Archive of ‘Advice’ category

Are There Mistakes in Your Closet?

closet full of sweaters

closet full of sweaters

Jeanne says: Well, there are plenty in mine! This is a scary question to ask ourselves. If we answer honestly that those “mistakes” are in our closets, then we have to admit that we wasted money or, worse, there was a momentary blip in our personal fashion and style record.

I’ve made plenty of these mistakes mostly when I am in search of the perfect (fill in the blank) and I purchase less expensive versions of several of those (fill in the blanks) before I find the PERFECT solution. I won’t tell you how many less than perfect black sweaters and jackets are lurking in my closet.

But how do we avoid making these mistakes and cluttering up our closets with junk? Here are a few ideas:

  • WAIT until you find the perfect item. If you find a less than perfect version of something you want, buy it if you want but don’t wear it and save the receipt. You’ll regret your purchase very soon.
  • Use Shopstyle to find the right version at the beginning. Shopstyle will show you a gazillion (fill in the blanks) and you can compare and contrast with care before you buy.
  • Employ a critical eye if you find a cheap version of what you want. Is the fabric cheap? Is it poorly made? Does it really fit that well? Yes, it might be available for $29.99 at Forever 21, but it won’t last. The cheap details will bug you forever and it’ll become one of your mistakes.
  • Go through your closet today. Weed out the known mistakes (i.e. you haven’t worn the item for six months) and think back on what you were after when you bought each one.  Now — use this experience to keep you from making more mistakes in the future!

Check out this Refinery 29 post to hear about other fashionistas’ closet mistakes!!!

So tell us – what are the mistakes lurking in your closet?

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Packing for a Tropical Winter Vacay

packing for vacation in tropics | Two Take on Style

Hey, it’s Jeanne. I never thought I would be any kind of expert on packing for a winter vacation in the tropics. But last year we went to Thailand in December and this year it was Mexico. I’ve learned a lot as a result.

First of all, it turns out that two weeks in Thailand and one week in Mexico require almost exactly the same wardrobe. And I would probably pack exactly the same items for a month long trip to a warm weather climate.

Here is what I packed for Mexico (and almost exactly what I packed for Thailand):

packing for vacation in tropics | Two Take on Style

  • 6 t-shirts with short sleeves – mostly J.Crew: cool and easy to wash if necessary
  • 2 one-piece bathing suits
  • 2 pair of shorts: one pair for exercise in the fitness room and one pair of knee-length denim cut-offs
  • 4 pairs of pants: distressed boyfriend jeans to travel in, 2 pairs of white boyfriend jeans, and a pair of wide-leg cotton pants to wear over my bathing suit or out shopping
  • 2 maxi dresses: one to wear over bathing suit or in the evening and another to wear out to dinner
  • 2 cardigan sweaters for cool evenings
  • 1 denim jacket: for travel or unseasonably cool weather
  • 5 pairs of shoes (ok, my weakness): 4 flat sandals, 1 pair of ballet flats and exercise shoes for the gym or long walks
  • Accessories: 1 big linen scarf – could serve as pareo, otherwise for plane; 2 necklaces/belts (could be used for either; and assorted inexpensive jewelry; also including 2 pairs of chandelier earrings for evening pizzaz; also beat up baseball hat for the sun
  • 1 pair of pjs and a very light bathrobe
  • 1 handbag and 1 tote: useful for travel and for beach

Here are two pics of my wardrobe pieces for evening outings.

packing for tropical vacation | Two Take on Style packing for tropical vacation | Two Take on Style

J.Crew tee still available

It turns out that this combination of items worked almost perfectly for both trips. I COULD make a few tweaks: I might add a pair of cropped black exercise pants as opposed to just shorts. One camisole or sleeveless tee would have been great for a hot afternoon. And I was even sort of prepared for Chang Lai, Thailand where the temperature dropped into the 40’s because I had lots of layering pieces in my suitcase to play with!

How do you pack for a warm-weather vacation during the winter?

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Linking up with Style Me Wednesday, I Feel Pretty, What I Wore, Random Wednesday, What I Wore to Work, Treat Yo Self, What Wives Wear, Spotlight Weekly.

Hair Stories Part 2

Kate hair | Two Take on Style

Last week we got Jeanne’s hair update — now it’s Kate’s turn!

Kate says: Anyone who has been following the blog for a while has seen my hair gradually get shorter and shorter. In fact, it’s hard to believe how long it was at the start (see on the far left above?).

But ever since high school I’ve gone through the same cycle: grow it out (down to my lower back in high school!), then start chopping it off when I get bored. And repeat. I’ve also played around some with my color, although certainly not to such drastic measures. My natural color is a very dark blond, but I’ve been getting highlights for almost a year now.

The great thing about my hair is that it is super thick and, although it’s naturally wavy/curly, it also holds heat styling really well. So longer and shorter style both work quite well. But these days I’m definitely more inclined towards the short… hence my most recent cut:

kate hair | Two Take on Style

This is the shortest my hair has been since college, and I love it! It curls so much better when it’s shorter — the length doesn’t weigh it down as much — and the angled bob feels super chic.

I think the next move will be to darken things a bit for winter (see below for my inspiration). But no matter what, I’ll keep playing around!

Here are some of my inspiration photos.

The one I took to my hair stylist (Karen!) this time:


Wavy hair inspiration:

wavy bob

Winter highlights inspiration (for next time):

winter highlights

Check out more of our hair inspiration photos on our Hair Pinterest board!

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LInking up with The Pleated Poppy, I Feel Pretty, Wardrobe Wednesday, Style Me Wednesday, Transatlantic Blonde, Summer Style, Simply Just Lovely, Let Your Light Shine, Treat Yo’ Self, Spotlight Weekly, 30+ Style, Style Confessions, What Wives Wear.

Bad Hair Daze

Jeanne hair | Two Take on Style

Hey, this is Jeanne and, by the time you see this, Kate will probably have vetoed the title of this post “Bad Hair Daze”. We are each writing posts over the next week about our hair and bad hair daze perfectly describes how I’m feeling at the moment. Let me tell you how I got into this mood.

So, as you know, I have a very short pixie haircut. It wasn’t always this way: if you look at our earliest posts, my hair was shoulder length and then chin length. But I cut it because I absolutely hate taking care of my wavy, graying hair. As much as I like fashion, I hate hair stuff. Anyway, a month ago, I decided to go platinum — the lightest, whitest color possible — because why not? My hair will grow out quickly AND I want more drama in my life and my look.

I went to my hairdresser the first time and got this color: reddish blonde – ok but not what I wanted.

pixie hair cut reddish blond

So I went back and got: yellow blonde. Still not where I want to be.

pixie hair cut yellow blond

So this Friday I am going to a new person to get the color I truly want: white blonde.

pixie hair cut white blond

What lessons have I learned from this (unfinished) process?

  • Be stubborn. Don’t stop until you get what you want. Don’t settle for “meh”.
  • Don’t be afraid to try some new and daring — remember you only live once!
  • If you go the same route as me, try some of these afterwards:


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A VERY Different Look at the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale

Of course, the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale (or “NAS”, as we’ve seen it called!) has been covered everywhere on the style and fashion blogosphere, but it’s our observation that all the blog coverage centers on women’s clothes and accessories. We’re taking a different look at everything (almost) besides women’s apparel, shoes and accessories. Hope you like it!

To start with, why only look in the women’s section to find great accessories? We found a few in the men’s section that are worth considering:

Where better to find the big watches that are all the rage right now? Take a look at these two beauties and we’ll bet that they are both less expensive than comparable women’s watches.

A well-worn and very chic messenger bag? Here’s a pricey version to consider.

There are many items in the Home section of the Anniversary Sale that are very well-priced and chic:

Put a bird on it?  How about these two darling decor pillows?  (Kate’s favorite home decor colors!)

And who doesn’t want this in the master bedroom?

Next let’s turn to some items – yes, for women – that are ONLY available online.

First, great workout capris at a very good price:


Jeanne loves this dress which would work as a dress, jumper with a tee shirt underneath, and as a long vest!


Backpacks are really in right now and this one is very well-priced:

Finally why aren’t bloggers featuring NAS jewelry deals?  Here’s a darling one for you:


So, as you go through the sale items on line, don’t forget to broaden your horizons! You might find items you really love in unexpected places! Happy shopping!

What items do you have your eye on at the Nordstrom Anniversary sale?

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Normcore or The Art of Looking Average


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Never heard of it? Well, neither had we until recently. Basically it is the art or style where one deliberately embraces an average — plain — sometimes out of date — way of dressing. Think acid-washed mom jeans, plain t-shirts or flannel tucked into plain skirts, fleece vests and gray sweatpants. Or as Jeanne says, think of the people one sees at a cultural event in Seattle.

Here are two great articles where you can learn the normcore basics.

9 questions you’re too embarrassed to ask about normcore

Normcore: Fashion Movement or Massive In-Joke?

Some pundits think the concept of normcore is a massive joke being played on some in the fashion industry, causing some fashionistas to follow the trend — plain, buttoned-up apparel, little make-up, Birkenstocks etc. Others see it as a hipster plot designed to make the rest of us look vain, shallow and overdressed.

Most of us fashionistas would never think of adopting this look — except maybe the trend of wearing bright athletic shoes with everything (which we personally believe is because everyone has sore feet from wearing stilettos!). We say: if you are tempted to try this look, go to the nearest big airport or to Times Square and look at how many tourists are dressed. We guarantee that this will renew your resolve to be truly stylish every day.

If you are casually thinking the normcore look might be cute, here are a few acceptable pieces of apparel you might consider that will still be stylish when combined with other chic items:


What do you think of this “trend”?


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So, Can You Sew?

button hole

NOBODY seems to sew any more. Maybe a few crafty projects or a mend here and there, but otherwise we imagine there are thousands of sewing machines gathering dust around the world. Think of it this way: if we all sewed, we’d have no time to shop!

Jeanne remembers the day when she made all her work clothes: tailored blazers! dresses! pants! blouses! In fact, she sewed pretty much everything until Kate was born. Kate went through a very brief curiosity about sewing in her early teens and did indeed make a dress and a few skirt.

So we get it: very few of us are going to become talented seamstresses. But we can all use some tips on how to make our clothes look their very best.

First, if your clothes need MAJOR alterations, go to a tailor or seamstress who can help you.

Secondly, let’s get basic mending out of the way. Let’s face it, you won’t look remotely like a fashionista if your outfit is missing buttons or any other fasteners or if a seam or hem is ripped. Here are a few good basic instructions along with guidelines for assembling a basic sewing kit.

Shortening or lengthening your skirts, dresses, and pants: Again, if it is complicated, go to a professional. But you can do this on your own with a tape measure, needle and thread. Watch this video for some basic instructions.

Other upgrades: There are lots of upgrades you can do to make your clothes appear more expensive and customized than they are. Consider upgrading the buttons on a coat or blazer, adding fasteners for wrap dresses and skirts as well as gaping blouses.

We’re great fans of studying the details on more expensive clothes in the store and then adding some of the details we’ve seen to our apparel. Take a look at an expensive and less expensive version of an item you’ve admired and note the differences. Can you make an upgrade with a simple needle and thread?

Do you sew? Do you have any basic upgrades you like to do?


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What Can We Learn From Fashion Week Street Style?

FW14 street style 1 / 2 / 3

We are so blinded and amazed by the New York and London street style we’ve seen in the press over the past few weeks that it is hard to step back and form any meaningful conclusions. In fact, it is very hard to even connect a lot of this to the fashion we live with on a day to day basis. However we have a few thoughts:

1. Fashion as theatre performed mostly by professionals. That’s really what we are seeing when we study the New York and London Fashion Week street scene. Not all but many of the people who are photographed are in the fashion biz. It’s almost a job requirement to be interesting or extreme enough to get snapped on the street.  Look at Anna Della Russo.

FW14 Anna Della Russo

2. The only discernible trend? Anything goes. Skinny pants, wide pants, no pants; no coat, two coats, four layers; long, short or unhemmed. You get the picture. That is actually good news for day to day fashion, right?

FW14 street style 2

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3. A riot of color prevails and we should all experiment. Yes, white apparel is hot and we’ll always be wearing lots of black, but COLOR is definitely in — combined in any combination, layered, checked, striped, whatever. We all need to step out of our safety zones and throw our favorite colors together!

FW14 street style 3

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In conclusion, we say — don’t quit your day job and rush off to the fashion capitals on the off chance you’ll get photographed.  Do look at all the wonderful pictures and try new approaches to your day to day outfits!

What did you think of the street style from New York and London Fashion Weeks? Anything you would wear?

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Shades of Red

pink and red

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Well, we’ve been sitting around trying to think of a creative idea for a Valentine’s Day blog, but all the usual approaches have been done and re-done — Valentine gifts, lingerie options, red, red, red, red. Finally we decided to simply do our blog post on one of our favorite, cutting-edge combinations — pink and red together! There have been some memorable celebrity takes on this combination which we’re showing above.

It is a powerful combination and not one for the faint of heart, but think how often we see it in our day-to-day lives.

pink and red

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The list is endless.

Just a few quick tips if you are going to wear these two glorious colors together:

  • Take the leap and wear saturated red and pinks together — pale pink doesn’t work here.
  • This is a form of color-blocking so think of your ensemble that way — experiment with shoes, top, bottoms, handbag, outerwear, jewelry, etc.
  • You can find fabric where pink and red are combined, but this is the easy way out and you’ll end up looking matchy-matchy.

Join us. Take a risk and try this color combo sometime this month. We’ll be trying it out in a “What We Wore” post sometime in the next week or so. Let us know what you think of our outfits!

Have you worn this combo? What are your tips?

Shop pink and red:

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Practical Dressing for NYFW!


New York Fashion Week is upon us once again and, frankly, it has become an absolute zoo. Sure, bloggers are a part of the scene now but even they are vying to attract the attention of the media so that they can make it onto somebody’s “street scene” coverage. A few style blogs this week chatted about the clothes they would wear to NYFW.

We aren’t immune to a little media attention, but all this Fashion Week coverage got us to thinking what a normal person would wear to a series of fashion shows held in the dead of winter in traffic-clogged NYC. Here is what we came up with.

1. Comfortable shoes. NOT vertiginous heels or high-heeled sandals in the snow. Think about running for a cab or crossing icy plazas. Here are some shoes we would wear — flat, comfortable, built for snow but not the mucklucks everyone has been wearing this winter. Maybe these aren’t the height of fashion, but they look pretty good:

2. A Warm Coat. You wouldn’t want one that was too bulky — so no fur, faux fur or heavy down. You would be whipping it off and on and each show (sort of like going to the mall in winter). And it has to be a dark color so that dirt doesn’t show. Maybe even a cape!

3. Trousers. NOT short skirts or very long skirts. Beautiful trousers would keep any of us warm and stylish. Here are a few:

4. Now that you’ve covered all the practical bases let your colors fly with a fabulous top. Here are a few we love:

What do you dream about wearing to NYFW?

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