Posts Categorized: reader requests

Reader Request: Work Badge and Cell Phone Solutions

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Sarah sent me this question:

I was wondering if you had ever written anything on being stylish and having to wear a work badge. I work in an office (business casual, more business than casual). I like to be stylish. Or if you have written anything on having to keep a work phone with you at all times. I don’t have to keep a work phone, but know that others may have to. How do you keep a work phone with you if you are wearing a dress that has no pockets or place to clip a phone?

The men in the office have it much easier. Most of the time they have a belt loop they can clip their badge to. I’m lucky if I am wearing pants that have belt loops or pockets. I prefer dresses and skirts. So there are many times there is no where to clip my badge, so I have to wear it on a lanyard around my neck like a necklace. So then I cannot wear a necklace. Any ideas on how to keep badges/cellphones with you and stylish?

SUCH a great question. I’ve used a variety of keycards and entry passes for my various jobs, but have never been required to keep one on my person at all times … so I’m going to offer a few possible options and ask all of you to contribute more ideas! I’m sure many of you face this same challenge and have creative work-arounds to share.

First, my ideas:

Track down a stylish lanyard

If you’ve got a keycard or ID badge that needs to be on your person at all times and you’re allowed to do a lanyard, grab one from Etsy that looks more like a necklace. (There are some cute clips in there, too!) This may limit your necklace-wearing, though my guess is that environments where keycard lanyards are commonplace mean that the keycard/lanyard combo is oftenlost to familiarity. So you could try wearing a shorter strand or bib higher on your frame and the long lanyard further down. It might even be worthwhile to pick out a few lanyards that align with your personal style, especially in neutrals and metals so they’ll be as versatile as possible.

Experiment with wrist options

Plastic coils are typically used for keys, but a keycard might work in some cases. Since most folks can’t type while wearing a coil and card combo, this is something you’d need to remember to take with you when leaving your workstation. But it would certainly free you up to wear any clothing and necklace combinations you liked while also helping to keep your card on your person.

Explore belting

As Sarah points out, the fellas have one up on us when it comes to this type of work gear because they’re typically in pants. Belted pants. But dresses and skirts can be belted, too, and phones or badges can be clipped to belts. And, of course, adding a belt to your trouser outfits will help. Naturally, this won’t work every day since belts don’t belong in every outfit … but when it does work, it’ll be slick and easy.

Try a phone case with a strap

If a phone is required and clipping it to belts or clothing won’t work, keep your eyes peeled for one of the tiny crossbody bags that’s been designed to hold a phone and nothing more. Some mobile carriers might have these in their stores among the phone cases, but you can also try eBay and Amazon as well as local boutiques. Wristlet purses might work for this purpose, too. Not as sleek as a clip on your belt or pants, but definitely do-able.

Not much, but that’s all I’ve got. Help Sarah out with some other suggestions, won’t you? If you are required to keep a keycard, badge, or phone with you at all times, how do you do so stylishly?

Image courtesy Katy Warner

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Reader Request: Long Over Lean for Summer

long over lean for summer

Emily e-mailed me this question:

I’m fairly new (2 years) to this whole style thing and I’m encountering a problem. The long and lean look looks great on me (I’m 5’3 and a size 20ish) but I can’t figure out how to do it in the summer. I’d love your help with how to do this so I can be stylish and comfortable this summer.

The long over lean dressing formula can feel a little covered-up for hot weather, but it is possible to make this look work for summer! Here are some ideas:

Short-sleeved or sleeveless tunic, slim bottom, open footwear

sleeveless tunic and legggings

Eileen Fisher | Macy’s | Garnet Hill

The quickest route to comfortable long-over-lean looks for summer is to lighten up your tunic. In addition to considering fibers and weight, lop off some sleeve length. Short-sleeved and sleeveless tunics still look elegant and edgy with leggings and skinnies. You can do booties or other closed shoes if you prefer – my toes freeze all summer, so I sometimes do – but sandals or ballet flats that expose a bit more foot real estate will help make your look feel seasonal.

Lightweight tunic, cuffed or cropped denim, sandals or booties

tunic and jeans

Nordstrom | Torrid | Nordstrom

As you’ve likely guessed, how summery you want to make this look is directly related to how much skin you feel like showing. In this variation, a lightweight sleeveless tunic and sandals paired with cuffed skinny denim will give you the most ventilation and may feel the best during the true Dog Days. But ankle boots (show an inch or two of lower calf between boot and jean) worn with half or 3/4-length sleeves can work just as well. Ballet flats are always a comfy, cute option for summery long-over-lean, too.

Lightweight tunic, clamdiggers or capris, flats or sandals

tunic_cropped_leggings

Nordstrom | Garnet Hill | J.Jill

This is definitely the trickiest of the three options, as a slim bottom that hits mid-calf or higher will divide your leg line. Add a tunic that hits mid-thigh and you’ve created another division. If you’re concerned about breaking up your figure or creating odd proportions here’s my main tip for making clamdiggers and capri-length leggings/pants work with tunics: Shoes that are nude to your skin tone will soften the break at your ankle, and a tunic and leggings that are similar in tone will soften the break at your thigh. So the blue tunic and black leggings outfit is totally adorable, but does create some very hard lines along the legs and lower body. Something to think about if those breaks concern you. (And yes, I know that middle image doesn’t feature terribly “lean” or slim-fitting bottoms, but it shows a wonderfully summery way to style a light-colored linen tunic.)

A few other considerations:

  • Palette: There’s a lot of black in these example images, but lighter colors, pastels, and white will help your long-over-lean looks feel seasonal.
  • Asymmetry: Jagged hemlines have a lot of movement to them, which aligns nicely with breezy summer weather. Asymmetrical hems also look fabulous on sleeveless tunics, so they’re a natural for hot-weather tunic wearing.
  • Fibers and footwear: OK, these have already been mentioned. But I’m calling them out again! Linen, cotton voile, and other summer-weight fabrics are great choices. And consider sandals and open footwear to lighten your look.

Are you a fan of long-over-lean looks for summer? How do you create yours so you don’t overheat? Any other tips for making proportions work?

Top images courtesy Nordstrom (left) and Nordstrom (right)

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Reader Request: Closet Organization for the Large and Varied Wardrobe

Christine asked this question in a comment:

I am curious how you, Sal, and other style bloggers, who by definition tend to have a lot of pieces, keep everything accessible and in order. So much closet organizing advice seems tilted toward a minimalist perspective.

I’d never really thought about it, but she’s right: Even many of my own posts on closet organization describe tactics that I can aspire to, but rarely apply to my own large and varied wardrobe. Naturally, I can’t speak for all style bloggers – some of whom also own a lot of clothing, but many of whom aim for minimalism – but I’m happy to share my own tactics.

Store off-season clothing

Seasonal wardrobe separation has its pros and cons, but since I live in a climate that boasts a nearly six-month winter and requires many a bulky sweater and heavy skirt, I find this practice to be essential. My layering pieces stay in their drawers year-round, but blazers, dresses, tops, skirts, and pants get rotated in and out depending on the weather. We are lucky enough to have lots of basement storage, so I keep my off-season items on a covered rack or in sealed storage bags with mothballs.

Make use of all available space

The image above is not of my own shoes, but I use that same heel-toe shelving technique to maximize my space. I use a similar technique with sweaters in my hanging sweater rack, folding them all but stacking them one with the collar facing the opening, one with the collar facing the back of the rack, and so on. I store some of my boots on top of my armoire. Every bit of space that has been reserved for my wardrobe is in use and nothing is wasted.

Employ a variety of storage techniques

My actual closet is tiny, but it has a bar, a hanging sweater rack, stacked shelves on the floor, and built-in shelves up top. My hats are hung from a string over my desk. My scarves are stored by color in two hanging scarf organizers. My dad made me a gorgeous jewelry rack for my necklaces. My PJs, layering tees, and jeans are in dresser drawers. I have boots on shelves and shoes in racks. If I tried to fold and drawer everything or hang everything up, I’d be sunk. If someone has thought it up, I am likely using it to keep my wardrobe in order.

Pick a categorization technique

I hang my tops by sleeve length and then by prints/solids. I keep all of my cardigans in the same spot and all of my pullovers in the same spot. My button-fronts are a ridiculous hodgepodge and so are my blazers, but just about everything else is categorized and stored accordingly. I know where to find all of my stuff at any given time. I also know where all of my tank tops are, so if I need a tank top of some sort but don’t know which color or style yet, I can go to that part of that drawer and view all of my options. My own practices won’t work for every owner of a large and varied wardrobe, but finding storage and categorization techniques that work for your own items – by color, weight, season, pattern, etc. – will help you feel more organized.

Fluff

When I hang clothing and replace it in my closet, it tends to get a little bunched-up - especially since my closet is fairly full. At a certain point, I will have washed, hung, and replaced just about everything in there, and all that bunching will add up. So every few months I take everything out and put it back in a few pieces at a time. Fluff out sleeves and smooth garment bodies flat. The simple act of undoing the natural re-hanging-related bunching frees up LOADS of closet space.

Know what you own

I suppose this isn’t an organizational technique as much as a wardrobe management one, but it merits mention. I love having a large and varied wardrobe because it allows me to dress in an expressive and eclectic way, but I’m aware of the risks. A large wardrobe means you may forget that you already have a gray skirt and buy another, or become so overwhelmed by your options that you only wear 10% of what you own. I purge my closet every season and I take inventory of it regularly. Knowing what I own helps me make use of my clothes. I play favorites like anyone, but I also know which items are veering off into closet orphan territory. This knowledge helps me decide what is really earning its keep and what should be donated or consigned when those purges come around, but also challenges me to build outfits around languishing items.

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Who else out there has a large and varied wardrobe? How do you keep it in order? Would any of my techniques work for you? Others to suggest?

Image courtesy Cupcakes and Cashmere

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