How to stop trending and become a classic.

Madame X, the John Singer Sargent classic, wears a WSR black velvet tube scarf

Spending too much on one-season items? Get off the fad-track.  A few seasonal trends add punch to your wardrobe, but if you have a closet full, you’ll be spending a ton of money on items you can throw out every year.  Here’s how to stop trending and become a classic.

YOU have a style (vs. some one else’s/designer’s style).  Designer fashion should only be a base point for YOUR style.  What is your style?  Start by thinking about what you want from your personal style: to be the standout in the crowd, have the only “something” in town (scarf, dress, bag, shoes), be comfortable and stylish…?  What do you want to say at work? Professional, fun and flirty, funny, knowledgeable?

Now, take a look at some people wearing something similar to your style and go from there. You can do a lot of personalizing with accessories over classic traditional clothes (no, I did not say out-of-date clothes, just classic lines, prints and colors). A little brown work dress for instance, can be made over completely with complimentary patterned leggings, great shoes that make your ankles look smaller and your legs longer, a scarf that draws attention to your pretty face and long neck, or a stand-out belt to show off your small waist. Add a classic designer black blazer and you WILL stand out at work – in a good way.

Camouflage flaws always. Forget fashion that doesn’t work with  your body shape, face shape, length of your legs…  We all know that skinny jeans do not make you look skinny! In fact, a narrow leg only works on women that already have long thin legs…and thighs!

Add sentiment to make it yours – like a great scarf, bold bracelet cuff or a bright green bag! Go big with accessories but in keeping with your newly defined style.

Oh, and one more thing. Never refer to your clothes by the designer name! This is YOUR look!


Men in white shirts #2 and #3

Brad Pitt in a white shirt

So nice. Brad Pitt in a white shirt…and below, the ever classic George Clooney in white.

George Clooney in white shirt

Men in white shirts #1

Johnny Depp in a white shirt

Ah yes, Johnny Depp in a white shirt.

I’m starting a new category just to showcase men in white shirts.  Maybe if our men see how good other men look in white shirts we can convince the guys to wear them more often.

Go bold at the wrists

Favorite Bracelets

“It’s the jewelry that actually makes the look”, says fashion stylist Jesse Garza, co-founder of Visual Therapy, a New York wardrobe consultancy, and co-author, with his Visual Therapy partner Joe Lupo, of Life in Color: The Visual Therapy Guide to the Perfect Palette for Fashion, Beauty, and You!. Says Garza, “I love a flattering, clean backdrop with a statement piece–a pop of color.”

I’m with Jesse.  Although, I wear classic lines and colors in clothes, jewelry is where we can dress it up and go bold. My favorites are statement pieces, chunky, authentic storytellers–like a triple-strand of big beads; a thick, geometric bangle; or the Shakespeare cuff (shown in the photo). Perhaps as a reaction to tough economic times, precious jewels have been stowed away, replaced with semiprecious stones such as lapis, pyrite and quartz; and materials such as horn, resin and even Lucite.

Lupo and Garza take a slightly scientific approach to jewelry.  Balance is important – one piece near the top of the body- earrings plus a necklace or great infinity scarf–a ring on one hand (if you have the fingers for it) and a bracelet on the opposite wrist. Create a drama explosion around the face and another at the wrists.

Left to Right:  filigree metal, gold cuff, golden circleShakespeare cuff

Leg Warmers – still in fashion

Still in fashion-leg warmers

I admit it. I still love the 80s. Yes, the music, too.  And…they’re back – well, at least some of the fashion is back. Everywhere I look there are unconstructed jackets, slim pants or leggings and leg warmers.  I love leg warmers!

There was a time I wanted to look like Oliva Newton John or that girl from Fame. Back then, I wore leg warmers over jeans hanging over my boots and red heals as well as with skirts and dresses. They not only look great – they keep  you warmer, too (well, except for those crochet ones). 

Left to Right:  stripes, green spat-style, crocheted, gray knit

Way-back machine: shopping cart seats

Baby Shopper - First shopping cart seats

I started out in design in the mid 80’s. My son was 14 months old and there was no such thing as a shopping cart seat. I needed something to bolt the active little guy down, so I designed one and started a small business on my kitchen table. Those days, no one thought twice about germs and the designs arriving on the market about the same time as my Baby Shopper, were all about comfort and containment.

Forward twenty-some years and it’s a whole new world of baby stuff.  I was in Buy Buy Baby a few weeks ago and was stunned by the amount of stuff that no one actually needs for their baby. But…evidently people buy, buy. Do we really need a Clip-n-Go Health and Grooming Ring that clips to a diaper bag? Most babies have little hair or if they do have hair, it typically does its own thing for the first couple of years.  Is there ever a hair combing or nail clipping emergency?

Anyway, my point is that the baby world of design is where I started. I loved designing that seat, sketching ideas, creating patterns and trying out different concepts.  These days I am into accessory design – scarves, jewelry and wrist gloves.  Wrist gloves, aka wrist warmers or fingerless gloves are another creation based on need.  I’m a cold person.  I have looked for years for wrist warmers that were not made to throw a snowball. I didn’t want thick knits, lacy cuffs or those made from pink stripe knee socks.  I just wanted something nice looking – very tailored, to wear to work that covered my wrist pulse points. Wrist warmers (or wrist gloves), along with scarves that cover the neck pulse points, will keep you warmer while leaving your fingers free so you can continue to tweet, text, hold a pen or use a keyboard. I couldn’t find them, so I designed them.

Yoga pants. What’s yoga?

Lucy Yoga Pants

Were yoga pants ever just for yoga?  We all know they are the most comfortable pants ever let loose on the world.   I wear them a lot and have looked everywhere for great yoga pants including:  Lucy, Lululemon, Gap Body, Nike, Adidas, Athleta, Juicy and more. One complaint though; all pants are too long. Although the average American woman is 5’4″ (my height) for some reason they make them all way too long.  Cheaper for them but a real pain for the rest of us. I also like them snug but not too tight in the butt and thighs.  Of course, this is dependent on how big your butt and thighs are.  My favorite:

Lucy: These pants are amazing.  They have the best fit – sleek through the leg but flared at the bottom.  They are a bit pricey but they wear well and pack perfectly.

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