Nurturing Beauty Style Secrets Blog: Vegan Fashion Archives

Bewitched, Bothered & Bewildered ~ The Best & Worst Spring Fashion Trends!

After a long, cold winter, spring fashion designers have a tendency to get a little crazy with floral mania, explosions of color and a variety of exposed body parts. While it is certainly a welcomed relief from the bleak winter doldrums, it can also be a bit of a shock! How do you make sense of it all? No worries. That’s what the “Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered” seasonal trend update is all about.

I have a grand time revealing the upcoming trends, some of which are bewitching, others are quite bothersome and there are always a few that are downright bewildering. I’ll help you decipher what trends are worth pursuing and which require some serious eye-rolling!

Keep reading and find out what will make its way to your closet and what will stay on the racks.

BEWITCHED

Color

Just the fact that there is color after a dark, subdued winter, feels good. As you will see in a bit, the extremes of pastels and primary colors leaves an entire middle range unexplored. As much as they say the super soft colors and very bright colors are hot, you will still find pretty medium-toned colors, especially blues and greens this season. In addition, metallics are popular and can be very fun to explore for your wardrobe. For instance, a great pair of metallic shoes can be worn with almost anything!  Like these …

Metallic Shoes

Collar-less Jackets

These jackets have an elegance and simplicity that is stunning.  This one also incorporates the lace trend for this season and comes in this gorgeous periwinkle. Wear it over a pair of slim pants or a pencil skirt.

Periwinkle Jacket

Summer Sweaters

I don’t know about you, but I get cold even in May or June. New England weather is fickle and you don’t know if you’ll be bundling up in 40 degree days with rain or shedding clothes as the temperatures climb to 90 with high humidity. So you have to plan ahead and having a sweater or two that doesn’t look like you’ve pulled it out of the cedar chest in desperation is great. Here is a simple style in a popular blue this season.

Summer Sweater

Colorful Biker Jackets

In the early spring when there’s still a nip in the air, this faux leather biker jacket in a fun color can be just perfect. This lovely blush tone is very in and actually is flattering on a lot of skin tones.

Biker Jacket

Fringe

This is a tricky trend. I’m intrigued by it, although I’m not sure it’s generally my style, and it can easily become very hippie-ish or a little over-the-top (it’s hard to believe how many bathing suits are available with fringe!). Here is a very understated fringed tee if you want to add a nod to this fun trend.

Fringe Top

Bejeweled

Not sure you want a lot of sparkle and shimmer all over your body? This pair of bejeweled sandals will look great with a pair of white jeans or white linen pants. Pretty with just the right amount of jewels and combined with metallic faux leather that is so popular (and flattering) this season!

Sandals

Button Down Shirts

If you love button down shirts, you are in luck!  They are everywhere.  You’ll find the classic styling, white button downs with unusual detail, bejeweled collars…you name it, the button down will have it.  If they are ‘you,’ go wild!

Wide Leg Trousers

These are a nice contrast from the skinny pants that have ruled the fashion world for several years now.  You do not have to be six feet tall to wear them, but if you are petite, you might want to skip this trend or be sure the trousers come close to your natural waist to elongate your leg line.  Then pair them with a fitted shorter top.  Could be an interesting trend to explore.  One word of caution, if the trousers have pleats, leave them on the rack.  They will just add width.  Flat front is much more flattering.

Everything Sheer

As usual, sheer is in for the spring/summer and, with the right layering piece underneath, it can be very pretty, feminine and cool.

BOTHERED

Color

While the spring season is a relief after the starkness of winter, the colors that dominate the season are not always the most flattering. Pretty to look at, not so easy to wear. Radiant Orchid has been highly touted as the color of the season by Pantone. It’s a beautiful color, but doesn’t look good on everyone, especially if you have a lot of rosiness in your cheeks. Here is an example.

Pastels are a seasonal favorite and they are back.  Think of a big basket of Easter eggs and you’ve got an idea of what to expect. If you look best in deep rich colors, you’ll want to ignore these or wear them very sparingly—as an accent to black, white or your favorite neutral.

Orchid Dress
Primary colors have been around for the past couple of seasons and they are still popular. Personally, I wish they’d go away.They are too bright and overpowering for many people to wear well. And, this season they are showing them all worn together – forget it, you’ll disappear completely in that blast of color!

Black and white, as usual, is a strong (and popular) combination, but again, overpowering for many skin tones.

Don’t despair if the colors I’ve mentioned above sound too sweet or too strong for your taste.  There are always other options or variations on a theme, and when in doubt, remember to look for some of the colors that look good on everyone: periwinkle, teal and watermelon

Colorful Bomber Jackets

These can be fun, but they do remind me a bit too much of the 1980′s, so be careful. They can look frumpy or out-dated in a heartbeat. This one has a closer fit than most (which is nice) and adds some metallic that is so popular this season

Bomber Jacket

Sweatshirts as Fashion

Please make this trend go away or leave it to the teenagers. There is nothing attractive or fashionable about these bejeweled, patterned, textured sweatshirts masquerading as style.

BEWILDERED

Boxy, Cropped Jackets

To continue the cropped theme, they are introducing boxy, cropped jackets.  Stay far away from this style if you are at all curvy.  Here’s a perfect example.  If this model doesn’t look good in it who can wear it?

Boxy, Cropped Jacket

Black and White Graphic Prints

While I have absolutely nothing against black and white, do we really have to have so much of it! This severe high contrast combined with the sharp angles of the prints, makes it not so easy to wear. This is a fun dress, but it will look best on someone with high energy and high contrast in her natural coloring (e.g., dark hair, light skin).

Black & White Dress

Cropped Tops

Didn’t this style just go away?  Well, it’s baaaaack!  The difference now is that they are being worn with skirts and pants that come to (or very close to) the waist so what is exposed is your waistline and lower ribcage.  It is still very definitely the territory of the young.

Tea Length Skirts/Dresses

While these are very feminine and pretty, they are surprisingly tricky to pull off. They hit your leg between the mid-calf point and the ankle and can look frumpy in a heartbeat (especially depending on what shoe you wear with them). If you love this look be sure to choose a full skirt and shoes that are open on the top of your foot (low vamp) to elongate your legs and avoid looking frumpy.

Scary Combination of Trends

I couldn’t resist. These two designs take the trends to the extreme.

These need no introduction. If you’re sixteen have a blast. Otherwise, leave them on the rack.

Scary Combinations

 

Yes, it has been a long winter and it’s not over yet. But, the spring fashion trends are flooding the stores and bringing at least a little relief to brighten your days until all the snow and ice melts! With the plethora of bright colors and swirls of light fabric, spring is a happy time for fashion.  That said, it is also a time when you occasionally have to cock your head and think, “Really, you want us to wear what?!” and this season is no different.

Remember, it’s a happy time so have fun. Lighten up, but choose your trends wisely. Just one or two from this list will serve you well and add some new life to your current wardrobe.

*All photos feature clothing that is vegan/cruelty-free.

Want to Look Great Every Day? Create a Daily Uniform!

Every morning when you get dressed and stand for what seems like an hour in front of your closet trying to find something to wear, you dream of being able to grab a uniform and go. Your mind goes to a fantasy of reaching into your closet while still half asleep and pulling on something fabulous without having to try on ten or twenty things.  Then, your mind snaps back to reality and you think, “Sure, I already have a ‘uniform’ and it’s so boring I can hardly stand it!”

While your mind is intrigued at the thought of wearing a uniform, your heart says no because it sounds so dull and limiting and holds out for something more exciting.

Before you give up on the idea altogether, let’s rethink the concept of a uniform.  It can run from firefighters’ and police officers’ mode of dress to your Catholic school outfit or what you and every other girl in your girl scout troop wore.  In these cases it identifies you with a particular group.  The problem is that none of those is appropriate to your every day dress now.  While that’s true, you don’t have to give up entirely.  You can create your own group uniform with a membership of one: you.

The thing about a uniform is that it does not have to be boring and it certainly does not mean that you wear the same exact thing day in and day out.  It’s about consistency of design and style and then you add variety within that consistency.

Ginger's UniformLet me show you how:

Choose a style that looks good on you, is comfortable and fits into your lifestyle.* For instance, my current favorite uniform consists of a pair of skinny jeans, a long layering tank, and a long cardigan. I just purchased the most spectacular belt (and I’m not generally a belt person) that adds great flair to the outfit. I actually have 3 sweaters – one forest green, one deep teal and one brown. Green, off-white and brown layering tops go easily underneath and besides my skinny jeans I have black skinny ponte knit pants and depending upon the weather and how cold it is I either wear black high-heeled ankle boots or black or brown knee-high lower-heeled boots. My earrings can change depending on my mood and where I’m going. The most exciting part: I can get fully dressed in two minutes and feel great. It’s no wonder I wear some version of this outfit several times a week!

Important: Notice that each of the individual pieces in my uniform is a solid color. This makes it more versatile and I add visual interest with my accessories.

Here’s another example: a client who asked me to help her find a work uniform to get her through the next few months. She has a very heavy work schedule and does not want to have to sit and ponder what to wear every morning. She needs it to be easy and automatic. She knows she likes dresses and what’s easier than a dress! So, I helped her find 5-7 dresses that she can alternate over the next few months adding different jewelry and a sweater or jacket if she wants to and know she looks terrific every day.

Teal Dress

Here’s an example of a dress that would make a great uniform.  It’s simple, the solid teal color is beautiful on many people and you can add a sweater or jacket over it if need be (but it’s not necessary). Just have a couple of different options for necklaces or scarves (here are some examples) or add a belt (hint: avoid basic belts that you would wear with your jeans.  Choose something fun and interesting and in keeping with your personality.  Ideally a belt should be 1″ to 2″ wide), and you are ready to go. Pair it with tights and pumps or knee high boots and you’re done.

Want to change it up?  Here are some ideas:
Turquoise + Silver Necklace Carmelia Necklace Silver Heart Necklace
Scarf Scarf
Here’s a fun belt for the dress:
Belt
Here are three ideas for earrings to pair with the dress and belt:
Gold Earrings Gold + Turquoise Earrings Teal Earrings

 

Think about what makes you feel good and what you can wear a lot. Whether it’s a dress or a long sweater and skinny pants or perhaps you love vests, jackets, trousers and turtlenecks.

It is also important to know that you don’t need a huge uniform wardrobe. That would actually overcomplicate things and it will then take you longer to get dressed as you weed through everything in your closet, thus defeating the purpose. Think of my 3 basic options or my client’s 5-7 dresses. Maybe you love button down blouses, but are sick of the baby blue and white options. Great, choose a blouse like this:

Nic+Zoe Blouse

Get several interesting button down blouses in gorgeous colors. Pair them with black pants, skinny jeans or tuck them into a skirt and add a belt. You can always add a vest, jacket or cardigan over it or leave it plain with fun earrings or a scarf, easily coming up with 5-7 options that you can wear over and over.

Not only does a uniform make it easy to get dressed, but it expands your shopping dollar: when you wear something a lot it cuts the price per wear every time you put it on.

Begin by finding one of your favorite pieces in your closet and start exploring and experimenting. Try some of the ideas above or add your own. Share your insights and uniform ideas by commenting on my blog. The season is just underway so there’s plenty of time to fine tune it as you go along. Find a uniform you love and you will look forward to getting dressed every day!

(Every outfit and accessory pictured here is cruelty-free and vegan-friendly!)

* Need help getting started? If you need help identifying and creating your personal uniform, register for my “Your Style, Your Way” workshop. The January 25 workshop has sold out, but if there is enough interest I will add one on February 22 or get on the VIP notification list for the May 3 workshop. That way we can work on it together!

3 Tips to Update Last Year’s Holiday Attire

You can look great this holiday season without spending a lot of money or hours shopping.

You have a couple of holiday parties to go to and, of course, New Years Eve is approaching. Although the holidays seem to come and go so quickly, you still want to look beautiful and feel special without breaking the bank. You just don’t know where to begin.  Yes, you could wear the same thing you’ve worn the past two years — your little black dress with a pendant necklace, or your velvet skirt and shimmery blouse — but that doesn’t feel special anymore. How can you spice it up without spending hours fighting the crowds at the mall or buying an entirely new outfit?

  1. Amazing ArmsAdd sleeves to your LBD. So many dresses are sleeveless and yet, at least here in the northeast US, it is freezing!  You have good intentions of wearing your favorite little black dress and then the temperatures dip and you realize you have to cover your arms or you’ll shiver through the entire party and dream of being home in your pj’s. So, you throw a sweater or jacket on over your dress and completely obliterate its beauty. You’re now warm, but you’ve lost that special feeling about how you look.There’s a new, very simple solution.  Add sleeves! No sewing experience necessary!  There’s a terrific creation called Amazing Arms. It adds a sheer sleeve to any sleeveless black dress. It comes in black and black lace so I recommend adding it only to a black dress (or a dress that has black in the pattern), otherwise the focus will go to your arms instead of the dress. You want it to look as much like a natural part of the dress as possible.
  2. Sparkle always works. You are going to a party, but think a LBD would be over the top. It’s a casual get-together to celebrate the holidays so a great pair of pants or dark wash jeans will be perfect. You just want to add some pizzazz to an otherwise basic, every-day outfit. You also want to avoid holiday theme sweaters and crop tops or split back tops — you’ll leave that to the teenagers. So, what’s left? Jewelry!Let’s say you’re wearing your favorite pants and simple jewel neck top. It’s nice but lacking any fun or holiday cheer. Add a stunning statement necklace and you’re done. Here are two ideas. There are SO many out there. Find one that speaks to you. I even have an entire Pinterest board with beautiful, exquisite jewelry.
    Turquoise Tear + Branch Necklace Faux Pearl Necklace
  3. Change your shoes.  You’ve been at work all day and there’s a party you’d love to stop by for a bit, but you don’t want to go all the way home to change. You know that once you walk in the door of your house, you’ll get comfy and cozy and not want to leave again. You’re wearing a simple sweater and a pair of skinny pants with ballet flats or a flat boot at work. How can you spice it up? Add a heel and you’re all set to go. It doesn’t have to be 4″ (or anywhere near that). Choose a pretty heel that says “party” to you and you’re on your way.Here’s a pretty and unusual dressy heel:

    Dressy Heel

    And, here’s a pretty, sparkly wedge (very comfortable):

    Sparkly Wedge

    Perhaps it’s really cold out and you want to stay well covered (even your feet), but you don’t want to feel clunky and like you’re ready for a blizzard.  There are still fun options like this (even if you have to carry them with you and put them on when you get there):

    Red Bootie

As you can see, when you have the basics (that LBD, velvet skirt or skinny pants, for example) there is no need to buy an entirely new outfit to look and feel special. A tweak here or there will add a smile to your face and a spring in your step. Plus, your version of these items above are great ice breakers as you get compliments on how beautiful, unusual or festive they are.

What are you adding to your holiday wardrobe this season? Leave a comment below sharing what you’ve done to make an old outfit new again! You will inspire other women to do the same.

Every item shown here is vegan and cruelty-free.

How To Never Hurt An Animal Again and Not Sacrifice Anything In Your Life

How To Never Hurt An Animal Again

It’s that time of year — winter — and who doesn’t want to be warm! When I first became vegan I was so concerned I wouldn’t be able to find warm clothes and I’d go through the entire winter freezing — but 8 years later, I can safely say it’s just not true.  And even better I realized that I don’t have to sacrifice ANYTHING to be vegan. In this day and age, we can have it all without ever hurting a defenseless animal again — and that feels great.

To be honest, up until eight years ago I had no idea that any choices I made were hurting animals. It wasn’t something anyone I knew ever talked about and, as a result, it never entered my consciousness. I’m sure the same is true for you. I know you don’t set out to cause misery and suffering to animals when you go shopping. But, if you are purchasing anything made of wool, silk, fur, leather or down, then you are. I know. I know. It was an eye-opener for me, too!

Nearly 20 years ago, I vaguely remember someone pointing out to me that although I didn’t eat red meat, I did wear leather. At the time, I thought, “Well, of course I do. What is the alternative? And, besides, leather is a byproduct of the meat industry so it’s not like they are killing the animals just for the leather.”*  Oh, dear. Can I tell you how much I WISH he had continued the conversation with me! I had no idea how misguided I was and how just a little more information would have changed my life (and saved the lives of so many animals). Sadly, I do not even remember who this phantom person was or why we were on that particular subject in general. I just know that I dismissed the notion that I was contributing to animal suffering because I didn’t know any better and thought there were no alternatives.

It was many years later before I learned the truth. I would like to share with you some of the information I waited so long to hear and understand, because I suspect that you might not know either, and I don’t want you to have the same regrets I do. Plus, let me share a little secret, it’s SO much easier now!

Two things are keeping you from making clothing choices that are cruelty-free:

  1. You aren’t aware that traditional, beloved fabrics like wool, silk, down and leather come with a very high price tag. Whether the actual monetary value is high or low, the one thing that is true across the board — they all cause immeasurable suffering. Yes, even wool production causes misery and ends in the death of the lambs and sheep (maybe not immediately, but always way before their natural life would end). You can read more about it here. Those pretty, delicate, soft, cozy sweaters are covering up a lot of pain and suffering. Believe me, I, too, was so sad to hear this.
  2. You think you will have to sacrifice beauty and comfort if you don’t wear clothes made from those fabrics.

I was in exactly your situation eight years ago. I had just learned about the horror these animals endured to make it to my plate (even though I hadn’t eaten red meat for over 25 years, I still ate chicken, eggs, fish and dairy) and then the full realization hit me! Animals didn’t just suffer to be on my dinner plate — some of the clothes I was wearing were fraught with that same pain. This was such a source of sadness for me and at the same time I had this awareness that it could dramatically impact my livelihood! I am, after all, in the business of helping women choose clothing they love and that they feel good wearing. Not only that, but I like to feel good in my clothes. I quickly realized that I had to find a way to do both — feel good about how I looked AND not cause any more animals to suffer so I could still look good and be a good representation of my business. Wow! I had a few moments of abject fear when I thought maybe it wasn’t possible. Could I really have a cruelty-free wardrobe and still feel stylish? Yes! I was determined to make it work and, even more importantly, I committed to making it an adventure, and that’s exactly what I did.

Lucky for you, though, times have changed. Since then, as awareness is growing and people like you and me are choosing cruelty-free fabrics — the options are exploding. Just today I took a client shopping and, without even looking (she’s not vegan…yet) the sweaters she purchased were soft and lovely and unless you looked at the tag you would have had no idea they were not cashmere. I have watched this happen over and over this fall and it is so heartening to see. Eight years ago you were hard pressed to find anything like those sweaters. The best you could do was cotton or a scratchy acrylic. Thankfully, that is no longer the case. Yes, unfortunately, there is still plenty of wool, cashmere, alpaca, mohair and angora in the world, but if you want to find the other options, they are there, too and the choices are growing daily!

Are you ready for a change but not sure how to begin?

  1. Read labels. Everything you need to know is on the garment’s label. If it says wool, silk, fur, leather or down, it is not cruelty-free.
  2. Layer. This is good advice no matter what you are wearing since temperatures vary everywhere you go.  Recover offers great layering pieces in 28 different colors and at a great price point. I’m especially fond of the long sleeve scoop neck top. They are one size fits all (pretty much a size 2 to 16) and I take the sleeves in a bit at the wrist since I like them more fitted. I mention another layer piece below.
  3. Speak up. If you don’t see what you want … ask. It is easy to miss something that could work AND it is important for the stores to know that you are looking for something they might not have. If they know there is a demand for cruelty-free garments, they are more likely to consider including them in future seasons.

Not sure where to look? While you will certainly find some alternatives at the major department stores (Lord & Taylor and Nordstrom carry Nic+Zoe, for instance), you can find options everywhere from smaller chain stores like Ann Taylor Loft to boutiques and from all price points (Bloomingdale’s to Kohls).

Here are just a few examples:

Nic+Zoe Sweater
Texture Top from Nic+Zoe
(55% Cotton/35% Acrylic/10% Rayon).
Add this 3/4 sleeve layer piece for extra warmth.
Ann Taylor Cowl
Cowl Neck Sweater from Ann Taylor Loft
(60% Acrylic, 40% Nylon)
Chico's Sweater
Flame Stitch Chelsea Pullover from Chico’s
(76% acrylic, 12% nylon, 6% rayon, 6% polyester)
Kohl's Sweater
Lurex Cardigan from Kohl’s
(acrylic and polyester)

* In case you are wondering, leather is not a by-product of the meat industry. It is a co-product and helps keep the selling of meat economically viable. By buying leather you are supporting the meat industry. (I’ll share another article about leather and non-leather alternatives soon.)  You can learn more right here.

Are You Dressing for Yourself or Someone Else?

Are You Dressing for Yourself or Someone Else?

When you don’t know what your personal style is and you don’t feel confident about choosing clothes you love, it is tempting to let someone else dictate your style for you.  But, don’t do it!  You will never feel completely satisfied with how you look as long as you are dressing by someone else’s rules!  It is never too late to explore what makes you happy when you get dressed.

Who do you see when you look in your closet?  Is your mother’s face smiling back at you from that ruffled shirt you’ve never worn?  Or is your best friend’s favorite dress hanging out in there taunting you?

In response to the question, “Who do you see when you look in your closet,” I most often hear:

  • My mother
  • My sister
  • My best friend
  • Myself, pre-children
  • Myself, pre-thirty extra pounds
  • Myself, pre-menopause
  • My favorite celebrity
  • Whoever was working at the store the day I went shopping
  • The store window mannequin
  • All of the above!

Guess what?  When you look in your closet you want to see YOU — just you.  You want to see items that make you smile and that you associate with fun times and delicious moments.  Maybe the memories are of pushing your daughter on a swing, lunch with girlfriends, a successful business presentation, or a precious date with your sweetie. These are the simple pleasures that make up life.  And you want these feelings to be reflected in every aspect of your wardrobe — down to your nightgown and slippers!

So evict the strangers and weed out those garments that make you roll your eyes or cringeThey have absolutely no place in your wardrobe.  This exercise will help you make your closet all about you!

  1. Remove one item from your closet that feels more like someone else than you.  If you are near your closet, go there right now and do this (if not, write down the first thing that comes into your mind so you will remember to remove it later).  Do it even if you don’t know why it isn’t you or what to put in to replace it.  The very first step is to get it out of there.
    As long as something that is not you is taking up space in your sacred closet (yes, it is sacred because this is where your essence is expressed every day), you will feel overburdened, frustrated, annoyed or discouraged — or resigned to all of those feelings — every time you get dressed, and none of those is good.  It is also very likely that you are not wearing this garment anyway.  It is more like a security blanket, but the security is a sham.
     
  2. Identify one garment or outfit that makes you smile the second you put it on your body.  It can be a dress, pair of pants, a pair of shoes or a scarf.  No item is too small or insignificant.
  3. Lay the stranger and the item you love side by side, and get a piece of paper or a notebook.
  4. For the item that is not you, write down everything you do not like about it.  Be as picky as you can.  Maybe it’s the way the fabric feels.  Perhaps the buttons seem overwhelming, or there are just too many of them.  It could be that you dislike the pattern or the way it clings.  Or perhaps it has a belt, and you do not like belts.  Write down everything!  If there are a few things you like about it, write those in a separate column.  Maybe the color is pretty, but it can’t make up for the fact that the style is so shapeless.
  5. Write down everything you like about the item you love:  color, texture, fit, shape, ornamental details, the way it feels or anything else about it that comes to mind.  Maybe it makes you feel sophisticated, down-to-earth, spunky or pretty.  Whatever it is, write it down.
  6. Use these lists when you go shopping to help you stay focused.  They are your lifelines!  The next time you try on an item, run down both lists and see how the garment compares.  It is so easy to get distracted by all the choices, the lighting or the helpful “advice” from sales women or your shopping buddies.  Keep this shopping mantra in mind: Only buy or wear something if you love it.

 

This is an excerpt from my book, That’s So You! Create a Look You Love with Beauty, Style and Grace. It’s a big topic and the foundation of creating a personal style you love.  If you are not sure how to tell what makes you happy when you wear it and you need more support, get a copy of my book here: www.createalookyoulove.com  And, if you want even more personal support check out my “Who Taught You How to Dress?” virtual coaching program or my upcoming “Your Style, Your Way” workshop. The most important thing is that you take step forward to get yourself unstuck.

Bewitched, Bothered & Bewildered Fall Fashion Update 2012

I love autumn. Yes, I know I say this every year but I really, really do. And, this year I’m particularly excited for the transition because it was such a very hot summer. The cooler weather is such a wonderful relief. So, for those of you mourning the end of summer, let me share some fun fashion updates for the Fall that will bring a delicious smile of anticipation to your lips and sometimes an out loud guffaw at what they try to pass off as style! Thankfully there is more to celebrate than bemoan.

In case you are new to my seasonal fashion updates, I divide the various new trends into those that I find beautiful and bewitching, those that are bothersome on some level and the ones that are just downright bewildering. Are you with me? Let’s explore:

Bewitched

Colors: You know I’m all about color and fall is often my favorite season for color. I love the transition as we move from lighter, brighter colors to warm, deep, rich tones. So what’s up this season? Let me share the bewitching colors here and look for the bothersome ones below. Navy blue is making a well-deserved comeback. It works on many women as a great neutral and has been hugely neglected in the past few years. Add to that a deep forest green (also largely overlooked in recent autumn/winter seasons) and a deep (not bright!) red. Yay. These are colors that work on a lot of women, so if you look great in them, snap them up now. (Click here for shopping information)

Textures: The feel of fall is yummy. Not only in the colors but also in the textures. What is more soft and elegant than velvet, and they are promising lots of it as we get into the cooler months? Want something more casual? When the temperatures take a nosedive you can turn to chunky knits but in the meantime, open weave sweaters are hot. Think of them as the fall version of the summer macramé sweaters that were everywhere. Simply wear a long-sleeved fitted top underneath, and you’ll be cozy and fashionable.

Peplums: Yes, I know. I for the past few seasons I’ve been putting these in the bewitching category, and that is deliberate. If you don’t know what a peplum is, http://www.thefreedictionary.com/peplum defines it as, “A short overskirt or ruffle attached at the waistline of a jacket, blouse, or dress.” These days, believe it or not, it even is used in reference to skirts that have a ruffle type attachment at the bottom.

Can everyone wear a peplum? Yes, technically with the right design everyone can wear one. Should you? Maybe, maybe not. It depends on how the peplum is constructed. Some are so small you can barely see them. Others are huge and long and the defining design of the jacket. The fullness or sleekness will definitely affect the success of the peplum on a particular body shape but it is possible to find one that works. But, what’s equally as important is whether a peplum suits your personality. That’s a totally different discussion and only you can decide.

Of course, if it intrigues you I’d say try them and see (you’ll most likely have to try many to find one that’s a contender). You can always take it off and put it back on the rack – no harm done or money wasted.

Wide leg trousers: No, skinny pants have not disappeared. In fact, they are as hot as ever and even come in the deep tones of the season (which are kind of fun!). But, to balance out the latest obsession with their skinniness is the wide leg trouser. Yay! A great look on many women especially those who carry a little weight in their hips and thighs (sometimes a tad tricky for petite women – but not always).

Denim: As always denim is hot. The colored jeans are continuing but the colors are deeper and richer (actually, they are very beautiful). Yes, most of them are skinny but not all so you can still pick up a pair even if you aren’t a fan of the skinny style. Denim jackets are huge right now and even double-denim is popular but it has to be done with great panache (you generally want to pair two different denim washes together so it doesn’t look like a denim suit), or it will look dated. (Click here for shopping information)

Shoes: Boots are always popular in the colder weather and knee high boots are still going strong. Whether you prefer a high heel or flat riding boot style there’s something for everyone. They’ll be flooding into the stores soon. What else is popular? Color blocking on shoes and embellished heels are fun. Ankle straps are huge again which is great if you have long thin legs and ankles but if not, avoid them (you’ll also see ankle straps with low cut ankle boots – kind of interesting but definitely a trend so choose wisely), and probably one of the hottest new trends is the smoking loafer. It’s a nice change from, or alternative to, the ballet flat. It looks great with pants and is super comfortable, and it not only comes in basic neutral colors but in prints, textures and with sparkles! (Click here for shopping information)

Handbags: While there is a lot happening in handbags and many, many options (see: my take on this season’s handbag trends: the dome bag is big.

(Click here for more information)

Prints: Prints are huge again this season and we are seeing everything from fall florals to brocade (especially in pants) and the new optic prints are exploding. As always, choose wisely for your taste, body size, and coloring and be absolutely sure that one of your best, most flattering colors is the predominant color in whatever print you choose. There is no exception to that rule.

Trench Coats: After a wonderful run of fun trench coat options, the past season or so has been a little disappointing. This fall they are offering us a new option to spice things up a bit – the patent trench. It looks like it is made of slicker material and has lots of shine but the saving grace is that it comes in beautiful rich jewel tones in addition to black.

Accessories: Brooches are back, and they are beautiful. If you love them, pick up a few of your favorites and if you aren’t a brooch type of gal, there are plenty of other jewelry options to choose from to express your unique personality. One fun option is a bejeweled headband. Very fun and playful if that suits you, and it can even be worn (in fact, it’s very fashionable and trendy to do so) with short hair.

Bothered

Color: Two very hot colors this season are mustard and gray. Okay, so I acknowledge that these colors are important to some women who look good in them but the ratio of these colors on the store racks to other more widely flattering colors is way skewed in the wrong direction! Mustard is one of THE hardest colors to wear well and light gray is dreadful on a huge number of women (charcoal fares better). Is this some kind of cosmic fashion joke? Please, unless you are absolutely positive that these colors look good on you, avoid them like the plague!

Coats: As we move into colder weather we are seeing a new trend for coats. Let me preface it by saying that I really loved the 80’s. I had big hair (I do big hair really well!) and loved the beautiful colored structured suits with shoulder pads that balanced my hips. I leaned toward the elegant side of the 80’s so when I see them bringing back the most questionable trends from that decade, I have to wonder. So, what we’re seeing now (and let me warn you that when we get a trickle of a trend one season within about 2 seasons we usually experience it as a full blown trend) is what they are calling the boyfriend coat. You know how the boyfriend jackets have been popular (they are longer and slightly oversized and are meant to look like you are wearing your boyfriend’s jacket)? Well, translate that into a coat and that’s what we’re seeing – oversized, shapeless coats. Please say it isn’t true!

Ripped Denim: So much is happening here as you saw in the bewitched category so why this fascination with ripped or distressed denim? Now it has expanded from pants to ripped jean jackets and shirts. Very few people can pull this off without looking messy (what a surprise!) so my advice is steer clear.

Contrasting Peter Pan Collar: No. It’s that simple. Youthful is one thing, infantilized is another. Leave it to the teens and super trendy fashionistas.

Bewildered

Matchstick Pants: These are everywhere just as they were in the spring. Designers and advertisers make them sound like the best thing since sliced bread but they aren’t. They are slightly fuller in the thighs so they won’t feel as constraining as skinny jeans (which can be good), but they are meant to end at the ankle. Because they are not generally as snug to the leg they tend to make your legs look infinitely shorter than long pants. If you have long thin legs this will work well but if not, hmmm, I’d pass them by.

Coated Denim: This is in this category only because the coating makes the pants shiny so they draw a lot of attention to the lower half of your body. Maybe good? Maybe not? Coated denim in a jacket is rather fun and a little more wearable.

Capes: They are beautiful. They are not practical – at least in the cold northeast of the U.S. If you don’t mind that you probably have about 5 days of the year when you can actually where it, then by all means get one. Otherwise, admire them in the stores, even try them on, but leave them hanging on the rack and buy something where your price per wear will be more in your favor.

So, there you have it — the fashion update for the coming season. Clothes are flooding into the store so start looking and see what you see that you like. Take this with you if you want to to inspire you and get your wardrobe moving in a really fun direction.

5 Reasons to Use Vegan Makeup Brushes

As you may be aware, I write a monthly article for One Green Planet — a blog that brings together a range of distinct voices, unified by a commitment to spreading good ideas that benefit people, animals and the planet.

Many of my readers have indicated that they are interested in my vegan lifestyle and the options available to anyone interested in exploring cruelty-free fashion choices.

My latest article, “5 Reasons to Use Vegan Makeup Brushes,” has been published and can be of interest to Vegans and non-Vegans, alike. After all, every woman needs good quality makeup brushes.

Please visit

http://www.onegreenplanet.org/lifestyle/5-reasons-to-use-vegan-makeup-brushes/

to read my latest article.

I invite you to leave a comment on the site or share the article with your social networks as well.

Beware: Real Fur Being Sold as Faux

This is an animal lover’s nightmare. You spend countless hours scouring the stores for a fashionable coat that does not have real fur on it and finally, yay, you find one!

Then, you see something like the report I just saw on “Inside Edition,” and your heart sinks. Reporters went undercover to see if faux fur being sold in stores (Loehmann’s and Burlington Coat Factory) were truly faux.

Sadly, in each case, they found evidence of deception (not on the part of the stores but by the designers who purposefully sold miss-marked merchandise). Both rabbit and raccoon dog fur were found on garments that were labeled as faux.

So, buyer beware! Sadly, we have to be investigators in our own right, as much as possible, when we shop for winter coats. The offending label at Burlington Coat Factory was Ed Hardy (they have since removed all Ed Hardy coats).

To read (or watch) the entire report, go here: http://www.insideedition.com/news/5410/inside-edition-investigates-is-that-fake-fur-on-your-coat-really-fake.aspx

At the end of the story, you will find the link to learn how to tell real from faux.

Thank you for caring and being willing to take a stand for animals to wear their OWN fur!

What ‘Bugs’ Me About Being Vegan

Bugs are not cuddly or cute (well, at least to most people they aren’t).  In fact, they are often scary or creepy looking.  Think about it.  When was the last time you cooed over a spider or hugged a beetle?  So, when I tell people that, as a vegan, I do not wear silk or use lipstick with carmine in it they shake their heads.  What’s the big deal?

Like most people I grew up with a fly swatter in the house and my first apartment after college had cockroaches which we regularly exterminated.  So, who would think that today I would get all riled up about what happens to bugs!

To be honest, I never really thought about bugs as living beings in terms of their capacity for suffering.  Bugs were bugs and they didn’t take up much space in my head (or heart).  The more I have learned, however, the more respect I have for who they are and what they do – and, most importantly, for their right to live free from our interference and abuse.

Let’s look briefly at three of the most commonly farmed insects.

Silkworms
Silk worms create their cocoons out of raw silk – actually, one long continuous thread (from 1000 to 3000 feet long).  When ready, the silk worm will eat its way out of the cocoon but, guess what…that action breaks the threads rendering the silk useless (for our use).  So, what do we do (in most cases)?  We throw the unbroken cocoons (with the silk worm still alive) into boiling water.  This kills the silkworm and leaves the thread intact.

Carmine (Cochineal) Beetles
It comes as a surprise to many to learn that the carmine (or cochineal) beetle is one of the primary sources of the red dyes in cosmetics (it is also used in food and by the pharmaceutical industry to color pills).  Since the fact that it comes from a beetle is left off the label, most people don’t give it much thought.  These beetles (like the silkworm) are harvested or farmed and then boiled alive before being dried to produce the sought-after dye.  You can learn more here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cochineal

Bees
Bees are the most well-known farmed insect.  This is a huge topic – way too big for this article.  You can read more here: http://www.totalimageconsultants.com/fs-veganbeeornottobeeJan08.shtml

As you can imagine, so many people do not want to acknowledge what we do to cuddly animals in the name of fashion, so it comes as no surprise that it’s a lot harder to garner sympathy for creepy, crawly bugs.  My purpose here is to raise awareness on a topic that most people have never even considered.  I cannot help but encourage you to bring as much awareness and compassion as possible to the clothing and personal care choices you make.  I promise it’s easy to do and getting easier every day.  In fact, as I write this I am on my way to support a woman who has designed absolutely gorgeous, warm, cruelty-free winter coats.  I couldn’t have said that just a year ago!

Want to know more about being a vegan?  Listen to my new Vegan radio show:

Join me, Ginger Burr, a long-time self-described health nut and image consultant, and Marion Davis, a former serious meat eater and self-esteem guru as we explore the ins and outs of being a vegan on our talk radio show “Vegan and the Living Is Easy,” — every other Monday evening at 8 pm (eastern)  http://www.totalimageconsultants.com/VeganRadioDiva.shtml.  The next show is scheduled for Monday, February 22.

Vegan and the Living Is Easy

Join me, Ginger Burr, a long-time self-described health nut and image consultant, and Marion Davis, a former serious meat eater and self-esteem guru as we explore the ins and outs of  being a vegan on our talk radio show “Vegan and the Living Is Easy,” — every other Monday evening at 8 pm(eastern)

http://www.totalimageconsultants.com/vegan-radio-diva.shtml

On Monday, Dec. 28, we are delighted to welcome Leanne Mai-ly Hilgart, founder of Vaute Couture.

If you have ever tried to find a stylish, cruelty-free winter coat, you know it has been the one hold-out to a truly “easy vegan” lifestyle. Well, not any more. Join us as we talk with award-winner, Leanne Mai-ly Hilgart, founder of Vaute Couture, the first and only vegan winter coat line to exist. We’ll discuss what prompted her to develop the line, what’s wrong with wool, and how being vegan does not mean you have to sacrifice style and much, much more. Continue reading…

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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

Our front line tellers and customer service representatives participated in a 2 hour workshop that highlighted the importance of professional attire, color, and hairstyle. Ginger’s presentation was very interactive and she really made our employees feel comfortable asking questions. She also was wonderful at addressing the concerns of our younger employees. In particular, ‘How to dress business-like without selecting clothes that make younger employees feel as if they are dressed like ‘middle aged’ women.’ When Ginger finished her presentation, our employees had a much better understanding of what to shop for, where to shop, and how to determine what looks good on them. Our employees who attended Ginger’s session have definitely polished their appearance. 
Sandy Saltamartini Assistant Vice President/Manager of Training & Development, Andover Bank