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{Closet Crusade}

contributed by Camilla Curran of Curran Consulting 

Summertime is here! Besides the countless barbecues, pool parties and other usual warm weather festivities we expect, a wedding invitation or two is bound to find you, leading me to this month’s topic: how to select your summer wedding wardrobe. Read on for a list of tips to ensure you’re one of the best dressed guests at any wedding you attend this season!

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First, know the venue. It’s quite common now for wedding invitations to leave off any specific dress code, but, thankfully, they still come with an address for the ceremony and reception, so take note! If you are unfamiliar with the location, look it up online to get a feel for the type of events they usually host. Do they look traditional, black tie, or casually chic? Is the ceremony taking place in the country, at the beach or in the city? Tailor your look to match the setting. A chic country fete calls for a lightweight eyelet dress and pearls, or suit separates in a citrusy hue with wooden or woven accessories. Add a widebrimmed hat and wedges or espadrilles to complete your look and provide maximum comfort in the outdoors. A beach wedding is best complimented by breezy fabrics (chiffon or silk) in a bright, jeweled palette and seasonal accessories-think chunky turquoise beads and mother of pearl bangles. Looking glam is the goal for a city wedding. This occasion calls for some sparkle, an elegant clutch and possibly that dress with the daring design you’ve been dying to wear, depending upon the time of day, which brings up the next tip on my list…

Always make note of the time of the ceremony. Generally, a formal wedding will take place after 6pm while one in the morning or afternoon offers more room for casual dress. Evening ceremonies often translate as ‘black tie’ and call for sequins, a shimmery wrap and metallic heels, while a wedding in the morning or afternoon calls for tried and true classics like a simple sheath dress and diamond pendant or a crisp boucle suit. There are of course exceptions to every rule and should you have any doubts about dressing correctly for the time specified on the invitation, err on the side of formality. While there is no such thing as looking too elegant or ‘dressed up’ at a wedding, there is such a thing as being too casual, hence my third and final point: know what not to wear.

Even should the couple whose nuptials you plan to attend be the most relaxed, unassuming pair on earth, your extra effort to help celebrate this milestone with them will be appreciated, I promise! Don’t confuse formal elegance with glitz and dressing provocatively. Conservative elegance is always appropriate, so save the daring looks for only the most glamorous of evening ceremonies.

Finally, never, ever wear all white to a wedding. I don’t care what the trends dictate now, it is rude and inconsiderate. This day is not about you, it’s about the couple getting married and their celebration. The bride wears white to signify the reverence of the occasion and to set her apart from the crowd. Enough said, just don’t do it.

By simply being considerate of the couple and the occasion, you are well on your way to choosing a perfect look for any wedding. So, find your plus one, grab your dancing shoes-and Happy Styling!

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{Closet Crusade}

contributed by Camilla Curran, of Curran Consulting

Spring is here! And you know what that means…time for spring cleaning. While the thought of rehabilitating your wardrobe, reorganizing your closet and reinventing yourself to welcome the warm weather may sound about as fun as scrubbing your kitchen floor, take heart! The results of a better organized, and more fashionable wardrobe include not only a simplified morning routine sans scrambling last minute for one lost shoe or earring, but also the reward of looking your best, which in turn allows you to feel your best, thus enabling you to be your best self everyday! If that’s not incentive enough to take stock of your wardrobe, I don’t know what is!

First of all, let’s talk storage. It is definitely not necessary to have a designer, custom-built  walk-in closet for you to make the most of your storage space (though I’m sure none of us would mind this). In fact, all you need is a notepad, pen, some clear plastic shoe boxes and a little imagination!

The most crucial part of your transformation, is taking a good hard look at the clothes you wear on a regular basis. As discussed in detail in my second ‘Closet Crusade’ article,

(follow the link to read more: https://qbhome.wordpress.com/2013/06/18/closet-crusade-3/ ),

one of the most important components of dressing well, is to know yourself. If your daily work wardrobe is comfortable but needs updating, try adding a fresh pop of color or  two via a mod scarf or cuff, or by purchasing one trendy clothing item for the season to add a bit of edge. If, on the other hand, you find yourself constantly panicked over what to wear amidst a sea of mismatched pants and tops, uncomfortable heels and bland flats, the time has come for a serious fashion fix up! Again, honesty is key. You may truly love the idea of heels, but despise the discomfort of actually wearing them. Admit this to yourself and then save some money and unnecessary angst by taking all those fabulous but impractical shoes to a consignment shop and replacing them with adorably practical footwear.  

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This same level of self awareness is required to evaluate every item in your wardrobe! Once you’ve decided which pieces simply do not work for you, get out that paper and pen. Go through the items you can no longer use and separate them into three categories: toss, sell and give away. The return you make from selling your impractical but nice items will hopefully provide a little extra spending money for an updated piece or two. See? Honesty really is the best policy.

Next, pull out or purchase those clear plastic shoe boxes I mentioned. Aside from these boxes being the ideal solution for storing and protecting your shoes, they can also be used to store scarves, chunky bangles (grouped by color or theme of course), clothing and shoe repair supplies and a host of other odds and ends. After you’ve boxed all of your favorite shoes, assess what kind of storage your closet has already built in. If you have shelving, it is generally best utilized to stack shoes boxes, hat boxes or larger bins for stoing purses. Sweaters and pants often find their way onto your precious closet shelves when they could better be stored neatly folded in a dresser, which brings me to the next, and step to revamp your wardrobe.

Maximize the space you have! Remember that dreamy closet I mentioned earlier? Most of us have a slightly less royal version, but even a small closet if used creatively can meet all your needs. In addition to investing in clear plastic boxes of various sizes, consider purchasing belt and scarf hangers, an over the door purse organizer, or even hanging hooks on your closet wall for easy access to jewelry and accessories. The time and energy you spend sprucing up and reorganizing your clothes and their closet now, will yield you great rewards now and later.

Remember, ‘know thyself’, make the most what you have, and happy styling!

{Closet Crusade}

contributed by Camilla Curran

This month’s focus is on men’s style once more-the use of spring pastels and patterns to be exact.

As previously discussed, many men seem to shy away from dressing in bold colors. Is the same also true of soft spring hues? In my experience, when styling men, yes, but it shouldn’t be this way! Just as adding a bright pop of colorful fun to a look can enhance skin tone and add interest, so can pastels and patterns offer more complimentary and creative options for spring ensembles. With Easter and spring break mere days away, let’s discuss how to make patterns and pastels work for you!

The same principles that apply to bold colors also apply to the softer side of the spectrum: know your skin tone, choose colors to compliment that skin tone, and most importantly, don’t be afraid to try new colors.

To begin, there are two basic complexion types: warm and cool. Though there are many different ways to break down the category of warm or cool coloring a person has, this basic ‘at home’ test will help you quickly identify your skin’s general undertone: stand in direct sunlight with a good view of yourself in a mirror, and try on separately, an orange shirt, a candy pink shirt, a soft ‘baby blue’ shirt, a white shirt and an ivory shirt (scarves work well too if you do not have a shirt available in each color).

Did you immediately prefer the look of one of the shirts over the others? Did any of the colors make you look ‘under the weather’ or sallow? Did one shirt in particular make you look bright eyed and bring out a healthy glow? If the answer is yes to looking your best in the orange and pink shirts, you probably have a warm complexion, and if you responded best to the stark white and soft blue, you have a cool skin tone. You can even double check your impressions using the same test with gold and silver jewelry.

Now that you know which skin tone is yours, you can plan your clothes to work to your best advantage every single day!

A gentleman whose skin tone is cool, should try wearing shirts in blue based pastels this spring, like lavender, mint green, and soft pink. These cool colors are beautifully offset by a crisp navy or grey suit. Just add a complimentary, striped or paisley tie and pocket square for flair, and you’ll have endless options to coordinate!

If your complexion is warm, spring classics like tan, salmon, marigold and fuchsia should be staples in your wardrobe. A tan pant paired with a chocolate seersucker blazer and salmon shirt is festive and versatile, or try wearing a marigold bow tie with a spring green (yellow based of course) short sleeved button down, khaki shorts and suede loafers for a stylishly casual look.

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The options for spring are endless! So, enjoy wearing flattering colors every day, don’t hesitate to mix stripes and checks, or houndstooth and paisley when choosing your shirt, tie, pocket square and jacket, and Happy Styling!

 

{Closet Crusade}

contributed by Camilla Curran

Date night attire sends many a generally confident gal scrambling for options, and left feeling more awkward than amazing. Never fear! This month with Valentine’s Day just around the corner, I have several tips to transition your date night vibe from panicked to posh in no time.

To begin, a style savvy gal is never caught completely off guard. Always have a tried and true outfit on hand that makes you feel comfortable and confident every time.  A few staples I am never without for an unexpected evening of dining or dancing with that special someone include: a perfect pair of indigo jeans that smoothly transition from work to weekend, a pair of classic nude pumps-always effortlessly sexy and polished, a neutral but flirty top or two that can be dressed up with a satin wrap or dressed down with a denim jacket, a versatile ‘statement’ piece such as a bright clutch or bold cuff for instant ‘oomph’, and, last but not least, a classic little black dress.

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These items should be staples in every woman’s wardrobe-period! They are easy to mix and match with plenty of room to add fun extras, like colorful scarves, a ‘trend of the moment’ jacket or a pair of daring heels. Once you’ve established your collection of classic neutrals and an arsenal of foolproof last minute looks, you can relax and enjoy planning ahead for that special anniversary dinner or much anticipated first date.

Equally as important as killer clothes, yet often overlooked, is the crowning final touch: your makeup. I suggest keeping a fully stocked cosmetic bag in your car or work tote for those days when there is not enough time between work and an evening out to ‘freshen up’. In addition to powder, mascara, eyeliner, and lipstick, items like makeup remover wipes, mouthwash, portable perfume and hand lotion, are essential to have within easy reach when your time is limited.

After tidying up the remnants of the makeup you applied in the a.m., add a bit more mascara and eyeliner, a touch of extra blush or bronzer and consider adding a long-lasting lip stain to compliment your outfit and fit the mood of the evening ahead.

As always, gauge your look to the date’s theme, put your best foot forward, walk with confidence, and remember-he’s lucky to have you! Happy Styling!

{Closet Crusade}

contributed by Camilla Curran

With the excitement of the holiday rush behind, and all the promise of the 2014 ahead, I’d like to start the new year off right, by including men’s style tips in several of my monthly fashion columns.

To begin, I must address the general tendency of ‘twenty something’ men to dress too casually in most situations. I have frequently seen a cute couple out for a romantic dinner or drinks, and while the girl is dressed to perfection, her date barely bothered to wear jeans without holes. Inexcusable! Gentlemen, if your date has gone to the trouble to dress for the occasion and look fabulous for you, surely a little reciprocation isn’t too much to ask?

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Simply by exchanging jeans for khaki or black pants, the look of your favorite button down shirt is instantly upgraded from shabby to sophisticated. It takes no more effort and will absolutely make a better first impression! Jeans are acceptable as well, but only for very casual settings (just please save the pair with holes in the knees for doing yard work). To dress up a nice pair of dark blue jeans, try adding a blazer and graphic tee, or sprinkle in a little spice with a colorful scarf or hat.

Which brings me to the most important point to remember: don’t be afraid of color! So many men relegate themselves to wearing only drab or neutral colors, when their complexion would look infinitely better in a bright blue or dark purple! Colors that flatter can not only enhance your skin tone, but add interest and creativity to any outfit and help you better stand out from the crowd. Using complimentary colors effectively, is one of the most powerful tools any man can use to look his best.

Remember, dress appropriately for the occasion, wear your favorite jeans on an ‘as needed’ basis, and don’t be afraid of color-Happy Styling!

 

{Closet Crusade}

ImageThe frenzy of finding a perfect dress for your annual Christmas party, that dazzling New Year’s Eve gala, or a fabulous gift for your stylish best friend at the last minute, can make even the calmest shopper throw her well laid plans out the window! Never fear! I have some last minute shopping tips that just might save you some time, money and even your sanity during the final holiday shopping rush!

First of all, avoid the mall! I am as much a fan of an awesome find from Macy’s or Banana Republic as anyone, but save yourself the trouble of searching through the disorganized and picked over selections so common at department stores and mall shops during this hectic season. Only the savviest of shoppers is likely to find something last minute for a specific event or picky friend in a frenzied mall setting.

What I do recommend, is shopping online or heading to your favorite discount retailer like TJ Maxx, Marshall’s or H and M. Both with overstock and online stores, it is best to have a specific look, designer or item in mind, in order to quickly narrow down your search. Also, when perusing online, remember that most popular retailers are counting on last minute sales, and may take advantage of this opportunity to charge more for shipping and handling. I suggest accounting for this extra cost in the price of your merchandise to better comparison shop.

The advantage of shopping during the final few days before Christmas at discount retailers like TJ Maxx, Marshall’s or H and M, is that their inventory works very differently than that of a traditional department store, allowing them to offer a greater selection of products and styles year round. Plus, because such shops generally occupy less square footage and have more clearly labeled departments than larger retailers, searching for a particular designer, accessory or clothing item is quicker and easier!

Keep your wits about you, keep calm and shop on-Happy Styling and Merry Christmas!

 

{Some FINER Things}

I heart “aesthetically pleasing” things.   The mind {my mind for sure….} thinks about how these things were invented; how the eye is instinctively and instantly captured by these things; and why MY eyes begin to “do a lil dance, ….make a lil love….” when I see these things.

It’s a must that I share what comes to mind when i think of the Fall Season and its color……….OMG!!!!!  I’ll let these images tickle your fancy and engage your creative side; as much as they have mine…….woot! woot!

 

RESIDENTIAL DESIGN……..{I think Fancy}

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…..and then there’s this Absolutely. Drop. Dead. Gorgeous. Fabulous. Red. House. Casa. Renacimiento. Exterior. Design.

 

HOLIDAY STYLE & FASHION……..{I think Fancy}

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SOURCE:  http://www.furinsider.com/new-york-mercedes-benz-fashion-week-fall-2012-winter-2013-highlights-last-days-4/

Ralph Rucci is the closest thing to a national treasure when it comes to American high fashion. He is one of a handful of designers in history who has developed a style so distinct that it is recognizable the world over. This collection was undeniably younger, exuded a newly rediscovered sense of femininity, and looked ultra-luxe still, but with a flirty wink this time. We are obsessed with his fur treatments, especially his sleeves. His sheared mink sweatshirt  is a showstopper; his coat with red-dyed chinchilla cocoon sleeves is a forte in fur construction.

 

HOTEL DESIGN……..{I think Fancy}

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Ralph Rucci is the closest thing to a national treasure when it comes to American high fashion. He is one of a handful of designers in history who has developed a style so distinct that it is recognizable the world over. This collection was undeniably younger, exuded a newly rediscovered sense of femininity, and looked ultra-luxe still, but with a flirty wink this time. We are obsessed with his fur treatments, especially his sleeves.  Source:  http://www.furinsider.com/new-york-mercedes-benz-fashion-week-fall-2012-winter-2013-highlights-last-days-4/

 

Do your eyes tinkle too?

{Closet Crusade}

           With the hustle and bustle of the holidays just around the corner, the inevitable question of what to wear to all of those fabulous parties, is bound to come up. Let me eliminate at least some of your seasonal stress, by taking the guess work out of creating the perfect look for any sparkling fete.

          There are many types of holiday celebrations, from office parties and casual get-togethers with friends, to family dinners and black-tie New Year’s Eve galas. With so many events happening at once, this is not the time to wait until the last minute to find a great party ensemble!

          Often, the best place to start, is with a statement piece you can build a glamorous look around. For example, if you have a gorgeous accessory, like a vintage satin clutch with a touch of delicate beading, or maybe a glittering choker that catches the light just so, but don’t often find use for it in day to day life, now is the time to pull it out and create a gorgeous party look! Start with your bold accessory as a basis to create a color palette. You might pair a red or burgundy clutch with a cocktail length black dress. Just add metallic heels, sparkly earrings and classic red lips, and you have a glamorous Christmas party look ready to go! Just be sure the dress is made of party-worthy material, like tulle, satin or velvet to match the festive occasion. For an office gathering, a black cocktail dress and bright heels made work appropriate with a classic blazer is a great option.

            For those much anticipated, dress to the nines type of holiday parties, a New Year’s Eve  event for example, nothing short of red carpet glam will do! A statement dress is my personal go-to favorite. A sizzling red cocktail dress or something long and black is always a sure knockout. If the dress is your chosen focal point, opt for complimentary but minimal accessories so that your dazzling dress stays front and center.

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As always, make each party look appropriate for the setting. Have fun with color and texture and don’t be afraid to add a little sparkle to every holiday look. Happy styling!

 

 

{Closet Crusade}

        Fall is finally here! Of course, this means with it comes a plethora of fun fashion options. Today, let’s talk about one of my favorite cool weather necessities: a fabulous jacket (or two or three).

       To avoid unnecessary angst each time you reach for a jacket during this chilly season, here are some tips to make your selection easier. First, the type of coat you choose for daily wear must reflect your personal tastes, flatter your figure, and easily “finish” more than one type of outfit. A good way to start is by assessing your typical work week wardrobe. If your career of choice dictates a sharp suit and high heeled pumps for your nine to five look, a classic belted trench is your best option. The perks of choosing a quality trench are, they are waterproof, virtually timeless, generally flattering, comfortable and can top off almost any look! In fact, I recommend this classic style to every client-it’s an iconically chic must-have for every well dressed woman.

          If your job allows for a bit more flexibility in your style options, a slim fitting black leather jacket is another crisp look that can easily take you from work to weekend. Just be sure your coat of choice projects professionalism and is versatile enough to compliment many looks. Anything leather, whether a jacket, purse, or heels, if too trendy and covered in details like spikes, studs, or elaborate stitching will quickly look dated and be seen as unprofessional. A classic, blazer-style leather jacket is simultaneously polished and modern.

         Other great options for fall weather outerwear, include dark wool pea coats, classic denim jackets, and hooded tan or black parkas. Jackets are best bought in neutral colors for easy coordination with a varied wardrobe. Add a dash of your own “spice” with colorful hats, gloves and scarves. I also enjoy mixing textures with my fall coats and accessories to add interest-try adding leather gloves to a wool coat or pairing a velvet hat and suede jacket.

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Enjoy creating many fabulous fall looks, and, as always, Happy Styling!

 

{Classic Notion EyeCandy Potion}

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I’m preparing for the Official Phillip Ashley Chocolates Launch Party!!!!  It’s a Masquerade !!!!

Chef Phillip Ashley Rix will display his edible works of art.  Yes.  Designer Chocolates. 

DID YOU HEAR ME? 

There ARE unique events in Memphis. 

There IS excitement around every corner –

AND there IS fine chocolate at Phillip Ashley Chocolates

AND I AM SCREAMING WHEN I TYPE IN ALL CAPS!!!!!!! 

I SAID “Fine Chocolates”.

.. it would behoove (be necessary, proper, or advantageous for) you to attend this function. 

Details of the event are finely laid out here at http://www.phillipashley.com/index2.php#!/7/masquerade/27.

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