Category Archives: Fashion Tips

Weekly fashion solutions

Thanks, Refinery!



refinery29 bryn taylor

refinery29 Bryn Taylor

So psyched to have been featured on Refinery29 today! They caught me in my pre-brunch, sleepy Sunday ensemble wandering around SF’s Hayes Valley. The sunglasses helped hide the puffy eyes.

I also have to give my pants their very own shout-out. These puppies have become my go-to summer staple. They’re from Mango, and are one of the most versatile pieces in my current wardrobe. I took them with me on my last vacation, and will be flaunting them for the rest of the summer for sure. Just something to keep in mind the next time you want to try printed pants, but are nervous you won’t know what to wear them with. As long as they are in a muted or neutral color palette (i.e. olive and black), your pairing options are nearly endless.



Here’s a pic from a recent photo shoot (more info soon) where I paired the magic pants with a white blazer and drapey top. Perfect for a night out.

For more printed awesomeness , check out my crazy (but cool) pants Pinterest board.

all photos by Ashley Batz


Why navy should be your black for spring

Vince navy blazer

I’ve been on a huge navy kick so far this season. As crucial as black is in the cooler months, it’s equally important to have a grounding color for spring and summer. Enter navy. It’s rich, classic, and surprisingly compatible with almost any spring hue. And it won’t weigh down light ensembles like black or brown can.

Here are some ways to wear navy:

spring navy

Navy and green are a match made in sartorial heaven. Such a fresh spring combo that can be accented with white or metallic. Try a green shift dress under a navy blazer.

I also adore the concept of a navy blazer over a crisp white summer dress. A perfect warm-weather office look.

For guys, I suggest a deep navy sport coat in lieu of their go-to black one. For warmer months, it will go with khakis, olives, and light greys brilliantly.

And for something a bit more adventurous, try slim navy pants topped by a coral or mint top, and yellow accessories. Just remember to keep footwear neutral.

Go navy! Love what you got goin’ on.

How to properly pack for a vacation

I have been an overpacker for most of my life, starting at age 8 when I’d bring ten sundresses on a 3-day weekend to Disneyworld. It hasn’t been until the last few years, that I’ve gotten a handle on my own packing behavior. To be honest, it’s MUCH easier to manage someone else’s vacation wardrobe than it is  your own. I recently had to pack for Hawaii (where I am right now so follow me on Instagram for tons of sunburnt selfies and tropical drink porn) and wanted to practice what I preach when it came to the contents of my suitcase.

Here are a few cardinal rules I’ve come to live by when packing for a warm-weather vacation:

Only bring multi-functional pieces.

what to wear on vacation 2

Your clothing should earn its spot in your bag by working in more than one way. For example, my roomy chambray button-down can be taken from poolside bar to fancy dinner in no time. It’s even great as a swimsuit coverup.

Jewelry and fancy sandals are tropical lifesavers.



what to pack for vacation

Fierce earrings and a cool sandal can transform your daytime dress (and even shorts and tank) to perfectly awesome evening attire. Baubles and fancy sandals (I’m partial to metallic) are miracle workers for dressing up at night.

Don’t use this time to experiment with new styles you don’t normally wear.

I used to be very guilty of this. I would use vacation as an excuse to pack all the clothes I owned but never wore, thinking it would be the perfect environment to try something daring. But nine times out of ten, you’re not going to feel comfortable wearing that piece anyway, no matter where you are. Stick to styles and silhouettes you know, like, and are comfortable with.

And if you need more vacay guidance, check out my tips on how to find the perfect swimsuit and coverup.


How to dress like a French woman when you don’t look like a model


Emmanuelle Alt

Net-a-Porter’s latest e-magazine issue had a fun article about the unmistakable style of a French woman, and how to copy it. Personally, I adore the traditional Parisian style. Hair that’s a sexy mess. Makeup that’s barely there. Conservative clothes that are anything but boring. I would kill to be mistaken for a French woman. So freakin’ chic!

But what Net-a-Porter fails to highlight (they mention it briefly) is that the main reason those French ladies look fabulous is because they’re usually super thin and gorgeous. Hello? Emmanuelle. Inès. Need I say more?

I don’t mean to belittle their sense of style, as they have an incredible one, but it most certainly doesn’t hurt if you have the figure and face of a runway model. Messy hair, rumpled tees, and painted-on jeans are only enhanced by a size 2 frame and enviable cheekbones.

That said, it is possible to successfully capture Parisian style if you’re not a walking hanger. Some suggestions are touched upon in the article. But I wanted to break it down even more.

Remember these two things: shoulders and ankles. 

shoulders and ankles. shoulders and ankles.

Or more specifically, pronounced shoulders and naked ankles.

These are two areas French women like to highlight. Pronounced shoulders by way of a structured, slightly padded blazer, and naked ankles by way of a cropped trouser and pump or ballet style shoe (where the tops of the feet show). That’s it really. I mean, not totally, but it will get you close. The rest you can fake.

The blazer doesn’t have to be high-end, but it does have to have structure and slim tailoring, preferably in both the body and arms. Zara does a nice job with blazers, and offers more reasonable prices than Balmain.

And the pants don’t have to be sprayed-on skinnies, which don’t work on every body type. Instead, try any slim-leg pant, and finish by either rolling or hemming the leg to hit above the ankle.

After you’ve got those points nailed down, you can add a leopard scarf and sleek shoe and be on your kickass French way.

Au revoir, people.


A note on muffins

image from Thinkstock via YouBeauty

image from Thinkstock via YouBeauty

Wanted to share this article from Dr. Oz’s YouBeauty featuring my tips for dealing with the dreaded muffin top. We all know something about that annoying squeezing of the lower waist out of your pants, don’t we? It doesn’t matter what size you are, bad clothing choices can cause a muffin effect on any body type.

LOFT jeans

A major secret weapon I use in the muffin battle is my pair of mid-rise (and budget-friendly) LOFT jeans. I swear these jeans have changed my life. They feel comfortable on, and I no longer have to hike up the sides when no one’s looking. I will never go low rise again!

For the rest of my tips, check out the full article here!



Color in January (or, how to fake a bright mood)

Yes, we all probably feel like donning black and grey as we ride out the nasty that is the month of January. I’m with ya. But maybe, just maybe, a pop of color here and there can have some sort of anti-SAD effect? I was completely inspired by a recent client to re-introduce some color into my winter wardrobe. And I think we should all to the same! But if you’re not usually a color person come winter, here are some baby steps you can take that won’t make it so glaring.


An obvious way to inject a pop of color is to go the bright coat, scarf or gloves route (a la Michelle). This is perfectly fine, but if you’re looking for some another way to do it, I suggest busting out your colored bag usually reserved for spring. This spot of color will look fierce next to a canvas of blacks and other neutrals. All winter I’ve been carrying around this bad boy, and it instantly livens up all of my dark winter looks.


image from

image from

image from

image from


For indoors looks, I love the idea of a single colorful garment among blacks, greys, and whites. Instead of falling back on the easy colored top/black pants safety net, try a bold skirt or pants, or even a bright three-quarter sleeved top under a darker dress.  Below are two ideas I suggested to a recent client…

IMG_2581bold skirt

And remember, you can always do a colorful shoe, belt, or piece of jewelry too. Whatever gets you through the ice cold day. :)



What to last-minute wear to that one last holiday party

Are you holiday partied out yet? Well, there’s one more weekend to go before all you’ll have to worry about is what to wear to Christmas (oh, and New Year’s ugh). Personally, I haven’t had a ton of soirees to go to this season, but I did get double booked last Saturday and had a minor freakout over what to wear. Yes, even stylists have freakouts. May I remind you of beltgate 2011? Must be something about this time of year. I tend to avoid the sparkly dress choice (although there’s nothing wrong with that). For me, it just gets old after a while. Instead, here are two options that can act as refreshing alternatives to the standard sparkle frock. And these you can also rock on Christmas day/eve/new year’s/and so forth and so on.


This is the outfit I chose to wear last weekend. I started with items I already owned: black slim pants, and a black button-down. Then I added a funky vintage necklace, my fancy shoes, and a winter white blazer. Thankfully, I already had most of the pieces in my closet, so the blazer was the only item I had to shop for. The strategy here is to try and work with what you’ve got. And then if you have to shop, you can narrow it down to one item, instead of the entire outfit.

So in this instance, if you don’t have:

black pants…. try a pair of black jeans, or dark blue denim.

a black button-down…. try a simple black cotton tee or tank underneath. Or a white button-down will work just as well.

a chunky funky necklace…. bust out a big pair of earrings, or a colorful silk scarf.

I found my white blazer at Mango, but you can also try places like Zara, Theory, or even H&M.

images from j.crew


Another option is to go the mix-and-match-J.Crew route. If you don’t know what that is, pick up any of their catalogues and you’ll get it. Casual with fancy, head to toe. So if you already have a classic sweater and modest  pumps, make your lunch hour shopping trip all about finding a fun skirt or pant.

If you don’t have:

a classic sweater…. try a nice (not ratty) jersey top.

pumps…. try a bootie or even a sleek knee-high boot. Not a riding boot though; stick to something with a heel. Or if you do the pants, you can rock an elegant flat.

You can find schmancy skirts and pants at J.Crew, Zara, and Macy’s (look for Rachel Rachel Roy, Bar III, and BCBG brands).

Have fun, and remember not to stress too much about what to wear. Ha, yeah right.


Let your wardrobe teach you (it’s smarter than you think)

When I work with clients, I often hear the same issues come up. They’re tired of their wardrobes, sick of spending so much money on useless clothes, frustrated with not knowing what styles work for their body types, and fed up with opening their closet doors to a sea of clothes and nothing to wear.

These feelings suck. I have been there, believe me. It’s not fun. BUT… drumroll…evolving your style comes with growing pains. And not only are the growing pains normal, but they can be helpful! You just have to learn how to learn from them (redundant-sounding, but true).

Coming up with a signature style, or at the very least knowing what works for you, takes a lot of work. And it is a process. And it can feel crappy. However, the mistakes are just as important as the homeruns. And that is my deep thought of the day: That pile of unworn, ‘bad’ clothing choices is not a waste, if you LEARN from it.

Remember those bizarre relationships you were in before you found ‘the one’, or those terrible post-college jobs you had before you found an amazing career? It took the bad times to help you understand what you do and don’t want. You have to go through the bad to understand and appreciate the good. And this applies to your wardrobe as well.

So next time you look at that bedazzled neon batwing top that still has the tags on it, don’t get depressed. Instead, take a moment to congratulate yourself on taking a risk and going out of your comfort zone. Then learn from it. Ask yourself: Why was I attracted to this at the time? What about it makes me not want to wear it? The more specific the better. Take notes if you have to!

Then you can confidently put it in the Goodwill pile. And move on.

(image found at quickmeme)

Regarding sale racks…

While I’m away, I’ll be re-posting some favorites from the TRS archives. Be back soon! 

With the Black Friday/Cyber Monday fiasco upon us, I wanted to take a moment to discuss the whole idea of buying clothes on sale. So many of my clients–and friends, and family–tend to buy pieces purely because the price is so enticing. Then they get the item home, and it ends up sitting in their closets collecting dust for months, years, even decades. They rarely reach for this piece because every time they see it, they realize its most redeeming quality is its price tag, not its appearance.

Well, here’s the thing about that.

When you wear that not-so-great sweater, nobody knows you got it for 75% off. (Unless you tell them. But then you become THAT person who always brags about the price of what they’re wearing whenever they receive a compliment. You don’t want to be that person.) You are not walking around with a sign on your back stating how little you paid for that sweater. You’re just wearing a mediocre piece of clothing.

The sale rack is extremely intriguing. You might feel as if it possesses super powers that reel you in the moment you enter a store. I’ve been there, believe me.

So how can you break the cycle?

First of all, get in the habit of thoroughly examining an item before even looking at its price tag. Try it on and see how you look and feel in it. Then only after properly assessing pluses and minuses, should you check out the price. This will help you pay attention to what you’re buying instead of what you’re paying.

Also, start asking yourself: Would I pay full price for this? Do I love it that much? Is it THAT amazing? If you truly believe you would shell out hard-earned money to have this piece hanging in your closet, then by all means pull the trigger.

Now, I’m not saying don’t ever buy sale items again. Just make sure you love what you’re buying. The great price will then become an extra perk.

Keep these points in mind next time you’re scouring the clearance section. It may take some time. But I promise, if you re-train your shopping mind, it will pay off big time in the end.

Is cleavage ever okay?

While I’m away, I’ll be re-posting some favorites from the TRS archives. Be back soon! 

I got a request over the weekend to write a post about cleavage. When it’s appropriate, when it’s not, and how much is too much. So here it goes!

Let me start by stating that I don’t think all cleavage is wrong. However, like a lot of things in life, it has to be done tastefully and in moderation. Otherwise, you run the risk of looking… well, you know.

Here are some guidelines I put together if you ever find yourself wanting to unleash the ladies, so to speak.

When in doubt, cover up.

Cleavage has a time and a place. And that time and place should not include the office, school, or pretty much any other daytime activity (i.e. grocery shopping, walking the dog, or going to the bank). Stick to nights on the town, cocktail parties, or formal events (notice how cleavage runs rampant on the red carpet). If you are questioning whether to show some skin for a certain occasion, always err on the side of caution and go with no. You won’t ever be wrong.

If you’re going to do it, do it right.

Every woman’s bust shape is different, which means cleavage can be all over the map. However, there is a right way to do it that can apply to most women. Start with a supportive bra that pushes the chest up. Then, keep the girls up and out in order to avoid the butt effect. Cleavage is sexier when the boobs aren’t smooshed and floppy.

There are other (more tasteful) ways to show off what you’ve got. 

Instead of outright cleavage, it’s often sexier to highlight the shape of your bust with a fitted top or dress. This draws attention while keeping things classy. Or, experiment with showing off other parts of your upper body: neck, clavicle, shoulders, or back. All of these can come across as sultry (but not raunchy), when highlighted by the right clothes.

Remember, leaving something to the imagination is often sexier than displaying your business for everyone to see.

What do you think about cleavage? Is it always, sometimes, or never okay? Let loose in the comments section, or through Facebook or Twitter!

And for suggestions on how to dress for your chest, check out my tips on Dr. Oz’s YouBeauty.