Archive for the ‘Women’s Shoes and Accessories’ Category

July 17th, 2012

Tips and Tricks Tuesday: The Vacation Hat

“That’s my Mama’s vacation hat,” my 7-year-old daughter explained to her friend pointing to my cream straw fedora. “She only wears it when we’re going away.”

It was sitting out in the kitchen instead of tucked away on my closet shelf because we had in fact just gotten back from vacation. I never thought I’d have an item of clothing that really only came out on jaunts away with the family (What am I 90? Next I’m going to have a vacation mumu), but children…they speak the truth.

There are certain types of clothing that make me feel inherently…fussy. Hats (not winter hats that are functional, but warm-weather hats), maxi dresses,  to name a couple. They just draw attention. They make the person who is wearing them look like they are trying. Even those adorable fashion bloggers. Yes even them. I see one wearing a cute hat with a little maxidress, scarf, heels and I think to myself, “Really? You would walk down the street in real life wearing  all that stuff? And then the hat on top of it? ” And I’m a stylist. I do this for a living. I follow trends, what’s hot and what’s not. But a hat. It can easily, easily, easily scream “Hey there everyone! Check out ME hat. This one! On my head!!” And that’s the last thing you want  - or at least it’s the last thing I want.  With myself and my clients, I strive to create looks that are chic/cute and comfortable/effortless. Because that is the key to true style. It looks like you aren’t trying.

So, back to my vacation hat. Why do I then don a hat on vacation? When I get ready to travel during the summer, 9 times out of 10 I am wearing a a comfy t-shirt, khaki shorts and flat sandals. Accessory-wise, minimal (I have three young children, if you get my drift). Maybe my menswear-inspired watch, stud earrings and that’s it. Simple, comfortable.

But, I still gotta feel like I’m having fun, right? Hence the hat.

So, if you’re going to rock some sort of cute hat — like a bowler, fedora, cowboy or otherwise, my suggestion is this:

1. Keep the rest of the outfit simple… jewelry around neck and ears minimal

2. Nix any scarves — too much going on above the neckline can overwhelm.

3.  Opt for non-sexy shoewear.  You want it to be like “Hey, I just threw this hat on,” and stilettos don’t say “Hey, I just threw this hat on.”  My favorite look with a hat is a summer dress, flat sandals and a straw fedora. Bam. If you want a great example of another casual way to do a hat, Sydney of The Daybook gets it right…right here and here.

So there you go. My thoughts on hats. Oh, and here I am with my hat (and a kid in the backseat).  The rest of my oufit? Graphic T-shirt (Bethesda Crab House, I think?), khaki shorts and flat sandals, natch.

June 5th, 2012

Tips and Tricks Tuesday: Sometimes Two Belts are Better than One

May 22nd, 2012

Tips and Tricks Tuesday: To Belt or Not to Belt?

This is my first Tips and Tricks Tuesday post and we are tackling…belts. We’ve all seen them. They’ve been around. Around dresses, around sweaters, around jackets. They’re not going anywhere. Yet, they remain one of the more popular fashion conundrums.

And so I say…give it a go. If it doesn’t work, plenty of other accessories to choose from. But you may discover that that skinny red belt (an essential in my book) perks up, dresses up, and sasses up your look in a way that you never thought it could.

The key is to find the right positioning and then the right width of belt for your body type.

First, figure out where the right spot is for you.

1. If you have a little extra around the middle, but are not curvier up top, position the belt right above your waistline and under the bottom of your rib cage — the smallest part of your waist.

2. If you have a shorter torso and are curvier up top, position the belt at the waist in the back, but pull down a couple inches below the waist in front.

3. If you have a longer torso, wearing a belt high on the waist (right below rib cage) is the best bet. It gives the illusion of a shorter torso and a longer leg line.

Next, figure out what size belt works best for you.

1. If you have a longer torso, opt for a belt that has a little more width. Depending on if you are a petite or not, usually something about  1 1/2 inches or more. Beware, though. Don’t go too wide as you may run the risk of looking like you just won the World Wrestling Federation match against Andre the Giant.

2. If you have a shorter torso, you can go skinnier with your belts.

Got it? Good. Now on to belt types. I recommend three types of belts in your wardrobe:

- A brown leather denim belt. Personal favorite is the Madewell Perfect Leather Belt. Great for jeans, but also punch a few extra holes and you can give that floaty, frilly summer dress a dash of toughness.

- A skinnier belt of a bold color (red will always do the trick, but this season, don’t be afraid to give neon a go) for dresses, skirts, pants, etc. Size up and then punch extra holes so you can use lower on waist with pants and then higher up with dresses, etc. Love this Limited patent leather option, with its adjustable back.

- A metallic or leopard-print belt. You will be surprised by how how both these neutrals go with everything, but are anything but boring. J.Crew’s options — gold and patent leather leopard — are my personal favorites.

Finally, what exactly are you going to belt? Cardigans? Jacket? Shirts? Dresses? Jeans? Trousers? Yes, you can belt all of these, but I like sticking with the last four. Not hating on those cardigan belters (and no one belts a cardi better than local DC fashion blogger, Sydney Poulton), but by and large there is something inherently fussy about the look. So, unless you’re feeling like your belting prowess is at an all-time high, stick with belting the piece underneath (dress, shirt, etc.) and then just let the cardigan hang out.

Most importantly? Just try. Style is a trial-and-error process. Try a few different kinds of belts, a few different spots on your waist. And, here’s a little inspiration to get you started. Happy belting!

photo courtesy of

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September 8th, 2011

Love Your Cashmere

     I recently audited a client’s closet and as we were going through her sweaters, she pulled out a pile of cashmere, sighed and rolled her eyes. “I love my cashmere, but I just can’t believe I paid so much money to have them all start pilling. And they are all just from last season!”
     We’ve all been there. Plunking down a couple hundred dollars for that buttery soft cashmere sweater only to find that a few months later…pills, pills, pills. According to The Laundress, though, it’s not because there was something defective in the quality of the garment. “Pilling happens from wearing, not washing.  Pilling is not necessarily a sign of poor quality; it’s actually the cashmere naturally shedding.”
     There are an array of pill removers, sweater shavers, etc. out there. A good pill remover is key. I highly recommend The Laundress New York for J.Crew sweater comb.  If you really want to go hardcore on your sweaters, you can also literally give your sweaters the full spa treatment with a sweater stone and sweater comb (yes, you actually brush your sweaters).
     So no need to feel like Fluffy, your favorite cashmere cardigan, failed you. Simply give her a little TLC and she’ll be back…just like new.

April 1st, 2010

You Can Wear a Trashbag if You Carry This…

Marni Balloon Tote Bag

DC Style Factory Tip #321: Invest in a statement bag. If you’re going to spend oodles of money on something, make it an iconic purse. You can literally wear sweatpants with elastic around the ankles pulled up to your chest. If you leave your house with a Berkin…all is forgiven. Need some ideas? This is a pretty good list to start