Wednesday, December 4, 2013

lessons on style from Ella

Karl Lagerfeld said, “Reinvent new combinations of what you already own. Improvise. Become more creative. Not because you have to, but because you want to. Evolution is the secret for the next step.” 

Karl Lagerfeld is a pretty smart dude. He has influenced the style of countless millions of women over the years.  Ella at Start Close In is a smart dude, too. And she has influenced my style.

Some lessons on style that I learned from Ella.

I think the best thing for me about this whole experience was learning that it is:

A. Okay to wear lots of different styles on different days depending on my mood and my creativity.
B. That by doing that, it makes it my style!
C. A layered, collected look demonstrates exactly the person that I am and how I live. It’s interesting and individual and reflects my love for textures and vintage elements.
D. I can do a layered and collected look that’s age appropriate and doesn’t look like I’m an actual Pre-Raphaelite Bohemian Gypsy

Some other things Ella taught me:

As I prepared for our session, I started to think about what I was going to wear for my very first virtual introduction. Then I thought, well, let's give it to her straight. I just wore what I wore to work that day... my basic uniform of skirt and jacket. Let's just see what she has to say about that.

Well, this is what Ella had to say...

Make a waist, even when you don’t have one. Belt or button at the smallest part of your rib cage. TUCK in!!!! What a difference! This creates an hourglass, especially for people like me that have a very straight torso/hip/butt region. I was never a tucker. I think I'm becoming one.

we also played around with the necklace placement  and the other MUST:  Push up those sleeves!!!!

Repeat patterns and shapes in your outfit. Blogger Audrey asked "What was the rational behind using a scarf in the same sort of print as the dress but in a different scale?"

Well, Audrey, I think it brings interest to an outfit and the ability to mix prints with some cohesion...without it being too busy. At least that's what I think. By the way, be sure to check out all of Audrey's entries in the  Fabricista Challenge..this is a woman who knows how to mix prints with style!

See those polka dots? See that bubble necklace?

See those geometric pointy shapes in the dress? See the same pointy angles in the necklace?

Ella seriously changed my thinking in three hours flat. She simplified my life, too. One of the things that stressed me out the most was spending time in the morning selecting something to wear, and then changing it. Repeatedly. Select, dress, change, repeat. As we talked, she revealed to me that one of the reasons why I do this is because:

a. Many of my clothes didn’t fit properly. I was wearing them too big. I can see that now.
b. I wasn’t wearing them in a way that was fun or flattering.
c. I didn’t have a plan for the week.

So, on Sunday afternoon, I selected all of my outfits for work for the week. And the accessories. And I hung them all in little bundled groups so they were ready for me for the week ahead.  Today is Wednesday. I have not stressed about getting dressed in the morning. That’s a really, really good thing.

And you know what I love?  Each of these outfits includes something I made! 

I have loved this whole process. And I have a sewing/shopping plan to fill in the blanks:

A floral skirt
Some stripes and polka dot tops in colors other than black and white to play with some pattern mixing.
A polka dot skirt    okay, mission accomplished as of yesterday...a polka dot dress that will double as a skirt when layered under other things.
A crisp white shirt that fits
A red skirt.
Jeans that fit.

And the one of the other bests parts is, we have that shared Pinterest board as a reminder that I can take with me on my phone wherever go so that I don’t forget what I learned. My husband is happy, and proud that I am not hiding in my clothes. Life is simpler and at the same time, much, much more interesting!

So, for the logistics of the whole session…
Ella and I emailed quite a bit to share some ideas and to get to know each other before our session.  And on the day of, I set up a portable clothes rack from the basement into my bedroom and hung a variety of colors and shapes of garments from my closet.  I set up the iPad so that she could see me and the clothes on the rack.  It was a blast!  It totally works!  And then the next day, Ella shared her notes from our evening together, with reminders of favorite outfits and our plan for what I needed.

I would encourage you  to contact Ella at Start Close In Styling  if you find that you are in a rut, need a fresh perspective, have had a weight change or need some ideas about how to dress for your body. I AM A FAN!!!!!!

We are teaming up for a bag giveaway on her blog keep checking her out to get the details!


  1. What a fantastic idea! I *LOVE* that dress and eyelet jacket/cardigan. Very, very nice look you.

  2. Wow, how fun! I love your outfits-- they really look cool! You look like you're enjoying feeling put together. :)

  3. You look great! I love all your outfits, great accessories, too. I have very little in the way of accessories -- I need to work on that.

  4. It's interesting because I live by the Sunday night rule. I place 6 freshly ironed outfits on my rack with jewelry and shoe options if needed, so that in the morning, I just get up and get dressed. I do it because I leave so danged early that I want to sleep as long as I possibly can. But it eliminates so much confusion in the morning and the reason I choose 6 instead of 5 is just in case I change my mind, I don't have to go scrambling for something. Oh and I leave one of my black suits on the rack at all times, just in case a special meeting is called. I'm ready and don't have to worry about it.

    I love your before and afters and am so glad that this consultation worked out so well for you!

  5. I like the idea of working outfits out on Sunday. I don't do that and find when faced with the unknown on a work morning I tend to dress safe rather than creative. Must try the Sunday idea.

  6. You are looking so great. Ella has done her job!
    I'm so glad you are able to create a waist. That's something I see lots of women miss.
    Your new looks are wonderful.

  7. I am just amazed the difference, great job and love your new look. As I told you on the phone, I was pushing up my sleeves right after I read your entry.

  8. I love all your new looks! It must feel so good for you to have this fresh perspective on your wardrobe, and a big boost of confidence in creativity. Beautiful!

  9. THis has been so educational and fun for me Lynn. You look great as always and the belts are so flattering!
    Thank you for sharing so much. I have to accessorize more.

  10. Amazing! and you nailed one of my pet peeves.....the too-long sleeves! Push 'em up, I say :-)!
    I always think a belt makes me look too big in the hips, but I think I need the right belt. I'll be on the
    lookout while I am out purchasing the last of the Christmas gifts.
    Thanks so much for sharing. This sounds like it was a really fun and enlightening experience!

  11. This is so enlightening! Ella has freed you up to dress in your most flattering way and at the same time encouraged this housewife to see it's okay to tuck shirts in even when the style says to leave them out. Thank you for sharing this experience. I hope you'll continue to show us what you are learning and wearing. I look forward to seeing some new sewing once you have a little time. Maybe January? :-) Carrie

  12. Gorgeous changes...I am inspired to try harder myself.

  13. LOL I'm catching gup on blogs and when I read the Ella reference I was looking for Ella Fitzgerald's influence on your clothing choices. It just wasn't fitting until I read further. My closet holds a more limited selection (but don't look in my scarf baskets!), by choice, but it would be fun to come to your house for a day of dress up.

  14. Wow! I can't believe what a difference a little change makes! The new style really shows off you new shape! Also…I love your haircut…so chic!

  15. For decades I have worn my tops out instead of in with belts. It used to work for me but as I've gotten wiser (hehe) I have become kind of rectangular. I will go out this week and buy a belt!

  16. Thanks for the answer on my scarf question, and the link to my blog. I thought the scarf looked good, but I didn't know why and wanted to know if there was a style rule that I could add to my list. I am so anal sometimes. The advice on creating a waist is right on, especially for you. You have a great shape. The difference in the way you look with your top untucked and then tucked in with the same suit, is phenomenal.

  17. Wow. So cool, Lynne!!! You look MAHVELOUS!! What a fun thing. I am seriously going to consider this... I've always been style challenged, though have been improving -- and weight loss helps in that I can find clothes I like better, but also hinders because I know I don't see the "real me" and have never been good at styling. I always used to say that my mother had more style in her little finger than I had in my whole body -- I didn't inherit that particular gene. :)


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