Choosing the right colors when you’re getting dressed can make your skin glow, your figure look amazing, and your outfit stand out for all the right reasons. Learn how to create interesting color combinations and wear color strategically with these helpful tips from blogger and fashion consultant Reachel Bagley.

How To Choose Complimentary Colors

SB: You do such a phenomenal job creating colorful outfits. Do you have any advice for someone looking to incorporate color into their wardrobe?

RB: I love to experiment with color harmonies (complementary, analogous, monochromatic, etc).  Complementary (colors opposite each other on the color wheel) are great when you want a pop.  But to avoid looking like a seasonal decoration or an homage to a sports team, choose tints, shades, or other variations on primary hues, for example- burgundy & mint rather than red and green, or powder blue & flame in favor or blue and orange.  Buy a color wheel from the art store, and start playing around with it.

Color Combination Ideas

SB: How do you come up with your color palettes? How can people develop their own color palettes?

RB: Many mornings I start by holding one item alongside a series of others in my closet.  If I feel like wearing a top, I run the color against my skirts or pants until I see something I like.  Don’t be afraid to cross pollinate your closet.  Break out of the box that “one top shall only be paired with one bottom.”

SB: What are your favorite color combinations?

RB: I’m drawn to color triads, which means the colors are equally spaced from each other on the color wheel.  The most classic option is red, yellow, and blue, adding the yellow immediately breaks the Patriotic connection. But I also love teal, magenta, and chartreuse. Whether the colors are pale, dark, bright, or muted, doesn’t matter.  When you have all three hues in a single outfit, it immediately feels balanced, yet unexpected.

SB: How can our readers use color to make the most of their figure?

RB: Darker colors minimize, brighter colors enhance.  So if you have an area of your figure you want to spotlight, apply bright, bold colors.  I also highly recommend knowing which colors work best with your complexion.  Wear the colors that make your eyes sparkle and your cheeks glow, closest to your face.  Even if a color isn’t your best match, you can always wear it on the bottom, or as an accessory.

SB: How can I make sure that my colors and prints work together without being overwhelming?

RB: Overwhelming is definitely something you need to identify on your personal style spectrum.  What is garish to one person is gorgeous to another. Find out your own range and then push the edges.  If you’re a neutral-solid gal, push yourself to experiment in monochromatic tones: pairing lavender and wine is still technically monochromatic since both colors are from the same purple family.  Another option for the easily overwhelmed would be a a neon bit of jewelry or a printed belt.  A little pop can make a big impact.

SB: How can color and pattern be incorporated into a small wardrobe without feeling limiting?

RB: We’ve already discussed how to expand your options with color, but don’t be afraid to mix and match patterns.  Choose one dominant pattern, like a floral or plaid, something with more colors, a larger scale, etc.  Then select a supporting pattern like gingham, polka dots, stripes, supporting patterns  have fewer colors, a smaller scale, a simpler aesthetic.  Then link the dominant and supporting patterns with a common color.  Remember, it doesn’t have to match, in fact, I like it better when it doesn’t.

SB: What is your advice for integrating texture into a colorful wardrobe outfit?

RB: Color and texture are two components of the five-set fashion categories of interest.  The remaining three are pattern, shape, and shine.   I recommend adding at least three points of interest to any outfit to ensure a compelling combination.  So…you could combine a lace top (texture), bright modern skirt (color), and animal print shoes (pattern) or assemble distressed jeans (texture), a draped tee (shape), and mismatched bracelets (shine).  It’s a simple formula that everyone can follow regardless of their shape or style.

SB: If someone has a wardrobe full of good basics, how do they take the next step to inject a little personality into their outfits?

RB: Basic doesn’t have to mean boring.  When you’re putting together an expressive outfit, it’s not that different than writing an expressive statement.  You don’t need a lot of fancy vocabulary, you just need it to be honest and fresh.  Choose items that are true to you, then pair them unexpectedly (ie something fancy with something casual).  Or make minor adjustments, cuff your pants, tuck or tie your shirt, make it your own.
Get more style inspiration from Reachel at Cardigan Empire

Pinterest has tons of images of perfectly organized, bedroom-sized closets – making it seem like such rooms are commonplace. Unfortunately, for most of us, the best closet we have is a standard walk-in or at worst, no closet at all. Lack of space doesn’t mean that you can’t have the benefits of a beautiful and functional clothing storage. Amanda LeBlanc, personal organizer and spokesperson for custom closet maker Organized Living, walks us through how to deal with a small closet space. Her tips on how to fit all your shoes, what to do if your bedroom has no closet, and how to keep it neat after it’s organized are just what you need!

Organized_Living_Stylebook_AmandaLeBlanc3

photo courtesy of Organized Living

SB: Many women only have a small reach-in closet. What is the most effective way to store shoes in a situation like this? 

AL: Always place shoes heel-to-toe next to one another so you have more space, width-wise, on a shelf. Storing shoes this way also helps you find shoes quicker. For instance, if you have several pairs of black shoes with different heels, you can see both the front and the back of the shoe to allow Read More

Could you resist shopping for an entire year? Holding off on buying a second pair of boots could help you save money for retirement, a house or vacation. In order to make it to your goal, you may find that you need to do more with the clothes you already own. Maria Von Losch, San Diego stylist and TV host, refrained from making any purchases for 365 days – and she wore a cute outfit every day. We talked to her about how she did it and asked her for tips so we could try 30 days of no shopping for ourselves.

SB: Why did you start your “365 no shopping” challenge? 

MVL: I really had no choice. I spent all my savings on shopping because I was in shock from my husband deciding that he no longer wanted to be married, out of the blue. I also thought it would be a great way to revisit all the pieces in my closet that I’ve ignored for years. I decided to blog about it daily to keep accountable, share my story and inspire other women.

SB: What were some challenges and how did you overcome them? 

MVL: Some of the challenges I faced were keeping on trend for each season, taking my outfit photo & blogging everyday and trying to date/have a relationship while having to explain why I had to blog every night and said guy might have to take my outfit pics. That didn’t go over with some guys. Read More

petite styling tips

photos courtesy of View From 5ft 2

If you’re under 5’4″, you’ve probably felt frustration while sifting through frumpy pleated pants and sweater sets in the Petite section of your local department store. Finding petite clothes that are youthful and stylish are Christine Petric‘s specialty. As a 5’2″ fashion blogger, she has gathered a list of petite resources that include both specialty and petite-friendly standard sizes. We asked her where she shops and her top petite styling tips.

SB: What are your favorite stores for stylish petite clothes?

CP: ​I love Anthropologie‘s broad selection as well as ASOS for my fast fashion pieces. J.Crew and LOFT do a great job of curating their best pieces in petite sizing and I can always find goodies at Nordstrom that fit! I put all of my petite shopping favorites in one place on my blog for quick reference as well!​

best stores for petite sizes

J.Crew – dress, ASOS – coat, Anthropologie – sweater, Nordstrom – leather jacket, LOFT – skirt

Read More

Blogger Lindsay Mayer of Shipshow

Blogger Lindsay Mayer of Shipshow: illustration of Moschino sweatshirt – Lindsay Mayer

As a blogger and fashion forecaster, Lindsay Mayer writes about fashion designers’ influence on mass-market retailers. She tracks down low-cost options for looks she spots on the runway and breaks down how retail evolves to fit new trends. We asked her about her favorite fall trends and how we can also find high fashion at low prices.

SB: You have an uncanny ability to find items that look like they’re right off the runway but are available at less expensive stores. If I see something I like, what are your tips for finding a low-cost option?  Read More

You don’t have to be a fashion editor to know that wearing clothes that fit you well can be the difference between looking chic or dumpy. Author and image consultant Nancy Nix-Rice discusses how to identify a good fit, no matter where you shop.

Perfect Fit T-Shirt

crew neck tee – GAP, baseball tee – Forever21

“Even the priciest clothes look awkward and unattractive if they don’t fit perfectly.  And fit means a lot more than just ‘I can zip it.’  A garment should flow gracefully over your body, neither hugging too much or adding bulk in any area.  Given the diversity of female body shapes, an off-the-rack garment is likely to require some alteration to achieving great fit, but the comfort and style are well worth the investment.” – Nancy Nix-Rice 

Q. What are some guidelines to follow to select clothing that’s well-proportioned to my body?

Proportion is primarily about how the lengths of various garment components align with your body. The key is having hemlines – major design horizontals – hit at body areas that can benefit from the attention they draw and not break the outfit into a 50:50 ratio. Read More

How To Choose The Best Swim Suit

high-waisted bikini – Orchid Boutique

It’s officially swimsuit season and, as usual, I feel excitement and a little dread when thinking about what bathing suit I’m going to buy. Thankfully, Marisa of Orchid Boutique laid my fears to rest by answering my most pressing questions about how to choose the right swimsuit. She even shared a few tips on how to take care of my swim suits too!

SB: I’ve been working on flatter abs for a while but haven’t gotten there yet. Are there any tricks to distract from a midsection that isn’t perfectly toned?

MR: Definitely. We get this question a lot and we always suggest a high-waisted bikini! Why not add that extra fashion flair with a retro-style swimsuit? You’ll have more coverage around the belly area, and in turn it elongates the torso. High waisted bottoms are super stylish right now anyway, so it’s a win-win.

Create The Illusion Of Flat Abs

green bikini – Topshop, ruffle bikini – Orchid Boutique, red color block bikini – Marc by Marc Jacobs, blue bandeau bikini – Orchid Boutique

SB: Underwire or no underwire – how do I know which one is best for me?

MR: Underwire tops are so popular because you have that added benefit of lifting up or pushing up the cleavage area. You also have that extra support on top. I would say the ultimate factor of whether or not you want an underwire is if they are comfortable to you. A lot of women find underwires either extremely comfortable, or not at all. So make sure you know your comfort level before choosing that extra push up. Read More

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