What I Wore: Day 2

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I would define my fashion style as Chic with a touch of Classic and a sprinkling of Romantic. Thanks to CABI, I’m often drawn to a great floral pattern and an occasional ruffle.

Tunic, Tank: CABI Spring 2011

Jeans: CABI outlet

Shoes: Lily Atelier Boutique (last season)

Jewelry: Target, Nordstrom Rack, Lia Sophia and Stella & Dot

I love how Carol Anderson of CABI coordinates colors season to season. This happens frequently. I pick something up at the outlet store that works perfectly with another CABI piece I own. Like yesterday’s post, this outfit can easily be taken from spring, to cooler summer days and well into fall. The top is very comfortable. It very nicely camouflages the middle, skims the thighs and covers the hips.

The necklace shown in View #1 was a find on the Target clearance rack last year. I bought it to go with a dress. This much necklace looks best on something with a very open neck. The colors couldn’t be more perfect. Since the necklace is a statement, my earrings are a small gold dangle and just the gold bracelets. The necklace might be a little much for your taste–the next view might be more to your liking.

View #2 shows a very neutral beaded necklace (you can find a variety of colors at The Rack) and this time the focal point is on the Stella & Dot bracelets. I’ve shown these often. I can’t believe how I keep reaching for these over and over. I combined the Paige Enamel, Sunset Bangle and Mira Bangles. Love. Love. Love this combo!

What’s your fashion style? Are you drawn to anything romantic or do flowers and ruffles send you running?

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It’s a New Look!

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It’s a new design. It’s a new style. It’s a new look for me… and it’s feeling good! If you receive this article in your e-mail or reader, click on the TITLE of the article which brings you over to my home page where you can see what I’m talking about!

I’m sure you’ve never thought much about what goes into a blog design.  When I started blogging in November of 2009, I honestly didn’t know if this would take off or if I would even like blogging. Sherra of Standout Impressions designed a header, taught me the basics of using Word Press and away I went! Not that there haven’t been a few bumps along the way. I’ve learned a lot thanks to Sherra who also does some of the background work on the blog I don’t understand, and she even proofreads for me occasionally. Did I mention that Sherra lives in Atlanta? Yes Georgia. Goes to show all of this can be done long distance.

I thought today, on the day of the big “unveiling”, I’d share all the thought behind this and give credit to those involved in helping me make it possible.

Sherra and I talked about a re-design last fall. She’s followed my blog and seen it evolve. I liked headers I’d seen with real photos, but we weren’t sure exactly what direction to go. She designed a new logo and header that captured my style. We questioned whether to change that part of my look at this stage. Since Style by Karen is not exactly a “household word” yet, we decided it was appropriate to convey what my blog is all about with the design. The fonts and brackets give it a more a contemporary feel which is indicative of how my personal style has evolved. The font used for Style is perfect and the font used for Karen is similar to my own signature.

Part of the plan was to have new photos taken. I made an appointment with Lara Blair, a local photographer whose work I’ve admired for years. We focused on head shots and casual three-quarter and full length shots. You will see those photos on the About page as well as the Press page and home page. Lara is an extremely creative photographer. She’s spent many years doing the formal studio photos; it will be great to see her branch out even more in a new direction. Lara does a great job of helping you feel comfortable in front of the camera. Remember, I hate having my photos taken! I was very happy with the results. You can see her new look and blog at Modern Prairie Girl.

There was a bit of white space to the right of the logo and we weren’t quite sure what was to go there. I had an idea of some images, but when I met with Lara those ideas were just in their infancy. While we tried to get some object photos; I didn’t have a clear vision of what I wanted. Should they be separate or all in one photo?

Enter Kate Singh of Aevum Images. I received her card at a networking meeting and we set up a time to have coffee. I actually wanted to talk about before/after photos of clients. I mentioned my blog design and had a few photos of some ideas. Kate had experience with this and was up for the challenge. I went to her studio with a bunch of  ”stuff”. I chose objects that depict what I love, evoke my personal style and of course worked into the color scheme. It also conveys my ability to find great pieces for less (each piece from a different store and none were full price).

I looked at magazine layouts prior to the appointment to get ideas. We draped, we fussed, we moved things back and forth to get the perfect combination. Kate saw things I didn’t and I noticed other details. We made a great team.  I have a whole new appreciation for ad layouts by the way!

Kate took a few shots. I had e-mailed her the screen shot of my header and what space we had to work with. She immediately cropped the photo and placed in the header so we could see the placement and spacing. This was so helpful. It really gave us the idea of  what the look needed to be. Kate has a graphic design background and has an excellent eye.  Her site has great examples of her style and award winning work! Be sure and click on all the links and check out the work from all these talented women!

I then e-mailed Sherra the final photo. Her response was “I LOVE IT! It is SO you!” I loved it too.

Three weeks, many e-mails, several phone calls later I now have new menu bar (be sure and look at all the tabs) and the sidebar is a little different as well. There is still work to do and things to add. I’ll be writing a little more next week about some other changes.

There you have it, my new look created with a true collaborative cross-country effort. A big thank you to Sherra, Lara and Kate for helping me put this together.

I will look forward to your comments. I would love to know what you think!

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What is a Personal Stylist?

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A big thank you to everyone who posted comments for the Photo Shoot Giveaway! The winner (chosen by random.org) is #8 Dianna! Congratulations. I saw a common pattern in the comments; we’re all too busy and the years fly with no family photo sessions. Schedule a session with Barbara today! And yes the golf photos will be a coming as a number of you requested to see them.

What…Personal Stylist? What exactly do you do?

Sometimes I receive a few strange looks when I tell people what I do. Often their first reaction is… “So you do hair?” This occurs especially if I forget to say WARDROBE stylist. Let’s face it, personal stylist is not an everyday term in most women’s vocabulary. The idea of a personal stylist conjures up images of celebrities on the Red Carpet. Certainly there are stylists-male and female who help the rich and famous. Then there are stylists for the every day woman like you and me. These are the women I help.

But does every woman really need a personal stylist? I believe most do. Some might want a complete makeover, some a little tweaking, others have a fabulous sense of style and just need affirmation that they indeed got it all right. A number of years ago I asked a clothing consultant to come to my closet and give me a few tips. She did a great job of helping me think of things I never would have put together. That’s what another set of eyes can do! The only drawback was that she didn’t get to know ME . She didn’t understand my lifestyle of home based business/sports mom and wanted to throw out my “baseball clothes”. I liked to dress up at times, yet needed to be very casual when watching baseball games. Let me paint the picture of  baseball season in the Northwest: mud, dirty bleachers, wet grass, 45 degrees, rain and wind. Wearing some of my cute, stylish clothes to games was very unrealistic and not too practical.

One of the reasons I was drawn to styling was that I believed I could relate to the woman who had to dress up every day and show variety. I could relate to quitting a full time job then transitioning to working at home. I could relate to weight around the middle, problem feet and many of the other things women complain about.

In nearly two years of styling women, I have been surprised at the variety of women I’ve helped and the number who have NOT had 9-5 jobs. Take a look

-business owners who want to make a good first impression with potential clients

-women approaching a new decade. Their biggest question? Is this age appropriate?

-women who have lost or gained weight

-women searching for a new job or transitioning to a different dress code

-stay at home mom who was tired of looking and feeling “frumpy” (her words not mine!)

-women who wear an outfit the same way every time and find it difficult to change it up

-woman on a tight budget–no funds for many new clothes

-women who want to LOOK and FEEL confident each time they leave the house

There are women who hate shopping and become frustrated by finding a proper fit. I have lost count how often I hear about messy closets with clothes that don’t fit or weren’t just right. Yet, many women are so busy taking care of everyone else in the family, this important piece gets put on the back burner. If you have put this task off too many times, fall is the perfect time to dig in. Read what other women are saying

I believe that the day will come when Personal Stylist will be a common term. What do you think? Not sure? I think you will enjoy a new feature coming later in September when I will start highlighting a Client of the Month. You will see before/after photos and hear about each individual’s experience.

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Help! I Want to Change My Style

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It’s the desire of many women, yet they do not know where to start. At times “your style” or “your look” are used interchangeably. You may recall that styles can be categorized which helps to explain your individual taste. Your personal style expresses who you are and the image you want to present. When doing a client makeover and making suggestions for new clothing, I still want to stay true to her style as her clothing needs to reflect her personality, and it needs to fit her lifestyle.

If you want to change, it’s important that you are willing to try something new. Tweak your look by making a few subtle changes and your style will start to evolve. Starting slowly will be easier on you AND your wallet. In the last post about hairstyles the theme was REINVENT. My goal was to whet your appetite for what is to come. The following points are some ways to change your look slowly. I will cover each one in separate articles with more details/photos over the next weeks. Some articles will be combined with giveaways–jewelry and scarves to name a few!

1. Find a new Hairstyle.

2. Choose 2-3 colors you don’t usually wear. (I’ll guide you on this one)

3. Find ONE new trend you feel comfortable with and wear it!

4. Add an accessory that you do not typically wear. (bolder jewelry, brightly colored handbags, belts, scarves or stylish shoes)

5. Stop in 3 different stores you have NEVER walked into and find something that fits your personal style.

6. Find a new pair of jeans. (series planned)

7. Wear the right support garments.

8. Choose one clothing item you never wear and give it a  try. (skirts, un-tucked longer tops, jackets etc)

 My look has changed a great deal over the last 10-15 years. Of course much of that was dictated by hairstyles, fashion trends and aging! I would also go as far as to say that my PERSONAL STYLE  has changed as well. One component that influences our personal style is lifestyle. Being single in the 80′s I was quite CHIC & trendy (scarey I know!) with a touch of CLASSIC. Teacher by day, out with friends at night. In the 90′s: Pure CLASSIC. Teacher and mom. Many styles I was drawn to (suits and heels) were not practical. I still tried to incorporate things I loved, but this meant shedding my nice clothes the minute I got home! My jewelry went simple. (baby grab stage) When I quit teaching and worked a home based business, my lifestyle changed again and so did my clothing needs. I still loved dressing up but didn’t have the need to do so. For the next few years I purchased things that didn’t always match my lifestyle. If any of you have been through a career change, you understand completely. As my kids grew older, my style really evolved. I will share more specific personal examples as we go through the numbered suggestions above. How about you–can you relate to the following questions that affect your style? Please feel free to comment with your questions.

Has your personal style evolved over the years?

Does your career influence your style?

Are you a new mom struggling to be comfortable, practical and still look stylish?

Do you work in a very casual environment still longing to look professional?

Have you made the move into a new decade and wonder if you are dressing age-appropriate?

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YOUR Personal Style

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If you have read my other posts on Personal Style, this may be starting to sound like  Fashion Psychology 101! This is the last piece of the puzzle. 

During the first appointment with my clients, I spend time listening and getting to know them. I want to acknowledge their individuality. I ask, “How do you want people to perceive you?” This is difficult at first. I’ve heard several times… “My clients, family, friends or co-workers do NOT care what I wear.” I’m not so sure.  What’s your role? Are you a Business woman, PTA/soccer mom, church committee leader, home business owner? I believe those around you DO care. If you show up to an event disheveled, thrown together with clothing that is worn, stained, too large, or too tight, what does that convey to those around you and those you meet for the first time? It’s been said that we have 30 seconds to make an impression. Putting your best foot forward to present a polished look presents the image that you’re put together and you pay attention to detail.  When you look and feel good on the outside, things start happening inside. You are confident and it shows. It conveys to others… She is going to pay attention to me…she’s not rushed and too busy… I want to do business with her… I really liked that company… I want to be around her…

When I explain this to women, sometimes they think I expect them to “dress to the nines” all of the time. If your clients or co-workers are used to your casual look and suddenly one day you show up in a suit and heels, yes, of course they may  do a double take. By the same token, you are probably not going to show up to a casual picnic in a cocktail dress. Wearing heels to a sporting event can be a little out of place! Think: Approachable, Appropriate, Time & Place.

Perhaps you’ve never thought twice about any of this. I challenge you to use My Personal Style as a pattern, and write your own version YOUR personal style. It will set the tone for establishing and loving your “look”.

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My Personal Style

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As I continue to put together the pieces on Personal Style, I thought it would be helpful for me to outline MY Personal Style. Although my categories are not the same as shown in What’s Your Style, I believe this will give you more insight beyond the photos. Take note of the words in bold as this will become a guide should you decide to put your style into words.

Classic: I like structured jackets, cardigans, an occasional suit, a timeless, sophisticated dress.

Trendy : I always try a new trend each season. I don’t go overboard; some I really dislike. I give one or two of my favorites a try and enjoy putting together a look that is unique.

Romantic: When I see photos of this style, it really isn’t me, but my eye is drawn to floral prints (especially skirts) and I love a little lace and a few ruffles. I combine romantic with the two styles above.

Dramatic: I would never say I’m a dramatic dresser, but occasionally I love wearing something fun, bright and what might be out of the ordinary for me just to bring out that side of my personality.

Sporty/Casual: I’ve never been very athletic, but I still work out and enjoy it. I have spent many hours at my boys’ sporting events over the years and the key is comfort with style. 

Practical/Conservative: I had a practical upbringing and I often am reminded how many of those values have stuck, especially when it comes to the price tags and number of items in my closet. Quality often wins out before quanitity. I don’t feel comfortable in revealing clothing. I would like people to notice me; I don’t want them to stare.

Professional: As a personal stylist, at times I feel like  a walking resume. When people learn what I do, they check me out. I want to convey an image that  is neat, polished, attractive, which will tells future clients.. she is organized, efficient, put together, yet approachable. I want to hire her! I like the word APPROACHABLE. I want my confidence and individuality to show through without intimidating others.

All these categories work together to portray who I am. At times, several may be woven together or there are other occasions where one style is dominant. In short, my Personal Style Statement is: I present an image that is unique, sophisticated and attractive yet approachable, bringing out confidence and showing my personality.

Next up: Your Style Statement

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What’s Your Style?

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I believe that identifying personal style is a very important part of the process when creating a look you love. Yet, “your personal style” can be difficult to explain in words. The posts on this topic will hopefully paint a picture that will in turn help you make wise choices. To help you find your style, I have divided up the typical categories and added photos. You may be familiar with different names. I listed other common terms used in conjuction with several styles. This will give you an idea–at a glance. Can you be a combination of different styles? Absolutely! I’m a little Classic, a little Chic, with a touch of Romantic. Now and then my dramatic side appears…Keep reading the posts on style and you’ll soon realize that five standardized categories may not fully describe your style.

Classic/Professional:

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Chic/Urban/Modern:

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Romantic:

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Bohemian (Earthy or Ethnic):

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Dramatic:

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Learning Your Style

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Creating a look you love and feel great in encompasses many aspects—all pieces to a puzzle. However, do not think of it as a complicated jigsaw puzzle. Broken down, it all fits together with a little effort.

Determining your Personal Style is one of the pieces I focus on when I sit down with a new client. It truly sets the tone for making wise shopping choices. Many women purchase things they have seen on a friend, a model or a store display. When they get ready to wear it, something isn’t right and off it comes only to be stuffed back into the closet. This is often why I see clothes hanging in closets with tags still attached. If you have done this, join the crowd. Often this circumstance occurs because we are trying to emulate someone/something we admired. It looked so great on her… and for whatever reason it doesn’t on me! This is because it isn’t “YOUR PERSONAL STYLE”

What is Personal style? Doesn’t that just mean it’s what we like? Certainly it can. Perhaps you’ve heard someone say, “That is SOO you!” I recall shopping in High School and one of my friends pulled something from the rack and said, “Here’s a Karen dress!” I wasn’t sure at the time if that was a compliment. This told me I had a very distinct style that was recognizable, but it also meant that I might be a redundant dresser. I think it is fine to have a distinct style, but personally I want to mix it up a little bit. If I’m drawn to the same style and have it in several colors, I want to add some variety with an accessory to make it different. I don’t want to be predictable.

Take a look in your closet. Do you have many pieces that look exactly the same? As I continue blogging, I will teach you how to define your style. I will also teach your tips/tricks to change it up.

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