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.  

Thursday
May292014

One Outfit: Two Ways - Versatile Jumpsuit

With summer approaching there is SUCH a temptation to buy all new clothes and accessories.  If you are anything like me, you go into your closet and think "I have nothing to wear! I must go shopping!" every time the season changes.  It's so easy for us to constantly get bored with our old clothes or only think of each piece as one dimensional.  The same goes for accessories.  When we do decide to buy a new dress, we instantly think about what new earrings we need to wear with it.  It's time to take a look at our closet with new light.  I'm here to help you look at your wardrobe with fresh eyes so you can save money, be inspired and (as always) feel confident in your clothes.

I couldn't be more excited about my newest project!  On the first Thursday of every month I'm going to be sharing with you one outfit, styled in two different ways.  Not only am I going to be showing you how versatile your clothes can be, I'm also going to be shedding some light on accessorizing.   I've decided I'll be REPEATING the same accessories in each post.  I KNOW!  I'm talking crazy!  Most fashion bloggers wear tons of new clothes and accessories every week forcing you to think that you always need the new hottest thing.  But let's be honest, that is just not realistic for everyone.  I really want to help you see the items in your closet in a new way, and so I'll also be talking more about accessories throughout this series.  Let's kick this off with one of my favorite versatile items, a black jumpsuit!

Guys, jumpsuits are the beeeest.  Not only do they easily go from day to night, they are so comfortable as well!  I know most people see something as specific as this and think it can only be worn one way.  Clearly, that just ain't the truth.  I especially like this jumpsuit because it's light weight silk, which works great for a more dressed up look, but it's playful nature also works with flats and a fun black floppy hat.  

A black jumpsuit is the perfect item for an exercise like this one.  When looking for versatility in pieces like this one, think about color and fabric.  It's a solid, dark color which tends to make the transition to evening quite easy.  Think about the versatility in fabric as well.  If your dress is a heavy sweater material it may not work for a lot of different scenarios.  

Look 1:  Dressed Up for Date Night
Hello hot pink heels?!  There is something about a bright heel that makes me feel like it's time to party.  Am I right?  I like to keep it clean with the rest of the accessories because wearing a jumpsuit is a statement in itself.  So between that and the hot pink heels, I didn't want to go overboard on the jewelry.  I stuck with my trusty chunky gold necklace and gold knot bangle.  

One thing that happens after you give birth is you forget how UNCOMFORTABLE real clothes are.  I love anything that is dressy but comfortable at the same time.  Can I get an "Amen" for that?  Seriously!  Go get yourself a jumpsuit (I know I sound like a jumpsuit infomercial but I can't stop gushing about them...).  If I was Oprah I'd be going around yelling "You get a jumpsuit and you get a jumpsuit!" but I digress.

Look 2:  Dressed Down for a Lady Date
Not gonna lie, I felt gooooood in this outfit.  Something about a black floppy hat that makes me feel like a diva.  What can I say?  Give it a try... it's SO fun.  So even though this is the same jumpsuit, this look gives off a different vibe.  It's got a more urban, casual feel due to the nude sandal and long pendant necklace.  Sometimes when you are wearing a solid colored maxi dress or jumpsuit you may feel like it's not giving you enough definition.  Adding a belt breaks up the look and shows off your waist.  Double bonus!  I'm a huge fan of my rose gold Michael Kors watch and I like to rock it as much as possible.  I'm not a stickler for matchy matchy with jewelry but I AM a fan of chunky chunky.  This watch doesn't need to coordinate perfectly with my bangles as long as I wear them on different wrists.  Don't be afraid of rose gold.  Rose gold is your friend!

 This outfit is a perfect example of what we were talking about last week.  It's easy to throw on, yet you still feel put together, stylish and like you are ready to take on the day!  Now it's time to put everything we've learned into practice!  Go to your closet and take something out that you have been bored with lately.  Style it with different accessories than normal and think outside of your comfort zone.  In the comments on the blog and using the hashtag #confidentstyle let me hear and see all about your new discoveries!

Next week I'm going to be sharing my new favorite bag to wear with this jumpsuit.  We'll talk about how to incorporate pops of color as well as some other tidbits about rocking an unconventional handbag.  So stay tuned and have a lovely week!

Look 1: Jumpsuit // Shoes // Sunglasses // Similar Necklace 

Look 2: Similar Shoes // Similar Belt // Hat // Necklace // Watch

Photography: MELANIE DUERKOPP PHOTOGRAPHY

Hair and Makeup: MELISSA HOFFMANN

xoxo,

Melanie 

 

Tuesday
May272014

Overslept? I got you covered.

Last week I woke up totally pooped.  Between the "after vacation blues", staying up too late to work on new exciting Head Over Heels projects and chasing a 1 year old around all day, I was just having one of those mornings.  You know, the kind where you are just totally EXHAUSTED.  The picture above is when my pup Lola was having one of those mornings as well.  Clearly, she gets it.  I decided to sleep a few extra minutes before Zoe woke up.  I usually take this time to get ready, but on this morning shut eye just seemed like the best plan.  What I didn't realize in my half sleepy state, was that I had a fully packed day and not very much time to get ready for it.  This, my friends is the turning point you want to throw on torn sweats and a dingy baseball cap and hope no one sees you.  I do NOT want that to happen to you!  Put the sweatpants down!  I repeat PUT THE SWEATPANTS DOWN!  Your whole day will be better if you feel good about yourself.  Luckily, I now have tons of quick tips that will speed up your getting ready time.  Now you can walk out the house feeling like a million bucks.  Read now, thank me later (when you have time)!  

Top 5 Ways to Feel Stylish and Put Together FAST

1)  One and Done!  Pick an item that is an outfit in itself.  Instead of spending twenty minutes deciding which blouse to wear with that skirt (only to realize later you don't have shoes that match) choose an item like a maxi dress or jumper to wear on those time crunched mornings.  This takes a lot of the guess work out of your morning routine.  Summer is the best for this because you don't need lots of layers to keep warm.  Take advantage and rock that new sundress!

2)  Go for Gold.  Don't have time to think about if that green and turquoise are clashing or working together?  Take the guess work out and wear your gold jewelry.  I'm a huge fan of gold bangles.  They instantly complete and outfit and are easy to throw on.  Some other favorite pieces are my chunky gold necklaces.  Boom, you just accessorized like a boss.

3) Don't second guess yourself.  One of the top reasons my clients say they spend too much time getting dressed in the morning is because they second guess their decisions!  Girl, ain't nobody got time for that.  Trust your gut and move on to the next task!  A good way to ensure you don't regret your clothing decisions later is to pick outfits that are comfortable as well as fashionable.  

4)  Stick with the faves.  It's not time to reinvent the wheel when you are strapped for time.  If you have an outfit that you consider your "go to", now is the time to put it on and never look back.  If you gravitate towards your favorite flat, I bet you'll feel the most comfortable in them.  While I might tell you to think outside your comfort zone on mornings you have the time, today is not that day!  Put on your favorite and get moving sister!

5) Plan ahead.  So, I know how this sounds.  You are thinking "But Melanie, how was I supposed to KNOW I was going to be running late?".  Here's the thing.  Find the time to plan for the mornings that you DON'T have the time.  So take half an hour one night, and plan out 3 amazing outfits.  I would even take a picture of yourself in them so you remember what you put on.  Then, before the overslept panic mode sets in, you can get to putting on your new favorite outfit with ease.  I call these my "Quick Outfits".  

Because I understand this can be more easily described visually (and I really want this to help you) I decided to give you some examples.  Check it out below.  

Outfits L to R: One, Two, Three

Did this blog post get the "brain wheels" turning?  Comment below and tell me about an outfit that seems perfect for those rushed mornings.  I love to hear about your "aha" moments!  

If you like what you learned in this post you are in for some serious luck!  Once a month I'll be sharing tips like these to help you achieve quick chicness with ease.  If you would like more specific stylish examples from my own closet you are ALSO in luck!  Gosh, I really am doling out the luck today!  Next week I'm going to be sharing with you the start of a new series called "One Look" two ways.  And what's first up in this series?  An outfit that meets all the criteria for a "quick outfit" like the ones we discussed in this post.  Can't wait to show you!

xoxo,

Melanie

Thursday
May222014

Style Post - Learning from the Color Wheel

Hello my loves!

With summer upon us I am really enjoying wearing tons of color.  I'm adore looking for new ways to spice things up and lately color and pattern are my two favorite ways to make that happen.   My clients are always expressing that they want new ways to wear old dresses.  Today's post will do just that!  It all has to do with a grade school basic.  That's right!  We are going back to elementary school art class.  The color wheel is a great way to look at your wardrobe with fresh eyes.  Since blue and orange are on opposite sides of the wheel they are known as "complimentary colors".  Therefore, when it comes to clothes, applying that principle will give you a fun new way to coordinate.  We don't always have to match blue with blue, or pink with pink.  You can use opposite colors by using the color wheel and know that the colors will work together.

I always view this orange Kate Spade purse as a statement piece.  It's so vibrant that it demands attention, and I like it that way!  It's best not to fight a big statement piece but just let it shine like the bright orange purse it wants to be!  I chose my trusty fav black heels to help tone down the rest of the look and bring in the black stripe from the side of the dress.  Everyone, and I repeat... everyone needs a pair of black heels that make them feel amazing.  It will make getting dressed up MUCH easier.  I also decided to play with pattern a bit in this look.  Not only with the stripes on the side of this sheath, but with this geometric cuff.  I love this cuff because it ties the whole look together in a seamless way.  

When you are in your closet and you see your favorite blue dress that you have worn a 1000 times with the same tired accessories, bust out your color wheel knowledge and change it up!  I'd love to see what you come up with!  In the comments section on the blog tell me about a color combo that you are loving right now!  If you are inspired and decide to rock a new look, take a picture and use the hashtag #confidencewithmelanie!  Can't wait to see what you are wearing!

Dress, Earrings, Cuff, (Shoes and Bag no longer available)

Photography: Melanie Duerkopp Photography

Hair and Makeup: Melissa Hoffmann

xoxo,

Melanie 

Friday
May092014

The First Time I Dyed My Hair

I'm a brunette.  Always have been.  In fact, I've had the same hair since I was 10.  I'm a twin, and when my sister cut their hair back in high school into an adorable pixie cut, it became a way to identify us.  So I just became the brown, long haired one.  After awhile it became a scary thing to think of cutting or changing my hair.  It's a huge part of our identity and it can be a daunting thought to change that.  So when I first started to toy with the idea of a hair transformation it was definitely a little nerve-wracking.  

Because I am a low maintenance hair gal I knew having a short cut was going to be too much work.  That's right, long hair is actually EASIER than short hair.  Especially with curly hair like mine.  I just embrace the "Messy Hair, Don't Care" philosophy, but if you have short hair you must spend time doing it every morning.  So, with short hair off the table, I started to think about hair dye.  And that's sort of where I stopped.  I decided to consult a professional.  This is because I'm always of the philosophy that if you aren't an expert, don't try to be one, just find one.  I decided to call my friend Lindsay Skog to give me a fresh cut and a new do.  

When we first started chatting, I expressed wanting something different but I didn't want to lose too much length.  I mentioned that I also wanted something low maintenance.  That's when she suggested dying with an ombre technique.  Ombre is a really popular hair trend right now and I can see why.  As my hair grows, it will continue to look great, instead of having to touch up roots all the time.  I was sold!  I then asked her if she thought we should do a richer brown, to which she quickly convinced me to go much much lighter.  Aaaaand that's how I became a blondie.  Well, at least for me it's blonde!  If I'm being totally honest, it was a HUGE change for me.  Sometimes I wake up and I literally say into the mirror "Hey!  Who is that blonde girl?!" and other days I feel like it's totally me.  I'm sure by the time I get used to it it will have changed.  But in all honesty, I am so proud of myself!  Changing your hair is a big deal!  Especially if you don't do it often.  I'm not sure whether or not I'll keep this hair color forever, but it's done something very important for me.  It's taught me that I don't have to be tied to anything.  I can try new things and experiment with a "No harm, no fowl" mentality.  That's how I feel fashion should be.  When it comes to your style, don't be afraid to try something new!  The worst thing that can happen is that you learn from it.  I say that's a pretty good con if you ask me!

In the comments section on the blog I'd love to hear about a hair change that you were scared to do, or that you are thinking about.  Let's support each other in these changes!  Hey, if I can do it, you can do it!  Go for it girl!  

All the lovely photographs from this post are from the talented Melanie Duerkopp Photography.

Makeup and Hair by the amazing Melissa Hoffmann

Top: J Crew, Necklace: Anthropologie, Earrings: Kate Spade

xoxo,

Melanie

Wednesday
May072014

Client File- Bloom Retreat

With Mother's Day approaching there is one place that comes to mind.  Bloom Retreat in Walnut Creek came into my life when I didn't even know I needed it.  It's founder Michelle Long is not only a client but a friend who I respect and look up to.  What she has been able to accomplish with Bloom Retreat is truly inspiring.  I had the pleasure of working with Abi Q Photography (also featured here) and Melissa Hoffmann (who guest posted here) to style not only the stunning Michelle, but the incredible space she's created.  

Bloom Retreat is an oasis created for mothers to unwind and receive the calm moments they deserve.  They have everything from a co-working space, yoga studio, spa rooms and on-site childcare.  I mean, what more could you want?!  Oh, how about a community of supportive women that want to connect and help support each other.  It really is something special and I feel honored to be a part of this shoot and to help contribute to a place that is doing so much good.  

The space is filled with vintage finds that add a quaint and cozy touch.  There is an instant calm that waves over you as you enter the space and when styling the space, I wanted to emphasize that.  Peach and cream roses, Bloom's white tea cup collection and old cameras were just some of the key pieces used in this shoot.  But my absolute favorite thing used in the photo shoot was light.  Abi is a serious genius with how she photographs light.  But that's a whole separate blog post.  
I love the pictures of Michelle's kids.  They are so relaxed in front of the camera and they also happen to be the cutest kids ever.  Above is her sweet daughter Edie looking precious as ever.  Here is a little tip if your kids are being photographed with you.  Pick their favorite outfit, the shoes they live in (if they aren't too gross) and comfort is key.  If your kids feel at ease it will be much easier to capture them in their natural state.  As someone who frequents Bloom Retreats yoga classes often, I can't tell you what a safe space it is.  At the beginning of Michelle's class she asks everyone "What do you need from today's class?".  As each person goes around the room and responds to the question at hand, there is something special that happens.  It bonds us.  It's a pretty incredible thing to say that not only is my yoga class helping my body and my mind, but it makes me feel connected and supported.  Special stuff.  

Bloom's philosophy is:

When we take time to care for ourselves and realign with our centers, we…

  • become better mothers, partners, and women
  • embrace our roles, our creativity and energy reignite
  • remember our beauty… and we bloom.

We wanted Michelle's look to be in line with the space.  Cozy, inviting and warm.  Melissa kept her makeup and hair soft and natural which just enhanced her natural beauty.  Such a lovely woman inside and out.  I love her story about how Bloom Retreat was created.  She took tragedy and turned it into understanding.  And from that understanding she realized a necessity for a space that could remind Mom's to take time for themselves.  I appreciate that she saw something that needed to exist and then she made it happen.  You can learn more about it here.Bloom Retreat does every day what Mother's Day does once a year.  Mamas are celebrated, appreciated and cared for in a genuine way.  So in the spirit of Bloom, to all you mamas out there I have something to tell you.

 "Mama, you deserve all the love, chest bumps, fist pounds, high fives and baby hugs in the world." - Tweet it to spread the mom love!

Oh!  And a special mama's day shout out to my own Mom.  Even after 30 years (cough cough.. yes I'm 30) she still knows how to make me feel supported and taken care of.  Sending you love all the way from California!

xoxo,

Melanie