Tag Archive for 'Kalyn Johnson'

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New Year, New You! (part 2)

sartorialist1

To go from Hit Or Miss to Glamazon, you gotta love just about everything in your closet.  May sound strange, but it’s true.  To get to this point, you’ve go to figure out what your personal style is, plain and simple.  Here’s the thing about personal style – it’s just that, personal.  To get to the point where you love everything in your closet and the way it looks on you, you’ve got to do some work.  It’s worth the time and effort, but it will take some time and effort.

Elevate Your Style Quotient – Morphing Into A Glamazon

The first step is to figure out which styles and shapes are most flattering to your shape.

  • For example, if you have a bit of a pouch, form-fitting dresses, tops and sweaters while definitely in this season (and most if we’re perfectly honest) are not necessarily going to be your go-to items.  Shapewear can help you minimize a pouch no doubt, but shapewear may not be something you want to wear on a daily basis.  More flattering cuts would be A-line dresses, kimono-like blouses and tops or possibly even a wrap dress depending on the cut of the dress.
  • What’s tricky about this first step is two-fold:  (1) Sometimes it’s hard to be honest with yourself and (2) Figuring out what looks good is more than a notion.  Ask a trusted friend to come over and try on a few outfits to get his or her honest opinion.  Or, go to a department store and enlist the help of a salesperson as you try on some of the latest trends.  IGIGI has a great shape calculator that can help you determine the best styles for your figure.
  • As you try to determine what shapes are most flattering, remember that very few of us have the bodies clothing manufacturers are cutting for.  Don’t despair, just make your tailor your new BFF and have your clothes altered to a perfect fit.  Small waist and a bit of junk in your trunk?  Buy slacks and jeans to accomodate your junk and then have the waist taken in.  Volia! A perfect fit in no time.

A great wardrobe is made up of quality classic pieces.

  • You’ve got a closet full of clothes and nothing to wear.  You must be crazy, right? No.  Most of us make the mistake of buying what’s “IN” rather than building a wardrobe of classics that can transcend trends or incorporate trends.  Integrate trends into your wardrobe by buying one “IN” item or a few accessories each season as you grow or re-vamp your wardrobe.
  • Make sure your closet is stocked with The Classic 8:  (1) A dark suit; (2) A crisp white shirt; (3) A black wool or cashmere turtleneck; (4) A LBD; (5) A pair of dark jeans; (6) A trench coat; (7) A good pair of classic black heels; and (8) One item that makes your heart leap – an amazing coat like the woman pictured above, a FAB purse, or possibly a beautiful watch. Believe it or not, you have at least 2 weeks worth of outfits if you have just these 8 items.
  • Find designers and stores in your price range who make clothes that fit you well.

Morphing into A Glamour Goddess

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.  Glamour Goddesses come in all shapes and sizes.  Sara Jessica Parker is Glamazon, but dont get it twisted, so is your colleague who is always well-put together and polished or the mom at drop-off who looks like she stepped out of a JCrew catalogue or right off of the page of the NYTimes SundayStyles.  A Glamour Goddess isn’t defined as someone whose exploits are chronicled on Page 6 (although, she may very well be); she’s simply someone who wears her clothes confidently.  This is easy for her to do because she loves everything in her closet; now getting dressed in the mornings or for an evening out on the town is easy.  She injects her personal style by choosing jewelry, handbags, scarves, totebags, shoes and belts that take her basic underlying wardrobe from classic to chic.

The Glamour Goddess in you is dying to come out, take the time this year to help her emerge!  I know Jada would . . .

[image from The Sartorialist]

New Year, New You!

My niece turned 3 last week and like any budding fashionista, she squealed with delight when she opened her birthday gifts and found the latest playground styles in the heavy gift boxes.  When I asked her if she was going to wear her “I Am 3″ t-shirt to school the next day, she looked me in the eye and said, “No, I’m going to wear one of the gifts my family gave me.”  I kid you not.  The next morning, she negotiated her outfit with her mother with a level of skill that I haven’t seen since my high school days when my mother and I tap danced around what I wanted to wear and what she thought was appropriate.  It was so refreshing to watch this little person assert her style preferences without regard for rules, fashion edicts or fear of breaking some esoteric fashion rule (granted she has people with pretty good tasting buying her clothes, but so does Suri Cruise and I’d bet good money she’s got something to say about what she puts on daily too).  The lesson to be learned here is to trust your gut.  Jada’s exuberance over her new clothes and her confidence in her clothing choices are a reminder to us all that clothes are supposed to be a fun expression of one’s self.

Think back to the days when the hardest thing you had to do on a weekly basis was to climb the rope in gym class or possibly get hit during dodge ball.  You definitely had a favorite outfit, pair of shoes or an accessory that you were fiercely proud of – it made you feel invincible.  Channel the confidence of your inner child as you re-assess your wardrobe and think about the new you for the new year.  Answer the following questions with child-like honesty as you go through your drawers and closets:

  1. How many outfits or items do I have that I love?  Overall, do I like my clothes?
  2. Do I feel confident when I leave the house?
  3. Do my clothes make me look polished and professional or do they say “I don’t care?”
  4. Is getting dressed in the morning an anxiety-ridden process?
  5. Do you ask yourself  ’Why do I have a closet full of clothes, but I never have anything to wear?’
  6. Do I have a good sense of what I look good in?
  7. Do I have a signature look or do I wear variations of a uniform every day?

These questions are intended to help you take stock as the new year begins.  If you love your clothes; you’re a Glamour Goddess and we’re all trying to be like you!  If you’re a bit Hit Or Miss, vacillating between good outfit days and bad, take solace in the fact that you’re not alone.  What will help you ascend the style ladder from Hit Or Miss to Glamour Goddess is taking the time to figure out what your personal style is and then doing what needs to be done to get to that next level.  More on this next week for those of you who are feeling a bit Hit Or Miss (post comments if you have questions and I will do my best to address them in next week’s posting).  And if you answered “NO” to more than 5 of the questions above, consider hiring someone to help you take things up a notch.  There should be no shame in your game – when you look good, you feel good, you’ll walk taller, smile more and have greater confidence whether you are out for a night on the town or going to work.

Rome wasn’t built in a day and your wardrobe won’t be either, but with patience, some great sales and me by your side you will be dressing like a Glamazon in no time!

[image from blogs.smarter.com/babieskids]

Stylishly Appointed in 2010

You thought this posting was going to be about the fashion trends for 2010, jeggings perhaps?  We’ll get to those later on this year . . . With the beginning of the new year comes the opportunity to start fresh.  Staying on top of appointments, lunch and dinner dates, not to mention vacation time should be relatively easy with all of the computerized calendars out there now – OutLook, iGoogle, My Yahoo! and all of the others I’m not familiar with – right?  Well, if you’re like me with a laptop, a Blackberry and now an iTouch you have no excuse for missing an appointment or showing up late for an important meeting.

I’m happy to report that 2009 was a great year for me, but it was definitely a hectic one.  Historically, I’m a paperwhore and typically I’ve managed my life from my home datebook in tandem with my portable one (yes, I’m a little anal) but like I said 2009 was a bit hectic and I began to rely on whichever electronic device was most handy.  The beginning of my end.  It was great to type an appointment in, it wasn’t so great to have my device ring at me shortly before the appointment I’d completely forgotten about because I failed to mentally note it. Instead of going in one ear and out the other, it got typed in and then mentally deleted. After a few of these mis-haps it dawned on me that while we’re in the midst of the information age, and I gladly tote around all of these cool gadgets with their bells and whistles, I’m a paper person at heart.  I need to open my planner each morning and see what my day looks like in my own handwriting.  So, to kick-off the new year, I have refills for my desk datebook and my portable one.  I know, I want to be environmentally responsible, but I also want to be on time!  Come join me on the wild side.

Tell me – are you paper or electronic?

[images clockwise from top Filofax, Louis Vuitton, Apple, Kate Spade]

My Favorite Things in 2009

Julie Andrews sang about “raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens” as some of her favorite things; I must admit that my faves are a little less esoteric and a little more materialistic than Ms. Andrews’, but here are the top 10 things I fell in love with this year – please don’t hold it against me!

  1. My Kindle; I love to read and carrying my library with me wherever I go is an absolute treat.
  2. The heart-stopping sparkling diamond jewelry at Kwiat.
  3. Rosewood Mayakoba, Riviera Maya, Mexico – hands down, one of the most wonderful resort experiences I’ve ever had and the folks at Travel&Leisure agree too!
  4. My YSL Gold Tribute Shoes; they’re killer but they make my legs look great.
  5. Frozen yogurt with lychees and almonds at Pinkberry.
  6. Cashmere leggings from Kier+J – they’re oh so warm and definitely downtown hipster chic.
  7. Falafel sandwiches from Maoz Vegetarian - good quality and great prices.
  8. Marie Jasmin’s SWEAT Cardio Sculpt classes at Equinox are fabulous; she’s a wonderful trainer and whipped my butt into shape this year.
  9. I’ve been dreaming about owning one of Kristen Farrell’s Mystical Talon pendants, they’re absolutely to die for!
  10. I fell in love with Mara Hoffman’s beautifully patterned clothes, bathing suits and beach coverups.

I’d love to hear what some of your favorite things are  … LMK.

Happy New Year!!!!

[images clockwise from Kwiat, YSL, Kristen Farrell, Maoz Vegetarian, Mara Hoffman, Pinkberry, Rosewood Mayakoba, Amazon and Equinox]

Gift Wrapping – Make It Pretty

Although the economy is reportedly re-bounding, many of us are still conserving cash this holiday season which means that there may not be as many gifts under the Christmas tree on Friday.  Just because it may take less time and effort to undress the tree, doesn’t mean that the gifts underneath it shouldn’t be stylishly wrapped – make the presentation worthy of the present!  Think of it this way, creative gift wrap is an opportunity to express both yourself and how much the recipient means to you.

  • Go Green – Use all of your paper leftover from past years; to unify the presents use the same color bows and ribbons on each gift.  Or, gather those Whole Foods bags you’ve stashed away or the newspapers that have piled up.
  • Color Coordinate – If starting from scratch, buy a few rolls of a patterned paper along with a solid color that coordinates with the pattern.  Find bows and ribbon in a contrasting color.
  • Layer  Coordinating Papers – Mix and match patterns, colors, and textures. When wrapping your gift, begin with one pattern, then run a band of complementary paper around the center. Finish with a velvet ribbon for added texture.
  • Go Graphic – Don’t limit yourself to using papers with holiday motifs and colors.  Try mixing in nontraditional graphic designs that you can use year around.

If you’re looking for interesting, unique and beautiful gift wrapping paper, check out a few of these sites:  Cavallini & Co., Kate’s Paperie, and Pikku Wares.

A beautifully wrapped present heightens fun and anticipation!

Happy Holidays!!!

[image from Country Living]

Buckle Up!

shou_pic

While visions of sugar plums are dancing in the heads of others, I’m craving another one of Ann Lansing‘s belts, the buckle and strap combo are so retro – you know you had a belt from Pappagallo – but Annie’s creativity gives them  just the right amount of edge!  I’m hoping Santa leaves me a new one for Christmas.  To insure Santa leaves one of Annie’s belts under the tree for you, pick up one for yourself at Ann Lansing’s holiday trunk show this Saturday if you’re in New York.

WHERE: The Lancome Boutique, 201 Columbus Avenue (@69th Street), 212.362.4858

WHEN: This Saturday, December 19th, 4-8pm

WHY: Her belts are unique, fun to wear and 10% of each belt purchase will benefit Memorial Sloan Kettering.  Plus, if you buy a belt and then want to buy some makeup, you’ll get 10% off of all Lancome purchases.  Oh, and there will be free goodies, champagne and hors d’oeurves.  Sounds like a great way to kick-off the holidays!

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[images from Ann Lansing Design]

Fur!!!! Glorious Fur!!!!!

J Mendel fur

I’m obsessed with fur.  Plain and simple.  Have been since I was a little girl growing up in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.  I remember going to Dittrich Furs with my mom as she amassed a nice little collection of furs – there was the silver 3/4-length mink wrap coat with the notched lapels (I loved the coat, she had a great pair of silvery-grey high-heeled boots she wore with it – Mom, where is that coat?!?!?!); the racoon jacket that she’d wear during the week when she drove my dad’s Corvette and look oh so chic; and then the beaver full length coat for those really really cold Michigan winters. I think her love of fur was a direct result of my grandmother’s love affair with fur – it runs in the family (my Aunt Kay had a fur fetish too, I was lucky enough to inherit all of her furs when she moved to Florida).

My mother initiated me into all things fur when I was 20.  I was home from college for Thanksgiving; we were at Dittrich’s picking up her furs.  There was a great full-length opposum coat on sale. Perfect for a young lady my mom said.  So, it became mine.  I loved that coat.  I’ve now passed my first real fur on to one of my young friends, she’s been initiated into the way of all things fur.  It was the least I could do.

Now, let’s be clear – I love all kinds of fur – faux, vintage, new – I don’t discriminate.  Yes,  I’m aware of the ethical issues and I’ve worked those out for myself.  If you have issues with fur, you do and you’re not alone.  I’m not writing this posting to convince anyone to drink my particular brand of koolaid on this point. However, I am writing it because wearing fur, faux or real, is a luxurious experience.  This season the retail industry has done a bang-up job of providing those who don’t believe in fur, along with those whose bank accounts may not ready for fur, with a plethora of fabulous options.  The folks at TopShop get STYLEpoints  for having the most penny-saving stylish faux furs out there this season – Kate Moss has designed her butt off. H&M, Tory Burch, and Rebecca Taylor are on the bandwagon too.

So, if you’re on the fence – try a faux fur.  If you’ve been hankerin’ after a real fur but weren’t sure of the direction to head in – go for it!  Any questions about what to buy, where and how?  Shoot me an email.

Be FURablous this Winter!

[image from Style.com]

Stylish Stocking Stuffer

The Little Purple Book of STYLE makes a great stocking stuffer, Hanukkah present, Secret Santa gift or gift topper.  Give your friends and family the gift of STYLE this holiday season!  Order by December 18th to insure delivery by December 24th. Place your order here.

“I graduated from Harvard last year and found The Little Purple Book of STYLE extremely valuable in my transition from college to the world of investment banking. The Little Purple Book of STYLE is a fantastic quick primer on dressing in today’s workplace for young professionals.”  - Alexis Cepeda Maule

“I graduated from law school more than 10 years ago, but have struggled with feeling professional and stylish in the workplace.  Kalyn’s Little Purple Book of STYLE helped me to bridge the gap.  I wish I’d had it 10 years ago when I started practicing.”  - Jennifer Turner

I Feel Pretty, Oh So Pretty!

What is it about going to the make up counter that some of us find exhilarating and others find loathsome?  One friend who’s eyes are always done, whether she’s going out on a date or down the street to the grocery store, told me that she loves buying makeup because the high she gets from being made up at the MAC counter is fantastic compared to the lows she sometimes experiences when shopping for clothes. (FYI:  the lows sometimes experienced while shopping are a whole ‘nother posting that I’ll focus on at a later date).

Back to the topic at hand, makeup.  It’s believed that makeup has been on the scene in one form or another since at least 3500 B.C.; in fact, during Ancient Egyptian times, Queen Nefertiti and King Tut are some of the first-known adopters.  The controversy over the wearing of makeup has been raging since the Middle Ages, when makeup was generally worn by those in the upper class although the church frowned upon its usage.  In the 1800s, Queen Victoria declared the use of makeup improper and for a time only prostitutes and actresses wore makeup (the Queen said it was ok for actors).  However, by the 20th Century makeup was in widespread use by women in most industrialized nations.

Whether you love makeup or not, if you’ve never had your makeup done professionally you owe yourself a treat.  Most of us have figured out our daily makeup routine and I’ll hazard a guess and say that 70% of you have been wearing the same family of colors for as long as you can remember.  What’s that old saying, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”, right?  Wrong.  Change is a good thing.  At a minimum, have your makeup done by a professional once a year to learn new techniques, experiment with new colors and generally improve your appearance. You consult with your hairstylist regularly, right?  The same holds true for your “face”.  And honestly, once you learn how to properly apply makeup (which most makeup artists are chomping at the bit to teach people – typically, you’ll even go home with a face chart detailing what goes where and how to apply it) you’d be surprised at how easy it is to apply and I guarantee that you will love the results!

The best use of makeup is as an enhancement and truly, the best way to figure out how to enhance your features is to have the objectivity of a professional’s bird’s eye view.  Having a professional do your makeup doesn’t have to be costly nor do you have to come through the process looking “made up”.  You will spend a few bucks whether on the makeup artist’s services, products or both and you may feel like you have on a face full of makeup if you’re someone who rarely wears makeup.  Your gauge, however, is how your family and friends re-act to the new you and ultimately, how you feel about your new look.

If you’re thinking about dipping your toe in the water, stop by just about any department store makeup counter and ask one of the makeup artist’s to help you choose a new look for your eyes, for example.  The MAC makeup artists are well-trained, skilled and generally very good at coddling newbies.  Or, set up an appointment to have your makeup done by one of their artists.  If you are in the New York area and would like a more personalized experience in your own home, contact Karen Duncan or Dara Klein. Both are great make up artists and wonderful people to boot!  But, if the idea of having a stranger put their hands all over your face is not your cup of tea, there are 3 great books worth checking out Making Faces and Face Forward, both by Kevin Aucoin, and Make Up Your Mind by Francois Nars.

Maria (from Westside Story) said it best, I feel pretty, oh so pretty.  I feel pretty and witty and bright! And I pity any girl who isn’t me tonight.

Looking Your Best This Holiday Season

Is your calendar literally filled with engagements from now until the beginning of the year?  In addition to coming up with a stash of hostess gifts, you’ve got to figure out what you’re going to wear to each holiday dinner party, office party, drinks with friends, tree trimming party and of course to the big events themselves.  Godforbid if you’ve got a formal or two to go to as well!

There’s no time like the present to start recycling the goodies you’ve got stashed away in your closet.  Now, if you’re related to the Rockerfellers and can afford to go out and buy a few key pieces to spice up your holiday wardrobe, by all means please do and just pass this posting along to one of your less well-off friends!  If however, you’re trying to figure out how to do it all (holiday travel, shopping and party-going) with limited funds, here are some tips for looking your best this season without breaking the bank.  It’s simple, Shop In Your Closet (or your friend’s if yours is low on sparkly items). It’s all about looking like you spent a fortune when you haven’t spent a dime.

Dressing for the Holidays a la Your Closet:

  • Locate the following items and put them on your bed: (1) LBD; (2) Black wool slacks; (3) Black cardigan; (4) Black turtleneck.
  • Go through your shawls and pull out the black one of course and any festive looking shawls you may have. Put these on the bed too.
  • Now, pull out the jewelry box and locate your most sparkly items – necklaces, cocktail rings, bracelets – everything that’s too much for work, you know those pieces you’ve been saving for the right moment or the ones that someone gave you and you just weren’t sure what to wear them with. Lay the pieces on your bed.
  • Go through your stash of clutch bags and pull out the black one and any sparkly ones you have. These go on the bed too.
  • The same goes for your heels – pull out your black dressy heels (peu de soie is fine, the everyday work ones are not) and any glammy shiny heels you own (the more color, sparkle, sequins or feathers the better!). Yup, on the floor next to the bed.
  • Now, go back to your basics listed in the first bullet point and begin to mix and match your outfits.  Nothing needs to be matchy-matchy.  Your foundation is basic black which is sleek, slimming and sophisticated.  Your accessories regardless of how you combine them will dress up your basics and help to get you in the holiday spirit.  And remember, it’s the holidays so it’s ok to go a little over the top.
  • Once you’ve matched your outfits, think about what you are going to wear to which events so that the day or evening of you’ve got nothing to do but make sure the items are clean and get dressed.
  • Finishing touches – If time permits, and your budget allows, stop by H&M, Ann Taylor, Aldo, Forever21, JCrew, TopShop, Claire’s or some other such store and buy a sparkly headband, hair clip or a fun feather number just to take things to the next level.
  • Top it all off with your regular wool coat (this is where one of those colorful shawls can be helpful in transforming your everyday coat to a little bit something more) or if you’ve got a fur or a fun fur (whichever is your preference) now is the time to show us what you got!

Have fun this holiday season!  Eat, drink and be merry.

What’s In a Name?

High end designers are designing for the masses.  Thought you’d never be able to afford a pair of Jimmy Choos?  Guess again.  Do you love Anna Sui but not her prices? What about Temperley of London? Alexander McQueen? Jill Sander? Kate Moss? …  It’s a bandwagon just about anyone who’s anyone in the design world is jumping on.  Target and H&M are at the forefront of this movement, but it’s a party many are likely to attend.  And why not?  Consumer dollars are more precious than ever, why should a designer restrict him or herself to only a fraction of that money when offering clothes at a variety of price levels insures money in the bank and not just a layout in Harpers Bazaar? Cha-ching!!!!

Target was definitely the leader of this trend – Do you remember Swell by Cynthia Rowley and Ilene Rosenberg?  Great comforter and sheet sets for your dorm room or the stylish teen?  CR now has a line of home goods at Target called Whim.  Liz Lange’s maternity duds available at prices that you don’t have to be an UES (Upper East Side) mom to  afford?  Or Michael Graves’ beautiful kitchen appliances and do-dads that even made the folks at Alessi salivate?  Then Target threw the gauntlet down when it hit us with its Go International line featuring emerging designers. Target has had partnerships with everyone from Luella Bartley to Thakoon.  Not to mention Target’s accessories collaborations with designers like Devi Kroell and Erickson-Beamon.  And now, their Designer Collaborations available for a limited time and featuring established designers who draw inspiration from a muse or creative elements – think Anna Sui and Gossip Girl.

And then there’s H&M (f.k.a. Hennes & Mauritz), the Swedish conglomerate focused on fashion domination with 1,800 stores in 34 countries who’s goal is to bring its customers fashion and quality at the best price.  Their designer collaborations began 5 years ago with the father of haute couture, Karl Lagerfeld and as recently as a few weeks ago Jimmy Choo’s line for H&M was revealed.

Everyone’s in the game – Christian Siriano the winner of Project Runway 4 is designing for Payless and even Earnest Sewn, the Manhattan denim company, is collaborating with designers like Van Cleef & Arpels, Repetto, Trovata and knitwear designer Victor Glemaud.

Other stores have bought into the concept too, look for designer collaborations at Uniqlo (Jill Sander), TopShop (Christoper Kane) , Walmart (Miley Cyrus & Max Azria)

With all of these designer duds available at a fraction of the cost, you too can be stylishly FABulous at a fraction of the price!

Workin’ Day and Night . . .

MJ never said truer words.  How many times have you planned to go home after work to change clothes before going out only to realize that there’s no way you’re going to make it home AND make it to the restaurant, bar, or your PTA (sorority, board, [you fill in the blank]) meeting on time?  The thing about going from work to play is that you don’t necessarily want to look like you just came from the office when you meet your blind date for the first time.  You want to look professional, but more like a night time version of your professional self, right?  We’ve all seen the woman at the bar or restaurant, waiting for friends or her date, who looks like she must work at an ad agency or in PR because there’s no way she could be that fly and work at a law firm or a consulting firm.  You might be, right, she may have one of those cool creative jobs or NOT.  She just may be one of those people who knows how to go from day to night in a jiffy.  You too can be that woman.  All it requires is a little planning on your part.

Rule No. 1 – The IT Factor.  If you cant afford the latest “IT” bag, find a small funky purse or clutch bag to hold your essentials.  Check your tote or briefcase when you arrive at your destination if leaving it in the car is not an option.

Rule No. 2 – Get a Leg Up. Bring a pair of heels with you (no, not your work heels. Going out heels).  Take those Manolos, Jimmy Choos or Jessica Simpsons out of the box and bring them to work with you.  A nice pair of heels gives shape and definition to the leg and immediately dresses just about any outfit up. (If heels aren’t your thing, try Insolia shoe inserts to take the weight off the ball of your foot and make standing in heels much more comfortable).

Rule No. 3 – Change the face.  There should be some distinction between your daily face and your going out face.  If you don’t wear make up regularly,  put on some blush, lip gloss and mascara to brighten up your face a bit.  If you do wear make up regularly, re-apply and do something a little different – rather than a nude lip, go with color or go with a smokey eye, for example.

Rule No. 4 – The Sweet Smell of Success.  Spritz on a bit of perfume stashed in your Desk S.O.S kit to freshen up a bit.

Rule No. 5 – Accessorize, Accessorize, Accessorize.  Let go of the safe “work” jewelry and funk things up a bit with a cool necklace, headband, bracelet or earrings that might border on wrong for work, but will be great for going out.  JCrew, H&M, TopShop and Forever 21 have some great moderate to low priced options to select from.

Rule No. 6 – Go out and have fun.   “Easy breezy” is your mantra.