Monday, May 28, 2012

Happy Memorial Day


Memorial Day was originally called Decoration Day. So while I hope you will keep in your hearts those who have given their lives to make this country great you will use your domestress skills to also honor them with a little decoration.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Formal Dress Reviews: A Stylish Retail Interview with Clothing Boutique Owner - Cindy Shelby

Many times in the summer we have special events to attend such as formal weddings, charity events or other happening that we need a more formal dress and here are some beautiful examples: 

Aidan Mattox polka-dot dress 

Phoebe Couture yellow dress 

Jill Stuart royal blue polka-dot dress 

Cindi hosted a Gottex swimwear trunk show at Ruth Meyers. They had some nice items though she does not have it in stock regularly. 

Again, we even see how patterns and bright colors can carry over into formal wear and swimsuits. 

Some other brands you will find at Ruth Meyers include: 
Max Mara, Nicole Miller, Christopher blue (denim), Agave (denim), Cambio (denim), David Kahn (denim), Gottex swimwear, Carmen Marc Valvo, Bigio, Apriori, Monique Lhuillier, Pink Tartan

Thank you to Cindi Shelby for allowing us to explore the spring trends through the eyes of her charming store. 

If you are interested in visiting the store Ruth Meyers is located at: 

6471 Avondale Drive 
Oklahoma City, OK 73116 

Ruth Meyers is next to Coolgreens for a delightful afternoon of lunch and shopping.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Spring Dress Reviews: A Stylish Retail Interview with Clothing Boutique Owner - Cindy Shelby


Here are some lovely ideas from Ruth Meyers for luncheons and informal weddings: 

Robert Rodriguez black and white dress 

Lotus Grace white dress 

Pink Tartan red pleated skirt with zipper waist band 

Pink Tartan silk jungle print chemise 

Although we tend to think of color blocking as colorful we also see this trend in the black and white Robert Rodriguez dress above. 

The Lotus white matelass√© dress is a perfect example of heavy fabrics worn in the summer and mixed with the lady-like silhouette of the popular Mad Men look. 

The Pink Tartan chemise and skirt set illustrate both the bright colors and the prints of the season.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Casual Wear: A Stylish Retail Interview with Clothing Boutique Owner - Cindy Shelby



Last week I introduced you to Cindy Shelby, owner of Ruth Meyers. Today let’s look at some of her lovely garments in reference to spring/summer trends. 

First let’s explore some casual, everyday looks: 

Artelier Nicole Miller geometric pattern top 

Poleci white top with pink squares 

m2f brand red denim 

Helios and Luna orange silk blouse 

Jude crochet sweater 

Something we see multiple times above is the resurgence of sleeves and loose fabrics. This is welcome relief to those with upper arm and tummy issues. The fabrics are still cool and airy while the styles draw the attention away from potential problem areas. 

Again, prints are hot, hot, hot, but if you just cannot jump on the print wagon bright solid colors are equally trendy and can do so much for one’s skin tone. 

Colored denim is an absolute must! It is available is so many styles and price points there is just no excuse not to give it a try. 

Nudes and blush color palettes are here to stay another season...Yeah!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Jewelry: A Stylish Retail Interview with Boutique Owner - Cindy Shelby


Jewelry at Ruth Meyers

Cindi loves jewelry and bags because they really do complete the outfit. She says, “I never let a customer leave without at least suggesting the perfect bag or earring.” Cindi recommends layering necklaces of differing lengths to create a vertical dimension along the body. You can achieve that Boho look with a RJ Graziano wooden necklace. 

These convertible necklaces by Simon Sebbage Designs of Israel make for a nice two in one option. 











If have that humanitarian gene and are conscious of whether your money will go to a good cause, you may be interested in the Chan Luu wrap bracelet. The profits help keep two villages in Vietnam employed.  

Statement rings and monograms are big again this season.

Belargo delicate gold bangles add a finishing touch to the feminine trend. 



Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Handbags: A Stylish Retail Interview with Boutique Owner - Cindy Shelby


I introduced you to Cindy Shelby, owner of Ruth Meyers, in the last post. Let’s preview some of the delightful handbags from the store in reference to spring/summer trends.


Handbags: 

You can find a variety of purses from everyday to special occasion at Ruth Meyers. Cindi says she likes to offer hand held option for the same reason Kate Middleton prefers the hand held versus shoulder strap...shoulder straps throw off the line of the garment. She carries Due Fratelli and Miss Mak leather bags that come in a variety of styles and colors. Miss Mak offers these smaller make-up bags and small purses just big enough for credits cards and a phone. 

You can find a large selection of Longchamp bags at Ruth Meyers. Longchamp is a french company that has been producing quality handbags since 1948. 

Cindi suggests Yany and Rafe‘ to complete a Boho look and this black and white Foley and Corinna for the classic “Mad Men” trend. 


Monday, May 14, 2012

Spring Reviews: A Stylish Retail Interview with Clothing Boutique Owner - Cindy Shelby



If you have never been to the quaint Oklahoma City clothing boutique, Ruth Meyers, you are missing out on meeting the store’s owner, the tiniest, most radiant ray of sunshine, Cindi Shelby. She is sharp and knowledgeable of the styles and fits of her frequent and infrequent customers alike. When I thought of interviewing someone with experience in translating runway fashion to a diverse range of mid-south ladies I not only wanted to know what she thought about 2012 trends, but also the behind the scenes decisions a store owner and buyer must make for her clients. 

Cindi, in purple and hidden by a garment bag, helps a customer.
(Q) We know that trends like neons and mixed patterns are big this season, but what do you view as “in style” for Oklahoma women this Spring and Summer? 

(A) Cindi confidently states that Oklahoma women are brilliant in interpreting trends! They are fashion conscious. They read fashion magazines and internet articles; they are not fashion victims, but interpret the trends in a way that makes sense. 


(Q) What would you say are the three “must haves” this season? 

(A) high color piece: whether jean or jacket, it needs to be an important piece to the ensemble (i.e. an orange, turquoise, or red jacket or colored denim, such as, kelly green jeans) 
A printed item: i.e. a printed top like the Nicole Miller flowy top, a dress or even bottoms 
Mad Men look: early 60’s through early 70’s inspired lady-like looks (i.e. pencil skirts and feminine dresses) 


(Q) How many markets do you attend to source your products? 

(A) 9 markets, 4 NY, 5 Dallas 


(Q) Do you often have individual customers in mind when purchasing your merchandise? 

(A) She exclaimed, “Always! If I can’t feel excited immediately or that I can’t think of at least five people (by name) I won’t buy.” 


(Q) Obviously you demand quality. What is your number one must have when it comes to quality? 

(A) “The fabric.” Cindi says she has to feel every garment. It must have a nice hand and feel nice against your skin. After she establishes that she likes the fabric she moves on to check the notions, seams, linings, etc. 


(Q) What, if any, changes have you made since becoming owner of Ruth Meyer’s? 
(Or maybe I should have asked what has she not changed?) 

(A) First, Cindi changed the merchandise mix by bringing in some younger, more casual and lower price point items. She rearranged the store to present more merchandise on the floor steering away from the salon style of shopping. She has added a permanent “sale room” to allow the store to turn stock more often, along with hiring two young men and one young woman to help reach a younger demographic, hired an advertising agency to reinvigorate the Ruth Meyers image and painted the walls bright inviting colors. 


(Q) Is there any staple items that you always keep in the store? 

(A) Longchamp’s Le Pliage bags. She updates the colors and styles, but always has them in stock. Jeans: a variety of fits, styles and brands in sizes 0-16. 


(Q) Since you have such a unique selection do you buy more than one size per style? 

(A) Cindi says she will only buy one in the more pricey pieces, reminding me that she always has someone in mind when purchasing. She says she will order up to a couple sizes per style in her staple goods such as t-shirts and jeans. 


(Q) How many trunk shows do you host throughout the year? 

(A) “I do not really know, but lots!” She says some women want to come in to see the full collection and she likes to give them that opportunity. Ruth Meyer’s also hosts jewelry and handbag trunk shows. 


(Q) What sizes do you carry? 

(A) 0-16 and some 18 and 20’s. When talking women’s shape and size she exclaimed “Every woman is beautiful!” 


(Q) Helios and Luna is a new line you are carrying this year. Do you ever find carrying a new line frightening and what made you decide to go with this company? 

(A)When asked about taking on a new line she responded, ”Yes! Totally scary! It’s an expensive commitment. You make the commitment and pray the customers and salespeople will back you.” Cindi has a resident buying office in New York that act as her eyes and ears when she is in Oklahoma. Her buyers really understand the Oklahoma shopper’s style. They were the ones that introduced Cindi to Helio and Luna. Cindi was so excited. She just loved the line. 

Stay tuned for more trend photos of clothing, jewelry and handbags for Ruth Meyers.
  

Friday, May 11, 2012

Mother’s Day Flower Pot Cover


I am a big fan of oatmeal. After emptying a couple containers I set them on the counter and thought on how to repurpose them for a few days. Obviously a container repurposed to contain something else would be ideal. With Mother’s Day on the horizon I began to focus on how to make an empty oatmeal container into something special for Mother’s Day. 

My mom somehow finds peace in gardening. She will spend hours rummaging through the dirt and cultivating her plants. For this reason, I knew a flower my mom could plant versus cut floral stems would make a welcome Mother’s Day gift. I did not want to go to the nursery, choose a dirty potted plant and just give it to my mom like that. So, I needed to create a cover for the pot that looked hand-made, but store bought. It was really simple to do and all it took were some items I already had around the house. 

You will need:

  • Oatmeal container (empty) 
  • Scrapbook paper 
  • Glue 
  • Old card 
  • Printer (to print Happy Mother’s Day)
  • Scissors 
  • Ribbon (if desired) 
  • Jar (if necessary) 

I know a lot of people that have scrap-booking supplies that do not necessarily scrapbook. If you really do not have any scrapbook paper it is very inexpensive at any craft store. Depending on the pattern or lack there of on your paper and the size of the oatmeal or similar container you may need to either splice in a piece from a single sheet of scrapbook paper or use two sheets. Using just about any glue, lightly cover the container. Next carefully lay the pre-measured scrapbook paper into the glue while aligning the edge to the lip of the container. 

Find a nice, used card that has vines (as shown) or other images that you can easily cut around. Be sure that the colors on the card you choose compliment the scrapbook paper. Print “Happy Mother’s Day” in a lettering color that will look nice with the card and paper you have chosen. Find a nice legible spot to paste it onto your card. I am not a mother...to a human...therefore, I did not have any used “Happy Mother’s Day” cards. If you have an old one you can swipe the words from the card instead of printing “Happy Mother’s Day”. 

Cut around your image and glue it on top of the scrapbook paper. Remember the original orientation on the card may not be the best layout on your flower pot cover. Notice in the supplies photo (the Son-in-law card) the branches are going up, but I chose to drape them downward from the top of the container. You could even just decorate along the bottom edge if you like. Keep in mind what type of flower (does it grow straight up or flow over the edges) you want to place in the container because that will help you decide the best placement of your words and images. I decided to also add a ribbon around the remainder of the top edge not covered by the card. Ribbons make great fillers and help the colors mesh. 

To ensure your card stock will stick securely place rubber bands around the cylinder over night. 

Place a jar, an up-side-down pot or any type of filler if needed and insert Mom’s favorite plant. Voila! A lovely gift Mom can enjoy longer than just Mother’s Day and so simple the kids can help. 

If your mom prefers cut flowers and you want to make this into a vase just place the jar at the bottom, secure it with hot glue, rocks, or styrofoam, fill the jar with water and insert the stems.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Looking Great in Athletic Wear with an Imperfect Body

Actual Super Model...not me
I do have a good body, (ah...ah-ah, I work out!) ;) but am not in the best nor worst shape of my life. As a petite, 5’4” and under, I am a much more realistic example of athletic wear fit than the average 12% body fat, 34” inseam model the fitness gear companies use to demonstrate the fit of their products. It seems to me that many people fear the gym due to the obvious reasons, but after overcoming those concerns the looming question of what to wear still remains. What I find is people who need to be in the gym most, most often choose workout clothes that would make the gym-rockstar feel over weight and self conscious. Coming to the gym in a tent of a t-shirt and baggy sweats only makes a person look bigger...the opposite reason they came to the gym in the first place...to get smaller. Think about it (aside from the t-shirts...which are not particularly oversized) the female candidates on The Biggest Loser always wear a fitted bottom. As a long-time workout patron I will tell you there is a fashion and a function reasoning behind this... 

1) If you want a good workout you have to move! There is a very good reason you do not see gymnasts spinning around the parallel bars in a bunch of baggy clothes...the restriction and tangle factor! Good workouts = ease of motion, ease of motion = clothes that fit (period!). 

2) Clothes that fit make you look your best (your thinnest, your most in shape, etc.). What people sometimes get caught up in here is that it is your best, not someone else’s. The harsh truth is unless you are 5’10” and in your best shape do not expect to see the girl on the tag in the mirror! 

There is a difference between tight and fitted. Fitted gently hugs your body, while tight stresses the seams and displays all your imperfections. Fitted is comfortable and tight is not. The super thing about Lycra/Spandex is that it stretches. As you shrink it still fits, to a point, and the same is true for growth. 

Breathability and wicking properties are important too. Everybody has seen the butt-sweat “t” on the poor unsuspecting girl that just worked her butt (sweat) off. I don’t know about you, but even when I have a great workout I am mortified at sweat lines. This is the reason I avoid light/medium grey cotton gym pants like the plague! So find something with wicking properties in a color that diminishes sweat lines. The tag will say something like: cool max or quick dry. The textile technology for keeping you comfortable is abundant, even in the budget brands. 

Remember my dress for your body-type series last spring? The same principles apply to fitness clothing. It is all about the balance...short legs?...make them look longer. Overly large bust?...minimize the girls. You can do this in the gym. Let me help you... 

I must really feel strongly about this topic because I am not particularly fond of my legs. Remember you may have different body issues than I do. Therefore I will try to touch on plenty of topics so that you may find some that apply to you. 

Let’s first examine the oh so popular banded waists. The wide band such as this blue one is good for those of us that are long waisted, meaning a longer than average distance from your natural waist to your crotch. It breaks up the expanse with a lighter color on a more narrow high hip and a darker color on a full lower hip. So we see the top portion technically works well, but the bottom could be more flattering. Cutting a long waist down to size is a good thing if you have the leg length to go with it. This style may have been more appealing for a petite in a full length pant. The flare in addition to the crop just adds bulk to my frame. Don’t believe me? Scroll down to a fitted capri and you will see five pounds drop in the matter of a wardrobe change. 

Again we have a banded waist. I am not particularly fond of this basque “v” style. Although the side out-seams appear to create a longer side leg, the front seam between the dark grey and the black fabrics create a line that gives the visual as a whole a squatty wide frame with an overbearing torso. Now, if I had long legs and a short, straight waist this style would work much better. If you are petite with slim ankles a tapered pant will appear much more slimming than this one. 

Neither of the short, fitted capris below were my favorite before the photos. Now I am changing my mind. It is funny how the camera lens allows you to view yourself from other’s perspective rather than the mirror. I encourage you to try it. 

The reason these work is balance. Notice the fullest part of the leg is covered in a fabric darker than my skin. The hem is located in a line across the fuller part of the calf. This allows the top portion of my leg to more closely resemble the bottom half in width. Now it is ridiculous to assume the thigh and calf should be the same size and they should not, but the stronger sense of balance between the two the more continuous the vertical space...as you can see I am already appearing taller and thinner. Also, I wanted to note that the capris on the left are made of a strong synthetic compression fabric whereas the pair on the right are a flimsy but good moisture wicking synthetic fabric. 

















A bit longer capri will help slim large calves, however, in my case I loose a tiny bit of that balance I just explained with the short capris, merely because the hem is lower allowing the calf to taper more. The look still works well because the elongated continuity of the black fabric lengthens the leg without adding bulk. Something else I would like to point out is the difference in the height of the waistband. The higher waistband makes my legs appear longer, but my waist wider. That is okay. I have enough of a curve from my hips to my waist. I would rather gain some leg length even if I have to gain some waist width. 

















The full length legging is nice because the fabric gives the eye room to trace the vertical space. If you have very noticeable cellulite be careful with your fabric choice. You want something that will compress enough to even out the dimpling. A thicker synthetic fabric with breathability will be your best bet. Added vertical and diagonal seam lines help hold everything in place minimizing lumps and bumps. If you struggle with varicose veins this is a nice option to show off your legs without fear of exposing your veins.

Lastly, shorts. I prefer the biker shorts and hot pants to the traditional cotton short, firstly, because I think they are more comfortable for a workout; secondly, because you do not need to worry if you are flashing people. If you have big thighs and favor the traditional short make sure to find one that is not tight and the hem does not fall at the widest part of your thigh. If you have very skinny thighs make sure a traditional short does not appear too big and baggy. 

The biker length short is nice for those that are in pretty decent shape. This length allows for the widest part of the hip to be covered and of course, they are cooler than capris. 

The hot pant is not for everyone. Although, it could be, depending on how hard you want to work for it. Again, I am not in my best shape and I have not been wearing these lately. But for the sake of explaining athletic fit here they are. A hot pant’s only great fashion function is to lengthen the leg. The shorter the short the longer the legs (appear). However, the shorter the short the more the cellulite and flaws appear (if present). Also, the whiter the legs the wider they appear. Think spray tan...it’s the quickest way to look slimmer. 

I did not cover workout tops. The best thing to remember with tops is pretty much the same as the bottoms: 
1) If a built in bra top or sports bra is too tight skin will push out from under it creating unwanted rolls. 
2) Support! Sports bras are for the gym, not demi bras. 
3)Tops should fit. Even if it has sleeves if it is too big for you, you will not look your best. 
4) Sweat happens; choose your fabrics and colors accordingly.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Slowly but Surely...Weekend Warrior Adventures


Oh the things that can be accomplished with such little cash! Okay, so it is not a grand English garden...yet. But it is a whole lot better than what it was: a bare corner with a crooked fence post and an ugly gas meter. We have not really set aside a budget for our outdoor spaces. We want them to look nice and be functional for entertaining, but we only seem to work on them here and there as we can. 
The awesome vintage door was found at an auction or estate sale years ago. It formerly graced the entry to a business in my little hometown in southwest Oklahoma. I removed the half round with a hammer and ejected the glass before this seasons first hail storm did so for me. Next I remembered a lion’s head knocker that I had bought when we moved in. I thought I would look great on the front door only to find out there was no place for it. So we placed it above the window hole to support a hanging pot. My husband and I then propped the old door in the corner of the fence to cover the bent piece of fence paneling. 

In all actuality I am not sure of the legality of this next part, but do not see why it would be a problem since it is removable. I found this trash can tossed to the side of the street on big trash day. I immediately saw a free planter. The trash can in its initial state did not fit over the meter, so, we had to bust off one side to slide it on. 

It then needed some height so I moved a pot filled with kale and pansies to rest on top of the up-side-down trash can...also a hand-me-down pot. 

That looked nice, but needed something more. I filled the shallow trough with potting soil and periwinkle vines. That did the trick. 

Next I needed another level. We found this bird feeder at Lowe’s when shopping for plants. It was the last one and the base was chipped. They made us a great deal on it, and that is why I am a loyal patron. I had been watching a DIY backyard show earlier in the day about turning bird feeders into tiered planters. That was what I originally set out to do, but I needed that pot’s height on the trash can and then a stair-step down to another level. Although I do love birds I thought we all might enjoy this bird bath more as a planter. 

Back to the door...I needed a pretty hanging basket...a nice color that would contrast with the door. I also found this one at Lowe’s. It was not really a “hanging” basket per-say, but it was simple to turn into one. This was one of my more expensive purchases at somewhere around $15. I had wire coconut shell lined baskets I had purchased at Dollar Tree last year, yes, for a dollar. I removed the suspension chains from the baskets and attached them to this new one. 

I filled the basket with a six pack of petunias I bought for a dollar on the half-off rack and suspended it from the knocker. 

Voila! Our little weekend adventure turned out quite nice. As soon as Okie dig plots our gas lines we will plant the wisteria vine that will eventually grow around the door and fill the empty spaces.