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"Everything you put on your body tells the world how you expect to be treated."
- Clinton Kelly, What Not To Wear

Every so often I dream that Stacy London and Clinton Kelly show up at my door to recruit me for What Not To Wear.  "The burden of battling bad style is just too great.", they say, "You must help us!"  It's a lovely dream that's always fun.  I like to pop onto their website regularly to check for new tips and Style Quizzes.  My scores on the most recent two?  Smart Shopper Quiz = 100% Wow! You are truly a smart shopper! Your friends should always heed your fashion advice.  (See! I told you!) Style Myths Quiz - 100% Shut up! You're so fashion forward!

On a What Not To Wear episode this week, Clinton once again inspired me with the great quote above.  It's just like I said in my very first blog post, whether we want to or not, everyone makes a fashion statement.  Clinton is absolutely right - what we wear sends a message to the world about how to treat us.  During my years as a road warrior in the sales and marketing world, I saw the amazing power a dressier outfit can wield.  Not only did I get upgraded more often, I also moved through security lines faster, was approached in conversation by other well-dressed travelers, and received more courteous service from flight attendants and hotel staff.  I was able to pack less because I was already wearing some of the pieces of my suit.  If we were traveling as a team, I was always ready for dinner, in case we wanted to skip stopping at the hotel.

I'm no longer flying the friendly skies every week (Thank Heaven! Though I do miss the frequent flier perks!) and many of you are in a similar situation, no longer out in the working world, or at last not going to an office everyday.  But it doesn't mean there's nothing to dress for.  Every day is a new opportunity to tell the world how we expect to be treated.  And if you haven't liked the message you've been sending - change your tune TODAY!  I've been working with a good friend of mine who would like to dress more stylishly.  She's beautiful and thin and mentioned yesterday that she worries people will say, "Who does she think she is?" when she suddenly starts wearing better outfits.  I told her there will be two basic camps.  The "Wow! She looks so great!  I wish I could look that great!" camp and the sneering "Whatever!" jealous camp.  Never pay attention to the jealous camp!  Who cares what they think anyway.

Just as many of us start a new diet one random morning, you can also start new style.  Instead of sweats and a ratty t-shirt to the grocery store, try your nice trouser jeans and a blouse.  Takes the same amount of time to put on!  Or slip on a skirt with a sleek T and fun sandals.  I promise, you'll feel so much better than you did the day before.  And someday, somehow, good style always pays off.

 
 
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Is this:
a) Matching
b) Coordinating







Correct answer: a

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That first one was really hard.  This is Coordinating.











Tough to tell any difference. I know.  This is tricky.  Let's try another one.

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Is this:
a) Matchy-Matchy
b) Coordinating
c) Matching


Correct answer: a, Matchy-Matchy.  Otherwise known as Matching Gone Wrong!

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Coordinated.

One of the most difficult parts about getting dressed is choosing which colors and patterns to put together.  There are the simple options; monochromatic, two tone, or my favorite, the dress (all you have to choose are shoes and accessories!).  But looking stylish entails being able to coordinate more than two colors or patterns.  So here are a few tips.
  1. Look for inspiration rather than relying on your imagination.  Sometimes, if you're standing in front of your wardrobe, and you're TRYING to create an outfit with colors or patterns you wouldn't normally wear, you're going to end up looking exactly that way.  Like you were trying too hard.  So look outside your wardrobe for color pairings that speak to you.  It could be anything!  I recently received a lovely thank you card from a friend.  On the front were 12 circles, each made up of 3 color-coordinated rings.  They were fabulous pairings of various oranges, limes, tans, khaki's, and turquoise.  The card immediately found its way into my Style File!  I could have never put those together in such a perfect way and now I'll just glance at the card for inspiration.  It might be an outfit you see in a magazine, an ad for something wholly unrelated to fashion, or even one of your husband's neckties!  If the colors coordinate in a way that inspires you, take note!
  2. When pairing different patterns in the same outfit, one should be dominant and all others recessive.  If you have a bold pinstripe, choose a subtle floral.  Bright polka-dot top?  Quiet herringbone trouser.  And remember, bold patterns in neutral colors still act as a neutral.  Don't be afraid to add color with your other pieces, shoes, and accessories.
  3. Walk your wardrobe.  Grab the piece you're wanting to wear.  Let's say a tan skirt.  Now, walk along the rest of your wardrobe holding that piece up against your other clothes.  When something jumps out at you, go with it!  As long as it's not the exact same color, of course.  (See photo #1.)  Maybe you found a pale green shirt.  Now take both pieces and do the walk again.  When you find a third, your outfit is done!  That light blue fitted jacket will be perfect!
  4. Take baby steps.  If you always choose black pants and your cream colored twinset, choose a different colored layer to go under the cardigan.  The next time, choose a pant other than black.  Or start by adding color with your accessories or shoes; such as a bright beaded necklace or scarf.  It's ok to go slow and build your confidence.  Before you know it, you'll be whipping up beautifully coordinated outfits and making it look effortless.
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To make sure you got it - let's try it again.

Is this:
a) Matching to the extreme
b) Coordinating 


Correct answer: do I really have to spell it out?

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Coordinated.





Just kidding!

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THIS is Coordinated.


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Bonus Question for extra credit!


Is this:
a) Coordinating
b) Matching




Correct answer - TRICK QUESTION!  It's neither.  I don't know WHAT this is!

 
 
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Off to Sacrament Meeting?

A reader, Sharon LeGarde, shared some of her thoughts with me about Sunday snacking and reverence so I asked her to contribute to a guest post on the subject. 
Remember - Style isn't just about what we wear.  It's the whole package - the whole image!

Take it away, Sharon!

  Spirit or Skittles?
Where  or what is the spirit I'm seeking?
Lost in the crumbs and the drink?
"Children, please fold arms and listen."
"Teens, please just stop texting and think?"
What if our Jesus really was watching?
Sitting, near the Biship on the stand?
If our 'meeting' wasn't just an hour to "get through"
Using Jesus' name with the water & bread?
Are our thoughts so distracted with snacking?
Focused on instant messages or feeding the kids?
Could we stop, be respectful and reverent?
Remember it's from the Lord our spirits are fed.
Not a Sunday "keep quiet" bench picnic.
Could we teach little ones to worship" instead?
Turn our minds, caring attention to the Lord.
Come to Sacrament with our hearts, not our food.
He died, so to lift up our bodies.
He died, so to save all our souls.
Sacrament meeting is special and sacred.
Let's worship the WAY God has shown.
-- Sharon B. LeGarde July 17, 2009
 

Dearest Sisters and parents everywhere,
I am a parent, grandparent and soon-to-be great grandparent.  I've also been a professional Nanny for all ages in all social strata and circumstances.  I have spent thousands of hours baby-sitting, even for the most difficult personalities and behavioral patterns.  May I share my experiences with y'all? 
The latest member of my family is a toy chocolate poodle.  Her name is CoCo Cherie Chanel. We took the time to train her at a young age...7 weeks... to a litter box using dog litter. It was not easy, we had to be diligent, patient, loving and consistent.  But at a certain point, the end was worth the means!  Never having to take the dog out to potty.  No rainy, cold, wet days "walking" the dog.  It is now a year and half later.  No accidents, no problems.  No outside potty trips.  We are saving days of our lives in time; weeks, months, energy, effort, all because we made a little effort and followed through for the BEST END result!! Folks, if a dog can learn this, a child CAN learn reverence and to sit fairly quietly.  Yes, a toddler may need a bottle, cheerios and books.  But there is a point in progression where soon after being a toddler, FOOD, DRINKS and TOYS are not needed for 70 minutes out of a whole week. In my neck of the woods I'm seeing straws in huge drink containers, complete sandwiches with dessert, etc.! Children only know what we take with us, give them and allow to occur at Sacrament. 
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Is this a familiar scene from your meetings?  Your own row?!


We need not replace the quiet books of our childhood with texting and hand-held video games.

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  • Idea:  We parents can train our children and grandchildren to respect the Lord and his house. It just takes some home practice, some "role playing" or "let's pretend we're at Sacrament" sessions.  With patience, diligence, love, consistency and the desire to teach them proper reverence with  loving consideration for the sacredness of Sacrament meeting. 
  • Start out with 5 minutes sitting in a staged area with music playing. 
  • Work up to the whole 40 minute thing with prayers given, singing, and talks.  FHE is great for this, using a sacrament meeting model, till they are good at it and are able to translate it to real Sunday use.  
  • Dress up, role play.  Kids love to do that!   All children can feel our attitude and pick up on the intent and support they get from you.
  • You can then use this idea for going out to a dressy dinner, special event, theater show, concerts, etc.  Children can learn to behave and be respectful of ANY occasion and event!  Manners too!

It does NOT take money or position to have and display celestial attitudes and demeanor! If the Lord were to visit our meetings, we would want to immediately DO THE RIGHT THING, the moment we knew he was there, so... get ready to be with Him! You will benefit, and our Lord and Savior will be so pleased.  Heavenly Father WILL bless your whole family. Thanks for listening to this guest post. 

Love to All....Sharon B. LeGarde in Hendersonville Ward, Tennessee
 
 

I have a schizophrenic relationship with fall.  I'm a September baby so I get to celebrate, but it's also the season of Halloween, my least favorite holiday.  (I'm just not good at coming up with the creative costumes!) I love the fall leaves and cooler temperatures but it also signals the coming of winter, my arch nemesis of seasons.  But I also love fall for the fashions!  This is usually a very EASY style season for modest dressers.  And the fall fashions are here!

One of my favorite sales, the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale, starts today!  It's a totally unique event not duplicated anywhere else in the industry - it is a sale on NEW items and I have scored some great pieces in the past.  Click on the link above to check it out.  Now would be a great time to score that new pair of non-Mom Jeans!  And the sale covers men, kids, and accessories!  Here are a few pics of some great items. The sale ends Aug. 2.

Many of the clothes debuting now are considered "pre-fall."  When exactly is "pre" fall, you ask?  Good question.  I believe it falls somewhere between midnight and 8 am between August 31 and September 1.  But only in certain counties and time zones.  And only if the temperature is below 90 that day.  Point being, pre-fall and fall clothing can hold some great finds for you!  The clothes are lighter weight, very close to summer weight, but with longer sleeve and skirt lengths, higher necklines, etc.  Very wearable for spring & summer, and not heavy like true winter clothing.  Modest dressers get mileage out of fall clothing more than any other season.  Fall is the absolute best season to score those Investment Items - the perfect black trousers, skirt suits, wrap dresses, jeans, etc.

And remember!  It is infinitely easier to shorten than to lengthen, which is nigh on impossible.  That means, if you find a dress, shirt, skirt, etc. that would you would love for summer/spring if the sleeves were a little shorter, get it and run it over to a tailor!  It's very likely they can easily transform a long sleeve to a 3/4 or shorter and still keep the item looking great.  And hemlines are a cinch to shorten. 

Also hitting with the fall fashions are the start of the summer sales.  Still with plenty of time to wear the clothes this year, as well as many springs & summers to come.

Click on the sale links below to check out the offerings!

Ann Taylor - up to 60% off

Ann Taylor Loft - 20% off with code STYLE20
YOOX.COM
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So tell me - what is YOUR favorite season to shop?  And where?


 
 

Fashion Poetry.  Enjoy.
Just wishin' and hopin'
that necklines would work
sleeves would appear
hemlines would lengthen
and clothes weren't too sheer


People choose to live a modest lifestyle for many reasons.  Religion, upbringing, career dictates, age, personal taste.  As with any lifestyle choice, there's the possibility of a love/hate relationship with your decision.  We may love the message we're sending but hate that we can't wear certain styles.  Love that we rarely have to worry about looking trampy but hate that we're sometimes viewed as "out of touch." But today is a call to arms!  Are you going to waste time wishin' and hopin' that the clothes were designed differently - and not dress nicely until they are?  Or are you going to embrace the decision you've made and wear it loud and proud?  Never give up!  Never surrender! 

Choosing modest clothes isn't usually an issue for many of us.
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Until you see clothes like this...










(swoon!)

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... that make you realize you were IN FACT supposed to be born a Russian Tsarina...









(how fabulous is this??)

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... and you wonder where the heavenly clerical error happened that gypped you out of your sartorial destiny.


I guess this post mainly goes out to the disgruntled women who say, "Modest clothes suck so it really doesn't matter what I wear."  Not so!  I put together just a tiny sampling of some dresses from recent seasons.  Both the slightly immodest and modest versions of very similar looks.  You'll notice the "not quite right" side (L) is still not extremely revealing, but they seem to be the clothes that cause the trouble.  Sleeveless "but otherwise ok", too low a neckline, a little too short a hemline - just barely outside our limits, the clothes we bemoan the most.  Very revealing clothing rarely makes us hide in frumpville.  We wouldn't necessarily have worn them anyway.  But the examples below show that perfect looks are right around the corner from the near misses.  Just keep looking! (And you might want to click on the image to make it larger.)  
I certainly advocate "working your clothes" to make them appropriate; slipping on a camisole, cardigan, or shrug, lengthening the hem a little, etc. But all that layering just to wear certain styles gets old.  And hot.  Sometimes it's so much simpler to make the modest choice straight of the box.  So next time you're shopping, see what options are out there that truly embrace your lifestyle decision and help you showcase your look! 
 
 

I can hold my tongue no longer.  Not that I ever could.  But about this particular topic I've really hit the end of my rope.  WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO SUNDAY DRESS??

Below are some very accurate examples of four outfits I saw today at church.  Yes, this very day.  The only differences being that most of the men had not worn jackets.  It's summer after all.  But I found dead-on pictures of the denim jumper, jean jacket, flip flops, and t-shirts. The Hollister t-shirt was a different color but the striped hoodie is identical.  Now, there were also very appropriately dressed women.  One had on a great black pencil skirt/wrap top combo that I would have loved in my own closet.  But the fact that the outfits below were not merely represented but almost a majority was a travesty.    


This isn't a trend isolated to my town.  The demise of Sunday Best has been surfing in on the wave of casualization that began sweeping across America with the dot com boom. "Too cool for old school" 20 and 30 year olds, with their start-up cash, attended meetings in shorts and t-shirts.  They were doing business a new way and certainly adopted a new uniform for it.  But when that bubble burst, why didn't appropriate style return?  I'm part of the dot com generation but never went in for the hyper-casual philosophy. 

Once again, I've found a topic I could write a book about but I've done my best to edit myself to a few key points.

  1. Casual clothing is disrespectful.  No, church is not a fashion show.  But let's be honest, the only people who drag out that mantra are the ones trying to excuse their own clothing choices!! Julie Beck, one of the leaders of the women's organization in the LDS church, gave a fantastic talk in 2007 about what women who really understand the religion do.  One small part of that talk is so very applicable here.  "I have visited sacrament meetings in some of the poorest places on the earth where mothers have dressed with great care in their Sunday best despite walking for miles on dusty streets and using worn-out public transportation. They bring daughters in clean and ironed dresses with hair brushed to perfection; their sons wear white shirts and ties and have missionary haircuts. These mothers know they are going to sacrament meeting, where covenants are renewed.  ...These mothers have influence and power."  (Click here for her entire talk.)
  2. There really are appropriate and inappropriate outfit options for nearly every occasion.  Several years ago, while I was still in the singles ward and living in Phoenix a letter was read from the pulpit.  All LDS people know that if a letter is read in church, the same letter would have been read that Sunday to at least the entire stake, if not region.  So again, not an isolated incident. The dress code had apparently hit rock bottom and needed to be dealt with.  I remember two things from that Sunday.  First, that I wanted to stand up and cheer that it was finally being discussed, and second, the highlights of the letter.  A) Denim is not appropriate.  In any form.  B) Casual, printed and/or tight-fitting t-shirts are not appropriate.  C) Rubber flip flops are not appropriate.  I would hasten to add that sweatshirts are also not appropriate.  Another point of that letter was that if anyone didn't have or could not afford appropriate Sunday clothing to please talk to their leaders so that help could be provided.  It was and is THAT important to show our church meetings the proper level of respect. 
  3. Men have it easier because they have a church "uniform."  A man's suit makes dressing for church very easy.  He grabs the suit, a button down shirt, tie and appropriate shoes.  The only variations tend to be no jacket in the summer months, shirt sleeve length, and the addition of a sweater in the winter months.  Women would find dressing properly for church much easier if they had their own version of a uniform, aka, the capsule wardrobe.  Capsule wardrobes for various occasions will be discussed in greater detail in upcoming posts, but for now, create your own church "uniform" by putting together outfits with your very best skirts and dresses.  If it helps, hang them together in your closet.  Don't worry about how many you have.  Most men only have 2 suits they wear regularly and a few other trousers.  More important than wearing something new every week is wearing something respectful.  

Sunday best used to have meaning.  It was clear to everyone.  There was clothing reserved for Sunday so that it would always look it's best.  And it wasn't just a version of the same clothing worn throughout the week.  Its only a couple hours out of the week, but some of the most important.  I have to agree with Ms. Dolly, "Dressed like a dream your spirits seem to turn about.  That Sunday shine is a certain sign that you feel as fine as you look!"
 
 
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I love my evening shadow.  My evening shadow has long, lean legs.  I can look at my evening shadow stems and imagine they got that way from all the hours of running and working out I've done. 

My evening shadow has delicate ankles, around which my ankle bracelets float perfectly.

My evening shadow has a trim waist and narrow hips.  I'll take a size 6, please.  My evening shadow makes anything I'm wearing look cool and I'm always wearing the custom wardrobe my favorite designers made just for me.

My evening shadow always stands up straight and confident.  Never questioning how she looks.  Feeling her best.

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And while I'm looking at my evening shadow, I remember that it's just me.  This body right now is casting that shadow.  Somewhere in me are those long, lean legs, trim waist and narrow hips.  Sometimes when I, or anybody, talks enough about fashion the imperfections can start to take front and center.  Annoying us that the size 6 isn't going to happen right now.  And might not ever.  That perfect dress just didn't transform us the way we were hoping it would.  But beating ourselves up isn't truly stylish, is it?  A stylish woman is timeless, sizeless, ageless.  She carries herself confidently.  Happily.   

And so I'll keep enjoying my evening shadow and I'll remind myself that it will never be able to show my fabulous feet that look good in any and all shoes.  (Thank you feet!)  My evening shadow will never show my smile that gets my babies grinning.  My evening shadow will never show my eyes that my husband loves. My evening shadow is simply reflecting just a little bit of the best I can be.  And that's an inspiration I can always use.  

 
 
Ain't it the truth!!  I get a good chuckle out of that little ad so I had to include it.  Hopefully it brought a smile to your face, since usually any discussion of our current size and shape prompts growls and grumbles.  But discussed it must be! 

It's a basic fact that our bodies change over the course of our lifetimes.  Weight gains and losses, pregnancy... even those blessed thin and fit from birth will have to deal with the effects of gravity.  I'm still coming to terms with the fundamental alterations my own body incurred from my recent twin pregnancy.  (These sweet little girls were so worth it!)

Knowing your own shape really is crucial to looking good.  Accenting it, enhancing it, sometimes camouflaging and counteracting it.  Even an elementary understanding of how best to dress your shape will simplify your shopping and have you creating outfits more confidently.

But get ready for a roller coaster ride!  You probably grew up hearing about the basic 4,  Hourglass, Rectangle, Apple and Pear.  Made sense.  But nowadays there are many more ways to define body shapes.  Here is just a sampling.
  • Trinny and Susannah (brilliant British ladies and originators of What Not To Wear) revealed 12 shapes in their Body Shape Bible. Click here for some very realistic pics to go with the 12 shapes!
  • Imogen Lamport from Inside Out Style uses 7 shapes; 8, O, A, I, V, X, H.  And explains them very clearly in various posts on her blog.
  • myshape.com does it with letters, 7 to be exact: M-Y-S-H-A-P-E
No matter which method of the many you use to determine your shape, grab a measuring tape and do your homework!  (Determining your shape will always require you to take your measurments.)
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For a basic beginning on how best to dress your particular shape, I've posted the highlights (with edits for modest dressers) of a great article from the February issue of InStyle magazine. For a fun activity, click here to visit their Fit Profiler

Curvy Hips:

  1. Draw eyes north with bold or light colors on top and dark shades on bottom.  *Light-reflecting earrings invite upward glances.
  2. Broad necklines (boatnecks or off-the-shoulder shirts) equalize your figure.  For modest dressers, think broad lapels, strong shoulders (not shoulder pads!) and puffy sleeves.
  3. Jackets, long cardigans and dress shirts worn open create a lengthening effect, minimizing the appearance of wider thighs. 
Petite:
  1. Baggy clothes have a body-shrinking effect.  Ensure fit; get things tailored if need be.
  2. Be creative with waistlines: Drop-waist tops make torsos look longer while high-rise bottoms add inches to legs.
  3. Too billowy a blouse or dizzying a print can overwhelm.  Classic, structured shapes concoct an illusion of tall and narrow.
Busty:
  1. Foundation is key: INvest in a good bra with sculpted cups and sturdy straps to maintain allover smooth lift and to prevent side bulges.
  2. Avoid bulky turtlenecks, which make you look heavy from the waist up.
  3. Subtle accents on top complement decolletage while bold details (like, yes, stripes) add unwanted volume.
Boyish:
  1. Enhance a smaller chest with necklines that expose a bit: Pick ones with a flirty dip, like a sweetheart or a deep V.  (For modest dressers - go ahead and pair a bright or sparkly camisole with those deep V necklines!)
  2. Add curves to narrow hips by wearing a thick, low-slung belt with jeans or trousers.
  3. Experiment with new fabrics, like boucle or ones with sequin, that give a little dimension to a straighter figure.
Full Figure:
  1. By keeping the silhouette close - but not snug - to your body, you look trimmer than you would trying to hide under baggy clothes.
  2. Dark palettes minimize, but you can also go lean with bright, monochromatic hues.
  3. Too tight sleeves accentuate arm bulge.  Fabrics should skim upper arms.  Bell sleeves are always chic too.
Hourglass:
  1. Accentuate your profile with a few pretty belts and cinch everything (from dresses to blouses) at the small of your waist.
  2. Jersey and silk lightly graze curves.  Wool and tweed add bulk.
  3. Defined, structured shoulders and exposed necklines (think V-neck) flatter busts.
Mom-To-Be:
  1. When dressing up, wear bottoms that rise over your belly for the smoothest lines under tops.
  2. Go for clothing basics, but make a statement with jewelry like bold necklaces or cocktail rings, which can be trotted out post pregnancy too.
  3. Don't spend a fortune on maternity wear.  Empire-waist blouses, cardigans and dress shirts untucked and open all work.
 

Shoe Shy?

07/06/2009

1 Comment

 

Why don't modest dressers have the most fabulous shoes?  Compared to much of the rest of the world, our outfits from neck to knee are relatively tame.  So why aren't our shoes making bigger statements?  Why, my sisters, do I see so many boring, bland, gag-me-with-a-shoehorn, frump-a-dump shoes on you!?!  Let's discuss the possible explanations.

Is it a money issue?  I've certainly been one of those who's said that, if I only had a little more disposable cash in my wallet, I'd have more fabulous clothes.  But I try to remind myself that true style doesn't have a price tag.  A great wardrobe is a combination of both higher quality investment pieces, and lower priced trendy/often replaced pieces. While you can save money buying cheaper white t-shirts that you're just going to replace every year or so anyway, shoes are ABSOLUTELY an investment item.  Cheaply made shoes (notice I didn't say "cheap", but "cheaply made") will look old and break down much faster than well-made shoes.  What price you pay for those well-made shoes is up to your budget and bargain hunting abilities.  I am all about scoring a great deal on good shoes.  If you cast a wide search net (stay tuned for the upcoming post about widening your search) and bide your time, you'll usually find what you want at a pain free price.  Usually.  Some things never go on sale. Hello Blahnik? You and that Carolyne high-heel halter-back.  I'm talkin' to you! Don't pretend you can't hear me!

Is it a fear issue?  Are you too shy to let your feet make a bolder statement?  I've heard lots of excuses for wearing snooze inducing footwear.  Everything from, "Bright shoes are for little girls." and, "It's not sophisticated." to, "I don't want to appear too racy or radical and draw attention to myself."  As I've said before, whether you want to or not, everyone makes a fashion statement.  Every day.  Shoes speak volumes so think of them as your PR agents. There's a moment in the movie Sneakers, when River Phoenix comes to Robert Redford all excited that there are two potential clients waiting to see him.  "Shoes?" asks Redford.  "Nice!" says River.  And only then is the team excited to let the men in.  Truly, what could happen by literally stepping out of your comfort zone in some non-traditional (for you) shoes?  It'll be an adventure!  Your step will certainly be a little perkier... you'll probably give yourself a quick pedicure since your feet will be showcased... you'll feel better from the pedi and do a quick mani... might as well swipe on a touch of mascara... before you know it that baby step of a new choice in shoes has turned your whole day into something more fun than it might have been. 

Is it a comfort issue?  Is it easy to spend a few hours in 4" stilettos?  Nope.  And it's no crime to lower your heel height as the amount of time you'll spend in them increases.  Statement shoes don't have to be sky high heels. Everything from heel height to color to embellishments comprise the shoe's statement.  I usually start high and knock an inch off for every two hours I expect to be standing in them.  And the color or my shoes turns on the more my outfit tones down.  Try thinking of comfort in the context of your whole look.  If the outfit will be ruined, or at least not enhanced, by dull and boring shoes, you're really not going to be that comfortable.  Knowing you look great from head to toe is infinitely more "comfortable."

Do you not know how to do the look "right?"  Oh boy, do I sure understand this one.  I've had some colossal outfit disasters because I was trying too hard to recreate a certain look.  Shoes and accessories are actually the easiest ways to branch out.  Start with your favorite basics that always make you feel great.  That perfect skirt?  The trousers that give you a perky rear view?  The top that brings out your eyes?  Now pick a shoe in a coordinating (not matching) color that you wouldn't normally wear.  Or maybe a basic color but a more daring style, such as a high-heel when you would always wear a flat.  The comfort and confidence of your go-to article of clothing will balance the out-on-a-limb shoe choice.  And practice makes perfect is true even where style is concerned.  The more things you try, the more pairings you'll find that you like (and don't like) and the easier it'll become.  

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To give you a little inspiration, here are some beauties from my own collection.

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Fun shoes also make you look taller by drawing the eye all the way down to your toes.

Keep the eye moving between statement shoes and fabulous earrings and they'll also view everything in the middle as wonderful.

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Take the first step and slip on a pair of shoes you think are outside your comfort zone.  Wear them confidently and I guarantee you'll get nothing but compliments.  Or jealous glances from those still too afraid to let their feet do more than just the walking!

And here are some to dream about and emulate!