About Melanie

Melanie is a stylist who adores bold prints, local farmers markets, and getting down to 90's music.  Her mission is to make women feel confident through their clothes.  This native New Yorker currently resides in the Bay Area with her fantastic husband, adorable, chubby baby and her impossibly cute puppy.  

Sunday
Apr262015

My Love Affair With The Confident Woman

 

My mission has always been to make women feel great.  Even as a little girl, I used to compliment my mothers friends on their clothes.  What can I say; I live for the moment a woman lights up from a compliment.  The older I became, the more I realized what a profound impact clothes and feeling good could have on a person’s life.  It wasn’t until right after college that I really understood the full impact I could have on the world.

Just after I graduated college with a degree in Costume Design I was lucky to find myself working in New York City as an assistant costume designer.  This was the first of many exciting twists and turns my career would take; ultimately leading me to my true calling.  Which is working with women to gain confidence through their clothes and their closet.  

Working in Manhattan had its perks and hanging around gorgeous, talented actresses was one of them.  I had the pleasure of working on several Broadway shows and (lucky me) one of my all time favorite actresses.  While I can’t tell you her name (sorry for the major bummer!)… the point is, she was STUNNING.  She was one of those natural beauties.  When I first met her I was completely awe struck.  Unfortunately, the more I got to know her, the more I realized how insecure she was!  I was shocked, as is anyone who has a preconceived notion that all celebrities are confident.  

I thought, how could someone famous, talented and beautiful be so insecure?

That’s when I realized that the way she felt in her costume was the key to tapping into a great performance for her.  She needed a good old-fashioned confidence boost!  I knew just the trick. I made it my mission to find her an outfit that she’d love and feel great in on stage.  I started asking different questions and paying attention to what made her light up and sparkle.  By the time the play opened, she was beaming with confidence.  It completely changed her performance.

If you feel great in your clothes, everything about your outlook changes.  

 Confidence is the key to positivity and success.Tweet it

Once I started working with brides this became even more apparent.  I remember one of my favorite brides of all time had a similar story.  She visited the bridal salon where I used to work at least 6 times before making a decision.  Every time, she walked in quietly and requested to work with me.  She had a really hard time committing to her wedding gown because she kept on saying “Nothing feels like ME.”

We sat down and talked about the vision for her big day, and I kept on asking her “How do you want to FEEL in the dress?”  

Her reply was always the same. “Confident.”  

So that’s what we aimed for.  She didn’t mention anything about any particular style or fabric that she loved.  She only knew how she wanted to feel.  When she finally put on her wedding dress, she became a different person.   She walked differently, talked differently and lit up the whole entire place.  

Wearing clothes that we love can change how we see ourselves and how we carry ourselves in the world.

After styling actresses, brides, entrepreneurs, mamas and everything in between, I have come to two conclusions.

1) We start our day by getting dressed, and if that is a terrible experience, it makes the rest of our day MUCH HARDER.

2) If you want to feel more confident, the answer is through your clothes.

I used to struggle with the second one.  Did I really think that clothes could have THAT big of an impact?  Yes.  100 percent.  Here’s why:

When we don’t feel great in what we are wearing, it affects every other thing we do.  For real.  Have you ever gotten dressed in a hurry and then got to work only to realize your outfit totally clashes?  Or that you wore a pair of jeans that you didn’t know had a hole in it?  Have you noticed how it affects your mood?  Take that, and magnify it by a million.  That’s what it feels like all the time if you don’t like your style or wardrobe.  SUCH a bummer.

This reframe is so powerful.  What would it feel like to start every morning loving your closet and what was in it?  That’s my goal for everyone I meet.  How can I help you start your day feeling more confident?

Which brings me to some SERIOUSLY exciting stuff.  Next week I'm hosting a free challenge called The Confident Style Challenge.  Each day for 5 days I'll be sharing a small act you can do, to add more confidence into your life.  By commiting to this challenge you not only are giving yourself the opportunity to gain a major (and much needed) self confidence boost, but you are also going to be entered to win a FREE spot in my upcoming course The Confident Closet.  Ummm can you say WIN / WIN?!!?

I want to help as many women as possible, and since I can’t be there in everyone’s closet, I created this free video training series for you.  It’s called The Top Three Mistakes Women Make in Their Closets (and what to do about it).  It’s EXACTLY what it sounds like. In these videos, I talk about specific mistakes that we all make and how to make a real change.  I've been bursting at the seams to share it with you!  So excited the moment is finally here!  Head here now, to check out what it’s all about!

xoxo,

Melanie

Photo Cred: Abi Q Photography / Hair and Makeup: Melissa Hoffmann

 

Sunday
Apr192015

The Truth Behind "I Have Nothing to Wear"

 How many times have you opened your closet and thought “I have nothing to wear?!”

The first time I realized how frustrating having a closet full of clothes you can’t wear could be, I was about 6 months pregnant.  Your body changes instantly and you don’t really know how to dress it anymore.  Also, all of your favorite clothes don’t fit the same way. So you have to either get creative in your closet or buy maternity clothes that you know also have a pretty short shelf life.  As much as I wanted to love my body, getting dressed wasn’t as fun as it used to be.  And yes… it totally started to affect my self-esteem.

This got worse before it got better too.  Once I gave birth I thought, “Now I can wear all my old clothes again!"  Of course, this was not the case.  My old clothes either weren’t practical to wear while taking care of a baby, didn’t fit me the same anymore, or were no longer my style.  A lot can happen in a year and the majority of my closet no longer felt like me.  I felt stuck.  I didn’t want to throw out my favorite pair of polka dot pants, but it was pretty clear I wasn’t going to be wearing them anytime soon.  That’s some bad closet juju right there!  I knew something had to change and that I needed to become my own client.  What I learned wasn’t just closet changing but completely life changing.

 That common phrase, “I have nothing to wear” actually has a lot of weight to it.  We don’t ever dig deep to figure out WHY we are feeling this way.  Chances are there is a good reason and we are going to get to the bottom of it together.  Promise.

 Most women only wear 20 percent of their closets.  Yep!  That’s it!  That means that when you open your closet, you are looking at 80 percent of things you don’t like or that don’t fit you.  If you are looking at clothes you don’t like, no wonder you don’t feel like you have anything to wear!

My goal as a personal stylist, confidence coach and closet connoisseur is always to help women get a much higher percentage when they open their closets.  Realizing this statistic is the first step in fixing the problem.

There are three main thoughts that cause you to have “I have nothing to wear” syndrome.

1) My clothes don’t fit.

What’s really going on:  Maybe you are like me and you had a sweet little bambino.  Maybe you just lost a ton of weight.   Maybe you are still wearing clothes from your junior high days and your body has changed and your clothes haven’t.  No matter what the reason, if you are opening your closet every morning and nothing fits things have got to change!  I mean how frustrating is that?

 The remedy:  It’s time to go through your closet asking yourself the same question on repeat.  “Is this something I like on my body NOW.”  Not, three months ago, not 4 years ago.  Only keep the clothes that work for you now.

If you are currently in a non-permanent body status (such as on a major diet change or having just had a baby) you need to ask yourself a follow up.  “If this fit me now, would I LOVE it?”  Chances are you are holding onto these items as an idea and not the reality of what it actually looks like on you.

2) Everyone has already seen me in all my clothes.

What’s really going on:  This feeling of “been there, done that” can be SUCH a buzz kill.  I know this is going to sound crazy, but… no one you ACTUALLY care about will care if you wore that dress already.  I know that’s a hard concept and a little harsh but seriously.  What if you took out of the equation the fact that you’ve worn it already and actually thought about if you liked how you felt in it?  More importantly, are you wearing it the same way every time?  You may need to look at your clothes and accessories with a fresh eye.

 The remedy: Girl, you may think it’s time to go shopping but it’s actually time to get creative.  Ask yourself this question: “If I love this dress how can I make it new and exciting again?”  That being said, SOMETIMES we do actually need a few new items to spruce up and replenish our wardrobe.  I am in no way saying to never shop again.  That would be talking crazy.  I do however think you can ask yourself specific questions beforehand to make sure you aren’t just shopping instead of working with what you have.  You’d be surprised at how much a statement necklace and different shoes can change a look.

 3) All my clothes are old and I’m over them.

What’s really going on: This actually tends to be a combo of the above two thoughts.  Why do you feel like your clothes are old?  Is it because they have actually been in your closet for years and are worn in?  Or is it because you’ve been wearing them the same way for so long that they don’t seem new and exciting anymore?  Both those answers are totally valid and legit.  Sometimes your clothes are old, but you are actually keeping them because you have an emotional attachment to them.  That right there is the reason you are holding on to it, even if you never plan on wearing it again.

 The remedy:  You need to start getting real with your clothes.  If something truly is old and you can’t throw it away or donate it, it’s time to start asking “WHY?”.  Are you attached to a memory associated with them?  If you can’t wear it but you love the idea behind it, I’ll cut you a deal.  You can keep FIVE sentimental pieces that don’t fit or are too delicate now to wear.  This may seem like nothing to someone who is deeply attached to her clothes.  But trust me, this is a really helpful exercise and most of my style clients don’t even end up keeping all 5!

 If you are saying your clothes are old it’s probably because they ARE old. It’s time to replace them.  I know where you are coming from.  You bought an amazing gray t-shirt that was so soft and fit just right and you love it beyond all words.  It now has 4 stains and a hole in it.  It’s time to replenish it with a new fresh one.  You don’t have to do anything with it until you buy a new one.  Here’s the kicker, once the new t-shirt is in your possession, you have to let go of the old.  That’s the rule!

 No matter what your closet woe is, there IS a solution.  I have faith that if you ask yourself the right questions and are committed to making a change that you can actually have a closet full of clothes that you wear.  Trust your gut and don’t look back!  

 If this post resonated with you, it’s time to take it to the next level and make a real change.  That’s why I’ve created a FREE video training series The Top Three Mistakes Women Make in Their Closets (and what to do about them).  The first video will go live on Monday May 11th and you DON’T want to miss out.  Make sure you sign up HERE to have the video sent directly to your inbox.  It’s my mission to help as many women as possible to leave their house feeling confident and amazing.  Who knows what we can accomplish when we feel incredible in our clothes?!

With love; from my closet to yours,
Melanie
Photo Cred: Abi Q Photography / Hair and Makeup: Melissa Hoffmann

 

Sunday
Apr122015

One Stylish Mama: Emily Scott

I am often asked to talk about personal style.  How to achieve confidence in personal style is one of the most important factors when it comes to feeling confident in your clothes.  In my opinion, if you don't know your personal style or you don't feel confident in your ability to create an outfit you love, it can become pretty impossible to love your clothes.  In the upcoming weeks we are going to be talking about ways to make your closet uniquely your own, how to make sure you don't wait to have the style you've always dreamed of, and  organizational tips for having a closet that showcases your amazing wardrobe.  It's my goal to inspire you to start asking yourself questions when you go into your closet that start the wheels turning.  Always remember to ask yourself: "Do I really love this?"  If the answer is no, get it out and find something that does!  Life is too short to be in clothes that don't represent you!

That's why I am SO stoked to have Em from Em the Gem and The Refined Woman here today.  She truly is the epitome of "owning your unique personal style".  She knows how to keep it real, while having an effortless, chic, and timeless sense to her clothes.  She mixes sneaks with fur coats, lace with denim, and bold red lips with t-shirts.  Her combination of function meets high fashion is what makes her unique.  

Em is an incredible photographer whose ability to capture dreamy, well lit moments is unparalleled.  She is half of the dynamic duo behind the fashion blog The Refined Woman.  She's totally a mama who you look at and think "Wow, she can do it all." while still managing to be honest and real.  Em is also the mama to a one year old baby girl who seriously could charm the socks off of anything that crosses her path.  She's just too much!  Check out my interview with Em below.  Can you handle how amazing her style is?  She's also QUITE the photogenic subject, don't you think?

Introduce yourself and your business:

My name is Emily Scott, my photography business is Em the Gem but I also am a co-founder of a blog called The Refined Woman. 

What is the biggest difference in your style from before you were pregnant, to pregnancy, to mamahood?

I can no longer sacrifice functionality in anything I wear. I used to make sacrifices for style but now I am always looking for ways to not only find stylish clothing but clothes that make me happy to wear them - good fabrics, flattering cuts, and classic pieces. I am looking now to pare down my wardrobe to tried and tested items, and less fast-fashion or super trendy pieces. 

Was there an item of clothing or turning point where you can distinctly remember thinking... things are changing with my style?

The last time I went through my closet I threw away a lot of short cutoff jean shorts and I haven’t looked back. 

How has your business influenced your style?

I love the challenge to find polished and refined pieces, and I find myself mixing them with my distressed jeans and hi-tops. It’s been a fun way to blend of being a boss lady and a real mom and woman. 

Where do you get your style inspiration from?

I love thrift store shopping and I’m always inspired by older items that are really well made and stand the test of time. I love playing with different silhouettes that have come and gone throughout the years and remaining them on myself. I also love fashion magazines and editorials and love seeing how they interpret different designers. 

What style icons do you love?

Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen are the bomb.com

What item of clothing or brand are you currently loving:

I currently can’t get enough of my pieces from Everlane, AYR and Stylesaint. 

Favorite item of clothing or brand that you love for your kids:

I am always surprised by the cute things I find a BabyGap, but I also love everything I’ve ever bought from Bobo Choses. 

What is one thing you love about being a mom?

When she laughs. 

What is one of the hardest things about being a mom?

When she cries. 

If you could describe your style in 3 words what would it be?

Fun, fancy, free.

Anything else about being a mom and style that you'd like to mention?

 I’m still trying to have fun with it and experiment and take risks. 
I'm truly inspired by mamas who find a way to blend their love of fashion and their need for function into amazing style.  To me, that's what REAL style is all about.  While I love a good fashion mag or runway show; real fashion is about clothing that you can wear and feel incredible in.  Em does this seamlessly and I'm pretty sure I'll be stepping outside my comfort zone a liiiiittle more after this interview.  haha
To personal style, confidence and finding the balance between crocs and stilettos... cheers!
With love; from my closet to yours,
Melanie

 

Tuesday
Mar312015

The Hair Product Statistic That Blew My Mind

If you follow along regularly on my blog, IG or FB (aaaaand you should… obvi) you know by now how important I consider The Beauty Basics.  That’s why I created this monthly series that demystifies some of our daily beauty practices. 

I have curly hair that isn’t very easy to manage.   Some days it looks dry and other days it looks oily.  It really needs specific products or the curl is not my friend.  Because of this, I know I have to take the time to do my hair and do the research to make sure I’m using the right thing.  Otherwise I ended up feeling insecure, which is the exact OPPOSITE of how I like to work.  I’m all about the confidence baby!

A few weeks ago I found a statistic online that blew my mind.   According to Allure Magazine, Unilever conducted a study and found that a whopping 89 percent of women don’t feel satisfied with their hair products.  Whaaaat.  That’s crazy.  You want to know why?! It’s because there are TOO MANY OPTIONS.  There are over 600 drug store hair products.   How are you supposed to choose?  All hair and products are not created equal.

I’ve done a ton of research for my upcoming closet course The Confident Closet (comin at ya in just a few weeks) and wanted to share with you some exclusive recommendations straight from this amazing course. 

Before we get started, I want to point out that all of the products suggested in this post are purely being mentioned because I’ve either used them myself, have had clients use them, or have glowing reviews.  I took the time to research and take recommendations just for you!  I however, am not a hair care professional and none of this is endorsed in any way. 

 Fine and Straight Hair

Your hair is thin and gets oily fast.  You have to be careful because products tend to weigh your hair down, but without them your hair has no life.  Stick with me girl, I’ll steer you in the right direction.

 1) A Thickening Shampoo and Conditioner – This is key for hair that is as fine as yours.  I’m a fan of products that do their job without weighing your hair down.  Here is a shampoo that does just that.

 I've also heard great things about this shampoo which is known to thicken and strengthen with ease.

 ** HOH tip – Only use conditioner on the ends of your hair and make sure to rinse thoroughly. 

 2) A Lightweight Mousse – Adding body and control without weight is what we are after here.  We want to add some life into your hair without weighing it down.  This one does the trick without parabens or any of that bad stuff.

3) Dry Shampoo – This is great to add to your hair if you find it’s too slippery and fine when dry.  I love the body this product adds.  Don’t over use though because eventually it will build up in your hair and create heaviness.  Some dry shampoos come in the color of your hair, so make sure to get the right one!

 Avoid – Oily Serums

Extra Credit – Add a Heat Protecting Spray to help your hair from getting too damaged and to avoid breakage.

 Thick and Straight Hair

  Your hair is like this if the Kardashians hair was real.  It’s a mixture between the girl in the Pantene Pro – V add and a Mermaid.  Your only downfall is that your hair takes time and love and attention.  With the right products your hair really shines.  Pun intended.

 1)Leave in styling oil – tames frizz, strengthens hair and adds shine.  Look for a light weight one that locks in moisture such as this.

 2) Styling cream – Tames frizz, adds bounce and detangles.  Make sure not to use too much!  As my dad always says “A little dab with do ya!”.  I’m a fan of this one.

 3) Light Shine Spray – It’s the last piece to your gorgeous hair puzzle.  Make sure to only use from the middle of your hair down.  Adding that extra shine from a spray like this one makes you look like you just walked out of a hair commercial.

Ultra Kinky Hair

  Your styling products are super important for making your kinks curl not frizz.

 ** HOH Tip – Instead of drying your hair with a towel, try a t shirt.  It helps to control the curls without causing frizz.

1) Ultra Rich Hair Shampoo and Deep Conditioner – You need a shampoo that hydrates without stripping the hair of what it needs. This shampoo is known for doing just that and works great on all hair types including African American.  I’ve heard even better things about the conditioner

 2) Leave In Conditioner – Your hair looooves moisture.  Sometimes you may find you need a leave in to do a little extra work. I mention the Living Proof products a few times in this style sheet because I genuinely love their products!  Check out their leave in conditioner

 3) Styling cream for curly hair – You want to make sure you don’t use a spray since sprays tend to leave certain spots more concentrated than others.  A good cream like this one can add definition and controlled curl.

 This product is known for “transforming frizzy fros to soft curls”.  I’ll take it.

 ** HOH Tip – When you get out of the shower, wrap your curls around your finger immediately after towel drying to start the controlled curl right off the bat.

 4) Oil serum – Oil is the name of the game.  You need your natural oils and added a little extra will help keep that shine in tact while taming frizz at the same time.  This serum is known in the hair world as a game changer. 

 Dry  and Over Processed Hair

 Your poor, poor hair has been through the ringer.  Don’t worry; we can bring it back to life. 

1) Ultra Moisturizing Shampoo and Conditioner – This product restores and rejuvenates chemically processed or weak hair in a flash.  I’m a big fan of all of the Morocan Oil products since they really do the trick and are safer for the environment as well.

 2) Argan Oil Treatment – Sometimes your hair just needs to be revitalized and pumped with moisture.  This product does just that.  It also helps with damaged hair and with hair growth.  This product works great for all different types of hair including African American hair.

 ** HOH Tip – If your hair is really brittle and falling apart it might be time to get a trim.   

Wavy and Dry Hair

 All your hair is really asking for is frizz control and a little loving.  The point is to smooth out the wave without overpowering it.

 1) Frizz Fighting Shampoo and Conditioner – Tame that frizz and tame it good.  Keep in mind that since this is a heavier shampoo and conditioner, you should keep your styling products lighter (and that have natural oils in them).  This shampoo and conditioner gives you all the moisture your hair craves.

 2) Styling Cream and Wave Enhancer – You should look for a product that focuses on promoting the waves but not weigh them down.  This product works wonders but is really strong.  Use the tiniest bit and your hair is transformed.

 3) Salt Spray – This product really helps to control the wave without overpowering the hair.  This one in particular really adds texture and a super beachy wave.

 4) Serum – Once your hair is dry, feel free to add a serum to add shine and a smidge of moisture.  Definitely stay away from the roots with this product though.  The tiniest little bit of this product works wonders.

 Avoid gels – they are too crunchy and won’t give you that natural beach wave you crave.  That rhyme was intentional.

Curly Curly Curly Hair

 Your hair is C.U.R.L.Y.  and the only way to make it work is to embrace it. 

 1) Sulfate Free Shampoo and Rich Conditioner – You want to look for a shampoo that won’t dry out your hair.  Curls really need moisture to survive and thrive.  Your conditioner should seal in moisture but be careful that it’s not too heavy.  This shampoo and conditioner also restores moisture from color treated hair but works wonders on any hair type that needs to be revitalized.

 2) Leave in Conditioner – Keep that moisture in tact!  After applying the leave in conditioner (such as this one) make sure to comb it through.

 3) Curl Definer or styling cream – Provides hold, defines curls, and locks in moisture.  This one really does the trick without being too heavy.  It also smells good and is affordable.  Win Win Win! 

 You can also try a curls amplifier such as this one

 4) Curl Refreshing Mist (not hairspray!) -  Once hair is dry apply some of a product like this one, to enhance, revitalize and hold that curl just a little more.

 A few more tips:

 Extra Oily Hair – Make sure not to over wash hair. I know it seems like you should but washing it every day will dry out our scalp which causes it to produce more oil.  It just exacerbates the issue, which is not what you want.  When you do shampoo use a gentle one like this

Weighed down hair – Once a month, use a clarifying shampoo to remove all that build up.  This product gets rave reviews and is affordable to boot.  Make sure if it’s too strong for your hair you mix it with your regular shampoo.  A great way to remove all that pesky product build up and start fresh.

Flaky, Dry Scalp – Try using an all-natural oil shampoo such as this one to hydrate as needed.

 Soooo I think that covers it!  At least most hair types!  I would love to know in the comments section below if you've used any of these products or have a product you adore.  This post is meant to inspire you to start to play with different products to get the most out of your hair.  There is tons more where this came from.  Sign up here to be the first to know about The Confident Closet.  All will be revealed in a few weeks and you definitely want to be "in the know".  Can't wait to share all the deets!

With love; from my closet to yours,

Melanie

Photo Cred: Melanie Duerkopp / Hair and Makeup: Melissa Hoffmann

 

Wednesday
Mar252015

Do You REALLY Like That?

Two nights ago, I went to get dressed for date night and I grabbed an item that I used to call “my sexy dress”.  It got this amazing nickname for obvious reasons.  I felt sexy in it.  So when I put it on, I was surprised to realize… I don’t like this anymore.  That’s when I had the epiphany… Ummm I don’t think I’ve liked this for a long time.

Why was it still in my closet?!?

The answer may surprise you.  Sometimes we have things that we used to love and even if we stop wearing it, we don’t always remember that we don’t like it anymore.  I know that sounds funny, but it is SO true.  Trends change, your lifestyle changes, even your body changes… your favorite clothing items will change too.  You have to ask yourself:

“Do I really like this NOW, or did I just USED to like it?”

Now, there are going to be pieces that stand the test of time over years.  We call these items staples or investment pieces.  These are non trendy items that are well made and are often in our closet for years.  Even if you have a lot of classic, well made items in your closet, you may still decide you are “over it”.  

So, how do we know when it’s time to let our OLD favorite items go, to make room for our NEW ones?

  1. If it’s worn.-  Sometimes, it’s time to let one of our favesies (as I like to call it) go.  This can be a challenge when we REALLY love something and we know it’s no longer made in the store.  Chances are, if your favorite sweater has holes, stains and pills, no matter HOW much you once loved it, you are gonna need to find a new favorite sweater.  Sigh… I know it’s hard but it’s gotta happen girl!

  2. If every time we try it on, we take it right off. - Your favesie is supposed to be something that is tried and true.  Something that you KNOW you love and look good in.  If it no longer is “doing it” for you, you have already found your replacement.  You just need to look at your old favesie as a memory not a current go-to item.

  3. If it feels dated. - I have these two shirts… they are from college and I loved them.  I used to think they were THE COOLEST.  One is vintage McDonalds and talks about filet o fish on the back.  Um… I have never eaten a filet o fish.  Actually, I havent eaten McDonalds since college.  So, I know the reason I’m not wearing it.  But why do I still have it?  I think for awhile I thought it was worth something.  Who knows!?  All I know is I had to make the decision that it wasn’t worth anything to me!

The hardest part of purging clothes is this feeling that we are never going to get anything like it.   That replacing it is impossible.  Here’s the deal, you don’t need to replace it with the same thing.  You need to replace how it makes you feel.  The goal is to feel hot, sexy, confident, amazing, wonderful and fantastic in your clothes.  These old favesies are not doing the trick anymore.  Instead of viewing it as a bad thing, try viewing it as an exciting thing!  I’m giving you an excuse to go shopping!  Woot Woot!  

If you’d like to hear more about how to purge your closet with ease, sign up here to receive all the deets on my upcoming closet course The Confident Closet.  It’s so good!  Can’t wait to share more!

With love; from my closet to yours,

Melanie

Photo Cred: Camille Stallings / Hair and Makeup: The Glamourist