A Perfect Pump

A Perfect Pump

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It’s no secret that while I love the novelty and craftsmanship of a designer shoe, I also love the affordability and wearability of my favorite mid-market brand: Cole Haan.

This season, they knocked it out of the park with their Chelsea Pump in a bunch of fabulous and fun colors of patent leather. A bold shoe is a wardrobe must-have and, to that end, so are these.

My choices are the royal blue (pictured), tangerine, and teal; now that Kate Middleton has brought attention and acclaim to the nude patent pump, grab one of them too!

 

Foyer Fantastic

Foyer Fantastic

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Part of my job requires discovering creative uses for spaces and the furniture that fills them. As most of my clients have children, I am often negotiating how to stylishly store all the equipment of children’s lives: what I call ‘kid clutter’. Nowhere is this more important than in the foyer, a space that serves as the very literal first impression of your home.

Contending with the entryway avalanche of shoes that mark most households (which is unsightly no matter how neatly presented), is no easy task; this is why I recommend replacing your current system (as well as any additional foyer furniture) with a chest of drawers. Each child has his/her own drawer for shoes and cold weather gear. The top surface will display your current tablescape: lamp, small tray,** picture frames, and any cool objects.

While the initial price tag on this item seems high (especially in relation to your current system), remember that a dresser is always useful and can be recycled in many different rooms. Opting for a natural finish (pictured) will maximize its versatility to work with any pre-existing style.

**High Street Shoppes (Boulder’s ground zero for all things cool) has an impressive collection of vintage bronze trays for keys, spare change, marbles and magic tricks. 

Practice Makes Perfect

Practice Makes Perfect

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My clients often worry that they’ll never be able to shop again; fearing a regression to old buying habits, they want my stamp of approval on most purchases post Mile High Style intervention. And I’m happy to do it. Not only do I like to go above and beyond for my clients, I completely understand their trepidation in venturing out on their own. I’ve been there too. I tell them, as I’m telling you, that you will get better at style, but it will only happen one way: with effort.

Social scientist Malcolm Gladwell maintains that expertise in any field is, to a large extent, determined by the ‘10,000 hour rule’: practice any task 10,000 hours in your lifetime, and you’ll master it. 10,000 hours is probably not necessary for the average person, but some work is absolutely critical. When it comes to improving style (as opposed to playing an instrument, learning a foreign language, mastering a foul shot), the practice is all visual and all about exposure.

*Magazines– reading the right fashion magazines is the single best way to expand your fashion acumen. They not only show what’s available, but also what’s possible in terms of pairing. And like most things, all fashion magazines are not created equal. VOGUE is mostly known for editorial content and won’t help you a bit. Stick to Elle, BIZARRE, and Lucky and subscribe monthly! Flipping through one during the occasional pedicure won’t cut it.

*TV– while not as comprehensive, certain shows can help. ‘What Not To Wear’ is a big hit, and while it won’t necessarily inspire you to high style, it will certainly demonstrate what not to do (and that’s half the battle). ‘Project Runway’ helped me learn the language of fashion, which is always useful, and old episodes of ‘Sex & The City’ have no shortage of inspiration.

*Street fashion– I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been inspired by an outfit on a stranger, and so often it’s just a matter of pairing (as in ‘I never thought about wearing trouser jeans with that or ‘that kind of shoe isn’t too trendy and really looks good that way’). Paying attention to what’s around you will give you great ideas.

*Blogs– Reading mine is a great start, as I try to break down style into bite-size pieces. Many others are also fabulous (including an old friend from New York, who really takes fashion to the outer levels- www.thelittleblacklist.com). Log on and see what we’re saying, wearing, loving, recommending.

And try on. Spend 5 extra minutes in your closet considering the possibilities. And ask: why would this work, why wouldn’t it. And take a chance. Great style is 50% confidence, and there’s only one way you’re gonna get there.

 

 

 

 

Less Is More: The Personal Style Point System

Less Is More: The Personal Style Point System

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One of the first things I always teach my clients is about the personal style point system. You should never have more than 7 things on. You know, like your earrings count for 2 points, those daisys count for 3 points. But the best thing to do is, right before you go out, look in the mirror and turn around real fast. And the first thing that catches your eye, get rid of it… Marilyn Monroe did that.’

My favorite piece of style advice always reminds me of the wisdom from classic zeitgeist movie, L.A. Story. Granted, this zeitgeist was Los Angeles in the early 90s (where it was totally appropriate to order ‘a twist of lemon’ after a meal and send a stun gun as a corporate holiday gift), an unlikely place to find a ‘less is more’ philosophy applied to anything! But Marilu Henner’s speech about keeping your style streamlined is, surprisingly, sage.

To be clear, I don’t have a structured point system and certainly don’t espouse Ms. Monroe’s method of ‘turn and take off’; but I do say (often) that while you want your outfit to maintain multiple working pieces (clothing, accessories*, jewelry), too many details suffocates the look. This applies to your home’s decor as well. Not every chair needs a corresponding side table, not every couch needs pillows, not every square inch of space needs to be filled** The eye can only take in and process so much. Erring on the side of less guarantees that your fabulous pieces will be noticed and your overall look not overpowered.

People can be funny about their stuff. Some use accessories as armor, and clutter as comfortable chaos. I know better than to strip mine my client’s exteriors without proper preparation. So consider yourself prepared. Bring an editing eye to your self and home by attempting the following, and remember that none of these changes are permanent:

-Embellish each outfit with only one major accessory (cocktail ring, cuff, scarf, layered necklaces, chandelier earrings, red lips).

-Clear off at least one third of each table’s surface (bowls, boxes, book stacks, candles, objets d’art).

-Create a small amount of outfits that include no accessories or jewelry. This exercise lays the entire style burden on the quality of your clothing and creativity in how it’s paired and presented.

 

*Accessories include a bold lip, painted nails, and (in some cases) a hair style.

**Someone please inform Divine Design’s Candice Olson.

Loafer Love

Loafer Love

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In the eternal search to be stylish and comfortable, flats are always a popular solution. Loafers have made their comeback in the last few years, rivaling the trendier oxford and classic ballet flat as the comfortable shoe DO.

Available from J.Crew in the color of the moment (which I was endorsing last year)…

(Just sayin’).