Apr 16, 2017

Spring Outfit Ideas for Women SS2017 - Blazers & Stripes, Sap Green Color

Hi Readers!

Spring is full in its glory~
Just updating what I posted on Instagram in the past couple of weeks.

We cannot forget the lovely fresh chic that Gossip Girl star
Blake Lively sported. Gossip Girl may be gone, but Style Remains!

Spring is a great time for blazers...
We are finally out of our stuffy Winter coats and layers!

But it's still quite chilly in the mornings and evenings...
So, we really need some cover.
 = * = *  = * = *  = * = *  = * = *  = * = *  = * = *  = * = *  = * = *  = * = *  = * = * 

Office Styling for Spring 2017

This is a slightly casual work outfit...
Keep it fresh with a white blouse, a blue skirt, a layered hairstyle~

Then, top it off with tan leather accessories,
and some gold finish in your watch and necklace~

EZ PZ :P Right?

This second one is a dressy work outfit.

Exude elegance and grace with this sophisticated set.

Navy sleeveless blouse with belted flowy pants, gives you an elongated silhouette.
Wear your hair in a low chic Chignon...

Wear navy sandals in modern, edgy grid details...
Add an urban Dior bag and necklace with grey & dark silver details.

 = * = *  = * = *  = * = *  = * = *  = * = *  = * = *  = * = *  = * = *  = * = *  = * = * 

My last point is the Sap Green color for Spring 2017.
Pantone chose two colors for this year.

An pink-beige color & a steady grassy green color.

For Spring however, I think a fresh Sap Green in a brighter tone is best.

Here is an outfit I just found from a Korean fashion store. (Thank you Facebook ad for recommending this site! You know my style~ now!)

What's really neat about this outfit is that each of the items are wearable with what most people own in their wardrobes. They will mix and match well and play well with other items. And yet, as an ensemble, the pieces create something very 'au courant' (of the moment)... 

Most of all, the outfit is pretty, casual, and just perfect for a Spring mood. :)

Stay classy & stylish, everyone!

Lots of Love
From Jessica Ahn

[Column] Create Your Own Style Principle 8. Stock Up On Your Hosiery!

20 Ways to Create Your Own Style Series #08

Principle 8. Stock Up On Your Hosiery!

Spring~ Spring~ Spring! Spring sunshine has begun to melt all corners of Seoul. It is still quite chilly in the mornings and evenings, so we are currently experiencing some serious desert weather.

Today, we will look at how the under appreciated *hosiery* benefits our personal style. Well employed, hosiery will affect your wardrobe with utilitarian and visual ways.

There are three utilitarian benefits of well chosen socks and hose.

First, your hosiery is a great ally to protecting your wallet. When people go on retail therapy, most opt for a new top or a bottom, maybe a dress. However, unless you spend wisely and shrewdly, it is ever so easy to justify that new gorgeous dress as a 'need' even though it was initially a 'want.' What I have observed from recording what I where daily and refraining from retail therapy over the years is that a lot of the times that I splurged BIG were those times when my 'sock and hose' drawer was not fully and appropriately stocked! This kept repeating, so I really saw a pattern here. It is so so easy to overlook the hosiery!

These days, when feel that impulse to buy something new, I go over to check my hosiery drawer. If my daily socks and nude tights look shabby and worn out, I start by disposing those. Then I check to see if I have enough hosiery for the current season and what I wear. I check if any of them need replacement. And I think of spending adequately on these as a measure of self care and defensive strategy against impulsive, compulsive, mindless shopping.

Second, having a well stocked hose drawer allows for a peaceful morning! As each second counts in the mornings, not having the good enough to wear socks or work tights wreaks havoc. It makes one go on a hunt for new hosiery at home and sometimes at a nearby convenience store. Working out the correct hosiery in advance gives you return on investment in your precious morning moments.

Third, bulk buying your hosiery simplifies your laundry routine to something totally brainless! When you carefully select only one type of design for each of your outfit categories (work/gym/formal), then you can toss all of your worn stuff in just one laundry batch (nude ankle dress socks/white socks/nude panty hose). If your sock ever lost its twin, it will match will all of the rest of your work socks. Finally, even without having to KonMari-fold everything, having uniform hosiery for each category of your outfits will create the illusion of 'Visual Zen' in your wardrobe!

Your hosiery also benefits your personal style in two visual ways.

First, a well chosen hosiery will instantly 'polish' your outfit.

The reverse is also true, effective immediately, when your sock is holey and you just entered a Korean restaurant with your team and you have to take your shoes off. Or your hose has a massive run and you are just about to shake hands with your devastatingly handsome blind date. The hosiery can completely undo your style in key moments of your life!

Basic Rule 1: Match the sock color to your pants or skirt.
In this image, the socks is a shade darker than the pants color, giving it a groomed and sophisticated look. 

Basic Rule 2: Match the sock color to your shoes.
In this illustration, the socks are 2 to 3 shades lighter than the shoes' color. The pattern in the socks echoes the textured pattern of the pants.

Basic Rule 3: For women, there is a benefit to choosing hosiery color a shade or two lighter than the clothes and the shoes. 
When you wear a black dress with black shoes as in the photo above, opting for an all-black solid look may not be a bad choice. However, by going a little lighter gives it a more elegant and feminine feel. Remember that doing All Black may make you look slimmer, but you run the risk of looking 'heavier' than you really are, or the risk of looking 'too armored.' Finding that exact shade of semi-sheer tights is a challenge but it is also one of the easiest ways to up play the feminine curvature in your calves!

Secondly, hosiery creates visual interest in your outfit.
For women, an all together boring and blah outfit can be modified by patterend or textured hosiery. For men, opting for different daily work wear socks and more fine woven dress socks for formal occasions can 'complete' your level of style refinement. For both genders, the socks can amp up a casual outfit to the max, or recruiting the latest trendy hosiery can add some much needed novelty in your wardrobe.

Rules for Variety: Men's Dressy Socks
These are thinner than daily socks usually, and often have a sheen to them.

Rules for Variety: Men's Semi-Casual Socks
The example above shows a pair of navy socks with cheerful red added in a grid pattern. The overall mood becomes more vivified with these socks, while the navy communicates enough seriousness in the outfit.

Rules for Variety: Men's Dandy Casual Socks
This pair has tightly patterned Hounds Tooth all over it, giving the outfit a lot of personality and casual punch.

Rules for Variety: The little black dress is matched with three different patterned tights here, demonstrating how hosiery can give a single outfit varied visual effects!

Rules for Variety: Opacity levels of your hose determine the visual mood you create in your outfit. 
On the left, a casual dress gets a fun patterned but very sheer tights. The amount of sheer here gives the outfit an bit of a sexy oomph! 
On the right, the striking colored opaque tights make a bold style statement. The hat, the bag, the tights, and the shoes all fall into a tight range of color mimicry. 

Today's Action Tips!

1. What hosiery are you currently wearing for your daily outfits?
Are they in good condition or in need of replacement?
Is your hosiery drawer well stocked for your daily outfits?

2. Do you have all of the hosiery necessary for the season?
How about your special occasion hosiery? Are they in place too?
As Summer approaches us, hosiery gets replaced with pedicure. When do you think you will start needing proper foot care?

As the saying goes, 'God is in the Details.' 
Your hosiery is a style asset that is often overlooked and totally hidden, dormant in its expression. I bid you another stylish upgrade today and I trust that you will take the reigns of your classy, stylish life this week!

Jessica Ahn

Apr 8, 2017

[Column] Create Your Own Style Principle 7. Have Three Fully Accessorized Outfits

20 Ways to Create Your Own Style Series #07

Principle 7. Have Three Fully Accessorized Outfits

Hey readers! Fashion Coaching and the City is already at its 8th greeting! Here in Seoul, Spring has arrived but with its usual capriciousness. Beware the Spring flu, wherever you are!

In this column, we will talk about the advantages of having 3 completely accessorized outfits, as well as the steps to achieve them! For those of you who have spent some time taking action on some of the tips I have shared, you may already have your metals in their right color categories or coordinated outfits that capitalize on your natural or intentioned silhouette. But there are always those readers who are pressed for time, and today's tip will hopefully benefit your busy lifestyle!

First, let's take a look at what the term 'Fully Accessorized' means for an outfit.

For those of you who like to shop, have you ever wondered why you shop quite often but once you bring your shiny new clothes home, the final outfit you put together looks like the same kind of 'blah~?' Maybe you wondered it was due to the different lightings or slimming mirrors in the clothing store, or perhaps you feel like you had given too much credence to what the store clerk said. Well, actually, the real culprit here are your 'accessories.' Most clothing items when mix and matched without accessories almost always end up looking like a version of a 'school uniform.' So, let's take a look at this formula!

Creating an Accessorized Outfit

1. One Basic Item
2. One Interest Item
3. One Completer Item
4. Other Accessories

Image Source: http://inspiredbyfamilymag.com/2012/04/13/fashion-formula-how-to-put-outfits-together

Let's put together some outfits, using this formula!

Case Study 1. 
Casual Friday Men's Jeans Outfit for Office
1. Base Item - Neat dark wash denim jeans
2. Interest Item - Fresh striped shirt in cotton or cotton blend
3. Completer Item - Semi-casual jacket
4. Other Embellishments - Sunglasses and a watch

Case Study 2. 
A Denim Skirt Outfit for a Professional Woman Attending a Christening Celebration
1. Base Item - Neat dark washed denim skirt
2. Interest Item - Spring-like striped jacket
3. Completer Item - Purse that is a focal point
4. Other Embellishments - Bracelet and shoes

Now, set aside 30 minutes or more to create YOUR OWN fully accessorized outfits! Make all three of them! Most people can easily create 3 completely accessorized outfits without having to go shopping. You may start off with a black base outfit, then a white one, and a jeans one. Or you may choose to pick one favorite clothing item and see if you can produce 3 completely different outfits using various accessories. 

This technique is highly recommended for people who are moving houses or constantly on the move, or frequent business traveler. When you have at least three completely accessorized outfit in your own wardrobe, those splendid window displays will cease to pull on your heartstrings and purse strings! Your well invested 30 minutes may well protect your valuable cash!

As always, thank you for reading and stay stylish!
I'm here to cheer you on!

Jessica FlatShoenista

Mar 21, 2017

[Column] Create Your Own Style Principle 6. Your Laundry Cycle & Cost Per Wear Principle

20 Ways to Create Your Own Style Series #06

Principle 6. Your Laundry Cycle & Cost Per Wear Principle

Today we will talk about your laundry cycle and how it might affect your personal style and wardrobe needs.
This is something that is not talked enough about in my opinion! But there is a link between the two!

First, everyone has a slightly different laundry cycle. The idea of what is 'soiled enough for a wash' differs. Some people wash their clothes after one wear. Others, may wear it a 2~3 times or 3~4 times before it is tossed into the laundry basket. 

Depending on how your body is shaped or what movements you repeatedly engage in, different parts of your clothing gets worn out. This could be how much worn a pair of jeans might be especially around the knees bit, or how much one perspires. 

Also, there is a difference in how many unrepeated outfits an individual prefers to wear in a week. Some are happy wearing the same clothes repeatedly in a week, others consciously try to have no repeat outfits in a weekly or monthly cycle. 

One final thing is depending on how frequently one shops affects the laundry cycle. You may be comfortable getting new 'on trend' clothes for each season which are not too pricey, or you may be the type of person who wants the best quality that lasts a decade while paying a higher amount for an item.

Now, depending on your wash cycle, there may be a few patterns that follow.

First, your wash cycle determines exactly how many number of clothing items you need. Those that wear repeat outfits, you may need a fewer number of items, but you may need to buy new clothes in a 1~2 year cycle. This is great if you like wearing trendy clothes or prefer to feel like you are wearing new clothes all the time. As long as you have your week's outfits covered, you're good to go. Then, there are those who consciously try to wear no repeat outfits on a weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly cycle. These people may need a larger number of clothing items to avoid repeats. And they may have a larger amount of clothes to launder or take to a dry cleaner's at the end of a season. As they like to seek variety in their outfits, they will receive a lot of attention from their fashion. The most conservative types prefer to invest in items that last a long time. This may be a cashmere sweater that costs more and requires dry cleaning each year, but because they last a decade or a couple of decades, to them this feels more economic and saves them unnecessary shopping.

Second, your laundry cycle may require a particular type of arrangement in your wardrobe. For those who wear an item multiple times before a wash, they may enjoy having a few hooks to separate out the worn clothes from the freshly laundered clothes. Maybe have a hook to hang items worn once, one for things worn twice, and in the third wear it gets tossed into the laundry basket. If you wear a variety of coats in the Winter, you may mentally decide how many wears it takes before you want to take it to the dry cleaners. Place a dry cleaning bag to collect coats that have been worn enough times.

Third, use the Cost Per Wear formula for savvy spending. This formula works by dividing the cost of a garment by how many times you wear it. Let's imagine that you are out shopping and you see a great coat on sale for half price. And there is also a neat pair of pants that has no discount. Most people might opt to buy that coat. But if you calculate how much each it will cost per wear, you will know with certainty which option is better miles for your dollar. If the coat costs $1,000, and is sold at $500, and you wear the coat 50 times, then each wear costs you a $10. If the pants that are not on sale costs $350, and you wear this 50 times, your cost per wear tells you it is actually costing you $7 per wear. The pants that is not on sale is cheaper for you than the coat in actuality. Especially if you include dry cleaner's fees, it will be even more accurate. If you wear a coat about 25 times before it goes to the dry cleaner's and you do this twice, add this cost to see how it averages in your cost per wear.

Having examined your laundry and clothing purchase cycle, your pattern may well correlate to your Adler Lifestyle Identity. Each Lifestyle tends to prefer something different, and aim for a different focus.
Of the four Lifestyles, the Pleasing & Pleasure Seeking type is likely to enjoy the coming and goings of fashion trends and novelty. As casual attire is highly preferred, they may stay clear of the higher maintenance suits. Fabrics with spandex and some stretch and no requirement for ironing is important. Laundry cycle needs to be kept at a minimum! The lighter the load, the better! These people tend to display their clothes more than 'hide' them in drawers. So their wardrobes tend to get messy or 'all over the place' quite easily. They may engage in impulse buys if they are not careful.

The Comfort Seeking Lifestyle is the one that is often attached to the 'story' of the garment! They like clothes that have a 'personal story' or were acquired with a special 'story' rather than something that has a highly 'commercial' imprint. They may be the most elegant and graceful in their fashion, but also be the most 'frumpy' or 'too too casual.' As Comfort Seeking types, in the extremes, they feel justified to not invest too much into their outward 'appearances' because it might feel too 'surfacey and fake.' But as they also have steady, evenness, their sensibilities usually drive them towards a relaxed yet well put-together outfits once they invest into it. As they are not attached to things on a commercial level as much, some of these types prefer wearing an item and have no problem discarding them, unless they have a 'favorite clothing' which they wear to its threadbare destruction! Comfort Seeking types may keep things in neat piles and often have trouble purchase decisions on their own, and may ask many questions to friends and family members they trust and feel comfortable confiding in.

The Superiority Seeking person is the one that zips through the mall when shopping. They are pragmatic and prefer easy to care items, and even if they have a gorgeous silk shirt a dozen in their wardrobe, may not wear those as often. They decide quickly and a large number of this type do not enjoy shopping. I recommend this type to view their wardrobe space and office space as a 'Cockpit of a Jet Plane.' They like things to be done quickly, and they are also the type once they know what's best on them, the fastest to take action clearing out their closet, stock up with what works for them!

The Control Seeking type are the Gurus of Wardrobe Management! They have their own system that they have worked out, they have a strategy for everything! This type usually has a discerning eye, they often have their own style recipes, and tend to stick to their principle of dressing for years. You may view these people as Mini At Home Laundry Services, as they are quite good at maintaining what they own. They like quality, they like maintaining quality. They may even view this as an important skill to possess. As *Qualia* is an important concept to them, be it at work or in relationships, or materials they own.

In this episode, we looked at how laundry cycles and cost per wear can contribute to your Personal Style Creation and wardrobe management. I hope that you will find something of use here, and enjoy putting your dollar where it brings you the most Style & Abundance!

Stay Informed & Stylish!

Love from Seoul,

Jessica Flatshoenista

Mar 12, 2017

[Column] Create Your Own Style Principle 5. Analyze Your Lifestyle Pie & Wardrobe Pie

20 Ways to Create Your Own Style Series #05

Principle 5. Analyze Your Lifestyle Pie & Wardrobe Pie

In this column, we will use some nifty charts and pies to investigate how well what you own in your wardrobes matches your lifestyle needs!

What Life Cycle Are You In?
Each of us has a domain that we perform in. For some of us, our current life cycle has us working mainly in our careers, with a few hours spent socializing and on fitness. Others may be focused on child rearing and working on our homes. Some are single and dividing their time at work and on a leisure pursuit. Whether our secondary domains are going on a lot of busienss trips, or getting busy with a full social calendar, or going to a church, the lifestyle may be totally varied. Your Lifestyle will include in a snapshot the various domains you are performing in, your roles and responsibilities, your whereabouts, your individual focus in life.

Today, we will rely on 4 tools of assessment in 5 steps.

First, you will record how your time is spent in a week in a Lifestyle Chart.
Second, you will create a Lifestyle Pie based on Step 1.
Third, you will record your Wardrobe Chart to see what is in your current wardrobe.
Fourth, you will create a Wardrobe Pie based on Step 3.
Fifth, and last, we will compare your two pies: Lifestyle VS Wardrobe!

Case Study 1. 
Bestselling Writer Ms. So Beautiful is a gallery owner who lives with her husband and daughter who is a teenager. She splits her time at the gallery on weekdays, and church on Sundays. Recently, there has been an increase in face to face contact with the publishers and book promoting events.

Case Study 2. 
Mr. Cool Guy is a globetrotting businessman in his late 40s. He loves hiking the mountains when he can. A few time a year, he goes on dates but his business being his current priority, he is not in a hurry to settle down. Lately, there have been more and more funerals to attend, with his friends' parent passing away.

Step 1. Record Your Lifestyle Chart.
The Lifestyle Chart is composed of four domains. 

A. Time Spent At Work
B. Time Spent with Family
C. Time Spent Socially
D. Time Spent in Leisure & Sleep

Record all four areas A, B, C, D and the subcatgeories with how much time you spend in each one. Then add up each category. 

Case Studies 1 & 2​
Lifestyle Charts of Ms. So Beautiful & Mr. Cool Guy

Use the four category tallies to create a small chart to be used for your Pie.

Step 2. Make The Lifestyle Pie!
Excel will create a Pie Chart for you if you use the numbers for A, B, C, and D. Choose the chart that shows the percentages.


Step 3. Record in Your Wardrobe Chart.
The Wardrobe Chart verifies if you have something to wear for each subcategory. For instance, if you have enough to wear to the office, how many outfits you own, if your clothes are in good condition. If you do not have something appropriate, or there is no outfit at all, you can mark it as a minus number. If the clothing is the same as another subcategory above, mark it zero. 

Wardrobe Charts of Ms. So Beautiful & Mr. Cool Guy

Tally up for each category. And you are all set for your next step!

Step 4. Let's Make Your Wardrobe Pie!

Using your category tallies from Step 3, you can click on Excel's Chart Wizard for your Wardrobe Pie.


Step 5. Final Analysis

Case Study 1. 
Ms. So Beautiful's Lifestyle Pie VS Wardrobe Pie

Here's our first Pie Off! 

Ms. So Beautiful was spending 41% of her time at her gallery and work related events, but in her wardrobe, she had 38% which means she is overall well covered with a few items missing. As she had recorded in her Wardrobe Chart, she needed something better to represent herself for meeting publishers and for book launch events. Her gallery required chic black and gray dresses for the most part, but these felt a bit heavy handed for her book related roles.

On the other hand, her Social Life only required 6% of her time, but there was a whopping 32% of outfits for this subcategory! She was holding on to quite a few skirt suits for her church events, as well as dresses that she liked to buy which got worn on rare occasions in a week. Now, Ms. So Beautiful could relocate some of her skirt suits she usually wears to church and maybe get one new jacket to wear to her book promotions and publisher meetings. If not, she can always look for or invest in a beautiful scarf or a statement necklace to jazz up her work dress to wear to a book launch or meeting.

Finally, Ms. Beautiful did not have big deficiencies for other categories like Family Time and Leisure, so even though the Pies are not an exact match, she does not have an urgent item, maybe except for a small bag she can take for shopping. Should she decide to increase on either of the categories, it would be wise to first decrease her spendings for the Social Life category. Or find better uses of the less worn items in that category.

Case Study 2. 
Mr. Cool Guy's Lifestyle Pie VS Wardrobe Pie

In Mr. Cool Guy's case, he had a pretty well lined up Lifestyle & Wardrobe Pies, which shows a well justified spending. It was his Leisure category that needed some looking into, because he was spending 38% of his time in Leisure clothes, but he owned only 18% of items for this. He says that he never bothered with this category much because a Tshirt and a pair of shorts felt like enough for around the house wear. With a Tshirt and boxers for sleeping.

Reversely, despite his time spent Socializing (4%), he had 18% of his outfits hanging in his wardrobe. He says that because his Mother was picky about what he wore and wearing jeans and Tshirts were not good enough for her, he ended up with these chino pants and knit wears. As Mr. Cool Guy is in his 40s, he can take a jacket from his work capsule, and pair it with a chinos. And relocate a pair or two of the chinos and the knit top for his lacking Easy Casual leisure category. This way, he can dress up a bit more for both his Mom and around the home and neighborhood.

Lastly, Mr. Cool Guy owns a little excess of leather jacket and jeans looks for his Social category, and taking one or two items from this to create a new Dating Wear category with a well matched shirt or knit top will allow for a more varied outfit usage.

* * *

My wish for you is that you will feel stimulated to verify whether your spendings on fashion are currently supporting all areas of your life, and for your immediate future needs. Awaken the dormant areas of your wardrobe real estate. It is so easy these days to be influenced by various fashion magazines or advertisement, TV shows, because there is huge fundings spent persuading us. We're always being targeted to spend more. While buying something new is necessary and a creative way of engaging in Life, I hope you will move towards more balance and proactive use of what you already own!

*The Lifestyle Pie concept comes from an author I've admired for many years, Nancy Nix-Rice, one of her books called <Looking Good>. For reader's convenience, I added in a Step 3, which seemed to be missing from the book.

Mar 6, 2017

[Column] How To Create Your Own Style ::: Instead Of Buying A New Fashion Item, Create New Outfit Combinations

20 Ways to Create Your Own Style Series #04

Principle 4. Instead Of Buying A New Fashion Item, Create New Outfit Combinations

Is your wardrobe filled with stuff, but there is nothing to wear?!

This is a common complaint from women that men find hard to fathom. But this happens! We buy, and buy, but we still need that new ‘New Thing!’

You probably have the experience of buying a pair of new shoes, then you realize none of your skirts really match the shoes, and you end up buying a new skirt, blouse, bag, and get yourself a new hairdo too! See, THIS is the trap of shopping!! You started out thinking that a new pair of shoes would totally give your wardrobe the right fix… you were so convinced! But none of your existing stuff really went with the new shoes… At the end of the day, what is left in your hands is a lighter wallet…

Today, we will find strategies to prevent this~

What is an Outfit Ensemble?
First, let’s take a look at what an outfit extends to. In our mother’s generation, they used to call it an ‘ensemble’ but nowadays we tend to call it an ‘outfit.’ Clothes used to be divided into ‘everyday clothes’ to wear outside the home and ‘home clothes,’ but as urban life demanded professionalism and with the advent of various media like TV, magazine, and internet, we have become acculturated to a new level of sophistication. We became sensitized to what our favorite TV characters were wearing, often becoming emotionally invested in them, or our fashion magazines pushed us to model-status beauty and designer-led garb. Our jobs, increasingly favored those who looked the part and exuded higher levels of professionalism; if you wanted to get ahead, you better be something more distinguished than a ‘regular reliable worker bee.’ So now, an outfit doesn’t just ‘cover us up’ to look decent enough, it needs at least some level of visible polish and refinement. And it is usually the well chosen jewelry and accessories that complement our fabric garments that holistically create our much desired ‘mood’ and ‘authentic alluring image.’

Enter Capsule Wardrobe System
Second, we look at the concept of a capsule wardrobe! A Capsule Wardrobe was devised to solve the issue of ‘never having enough outfits’ with the minimal number of items. A capsule consists of well planned out pieces that ALL work together to create the maximum number of mix-and-matches. Colors are limited to 3 usually, and a capsule may contain 5 to 8 items minimum. Example) A jacket, three tops, and three bottoms = 7 items.

As can be seen in the image example, this capsule is limited to black, cream, and red. The common erroneous belief is that having MORE colors or designs will give a HIGHER number of outfits. But contrary to this mistaken idea, you actually create more wearable outfits by having LESS colors and designs! I know this sounds so counter-intuitive! Note also, how this capsule favored only solid colors in the mix, and very basic shapes with no design details that draw attention. You really want these base items in your wardrobe real estate if you want to make your dollars perform for you! Keeping them solid and simple helps you create the maximum number of outfits possible and easy to mix and match. These well chosen basic items will become your friendly allies in creating your most functional and optimal wardrobe.

Once your capsule items are set, now you get to have the fun from choosing your ‘accessories ensemble.’ You can opt for serious glasses and work watch, stud earrings, smart comfortable work shoes, and a briefcase sized bag for an interview or big meeting on the job. For celebrating your friend’s birthday or going out clubbing, you can jazz it up with sexy long boots, big earrings, bracelets, and a slightly new hairdo, and some dramatic eye makeup. For attending a wedding or a church event, you can go with your cream outfit, with a silk scarf and some pearls to suit the mood.

3 Tips for Successful Coordination

1. ‘The Rule of Core Fours’
If you are currently suffering from your wardrobe blues, begin with this rule of ‘Core Fours.’ In Japan this is known as the ‘Rule of Creating Sets’ and in the West, it is known as the ‘Rule of Core Fours.’ First, choose your main color that you confidently wear the most often. Let’s pretend that it’s black, you want to make sure that you have a jacket-top-skirt-pants that are all in good condition and look great on you. These are your ‘Core Fours in Black.’

Even if you’re going for the brighter colors, go for Core Fours in them.

Once you start following this rule, creating new combinations becomes super easy and quick! You’ll look slimmer because your top and bottom create something called ‘a column of color’ and with lines that accentuate your best assets, you’ll totally look classy. Just having these four well matched cores, will now give you a sense of color identity, instantly helps you look slimmer, and you now have 4 ready-to-go ensembles!

1. Top + Pants
2. Top + Skirt
3. Top + Pants + Jacket
4. Top + Skirt + Jacket

Oftentimes when I felt like I had nothing to wear, invariably it was those times when I had a lot of ‘Wardrobe Orphans’ that were not part of a ‘Core Four.’ Instances like none of my black tank tees were exactly right, I had a pair of black pants that became a size too small over the Winter, or that expensive black jacket just hung there and my hand somehow kept evading it. When you lack the core four, a well matched set, coordinating for an outfit becomes a headache. So from now on, instead of retail therapy, it’s time for you to go excavating in your own wardrobe! Check for colors that form a Core Four. You may discover that your actually don’t have a set of blacks that work together, but end up with a White Set that had been dormant till now, or a surprising wealth of seven navy items~!

2. Create Your Own UNIFORM!

When you observe your unworn clothes hanging in the closet, most of the times these are items that were in trend that really caught your eye, or bought during the season’s change transitions. In other words, these are the items you bought that did not adhere to ‘Your Own Uniform.’ As humans are creatures of habit, clothes you wear everyday tend to fall into 2~3 outfit formulas. Like wearing a dress, or top+pants, cardigan+skirt, you usually have a set formula you’re following. For men, this might be choosing from a jacket or a cardigan, choosing between a shirt or T-shirt, and selecting between a suit pant or chino pants.

My biggest shopping mistakes were found in my scarves and belts. Especially for Spring and Fall scarves. I could never find the right ones, and the reason was that I kept buying scarf designs that were outside of ‘My Uniform’ realm! Maybe it’s because in Spring I wanted to look more elegant, and in Fall I wanted to Trenchcoat Chic, I kept buying classic feminine scarves that ended up never being worn! I was so mystified! They always looked so appropriate in glossy magazines! Why is this not working out for me?! Well, it turns out, I’m a very casual dresser – I almost always wear a pair of jeans or skinny jeans. And those scarves were a better match for dresses or suit skirts. If I had been aware of ‘My Uniform Formula’ I would have gone for casual or semi-casual belts and scarves. And these would have really dressed things up and be worn regularly.

Write down what you wore today, and what combination of top and bottom you wore yesterday. Then figure out what ‘Your Uniform’ for the week is in advance. Maybe it’s 5 tops with 3 bottoms, with a weekend top and bottom… Or you might want to list up 40 of your items to form a “Uniform Capsule.”

3. Up-Cycling~~

Third method of refreshing your wardrobe without shopping is to not just recycle but Up-Cycle something you already own. Take your unworn long coat in for a trim, make it a half-coat. The mafia-mama fox fur coat your Mom wore in the 80s in a decent condition can be taken in for shearing of the sleeves to give you a really neat fur trimmed vest for driving. Your Dad’s suit jacket he no longer needs after retirement can become your sexy new suit-dress. Or his big size Burberry shirt can become your sleeveless shirt style dress! There are so many fun ways to bring the Newness into your wardrobe! UpCycling is not only wallet-friendly, but it is a step forward for the environment. In London there is a specialty boutique that helps you alter your clothes to create a new look. For those of you savvy sewers, you can create new styles as a challenge, and for the rest of us, we can always find a local alteration shop to help us get there!

Wishing you a lovely Spring week wherever you are!

Jessica in Seoul

Feb 26, 2017

[Fashion Column] Invest in Your Hairstyle - All About The Bob Cut

20 Ways to Create Your Own Style Series No.3
Principle 3. Invest in Your Hairstyle

At the end of the day, even when all clothes and makeup come off, your hair still sits on top of your head affecting your overall appearance. Making it THE starting point of your style statement. If you are in your favorite suit, but your hair is not styled appropriately, it will miss the sharp, professional edge. Because your hair frames your entire face, experts call this the ‘Crown’ of your look. Furthermore, the eyes always travel upwards to meet a person’s eye level, and the hair will always be in the periphery of vision field. These are some of the reasons for spending a good buck on your hairstyle.

My female readers, have you ever gone to your hairdresser and asked for a gorgeous hairstyle you picked out from the magazine, only to be refused? I’ve had plenty of those in my lifetime. When I asked why the h not, I would often be told, “Well, because you have told me that you’re not fond with blow drying your hair at home. Remember, you’re a wash and go gal!” Which was a fair call. I towel dry my hair and I’m outta there. Usually. It is true I wouldn’t be able to do my hair like the picture by myself on a daily basis.

Well, this old me, during my training as an image consultant began to amass thousands of hair photos, with the determination that this time, I will get my hair exactly the way I want it! I would be up 2 to 3 nights hunting for the right hair image. Thanks to Google the work paid off. But as I repeated this process, I came to realize an important point. There were only TWO KINDS of HAIRSTYLES!

That’s right. According to my research, a woman’s hairstyle falls largely into just two camps. One is the Bob Cut, the other is the Non-Bob Cut. The previously mentioned gorgeous hair that I wasn’t able to style for myself usually falls into the non-bob. And the hairstyle that I tend to admire on everyday women, like my friends who had good style or peers on my campus or on the streets who do their own hair but look great, those tended to fall into the Bob Hair! Of course, there are celebrities who look drop dead gorgeous in Bob styles, but we’re focusing on us in this column…

Let’s go over some of the merits of a Bob Haircut. First, bob cut is easy to take care of for the everyday woman. Compared to other styles, a bob requires minimal effort and yet has enough of a shape and allows for a variety of styles. Second, a bob is a girl’s best friend. Maybe not so in the Beatle’s era, but a bob cut due to its length, distinguishes us from males, giving us that feminine allure. Third, a bob accommodates to a wide range of face shapes, and it gets updated with the trends so it is unlikely to get boring!

The Bob Hairstyle Gallery

- Classic Bob Bob hairstyle is usually cut somewhere between your ears and your chin. The mood varies where you part your hair and how much of your neckline is exposed.

- Bang Bob Adding a bang to a bob gives an entirely different look. It covers your forehead so your face gets a new shape. A blunt bang gives off that Cleopatra vibe, and a parted bang with less locks can make you look like a Japanese school girl. The bang could be straight hair or wavy, and depending on its length, your eyes become the focal point and creates a relationship with your chin and jawline.

- Layered Bob A short layered bob can give you a fresh youthful charm, and depending on how many layers you go for can create diverse looks. Because the layers are able to complement your facial flaws very well, many Hollywood celebrities have had success with this style. Jennifer Anniston got her fame with The Rachel, which is a layered bob with highlights that came to her chin. I believe it was sensational because the hairdresser could easily adjust the style to enhance the clients’ image!

- Inverted Bob This hairstyle has a longer front and a shorter back. A lot of professional women prefer this cut as it keeps a clean neckline for their suit jackets. This style is also great because even from the side view, the hair looks sleek and styled, and sculptural.

- Asymmetrical Bob This bob has a mismatched left and right length, and the diagonal it creates forms a dynamic and sporty attitude.

- Wavy & Shaggy Bob Karlie Kloss sensationalized the wavy bob and the editorials followed suit. A wavy bob that is more controlled with big body curls can be sophisticated looking but it could also age you. Idol star Taylor Swift prefers the rougher rock-chic shaggy bob, and this style also needs warning, as it can make you look like a lion! It is however, a great style for Adler Identity type called Superiority Seeking.

- Side-swept & Edgy Bob This is a variation on the bang bob, where the bang is much longer and swept away to the side. Victoria Beckham is known to have started with a sharp inverted bob, added layers to it, then style her bang to the side with lots of edgy sharpness and created her own Bob Statement!

- The LOB The long bob has gotten a new nickname, ‘The Lob’ and it is one of the most recent trends on the street and in Tinsel Town! Model Rosie Huntington Whiteley and Olivia Palermo, Jessica Alba, et al have all sported this chic do!

Bob or Non-Bob, it is now time to create our Very Own Bob Statement!
Have a stylish week my readers!

From thawing Seoul, Jessica Ahn