beauty · international · style · travel

Where My Travel Wardrobe Went Wrong . . .

Happy Monday, friends! Tomorrow, I’ll start discussing the highlights of my trip, beginning with my first stop (Lisbon, Portugal, and the surrounding towns). But today, we talk travel fashion.

When I prepared for my trip, I began by adopting a capsule wardrobe approach. I knew I wanted to function with one piece of luggage, and one wardrobe that had everything I needed to mix and match my ensembles. By the time I packed for my trip, I had the following wardrobe list:

If you want to see the ensembles in motion, here’s the video I posted, showing some of the outfit combinations and accessories:

Now, I’m overall pleased with the items I selected. But, looking back a bit, I realized there were a few things that could have created a better capsule wardrobe:

  • Instead of my taupe flats, I really needed flat shoes with better grips on the soles. I had to walk very carefully when we toured, because my flats were slick on the bottom and I could have used the extra grip for touring on those well-worn stone surfaces.
  • Denim shorts would have been a fantastic addition to this wardrobe, especially if they were tapered and knee-length.
  • Another button-down top would have given me a little extra polish: it would have been even better if it was a sleeveless button-down so I could stay cool while I tooled around.
  • Because Lisbon was unseasonably cool, I needed more long-sleeved tops. Having few long-sleeved options was a problem for me.
  • Also, a jacket or cardigan would have been great and given me some additional wardrobe options.
  • I really wish I’d thrown one other color into the mix, aside from yellow, white and royal/navy blue.
  • As a Kibbe Soft Classic (SC), I would have benefited from a few pieces that had a bit more structure and symmetry. Less structured items = more comfort, easier maintenance, but opting for structured pieces would have ensured that I felt more like myself as I toured, and more put together.

I am glad that I had a capsule wardrobe that worked for my travels but, like anything else, there was room for improvement. I’ll do it even better next time!

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This post contains affiliate links.

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Let’s Talk Kibbe Again . . .

Happy Monday, friends! I trust that your weekend was beautiful, relaxing, and enjoyable.

I wanted to start this week off with a topic that I’ve discussed before, that is sorely needs updating. I mentioned in a post a couple of years ago that I’m a Soft Classic in David Kibbe’s style ID system. While Mr. Kibbe has evolved in his approach to style ID-ing (he has created some new exercises to help aspiring style stars to learn their best lines), the fact remains that his previous style ID system works well for me and has led me on a path to having better understanding of what works for me and what doesn’t.

Here’s what I realize about Kibbe typing: the more you work with it, the more intuitive it becomes. Your intuition won’t always scream at you, “Buy it!” or “Don’t you dare buy it!” Something, the intuition comes as simple suggestions, like, “Hmm, this looks a little . . . off”, or “This would be perfect if . . . “. Repeat after me: life is too short to buy and wear clothes that only make you 80% happy. Yes, there may be some ordinary items (like that t-shirt you use when dyeing your hair or the skirt you wear when you’re practicing with your oil pastels) that don’t make you feel over the moon. But the vast (I mean, 90% of our wardrobe) should delight us. Kibbe’s system allows us to train our eyes for what truly works for us. Even if there isn’t much money for fashion in your budget, you can still spend some time training your eye, so when the perfect piece shows up at the perfect price, you’ll be ready. You’ll also save money by not buying any old thing, just so that you’ll feel like you have a “proper” wardrobe.

Another thing I realize about the Kibbe system is how much money and time I save by implementing this philosophy. Instead of mindlessly shopping because I don’t know what my wardrobe is “missing”, I’m very clear on what gaps exist in my wardrobe and which retailers can fill said gaps. Among the clothes I’ve kept, I have an adequate wardrobe that allows me to easily assemble a stylish ensembles that suits me perfectly. No more endless hours hunting for something that looks “just right’ on me; almost everything I own looks “perfect” on me. That could also be credited to the fact that I still, on a lesser level, embrace the Madame Chic capsule wardrobe approach, but it’s important to note that Kibbe’s philosophy and capsule dressing work well together.

I feel that most of the frustration over the Kibbe system comes from people not having an accurate view of themselves their bodies. A lot of people conflate their personality with their style ID, and that’s an approach that can lead you down the wrong style path. It can be hard to accept that your carefree personality doesn’t necessarily translate into being one of the Naturals, or your larger-than-life persona doesn’t automatically make you one of the Dramatics. But, by being honest about your bone structure and facial (and other) features, you can figure out a way to allow your style to be a perfect enhancement for your personality.

And don’t get me started on the “Classic” types: being any of the other types doesn’t mean that you possess less-than-classic beauty. In fact, some of the greatest beauties throughout the ages were Dramatics (Lena Horne), Soft Dramatics (Diahann Carroll), Theatrical Romantics (Dorothy Dandridge) and Romantics (Beyonce), Soft Gamine (Halle Berry AND Eartha Kitt), Flamboyant Gamines (Tina Turner) . . . You get the picture. But, in case the Naturals are feeling left out of the discussion, let me assure you: the vast majority of high-fashion models are Flamboyant Naturals. Janet Jackson, a woman that is objectively beautiful, is a Soft Natural. And these are only a few of the Black entertainers that have been classified by Kibbe: there are TONS of women, of all ethnicities, that are clearly beautiful and have a timelessness to their beauty that can be considered “classic”. However, just remember there is a difference between “classic” (anything that has remained high quality and outstanding over a period of time) and “Classic” (a term assigned to any person that has a moderate frame, fairly symmetrical features and a blend of curves and angles). There are classic (little “c”) beauties in all of the style IDs.

I have some tips for figuring out your Kibbe type without making things too complicated. I’ll share those in a future post, but until then, I hope you found some value in my random Kibbe-related thoughts. Talk to you all tomorrow!

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Social Wardrobe for Soft Classics

During the holiday season, you all may find that you have more invitations that you expected . . . At least, that’s been my experience. With all of the parties, galas, and gatherings this season, I realize I needed to assess my wardrobe and see if I had the clothing I needed to stylishly sail through it.

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I figured that it’s important to have a basic “social wardrobe” that flatters my Soft Classic Kibbe type (more about my Kibbe type here and here; click here for general information about body typing). My social wardrobe takes into account my Kibbe type so if you have a different type, you may want to ignore some of the highly personal suggestions and just think about the concepts overall. Even if you have a different Kibbe type, you still will likely benefit from assessing your social calendar and what few items you’ll need to look your best.

  • A fitted sheath

The silhouette should be fitted but not tight: the goal is a structured look that emphasizes the waist without looking overly exaggerated. I really like this very affordable option by Muxxn: it comes in a variety of colors, and it’s easy to dress this up with glamorous jewelry and ornate shoes. However, there’s always the possibility of wearing this with a blazer and nude pumps and then you have a great ready-for-work ensemble.

  • A sleek turtleneck

This is a versatile piece that goes from work to social settings with ease. I love turtlenecks with little extra details that make it look festive. I recently got a turtleneck from White House Black Market that is positively divine. It has small buttons on the sleeves that add a feminine touch. This looks great paired with ankle-length pants or tucked into a voluminous skirt in a dressy-looking fabric (like faille or satin). Sadly, my turtleneck has since sold out, but perhaps they will eventually make it available again. . . Until then, this lovely turtleneck with inset sleeves by PattyBoutik is a pretty, unique interpretation of the traditional turtleneck.

  • 1950s style dress

Fitted bodice, A-line (or fuller) skirt – think swing dresses – and perfectly coiffed hair are all timelessly chic elements of some of my favorite looks from previous social events. I really love how Amazon has a lot of 1950s-inspired styles for reasonable prices. I wore a lacy blush dress by Dressystar when I was a bridesmaid this summer, and I fell in love with the design. However, if you’d like something a little more luxurious, there are many vintage-inspired retailers that have incredible offerings. Unique Vintage has a great swing style coat dress that would look elegant at a variety of events. If coat dresses aren’t your thing, then check out Scarlet Rage, Modcloth and Bitter Root Vintage (full disclosure – many of the dresses on Bitter Root are identical to designs being sold for much less on Amazon. So if the designs start looking similar . . . That may be why).

Dressystar Floral Lace Dress

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Retro Style Black Double Breasted Swing Coat Dress by Unique Vintage

Full skirt (any length)

The trick with full skirts is to make sure that the top you pair them with is fitted. The contrast of a fitted top with a full skirt can give you the look of a 1950s-style dress (discussed above) but it allows you to customize it more. The full skirt can have any color or print that you like, and you can easily pair it with tops that have different colors, sleeve lengths, necklines, etc.,. The options are endless! I really like this pleated skirt by Girstunm, which comes in over 40 designs.

Those are some of the basics that I think would be a good starting point for creating a solid social wardrobe. There are probably a few more pieces you’d recommend – if so, let me know in the comments below.

Take care, and enjoy your Tuesday!

life curation · style

Re-Imagining the Classics, Part 2

This post is a continuation of the Re-Imagining the Classics theme. We continue to look at some of the classic wardrobe pieces and see some suitable alternatives that retain classic appeal but give it a fresh spin.

Instead of a Wrap DressTry a Shirtdress

Wrap dresses have been incorrectly identified as “flattering on every body type”. That isn’t true, though it flatters many different women. Likewise, the shirtdress isn’t for every body, though it looks great on many women. This generally requires more maintenance that the wrap dress (shirtdresses usually need ironing to look their best), but the finished product is more structured and looks crisp.

These shirtdresses from iLover are inexpensive and adorable. They are available in many different colors and designs.

Instead of a Jean JacketTry a Leather (or leather-like material) Jacket

 The leather (or leather-looking) jacket adds edge and coolness to almost any outfit. It also tends to look more polished than its denim counterpart. This material can be designed to fit loosely or to mimic the shape of the body, so there is a leather jacket style for everyone. Bonus: leather substitutes can give you the look of leather without the cruelty, so it’s easy to find beautiful designs made with vinyl or other vegan leather materials.

This genuine leather jacket by BGSD is fitted, edgy and flattering.

This faux leather jacket by Chouyatou is affordable and has a striking, flattering shape

Instead of Ankle BootsTry Riding Boots

When you live in a region that gets chilly in the winter, you want a boot that covers more than just your ankles. Riding boots – both the rugged style and the more refined and elegant rendition – cover most of the calf and can be styled with dresses, pants and skirts.

These BareTraps Riding Boots have a low heel, plain shaft, and strap-and-buckle detail across the vamp, making them a flattering option for a variety of ensembles.

Instead of Black PantsTry Charcoal Pants

Black pants are everywhere, and, to be honest, the look can get a little boring. Instead of reaching for black, why not try charcoal? The shade is still dark and neutral, but it provides a fresh interpretation on the solid pant look. Charcoal gray comes in varying degrees of depth, so it can be a mid-range gray or a shade-above-black hue. In any case, it’s a look that can add a hint of color to your wardrobe.

These Eddie Bauer pants have a flattering straight leg and come in a luscious graphite hue

Instead of a Knit SweaterTry an Elegant Sweatshirt

Sweaters are lovely, but they normally have to be handled with care (washed on delicate or dry cleaned, air dried, etc.). Why not try an elegant sweatshirt instead? The key to keeping the look from being too sporty is to avoid any designs featuring thick cuffs or heavy ribbing around the neckline. Also check the fit: the more fitted to the body, the most elegant it looks.


This Sarin Matthews sweatshirt fits closer to the body and comes in beautiful deep shades.

That is all of the re-imagined classics! Make sure to check out Part One for additional recommendations. Talk to you all tomorrow!

life curation · style

Re-Imagining the Classics, Part 1

Happy Monday, boos! I hope you’ve had a satisfying weekend and are ready to embrace this new week with ARMS WIDE OPEN! (I’m in an extra good mood, and you’ll find out why in the weeks to come)

I’ve searched high and low on the internet for a guide that gives a fresh spin on some the “staple” wardrobe pieces that women are advised to add to their collection. Women have been given such generic advice on items to add to their wardrobe for the sake of fashion: it’s about time that someone provided some different options. I enjoyed reading Stitch Fix’s clothing recommendations, but here are a few of my own ideas for reimagining some classic wardrobe staples. I’m doing this review in two parts because, why not? It’s easier to write and research pieces if I don’t put them all into one post (which I’m inclined to do, ordinarily LOL!)
Instead of the Crisp White TeeTry a Navy Tee
It can be challenging to keep white clothing bright and fresh-looking. The opposite shade – black- is nice but it can be a bit “heavy” when worn near the face. On the other hand, navy is softer and still looks chic. Navy compliments a lot of different colors and looks excellent with those colors that people traditionally avoiding combining with black (such as yellow and green).

A simple tee by Hanes looks great and is a solid alternative to a white tee

Instead of the Little Black DressTry the Little White Dress
Everyone loves and wears black when they want to look pulled together and polished. But, women with darker complexions look heavenly in white, cream and eggshell. In a sea of black sameness, wearing a little white dress (LWD) stands out and flatters deeper skin tones. Something about the color contrast is especially enchanting. And since this isn’t the kind of dress you’d wear every day, keeping it crisp looking is a lot easier.

 

One of my favorite brands, Black Halo, makes impeccably tailored dresses

The Calvin Klein dress has a beautiful shape in a pristine white hue

Instead of Dark Wash Skinny Jeans Try Pale Gray Skinny Jeans

Skinny jeans in dark finishes are always stylish, but for those bored with that look, why not try pale gray skinnies? These pair well with a lot of different colors and are surprisingly well-suited for year-round wear.

The super-tapered hem on these Calvin Klein skinny jeans make this an edgy but polished option. The back pockets are also smaller and placed a bit higher than many other jeans, so they give a “perky” effect.

These skinny jeans by Celebrity Pink have a less-tapered hem than the previous pants, so they have a more relaxed look and feel.

Instead of Basic Black Pumps Try Nude (Skintone) Pumps
Black court shoes are an easy classic and compliment most ensembles. But my favorite pump is the nude pump. Something about the illusion of everlasting legs is so classy and flattering. Not to mention, nude pumps truly can be worn with any color.
Here are some pumps by Riverberry: the company offers several pumps in varying skintone shades at very affordable prices (click on the shoe closest to your shade to see it for yourself)



Instead of a Button-Up Shirt –  Try a Boatneck Shirt

I chose the boatneck for one trait that it shares with button-up shirts: neither design is particularly kind to buxom women. For women that have smaller busts, the boatneck is a fabulous option for a classy, wear-with-everything top. The advantage of boatnecks over button-ups is that the boatneck top usually doesn’t need much ironing to look fresh and stylish. Audrey Hepburn favored a boatneck top: need I say more?

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Audrey wearing the style that has become synonymous with her style legacy (photo from Pinterest)

This Yala top is highly rated and reasonably priced

Merona’s boatneck top is available on both Amazon and in Target stores

 

That’s all for this post! Look out for the second half of Re-imagining the Classics within the next week. Have a great Monday!