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

 

 

 

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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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!

New Website!

It is with great pride I announce the launch of my new website with an updated logo by New Orleans based BethanyHeadshots2015-8804Sea Level Design and photos of me by Dallas based Christina Childress. This website looks and feels like the woman I am today. Please look around and leave comments here (constructive criticism is welcomed).

For those of you familiar with my former website, you may notice I am paring down my services. Gone are the custom color analysis, the image & style evaluation and makeup lessons. When I moved to Seattle, I wanted my business here to focus on my greatest strengths and the services I most enjoyed, closets and shopping. I have rolled the style evaluation into the wardrobe consultation as it is crucial to understand the client’s style before working with their wardrobe.

I have added photography as a service. It began as an idea to do street style photography for my blog. Then a couple of people used my photos on their website, and the idea to offer this service was birthed. The photos are web-ready for use on social media sites like LinkedIn and Facebook.

I continue to do public speaking as the opportunities arise. I have always enjoyed speaking and educating groups of all sizes, and I would like to see this part of my business grow. Stay tuned!

Last, but certainly not least, my new website features a new blog! I will be adding an e-mail subscription to that blog soon, and once it is complete I will let you know so you can follow me there. Thank you for your support and encouragement. Here’s to the next chapter!—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!

Edie’s Shoes – Seattle’s Capitol Hill Mainstay

IMG_2359For 16 years Edie’s Shoes has served up the sophistication of Europe in a relaxed shopping atmosphere in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood. Founded in 2000 by Erin Dolan, the shop offers men’s, women’s and a select few children’s styles, in addition to hats, handbags, jewelry and men’s accessories. On a recent visit, I found an enticing selection of merchandise, including lovely wall art for sale. As I have learned since moving to Seattle, comfort is key, and Edie’s serves it in abundance. Yet style is never compromised. These are on-trend shoes for the fashionable, discerning client.IMG_2310

IMG_2347Erin knows her stuff and is very hands-on with her customers, offering educated advice on what works and why.

As the saying goes, it is a small world. My daughter could not stop talking about a boy she likes (in a friendly, not a romantic, way – they are only five) in her class at a West Seattle school. It turns out, he is the son of Erin.

IMG_2348Edie’s Shoes offers a welcoming, relaxed shopping environment, and I recommend you stop in soon. They are running an anniversary sale until June 9! Now is the time to invest in a cool pair of shoes no one else will have at a price that won’t break your bank. Happy Shopping!—Bethany

Seattle Street Style – Inaugural Edition

Last fall while pondering ways to get involved in the scene here in Seattle and spread the word about my image consulting business, I got the bright idea I would take street style photos. Never mind that I do not know how to take professional photos, let alone have the guts to ask perfect strangers if I may take their photo.  Oh, dear. What’s a girl to do?IMG_0635IMG_0624

Last week I attended a MeetUp of lovely small business owners who were, thankfully, happy to allow me to turn my lens in their direction. I am pleased with how my first street style photos turned out. I still have much to learn, but my professional photographer friends keep telling me to just get out there and practice. That’s what I did.

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Most people imagine that Seattle style is casual, if not sloppy, and not at all stylish. I beg to differ! I see a lot of creative, fashionable people here. Regardless of where you live, dress well for your life! A good image positively impacts your interactions and your outlook.