Wellegance

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Loafing Around

By now, you’ve no doubt noticed one of this season’s biggest shoe trends – the loafer. The charm of the loafer is that it manages to look both chic and fuss-free at the same time. I also love the slightly masculine feel of them.

Loafers pair well with both “skinny” jeans/pants and wide-legged trousers, alike. They’re easily dressed up for work, yet are also perfect for knocking around on weekends. And the loafer mule is especially perfect for this time of year, when warmer temperatures allow for a little more ankle exposure.

Below are some of my favorite looks. Maybe you’ll be inspired to add a pair to your fall/winter wardrobe (and if so, you may wish to check out Nordstrom’s collection, as they offer a huge selection of loafers, both in the store and online).

Happy shopping!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Weekly Wellegant Find: Josie Natori Pajamas

Anyone who knows me well knows that I LOVE pajamas! For one thing, they’re soft and cozy and signal the end of the day – that lovely time when we can shut the world out, settle our bodies and minds and restore ourselves with a good night’s sleep. And for another, they can be beautiful – colorful, lacy, delicate and feminine.

Now it took me a while to fully appreciate the style-factor, when it comes to pajamas. I’ll admit that, for a long time, I was content to sleep in pajamas that were…well, not very Wellegant. You know the ones I’m talking about – oversized, shapeless, not quite sweats but not far from it. The kind of pajamas you’d expect to see on students in a college dorm, NOT on any self-respecting, grown woman who actually cares about style. Yet…that’s what I wore for more years than I’d like to acknowledge.

Then one day, I considered the fact that I put so much care into the clothing I wear each day. I value quality and the fit and style of my clothing. I don’t mind spending a bit more if I feel that the piece I’m getting is well-made, classic, beautiful and consistent with how I want to look and feel. Why, then, am I content to wear pajamas that have NONE of those qualities? At that point, I decided to “up” my pajama game.

As it was summertime, the first thing I did was purchase a couple of pair of these Josie Natori pajamas. Josie Natori has a line of pajamas that is absolutely lovely and pretty reasonably priced. They’re well made and wash very well (Note: I don’t put them through the dryer but, instead, hang them to dry). But most important, they make me feel like I do when I’m dressed. Like I wouldn’t be embarrassed to be seen in them. I feel cozy and comfortable AND stylish at the same time.

If you’re in the market for some new pajamas, check out the entire line (she has both summer and winter pajamas), many of which can be found on Amazon and/or the Josie Natori website.

I wish you sweet dreams,

Karen

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Building a Capsule Wardrobe

Almost every conversation I have about clothing/fashion lately, revolves around the concept of a “capsule wardrobe.” It’s a hot topic, reflective of the fact that the appeal of the “Carrie Bradshaw closet” has worn thin and that many women (myself included!) are experiencing an intense desire to simplify – our closets, as well as our homes, finances, diets, fitness routines, etc.

In a world that promotes excess, our souls long to scale back. I discussed this at length with NYC Stylist, Tiffani Rogers, in our recent interview (you can listen to it here) and, following that interview, I received so many questions from readers of the blog that I thought I’d dive a bit deeper into this topic and share with you a bit about the process that I’m using to create my own capsule wardrobe.

(I must say, the very thought of eliminating closet clutter and limiting my outfit choices is like a big ol’ shot of endorphins. I can feel the stress melting away as I write!)

Let’s start by defining what a capsule wardrobe is…

The term capsule wardrobe generally refers to a collection of stylish and practical wardrobe “essentials”. These items work together and combine to create a variety of looks. The idea behind the capsule wardrobe is that, due to the fact that (a) these items are quality pieces and (b) they’re not “trendy” but, rather, classic pieces, they can be worn for several seasons and will result in fewer (but better) articles of clothing and fewer (but better) clothing purchases over time.

Some people prefer to limit their capsule wardrobe to a set number of items for each season (for example 10-15 items). This is purely a personal preference, in some cases dictated by closet space. The number you choose (or IF you choose a number at all) isn’t important. What’s important is your desire to simplify and make your wardrobe more versatile and efficient. Let that be your goal and in time, I believe you’ll arrive at the appropriate number of articles to suit your lifestyle and budget.

So, what does a capsule wardrobe include? Generally, a capsule wardrobe consists of tops, bottoms, dresses and jumpsuits. It does not include coats/outerwear, activewear/workout clothes, shoes, formal wear, lingerie, jewelry and accessories.

Perhaps your curiosity is piqued and you’re anxious to create your own capsule wardrobe. Before you begin, here are a few of the mindset shifts that helped me begin this process. These principles will guide you as you excavate your unique style, sort through your wardrobe, decide what to keep and what to let go, and ultimately curate a collection of items that make you look and feel beautiful.

 

  1. Redefine what a great wardrobe looks like. It’s NOT a closet stuffed with clothes, nor is it a wardrobe that enables us to never repeat an outfit. A great wardrobe is one that is well used and enjoyed. I like to think of my clothing in terms of cost per wear: the more I wear something, the more I’m willing to spend on it. For example, if I invest $200 on a great pair of skinny jeans and I wear those jeans at least 200 times over the course of a year – a reasonable estimate – then the cost per wear is about $1. Conversely, if I buy a cheaper pair for $50 that doesn’t fit quite right and doesn’t feel comfortable, and I only wear that pair 10 times, the cost per wear is $5. The $200 pair, while more expensive, is clearly the better wardrobe investment. Not to mention, I’m not using precious closet space to store something that isn’t useful and enjoyable to me.
  2. Choose style over “fashion”.  In other words, choose what looks good on you and expresses your unique personality/preferences, rather than what the fashion industry tells us to like. For a more complete definition and discussion of both terms, listen in here.
  3. Think in terms of separates that work together to create a variety of looks. Rule of thumb: Each item should pair well with at least 3 other things in your closet.
  4. Let go of the idea that you must have all of the pieces right now. Give yourself time to grow/curate your wardrobe. A bit of patience is required, but you’ll be rewarded with a truly beautiful, versatile, well-made, confidence-inspiring wardrobe!
  5. Value quality in all items. Again, consider “cost per wear” when making purchasing decisions. Demand that your clothing investments be high quality fabrics that are well-designed (for your unique body) and well made. Good craftsmanship matters and you’re worth it.
  6. Become an educated consumer. Rather than purchasing things on impulse, plan your purchases and consider how each item will work with he other items in your closet. Learn which styles and designers best suit your body and make you feel great and stick with what you know works well. Keep an eye out for sales (the best sales are generally held in December/January and June/July).
  7. Stop trying to place yourself in one particular style category (bohemian, edgy, classic, etc.) and, instead, identify your unique “signature style”. Simply observe which outfits make you feel the most confident and radiant and consider why that is. Do you prefer tops that are loose and colorful? Do you gravitate toward form fitting skirts? Wide leg jeans or skinny? Consider (a) what you’re most comfortable wearing and (b) what looks best on your body. Over time, you’ll come to truly understand your style and this information will help guide you as you build your capsule wardrobe.
  8. Select a color palette and (for the most part) stay within that scheme to ensure that your pieces work together. When doing this, consider your complexion (note: Although many women tend to gravitate toward black clothing, not everyone looks best in black. In fact, people with fair complexions often look “washed out” and might be better off with different shades of brown or gray). Use your accessories to incorporate colorful accents.
  9. Get really honest with yourself about your lifestyle, personality and the image you’d like to present to the world. I love the idea of dressing the next incarnation of you. In other words, dress the woman you’d like to evolve into, not the woman you were in the past. So many of us hang onto to clothing that simply doesn’t fit who we are now or who we’d like to be in the future. Why cling to an old identity? Get excited about who you’re blossoming into and allow your wardrobe to reflect that.
  10. Approach this with a spirit of play. This kind of self-reflection and planning can often become a chore. Instead, view it as an adventure in which you (a) really get to know yourself and (b) design a wardrobe that reflects the incredible woman you are – your talents, gifts, hobbies, interests, body, lifestyle and unique spirit. I can think of few things that are more exciting than that!

I’ll be sure to keep you updated on my progress, as I strive to create my own capsule wardrobe and I, of course, welcome your comments and suggestions below.

Be true to yourself and be Wellegant!

Karen

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Weekly Wellegant Find: Vanessa Mooney Tassel Earrings

As I peruse the spring collections at some of my favorite stores, I’ve noticed a fun trend – the statement earring. I tend to wear very simple earrings, alternating between the same two pair, however, I’m feeling inspired to up my accessory game and invest in a brighter, bolder pair this season.

Fortunately, many of these statement earrings aren’t much of an investment at all. They can be found at all price points and in many different stores (both high and low end). In fact, some of the ones that I like best are quite inexpensive.

This pair by Vanessa Mooney happened to catch my eye. I love the combination of the sailor’s knot with the tassel. The red beads add a pop of color that will complement both neutrals and summer brights. And the $45 price tag makes this pair practical and affordable.

One popular trend this season is the off-the-shoulder top/dress. The statement earring is the perfect accessory to complement those off-the-shoulder pieces. I’m excited about the combination of this earring with another recent Wellegant Find, this dress. Summer style, indeed!

Be bold and have a lovely week!
Karen

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Swimwear Essentials

One of the many gifts that summer offers us is the opportunity to relax and recharge at the water, whether it be on a boat or at the lake, beach or pool. In my opinion, there are few things as lovely as a warm day, a dip in cool water, toes in the sand and a good book to read. Add to that swimwear that’s chic and flattering and makes you feel a little bit like Sophia Loren…well that’s a little slice of heaven right there!

Unfortunately, many women experience quite a lot of anxiety over the prospect of shopping for swimwear. The options may seem overwhelming but, if fact, there are really just a few key pieces that are necessary and when we invest in quality pieces that are well-suited to our body, we can remain confident in the knowledge that we’re well prepared for whatever fun and exciting invitations pop up this summer.

The following is a list of 7 Swimwear Essentials. You may already have all or many of these items. If not, no worries. Begin with the item(s) you deem most necessary and invest in one quality piece at a time. It takes time to build a great wardrobe and the more attention and care you give to this process, the better your choices will be. Before very long, you’ll have a swimwear wardrobe that (1) reflects your style and taste, (2) is comprised of quality pieces that will last, (3) is comfortable and well suited to your body and (4) makes you feel sexy as Sophia!

7 Swimwear Essentials

  1. Swimsuit: Your lifestyle will dictate how many swimsuits to invest in. Although several swimsuits might catch our eye, for most of us, only one or two are necessary. I’ve come to embrace the recent trend toward purchasing swimsuit separates because one can buy a couple of swimsuit bottoms in neutral, solid colors and a couple of swimsuit tops (in either coordinating solids or patterns). Those pieces will mix and match to form several different combinations. The important thing the remember when shopping is that you want to look for suits that flatter your body type and your skin tone, as we’ll as ones that fit your lifestyle. For example, if you love to swim laps in the pool or participate in water sports, then a one piece with a more athletic cut might be a wise choice. On the other hand, if your time at the water is spent mostly on the sand with book in hand, you’ll likely make a different choice. Reflect on your needs and your preferences and always honor your body. There are many beautiful swimsuits to flatter bodies of every size and shape. When you find “your” suit, celebrate and strut your stuff!
  2. Cover Up/Tunic: There are many styles of tunics or beach cover ups and you’ll definitely want your swimwear wardrobe to include one of them. When shopping, bear in mind that your cover up should be light and comfortable. Although you will, most often, wear it on your way to and from the beach or pool, I recommend purchasing one that that’s presentable enough that you can wear it while running a quick errand, popping into a store, or sitting down at an outdoor restaurant/cafe. Some cover ups (particularly the maxi dress, cotton tunic and kaftan) are quite versatile and you may find yourself enjoying them both on and off the beach.
  3. Sun Hat: I LOVE hats, especially in the summer when my face needs protection from the sun. There are many cute styles, ranging from the super casual baseball hat to the glamourous, wide brimmed hats worn by movie starlets. Recently, the straw fedora has become quite popular, as well as the straw cowboy hat. Once again, you’ll want to select one that fits your head, flatters your face, works with your hairstyle and gives you the sun protection you need. Tip: while the fedora is a great hat for summer, some of them have a very small brim, which might not offer you enough sun protection. Be sure to try a number of hats on to determine which one suits you best. I recently purchased this one from Athleta *LINK* and I absolutely love it!)
  4. Sandals: Sandals for the beach/pool can present a bit of a dilemma because sand and water will stain and damage untreated canvas, suede and leather. For that reason, I prefer not to wear my “good” sandals to the beach or pool. Instead, I have on hand one pair of neutral colored flat sandals, made of a durable, water resistant material (If you’re like me, you won’t need more than one pair). Now, that doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t be stylish…there are, in fact, some very attractive and versatile ones that are perfect for this purpose. Cute sandals (and a pedicure!) will really pull your outfit together.
  5. Sunglasses: As I discussed in last month’s post, Sunglasses for Every Face (LINK), sunglasses are an important element of protection. Our eyes are always vulnerable to sun damage, especially so at this time of year when the sun is brightest. They’re even more essential when we spend time on or near the water, as water intensifies the effects of the sun by reflecting and magnifying its rays. But apart from the obvious health benefits of wearing sunglasses, they are undoubtedly one of the most fun accessories to play with. In this post (LINK), I describe the different styles  – aviator, wayfarer, cat-eye, etc. – and share some of the experts’ tips on choosing frames that flatter your face. I’ve even included a gallery of gorgeous frames to inspire you (along with links to shop!). Invest wisely and you will get a LOT of mileage out of this essential items.
  6. Beach Tote: As is the case with shoes, leather, suede or untreated canvas handbags have no place at the beach. They are likely to be ruined by the sand and water. But that’s quite all right because there are some adorable totes that are just perfect for the beach/pool. Straw ones are lovely (this is one of my faves – LINK), as are the bright and fun beach totes, made of water resistant canvas. If it comes with a pouch or makeup bag inside to hold smaller items, all the better. You’ll want to make sure that your tote is roomy enough to carry a towel, change of clothes and all of your summer essentials (hat, sunscreen, sunglasses, wallet, phone, keys, etc.).
  7. Swimshirt: This last item may not be necessary for everyone, but if you spend a lot of time on a boat or if you participate in water sports, a swimshirt will provide the very best sun protection for the upper body. They come in a variety of colors/patterns and are available in both long and short sleeved styles.

I hope that this list helps you and that you enjoy a summer full of both relaxation and adventure!

xo,

Karen

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Weekly Wellegant Find: The Curated Closet (book)

I have always been intrigued by the idea of a capsule wardrobe. While different people define a “capsule wardrobe” differently, the idea of a capsule wardrobe generally works off of the premise that less is more when it comes to clothing. The idea is that, once one has identified her signature style, she can create a small, efficient collection of staple wardrobe items that coordinate well and showcase that signature style.

As I shared in my recent interview with New York City Stylist, Tiffani Rogers (LINK), in the past, I tended to “collect” clothing, rather than “curate” a wardrobe. I think that’s because I’ve not been very clear about my signature style, something which I’m determined to change. And this book, The Curated Closet, is helping me to do just that.

Author, Anuschka Rees, has devised a “simple system for discovering your personal style and building your dream wardrobe.” Rees begins the process by identifying the five core principles of her pholosophy:

  1. Be selective. Reserve your closet space for items you love.
  2. Be authentic. Forget conventional style typologies like “classic” or “bohemian” and create your own unique look.
  3. Aim for quality. Build a wardrobe of high quality pieces that last for years.
  4. Style trumps fashion: Get excited about fashion trends that suit your own style, but ignore all others.
  5. Invest time and thought into developing your style and selecting the perfect garments.

From there, Rees takes readers through the process, step by step. She also has a popular blog with a number of resources that complement the book.

Although I haven’t finished the entire process, I’m thoroughly enjoying the book and finding it super helpful. I’ve already developed a lot more clarity around my signature style and I’m now much better able to determine which pieces are keepers and which pieces I can let go.

If, like me, you’re interested in exploring your signature style and creating a capsule wardrobe, I highly recommend this book as a starting point…and keep your eyes peeled because a lengthier blog post on this topic is coming soon. Let’s support each other in the war against closet clutter 😉

xo,

Karen

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Making a Statement with Sunglasses

There is nothing that conveys a sense of cool quite like a great pair of sunglasses. Think…Tom Cruise in “Top Gun,” Audrey Hepburn in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” Jackie O’s oversized sunglasses and scarf combo, and John Lennon’s round, metal specs. Sunglasses not only protect our eyes from the damaging effects of the sun, but they amp up the style quotient considerably!

The sheer number of styles and choices, however, can make shopping for sunglasses a bit overwhelming. After all, quality pair of sunglasses is an investment and we want to make sure that it’s a wise one. Here are some things to consider so that you can insure that (a) your precious little peepers are getting the sun protection that they need, (b) the frame you choose complements your face and your overall style and ( c) the pair you choose will go the distance and remain fashionable for years to come.

  1. First and foremost, look for a pair that blocks 99% of UVB rays and 95% of UVA rays. If you plan on wearing these sunglasses while out on the water (beach, boating, water sports, etc.), polarization is a MUST. Also, consider how much of your face will be covered/protected. While smaller sunglasses might look cool, they may not provide the sun protection that you need.
  2. Try on several pair and consider which styles you’re most drawn to:

Aviators – Teardrop-shaped lens and thin metal frames. Often used by pilots, military personnel, and law enforcement personnel. Lenses may be mirrored.

Retro Square/Wayfarers – Made popular in the 1950s and 1960s. Worn by Audrey Hepburn in the 1961 movie Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Most popular style is dark black lenses and frames.

Teashades – Popularized by John Lennon and Ozzy Osbourne. They’re small and round, most often seen with a metal frame.

Cat-Eye Glasses – Lenses sweep up at the outer corners. This style is wider at the top than it is at the bottom, creating a dramatic effect.

Sport/Shield/Wraparounds – Associated with athletics and extreme sports, these glasses are casual and offer the most sun protection.

Oversized – These large lenses can be either square or round. They’re quite glamorous and often worn by models and movie stars.

3. Identify the shape of your face and allow that to guide you in your choice of style. Here is a useful infographic to help you identify which styles best suit your face:

( Source)

4. Once you’ve decided on a style, try that style on in a few different sizes. You want your sunglasses to make a statement without overpowering your face, so the size is just as important as the style. In addition, you’ll want to make sure that they fit you properly. Sunglasses shouldn’t pinch around the head/ears and the weight of them should be evenly distributed across the nose.

 Perhaps you love the shades you wear now or, perhaps, I’ve inspired you to treat yourself to a new pair. Either way, wear them well and enjoy the sunny days ahead!

xo,

Karen 

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DID YOU GET YOUR GIFT YET ?  CLICK HERE to Grab your (FREE) guide –

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It contains my best healthy living tips, recipes and other resources to help you live your most Wellegant life. Enjoy!