‘Petites’ are Passe

‘Petites’ are Passe

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Over the last three months, I’ve noticed a disconcerting trend among my 5’3 and under clients, one that I now must address. I don’t know exactly when stores unleashed ‘petites’ (my guess would be the 80s when most everything was excessive and useless), but they are obsolete at best, detrimental at worst.

Now don’t get me wrong- I fully understand the need behind this distinction: smaller women need pants and tops that don’t always require length alteration. Great in theory. Unfortunately, the stores only stock maybe one third of their merchandise in petite form, severely limiting your selection. Start with the entire store, and if you find a pair of pants you like, then ask if they come in petite.

Another problem with the notion of ‘petites’ is the erroneous idea that smaller women need smaller clothing. In my eyes, tops that all hit above the hip and, god forbid, 3/4 length anything only makes you look smaller. Plays in proportion are a fundamental part of good style, and will only help flatter your frame. I will say it again: small women do not need small clothes.

Finally, pay no mind to the number on the label. While we all average towards one size, the fit of any item varies tremendously from person to person. I typically wear a medium in JCREW but didn’t like the snug look of a particular sweater. Instead of assuming it wasn’t for me, I tried the extra-large, loved the baggy look, and bought it. One measure of style creativity is how many different sizes you have in your closet, so let go of the restrictions and remember that ‘your size’ is only the place to start.

 

Spring Clean

Spring Clean

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With Spring on the horizon, most women know that they should clean out their closets; very few actually will. For one thing, it’s a massive undertaking. Even if you’re among the fortunate few who know what should stay and what should go, you then have to answer the call to get rid of things you paid for, perhaps loved at one point, and certainly have some attachment to.

But you must. Having an closet overflowing with every season, every trend, every type of clothing kills the inspiration. The true ingenuity of style lies in pairing old things in new ways, and sometimes this is as simple as having a particular blouse hanging next to a particular jacket. If that blouse and jacket are surrounded by pieces that you don’t wear and don’t love, you’ll never see the possibilities of the pairing.

One of my most popular services is the closet repurposing, and it’s proving more popular than ever during this time of year. If it’s simply not in your budget to bring me in, here are a few tips to help with the big clean.

*The closet is for fashion only! I lecture my clients who (all of them) keep their workout/Patagucci/Boulder-wear hanging next to their beautiful tops and jackets and sweaters. Put the activewear in a drawer and the P’Gucci in the coat closet. This applies to footwear as well: Crocs and trainers all go in the hall closet or the mudroom or the garage. The closet is sacred.

*Keep your closet streamlined by moving the ‘other’ season’s stuff to another closet or into plastic storage boxes.

*Long before ‘skinny jeans’, we all had our skinny jeans. And still do. One or two items that no longer fit but might someday… is fine and helps keep the motivation. An entire wardrobe that hasn’t fit in years… is depressing and kills the motivation. Work your best style with what fits *now* and donate the rest.

*If you haven’t worn a piece in a year but still aren’t ready to part with it, put it in the back of your closet and give it 6 months. If it’s still untouched, it’s time to move on.

 

 

 

Where To Splurge

Where To Splurge

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bedIt’s never fun to tell a client when they have to spend a lot of money. Currently, I’m helping create a style concept for a client’s new home and source the best pieces for the least amount of money (the Mile High Style special, so to speak). I recently had to give the splurge speech, delivering the bad news that when it comes to certain items in your home, you really just can’t skimp. These items are the bed (headboard, footboard, frame) and the couch.

I remember when my friend Dina, who will forever be my style mentor, first delivered this bad news. We were boutique shopping in East Hampton and I needed to find a couch, already overwhelmed by the endless diversity available (which, per the awesome book ‘The Paradox of Choice’, makes shopping harder and the customer ultimately less satisfied with the final purchase). Then Dina delivered the bad news: I should expect to spend, at a minimum, $3000 on my couch.

No longer the student and now the teacher, I have to break the bad news of selective splurging, most recently to a client regarding her bedroom furniture. And much like Dina told me, I named the price (for a queen bed, at least $2,000) and explained the rationale.

The size factor: In both the bed and living rooms, you are splurging on the single largest piece of furniture, the one that anchors the room and commands the most attention.

The use factor: Simply put, the couch and the bed see more tush-time. Rather than some small corner piece that stays out of the action, these pieces are the action.

The alternative factor: Or lack there of. Used or consigned tables are plentiful , beat-up dressers can be made new (and in many cases better) with a paint job, and antique chairs are chic and can be sourced cheap. But try finding a used couch in great condition (that also happens to be in your preferred style). A pre-owned bed? Even harder.

In designing and styling your home, there are so many price corners to cut. Ebay and craigslist, flea markets and affordable modern chains like West Elm and CB2, and hand-me-downs from stylish friends and relatives, can all help preserve the integrity of your budget, allowing you to spend on the things that really do make a difference.

Below are two of my favorites. Restoration Hardware on the top, Jonathan Adler on the bottom.

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