Holiday Style

Tips to Make Your Wardrobe Last

Replacing clothes can be expensive, so here are a few tips to help extend the life of your favorite clothes and accessories.

1. Hand wash cashmere. Repeated poor – quality dry cleanings can lead to fiber breakage. Plus, an old fashioned hand washing leaves the cashmere considerably softer. Use lukewarm water and a mild soap, such as the Laundress Wool & Cashmere Shampoo, and lay flat to dry. Remove excess water by rolling the garment in a towel.  NEVER wring it!!

2. Do not drive in your good heels. The floorboard scuffs the heel, and the pedal scratches the toe. Drive in simple flats, or try heel protectors, which are plastic coverings that slide over high heels.

3. Never hang pearls. This weakens the silk threads that hold the necklace together.

4 Launder whites after every wear. It is tempting to put a white blouse back into the closet after a spill free wearing. After all, it looks spotless. But body oils and perspiration, along with other time released stains (like perfume, white wine, and oil splatters), will start to give a once bright white a yellowish tint.

5. But do not over wash darks. Excessive washings cause faded clothing. Black pants, in particular, can be worn several times before laundering. For best results when you wash, run darks on a short cycle in cold water and let them air dry. Blot any stains, since rubbing will create a lighter spot.

6. Beware the dryer. Excessive heat makes fibers brittle, causing the fabric to break down. Combat this by removing lightweight garments, like T-shirts and camisoles, and anything containing spandex ten minutes earlier than heavy garments, such as jeans and sweatshirts.

7. Iron clothing inside out. Ironing can fade dark colors as well as create shine marks on fabrics with sheen. Avoid damage by using the appropriate heat setting and pressing the item on the reverse side. Or use a cloth between garment and iron. Also, never iron a crease on a black garment…it can leave a permanent line.

8. Zip up to avert snags. Your clothing goes into the wash perfectly intact. Later you notice a mysterious pull. The teeth of zippers or any kind of hook closure is typically the culprit.  Next time close all zippers and clasps before tossing clothes into the washing machine.

9. Wash (unstained) jeans every third wear. Most people wash their jeans too often. Launder them inside out and in cold water. Obsessed with preserving the deep dark rinse? Skip the clothes dryer and let them air dry, or take them to a dry cleaner.

What Gretchen Wore

I decided to go a little more casual than I usually do in the office today. My gingham shirt is from Old Navy, on sale for $20. I added my red pencil skirt, which I have had tailored recently.  If you have a piece you love, always consider altering when it does not fit anymore. You might recognize the necklace from a previous post.  I found it for $8 at H&M.  My Nine West nude peep toe pumps complete today’s look.

Old Navy Shirt

‘Tis the season

Yes it is going to be holiday party season before you know it.  Why not get one dress that you can wear to multiple parties.  A metallic dress is great for the holidays, and the silver color means it can be matched with nearly anything.  You can wear different shoes, accessories, add a coat or scarf to change the whole look of the dress.


Inspiration from Pinterest.

Flattering Items Every Woman Can Wear to Work

Are you tired of your normal day to day work wear?  Why not try something new or different. These are my suggestions to spice up your current wardrobe.  They are simple and easy, but they can really spruce up an ordinary outfit.

Brooch ~ Pin a fun brooch to a plain colored sweater.


Chunky Necklaces ~ A statement necklace can add some lift to a traditionally boring outfit.


Printed Blouse ~ A printed blouse always looks fashion forward while maintaining the appropriate dress code.


Pencil Skirt ~ A colored pencil skirt can kick things up a notch. You can pair it with another bold color or something more neutral.


Colored Heels ~ More conservative dressers can add color to any outfit by choosing some great heels. Red is always a classic go to, but teal, orange and bright yellow are all great choices as well.


Scarf ~ A scarf is another great way to add in some pattern to an otherwise neutral outfit. You can pick a silk one for a more dressed up feel.


Sheath Dress ~ A sheath dress is the perfect canvas to dress up with jewelry, heels or a sweater.


Stacked Bracelets ~ Stacked bracelets are a great way to create visual interest without having to buy new clothes.


Wrap Dress ~ A wrap dress is a perfect example of a universally flattering shape that will look good on all body types. A well fitting wrap dress will accentuate your curves and hide your trouble areas.


Tights ~ Depending how strict your work dress code is, printed tights can be a great addition to your wardrobe. Plenty of stores have subtle print patterns as well.


Plaid Blazer ~ Plaid blazers have become pretty popular this fall and can definitely be dressed up for a work wardrobe. A relaxed work dress code is best for something like this.


Long Necklace ~ Wear a long necklace with pullover sweaters.


Summer Dress ~ Pair a summer dress with tights, pumps and a cardigan to make it more fitting for the cold weather.


Leopard Print Belt ~ Any printed belt will do, but a leopard print belt will go with just about everything already in your wardrobe.


Tweed Skirt ~ Tweed skirts are great for winter with tights and a nice pair of leather boots. Sweater skirts are another alternative to look for.


Coat ~ Get a coat that is both flattering and fun. This coat is perfect for fall before it gets too cold.


Inspiration from Pinterest.

Fall Must Haves

Soon the weather will be cooling down, and we will start to feel a bit of a chill in the air. I know some of you up north are already experiencing cooler temps.  As summer draws to a close, you may be wondering what items to pull from storage and what you should buy new to transition into a fabulous fall wardrobe. Just follow my basic guidelines and start with these fall wardrobe essentials. You will be on your way to a stylish autumn season. Deep, rich colors and pieces for layering on cooler days are essential to the fall wardrobe. Earthy fabrics and knits bring warmth to a cold season, and subtle metallics and leather also make a comeback this time of year.

1. Long sleeved tees  Perfect for layering, long sleeved tees will keep you warm and add depth to a fall outfit. Blacks, grays, and creams are good colors to start with and can be layered under some of your more versatile warm weather clothes if needed.

2. A pullover sweater  A pullover can be a lifesaver when weather suddenly changes. Choose close knit styles for a tailored look or bulkier knits when you just want to cozy up with a good book and your favorite cool weather beverage.

3.  Boots This one is almost self-explanatory, but there are many styles, heights, and colors when it comes to boots. Choose a pair or two of favorites like ankle, knee-high, or mid-calf boots and switch things up depending on the weather.

4. Leggings and tights – Leggings and tights come in a huge variety of patterns and colors. There really is something for everyone. The bare legged styles of summer may not be warm enough for the fall months, but a good set of leggings can extend the life of some of your favorites, and tights make any skirt more practical.

5. Scarves – Another accessory worth stocking in many colors and styles is definitely the scarf. You can still wear scarves made of sheer fabrics during autumn, but can also start to introduce bulkier, warmer varieties.

6. Cardigans – Cardigans are another versatile essential for the fall. They can be found with or without buttons, long-sleeved, ¾ sleeved, colored, patterned, with hoods, and in all kinds of fabrics. For a staple, go with a neutral color that you can get a lot of wear out of, but if you have the budget for a second cardigan choose something fun.

7. Leather  I could be more specific, but if you choose even a single leather item for your closet this year, you will be on the right path. A leather pencil skirt, pants, or a jacket are great additions to any outfit.

8. A loose blouse  You just cannot go wrong where a blouse is concerned, no matter the season. Plus, they are perfect for pairing under a cardigan or pullover if it turns extra chilly.  For fall, choose darker, rich colors (try jewel tones) or creamy neutrals.

9. A sweatshirt / hoodie  There are going to be gray, drizzly mornings this autumn when you wake up and think one thing….I wanna be comfy. Those are the mornings to don your favorite hoodie and jeans. But a comfy outfit does not have to be a frumpy one. Go for a more fitted sweatshirt that flatters rather than covers your curves.

10. Metallic accessories If you have got your other essentials hanging in the closet it is time to add some bling. A little bit of metallic jewelry will go a long way in jazzing up your basics and you can start to look for clothing with built-in sparkle as well. Keep it subtle at first – bronze, gold, brushed metallics – then slowly kick things up by adding in more silver and sparkle as the weather cools.