Nurturing Beauty Style Secrets Blog: Personal style Archives

What Do You Wear When No One Else Sees You?

Understanding your personal style can change your life by turning the dread of wearing something you don’t like into the power your style can give you as you go about your business each morning.

If you work out of your home or have a day you spend running errands, what are your go-to outfits?  Do you dress in a way that makes you smile and stand a little taller or do you throw on whatever is handy and try to avoid looking in the mirror?

Dianna Huff’s experience speaks directly to this common issue.  Her story is something that not only makes me proud but inspires me every day. She is a talented marketing consultant who works with small industrial companies and ghostwrites books for CEOs.  Here is a chance to let her story inspire you, too!

 

Dianna BeforeOne of the things I’ve learned, working with Ginger, is that her fashion advice is always spot on – especially her advice that it doesn’t take any effort to dress “up” each day if you buy clothes in your color palette that make your heart sing.

When I first contacted Ginger about five years ago, I was a stressed work-at-home mom with a young son. To save time, I wore standard-issue mom clothes that I could order in bulk online: “mom jeans” from L.L. Bean, khaki shorts and pants, and polo shirts. I felt depressed much of the time; I knew I didn’t look my best but didn’t know how to change. Like many of the women Ginger works with, I would get completely overwhelmed in a department store, so I avoided them altogether.

As Ginger helped me with colors, style, fit and makeup, I began to fill my closet with bright, colorful, beautiful clothes — what I call my “happy” clothes — clothes that make me feel good and look good on me. Because Ginger is all about working with you and your personal style, I now have clothes that I can wear anywhere, whether to a client meeting or out to dinner with a friend.

Dianna HuffAnd, I do wear them, every single day, even though some days I’m the only person who sees me in them.

Getting “dressed” each day has changed my life.

I had read somewhere years ago that our environments impact how we feel. If you live in a cluttered house, for example, your cluttered surroundings can impact your thinking and your energy. It works the same for your clothes. Before Ginger, I would throw on my old shorts and polos — or worse, my smelly gym clothes. (I’d put them on in the morning as reminder that I’d needed to go to the gym – and then never make it.)

Due to working with Ginger, I was now wearing clothes that I loved. I felt happier, confident, and more energetic — and it showed, because more and more people began telling me I was “glowing,” “beautiful” and “stunning.” (And trust me, no one had ever used those words before to describe me.)

Dianna in RedWhen I ventured out to Staples one day, a woman asked if I had bought my dress in New York as the style was “so sophisticated.” “No,” I replied, “Lord & Taylor in Burlington, Mass.” When I had my picture taken in front of Niagara Falls earlier this year, my friend said, “Dianna! Look at you! Look at that red coat and matching scarf. You look fantastic!” Just today the woman at the pharmacy said, in reference to the purple top I was wearing, “Oh my gosh! That purple – it’s gorgeous. It looks so good on you! And I love the necklace, too!”  Thank you, darling. :-)

Another benefit of getting dressed each day is that it changed my perspective on my work and my business. Slowly, over time, I stopped viewing myself as a “freelancer” and began viewing myself as a CEO. In fact, I found myself saying on a regular basis, “I am the CEO of DH Communications, Inc.” By looking and feeling like the CEO of my company, I began changing things inside my business that I had wanted to change for years. Today I’m doing work I love – which shows on the bottom line.

Dianna HuffThe most important thing I’ve learned, however, is that getting “dressed” each day doesn’t take any more effort than putting on those old khaki shorts and shirts I used to wear. All this summer, for example, I wore the colorful skirts and tops Ginger and I picked out at the beginning of the season — plus the bright sundresses we had found a couple of seasons ago. Putting on a skirt, a top, a necklace and some earrings takes as much time as pulling on a pair of ho-hum shorts and a t-shirt. Only now, I look and feel fabulous. When I look in the mirror, I find myself saying, “Darling, you look marvelous!” And that to me is priceless.

***

Dianna Huff is a marketing consultant who lives and works in Plaistow, NH. She enjoys walking her neighborhood with her two dogs in her fabulous wardrobe.  You can learn more about Dianna at www.diannahuff.com

Is Your Wardrobe Holding You Back?

 

Is Your Wardrobe Holding You Back?

If I had a dime for every time a woman told me that she had declined an offer because she didn’t feel like she knew what to wear and it felt too hard and overwhelming to figure it out (and, what if she was wrong and what she wore was inappropriate!), I would be rich. It is a shame to pass up amazing opportunities because you feel overwhelmed and insecure about how you look. You cannot go through life like this and I am going to make sure you don’t have to!

Sally is a perfect example. She once stood in front of her closet for two hours wringing her hands and sighing as she tried desperately to figure out what to wear to a dinner with her husband’s colleagues. A half hour before they were supposed to leave, her husband found her half dressed sobbing on the closet floor. She felt discouraged and embarrassed because she couldn’t figure it out on her own. She ultimately wore something she didn’t feel great in because she didn’t want to let her husband down. Not surprisingly, the whole time they were out, she couldn’t wait to get back home.

Then there was Catherine who wanted to put her name in for a job promotion, but she knew that the new position meant much more personal interaction with clients and she realized her existing wardrobe wouldn’t fit the bill. Her heart said yes, but one look in her closet said no way. Her existing job was relatively solitary and she wore jeans and a casual shirt every day. She felt torn about the possible promotion, but couldn’t make herself take that step without the confidence of knowing she would feel comfortable in how she presented herself. She felt discouraged but didn’t know what to do next so she did nothing and stayed where she was.

What have you said no to that, if getting dressed for it were easy, you would have said yes in a heartbeat?

What opportunities in life have you missed either because you declined an invitation, never took the steps toward your goal or did step out but were distracted the entire time because you didn’t feel comfortable in your clothes?

How is your wardrobe holding you back?

This is not about fitting into someone else’s expectations about how you should look. This is about not living up to your own expectations and even more to the point, it is about not feeling like you express yourself authentically in a way that honestly reflects your true inner beauty.  While it’s easy to get dressed (anyone can throw on a T-shirt and jeans), it is not as easy (but, oh, so critical) to express your inner essence in your wardrobe choices.  Sally wasn’t looking for just something to clothe her body.  She was looking for something that made her feel beautiful and special.  But, no matter how hard she looked, she couldn’t find it in her existing wardrobe.

If you try to make your life fit into your wardrobe instead of your wardrobe into your life, you are missing out on a powerful form of self-expression — one that impacts all areas of your life.

This concept is expressed beautifully by L.V. who said:

“I want to share some news that results from the investment I made when I first started working with you: I have a new job — one that I wouldn’t have gotten without the personal growth that came from thinking about clothes, and identity, and how I wanted to put myself out in the world.  By making the investment in good clothes for myself, I was really sending an internal message that I was valued, and that in turn shaped how I set a professional path to work with a remarkable group of women.”

Wow!  She says it all there.  Was she trying to be someone she’s not?  No! In fact, she has been practicing expressing her inner essence in her wardrobe choices as she shares here:

“For my first interview I wore a dress and shrug from Max Mara (bought on sale and where I was smart enough to buy the matching sweater on the spot, even though it wasn’t).  I’ve gotten so much value out of that one dress!  Dare I say, it was sagacious and poetic. This summer, in the casual realm, I also found myself in a deep blue top and turquoise shorts, and green shorts and a blue shirt—the shorts were actually a steal from, of all places, Kohls. (Who knew?).” 

Was she using the tools we had worked on together (both inner (she’s sagacious and poetic) and outer (focusing on color and fit)) to create a wardrobe that felt authentically her?  Yes!

Does this kind of transformation happen overnight?  No.  As L.V. shares:

“I remember you said more than once that this would be a slow process, and sometimes that frustrated me, but it’s really unfolded just the right way, and I have stronger shopping skills and a better sense of myself to make me more comfortable in my new realm.”

You can have this kind of transformation, too.  Whether you are sobbing on your closet floor or just throwing your hands up in despair, resigning yourself to wearing the same thing over and over, the results are the same: lost opportunity to tap into what makes you special and share that with others.  The only way this won’t happen for you is if you give up and just keep doing what you’re doing.  The transformation begins by taking the first step.

So, how do you begin to make the changes L.V. made in her wardrobe that supported powerful changes in her life?

Every time you get dressed, ask yourself these four questions about what you are wearing:

  • Do you love it and think it is beautiful? (This is the first step in identifying things that you feel great wearing and that capture your inner essence.)
  • Does the color look great on you?  (You’re not going for OK, decent or just good enough.)
  • Does it fit you right now?  (If it doesn’t fit you right now, move it out of your existing closet. Why take up space with something that you can’t wear now.)
  • Is it comfortable?  (If it’s not comfortable and the cause of discomfort cannot be remedied, it goes away.)

Do you love it and think it is beautiful is first because without that none of the rest of it matters!

Here’s the bottom line: If you apply this one day at a time, within a short amount of time you will have analyzed every garment in your closet, learned a lot about what makes you happy and eliminated a lot from your closet that doesn’t.  If you don’t do it, you will stay stuck in a wardrobe that is not making you happy or supporting your life.

Imagine what a freeing experience it is to love getting dressed every day.  This is your chance to take the very first step in claiming your personal essence and purposely designing your wardrobe to express that brilliantly.

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Need help?  You don’t have to do it alone.  If you are local or excited about traveling, register for my next “Your Style, Your Way” workshop coming up on Saturday, October 19 — www.YourStyleYourWayWorkshop.com.  If you are not in the Boston area and can’t travel all is not lost!  Women are experiencing amazing successes as part of the”‘Who Taught You How to Dress?” community.  Learn more here: www.WhoTaughtYouHowToDress.com

Banish Overhwelm from Your Shopping Experience

Frustrated? Overwhelmed?

There is no worse feeling than walking into a store and feeling overwhelmed that even with all these choices you won’t like how you look in anything in the store and that you will waste time, buy something you don’t love and leave empty handed. That leaves you feeling discouraged and hopeless!

That was exactly Marilyn’s dilemma. She is petite, about a size 12 on top and 14 on the bottom. She recently gained a few pounds and, as a result, had put off shopping until she was almost desperate. Although she had set out several times to shop, she always found something else she needed to do instead. Sound familiar?

But now, things had changed. Marilyn was invited to be a featured presenter at a weekend conference, and she wanted to look her best. Anxiety began to set in as she realized that the conference was only three weeks away. The anxiety was not about what she would say in her presentation — she had that down cold. But when she thought about what she would wear she actually considered canceling her appearance! She felt frumpy and old in everything she owned and could not imagine walking out on stage feeling that way. She knew she had to do something about that right away or she would be standing in front of an audience in a pair of worn black pants and an ill-fitting blue button down shirt and that was not an option. She wanted a new outfit that made her feel confident and sassy, but the problem was she had no idea where to start and was dreading the entire experience. So, she called me for help.

We met at a department store and after we had walked around for a few minutes and did not yet have anything she wanted to try on, I could feel her anxiety growing. She got more and more quiet with each step we took and I could sense discouragement and sadness in each of her sighs.

Finally, she turned to me and said with a slight break in her voice, “I would have left the store by now.” Without missing a beat, I smiled and jokingly said, “You can’t leave.”  (Actually, I was only half joking) “I promise we’ll find what you need.”

We stopped for a minute and I asked her what she was feeling. She looked around and with a wave of her hand said, “There’s too much here. I don’t know where to start and everywhere I do look I don’t see anything I want.”  I had heard this before from other women and know that this feeling of overwhelm is something many women struggle with all the time.

The truth is that department stores are big and at first (and sometimes second or third) glance can feel completely overwhelming. It is not your imagination. There is a lot to choose from. Look one way and you’ll see a sea of dresses — some sparkly and dressy, some short and flirty, and everything in between. Look the other way and you will see a wall of designers’ names, jeans in every imaginable color, not to mention shoes, handbags and jewelry counters that seem to go on forever.  It can make your head whirl! And, this is not only true about department stores. It is just as easy to feel out of your element in an off-price store, a consignment store or boutique.

Do you know your colors?So, how do you break the shopping experience down into manageable steps so you don’t flee the store immediately?  First of all, take a breath and begin by focusing only on these two things to start. (We’ll add more tools later.)

  1. Know what you needIf you go in trying to find everything all at once the overwhelm will haunt you. Purposely choose to shop for only one thing at a time. With Marilyn, for instance, our very first goal was to find her a beautiful jacket. We started in the suit section and then made our way to some of the designers — the whole time only looking for jackets. If you don’t find what you want you will know pretty quickly and you can choose to go to another store. Very little time wasted this way.
  2. Sort by color. While looking for the perfect jacket we didn’t look at every jacket there. That would have invited in more overwhelm. Instead, we started by focusing on finding colors that look fabulous on Marilyn. We skipped the light gray and mustard and headed for any deep purple and red we saw. By doing this we drastically reduced the amount of time we needed to find what we wanted and she knew that at least the color would be a success.

(If you do not have a current personalized color palette or know for sure what colors look great on you, review this article where I talk about the four colors that look good on many people)

Just focus on those two things for now. One more thought: Practice at different stores and see how you do. I know that, especially in department stores, there is a lot to see and it is so easy to get distracted. (No, you cannot make a detour to the children’s department to get your daughter a new dress!  You know you will never go back to shop for yourself.)

Plus, sometimes a store that used to be your favorite doesn’t work for you anymore. For instance, some of my clients used to love Ann Taylor and then several years ago, Ann Taylor changed their focus and, as a result, their styles changed. I rarely go in there now because it tends to be less classic and more trendy and often has a very limited color selection. It wasn’t that there was something wrong with these women, it’s that the store stopped making what worked for them. So, it was time to find a new store.

Remember, even if your wardrobe needs a complete overhaul, just focus on finding one thing at a time for now and only the colors that look great on you. Even if you don’t buy something, the experience will be quicker and much more enjoyable.

In my next blog, I will share how to take this experience to the next level so you can continue to refine your choices and banish the overwhelm.

Beauty and the Beach: How to Create a Beach Wardrobe You Love

Beauty & the Beach

As you may recall from a recent blog post, I am not a beach lover — at least not at full sun! I do occasionally go down to the ocean, which is one block from my house, replete with my beach chair, umbrella, a towel (in case I need to cover my legs), and sunscreen.  And, even with all that, I don’t stay too long. I also have not had a swimsuit on in over 10 years and I’m happy with that. Of course, I know I’m unusual in this way and I help plenty of my clients find beautiful swimsuits. What I have learned over the years is that it’s not all about the swimsuit! Yes, some of you step into your swimsuit, toss on a pair of flip flops and sunglasses and are raring to go. Others need a little emotional and fashion support and that’s what I’m hear to talk to you about.

It doesn’t matter whether you get a one-piece, tankini or bikini — swimsuits are all revealing. Every one of them exposes more skin than we allow for any other outdoor activity. So, it’s no surprise that we can feel anything from low-grade anxiety to out and out panic when we put one on.

The good news is that your anxiety can be lessened. With all the fun beach accouterments (cover-ups, hats, beach jewelry, totes and more), you can breeze through this experience with confidence and joy. Of course, as always, whatever you choose from bare-bones basics to over the top beach bling it has to be in keeping with who you are.  That’s the joy of it. No one-size-fits-all beach shopping allowed!

The first step is knowing what your options are, so I would like to share a few of my favorites!

Here is an example of a beach wardrobe that looks cool, stylish, flattering and comfortable.

Ready for the Beach

 

If that cover-up isn’t your cup of tea, try one of these:

Hot Pink Sarong Paisley Coverup 60s Style Coverup

 

Plus size women often get the short end of the stick when it comes to swimwear, but there were so many options, I had to stop myself from listing too many here! Check these out:

Plus Size Coverup Plus Size Coverup

 

Want a little fun beach jewelry? Try one of these cute bracelets:

Cube Bangle Bracelet Sea & Sky Bracelet Crocheted Bracelet

 

And, I just couldn’t resist these:

Flower Earrings Sea Glass Earrings

 

These are just a few ideas! If you are someone who spends any time at the beach, why leave it all to chance? If the idea is to go to the beach to have fun and you go hoping no one will see you and plan to spend all day hiding under your beach blanket or in the water, take a breath. There’s still time to catch some great summer sales and add a little extra beauty, peace of mind and joy to your summer festivities!

Are You Trying to be Invisible?

Are You Trying to be Invisible?

Leslie had called me because she was feeling unsettled with her personal style … actually, she felt like she had no personal style and wanted to find out if she could change that.  As we chatted, she shared, “I never paid much attention to fashion or style. In fact, I poo-poo’ed it. I tried to be invisible or neutral and was purposefully indifferent about my appearance.”

With this admission, Leslie precisely verbalized how so many women approach their image and express themselves through their wardrobes — they don’t!  When she reached a point that she felt so unsettled about how she looked that she didn’t know how to address it effectively any more (or maybe she never did and was just exhausted from trying), she gave up and resorted to blending in as much as possible.  While feeling invisible was not her (or any other woman’s) preference, she didn’t know what else to do.

While, yes, a lot of women have succumbed to indifference about how they look, not everyone ignores fashion or style for the same reason.

Here are stories women have shared with me:

  • Meredith never used to pay attention to fashion or style because she felt comfortable with herself and how she looked.  Then things changed! Her body started to shift, she was getting older and her effortless beauty no longer felt effortless. Not knowing how to adjust to the changes, she poo-poo’d “fashion” and convinced herself (rather ineffectively) that how she looked was not important to her. She resorted to wearing a lot of black and gray because it was easy and spent as little time as possible fussing.  Meanwhile, she readily admits that if she were truly honest with herself, the fact that she doesn’t feel good about how she looks weighs on her psyche and distracts her (if only sporadically) from the things she really wants to focus on.

 

  • Andrea never felt like she fit the prescribed definition of beautiful: she felt a little too short, a little heavier in her middle, her hair had a mind of its own and her feet often hurt.  As a result, she always felt like her efforts to look good were in vain. She could never measure up to her own expectations and suspected others were equally as judgmental. So, instead of trying to fit in, she dismissed all efforts at feeling beautiful and developed a ‘take me as I am’ attitude. Meanwhile, on the inside she felt less empowered than the message she was projecting and it was exhausting to keep her insecurity undercover.

Whether one of these stories rings true for you or your history is somewhat different, here are two steps you can take to elevate your indifference to hope and positive anticipation.

  1. Infuse Your Wardrobe with Color.  “Sure,” you say,“That’s easy for you to do.  You know about color. But, I can’t tell what looks good and what doesn’t so I stick with neutrals.”You’re right. It isn’t always easy for us to know exactly what colors look good on us.  There is conflicting information everywhere and the colors in the stores change constantly. So, what’s the answer? Ideally, you will want to have your colors analyzed by a professional. Choose your expert wisely since you are relying on his or her eye to guide you. If that is not an option, here are three colors I talk about in my book, That’s So You! that work on many people. Even if you just take these colors and mix them with your favorite neutral, you will be way ahead of many people: deep teal, watermelon and periwinkle blue.
    Teal Morpheus Dress Deep Teal. You can make it a bit more blue teal or green teal depending on your preference. Visit this Pinterest board for more examples of teal.
    Watermelon Watermelon. A beautiful red that is between a pink and coral so it works on many, many people.
    Periwinkle Periwinkle Blue. Visit this Pinterest board for more examples of periwinkle.
    Forest Green BONUS! Forest green is another great option.

    When colors flatter you they have the potential to elevate your look from ho-hum to striking all on their own. It’s an easy fix!

  2. Elevate Your Tops.  So many women get stuck in a top rut.  They gravitate towards button down shirts or basic T-shirts because they are “classic,” but they feel bored or feel like these tops now accentuate fit issues.  What can you wear on top that will make you smile?
    Chico's CardiganOne World Crochet Top
    Layer for Comfort and Ease. It’s so easy to add a layer and this helps to camouflage arms, tummy or bustline. Here’s one cardigan that has a classic feel. Or, try something slightly more trendy like this crocheted top over a tank
    Chico's Printed Cowl
    Use Prints to Distract the Eye. Have you been sticking with “safe” solid colors? Why not branch out and incorporate a print into your wardrobe. Prints can distract the eye so the focus doesn’t rest in one area. These colors are pretty and the cowl neckline is flattering on most body shapes.
    Susan Graver Scarf Top
    Try Something Completely Different. This will be too big a stretch for some people and it will not appeal to everyone.  But, if you love the idea of wearing something flowy and elegant, why not try one of the summer’s hottest looks: a scarf top. Here’s a fun example and it is not expensive so it won’t cost a lot if the experiment doesn’t work out.

Phew, that’s a lot! Remember, do not try to do it all at once — change doesn’t happen overnight. And, if you do try to do it all at once there is a good chance you will feel overwhelmed and throw in the towel before you see any results. Instead, take it easy and have fun with it. Choose one possibility from above and explore. See what happens and leave me a comment below!

Are You White Pant Phobic? Here’s My Secret!

The Secret to Wearing White PantsLast night I was shopping with a small group of women. Everyone was looking for fun summer looks in anticipation of a warm, glorious summer. As expected, the question of white pants came up. Some said they live in them all summer. Others said they are afraid of them, and still others said they had never thought to buy a pair. The one thing that was very clear was that there are a lot of misconceptions around white pants and part of that is because there are a number of pitfalls you want to avoid if you choose to wear them.

So, let’s talk about white pants and address some familiar questions. Before we get to that, however, let’s talk about why white pants are so handy. That’s easy. Many of us, especially if we live in a cooler climate, build our wardrobes around black, brown or navy pants or jeans. These dark neutrals are easy and provide a good foundation upon which to build a versatile wardrobe. Of course, in the past few seasons colored pants have been gaining popularity, but not many people I know are banishing all their dark neutral pants in favor of bright colors.

So, where do white pants fit in?

They instantly add a lighter, more summery feel to an outfit. This is especially helpful for people whose best, most flattering colors are deep and rich. In the summer, if you pair your deep, rich colors with black pants, you feel heavy, wintery and out of sync with the season. Now, imagine changing your black pants to white and wear the same deep, rich colors near your face. You instantly add radiance and lightness to an otherwise dark outfit. Ahhh, an immediate sense of lightness surrounds you.

Great, you say, but I don’t wear white pants. They look terrible on me. That’s where the rest of this discussion comes in.

My suggestion, before you dismiss white pants entirely, is to keep reading. It might just change your mind. Believe me, I hear from clients all the time that they don’t wear white pants. And, then, with the right pair in the right fabric and paired with the perfect top, the results are magical … every time.

Debunking the top two reasons for not wearing white pants

I’ve heard all the excuses for not wearing white pants. In fact, I’ve heard them over and over. It’s doubtful you find it surprising to hear the top two reasons women don’t wear white pants:

  • I’m too heavy and they’ll draw attention to my lower body.
  • I’m bound to spill something on them immediately and then they’ll be ruined.

At the shopping event the women there ranged in size from 4 to 2X. As it turns out, every one of them looks great in white pants. Often I find that when a woman gains weight she immediately resorts to black and other dark colors on bottom to (in her estimation) camouflage her lower half. Sure, that can work to some extent, but it’s not the only way. There are plenty of people who look disproportionately larger on bottom even when they are wearing black pants. It’s not completely about color. It’s also about fit and styling.  A well-crafted outfit that includes white pants can easily be as slimming (or even more slimming) than an haphazardly tossed together outfit containing black pants. Not convinced?  In a minute we will talk about some of the pitfalls and styling tricks to choose a great pair of white pants.

But, first let’s talk about the dirt factor. Sure, there’s no getting around the fact that white pants will show dirt more readily than black pants. I also suggest you could be surprised by how long they last relatively dirt-free. You might also be sure that the white pants you get can be washed as opposed to dry-cleaned. That way you can toss them in the laundry at the first signs of any marks and save constant dry cleaning fees (and fewer chemicals).

Not to mention that it’s not the end of the world if you get a pair of white pants and they get irrevocably stained. You either go get another pair (and refrain from eating blueberry pie while wearing them) or you give up on white pants (I recommend the former option). I rarely hear of one of my clients (even those with small children) saying that they ruin every pair of white pants. It’s possible, but unlikely. So, why let that keep you from experimenting with a potentially terrific summer look.

Here are some tips for choosing your go-to white pants:

Choose your fabric wisely. My favorite white pants are white jeans. This is true for several reasons.

  • Denim is heavy enough (even the lighter weight denim) so that you don’t have to worry about the see-through factor.
  • Denim is durable and washes easily.
  • These days denim is versatile.  If you buy a nice pair of white jeans you can dress them up or dress them down.

On the other hand, denim can be a tad hot when the temperatures soar. In which case, you have options. Linen is one of the coolest fabrics, but the see-through factor is often off the charts. Occasionally you’ll find lined linen pants but that usually defeats the purpose of wearing linen — which is to stay cool. And, some women can’t stand the immediate wrinkling that invariably happens with linen. You either love it or hate it.

What do you do when you choose a pair of white pants and they are somewhat transparent? Three things:

  • Wear skin-tone underwear. That way there is no risk of seeing the polka dots from your favorite pair of panties peeking through.
  • Remove the pockets. Why designers put pockets in unlined linen or other lightweight/slightly sheer fabrics is beyond me. Seeing the lining of the pockets is unsightly and distracting and makes it very obvious that the pants are not opaque.
  • Do not wear these pants skin tight. If they are even the least bit sheer the tightness will leave little to the imagination. Plus, wearing them that tight undermines the main purpose of wearing linen pants which is to keep cool — air cannot circulate when the pants are glued to your body.

I replaced all of my white pants this season because the ones I had were either old styles (I’m talking several years old (see, white pants can last)), too big, too small or just uncomfortable. I now have two pairs — a skinnier jean (can’t believe I’m even saying that!) and a pair of looser ones for when the weather is hot and I don’t want to be in something too snug.

If you are wondering how to style them, here are a few ideas (click on the images for more details):

 

Summer outfit with white pants and vegan flats

 

 
 
 
Dressier outfit with white pants and vegan handbag

 

 
 
 
White skinny jeans with longer top and vegan sandals

 

 
 

What are your biggest fears around wearing white pants? Or tell me why you love them! Post a comment for a chance to win a free digital copy of my new book That’s So You!

Does Beauty Have to Hurt?

Does Beauty Have to Hurt?Recently, as I was shopping with a client, she turned to me and shared, “My mother always said that in order to look beautiful I had to put up with a certain amount of pain.” We laughed about it, but there was a ring of familiarity to it. In fact, it wasn’t that long ago that there was widespread acceptance (or maybe just resignation) that in order to look great you had to suffer and be uncomfortable — whether it was bustles, bone corsets and multiple petticoats or simply pantyhose and high heels. The sad fact is that many women still accept this as absolute truth and worse, they feel like they have to sacrifice who they are and how they want to dress in order to be comfortable, and when faced with a choice between the two, comfort almost always prevails. There seems to be little room for allowing that beauty and comfort can co-exist.

I hear you! With each passing year, I have less and less tolerance for things that bind, scratch, squeeze or restrict me in some way. It might also come as a surprise to learn that not everyone has the same ideas about what is beautiful, painful or comfortable. This one took me a long time to understand and accept. Over the years, I have learned that we are all different. Our bodies vary. Our histories are diverse and our beauty monitors are very personal. Helping hundreds and hundreds of women shop for clothes has created an important awareness for me that what one person perceives of as beautiful another might see as downright hideous. I don’t judge. I just listen and help them integrate their preferences with beauty, style and grace.

This idea that beauty varies from person to person was driven home for me many years ago while buying a wedding present for friends. At the time, I thought that buying something from someone’s registry felt impersonal. I wanted to choose something special and unexpected. After looking in a number of beautiful artisan showrooms, I thought, hmmm, perhaps I should take a look at their registry just to see what they like and need and to get some ideas of what might fit well in their home. Well, lo and behold, I personally was not attracted to anything they had chosen on their list. Not one thing. I immediately realized that chances were good that if I didn’t like anything they had selected that they would probably dislike anything I chose and thought was beautiful. So, I purchased something off their registry to be sure they were happy and made a mental note that this was not an isolated experience.

The same thing translates to painful vs. comfortable when it comes to clothing. I know women (more than you might expect) who are perfectly comfortable wearing pantyhose.  In fact, they prefer it. I, on the other hand, will occasionally wear pantyhose (although I ALWAYS cut the waistband so they don’t squish my tummy), but whenever possible (assuming I have to wear stockings at all) I opt for thigh highs. I have also found that some women enjoy wearing layers to keep them warm and cozy while others think layers feel bunchy and restrictive. Some women sing the praises of ballet flats as combining comfort and beauty, while others, like me, cannot find a pair that feels good on their feet.  Thankfully, we have options — in fact, more than any other time in history.

It’s not that we need to get rid of certain styles, it’s more that we each have to explore and discover what makes us happy within the parameters of what we personally perceive as beautiful and comfortable. In my book, That’s So You!, I talk about “What’s on Your Never-Wear-Again List.”‘ The thing I have learned is that that list will be different for each person and the list will change as time goes by. I also know we have to honor it without restricting our options so severely that we feel lost. I can speak to that from personal experience.

It is so easy to get set in our ways and our beliefs about what is comfortable and what is not. For years, I could not understand the appeal of wearing jeans. I found them to be stiff, binding at the waist and I thought they looked messy on me. I always felt mildly perplexed by the idea that someone would want to run home from work to put on her jeans. Jump ahead twenty years to when manufacturers started adding elastane (the miracle fabric, in my estimation) to the denim. While I still resisted trying jeans on at first because I “believed” jeans were inherently uncomfortable, I finally did and now I’m sold on them. The elasticity makes them comfortable and helps them hold their shape so they do not look and feel messy.

Do you feel stuck in a fashion rut? Do you worry that in order to feel better about how you look you will have to be uncomfortable in what you wear? If so, ask yourself these five questions:

  1. How do I not want to feel in my clothes?
  2. How do I want to feel in my clothes?
  3. How has my belief that beauty comes at a painful price kept me stuck? What has it kept me from wearing because I believe I will be uncomfortable wearing it? (Include everything even if you still think it will feel uncomfortable.)
  4. What would I add to my wardrobe this minute if I thought I could be comfortable wearing it (be as outlandish and seemingly unbelievable as you want to)? For instance, maybe you would like to wear heels instead of flats but feel sure that because of your orthotics, bunions, flat feet, painful joints, etc. you can’t.
  5. What step can I take to add more beauty to my wardrobe and personal style without sacrificing comfort? (Remember, it never “hurts” to try something again to see if there is a way to wear it comfortably or to see if it feels better than you remember.)  Perhaps you find a new store (online or brick and mortar) that makes comfy stacked heels that give you a little lift. Even if you don’t find exactly what you were looking for, allow yourself to have fun exploring. While bearing in mind how you do not want to feel in your clothes, use the information about how you do want to feel (provided your list gets beyond comfort) — remember, it’s just a list — to inspire you.

Lastly, if you see your personal beauty requirements as strict limitations they will be, whereas if you see them as an adventure in dressing, you will open up so many new possibilities — things you cannot imagine now. This is always true. Beauty does not have to hurt, but sacrificing beauty can feel painful on a soul level.

Are You a Creature of Habit?

The other day I was emptying the trash in my office and I looked at my trash basket. I mean really looked at it. It was then that I realized I’ve had that same trash basket for thirty years. You heard me right … the same exact basket for thirty years!

Even after all that time there’s nothing particularly wrong with it except that it is a basket so you have to wiggle things out of it sometimes, but mostly it works. It holds just the right amount of trash and is still in good shape. To be honest, it has never occurred to me to replace it — even when I had a whole new office desk system installed a few years ago. I simply placed the same basket in a convenient spot and went about my business.

I bet you are wondering why I am telling you about my trash, right? It’s because this new awareness got me thinking about what else I may be holding onto out of habit and familiarity (rather than for love and beauty) for years or even decades? I began to wonder how that is serving me … or not.

Ginger's JacketsAs you can imagine, I am pretty good at evaluating my wardrobe each season and I regularly let go of clothing and accessories that no longer make me happy, don’t fit or are worn out. Since my new awareness, however, I have honed in on a few items that I have had for, ahem, ten+ years. Two jackets immediately came to mind. One is a brown jacket by my favorite designer, Joseph Ribkoff, and the other is a green jacket from JC Penney that seems to be indestructible. Both are in great condition although I realized I have not been wearing them as much lately. So, in the spirit of understanding this phenomenon (both for my own benefit and my clients’ support) I started asking myself a few questions:

  • Are they still in style — or at least not out of style (e.g., remember the 1980′s when pleated, tapered pants were in? They are no where to be found now (thankfully!)) — Yes.
  • Do they still fit?  Yes.
  • Where will I wear them? (Sometimes, our lifestyle changes and we no longer have the need for certain garments or outfits.) The brown jacket I wear working and the green one has become more casual.
  • Can I make a complete outfit with them? (Have you ever had the experience that you retire one part of a full outfit and then can never seem to find anything else that works as well?) Yes.
  • Do I love wearing them? (This is the clincher!)  Hmmm… think I’m just tired of them.

After the trash basket incident and the awareness that I keep some of clothes for a very long time, I began to gaze around my home with a new mindfulness. It didn’t take long to realize that I am a creature of habit. I sometimes keep things simply because they are familiar. While I don’t do this as much with my clothes because I have learned to assess and reassess what really makes me happy, both when I get dressed each morning AND when I shop, when it comes to items around the house, it’s a different story.

What is the Belief Behind Being a Creature of Habit?

I realized there are two things going on here. One is my reluctance to get rid of anything unless it’s falling apart. I tend to live by the old protestant ethic of my upbringing that says ‘waste not, want not’ and if it’s still in good condition I feel I should keep it. I admit that this is a good and wise choice for the environment — I am certainly not into “fast” consumerism — the idea of buying something just to use once or twice and then discarding it holds very little appeal (on many levels) for me. I like to procure things I enjoy and keep them for a long time. I also am now realizing that I do not have to make apologies for passing something along that I have used well and I can do this before it is in total tatters.

The other thing is that I still have (on some level) the belief that I should save my best things for special occasions. While I have definitely learned not to do this with my clothes and I talk about this more in That’s So You! in the section entitled, “What Are You Waiting For?”, I have not yet applied this to everything in my life.

Silverware - Old & NewThe truth is that as a creature of habit, it is hard for me to see new possibilities when I am tied up in old, automatic habits. In fact, as a result of writing this I had a realization about my every day silverware. I’ve had it for well over 15 years. Do I love it? No. It’s fine (I’m not even sure I loved it when I bought it). It works. It’s in good condition, but I certainly don’t love it. Then I remembered that I have this beautiful silverware that I purchased in St. Augustine Florida at an antique store many years ago that sits in a beautiful box in the pantry waiting for company. Oh, dear. We rarely have company for dinner and even then I often forget to use it. So, it is sitting there in its precious box unused and under-appreciated. I have been such a creature of habit that every day I reach into the kitchen silverware drawer, pull out a fork or spoon and eat. While I’m very particular about the plate I use and always choose that with great intention, it has not occurred to me to question my silverware … until now.

Why am I sharing all of this with you?

  • Because it was a completely new awareness for me and now I can’t stop evaluating everything in my house. I have been totally committed to only keeping and wearing clothes that I love and enjoy wearing, so the realization that this habit had not extended to the rest of my possessions, felt profound. Just as I move things out of my wardrobe from time to time and consign or donate them when they no longer serve me, I can do the same with everyday items in my home. Who knew!
  • If I am having this new awakening with household items then I suspect that there are many women out there who are doing the same thing with their wardrobes: wearing things out of habit rather than because they love the garment and feel beautiful wearing it. As a result, they are oftentimes either overwhelmed with too many clothes (as they add new things without purging older items first), or, they are settling for wearing things that are “good enough” because the clothes are still “wearable” and fit even if they no longer make their heart sing.

It also makes me even more committed to purchasing things only if I love them. No more settling for “good enough” (you can read more about this in That’s So You! as well in the section on “Are You Settling for Good Enough?”). If I am going to keep something for a long time (which I don’t see that habit changing anytime soon) then I want to be fully aware of my appreciation for the item and use it with joyful intention rather than just out of habit.

While there is comfort in habit, it is also easy to fall into a fog of complacency or to do things on automatic pilot. The good news is that we can change all of that. Every night before I fall asleep I spend a few minutes feeling appreciation for people, things and experiences throughout my day. As of now, I have added a new component: I will find one thing to appreciate that is new each day — something seemingly mundane, something I take for granted. As I do this, it will create a new awareness of where I am settling for things that don’t make me happy. Believe me, as I unpack my new/old silverware I will be appreciating that for a long time!

So, where are you a “creature of habit?” And, where is that not serving you?  Have you had any new awarenesses?  If so, please feel free to leave a comment!

5 Tips to Help You Spring Clean Your Closet Now

The other day I was looking through my closet thinking about what I would keep and what I would get rid of as the change of season approaches. Of course, here in New England, we never know what kind of winter we will have and so sometimes I don’t get to wear something as much as I thought I would because the weather was either colder, warmer, snowier or icier than usual.

As I reviewed my wardrobe one piece stood out to me: a brown casual, safari-style jacket that I have had for many years. It’s still in good shape, but I found myself putting it on and taking it off a couple times too many this winter. So, I stopped to analyze it since I don’t like things taking up space in my closet that don’t make me happy. And, like most of us, I am reluctant to let something go until I know why I won’t wear it anymore.

One look in the mirror gave me my answer. The color is just muted enough that it no longer works with my hair, which is slightly more bright and intense red than it used to be. While the style is useful, I don’t feel great in it now, and, although it is useful, that alone is never a reason to keep something. So, it is going away.

As the seasons converge, it is the perfect time to reevaluate items from both seasons. As you review your winter wardrobe, it is fresh in your mind what you wore and what never saw the light of day. The questions below will help you determine if it is worth storing an item until next year or if you need to bid it a fond farewell now. The same thing is true as you unpack your spring and summer wardrobe. Do you look at something and think, “Oh, yay, I had forgotten about this and can’t wait for the weather to get warm enough so I can wear it.” Or, do you look at it and think, “Wow, I still have this thing?” Hang the “oh, yay” one in your closet straight away. Keep the other one handy as you refer to the 5 steps below to determine whether it finds a home along side the “oh, yay” item or heads to the nearest consignment store, donation center or trash barrel.

1. Does the color look great on you? “Well, it goes with everything” (that’s usually our answer to black or gray) doesn’t cut it, nor does…my mother gave it to me, or…everyone is wearing this color. None of those things matters unless the color also looks great on you. Why settle for a color that’s just ho-hum (or worse!) when you can have a closet full of colors that make you sparkle? If it isn’t a great color on you, let it go.

2. Does it fit you right now? So much can change in one season and our weight is one of those things that can fluctuate widely within just a few short months. If it doesn’t fit, you can keep it (as long as you can say yes to the other questions, of course), but do not put it in your working closet. Storm it away for now. Or, if the fit issue can easily be remedied by a trip to the tailor, then add it to the tailoring pile (you do have a tailor, right?).

3. Is it in good repair? It is so easy to toss something into the out-of-season closet or storage unit figuring you’ll think about it when the temperatures dip or soar again, but now is the moment of truth. Has this item seen better days? Is it pilled, frayed, stained or thread-bare? If so (be honest), it goes. Yes, even if it was your favorite. If that’s the case, it’s actually a good thing. It means you got your money’s worth out of it and now it is time for it to retire and make room for something fresh and new to take its place.

4. Is it comfortable? You know you won’t wear it if it isn’t, and yet it is so easy to keep something thinking we might need it sometime when, in our hearts, we know that we will always find something we feel better in rather than wear something uncomfortable and spend the entire time longing to take it off! If it isn’t comfortable, it goes.

5. Can you make a complete outfit out of it? If you recently “retired” the only item that made this garment into a complete outfit, then it’s time to reflect on its value to your wardrobe. Will you easily be able to create a new outfit with it or is it one of those things that you will drag around from store to store looking for a match? If the latter is true, thank it for its past contribution to your wardrobe and pass it along. And, if it has been sitting in your closet with the tags still on it because you can’t find something that will go with it, first check to see if it passes the test of the other four questions. If it does, then give it one last chance to find something to go with it. If, within the next week, you do not find a suitable companion for it and it is still sitting in your closet, consign it or give it away. You won’t believe how relieved you will be to let that energy go. You will no longer be reminded that you spent money on something you can’t wear or put pressure on yourself to spend valuable time trying to make it work or wearing it in a combination that doesn’t make you happy.

Are you ready for the final test? This is crucial and should really be the first thing you ask yourself: Do you love it? So, why do I have it last? Because I also know from past experience that until we go through the exercise above, it is way too easy to think you love something until you put it to the test. Lydia is a perfect example of that.

When I was in Lydia’s closet with her, she pulled out a dress that she had had for years and said, this stays, it is a long-time favorite and I love it. Okay, great. I asked her she minded if I asked a few questions about it. She agreed and so I asked her when she had last worn it. That’s when the story began. She hadn’t actually worn it in about three years because it was a tad tight–and had been for all that time. Ooops, that’s #2.

She had also recently started coloring her hair and when she put the rose colored dress on it clashed with the auburn highlights she had added to cover the hints of gray in her naturally brown hair. Until she put it on she hadn’t realized that the color made her complexion look a little ruddy and the color felt dull rather than soft and pretty as it had originally. With the first two questions being answered with a resounding no, that was enough to make her realize (with no further promptly from me) that it needed to be in the give-away pile, but the clincher was when she realized there was a stain at the waist band that clearly had been there for a while and was likely not coming out.

At first she felt sad, but then she remembered how wonderful she had felt in that dress for many seasons and she was fine with letting it go.

These five questions (plus the bonus question) will help you identify and remove from your closet the items that are no longer serving you. While I know this exercise can feel a bit scary, it will also feel liberating. No more pressure to wearing something you can’t or do not want to. Of course, these questions also raise more questions. What if it passes all those tests and you still don’t wear it? Then, it is time to get my book, That’s So You! or go to your local bookstore and ask them to order it.

That’s So You! helps you identify many more reasons why things aren’t working for you and gives you answers to questions you don’t even know you have right now. There is an entire chapter on Tapping Into Your Inner Beauty followed by Taming Your Closet and Real-Life Fashion Advice. Those are just three of the nine chapters that help you create a look you love with beauty, style and grace.

The bottom line is that you can have a wardrobe you feel great in. Take a moment now to begin your spring cleaning process and feel lighter and refreshed as you step into the warmer weather.

3 Shopping Habits That Keep You Stuck

It’s spring.  Well, at least it is in the stores even if the weather is telling you something different.  A sea of bright colors greets you as you enter any clothing store, and this alone is enough to send some women into a tizzy.

A couple of days ago I was shopping with a client in a department store.  As we headed out into the racks of clothes she looked at me with a faint smile and said, “How do you know where to begin?  My eyes keep darting in a million different directions and I feel totally overwhelmed.”  I calmed her fears and assured her I would help her navigate the store.  I also know that so many women share the same feeling of anxiety when they go shopping for clothes, and since we are about to enter a new shopping season this topic is very timely.

That said, I am not going to address all the ins and outs of shopping successfully (you can read about that in my newly released book, That’s So You! where I devote an entire chapter to this topic.

But I do want to touch on three specific shopping habits that can keep you stuck and frustrated as you shop and even more discouraged when you get dressed every day.  Change these habits and you will change your wardrobe forever.

Here are three confessions I hear from women all the time.  Let’s look at them and see if they ring true for you.  If so, this is a great opportunity to release those old habits and start fresh:

1. “I have been shopping at __________ store(s) for the past 5/10/15 years.”  If you are shopping at the same places you did ten years ago and are no longer having any luck, the culprit is one of two things.  It could be that the store is now identifying with a different demographic–sometimes they have a new buyer who is taking them in a new direction.  If it is not the store then it must be you.  This is not a bad thing, it’s just life.  Like it or not, as the years pass, our bodies shift, our lifestyles evolve and there is no doubt that we get older each year.  It could also be that the store is still a good choice for you, but you don’t know how to switch your focus to find those more suitable options.  No matter what, it eventually requires a different way of looking at your wardrobe and it will affect your shopping experience.  There comes a point when if you keep shopping in the same places without getting the results you want, buying clothes will continue to be an exercise in futility and frustration.

We also tend to believe that we should be able to shop at xyz store because everyone else does or it used to be great or they talk about it in magazines or television.  What happens then is that you stop looking for new stores to explore, especially if shopping is not an experience you enjoy.  And, hey, can’t everyone shop at Marshalls, Macy’s or Talbots?  Not necessarily.  One of my clients told me that her husband thinks I’m wonderful because now they don’t have to stop at every Marshalls they pass.  She used to go in because she was searching for ways to complete her wardrobe and the lower cost appealed to her (and felt less scary if she made a mistake) and, as a result, she would often buy things because of the price rather than the value it contributed to her wardrobe.  Now that she has a wardrobe she loves she still shops occasionally at Marshalls, but she does it strategically and because it feels fun rather than out of desperation.

Just ask Wendy Yellen (www.EideticLifeCoach.com) about the value of finding a great store.  While working with the ‘Who Taught You How to Dress?’ coaching program (www.whotaughtyouhowtodress.com), she learned the value of venturing into a few smaller boutique stores in her local area.  In her exploration she was delighted to find one that fit her style exactly.  Who knew!  She shared with me that, Because of your encouragement, I actually now have a ‘favorite store’ and, unbelievably, people regularly—and often—ask me where I shop and tell me how great I look. Even better, I FEEL great about how I look!”  This one step changed her life.

A common concern is that boutiques are too expensive, but, as Wendy discovered, if you make wise choices there is a good chance you won’t spend any more than you used to.  You might have fewer clothes, but you will wear everything rather than having a lot of unworn garments hanging in your closet.  As you get to know the women who work at the store there is a good chance they will make sure you are the first to know about upcoming sales.  And, this might surprise you, but not all boutiques carry expensive lines of clothing.  Some actually have a low-moderate price point and some have a wide range of prices so there’s something for every budget.  Finding a store(s) you love can be life changing for you, too.  You get a wardrobe you feel great wearing, nothing hangs in your closet unworn, and you spend much less time shopping because you know where to shop.

Let me also say that it does not have to be a boutique that is your new go-to store.  It can be a consignment shop, a department store, a designer store, a big box store or even a thrift store—or a combination of some of the above.  It is just a matter of doing a little research in the beginning to find the places (one to four stores) that make you happy.

2. “I never try things on.”  This is a huge admission.  I know that many women dislike shopping so much that they swoop into a store, grab a few things that look promising or familiar and head home.  Or, they order online almost exclusively because it means they do not have to go anywhere near a store.  Once home they eventually try things on and too often they find themselves either trying too hard to make something work when clearly it is not ideal or they disappointingly acknowledge that the item doesn’t work, but then, with their busy lives, they often forget to return it.  It also means that they are less likely to branch out and try something new because it might not look good and then it is one more thing they have to return.  When your goal is to stay out of the stores as much as possible, the idea of venturing in even to return something takes a backseat to almost anything else in your life.

The problem is that waiting until you get home to try things on does not allow you as much freedom to explore and entertain new possibilities so you are more likely to stay stuck wearing a version of the same thing all the time.

I know what you’re thinking, “I never find anything new that I like.  Everything is too young, too old or just plain ugly and so it’s a lot easier to stay with what feels safe and easy.”  The problem is that this often means that you don’t feel inspired or excited about your wardrobe either.  Not that you have to be a fashionista, by any means, but every woman deserves to feel great about how she looks.

When you think about shopping for clothes, I’m sure you can come up with about six million things you would rather do or that feel more pressing, but if you choose a store you enjoy and schedule enough time so you don’t feel rushed and can actually try clothes on while you are there, you might be surprised at what new possibilities open up.  Why not take a deep breath and make a commitment (and actually schedule it) to expand your shopping experience?  You just might find yourself sighing with relief!

3. “I buy pieces when I find them.”  This certainly sounds innocent enough, but this one behavior can wreak more havoc on your wardrobe—and psyche—than the other two combined.  If you have orphaned pieces sitting unworn in your closet then it is well worth taking a look at this shopping habit.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with buying a spectacular piece here or there and even better when you can get it on sale.  The problem arises when you get it home and realize that, although you love it and are excited about wearing it, you cannot—no matter how hard you try—make a complete outfit out of it.  I know. I know.  Your intentions are to find something that you like so you can wear it, but for right now, it’s a lonely piece sitting there teasing you and begging to be worn.

Here’s the thing… the time to think about whether you can make it into a complete outfit is before you buy it.  Before heading to the checkout counter, mentally rummage through your closet and think about what will work with it.  Be specific.  If you cannot think of at least two items you already own that can finish it, then leave it at the store or buy the rest of the outfit (provided you love it) right then and there.  Yes, I know this takes discipline and focus, but it is worth it.

Do this exercise before you purchase another orphaned item: Take a minute and add up all the money you have spent on things you do not wear because you couldn’t figure out how to make them work and then allow that to inspire you to adopt this new shopping habit.  It will never let you down.

And, if you need more guidance, check out my hot-off-the-press book, That’s So You! and take a look at the section entitled, “Unworn Clothing: Love It or Let It Go” (just one of many that will help you) for inspiration and support.

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Jackie: Before
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Jackie: After
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Diane: Before
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Diane: After
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Amanda: Before
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Amanda: After
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Donna: Before
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Donna: After
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Jan: Before
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Jan: After
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Sara: Before
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Sara: After
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Marianne: Before
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Marianne: After
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Annie: Before
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Annie: After
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Meryl: Before
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Meryl: After

A couple of days before our Lord and Taylor trip, I went to Boomerang in Jamaica Plain. I walked in, zeroed in on my colors, took a bunch of stuff to the fitting rooms, and was astonished. Everything that fit me looked great. Even the things that didn’t fit me looked great color-wise (although of course I didn’t buy them). I shopped for a grand total of 45 minutes, spent $27, and got a whole bag of clothes including both work and weekend wear. But here’s the most amazing thing: as I was checking out, the sales clerk looked at my stuff and said, “This is a really nice color palette.” I was AMAZED. No one had ever said anything like that to me in my life. Shopping was easy, quick, non-wasteful, and I actually bought stuff that noticeably cohered. I am a true believer! 
Robin