 2 Out of 3 Rule, to name a few). So it’s not that I’m anti-rules. Instead, I’m anti-complications. 

Don’t Box Yourself In…

Another Easy Outfit Formula

The feedback I’m receiving from all of you, dear readers (did you catch the Bridgerton allusion there?) is that you LOVE these fashion rules! And I couldn’t be happier! However, there is a chance I may eventually run out of formulas to share. But until that time comes, I’ll keep cranking them out as fast as my mind can process.

The truth is that these fashion rules are somewhat intuitive to me. They’re second nature. I see the various elements of an outfit and what needs to be added or taken away. I don’t think a lot about it; it just IS until I’m working with a client and need to step back and explain. 

When I take that step back, out of my very active brain (it works kind of like a slot machine as I’m searching for outfit combos – a great outfit is like three cherries) and simplify the steps or reasons, I’m able to create the rules. No, I’m not saying this is fashion for dummies (I hate that name, it’s so condescending) – but the breakdown often makes it easier to digest. 

Dressing is Just an Optical Illusion

As I’ve said before and will probably repeat a zillion times, dressing is the ultimate optical illusion. No one, NO ONE, not even Jennifer Aniston, has a perfect figure. But what people that seem to have an ideal figure do, is use clothes to their advantage to create the appearance of balance and proportion.

These outfit formulas are the foundations for creating visual harmony and making most looks work. They’re the infrastructure of the ensemble. Once these basic formulas feel comfortable, and if you’re in the mood to step it up, you can build upon them to make outfits even more multifaceted and exciting.

When working with clients, I often refer to outfits as mild, medium, and spicy. The same elements and ingredients apply – but just like in a recipe, you are more heavy handed with some aspects if you want to get really spicy. The 2 out of 3 rule is a foundational outfit formula. Consider it mild in the clothing/food analogy. But once this principle is mastered, it’s easy-peasy to add some spice.

Outfit Ideas for the Teen & Twenty-Something Crowd

One of the really special things about the readership of this blog is that it’s quite wide ranging. Yes, there’s a business philosophy to “niche” down, and get very, very specific as to who your audience is. And I can see the benefits to that, but I personally love the fact that the community represented here is so diverse. When I look at my analytics I get giddy. This blog is read weekly by 8,000 people (and counting). By both women AND men. By people ranging in age from 15-85 years old. And in 50 different countries! And I am deeply grateful and fully aware that with out all of you spreading the word, telling friends and family and co workers , that growth would not be possible.

So, when I am planning what topics to cover, what to write about and generating outfit ideas, I try to keep the various readers in mind. When we use to go out (oh how I miss those days) my greatest joy would be when a  college kid, a mom and a grandma would all comment on that weeks blog. The same topic, but they were each able to relate from their own perspective. And knowing all of these different people feel that they’ve learned something here is my emotional currency.

Outfit Input with My Teen

For years, my 17 year old daughter Maggie’s friends would say “you’re so lucky, your mom can style you and give you outfit ideas”. And to that she’d subtly roll her eyes. The LAST thing she wanted was my opinion on what she was wearing. The one caveat however, was for special occasions such as weddings, bar mitzvahs, and holidays, she was open to my outfit direction. Other than that, she wanted to make her own choices.

Trying Out Different Styles = Creates Confidence

No Buy January: How To Shop Your Closet Instead

Maybe you’re on a shopping freeze post-holiday or you’re just sick of shopping and need a break – either way, shopping your closet is the key to literally making the most of what you have.

January is a month of resolutions. It’s a month full of big hopes and sometimes, disappointments. We’re conditioned to expect diet and exercise resolutions. In recent years, however, there have been movements to reset other excesses that come after the holidays as well. Most recently Dryanuary (aka dry January – starting the new year on a sober, clearer, more refreshed note) and No Buy January, where only essentials (groceries, medicine, household supplies) are purchased.

Those of us that use shopping as a vice (cough, cough) might find it a sizable challenge to go an entire month without purchasing clothing, home goods, or cosmetics. But just because it’s a challenge doesn’t mean that it’s bad. Taking a month-long break, especially after the shopping frenzy that can accompany the holidays, is a way to reset and establish new habits. 

A Closet Full of Clothes But Nothing to Wear

Do you know how many people I speak to that have a closet full of clothes but feel like they have nothing to wear? Even if you’re not participating in a no-buy January, mindfully spending time shopping your own closet before hitting the stores can give you a fresh perspective on that closet full of clothes.

Shop your closet is an exercise I do with EVERY SINGLE styling client. Because, we need to see what you have, and how it makes you feel before we go out and buy new things. The rational mind gets it, how can we know what you need, if we don’t have a sense of what you already have. The emotional mind, not as much, but that’s why I’m there to support.

That doesn’t mean I’m condemning all shopping. Far from it. What I encourage is intentional shopping – and shopping with intention can only come from taking stock of what you already have.

Ok, I’ll get off of my soapbox and give you the deets and the how-tos for shopping your own closet.

Target, Take Me Away…

When in doubt, do a Target run, right? I remember when my kiddos were little, it would be my escape. Like my version of a Calgon bath. Remember those commercials that aired during Love Boat? That was me, walking the aisles of Target alone! And being able to get clothes and food and pharmacy and lightbulbs, and home decor, and dog food all in one place. It was indulgent, relaxing and productive all at the same time.

Now when I have Zoom fatigue, and it’s too cold out to take a walk, I’ll roam the virtual aisles of Target. And you know what I’ve recently found? Fabulous Zoom ready tops for under $40! Yup!!

I’ve had a few clients looking at add a few fun pieces to their Zoom outfit rotations (and at the same time not spend too much). And my virtual Target run hit the mark.  I’m sharing a pretty well curated list of the best pieces to get from Target right now. And they’re all $40 or under (and are $20 or $25!) Ya gotta love that!

Zoom Outfit Fatigue..

Trends – LOVE ‘EM? HATE ‘EM?

Let’s start by dissecting the word “trend” – truthfully I despise the word. It’s polarizing. It can be interpreted very positively, as a status symbol, something to strive for. And conversely, as fleeting, superficial and trivial. In my humble opinion, neither definition is completely correct when discussing fashion trends.

When I do a new client intake, I always ask where that person wants to be on the “trendy” spectrum. It’s an important part of a style self evaluation. Do they see themselves on the cusp of a trend, or completely classic? As with anything, it’s a matter of degrees as well as comfort level. My goal is for clients to look and feel true to themselves, yet still modern. Not as if the latest issue of In-Style Magazine threw up on them, but also not like they’re stuck in a different decade. Current, timely, modern – that’s the style objective.

How to Approach Trends

Sometimes a small change can make a big difference. That’s how I like to approach trends. I spend a whole lot of time perusing fashion magazines, street style blogs, runway shows and retail websites – all the while looking for two key factors that help me assess if a trend has staying power or is just a flash in the pan…