Shop Till You Drop

personal shopper seattle

Shop till you drop is a real thing.

This week my lovely and talented friend Alexandra drove to Seattle this week so we could get our shop on. This successful car journalist just landed a fabulous new gig recently so she was looking for a handful of pieces to add to her collection. We cleaned up at Forever 21​ and sent her back to Vancouver with a rack’s worth of new threads. Driving from Vancouver to Seattle, having a marathon shopping trip and driving back to Vancouver, all in one day? Shop till you drop indeed!

Alexandra’s favorite piece of clothing is the blazer and she wears them all the time — it’s part of her personal brand. We gushed about blazers over dinner and agreed that blazers were so fabulous because they:

  1. Help you hold people’s attention longer
  2. Balance your body type, especially for women with triangular body types that have fuller hips and narrower shoulders
  3. Elevate any outfit

Wearing a blazer is a great way to use your clothing as a resource to help you achieve your goals. Obviously Alexandra’s obsession with blazers is working out in her favor!

Forever21 had a phenomenal selection of blazers in gorgeous colors. Go see for yourself!

Let me take you shopping! We’ll have a blast while we hustle and find clothes that look like you!

How to Tie Your Scarf in a Bow


Are you looking for a new and creative way to tie your scarf? Why not tie it in a bow?

Recently I styled a Betsey Johnson accessories photo shoot and we had this glittery lipstick scarf to showcase. What better way to show off a piece with so much character than to tie it in a bow! Our adorable model totally embodied the Betsey spirit and we threw in a MAC Ruby Woo lipstick for good measure. (Photo: Will Bossen)

Here’s a quick scarf bow-tying tutorial from Hermes:

tie your scarf in a bow hermes

Style Icon Iris Apfel Is Selling Her Accessories!

Iris Apfel is a renown decorator, textile designer, and style icon extraordinaire. Her wardrobe is one of a kind, and if you want to own a part of it, you’re in luck. In an unprecedented move, Apfel has begun to sell furniture and jewelry from her private collection via One King’s Lane.

iris apfel new york times

Iris Apfel via the New York Times

When one thinks of Iris Apfel what likely comes to mind is the art of wearing accessories. Here are a few memorable quotes from Apfel about what accessories can do to elevate your wardrobe.

My mother knew if you bought a couple of really good architectural outfits and put your money into accessories, you could create a million different looks. She taught that to me, which I think was invaluable.

Invest in basics in your wardrobe, then use accessories to change your look.

iris apfel pem

Photo: PEM

I get more compliments on accessories than anything else. I think they’re kind of like herbs and spices. They give zest and zing to an outfit.

You can really make an outfit yours by how you accessorize.

Here are a few memorable pieces from her collection.

iris apfel jewelry collection.jpg

A / B / C / D / E / F / G

Check out her sale!

Blue and Green Should Never Be Seen? Think Again! (Go Seahawks!)

Anyone who’s ever said that blue and green should never be seen obviously wasn’t a Seattle Seahawks fan. The official Hawks uniform pairs navy blue and lime green perfectly.

seahawks fan - mama blue

This is Mama Blue, a season’s pass holder since ’76 and her granddaughters, loyal Hawks fans.

Whenever you hear old school fashion rules like never wearing blue and green together, you’re smart to question them. As we can see from the Seahawks colors, blue and green go great together! When in doubt, find a print or pattern that incorporates blue and green (or any other colors in question) to create a harmonious pairing.

The Seahawks beat the San Francisco 49ers tonight to go onto the SuperBowl and Seattle is stoked! Go Hawks!

Uncomfortable Clothes Are Distracting

The pants in question.

This afternoon I was out shopping with a client and found myself getting distracted because my pants kept riding up on me, forcing me to constantly readjust for comfort’s sake. As soon as I got home, I went and changed into a comfortable skirt and immediately felt better! The fact of the matter is this:

Uncomfortable clothes are distracting.

If you are trying to focus on the day’s objective, imagine how productive you’re going to be if your clothes aren’t allowing you to move freely, or your skirt is too short, or your pants are dragging on the floor. You’re going to be distracted from your task and you may not be able to do your job as effectively as you could otherwise.

So those pants of mine that ride up? They’re going in the donation pile. Even though they are flattering, it doesn’t serve me to have pants that aren’t comfortable.

What are you holding onto in your closet that’s distracting and uncomfortable? Now is the time to get rid of anything that’s not working for you.

5 Things That Don’t Belong In Your Closet Anymore | Seattle Image Consultant

Do you start out your day feeling overwhelmed and uninspired when you look in your closet? If you answered yes, you’re not alone.

With spring around the corner, now is the perfect time to roll up your sleeves for some spring cleaning in your closet. When you have an hour to spare, take some time and start pulling out clothes that aren’t working for you.

Here are five things that don’t belong in your closet anymore:

  1. Clothes that doesn’t fit anymore. If you have clothes in your closet that are too tight, too big, or too short, you’re far less likely to wear them. If you have pants that are too long and worth tailoring, put them in a separate pile and get them hemmed.
  2. Clothes that are uncomfortable . If you’ve been holding onto that wool sweater you never seem to wear it because it’s too scratchy, it’s got to go. If you have a pair of pants that are great, except they’re too short in the crotch area, put them in a giveaway pile for someone else who will fit them.
  3. Clothes that are stained beyond repair. If you have a shirt with an oil stain that you never got out when it was fresh, it’s time to let that go. Same goes for white shirts with stains in the underarms.
  4. Clothes that need replacing. Anything discarded in point #3 that you wore regularly and need to replace belongs on your shopping list.
  5. Clothes that don’t reflect who you are. Your personal style is constantly evolving so if you see something that you haven’t worn for ages because it’s no longer a representation of who you are today, toss it in the giveaway pile.

After you go through your closet, put all the clothes that are still usable in a plastic bag and take it to your local Goodwill, Salvation Army or community clothing swap so someone else can enjoy them. One person’s trash is another person’s treasure!

If the thought of purging your closet is completely overwhelming to you, consider working with an Image Consultant for a Wardrobe Evaluation. In a Wardrobe Evaluation, we clear our what’s not working, create new outfits with the clothes you already have, and develop a shopping list to fill in the blanks. And believe it or not, we have a blast while we’re at it! As one of my clients said of her wardrobe session, “Best money I ever spent!” Schedule your Wardrobe Evaluation today!


How to Tie a Scarf Video – Variation on the Slipknot

A couple weeks ago, I taught a workshop for women in the community about How to Make the Most of Your Wardrobe. It was well attended and the women walked away with some great actionable tips, including creative ways to tie a scarf. My friend Rachelle Willhite was so kind as to take some photos and video of the event during the “how to tie a scarf” portion of the segment. Here’s a variation on the slipknot, the most common way to tie a scarf, that adds some texture and interest.

A clever way to wear a scarf is to use it as a beach cover-up and tie it around your waist. Many a woman feels self conscious about her body at the beach and a colorful scarf tied as a sarong is a great way to feel more comfortable in your skin poolside. (As a sidebar, I love how my model Faye is beaming in this picture!)

Eyeglasses Lessons Learned from the Rivet & Sway Pop-Up Shop

Have you heard of Rivet & Sway? They’re a designer women’s eyeglasses company based in Seattle providing at-home try-on services. When I was working with Ellen Rowan on her image recently, she extended a lovely invitation to Rivet & Sway’s Pop Up Shop at Swink Style Bar.

Sarah and Britt at the Pop Up Shop at Swink Style Bar

It was such a treat to meet Britt, Sarah, and Ritzy, the team behind Rivet & Sway, and see their frames up close and personal. These gals are the kind of women you’d love to have around everyday — delightful, complimentary, and darling. Ritzy, the Personal Stylist for Rivet & Sway, is living proof that your career can be decided by your parents by your name!

Talking glasses geometry with Sarah, Ritzy and Britt of Rivet & Sway

I love a good pair of glasses and learned several great lessons from trying on Rivet & Sway’s frames:

  1. Don’t knock it till you try it. Give it a try! Step outside your comfort zone and try on styles that you may not have looked at otherwise. I have never owned a pair of cat-eye glasses before, but I have to say that the Spitfire frames were absolutely enchanting!
  2. There’s a geometry to consider. There are all sorts of lines at play in your face shape, your eye shape, your eyebrows, your bone structure, and the way that they interact with your frames.

    Trying the Punchline frames in Neopolitan with Britt from Rivet & Sway

  3. It all boils down to personal preference. Even though everything may align stylistically between you and a frame, it may still not work with your personal preference. Styling isn’t an exact science because even though it could look perfect from an outsider’s perspective, it might not fit with your preference. It’s always wise to accept other people’s two cents, just remember that at the end of the day, your decision is the one that counts.

    Trying on the Six Shooter from Rivet & Sway. Can't get enough of this color!

    One of my favorite pairs of the night was the Hungry Heart. It just looks so natural.

    The Hungry Heart. (Many thanks to Tim for the great mirror shot)

    If you’re considering a pair of stylish spectacles, definitely check out Rivet & Sway for fab frames and convenient at-home try-on’s!

    Do you wear glasses? How did you decide on your last pair of frames?

    PS: If you’re jonesing for a pair of Rivet & Sway frames, use coupon code SARAHSWAYS to save $25 off your next purchase!

How to Layer Without the Bulk

Fall fashion is all about layering, but unless you’re careful, you can start looking like the Michelin Man. Here are three quick tips on how to layer your clothes without the bulk.

  1. Layer lighter pieces. A lot of the bulk in layering can come from thick layers like cable knit sweaters or lined pea coats. Look for thinner sweaters, cardigans, and jackets to layer instead so you can keep the warmth without the bulk.
  2. Cinch that waist. Find a way to create a clear waist indentation and it will create the illusion that you have a more hourglass silhouette. This anorak jacket has a drawstring waist which helps to accentuate a nice waist. You can also belt over or underneath your layering piece.
  3. Ditch the jeans. Jeans can add extra unflattering bulk underneath your longer layers. Instead, opt for a pair of streamlined leggings, pants, or trousers without the bulky stitching and pockets. If you’re wearing leggings, just make your derriere is covered!

Anorak jacket: $69.99 | Striped sweater: $69.99 | Mixed metal necklace: $29.99
Styled by Sarah Ward, Wardrobe Stylist for Pala Pala Dress Boutique in Seattle, WA.

6 Quick Tips for Posing for Pictures

Recently someone on Facebook asked me for tips about how to pose for pictures. Though I’m no Gisele Bundchen, I have modeled, can boast a billboard under my belt, and as an image consultant / wardrobe stylist, I know a thing or two about helping people feel comfortable in front of the camera. So if you’re looking for suggestions for an upcoming photo shoot, here’s 6 quick tips for posing for pictures.

  1. Keep moving. If you’re doing a photo shoot, every time you hear the shutter lens, change your pose slightly. A few suggestions to change your pose is to lower your chin, pop your shoulder up, tilt your head, put your hand on your hip, change the juxtaposition of your feet, vary your facial expression, just keep moving! You’ll have far more options to choose from when you see your photos. This photo series from Audrey Hepburn is a great example. Sometimes all it takes is a slight movement to make the perfect picture.
  2. Practice posing. A few years ago I was on the set with a new model who was having a hard time working the camera, so the art director had her grab a magazine for inspiration and start practicing posing in front of the mirror! I would extend the same advice to you. Grab a magazine, look for poses you’d like to try, then get in front of a mirror and see and whether the pose works for you. (I have a whole Pinboard on Pinterest called “Girl Can Pose”which is filled with different pose ideas. Follow away!) These images from fashion photographer Trever Hoehne are lovely, natural poses to try.
  3. Try new things. When editing my most recent Wear One Piece Five Ways segment, there were a couple new poses I haven’t tried before that found their way into the mix — I loved the results! We get so comfortable in the same poses, but it’s always refreshing to mix things up a bit. Take some of the things you’ve been practicing in the mirror (a la tip #2) and try to introduce them in front of the camera. It’s important to have a photographer you feel comfortable with so you feel safe to step outside of your comfort zone. 
  4. Stand up straight. They say the camera adds 10 pounds, and good posture can make you look 10 pounds less so make sure you stand up straight! Elevate that carriage! Inhale deep through your nose and lift your breast bone. (Sidebar: don’t stop breathing when the camera clicks! I can actually tell on images where I completely freeze a pose for the camera, including my breath. It’s far more natural when you keep breathing while having your picture taken.) 
  5. Whatever part of your body is closest to the camera will appear larger. This can be in your favor if you want to maximize your jawline or bust. On the flip side, if you want to minimize a figure variation such as your hips, derriere, or arms, angle this area away from the camera — the area in question will look smaller in the photo as a result. A bad example of what not to do is Fo from America’s Next Top Model Cycle 12. By leaning towards the camera, Fo’s head and face look larger while the rest of her body appears smaller and short. This is the shot that sent her packing.
  6. When all else fails, turn at an angle to the camera and smile! For a slimming effect, standing at a 45 degree angle to the camera, put your hand on one hip and smile. It works practically every time!

    Photo: Elisabeth Kate Photography. Styling by Cable Car Couture

What is your best tip for posing for photographs?

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