Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Black, Gray, and Red

I'm still working my Style Book Closet App . I've been using it for about 6 weeks, and I still have about half of my total items that have never been worn. I'm enjoying the challenge of not just reaching for my tried and true outfits, and coming up with different combinations to wear those less worn pieces.

Each morning I look at my "Never Logged to Calendar" list. Once I select a piece of clothing I want to wear, I then look at all of the outfits it is in and pick one. The app is really becoming a valuable tool!

I've had this Venician glass bead necklace since I was 5 or 6 years old. My mom bought if for me on our first trip to Venice, Itlay while we were living overseas. Can you believe I still have it!?  My original necklace is actually only half of this. My mom found a second necklace, probably on eBay, with the same colors and restrung the two of them together so I could wrap it around 3 times. Thanks mom!

Monday, May 23, 2016

Feeling Nautical

I haven't worn this white jacket in probably over a year. I've almost gotten rid of it a couple of times, but somehow it always made its way back into the closet from my donate pile.  My Stylebook Closet App manages to keep everything in my closet top of mind. Since getting the app I've managed to wear a lot of items in my closet that haven't been in rotation!  It's a great feeling. 

I got this J Crew navy skirt on eBay at the beginning of May and have already worn it 3 times. I'd been looking for a navy pencil skirt for sometime. You'd think it is such a wardrobe basic that I would be able to find one anywhere...and how do I not already own a navy skirt to begin with!? I even asked Sheila, my personal shopper at Trunk Club (Post 1, Post 2) to send me one, and
and she came up empty too. So I headed to eBay, filtered by my go-to brands like J Crew and Banana Republic, and got this one for $37 including shipping. I love a good find! 

The yellow top was one of the items I kept from my first Trunk Club trunk that I got in April. It is so soft, like your favorite t-shirt, and the square neck keeps it looking like a blouse. Square necklines aren't flattering on everyone, but I've always liked them.

Navy pencil skirt - J Crew
 Yellow top - Lafayette 148
White jacket - Alfani
Blue silk stripe pumps - Badalino
Here's a close up of my shoes. I love them and wear them a lot. They are by Bandalino and I got them at DSW. Don't they look like they are made of neck-tie material? I love menswear inspired items. The only funny thing about them is you can hear me coming and going; the chain clinks with each step!


Outfit Formula: Formal Suit Made Casual

The matching skirt and blazer tends to be the most formal and traditional outfit formula, but when done in Searsucker, it's emidiately a bit more casual while still professional, and perfect for a Houston summer.  This seersucker suit is from Tahari, and the white shell is White House Black Market. Paired with an orange Michael Kors purse and these brown embossed Prada peep-toe heels, you have a great summer work outfit.

Prada shoes are often the most comfortable shoes I own. These brown embossed leather ones were a little loose in the heel and sometimes I would walk out of them. I added some heel cushions and now they fit great.

Friday, May 20, 2016

How to Make Louboutins More Comfortable

I have 5 pairs of Louboutins (pronounced loo-boo-ton) in my closet.  These nude Christian Louboutin pumps are my most worn shoe in my closet (my Stylebook Closet App tells me so!).  This particular nude color is perfect for my skin tone and they just blend into my legs, giving me just a tad more visual length.

I have the same shoe in black patent leather too, and wear them almost as often. 

I got married in a darling pair of white satin Louboutins with light blue lined bows. 

I have also two pairs of sky high Louboutins, you know the kind with the high platform and even higher heel that make you feel like you're in pointe shoes! 

While Louboutin's are iconic and can make you feel polished and sharp, they are not known for comfort.  I haven't yet found a way to make the sky high "Loubies" comfy, but I have found a trick for my wear all the time patent leather ones.  Get these rubber half soles put on, it makes all the difference in the world!

It is easy to do. Just take them to your regular shoe repair place where you get your  heel tips replaced. I've heard of people who ship their shoes all over the country to get these put on in just the right shade of red. You don't need to do that, just find an established cobbler. They all carry the same colors of rubber.  

I found my guy by doing a search on Yelp. There were a few reviews from others who had gotten red half soles on their Louboutins, so that's where I went (if you're in Houston it's at Kirby and Richmond near Office Depot). He did have two shades of red on his ring of rubber swatches, but the other one is much more burgundy color, not a primary red.  That little bit of grip on the bottom of the shoe makes them more stable and much easier on your feet.  

Casual Friday

This denim pencil skirt from White House Black Market has become a workhorse in my wardrobe.  When I bought it I though it would just be a weekend skirt, but styled correctly, it looks professional enough that I can wear it to work on Fridays too.  The a dark wash, pencil skirt style, and small slit in the front all help elevate it to work appropriate. The denim has a lot of stretch in it so it's comfortable all day long also.

I've paired it with this white and beige chevron stripe blouse by Laundry, and this orange J Crew collarless blazer. I've accessorized with my Celine Micro Luggage bag, Hermes belt, and these navy suede Stuart Weitzman wedges.

I kept seeing these navy wedges on Princess Kate and after a little research (Kate's favorite shoes) I was able to find them.  They are my first pair of shoes in this brand.  I originally bought them in my usual size 7M, but they were too long and narrow. I exchanged them for a 6.5 wide and they fit well. I've since read reviews that this brand tends to run narrow. They took a couple of wears to break in, the outside edge of the shoe rubbed against the top of my foot, but I now wear them without any trouble.

Happy Friday!

If at First You Don't Succeed, Try Black

Sometimes the outfits I put together in my Stylebook Closet App look better on my phone than on my body.  I intended to wear this outfit today, but when I put it on the top and the blazer just didn't look good together.
While the colors in the picture look like a perfect match, in real life they clashed, and the silkiness of the blouse didn't coordinate with the twill-type fabric of the blazer.  I wanted to wear the same general outfit with the blazer and skirt, so after trying 3 other blouses with this outfit I ended up in this, a black button down.  Black is so good at coming to the rescue!

J Crew Campbell Jacket
Mossimo button down blouse with ruffles 
White House Black Market skirt (I had to size up)
Halogen Rockstud look alike shoes

Don't you love these shoes! I've been seeing these Valentino Rockstud shoes all over the blogger-sphere lately, but at $995 I knew I wouldn't be talking them home with me any time soon. I asked my Trunk Club Stylist, Sheila if she had anything close with a more friendly price tag, and she sent me these (here's the post about that trunk ). They are by Halogen and only about $80.
What I love about them, is that even though they are black and nude they wear just like a black shoe. The nude part just blends in with my skin and looks like I have on black shoe with some extra bling. I also have these similar shoes with the colors in reverse, that I love and get tons of complements on,  but they don't wear like a black or a nude shoe and are much more difficult to style (Last worn with this outfit).

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Outfit Formula: Matching Blouse and Shoes

Do you ever use formulas to get dressed?  I do. Here are some of the formulas I use most often for office outfits:

1) Matching skirt and blazer with contrasting blouse - this is your most traditional formula.  It is the most similar to a man's power suit where your blouse becomes synonymous with his tie.

2) Matching skirt and blouse with contrasting blazer

3) Matching blouse and blazer with contrasting skirt

4) Matching blouse and statement shoes with any combination of skirt and blazer

I use one of first three formulas when I'm pressed for time or when I have important meetings, because they are easy to put together and always look smart. 

When I'm I feeling creative or want to have a little more fun, like today, I'll use #4! 
Today I wore this black and white striped skirt with a pink blouse and matching statement strappy sandals. 

My skirt is from White House Black Market, the blouse is from Stitch Fix, the Shoes are Kelly and Katie from DSW.  My necklace is white topaz that I got in Sri Lanka (you can read about that trip in my Travel Blog). 

Here's a close up of the blazer.  It is by Elie Tahari, and has these wonderful ribbon details to really make it much more than your ordinary black blazer.

And these shoes are so fun!  They are by Kelly & Katie which is a private label brand created by DSW. They have enough elastic in the strap that I can get them on without having to unbuckle them which is convenient.  They are very comfortable except for a small spot on the top strap that rubbed against the top of my foot.  I actually just put a piece of tape under the strap and the problem was solved.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Outfit of the Day

This jacket and navy skirt are both JCrew and I bought them both on Ebay.  I've had great luck buying JCrew staples on Ebay.  This jacket and skirt were both practically new.  JCrew is pretty good about having standard sizing, so I know what size I wear in the brand and when I order that size it fits.  This has been a fun jacket to own; the 60's vibe is fun without being over the top.  I've worn it to work and to evening work events.  Here I paired it with my Celine Micro Luggage bag, which works perfectly!  I'm also wearing Manolo Blahnik's that I bought at a high end resale store here in Houston called The Little Bird.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Stylebook Closet App after 30 days

I've officially been using the Stylebook app for 30 days now, and still love it. I faithfully log my outfits daily. As I mentioned in my first Stylebook Closet App post, the reason I finally purchased the app and started using it was for the stats it provides. As a data lover I knew I would learn valuable information, and I have.

I'm up to 362 items uploaded, and yes, I'm still adding. At this point I mostly shoes, bags, and necklaces left to upload and I just add them as I wear them.  Here's something that blows my mind though, I have 194 tops and 68 dresses.  That equals 13,192 different combinations without even counting how different shoes, accessories, or jackets can change up a look.  And it doesn't include dresses either.  Obviously not all of those combinations would be great or even wearable, but still, I think I have too many clothes!

The first thing that stands out to me is that after this first 30 days is that I have worn 147 items out of the 362, or 40%.  That's a whole lot more than I thought I would have.  I do still have 215 items I haven't worn, which seems like a lot though. I'm really going to be strict with myself and if something hasn't been worn in 6 months I am going to get rid of it.

In the first 30 days I've found that I wear this pair of orangey-red ballet flats, that I purchased 2 years ago at Target, all the time. I wear them so often that in 30 days the cost per wear is down to $2. They are falling apart and I should really throw them away, but given how much I wear them I think I'll replace them first. As I search for a replacement pair I plan on upgrading as well, since I know I will wear the heck out of them. Maybe I can find a cute pair by Tory Burch.

The other thing I've learned from this fabulous app is I carry my Louis Vuitton bag quite a bit. It is the first LV bag I ever purchased and I bought it second hand for $500. I've been wanting a new one. Specifically this one,
but I haven't been able to rationalize the purchase. Now, seeing how much I carry my first one, I know I would certainly get my money's worth out of it. Although, if I'm going to buy another designer bag, I've had my eye on a Dior bag and a YSL bag too. Oh, and then there's that Valentino Rockstud that I've been adoring. Sigh...so many bags, so little dough.

I dying to hear from other people who have embraced this app.  How many items have you uploaded?  What features do you use the most?  Does it help you plan what to wear/pack/buy?

Trunk Club #2

I got my second trunk from Trunk Club, and it was really big!  My stylist, Sheila, put 14 things in there including 2 pairs of shoes, a purse, and a raincoat (which I asked for).
If you are unfamiliar with how Trunk Club works see my first post about it, or you can go directly to the Trunk Club website.

Trunk Cub is great for people who don't know what they want or for someone trying to breakout of a style rut.  It is also good for people who don't have the time and/or inclination to shop, and also for people who are trying to build their wardrobe.  If you're an avid do-it-yourselfer, know what you're looking for, or love to bargain hunt then you might be less thrilled with this service.

Here is my second trunk and the stacks of clothes included inside.  Doesn't it look like Christmas!

The rules are you have to try everything on, even if you don't think you like something. Then you keep what you like, return what you don't like.  There is no charge for shipping either way, and there is no styling fee, even if you don't keep everything.  And, it can all be done from an app on your phone.

Here's what I kept:

Michael Kors Raincoat $130
I told Sheila that I needed a new raincoat and she was so nice to send me 2 to choose from (the other was the Gingham Trim Double Breasted Hooded Coat by Laundry by Shelli Segal).  I loved this one, I think it will be perfect for my trip to northern Europe in July.

This light blue cashmere sweater by Theory was another keeper. It is the perfect color blue and will again be a good layering piece for my summer trip.

Finally I kept these pumps. I've been wanting a pair of Valentino's Rockstud pumps, but at $995, I just can't bring myself to buy them. I love the similar style of these and the price tag that's 1/10 of the originals. I'll get plenty of wear out of them.

I had trouble with fit of a lot of items in this trunk. Several items were just too small, and couple were too big. That wasn't a problem with my last trunk though. 

Here are a few of the things that I liked but ended up returning anyway. There were 2 pairs of black jeans - one skinny, one boot cut, both Paige Denim 'Transcend - Skyline' - that had a great cut, were nice and soft, with the right amount of stretch, but I just don't need them right now.
 'Transcend - Skyline' Bootcut Jeans Black Shadow by Paige Denim'Transcend - Skyline' Skinny Jeans Black Shadow by Paige Denim

She also included a pair on linen cargo pants that were actually really cute on, but not my style and oh the wrinkles! I almost kept the Tory Burch crossbody bag, but it seemed to be the wrong length for me and didn't lay flat.
Linen Blend Cargo Pants by Vince'Mini Thea' Crossbody Bag by Tory Burch

There was also this pair of white jeans that I really wanted to love, but it is so difficult to find a good pair of white jeans. The fabric in these was just too thin that every imperfection was amplified.

If you want to see what Sheila will send you, you can sign up here:
Trunk Club

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Outfit of the Day

Today I wore this black jersey knit T Tahari wrap dress, J Crew camel blazer, and these black and camel t-strap Ivanka Trump pumps. Do you like black and camel together?

I'm still working through my closet using my Stylebook Closet App (see my post about it here ). My list of items "never logged to calendar" is still pretty long, but I'm on a mission!

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Outfit of the Day

Today I wore this white Lauren linen skirt. I knew I had to take pictures in the morning or I would look like a wrinkled mess by the time I got home. This skirt is so cute when it hasn't been sat it! It even has a little ruffle in the back. Does anyone have any tricks for how to keep linen looking decent through out the day?

I paired the skirt with a silk navy striped blouse, navy blazer, three strands of navy and gray pearls, and these cute brown leather Coach sandals. 

Monday, May 9, 2016

Outfit of the Day

Here's what I wore today: Michael Kors jersey dress with my WHBM jacket over it.  I always like to wear a jacket at work, I just feel more professional.  This dress is cute without the jacket though, it has cap sleeves and you can better appreciate the draping details.  If I were the cool type of person that had fun things to do after work I could just take the jacket off and be on my way to happy hour.  But, my life today involves picking up my daughter from school today and taking her to piano lessons!

Here's a close up of the Guess shoes.  I got them at DSW last summer.  I just love them. I always get lots of complements, and the are comfortable. I originally bought them to wear with a yellowy-green top I bought, but after holding them up to things in my closet I've discovered they go with all sorts of things I own.

Here are some similar shoes:

Trunk Club #1

There is a personal stylist here in Houston that I've used before.  I hired her for a consultation for the first time ten years ago.  She came into my closet, made me get rid of a bunch of stuff, and then took me shopping for everything I was missing.  It was a great experience.  I've since had her come help my husband too, and even my sister has hired her.  A good expert in any field is usually hard to find and is often easily worth the cost.

In this digital age virtual stylists keep popping up.  I've tried a few: Stitch Fix, MM La Fleur, Keaton Row, and most recently Trunk Club.

Trunk Club has been around for a long time.  Originally they just serviced men.  I actually found out about it because my husband started using them.  They have recently been purchased by Nordstrom and they now help women too!

It's easy to get started.  You just fill out a little bit online and then your stylist gives you a call to get a feel for what you need and then she sends you a trunk.  I was a little nervous about the call (introverts worst nightmare), and almost didn't sign up because of it, but it ended up not being stressful at all, and it only lasted a couple of minutes.

Since I work in a very conservative office, I told her I'm always looking for more work wear.  I also let her know that I am going on a vacation this summer to Northern Europe, so I need summer clothes that are a little warmer, which is not something I own at all!

My stylist, Sheila, then curated a few items for me.  I got to check them out on the app before they were sent just in case she was way off the mark.  A few days later a trunk was delivered to my doorstep.  I had 10 days to try them in in my own house, looking in my own mirror, and styling the items with my own items.  I decided what to keep and what to send back.  When I was done I just packet up what I wanted to return in the same box and UPS came by to pick it up.  So easy!

Here are a few items that came in my trunk:
Seamed A-Line Dress by Tahari

Tahari Aline dress - $128
It comes in 12 colors, and it comes in petites.
My stylist sized up one size for me, how did she know?, and it fit perfectly.  Tahari is one of my go to brands, and this dress did not disappoint.

Attilio Giusti Leombruni Ankle Wrap Wedge Sandal by AGL
Attilio Giusti Leombruni Ankle Wrap Wedge Sandal $350
She sent these wedges.  They are totally cute, and comfy, but they are so reflective.  I could have literally used the straps as a mirror.  On, I felt a bit like Wonder Woman, so I sent them back.  They come in other colors though, black, nude, and blue snake skin.  If they go on sale I think I might buy them in the blue snake skin since they are so comfortable.

'The Angelina' Bootcut Jeans Midnight Swim by AG
AG 'The Angelina' Bootcut Jeans Midnight Swim  $168

Sheila also sent me a new pair of blue jeans.  Up until now I've never ventured down the rabbit hole of designer jeans, worried that I would never come back up.  Well, thanks to Sheila, I had to try these on, and yes, there is a noticeable difference between designer jeans and the ones I've been wearing for the past 5 years.  Oh they are so soft, and there is so much stretch, yet they keep their shape.  She sent them in petite so they fit in the rise and the inseam. Once I put them on I couldn't take them off, so I definitely kept them.

What do you think about personal stylists like Trunk Club?  Have you ever used one?

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Style Book Closet App

Have you tried the Style Book Closet App?  I'm so addicted. 

The app allows you to save all the items in your closet, create outfits, and log when you've worn what.  The app is $4, and while I hate to pay for apps, I think this was the best $4 spent in a long time. 

It does take a long time to take pictures of everything.  I spent several hours one Saturday doing it.  The key is to get a good picture so you don't have to go in and manually edit out the background.  What I ended up doing is throwing a sheet over my shower door and hanging the items there one by one on a clear plastic hanger. I used a navy blue sheet for my light things and a white sheet for my dark things.  Clothes with patterns are sometimes harder. I've read that a green sheet works best, but I don't have a green sheet, so I haven't tried it.

So far I've uploaded 348 items, and I'm not even done yet, yikes! I haven't added any winter clothes and I still have a lot of shoes and accessories to add.  As far as jewelry goes I've only added necklaces, and I think that's my limit.  Adding earrings, bracelets and rings just seems overwhelming to me.

The reason I finally decided to buy the app and go through all the time and effort to upload all my cloths is for the statistics the app provides.  The app will divide what you paid for the item by the number of times you've worn it to give you a cost per wear.  I love that idea!  Over time I'll be able to determine if the bargains I get from buying second hand clothing on eBay is really as good as I think it is, as well as if the expensive things I buy at Nordstrom and Neiman's might be a better deal if I use them more often. So far I'm happy to report that the Prada purse I bought a few years ago, my first folly into the world of designer handbags, is my most worn item for two months in a row now! While intuitively I already knew that, to see the actually statistic makes me love my purse even more.

I love how easy it is to put together outfits.  Yesterday, as I was getting out of my car I saw someone in the parking lot who looked really cute.  I immediately thought of my own similar pieces to what she was wearing, so as I was walking into the building I created a new outfit in the app so I could remember the combination!

This app has helped me get dressed in the morning, also. I will usually search for an outfit that's never been logged to the calendar, or if there is a particular piece of clothing I want to wear I will look search for outfits that contain that item.  I've found it most helpful when getting dressed for different events.  Daily work outfits have always been easy for me, but business casual is sometimes hard, and daytime dressy is always tricky.  I have set up a category for day time dressy so when I have those showers or first communions to go to my app helps me remember all the possibilities.

Last week I used the packing function for the first time.  I had a quick trip to Boston.  In the packing list I added a couple of outfits and then "ta da!" there was the list of everything I needed to pack.  I can't wait to use this for my upcoming Northern Europe vacation in July!

I'm hopeful that the App continues to update the statistics functions.  They could easily add a field to put in the date of purchase.  With that information you could track how long you've kept your items as well as what you've spent each month on your wardrobe.

Let me know if you've tried it and what you like about it.  I'd love to hear how may items you have in your closet - I think I might be a hoarder!