Second Installment: Wednesday Wardrobe | Summer Feature
Honestly, I love summer until the humidity cranks up and my hair gets all frizzy and I perspire and stick to chairs. I remember loving the lack of humidity in California and wishing we had less of it on the East Coast. When I plan outfits, I have to consider how I might perspire and what might keep me cool.
Picking what to wear based on the weather is a must for me. I always do it. Whether I choose sleeveless, strapless, dresses, skirts, or light pants or shorts, I’m always concerned about the heat, and so I have to purchase clothes that work accordingly.
Today’s outfits are based on just that—keeping cool. What do you wear during the summer months to stay cool? How do you pick outfits to reflect the heat of the summer?
Remember: I’m a real girl with a real budget for clothing…so here are some of my picks.
Let the air flow through this dress…from Target. Shoes by Nine West.
On Saturday night at an Orioles Reunion at Camden Yards in Baltimore a collection of former Orioles front office employees and full-time friends got together (and had a ball). My friend, Michelle, mentioned how much she loved the “Frocktober” fashion thing I did last October. She said she enjoyed it — and so did I. Her comment inspired me and got me thinking that while there are lots and lots of gorgeous photos of women on Instagram in gorgeous clothing, I’m a real girl. I’m not a model, nor will I ever be one. I’m middle-aged, not skinny, and I’ve got curves, but I do possess one thing that I’ve learned over the years as a fashion consultant: I know how to dress my body type. I also love to stay current with fashion and have fun with it.
Which leads me to this: I’ve decided revamp my blog a little and include a weekly fashion segment for REGULAR WOMEN. You know, keep it real (and with a budget in mind). I’ll be sharing what I wear on Instagram and where I bought the items, and then I’ll do a weekly recap on WEDNESDAYS here on the blog.
As for more restructuring on Steph’s Scribe, on MONDAYS it will be like POTPOURRI, and I will get to write about whatever I want; on FRIDAYS, I’ll continue to feature FICTION FRIDAY and write about all things pertaining to writing.
My husband always tells me that my blog is too vague, that it doesn’t have a set niche. Well, now I’ve got one. I’m structured (he’ll love that, as I tend to be a bit of a creative type and not be too structured).
Fashion, to me, is creative–sort of like writing your own book every day. You get to pick out what you want to wear and make it yours. It’s an outward expression of yourself. The only rules are that (1) you should love the pieces you buy, and (2) you should feel good in them.
That’s it. That’s the blog restructuring for the summer. I hope you will enjoy my new setup.
A couple of years ago, I came across an article in Bazaar Magazine written by Matilda Kahl, an art director for a leading advertising agency located in New York. This article fascinated me for several reasons: (1) because, like her, I consider myself a creative type, (2) because I love fashion and am always trying to figure out ways to build a more successful and professional wardrobe, and (3) because for a short stint, I was a fashion consultant. After reading Matilda’s article about why she decided to establish her own “work uniform,” I was intrigued, and I’ve shared this with every section of my Internship Preparation class each semester. As you can imagine, some lively discussions ensued.
The premise of Matilda’s decision to build a black and white work uniform is based in logic and created for simplicity. By taking the “creativity” out of selecting and creating a fashionable and unique outfit each day for work, Matilda puts that energy to work for her incredibly creative job. Her black and white uniform consists of black bottoms and white or cream-colored tops; she accessorizes with scarves or bows. Additionally, she said she did not skimp on the quality of her clothes; she bought designer clothing and expensive tops and bottoms that she cares for, but the overall idea was that she never has to worry if anything matches or doesn’t work. The simplicity of the way she dresses is always in style.
Look—let’s be real—I don’t know how many of us (a) WANT to do this, or (b) WOULD ENJOY doing this and not get BORED, but it certainly is food for thought. It takes away a lot of stress in the morning when one is rushing out the door for work. And, it does allow room for creative energy to be used elsewhere.
I’ve looked at my own closet—it’s filled with black, that’s for sure. I could surely buy more white tops and make this happen.
Will I? I don’t know. But it sure is an enticing thought.
One day, as our family gathered on my parents’ back porch in the summer, he dared to jokingly say something about my thunder thighs. He didn’t mean any harm by it; he was only lovingly teasing me.
But I’d heard about it enough in high school, especially as a cheerleader who had to wear a cheer outfit to school twice a week, and those old wounds hadn’t mended. I suppose even in my early 30s, I was still sensitive when hearing my legs referred to in that way.
I leveled him.
Of course, I’m sorry for it now. I should have been able to laugh it off, make fun of myself, and just accept that I have pretty strong, muscular legs. I always have. I played tennis, did gymnastics, and cheered.
Fast forward to now, many, many years later.
With age comes wisdom. I am older, wiser, and more confident now, even if I still wish I had been born with long legs and was 5’5″ instead of 5’1″. When you hit a certain number as you age, you just don’t give a $$$$ any more what anyone thinks; you become less self-conscious, and you wear what makes you happy.
I like fashion a lot, enjoy clothes and putting outfits together, and being trendy. I bought the outfit above yesterday, and I can’t wait to wear it, big legs and all.
You get smarter. You accept yourself, and you learn to love yourself and all your imperfections.
And if ever once upon a time you called me “thunder thighs,” I forgive you.
When I used to work as a fashion consultant, one of the biggest rules I preached was to ignore trends—to not get sucked into a fad just because it was hot, especially if it didn’t work for your body type. But that rule becomes rather difficult to adhere to when fashion changes and certain styles of clothing become appealing. For example, the straight-legged jean was something I thought I would avoid at all costs because of its tendency to make hips look larger than they are, especially for those of us who have undeniable curves. I look better in a boot cut jean that is fitted properly. All my years of hoping that the straight-legged jean would not come back in fashion was wasted, as it (a) became fashionable and trendy, and (2) because I ditched my own advice and now wear them, curves and all. The trick is to outsmart the straight-legged jean and find some balance with it…in order to keep your body in check and in proportion. I tend to wear mind tucked into tall boots, or with the right style of shoe.
I think we tend to believe that as we age, we have to let go of some trends simply because we are aging. There is definitely some truth to that. However, there is also truth in this statement: it’s your life—wear whatever the hell you want if it makes you feel good about yourself. When I go into Anthropologie, I know I’m not going to be able to sport all the different kinds of clothes that are in there, but I LOVE that store, so I search for pieces that will suit me now, at my age, in order to remain trendy and stylish. I’m not trying to dress like my students, mind you (I couldn’t pull that off), but there are certainly some things I still have the gumption to try and wear. I do like to stay current.
Nevertheless, the true trick to dressing well after a certain age it to always consider proportion of the clothing. Just as you must consider proportion when you are decorating your home, the same holds true when decorating your own body. It’s all about proportion.
Colors also play a huge factor in how clothing looks on you. Be sure to know if you are better in warmer tones (earthy tones such as browns, beiges, greens, yellows, oranges, etc.) or in cooler tones (often referred to as jewel tones, such as emerald green, sapphire blue, true red, black, and deep purple). If you are a cooler-toned person, you may not want to wear severe colors around your face, or, if you are a cooler-toned person and you love orange, you can wear it, but it would probably be best served on your lower half. The color of your hair, skin tone, and eyes play into what colors generally look best on you.
But all that is just a bunch of hogwash unless you feel good in the clothes you wear. If you need help finding out what is best for you, hire a consultant to take you shopping and do your colors. Once you learn what works best both proportionally and color-wise, you’ll never wonder again.
That’s not to say we don’t break the rules now and then. We all do. But you’ll find confidence and stay fashionable all your life if you remember this one thing:
Style is truly what you make of it; it’s about how you wear the pieces you choose, not the pieces themselves.
Several people have come up to me recently and told me they enjoyed the #FROCKTOBER feature I posted over the course of the month. A few others have told me I inspired their style. These kind of comments thrill me–I am so glad I could inspire you or give you some ideas for your own style.
But here’s the thing: you are you—you are not me, I am not someone else, and so on—and so we should let our own personalities shape our own fashion. We should experiment and have fun with it. I remember reading a piece about “Things Not to Wear After 40” and the bottom line was that you should wear whatever the hell you want. If you want to try some new trends, purchase a new type of shoe, add some bling to your accessories and handbags, I say GO FOR IT. You only live once. Why live vicariously through someone else when you can do it for yourself?
Fashion comes and goes, but style is how you make it your own. I’m not going to be posting fashion as a regular blog item, but I will keep my eyes on fashion and post as I have in the past about interesting things that come along. And who knows…maybe I’ll give #FROCKTOBER another try next year.
In the meantime, I’ve got a novel to finish.
Below are the outfits I wore for the rest of the last week of #FROCKTOBER. I post on Instagram a lot more than I do here on the blog or on Facebook, so if you want to follow along on my next journey, you can find me on Instagram @stephverni.
I made it through the month of #Frocktober, and I have to admit, I had a good time doing it! I posted my outfits daily on Instagram, begged folks to take my photo, and felt pressure to put an ensemble together worthy of documenting. I’m not a fashion blogger, but I am a blogger who loves to include fashion into her blog. As I mentioned in the last post, fashion is a passion, and it always has been for me. I often wish I weren’t 5’1″, but instead taller so I could wear even more daring, bold, and fun clothes. I have to be careful what I put on my small stature so I don’t become overwhelmed by clothing. Also, Coco Chanel was so right when she said, “Before leaving the house, a lady should look in the mirror and take one accessory off.” It’s a good tip still—you don’t want your accessories to get noticed before you do.
I’m posting my last few photos from the month. Thanks again for following along with me on my month-long fashion journey. I’m sure it’s not quite over yet.
Also, special thanks to the following people for being lovely and patient enough to take my photographs:
Ellie Verni • Matt Verni • Anthony Verni • Leeanne Bell McManus • Emily Rosenthal • Kait Kirkwood • Leni Parrillo • Chip Rouse
We are nearing the end, my friends. For a little more than 30 days (and day number 31 remaining), I have documented what I’ve worn during the month of #FROCKTOBER. We all have vices; my vice happens to be clothes, shoes, and accessories. Ever since I was little, I’ve pretty much loved playing dress up…even now as an adult it’s something I love to do. I know there are far more important things to concern ourselves with, and besides writing, clothes and fashion and style happen to all be my favorite pastime. I enjoy playing mix and match, figuring out what my style mood is each day, and then trying to build something fun with what I’ve got in my closet…or perhaps purchasing something new I want to add to the ensemble.
A little purchasing tip I used to tell my clients was this: If you can’t wear a particular item with at least three things or in three different ways, don’t buy it. Adding versatility to a wardrobe is important, and being able to mix and match pieces is how you will get more value out of your items and extend your wardrobe.
I’ve had a lot of fun doing this month-long feature, and while I don’t think I’ll ever become a full-fledged fashion blogger, I will definitely continue to incorporate it into my blog. One thought I have is to rekindle the Fashion Fridays I used to do with features such as building a capsule wardrobe or showing how one piece can be worn six ways. I’m toying with some of this now. I’d also like to do a feature on business clothing and business casual dressing in the workplace, something I talk to my students about in the Internship Preparation course.
I’ve got one more day left, but I may just finish out the week before I hang up #FROCKTOBER. Thanks for letting me play dress up and for following along.
Some people my find this whole FROCKTOBER thing a little silly; after all, it is a bit materialistic and about clothing and what we wear; it’s not about saving the world or doing some good for others. However, that said, I do believe how we feel about ourselves reflects on the rest of the world and people in our lives. When we feel good about ourselves, it comes from the inside; the clothing is just a mere reflection of ourselves, our personalities, and our own personal taste. When we’re happy with ourselves, that happiness helps us in all aspects of our lives.
We all have different taste in clothing–and that’s why, luckily for us all–there are all different types of styles available to us. I classify myself as a romantic, classic dresser with a dash of trendiness and Boho thrown in for fun. I like clothes that make me feel like a lady: feminine and pretty. Others may prefer more preppy, classic clothing, while others may have a full-on Boho style, among many others. We see some trends we like, we wear some trends, and we leave some trends behind because we know they don’t work for us.
We’re meant to have fun with clothes, look professional in clothes, work in clothes, go out in clothes, exercise in clothes, and hang around the house in clothes. We have clothing that suits all our different settings — and the best part is, we get to choose those pieces that work especially for each of us.
FROCKTOBER is full steam ahead this week, with lots of variations and different brands. Also, I want to talk about NEUTRALS, as some people have questions, such as, “Can I wear brown and black together?” Yes, you can. They are two neutrals. Just as you can wear grey and black, or black and tan, or even brown and grey (which can look quite elegant, actually), so can you blend neutrals. Blue is a neutral (think about your blue jeans…you wear them with anything, right?); therefore, you can mix your neutrals. Don’t be afraid to do it. It can look quite lovely.
I’m a petite person, and as such, I stay away from big patterns, large stripes, and heaviness of clothing, especially on top or around the mid-section, which will only add more weight and bulk to my already short stature. I’m quite curvy, and so I must choose the right clothes to help balance my silhouette. Darker colors on the bottom typically help this, wearing the same color on top and bottom helps you appear taller, and too much bulk will just make you look bigger than you are.
Here are the looks from the week that were posted on my Instagram. See you next Sunday.
Just a little thing about hats…I love to wear them in the fall and winter. This one’s been around for a while, but it’s one of my favorites to throw on. I have this style in black, brown, and grey. Once again, these neutrals can go with just about anything.
In celebration of #FROCTOBER, I’m doing a quick recap of what I wore this past week. I’ve been posting daily on my Instagram feed (stephverni), and it’s been fun. It makes me think, though, because it’s a lot of pressure to post an outfit you think is good enough to feature as a Frocktober favorite. I’m a petite, regular gal, and the correct proportions of my clothing matters; it’s one of the things I learned when I became a fashion consultant. We tend to want to wear all the latest trends whether they suit us or not, but if our body type/size/shape/height doesn’t work for that trend, we have to let it go. The key to good style—and finding your own brand of personal style—is wearing what works best on your body; you must know what fits well and makes you look your best, and it’s not always easy. I’d love to wear a lot of the big, loose fitting clothes, but it will make me look like I’m wearing a tent–they will overwhelm my small stature. Therefore, think about your proportions and always keep them in mind when buying clothes, especially when you buy clothing that you want to last a while. Honestly, though, it doesn’t matter if you buy something at Nordstrom or Target or a high-end boutique, if it’s the right color and proportion, it will probably look fabulous on you. (And you will see from my collection, I buy things from everywhere…for me, it’s all about balance and proportion).
And now, on to what I wore this week, starting with what I wore on Sunday…
Today begins my version of Frocktober, whereby I will showcase what I wear for the next 31 days of October. I’m an average woman who is petite in stature and who also happens to love shopping for clothes, reading about fashion, and creating a personal style. In my former life as a fashion consultant, I helped other women try to find their style. We don’t have to be runway models to feel good about ourselves; women of all shapes and sizes are beautiful, and beauty truly comes from within and then is expressed on the outside. We are all capable of finding our own “brand” of style, and so much of it comes from what has shaped us and continues to shape us as people.
I don’t have a fat wallet or shop at the finest of stores; I primarily buy things on sale, and I even hunt down goods at consignment stores (and recently scored two Nanette Lepore pieces in mint condition for a fraction of what the original retail price was). I’ll pick up things from Anthropologie to Boden to Ann Taylor, from Nordstrom and Macy*s, and from Target and Kohl’s to name a few. What really matters when finding your own personal style is finding pieces that work for you and your body type, while taking color into consideration.
For the next month, I’ll share with you what I’ve worn during the week, where I purchased the items, and discuss tips I learned along the way as a fashion consultant. I enjoy helping others feel good about themselves and the choices they make with regard to clothing and accessories.
As I am weeks away from publishing my third novel, I thought having Steph’s Scribe take a breather from writing articles this month (well, maybe just a few!), I would focus on fashion for #Frocktober.
Let me know if you have any questions about what I post. I will do my best to answer anything you ask.
Have a wonderful weekend…now…on to our October Feature.
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W H A T I W O R E
Have a good weekend, everyone, and thanks for stopping by Steph’s Scribe.