Now is the Time to Stock Up on Summer Basics

image of tank tops, seasonal bargains

It’s that time of the year. Time to stock up on summer basics for your wardrobe. These may be for this year or you may be planning ahead for next year. That’s what I do. I wait until summer basics like tank tops, shorts, etc., go on clearance and then stock up for next year. Basics like tank tops and camisoles (not silky ones but cotton) wear out quickly when you wear them a lot during hot, humid summer days. It doesn’t matter if you pay quite a bit for them or if you get them cheap; they get stained from sweat and discolored from all of the times you wash them due to dirt.

I’m not a proponent of cheap, low quality fashion because most people don’t shop a lot and end up wearing what they have at least a day or two a week. This means if you buy cheap clothes, they will end up wearing out very quickly due to wear and cleaning. And since you don’t shop often, you keep wearing them hoping no one will notice the stains, pills, holes, threads, etc. For garments, especially ones you wear to work regularly, such as pants, jackets, tops, dresses and skirts, pay as much as you can afford-stretch a little. It will be worth it because they’ll last longer and look good longer.

My exception to this rule are basics that you’ll only wear one season or that you layer under other things for modesty or as part of your look. An example is tank tops, like I mention above. I went to Walmart today for something else and happened to walk past the t-shirt, tank top and shorts section. I noticed the tank tops were marked down to $3. This is quite a deal. I layer my tank tops under other tops that may be somewhat see-thru or just to add more interest to my outfit, so I bought a bunch.

When you see a deal, no matter where it is, on seasonal basics, stock up. Next spring, you’ll be happy you did.

Going on a Caribbean Cruise? Here’s What to Wear

This is the time of year when people like to head south for vacations either on land or at sea. Due to the extreme weather this winter, more people are dreaming of make this happen. If you’re one of the fortunate ones where this is becoming reality, you may be wondering what to wear. You’ve probably heard various answers from different people. Most of the answers are don’t worry about it, it’s extremely casual. For the most part this is true but depending on the cruise line, dinners can be formal and if you aren’t wearing the correct clothing, you’re turned away. You may not care and would rather just eat at one of the cafes for that dinner but why miss the experience? You paid for it; you might as well enjoy it.

Packing space is at a premium with most people trying to just take a carry on bag. Even if you’ve decided to drop the extra cash and pay for a checked bag, you still don’t have unlimited space. Keeping all of these things in mind, here is a list for a 5 night Caribbean cruise stopping in 2 ports.

Men-choose 2 neutrals such as navy and tan and add some pops of color

  • 3 pairs of shorts in neutral colors
  • 1 pair of dress pants for formal dinners
  • 2 swim suits
  • Work out wear if you plan on working out
  • 1 blazer for formal dinners
  • 2 ties
  • 1 dress shirt (or 2 if you have the packing room)
  • Polo or nice t-shirts (no offensive symbols or writing) for each day-this is where you can add color
  • Must I mention a clean pair of underwear for each day & 1 extra
  • Socks for each day unless you plan to wear sandals everywhere except formal dinners
  • 1 pair of appropriate shoes for formal dinner outfit
  • 1 pair of athletic shoes if you’re planning on doing rugged excursions at the ports

image of navy bonobos suit

Polo Ralph Lauren Trim Fit Poloimage of ralph lauren shirt and shorts

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Women-choose 2 neutrals such as black and tan and add pops of color

  • 3 pairs of shorts/capris in neutral colors
  • 1 top for each day-this is where you can add color
  • 1 skirt and/or maxi-dress
  • 2 swim suits & cover-up
  • Work out wear if you plan on working out
  • Cocktail dress or nice maxi-dress for formal dinners
  • 1 pair of appropriate shoes for formal dinner outfit
  • 1 pair of athletic shoes if you’re planning on doing rugged excursions at the ports
  • 1 or 2 pairs of comfortable sandals
  • Must I mention a clean pair of underwear for each day & 1 extra
  • A crossbody bag with zippered pockets for port visits

image of ralph lauren top and skirt

image of ralph lauren striped shirt and bermuda shorts

image of ralph lauren navy dress

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you stick with these list basics, you should have plenty of things to wear for your 5 night cruise. If you’re going with someone, you could think about sharing a large bag to check and then you’d be able to take some extra things and only have half the checked bag charge.

What have you found that works great for cruises?

All images are from retailers. Click on images to explore further.

#PlusSize Beauties: Are You Worth Getting Some Updates for Your Wardrobe? Of Course You Are!

The seasons quickly changed from summer to fall, and where I live, it’s cold fall (in the high 20s this morning). It warmed up to the high 30s and should be in the 40s the next few days, but you get the picture. Summer is no more. *huge sad face*

Since I’m still trying to get over the fact I won’t see/feel warm weather for 6-7 months, I’ve decided to embrace all of the new, fun fall fashion. Even though I’m a fashion professional, sometimes I still wonder if I really need to update my wardrobe. The answer is always, yes! I’m totally worth it and so are you. I’ve put together a fun boho chic for you that includes sequins, faux fur and leather. Are all of those elements too much for one outfit? Of course not! There are just a few rows of sequins and the faux fur and leather work together nicely in a jacket.

To complete the look, I added a cute coordinating clutch, filigree earrings, chunky heel pumps and of course, tights. You could go bare legged but tights are so much warmer and cozier.

This outfit is great for any time you’re feeling sassy and want to show the world you’re fabulous. Of course you can wear the jacket with many other looks such as jeans and a t-shirt or with a top and skirt for work. You can wear the dress with a cardigan or other blazer and wear it with leggings.

I’ve made it very easy for you to buy the whole look or any of the parts you like. Just click here

image of plus size boho chic look from keaton row

5 American Designers for Duchess of Cambridge’s Wardrobe Post Baby Bump

The royal baby, Prince George, has finally arrived! The whole world is excited about his arrival after many months of waiting and closely watching Catherine Duchess of Cambridge’s maternity wardrobe. And what a wardrobe it was! The most sophisticated one I’ve seen. She always looked cool as a cucumber and stylish to boot.

Now that the #pregnancy is over, I’ve selected 5 #American (she usually wears British) designers for her to wear. I stayed within her color palette, so no oranges or olive green. I also tried to stay away from black since that’s too easy and she doesn’t wear much of it.

We’ll start with everyday out making appearances looks:

Tory Burch- This dress, made of wool and silk, has an abstract geometric print with small ruffles down the bodice and box pleats. The blue shades are perfect for her. I would switch out the colored tights to her usual nude hose and add her normal pumps with it. The matching bag would be switched out. When she’s making her appearances at different venues, I don’t usually see her carrying a bag. Why should she when there are guards to do that?

 

tory burch dress for catherine duchess of cambridge

Diane Von Furstenburg- The next appearances dress I chose is this tanzanite blue chiffon dress with small pleats down the bodice and skirt. It buttons down the front bodice and is great for a post pregnancy figure (although I’m sure by now Catherine’s is back to perfect). I would switch the shoes out with her nude pumps and get rid of the clutch. Simple, beautiful.

diane von furstenburg for catherine duchess of cambridge

Ralph Lauren- This look is for casual appearances and time out with the family (since she will be photographed everywhere). The red custom suede riding jacket is an eye catcher at any equestrian or sporty event. A crisp white blouse shines from beneath the jacket and skinny dark wash jeans is a comfy yet chic bottom. I do like the booties and bag they show with it.

Custom Suede Riding Jacket - Blue Label Jackets for Catherine Duchess of Cambridge

Bibhu Mohapatra- Just for clarification, Bibhu was born in India, but has lived, been educated and made America his home since the mid 90s. This gown is for Catherine’s formal appearances. It is a show stopper in silver with a peplum and tone on tone stripes criss crossing the bottom half. It will go beautifully with her complexion and her complement her body type.

bibhu mohapatra gown for catherine duchess of cambridge

Carolina Herrera- Last but not least, for the man of the hour, better known as #royalbaby Prince George, a dress to wear to his christening. This beautiful sapphire silk crepe dress with a velvet belt. It took me forever to find the perfect christening dress for Catherine. It can’t be a busy print to take away attention from the baby. It has to have sleeves since the christening of course is in church. The only thing I would change is to take off the shoulder detail so it won’t bother Prince George when he’s being held against mom’s shoulder. The dress is modest, sophisticated and simple enough not to command too much attention.

caroline herrera for catherine duchess of cambridge

There you are. 5 American designers Catherine should add to her wardrobe. The clothes fit in perfectly with her chic look and will add to her current pool of American fans.

All images are from fashion designers’ sites. Click on images to explore further.

Plus Size Bermuda Shorts

Plus size ladies want to wear shorts just like anyone else but sometimes don’t want to show off their legs. I’ve got a great compromise for you: bermudas. Bermuda shorts are shorts that usually reach right above the knee so your legs stay cool but you don’t show off as much. Bermudas are also great for anyone else who doesn’t like to show as much of their legs.

Here’s a cute pair of denim bermudas that you can pair with most things you wear with jeans. Enjoy!

 

Image from www.zappos.com. Click on image to explore further.


Creating an Easy, Efficient Wardrobe-Part 1

I’ve been taking and immensely enjoying fashion and image consulting classes at Fashion Institute of Technology New York City. I just finished a course on professional personal shopping and my current class is an image consulting course revolving around creating wardrobes for your clients.

Although I’ve known and put into practice these concepts for my clients in the past, I’ve learned additional concepts and would like to share them with you so you can have an easy time getting ready every single morning (both genders). This is a 2 or 3 part series so make sure to check back in August (1 per month) for the second part.

The first thing you need to think about, when creating an easy, efficient wardrobe is your lifestyle. Clothing needs parallel (or should) lifestyle. How do you spend your time? Do you have a corporate job that you spend many hours at a week? Are you a stay at home parent who spends a large chunk of your time running after kids and taking care of the home? Do you attend many formal events including charity galas? Do you spend hours outdoors hiking, biking, running or gardening?

An easy, efficient wardrobe means having enough clothes that are appropriate for each of your activities. Obviously the more time you spend at a certain activity (such as work), the larger the percentage of your wardrobe it should include. Filling out a lifestyle form will give you a clear idea of what your wardrobe needs to include. See below for an example.

This shouldn’t take more than about 5 or 10 minutes. Remember, this isn’t how you want to spend your time, it’s how you actually do. That’s another whole discussion.

If you’re an analytical person, create a simple spreadsheet and chart it. This gives you a great visual. If you’re more creative, draw a circle and cut it up into pie shape pieces that correlate in size to your chart below.

When you’re done with this activity, start thinking about how your current wardrobe fits into the reality of your life.

Next month we’ll talk about the next step in creating an easy, efficient wardrobe.


7 Wardrobe Essentials for Summer (both genders)

It’s been a mighty hot summer so far. Has your wardrobe taken a beating? Is it still clean, pressed and ready? Are you ready for the work week, weekends, events, networking, picnics and other fun summer activities?

If you’re not quite sure, or you know for sure you’re not, here are 7 wardrobe essentials that will give you a great foundation for everything you need to do this hot, long summer.

1. Crisp white shirt/blouse-caveat: if your coloring dictates off white or cream, substitute the correct shade. There’s nothing like a crisp white shirt/blouse for all things professional. You can also dress it down and wear it with jeans on the weekend. Depending on the quality of garment you invest in, it may last for a few seasons or just one. Once it gets dingy or starts to lose its shape, get a new one.

2. Trench coat-instead of a garish raincoat, invest in a quality trench coat that you can wear on rainy days or chilly mornings. You will get a lot of wear out of it and it will protect your clothing underneath. Women, you can find trench coats in many different colors so pick one you can live with for the life of the coat.

 

 

 

 

3. Lightweight cashmere cardigan (neutral color)-think of all the ways you can wear this. You can dress it up with a dress shirt or blouse for the office. You can also wear it over a dress or cute top and skirt. Easy! Afterhours you can throw on a t-shirt underneath and rock it with some jeans and sneakers. In a pinch, you can even use it as a swimsuit cover up (just don’t get it wet).

 

 

 

 

4. Swimsuit-yes, this does strike horror in many hearts but if you’re going anywhere near a pool, lake or other body of water, you need one. Look for one that’s appropriate for many occasions (actual swimming, pool party, boating), which usually means skip the skimpy, barely there one that will probably end up embarrassing you with a malfunction. Men, I beg you, leave the speedo-like ones for underwear models. Make sure, no matter what your gender, you get one that works well with your figure type and coloring.

5. Light, neutral colored no iron pant-okay, there may be minimal ironing but it’s better than slaving away for hours during the hot days of summer. Light colors reflect light which means they’ll be cooler than dark colors. Idea: pair them with your white shirt/blouse and cardigan.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Image by Tony Marinella

6. Scarf-yes, men wear scarves and look very handsome doing so. Your scarf will be different than women’s-no floral. Pick either a cotton solid or geometric print that is in colors you feel comfortable with. Hang it around your neck on cool days. Ladies, pick the type of fabric, color and pattern that moves you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

7. Well fitting bra-men, you can skip this one. Women, this is the most important item of the whole list. If you don’t have the correct foundation, your look, no matter what you’re wearing, will be off. A correctly fitting bra will make you look thinner, younger and maybe even taller. It lifts your chest and gives you more room between your chest and waist which makes you look thinner. There are many department stores that do it for no charge. Go do it today!

These essentials will get you through the rest of this hot, hot summer in style!