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What Are Some Great Combos For “Sweater Weather”?

medium_5268233326Boot and sweater weather, a.k.a Fall, is the chicest time of year!

There’s so much variety and yet simplicity in finding the perfect fall pieces to fit your life and style.  In a previous post, I discussed how to choose the right ankle boots for fall.  Now as a follow-up I wanted to give you five timeless, easy pairings to wear for this transitional time of year.

For work and for play!

Combo #1: Cowl-Neck Sweater + Skinny Jeans

SweaterWeatherCombo1

This first combo takes casual to a sexy and sophisticated level.  Pair a cowl-neck sweater with a flattering pair of skinny or boot cut jeans.  Remember, it’s important to wear styles that compliment your figure, no matter the latest trend.

  • For the sweater: Choose a fine knit.  Avoid anything chunky, as the cowl neck adds enough volume to this look.  If you have a larger bust or mid-section, then stick with a dark color sweater (such as black or navy).  If you have a smaller bust and slim waist, you can play with brighter colors.
  • For the skinny jeans: Flatter your figure by going with a fit that works for you.  A dark wash, black, or grey will give the greatest slimming effect.

Combo #2: Sleeveless Turtleneck Sweater + Printed Maxi Skirt

SweaterWeatherCombo2

Business casual never looked so comfortable yet fabulous!  This pairing of sweater and skirt will take you from the office to after work with friends or even on a casual first date!  The key to making this look work is wearing proportions that work for you.  Make sure the sweater fits perfectly and the skirt isn’t too voluminous.

  • For the turtleneck: Update the turtleneck by choosing a fine knit in a sleeveless style.  If you don’t have arms as fabulous as you would like, then choose a cap, mid or 3/4 length style.  The most important thing is to choose something more fitted versus chunky.  A chunky sweater in this look can look a little “school marmish”.  A dark solid color will be your best choice and you can never go wrong with black!
  • For the maxi skirt:  Here’s a great opportunity to wear a fun print!  If you’re new to wearing print or want to keep it classic, go with a plaid or houndstooth.  But if you’re more daring, then go for one of the season’s hottest prints.

 

Combo #3: V-Neck Sweater + Gaucho Pants

SweaterWeatherCombo3

This is another office appropriate look for sweater weather!  If long skirts aren’t your thing, then go for a pair of tailored pants in a slightly shorter length.  Gaucho pants are perfect for the transitional temps of fall and are an unexpected surprise when you wear them in any look.

  • For the V-Neck sweater: You want to go a bit oversized here, yet still make sure the sweater compliments your silhouette!  If you choose a deep v-neck sweater, then layer a collared white shirt underneath it.  if you choose a more shallow v-neck, then it can be more fitted.
  • For the gaucho pants: When choosing gaucho pants for fall, you want a pair that hits around mid-calf.  If you go any shorter then you’re going for culottes which isn’t nearly as flattering in this look.  The fit through the hips and the the flare of the gaucho pants should flatter your figure.  Wool, a wool blend, or leather are the best materials to choose and dark colors will prove to be the most versatile in your wardrobe.

 

Combo #4: Graphic Print Sweater Dress + Opaque Tights

SweaterWeatherCombo4

This look will work at work or when you’re out and about.  It’s a bit on the dressier side but I love the versatility and the comfort of it.  A great sweater dress can be worn alone, with tights, with leggings, and with endless options of shoes.  The key is finding a fit and pattern that flatter you.  To disguise any areas, go for mitered or diagonal stripes which serve as the ultimate optical illusion!

  • For the sweater dress: Fit is king! A cinched waist with a neckline that flatters your bust (cowl always looks good, just go larger for small bust and smaller for large bust).  Keep the length at or slightly above the knee to ensure it’s appropriate for work as well as play.
  •  For the opaque tights: Anything with a sheen (paired with heels) will make your legs look longer.  Pick any dark color that’s also in the graphic print of the sweater dress you’ve chosen.

 

Combo #5: Fair-Isle Sweater + Leather Leggings

SweaterWeatherCombo5

A timeless pattern for cold weather, you don’t have to worry about the sweater you pick ever going out of style!  The most important thing is to pick a fit that flatters.  Avoid oversized styles in favor of a more tailored look.  Squared shoulder, cinched waist, or cropped style will add depth to your look.

  • For the sweater: Go for a sweater where the main color is dark (like black, navy or burgundy) and the Fair Isle pattern is a lighter contrast (such as white, ivory or gold).  This give lots of dimension to your look and further enhances the tailored styling you chose.
  • For the leather leggings: Leggings are tricky beasts so you want to make sure you choose a pair that flatters your legs and doesn’t slide down as you walk!  Faux leather is a more affordable choice, but less durable.  The best fit is usually with a pair of leather leggings that are mixed media meaning they have patches of leather as accents with the main material being a thick knit.  Stick with dark colors for the most wear.

Still not sure what you want to wear in this chilly weather?  Then check out some great articles from across the web:

  1. Sweater Weather – How To Wear High Waisted Shorts In The Fall {Found In Fashion}
  2. Sweater Weather IFB Project #66 {Wear in LA}
  3. Take Your Closet from Summer to Fall {Women’s Health Mag}
  4. What to Wear In Fall When It Feels Like Summer {Style Maniac}
  5. What to Wear to Work in the Fall {The Spiff}

Shop my top “sweater weather” pick below:

Sweater Weather_KR Lookbook 10.27.14

What are your favorite things to wear in sweater weather?

Comment below!

photo credit: ▲brian james via photopin cc

 

 

Essential Handbag Guide for A Chic Wardrobe

medium_6412403789The perfect handbag is the one that fits your budget, your sense of style, and one you can use for many seasons to come.

And being that it’s fall, this is the time to learn more about:

  • what makes a great handbag,
  • basic types of handbags, and
  • what works best for you.

Let’s start from the beginning.  You first must understand what makes a great handbag before you dash off to the nearest sale and start buying every cute clutch in sight!  From working with many clients, from all walks of life, I’ve come up with five basic guidelines on what makes a great handbag.

 

1. Size

Satchel-10.6.14

One of the first things that you notice about a handbag when you see it is it’s size.  In this case size matters!  I’ve come to find there are really two types of women: those who like large handbags (that can carry everything) and those who don’t.  Admittedly I’m the woman who carries her life in her purse so I’m always looking for a chic shopper or luxury tote at a great price.

When you’re considering size, be sure to look for handbags that have a style that’s comfortable carry.

  • Are you a tall woman with longer arms who can easily carry a tote under her arms
  • Are you a petite woman who needs lots of interior room, but prefer a sleeker style?

These are questions to keep in mind before adding a new handbag to your accessories collection.

 

2. Style

The Tote_EHand

Along with size, the actual style of handbag is very important in fitting the aesthetics of your wardrobe and lifestyle.  Some of the most popular styles of handbags are as follow:

  • Crossbody Handbags: These are shoulder handbags with a long strap worn across the body that distributes weight between the shoulder and back. Crossbody handbags are usually medium or large and very casual, but can be made of luxurious materials.  They feature hands-free design that keeps possessions close and secure – perfect for travelers, shoppers and commuters; also called a messenger bag.
  • Clutches: These are compact, strapless handbags carried by hand or under the arm.  Usually there’s only room for the necessary essentials and compartments to keep belongings organized.  Embellishments, crystals, sequins, metallics, and delicate materials make clutches perfect for eveningwear attire.  Clutches can also be used as wallets for everyday use.
  • Hobo: These are casual and practical crescent-shaped shoulder handbags.  The medium and large sizes in boho prints are most popular.  Hobos are made of soft, slouchy material, such as leather, suede or micro-fiber.  Small and structured hobo handbags exist, but are less common
  • Satchel: These are hand-held handbags with two short handles on top and flat bottoms.  Satchel handbags can have snap, buckle, zipper or drawstring closures
    These handbags are classic, practical and come in variety of sizes.
  • Shoulder: These are one of the most popular styles, have multiple compartments and are carried over the shoulder and hangs down to hips or as high as the natural waist.  Common materials include cotton, canvas, leather, suede or other material durable enough to withstand everyday use.  Big shoulder handbags are on-trend, but choose a size proportionate to your body.  Due to their size and function, shoulder bags aren’t appropriate for formalwear unless the strap and bag are delicate and dressy.
  • Tote: These are an open-top square or rectangle handbag with straps or handles.  They’re typically large and made of durable material, compartments optional
    Also called a shopper; Use as an airplane carry-on, shopping bag or gym bag
    Tote bags are large and can be cumbersome if you choose a size that’s too large.

To learn more about the many styles of handbags, check out Rue La La: Handbags 101 Guide.

 

 

3. Color

 

The Clutch_EHand

The first thing that catches your eye about a handbag is the color.  Are you seeking the season’s hottest new shade of pink or are you looking for a staple piece in timeless black? No matter what you want, you’re likely to find a color matching or very close to what you want.  The most important thing I advise clients to do is choose colors that suit their wardrobes.

Even though that new shade of green may be in every fashion magazine and twenty celebrities have been spotted wearing a handbag in said color, that doesn’t mean it’s a great choice for your wardrobe if you never wear green or anything that coordinates with it.

Since everything in your wardrobe should be wearable, take the time to really consider the colors that work best with what you have.  Here are some of the basic colors I think should be in every woman’s wardrobe:

  • black
  • navy
  • tan
  • red
  • print

 

4. Price & Quality

The Shoulder Bag_EHand

These two features are a tie in my book.  The reason being we all understand that the higher the price we’re willing to pay for a handbag, the better quality we expect it to be.  The key to have a fabulous handbag collection is to know which handbags to spend more money on (these are investment pieces) and which to buy at lower prices.

When building a basic handbag wardrobe, I advise a simple 5:2 rule.  The rule basically says you should have five (5) great handbags in which you have invested a bit more money and can wear for at least two seasons and two (2) cheaper handbags that are more trendy.  Now I’m not saying you have to spend  thousands of dollars on handbags (though handbags along with shoes are usually the most expensive items in a woman’s wardrobe), but I do advise spending at least $100 on higher quality handbags in timeless styles.  Yes that may seem like a lot at first, but remember you don’t have to get all of these handbags at the same time!  As with any investment, take your time and save money for them..

In terms of quality, you’ll get the most bang from your buck by choosing handbags made in leather, suede, and nylon.  Leather is usually my go to choice.

 

5. Other Details

The Top Handle_EHand

The last thing you need to take into account when choosing the perfect handbag are what I consider the other details.  Such details include lining, pockets, and zippers.

  • Lining:  Light colored fabrics are revered as you can find contents more easily. However many women prefer dark colored fabrics as they hide stains from leaky pens and perfumes. Signature linings where the maker’s brand name is imprinted into the weave are seen as the most elegant. Patterned linings or stripes are playful and fun-loving.
  • Pockets: Handbags with great organizational features such as interior side zip pockets, pen holders, sections for credit/store cards and i-Phone holders are most prized. Outside pockets also increase a handbag’s attractiveness as they are useful for storing keys and items you want quick access to.  However this feature makes a handbag better suited for more casual wear.
  • Zippers: Zips and fasteners help keep your handbag more secure and give you more options as to where to put things.  A lot of women like their handbag to fasten with a zip. If the handbag is accidentally dropped, embarrassing contents don’t fall out. Plus, there is an additional feeling of security when out and about.

 

I hope this easy guide makes it easier for you to find the perfect handbag for your collection!

Now it’s your turn to tell me…what makes a great handbag?

Comment below!

Satchels_KR Lookbook_10.4.14

photo credit: Romana Correale via photopin cc

How Do I Choose the Right Ankle Boots for Fall?

ankle boots for fallThere are four types of ankle boots every fashionista needs to have in her closet.

And each of these ankle boots has to be three things:

  • comfortable.
  • timeless, and
  • compliment your style.

One size does not fit all in fashion and what may work for one woman may be a total miss for another.  That’s why with the waning weather of summer comes the oh so fun task of choosing the perfect boots for fall.  The most versatile boot, and the one this post is about, is the ankle boot.

In a previous post I described very fashionable ways on how to wear leather for fall.  I got a lot of comments and e-mails from readers who wanted to know how to translate that information on how to choose the right boots for fall.  Check out the most important types of ankle boots I’ve discovered from building my clients the most wearable and versatile wardrobes.

1. The Staple Ankle Boot

Staple Ankle Boot

Think of the staple ankle boot as the “LBD” of your boot collection.  This is the go to boot that you can wear with almost anything and it’s style and structure are built to last for several seasons to come.  Of all the ankle boots in your quintessential shoe wardrobe, these are the pair I suggest spending the most money on.  Here are the most important characteristics of the staple ankle boot:

  • Choose proper fit & comfort.  Above all, these boots need to be comfortable!  Whether that means a 1/2″ heel or a 4″ heel, wedge or stiletto, the height of the heel and the fit of the ankle boot on your foot must allow you to be comfortable whenever you wear them.
    • Two-Hour Rule: A good rule of thumb I use when working with clients to determine if a a shoe is comfortable is they must be able to wear and stand in the shoe for around two hours (not continual standing) without their feet hurting.  If the ankle boot you try on doesn’t pass this test, then you want to pass on it for your staple ankle boot.
    • A chunkier heel it best (I know that’s surprising coming from a lover of all things stiletto:), but it’s true.  A chunkier heel allows for better weight distribution on your feet and will be more comfortable when worn for longer periods of time versus a skinnier heel.
  • Durable material is a MUST.  You can choose fancy fabrics for one of your other ankle boots, but for your staple ankle boot go for a durable material.  Leather, suede, and shearling are the best choices.  To ensure extra durability, treat your boots with a weatherproof spray before wearing in any bad or inclement weather.
  • Go for a basic color.  This is the boot you need to be able to wear with most items in your wardrobe, so stick with a color that shows up many times in your closet. Black, navy, dark brown, and tan are all good choices.

 

2. The Statement (or Fashion) Ankle Boot

Statement Ankle BootAs the title implies, this is the ankle boot in your collection that’s meant to make a statement! You still want this boot to be comfortable, but it doesn’t have to pass my “two hour rule”. When choosing a statement ankle boot, remember:

  • Slender is more feminine.  A slimmer (aka stiletto) heel is much more feminine than a chunky heel.  For the statement ankle boot, your goal is to make your foot look as sleek and stylish as possible all while being able to comfortably walk.
  • Pick timeless details.  You want to make a statement, but you also want to be able to wear this ankle boot next season as well.  Choose timeless details such as woven leather, stitching, metallic accents, fringes, etc. versus something too “trendy”.
  • No limits on color.  Pick a color that’s unexpected yet still keeps in alignment with the overall color scheme of your wardrobe.  For instance, I have a lot of blues and grays in my closet, so a great statement ankle boot for me might be in royal blue leather with gray suede fringe.  Though this isn’t a boot that would necessarily work in most wardrobes, it’s a color and style that coordinates with many pieces in my wardrobe.  Exotic pick, yes! Still wearable, yes!

 

3. The Flat Ankle Boot

Flat Ankle BootA flat ankle boot is meant to work with shorter skirts, looks good when paired with tights and leggings, and gives you a chance to wear slim cut an casual pants in a different way. Flat boots don’t have to have absolutely no heel, but the heel should be 2″ or less.

  • Play with details.  Since you don’t have a heel, at least not a high one, to make this boot look stylish, you can really play with detail when picking the perfect flat ankle boot.  Think studs, grommets, buckles, and laces.
  • Ensure proper arch support.  This may seem obvious with any of the ankle boots in your collection, but making sure your flat ankle boot has proper padding and arch support is really important.  It’s easy to think that because a shoe is low it will be comfortable, but that’s totally false!  Once again you want to make sure this boot also passes the “two hour rule” I discussed above.
  • Go for rubber soles.  You want as much grip as possible when it comes to your flat boots and rubber soles will give you that.  Improved traction, the ability to absorb greater amounts of shock, and weighing less than leather soles are all factors as to why rubber soles are the best choice when it comes to flat ankle boots.

 

4. The Evening Ankle Boot

Evening Ankle BootThis is the ankle boot you can wear to an “after 5″ event.  This ankle boot looks good with a dress or gown and would compliment a lady’s tuxedo impeccably well!  Since this is a special occasion shoe, you shouldn’t be able to wear it with jeans and tee as that’s not it’s purpose.  If you aren’t a woman who goes out to evening events alot, you can skip this ankle boot.  However I do advise you get a pair when it’s “off season” (like spring or summer) when this type of footwear is on sale.  It will make a huge difference in your look whenever you do get a chance to wear it!

  • Not everyday material.  Like the strappy sandals you’d wear with your best dress, you don’t want the evening ankle boot to be wearable with all other items in your wardrobe.  The point is for it to be for special occasions only.  Possible materials your evening ankle boot could be made of include:
    • fur,
    • lace,
    • mesh,
    • pony,
    • rhinestones,
    • satin, and
    • silk.
  • Height is important.  No flats allowed!  Seriously you want this to be a very feminine and ladylike ankle boot and so saying you want it to be high.  Even if you can’t pull off a 5″ heel, try not to go lower than a 3″ heel.  The higher the heel the longer your legs and silhouette will look overall.
    • Also these are the only pair of ankle boots were I don’t take comfort into account as much.  If needed, purchase insoles and practice walking in these beauties at home to make them more comfortable, but the point is for them to look good with your evening attire.
  • Think outside the box.  Think outside the traditional boot box that is.  Great variations of the traditional ankle boot can be a peep-toe style, mule, or even sandal style ankle bootie.  Remember these aren’t shoes you’ll be wearing everyday, so you can be a little impractical on the style and design.

Still confused on how to choose the right ankle boots for your wardrobe?

Check out these fashion articles I found on the web:

Now you’re ready to shop for these four styles of ankle boots to add to your closet.

Shop my lookbook and find a few pairs that fit you today!

Ankle Boots for Fall_KR Lookbook

Which ankle boots do you already have in your closet?

What styles do you need to add?

Comment below!

photo credit: …love Maegan via photopin cc

The Basics of Layering Neutrals

the basics of layering neutralsNeutrals are a necessary part of a balanced wardrobe.

Without neutrals you would never have those pieces that “fill in the gaps” so to speak and pull your look together.

With that in mind, and the first touches of fall visible outside, I decided to put together a list of the five easiest ways any fashionista can layer neutrals.  That’s right layering neutrals is possible (and works wonderfully well with my la mere layering technique just in case you’re wondering:)

 

1. Match Details

layering neutrals - match details

Matching details of neutral items is the easiest way to layer them and achieve a look of consistency, even if the colors are different.  An few examples of this include:

  • a beige cowl neck top being layered underneath a taupe cowl neck cardigan
  • an ivory bow detail blouse layered underneath a tan bow detailed blazer
  • a camel herringbone print skirt over a pair of off-white herringbone texture tights

 

2. Go 3 for 3

layering neutrals - go 3 for 3 If you know anything about flower arranging, you know that the use of odd numbers is important to create balance and symmetry.  This same rule applies when layering neutral pieces.   For this technique to work, you want to choose six pieces for your look; three in each color.  Here are a few easy combos you can pluck from your closet today:

  • Tan: hat, blouse, pumps + Ivory: pants, belt, handbag
  • Cream: sleeveless top, shoes, accessories + Stone Gray: cardigan, skirt, handbag
  • Ecru: hat, shoes, handbag + Camel: top, pants, earrings

 

3. Play with Gray

layering neutrals - play with grayWhether you spell it gray or grey, one of the things I really love about the color gray is how versatile it is!  I remember from art class in middle school learning about values of a color meaning it’s different shades (any color mixed with black) and tints (any color mixed with white) and gray had the most!  Another very cool fact about the color gray is that it’s considered a neutral in many instances and is one of the only colors that you can wear darker and lighter tones of the same color all at once and still look coordinated!

Here are some popular names for the different colors of gray you may come across in  your shopping expeditions:

  • cool gray
  • charcoal gray
  • dark gray
  • gray violet
  • gunmetal
  • heather gray
  • light gray
  • medium gray
  • oatmeal gray
  • pale gray
  • platinum
  • steel gray
  • stone gray
  • taupe gray
  • warm gray

Remember, all these colors can work together with proper balance and proportion.  Practice makes perfect so play with a few different variations of this color and see what combinations you like best.

 

4. Monochromatic Dramatic

layering neutrals - monochromatic dramaticThis is probably the most challenging way to layer neutrals.  That’s because a neutral color like ivory or tan in one label may be a slightly different color in another layer.  For that reason I have two main tips for this sort of layering:

  • Wear as few pieces as possible.   A dress, shoes and a blazer are a perfect example.  The less items you have to wear the easier it is to make sure everything matches perfectly.
  • Shop the same brand.  If you love a Gucci skirt in ivory, your best bet to match that exact shade of ivory is buying a Gucci top as well   For the fashionistas who love runway designer labels (like Gucci and Versace), you may want to consider bridge brands (meaning slightly lower cost brands such as L.K. Bennett, DVF, and Cynthia Rowley) since you’ll need to buy multiple pieces of that brand to get the right color match.  The only slight exception to this is when you’re wearing a single color in different fabrics (say wool and satin).  Due to the nature of the materials they take color differently when dyed so it’s acceptable for their to be some variation in the shades you’re wearing in this instance.  Just make sure the difference in colors is very subtle and barely noticeable.

For good measure I have a third tip for this type of layering of neutrals…

  • Details add interest.  Since you’re wearing a single color aka monochromatic, that means you want to keep your look from being boring (meaning adding depth,and interest) by ensuring you pick pieces with detail.  Ruffles, frills, bows, ties, crystals, and the like all help to add more dimension to your look and enhance your silhouette.

 

5. A Dash of Metallics

layering neutrals - a dash of metallicIf you’ve been reading my blog for any length of time you probably realize two of my great loves are stilettos and metallics.  Metallics are an unexpected and daring choice but they can be worn as neutrals.

Metallics not your thing?  Then you can do the same layering of neutrals with pearlescent versions of your favorite colors as well!  If you’re really fearless in fashion, pair metallic and pearlescent pieces in the same look.

Now I know your ready to shop for the neutrals that you can mix, match and layer.

Shop my lookbook for exclusive looks featuring this fun fall trend.

 

Layering Neutrals_KR Lookbook_10.1.14

 

Is this a look you would try?

Why or why not?

Comment below!

photo credit: garann via photopin cc

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