How to Wear a Chambray Top

If I had to pick a few fashion staples that every woman should have in her wardrobe, a good chambray shirt would be near the top of the list. Chambray shirts are so cute and versatile. They can be styled so many different ways, and they can also be worn during any season. And let us not forget about the fact that they are super comfy, especially if you find one made with soft denim. My recommendation would be to get one in a dark wash and a lighter one, because they are so great to have and each will feel fresh in it’s own way. I love the darker wash for fall and winter, while the lighter wash is perfect for spring and summer. The best part about chambray shirts is that they are usually super affordable. You could spend $80 on one at J. Crew, but you could also get a great option at American Eagle, Old Navy, The Gap, H&M…basically anywhere. Here are some great examples of styling the chambray shirt below.
Inspiration from Pinterest.

Seven Habits of the Stylish

Anyone with a credit card can be fashionable, but few have genuine style. Sure, you can drape yourself in the coolest labels season after season. That might give you a boost of instant gratification, but in six months those pieces will be obsolete, and you will feel compelled to keep up with the cycle of buying the next round of coveted pieces. How exhausting! Yet, I see many women falling victim to this cycle. Years ago, most young women working outside fashion would not have necessarily been aware of what the “it” items were within the industry, unless they truly loved and followed fashion. Today, all they need to do is take a quick peek at Pinterest or any one of the gazillion personal style blogs that exist. Of course, you only need to visit mine. But that in turn, can result in scores of young women looking exactly like everyone else and going broke in the process. So, I compiled seven habits of stylish women to get you started.

1. They do not surf street style blogs and copy exactly what they see, label for label. In this day and age, street style photos are a bona fide source of fashion inspiration. Do not forget, big street fashion players, get sent designer stuff for free to entice folks like us to go out and buy it. Others are, well, richer than us and it is their day job to flit around the world in the latest designer clothes, which is fun to admire but not necessarily healthy to emulate. That is why truly stylish women will see a look they are drawn to and seek out lesser priced pieces that have the same vibe. Plenty of affordable stores like TJMaxx and Marshalls offer items that feature similar aspects to designer pieces.
2. They are not afraid of any store and can find something almost anywhere. Legitimately stylish women will troll any store with zero snob factor, yet they stay true to their aesthetic. For example, do not be afraid to pop into a cheesy seeming teen store at the mall. That does not mean you will leave with the same things your 12-year-old cousin would. But you might find some killer black leggings, a shrunken blazer, the perfect pair of skinny jeans, or some great costume jewelry. Same goes for fast fashion haunts like Forever 21, thrift stores, and off price havens like TJMaxx or Marshalls, which are consistently packed with great stuff for less.
3. They know how to style themselves according to their own taste. Why is it always the case that the most stylish girls will say “This blouse? It’s from Goodwill like 100 years ago” and actually mean it? Yeah, the blouse itself is probably pretty cool, but it is really the way she styled it. She maybe tucked into great dark wash jean, unbuttoned one extra button, rolled up the sleeves, or added a cool statement necklaces that made everyone comment on it. The trick is to go with what your style is.
4. They always look a little less “done” than everyone else. Highly stylish people are often in the habit of always appearing a teeny tiny bit too cool for every scenario they are in. This might mean wearing a pair of slip on sneakers when every other girl is teetering on heels, wearing a chic skinny pantsuit when every other woman is rocking glittery party dresses, or chopping her hair into a messy bob when everyone else has long beachy waves. Small things that always make them look a little less “done”.
5. They understand labels do not make them cooler. It sounds cliché, but the most stylish women have confidence, and they do not need the $700 sweatshirt or $2,000 handbag to make themselves appear cool. These ladies can step out in a faded gray tee and jeans and still look like the coolest person in the room all because they have confidence.
6. They are not especially trendy. Some of the most stylish people are the ones who rarely shift from a basic overarching aesthetic, whether that aesthetic is made up of minimalist staples, or colorful flashy pieces. As time goes on, they will replace items with newer, more modern looking ones, but they will never fall victim to fly by night trends.
7. They do not dress to be considered stylish. Before blogs, before street style, and before Fashion Week became a competition for who has the most attention grabbing clothing, young women dressed for themselves, their lifestyle, and what looked good on them. Believe me, it does not matter if those heels are Jimmy Choo, if you cannot walk in them, you will not be considered stylish. Throw on a pair of comfortable ankle boots or cute ballet flats with that mini dress, you will look much cooler.

What Gretchen Wore

Today I decided to take pieces I already own that I have never wore together and make a new outfit. So, I took my magenta pencil skirt from Lane Bryant ($49.99) and paired it with a good ole plain white tshirt ($5.99) from TJMaxx. (Please read my blog from February 4,2014 about dressing up a tshirt) I added a statement necklace I found a couple of months ago on sale at Belk and my DSW black and tan wedge sandals and off I went. Love this look – simple yet chic!!

How to Wear Hot Pink

I am a huge fan of hot pink. It is bold, lively and very versatile (yes versatile). Pairing hot pink with neutrals is an awesome idea. The real key is making this vibrant color work for YOU. So whether you like a smokin’ hot pink dress paired with classic black stilettos, a chic bright pink blouse paired with a statement necklace, or simply a pink lip, this attention grabbing color can work with anyone’s wardrobe. If you are not of the faint of heart, hot pink looks great mixed with statement jewelry! I love how bold this look below is. Just keep the rest of the outfit neutral with dark wash jeans and nude flats.
You can look effortlessly chic in bright pink skinny jeans. Keep the rest of the look very clean and simple, so your pants really stand out!
Go bold with a hot pink clutch. This works especially great with a summer tan or for women with darker skin tones. It is a look that is sure to get you noticed.
The trench coat is versatile, you can wear it over a casual outfit for an every day occasion or in the evening over an elegant dress.
Inspiration from Pinterest.

Sleeve Shape Does Matter

The shape of the sleeve you wear can make you look larger or smaller, depending on where it ends. The width of the sleeve is just as important. Wider sleeves add width to the part of the body they end on. A slim sleeve will not add bulk to your frame in the way a voluminous sleeve will. When considering your sleeve, you want to consider how broad your shoulders are. You also want to consider whether you have a fuller upper arm and the size of your bust. Once you know the answers to those questions, you can start to narrow down the sleeve that best works for you. Puffed sleeves and gathered shoulders are great to make your shoulders look broader. If you want to make them look narrower, then try raglan or dropped sleeves. End your sleeves on your narrowest point to draw attention to it. The eye fills in the horizontal line between the hems of the sleeves. If you have a defined waist, end sleeves around your waist height. If you have large hips, avoid ending sleeves at the wrists. If you do not have a defined waist end your sleeves above or below your waist. Remember too, that a higher armhole and slimmer sleeve will make your body look longer and slimmer too. Because the eye draws a horizontal line across your body where sleeves end, then if you large busted, avoid a sleeve that ends near your bust peak, instead go for a shorter or longer sleeve. If you have a small bust and want it to look larger then and sleeves at the bust peak. Full upper arms need a sleeve that either covers, or does not have a horizontal hem. Diagonal hems work well as they move the eye away from the arm and don’t create a broadening effect.
Shapes of sleeves by imogenl.

Second Hand Chic

Have you ever been shopping and seen a dress that looks less than appealing on the hanger, but then you try it on and it works? You can envision the great statement necklace or belt you already have at home completing this look perfectly. Or you try on a gorgeous blouse and the sleeves are too longer, but you love everything else about it. My point is, we have to have some vision. We need to think outside the box. We need to see with a few tweaks or alterations, we can make an article of clothing works for us. I am not someone who can sew, but I have a good tailor. I ran across an article on Jillian Owens from Columbia, South Carolina. She was having some financial difficulties and started to venture into second hand stores looking to save some money, but still update her wardrobe. What she did is awesome. Check out these pictures of her below.

Stealing Ideas from Menswear

To stay ahead of the fashion curve, here is a hot tip – think about menswear!! Menswear has always been stylish, but in recent years, the looks have definitely been dialed up a notch as men become increasingly adventurous with how they dress. In fact, the looks are so good that we should sit up and take notice and steal some of these outfit ideas for ourselves. Menswear has set wardrobe staples for every day that are more or less universal, like the suit. Here some tips for stealing from the boys. First of all, aim for effortless. You should never look like you spent hours getting ready in the morning. Leave something a bit untucked or unbuttoned. Do not over think things. Secondly, rocking one color from head to toe is seriously elegant. Consider the suit, which has many moving parts and options. Opting to keep the palette uniform, whether it is gray or cobalt, gives an outfit a really cohesive feel. Another tip is to be strategic and brave with your use of prints. Print mixing in women’s fashion is on the verge of jumping the shark, but menswear takes a more targeted approach. Opt for an over the top blazer, and then keep the rest of your outfit neutral, or take a more subtle outfit and let your accents do the mixing. Always remember, fit is everything. No man expects a suit to fit him like a dream straight off the rack, so why should we? A trip to the tailor should be part of the buying process. Make your tailor your best friend, and do not settle for anything that does not fit you like a glove. Lastly, there is a delicious sense of whimsy in menswear with a touch of cheek in a goofy print, a subtle wink in a flash of hot pink under a collar or shirt sleeve. Do not take your clothing too seriously. Invest in something that makes you smile.