Posts Categorized: Find Your Style

How to work athleisure into your wardrobe

By IN Create Outfits, Find Your Style

how to work athleisure into your wardrobe

Sportswear as fashion is nothing new; it first emerged in the 1930s in New York, most notably from designer Claire McCardell, and reached a new zenith in the ‘70s with collections from Bill Blass and Geoffrey Beene. So the recent trend of “athleisure” is really just a 21st century version of a 20th century concept.

Some credit this latest emergence of the trend to women who began wearing their gymwear everywhere, and some tie it to the rise of Lululemon (and maybe even back to Juicy Couture), but it’s come a long way since then, as designers have entered the category and begun to merge it with the recent emergence of technical or “smart” fabrics.

For Sporty aesthetic mamas in particular, this means you have more choices than ever. Here’s how all of us can work athleisure into our wardrobes.

How to wear athleisure

  • Be careful about wearing it head to toe. Some athleisure pieces are more athletic than leisure. If you have on nothing but gym clothes, then you’ll look like you’re dressed for the gym. Mix in your athleisure pieces with others and now your outfit is more transitional: Weekend Casual, not Gym Ready.
  • Use them as layers. I began mixing athleisure clothes into my everyday wardrobe when I realized how much more comfortable some of the technical fabrics were. Lightweight, wicking and often smooth to the touch, they make great layering pieces.
  • Go beyond the ordinary. The athleisure wear category has expanded so greatly that it’s no longer just a matter of fancy running tights or $100 yoga pants. You can find designer collaborations like Mary Katrantzou and Stella McCartney for Adidas, niche brands like Splits59 and Outdoor Voices, and specialty lines like Tory Burch’s Tory Sport. Even Beyoncé has entered the game with her Ivy Park label. You’d never know some of these pieces are athleisure (and at some of these price points, I’d never wear them to the gym!).

Athleisure pieces also work well in situations where you might be, well, sweaty, if not sporty, such as a day at a theme park or a summer festival.

How (and where) to buy athleisure

Not sure whether you’re Classic or Modern, Sporty or Chic? Discover the style that’s right for you with “What’s My Style?” Available now for instant download.

[Affiliate links disclosure]

1 winter weekend outfit, 3 styles

By IN Create Outfits, Find Your Style

1 outfit, 3 styles: winter sweater, pants & boots

This trio of variations on a single outfit combination are an illustration both of different kinds of outfit level and different kinds of personal styles.

Let’s break it down.

A winter outfit doesn’t get more fundamental than a sweater, pants and boots. If the pants are denim, you’re safely in weekend territory; the type of jeans can take you from casual to chic. Trade the denim for a pair of black pants and now you’re talking Casual Friday.

Thus the kind of items in an outfit determine its level. Mostly.

It’s when you apply a specific aesthetic to those items that things get interesting.

The first two styles, Classic and Modern, are decidedly dressier. The Classic pants are a timeless wool and the Modern pants are a far edgier faux leather, but you could easily wear either to brunch or even the office.

The Sporty outfit, on the other hand, remains firmly in the realm of the casual, as this style often does. If the Sporty mama wanted to take it up a notch, she wouldn’t be uncomfortable in the Classic Fair Isle sweater, and she might swap the track pants for a pair of black khakis or black denim.

All three outfits are livened up with a splash of color from red boots, all weather appropriate, but all in harmony with their style category.

[Affiliate links disclosure]

Not sure whether you’re Classic or Modern, Sporty or Chic? Discover the style that’s right for you with “What’s My Style?” Available now for instant download.

“Fear and Clothing”: Take a wickedly good fashion road trip with Cintra Wilson

By IN Find Your Style, Reviews

I’ll admit I wasn’t familiar with the writing of Cintra Wilson when I came across her book Fear and Clothing: Unbuckling American Style even though she’s written for several publications, perhaps most notably The New York Times.

That was serendipity for me, though; I came to her book about her fashion road trips around American with fresh eyes and became an instant fan. Her travels among the various American style tribes reveal much about the intersection of culture, history and aesthetics and why style matters.

Not only is she very funny, she has a perceptive outsider’s eye to style in all its forms, from the highest and priciest of the haute couture to the everyday clothing worn by the other 99%.

She approaches it all (as the book jacket aptly describes her) as a kind of “fashion anthropologist,” looking for the meaning behind seemingly ordinary style choices.

She knows when to admire the incredible craftsmanship of a beautiful high-end jacket, and when to skewer the pretensions of overpriced Manhattan boutiques.

She finds style in places Vogue never would, like a Wyoming rancher’s “Incredible, Genuine, One and Only 100% Authentic” cowboy clothes (hat, Pendleton wool shirt, Mackinaw vest, scarf, boots) or the color coordinated majesty of a senior citizen in Park City, UT.

And when she does offer criticism, it’s as likely to be aimed at her own sartorial choices as those of others.

Here are a few of my favorite quotes from Fear and Clothing: Unbuckling American Style.

On the magic of style:

Your closet is a laboratory in which you may invent astonishingly powerful voodoo. It may be used as a tool to direct yourself toward your own ideal destiny. It’s geomancy—portable feng-shui, right on your body.

On the power of outfits:

[D]efaulting into an outfit the creative equivalent of a frozen pizza is in many ways as self-sabotaging as choosing to wear a prison jumpsuit. Fashion is too joyful and important a way to empower yourself.

On DC style, or lack thereof. (As a DC area resident myself, I must protest somewhat even as I’m highly amused.)

Washington, DC fashion statements read like black-out documents released under the Freedom of Information Act, in that they betray no relevant, timely, or interesting personal information. DC fashion statements tend to be almost entirely redacted.

On the fair-haired ladies of Utah:

Salt Lake City women of childbearing age tend to be blonde—not in the aggressively cheap, bleach-white way that I am, but in the really expensive, “my hair is naturally triple-shaded in this two-hundred-dollar, foil process” way.

On the surprising similarity between East Coast and Midwest youth style:

[P]unks and rednecks, like enemy desert tribes or estranged twins, while totally unalike, are almost exactly the same: broken teeth, broken boots, crude tattoos, profane belt buckles, interchangeable T-shirts.

And I especially love her concluding thoughts on being true to yourself through style: “Nothing you put on your body that makes you feel like your most radical and indestructible self can be considered a fashion mistake. … You are the only rare and exotic animal you will ever be, so splash out fearlessly.”

Don’t fear your clothing! Find your own fashion freedom with “What’s My Style?” Download it now and start discovering your style today.

Why it’s OK to be a style failure

By IN Find Your Style

It’s OK to try a style out and then decide it’s a failure. Sometimes the only way our style evolves is by taking it in the wrong direction first.

Nobody likes to fail. But when it comes to style, not only is failure possible, it can sometimes be the best option.

3 reasons you should fail at style

  • Making only safe choices = a rut. The only way to prevent failure is to never take a risk, to only buy the safe choice. But what happens when you stick to the same narrow set of options, over and over and over? You find yourself stuck in a style rut. And that’s a kind of failure of its own.
  • It’s never a complete failure. Failing at style is never really complete. You always learn something about yourself in the process. Were the proportions off? The fit? The color? The combination? If you tried adding color to your wardrobe, but always felt overly bright, then maybe you’re a neutrals girl after all. If you took a Modern Chic look out for a spin, but felt like you were wearing a costume, then maybe Classic’s more you. The information about what doesn’t work will help you narrow in on what does.
  • You stop being afraid. This is true not just for style, of course. Taking risks—and surviving the consequences—can boost your bravery batteries. And what you wear is a relatively low stakes risk at that. They’re only clothes and at the end of the day, you can take them off and start all over again tomorrow.

It’s even OK if your style failure lasts longer than a single outfit on a single day. It might take a season or even years to realize that some or most of what you’re wearing just doesn’t work. But sometimes the only way our style evolves is by taking it in the wrong direction first.

You can only truly fail at style if you never even try.

Learn more about how to dress for your body shape, clean out your closet and create outfits you’ll love in the Frantic But Fabulous style makeover workshop—including a checklist of closet essentials.

What to do when “it’s so you” becomes a style rut

By IN Find Your Style, Style Q&A

How to break out of your style rut

A reader asks one of the biggest questions about style discovery:

I enjoyed Betty Halbreich’s book titled “I’ll Drink to That.” I cannot afford Bergdorf Goodman, but I admire how this personal shopper extraordinaire picks out three levels of dresses for her clients to consider:

  • the obvious “it’s soooo you” look with which a client is immediately comfortable
  • the look that’s new, but is obviously flattering
  • the in-between look that’s past the middle ground of “it’s so you” but not all the way to very new

Being my own personal shopper, my skill is at the “it’s soooo you.” How do I spot the “new look” or middle ground to stay out of a rut?

Let’s start by defining what a rut is. For me, the definition is very subjective. If you wear the same style and colors of clothes over and over—and you do so because you love them and you know they look good on you—it’s not a rut, it’s your personal style. You could even say it’s your style uniform.

But if you’re bored of those standbys, even if they’re sooo you, and you’re itching to try something new? That, my dear, is a rut.

Fortunately, there are some options for climbing out of it.

The easier way. If you want to move from “it’s so you” to something just outside that comfort zone, it’s easier to make a change just one thing at a time. Can you identify the characteristics of what makes an item “yours”? Is it color, shape, fit, style?

Start with one of those aspects and look for something that’s comfortable in the others, but different in this way. Let’s say you like clean, minimal lines and you usually buy these garments in black and white. Stick to the same silhouette, but try bolder, brighter hues.

If you tend to wear seriously chic things, try something a little more classic. If your fit is always loose and flowing, try a sleeker piece.

The more adventurous way. This is about searching for the “new look.” Start paying attention to style around you and notice when something surprising catches your eye; you know, the “I could never wear that” item or outfit that you nonetheless love.

How can you translate that instinct into something new to try? What’s different about it? Take a leap of faith and try this new aesthetic. Step One might only be trying it out in a dressing room. Step Two might be wearing it on the weekend, or only around the house. How quickly you jump into it is up to you.

You’re bound to have some failures, no matter which method you try. All style discovery is a bit of trial and error. But if you’re ready to break out of your comfort zone, you’re ready for an adventure. go forth and explore!

Say goodbye to “I have nothing to wear”! 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. It’s all included in your instant download of “No More Yoga Pants: How to Dress Better, Shop Smarter and Reclaim Your Style”, the Frantic But Fabulous wardrobe makeover workshop.

[photo credit: Death to the Stock Photo]

Capsule wardrobe: 20 pieces to wear this fall

By IN Find Your Style

capsule wardrobe: 20 pieces for fall


// denim hoodie / soft blazer / button front / printed tee
open cardigan / cowl neck / 3/4 sleevemesh tee
denim skirt / twill pants / cropped chinos / trouser denim
patterned scarf / natural stones / black boots / desert boots
leather satchel / menswear watch / knit tights / moccasins //

In pulling together this 20-piece autumn capsule wardrobe, I was drawn to pieces that were a mix of warm and neutral tones and tended toward looser shapes and softer fabrics. I also wanted items that could be layered in this oh-so-transitional season.


By the end of Fall, I’ll be reaching for heavier coats, but on those perfect crisp days I like the idea of a hoodie jacket: half denim jacket, half hoodie. It splits the difference nicely.

And a soft knit blazer can perform all sorts of functions in cool weather, from providing another outerwear option to dressing up, well, pretty much anything.

The Tops

Shirts here run toward the more casual end of the spectrum, with the exception of the button-front shirt. But everything can be taken up a level with accessories and, as noted above, the blazer. Sleeve lengths range from short (the athletic-wear tee) to ¾ length and long.

The cowl-neck sweater is just a step warmer than a regular tee. Wear it over the longer-sleeved tees or under the cardigan.

The Bottoms

Bottoms are the easiest way to change the flavor of an outfit. Want dressier? Go with the denim skirt (last seen sometime in the early oughts, they’re coming back around again). Wear it bare-legged in early fall if you can, with tights when it gets frosty.

Trouser denim is a little nicer than your average pair of jeans and a looser silhouette, too. The twill pants are a straight-up classic; in navy they can also substitute for denim. The cropped khakis go with everything, too. Roll up the cuffs of either to show off your ankle boots.

The Shoes

Did somebody say ankle boots? Desert boots are one of those styles that are sometimes trendy, but always stylish. I like this dusty taupe color for its versatility; I’d wear them with tans and browns as well as shades of black.

The waterproof Hush Puppies boots are tall enough for rainy days and skirts, but should fit nicely under longer pants. And I like moccasins as a flat shoe alternative to ballet flats and loafers. They’re just a touch more rugged somehow.

The Accessories

I am a committed scarf fan and in changing seasons they also double as added warmth. Something about the earth tones in this capsule also suggested the simple beauty of unshaped turquoise stones, a color that matches anything.

I have a leather tote in a butternut color and it’s a surprisingly complementary shade. With all of the solid shapes and warmer shades in this collection, a brown leather menswear style watch seemed like the way to go.

How to Use This Capsule Wardrobe

How best to work with 20 items? You can use them

  • as a starting point: make this the baseline and supersize it with more jackets or tops or bottoms (your choice!)
  • as an inspiration list: pick a few things to add to your own closet; make your own capsule with the combination
  • as a true capsule: a limited wardrobe of just these pieces to mix carefully for the next 90 days, give or take

Me, I’m going the “inspiration list” route and coveting those Hush Puppies boots. I am forever searching for the pair that will keep my feet toasty and dry on cold rainy days.

Say goodbye to “I have nothing to wear”! 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. It’s all included in your instant download of “No More Yoga Pants: How to Dress Better, Shop Smarter and Reclaim Your Style”, the Frantic But Fabulous wardrobe makeover workshop.

[Affiliate links disclosure]

How to consign your clothes

By IN Find Clothes You'll Love, Find Your Style

How to consign your clothes

After you’ve done a wardrobe edit, whether it’s a significant one-time effort or ongoing seasonal updates, you’ll be left with a pile of clothes you no longer want or need. Although donating to charity is always a great option, if some of those garments are newer (within the last couple of seasons) and a more high-end brand, they may be worth taking the time to consign.

How to consign your clothes with a consignment shop

The first step is to find a store. Word of mouth is a great place to start; have any of your friends used one that they would recommend? Showroom Finder has a fairly comprehensive list of stores by state. Or search for “consignment shop” plus your zip code to locate nearby stores. Then check review sites like Yelp to see what other customers’ experiences have been and the Better Business Bureau to check the business’s rating.

The first time you consign you’ll need to fill out a contract with the store and make an appointment so a buyer can review your clothes. This first visit is a trial run for them; they are seeing whether you have good merchandise that’s worth accepting since their standards are much higher than a charity or other donation organization. It’s also a trial run for you as a consignor; you’re finding out if you have things that will meet their criteria, and if they accept your items, you will also see whether they are able to sell your things and for a good price.

I’ve worked with stores that were consistently fair with pricing and reporting sales, and I’ve worked with stores that took a pile of my clothing and mysteriously weren’t able to sell a thing. Until you know which kind of store it is, you might want to bring in a smaller set of items to start with.

In subsequent rounds you can choose whether to make an appointment or do a “drop and run.” Appointments are more time consuming but you can then usually take back whatever isn’t accepted. If you drop and run the store will donate what they don’t take.

If I think I have things that are worth some money, I will make an appointment so I can have the option of then trying to sell the “no thank you’s” through other means, such as eBay.

And there’s also the option of consigning online, especially if you don’t have the time to get to a store for an in-person appointment, or don’t have one where you live. Most online consignment sites either don’t do returns or require a fee for them, so make sure you’re not consigning anything you’d want to get back if it isn’t accepted for sale.

In all types of consignment, when you do sell your items you have the option of taking the proceeds in cash (a check if a physical store, or PayPal if online), or as store credit. In some cases you may even get more back if you take it in store credit.

If you don’t want to be tempted to spend the money you just made in consignment, go for the payment and have the store send it to you. Whenever I go into my local consignment shop to pick up a check, I know I always see at least one thing I’d like to buy!

[Photo credit: ashton / Creative Commons 2.0]

Say goodbye to “I have nothing to wear”! 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. It’s all included in your instant download of “No More Yoga Pants: How to Dress Better, Shop Smarter and Reclaim Your Style”, the Frantic But Fabulous wardrobe makeover workshop.