Thursday, October 13, 2011

Style Plan Part I

Case Study:  "Mary"

Some people are curious regarding what I do as a personal stylist, so I thought I'd erase the mystery and tell you a little more about my work.  While it's very easy to get caught up in the
combo3
high-fashion choices that I normally post on my blog that are shown on knock-out twenty-year old models; the fact is that I work for real people with real bodies, real lives and real issues that sometimes require work-arounds.  So I'd like to introduce you to a recent client whom I'll refer to as "Mary."

Mary is a bright, and attractive woman of about 50.  She's a divorced mother of a 25-year-old daughter and is currently in a new relationship.  She has lovely shoulder length strawberry blonde hair, blue, eyes and a nearly flawless fair complexion.  But like many of us, Mary has put on a little weight through the years and has some body issues that need to be worked around to show her off to her best advantage.  She also has some physical limitations which have left her on a disability income and prevent her from wearing high heels.

I learned through my Style Analysis that Mary has classic taste, lives a mostly casual lifestyle which includes dinners out, church services, and going to the  
One of the outfits I put together for "Mary"
movies.  She also enjoys visiting museums, art galleries, theater, orchestra, and other concerts.  She occasionally has a semi-formal party to attend as well.  While she is not currently working, she is contemplating a return to college to study Journalism and possibly giving lectures regarding the condition which has caused her disability.  Mary has fallen into the trap that many women have - she finds herself in sweats most of the time, and no longer feels stylish and attractive.  She now wishes to balance style with comfort and that is the goal that I'm working toward with her.  She needs a compact and versatile wardrobe that will span the range of her activities, and fit her very limited budget.  I'd like to share with you now a portion of the Style Plan that I created for Mary.
GROUP A
I created two core wardrobe groups for Mary, Group A being the dressier of the two.  Either group will work as a stand-alone wardrobe, however elements of Group A will work with the pieces in Group B should she choose to merge the two.  She can also purchase just a few pieces at a time as her budget allows and continue to use her style plan to create and expand her new wardrobe.

All of the choices I've provided in my Style Plan are readily available from online merchants, however should Mary choose to do so, she can simply take the photos along with her as she shops in order to find comparable local bargains.

The first three pieces I selected are from kohls.com; a nicely cut black faux leather peplum jacket, a black mock-neck shell, and a ponte knit black skirt with a faux leather waistband.  Together, these three pieces combine to create a very fashion forward outfit, but mixed with the other pieces in Group A, they form the foundation for a stylish and functional wardrobe.

The jacket and skirt, or the skirt on its own can be worn with any for the four blouses in this group to create a new ensemble.

To this, I've added two pair of flat-front pants, one in black ponte knit and the other in a taupe rayon blend.  Each pant works with each blouse to create numerous additonal outfits.  Each outfit can be topped with the faux leather jacket for yet another look.

To these pieces, I've added a black ruffled cardigan.  It can be worn in place of the jacket for a softer look and to create still more outfits.
G1G1G1
ELLE
Faux-Leather Crop Jacket
(black)
$78.00 $54.60
kohls.com
Croft and Barrow
Solid Mockneck Top
(black)
$20.00 $11.99
kohls.com
Dana Buchman
Ponte Pencil Skirt
(black)
$50.00 $35.00
kohls.com
G1g1g1
Investments
Leopard Print Tie-Neck Top
(leopard)
$35.00
dillards.com
Emely
 Georgette Ruffle Blouse
(white)
$79.50 $34.99
macys.com
ELLE
Ruffle Chiffon Blouse
(olive)
$48.00 $28.80
kohls.com
G1G1G1
Jones New York Sport
Leopard Print Cardigan
(leopard)
$59.00
dillards.com
Croft and Barrow
Straight-Leg Ponte Pants
$44.00 $25.99 (black)
kohls.com
Jones New York Sport
Leopard Print Tee
(leopard)
$29.00
dillards.com
G1G1g1
AB Studio
Townsend Flat-
Front Pants (taupe)
$44.00 $29.00
kohls.com
Stein Mart
Mock-Neck Lace Top
(taupe)
$24.99
steinmart.com
ELLE
Ruffle Cardigan
(black)
$60.00 $36.99
kohls.com
To round out this wardrobe group, I've added two more pieces: a leopard print cardigan and tee.  Both of these tops can be worn on their own or together, with any bottom piece in the group.  The leopard cardigan will also work as an alternate "jacket" with the black mock-neck shell or sleeveless white ruffled blouse.  The tee-shirt can also be worn under the black cardigan or faux leather jacket with any bottom in the group for still more ensembles.  To insure the balance of comfort and style that Mary wants, more than half the pieces I've selected for her are knits - just as comfortable as the sweats she is now wearing but much more polished.  The twelve articles of clothing in Group A total $405.35, and work together to create at least 60 combinations.  The pieces I've chosen here are universally flattering styles.  Mary loves wearing long strand of pearls and sometimes adding a vintage brooch of her grandmother's as a pendant.  Both the black mock-neck, and the leopard tee will create a lovely backdrop for Mary's "signature jewels."  Since Mary already has jeans, I didn't add any to the wardrobe.  All of the top combos for this group will work very nicely with jeans, so we now have well over 100 outfits from this core plus a couple of pair of jeans!
DRESSES
You may have noticed a conspicuous absence of dresses in wardrobe Group A.  No wardrobe is complete without a great dress or two, but since they are pretty much stand-alone elements, I decided to do a separate selection of dresses and let Mary have some fun picking her favorites.  Note, as you're looking at the dresses that I did not avoid the better stores just because my client is on a budget.  You can get some great deals if you keep your eyes open for sales.  All of these selections are under $50 and I even found one great dress for $9.98! 

To see why I chose these dresses for Mary, I'm going to quote directly from my Style Plan:

...I’ve prepared a selection for you that goes from semi-casual to semi-formal.  Choose one or two to enhance your wardrobe options.
 
Here, we have an assortment of dresses – each with a very distinctive personality.

The three dresses on the top row, are the most casual, and yet the biggest departure from your normal style.   Here’s a rundown on all the dresses and why I chose them. 
  1. New Directions Multi-Colored Printed Dress – This dress is cut in a very flattering style.  The scoop neck will elongate your neckline, as the muted stripes lengthen your body lines.  The cinched empire waist will whittle your midsection.  The dress is much trendier than your norm, but I feel it would be a very good style for you.  It is a very up-to-the minute Boho design that will give you lots of fashion mileage.  It will work especially well with group two, and can be worn with the tweed blazer or the marled cardigan to create a couple of different looks.
  2. Max & Mia Drawstring Waist Dress – This is the most casual look of all of my dress selections.  I chose it for the beautiful sienna color that will work so nicely with your hair color.  It is a seasonless dress and can be worn year-round.  The dropped waistline will help to camouflage any mid-section problems.  This dress can be worn with both of the jacket selections from Option B  to change the look a bit.  When wearing solo, opt for the neutral pumps and hosiery, but when wearing with one of the jackets try it with the booties and tights in the same color-way as the footwear.  This dress will also work with the cardigan in Option A  and can be paired nicely with the black pumps and neutral hosiery or the tall boots or booties and black tights.
Dresses
Dresses
Dresses
New Directions
Multi-Colored Printed Dress
(multi)
$90.00 $45.00
belk.com
Max & Mia
Drawstring Waist Dress
(sienna)
$68.00 $39.90
nordstrom.com
Sophie Max
Stripe Knit Dress
(chili/wood)
$98.00 $48.99
belk.com
Dressesdressesdresses
Calvin Klein
Flutter-Sleeve Dress
(charcoal)
$118.00 $41.30
dillards.com
Max and Cleo
Ruffleneck Tiered Dress
(baltic blue/black)
$118.00 $19.98
belk.com
Max and Cleo
2-Fer-Dress
(white/sandal)
$118.00 $41.30
dillards.com
dresses
Dresses
dresses
Jones New York
Rosette Waist Animal-Print Dress
(leopard print)
$138.00 $48.30
dillards.com
New Directions
Graphic Floral Print Gathered Waist Dress
(black/white)
$76.00 $9.98
belk.com
Sangria
V-Neck Dress
(jute)
$80.00 $28.00
dillards.com
dressesDressesdresses
Lauren by Ralph Lauren
Ruched Sheath Dress
(black)
$130.00 $45.50
dillards.com
New Directions
Solid Cap-Sleeve Belted Dress
(black)
$90.00 $45.00
belk.com
Alex Evenings
Lace-Detailed Dress
(black)
$140.00 $49.00
  1. Sophie Max Stripe Knit Dress – I chose this dress for the elongating v-neck and flattering waistline detail.  The rich autumnal colors will also work quite nicely with Group Two.  The unusual sleeve detail adds visual interest to the dress.
  2. Calvin Klein Flutter-Sleeve Dress – I selected this one because of the flattering and fashion-forward sheath style along with the interesting flutter sleeves which serve to accent your shoulders while minimizing the hips.  The high neckline and simple cut of the dress will be an excellent foil for your long pearl strands and vintage brooch pendants.  Wear with neutral hosiery and pumps or off-black hosiery and black pumps
Click here if you'd like to read the remainder of the excerpt and learn why the other dresses were selected.

Of course every wardrobe needs the right accessories.    Mary already has some very nice jewelry so I focused primarily on footwear and handbags.  I gave her a selection of shoes to choose from and added my comments and suggestions in a similar manner as the dresses. 
FOOTWEAR
pumpspumpspumps
Soft Style
Guilana Pump
(black)
heel height 2”
$45.00
Gabriella Rocha
Grazia Pump
(black)
heel height 2¼”
$39.00 $32.00
zappos.com
Nine West
Nuncio Pump
(black)
Heel Height 2½ “
$69.00 $45.10
zappos.com
pumpspumpspumps
Fitzwell
Party Pump
(black)
heel height 2¼”
$69.00 $58.65
Romantic Soles
Hallie Pump
(black)
heel height 2½”
$59.00 $53.10
zappos.com
Vaneli
Djalma Pump
(black satin)
heel height 2”
$100.00 $80.00
zappos.com
All of the pumps chosen for Mary's selection have a heel height of 2 1/2 inches or less to accomodate her balance issues.  She agreed that quality shoes should be a priority, as they tend to be more comfortable and easier to walk in than super-cheapie shoes.  All of the selections offered here are from zappos.com.  They offer well-made and often even designer shoes at a discounted price, along with their sister site 6pm.com.

I also recommended that as Mary's budget allows that she add a pair of tall boots and also a pair of booties to her footwear wardrobe.  The booties below are the selections I provided for her to choose from.
BOOTIES
bootiebootiebootie
Fitzwell
Andrea Bootie
(black)
heel height 2½”
MSRP $119.00 $39.70
A2 by Aerosoles
Sediment Ankle Boot
(black)
heel height 2½”
$79.99 $63.99
kohls.com
Aldo
Gremler Bootie
(black)
heel height 2¾”
MSRP $110.00 $33.00
6pm.com
As with the pumps, I tried to stay with lower heeled boots that both comfortable and fashionable. My choices this time came from 6pm.com and kohls.com.  I especially like the Fitzwell Andrea bootie from 6pm and the Aerosoles bootie from Kohl's.  The Fitzwell bootie gets extra points for a nice shape, more slender heel and lack of hardware.  The bootie from Kohl's got it's extra points from the fact that the bottom has traction, a big plus for Mary, and it also has a very nice cut.

TALL BOOTS
bootstall bootsboots
Annie
Battalia Knee Boot
(black)
heel height 2¾”
MSRP $89.95 $53.97
Maurice’s
Venue Over the Knee Wedge Boot
(black)
heel height 4”

$49.00
maurices.com
Annie
Bijou Knee Boot
(black)
heel height 2¾”
MSRP $89.95 $53.97
6pm.com
tall bootstall bootsboots
Nine West
Tildawn Knee Boots
(black)
heel height 2½”
MSRP $79.99 $47.99
AK Anne Klein
Dirk Knee Boots
(black)
heel height 2”
MSRP $169.00 $67.60
6PM.COM
Bandalino
Eyecandy Knee Boots
(black)
heel height 2¼”
MSRP $159.00 $63.60
6PM.COM
Most of the boots in the selection above are classcally styled and will be a wardrobe staple for years to come. The boot from Maurice's is a little different and trendier than the others.  It also has a 4" heel which may be a little high for my client, but I included it anyway because a wedge tends to be much more stable and is easier to wear than a regular heel.  For this reason, she may be able to go a bit higher than her norm, should she choose this boot.  Another nice feature of this boot and the Bandolino boot also, is that the top is cuffed and can be worn as an over-the-knee boot as well as the traditional style.  I didn't feel the one from Bandolino had as nice a shape as some of the others, however.  My ultimate recommendation in the boot department wound up being the 'Tildawn' boot by Nine West because of its classic style and lack of restrictive hardware.

I also presented Mary with an optional selection of leopard-print pumps should she decide at some point that she wishes to broaden her shoe selections.

LEOPARD-PRINT PUMPS
leopard pumpspumpspumps
Franco Sarto
Luxe Pump
(leopard haircalf)
heel height 3½” – platform ½”
MSRP $99.00 $29.70
6pm.com
Maurice’s
Party Animal Pump
(leopard)
heel height 3”
$29.99
maurices.com
J. Renee
Kari Pump
(leopard)
heel height 2½”
$84.95 $67.96
zappos.com
These were a little harder to find in a lower heel than the basic black pumps, but I wanted to offer them because they will add a dramatic touch to all of the black in Wardrobe Option A. All are nice shoes but the J. Renee pump loses a few points because of the strap which detracts from the longer leg-line we're trying to achieve.  The pump in the center, from Maurices, is a nice classic style pump with a medium 3" heel, and I feel it would be a great choice to complement this wardrobe, however my top pick is the Franco Sarto pump.  The 3 ½” heel height is balanced by the ½” platform which gives the shoe an equivalent height of the other pump.  The feature I like best about this one is the haircalf finish.  This is something you normally see in much more expensive shoes, therefore it will get my vote as the preferred shoe of the group.

Finally, I offered Mary a selection of handbags to choose from.

HANDBAGS
bagbagbag
Giani Bernini
Double Zip Satchel
(black)
$98.00 $57.99
macys.com

Olivia + Joy
Big Spender Satchel
(black python)
$88.00 $65.99
Merona
Tote
(black)
$44.99
target.com
bagbagbag
Red by Marc Ecko
Fluttering Bows Hobo
(black)
$79.00 $34.99
macys.com
Carlos by Carlos Santana
In the Mix Barrel Satchel
(black-multi)
$98.00 $72.99
macys.com
Carlos by Carlos Santana
Flour Tote Bag
(black)
$85.00 $46.99
macys.com

All but one of the bags in the selection comes from Macy's, the other hails from Target.  Any one of them would be a stylish counterpoint to Mary's new clothing.  In the Style Analysis questionnaires, Mary's favorite handbag was a flowered Valentino, so I decided to offer a couple of ruffled and flowered selections for her to choose from as well as some more tailored handbags.  I espescially like the modern shape of the Merona tote, but the Olivia + Joy satchel scores extra points with its faux alligator finish.  I also decided to give her one selection that is not solid black.  The Carlos Santana bag in the middle of the bottom row features both black and neutral leather plus the added attraction of just enough leopard-print to really highlight that aspect of her clothing without being overwhelming.

In my next post, I'll show you the second wardrobe option that I've presented to Mary and mentioned in passing here.  It's a little more casual style and completely different from "Option A" detailed here, but very workable and just as appropriate for her lifestyle and budget.  I'll also show how the two wardrobe options can be combined, plus a few extras to spice things up even more!  Until next time...


Stylishly yours,




Halloween's coming!  Please send me your favorite costume photos, ideas, sources, and pretty much anything that has to do with Halloween, and look for them in a special Halloween post. You can email them to me at stylist.sheilla@gmail.com or submit them on my Facebook page.  I look forward to hearing from you.  Happy haunting!

Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's are also just around the corner, and I'll be doing special editions for these holidays as well.  We'll broaden the scope a bit here and include decorations, recipes, and tips for keeping sane and polished during the holiday season.  I'll have a "featured in" button available on the blog for you to add to yours if your submissions are featured.  Can't wait to see all of your creativity!

Please join me at

UndertheTableandDreaming

3 comments:

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