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.
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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.

Ring in 2014 with Style and Confidence

Sometimes it’s helpful to look back to see what we’ve accomplished through the year. It can be important to realize your trajectory and either make adjustments, or stay the course. This year I’m so excited to be moving on from 2013. You won’t see a review post by me, or my most popular posts etc. I’d like to inspire you to be excited for what lies ahead.

Instead of focusing on resolutions in the typical sense, I want you to focus on how you can love yourself and your style more. Embrace what nature gave you. Rock your day putting your best self forward. Yes it’s true, Pualana (me) stylist for hire can help you with that. But you can also encourage yourself to smile a little bit more, doubt yourself a little bit less, and love yourself a little bit more. Your gratitude will make you shine, even more than all those sequins can, and you know how much I love sparkle!

When I wake up excited to create an outfit, to walk out that door and conquer whatever my day has in store for me, that confidence shines through as great style. And to me that is the most important element in attaining great style, confidence. How do you get there? Fake it. Wearing a smile, holding your head a little bit higher, and walking proud will make you more confident in your individual style.

A confident woman can often be mistaken for arrogant, selfish, and ego-driven. Don’t let them fool you. Loving yourself and your look enables you to give others more. And soon you will be inspiring others to copy your look…and confidence.

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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.

One dress 3 ways: Style Exchange preview

Simple layering with a few key basics is the starting blocks to a great wardrobe. I took a basic A-line H&M patterned dress as an example to illustrate how you can take one item and create 3 very different looks with it. All items are for sale and available at our next Style Exchange happening tomorrow at R/D in Kakaako, 2-5pm. How you can join us!

Add a sweater and a brass necklace. Joie gray linen sweater $24. Brass beaded necklace $10.

Robert Rodriguez aqua open-weave sweater $22. Blue beaded necklace $22.

Add a jacket. Rachel by Rachel Roy tie waist jacket with pockets $28.

Cashmere for the mouth: My Mother’s Flan

My mother spent some of her formative years abroad in Bolivia and Costa Rica before moving to Hawaii in 1967. With that time in South America she spoke Spanish tasted authentic Spanish influences including flan. One thing my mother was always good at has been baking. Her creative endeavors didn’t end at the canvas, she has quite the knack for anything elaborate, chocolate, and above all heavenly on the tongue. Anything custard holds an especially dear place in my heart for sweets, long johns anyone? I don’t recall the first time I ate my mother’s flan, but every time we ate out and ordered flan, my mother would always say hers was better.

Around the house when I was young it was a common sight to have dessert for dinner. We often stopped by Craig’s bakery in Kailua for their day-old specials, including their delicious custard pie. I now understand how absurd it was to be eating whatever I wanted to for dinner as a kid, including dessert, but my mom always said, “eggs, flour, milk, well why not it’s healthy?” I now suffer from an insatiable sweet-tooth that was earned from many of these “dessert for dinner” nights.

Recently I asked my mom how to make her delicious flan. She likes her caramel a little bit towards the dark and almost burnt side. Turns out I do too. I was always afraid to try making this dish fearing it was much too difficult. A bit tricky, but it turns out not too hard at all. We have our own hens and ducks, and if you can get your hands on some duck eggs it’ll make your custard divine.

My Mother’s FLAN

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cups granulated raw sugar for caramel
  • 5 eggs, plus 2 egg yolks
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk plus 1 can condensed milk or evaporated milk plus nonfat milk to equal 4 cups.
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract (or almond extract if you prefer)

Directions

  1. Have your baking dish/es ready, and be sure it is dry.
  2. Melt and caramelize the 2/3 cup raw sugar in a heavy skillet. (I use my 2qt le creuset)
  3. When sugar melts and turns a light golden color (or darker if you prefer, but make sure not to burn it), which takes about 5 minutes, quickly pour in the pudding dish/es and tilt back and forth with a swirling motion to cover bottom of dish. Set aside and cool.
  4. Beat eggs and yolks into the cream mixture and add salt. Stir. Add vanilla. Strain over a fine mesh strainer and pour into prepared pudding dish/es.
  5. Set dish in pan of hot water and baker covered with foil in preheated 325 degree oven for 20-30 minutes for small ramekins, to 1 1/2 hours for a large dish. Note: Depending on the size of the pudding dish you use, a 2-quart dish or individual ramekins, your cooking time will vary.
  6. Insert knife in center, if knife comes out clean flan is done. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
  7. Place a round, rimmed plate/platter over flan to flip over slowly. Flip carefully as the caramelized sugar syrup will pour out along with the flan. Enjoy warm or chilled.

I hope you enjoy this flan as much as I do!

Shop my Style Exchange Saturday Dec. 14th

Back by popular demand, I’m throwing another style exchange this Saturday. Avoid parking at the malls, and find unique one-of-a-kind pieces and looks just for you. Looking for something special? I’ve got loads of vintage and fancy party dresses perfect for this festive season. Got something specific in mind? Let me know and I’ll make sure to have it for you.
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’tis the season for glitz n’gold

Everyday I resist the urge to cover my face is glittery shimmer or sporting a sequined something. I guess I missed my calling as a circus act. Maybe my friends are right, I should head to Burning Man one year just so I can parade in costumes without getting a second glance. Until that day comes, and I have a reason to wear the most outrageous girly glitz, shimmering toes will have to do.

If there ever was a time of the year to get away with glittery toes, it’s now during the holidays. Here I layered a base gold shimmer polish, with big chunky gold glitter polish on top. Gold is a better version of flesh tone. It’s flattering, and doesn’t shorten your toes the way darker tones like red do. It’s as if gold were the most naturally flattering color for a polish. Yeah that’s it.