Seattle’s Best Holiday Gifts

Let’s be honest. One big reason we are stressed during the holidays is we have no idea what to buy those people in our lives who seem to have everything they need. For those individuals, we must go the extra mile, do a little more research, to find just “the thing.” Who has time for that?! On the eve of Small Business Saturday, I am saving your hide with my short list of the best gifts in Seattle from some of our finest small businesses.

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Buki Blanket (Travel Wrap) – I have been in love with this luxurious blanket/wrap since I laid eyes on it earlier this year, vowing to buy one for my travels. I am happy to report I finally nabbed this beauty (in red trim, naturally) just in time for cozy nights on my couch watching holiday movies (Home Alone, anyone?). In my January post about Buki, I explained about the fabric Joey Rodolfo, Buki co-founder and designer, has developed, which they call Kinoki-3.0. This fabric does not pill, does not stretch out (though it moves easily with your body), warms and cools your body depending upon the atmosphere (indoors or out), and, best of all, it is wash and wear! This blanket is a must-have for your favorite gal on the go. I just took it on a trip, and I can attest to its comfort and thermal regulation. The soft gray fabric is trimmed in your choice of cobalt, red or silver (allow the photos above to scroll to see all three). Looking chic while covering up isn’t easy. Buki has nailed it. Buki is offering 20% off site-side this weekend with the code BUKIME. Or go into the store downtown to see it for yourself (1826 6th Avenue).

Salua’s Classic Cotton Pajamas – When I travel, I love buying something for my wardrobe because it means I will have something no one else will have. We are in luck that Shadia, owner Salua Atelier Lingerie, brings us a little bit of Columbia right here to Seattle. Shadia’s mother founded the company in her home country in 1993. Her luxurious lingerie swiftly gained popularity in Columbia by women who wanted the country’s finest sleepwear. Shadia’s beautiful little boutique has been open in Madrona since 2009, and Salua’s classic pajamas in Rayita Stripes are the most recent to hit the store. Hurry in or purchase online. They will go fast. Shadia is offering 20% off store-wide today! If you need something “special” to go under your pajamas, Shadia and her staff will be happy to assist you.

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flora and henri signature fragrances – The flora and henri concept lifestyle shop, which opened this summer in a gorgeously renovated Pioneer Square space on First Ave., has recently launched two signature fragrances they developed in collaboration with Chelsey Owen of Atelier Madrona. Alcazar Palace opens with orange blossoms, settling into orange flower, jasmine and violet, and finishing with vetiver, white musk and ambrette. Isle of May has a lemon top note, heart notes of violet, raspberry and marigold, and background notes of vetiver, rose, iris and ambrette. These fragrances are available in three sizes, and I love both. They are approachable, yet unique, leaving a dazzling impression. Trust me, you will want one of these as your new signature scent. Beyond fragrance, flora and henri has a tightly-curated selection of unique items for all ages, starting with babies. If you need something special for someone special, flora and henri is your shop.

IMG_1477Sharply’s aviator sunglasses by Randolph Engineering – There was a little film released in the summer of 1986 called Top Gun. Perhaps you’ve heard of it? The main character, Maverick, made the life of an Air Force fighter pilot look very cool. At the heart of his look were those supremely cool sunglasses made by Randolph Engineering for the U.S. Air Force. In 1986, there was no internet, so getting your hands on those coveted shades was no easy task (but I managed it). Thank goodness times have changed, and thank goodness Sharply knows what the ultimate cool man wants to wear. You will find these fantastic sunglasses on Sharply’s website under Other Stuff. Beyond having the coolest shades on the planet, Sharply offers a smart selection of menswear, luggage, bags and small accessories unmatched in Seattle. I guarantee Sharply has something your guy wants. Sharply, located in Seattle’s Capital Hill neighborhood, is offering 25% off in the store and online this weekend with the code TURKEYCOMA25 (fitting).

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The four shops mentioned here not only offer the coolest stuff in Seattle, but they are also run by the nicest people you will ever meet. Who doesn’t love doing business with awesome people? Happy Shopping! Shop local, shop small. Actual people do a happy dance when you do!

My best,

Bethany

(All in-store photos by me.)

Faux Fur is the Current Direction

IMG_0756If you’re concerned about faux fur as a dying trend, don’t be. Faux fur is one of the biggest trends of Fall 2017, as I mentioned in my previous post. In fact, faux fur, with the advancements in fabrication technology, is getting better each year, almost indiscernible from the real thing.

You could argue faux fur is hotter now than the real thing. Many designers are shunning real fur from their lines completely, Gucci being the most recent design house to announce a fur ban. Gucci chief executive and president Marco Bizzarri told Business of Fashion, “Do you think using furs today is still modern? I don’t think it’s still modern and that’s the reason why we decided not to do that. It’s a little bit out-dated.” I agree. For the record, I own furs. I have always purchased vintage pieces, which is marginally better than buying from the current fur market, but I know some may find my ownership of any real furs to be offensive.

It is, perhaps, with the new direction of the industry in mind (and the ethical treatment of animals) that I have recently purchased two pieces of faux fur: a black jacket (photo above) from H&M and an off-white vest (photo below) from Top Shop, both of which have already seen airplay during this chilly fall in Seattle.

My readers have asked me to start linking pieces similar to those I wear in Instagram and Facebook posts. With that, here is a run-down of similar faux fur pieces.

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My black faux fur is sold out, but I am totally digging the dramatic flair of this oversized black and white fur, also from H&M.

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And this one from Forever 21 is giving me all the feels! It’s chic, sophisticated and looks luxurious, and it comes in three color choices.

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If you love my vest above, I am linking the same one here.

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And I love this one in the color of the season, also from Top Shop.

I have been on the hunt for years for a leopard faux fur jacket like the one Kate Moss has been known to wear. While I cannot justify yet another purchase of outerwear with my jacket and coat closet beyond full, I have found a few to entice you. Allow the photos to scroll through to see them all.

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The short hooded one is Ann Taylor, a great length for not too cold days. The longer, classic style (like Kate Moss’s) is by Vince Camuto, a line known for on-trend, good quality fashion. Lastly, the thigh-length car coat style by Forever 21 is my favorite and the best value!

I have given you much to consider. If you did not see a faux fur here that you love, let me know, and we will hunt together for one that is just right!

Enjoy your weekend, and I hope you have snuggle, faux fur weather soon wherever you are!

Best,

Bethany

 

 

 

Fall 2017 Must Haves

Some might say this blog post is late. We’ve been talking fall trends since late summer. However, the way that I like to shop, which means waiting for sales, this blog post is just in time. Make your list and, if you are a particularly patient kind, wait for the bigger mark downs in November and December, my favorite time to shop for fall fashion.

Now that you are aware of the vibe of the season from my previous blog post, let’s get down to specifics.

There are always a lot of themes floating down the fashion runways, but the one that stood out as the most ubiquitous for Fall 2017 was the 1980’s, the decade where more was more. Fall 2017 gives us metallic fabric; sharp, exaggerated shoulders; oversized, menswear-inspired blazers; slouchy boots; bomber jackets; studs on everything and colored fur. The list continues with pointy toe ankle boots, berets, stirrup pants and slash pumps.

I sometimes wonder if we have collectively stepped into a time machine back to the 80’s. However, before you go digging through your trunk of old treasures, remember when a trend returns, it is usually much different than the original. In fashion, things are rarely the same way twice.

Beyond the 1980’s theme, here are the big hits for Fall:

IMG_0554Dark floral – This can be anything from a pair of pants to a blouse or a dress or a pair of boots. You decide. Dark floral means the background color is dark, either black or navy, generally. I love this Joie shell, which is on sale and would be gorgeous under a blazer. My pants are Zara. They are sold out; however, I adore this Zara pair, and for a similar color scheme and look, this pair works.

Red – Again, this is one where you pick. Red is everywhere from garments to accessories. I found it difficult to decide since red is my favorite color. For now, I’ve invested in a dark red tote similar to this one, a pair of bright red rain boots similar to this style, and this pair of wine-colored suede booties. I should stop right there.

IMG_0812Velvet – It is the fabric that refuses to go away. It is everywhere this season, especially on bags, boots and heels. Aren’t the Prada sandals here super dreamy? I’ve linked it in case you must have them. ; ) I would love a long velvet skirt to take from day to night, or a dark blue velvet blazer would be dreamy. You could combine two trends into one by investing in a dark red velvet blazer!

IMG_0763Faux fur – If you happen to live in a climate that is warm, maybe you go for a faux fur vest, a denim jacket with a faux fur collar or a bootie with a peek of faux fur. But if you live in a place where winter is truly winter, go for it with a cool, faux fur jacket or coat.

For those who like a feminine style, there is so much for you to love about Fall 2017, including lace, sequins, crystals and lots of glitter, along with sheer stockings, bows and knife pleat skirts. This Ted Baker pleated skirt is especially eye-catching!

For those with an edgier, modern style, you’ll find white boots, leather everything, high-waist denim and lots of words and messages to communicate your causes. Prabal Gurung put out quite a few graphic t-shirts if you like that sort of thing. As far as white boots go, a friend of mine said they look like what the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders wear. Well, she has a point. But how about this gorgeous pair of off white booties?

Every season, there is something for everyone. If you need help navigating the sea of trends, I would be happy to sit down with you to pinpoint your best ones. Send me a message! Happy shopping!

The Vibe of Fall 2017

Before I run down the list of the Fall 2017 trends (in a follow-up blog), let’s talk about the mood of the season. It is helpful to lasso the season’s energy, its vibe, because each fall you will find your favorite trends in someone’s collection whether it’s fur, leopard, tweed, trench coats, etc. The trend list may look the same year to year, but the mood of the season is what truly defines it.

Here are the biggest feels from Fall 2017:

  • Dare to be noticed.IMG_0723 Red is once again the color of the season. Red never takes a fall season off. However, it is a bolder, brighter shade of red this year, and it is ubiquitous. It is on bags, boots, tops, and head-to-toe outfits. On top of red’s popularity, yellow is fast on its heels, and if there are two “hello, I’m here” colors in this world, it would be red and yellow. Pick one and rock it. There are many ways to stand out this season beyond color. Designers outdid themselves with carefully and intricately designed boots, bags and clothing, mixing textures and colors in new ways. If standing out to you is more about the design than a color, you will find many choices this season.

  • Dare to be different. IMG_8832This season has thrown fashion rules a giant curve ball. We are wearing sequins to the office, leather to the grocery store and velvet from sun up to sun down. Rules?! Please, those days are over. We make our own rules now, and we wear what pleases us. What have you always wanted to try but have dared not? Well, this is your season to step up and give it a go! Fall 2017 is playful and happy. There is no room for rules when you’re having this much fun.

  • Dare to be kooky. IMG_0806This vibe builds upon the two above. Designers are asking us to get a little bit crazy. There are countless wacky combinations this season: tweed and feather skirts, head-to-toe denim (in the same shade of denim) and all-white outfits (including white boots) to name a few. I love what Simon Doonan wrote for the September issue of Harper’s Bazaar, “Strange is the new black. When you dress strangely, you keep the spotlight where it should be – on YOU. Everyone else on the planet is so busy trying to look normal that you, with your eccentric fashion choices, are able to be an utter raving, screaming standout.”

If all of this sounds and feels a bit overwhelming, take the advice of Lisa Armstrong, also in the September issue of Harper’s Bazaar, who wrote a piece on the season’s trends, “The Best of What’s New.” Lisa wants us to look at trends in a new way. Rather than viewing trends as those things you have moved beyond with your style, think of them as your updates for the year, the wardrobe refreshers. Lisa wrote, “Trend awareness is not about being a literalist but about tapping into moods and keeping current in your own way. You don’t have to radically upend your style each season. Sometimes the subtlest switch is all it takes to reset.”

IMG_0823As you approach the new season, keep these things in mind. Let’s make this the season of “make you smile” style! Lastly, if you need help navigating the season, call me! I am always ready to help! Have a fabulous week. Fall Fashion Trends 2017 is up next…

Thank you to the amazing Jenna at Styled Out West for the photos of me. xo All other photos are by me.

Local Fashion Designers Shine

IMG_0986Anyone who knows me even just a little bit knows that I am a champion for small businesses. My love for fashion and my desire to help further the dreams of others drive my support of local fashion designers. That is why I love the Independent Designer Runway Show at Bellevue Fashion Week. This show features designers who are looking to break into a wider fashion market. The show that is presented each September is six months in the making from the selection of the designers to the mentoring of them by the panel of judges.

I will keep my commentary short and focus on showing you what each designer showcased last night. Terri Morgan and her team at TCM Models & Talent did another stellar job with the show. Enjoy.

Jersey Virago by Meagan Kruz:

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Poppyseed by Rebekah Adams (the eventual winner!):

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Stone Crow Designs by Jennifer Charkow:

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Lourdes E Eva by Nora Suarez:

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Paloma Hurtado by Paloma Hurtado:

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Gustavo Apiti Couture by Gustave Apiti:

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The last designer to show, Chany Venturini by Maria Venturini, was also voted the fan favorite:

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I was honored to wear Cute Like Mad’s Hedvig silk dress by Jeanette Svensk Li:

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Congratulations to all of the designers! The show was such fun to watch. You should be very proud of your hard work. (All runway photos are my own and may not be used without express permission.)

Happy Friday and Happy Weekend!

Wine, Women & Shoes

On Friday, November 10 at The Fairmont Olympic hotel in downtown Seattle, local fashionistas and supporters of Olive Crest will gather to sip, nibble and bid their way through the night for a wonderful cause. Olive Crest Foundation works to prevent child abuse, treats and educates at-risk youth, and assists in finding foster and adoptive homes for area children.

IMG_0824The cause is reason enough to attend; however, the pot is sweetened with wine and culinary tastings, a fashion show produced by Styled Seattle, featuring notable area women as models, marketplace shopping of local boutiques, a live and a silent auction, and an opportunity to win the night’s coveted prize, a “Key to the Closet,” which unlocks a prize package valued at over $10,000.

And did I mention “Shoe Guys?” Several local menswear style bloggers are raising funds and lending their hands at the festivities by passing champagne to guests, showcasing merchandise on silver platters and serving as table hosts. The Shoe Guy who raises the most money for Olive Crest will be crowned the “King of Sole” at the event.

Last, but certainly not least, Blue Nile is partnering with Wine, Women & Shoes to add a Luxe Ticket option which includes a table for 10 guests, prime seating for the runway show, hair and make-up, a champagne reception, a guest suite, valet parking, deluxe swag bags and an opportunity to wear Blue Nile jewelry for the evening.

IMG_0803For more information about the event, its partners and sponsors, go to the Wine, Women & Shoes website. Tickets may be purchased here. I look forward to seeing you there! Not sure what to wear? I can help. “Nothing to wear” is never a reason to miss a fabulous evening!

Social Media, For Better or For Worse?

IMG_0397Somewhere along the way, I got off track with social media. On the one hand, social media has great benefits including staying in touch across the miles, promoting your business and finding a new job. But there is a balance one should maintain, and I, during the last two years especially, was doing a terrible job of pulling back when I should.

My first social media account was on MySpace. I know I am dating myself! As everyone knows, MySpace was eclipsed by Facebook, which I joined in mid-2008, four years after it launched, hesitant to go where I thought only college students tread. Other social media formats followed, and it was not long before we were Tweeting, Pinning, Snap Chatting and Instagramming with people far and near.

I created a business page on Facebook, and I joined Twitter as a means of raising my business profile for my new career in image consulting. It worked. By late 2010, I was receiving business from Google searches. Pinterest swept me into its arms in 2011, and I built boards geared at educating clients and keeping myself on top of trends. I joined Instagram in 2013, mostly to maintain a presence to avoid looking like a dinosaur. One must keep up!IMG_9991

I spent a good amount of time building a following across these four platforms, in addition to my personal business website and my blog. The time I spent on social media was mostly reasonable, and it rarely eclipsed the day-to-day work required of a small business. By 2014, my business was on a roll. I was speaking at least once per quarter and working with a steady stream of personal clients. I give a lot of props to social media for this momentum.

Yet, after our move to Seattle in January 2015, I became depressed and I collapsed into social media as an escape. The mere idea of starting over in a new city drained me of all energy, and I spent more and more time immersed in a world of highlight reels.

My husband tried to talk to me about my social media use on a few occasions, and each time I became defensive. I was homesick, and I missed my friends. Seeing them on social media was my way of being with them. On a deeper level, I was angry at my husband for this big change, and retreating into social media was one way I could punish him. What I realize now is I was punishing myself by missing out on life with my family. I was often choosing social media over them. The happy moments occurring right under my nose were going unnoticed and unappreciated.

IMG_0127Social media, at first an innocent escape, became a robber in my life. It robbed me of time, motivation, confidence and joy. When I finally decided to pull my head out of my rear and examine my social media use, I realized my husband was right and I was wrong. He was not asking me to give up social media. He understands the benefit of it for my business. He was simply asking for more of me at the appropriate times.

The solution that worked for my husband and me is we drew up a schedule of when neither of us would be on social media at all. With a few slips here and there, we have stuck to it. The things I need to do for my brand marketing are easily condensed, and I am feeling much more engaged with my husband and my kids. Further, I am reading more, working out again, and doing other things that bring me happiness and fulfillment, like writing.

If you are struggling to pull back from your phone, here are a few tips:

  • Set a time schedule of when you will or won’t be on social media.
  • Keep a log of when you are on social media, and write down the reasons you are using it. Escaping occasionally into social media is fine. Escaping for several hours per day when there is important work to do is not okay.
  • Ask your partner how he/she feels about your social media use, and adjust where needed. It might enhance (or save) your relationship.
  • Remember your social media feed is not real life. If you feel you are missing out, you are. Look up from your phone and observe the world around you. Don’t miss it!

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