Tuesday, August 28, 2012

fall fashion

Well. Two days, a glass of red wine, a box of edamame, some Funyuns, countless pieces of Dove dark chocolate, and three gargantuan glasses of water with fresh squeezed lemon juice later-- I have finished InStyle's Fall Fashion Issue. And also, I have to pee.

Guys, it was glorious. I have been waiting for it to come out, desperately checking magazine racks every time I found myself at a store, because this year I ACTUALLY GET TO SHARE IN IT!!!!  {celebratory dance} Well, not the fall fashion, because we leave island Dec. 8...but winter fashion! And they are closely related. It counts. And I took notes, friends. You know how I roll- I shop by lists, figure out what I have and what I need, and decide what is true to my personal style. Coco Chanel said, "Fashion passes, style remains." and it's true. It feels good to be current but being fashionable isn't always flattering. Nor is it often timeless. Coco also said, "Fashion is made to become unfashionable." Rest at ease- I'm done quoting Chanel. Dreamy sigh.

So, I'll tell you what I took away from it. The beast is over 600 pages and I am obviously not going to recreate the entire thing but I'll tell you what made my list and what my top "must haves" are. There's one I'm pretty sure will be hated by most and a few that I think may get the "nice but not for me" polite head nod, but for the most part, I think it's a pretty fair list. Apply it to yourself in a way that's true to you!

The trends I want in on:
floral prints
animal print
leather, leather, and more leather
colored tights
smoking slippers/tuxedo flats
matchstick pants

The trends that I will carry over from previous seasons:
faux fur
mixed prints
bold pants
statement necklaces

The trends I want nothing to do with:
1)burgundy lips: because it makes you look aged
2)big coats: because they're unflattering and I think it's silly to wear [almost] anything that doesn't flatter you
3)crazy embellishments: because I'm happy to let my necklaces carry the metals on their own. My shirt doesn't need to be bling'ed out, too.

So I made my shopping list, but it may have to wait because I can't actually shop for these things until after December- unless my husband agrees to let me steal a few extra dineros from my upcoming styling gigs to use toward creating a winter wardrobe or Santa Clause comes early in the form of H&M upon arrival on the mainland... In my defense, I haven't had any form of a cold-weather wardrobe in almost 4 years {can you tell i've been rehearsing this "pity me" routine in front of the mirror? think he'll buy it? am I pathetic and yet somehow totally loveable and irresistible to the point of not being able to say no to?}- because of my decision I wrote about in this post. {gulp} NO REGRETS BABY!!!!!! DIE HARD!!!!!!!!!

.clearing throat. 

So my WISH list looks like this:
1. floral prints. This is the one I'm aware most are going to cringe at, just like I did, the first, second, and third  times I saw them! And then they broke me and I fell in love. Admission: they are already in my closet and waiting for their moment in the sun. Suspense over: I'm embracing the floral trend with flowered skinny jeans. Go ahead, judge me. But I'm telling you- a chambray shirt, some black heels, and a chunky bracelet or two are going to make you re-think the Judgy McJudgerson you just became.

2) menswear. It's been around for a while now. I'm hoping to find some kind of plaid or herringbone or tweed fabric in a blazer form that will make me happy. Especially when paired with an uber-feminine skirt. Like Maxine that I wrote about HERE!

3) animal print. I already have a pair of cute leopard print pumps with red heels {no-sadly, not the iconic kind of red heels} but I am combining animal print with smoking slippers and craving these beauties pictured below from Target! Smoking slippers are very similar {Click HERE} and either style can be worn, according to InStyle, as a "fresh alternative to ballet flats...playing well with minis and cropped pants...what not to pair them with? Wide-legged pants, long skirts, and tights."
4) equestrian. I already have a pair of black flat boots {proof that they're timeless: i've had these boots for 5 years, they have been in style every year since, and are STILL current. Cost per wear, HERE, in your face!} but I'd like to get a pair of light brown ones as well. I'm in no hurry and being very particular. In the meantime, if I happened to find a sweater like this along my journey, I wouldn't bat an eye. She'd be mine.
5) leather. I already have faux leather leggings from my time in California that haven't come out of their drawer since it's a death wish to wear material like that while in 80 degree weather, but I'm more than ready to bring them out!! But my newest "must have" piece was a leather motorcycle jacket. Notice I said "was?" That's because I have it!!! My girlfriend, Beck, found one at H&M and loves me enough to mail it 5k miles to a lonely gal on a tropical island. I'll show you a better picture later, but for now this will do:

6)colored tights. I also already have bright purple from my student teaching days. Wait....that was 6 years ago! LOL They have to be nas-T by now. So let me rephrase that: that I'll be buying NEW colored tights this year. I'm thinking a lime green and maybe a royal blue? And they will be brilliant under cute sweater dresses and trench coats.

7)matchstick pants. J.Crew calls them "cafe pants." Whatever, they're all the same. A pant that hits right at the ankle (not high enough to be cropped, not low enough to be regular-length pants}and, for this season, often comes patterned! They are perfect with a ballet flat and a bun. Tres chic.

So, I actually have a few things off the wish list already! I guess that leaves me with pair of matchstick pants, colored tights, a menswear blazer, and a smoking slipper/tuxedo flat. And a pair of chestnut brown flat boots when the perfect ones call to me, but if it takes a year or two to find perfection I'm okay with that. They will NEVER be out of style. I think that's a reasonable list, right?? ;)

What about you? What is YOUR wishlist for fall???? Assuming, of course, that we're still on speaking terms after that whole "flowered skinny jeans" fiasco....

(and babe, when you read this, I'm just kidding about the whole "buying more" joke. It was a good one, though, right??)

Monday, August 13, 2012

family business

Just in case you don't catch every blog I write *gasp!* I want to post a reminder that "family/heart/personal" business is continued at THIS BLOG. I've got some new entries there and want to stay connected with those close to our hearts. I'm making "It's Becker Style" a blog solely about styling and all things fashion. So come join us at aredletterlife, too- and follow!! :)


Here's the thing... I really love clothes. I love how they can make you feel, I love the creative outlet that they provide for me, I love learning and trying things that are seemingly outside my personal box. And I just think they're so darn pretty! And occasionally I will see a piece that I cannot get out of my mind.{This happens to me with home decorating things, too! Can I get an "amen?"} Usually this piece is something 1)I've been been longingly and purposefully searching for or 2)unique and I haven't seen anything like it. Enter the fall Fossil catalog.

Oh, Fossil...I have underestimated you. I used to think you were good only for men's wallets and occasionally a cute watch here and there. Add to the list: killer button-down shirts.

Exhibit A:
As if a perfectly-tailored button-down shirt isn't enough of a grand find, add to it tiny giraffes that come across as a simple geometric pattern from far away, and are unbelievably precious up close. Right now I'm loving giraffes, owls, and anchors as details in clothes. So....thus began my infatuation with a particular giraffe shirt.

I marked the page in the catalog. I searched it down online, looking at several websites to see if I could get a better price on it. {It wasn't pretty...two months of my personal spending budget. On one shirt. Ouch.}No luck. So I searched for Fossil coupons online. Again, no luck. So I slept on it. I sat on it. I performed a number of other metaphors that mean "I thought long and hard and tried to talk myself out of it." It did not work.

And so I did it.

I know... I surrendered two whole months of other cute clothes or home goods for this one shirt. Here's the thing: my closet is in good shape. I have the things I need. I am always looking to add to it but it's not like I really needed a good pair of jeans and bought a shirt instead. And my philosophy right now, about ANYTHING in life, is that I'd rather have fewer things but nicer things. I am past the stage in life where I just need _______ (kitchen tools, enough shirts to get me through the week, etc) and I'm ready to add in nicer things to replace the cheaper things I got when I needed them but couldn't afford to do it "right." That means it's slow going... and when I decide to make a bigger purchase it takes me a few months. But it's the way I prefer it. {Also on my list to upgrade: a nice set of All-Clad non-stick cookware...gonna be some years, peeps...gonna be some years.} So what I'm saying is that I decided I didn't need anything in my closet right now, so this unique shirt that I couldn't find a double of anywhere else {I checked} is a good purchase. It can go under cardigans/blazers/jackets/sweaters or be work by itself. Translation: button-down shirts are super versatile.

Confession: the giraffe shirt was one of two. This feather shirt was the other:
Needless to say, I'm living in a state of self-induced poverty through December. It's worth it. I think??

Monday, August 6, 2012

shopping on a budget

I made a small pit stop in the previous post about toddler clothes to mention something that I want to reiterate: 
 "I've been really convicted on our journey the past few years as we learn to be wise with our money. It's a silly thing to go into debt for fashion. You may look good but you don't FEEL good when you dress beyond your wallet. That's why my purchases are very calculated and I'm forced to be creative. Sometimes not being rich is a blessing- it makes you learn how to re-use things in a new and creative way because you can't just go buy every whim and fancy. Many of my "name brand" things are really from Ebay- or take me months to save for. Learning what pieces are worth the investment and what pieces aren't has been a huge step for me."

You can find things for good prices. You can splurge when it's wise. You can pass up good offers. You can do all those things and still dress in a way that shows your personal style.

To me, shopping is a calculated decision. I have a budget. I look online and start with Ebay and Amazon to see if I can find it used or on sale. I scour online and fashion magazines to create my plan of attack. I shop by a list and buy the items I know I need so that my closet works well with itself. It is a common frustration, I think, to find yourself with a closet full of pieces that you don't know how to wear or only know how to wear with one or two outfits. So I figure out my style. I figure out what I like in every season and what pieces I have already that can work with the next season. I put things that are quality and I know will come back in a Tupperware bin in the garage to wait for it's turn again so that I only have things in my closet that work for that season- the word "season" meaning both the weather during the specific time of year AND the current fashion/style cycle. And if it doesn't fit, it doesn't stay. It either gets donated or stored for a later time. And my rule is always: unless it's a special occasion dress or something, if I haven't worn it in the past 6 months and it isn't high quality, it gets donated to Goodwill.

I used to feel obligated to take advantage of every good price I came across until I heard someone say, "You can go poor trying to save money." And I realized that if you don't have the money, you don't have the money- sale or no sale!! So that has freed me to even let great deals go by. And I'm going to be honest and tell you that I've passed up pieces that I still mourn and think about and regret not buying. But at the end of the day I need to respect my family by following a budget and bless the Lord with the finances He has entrusted to us. 

A model once said, "Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels." But I'd say "Nothing looks as good as being financially wise feels."

brotherhood of the traveling chinos?

I have girlfriends who can buy their kid's clothes on amazingly small budgets. And I admire them greatly. In fact, I once tried to live within the budget rules one girlfriend lives on: no shirt shall cost more than $5 and no pants shall cost more than $8? $10? Doesn't matter. The point is I failed and failed miserably. I love clothes too much and can't find the duds that I'm happy with for that. That being said, I shop hard and there are only a few pieces that are extra special- the rest are wisely chosen. I did the rest of my shopping on Ebay, Amazon, and at the Carter's 40% off sale." In everything I do, I always have a budget before I start, I do what I can to stick to my budget, and it's a budget we can afford. **I've been really convicted on our journey the past few years as we learn to be wise with our money. It's a silly thing to go into debt for fashion. You may look good but you don't FEEL good when you dress beyond your wallet. That's why my purchases are very calculated and I'm forced to be creative. Sometimes not being rich is a blessing- it makes you learn how to re-use things in a new and creative way because you can't just go buy every whim and fancy. Many of my "name brand" things are really from Ebay- or take me months to save for. Learning what pieces are worth the investment and what pieces aren't has been a huge step for me.

Anyway. Back to toddler clothes!

I know two facts: 1)I have at least two boys who will wear the clothes and 2)my boys grow rather slowly, spending 5-6 months at least in the bigger sizes. So I decided I wanted to have a little more fun with their clothes. After all, I am the one who has to look at them every day! Why can't I love their clothes, too? Isn't that why we have kids? To dress them and have free labor???....

Here's a snapshot of my faves in the next size of clothes for Ro. (Liam has a Hawaiian wardrobe waiting for him in the next size up and I need to wait a little bit to see what winter pieces to add in. I'm not sure if he'll be walking or not, and I have this thing with onesies on walking peeps that I just can't get on board with... and walking or not walking will also determine what shoes/boots he needs. But his winter coat is purchased, a la ebay, and it's adorable.)I'm beyond excited that I get to buy things for cold weather!! I'm also LOVING that they make size 2T chambray shirts. <3 Daddy isn't the only one wearing bright red chinos any more ;) And do you SEE those googly-eyed monster rain/snow boots!? I mean...

Don't forget about this guy. He's gonna make many mornings a little funnier:

And I say boys need accessories, too.

Because THIS scenario doesn't seem to go over as well at church as it does at home. I don't understand why....

 Who doesn't love a little "nakey time?"

invention of personal style

I believe every outfit can, and should, be an opportunity to express your personal style. For today's post I thought I'd invite you into my closet to show you how that plays itself out for me, telling you what I'm thinking as I go. You don't have to take this literally because this is my personal style added to a pretty simple, bland outfit. But when you find yourself having a craving for your khaki chinos and sporting a wounded finger from your gangsta knife-fight with a clove of garlic, that's at least a place to start.   ;)

This is where I started. Like I said, pretty standard:

 So I decided to add a necklace. Oh, and my finger lost the war so the bandage is preventing me from doing my hair. So a hat was mandatory. But this is the beauty of a hat: it is the rescuer of all bad hair days.

The accessories helped (when choosing a necklace I needed one to work with the V-neck so it had to either hang lower or sit higher than the opening of my shirt. I went with lower because the hat would have some visual weight at the top...kind of the same reason I wear either a necklace OR earrings but never both. Keep in mind I wear big jewelry. If you wear petite pieces you don't have to follow that rule. Keep your look from being too busy by letting one piece make a statement by itself instead of making earrings and necklaces have a shouting match for attention.) But I still felt like it was washed out. Too bland of a color palate for me.

Ah yes, bright orange shoes. Excellent!
But something still looked sloppy. I didn't like that I had no silhouette. Baggy tee and baggy pants= not the most flattering thing I've ever put on. The fix? A lil' shirt tuck in the front to establish my waist and bring it in. 

It satisfied my craving for the comfy pants yet reflected my personal style. 
That will do for a grocery day.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

when animal prints.....revisted

Okay, lest I wrongly communicate the point of my last post, let me say this: matching isn't a bad thing!!! I have several girlfriends (who have said nothing to me about the last post!) whose style is matchy-matchy and they always look great. Very classy and put together. I'm not speaking down to those who match. Like I said, the way you style yourself is a personal thing! :) I find there are three main reasons for matching (as opposed to not matching but "going," if that makes sense?)
1- because that's one's personal style preference
2- because one isn't sure what colors to combine aside from those colors that match perfectly
3- because one is scared of what others will say

The bottom of the last entry spoke specifically to the third kind of matcher! (Golly, can you tell I don't want to offend anyone by that post? haha!) It's just that it's my heart 1)to equip people to be free to find their personal style and 2)to challenge us all (myself included!) to step it up and go one inch further than what is safe in attempts to learn more.

So what I'm saying is if you're afraid of what people will think, forget about them! If you're not sure how to be different than matchy-matchy but you want to, I gave you some suggestions on where to start HERE. And whatever you usually do, try to play a little bit more! Go one step further and see what you can create! Because it's fun, at the very least! :)

when animal print becomes profound

I love me some Nate Berkus. And when Nate Berkus has Genevieve Gorder [from Dear Genevieve] AND Stacy London [from What Not To Wear] both as guests on the same show, my world pretty much explodes.

Ah, nap times. ;) And today, while Nate and Genevieve were talking to a couple about the use of animal print in their home, Genevieve said something that I loved: "People tend to try and match. And that's a dirty word in design...." To which Nate added, "It is! Because when you try and match, or you try to do a theme, it takes away our own creativity."

And I realized that's exactly why I don't feel drawn to matchy-matchy anything. Not in the home and not in clothes. Because if you base your home decor or outfit based on matching, it seems to be a safe move based on what others have decided for you. It's basically like the magazine or store display person said, "Here, you can buy this lamp and this pillow because they're the same pattern and we are telling you that it looks good." Don't misunderstand me, there is nothing offensive to matching. There is just nothing personal about it- which is the basis of my entire attraction with either medium. Home decor AND personal style should be just that...personal. And when I'm styling someone else, or when I'm dressing myself each morning, my goal is to figure out what best showcases the person wearing the clothes. How can their clothes be a reflection of who they are? What makes that person different? And by the way, different is good!

I think in our heads we often think "I can't put those two colors together" or "I could never wear a necklace that big" because of the dreaded what would people say question. I get it- we could psycho analyze here and dive into where we find approval, blah blah blah... but ultimately, who cares if so-and-so thinks the necklace is crazy? Who cares if the stranger in the parking lot sees your outfit choice and thinks "Aw, poor soul. They must be color blind." Sure, that may be the case of some. I cannot tell you the number of times I have had people comment to me {or about me} about what I'm wearing and how ridiculous they find it. {And between you and I, I will admit that it gives me pride and makes me want to go a step crazier just to be like "you like that? try THIS." haha I'm a rebel. not really. but sorta.} But for most, it's the opposite. Most people assume you are some kind of color magician when you wear two colors together (or three or four!) that surprises them and they assume they just don't know any better! Use that to your favor! I swear to you, if you carry yourself in a way that says "Of course this works?? What? You didn't get the memo?" then they'll assume that they, in fact, simply didn't get the memo. Haha- Seriously!

 shirt: american eagle, necklace: o'ahu stadium flea market, jeans and shoes: old navy

Yes, I know the shoes match the red in my shirt. ;) The reason I chose to wear red shoes is because the necklace color is nowhere to be found in the shirt {royal blue, light blue, dark green, pink, and red stripes} and I wanted the necklace to be the detail that was slightly off. So I kept everything else tame. (I acknowledge that the entire outfit is pretty tame...I only had a doctor's appointment to go to today. The rest of my day is at home, so this is a happy place to exist with that agenda.) If several details seem to be misplaced, that's when things start to get questionable. But when it's just one element that is a surprise or doesn't seem to be obvious...that's perfection to me.

Here is Genevieve in a screen shot from the episode I was watching:

See! Why green shoes?? Because they are incredible! Do they match? NOPE! Not at all. Do they "go?" Absolutely!!! A safe, matching color would be black or neutral. But she picked green, and I'm a smitten kitten.

Can I take the whole "matching" thing a step further?

What if fashion and home design are actually more important than people sometimes give them credit for being? For the matchers, find out why. Is it because you don't know what colors look good? If that's all it is, find a color wheel and look to the colors immediately beside and directly across as a place to start for combinations. Or look at pictures of nature- birds, ocean life, and flowers can help inspire colors to play with. BUT, if the reason we feel confined to simply match is because we're afraid of what others will think of us, be free! Because if we worry about what others would think if we wore what we love, we aren't being confident in who we are. We're using others as a bar against which to measure ourselves, letting others say if we're doing "it" right. And that is contradictory to the whole point of "personal style." You see, I believe style (as something separate from fashion) is about much more than just wearing clothes to cover the body. I believe you can tell a great deal about a person's confidence level and their knowledge of self. And that's in addition to wielding the power to change body shape without plastic surgery, change the way you feel about yourself and what you believe are your flaws, and reflect your personality/heart without saying a word.

Who knew all of that was being expressed when you got dressed this morning? ;)

(ps- after reading this please check out THIS post. They work together as a pair.)

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

umm...biker chic fab?

This is a horrible picture in every way. There's no denying it. The flash...the pose...the face! That is because I was on a styling gig and was trying to take a quick picture while my client was in the fitting room (I guess this is one way to pass time?). Don't you love the "Don't look at me, I'm not really trying to take a picture of myself in the middle of Forever21" face I'm sporting? lol

boots: NEX, skinnies: GAP, scarf: GAP, necklace: J.Crew, black shirt: h&m, leather vest: target, purse: Macy's

The same day, I scored these babies at GAP. Regular price: $118. My price: $30. I have plans for these come December once we move to the mainland... stay tuned.

got mah hair did

I used to change my hair ALL THE TIME in college...and because of that I've had what I consider to be some great hair moments and some not so great moments. I don't ever need to re-create the look a roommate identified as the "punk rocker mullet." (The irony: she was trying to console me with that description!!!! It did NOT work.) That bad boy forced me to wear my hair back every. single. day. until it grew out. I'm not exaggerating. I have not ONE picture to prove the horror really existed anywhere other than in my head. Where it is welcome to stay, thank you very much.

And right now I'm loving my long hair. It's my favorite accessory- up, down, curls, braided, wavy, straight. Doesn't matter. I'm digging it. But I was tired of the same look. So I decided to embrace the ombre fashion while it lasted and made the jump. First time, I might add, that I have ever had a professional dye my hair.

The before:

 The after:

And this was on the drive home...not too shabby, is it? ;)

time off and a new era

So I was looking and it's been basically a month since I last blogged...partly because I'm just enjoying a vacation and partially because I'm having an identity crisis and I think I have finally solved it. I need two blogs. Well, I technically already have two- there is one for cooking that I have started with two other girlfriends and I actually need to write in it. You can see it HERE: Rachel has been the lone ranger holding it down. So I guess I should say that I need a THIRD. This is ridiculous.

I need one for my Its Becker Styling clientele to be able to see my style and find the pricing packages but I need another for private home life, opinions on pop culture topics, family, and cooking. So, with that in mind, I shall explain the new breakdown:

For fashion, style, and all things styling-related, keep coming here.

And for all other posts, you can go HERE. The actual address is www.aredletterlife.wordpress.com.

Anyway, back to business! I had a styling gig today and this is the outfit:

shirt: banana republic, pants: american eagle, shoes: old navy,  belt: target, watch: michael kors, necklace: etsy

Keeping it simple but feeling good. :)