Stylist Confessions: My Fashion Faux Pas

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Congratulations to our winner Sandi–Comment #5. Sandi will receive a Free Cut/Style from Brenda at Nico Bella Salon in Camas. Remember all readers will receive a 10% discount if you mention my blog.

It’s been a little quiet in the comment area here. I thought this post might just get you all going again.

For years my friends have always pointed out my ability to be “put together” at times–even in a casual situation. They think I do everything perfectly ALL the time. While some of these same women have also seen me without makeup, doing yard work, and working out, the situations that stand out in their mind are those times when I’m dressed up and “perfectly coordinated” as they would say. Some apologize for what they are wearing and how they look when they see me. To my friends who think I can do no wrong…This one’s for you!

It’s time for true confessions. I’m sharing a situation which was not exactly my finest stylist moment.

Several weeks ago on my day off I met a client to offer some quick advice. We talked briefly in a store and she sought my opinion on some things she had recently purchased. She recommended a store that had recently opened in this shopping center called Hot Mama. It’s a boutique for the stylish ”mom on the go” but certainly not limited to moms. I enjoyed looking and talking with the store manager and a sales associate as I browsed. We talked about brands, my stylist job, this new store and other fashionable topics. It’s a great store and I encourage you to check it out if you have one in your area.

They were very complimentary of my style and what I wore that day. I know from working retail that this is often a conversation starter when a customer comes in. However, it didn’t feel like a tactic–it felt genuine to me. I walked out of that store feeling pretty darn good. Nothing like a few compliments to put a little pep in your step.

I decided to run in Starbucks before my 40 minute drive home. In addition to my latte, they talked me into a free mini cupcake. Who could resist?

I stood in line for a few minutes, then waited patiently at the counter for my drink and briskly walked to my car. Just as I was stuffing that cupcake in my mouth, a woman waved at me to roll down my window. My first thought was I had dropped something in the store OR there was something wrong with my car. But no, she wanted to tell me that I had left the “size sticker” on my pants!! As I reached to feel, I sheepishly thanked her and was SO thankful I was in an area where I didn’t know a soul. I felt ridiculous for having walked around the last hour with a tag on my pants. I’m sure the ladies at Hot Mama laughed after I walked out the door.

Then I wondered how obvious it really was. The pants were VERY dark as was the tag. My sweater was quite long plus I had on boots. Truly not much of that sticker could have been in plain sight. Evidently the white numbers caught the light in Starbucks just right, or that lady was checking me out head to toe!

Now, I’m even going to admit that this was NOT the first time this has happened. Years ago I was at a convention with a new pair of pants and did the same thing. Luckily someone caught it before I was in a large crowd. Hopefully there will not be a third time!

Oh, it’s good to laugh. I thought you might enjoy knowing that I don’t get it right all the time.

Anyone else out there have a similar experience they are willing to share?

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What I Wore: Day 5

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 Today I’m combining a look with one of In Style’s 50 Best Fashion Tips of all Time: When you find a flattering style, buy in multiples. In Style used Jackie O as an example. She brought new meaning to the sheath dress back in the early 60′s and had multiples.

If you know me well, you might be surprised about this choice from the list. I’m always preaching encouraging variety. My clients have heard me say many times, “Do not buy the same thing three times over!” Yes, we all need several black and white layering pieces, but there is a limit. I see so much redundancy in closets. I’m not against the same style in another color. Make an effort to give it a different look.

This year I keep finding flattering dresses. They are comfortable to me. They camouflage my middle and I can feel very casual or dressy depending on the style. Dresses didn’t quite make my “Things I Love” series but I LOVE DRESSES! I previously had a thing for skirts, but as my middle thickened, I found them harder to wear. Don’t get me wrong–there is nothing better than a great pencil skirt (preferably ponte knit) and you’ve seen me in a few.

Dress: Cache

Jewelry: Stella & Dot,; Divine Decadence Vintage, Pearls from Accentuate

Shoes: Lily Atelier, Sofft

Bag: Gigi Hill (I use this bag, the Sophia, ALL THE TIME for my laptop and a variety of other things. Check out their site for even more great sizes and patterns. Gigi Hill Giveaway coming soon!)

In the two poses I switched the jewelry AND shoes. This is a dress you could layer on the jewelry if you chose to and I probably will. The Stella & Dot Chelsea is a favorite. It catches a lot of light, sparkles; the photo doesn’t do it justice. It is simple, yet a statement. I have on a pair of vintage earrings which you will see more of in the post coming this weekend.

I purposely switched to the brown Sofft shoes that I’ve worn to death for three years. I still love them, but here is a great example where neutral shoes elongate the leg. The bracelets from are a statement by themselves and really break up the brown, so I kept the necklace simple–two tone pearls and gold hoops.

I pop in Cache every so often. It’s a store that has more dramatic styles and bolder colors. I had NEVER stepped into Cache until 3 years ago during my stylist training. In July they had 50% off with an additional discount on multiples. Yes, I bought the very same dress in two different colors!

I realize I have a place to wear dresses. If you feel too dressed up, look for casual styles that are more versatile. I will show some before summer ends.

The wrap style dress works well for me. I think it hides a good ten pounds. I also liked a draped neck as I’ve found the typical sheath with a higher neckline to be unflattering on my body type.

Here is the other color dress taken with the point/shoot camera. I was in a hurry as usual and off to work. (My hydrangas are crazy tall this summer!)

I’m wearing the same necklace with statement earrings and a simple bracelet. I have only worn this version one time and I’m working on giving it a different look.

Same dress–note the differences between professional photos/snapshots. Let me reiterate–angle, lighting and posing.  A topic for another post…

Thanks to all of you who kept reading the last five days! I appreciate your e-mails. One last note, my web designer and blog mentor wrote, “I think you should use the large vs medium option for the photos unless you don’t want giant photos of yourself which I understand! ”

Well Sherra, I am not sure what I was thinking because all week I’ve been frustrated that I couldn’t show enough details. Cropping just wasn’t doing the job! I went back and changed the photos. If you look at the posts again on the home page of my blog, I think you’ll see more details. As far as being worried about the giant photos–I guess I’m over that now!

So what do you think? Are you willing to give dresses another look?

All Things Chic has some great looks in python. Check it out!

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What I Wore: Day 4/InPink Winner!

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Thanks to all of you for leaving comments to enter the drawing for the InPink Giveaway. Our winners (thanks to are Comments # 8-Barb W, 14- Ally and 46-Merri. Congratulations! They each will receive $75 to spend at

All readers can place an order and receive 20% off using this code: STYLEBYKAREN20. Don’t delay-it expires on September 30th. I know I’m going back to the site. Thank you InPink!

After seeing the photos of the outfit I chose for Day 4 I had second thoughts because I felt I wasn’t giving you enough variety in style and color. I was considering many different things when I chose the clothes. I decided to go ahead with this one because it is more casual. I often hear…”I’m drawn to dressy clothes, but have no place to wear them!”

You can put a casual look together, still be polished and put together, yet not TOO dressed up.

I wore this with jeans in early spring and you could also pair it with dark brown pants for fall. On hot days–get rid of the sweater. Again, when you are building an outfit, always think how you can adapt it to get the most wear for 2 if not 3 seasons. The sweater is an interesting color. It also looks great over animal print tops that have black/brown paired black pants.

Sweater: Emu Australia found at Accentuate. We were excited to carry this line. It is machine washable merino wool that is so soft and comfy. Not itchy wool as we know it. When you can choose quality fabrics, you pay a little more, but they will last.

Shorts: Ann Taylor Outlet

Tank: Nordstrom

Bag: Nino Bossi found at Accentuate

Shoes: VanEli from Nordstrom

Jewelry: Street Fair in Palm Desert and Lia Sophia

I can’t say enough about the convenience of a cross-body bag. Women love them for travel. I love them for shopping (free hands to find more bargains quickly!) Cross body bags are all the rage. This was also noted in IN STYLE’s Top Fashion Tips. They promoted them for evening bags. I say they’re for every day too. The trick is finding one that is not too small and will hold the basics. The bag above is the perfect “Mom on the Go” purse.

 This outfit is a little blah if it weren’t for the jewelry. The Lia Sophia necklace (layered with a piece I’ve had for years) makes the outfit, and is one of my all time favorites. I wore gold hoops as well.

I sure have learned from this photo session that next time I’ll pay more attention to getting closeups of the jewelry. I have a new found appreciation for all that goes into magazine photos!

Thanks for your comments and personal e-mails! One more day to go.

On the weekend, stay tuned for a post on Vintage Jewelry which will coincide with an article on vintage clothing in The Columbian, our local newspaper. I can’t wait to share what I’ve found.

You’ll hear less from me next week as I’m doing some research on hair styles; then an interview with an aesthetician to kick off a series on skin care!

If you like what you read on Style by Karen, please forward a post to a friend. If you have a question, or would like me to cover a particular topic, don’t hesitate to write me!

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What I Wore: Day 3

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What have I started? I’m not used to blogging every day. I wasn’t kidding when I said you might be tired of seeing me by the end of the week! Thank you for your comments–it keeps me going.

When choosing the outfits, I tried to include as many of my PARTNERS as possible. It’s hard sometimes because I can hear them saying…”But Karen, that piece is discontinued!”  To that I say–if you see something you like from a certain line that is discontinued, there will be probably be something similar or even better now. Contact them anyway!

Today I’m a little bit classic. I like black and white, but I’m not obsessed with it. It’s more flattering with another color. This time I chose green.

I purchased the black skirt with my CABI credit this spring. Then what happened? It sat in my closet for some reason. I guess I have way more things to go with black in the winter than summer. It is one of the most comfortable skirts I’ve ever put on. I “forced” myself to come up with some ways to wear this and make new combinations.

-The skirt is a little tricky because of the detailed “pleats” in front.

- It looks better with a shorter top or in this case something tucked in with a wide belt.

-You could skip the wide belt and simply close two buttons on the sweater under the bust as I’ve shown dozens of times. This sweater is rather long so you’d want a short sweater if you try that combo with this particular skirt. Try a skinny belt over the short sweater.

Skirt: CABI

Top, sweater and belt: The Nordstrom Rack

Shoes: Bella Vita from Online Shoes

Jewelry: Silpada, Lia Sophia and Liquid Metal  We get a few bracelets in every so often at Accentuate. I wear it frequently. It lies flat and doesn’t interfere with a computer keyboard as bangles sometimes do.

Handbag: Maxx New York from Ebay. I get so many comments on this blue bag I’ve had for years. I need to use it more.

-If you have a similar combination in your closet, there are many ways you could style this. I chose the oxidized silver jewelry and black hoop earrings. They are dull rather than shiny– a gunmetal color which I like with black/gray. You could completely change the look with silver jewelry that has lots of shine and sparkle. I chose less color with the jewlery because I had more color with the sweater and purse.

- try red–one of my favorite additions to B/W. Add a sweater with a floral pattern or small stripe. Polka dots are a great base for mixing a pattern. Just keep the colors similar.

-pearls would look so great with this! I should have taken some of my own ideas from Pearls Etc. but honestly there is only so much jewelry a girl can bring to a photo session!

Do you have a lot of of black and white in your closet? What can you do to change it up?

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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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What I Wore for a Week

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If you are new here, I encourage you to SUBSCRIBE to receive my posts on a regular basis. Just in case you missed last Friday’s post, I have this super amazing Jewelry Giveaway going on from! You still have time to enter–the deadline is Wednesday, August 31 at 9 pm PST.

Bloggers all across the country often do posts entitled “What I Wore Wednesday”. If you are a regular reader, you know I dislike being photographed. This is not a good trait for a fashion blogger. I’m working on it.

I decided to partner with photographer, Marcie Dole of Keepsake Portraits so I could promote her business at the same time. I get asked all the time how I decide what goes together. This week you will see 5 days of back to back Style by Karen outfits. WARNING: You may get entirely sick of seeing my face for five consecutive posts!

Before I unveil Outfit #1, let me just say that pictures are one way to deflate your ego in a hurry. Many times women ask for my help AFTER seeing themselves in a family snapshot. Some of our most unflattering photos are taken by unprofessional family “photographers” who mean well. I say “our” because I cringe at most of the photos of myself in my albums. They are called snapshots for a reason. Certain angles and wrong lighting can be brutal! Marcie and I talked about this when I had my photo session and she completely agreed. I explained what always seemed to go wrong in my photos. She offered many tips that were helpful.

If it has been some time before you had a professional photo taken, please do NOT put that off. And just to make yourself feel good, ask the photographer to take a few photos of just YOU. Stay tuned for a PHOTO SESSION GIVEAWAY coming soon.

I purposely focused on outfits with colors that can be transitioned into fall as we approach September.

Here is a great example of a casual outfit that can go from spring to summer and even into fall. Talk about CPW! I wore it in the spring with jeans. The top is a sleeveless tank great for hot days. The jacket works for spring and fall. I cannot say enough about the versatility of this jacket. I looked long and hard for this color. It’s not gray, it’s not green. I’d call it pewter and it coordinates with everything. It would be really dull with the wrong color underneath–must be brightened up. It is structured enough to define my shape, yet full of stretch and is so comfortable. (Sorry, we had a photo of all the great seams in the back but it must not have turned out.)

I don’t do well with stripes–a major trend this season, but this stripe is pretty narrow, and I like it with the jacket. The best part, it was only $28 regular price! I can’t guarantee all things are available for purchase, but I added links when appropriate.

Jacket, tank, shorts: Nordstrom

Wedge Sandals: Clarks from Zappos  (pewter metallic. I wear them constantly!)

Cross-body bag by Hobo: Accentuate Boutique (The floral print and stripe is an example of mixing prints)

These pieces from Stella & Dot have become my “go to” pieces this summer.  Revival Tassle, Revival Bracelet, Wrap Leather Bracelet, Vintage Twist in Gold  The smaller necklace has been discontinued, but they have very similar styles. I also wore small earrings that match the silver pave ball in the necklace/bracelet. I’ve had them for years.  How did I choose? The cream part of the necklace picks up the stripe in the tank. The gold tone blend nicely with the warm orange and the black, silver and pewter tones of the jewelry blend with the jacket. This look perfectly depicts mixing gold and silver tones.


As the weather gets cooler, it’s time to add a scarf. I kept the small necklace and added larger earrings:

Scarf: Emu Australia from Accentuate

Earrings: Rockhill Designs shown at Accentuate.

While you may not want to duplicate this exact look, hopefully it will give you ideas to come up with something on your own.

Let me know what you think of “What I Wore” Day 1.

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