As longtime readers of the blog know, summer is my least favorite season. The heat and humidity makes it miserable to be outside and it is much harder to look polished when you can't fall back on layering pieces and accessories, both of which add unwanted weight and heat to an outfit. But the one redeeming aspect of summer is that it is a time you can really embrace bright and interesting color palettes.
My favorite palette is a crisp, bright trio of navy blue, white, and citrine. I love the high contrast that exists between the lighter citrine and white and the much darker navy. Plus, both silver and gold accessories pair nicely back to this color combination. If the citrine feels too bold for you, first try wearing it in a small accessory, such as in a belt or a statement necklace. It will make the rest of your ensemble pop!
For more summer color palettes, check out this post and be sure to share your favorite summer colors in the comments!
We don't have only one look or one type of style. There are so many occasions that require us to adjust how we dress. One day we may be wearing heels and pearls, the next we might be accessorizing our t-shirt and jeans with a scarf. One of the reasons that women can be intimidated by fashion is that it seems like an all or nothing proposition. It can seem that if you are stylish, then you always have to be dressed to the nines and if you are not stylish, then you are allowed to wear comfy shoes. However, it is not, and should not, be that black and white.
Now that it is warm outside, it is much easier to people watch and see what everyday people wear in their everyday lives. Recently I have noticed two pairs of women who help to demonstrate the importance of practical style, as opposed to giving up on style completely. Both pairs of women were mothers with very young children; I spotted one set at a local playground and one set chatting on the street. All of the mothers were dressed casually, but in both cases one mother looked presentable and one looked like she had given up on style. The presentable ones weren't wearing anything especially note-worthy, just a pair of colorful cropped pants and a fitted t-shirt, but when they stood next to their counterparts who were wearing over-sized men's athletic shorts and baggy t-shirts it created quite a contrast.
Perhaps the women in the over-sized clothes felt that it would cover up what they dislike about their bodies or perhaps I just happened to see them on laundry day. Whatever the case may be, their clothes were not working for them. It may be easy to throw on something comfortable, even if it is unattractive, but you always end up paying for that decision later on. Catching a glimpse of yourself looking less than polished in the reflection of a store window or a mirrored elevator can take the wind out of your sails in an instant. Luckily it is not a huge project to improve your style, even for casual wear. It's all about making lots of small choices, kind of like eating healthy. Instead of choosing to eat an apple instead of a cookie, you are choosing to wear a fitted tee instead of an over-sized one or choosing a cardigan instead of a sweatshirt from your alma mater. Leave the sweatshirt and baggy tee for limited occasions, like a hike in a state park or going to the gym.
What is appropriate is not static; jeans are great for lots of casual events, but you wouldn't wear them to a cocktail party. That is why style needs to be flexible. Instead of curating a closet that only works for one aspect of your life, choose a variety of pieces. You might have five fabulous cocktail dresses just waiting to be worn for a party, but you also need to have a flattering pair of jeans to wear to the grocery store, The most important thing is not that you look like a fashionista every time you walk out your front door, but rather that the pieces you wear make you look and feel good.
I often hear people say that they don't want to wear a certain item of clothing because they don't want to be mistaken for a hipster. However, the hipsters have laid claim to some of the most practical pieces of winter wear and I don't believe in going down without a fight. I may not wear my plaid ironically, but I have probably been wearing it for a greater percentage of my life than most hipsters (see photo below for proof). So here is my list of four pieces of "hipster fashion" that you should be proud to wear out in public, even if you despise the taste of PBR.
Yesterday I visited the Lincoln Park Conservatory in Chicago and the plants were too beautiful not to share!
Even more eye catching than the vibrant pink is the amazing texture of this flower. When assembling an outfit remember that visual interest is not only about bold patterns and bright colors, but also about silhouette and texture.
This array of plants had great pattern mixing as well as fun colors in unexpected combinations. It is amazing how perfect two pieces can look next to each other even when they both are quite bold. Although some credit must be given to the more neutral plant in the front that helps ground the grouping.
A close up of the multi-colored leaves. Who says that you have to choose either color OR pattern?
While we may not feel quite as daring in our color and pattern choices as these tropical plants, keep them in mind as inspiration the next time you are reaching for an all black ensemble.