Month: June 2014

Shoreside Shanties to Summer Style

Be sure to check out this story in a special feature at JustLuxe.com

Rolling down Beach Avenue on my cruiser in historic Cape May, New Jersey, I couldn’t help but slow down and dreamily admire the fine architecture and interesting homes that lined the streets. Said to be one of the oldest vacation destinations in the United States, the city of Cape May, which lies on the southernmost tip of New Jersey where the Delaware Bay meets the Atlantic Ocean, is in its entirety a National Historic Landmark precisely due to this collection of colorful and quirky Victorian homes that date back to the late 1800s.

In the midst of checking out the ensembles of beachgoers and stealthily admiring the details of the pink bed-and-breakfasts, I started to realize that the two had a lot in common. Those who appreciate a well-made home, embellished with shoreside eccentricities and bright colors, also love a finely-made piece of clothing that can’t be found elsewhere and contain unique charms. If you’re looking for your newest beach gem – outfit, that is – use the same home whimsicalities you look for when you’re roaming the neighborhood.

1. A colorful Victorian is equal to a vibrant dress. Back home, you’re probably surrounded by whites, grays, and yellows – all neutral colors that are a fine fit for a classic neighborhood. But shoreside boroughs are like wild animals – these are never the colors of choice. Instead, owners choose to stand out by painting in turquoise, magenta, cobalt, and indigo. Get a little luxuriant with your summer wardrobe picks too – instead of opting for your classic colors, think outside the box and invest in the colors made for summer.

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2. A well-stocked garden is akin to a brimming outfit. When you see shoreside homes worth rolling the windows down for, are they white Colonials with bushes lining the walkway or are they periwinkle mansions with gardens packed full of flowers, bushes, gnomes, wind chimes, and animals? I’m betting the latter. Rules run slim in summer fashion as well, so take advantage of it. Instead of omitting those funky accessories, go for it and pile on the bracelets, the new summer wedges, the designer bag, and the colorful dress. Pack your outfit full of all the beautiful pieces that match – don’t be shy and don’t be modest.

3. An offbeat home is kindred to an uncommon outfit. Cape May communities are no golf court colonies – instead, people make the most in trying to differentiate themselves from their neighbors, making for some colorful and customized homes where one will never be like the other. When choosing your ensembles for your shoreside days, don’t bother following the most recent trends to a T, but instead, get creative and customize so that you too can create something (or find something) that’s one of a kind.

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4. A finely-detailed roof is the same as your best accessories. You’ll never see these million-dollar-plus beach homes with a hair out of place – or a brick, that is. Instead, every bit of these classic Victorians is customized to the highest degree and no detail is omitted. Details are what separates the fair from the fantastic. Accessories, the details of the home, are not to be forgotten either and invest in posh, grandiose pieces in shoes, earrings, necklaces, bags and bracelets because people always notice.

5. A misshapen home is similar to an angled dress. Building space is limited, which is why architects get artsy with their angles and makes homes fit and make sense in ways that often end up to be beautiful and distinguished. Get creative with your angles too – don’t have a closet full of all empire-waist dresses, but instead hold a collection of wrap dresses, cropped shirts and maxi skirts, high-neck dresses, and A-lines.

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I Hate Everything

Some people are into bathrooms. Some want a nice kitchen. I’ve always wanted a well-lit, well-organized and charming walk-in closet. I dreamed of all of my beautiful things organized and in their places for me to see each morning.

Instead, up until yesterday, I had the Closet of Nightmares – so little that my clothes had been unceremoniously stuffed into various drawers, dressers, and closets throughout the house. It all felt so wrong – pieces that I had, in some cases, spent hundreds of dollars on lay sadly on forgotten dark floors, never to be seen again.

Being that there was no new closet in sight (oh and I also moved six times last year and twice this year) I had been getting rid of an alarming amount of stuff – they were shipped to foreign sellers via eBay, hung on dirty consignment shop racks, lay on the bottom of my lucky friends’ closets, or sat in collection boxes in parking lots. God knows how much money was now wasted. Even still, with the items I was lukewarm about now finally gone, nothing still fit in my closet.

That is, until a miracle happen and I got a closet. I think my mom got fed up with my dramatics and finally convinced her ex-boyfriend (because who do you have if you don’t have an ex-boyfriend to do your handiwork for you) to install two rods in the Closet of Nightmares, giving me what could be considered two closets (which is literally two more than I had before).

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This is not mine.

All of a sudden, I had all this space! All these hangers and lights! It was like a dream. I skipped about our house and collected my belongings from the terrible corners they had been subjected to for the past few months and brought them back heroically to my room. I organized them by color (obviously), set them up neatly and prepared for the euphoria which I was sure would ensue once I realized what an astounding collections of beautiful belongings I had.

It didn’t come.

Instead, I squinted my eyes and wondered, What happened to all my stuff? How was it that this new double-closet fit for a queen was seemingly… empty?

Using my investigative gifts, I delved into my Facebook photos and scrolled through all 2000 of them. I came to a frightening conclusion – I had sold or given away literally every item I had bought before the end of last summer. Nothing in my closet had survived more than a few short months. I was a binge buyer… and cleaner.

Why was this? Was it because I’m cheap and I get off on buying crappy items before getting sick of them and chucking them out the door? Was I too easily swayed at the mall? And on top of that, why didn’t I really like the stuff I still did have either?

I explained my dilemma to my mother, who clearly did not understand me at all. She told me I was “just hating everything today” and that I shouldn’t be so quick to buy things… or to throw them away. (Mind you half of those things I had “given away” had been to her).

So it seems that I am now in need of a rather thorough shopping spree since I can count the outfits I can put together on two hands. It’s probably for the best that I live at home now.

Do you go on closet clean-out binges? Do you ever regret what you bid goodbye? How much do you have to like something to keep it?

Why You Need Pinterest For Your Virtual Closet

“Wow Pinterest? So last year.”

This was a tweet I read that made me a little sad – Pinterest? My favorite social media? So last year?! 

Even though I’m a news fiend, a tech junkie, and a fashionado, I’m definitely not trendy. I’m not great with knowing what the coolest latest trends are, I’m can’t convince myself to purchase the coolest and latest pieces, and I can barely even keep up with what everyone is wearing, probably because the only television I watch is Netflix documentaries. Sorry.

But this is precisely why I love Pinterest, the most underutulized social media in the realm – it’s like a little Twittersphere for your life; in fun little pictures. Who doesn’t love that?

Even if you’re not a blog, a website, or a business (in which you should already have a Pinterest account, but we’ll get into that later), here are a just a few reasons why you should take the three minutes needed to create an account for your closet…  and then spending hours perusing it in search of the creation of the perfect board.

It’s a sampling of the trendiest stuff on the Internet right now. Even though you wish you could be, you’re probably not at the mall at this moment, however Pinterest is like a virtual mall in the fact that it’s showing, real-time, what people are wearing right this moment. If you take a look at the Women’s Fashion board, what you’ll see if the most recent and popular pins of the moment you clicked on the link. You’ll easily see who’s wearing what, how, and when.

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You can showcase your own stuff and it will be pinned based on merit. All over Pinterest, although you will see pins by famous magazines, designers, and labels, you’ll also see some significant followings for people just like you. What does this mean? That if you put a cool outfit together, snap a pic, post it, and you’ll quickly see how the Pinterestsphere rates you in the number of repins you get. The repins don’t stop after a select amount of time like Twitter does – instead, trends reinvent themselves on Pinterest and I’m still getting repins on stuff I posted a year ago.

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It’s the best way to collect your inspiration for your outfits-to-be. Bought yourself a checked blazer you know that you want to wear but you’re not exactly how? No problem. You can just search for “checked blazer” and tons of outfits that utilized the piece are going to pop up and you can peruse through and see how you’re gonna put this baby together. That’s way better than letting it sit in your closet for six months before you figure out a way to wear it. Think of Pinterest as your personal, daily, and virtual magazine.

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You can follow all of your favorite designers, stylists and bloggers in one image-driven place. Although you can follow them on Instagram or Twitter to get snapshots of what they’re doing and chats about what they’re feeling, Pinterest is a gallery in that you can see hundreds of designs, ideas, and inspirations in one snapshot – plus you’ll get a complete view of the most recent items in your feed.

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Fashion: Your Career Investment

Even though I work for a major corporation and there are definitely some corporate effects of this circumstance (no comment), not all aspects of my job jive with the stereotype – especially that of business attire.

I work in media. Not in the medical field, the legal field, or even the education field, but in media, where all fashion bets are off. In the weeks before I started working, I stocked up on my fancy business slacks, my patent-leather heels, and my expensive blouses. I was actually worried that I was going to look stupid and underdressed in this new sea of adults. But when I walked in on the first day, I was shocked to see jeans, flip-flops and t-shirts.

Not that this is a bad thing, but it certainly threw some of my perceptions of Corporate America out the window. All of a sudden, I didn’t need all that fancy stuff I bought! I didn’t need to wear heels, put on makeup, or even graduate from my college uniform of leggings and free t-shirts. However, one years later, here I am… still sporting my overpriced J. Crew wardrobe.

Why is this? Not only did I already buy the stuff, but I truly feel that you need to dress for the job you want, not the job you have, cliche as that is. If someone walks into an office and sees everyone wearing holey shirts and one person wearing a suit, who are they going to assume is in charge? Yup. That’s right. You.

My 5′ frame and miraculous ability to be mistaken for a 16-year-old may make it so this never ever happens, plus I don’t really need anyone to mistake me for the boss. But the truth is this – the simple ability to put together an ensemble that is appropriate and professional, even in the midst of jeans and Ugg boots, will let people know that you are serious. Even if you’re at the bottom of the totem pole, people will know you’re in it for the long haul (even if you’re not) and all it took was a few extra minutes of getting ready.

Just because your office is casual doesn’t mean that you need to be casual too. Don’t show up in three-piece suits if everyone else is in jeans, but don’t be afraid to raise the bar a little bit either, even if you’re the new kid on the block. See dressing nicely and professionally as your investment in yourself, because even if it’s not today or even tomorrow, one day you won’t be the new kid anymore. When that day finally does come, do you want someone to see you as the boss-to-be… or the intern?

Kerr