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

 

 

 

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

Street Style with Peony & Moss

IMG_1842Last week I had the pleasure of spending time with Eva Spitzer, founder and designer of Peony and Moss, which offers a wide variety of artistic sock designs for women. Her best selling items are the thigh high socks. Where have these been all my life? I have the coldest feet and hands regardless of the season. No doubt I will become one of Eva’s best clients in due time.

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Eva’s style is natural, feminine and practical. As a busy small business owner, she does not fuss over her appearance, yet she wants to look thoughtful and pulled together. She is an admitted lover of vintage and resale, which constituted much of what she wore the day I took her photos. A girl after my own heart! I love how she juxtaposed a feminine floral shell and cardigan with an androgynous bronze snake print driving loafer, a nod to her willingness to dress and think outside of the box.

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For more on that, I love the look she sported the first time I met her in late February at a MeetUp she started: I am in love with her bright purple high/low pleated skirt, and her hair neatly pulled into a bun. Yet look how how she threw a polar opposite jacket on top of it as if to say, “Don’t even try to figure me out!” Or perhaps she is very cold-natured like me, and this is her warmest jacket. Either way, it’s fun and unexpected as style should be. Well done, Eva!

More Seattle street style coming soon. Have a fabulous, fashionable week!—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.

The Hallmark of Great Style

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It has been said that fashion is what you buy in the store and style is what you do with it.  Each person has her unique interpretation of what she purchases.  But what separates the nice dresser from the amazing dresser?  I’ll tell you what it is: attitude.

A woman with great style has a wardrobe that celebrates the woman she is today, regardless of her weight or her shape.  She may not love everything about her construction, but she accepts herself just the same.  One cannot be confident and stylish without self-acceptance.

A woman with great style never says, “I’ll shop for new things when I lose 10 lbs.” That type of self-punishment is defeating and baseless. She knows she is an amazing, unique work of art, and she acknowledges that she deserves to have beautiful things she loves right now.

A woman with great style does not keep pieces that do not work into her lifestyle.  She may adore a sparkly handbag at the shop, but if she does not imagine a suitable occasion for it, she does not buy it.  And, she does not allow pieces to occupy space in her wardrobe that remind her of the woman she was.  A woman with great style is forward-looking, not backward glancing.

With self-acceptance comes a shift in your attitude. A shift in your style follows suit. So, let’s start celebrating ourselves, shall we? That is where great style begins!—Bethany Siggins

Fall 2015 – The Confident Woman

MenswearIf you were to look at a list of fall trends year over year, you would notice a lot of repetition: leather, fur, black, gray, red, tweed, belts, boots, smoky eyes, etcetera. To get to the heart of the season, you must look beyond the list. The wide array of designs which walk down the runways of Milan, London, New York and Paris magically come together each year to convey an overall mood. Fall 2015 is all about confidence.

The Fall 2015 woman blazes her own path and she calls her own shots. She wears what she loves, and she masterfully combines masculine with feminine in a way that makes sense and looks very relaxed and easy. She is not trying too hard. Rather, she is perfectly imperfect. The Fall 2015 woman is returning to a more sensible way of dressing, as well. We are seeing large tote bags to hold our stuff, a relaxed fit so we can eat lunch and not pop a seam, and chunky heels so we can stand comfortably for long stretches and not tip over in a strong gust of wind.

For the most part, the fall woman is covered up and she leaves much to the imagination, yet she remains extremely sexy. How is this possible? In short, sexy is all about attitude and presence. A confident woman is a sexy woman.

Several trends which are newer to this fall season (though they are not completely new) include long vests, stocking boots, chokers, flares, high waist and pastels. The Pantone 2015 color of the year is marsala, an earthy brown-red. Thus, it should come as no surprise that red is a standout (yet again) for fall from bright red to deep, dark tones. Red fits perfectly into the fall 2015 mood since it is without a doubt a color that conveys confidence and passion.

Style confidence is easy to achieve if you are willing to forget about the expectations of others. There are many who are more than eager to advise you on what to buy and where to invest most wisely for your fall wardrobe. Instead of listening to them, focus on what you want and focus on the woman you are. Greek philosopher and mathematician Thales is credited with saying, “The most difficult thing in life is to know yourself.” I hope it will not be the hardest thing you have ever done, but it does take much effort.  Check in with yourself often and trust your gut regarding what is right for you and what is not. The more you trust yourself, the more skilled you will become in choosing pieces that speak to your heart and work for your life.

Have a great fall season, and call me if you need a confidence boost. I am here to help!

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.

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!