Liz Eremenko is an inspiration to me. I loved spending time with her and her husband last fall. It was fun to shop with her and see her in action. She is really sharp when it comes to seeing a piece of clothing and knowing what it will look like and who it is best suited for…style is ingrained in her every move. Not unattainable high fashion looks either, real every-day-anyone-can-wear-this style. When she started posting to Instagram with what she was wearing daily I found myself loving most every look. You know it is good, when it all looks good. Anyway, I offered up a guest blog post for Liz to write and I think she did a fantastic job.
What I love most, is none of the items in this post are new, she shopped her own closet and avoided fast fashion looks. Which, turns out, has become something we are both passionate about.
Anyway, I hope you enjoy, and that you find inspiration as well.
“Take it away, Liz…”
Life just changed forever. Today it was announced that the store I work for would close and I will be unemployed for the first time in 22 years. How do I feel? I truly don’t know. What shall I do? I have no idea. What do I know? The answer is clothes. I’ve been a window dresser or a personal shopper for all that 22 years. I am that woman who reads those glossy magazines and takes an avid interest in who wore what. I’m not sure how that’s going to help me out in the world. I’m in my mid-fifties and this is my zone. It is what I know.
Ok in the words of a close friend, focus! Think about it and try to build from there. I have always enjoyed Instagram, it occurred to me that maybe I should post what I wear and see what happens. Scary? Yes. Still, it does give me something else to think about…so here goes…
This is the first photo I posted to Instagram. I like this outfit because it’s simple yet the red boots are punchy and take it out of the ordinary, comfortable but also dressed to impress. I’m quite top heavy with broad shoulders and big boobs so it’s important to me to streamline my top half while at the same time showing off my fairly decent legs. The V-neck of the sweater slims my shoulders and elongates my décolletage. The belt breaks up the block of dark that my sweater and trousers create and the boots…well, they’re just fabulous so instantly become the thing the look hinges on. If I’m going to wear funky footwear, I like to keep the rest simple so the shoes get the attention they deserve.
After that, panic set in. I would have to carry on now, especially as I had positive comments on the photo. With no money or indeed need for buying anything new, I headed to my wardrobe for inspiration. After years in clothing retail I have plenty of choices.
Suiting your shape is always my number one rule:
This was a safe and simple choice. Clothes I wear often, in my favourite colours and style. I’m not a dress-up kind of girl. I’m brave in my choices of clothes but usually always within my self-selected palette of colour and things to suit my shape. If you dress for your shape, you will always be fine. Again, for my larger top half I choose a dark black colour. This sweater has a high neck so to create a break I added a scarf in a bright pop of my favourite colour. The trousers have interesting pockets so I’m okay with them also being dark, and bright boots. So far so good, but also, so far so samey… I need to shake things up a bit, so I don’t just post many variations on the same theme.
Vintage pieces can make an outfit:
Now it’s time for a dress. An old favourite, which I usually wear in summer, but it can easily work for winter too with the right layers. Scoop neck, so again, flattering to the chest, layered with woolly tights and topped with a vintage thrifted blazer. This attracted positive comments on the ancient blazer. Lightbulb moment, so much of my wardrobe is either vintage due to my collecting or thrifted because I love thrift shops. I realized I already had so many outfits I could show you. The world was my wardrobe!
Summer pieces layered up for winter looks:
I decided I would show you things that I wear regularly. This outfit is one of my favourites. It’s a summer dress worn over a winter skirt. Summer dresses are great for layering this way. The colours are quite similar so they work well together. Because they are so similar, I decided to make it pop with a scarf in my favourite turquoise. The Converse keep the effect current but this could just as easily be worn with boots and tights if it was really chilly. Comfort is key for me so this outfit makes me very happy. I sell many pieces like these to my clients because all of the components are great on their own or with other items. Making your clothes work double duty and coordinating across many areas of your wardrobe and seasons is always a win-win.
Versatility is paramount:
Obviously, I needed to show you more than just casual day wear, so my son’s birthday provided a good opportunity. We only went to the pub for food so I didn’t need to be glamorous, just smart. This pleather skirt is something I wear so often, a classic shape and length in a very wearable olive green. I put a simple black sweater and boots with it as it was chilly, but it is also beautiful with a blouse and heels. I could have glammed it up with accessories or keep it dialed down like this. I wore a V-neck again to be flattering to my bust. I have worn this skirt with all sorts of tops from leopard prints to a sweatshirt. It’s so versatile, which is paramount. I really don’t like clothes that can only be worn one way with one thing.
Navy is an important neutral for a capsule wardrobe:
This outfit was a happy accident that came about while I was deciding what to wear for my daily photo. I wear the trousers often with the silver canvas sneakers because I love them together. This time I added the sailor jumper (cable sweater) and instantly I loved it. Navy, in my opinion, is one of the most important colours for a capsule wardrobe…the neutral that suits everyone. As the trousers are pinstriped, the sweater needed to be plain. I don’t have much of a waist but tucking the sweater in gives a good illusion of one. The chain adds interest and texture to the outfit because of the big links. I love wide leg trousers they’re always elegant. The fabric should always be soft and fluid to keep them that way. They flatter most shapes and sizes.
Never spend much money on trendy fashion:
Another lunch with my fashionista friend, I always enjoy the dressing-up factor of spending time with her. These coated jeans are another thing I wear often. I have a few pairs in different colours. Because the weather was kind, I have put them with a floral shirt. To add further interest and to break up the line of my broad shoulders I’m wearing a vintage denim waistcoat that tones nicely with the blues in the shirt. White boots are my nod to my trendy friend. These were not expensive; I never spend much on fleeting trends and never recommend doing so. It is possible to have things that last for many years, such as these, at least five-year-old jeans and update them with accessories.
Be playful with clothes, have fun:
Clothes are, in my opinion, meant to be fun. I love being playful with mine and encourage my clients to do the same. I could never call a fluffy poncho a classic item, but it is one, that makes me smile every time I wear it. I have even worn it formally over a black dress and it was fabulous, but generally, I wear it this way, with jeans. These are fun striped jeans that are cropped so usually come out for spring and autumn but they work well with boots for winter too. The stripes elongate and slim the leg, which is always a good thing. There are two other long sleeved tops underneath to add depth and contrast. A long necklace keeps the poncho sitting flat across the front to minimize billowing. I love fun clothes best of all.
Be fearless and bold in your choices:
Okay, so now this photo library has me really searching the wardrobe for what to choose. It’s making me think hard about what I can and can’t wear together. Which is exactly what it was supposed to do. Wear what you have is a great idea and I’ve found myself enjoying some of the experiments I’ve tried. Like stripes twice, on paper it doesn’t work but in reality it can if you choose wisely. The trousers here have a fine stripe and the sweater a bolder one. Both base colours tone nicely and hey presto! I liked this outfit so much I did a happy dance when I discovered it. It has got me thinking of other ways to wear stripes. I wore it all day and took it out for a spin to see if people would throw their hands up at me but nobody did. I own plenty of stripey tops so this could be a plan that works. Even looking at the photo, I can see where I could wear different shoes and it would still work. That’s what shopping my wardrobe has done for me. Yes, it involves thought and a critical eye on my things but I’ve ended up in some outfits I’m really happy with. It has the same feeling as buying new things but with zero spending so it has to be a winner. I tried on four stripe sweaters before I settled on this one and ended up donating one of them that I found just really didn’t suit me so it’s even helping me lose the things I have obviously kept too long. It’s helping me identify where I have gaps too so that when I am shopping I have a much better idea of what will fill them.
Comfort can equal confidence:
This was for an invitation I received for afternoon drinks from someone I went to primary school with who’d emigrated aged fourteen. I, obviously, didn’t know the adult her very well; we hadn’t stayed in touch for years. It was a dilemma really. What to wear for somewhere essentially full of strangers. I chose to stay in my comfort zone. In jeans but dressed up a bit with a smarter shirt, which felt a bit dull though so I livened things up with bright boots. The result was comfy which made a more confident me and a happy time was had. Yes, there were people at the event who were more glammed up, and there were others who were more casual; so it was the right choice for the happy medium.
There you have it:
A selection of my favourite images from my new venture. For twenty-two years, I’ve worked in fashion retail. Originally, as a visual merchandiser which was incredibly fun. I loved dressing windows and mannequins. Doing huge campaigns was just so exciting. From there I moved to the less physical role of personal shopping. A challenging role, although even more fun, because instead of inanimate objects I was dressing real people. The opportunity actually to change women’s lives by giving them the confidence for every occasion was just fabulous. Next, came the advent of digital selling, a whole new ball game, but such an exciting one. Instead of just having my stores stock available, I had the entire business stock at my fingertips. It was different and difficult at first as customers were quite wary of the new technology, but we all know now how quickly it took off. These days I still do this process, I make outfits for a real person I’m with from the images on the screen and get them ordered for her to try. It’s been a great job being the store digital style advisor and I’m sad to go but moving on is also exciting.
I have the opportunity to reevaluate where I’m going. My own personal style involves lots of thrift shopping and reinventing of clothes. I definitely am not one to buy loads of new things. I love the excitement of choosing to reuse. I have started to take these photos in the hope of connecting with likeminded souls. As increasingly we become more aware of the environmental damage of fast fashion I feel, there’s a niche for people to show women what wonderful things they already have lurking in their own wardrobes. Looking at them with fresh eyes may be all that’s needed to extend their lives and enhance the wearer’s style.
Thank you for reading and you can follow me on Instagram @libslifedaily
A Liz inspired look:
She encouraged me to get these glasses and I am so glad I did they have been my favorite pair for a couple of years now. And I would have never considered the top had it not been for Liz.
I hope you found some inspiration today. Shopping your own closet can be an awesome way to take a fresh look at old things. I love the idea of having less and enjoying it more.
Just a tip, while you are shopping your closet if you do pull something out and it no longer fits right or works for you, keep a paper grocery bag in the bottom of your closet and fill it with items to donate to a women’s shelter.
Thank you for reading. Please feel free to share.
As always it is about so much more than the hair.
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