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Monthly Archives: April 2016


MINDFUL DRESSING: how to with purpose

By | How To..., Personal Style, Wardrobe Savvy, What to Wear | 5 Comments

Have you ever thought about the type of image you want to project?

It’s easy to think that this would only be something professionals need to think about but that’s not true. No matter what your lifestyle, professional or age your appearance tells others about you before you even open your mouth. How you present yourself will either attract or repel others far before you’ve had a chance to say a word to them. While I don’t think you need to lose sleep over the issue, if you have found that you are not getting the responses from other people you want, or the opportunities you know you deserve then maybe, just maybe, your personal presentation may need a little tweak.

Appropriate, Enhancing and Goal Effective

According to the fashion website Matalan, which polled 2,491 females, the average woman spends an average 16 minutes every weekday morning, 14 minutes on the weekend and up to 20 minutes pondering her wardrobe prior to a night out. That’s a heck of a lot of wasted time over a year!

A long time ago I discovered the power my clothes, accessories and grooming had in controlling the way I felt each day as a result how I behaved. This is exactly the same way that an actor only totally feels one with the character they are portraying during a full dress rehearsal. Our clothes help us perform the roles we need/want to play each day. They help us to ‘feel’ the part and can act like armour helping us to feel more confident and protected. 

This is not a new phenomenon, it’s been happening since man first donned clothes.  We covered our nakedness to for protection and confidence, and from that time onward adding and subtracting items became the way to inform others of our status, role, moods, and affiliations.  

Being able to look in the mirror and say - go girl, you rock is great. It fills us with confidence, hope and we stand a little straighter, more with more purpose and smile more frequently. Knowing we look the part releases us from our insecurities and allows us to get on with the job at hand. Of course, it’s not just ourselves that are affected by our appearance. Others too, respond to how we look, and the right appearance encourages others to give us more time to explain our ideas, opens doors and releases opportunities both socially and professionally.  In fact your presentation is a continual portrayal of you – it’s like a constant visual resume.

So it’s worth the time to think about and plan your appearance. Once you have your look together give it the final check by asking yourself – Is it Appropriate, Enhancing and Goal Effective?

The night before.

If you wait until the morning to decide what you’ll be wearing it only results in early morning stress and often a ‘this will have to do‘ outfit.  I suggest you decide what you are going to wear each night before bed – it only takes a few minutes and you’ll be able to sleep-in a little later.

To make the process as quick and easy as possible you’ll need to have an organized closet.

If your closet is unorganized set aside a day to organize everything in a way that it works for you. Some women prefer clothes of the same color hung together while others prefer the same type of garments together.  I hang the same types of garments together and with like colors together. You may even like to separate your work wear from your casual wear – it doesn’t really matter, the aim is to create a wardrobe where all your options are easy to see. 

If your wardrobe is crammed and you can barely move the clothes on the rack, the first thing you need to do is a closet cleanout.   Not only to get rid of all the things that no longer fit you, are out of date or season, are no longer your style etc, etc, but also to move all the clothes that are for another season to another location.  You’ll be amazed at the different this alone will make.

When thinking about your clothes for the next day consider:

  • what work will I be doing?
  • where will I be going?
  • what level of dress should I wear – smart casual, business casual, formal business?
  • what is the weather forecast?
  • who will I be seeing?
  • what do I want to achieve or what impression do I want to make?

By answering each of the above questions you’ll be able to easily sort out the available options and select the items you want to wear to create an outfit you’ll feel perfect in.I suggest you also gather up your lingerie, shoes, coordinating handbag etc so everything is ready to go.

A few more tips help:

  • Create clothing clusters: these are groups of items that work around each other (see image below).
  • Document great outfits: anytime you put together a new winner of an outfit, note all the garments and accessory pieces in a notebook -  better still add a photo!  It’s amazing how quickly we can love a look one day and a week later have totally forgotten what pieces we put together to create it (or is this just my 50 yr old brain?).  Within a few months, PretaStyler members will be able to do this for themselves with our new Look book creation functionality.
  • Rotate your outfits: Leave at least 7 days in between wears and be ever on the lookout for new items that will extend your cluster to create a few different outfits.
  • Have at least one special outfit you can lay your hands on at a moment’s notice so you never get caught with nothing to wear at short notice.


Related Features:


If you enjoyed this week’s feature
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or leave a comment/question below.
Thank you.
Ann Reinten AICI CIP


OLIVIA PALERMO: Lessons learned from a style icon

By | Personal Style, Style Icons | No Comments

Take one look at street style blogs or popular fashion social media, and you’ll quickly realize that Olivia Palermo is one of those street style stars that continue to amaze and inspire women with her seemingly endless trove of clever styling tricks and unexpected combinations.

Her style speaks to different types of women because her aesthetic is firmly planted in two worlds—the elegant and the classic. Combine this with impeccable grooming and her knack of skillfully combining seasonal and trendy designer pieces and the result is almost always sartorial splendor.

Like all other style icons Olivia Palermo is a testament that style isn’t just about the clothes on your back, but it’s all about the overall appearance. From her hairstyle to her makeup, and even the regal way she carries herself, everything contributes to her otherworldly aura yet persistently sensible style. She may wear couture a lot, but she balances it with pieces that make it somehow appropriate, down-to-earth and wearable.

Despite her penchant for designer goods, there’s a lot you can learn from Olivia Palermo.

Here are 10 tips that’ll give your closet and style that Olivia Palermo panache:

Don’t be afraid to use a pop of bold and bright color.

The lesson here, is to remember that when donning look-at-me colors, it requires an air of confidence; if you’re unsure -think fake it, til you make it. Stand tall and let your outfit speak for itself.

When it comes to coming up with ways to integrate a bright hue, try pairing it with neutrals, or link it to a color in a print. If you feel you just want to dip your toe into the pop-of-color pond, start with an accessory.

Olivia Palmero_Pop of color

Source: Image 1, Image 2, Image 3, Image 4

Make your basics pull double duty.

Get creative and see beyond the expected use and plainess of your basics by pairing them with riskier or trendier looks. This tried-and-true Olivia Palermo styling voodoo works especially well during evening affairs. Nothing takes a black-tiered evening frock to new sartorial heights like a crisp white shirt. You can use a basic black long-sleeved top and layer it underneath your brocade evening suit. You can also let an item like a statement coat do double duty by wearing it as a top and pairing it with jeans—simple, unexpected, and chic. And isn’t that the Olivia aesthetic?

Olivia Palmero_Extend Your Basics2

Source: Image 1, Image 2, Image 3, Image 4

Dress up your casual pieces.

Don’t let your casual pieces get lost in errand day outfits. Give them a new lease on life by taking a cue from Olivia, and sporting it with more tailored items that up its dressiness factor. A casual striped tee looks completely different with a double-breasted two-tone blazer and matching embellished heels. Upgrade your distressed denim with a floor-sweeping emerald colored coat. The laidback vibe of your casual pieces will serve as a great contrast to tailored pieces.

Dress up your casuals

Source: Image 1, Image 2, Image 3, Image 4

Make a statement with accessories.

Statement eyewear has been consistently one of Olivia’s go-to items that go a long, long way in making her look polished and put together. Aside from that, Olivia loves to accent her outfits with accessories that add and not retract from the overall stylishness of her look. The key to her accessorizing is she keeps a focal point. A statement neck piece or a singular cabochon cuff is usually enough. If she wears multiple accessories, it’s usually more minimalist and understated so that each piece doesn’t clash with another.

Olivia Palmero_Accessories

Source: Image 1, Image 2, Image 3

Show skin strategically.

Showing the right amount of skin is another Olivia Palermo style signature. You will never see her clad in a skimpy, incredibly revealing red carpet outfit, nor will she ever be caught dead in a short shorts and crop top combo. She flaunts her assets one at a time, and does so tastefully. If she is showing off her legs in a tailored pair of shorts, she keeps the rest of her look tailored and covered up. In knee-high boots and a poncho, she shows a bit of leg. She shows off a bit of shoulders in a boho top. It’s never all at once with Olivia, for she knows that the key to elegance is restraint and simplicity.

Olivia Palmero_Skin

Source: Image 1, Image 2, Image 3, Image 4

Grooming is everything.

Style isn’t merely about the clothes, shoes, and accessories. Your grooming is equally as important, whether it’s a bold red lip, glowing skin or tousled waves,

Olivia Palermo never steps out looking less than impeccable. Also, noteworthy is how each beauty look is crafted to match each outfit.

Olivia Palmero_Makeup

Source: Image 1, Image 2, Image 3, Image 4

Casual can be polished. 

Casual isn’t a dirty word for Olivia Palermo. Even during her most casual, daytime, or off duty looks, there is still a lot of elegance to get inspired by. A white eyelet sundress gets polished up and elevated with the addition of a waist-cinching belt and a trendy fringe belt. Peplum is a popular silhouette for casual wear tops; but when worn with leather leggings and embellished loafers the humble peplum top becomes something more. It’s all about pairing casual pieces with items with more edge. Lastly, it is noteworthy that Olivia pays keen attention to fit. She never wears casual clothes that are loose fitting or too tight.

Olivia Palmero_Casual Style

Source: Image 1, Image 2, Image 3, Image 4 

Frock up in faux fur.

Olivia’s covetable easygoing glamour can be easily had as soon as you wear a faux fur piece within your look. Fur just gives lushness and an allure to any ensemble that other textures can’t duplicate. Fur is both classically old Hollywood while being a modern it-girl staple at the same time. Wear with leather, denim, a flowing maxi dress or tailored suit, the result is all the same: instant chicness.

Olivia Palmero_Fur

Source: Image 1, Image 2, Image 3, Image 4, Image 5

Rethink your denim pieces.

Wearing a denim or chambray shirt with jeans is a tad played out. Olivia Palermo inspires us and makes us rethink the way we can and should wear denim. Level up your denim shirt and jean duo by layering it with a long sleeveless vest. By simply undoing more buttons on your denim top, you get a subtle hint of sexy. You can also go for contrast when pairing a denim button down with a floral midi skirt. Or you can throw the rulebook completely out the window, wear dark denim from head to toe. There are so many different washes and textures to denim that you can easily get creative with it, just like Olivia does.

Olivia Palmero_Denim

Source: Image 1, Image 2, Image 3, Image 4

When in doubt, pair a large print with a small one.

Ask any fashion obsessive and they’ll tell you that Olivia is an undisputed master of the print-on-print trend. You may not be as print-savvy or sartorially adventurous as her, but one simple tip can get you on the road to mastering the print-on-print trend. When you’re in doubt if your printed pieces work together, make sure that their scale complements each other. Don’t pair a bold and large polka dot print with a think, graphic stripe. Pair a large print with a smaller so as not to overwhelm the eye. If you’re more bottom heavy and want to emphasize your top more, wear the larger print on the top, and vise versa.

Olivia Palmero_Prints

Source: Image 1, Image 2, Image 3, Image 4

And just so we can all feel better, Olivia has had some style missteps too. 

Olivia Palmero_Fails


If you enjoyed this week’s feature
please like it on Facebook or Instagram
or leave a comment/question below.
Thank you.
Ann Reinten AICI CIP

The Curved Line banner2


By | Line and Design | 7 Comments

From the gentle undulation of a hill-scape, the swirls in a paisley pattern to the languorous curves of the female form, there are few things as inviting as curved lines.

Unlike a straight line which can be quickly and easily followed by the eye, the curved line or feature causes the eye to slow down in order to take in its highs and lows. These lines are then interpreted by the brain as features that increase volume or size and the effect is enhanced the larger or longer the feature, pattern or line is. 

Curvedorganic groupSource: Top Image, Bottom Image

Curved lines also have their own set of effects and associations:

  • Physical: can increases apparent weight and width, holds attention.
  • Psychological: calming, nurturing, abundant.
  • Impression: feminine, gentle. soft, relaxed, graceful.
  • Associations: women, romance, elegance. 
  • As a Pattern: Seem most commonly in casual or dressy garments.  Should be worn in limited amounts to work.

These impressions are intuitively developed through our experience with objects that contain these shape throughout our lifetime.  Curved design lines and features can be found: 

  • within patterns: such as florals, polka dots, and spots, paisley, fluid, flowing patterns, etc.

Circular print groupbSource

  •  as structural components: contoured silhouettes, bubble skirts, scoop and cowl necklines, puff and leg-of-mutton sleeves.


  • garment detailing or embellishments: gathers, buttons, ruffles, paneling, draping, scalloped or round edges, etc.


  •  fabrics: such as lace and anything furry/fuzzy.

FuzzySweatersSource: Image 1, Image 2, Image 3

  • accessories: scarves, bags, toes of shoes, earrings, etc.
Source: Top Row: Image 1, Image 2, Image 3 Bottom Row: Image 1, Image 2, Image 3 

So Many Uses  

The wearing of garments with curved lines or features is best achieved when it feels in-sync with your personal style expression

Curved lines can be employed to:

  • subtly add shape to a straight body, 
  • add a few extra kilos/pounds to a light frame.
  • highlight your God-given curves.
  • add a some feminine allure, to help you soothe, smooth or glide your way through a situation.
  • balance the body where one area is larger than the other e.g., if you have a triangle body shape, wearing a top with circular design lines or features can balance your body and create a more hourglass silhouette.  
  • soften the image of a person who is perceived to be strong, aggressive or unfriendly.
  • soften an all black outfit.

How to Style Curved Lines in Fashion

This is the fourth installment of my major design line features.

For the other three click:  The Vertical Advantage, Horizontal Help and Dynamic Diagonals.


If you enjoyed this week’s feature
please like it on Facebook or Instagram
or leave a comment/question below.
Thank you.
Ann Reinten AICI CIP



By | How To..., Wardrobe Savvy | 6 Comments

In Melbourne Australia, autumn has well and truly arrived and it’s time to do a closet switcheroo – out with Summer clothes and in with Winter’s.  For you, it may be the other way round.

I both love and hate this task. I love the fact that I’m changing my closet as I’m usually sick of my present wardrobe, but I HATE performing the task. I only have myself to blame, since I’m the one who demands to store away my out-of-season clothes but, there’s a very good reason why. I really like having a closet full of only this seasons clothes as it makes things so much easier to find and the coordinates more obvious. 

So if you’re like me, now is the time to get cracking with the task – yes, this weekend. Storing your clothes should involve more than simply stuffing them in boxes. If you want your clothes last and look good next season, you need to take some care and store them away the right way.

Proper storage and a little organization will maintain the quality and integrity of each item so it can be worn again next season. The first thing in the process is to get rid of any items that you’ve hardly worn, for whatever reason and give them to charity if they are still in good condition. Then before restocking your closet give it a good clean and wipe the shelves. You’ll be surprized at hoe much dust can gather over a season. 

Wash and dry every single item prior to storage

This may seem like common sense, but you’d be surprised at how many people just throw clothes in storage containers without a wash. There is a huge difference between storing clean clothes and worn ones. Ensuring every piece of clothing is clean will prevent odor, mildew, mold, and other damage. Unwashed clothes may be harboring residues of oil, perfumes, or sweat that may cause discoloration or stains. Also, make sure that clothes are completely dry before storing them, especially if they are in a container of some sort. Moisture will cause a musty odor and even mildew.Woman Doing Laundry Reaching Inside Washing Machine Determine your storage vessels and pest control method

While there are a number of ways and places you can store your clothes I prefer a spare closet, I use the one in our spare bedroom. The main reason is I like to be able to go back in and get an item if necessary. Other ideal places are airtight vessels such as storage containers and vacuum bags, which are easily found in most supermarkets or old suitcases.

Pros and Cons

Plastic or airtight containers Plastic isn’t good for storing clothes. Clothes need to breathe, and plastic doesn’t allow that, so you’ll need to add in a humidity control desiccant packet for good measure to prevent mold along with a few cedar balls to kill any bugs.

Closets and breathable containers Bugs are your biggest threat. Bugs need air to breathe and dislike cedar oil in high concentrations. So, those cedar balls are a must. If your wardrobe is near a bathroom or tends to be damp, also place a few humidity pots as well but depending on the level of damp they may need changing at least once during the season.  To prevent you forgetting to add the task it into your diary. 

Cardboard Cardboard containers aren’t a good idea because they have a reputation for causing clothing to go yellowish and smell sale. 

For those of you who prefer more natural pest and humidity preventatives, you can try Lavender for the pests and you’ll get the added benefit of having nice smelling clothes and chalk for wicking the humidity. Neither however, are as effective.

Use mothballs with caution. Avoid mothballs as much as possible, since there are many effective natural options available. However, if this is your preferred storage protectant, place the mothballs inside socks so that it doesn’t damage the clothes. This is also an extra safety measure, if you have children in the house as well. Secure the mothballs within the socks with tape or a rubber band. Mothballs are VERY poisonous.  I personally know of a toddler who grew very ill suddenly and died, who was later found to have had part of a mothball up his nose which had poisoned him. 


Clean storage containers thoroughly before using

If you’re using storage containers be sure to give them a thorough wipe down and spray with disinfectant and toss in a handful of cedar balls into each box to deter pests.  Also, check the container for damage like holes, splits or cracks, etc. Replace containers, if needed.

Storage isn’t a one-size-fits-all task

Store each item accordingly. Don’t just blindly fold or hang anything and everything. Proper storage means your clothing will retain their original shape.

  • Sweaters: fold to prevent stretching and distortion.
  • Dresses: hang.
  • Pants: hang or fold
  • Trousers: hang to maintain their crease.

While it might be tempting to store your dry cleaning in the plastic bags they came in, resist the urge because these plastic bags can cause mildew and mold.

Pants or Trousers

See All of my Style Wisdom Boards on Instagram or Pinterest

Clean your shoes

During your seasonal closet exchange, you might overlook caring for your shoes. Footwear actually incurs the most abuse, especially during the winter season where there’s salt everywhere if you live in a place that gets snow. Before storing away your footwear, clean and disinfect them. Clorox wipes should do the trick for salt stains though it is not advisable for use on leather.

Shoes hold a lot of moisture so plastic boxes can be bad for shoes. If you have their original boxes, that’s perfect. Stuff them with scrap paper to help with moisture wicking and maintain their shape. For boots add boot inserts.  

Storing shoes


Always store items in a clean and dry place

Cool, clean, dark and dry: these are the 4 important words you need to remember when storing clothing. Avoid places that have extreme heat or cold as it will affect the clothing negatively. Also, avoid sunlight since it can discolor clothing.

Clean dry place

Check on your stored clothes periodically

Don’t just store it and forget it. Check on your clothes every 5 weeks or so, just to make sure that everything is in order. Best practice when you want to wear the clothes again is too give them a wash so that when you wear them they are free of any dust or cedar odor. 

check your clothesSource

Invest in proper hangers

Weather hanging your clothes away for storage or in your ‘to-wear’ closet, the right hangers will make all the difference. Return wire hangers to the dry cleaners.  They look crappy in your closet and don’t do your clothes any favors. Invest in wooden, no slip hangers with wide shoulders for coats and heavy dresses that work wonders in securing clothes and maintaining the shape of the clothing.

Click here for a complete guide to all hangers, their uses and where you can purchase them from.




If you enjoyed this week’s feature
please like it on Facebook or Instagram
or leave a comment/question below.
Thank you.
Ann Reinten AICI CIP