It’s kind of difficult to get happy today with the news coming out of Las Vegas. I’m so saddened by the reports of all the victims of the mass shooting and those who are injured. Prayers go to all of those who have been affected by this horrible, senseless, and heinous tragedy.
However, FROCKTOBER must carry on, because we are doing some good here by raising awareness for ovarian cancer. As I mentioned yesterday, my colleague and stylish lady friend, Chris Noya, has been battling this disease since January. If you wish to donate, you can do so by giving to the American Cancer Society or to the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition (click the organization names to go to the sites). Much research is being done to try to end this disease.
My new color this year is white. I know it’s not that radical or anything, but white is a great color for most skin types, and paired the right way, it can give you that classic look, no matter what the occasion. A versatile white dress in summertime looks clean and cool; a white coat in winter beats the doldrums of winter and reminds us of snow.
Think about adding a little more white to your wardrobe if you assess your closet and notice you have a lack of white mixed in among your other colors.
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.
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…
Summer is around the corner, and it’s time to think about getting yourself that perfect hat. Whether it’s a straw one, cotton one, or a ball cap, you will want to protect your face from the harmful rays of the sun. Along with getting yourself a good pair of sunglasses, you will want to purchase the right hat for your face shape that also goes well with your hair.
The six-year run of Downton Abbey made me fall in love with hats all over again. Watching Mary, Edith, and the rest of the ladies on Downton, made me miss the completeness a hat can bring to fashion and your own personal style. Don’t be afraid to go for it–and buy a hat that suits you and can be worn with multiple outlets. Or, buy a few, and mix them up accordingly. On our trip to Napa Valley, I noticed a woman with a great outfit on, topped off with a big, floppy hat and a huge flower. It really made her stand out among the crowd.
So…go for it. Find your style. Get yourself a hat this season. Wear it well. Remember, as Coco Chanel said, “Fashion fades; only style remains the same.”
Ever since I was a young girl and I would take the trips to New Jersey to visit my grandparents for the holidays, one of my favorite parts was going shopping with my mom and her mom at Willowbrook Mall. In the early days when we lived in Maryland, there wasn’t an abundance of shopping, especially in the Annapolis and Bowie areas. When I was able to visit New Jersey and New York at the holidays, I would take the money I got as gifts and go shop for clothes.
Now, all these many years later, I still love fashion and shopping. Several years ago when I was home raising my children and working part time as an adjunct professor, I started a fashion consulting business on the side. I was like Stacy London from What Not To Wear fame; I would help women build or rebuild their wardrobes. I took a course in fashion consulting and was certified.
That said, I still love to play with fashion. Earlier in the year before my “big” birthday, I thought I had to completely revamp my style because I am getting older. But when I looked back on it, I thought…WHY? I love fashion and clothes, and as long as I’m not wearing mini-minis and too much of a plunging cleavage, fashion is supposed to be fun and expressive of who you are, so why do I need to change that much?
What I have tried to do is get away from so much black in my wardrobe. As we age, black can be a bit harsh on the skin…and while I will never not wear black as it will always be my staple color, I am trying to mix it up a bit.
Below are some of my recent creations that you’ll see me wearing around town. The trick for me is to know what to spend money and on and what not to spend money on. Classic pieces that you intend to have in your closet for a while–work attire and special occasion wear–these are the pieces you may want to drop a pretty penny on. However, when it comes to trendy stuff that may come and go, I watch my purse. Also, don’t neglect consignment stores. You’ll be surprised by what people consign–and in what great condition it can be. In Severna Park, we have a good one: Savvy Consignment. I’ve gotten quite a few things from there, including a Coach bag, the glittery jacket that is pictured with the pink dress, and lots of sweaters to wear with jeans.
Have fun with your fashion. Enjoy wearing clothes that make you feel good and that reflect your own personality.
As Orson Welles said, “Style is knowing who you are, what you want to say, and not giving a damn.”
Stephanie Parrillo Verni
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