Dressing For an Evening Wedding in July

what to wear to a formal wedding in the summer

Getting an invitation for a formal wedding that will be outside in July or August can seem like a cruel joke. But it happens. Here are a few tips to help you look your best when the temperatures sizzle.

  1. Black is your friend.  No really — hear us out.  Black hides everything.  Why do you think New Yorkers wear so much black?  The city is filthy and if you are walking around it hides all that dust, dirt, sweat and grime.  While I can hear my grandmother cringing at this suggestion — traditions run strong in the South and wearing black to a wedding is definitely one many still abide by these days.  This is one of those fashion rules that’s OK to break no matter what your grandmother says.
  2. Just say no to anything polyester or any synthetic fabrics.  Most synthetic fabrics are effectively plastic or derivatives of plastic.  Yes, that’s right plastic.  You might as well just wear a trash bag because it’s going to be just as comfortable and have the same moisture wicking capabilities.  We’ve written extensively on why we use silk linings in our garments.  It’s not just about luxury — it’s practical.  You can read more on this here.
  3. Gauzy dresses or skirts that are double (or triple) lined are a good option depending on your style.  A thin cotton or silk that is made with two or three layers of fabric have a fabulous bohemian ethereal look and is a remarkably easy way to stay cool in the heat.
  4. Choose a style that is either loose (like the look we are suggesting in point #3) or that has structure and stands away from your body like our Lawson Cocktail, the Carmel or our Diana skirts.

Stay cool and stay chic this summer.

Summer Errands Never Looked So Good

diana vreeland

If you really want to trim the number of items in your closet, you have to shop mindfully and really think about the number of ways to wear an item.  Our Brigitte dress in magnolia is truly the dress you can wear all year long no matter where you live.  Lined in a stretch silk charmeuse it’s the dress you’ll want to wear all year long.  Here’s how we’d style our tunic for summer months.

 

Brig-WHiteHotSummer-02

Why You Need a Capsule Wardrobe

whyneedcapsule

There’s no one size fits all solution when it comes to creating a capsule wardrobe. What you need depends on your overall lifestyle, career, and where you live — though we have some suggestions here and here. A woman in finance in New York City or Boston need a greater number of items than a woman in the same job in Los Angeles simply because of the change of seasons. Why you should create a capsule wardrobe are the same regardless of where you live and the lifestyle you lead.

  • Time spent on shopping is time that could be better spent elsewhere. Few people realize how much time we actually spend on shopping and then subsequently cleaning out our closets.
  • Fewer choices leads to more productivity and frees up our mind to focus on other things. Scientists call this “decision fatigue” and even deciding whether to wear a scarf or necklace, or a black skirt vs. a navy one each morning reduces our mental capacity and willpower to focus on other things. There’s a reason why the most successful people from Steve Jobs to Mark Zuckerberg have a uniform.
  • You’ll feel more confident. When you eliminate the excess in your closet and pare it down to your most favorite and frequently worn items, what is left are the items that you love and that fit the best. You’ll dress better by default and that leads to confidence.

You’ll save time and money by investing in quality wardrobe essentials —whatever that looks like for your life and career. Our time is finite. It’s the most precious thing we all have, and despite our best efforts to save time with apps or by outsourcing tasks, most people are unwittingly careless with their time more than anything else in their lives.

Wasted Time

wasted-time

We live in a world where we are constantly looking for an app or the magic bullet that will save us time. One of the biggest waste of times we all face is the time spent shopping. Shopping has become a hobby instead of a necessity. Time saved by automation (like owning a Roomba) or outsourcing (hiring a housekeeper and ordering takeout instead of cooking). Our grandmothers shopped twice a year, for warm and cold weather. In Elizabeth Cline’s book Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion, she notes that on average people buy just over one item per week. It might not seem like we spend that much time shopping, but when you look at the statistics and break it down it’s no wonder we’re short on time.

The Shopping Cycle

  1. The Search. Today we have so many choices that stores have invested in complex algorithms to help us find what we need on their websites. Once upon a time, we shopped at the local boutique or department store where the buyers carefully curated the selections to fit their clientele. Most stores, especially department stores, take the spaghetti on the wall approach: buy as many different items as possible and hope something sticks.
  2. Purchase and hope for the best when it comes to fit and quality. Clothing is made all over the world today. Larger brands outsource their production to the lowest bidders. They don’t necessarily sample to get the best fit, but to send an example to the factory. Multiple factories is why the fit among the same brand is so inconsistent.
  3. Wear only 1-2 times. Maybe. We all have things in our closet with the tags still hanging on them.
  4. Wash the item or take it to the cleaner, and hope it survives given the poor quality of so many items today.
  5. Put back in closet, but never wear it again because:
    1. It’s out of style.
    2. Doesn’t really go with anything else you own.
    3. It’s damaged (didn’t survive the washing/dry cleaning process).
    4. Add it to pile of items to be fixed.
  6. Repeat steps 1-4 because of step 5 until you build up so many new items that there isn’t space in your closet anymore.
  7. Spend a weekend cleaning out all of these items. By the time most people get to this point they’ve forgotten why they don’t wear something.
    1. Sort out what you wear and don’t wear.
    2. Decide what you are going to try to salvage (we all do it even though we know it will only result in repeating steps 3-5 again.)
    3. Donate or consign the cast offs.
  8. Lather, rinse, repeat. Start the process all over again.

Or you can use our 4-step guide to creating a better wardrobe, and eliminate the time spent on the above by investing in high-quality, timeless wardrobe essentials that are meant to be worn season after season and year after year.

For more on Elizabeth Cline’s Overdressed visit our post: Grandma Knows Best

Grandma Knows Best

slowdown

Ethical, organic, free trade — they are all great buzzwords for sustainability, but if consumers really want to shop responsibly they need to shop mindfully.  Sustainable fashion is in a sense an oxymoron since fashion by it’s definition is fleeting.  The only way for fashion to become sustainable is by slowing down our consumption.  Buying well made items in timeless styles that will last season after season, instead of a micro-season.

Quality isn’t in a name

Here are a few key stats on the state of our wardrobe gathered from Elizabeth Cline’s enlightening book Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion.  She illustrates how consumers don’t think before they buy because clothing is an inconsequential purchase compared to previous generations.  She also notes: “Quality and creativeness are being sacrificed for money and big business.  There used to be a direct connection between high-end clothing and quality.  Now a designer name is no guarantee of craftsmanship.  As early as 1994 Consumer Reports was finding that designer clothing at Barney’s, in the case of a rayon chenille sweater, often offered no better quality than Kmart.

The 30 Wears Campaign

Before you lay down your credit card, think how many ways you can (and will) wear an item and how long it will last before you buy.  Understand what makes something a quality item by exploring the Senza Tempo journal here or here, or by reading Ms. Cline’s amazing book (remember: it isn’t the label.)  It is shopping the way our grandmothers and their grandmothers shopped, who thought about every piece of clothing they purchased because it had to be versatile and last for years.

 

infographic-overdressed

Save Time, Shop Less

shopless

It’s that time of year, when everything is on clearance and it’s hard to resist buying a sweater or dress “because it’s such a good deal.” The problem is that these good deals add up in terms of money and time.  Shopping is the ultimate time suck for the modern woman. It’s practically a national pastime, yet most women still complain they have a closet full of nothing to wear. You might not be able to get the time or money back you’ve already spent, but you can change how you shop going forward.

Commit to a more mindful approach this year by knowing your shopping weaknesses, figuring out what you need, buying less and buying better.   You’ll save time, money, and ultimately end up with a better wardrobe.

Know your weaknesses

Clean out your closet. Identify what to keep, what to eliminate, and then carefully analyze each pile. In the pile of things to keep, why do you want to keep them? Why are they worn frequently? Is it because of the fit, comfort or that it’s a good basic that goes with everything like blue jeans? Do you have duplicates and why? Now examine the items in the donation pile. How many times did you wear each item? Why did you purchase them? Is there a common theme among the items?

Understanding your shopping weaknesses is the first step to reclaiming your time and building a more mindful closet.

Figure out what you really need

The second step is to inventory what you have and identify what you actually need. No matter what fashion magazines lead us to believe, wardrobe essentials vary widely from person to person. A San Francisco based tech entrepreneur’s basics are likely very different than a Wall Street banker.

Your wardrobe depends on where you live and the life you lead. How much do you work and where, your social life, hobbies, how often you travel and why — these factors all determine the breadth of your wardrobe. Are you starting to travel more for work? If so, do you have wrinkle resistant clothing or things that pack easily? Are you becoming more involved with charity boards and attending more parties? Find a classic dress that goes from day to night and can be accessorized in a myriad of ways so that you don’t need to buy a new dress for every event.

Once you figure out the gaps in your wardrobe, create a list of what you need and evaluate any purchases against that list. It will help you avoid temptation when you come across something that is “such a good deal.” Approach your clothing purchases the way you’d approach buying a house, car or piece of art — thoughtfully with careful evaluation.

Buy less, buy better

Before you lay down your credit card: stop, take a breath and ask yourself if you’ll wear the item at least thirty times? Most of our impulse buys are rarely worn more than two times — if they are worn at all. How versatile is the item in terms of seasonality and style? Is the quality good enough to last thirty washes and wears?

Quality clothing is more than the label. Natural fabrics are superior and more versatile than synthetic ones. At Senza Tempo, we line all of our garments in silk, which is breathable and adjusts to your body temperature, so the item can better span the seasons. Construction details like linings, hem finishes and invisible zippers affect the fit and overall durability of a garment. Recognizing what makes a good basic: high quality, simple lines and classic silhouettes, is the final step to building a more mindful wardrobe.

Buying better requires some education, thought and will cost more upfront. However, in the long run it will save time and money. Don’t shop, curate your closet.

 

 

 

4 Steps to a Better Wardrobe

mindful shopping mindfulness

For most people, New Year’s resolutions are all about eliminating bad habits and creating healthier ones. It’s easy to look at our monthly budgets and see if we are spending too much on takeout or drinks with friends. It’s often less obvious how much we are wasting on clothing each year as purchases build up in our closets year after year. In reality, the average American throws away approximately 65 pounds of clothing away per person per year — a burden on our time, wallet and the environment.

Four steps to creating a better wardrobe

  1. Don’t just clean out your closet and throw out what you don’t wear or doesn’t give you joy.  Take inventory of what you currently own — what do you have too much of? What is your wardrobe missing?
  2. Take a look at your donation pile and figure out what drove those purchases to identify your shopping weakness. Wishful pieces or items that were “such a good deal” are responsible for 90% of items that end up in the donation pile.  We host one sale a year ahead of the holiday season and only on a select number items.  We don’t artificially inflate our prices knowing they will be marked down.  We price our garments fairly at the outset so our customers are always getting the best value for their money.
  3. Identify what you wear most and what styles best flatter your body. Commit to buying only what you really need and suits your personal style.  Three timeless silhouettes anchor every Senza Tempo collection: the hourglass, the shift and the trapeze.  These shapes fit a wide variety of body types and styles.
  4. Invest in high quality, versatile pieces you can wear over and over again. Buying pieces that can be styled in a variety of ways like our Diana skirt or Brigitte dress.

Approach shopping for clothing the way you would shop for a piece of art or a car.   Don’t just shop, curate your closet.

Capsule Wardrobe Formula

dvmemo-clothes12months

Before capsule wardrobe or minimalist even entered the lexicon, before our overconsumption of clothing gave rise to ever expanding closets,  or global warming caused the seasons to blend into each other giving rise to the need for a more seasonless wardrobe, Diana Vreeland dictated to her staff at Vogue how dressing for the seasons was “old fashioned.”

Since most of us rarely need a long evening dress these days here’s our version of Diana Vreeland’s capsule wardrobe for 12 months a year:

  1. Instead of a jersey suit most women these days need a pair of blue jeans and a silk jersey top.  The Audrey II for evenings out, or Audrey IV to layer under your favorite jacket.
  2. A little black cocktail dress like our Lawson.  The simple A-line silhouette lined in silk habatoi — it’s one of the most easy and versatile dresses you’ll ever own.
  3. A sweater and our versatile Diana Day a-line skirt takes you from desk to dinner.
  4. Something for everyday
    1. Two piece – Frances shell and Sophia pencil skirt.  Worn together or as separates.
    2. One piece –  Brigitte tunic dress (lined in a luxe stretch silk charmeuse) is as comfortable as it is chic.

 

 

Packing Guide: 4 Days — 12 Items

packing-guide-feature

The holidays can be stressful enough, packing doesn’t have to be.  Whether you are packing in a carryon or need to leave room for holiday presents, here are the 12 essential items you need for a long weekend.  The key to packing light is choosing a neutral color palette and items that easily mix, match and layer.

packing-guide_v4

Wearing Color As A Neutral

colorblocking

 

Any color can be a neutral, it’s all about your perspective and the rest of your wardrobe. Black, brown, navy, white — those are the traditional neutrals.   They are trend proof, flexible, seasonless and multiply the number of outfits in your closet without needing new items.   But if you want to create a bold look, without necessarily being that bold, try incorporating colors beyond these old standbys.

Neutral colors are personal.

Traditional neutrals are about their ability to go with a wide variety of other colors and items in your closet. A neutral is really what works for you, what suits your style and fits your wardrobe. Choose a color that best flatters your hair and skin-tone, and purchase pieces in that color palette. For some women, aqua or red is as a neutral as gray.

Choosing a capsule palette.

Sometimes wearing color as a neutral is as practical as it is bold. Wearing pink as a neutral, for example is far more comfortable than wearing black in the summer. A pink sweater in the dead of winter is like a breath of fresh air. Whether you combine the color with a traditional neutral or create an ensemble of color, the key is choosing ones that work with the rest of your wardrobe.

A simplified wardrobe doesn’t have to be boring.

Creating a capsule wardrobe is all about simplifying your life. Incorporating color beyond the traditional neutrals can streamline your closet without needing to add a significant number of items. Our clients lead busy lives and are always looking for ways to save time, but they also love fashion.  A wardrobe of black, beige and cream simply isn’t enough.