Category Archives: fashion

Elevate Your Wardrobe: 10 Seasonless Essentials

Every wardrobe is a unique selection. Depending on when the last time you shopped for yourself, there may be more missing than present from my list in your current closet. With every change of season I like to evaluate what I’ve got hanging and stuffed away in drawers.

No matter what season we’re going into (HELLO Spring) I find that these ten essentials are always in heavy rotation. Make your wardrobe work for you. Adding these may not eliminate the dreaded “what will I wear today” conundrum, but by filling in the gaps you’ll have more options to wear your potentially random favorites.

  1. Slim Cropped Pants. Endlessly versatile. Pair them with a simple top or chic tunic. I own several in a neutral palate and in fun prints. The best part is they look great with sandals, pointy flats, wedges and even pumps. No need to worry about length since they’re cropped! Vince makes a great pair, along with J.Crew for endless patterned variations. I like these to hit either just above the ankle, or a few inches above that, not at the calf!
  2. Long Sleeve Silk Blouse. Sumptuous silk adds textural interest and it’s softly pretty. An excellent partner with jeans, knits, and boucle separates. A little bit on the longer side, and they glide (as opposed to cling) over my belly.  A little bit fun, elegant and very comfortable. Sure you could go for black or cream, but why not olive green, or emerald? Perhaps bright crimson or blush pink. Whatever your color it’ll be your go-to no matter the weather.
  3. Classic Belted Trench Jacket or Coat. This doesn’t have to mean a Burberry, or something expensive. I own a bright blue one in nylon, perfect when you need a light jacket to repel a few rain drops, or in cotton poplin with a removable wool liner. It’s a classic for a reason, it’s timeless and always chic.
  4. Long tanks. To fill in the gaps, and keep the tummy from being exposed. H&M makes great ones in pima cotton and tencel. I also love the cut of the ribbed tank by Vince. Make sure you have them in all the basic colors (black, white, nude) plus a fun bright color or two.
  5. Pencil Skirt. In navy or black, this is the one silhouette that really does flatter every shape. If you’ve got curves, whatch out for the va va voom factor. This is YOUR skirt. If you’re cut more like a boy it’ll give you shape where you need it. In woven wool, ponté knit or double lined jersey it’ll be your go-to skirt to pair with whatever you plan on wearing on top. Even a basic pocket tee looks chic paired with a pencil skirt.
  6. Tailored Body-skimming Dress. A body con sheath, either a high neck, v-neck or U-neck works. Choose a knit if you’re ok being a bit more revealing. Otherwise aim for a woven in cotton, wool, or silk for dress that works for nearly any occasion. It’s such a go-to for me I own them in all colors. Even better, this baby works hard for you especially when traveling, and they pack up small. It looks chic, is versatile, and best of all, I feel confident wearing one.
  7. Three-quarter sleeve Cardigan. This is your personal climate control top. Too cold, throw it on. Too hot, strip it off. I love these in linen, cotton, or yummy silk & cashmere blends. Chunky or thin, There’s something magical and very feminine about 3/4 tops. And an excuse to wear your arm bangles without getting in the way of your sleeves.
  8. Crisp White Shirt. All you have to do is look at Carolina Herrera. It’s her uniform when paired with a full skirt. She has made this basic iconic as has Lauren Hutton. A white button-down, wrap style, or popover all work as long as it’s crisp and fresh. Look for tops in poplin or silk shantung. There’s a freshness that white brings to an outfit and can easily be matched with everything else in your closet.
  9. V-necks in Cotton & Cashmere. Tees, fitted sweaters, drapey shirts, they all look great and are so versatile. Layered or on their own, these are the hard working separates you love to wear. My favorites are from Vince and J.Crew, but you can score these basics anywhere from H&M to Neiman Marcus too.
  10. Nude Shoes. Footwear that’s a shade close to your skin tone elongates your look, and can be worn with ANYTHING. Really. So slimming, and the nude look is hot right now. A monochromatic look is always more slimming than wearing two distinct opposite hues that chop you visually and shorten your look. Take a selfie and you tell me which is more slimming.

Think I missed something? Let me know in the comments.

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Fast Fashion Mothership, aka H&M, arrives in Hawaii

Yes it happened and the best of Honolulu showed up to embrace H&M’s arrival in the paradise state. Just in time for our craving of Spring fashions.

I popped in after work Thursday on its opening day for a peak that ended up lasting nearly 2 hours. There’s only so many lines I’m willing to wait in, and the dressing room wasn’t one of them. I showed up in a solid black body con dress so I could thrown on anything I really wanted to try on with ease. I recommend doing the same if you attempt a visit anytime this week.

I was most anxious to see what their higher end line included. I am already well stocked in fresh tanks & great cottons I rely on H&M for, but what I really wanted are their select trendy better-made pieces. With this they did not disappoint. I scored a sweet off the shoulder navy tencel dress for under $60. My other favorites were a voluminous skirt in blush ($60), a chiffon green print maxi a la Rachel Zoe ($70), a silky halter bodysuit ($10), and fabulous strapless black & cream printed dress ($70) reminiscent of something Balenciaga or Oscar de la Renta might have sent down the runway.

By the time I arrived late last night, the collections were dramatically picked over. Some of it was just the sheer number of things being taken to the fitting room, not necessarily sold. No $5 pineapple tank top, the items from Miranda Kerr’s collection that were sold out online were already scooped, and the opening offers aren’t worth mentioning except for the $4 linen-like shorts.

H&M is a well oiled machine, and there were no shortage of helpers eager to tidy up as the chaos swept in. There were even cleaners sweeping the floor, polishing mirrors, dusting etc. while people selected items from the adjacent rack. I expect the store to be massively replenished daily, so plan to check frequently for fresh finds. Turnover and fresh items are the key-stone to fast fashion. One note, many of the spring styles I had eyed online were no where to be found, hopefully those will make their way here soon.

Parking was a cinch, and FREE for the first 3 hours with validation, a huge plus! A quick ride in the elevator and I was on the ground floor around the corner from the main entrance.

I’ve been anxious for H&M to arrive in my home state ever since discovering the retailer in Paris in 2000. Can’t say I was expecting more, just happy it’s finally here.

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Go Kailua Style

Beyond thrilled to be a featured personal stylist in the current Go Kailua magazine. I shopped Kailua and selected this outfit from three of my favorite shops in Kailua. Olive Boutique, Oliver Men’s Shop, and Fighting Eel.

Everything I picked is versatile. A men’s chambray shirt works for so many occasions, and it’s durable too. In Hawaii it’s a perfect light jacket for cool days. My gorgeous model Maisa sports the classic M.Nii drowners shorts, rolled up and a little bit sexy. No matter where your day takes you, you’ll be prepared, you can even swim in these trunks.

Ladies, don’t be be afraid of shopping in the men’s section! I promise you won’t look butch if you style these pieces in a feminine way. Add feminine details like this chunky coral (plastic) necklace and some gold bangles and glitzy bag and you’re good to go.

Special thanks to Sarah Honda at Honolulu Magazine, Go Kailua magazine for featuring me!

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Red Carpet Stunners: Oscars 2014

The best part of the Oscars happens before the show even starts. Really who cares other than the nominees who wins? And with that let’s go over the dressed and ensembles that prevailed on the red carpet outside of the Dolby Theatre tonight. Solid colors trumped patterns and prints this year and dominated the carpet. White, silver, pale pastels, nudes, and metallics were the favorite. Gatsby continues to inspire actresses and designers. Deep navy, plums, and reds also had a presence. To my dismay there were no swan dresses or mohawks spotted, as actresses seem to have gone for safe bets for one of the most anticipated red carpets of the year. I’ve selected my favorites here. Tell me your favorites?

Soft colors, nudes, and silver. These gowns wowed us.

Julie Deply

Julie Deply

Penelope Cruz

Penelope Cruz

Lupita Nyong'o

Lupita Nyong’o

Kate Hudson

Kate Hudson

Meryl Streep

Meryl Streep

Cate Blanchette

Cate Blanchette

Bold colors and deep tones still made an entrance.

Jennifer Lawrence. In what else but Dior!

Jennifer Lawrence. In what else but Dior!

sandrabullock

Sandra Bullock

OliviaWilde

Olivia Wilde & Jason Sudekis

KarenO

Karen O

idinamenzel

Idina Menzel

Kevin Spacey makes Navy glam.

Kevin Spacey makes Navy glam.

GlennClose

Glenn Close

emmawatson

Emma Watson

charlize

Charlize Theron

chiwetti

Post Closet Audit Clarity

You might remember from an earlier post, but this past fall I visited with Nell in Pittsburgh. These are her thoughts on our experience purging and re-organizing her closet. We had a blast, thanks Nell!

After moving three times in two years, I thought I had purged all of the clothing, shoes and accessories that I no longer could or should wear. Yet, I still suffered a mild panic attack each time I peered into my closet to put together an outfit. Enter Pualana.

One early fall afternoon, we took stock of my wardrobe. The first step was to consolidate my warm weather clothes and stash them in a spare closet for the winter. That left a selection of items I could wear now. Pua took a closer look at every piece to see if it worked for me in terms of style, fit and condition. The same process applied to shoes, purses, belts, scarves, etc. The donate and sell piles grew larger.

Pua quickly taught me how to organize the remainder by type and color. Then, she explained how to build an outfit from the foundation up. BOOM: For the first time I could actually see and make sense out of my options. We even had time left for a trip to H&M for some versatile, low-cost basics! I’m happy to say that thanks to Pua, I can now dress myself in five minutes flat. But even more importantly, I feel confident that my clothes make the best possible statement about my personal style. No anxiety medication necessary.

Nell Gladson, Communication Consultant

Shop like a Pro

No matter what your reason for shopping is, having a plan is paramount. Yes you can wander and look through all the sparkly things. But being mindful and using some of my tips might improve your “game”. If you think of those lists like the 10 habits of highly successful people, here are my 10 tips for shopping like a pro. Enjoy.

  1. Shop with a list. Before you ever enter a store or go online, know what you need. And that’s your list. Need a great wear with everything black jacket? Write it down. Only when you know what you need to add to your collection will you truly start to build a great wardrobe.
  2. Don’t get distracted by sales. Yes we all can get distracted by flash sales or deep discounts. But if that Marc Jacobs jacket is bright orange and goes with nothing in your closet, does it matter that it’s 75% off? We all love bargains, but I believe in the price per wear method to track how much something really costs you. If you buy a $500 coat, but wear it everyday 3 seasons (90 days x 3 years = 270 and divide $500 by 270 wears) that’s just $1.85 per wear, a pretty good investment. But a $65 pair of heels you wear 3 times, that’s over $20 per wear. It’s best to know what you want before it goes on sale, that way you know what you want and can spot it in the messy sale rack.
  3. Make friends your shop girl/guy. Shop often, try on what you like when it’s merchandised properly, not shoved into a big messy rack. When you find that leather jacket you have to have, wait for it to go on sale. If you are a loyal customer chances are your shop girl or guy working on commission will gladly put it aside for you when it gets marked down. If they are really good they’ll even let you know when your favorite designers have special trunk shows and events too.
  4. Shop alone. Shopping with your best friend isn’t as helpful as you might think. With your list in hand, you’re less distracted and can focus on the task at hand. Boots? check. Black jacket? check. You get the idea. Second opinions are helpful, but unless that other opinions is from a stylist or someone’s style you love, it’s not really that helpful.
  5. Find designers that work for you and stick to them. Once you find clothes that work for your body and lifestyle why go elsewhere? If Hudson denim has never worked for you, why keep trying? I know I wear a size 30 in Habitual denim and I love their Alice fit. So anytime I’m out shopping and see that same pant in another color or fabrication I already know it’s going to work for me. Having too many options can be overwhelming, even for the venerable shoppers. So stick to what you know works. kHave a hard time remembering what size you are in what pieces? Write them down and keep them in a note on your phone.
  6. Get the basics at H&M, Uniqlo, or Zara. Don’t waste your $$ buying 50 dollar white tees. Yes they may feel amazing, but some of my best tanks have come from H&M. And I don’t have cry when I the pits go yellow. With an endless variety of styles and colors tees, tanks, and jersey dresses that so little you can buy 5 at a time.
  7. Shop online. With speedy deliveries, online reviews, and instant price comparisons shopping online just keeps getting better. Scour online shops like Gilt and Hautelook for deep discounts on your favorite designers. I love the variety and online lookbooks places like Shopbop.com create making shopping for new trends easy. It’s hard to beat hassle-free shopping in your pajamas at 12am either.
  8. Demand great service. Politely of course. If something doesn’t perform like it should i.e. pilling profusely, a button falling off, or a seam ripping, ask that it be fixed or replaced. Here’s where making friends with your shop girl can really come in handy. You invest time and money into your wardrobe, make sure it works for you, and if it doesn’t take it back.
  9. Comfort isn’t the only thing to consider. When considering a new dress, pants, and especially shoes comfort is important. You want to be able to sit easily, walk for miles if you have to, but it shouldn’t be your only consideration when determining what to buy. If we only depended on things being comfortable we’d all be wearing our hideous velour sweatsuits (thanks Juicy Couture!).
  10. Know when to ask a pro for help. We’re all not the best at everything, and one of the greatest skills is knowing when to ask others for help.

Inspired to be French

A little French style inspiration

Who doesn’t love the French and their “je ne sais pas” sense of style?  More than just for the fashion, food, and of course tax-free wine, my mother is in search of a house to buy and live out the rest of her life in the south of France near Bordeaux.

It’s a fantasy many have, I mean it sounds pretty sweet. Riding a bicyclette avec un baguette & mon chien! My mother is realizing her dream. Does she speak French? Un petit peu! But if you play the part it doesn’t matter right?

So in honor of my mom taking off tomorrow here’s a little French inspired outfit I’d be wearing if I were to join her. Stripes of course, a flirty leather skirt, and these Charlotte Olympia flats I’m obsessed with. Hope this inspires you too.

Become Friends with your Wardrobe: Anatomy of a closet audit

On a previous trip to Portland, a dear friend needed my help. Lisa had her first child Carson, changed jobs, moved into a new house, and didn’t have anything to wear. Before we could go shopping we needed to know what she had and what was missing.

Having a plan for what you need and filling in the gaps can be one of the most helpful things I do for my clients. Here I break down my closet clean / audit process.

Lisa’s closet BEFORE

Lisa’s style is organized, clean, and pretty. So there was no reason her closet had to be a cluttered mess. She has less time now that she has Carson, so we needed to make her closet work harder for her. Plastic makes me cringe, and I recommended hangers that are slim and felt lined. More space in any closet is a good thing, so replacing your old hangers actually makes a bigger difference than you might expect. After our session Lisa replaced her hangers.

Step 1: Remove Everything. 

The only way to really see what you have is to remove it from the dark corners of your wardrobe. A rolling rack makes sorting easier. Like so many of us Lisa was holding on to outfits from her previous life: those college days. Crop tops, short mini skirts, and bias cut polyester skirts. Yes you can get rid of the 90s in your closet.

Step 2: Decide What to Toss vs. What to Keep.

So how do you decide what to keep and what to get rid of?

  1. Is it stained? Have holes? Pilling obscenely? If yes, toss.
  2. Does it fit? If no, toss. If yes, move on to #3.
  3. Is it in fashion? If no toss. If yes, move on to #4.
  4. Do you even like it? Do you feel good wearing it? If no, toss. If yes, move on to #5.
  5. Does it flatter your figure/shape? If no, toss. If yes, keep.

Of course when I say toss, I mean donate unless it’s truly rag worthy. Also why not turn your castaways into cash? Check out a Buffalo ExchangeCrossroads or a consignment store near you. Not quite sure how you feel about something? Put it aside (outside of your closet) and reevaluate it in 6 mos. Just don’t forget about it, so put it in your calendar as a to do.

Step 3: Organize. Hang according to type and color.

You really want to make it appealing to get dressed each day. Think of it as visual merchandising your closet. How much more fun is getting dressed each day? I find the best system for organizing a wardrobe is first by type, occasion, and then by color. For instance, just because a sports hoodie is red, doesn’t mean it should hang next to a red silk top you’d only wear out to dinner. Depending on your closet layout space, I hang everything left to right. First tanks, tees, blouses, sweaters, jackets, skirts, pants, then dresses.  Actually sweaters should really be folded, but you get the idea. Coats should have their own hanging space, closer to your front door. Then colorize within each group. White, cream, gray, yellow, red, blue, purple, black you get the idea. If you own 5 aqua tops, you’ll realize with this system that you may not need to buy any more blouses in that color.

Step 4: Shop your closet for new outfits. Discover what you already have.

Once we made more space to see all that Lisa had, we found some great pieces. She needed help creating outfits with some of her patterned dresses and skirts, so that’s what we took pictures of. And I find color coding a closet also helps you “see” what colors work together. That way you can grab a tank then sweater then pant that all works together.

Step 5: Decide what’s missing and fill in the gaps. 

It’s easy to get distracted by flash sales then often end up with a closet full of mismatched items. That’s why we make a list. There were some obvious holes in her wardrobe. She needed some pieces with more of an edge as well. Versatility in what we were going to shop for was key. Her list included black & brown booties with a midsize heel, tunics she could layer over leggings, mid-rise skinny jeans, silk tops to layer over, sweater coats, and a great leather jacket. Never diligent enough to shop at a place like Buffalo Exchange alone, it’s my favorite go-to for great basics and one-of-kind wardrobe go-tos. Her outcasts get a new life, and she got credit to shop. It’s a win-win.

Start 2014 off right with a closet audit. Contact me to schedule an appointment today.

Holiday dresses to whet your desire

Don’t blow the bank and let yourself be overwhelmed by holiday dress shopping. Even if you can’t drop by our Style Exchange tomorrow at R/D in Honolulu, here are some options we’re offering.

Not exactly what you had in mind? Let us know and we’ll offer personalized suggestions. We have a great collection of holiday worthy attire, let us help you find the perfect outfit keeping you looking your best.