2018, The Year of the Bully

IMG_2097 In today’s age of social media, it is easier than ever to be a bully. We can negatively comment on a thread, send a threatening private message, or simply talk ill about each other to mutual friends based on what we have seen on social media. This year more than ever, I have read posts by friends about the ugliness they have endured, generally through electronic means. For all of our connectivity, we are not very connected to the feelings of others. The cyber bully sounds off, feels a bit of relief for a moment, and then is left alone with the phone in their hands looking for another place to spread hurt. Let’s remember, those words cut both ways. You don’t get to rant and then walk peacefully away, suddenly a ray of sunshine to the world. The negativity remains with the sender, and the reasons for the negativity are far larger than one comment or post.

Although my current career is focused largely on encouragement, I know I have been a bully. Sometimes I am an accidental bully when someone misinterprets my comment, an e-mail or a text. But I have also been an intentional bully, not treating people who are different from me very well. I have bowed to pressure to exclude certain people because I don’t want to be the uncool one who is friends with the “weirdo.” I hope I am learning from those mistakes, and I honestly believe those missteps are what make me a vigilant supporter of the underdog today.

If you were on the receiving end of “mean” this year, remember the person who hurt you is hurting far worse. As the saying goes, hurt people hurt people. The best we can do is to forgive the sender and to continue to be a light, not allowing those words and actions to negatively shape us. You could take it a step further and allow those moments to elevate you in your drive to do your best.

4240405My daughter is experiencing some problems at school from a few older peers who don’t understand why she wears her hair short and prefers “boy” clothing. She feels sad during those encounters, but, overall, she is a bright, happy girl who loves being her own person. How she wears her hair and her personal style make her happy and comfortable. She seems to inherently understand her own comfort and happiness with her style is more important than making others comfortable with her style. Way to go, my sweet daughter! I am very proud of you.

I don’t generally make resolutions, but in 2019, I want to be inclusive and more kind. I want to think more about the person on the other end than of myself. I vow to keep unhelpful comments to myself, and to stick up for someone who needs it. It is a mean, mean world out there. Let’s make 2019 a kinder year. —Bethany

Related Post Here: Why I Allowed My Daughter to Cut Her Hair

 

 

Fiercely You in 2018

I have written a lot over the years about personal style and fashion. You could say I am fierce about others discovering their own style. If you were to look up “fierce” in the dictionary, you’d see: wild, savage, hostile and intense in the definition.

We began using “fierce” to describe fashion around the late 1990’s and early 2000’s. Supermodel Tyra Banks and fashion designer Christian Siriano seized upon “fierce,” and it sort of became tired from over-use. However, I love the word, and I believe “fierce” remains relevant as a fashion term when used in the right way.

IMG_0725I like to think my personal style is fierce, and I would definitely describe my style icons as those who are fiercely themselves: Daphne Guinness, Iris Apfel, Isaac Mizrahi and Simon Doonan. You may be surprised to see two men on my list. My style icons have an attitude toward style that I adore, rather than a style I wish to copy. Over the years, I have pulled inspiration from my style icons, as well as from friends and people on the street. In fact, Isaac, in his 2008 book “How to Have Style,” said, “You can’t have style without being inspired.”

What is style? Everyone has their own definition of style. I find it difficult to define, but, in short, your personal style is you. What you wear tells us who you are. I love what Iris Apfel says about her image: “I do not intellectualize what I wear. I just put on what I feel like.” Iris understands herself. She buys what she loves, and she mixes it on her body in creative and interesting ways.

For those of us who are not artists, honing our style takes more reflection and effort. As Isaac has said, “There’s only one way to be excellent at something. You have to practice. Having style is no different. The more you do it, the better and stronger you become.” For 2018, take time to find your sources of inspiration whether they come from fashion, nature, art or other areas. Make a mood board (I have a three-ring binder). When you have a visual, who you are, and thus, your style, becomes readily apparent. Then, start dressing in a way that reflects the vibe of the photos. This process is personal, not cookie cutter, and it takes time. Be patient. Keep your eyes on your board, and allow your style to come to you.

Danielle Steele wrote a lovely piece titled “Ageless Style” for the November 2017 issue of Harper’s Bazaar. Here are some excerpts: You can’t buy it. It really is ageless. It’s a gift. Women need to be braver about wearing their own style. The mistakes can be cool, too! Fashion and style should live and breathe. I have much more fun with fashion now than I did at 25. I’m more daring. If not now, when?

I could not agree more. In an article for Elle magazine about nine years ago, writer Alex Postman interviewed Isaac Mizrahi and went through his process of creating a mood board to discover her style. Alex was bored with her look, and I love what she said about her style, “I’m just passing. At least passing isn’t failing! Yet, it is a failure – of the imagination, of courage…” Yikes!

Don’t just pass! Try new things, make mistakes and have fun. And don’t worry what others will think. I could not put it better than Simon Doonan when he wrote, “As you experiment with your appearance, you must remember that by feeling self-conscious you are merely indulging yourself. Nobody is judging you… People are much too busy worrying about their own lives to ask why you are dressed like Wolf Blitzer.”

Metropolist -70Have a fantastic holiday season, and, by all means, make them look twice!

Why would you want to look nondescript when you could look fierce?–Simon Doonan

 

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

 

 

 

Why I Allowed My Daughter To Cut Her Hair

IMG_7936About two months ago, my six-year old daughter asked to have her shoulder-length hair cut like her brother’s hair (quite short). I waited a few weeks before making the appointment for her, periodically checking to see if she still wanted to do. Yes, she was firm. I talked her away from Nathan’s super short cut, however. My advice was to do a more feminine style: a pixie like Michelle Williams. IMG_7961I showed her a few photos on Pinterest. She liked them and agreed.

I am in the business of helping people refine their personal image. It is my job to make sure my clients look like who they are and what they do. My daughter is a tomboy and she hates me to do anything with her hair (no pony tails, no braids, no barrettes, etc.). While a pixie is amazingly well-suited to her face shape and bone structure, it is also the perfect cut for a sensible, slightly boy-ish young lady!

I asked my personal hair stylist, Julianna of Bocz Salon (photographed below with Vivien), to do the cut. I didn’t trust anyone else to do it. Great success! The cut is so easy to wash and style. And best of all, no tangles for me to comb (my daughter is quite tender-headed).  Vivien has been skipping around, super happy with her new haircut. She has loved it from the start.

Here is what I hope Vivien takes away from this experience.

IMG_7975Do what you love. This applies to the career she will one day pursue, the clothing she will buy and the updates and changes she will make over the years to her image. Do not worry what others think. Make up your own mind and go for it.

She is in charge of her image. Vivien is free to express herself through her personal image. While I still play the role of her mother, protecting, guiding and teaching her, she can make image choices for herself. I may not agree with all her choices, but she has the power to make them!

Change is good. Vivien has always resisted most new challenges. This is not something she was taught. It is simply in her DNA. However, now that she has experienced a dramatic image change that made her very happy, I hope she will understand that change is a part of life, and many changes are good ones.

Here is what I took away from this experience: I am very proud of my daughter. She is smart, strong and very capable. While she has received a little bit of negative feedback on her new look from a couple of peers, she stands firm in her choice to cut her hair. She loves it, and I love her.

IMG_7973Brother Nathan was less than interested in what was happening.

IMG_7990Vivien made a sweet new friend before she left the salon.

What image change would you like to make? Let me know in your comments!

My best,

Bethany

All photos are my own.

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Why My Style Changed

IMG_7403When I knew we were moving to Seattle a little over two years ago, I began to stock up on a variety of outerwear. Mind you, I already owned a closet full of jackets and coats! But the types of jackets Seattle requires, I definitely did not own. Besides, I am always looking for an excuse to shop!

I have two friends in Seattle who used to live in the South like me. Recently we discussed the shifts to our personal styles since moving to the Pacific Northwest. In short, our styles are decidedly more casual to say the least.

There are at least three factors at play in why our styles have shifted: (1) the weather (it is damp, okay, wet here in Seattle!), (2) the topography (it is quite hilly; high heels and steep hills do not mix well), and (3) the vibe (Seattle is relaxed, natural and unfussy – and gritty).

Seattle style is difficult to define since it is changing. As one of the fastest growing cities in America (#4 in 2016), Seattle is taking on new residents from all over the United States and the world. But here is the marvelous thing about style in Seattle: no one is judging yours. You are free to express yourself without worrying whether you have the latest handbag or the “it” shoe. That is refreshing and freeing, to be honest.

In Seattle, no one will blink if you dress to the nines, nor will they care if you show up in tattered jeans and a North Face puffer jacket. Whatever works for you, goes.

Yet, I have a challenge for you, Seattle residents: Whatever “dress up” means to you, do it once in a while (and I don’t mean rarely!). The way you dress not only influences how you feel, it influences those around you. Have you ever noticed how others smile when you wear a t-shirt with a funny slogan or have you ever received a compliment on a color you were wearing? You are having a positive impact on them!

So, find a reason to dress up soon. You probably have beautiful clothing that never sees the light of day. If I may say so, that just ain’t right!

Thank you to Heather Lundy of HerCommonThread for the photo, taken inside Easy Street Records in West Seattle!

It’s in The Bag

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Anne Sylvain isn’t just any handbag company, and Patricia Raskin isn’t just any creative director. Anne Sylvain, born of many years of careful thought and education, along with several years of testing to find the right U.S.-based manufacturing facility, turns out beautiful one-of-a-kind, hand-crafted handbags of ostrich, python and American alligator.

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Patricia, a corporate lawyer by trade (17 years to be exact), has always enjoyed creating beautiful things, and she comes from a long line of artists on both sides of her family, including painters and a concert pianist. So, while her company is a mere five years old, being the creative director of Anne Sylvain is very natural, what she was born to do. Patricia knew she wanted to create something to augment a woman’s everyday life. As she explains it, no matter what you are feeling on any given day, carrying a beautiful handbag makes you happy. I agree.

img_5656Anne Sylvain bags, accessories and home products are made by hand with careful attention to details such as turned edges (rather than edges which have been cut and painted), and, whenever possible, she uses continuous pieces of material, greatly increasing the value and durability of her products. Anne Sylvain bags are classic shapes, which stand the test of time. The inside of the bag is just as carefully created as the outside, often in a contrasting colored leather for a nice “pop.” The side view of a clutch is also considered, using the prized belly of the python, for instance (photo above). No detail is overlooked. For these reasons, Anne Sylvain bags and products are authentically luxurious.

In 2017, Anne Sylvain is launching a home collection including coasters, boxes and catch-alls. Patricia is also turning out smaller personal items such as zip pouches, notebook covers, eye glass cases, card holders, men’s accessories and women’s cuffs.

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On December 10-11, Turner Helton Antiques & Interior Design is hosting Anne Sylvain at a preview launch party for the Anne Sylvain home collection. The event will also feature the full fall and holiday handbag collection. You don’t want to miss it!

Enjoy the slideshows featured in this post, and trust me when I say each piece is more lovely than a photo is able to capture. Any Anne Sylvain piece would make a special holiday gift for a loved one.

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Not to be overlooked, Anne Sylvain offers bespoke! The options and combinations are almost limitless. Your product can also be stamped with initials or numbers (like the catch all in the slide show above).img_5662

All photos by Bethany Siggins.

Note: The large black bag at the beginning of this piece is Anne Sylvain’s newest addition to the family, the Artemis. It features a 2 way zipper, 2 exterior pockets and 3 interior pockets. In short, it is the perfect bag for your next adventure!

Madison Park’s Canopy Blue

IMG_4011One afternoon last week I had the pleasure and the honor of minding the beautiful boutique Canopy Blue located in Madison Park in Seattle. Stepping into the shop, you are transported to a tropical location with abundant blue and green hues, not to mention the gorgeous swimwear, tunics and flowy dresses creating fantasies of an island escape. IMG_3948It is a welcoming space with cozy chairs at the front of the shop surrounded by magazines and candles (perhaps for the non-shoppers in your party?). IMG_4040The two dressing rooms in the back of the shop are canopies, lending a romantic feel.

IMG_4028Canopy Blue stocks some readily recognizable brands like Trina Turk, Splendid, Vince and Elie Tahari, along with locally designed Cute Like Mad, meticulously detailed jackets and vests by Blanc Noir, fashionable active wear by Lanston and comfy, stylish pieces by Charli, among many other lesser known lines. Jean styles are well-varied with lines such as Mother, Joes and 7 for all mankind in stock. IMG_3956One of the best things about Canopy Blue is its limited inventory, so you won’t see your dress on a friend at the next neighborhood gathering.IMG_3964

Hats, bags, locally-crafted jewelry, and special gift items round out the store’s selection.

IMG_4000The Canopy Blue team is very knowledgeable, friendly and ready to help you complete your wardrobe with carefully selected items you will love and wear again and again. If this shop is not on your normal route, make a special trip. You will be glad you did. All photos by me.—Bethany

Street Style – Two Style Lessons

IMG_3886Here are a few more snaps from our evening at Casco Antiguo earlier this week. Style Lesson #1: If your top is long (longer than where your leg breaks when you lift it), you must wear a heel to create a longer leg. Otherwise, your body is cut in half (50% torso; 50% leg), which makes you look short regardless of your true height. Our lovely, leggy model Amanda here asked me about cuffing her jeans. If she had been wearing a top with a hem around her hip bone, I would have told her to go for it as she has plenty of leg to sacrifice. However, because her top is longer than the leg break, I advised her to keep her jeans un-cuffed. If you can visualize her in flats with a cuffed hem, she would have appeared overlong on her top half and, thus, out of proportion.

IMG_3903Style Lesson #2: The more leg you show, the more of your top half should be covered. I do wish I had a tan for this lesson – ha! Wearing shorts that hit at mid-thigh or shorter calls for a top that is either a half sleeve, 3/4-length or a long sleeve as I am wearing. Short shorts and a tank top is provocative and not very classy. Leave a little to the imagination, and keep it classy, ladies. It is what men prefer, actually.

IMG_3902Lastly, if you have silver and/or turquoise jewelry, now is the time to wear it. The cool tones of the silver has an overall cooling effect on your look, which is just right during our warmest season. Ditto for turquoise. The light, soft green/blue goes with all your spring/summer clothing without having to think about it. Don’t worry if you have none of this color in your outfit. Adding a new color to your look via accessories is totally okay and encouraged, actually. Happy Weekend!—Bethany

Seattle Street Style – Casco Antiguo

IMG_3891I won’t lie, finding decent Mexican in Seattle has been a challenge. I realize it would be impossible to recreate a Texas experience; however, is it that difficult to make a good home-made margarita and sour cream enchiladas? Enter stage right, Casco Antiguo in the Pioneer Square district of downtown Seattle. The margaritas are delicious, the tacos are tasty, and the chips and guacamole remind me of what I left behind in Dallas. At last!

Apparently, I am not the only happy customer. The vividly-painted patio alone puts a smile on your face, but once you enjoy a few sips of your favorite carefully-created libation, your cares slip away as the cool Seattle night air kisses your face.

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True to Seattle, the patio is pet-friendly. This cute terrior was posing for me.IMG_3921

I have visited twice, and on both occasions I have met nicely-dressed  young professional men whose casual style are distinct to each of them. IMG_5333No one is trying too hard, and they look great. I especially love their shoes. From Capri pants to shorts to rolled jeans, each one has their own take on summer casual style.

Not to be outdone by the fellas, my friends Amanda and Lori cozy up for a photo, as well. Next time you are in the area, stop in for a bite and a few sips. You will be glad you did. Happy Summer, everyone! (All photos by Bethany Siggins.)IMG_3901

Dallas Street Style Heats Up

IMG_3053My hair stylist and best friend, Gary Walden, has been doing my hair for longer than I care to admit. Today the spotlight is on him as he heats up the Dallas streets with his playful yellow and blue ensemble and his perfectly imperfect bracelet stack. The bright yellow shorts play nicely off the darker blue shirt. Neither is vying for the focus. Perfect playmates.  The bracelets are a cool mix of colors, textures and weights. IMG_3082Each one stands on its own; however, he has brought them together in one look which makes it unique and special.

IMG_3068Whatever your story and whatever your style, it is yours. Let it speak and do not stifle it. Have fun. Thank you, Gary, for showing us how to have fun with style!