This series of 8 easy-to-follow mini workshops takes you on a journey from discovering your personal style to building a wardrobe of flattering clothes that can be mixed and matched to create outfits for any situation.

My style is changing. Has yours changed, too?

By IN Personal Style

Style evolution

We often think of fashion as the part of clothing that changes all the time, season to season and trend to trend.

Your personal style is considered to be longer lasting and less susceptible to the whims of the fashion industry.

And it’s true that the luxury and even the joy of personal style is that you aren’t tied to trends. The best kind of personal style is one that’s connected to who you are.

Which means that your style is allowed to change, just as you are.

As I’ve written before, there are lots of reasons why this might happen, from a new job to a new body to a new baby (or maybe even all of the above).

I’m now seeing it play out in my own life and my own closet.

How my style is different

In April, I changed jobs. Although my previous office environment at a creative agency was pretty casual, I also had some client interaction and I sat at a desk. I often wore Client Meeting level clothes, including heels, and experimented with accessories.

I’m now in house, and part of the development team. I went from an office dress code of Casual to Programmer Casual. You can wear to work what you’d wear on the weekend and it’s totally par for the course. Just wearing a skirt makes me one of the most formally dressed people in the office.

We also have standing desks, which I love, but it means I’m now on my feet several hours during the day.

Six months later, I find myself wearing flat shoes almost every day. I’m incorporating more soft fabrics, such as pants in knits with some stretch. (These are not your mama’s knit stretch pants!) My outfit silhouettes have more loose lines, and I’m more likely now to combine high/low, or dressy with casual. Everything is simpler, and I have begun adding Sporty elements to my wardrobe, mostly in the footwear, but in other pieces, too (somewhat to my surprise).

How it isn’t

My working mom wardrobe is still primarily a mix of Classic, Chic and Modern pieces. I continue to love wearing a streamlined silhouette. I’ll never give up my beloved black and white. And even though I’m starting to dress down (relative to where I was), I’ll never stop dressing up.

My shift in style is a pretty common process. Fellow personal style blogger Sally McGraw of Already Pretty wrote in depth about her recent style evolution—her new clothing touchstone: is it “badass”? Love it!

Have you noticed changes in your personal style lately? What does your evolution look like?

Get step-by-step help editing your closet of the clothes you no longer need and filling it with style for the way you live. Say goodbye to “I have nothing to wear”! It’s all included in your instant download of the “No More Yoga Pants: How to Dress Better, Shop Smarter and Reclaim Your Style,” style makeover workshop

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Working mom outfit idea: Fall to winter transition

By IN Personal Style, Try This Thursdays

Outfit idea: Fall to winter transition

One shortcut for creating outfits for colder winter weather is to take the building blocks of your autumn wardrobe and transition them with layers. (It helps with variable fall temperature days, too.)

On an early fall day of blue skies and warmer sun, this weekend casual outfit of classic pieces like a simple long-sleeved tee, cords and flat shoes will do.

Once the highs get lower and the sun gets weaker, trade the sneakers for more insulated suede desert boots and add a cardigan and scarf (this Burberry is from my Fantasy Closet).

When winter arrives, pile on more layers with a chambray shirt and taller, warmer boots.

In any of these scenarios, the outerwear you add on top will depend on the temperatures where you live and your tolerance for cold. You might toss a puffer vest on any one of these, or go all the way to turtleneck underneath and down coat on top. That’s the beauty of layers; you can adapt your way from “cool and crisp” to “downright Arctic.”

Learn more about how to dress for your figure, clean out your closet and create outfits in the Frantic But Fabulous style workshop—including a checklist of closet essentials.

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What’s hanging in your Fantasy Closet?

By IN How-To Tuesdays, Personal Style

What's hanging in your Fantasy Closet? The answers will give you clues about your personal style and the clothes that make you happy.

One fun way to play around with ideas about your personal style is to imagine what it would be if money (and space) were no object.

What are the clothes you dream of wearing? What are the items that catch your eye when you flip through a magazine or skim a website? (Fab blogger Une Femme calls this your Fantasy Wardrobe.)

And while Fantasy Clothes are often a fantasy for a reason, thinking about them can be more than an enjoyable daydream with a cup of coffee.

So start by noticing. What do you notice when you look at clothes, whether they’re the clothes you see on other women or in the store or online?

Pull them together on a Pinterest board, in a Polyvore outfit college, in a binder or whatever way is fun for you.

As you look through your Fantasy Closet, here are some questions to ask yourself about what’s “hanging” inside.

  • Do your selections surprise you?
  • Are they the opposite of what you’re wearing now?
  • When you imagine dressing that way, is the idea exciting? Scary? Both?
  • What are some characteristics these clothes have in common?
  • Is it a color, a shape, a designer, a cut or even a feeling?

You may never be able to fill your real closet with your Fantasy Clothes, but the things you learn about what you like when you answer these questions will help guide your choices the next time you look for something new to buy, or put an outfit together.

In my Fantasy Closet: lots of classic / chic and touch of modern. Black, red, bolds and patterns (OK, this is already in my real closet!). Marni, Armani, Chanel, Calvin Klein, Michael Kors. Impeccable cuts. Fluid fabrics. And because this is a fantasy, I could wear high heels without hurting my feet!

It’s your turn to go Fantasy Shopping. What are you buying?

Get step-by-step help editing your closet of the clothes you no longer need and filling it with style for the way you live. Say goodbye to “I have nothing to wear”! It’s all included in your instant download of the “No More Yoga Pants: How to Dress Better, Shop Smarter and Reclaim Your Style,” style makeover workshop

[Affiliate links disclosure]

Working mom outfit idea: Outdoors in autumn

By IN Personal Style, Style, Try This Thursdays

What to wear outdoors in the fall
Calvin Klein puffer vest /
Joseph Long Sleeve Sailor Tee
/ patterned scarf / Citizens of Humanity cargo khakis / MiH Jeans the Tomboy narrow cords / TOMS suede desert booties / Vans Authentic Lo Pro shoes

Autumn is such a great time of year for outdoor activities: crisp, clear, moderate. This weekend casual outfit will suit you for a range of activities, from the neighborhood block party to an apple-picking day trip.

Start with a ¾-length T-shirt, longer-sleeved if you’re in colder climes. I love a classic mariniere, like this one, but any pattern or solid color will do.

You could always wear a pair of jeans, but why not mix it up with slim fit cords, or cargo khakis? The pockets on the latter come in handy for stashing extra Kleenex, binkies or anything else a mama-on-the-go might need.

If it’s a cooler day, or you’re outside for a while and the temperatures start to drop, wrap a scarf around your neck and toss a puffer vest on top. If it’s later in the fall, keep adding layers, like this or this.

Leave the running shoes at home and try something equally comfortable but with a bit more flair. Desert boots, or chukkas, have been around for decades, but are making a bit of a trend resurgence. Speaking of long-time classics, lace-up Vans or Keds like these are a great choice, too.

Accessorize with a cross-body bag (hands free!) and an insulated mug of your favorite warm beverage.

What’s your favorite outdoor fall activity?

Learn more about how to dress for your figure, clean out your closet and create outfits in the Frantic But Fabulous style workshop—including a checklist of closet essentials.

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The Little (Non) Black Dress

By IN Advice, Style Q&A

The Little (Non) Black Dress
[Little Red Dress, Anne Klein // Little Royal Blue Dress, Tahari // Little Bright Blue Dress, Calvin Klein]

A reader writes to ask:

If I get a non-black LBD, what colors/cut/fabrics would be a best bet for nearly year-around use?

While the non-black Little Black Dress may seem like a contradiction in terms, it’s not if you think of the LBD as being Your Wardrobe Staple Dress. Keep the “little” and the “dress,” but toss the “black” if it’s not your style (or if you want to mix it up with a second option).

For a year-’round fabric, you really can’t go wrong with a natural fiber. Wool crepe is often suggested because it has a nice drape, and I think it could work in summer, too, since you will probably be wearing an L(N)BD in the evening and/or inside and there’s not much fabric to one, anyway. (That would be the “little” part!)

As for colors, any jewel tone, such as an emerald green, royal blue or rich red, will work in the same universal way that black does. To get ideas, think about the colors you see celebrities wearing on the red carpet. My favorite L(N)BD is turquoise—but you could even opt for a Little White Dress in summer.

The cut is whatever works best for your shape. Alternatively, there are some universally flattering options: look for a style that fits across the smallest part of your torso, and a you can’t go wrong with a v-neck. (This is why the fit ‘n’ flare style works so well for most bodies.) The simpler the silhouette, the more likely it will be to stay in style—and in your closet—for a long time to come.

Learn more about how to dress for your figure, clean out your closet and create outfits that are fab, not drab, in No More Yoga Pants: How to Dress Better, Shop Smarter and Reclaim Your Style, the Frantic But Fabulous style workshop. This easy-to-follow system includes how-to guides, worksheets and a checklist of wardrobe essentials. Get started today!

Bargain shopping tips roundup: More ways to save

By IN Advice

Bargain shopping tips: More ways to save on style, in the stores or online

More ways to save when shopping: Coupon codes, cash back and sales alerts.

One of the subscribers to the Frantic But Fabulous email newsletter, The Style List, had a succinct request: “More bargain shopping tips, please.”

I’m always on the hunt for ways to get a deal, too, so this is the perfect opportunity to round up some of the best advice from the penny pinching experts.

Best bargain shopping tips

  • Know what’s really a deal. Mark Ellwood, the author of “Bargain Fever: How to Shop in a Discounted World,” says anything lower than 30% off isn’t a deal. (Another one of his tips: interact with the sales staff; they will often get you the best deals.)
  • Let the internet find the deals. RetailMeNot is the go-to source for online coupons; before you shop online, search for discount codes for that site. ShopItToMe will send you alerts when what you’re looking for is on sale. Sign up for the email newsletters of your favorite brands to get alerted to insider sales. If you’re on Twitter, follow bargain-focused accounts like @slickdeals and @couponcabin.
  • Don’t be fooled by the coupon. If a coupon requires you spend a minimum amount in order to get a discount, be careful. You may wind up spending more than you’d planned, and going over budget is never a bargain. And speaking of coupons, remember to stack them.
  • All low prices aren’t created equal. A pair of shoes priced at $29.99 full retail will never be of as high quality as a pair of shoes that cost $29.99 after they’ve been marked down 60% from $100. Your goal is to get a great price and a great value. Think “deal,” not “cheap.”
  • Never stop looking for savings. Follow Pinterest boards devoted to deals, or periodically search for tags like “coupons,” “deals,” and “savings.” New tips for bargain hunting will pop up all the time.

And if you find a really great deal on those wardrobe staples you know you’ll wear again and again, consider whether it makes sense to pick up not just one steal, but two.

Get more tips on shopping smarter for clothes that fit you and the way you live. Say goodbye to “I have nothing to wear”! It’s all included in your instant download of the “No More Yoga Pants: How to Dress Better, Shop Smarter and Reclaim Your Style,” style makeover workshop.

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Don’t be daunted by statement necklaces!

By IN Advice, Personal Style, Work It Wednesdays

Don't be afraid of statement necklaces: Here are some ways to wear them

Chunky, blingy, colorful, big, cascading or bright. Sometimes all of those things at once. Statement necklaces live up to their name, and they can seem a little intimidating. You can’t hide behind your outfit when you’re wearing one.

Paradoxically, I became a fan of the statement necklace because jewelry is my weak spot. I have a good set of basic pieces, but tended to rotate through a handful of simple, and nearly identical, silver necklaces with the occasional pair of earrings to match. Jewelry was always a bit of an afterthought, and you could tell.

But put on a big dramatic necklace and bam! Deliberate jewelry.

So fear not the statement necklace, mamas. They can be a fun addition to your accessory wardrobe. Here are some ways to wear them fearlessly.

How to wear a statement necklace

  • Dress up a casual outfit. Put on a multi-strand beaded necklace and suddenly no-one will realize you’re just wearing jeans and a T-shirt. Instant glamour.
  • Contrast a solid color. Make a solid color top or dress pop with a patterned statement necklace. (I’m fond of leopard print with red.)
  • Contrast a pattern. Do a little pattern mixing between your necklace and your outfit. Try contrasting two multicolored pieces.
  • Fill in a neckline. Want to wear a dress or top to work but the neckline is a little low? Fill it in with a big bad necklace.
  • Make it your power piece. Superheroes often have amulets; Wonder Woman has her bracelets. Find a bad-ass statement necklace and wear it when you want to feel (even more) powerful.

So which statement piece is right for you? Classic and Chic mamas, your statement necklace might be a bigger than usual multi-strand pearl necklace. Boho mamas, you might like an organic piece with oversized wooden beads mixed with stones. Modern mamas, anything big and bold and dramatic is right up your alley. Romantic mamas might like a choker style. And Sporty mamas might opt for a rope of thicker than usual metallic chain.

Learn how to create outfits that fit your body, your budget—and your busy life. Get No More Yoga Pants: How To Dress Better, Shop Smarter and Reclaim Your Style, the only style makeover workshop you’ll ever need.