Fashion Friday: Falling Leaves

Here in Middle Tn the leaves have just started turning colors from bright green to waxy shades of olive, brown, and rust. It's not quite fall but the temperature is approaching chilly and we're due for our first frost next week. I'm sure most of you can't wait to break out the fall wardrobe. I know I can't - so why wait?

I love the shape of this green asymetrical sweater dress. It's perfect for most body types and looks effortlessly chic. The equestrian look is a big trend this fall and that is reflected in the accessories. The boots are ECCO Hobart Buckle leather knee-high riders. ECCO shoes are expensive, these are $230, but are well made and comfortable which are serious considerations if you're on your feet a lot. My exercise walking shoes are ECCOs and I wouldn't have anything else. A violet infinity scarf adds a necklace effect without risking snagging the dress on an actual necklace. The messenger bag is in rich saffron suede which is one of this season's trendy colors. Top it off, literally, with a felt riding cap. This one is Ralph Lauren but I found one at Target for about 75% less than this one. All I have to do now is grab my green walker and  admire the falling leaves.

Spashionistas Wanted

The outfits that I put together for Fashion Friday are based on my BODS profile. Sure, some of the items I use are beyond my price range but I’m certain I can find reasonable equivalents within my budget. I would love the opportunity to put some together for you for the next installment of Fashion Friday. If you’re interested email me with your BODS profile and we’ll make it happen!

The Happiest Place On Earth Part One: Classics Forward

No, not Disneyland. Stein Mart, of course.

I can't think of a better store to focus on to bridge the Budget and Occasion sections of BODS. I've been shopping here for years and the reasons are simple. Their selection is varied, sophisticated, and fashion forward. Their customer service rivals that of Franklin, Tennessee's Shi by Journeys. Their sales undercut that outlet malls and, in some cases, the discount stores.

A friend of mine had been recommending Stein Mart for quite some time before I actually took her advice and had a look for myself. I had believed their stock to be stuffy and matronly. It was just something I'd heard, but my friend's wardrobe certainly didn't fit that description. Then I started paying attention to who was making the disparaging remarks; they weren't exactly style icons! I was hooked after just one trip.

Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App

These are a few of my most recent finds that will see a lot of use in the coming months and years. The charcoal grey wool coat on the left is a Jessica Simpson lined with leopard print. The fur collar is detachable, adding to its versatility. I apologize for the cropped shot but, rest assured, you will see more of this coat in future posts as the weather goes from cool to freezing. Two of the three pieces on the right, the boots and skirt, are also from Stein Mart. Pencil skirts are in this fall and as they are a classic shape that suits my curves and never go out of style I'm snapping them up when I find those that fit well. This petite sized, fire engine red panel skirt is the perfect length and color for fall and beyond. The knee-high boots are quite a coup for me. Not only are they deep purple suede - my favorite color - they are cut generously enough in the calf for my not-so-skinny legs. I find it extremely difficult to find over-the-calf boots so I was ecstatic to find these.

None of these pieces were on sale, meaning I paid the full Stein Mart price for them. However, "full price" usually means a savings of 30-70% off of retail. Because all three of these pieces will get a considerable amount of wear, not just this fall and winter but for some time, it makes the "per-wear" value worth every penny!

Even though by now I can maneuver ever aisle of the store like an old pro I wouldn't have two of these great garments were it not for the store's most valuable asset; its employees. I want to introduce you to a few very special sales ladies next week.

Get Out Your Crayons

Metaphorically speaking, of course. Here's where the fun (read work) starts.

There is no better way to start this journey into finding your own personal style than to start with color. Wearing the best colors for you is the quickest, cheapest way of making yourself look good. Color doesn't care if you're broke or broken. But you have to be careful when you choose your next article of clothing. Court the right color and it can make you look like a beauty queen just as surely as the wrong one can make you look like you have the flu.

Most people don't really give the subject of color much thought. They either surrender to looking monastic as they enshroud themselves in neutrals or they pile on the colors until they look like a pinata - or anything in between. And it's no small wonder when you consider how intimidating and  confusing it can be. I'm sure most of you have heard of people having their colors "done" and being told they are a "winter" or a "spring". What does this mean? It never made any sense to me. A "summer" should wear nothing but pastels even though they drain your complexion of all color as you age? A "fall" can only wear rust and gold?

There is an easier way. No, I take that back. There is a clearer way - at least, it's clearer to me. As an artist I work with color all the time, but it was only after I read a book called "What You Wear Can Change Your Life" by Trinny Woodall and Susannah Constantine that it all clicked in my head. There are three main color groups. Blue-based colors are cool, yellow-based colors are warm, mid-toned colors are more muted than blue-based yet cooler than yellow-based.

Here are the three shades of red courtesy of the PalsyCam. Yes, I know it's fuzzy but I want you to pay attention to the different shades of color and nothing else; those are clearly distinguishable.

Right now I'll bet you're thinking this is all as clear as mud. How am I supposed to know which group will look best on me - and which other colors belong in that group?

Stick around. All shall be revealed.