Recap: Colorful + Chic Harlem Digs

Hey Folks! How have you been? I'm still juggling my day job with my business and hoping to cross over soon to full-time business (*fingers crossed*, *hands clasped*). I've also been busy creating an undergraduate class, The Social Psychology of Clothing, and am excited about the prospects of teaching it. Hopefully, more on that soon. But today, I wanted to feed your senses with some serious home eye candy. Last month, I had the opportunity to tour the home of interior decorator, Minetta Archer, for Houzz. Minetta has a way of mixing color, patterns, and texture in such a wonderfully refreshing way. I don't doubt that she is on her way to becoming a powerhouse in the world of colorful interiors.

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And her home is not the only thing that stood out during the tour. Her colorful outfit was a perfect complement to her home, and it made me think about how our wardrobes and interiors can really enhance the other. Minetta's outfit is classic bohemian chic with a fabulous yellow top and ethnic patterned head-wrap. I couldn't help but notice that she looks exactly like where she lives. If I just saw her on the street, I'd imagine she was going home to an global chic decor with lots of color and texture, just like her outfit.

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I've been really interested in ways to use interiors and clothes as a catalyst to the life you desire, and I see such great benefits in using your clothes and home to positively reinforce the other. I mean, shouldn't we look like where we live? Shouldn't our home look like us? At it's best, both our home and wardrobe provide us with opportunities to express our creative selves and reveal a lot about our emotional lives.

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So if your home was exactly the way you wanted it to be, what would your wardrobe look like as an extension of that aesthetic? I love classic furniture pieces mixed with the unexpected and pops of color; and that is how I'd describe my wardrobe as well. But if you haven't thought much about this, it may be good to consider, particularly if you think your home is doing way better than your wardrobe, or vice versa. You can look for clues in your home to build the wardrobe you want. If you like color, neutrals, and/or pastels in your home, you may like those colors for your clothes too.

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And the reverse is also true. If you have a fanciful or a modern wardrobe, maybe you'd like a similar aesthetic for your interior. In essence, use the confidence you have in one to build confidence in the other. Agree? Let me know what you think in the comments below.

See the full tour here.

 

 

Dressing For Your Body Type: Tall, On The Slim Side

Hey all! We've made it to the third and final (at least for now) installment of the Dressing for Your Body type series, and hopefully it's inspired you to learn how to appreciate your body even just a little bit more. This week I'm interviewing my loveliest friend Myriam. I've known her for years, and have seen her cope with body issues we all deal with. Here's what she had to say about how she has come to appreciate her body type.

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Trulery: Hi Myriam, I'm really excited to have you share with us! Tell us how would you describe your body type?

Myriam: This is kind of a tough one for me because I don't really feel that it fits in one category completely. I'm clearly tall and on the slim side but wouldn't call myself boyish or athletic. But neither am I curvy or pear-shaped. Is there a "Myriam" body type? Because I'm that for sure.

Trulery: I feel you. Sometimes it can be hard to define our body type in ways that really capture how we perceive it. How would you say your body image evolved, and how did you learn to appreciate your body image?

Myriam: I started to appreciate my body when I started working out, and oddly enough it didn't have much to do with weight loss. I became more confident when I realized how capable my body was. My aerobic conditioning and strength training really helped me to feel good about myself. When I'm fit-- in-shape and strong, I feel and look my best.

Trulery: Realizing what your body can do, can really go a long way with being appreciative of the body you have. What is one piece of advice you would give to anyone struggling with your specific body type?

Myriam: I'd say know you are more than your body! Be grateful for it and what it allows you to do (work, exercise, bear children...), and don't get caught up in what you should look like or what you wish you looked like. Also, accentuate your positives! We all have something we like about ourselves-- our legs, arms, neck, or whatever works for you.

Trulery: That's great advice. What styles or pieces of clothing work best on your body and why?

Myriam: Another loaded question! It's hard to answer because I favor so many different silhouettes. I enjoy dressing so I like to play with different styles. I'll say there is no substitute for a well-fitting pair of jeans.

Trulery: What are 5 must-have pieces for your wardrobe?

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Myriam:  (1) Jeans, of course! I love their versatility. They come in a variety of fits and washes, and you can dress them up or down. (2) I also really like how a blazer can instantly polish a look. I love to wear one draped over my shoulders. (3) A mid-heel or kitten heel in a metallic or a bright color is another must-have for me right now. And shoes are a great way to add a little personality to your outfit, especially if your outfit is pretty safe. (4) The cropped pant is another good one. I like these slim or wide legged. I'm obsessed with ankles, and being tall, this is a silhouette I can comfortably wear without fear of the inseam being off! (5) And I have to include a statement blouse. It's an easy way to elevate an outfit and try out new details, trends, or colors.

Trulery: Thanks Myriam!

Can you relate to Myriam's body image journey? Tell us about it!

shoes| blouse| jeans| blazer| pants

 

Dressing For Your Body Type: Full Hourglass

Hey All! I'm back with the next installment of my Dressing for Your Body Type series. This is where I interview women of different shapes and sizes about their body image issues and how they overcame them. No matter what size you are, you've probably had to overcome even minor issues with your body type. And I think it's really helpful to talk with other women about how they've dealt with it. This week I'm interviewing my friend, Kanika. She's funny, no-nonsense, loves being a nurse, and is really just a cool person. I've always admired her self-assured presence and thought she would be great to interview about her body image. Here's what she had to say:

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Trulery: Hi Kanika! So tell me how you would describe your body type?

Kanika: I'd have to say hourglass-- with the right undergarments!!!! Undergarments smooth out and shape, and push things to where they need to go. It's like photoshopping. It doesn't add what you don't have, but it sharpens what you do have.

Trulery: Real life photoshopping- so true! How would you describe how your body image evolved? Or how did you learn to appreciate your specific body type?

Kanika: As I got older, I realized you got to work with what you have. In hindsight, I wish I had been more appreciative and accepting of my body. I would have been more inclined to maintain and value what I have. People are getting butt injections to have a bigger butt and that's natural for me.

Trulery: I agree. I think we should try to value our body, even if it's not exactly where we want it to be because it's the only one we have and one day we might wish it was the way it is now. What's one piece of advice you would give to anyone struggling with your specific body type?

Kanika: I'd say focus your shopping energy and money dressing the parts of your body you like. I like that my waist is naturally narrow so I don't shy away from high-waisted pants or skirts, or clothing that cinches at the waist. It makes my top and bottom look proportionate.

Trulery: That's so much better than focusing on the parts you dislike, and having a bad shopping experience because you somehow only noticed clothes that highlighted all the wrong areas. What other styles or pieces of clothing work best on your body and why?

Kanika: I like looser tops, fitted bottoms. I use to be opposite, but now I realize good quality, fitted fabrics thru the hips and thighs are more flattering for my ample bottom and narrow waist.

See Kanika's 5 must-have pieces for her wardrobe and why she likes them.

 1.  dress  2.  boots  3.  spanx  4.  pants  5.  bag

1. dress 2. boots 3. spanx 4. pants 5. bag

Thanks for your insight, Kanika!

Can you relate to Kanika's body image experience? Tell us about it below.

 

Dressing For Your Body Type: Petite

Hey Everyone! I'm excited to share with you a new mini-series, Dressing for Your Body Type. It's where I interview women about their body image and how they've overcome insecurities about their body type. I think most of us have struggled through body image issues at some point in our lives no matter what size or shape we are. As I have gotten older, I've had a hard time trying to maintain my 20's body, and have not always felt as comfortable in my skin as I'd like. I work through it by trying to keep a consistent exercise regimen, making healthy eating choices-- most of the time, and understanding that I do not have to wait until I reach a certain size to value myself and my body. I try not to be so focused on my physical appearance that I forget my worth and purpose is much bigger than that. It's definitely an ongoing process but it's worth it to keep at it, particularly when we often get unrealistic messages about what we should look like. For this series, I decided to interview three women with different body types in hopes that you'll be able to relate to at least one of them and their unique journey to a healthy body image. This week, I'm interviewing the lovely Nicole Borjas. Here's what she had to say:

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Trulery: So Nicole, how would you describe your body type?

Nicole: I'm definitely petite.

Trulery:  I think being clear and confident about your body type is a great first step towards a healthy body image. How has your body image evolved, or how did you learn to appreciate your body image?

Nicole: I've learned to embrace trends that are more flattering to my body type and not feel so bad about skipping the ones that don't always work for me. That in itself has helped me learn how to appreciate my shorter frame more. There are a lot more clothing brand options now for petite ladies which is fun to find.

Trulery: I agree that knowing what works for your body is key. What is one piece of advice you would give to anyone struggling with your specific body type?

Nicole: Finding clothing that is tailored well to your body frame is very helpful. It took me a while to figure that out. Sewing machines, or tailors are your friend.

Trulery: And it's always good to have clothes that are uniquely fit since so much of what we see is standard and mass produced. What styles or pieces of clothing work best on your body and why?

Nicole: I am loving the high-waisted trend. High-waisted jeans are my favorite. They make my shorter legs seem longer which I appreciate.

Trulery: What are some must-have pieces you think make a good foundation for your wardrobe and why.

Nicole: My must-have pieces are....a little back dress, high-waisted jeans, a quality white T-shirt, black jeans, and a leather jacket. I like good wardrobe staples that you can adapt from day to night, and can wear in different seasons.

Thanks Nicole! Check out her wardrobe staple picks below!

If you can relate to Nicole's body image journey, feel free to share it with us.

Newsworthy: Teaching Design Psychology on Skillshare

Hey Guys! I want to share some important news with you-- I am now officially a teacher on Skillshare! It's been a really long process to get to this point, as I have been trying to put together a Skillshare class since forever. What held me back the most is the technology. Filming and editing is definitely not as easy as they make it look, but now that I got my first class out, I'm looking forward to it getting a bit easier. For my debut class, I'm teaching on how to use design psychology to create a coherent mood for your bedroom. The mood of the room is so important because it sets the tone for the rest of the design process. Check out my class and let me know what you think. I'd also like to know what other topics you'd be interested in learning about.

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How to Dress Like a Style Icon

Everyone has style. The ones who draw us in are those who know how to access style in a way that is unique to them but resonates with us. Of course, having good style is more than just wearing fashion. There’s an intangible quality about it that is hard to articulate but you know it when you see it.  Some have offered a definition of style. Amanda Brooks (in I ♥ Your Style) defines style as “a way of putting yourself together according to your mood and what you want to project”; Kate Betts (in Everyday Icon) says style is “bound up in who you are and what you believe”; and Jennifer Scott (in Madame Chic) says style is “what makes [you] feel good.” None of these definitions offer a wear-this-with-that approach to finding your style because there really isn’t one. And honestly if you had one, you aren’t guaranteed to project the authentic sense of style you’re looking for. Sure, you might look good in an outfit, but anyone with a stylist can do that. Having a sense of style is more than looking good in an outfit. It’s also about carrying yourself in a way that consistently brings out your best qualities.

I know I’m in the presence of good style when the following happens: my heart jumps a little in my chest, I end up staring for a little longer than I should, and I feel inspired to try something new. I’m drawn to people who have edited their outfit down to one stand-out thing— a must-have shoe, a really nice pant, or a cool piece of jewelry, especially if any of these intentionally throws the outfit in an unexpected direction. I’m also enthralled with people who aren’t necessarily wearing anything exciting but wear it in an interesting way; or who undeniably follow the trends and know how to rock it. While I can’t offer you a paint-by-numbers approach to how this is done, I can off you a few tips I’ve learned on how to develop your unique style. I've also included some virtual outfits to show you a glimpse of the way I put outfits together.

1.    Do Some Self-Introspection

Know Thyself

Any style icon knows who they are and what they’re on about on. If you haven’t quite figured that out yet, consider your goals and what image you want to project. What are you educational, vocational, and personal aspirations; and what image do you think best reflects those goals? I’m both a psychologist and a fashion/design consultant, and I love juxtaposition and blending different styles together. I tend to lean towards classic pieces mixed in with something unexpected.

Expose Yourself (and not in the way you think)

While you may have the potential to be a style icon, potential doesn’t necessarily translate into reality without knowledge and awareness. This involves actively searching out inspiration anywhere you can find it—museums, fashion shows, theatre, movies, magazines, and travel. Identify who you see as a style icon and why. Personally, I enjoy Solange, Choe Sevigny, and Miroslava Duma. I like their eclecticism and the way they’re able to transform their look to whatever is inspiring them at the moment while still staying true to their essence.

2.    Identify the Essence of Your Style

Cultivate “Your Way"

Whenever I have a difficult time articulating why I’m drawn to someone’s style, I say they have “a way.” It’s usually because I cannot pinpoint their sense of style to anything specific. It seems to be a complex mix of their outfit and accessories, their idiosyncrasies, and how they carry it all. While it may be easier for others to be aware of our "way” than it is for us, there are some things we can do to cultivate this elusive sensibility. One way to do it is to consider what aesthetic or look your drawn to, as it can give you a pretty good indication of what you already possess. Then use it as a guideline for how you shop and put together outfits. I’m drawn to the eclectic style of others because my style is eclectic. I like to call it “classic eclecticism” because it speaks to my love of adding an unexpected twist to classic outfits.

Identify What Pieces Suite Your Body

Even the most fabulous outfits will do nothing for you if you if it doesn’t complement your shape. As much as I love short shorts and rompers, I know it doesn’t flatter my legs and I look best in outfits that don't draw attention to it. If you’re not sure what clothing complements your shape, consider what you feel most comfortable in and why. When you’re trying on clothes in the store, walk around the dressing room in it to see if you can imagine yourself wearing it out. If you aren’t comfortable or are having problems with the fit in the store, chances are you won’t be comfortable in it when you get home.

3.    Know How to Adopt Trends

Know A Little About Where the Trends Come From

Often we adopt trends from sheer exposure without considering why we are drawn to them, how long they’ve been in the fashion cycle, and how it became trendy in the first place. There are a number of sociocultural, political, and historical factors that go into making a trend catch on, and it’s good to have at least some awareness of it so we can make an informed decision about whether or not we want to try it. In my experience, styles become trendy when differing styles have run its course; and there is usually some socio-political movement that supports the change. For instance, back in the 90’s, knee length skirts were all the rage, and it's becoming, minimalist shape seemed to be a reaction to all the decadence and “girls just want to have fun” vibe channeled by the 80’s min-skirt. As the economy has been on an upswing, the decadent 80’s have came around again, and we are embracing the unique, asymmetrical proportions we once enjoyed in the 80’s. Knowing this information about a trend can may help you decide if it is look you want to embrace.

Make Sure the Trend Feels Like You

I have no problem experimenting with clothing, but if it doesn’t feel like me, then I won’t wear it. What makes it feels like me? Well, I go by my reaction to it and the way I carry myself in the clothes. If I love it and can carry it with confidence then I know there is enough about it that is personal to me. For instance, fur/feather shoes were all the rage this season, and I was drawn to the edgy luxury of it after seeing a girl in Jersey City with a pair. She kind of had an attitude, and wore it so effortlessly that it looked like she just rolled out of bed with her fur slides. It made me want to by a pair, but I was very particular about which pair because I’ve also seen this trend go really wrong. So I made sure I bought ones that did not feel too over-the-top and complimented my foot.  If I try a trend, and I’m constantly thinking about whether or not it's right, it’s a sign that it is not right for me. This is what is involved in taking fashion risks, and are integral to developing your sense of style. 

4.    Be Your Own Stylist

Practice

Creatively styling outfits may not come natural if you’re not used to doing it. But with practice, you should be able to know what pieces work together, what don’t, and how to add your personal touch. If you've put together an outfit you’re not sure about, and you feel uncomfortable the whole time you’re in it, figure out what's not working, why it isn't working, and what pieces would go better together. If this is difficult to do, go back to tip one and "expose yourself." Whenever I feel like I'm not sure if "this goes with that," I'll look through magazines or fashion sites to get inspo. 

Know the Rules and How to Break Them

It’s important to know traditional rules of styling. What colors typically go with what; what styles are expected to go together, like a flowy bohemian dress with clogs; and what jewelry or make-up is status quo for your outfit such as ethnic chandelier earrings with a bohemian dress and clogs. Once you’ve figure that out, then you can "break rules." For instance, instead of wearing clogs with a bohemian dress, wear a kitten-heeled mule that is both classic and lady like. Or instead of wearing you’re go-to studs with a simple mid-length shift dress, wear really big but lightweight round hoops to give it an edge. One rule of thumb for mixing it up is to do so in a way that adds an unexpected twist but still feels harmonious with the overall look. In other words, make sure every part of the outfit "speaks back" to some part of the other. This is just to ensure that your unexpected twist has context that makes sense.  For instance, if you choose to wear sneakers with a pretty skirt, some other part of the outfit should relate to the sneakers like another sporty item such as a backpack or fanny pack. 

Slight of Hand

As my fashion-conscious friend always says, when it comes to styling it’s all about slight of hand. JCrew was a master at it. Take a classic plaid shirt and make it sexy by tucking it into a pair of high-waisted navy slim silk pants and voila—you have “a look.” It’s still the same classic plaid shirt JCrew has always had but now it has extra interest outside of its preppy element. Think of ways you can add a big impact to clothes you already have with slight changes.

5.    Have Confidence

If you’ve been able to follow through with all the previous points, you should have a certain level of confidence with your look. Confidence is knowing your clothes reflect what you want it to; not worrying about you’re outfit because it feels right to you; and wearing the outfit instead of it wearing you. Some people with even questionable outfits have been able to pull this off simply because they’ve owned it. This has more to do with their individuality and how they carry the clothes than the clothes itself. I’ve always been fascinated by Bridgette Bardot’s effortless style-- the gingham pencil skirt, the ballet-style body suit, the headband, and the messy hair. I was recently intrigued to learn that she never claimed to be stylish. She just had her own ideas and views, and was confident enough to allow her fashion choices to evolve from it. It is this natural evolution of style that captivated our culture so intensely and we still reference her today. What personal ideas and views can you project through your clothing choices?  Remember, fashion is really just a language we use to convey a message to others; and it is in this unique message that are our style takes it's shape.

What do you think about these tips? Are they familiar to you? Are there other tips that have helped you hone your personal style? I’d really like to hear them.