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
Aug212016

Ten Ways to Declutter Your Closet Without Touching Your Clothes

Happy Monday Style Blazer!

When people think "I've got to clean out my closet" they don't think about all the random stuff that's been accumulating in drawers, on shelves in closets and on the floor in a corner.  It's these small little things that add up to a big problem.  It happens to everyone, but it doesn't need to STAY like that.  Doing periodic checks in those hidden areas for things that snuck up on you is a great way to make sure your closet stays clutter free.  What are those "things" I'm talking about?  Here are the top 10 things that are in your drawers and closet that you can get rid of IMMEDIATELY for a quick closet cleanout without ever touching your clothes.

1) Hair Ties - They get everywhere yet you never have one when ya need one?!  WHAT IS THAT ALL ABOUT?!

2) Bra Straps - When was the last time you actually used one of those bra straps that you are saving since the year of the flood? Does that saying date me?!  #iveturnedintomygrandma #itscoolshesawesome

3) Empty Shoe Boxes - Nope.  You aren't going to need it later.

4) Broken Sunglasses - Sigh... it's so sad but if they have been sitting in a drawer for a year and you don't plan to take them to get fixed ya gotta let it go.

5) Single Socks  This one is hard but how long have you been waiting to find the match?!

6) Wire hangers from the Dry Cleaners - They are terrible to store clothes on! Also, they are ugly.  There, I said it!

7) Broken Hangers - There is more where that came from and no you can't fix it / it's not worth fixing.

8) Small Boxes that Jewelry Comes In -  Unless you plan on storing all your jewelry in those boxes (Don't do that... but more on that later!) these just build up and build up and never get used.

9) Tags - Sometimes when we are in a rush we take the tag off of something and it doesn't end up in the trash but in a drawer.  Cleaning that up will instantly make the space look cleaner.

10) Makeup Past Expiration -  Don't just buy new, but dump the old!

How many are you guilty of?!  Small boxes for jewelry and the extra bra straps are two that I used to ALWAYS have way to many of.  Thinking outside the box on how you can get a handle on that big ol closet of yours is the first step in feeling like it's clean, organized and a joy to get dressed in.  Have any more?!  Comment below!  I'd love to hear them! 

In the next few weeks I'm going to be sharing a lot of closet tips and tricks to get us ready for the Fall round of The Confident Closet.  Make sure you are on my mailing list (sign up right below this post!!!) to receive weekly tips from me as well as being the first to know about when you can sign up for the course!  

With love; from my closet to yours,

Melanie

Sunday
Aug072016

My Packing Dilemma

There I was, the night before our cruise to Alaska with 3 suitcases, and EVERYTHING MY CHILDREN AND I OWNED IN OUR CLOSETS in those suitcases.  All of a sudden the overwhelm set in.  I didn't know where to begin.  I thought I had planned enough in advance and then there I was... in a sea of clothes and I needed to get out!  

So, after I pouted around for 20 min, ate dinner, theeeeen some dessert, and texted everyone I knew I realized I was doing the OPPOSITE of what I teach my clients.  I was making a mountain out of a molehill and it was time to get down to business.  

Hold on... I feel like I need to take a minute and talk about WHY the above paragraph is so important.  

When it comes to our closets we tend to put off cleaning them out like the plague.  Why??  The longer you put it off, the bigger of a mess it becomes and then it really does become a big task.  When I clean my closet out now, it's SO not a big event.  I don't say this to diminish the task.  I say this because I clean my closet so frequently of one or two things that I don't need to set aside a large amount of time anymore.   When it's time to clean out your closet you have to change your mindframe.  It can be fun and there is a great big light at the end of the tunnel.  More on this later...

Ok, so here I am ready to tackle this crazy packing dilemma and I decided to do what I would if I was helping someone else.  I BROKE THAT SHIZ DOWN.  Below are the questions I ask when packing that help to ensure I am bringing the right items.  

Questions to Ask While Packing:

1) How many days would we be away?  Pack enough undies and diapers (for Jude) to get us through. 

2) What special events do we need specific items for?  For example, there were two fancy nights on this cruise. 

3) How can I make sure this is an outfit?  This is my packing mantra and it really does work.  If you plan by outfit you make sure you have the right shoes and accessories for everything you do.  Crucial.

4) Is this the most versatile item?  Is there another item that would get more use?  If you have the option to bring one sweater that works with everything, bring that one.  Otherwise you end up packing 3 sweaters which takes up much more room.  Maybe you like the other sweaters more but NOW IS NOT THE TIME GIRL!

I really can't stress how important versatility and making outfits as you go along is for a successful packing situation.  Game changer guys.  

Disclaimer: I may or may not have not packed warmly enough.  I don't want you thinking "Oh that Melanie, she's a superhuman wizard who packed all the right things."  I am an open book (probably to a fault) and want you to know that I did not have enough warm clothes, BUT from my research it was supposed to be much warmer sooooo I blame everyone but myself.  Obvi.  

What can we learn from this packing endeavor?  Putting off certain tasks ends up making things way more overwhelming.  Also, changing out outlook and breaking it down changes the whole game.

Which brings me to how I can help.  I have this awesome course guys.  It's called The Confident Closet and it goes through week by week of how to not only have a well thought out closet with clothes you love, but it also makes sure you are confident in your personal style. The other piece to the cleaning out the clutter game is how you feel about yourself and your style.  It's all covered in the course, as well as a private Facebook group to help hold you accountable and feel extra supported.  The next round of the course starts this Fall!  Keep your eyes peeled for more info and make sure to sign up on my mailing list to get the scoop!

Wednesday
Jul062016

The No Brainer Uniform

What if you could wake up, walk into your closet and know exactly what you were going to wear?  If you knew when you put on that outfit that you were gonna feel so.damn.good.  It would start your day in the best way right?!

Lately I've been toying with this idea of how to create something that makes me feel great, that is special and unique but also a no brainer.  What I've come up with is what I'm calling "my no brainer uniform".  Now before you start groaning, I want you to take a moment and hear me out.  I'm not saying to wear the same exact shirt with the same exact pants.  I am also not saying to take the fun out of outfit planning.  I mean, that's my favorite past time.  What I am saying is to simplify and analyze what makes an outfit work for you so that in a pinch you feel confident.  In classic Head Over Heels fashion, I've broken it down for you into three questions. 

1) What makes me feel confident/what do I want to minimize?

When you are in your closet, I always think it's important to be real with yourself.  Lying to yourself about things you SHOULD wear doesn't get you anywhere.  So sometimes we have to ask questions like "What style makes me feel good?"  I do know that this can be tricky and I want you to love your body and own your style, and that means wearing clothes to show your body off.  BUT only if when you actually wear those pieces you feel confident.  If you tell yourself "Girl, just love those hips and wear a pencil skirt."  But you secretly are self concious the whole time?  Well, that's not really working for ya is it?!

For me, if I'm being fully honest with myself (and you guys, why is it SO hard to be honest with ourselves?) I feel the most confident when I'm wearing something that is loose around my midsection and shows off my legs.  That's just what I feel best in.  Do I own shirts that are more fitted.  Of course.  And I tell myself "Mel, you should rock this!"  But then there is the reality.  I wear it every 6 months when I'm feeling extra zesty. I want items that I wear weekly.  

***I will say that there is a fine line here.  If you wear clothes that are too oversized you end up looking larger than you actually are.  A shirt that doesnt cling to my midsection makes me feel way more confident on the daily.  Ya feel me?

2) What fully represents my style?  

I find that a lot of my clients have clothes in their closets that they bought because they are flattering, not because they actually liked the style of them.  So here they are, wearing a dress that technically looks good on them, but in reality they are still self conscious because it's not their style.  

The ideal outfit is equal parts cool and flattering.

What do I mean by this?  I mean that what makes you feel cool is just as important as what makes you feel like you are flattering your body.  It really needs to be both or you run the risk of feeling self conscious. 

3) How do I need my clothes to function for my lifestyle?  

If you have clothes that you LOVE but they don't fit into your lifestyle, are you still aren't going to wear it?  For example, I used to own a ton of cute dresses from my days as a bridal consultant.  I loved wearing dresses and heels and loads of accessories.  That is just not what my life calls for now.  What do I need now?  FUNCTION.  I need to be able to bend down, run, pick up one or two children from the floor, get dirty and look cute doing it.  I also was nursing for a long time and needed clothes that would allow me to feed my son whenever and wherever I was.  This may have seemed like a tall order, but that is where my No Brainer Uniform came from.

I'm working on being more real with you guys, and to me, nothing is more real than "I'm wearing the same sort of thing and it feels really good."  My goal with this blog is to help you feel great in your clothes and when you step out of the zone of "This is what I THINK I should be wearing." and start wearing what actually works everything shifts.  

Do you ever catch yourself with clothes in your closet that you aren't wearing but THINK you should be?  Comment below and let's start the conversation!   

With love; from my closet to yours, 

Melanie

 

Photography: Melissa Hoffmann 

Shirt, Jeans, Belt, Watch, Necklace

 

Wednesday
Jun152016

The Art of Adulting

Have you guys heard the term "adulting".  It essentially means you do something that an adult would do, but it doesn't come as second nature to you.  Some of my favorite examples of adulting: 

Buying throw pillows

Not wearing socks with holes

Having appropriate rain attire

Thinking about a well balanced meal

Anything involving taxes

Rebuying lotion, toothpaste or shampoo BEFORE it runs out

Setting your alarm and not hitting snooze

Cleaning your makeup brushes in a timely manner

Not forgetting your Credit Card at the bar four times in a month (I mean... I'm guessing... not like this happened to me or anything...)

The list goes on and on (and it's super fun so please chime in with some of your favs).   I'm sure by now you are thinking, "Sure Melanie, this game is a blast but I have NO clue WHY you are talking about this."  Ok, Ok, hear me out.  While I absolutely am an adult (that whole 32 year old mom of two thing doesn't really allow me to throw my responsiblities to the wind) I recently realized there were certain things that I've been doing since college and maybe it was time to start adulting.  

On a recent trip to New York I stayed in the home of a dear family friend.  When I was in her bathroom I couldn't help but notice her skincare products.  I instantly noticed a few trends.  

1) They were mostly the same brand.  It was a high quality company that she clearly trusted and loved.  I find that I have a tendency to not stick with brands long term but try a lot of new things out.  I'd like to find "my brands" and take some of the constant guessing "Is this going to work well?" out of the equation going forward.

2) She didn't have an abundance of anything but instead focused on the quality of the product.  If you are using something you love and that works, you don't need to have all that extra clutter lying around.  This is something I preach all the time and LOVED seeing a perfect example of it.  

3) She bought the larger size.  I tend to buy smaller sizes as to not have to commit.  But, if you know you are going to use something you can buy the larger size and save yourself a little cash in the long run.

(assorted pictures of me adulting when Melanie Duerkopp took pretty pictures and Melissa Hoffmann made me look pretty)

You may have heard me talk on the blog or in my online closet course The Confident Closet about something called The Beauty Basics.  The main principle behind The Beauty Basics is, if you are doing the right things for your hair, skin, nails, etc you are laying the foundation for a more confident self.  That's not to say I don't throw my hair in a top knot 3 times a week (who are we kidding 4), but that if my nails and eyebrows are done, chances are I'll feel better about the lack of time to get ready.  Everyones beauty basics are different, but it's important to identify what makes you feel like your best self, so you can put those things into a regular practice. 

So here I am, setting an easy "adulting goal" for myself in hopes to up my Beauty Basics game.  Oh, and because I believe their is strength in numbers and accountability there is a fun giveaway on my Instagram today as well.  But before I get into that, here is my goal.  In bold so that I don't chicken out (obvi).

Adulting Goal: To find skincare products that are made with ingredients I trust even if that means spending a little more money. I plan to find products that work and then stick with them instead of constantly trying something new. 

*HOH Tip - How organized are your makeup and skin care products?  We have a tendency to overbuy these items and then can't find what we actually want to use.  Since these items don't have a long shelf life it's important to use what you have and discard the rest.  Over buying these products will only make your morning routine overwhelming and it will take much longer if you can't find what you are looking for due to clutter.

*** Giveaway time!!!***  I'm picking a favorite to win a FREE Keihls starter kit with a $75.00 value!  I want us to get on this "adulting train" together! What is one small adulting goal you can make for yourself?  Let me remind you that you can be 85 and make an adulting goal.  It's not really about your age or becoming an adult, but doing something with more care and responsiblity (in the best way).  

The Rules:

Head to my Instagram
1) Like my page - @hohwithmelanie
2) Comment with your adulting goal (which means you need to go to the blog and read the rest of the post!!!) under the picture of the Keihls giveaway. 
3) I'll be announcing a winner on Friday! You can enter up to 5 times (must tag a different friend each time!)

See you on Instagram to win!

xoxo,

Melanie

Tuesday
May102016

That Feminine Touch

(Photography - Stephanie Court, Purse - Jordana Paige Hair and Makeup - Melissa Hoffmann Styling and Art Direction by Moi!)


Sigh... guys, its been awhile since I really, truly felt feminine.  I know this may come as a shock since what is more feminine that being pregnant right?  Well, not really.  While I did feel this incredible sense of "I am woman, hear me roar" when I was pregnant, between recovering from Jude's birth and the day to day life of with two young kids, I usually feel anything but feminine.  I feel motherly, yes, but not FEMININE.  I'm not saying I need to wear flower crowns and flowy dresses all the time, but sometimes that's how I want to feel.  

This became even more apparent to me when I was in New York last month.  I was reminded of my former, childless self.  The one who wore sexy underwear, loads of flowy skirts, bras that weren't for nursing and heels on a regular basis.  Who ran around the streets of Manhattan seeing shows and going out to dinner and dates.  Where did she go?  Now she spends her days praying for time for a shower and wearing clothes that need to be F.U.N.C.T.I.O.N.A.L.  Ok, I know that is dramatic but what can I say, sometimes that's how I feeeeeeel guys!

So here is the deal.  She's still there.  I just forgot that she's important too.  I'm not saying I am going to wear heels to the park or throw away all pairs of functional underwear.  Let's not get ahead of ourselves.  There should be a middle ground though.  My goal is to find it and be consistent about making it a priority.  So, how do I plan to do this? I'm SO glad you asked.  

It turns out my dear friend Sarah (also a mama to two young kiddos) was feeling this lack of feminity in her wardrobe TOO!  So when she came to me for styling advice I was so suprised that I knew exactly what to tell her.  Weird how when it wasn't me and I was playing stylist I could fix the problem.  Sigh... could "practice what you preach" be more appropriate?!  So below is essentially what I shared with Sarah on easy ways to add femininity into your wardrobe without feeling like you needed to buy all new clothes.  

Skirt, Shoes, Hair, Nails, Blazer

1) All The Flowyness Please - Anything that has a flowy, romantic feel will do the trick.  I tend to stear clear of fabric that can't get stained for obvious reasons.  That being said, I'm starting to buy certain items just for me, that I can wear when I'm not with my kids.  I'll leave the decision up to you, but a flowy top can also work for those people that need their clothes to all be washable.

** Bonus if you start incorporating a lightweight patterned scarf to your look too!

2) Feminine Shoe - This could be a strappy sandal, pair of floral flats or a shoe in a color that exudes the feeling you are looking for.  

3) Change Up Those Tresses -  Our hair can be used as an extra accessory if we let it.  When I was giving advice to Sarah, I mentioned wearing braids, or soft curls that allowed for her to feel like she wasn't just throwing her greasy hair in a top knot every day.  I love a good top knot and dry shampoo situation as much as the next girl (more probably) but if we are talking about ways to amp out our femine energy that's not it.  

4) Makeup and Nails - I always feel my best when my nails are done.  It's my thang.  Three of my favs are coral, light pink or cherry red.  This rings true for lipstick shades.  Pink lipstick is my jaaaaam.  

5) What's On the Outside That Counts - A cardigan, jacket or sweater that adds that little something something is what I want you to look for here.  Something that you can add to a more basic look that will instantly transform your look to something more romantic. 

*** HOH Tip - If this stumps you I want you to ask yourself: If I wanted to dress up a t-shirt and jeans in a feminine way what pieces would I add? The goal is to add pieces that can be versatile and work more than one way.  

This is definitely not the last post about this from me.  That's for sure.  It's going to be a process ladies!  Stay tuned!  I've been pinning away for inspiration so if you are looking for more check me out on Pinterest here.  

 With love; from my closet to yours,

Melanie