Posts Categorized: Style

Ballet shoe burnout? Try these alternative wear-with-anything flats

By IN Advice, Style Q&A

A reader writes for advice on alternatives to that staple of the footwear wardrobe, the ballet flat.

Alternates to the ballet flat as the go-to comfort, chic, work or weekend shoe for skirts and pants? I cannot bring myself buy another pair and yet I wear them all the time! I’ve done black, nude, leopard print, metallic, purple velvet, pointed, round toe, dress and sport ballet flats. I also suffered from “mary jane burnout” in the early 2000s.

Ballet flats are a staple in our wardrobes for a reason: they go with everything and they’re easy to walk in. But that does mean we can get a bit bored of them, as this Anonymous reader did.

Here are some flat-shoe options to try.

Ballet flat alternatives

Which of these options appeal most to you will most likely correlate to your personal style: Classic mamas will probably gravitate to the moccasins and loafers, while the T-strap D’Orsay should suit the Chic and Modern ladies, the athletic flats are for Sporty girls, the polka dot espadrilles might make a Romantic smile and the athletic Mary Janes have a more Boho vibe.

With some additional flat shoes in your footwear wardrobe, you may even find that you’re not as bored with your ballet flats as you were before!

Learn more about how to dress for your figure, clean out your closet and create outfits that are fab, not drab, in the Frantic But Fabulous style workshop—including a checklist of wardrobe essentials.

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Drab to Fab: Weekend day trip

By IN Advice, Personal Style

Drab to fab: Weekend trip

Summer is the season of travel, whether it’s 2 weeks in Europe or a day trip on the weekend.

For the latter, I like the idea of combining comfort with a bit of polish. You want clothes that will survive the ride without looking like a capital T Tourist when you step out of the car.

Trade that square, boxy T-shirt for one with a bit of shape and a cute pattern. And who says you have to wear shorts in the summer? A knit maxi skirt can be just as cool and easy to wear (and this one is only $20 at Target—score!).

Toss the fanny pack and try a cross-shoulder bag instead. Save the running shoes for the gym and try a pair of casual athletic shoes, like these classic French Supergas. White goes with everything, but I’m always a sucker for a happy, sassy red.

Your casual watch will fit right in; other jewelry is optional, but if you want to wear a necklace, a simple pendant does the trick.

Learn more about how to dress for your figure, clean out your closet and create outfits that are fab, not drab, in the Frantic But Fabulous style workshop—including a checklist of closet essentials.

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Personal style definitions: Sporty

By IN Advice, Personal Style, Style

Sporty is the personal style category of sportswear, activewear and all forms of easy dressing. Is this your style?

Can’t tell classic style from chic? Not sure what “boho” means, anyway? The Personal Style Definitions series cracks the code on some of the major style categories.

Confession time. How many of you, when you heard the style category “Sporty,” instantly thought of Sporty Spice? (I knew it!)

You’re not far off, though.

Born as sportswear at the beginning of the 20th century, the label first referred to clothing for sports, then by the ’20s came to mean informal and casual separates (a revolutionary idea after the days of corsets and full-length dresses). Later came the concept of activewear, again referring to clothes meant to wear for sports or physical exercise.

Sporty, then, includes all forms of dressing with ease: from activewear to outdoorsy, sportswear to menswear. It’s about comfort; comfort from your clothes and with your body.

(Sporty: also the best style of clothes to wear when escaping the Zombie Apocalypse.)

How to tell if Sporty is your style

Warning: generalizations ahead! There are always exceptions to these “rules,” of course, but it’s quite likely that if Sporty is your style …

  • you love natural fibers like linen, cotton, wool, plus fabrics with a bit of stretch
  • your wardrobe contains items with an easy fit and simplicity of shape, like boot cut denim, a knit maxi skirt, or a crewneck sweatshirt, plus athletic style flats, like the kind Puma makes. If you wear jewelry, it’s a simple chain and a sports watch.
  • your color palette is primary colors and muted neutrals
  • you shop at sites, stores or catalogs like Title IX, Athleta, Columbia, Eddie Bauer, J. Jill, Lands End or L.L. Bean
  • you love labels like DKNYpure, Gap, Madewell, Jil Sander, and Rag & Bone
  • you look to the style of such celebrities as Jennifer Aniston, Lauren Hutton, Christy Turlington
  • you love outfits that are relaxed without being baggy, body skimming without being tight

If she wears other styles, a Sporty woman may wear pieces that are Boho or even Classic.

A perfect Sporty weekend casual outfit is a scoop neck T-shirt worn with a knit maxi skirt and athletic flats, paired with a simple necklace and sports watch.

Sporty mamas, does this sound like you? What would you add to the description of this style category?

Still not sure which style is right for you? “What’s My Style?” is the fast, fun workshop that will teach you how to identify your personal style—and build your own signature look. For less than the price of a lipstick, learn how today!

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Personal style definitions: Romantic

By IN Advice, Personal Style

The Romantic style aesthetic is characterized by soft lines and delicate details. Is this your personal style?

Can’t tell classic style from chic? Not sure what “boho” means, anyway? The Personal Style Definitions series cracks the code on some of the major style categories.

The most traditionally feminine of the different style aesthetics, Romantic is soft, floral, sweet, playful and even whimsical. As a category, in fact, it’s a bit wider in definition than the others. One end of the Romantic spectrum is lacy, almost Gilded Age; the other end is girly in a Gamine way, with tiny patterns, like florals and polka dots, and bow accents; and somewhere in between is Shabby Chic.

(The Lucky Guide to Mastering Any Style replaces Romantic with two categories: Gamine and Bombshell. Little girl and hot mama, if you will.)

A Romantic style lover is not afraid of a little volume, a lot of details or color, both washed out and candy bright. This lady knows her way around a tulle skirt.

How to tell if Romantic is your style

Warning: generalizations ahead! There are always exceptions to these “rules,” of course, but it’s quite likely that if Romantic is your style …

  • you love decorative details, like lace, ruffles, ribbons and bows
  • your closet contains such items as a bow-tie blouse, floral skirt, loose knit sweater, a lace top, espadrilles and lace-up boots and a cameo necklace or fine chain with delicate stones
  • your color palette is full of whites and either soft pastels or candy colors
  • you shop at Modcloth.com or in vintage stores, where you hunt for items like silk blouses from the ’30s or full skirts from the ’50s
  • you love labels like Kate Spade, Betsey Johnson, April Cornell and, for the fierce Romantic mamas, Rodarte
  • You look to the style of such celebrities as Vanessa Paradis, Kirsten Dunst, Penelope Cruz or Zooey Deschanel
  • you love outfits that accentuate your femininity; you’d rather wear a maxi skirt on the weekends than a pair of denim

If she wears other styles, you’re most likely to find a Romantic woman in pieces that are Boho.

A perfect Romantic Client Meeting outfit is a floral silk wrap blouse that ties at the waist and a full circle skirt, accessorized with delicate gold jewelry or even a vintage piece.

Romantic mamas, does this sound like you? What would you add to the description of this style category?

Still not sure which style is right for you? “What’s My Style?” is the fast, fun workshop that will teach you how to identify your personal style—and build your own signature look. For less than the price of a lipstick, learn how today!

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Capsule wardrobe: Casual Fridays

By IN Advice, Personal Style

capsule wardrobe: Casual Fridays

In its original form, Casual Friday was the chance for workers in offices with formal dress codes to wear slightly more relaxed outfits. Be-suited professionals were allowed the freedom of separates and a thousand polo shirts and khakis were sold.

In some offices, meanwhile, Casual Friday is the standard dress code. And Actual Fridays are a sartorial free-for-all.

So maybe it helps to think of Casual Friday the concept as a level of dressing that’s the least dressy and most casual you can be at work while still looking like you’re dressed for an office.

Casual Friday pieces tend to split the difference between casual and formal in color, fabric or shape; if it’s a dressier shape, like a pencil skirt, the fabric is more casual, like denim. Create the same pencil skirt in crepe wool with a silk lining and now it’s ready for a client meeting.

10 pieces to wear on Casual Fridays

This Casual Friday capsule wardrobe, then, contains a few basic pieces that are dressier than weekend wear (whether casual or chic), but less dressy than you’d wear to meet with a big client or customer.

And if the dressier pieces are still more “formal” than you typically see in your workplace, well, who says you can’t be the best dressed one in the office?

You can combine them to make outfits that are the farthest toward the casual end (denim + T-shirt) or closest to being Proper Office Attire (blouse + skirt + blazer).

In warmer months, trade the corduroys for a lightweight cotton trouser, either ankle length or capri cut, and swap the longer-sleeved bright blouse for one with short sleeves or even sleeveless.

I’ll keep the blazer and cardigan, though; my commute is toasty, but my office can be Arctic. Layers to the rescue!

Learn how to build capsule wardrobes in the Frantic But Fabulous style workshop—including a checklist of closet essentials. Love everything you wear, starting now!

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Personal style definitions: Modern

By IN Advice, Personal Style

The Modern style aesthetic loves unusual shapes, silhouettes and details, almost always in black. Is this your style?

Can’t tell classic style from chic? Not sure what “boho” means, anyway? The Personal Style Definitions series cracks the code on some of the major style categories.

Edgy, avant garde, a little bit rock and roll: the Modern style aesthetic is for women who love bold choices. You won’t be surprised to find it worn in art galleries, night clubs or in the front row of Fashion Week runway shows. And like its Chic sister, the Modern style is (seemingly) 99% black.

How to tell if Modern is your style

Warning: generalizations ahead! There are always exceptions to these “rules,” of course, but it’s quite likely that if Boho is your style …

  • items like black straight leg pants, asymmetrical blouses and a tuxedo jacket can be found in your closet, along with black ankle boots and a chunky silver necklace.
  • you wear (or aspire to wear) labels like Comme des Garcons, Martin Margiela, Alexander McQueen, Acne and Prada.
  • you shop online at shopbop.com, theoutnet.com and forwardforward.com.
  • your style idols include Cate Blanchett, Blondie and Kate Lanphear.
  • your color palette is mostly black, sometimes grey, occasionally combined with white and sharp accent colors, as well as denim.
  • you prefer to stand out in a crowd and be thought of as original; to you, clothing isn’t just style, it’s art.
  • you love outfits that incorporate unexpected and unusual elements, shapes or fabrics.

A perfect Modern outfit: anything Kate Lanphear would wear.

Modern Mamas, does this sound like you? What would you add to the description of this style category?

Still not sure which style is right for you? “What’s My Style?” is the fast, fun workshop that will teach you how to identify your personal style—and build your own signature look. For less than the price of a lipstick, learn how today!

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Capsule wardrobe: 2-week summer European vacation

By IN Advice, Style, Try This Thursdays

capsule wardrobe: 2 week European vacation

Two weeks, two countries, four cities, one carry-on bag. Or: how to take a European vacation* in style and without baggage fees.

This summer, we’ll be taking our 10-year-old abroad for the first time, and revisiting cities we have lived in or love: Birmingham, York and London in the U.K., and Paris.

And since lugging luggage around is a sure way to weigh down a vacation, we’ll be doing it all with just one bag apiece.

The strategy: the fewest number of items possible. The tactics: casual clothes made of non-wrinkling fabrics, to allow them to be rolled up and stacked tightly together; and lots of neutral colors, for maximum mixing and matching.

What to pack for a 2-week summer European vacation

The packing list, otherwise known as a capsule wardrobe:

You may have noticed there aren’t any pajamas in this list. No need to pack such specialized wear when any one of the T-shirts can be worn at night with the mesh shorts, which can also double as exercise clothes for those of you much more disciplined than I am.

As for the carry-on bag, since we’ll be moving from point to point, much of it by train, rolling cases didn’t seem as practical, so my husband and I will both be carrying Osprey backpacks.

Mamas: What would you bring on a two-week trip?

* Or two weeks anywhere in summer weather, really. This would work equally well for Europeans hitting the States in July, or anyone traveling to Australia in December, though in both those cases, I’d toss in a swimsuit, too. (Australians, tell me if this would be the right packing list for your summer season.)

Learn how to build capsule wardrobes in the Frantic But Fabulous style workshop—including a checklist of closet essentials. Love everything you wear, starting now!

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