Tag Archives: accessories

How to Incorporate New Fashion Trends


Incorporating New Fashion TrendsEach Spring and Fall, new fashion trends burst onto the scene, and with them come the ever-present “must have” lists in fashion magazines and blogs.  Since I am an advocate of expressing our own unique personal style rather than being a slave to fashion trends, you won’t find me endorsing any sartorial absolutes here.

That said, for those of us who love clothes, it can be fun to add new pieces and participate in the fresh fashion offerings that strike our individual fancy.  Since the onslaught of trends each season can be overwhelming for many, I will provide some tips for incorporating select new styles into your wardrobe.

Select Just a Few…

The most important key lies in one word in my previous sentence, select.  There are far too many trends each season to follow them all.  Case in point… I just perused at least ten lists in preparation for this article and found quite a bit of variance regarding the key trends for Fall 2012.  I probably read about at least fifty trends just now, and I’m sure I’d find more if I continued my research.

The best way to have fun with the evolution of fashion without over-shopping or overwhelm is to choose wisely in terms of the trends you wish to follow.  Consult a trend list or two (a few of the best I found are here, here, and here) and choose 3-5 trends you find appealing.  These trends can be colors, styles, silhouettes, or accessories.  Just use your intuition and select the ones that resonate the most with your style aesthetic.

Shop Your Closet First

With your list of key trends in hand, it’s time to go shopping.   But don’t get in your car or on your computer just yet.  Start your shopping in your very own closet!  We often forget to consider what we have before running out to buy something new.

It’s highly likely that you can incorporate new trends by using pieces you already own.  This is especially true in terms of hot colors and trendy color combinations.  As an example, one of the “it” colors for Fall 2012 is burgundy or wine (I often see it referred to as “oxblood,” but I don’t much like that term…).  When I went to my closet, I found I had several tops which fit nicely into that color classification.  No shopping needed!  The same is true for the blue and black color pairing that is big this season.  I have plenty of pieces of both, so I just need to put them together.  Simple enough to do!

Use Accessories

Some trends can easily be incorporated through the use of accessories.  Although you might need to buy a few new pieces to participate in a desired “of the moment” trend, you can do this inexpensively through the use of accessories.  How about a burgundy scarf or belt to wear with your classic pieces?  Or a metallic necklace or bracelet to bring a little of the “sci-fi trend” into your wardrobe?

Shop “Young,” Discount, or Consignment

If you’re looking to add a few trendy items to your closet, you may not want to spend much money on this pursuit.  If that’s the case, I encourage you to venture off your beaten path when shopping.

Even if you’re over 40, you can find age appropriate accessories or simple clothing pieces (e.g. t-shirts) in stores like Forever 21, H&M, and Express.  Or you might want to try the Brass Plum department at Nordstrom or a similar junior’s section at your favorite department store.  While I don’t encourage you to buy all – or even many – of your clothes there, you can find a few fun and trendy accessories in such places for low prices. Similarly, Target is a great place to shop for trendy clothing and accessories, and if you don’t have fussy feet, you can find fun and fashionable shoes at Payless and Famous Footwear.

And don’t forget to scout your local consignment and thrift stores.  Many trends cycle in and out every few years, so you can find quality gently used pieces at very reasonable prices if you are willing to hunt around a bit.  One recommendation in this regard is to scout out resale shops in upscale neighborhoods, as you will be more likely to find hidden treasures there. eBay is another excellent resource for those who have the patience to navigate through a multitude of options.

Use Restraint

When buying trendy pieces, it’s best to keep your purchases to a minimum.  Buy a few items and wear them to death while the trend is hot.  A little goes a long way!  You’ll look current and stylish without breaking the bank or over-stuffing your closet.  Then when the next trends roll around, you’ll have money and closet space to sample those offerings and incorporate your favorites once again.

I hope these tips have been helpful to those of you who like to participate in fashion trends but don’t want to go broke or look like a fashion victim.  If you have questions about my tips or on particular trends, I’d love to hear (read…) them.  Ask away and I’ll do my best to help!

Tips for Packing Prowess


Travel Packing TipsIn this post, I share some of my tips for effective packing. Since most of us take at least one trip per year and the airlines are placing more and more restrictions on baggage allowances, it has become increasingly important for us to learn to pack wisely.

My packing tips have been gleaned through my many years of over-packing and my subsequent concerted effort to mend my “wicked ways.”   While I still have a tendency to over-shop on vacation, my packing for the outbound portion of my trips is now much more modest and manageable.  Read on for my packing prowess suggestions…

List Your Probable Activities

Before you even open your closet to start the packing process, take a few moments to jot down the probable activities in which you will be engaging on your trip.  Is your trip for business or pleasure?  Will you mostly be sitting in offices or meeting rooms, or will you be venturing outside for open-air activities?  Will formal dinners be a part of your plans, or will you primarily be eating in casual diners?  Think about what you will most likely do on your trip, as that information will be a key guiding factor in terms of the clothing and shoes you will need.

Check the Weather Forecast

Most people remember to investigate the weather report for their destination, but I thought I’d add a gentle reminder in case this quick check slips your mind.  If you will be traveling to an area that experiences a lot of weather shifts, it’s always a good idea to find out what you might face during your time away.

For example, my recent trip was to the Lake Tahoe area, a region for which snow is a possibility in pretty much any month of the year.  I have learned to never assume that the sunny San Diego weather will follow me to Tahoe, especially since my summer skirts and dresses didn’t provide sufficient warmth when the weather turned on a dime a few years ago.  This year, I lucked out in terms of weather, but now I always remember to check the forecast and plan accordingly.

Select a Color Palette

It is much easier to maximize your outfit combinations using minimal garments if you select a color palette for your trip.  I usually recommend deciding upon one key neutral color (maybe two, if you include denim) and two other colors.

As a reminder, neutral colors include black, brown, navy, gray, white, cream, and beige.  Neutrals can be combined with each other and basically every other color in existence, so including neutrals when you pack really gives you a lot of “mileage” (pun intended…) in your travel wardrobe.

Let’s say you love to wear black.  If you include one of each key piece – shirt, pants, skirt, jacket, etc. – in black, you will have a lot of mix and match possibilities.

Shoes First, Bottoms Next, Tops Last

I find it’s best to select your shoe options first.  Shoes are the heaviest items in our suitcases, so I recommend wearing one pair of shoes (ideally the heaviest pair) and packing a maximum of two other pairs.  While exceptions exist, three pairs of shoes will generally be all you’ll need for most trips.  Select shoes that you love and can easily walk in, as we typically walk more while traveling than in our day-to-day lives. Ideally, select shoes that can be worn with all or most of the outfits you will pack for your trip.

After deciding upon which shoes you’ll take with you, choose your bottoms.  For men, this means pants, jeans, and possibly shorts.  For women, skirts and dresses may also be added to the mix.   Since bottoms can usually be re-worn at least once, you don’t need to pack one bottom per day of your trip.

Select your tops after you’ve finalized your bottom options.  Since tops generally weigh less than bottoms and shoes, here’s where you can include a wider variety of choices.  A good rule of thumb is to pack twice as many tops as bottoms.  Remember to include at least one jacket or coat (usually not more than two or three) for evening wear or cooler climates.

Use Accessories to Increase Options

The best way to increase your outfit possibilities is through the use of accessories.  Of course, this tip applies more to women than to men, but men have accessory options as well (belts, jewelry, sunglasses, pocket squares, etc.).  Accessories usually don’t weigh very much, so if you have carte blanche to over-pack anything, this is the category.

If you are a woman and love scarves, tote a few along in colors or patterns that match or coordinate with the garments you are taking on your trip.  Pack your favorite costume jewelry pieces (it’s generally better to either leave your expensive items at home or wear them throughout your entire trip) to add personality and life to your ensembles.

A Word about “Just in Case”…

There are three words that are responsible for the bulk of over-packing – “just in case.”  Many of us keep throwing more and more things into our suitcases with those words in mind.  We want to plan for every possible contingency that might occur during our travels.  My best advice also consists of three words – just say no!

While it’s okay to pack an umbrella for potential rain, I don’t recommend overloading your luggage with things you won’t need on the off chance that your plans may take a 180 degree turn.  Plan for your most likely activities and pack accordingly.  If something completely unexpected arises, you can shop for anything else you might need.  Yes, I said shop!   A change of plans may necessitate a shopping trip.  Win, win, says this shopping enthusiast…  And since you didn’t over-pack, there will be room in your suitcase for a few new purchases.