What Gretchen Wore

Who doesn’t love a easy, casual and comfortable dress for summer!?  I picked this cold shoulder dress at Old Navy on sale for only $15.  I wish I had one in every color, because it is so comfortable.


Sunglasses supplied by photographer / son……

Four Simple Tips to Improve Your Summer Style

In addition to rising temperatures and weekend getaways, summer brings with it the urge to shop…..or maybe that is just for me?!  I always have the urge to shop!  Summer parties and weekend jaunts down the coast require a cute new outfit, right?  I understand that new summer outfits are not always in the budget, so here are four simple tips to improve your style without breaking the bank.

1. Buy summer shoes a half-size or a full-size larger than you normally would.  It is not the most flattering of facts, but our feet swell during the summer. That is why it is key….when shopping for new shoes this time of year, buy shoes a bit larger than you would in winter.  Natural materials like leather, canvas and suede will definitely stretch, so going up half a size should be fine. Of course, you should always try them on!!

2. Pay close attention to your fabrics. To stay cool on steamy days, it is best to seek out materials like cotton.  Linen also is a solid summer material….it is stronger than cotton and a better conductor of heat, making it the most breathable fabric. Contrary to popular belief, silk is a good choice for summer as well, since it is natural, breathable, and cooling. The only downside is it has to be cleaned frequently if you sweat.

3. Reinvent your clothes. As you know I am a huge proponent of using a tailor for alternations.  A tailor can also inexpensively transform a item, making it look totally different.  I had a maxi dress that I had shorten to make it knee length, added a denim vest, and the entire look was different.

4. Keep your actual makeup from melting.  You are always hearing about ways to keep the makeup on our face from melting, but how about the products we tote around with us in our bags?  Try this trick: Freeze a Zip-Loc freezer bag overnight, and before you leave for work, toss in the cosmetics you normally take for the day (a lipstick, a foundation, etc.) While it is not a long-term fix, it will keep your products cool until you get to work, or whichever air conditioned place you are headed.


Strapless Dresses ~

There are many styles of dresses, but to show off your summer tan, there is nothing sexier than a strapless dress. There are so many styles for all occasions…from a day at the beach to a party at night.   They are cool, comfortable and stylish…..perfect for strolling around, going out on a date, attending a summer wedding or meeting the girls for a drink.  Remember, accessories can make or break an outfit.   So make sure you wear the correct shoes and jewerly.  Here are a few of my favorite looks:

Inspiration from Pinterest.

LOFT ~ New Plus Size Line

LOFT is one of my favorite stores.  We have a LOFT Outlet here, and I am in there all the time.  They are known for their feminine prints, classic silhouettes and versatile styles.  They have everything from work wear to basic wardrobe staples. So when I heard they were coming out with a plus size line, I was excited.   The new sizes will be from 16 – 26. Not only is the 75-piece collection full of the fun prints, colors and silhouettes that consumers love from LOFT, but it ranges from $20 to $110, making it incredibly budget friendly.  Here are a handful of the new items:

Inspiration from Pinterest.

Transparent Touches

Transparency and sheer fabrics are nothing new for the warmer months, but this season I am seeing it done in a more subtle, wearable way with strategically placed patches here and there.  If you are unsure about how to work with this trend, I think sheer sleeves are the perfect way to try it out. This feature keeps you covered.  Check out some other looks below:

Inspiration from Pinterest.

Do Not Wear Clothes That Make You Unhappy

I know it sounds simple….just wear clothes that make you happy.  However, we tend to hang on to items for many reasons, even after we know we should discard them.  Understanding why it is hard to let go of clothes you no longer wear is the first step. Once we need understand what is making us want to keep clothes we do not even wear, then it will be easier to move past these mental blocks and purge our closets.

The item is new / barely worn and you feel guilty about wasting money on it ~ Sometimes you buy something you think you will love and wear, but it just does not work for you. Maybe it shrank or lost its shape in the wash. Or it does not match with anything else in your closet. Maybe you bought something trendy, but never feel comfortable in it. Whatever the reason…let it go!

It is something you are “supposed” to have in your wardrobe ~ Sometimes we allow ourselves to be restricted to someone else’s rules. Maybe you have heard there are certain classic wardrobe staples everyone should own, like a little black dress. But when you try on your classic black dress, you realize it actually does not fit quite right. Do not keep something that does not look and feel great just because it is a classic staple you should have. If you do not love the way it looks and feels, you will not wear it anyways. YOUR wardrobe should reflect YOUR style!

You tried a new trend, but it does not work for your body or lifestyle ~ Maybe you bought something trendy to update your wardrobe, but the item is not working for your body or lifestyle, so you never or rarely wear it. Or the trend quickly passed and it is already out of style.  Try to figure out what your signature style is, meaning the types of clothes you look and feel best in.

Your weight has changed and you have clothes in multiple sizes ~ I think you should only keep clothes in your closet that fit you right now. Having clothes in sizes that do not currently fit, adds to the visual clutter in your closet and makes deciding what to wear more difficult. Plus, if your weight change is not something you are happy about, seeing clothes that no longer fit can cause negative feelings.  Pack up items that do not fit and get them out of the closet.

You are keeping an item for a certain type of event or occasion ~ Sometimes you have an item you rarely wear but are keeping “just in case” a certain occasion arises. Instead of keeping something you rarely have occasion to wear, try to think of alternatives you own that you could wear for that occasion, but also wear other times. Versatile pieces are essential to a minimal wardrobe.

You do not have anything to match or wear with an item ~ Sometimes you buy something you like, but for some reason, it does not work with the rest of your wardrobe. You try to convince yourself that the item will work…as soon as you find the right pants / sweater /scarf /accessories / whatever.  Stick with pieces that easily work with the rest of your wardrobe.

Something was a gift and you feel guilty getting rid of it ~ Remind yourself that whoever gave you the gift gave it to you to make you happy. They would not want it to be making you feel bad or guilty now. The gift was given, you appreciated it and thanked the giver. What you do with the item now is up to you. If it no longer makes you look and feel great, it is time to let it go.

It is something that holds sentimental value and is hard to let go ~ Be intentional and selective with what you keep for sentimental reasons. Maybe set a limit for how many sentimental items you will keep. Only keep the things that are really important to you.

It is something you would wear in your past or future lifestyle ~ The clothes in your closet should reflect your lifestyle NOW. If your lifestyle is different from what it was 5 or 10 years ago, let go of the clothes from your past lifestyle. The same goes for the future. Do not fill your closet with things in anticipation of a future lifestyle you want to live. Unless there are concrete plans for what you will need and when you will need it, make your wardrobe a reflection of your current lifestyle, not one that may or may not occur at some time in the future.

If you are having a hard time letting go of clothes you no longer wear or love, I hope this list helps you make some progress purging your wardrobe. Often once you have identified the reason why you are struggling get rid of something, letting it go becomes easier.