November, 9, 2016. The day after the big day. I feel like I have literally witnessed the full spectrum of human emotion over the last 14 hours. Customers and employees distraught and in tears. Friends and colleagues walking on air with a renewed sense of hope. The one common thread is that this election meant something, in some cases everything, to pretty much everyone.
I used to work in public policy, including a two-year stint in the White House. Tonight I feel compelled to write something deep to acknowledge what’s hanging in the air, yet my assignment is to write a fashion piece. Fashion… really? How am I going to make this relevant?
Call it a leap, but friends, one thing is very clear: the only one who can create for us a beautiful reality, a life full of richness and meaning, is us. Despite what is happening in the world around us, we own the power to take care of things right here at home. This may feel like a stretch during a week that’s so monumental, but here’s the call to action that stands before us: Simplify our lives so we can focus on what matters!
One place we can start is our closet. Nearly every woman I speak with on a daily basis iterates the same thought: Her closet is complicating her life. It’s causing physical clutter, mental and relational distress, and costing her time every morning. I totally get it. I have three children under age 9 that I have to get out the door five mornings a week by 7:30 prior to running off to work myself. I have zero time for an outfit crisis!
And, hence, the need for the official LYB style guide. It’s time, folks. I’m producing for you what I wish someone had given to me years ago. I’m boiling dressing down to its fundamentals, including the key styling principles and outfit prototypes that have established LYB as a resource for women who want to look and feel fabulous from down dog to date night. These are principles for dressing that will allow you to look edgy while feeling immensely comfortable, will keep you looking young and gorgeous yet tasteful, and will accommodate your multi-tasking schedule that leaves no time for outfit-change pit stops. I want to give you all the tools to express your unique self, so use what resonates with you, and make up your own additional guidelines and styling principles along the way. I will continue to evolve the concepts I share with you, so stay tuned and flexible as the seasons unfold.
LYB’s 7 Styling Principles
Keep your look clean and easy on the eye. Pick one fabulous focal point, just like you would makeup (e.g. bright lips or intense eyes, but not both.) Edgy animal-print booties look best paired with the simple combo of skinny jeans and a solid boyfriend blazer and white tee.
This is cornerstone of edgy style. Just like sweet and salty complement each other perfectly, contrasting textures, and oftentimes patterns, make the perfect style mates. Match hard with soft, rough with smooth, cool with warm. Nothing is more delicious than leather paired with lace and/or cashmere.
Central to the streamlining process is choosing quality over quantity. Far better to have one flawless, high-end white tee in your closet than ten bargain-priced versions that are too thin and uncomfortable. Only buy and keep those things that you absolutely love.
Quality is important, and so is relevance to your actual life. Only keep what can keep up with you. Your closet isn’t a museum. Everything in it should be something that speaks to the life you actually live, as well as the body you actually have. In other words, ditch those pieces that are relics of an old career or the skinny jeans that you wore 15 years ago and are praying you’ll diet your way back into someday.
How we dress should communicate who we are both inside and out. Know who you are and OWN it! If you’re laid back and easy-going, learn how to make joggers a foundational piece of your wardrobe. If you’re edgy and bold, work leather and interesting textures into your wardrobe. If you’re drawn to a more classic look, find the perfect white button-down shirt and experiment with new, unique ways to integrate it into your wardrobe. Enjoy the opportunity every day to express your individuality. Most importantly, don’t be afraid to break rules when it comes to fashion and make up your own!
The principle I’m most adamant about as a stylist is the idea that we look our coolest and most gorgeous when we appear as though we’re not straining for it. Nothing screams contrived more than perfectly matching our shoes to our handbag or a pretty dress with a sweet pair of heels. This is a core LYB styling philosophy, and one that has been most revolutionary for our clients. Do what is unexpected! Ditch the idea of a black dress requiring black shoes (black and brown is a much more modern combo,) or long pants needing to be hemmed (way more interesting to “tuck and roll” them into a boyfriend-style pant.) Dare to team up a flirty chiffon dress with moto boots and chunky jewelry. My absolute favorite, quintessential combo is a blazer with sweatpants and heels. It’s a look we lovingly refer to at LYB as “accidentally fabulous.”
Last but not least, comfort should always be a top priority. We’re breaking new ground at LYB by teaching our customers and clients how to make loungewear go far beyond lounging. Ditch the usual work getup consisting of starched matching blazer and trousers with heels, in favor of a waffle-weave full-length duster, leggings and ankle boots paired with fabulous jewelry. Begin to build your look around your favorite yoga pants and enjoy discovering how many different ways you can make your down-dog look morph into date night with a few minor modifications along the way.
Do you have a favorite LYB look that you’ve created? Send your pictures and ideas! Chances are, women everywhere will thank you! I challenge you to create your own look book of fall-winter essentials based on the basic styling principles here and tailored to your individual personality. Make yourself the hero of your own beautiful story!
If you’re inspired, but in need of fashion assistance, don’t forget that LYB offers personal styling services both in store and through Love Your Closet, our in-home styling service. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information!