Archive for April, 2008

Your Clothes: How to Get that “Put Together” Look

One of the most common questions I get is “Amy, how do I get that ‘put together’ or ‘polished’ look?”  The answer is easier than you think.  Two of the biggest fashion myths are:

1.) That if the clothes don’t fit you off the rack, then there’s something wrong with your body.

WRONG! There’s something funky about the garment, be it cut, color or fabric.

2.) That you have to spend a lot of money to look good.

WRONG! All you need is a good tailor. 

A good tailor is as essential as a physician, hair dresser/barber or accountant.  You can spend thousands of dollars on a wardrobe but if it doesn’t fit you properly, odds are it doesn’t flatter you either.  Unfortunately, you’ve been throwing money down the drain.  Often times, people feel more secure when they buy brand names because they think they’re getting good quality and trust that the garments will speak for themselves.  Trust me; they won’t.  Sometimes all you’re paying for is the designer’s beach house in the Bahamas.

If your sleeves are too long, if your shoulder seams are nowhere near your shoulders or if your pants are too long or baggy in the seat, it simply looks like you’ve been in someone else’s closet.  A dead give-away that you don’t work with someone who can educate you on garment fabric, fit or construction. 

I suggest asking around for referrals and trying to find someone close to home so that you’re more apt to use them because they’re in a convenient location.  If that nets you zero, shop your yellow pages and ask your dry cleaners for options.  Mine has a tailor on site with regular hours so needless to say, I’m there quite often. 

April 28th, 2008

Happiness: The Inside-Out Spring Makeover

Have you ever noticed people are more drawn to you when you feel good? Do you feel more confident when you are happy? Have you ever watched an ordinary looking person transform into sheer beauty when taken over by a genuine smile? Happy people are attractive regardless of their physical endowments. Do you know what it is that makes you happy? Here are some thoughts:

  • Shift your focus. Think of what it is that you can do right now to create the life you want. If you think your boss, brother, neighbor, fellow driver or friend are responsible for how you feel, think again. You’re the one in charge. You choose the thoughts which give rise to feelings, which in turn create your reality. Stop the blame-game, you won’t win. Instead, ask yourself what you can do to fix a situation that brings you down.
  • Take care of your body. When our physical needs are unmet, we tend to feel tired and worn out rather than happy. Adequate sleep, proper relaxation, as well as healthy nutrition and regular exercise go a long way in promoting a sense of well-being.
  • Pay attention to your emotions. Thoughts create feelings, and–like it or not–feelings make most of our day-to-day decisions. When you notice your emotions are turbulent, get help. Find a trusted friend or a professional to help you take a closer look at the problem.
  • Feed your soul. In my work with terminally ill patients I learned this: the love we give and receive is the only thing that matters. All else is non-essential. You cannot possibly miss the purpose of your life when you cultivate compassion—love’s life blood.
  • Cultivate relationships. People are happier, healthier and more resilient when they have a strong support system of friends and family. We all need that shoulder to lean on from time to time. Be good to your friends. Fix broken family ties. Forgive and let go; it will make you light enough to move forward.

April 22nd, 2008

Accessories Can Affect A First Impression

People often don’t give much thought to their accessories until it’s time to use them in front of others they’re trying to impress.  Case in point the gentleman that goes to reach for his wallet only to have to use both hands to pry the overstuffed billfold out of his back pocket and once accessed, it’s barely held together by the original stitching. 

Or take the lady who goes to retrieve her car keys only to end up elbow-deep at the bottom of her handbag/totebag/briefcase/lunch sack relying on the senses of touch and hearing to find them.

It’s important for gents to have a nice wallet or billfold made of good, quality leather.  Don’t overstuff it.  To determine decent leather, run your fingernail over the piece and if you can rub it out, it’s well made and dyed.  If you can’t, then pass.

Ladies, it’s imperative to own a great handbag and price does not denote class or quality.  It should reflect your personal style, be proportionate to your size it does not have to match your shoes.  People always ask me “Amy how much should I spend on a handbag?”  

My answer is always to consider your Cost Per Use ratio:  how much are you going to use it and let that be your guide.  Me personally, I use one handbag all the time, all year round with just about everything I own.  My criteria is that I must absolutely LOVE it because I’m going to use it A LOT.  Ultimately, I have the tendency to spend a bit more because it’s going to be my only one, but my Cost Per Use ends up being just about pennies per day.

By the way, I blog about once a week so keep those questions coming.  If you have any that need immediate answering, please feel free to contact the Table For Two office at 612.677.1550.  Thanks so much! 

April 21st, 2008

Easy spring (no really, it MUST be spring!) closet clean-outs

Okay, so spring’s here (I swear) & I think everyone can agree that we’ve just all about had it with this weather. I know I have. So I’m going to challenge you to do a little spring cleaning in your clothes closets only I’m gonna help make it easy for you.

When I’m working with clients, ideally, I like to be able to view all of their inventory so we can take stock of what’s worthy of their precious closet real estate. The closets of my dreams have 3 key things…

1.) Great lighting

2.) All items in one area

3.) All pieces arranged by item, then by color within the item, i.e. all trousers together, darkest to lightest, etc.

The idea is to make your closet look as much like a boutique or retailer as possible. This provides you a visual snapshot of what you own so you can identify what’s missing and can access things quickly, not to mention, put them away.

Here’s how you do it:

Take out each item in your closet (this includes shoes, belts and for ladies – handbags), and decide if you love it or don’t love it. Here’s a hint: most people wear 20% of their clothing 80% of the time so this is where the truth rubber meets the road. Be honest. If you don’t love it or just don’t have strong feelings about the item, then it’s time to go. They’re not getting any younger and chances are you purchased it either thinking it was a great deal or that you’d have something at home it’d go with – but you don’t.

Make 3 piles: keep, toss & donate. Then re-org your clothing putting them back in the closet with like items together, from darkest to lightest. I also recommend using either padded or wooden hangars as these will help protect and preserve the shape of your garments. Good luck!

1 comment April 14th, 2008

You’re dating again. You’re feeling great. Don’t ditch the kids.

You’ve experienced the ups and downs of single parenthood. Recently, you have come to the conclusion to put yourself out there on the dating scene again. You’ve decided to stop putting your happiness on hold and give this thing called “relationship” another go. You’re looking for the right person with whom you can share a happy and healthy life. Fantastic! Now—what about those kids? How much should they know about what you’re up to?

It is recommended that you don’t introduce a person you date to your kids until there’s a fairly solid relationship. In fact, until there is some sort of commitment, you would be well advised to not involve your children in the process at all. In the beginning, children need to know only the basics: you’re going out to meet a new friend. They need to know you love them more than anyone in the world, that you will be back soon, and life will go on as normal. Sure, you may think it’s cute to see your date interact with the little ones right from the start. You might even have some pretty good reasons, such as wanting to make sure s/he is good with kids. Still, please spare them the early introductions. Here’s why:

  • Kids tend to form attachments rather quickly. Should the relationship not work out, they easily feel hurt, betrayed, or abandoned.
  • When there are too many introductions without substance or staying power, too many premature family transitions, too much emotional stress, children enter protective mode. From there, it is difficult to reach them or help them form healthy attachments even when it is safe.

Kids need to feel you’re on their side first. Make sure you’ve talked about them with your date. Can you imagine this person to be part of your family? Is she or he someone you can trust? Do you share similar values about raising children? If not, is your partner willing to assume a more supportive role on the side-lines, while you continue to be the main parent? Sorting out such considerations beforehand helps bring down the stress level for all parties involved—you, your date, and your kids.

April 9th, 2008