Waterfall Effect

Waterfall Effect

When it comes to style and closet management, there is a phenomenon I call the Waterfall Effect.

Since there are no rules in the realm of personal expression, in this case a “waterfall” can flow in either direction: up or down; in or out.

And, as with the Style Archetypes (as in no one archetype is better than another  – link coming soon) any of these directions can be beneficial… or dangerous. There is light and shadow to everything.

Remember the last time you went shopping and bought something fabulous and you brought it home only to find it made the rest of your closet look “schlubby dumpy”?

Maybe it was a dress, a silk blouse, a new sweater or jeans that fit just right. Whatever the specifics, it’s a piece that gives you a whole new perspective on your wardrobe and maybe even inspires you to purge yourself of the things that don’t stand up to this newly established level.

This is an instance of the waterfall flowing up or out – this piece makes it easier to edit and pare down.

Then there are pieces that perhaps you coveted. Maybe you saw it in a glossy magazine or someone sporting “street style” on Instagram.  It’s something you just know you MUST HAVE, life would not be complete without it. It’s so beautiful. It will change everything. Maybe it’s something with some sort of detail, embellishment or in a color your rarely choose.  Regardless, you get it home and FLOP.

What the hell do you do it with?

How do you style it?

Where will you wear it?

This is when the waterfall flows down or in – it’s something you wanted so badly but when it’s finally yours, nothing you already own quite does the trick. You need to invest in a few more pieces to make it work thus bringing in more and possibly drowning in the decisions you had to make under duress.

So where does this lead you? Here’s a self-awareness tip:

Ask yourself: is this a WATERFALL ITEM? If so, which way will the waterfall flow?

And remember, whatever you bring into your closet, and whichever way the waterfall goes, put it to the styling test using one or all of the 3 Antidotes to I-Have-Nothing-to Wear.

Photography by Daniel Zapata

Foundational Pieces for a Fabulous Wardrobe

Foundational Pieces for a Fabulous Wardrobe

You know the feeling the instant you put on the garment.

You are powerful. Unstoppable. Ready for anything.

And it doesn’t have to be an anomaly.

With a wardrobe comprised of carefully selected, well-curated pieces, you can step into any outfit, any time and experience the confidence you need to tackle any day in every way.

It’s not about quantity.  It’s about QUALITY.

Not long ago, for me, it was the opposite. I was shopping all the time and had serious closet overwhelm. Every time I got dressed, all my clothes would end up on the bed.

The process went something like this:

Vacate the closet… exhaust myself putting together something that might get compliments because a lot of it was new.

Shove everything back in the closet.

Rinse.

Repeat.

In my journey away from those slightly {ahem} “shopaholic” tendencies, I now embrace that the overstuffed racks of a fast fashion store will not solve my problems.

What we wear says so much more without speaking and I have found that an empowered feeling comes from garments that stand for something; clothes with a deeper message and meaning; clothes that support me in my life and lifestyle because they are glamorous no matter what I am doing whether it is gliding to a client meeting or running around with my 4-year-old.

When you are curating your wardrobe, one that allows you to dress intuitively, I recommend starting with a foundation of pieces that are both fabulous and versatile.

 

Here are my picks:

 

1)   UNIVERSALLY FLATTERING DRESS: dresses are ALWAYS my go-to because the eliminate decision fatigue: one garment. Zip. Done. Accessorize as necessary. And there’s a dress style that looks good on EVERYONE and is appropriate for every occasion: cap-sleeve, natural waist, flared skirt. One of my personal favorites for this type of design is the line called Lalla Bee because everything she creates is perfection on its own.

 

The dress I am wearing (pictured here) is even more memorable when I #PutABeltOnIt and finish the look with tights, booties and a metallic blazer.

 

 

The embroidered florals add an extra feminine touch, the stretch in the sleeves means I can hail a cab as easily as I can lift my 42-lbs mini-me.

 

 

And the pockets…ohhhh, the POCKETS! Set me free! Deep enough and hidden between the folds of the skirt, ready to take up the weight of my car key, phone, a lipstick.  

 

 

Best of all, this is a design that make me feel like doing a twirl. Clothes are a celebration – they should make you want to dance as quickly as they should make you feel like you can take on the world.

 

Shop this dress and all other Lalla Bee styles for a 20% discount!

Code: HGRANTSTYLE20

2)   SWEATER THAT FEELS LIKE A ROBE: There are those items you feel like you could live in – they are so versatile that they look equally fabulous with your yoga clothes as they do with jeans or a dress and boots.

 

 

You try it on and you just know. You think: I can’t live without it and what did I do before I had it? It wraps around you perfectly, cinches at the waist and highlights all your best assets making you feel like the goddess that you are.

 

 

This particular Portmanteau was partly inspired by me when I styled the fashion show for La Fille Colette. This powerhouse designer has been on my radar since 2016. Her designs are unique, forward thinking and, best of all, her clothes are sustainably made in America with incredible craftsmanship and quality materials. The Portmanteau is the newest addition to her line and I plan to live in it every season from now to eternity.

 

 

Shop La Fille Colette for the Portmanteau and all other style with THIS LINK and receive a 10% discount off your purchase.

 

3)   OUTERWEAR THAT PROTECTS AND PROJECTS: Wherever you live, you likely need some sort of outerwear whatever your geography.

 

 

We on the East Coast (i.e. New England), multiple coats and jackets are required to span the range of weather we encounter. But the one style that is sure to be worn incessantly? The Classic Trench Coat. For me this one by Yellowcake was love at first glance. The minute I put it on I knew I had a lifer with its impeccable tailoring, thick and sturdy twill, cavernous pockets and best of all, stretch along the underside of the sleeves. I wear it as a topper and as a dress – it’s that amazing.  

 

 

Go ahead, rain on my parade. In this trench I will never feel a drop.

 

I work with these labels of an affiliate basis because I BELIEVE wholeheartedly in the women behind the brands.

 

I know them personally and I know their products well. Because you are a part of my amazing audience, I can offer you beneficial discounts on these above listed items that will surpass most of what is currently in your wardrobe.  

**Beware: WATERFALL EFFECT in the direction of a well-curated closet is a distinct possibility.**

Here are the links with the discount codes again for easy shopping:

UNIVERSALLY FLATTERING DRESS

Code: HGRANTSTYLE20 for 20% OFF all styles

SWEATER THAT FEELS LIKE A ROBE

10% discount automatically applied on all purchases using this unique code

OUTERWEAR THAT PROTECTS AND PROJECTS

Code: HGRANSTYLE10 for 10% off all products

Shopping is a Workout – Preparing for the Hard Work and the Payoff

Shopping is a Workout – Preparing for the Hard Work and the Payoff

Shopping is a Workout – Preparing for the Hard Work and the Payoff

It’s no joke that shopping is tiring. It really is a workout. You’re faced with a myriad of stores, a plethora of options. You’re surrounded by trends and fads; you just want to find something, anything because your wardrobe needs updating. You’re getting cardio just by walking the floor, weight training holding all those heavy hangers and a bit of yoga with all the up-and-over-the-head, shimmying, kicking and jumping of the try-on process.

Be prepared for the harsh conditions and the bright lights. It’s exhausting just thinking about all the activity which is why preparing for the excursion can mean all the difference between feeling elated or deflated by your purchases.

1) Warm-up: Get Dressed To Go Shopping

This means everything from your hair to your make-up to your attire (including shoes). Look good when you catch a glimpse of yourself in those harsh mirrors and you will not only feel better but you will likely get better service from the salespeople. So wash your hair, blow it dry, put on some make-up and wear clothes that are easy to remove but that are presentable.  Slip-on shoes, like loafers are highly recommended – this is a great opportunity to build your outfit using the first of my 3 Antidotes.  This is also a good time to wear your prettiest underpinnings.  Again, those mirrors.

2) Hitting the Floor: Be Focused But Open to Opportunities

Know what works for you and what doesn’t. Stay focused on what you’re looking for but you never know what you’re going to find when you’re looking for something else. That’s called style serendipity.  Either way, be sure that when you look at the price tag you would be willing to pay five times more than what’s listed. This puts into perspective whether or not something is worthwhile, especially if it’s on sale.

3) Sustaining the Workout: Hydration and Satiation

Low blood sugar is a surefire way to buy something that you don’t really like just to end the painful process of shopping itself. And, with all the exertion, you likely are losing quite a lot of water.  Bring a small water bottle with you and don’t be afraid to ask an eager sales clerk if they have water on hand. Most stores do and it’s in their best interest to keep customers happy.

4) Stamina: Try It On!

Buying it and taking it home means that you will be swayed into thinking that you should keep it mostly because you don’t want to go through the returns process (I don’t blame you!). This results in all kinds of clothing that you don’t really like and that you won’t really wear. Trying clothes on in-store helps combat falling into this trap.  When in doubt or even when you find something you think you love, take a SELFIE!

5) Throwing in the Towel: Leaving “Empty Handed”

This is paramount. Just because you went shopping doesn’t mean you have to go buying. If it isn’t fabulous and you don’t absolutely love it and you wouldn’t pay five times more for it, then leave it behind. You’ll feel so much better and you’re making room to buy something that you do really love down the line. Again, let me stress, don’t be afraid to walk out of the store with nothing. The worst is getting trapped on the wrong side of the Waterfall Effect so be sure to practice just a dash of restraint and self awareness.

Whether you have plotted a course or you are out browsing for an impulse buy, these strategies will arm you for the battle and ensure you are confident in your purchases when you walk out of a store, shiny bag and tissue paper in the crook of you arm.

Helena Grant is a Boston-based Brand Stylist who loves to shop anywhere from T.J.Maxx to Saks.  She believes everyone can benefit from a little retail therapy with the right strategies. Follow her on Instagram @hgrantstyle

Photography by Sonya Highfield

3 Antidotes to I-Have-Nothing-To-Wear

3 Antidotes to I-Have-Nothing-To-Wear

We’ve all faced it; even as a Brand Stylist, I grapple with indecision at times.

You feel defeated, paralyzed, trapped – you are looking at a closet full of clothes and you think:

I HAVE NOTHING TO WEAR

You tell yourself: “I have to go shopping right now,” and while a little closet refresh might indeed be necessary, you will feel infinitely better, empowered even, if you start with what you already have.

And besides, you would need to get dressed to go shopping anyways.

Some of my clients coped with this issue on a daily basis, others only when they had an occasion and needed to dress outside their comfort zone.  

Whether the feeling is constant or occasional, I have designed three strategies to combat the desire to throw a belt around a bed sheet and pretend it’s the next sartorial trend.

THREE ANTIDOTES for any Style Archetype:

1) Start With Your Shoes

How awful is it to put together an outfit only to realize you don’t have the right pair of shoes to compliment it? Reverse engineering your look by starting with your soles is incredibly effective.

CONSIDER: how far do I have to walk? How much time will I spend on my feet? Most importantly, what’s the weather? Start at the bottom and work up from there; you are sure to have a look that truly will carry you through any day, any event.

2) Wear Something You Never Wear

All those beautiful pieces you purchased that now languish in your closet? Something that might not have made it to the otherside of the Waterfall Effect? Well, this is the time to take a new, fresh look at them. It might be a few years old but if you think outside-the-box, something old paired with something new or totally unexpected might actually work. Even if you don’t end up choosing any of these forlorn pieces, the journey of trying them on will likely bring you somewhere closer to the perfect outfit. And, along the way, you gained a whole new perspective on items you hardly wear.

3) Subtlety Rules

It’s amazing what the smallest detail can do to a piece of clothing, or an outfit in general. For starters you can roll your sleeves (short or long apply), unbutton (or button) an extra button or cuff your jeans (big or small roll) to show some ankle and alter the proportions. Could a top be belted and bloused? Tied or partially tucked? Just a slight tweak can take you, in an instant, from frumpy to FAB. 

I hope these 3 Antidotes will aide you in your search for the perfect, effortless outfit every day. And, if you do wear that bed sheet, it’s because you really want to; and that to you, it looks and feels like a ball gown.

Helena Grant is a Personal and Brand Stylist specializing in helping women build wardrobes that make them look and feel amazing no matter what.  She is determined to make every woman feel effortless, confident and empowered through teaching them to dress intuitively. She is CEO of her namesake brand H.GrantStyle, creator of the online course BE YOUR OWN STYLIST and designer of the Style Archetype Test.  Check out her website hgrantstyle.com or Instagram @hgrantstyle

Photography by Sonya Highfield

If I Was A Pair of Shoes: The Process of NOT Buying the Sparkly Leopard Open-Toed SJP Booties

If I Was A Pair of Shoes: The Process of NOT Buying the Sparkly Leopard Open-Toed SJP Booties

It became an existential debate – an internal conversation not just about what I spend my money on but even more profoundly, questions that centered around:

Who am I?

What me am I presenting to the world?

Of course they were fabulous. Well-made and ostensibly, quite comfortable considering I was teetering on my tiptoes, supported by a thin nail in a plushly-carpeted store.

And I think, in essence, these beautiful shoes spoke to me on a deep level because if I was a pair of shoes, I would totally be a pair of sparkly leopard open-toed booties.

One hundred and ten percent.

And yet, no matter how hard I tried, nor how long I sat admiring how adorable and sexy my feet looked as the light of the store danced off the glitter…

…I could not see how these beautiful specimens would “fit” into my life both literally and figuratively.

Sure I could have worn them that very night to the Gwen Stefani concert I was attending in Las Vegas. Paired with my denim jumpsuit they would have garnered just the sort of attention and compliments I revel in; the kind I dress for, the ones that are an acknowledgement of my embodiment and my ability to create unique ensembles.

But where else, and with what, would I wear them?

I spent many (MANY) painstaking (VERY PAINFUL) moments ensconced in envisioning additional circumstances that would justify the significant investment.

And I couldn’t.

Despite how creative I am, regardless of my visionary capabilities and in spite of how much of me just wanted to swipe my card and prance out with one of those adorable shopping bags, I just couldn’t bring myself to do it.

I saw them becoming a WATERFALL ITEM and, even worse, something that might claim a position on top of my closet, out of reach and only taken down occasionally; something that might garner resentment.

Resentment not just because I might not have many opportunities to wear them but resentment because they just don’t relate to my life the way they might have, or the way I might have been able to convince myself they would, even two years ago.

They were absurd; and yet absurdly amazing.

And as such, they would not have eased into any realistic position in my current wardrobe.

They wanted more than that from me.

They wanted attention on every level.

And I fell deeply in love with them for that.

I felt perfectly at home in them at that moment, ensconced in the glitz of Las Vegas, but I knew they would not be at home once I returned home.

Everyone in the store was on board with me purchasing them. There was a sheen of peer pressure to take the plunge and just splurge.

They are amazing!

They are so YOU!

Those shoes are high fashion!

It felt like a lot of noise. All of the words and thoughts reminded me of why I personally prefer to shop for myself ALONE.

And in the end, after a time-warp of 90 minutes spent in debate, I came to the decision that I would feel more powerful walking out of the store without that beautiful bag of shoes in hand.

Because sometimes when shopping (remember, it’s called shopping not buying), it’s about the things you buy as much as the things you don’t.

And please keep in mind, that whatever you bring into your life, what will serve as an extension of you and your energy, and either bring you levity and inspiration (or the opposite) – all of it needs to be aligned with who you are, who you are being and even who you are becoming.

But I find that in some situations, it’s best to create the space for something new. By not buying them, there’s room for something else that will truly serve me in my own transformation from someone who previously never thought twice about buying something that spoke to her on any level.

And so some of my purchases were not always level-headed.

Now I am realizing that in the work I do with others, and particularly in the work I am doing on myself, my own shifting, the conversation goes much deeper than those booties would have allowed me to go.

At that particular moment.

I am well aware that as proud fashionista and recovering shopaholic, those sparkly leopard open-toed booties might well haunt me.

But better that they do so from a distance rather than in physical form on a high shelf of my closet.

And maybe someday, after I daydream about them enough, I might proceed with bringing them into my life.

Because, you see, it’s about so much more than just the thing when it comes to style and our personal expression.

We get to decide. We get to choose what we buy, what we wear, who we are, the stories we are telling the world and ourselves.

And in those excruciating moments, I could not write a future for those sparkly leopard open-toed booties.

But I’m grateful for the experience of having tried them on and reveling in the beautiful brand Sarah Jessica Parker has created.

And I’m particularly thankful for the space that still exists in my closet and for feeling no remorse leaving the store empty-handed.

I could feel as I walked away that my bank account rejoiced and my soul breathed a sigh of relief that I’m no longer convincing myself that I am someone I am not.

I no longer need to hide, to create a façade behind anything.

The beautiful and the ugly, the joyful and the painful can all exist side-by-side.

And I will dance anywhere and everywhere no matter what is on my feet.

_______________________________________________________________________

Helena Grant is a Life Coach and Transformative Style Healer specializing in bringing the spiritual to the physical by helping women express themselves through clothing. She works virtually one-to-one with clients who are ready to re-shape the way they see themselves and design the lives they truly desire and deserve. Find out more by clicking HERE.

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