Posts Categorized: How-To Tuesdays

What’s hanging in your Fantasy Closet?

By IN Create Outfits, Find Your Style, 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

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How to know when your wardrobe is “done”

By IN Advice, Create Outfits, Find Your Style, Flatter Your Body, How-To Tuesdays, Personal Style, Style Q&A

How to tell when your wardrobe is done

This reader has an interesting question about the process of building a clothing wardrobe:

What are the signs that my wardrobe is basically “established” (as opposed to an overall in progress) and I can pat myself on the back? What can I expect in terms of phases, time/effort?

For anyone in the midst of fashion frustration, the idea of having a wardrobe that’s done can seem like a faraway, even impossible, destination.

But you can get there, mamas! Here’s how to do it, and what to expect.

Signs your wardrobe is established

First, let’s talk about what the destination looks like. What is an established wardrobe, anyway? For me, this means a closet full of figure-flattering fundamental pieces around which you can build any kind of outfit you need. To put it another way: you no longer have “nothing to wear.” I call these fundamental pieces The Core Wardrobe.

The phases of wardrobe building

Getting to this delightful place happens in three phases: editing your closet to remove the stuff you don’t like and don’t wear; identifying what you need to buy to fill in the gaps between what you have left and what you need; and acquiring those missing pieces, whether by shopping, thrifting or making them.

The amount of time and effort it takes

Those first two phases—the edit and the audit—can sound like a lot of work. And in a way, they are. It’s no small matter to decide to get rid of things that may have been hanging in your closet for years. The time required, however, is not as much as you might think. These phases are Steps 3 and 4 of “No More Yoga Pants: How to Dress Better, Shop Smarter and Reclaim Your Style,” the Frantic But Fabulous style makeover workshop, and I designed the activities to be achievable in a single weekend. Because if it takes you a lot longer, you’re just not going to do it, right?

As for the final phase, filling in your wardrobe with what you need, that can vary a lot for a number of reasons, beginning with how long your list is. But it’s also usually the most enjoyable; shopping is a lot less exhausting when you actually know what you’re looking for and how to know when you’ve found it.

Here’s one more way I think of a wardrobe as being established: when you get to go shopping for things you want, not just things you need.

Ready to start building your wardrobe foundation? It’s easier than you think! 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 the Frantic But Fabulous style makeover workshop, “No More Yoga Pants: How to Dress Better, Shop Smarter and Reclaim Your Style.” Get it today!

Tailoring for the top half: What’s worth the money (and what isn’t)

By IN Advice, Create Outfits, Find Your Style, How-To Tuesdays

Tailoring for the top half

A reader wants to know about tailoring for the top half:

I’ve embraced tailoring investment pieces and work wear (pants, skirts, suits, premium denim), but have never dipped my toe in on blouses, casual weekend dresses, cotton tops. Possible to get good results? Worth the money?

The short answer is: yes and it depends. Let’s dive in.

When to tailor top half garments, and when not to

In general, there is one big reason to have something tailored: your body proportions don’t fit neatly into the box of most off-the-rack clothing. (That’s most of us, right?) That goes for items such as blouses, dresses and tops just as it does for denim, pants and skirts. Start by fitting the garment to the largest measurement, such as hips or length for pants and bust or shoulders for tops, then tailor the rest of it inwards. But just as you wouldn’t tailor every skirt, you shouldn’t necessarily tailor every top. Here’s when it makes sense.

  • Tops (when you’re busty). If you have a large bust, finding the proper blouse or dress fit can be an exercise in frustration. Buttons don’t close smoothly, or if they do, the rest of the shirt can seem too big. Rare will be the off-the-rack shirt that fits well; instead, buy one that fits in the bust (and ideally the shoulders) and have the tailor take the rest of it in. Note: This might require ignoring the size you think you are and trying on shirts until you find the size your girls are actually happiest in.
  • Dresses (when you’re a pear shape). Somewhat the opposite problem, some of us are much smaller on top than we are on the bottom. Unless the dress silhouette is loose and flowing, if it fits in the hips, it bags at the bust. Tailoring! (Just about every fit ‘n’ flare I own has been taken in. They just don’t make padded bras padded enough to fill out the top otherwise.)
  • Investment pieces (for all). If it’s made of high quality materials, in a classic style you can wear for years and a silhouette that flatters you, take it that extra step with tailoring. It will look and feel like couture–and you’ll wear it that much longer. One Core Wardrobe piece that should have impeccable fit is the white button-front shirt. Another is the blazer.

And when should you skip? When the garment in question is inexpensive, trendy or both. If you can’t imagine wearing it more than a year or so, or the tailoring would cost more than the thing itself, skip it. Wear it as is, or don’t buy it at all. You could opt for something less fitted, like a T-shirt, or fake a better fit with a belt.

Learn more about how to build capsule wardrobes for easier packing (and a less cluttered closet), in “No More Yoga Pants: How to Dress Better, Shop Smarter and Reclaim Your Style,” the Frantic But Fabulous style workshop. Get it today for a more fabulous tomorrow.

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How to master layering

By IN Create Outfits, Find Your Style, How-To Tuesdays, Personal Style

Master the art of layering clothes for outfit creativity and variation

The genius of a capsule wardrobe is the ability to create lots of different outfits from just a few pieces. And the way you do that is often through layering.

How-To Tuesdays: Style advice and answers for working momsThe more creative you get with your layers, the more variation you can get with your outfits. Especially at the end of a cold weather season that seems to last forever, outfit variation can save you from style boredom.

How to master layering for more creative outfits

If your layering technique previously stopped at “sweater over shirt” or “long shirt over short,” try these tips for mixing it up.

Aside from its creativity, layering is just downright practical. Getting more wear from fewer things works on a big scale (letting you trim down your wardrobe and gain more closet space) and a small one (packing is easier the less you need to bring).


No More Yoga Pants: The personal style workshop series that will teach you how to dress better, shop smarter and reclaim your style!Learn how to edit your wardrobe—and fill it with clothes that fit and flatter. Get “No More Yoga Pants: How To Dress Better, Shop Smarter and Reclaim Your Style,” the fun, easy-to-follow style course. For less than the price of a new pair of jeans, learn how to look like a million bucks. Get started today!

How to steal outfit ideas from your favorite magazines (or celebrities)

By IN Advice, Create Outfits, Find Your Style, How-To Tuesdays, Personal Style

how to steal outfit ideas (from celebrities and magazines)

How-To Tuesdays: Style advice and answers for working momsAs much fun as it can be to play around with style and come up with outfit ideas that are completely your own, that’s just one path to finding your fabulous.

Another? Style thievery! A particularly rich source of inspiration can be found in magazines, both style and celebrity focused (although there doesn’t seem to be much difference these days).

What you see is the work of stylists, fashion editors and other practitioners of the image-making arts. And it can be yours for the cover price of $4.95.

The trick is in translating this fashion vision into outfits you can actually buy, want to wear and look good on you. Here’s how.

How to steal outfit ideas from magazines and celebrities

  • Find a style sister. This is a two-part exercise: You want to identify a celebrity who shares both your personal sense of style and your body shape.* Now when you flip through the next issue of In Style or Vogue, you can keep an eye out for your fashion role model. If you like what she’s wearing, chances are it’ll work on you as well.
  • Keep it real. The over-the-top fashion spreads are clearly Fantasy Wardrobe territory only, but they’re not the only ensembles that are unrealistic to copy as is. If you know what levels of outfits you normally wear it’s easier to skip the ones that are too dressy (or too casual) for the way you live.
  • Pick and choose. When you see an outfit idea that catches your eye, take a look at the pieces it’s made out of: do you have anything similar you can use to re-create the look? It could even be just a part of the outfit idea you can take—like layering or pattern mixing or color blocking—to add to what you typically wear. This is also a way to translate some of those Fantasy Wardrobe looks into Real Wardrobe outfits.

If you’re lucky, you’ll come across an idea that you can copy head to toe; I’ve even found a few in brand and store ads. (And when you do, save it: that’s one less outfit idea to think of next time.)

Looking at lots of outfit and fashion photos can teach you tricks of proportion, fit and combination, too. Over time, you’ll get a better eye for when loose and sleek work together, or what boot height to wear with cropped pants, or different ways to accessorize with jewelry.

*Don’t know what either of those things are? Then, my friend, you need the Frantic But Fabulous online style workshop: Step 1 is all about identifying your style and Step 2 teaches you how to dress to flatter your shape.

How to wear the 2014 Pantone Color of the Year (or not)

By IN Advice, Create Outfits, Find Your Style, How-To Tuesdays

How to wear Pantone's 2014 Color of the Year, Radiant Orchid

How-To Tuesdays: Style advice and answers for working momsSo. Radiant Orchid. This is the color Pantone picked for its 2014 Color of the Year. Officially, it’s “a captivating harmony of fuchsia, purple and pink undertones.” Unofficially, that is one bright purple-y pink. (Or is it pink-y purple?)

Like 2012’s Tangerine Tango, this is not the easiest color for most mamas to love.
Then again, we survived the ’80s neons revival, right? Bring it ON, Pantone!

How to wear Radiant Orchid

There are two main ways for the willing to dive in to the Color of the Year trend.

  • The Shallow End. Maybe this color isn’t so great for your skin tone. Or maybe you don’t even know if you like it. Dip your toes in with Radiant Orchid as an accent: accessories, one color of a print or even official Pantone nail color. (Yes, this is a thing at Sephora.)
  • The Deep End. Cannonball! Think Radiant Orchid dresses, skirts, blouses, blazers. Build an outfit of neutrals around your one captivatingly harmonious fuchsia/purple/pink item and rock it.

Don’t feel like jumping in at all? Lounge by the side of the pool instead and wear whatever colors you love best. They were probably Color of the Year at one point, anyway.

(As for me, I’m undecided. I’m somewhere in between hate-loving it and love-hating it. Which probably means it’s growing on me.)

  • Fab mamas: Is Radiant Orchid a yes or no for you?

No More Yoga Pants: The personal style workshop series that will teach you how to dress better, shop smarter and reclaim your style!Get step-by-step help in cleaning out that closet. Learn how to edit your wardrobe—and fill it with clothes that fit and flatter—with “No More Yoga Pants: How To Dress Better, Shop Smarter and Reclaim Your Style,” the fun, easy-to-follow style course. For less than the price of a new pair of jeans, learn how to look like a million bucks. Get started today!

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How editing your wardrobe can benefit others

By IN Advice, Create Outfits, Find Your Style, How-To Tuesdays

Clean out your closet, then donate your clothing

There are lots of good reasons to edit your wardrobe and clean out your closet: eliminating items you don’t wear, discovering things that were lost in the clutter, and simply making space.

How-To Tuesdays: Style advice and answers for working momsThis time of year, there’s an even better reason to trim down. The clothes you clean out may benefit charities near you.

Here’s how to edit your wardrobe to benefit others

  • Start by sorting. As part of the wardrobe editing process itself you’ll create a pile of giveaway items.* But just because you don’t want to keep something doesn’t mean it’s suitable for charity donation. Many nonprofits that accept donations of clothing items put them out for resale, so your things should be in good repair without wearing, stains, tears and the like. (Rule of thumb: Would you want to buy it at the thrift store, even marked down?)
  • Discover where to donate. Most people are familiar with Goodwill or the Salvation Army, and those are always a good place to start. But these are not the only charities that accept donations, so do a little research first. There may be others that are tied to a specific cause that’s meaningful to you. Some will even pick up donations from your front door if you don’t have time or transportation to take your items in.

Of course, donating gently used clothing to charity doesn’t have to be limited to holiday time. Consider scheduling a quarterly closet clean-out and drop-off. Why not help yourself and others all year round?

  • Fab mamas: Do you have any tips for charity donations? What are your favorite places to donate used clothing?

No More Yoga Pants: The personal style workshop series that will teach you how to dress better, shop smarter and reclaim your style!*Get step-by-step help in cleaning out that closet. Learn how to edit your wardrobe—and fill it with clothes that fit and flatter—with “No More Yoga Pants: How To Dress Better, Shop Smarter and Reclaim Your Style,” the fun, easy-to-follow style course. For less than the price of a new pair of jeans, learn how to look like a million bucks. Get started today!