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

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

Zelda Zonk Consignment – West Seattle

IMG_0582I am fairly new to Seattle (just over one year), and even newer to West Seattle (11 months).  I have always prided myself with being a great shopper, and, in particular, being a savvy bargain shopper.  My previous home, Dallas, TX, is not only a mecca of wonderful shopping but also a gold mine of consignment and second hand shops.  So, it was my great delight to discover Zelda Zonk Consignment on California Avenue in the Admiral District of West Seattle on a recent drive by. The shop opened in mid-June of 2015, culminating a long-time dream of shop owner Carrie Zimney to have her own boutique.

IMG_0586Once I stepped inside, I knew I had found one of my spots.  The racks are stocked with quality brands like Vince, Tory Burch, J. Crew, Halogen and DVF in near mint condition. Carrie is friendly and helpful, yet not at all pushy or sales-y.  Much of the space utilizes recycled materials, going hand-in-hand with the consignment concept of clothing recycling.  Carrie recently opened up the back room of the shop, which upon my most recent visit was well stocked with designer jeans and jackets. Overall, the shop is well organized, which if you have shopped at consignment shops as much as I have, you know is not always the case.

IMG_0576I recently consigned with Carrie, and she makes the process easy. She sets an appointment for you to bring in your clean, current items, and she lets you know what she is taking and where she is pricing it while you wait. You can track your sales and credit online, and whatever does not sell by the end of your consignment period is donated to a worthy non-profit organization unless you otherwise arrange for pick up.

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Carrie is currently accepting items for spring, which means the fall/winter inventory is being marked down. Now is the time to jump on great deals for next season! Here I am on Instagram modeling a couple of stylish layering pieces I spotted on my last visit. While these items may no longer be available, you can be assured Carrie has many things in-store that are covet-worthy. As always, if you would like assistance finding pieces that are right for you, I am at your service. Happy bargain hunting!—Bethany Siggins

Byrnie Utz Hats

NewHat (5)I cannot remember who told me about Byrnie Utz Hats, a wonderful family-owned hat shop located in the Financial District of downtown Seattle.  When I spotted it on a recent visit to downtown, I ducked in to see it for myself.  Though I do not wear hats often, I simply adore them and I fancy myself to be a regular hat wearer one day.  We’ll see!

Opened in 1934 by Byrnie Utz, this is Seattle’s oldest hat shop with an extensive inventory and a staff with unsurpassed knowledge on head gear.  I found the shop to be quaint, tidy, organized and well-stocked.  It looks much like it did when it was opened, which lends to its charm and appeal.  I believe there is something there for just about anyone looking for a hat, and the prices will not break the bank.  The many brands they stock include Borsalino, Makins and Stetson.NewHat (7)

As I browsed, I picked up a packable hat by Wallaroo made of lovely layers of navy and white polka dot fabric.  With a family trip around the corner, one that may include stops at a water park and the zoo, I simply could not resist it, especially given the added benefit of UPF 50+ and an interior adjustment for a perfect fit.  I love it.  What do you think?

If you’re looking for a hat or simply enjoy the idea of hats, pop into this wonderful store when you get a chance.  It will not disappoint, and I would be surprised if you did not walk away with a treasure for yourself.

How To Create a Wardrobe Shopping List

HangersSizesThere are at least two approaches to creating a smart wardrobe shopping list. One way is to assess your wardrobe for basics versus personality pieces.

Why do you need a shopping list? For starters, most purchases are impulse buys. And let’s face it, it is difficult to have a wardrobe that works for you if it is full of impulse buys. Any guilty parties out there? Tags still on oodles of items in your closet? Yep, that’s what I thought. Stop it. Make a list and stick to it.

First, assess your wardrobe for basics. These are the foundational building blocks of your wardrobe. You might also think of wardrobe basics as classic pieces, the items which are always available (in some version) year after year.

Basics/Classics include:
a white cotton shirtClassic Dresser
a blazer (or cardigans)
quality, well-fitting t-shirts
a few skirts (in lengths & shapes that flatter)
dark wash, straight leg jeans
flat-front pants
a few blouses
a day dress
a cocktail dress
a leather handbag
a leather pump
flats
quality bras (in the correct size) and
good underwear

How did you do? Write the missing classic pieces on your shopping list. Next, list them in order of priority. You cannot build a home with no foundation. The same is true for your wardrobe. These foundational pieces help to create well-balanced outfits. However, you may not need every item on this list. If you never attend cocktail events, skip the cocktail dress. If you are a skirt girl, skip the pants or vice versa. Tailor this list to your taste and your needs/lifestyle.

Of the classics/basics you own, are they in good condition, do they fit and are they representative of your taste and style? If not, toss them and purchase new ones.

Second, assess your wardrobe for personality pieces. Do you have any? What are personality pieces? Perhaps they are pieces you gravitate towards in the store that you are not sure you can pull off. Of course you can! Go for it! Often a personality piece is a twist on a basic or a classic. It has a slightly different design, color, texture or pattern to it.

Personality pieces may include drop earrings, cocktail rings, printed scarves, patterned tights, colorful handbags, over-sized sunglasses and so on. These pieces show others who you are. Personality pieces are mixed with classics to make interesting, well-balanced outfits.

WardrobeSpiceIf personality pieces are sorely lacking in your closet, write “personality pieces” at the top of your shopping list. The next time you shop, if you gravitate towards a basic/classic, but you know your highest priority is to find personality pieces, step away from the classic.

Some of us are classic girls, and some of us are personality piece girls. And some of us are both (guilty)! Too many classics makes for a lackluster wardrobe, but too many personality pieces make it difficult to create well-balanced outfits.

Happy Weekend, everyone, and thanks for reading. Make a smart wardrobe shopping list and stick to it!  Most of all, stay fabulous.

Fall Trends 2014

OrangeDoorAt the end of each summer I produce a card of fall trends, a reference of the biggest trends of the season, in anticipation of fall fashions which begin hitting the stores at about that time.  I simply love fall fashion, the rich colors, the textured fabrics and the beautiful leather goods.  To me, fall fashion is worthy of investment.  Trends come and go, but if you purchase wisely (read: not too trendy) and you take care of your things (yes, pay attention to care instructions), your investments will last you several years (at the least!). 

If you love something but cannot afford it, look for the best version of the knock off or scour vintage stores for something similar.  As you know in fashion, everything old is new again, so it is quite possible what you love has been done before in a previous decade.  One fall I really wanted a moto jacket, but I did not have the budget for a leather jacket.  So, I purchased a pleather version and wore the heck out of it.  A few years later, I got the real thing.

My fall 2014 trends card does not cover all the trends, so below is an extensive list .  If you would like a trends card and a couple of extras for friends, message me.  I would be delighted to send them to you!

Colors:  cobalt, steel, dark red, moss green, pastels, orange and jewel tones

To see a list of the Pantone fall 2014, click here.

Fabrics: shearling, leather, tweed, knits, fur, metallic and velvet

Prints/Patterns: plaid, abstract, color blocking, patchwork and diagonal lines

Oversized: coats, collars on coats, dresses, sweaters (including turtlenecks) and pants

Office:  midi skirts, pant suits, sharp blazers, pin stripes, menswear and neck tie blouses

Details: feathers, accordion pleats, fringe, sequins, western and puffy sleeves

Top layer: ponchos, capes, varsity jackets, bombers, blanket coats and fur-trimmed parkas

Bags: bucket, totes, jeweled clutches and fur top-handle handbags

Shoes: sneakers, flats, ankle boots, brogues and ankle-strap heels

Beauty: ponytails, braids, oversized buns, colorful cat eyes, nude and berry lips and nude and Bordeaux nails

Whew, I probably missed a few, but not many.  If you need assistance finding what suits you, call me.  I love making the shopping experience quick and easy.  I especially enjoy helping people find pieces they would have never considered if they had shopped on their own!  Happy Shopping!

Forgive Me For I Have Shopped

JCP FindsLess than two weeks into my “no shopping for 6 months” pledge, I have shopped.  Wow.  I really DO love to shop, don’t I?  I have asked you to share with me what you are buying because I want to live through you during my shopping drought.  However, it seems I was a touch too tempted by one of my friend’s recent finds.  It was simply a basic solid v-neck t-shirt by Joe Fresh at JC Penney that was recently marked to $3.99, a steal for a quality cotton t-shirt.  I thought of a few t-shirts in my closet that had recently developed holes in them, so I justified a t-shirt purchase as “nearly necessary.” I found a lovely bright pink t-shirt and a melon colored one, as well.  Goodbye to two holey t-shirts in my closet!  I felt perfectly fine about this purchase, but not about what was to come… *sigh*

Amongst the t-shirts on the clearance rack sat a green and white gingham button up shirt in my size softly calling my name.  It was the only one of its kind on the rack, and it seemed in need of a good home.  Oh, dear, what’s a shopaholic girl to do?  It looked so fresh, cute and summery when I slipped it on over my tank top, and I thought of all the cool street style snapshots I have been seeing on Pinterest of gals in their cotton gingham shirts and shorts.  The Joe Fresh gingham shirt was marked to $10.99 from $19, but I knew a great price still did not justify the purchase.  So, I am here to tell you I have broken my “no shopping” pledge just shy of the two-week mark.  I can comfort myself with the fact that my shopping total came to less than $21 with tax, hardly a shopping binge.  Therefore, I am back on the no shopping bandwagon, recommitting myself to not shop ANY MORE.  Here I go again!

To be sure, not shopping is harder than I thought it would be, but I am not defeated.  I simply got tripped up, blinded momentarily by soft green and white cotton.  Have a happy weekend, readers.  Thank you for stopping by.  Do enjoy a bit of shopping if you have time.  There are still some great deals on summer goods to be had.

No Shopping For Six Months

shopping8Last week I documented my end of summer sale finds, and my favorite places for doing so in Dallas.  The adventure continued when I visited Elements this past Saturday for yet another round of summer sale scavenging.  Crazily, I took my 2-1/2-year old twins with me, and my shopgirl Stevie and the sales staff could not have been sweeter to play with them while I shopped… and I bought.  All of this shopping has been great fun, and I have added many lovely pieces to my wardrobe the last 6 weeks.  However, I have gone well beyond my limits, and I must put my foot down on myself.  Yesterday, I told two of my friends I will not shop for myself for six months (other than for essentials, naturally).  Can I do it?  I hope so.  I have no choice, to be honest!  I realize this means nothing new during the holiday season, not even after Christmas sales.  But I am not concerned.  How is one to enjoy what one has if they are always acquiring the next new thing?

Over the past several years, I have assembled a nice wardrobe of things I love, things that communicate my brand and make me feel supported and fabulous.  This is what I want for my clients, and I am merely taking my own advice.  Yet, there comes a time when one has enough.  Now the fun begins, actually, because I can test my outfit-making skills, devising interesting combinations with my wonderful wardrobe.

Outfit-making is one of my favorite things to do for clients.  It falls under my closet audit / wardrobe review service.  Most clients are amazed at the number of options they have that they never considered and would not have put together on their own.  I look forward to doing this for myself and casting a blind eye to the 2013 fall collections (at least where my own wardrobe is concerned).

You may have noticed I excluded “essentials” from my shopping moratorium.  What is an essential anyway?  If nail polish isn’t an essential, I’ve already broken my promise this morning.  I was trying to find an OPI polish called Fly from the 2012 Nicki Minaj collection, a cool matte teal I’m sporting on my toes from a recent pedicure.  I justified the purchase because I love the color and I want to replicate it on my own since pedicures may be beyond my budget for awhile.  I did not find Fly, so instead I picked up a glittery teal, also by OPI, called Yodel Me On My Cell from the Fall 2010 Swiss Collection.  I must be very wary of my “essential” purchases, else I will make the drug stores very rich over the next six months and negate the benefit of my “no shopping” pledge.

So, there you have it, my promise to not shop for six months, no shoes, no jewelry, no clothes.  I will keep you posted on my progress, and I hope you will help me stick to my guns.  I would like to apply some restraint on my twins’ wardrobes, as well.  I daresay they are much less excited about a new piece of clothing than I am.  While I am on my shopping hiatus, I will live vicariously through my clients and you.  Let me know what you’re buying.  I’m dying to know!

Shop Right Where You Are

ImageThe most common reason potential clients put off working with me is, “I’d like to lose weight first.”  My response, “Life is happening NOW, not when you lose weight.  You deserve to look and feel your best right where you are.”  Consider this.  Denying yourself a nice outfit at your current size is a form of self-punishment.  You work too hard to do that to yourself!

Guess what?  When I check in with those people the following year, it is the same excuse.  So, year after year they deny themselves the right to look their best in the hope that “one day” they’ll be at their “ideal weight.”  What if that day never arrives?

I’ve always attested great style has nothing to do with your dress size or the size of your bank account.  Great style has everything to do with understanding how to dress your body and understanding how to communicate who you are on the inside through your clothing and accessories.

I had the pleasure of recently working with a client who despite being about 25 pounds over her “ideal weight” she decided to hire me.  I asked her why she was willing to buy new things when she wanted to lose weight.  She responded that she believes if she looks great in a modern, updated wardrobe at her current size, it would motivate her to take off the weight so she could have the clothes taken in.  Hello!  She was preaching to the choir.  I told her I wish she could convince others to follow her lead.  At the end of our work together, she feels the best she has felt in years, she looks the best she has looked in years, and she is receiving oodles of compliments from co-workers and friends who are so impressed with how fabulous she looks.

With a success story like that, you can imagine my frustration when I hear the weight excuse.  Argh!  It’s a hollow excuse.  I think there are other barriers standing in the way of our work together, and the weight excuse is the easiest one to verbalize.  Here’s a short list of excuses which are more difficult to admit: (1) I don’t deserve it, (2) I’m afraid of change, (3) I don’t think I can look any better than I do, etc.

So, what is REALLY stopping you from investing in yourself?  I cannot say it any better than Stacy London did on a long-ago episode of What Not To Wear: “You have to let go of whatever you were and allow yourself to become who you are.”