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Keepin' Up With Vicqui: Fashion Fan

Style, Substance and Fun

Calm and Cool in Beige and Black

 

 

   

 

    Before our summer break I worked at an elementary school where we were preparing our class for their graduation. The dress code was explicitly explained in a letter home and instructed all females attending to wear attractive frocks or skirts and blouses and all males to either wear suits or a nice button-down shirt and dress slacks. I was subbing in a Special Day Class (SDC) with about eight Kindergarten and first-grade students, and in addition to supervising them, the teacher and teacher's assistants were required to dance in a choreographed performance of  Ain't No Stopping Us Now complete with old school steps and hand gestures.

   I wanted to look nice, but also be comfy in case I had to do something like arrange chairs before the ceremony, so I decided to meet the challenge by putting on my beige mini trench coat over my short black Calvin Klein dress. I then accessorized it with black knee-highs, black men's lace-up shoes, dark Audrey Hepburn shades and a gold "Betsey" Betsey Johnson necklace. After school, while waiting at the bus stop, a man asked me if he could give me a compliment. When I told him he could, he said, "You have a very European way of dressing. You have a lot of style." Tired from the long day, but elated by the kind words, I was happy my choice was the right one and elicited such a positive response.

Black and Beige Throughout the Week:

   Start with a black dress as your canvas to play with throughout the week.  You can also use a black skirt, pants or longer knee-length shorts.

*Black dress + nude hose + two-toned black or black and beige flats + beige or beige and black striped cardigan.

*Black dress + black tights+ black mid-heeled pumps.

*White sweater set + black pants + black and white hounds tooth or pinstriped blazer + black oxfords.

* White button-down shirt or blouse +black skirt + black cardigan + black tights + white flats.

*Black short-sleeved shirt + black pants + white cardigan from sweater set + oxfords.

 

One Week, Five Outfits: Investing in Yourself During the Work Week

         If I could create anything, and hire anyone during a busy work week, I'd concoct a fashion coordination machine and employ a stylist. During my first semester, as a Special Education Trainee Assistant Substitute, I still planned on maintaining my reputation as a fashion/feature writer by reflecting my signature style in an environment of super casual leggings, jeans and t-shirts. To say wearing the clothes I did provided an education in cultural and personal differences is an understatement it also gave me a chance to see how my appearance affected those not into fashion. Still I persisted, and grew enough as my own stylist, to be able to coordinate a series of looks for my assignments that kept me motivated as an educator and inspired me as a writer.

    For the last school I worked for I knew I needed things that were comfortable and stylish enough to be worn on the bus, to and from work, and professional enough to earn respect from the students, teachers, office staff and parents I worked with. Swayed by various influences-the dress over pants trend I saw in the Japanese magazine Fruits (No. 202) and Issey Miyake for Totokaelo, 1970's Jane Birkin, Chanel's little black dress- I successfully navigated through a very stressful but productive period.

    So how did I do it? First I thought about what I hadn't worn in awhile, or hadn't tried together, then I pulled them out of the closet, tried them on and photographed them. Making brief notes I documented each outfit and hung them on individual hangers for easy retrieval. If you have a wardrobe that's mostly jeans, t-shirts and leggings you can still make this work by choosing a theme or icon to emulate. Let's say you choose Jane Birkin, by just pairing a simple short-sleeved t-shirt with jeans, a gold pendant necklace, a boxy bag and over sized shades you can achieve her breezy cool 1970's boho girl look easily. To change it up, during the week, you can replace the tee with another short-sleeved top, fitted jacket and scarf tied at the neck for an accent. You can also replace the short-sleeved tops with a long-sleeved shirt.When I wore my Birkin-esque ensemble I paired a brown Michael Kors jacket with a navy-blue t-shirt I'd bought at Forever 21, a pair of 1970's style Levi's I'd bought at Ross for under $3 then accessorized it with a pretty scarf tied around my neck.

        By utilizing my wardrobe this way I was able to creatively relieve my psyche and free up my mornings for other activities that needed my attention.

Diary of Outfits Worn During the Week:

1) Monday: White ribbed Prada cardigan over light-blue and white color block striped mini dress over blue print palazzo pants.

2) Tuesday: Navy-blue and white striped hoodie cardigan over multicolored floral Marimekko for Target tunic top and orange and white polka-dotted self-belted palazzo pants.

3) Wednesday: Off-white floral Sigrid Olsen cardigan over white long-sleeved top layered over a white long-sleeved tee and rust wide-legged pants.

4) Thursday: Brown Michael Kors jacket over navy-blue tee and 1970's style Levis.

5) Friday: Beige "cat" pullover sweater layered over a blue striped button-down shirt and black and white polka-dotted pants.

Don't Be Afraid to Keep It Real in Authentic Distressed Jeans

      

 

    From 1999 to 2004 I worked as a Circulation Page at the Santa Monica Main Public Library while finishing my B.A. coursework in Fashion Merchandising at CSULA, and my Print and Broadcast Journalism Certificate Program at UCLA Extension. Short on cash, and limited by the grungy work I did part-time I tried to buy clothes that wouldn't fall apart with a little wear and tear. One item that I splurged on, and still wear, was a pair of originally distressed Levi's from "Tick Tocker Timeless Treasures". I'm sure they cost less than $20 and had plenty of stories to tell, including where those paint stains came from on the legs, and the two matching ripped holes at the knees. This isn't my first pair of distressed jeans, and I doubt if they'll be my last, but in a city full of trends they remind me to stay authentic even when those artificially designed to look like them become one.

   In a way I love distressed jeans, and distressed clothes in any form, because they have a story to tell about the people who own them. If mine were to relate their story today they'd talk about my sadness over the death of Prince, my disgust over the sorry state of retail and manufacturing in Los Angeles, and the challenges of working as a Special Education Trainee Assistant Substitute, where violence and abuse are the norm. Then they would wax nostalgic about the times I did the "Shim Sham Shimmy" in my tap classes, modeled vintage Edwardian clothes at the "Federation of Vintage Fashion's" fashion shows and conducted interviews with new store owners and designers for "Culver City News" and other publications. 

   After constant exposure of the distressed jean trend on the streets of L.A. I'm aware that it's customary to wear them with a t-shirt or sexy tank. While this looks works for those who like to be one with the pack I prefer to contrast their ruggedness with either a feminine blouse or ultra-sophisticated coordinates that recall Coco Chanel and Christian Dior. The last time I wore mine I channeled both by pairing them with a navy-blue and beige Chanel-esque jacket, navy-blue and white striped button-down shirt under my old navy-blue and white Sailor shirt. To give the whole effect more class I accessorized with an off-white hat, navy-blue and white polka-dotted scarf tied at the neck of the shirt, peach framed shades and a blue and gold ball bracelet set. By tucking my shirt into my jeans and belting them with a large brown statement belt, I further added a sense of elan.

   For his Spring 2016 collection Max Azria created a lovely line for BCBG that emphasized California's laid-back appeal with soft colors, easy layers and boho free-spiritedness. On some occasions I could see adding his wispy sheer swirl print blouse with distressed jeans, for a delightful feminine/masculine mix, but if you're going downtown and want to reinforce the punk edginess of the jeans I could see coordinating them with the brown tailored coat and boots he designed to give off a Manhattan vibe.

   Whichever way you choose to wear them, as a contrast or a statement, always remember to add your own signature so they'll remain a modern go-to item instead of a throw-away fad that cost you time and money.

Tips for Bringing Out the Best from Your Distressed Jeans:

  • 1 pair of distressed jeans + 1 frilly and feminine blouse + 1 cardigan sweater = Casual and Girly
  • 1 pair of distressed jeans +1 soft sweater in pastel color + 1 beige trench coat = Urban and social 
  • 1 pair of distressed jeans +1 boxy cardigan + 1 button-down shirt + 1 pullover sweater + Pearls = Chanel-esque
  • 1 pair of distressed jeans + 1 sweater set + Chain jewelry + 1 black belt = Dior-esque

 

 

 

 

How to Dress Beautifully With a Little Help from Nature

Through loving devotion to an unimportant insignificant weed you will find release from the pressures of today's life.

- Quote from the art book Drawing Step-by-Step by Gerhard Gollwitzer

 

    I love nature. The bright violence of a large yellow sunflower. The deep serenity of an overgrown weed encroaching against the side of a broken piece of concrete. The wispiness of a transparent, but sturdy, cloud. On the morning I selected, and coordinated, my vintage off-white corduroy blazer, peach short-sleeved Ann Taylor cardigan, gray dip painted Jeff Koons Rabbit art tee (proudly bought in the Broad Museum gift shop after braving the day with the other Modern Art fans there), and my gray front-pleated skirt, I didn't realize how accurately it reflected my current mood, and the foggy weather, until I stepped off the bus at the bus stop then walked the two short blocks to work. 

  Memories of the time I attended San Francisco State Universityas a Psychology major, from 1980-1983 came back to me and I saw my much younger self struggling to walk to class through the pervasive, bone-chilling fog, in a black Norma Kamali mini sweatdress, turquoise tights, vintage pointy-toed flats and a vintage red and black Hawaiian print men's blazer I'd found for $7.00 at Aaardvark's Odd Ark on Melrose. Saddened by nostalgia over a city I desperately missed, I kept walking nonetheless to my new normal in a different color scheme of off-white, peach, grey, white and black. Since this array was so varied it allowed me to offset it with interesting accessories-a pair of black ankle boots, a new pair of gray socks I'd just purchased at Ross recently, a yellow foulard print scarf folded in the pocket of my blazer, my grandmother's round white, gold and rhinestone pin on its lapel, a gold and white vintage ring, a gold bracelet my grandmother brought back from Mexico, and a pair of peach color framed retro shades from Style X-Press.

   By seeing my ensemble as the embodiment of the natural world around me I was able to transfer my passion sartorially and feel confident that it represented who I was on that day.

Five Easy Tips to Dressing Naturally:

  1. Be observant as you go about your day. Take time to really examine how the sky looks, leaves grow on trees, flowers in bloom, etc.,
  2. Express how you feel by either free writing your thoughts in a journal, drawing what you see in your sketch pad or photographing them with a camera or your phone.
  3. Look for inspiration in books, magazines and newspapers, on the internet, at art exhibits, at the movies and on T.V.. (When I wore this outfit I was reading The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins, so I was partly influenced by its Alfred Hitchkockian film noir flair.)
  4. Note trends, and whatever catches your eye, then put together your palette.
  5. Start with one piece then build around it, and try on, until you arrive at the outfit you want. 

Uniformly Good and Stylish

     
Light-blue and black striped Ann Taylor cardigan accessorized with black rhinestone necklace and blue knit headband

   The other day, while reading Isabella Blow A Life in Fashion by Lauren Goldstein Crowe I came across an interesting description of Isabella working at Tatler wearing a "Mainbocher-esque Bill Blass suit that she brought from New York." "She wore it every single day," said Joe McKenna, a stylist who worked in the fashion department at the magazine. "Black velvet fitted jacket, peplum waist, very tight straight skirt. That was her uniform." In August 2015 when I started working as a Special Education Instructional Assistant Trainee Substitute for a large school district I didn't know what the dress code would be, and after a week surrounded by female employees, of all sizes and ages, in skinny jeans, leggings and tight t-shirts, I was even more confused.

   Finally after seeing one too many tight or overly casual outfits, I started brainstorming and  transformed this look into a "uniform" that I could wear and feel stylish and professional in. Borrowing heavily from a Ralph Lauren ad where the models wore black leggings with short dresses I collected my own "uniforms" of easy separates. My first outfit consisted of a burgundy cotton dress I bought at Forever 21 and a pair of Aztec print leggings I bought at Ross then accessorizing it with a brown purse belt I bought at Macy's. 

   For my second outfit, I paired a navy-blue and cream boho dress with navy-blue leggings, both bought from Forever 21 and for my third outfit I coordinated a brown, black and white print Nine West dress with black leggings I bought from Ross on the Sale and One-sized-fits-all racks. Fortunately despite my financial status and lack of fashion inspiration I have discovered that my fashion eye has become more acute as I continue to read fashion magazines, look at shows like Downton Abbey, read fashion books and visit art galleries, museums and different stores around the city.

   Even when I'm at an off-priced chain store like Fallas can find classy enough separates to wear to work. A couple of days ago, while shopping in my local Fallas, I came across a rack of quilted gaucho pants, in navy-blue, black and light gray and another rack of solid colored long-sleeve tees. I bought the pants for $3.00 a piece, along with a pair of black athletic capris for $3.00, a navy-blue long-sleeved top and a dark gray long-sleeved top for $2.50 each, and a blue knit headband and black and silver necklace to accessorize them with. 

   When I got home I used the "uniform approach" and created the following outfits: 

   

Light-blue and black striped Ann Taylor cardigan over a navy-blue long-sleeved top and quilted gaucho pants

  1.    Light blue and black Ann Taylor cardigan over navy-blue long-sleeved top and navy-blue quilted gauchos, accessorized with the blue knit headband and the black and silver necklace.
  2. Off-white cardigan over navy-blue long-sleeved top and navy-blue gauchos.
  3. Off-white chunky knit cardigan belted, with a black belt, over a short-sleeved black t-shirt and black capris.

Elegant Simplicity: The Beauty and Genius of the Short-Sleeved Pullover Sweater

           

    Fashion trends change so fast these days it's a wonder any of us knows how to dress appropriately anymore. Do we give in to conformity and just wear the same thing we see others wearing regardless of how it looks on up? Do we just dull down our senses, and choices, in all black? Do we give up and stick to an outdated look because it's easier than keeping up with the times? Unfortunately I've encountered all of these solutions, and as a fashion writer and devoted clothes horse, I'd love to introduce another more appealing one that's worked for me. Embrace a classic, like a short-sleeved ribbed knit pullover sweater, and use it to provide a versatile, chic separate that's both modern and inexpensive.

   "Done right, classic clothes can lend an air of good taste and timelessness to the wearer without overwhelming her personality," wrote Amanda Brooks in "I Love Your Style".

     This quote really resonated with me when I went to the exhibit Inspired Eye: The Donald and Joan Damask Design Collection at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising earlier this month. Ranging from a large wall display of fashion books to sketches by Stephen Burrows and Claude Montana, black and white photos by Willy Maywald and a 1920's illustration of a red flower costume, for a ballerina, designed by William Weaver, after buying a beige Pierre Cardin ribbed pullover sweater at Goodwill Industries Thrift Store a few days later, I felt its design was pure enough to fit in with the black 1950's dress by Claire McCardell featured in the show. Created by "one of the first French couturiers to embrace ready-to-wear in 1959" the sweater recalls his futuristic and youthful philosophy. Ultimately I realized good design will always be good design regardless of its origin.

     Perfect, when paired with a print skirt, wide-legged pants or jeans, it's the easiest way to add a flattering component to a contemporary ensemble without abandoning your own style or looking too trendy.

Inspired Eye: The Donald and Joan Damask Design Collection is at the FIDM Museum through December 19, 2015. The FIDM Museum is located at 919 S. Grand Avenue, Los Angeles, CA. 90015. For more information please either call 213-628-5821 or go to their website at www.fidmmuseum.org.

 

       

Wearable Leg Art

    Every time I see someone wearing print leggings as pants I both cringe and rejoice because it's so easy to get it all wrong and appear ridiculous. The trick is to study your body and your lifestyle to determine if they're really for you. If you're dancer thin, like Audrey Hepbuun, then you can wear them easily with an over-sized button-down shirt, beret and ballet flats, or snug fitting tee, but if you're more shapely it's best to wear them more conservatively underneath a longer, flowing top or A-line dress. The only time you wear themto work is if you're self-employed, a P.E. teacher, dance instructor or artist, otherwise save them for your off-hours. 

   Since I'm a professional fashion/feature writer, who needs to be comfortable whenever I go out to interview someone, take photos, visit a new store, or an event, I've started a collection of print leggings I can coordinate with longer tops, structured blazers, fun and chic tees, sneakers, UGG boots and flats. My favorite place to buy them, because they're inexpensive and attractive, is Ross. For less than $10 I can buy a pair, and mix and match them, with countless separates and accessories. Right now I own 5 pair, two florals, one Aztec print, one leopard print and one black and white plaid pair that reminds me of the 1960s mod movement. Easy and flexibly, despite their controversy, print leggings are still a great way to show off your artistic side.

Five Ways to Wear Print Leggings:

1) Trench coat over button-down shirt and print leggings.

2) Oversized sweater over print leggings.

3) Cardigan sweater over short-sleeved top and print leggings.

4) Tailored blazer over button-down shirt and print leggings.

5) Over-sized sweatshirt over print leggings.

Recapturing the Magic of Yves Saint Laurent

    One of the things I've always admired about French designer, Yves Saint Laurent, is the effortless way his designs worked for women in the 1960s and 1970s. Although I've never been lucky enough to afford any of his clothes I have been inspired by him. While we aren't blessed with his presence any longer, I still feel his spirit is alive and we can look to his historical example on how to work as well as wear clothing. In addition to the "trouser suit" I always equate him with the "trench and pea coats" too. These three have stood the test of time, and even as we struggle through our current times, and try to coordinate our own looks they provide a wonderful touch stone. To recapture his trench and coat look, from my own wardrobe, I usually combine a trench with knee-length A-line skirts, beige khaki's, jeans, full floral skirts, long skirts and knit dresses and skirts. Timeless, yet modern, it's a nice way to look both classy and edgy at the same time.

    The main thing to remember when buying a trench or pea coat, if you've never bought one, is find one that fits your personality and lifestyle. Then experiment with it by combining it with various colors, separates and accessories. Don't be afraid to create a unique two-piece suit or casual get-up along the way. 

COORDINATION TIPS:

  • Beige trench coat over blue and white striped shirt and gray pants.
  • Navy-blue trench coat over white button-down shirt and red and white striped pants.
  • Gray pea coat over light gray shirt and straight gray skirt. 

Relaxing and Rejuvenating In Good Old Sweatpants

   Living in a relaxed and non-dress up type of city, like Los Angeles, California, the one thing you'll never see is the end of is casual wear. There are times when it definitely goes too far and you wonder if you'll be able to satisfy your craving for chic but still relax in something soft and easy when you need to. I was faced with this problem, in April, right after I had surgery and needed to go for a post-op cat scan.

    "What can I wear that's simple to wear, loose and cool?," I asked myself.

      I didn't remember having anything appropriate in my closet so I stopped by my favorite "Goodwill Industries Thrift Store" to see what I could find. The first thing that popped into my head, when I entered the store, was "sweatpants." First I went to a shirt and blouse rack and found a beige "Max Studio" cardigan, a light green "Munsingwear" shirt, a navy-blue "Thakoon for Target" blouse, an off-white jacket and an orange "Grace Element" blouse. After that I went to the sweatpants rack and found a pair of light pink ones with a silver stud skull design on the leg, a new pair of navy-blue "Hanes" ones and a pair of black sweatpants from "The Beverly Hills Hotel and Bungalows."

    Once I got everything home I looked at it all and thought the pink sweatpants would look nice paired with an off-white t-shirt and the "Max Studio" cardigan I'd just bought. To bring all of the colors together I slipped on a light blue multicolored floral jacket, then accessorized the outfit with a pink fabric/pearl necklace, pink bow bracelet, green bag and beige "Guess" sneakers.

    While working on this piece, I glimpsed a pink, green and white ad I'd saved from the "Lilly Pulitzer for Target" event on April 19 in my notes, and got the idea to combine the light green "Munsingwear" shirt with the pink sweatpants and top it off with a white vintage cardigan sweater. Subtle, soft and sweet it made me feel as good as the first outfit did.

OUTFIT BREAKDOWN:

1) Pink sweatpants...Goodwill (Under $10)

2) Beige "Max Studio" cardigan...Goodwill (Under $10)

3) White t-shirt...Ross (Under $10)

4) Blue floral jacket...Ticktocker Timeless Treasures (Under $10)

5) Green bag...Council Thrift Store (Under $10)

6) Pearl necklace...Forever 21 (Under $10)

7) Guess sneakers...Ross (Under $50)

8) White cardigan...Daniel Freeman Thrift Auxillary (Under $10)

9) Green "Munsingwear" shirt...Goodwill (Under $10)

10) Green framed shades...Tuesday Morning (Under $10)

11) Pink bow bracelet...Forever 21 (Under $10)

It's Okay to Feel Blue When Choosing Denim

   One of the things I dislike most in the world is having surgery, but regardless of my trepidation, I know it has to be done to keep me keeping on. At the end of March I had to have another ulcer surgery to try to correct my current health issues. You'd think the last thing I'd be thinking about is what to wear for my procedure and afterward on my trip back home, but you'd be wrong, because part of staying positive about the experience is coordinating a flattering outfit and looking better than I feel. I knew I'd need something versatile enough to coordinate for two days and in fabrics that wouldn't wrinkle in-transit to the hospital. The first thing I thought fit that criteria was jeans, so I started building my first outfit with a pair of "Paige" jeans that look a little dressier than my vintage Levi's and painter's pants.

   Earlier this month I added some denim fashion clips to one of my fashion resource notebooks, so I looked at them for inspiration, and decided I wanted to look "dressy in denim" with a bohemian flair. I paired a brown "Fleur de Peche" shirt, multicolored chenille jacket and yellow and brown silk print scarf with the jeans for my trip to the hospital and a pink print polyester shirt, the jacket, scarf and a white cap for the trip home. Slightly '70's, with a modern twist, I felt these looks solved my fashion problems while I dealt with something more important.

Fashion Coordination Tips Outfit Breakdown:

1) Jeans...Paige (Ross-Under $100)\

2) Shirt...Fleur de Peche (Ticktocker Timeless Treasures-$1)

3) Jacket (Aaardvark's Odd Art-Under $100)

4) Yellow and brown print scarf (Westchester Antique Guild-Under $20)

5) Black Converse (Ross-Under $50)

6) Pink print polyester shirt (Aaardvark's Odd Art-Under $20)

7) White hat (House of Return Thrift Store-Under $10)

Dressing Up A White T-shirt

   If you've ever looked in your closet for something to wear with that flirty new skirt or comfy sleeveless dress and couldn't find anything suitable, it might be time to give your t-shirts another look. Ubiquitous to American style, with "34% of T-shirt wearers preferring white," this simple garment is perfect for achieving that modern, slightly casual and ultra-comfortable effect you might be looking for to go to the movies in, run errands in, visit the library or shop at your favorite thrift store in. So how do you create the perfect marriage between skirt and dress and white t?

   First you need to try on your t-shirt with the skirt and dress you plan to wear it with, then you need to determine whether you want to wear a cardigan sweater, jacket, coat or shawl over it, if it's chilly outside, then you need to decide on your accessories. If you want to go retro, a simple silk or chiffon scarf knotted at your neck would be nice, but if you want more glitz you could put on a statement necklace or piles of pearls. The amount of walking you'll be doing will determine what type of shoes you wear, which could range from athletic sneakers to pointy-toed flats. Lastly your purse should also be chosen for practicality, so if you're going to your local farmer's market a colorful tote would do the trick and if you're going to an art gallery, a clutch or vintage structured bag.

   In the real world, where most of us don't walk the red carpet or attend fabulous parties featured in "Vogue" magazine every day, it's nice to know we can still look as beautiful and stylish in something as versatile and inexpensive as a white t-shirt.

Fashion Coordination Tips:

1) White t-shirt paired with a full floral skirt.

2) White t-shirt worn under a tweedy sleeveless dress.

3) White t-shirt worn under a long cotton multicolored summer dress.

A Graphic New Uniform

   If you look up the word uniform in The New Merriam-Webster Dictionary it says "having always the same form, manner, or degree: not varying" and "conforming to one rule". If that's the case when did an industry as non-conformist, imaginative and inventive as retail start to embrace conformity? Was it when we started having more people from other cultures become a significant presence or was it when we started getting lazy about our daily appearance? Not to date myself, but back when I worked strictly in retail while doing my coursework as a Fashion Merchandising major at CSULA, we had a dress code at work but we were still allowed to express ourselves with our own flair. As a matter of  fact, if you couldn't "dress" and coordinated an outfit you were told you were in the wrong business.

   For those who think the industry has changed to the point of total self-service with virtually anonymous sales people, let me let you in on a little secret, the reason I had top sales at every store I worked at was because of the way I dressed. Customers either wanted to buy what I had on or have me put their looks together. When they looked at me they knew they were dealing with an expert. Now, as a fashion writer and shopinista, when I go into a store and see a one size fits all color scheme among the sales staff I feel turned off because I see employees in garments that don't compliment they're individual physiques, personalities or budgets. They're just wearing what they're told to wear despite the aesthetic ramifications. What could be more uninspiring?

   Since we probably won't be seeing the end of this trend any time soon I have a compromise to offer. Instead of hiring people who don't make style and fashion a priority, hire ones that do, and if you do hire someone who's stylistically challenged, hire a stylist to teach them how to dress appropriately for the job. If you do this you can eliminate the conflict over how employees should dress and can concentrate on more important things like sales and promoting a strong retail image that the customer will look forward to being around.

   In the spirit of the uniform and corporate attire so pervasive right now I've created three fashion coordination tips that demonstrates how they can go from drab to fab with a little pizzazz and professional know-how.

1) Black and white: Black and white two-toned blazer over a black dress, accessorized with black tights and white and beige two-toned flats.

2) Navy and black: Navy and white sailor type top worn with black wide-legged pants, accessorized with print navy socks, a multicolored scarf tied at the neck, and black men's-style oxfords.

3) All-black: Black short-sleeved cardigan over a black short-sleeved t-shirt with black vintage-style men's pants, accessorized with pearl and gold necklaces and bracelets, black socks and black men's style oxfords.

 

 

 

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It's Easy Wearing Green

   Green is one of my favorite colors, and not just because it reminds me of one of my childhood idols, Kermit the Frog, but because it signifies renewal, starting again and freshness. In fashion it's often been used to compliment white, pink and beige, but I've also discovered it looks good with peach, blue and yellow. Here are a few tips for wearing green that I've coordinated from my own wardrobe.:

1) Green men's pants with a long-sleeved white t-shirt under a peach and white polka-dotted short-sleeved blouse and white vintage cardigan, accessorized with print peach socks and beige bucks.

Outfit Breakdown: Green pants (Goodwill Industries Thrift Store, Under $10), Long-sleeved white shirt (Ross, $6), Peach and white polka-dotted short-sleeved blouse (Goodwill Industries Thrift Store, Under $10), white cardigan (Daniel Freeman Thrift Auxillary, $5), peach socks (Ross, $6), beige bucks (Ticktocker Timeless Treasures, $8).

2) Green floral blazer over green decorative t-shirt and green vintage army pants, accessorized with white Converse and blue purse with green print scarf tied on the handle.

Outfit Breakdown: Green floral blazer (Goodwill Industries Thrift Store, $8), green t-shirt (Goodwill Industries Thrift Store, $6), green army pants (The Surplus Store, Under $20), white Converse (Ross, Under $20), blue bag (Goodwill Industries Thrift Store, $8), green print scarf (I found it).

3) Green polka-dotted blazer, accessorized with a pink flower on the lapel, over a pink t-shirt and a pink button-down tuxedo shirt and retro flared jeans, accessorized with floral Converse, green knit cap accessorized with a green floral hand-painted pin and multicolored carpet bag.

Outfit Breakdown: Green polka-dotted blazer (Goodwill Industries Thrift Store, $8), pink t-shirt (gift from Gina Ellis designer of Prayer Haute Couture), pink tuxedo shirt (Goodwill Industries Thrift Store, $6), retro jeans (Ross, Under $20), floral Converse (Yard Sale, Under $10), green knit cap (Hat shop on Crenshaw Blvd., Under $10), green floral pin (Gem and Jewelry Show, Under $10), purse (Daniel Freeman Thrift Auxillary, Under $10). 

 

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Getting It Together in 2015

  A scarf is a wonderful accessory whether you're trying to pull together a serious work outfit or jazz up a casual look. I personally can't see how I'd get through the week without my extensive collection of scarves. Here's a few ways to wear scarves today and always look stylish.:

1) White short-sleeved t-shirt under a cardigan sweater or denim jacket and jeans accessorized with a peach floral scarf tied around your neck. (See photo above)

2) Blue and beige checked Chanel-esque jacket over a blue and white striped Ralph Lauren blouse and overalls accessorized with a multicolored vintage floral Gucci scarf.

3) Checked beige misc. by jane howard coat over a light blue pullover sweater and brown and blue flowered button-down shirt, white t-shirt and denim Talbot's sailor jeans, accessorized with a brown scarf with white trim tied at the neck.

Fashion Coordination Tips Feedback:

1) Did these tips help you? If so how?

2) Do you accessorize with scarves? If you don't why not?