Must Know Now: 15 Fashion Forward Shoe Brands You've Never Heard of.

Are they weird? Are they cool? Are they both? As a personal stylist I'm all about channeling inspiration into reality. It's common for my clients to ask for comfortable shoes that make a statement. Here's a list of 11 brands that are worth your time, and it's highly likely you haven't heard of most of them. Yes! They are unconventional. Yes! They are works of art. And yes, you can just choose to admire them from afar. But, if you are feeling bold and are interested in something unexpected and perhaps avant garde, this list is gold. Enjoy!

 

15 Shoe Brands for the Bold Fashionista

Poplin at Large: Live Your Values Through Your Work

An unexpected byproduct of this work is discovering a sea of people doing extraordinary things out in the world. Every new client is an opportunity to meet someone who inspires me. It really makes stressful days become so much less stressful. Because of my work as a personal stylist for women, I'm fortunate to connect with all sorts of inspiring people beyond my client base and as often as I can, I like to share about these new relationships with you, Dear Reader.

Some time ago, I introduced you to

Do I Need to Buy Something New to Work with Poplin?

I get this question a lot, so I thought I'd address it directly in the blog. After all, what better way to communicate with you, Dear Reader? Often times, when looking at our budgets, prospective clients may wonder how to cover the cost of services plus new clothes. "Should I wait until I have a sizable budget for clothing," one woman asked. 

Well, it all depends. Here's the breakdown. 

Planning Your Clothing Budget for

Working with Poplin

7 Designer Collaborations You Won't Want to Miss.

Are you sensing a trend? Designers and celebrities have discovered that they can monetize their style by collaborating with brands. This development is especially fun for the rest of us as these bring fresh energy to existing brands. Collabs inspire us to try new labels, revisit some favorites or just put together our existing pieces in new ways. All hail the collab!

Here are a few of my favorites and of course, there are more coming everyday. Keep in mind, many of these are for a limited time as brands and collaborators expiriment. So, if you see something you like, don't wait. 

 

7 Designer Collabs to Check Out Now.

How Do I Wear a Fanny Pack (aka Belt Bag)?

This whole 80's resurgence can be tough to swallow. If you remember Regan, you also remember fanny packs. And, more importantly, you remember your horrified expression viewing photos of fanny packs out in the world on tourists and the like. Fanny packs became decidedly uncool. 

As your very own personal stylist, I'm here to tell you when times change, when trends emerge and which of those trends YOU can rock with confidence. 

On that note, I'm here to reintroduce you to the fanny pack.

 

Fanny Packs 101: How and Why You Wear a Fanny Pack, also Known as a Belt Bag.

Why African Gemstones Will Make You Look Beautiful Inside and Out.

How do you feel when you look at a gorgeous piece of fine jewelry? Beautiful, well-made pieces have the power to captivate and inspire. They also have the potential to make us feel guilty (thank you, Leonardo DiCaprio.)

As a personal stylist for women, it's vital that I respect every client's values. Responsible sourcing comes up often and when discussing fine jewelry and there's a sizable population that feels it's off limits because of the human cost involved.

However, since meeting Adrienne Krieger, owner of Everling Fine Jewelry, I've learned so much about where stones and metals come from. Since that initial meeting, I've been interested in ways that a woman can adorn herself while still being true to her values. Enter Monica Stephenson, gem dealer, owner of Anza Gems and the force behind idazzle

In my mind, I'm convinced that Monica's work will inspire young adult novels about a strong, smart Seattle-based gem dealer who heads to Africa to source gems. While that isn't actually in the works, sitting with Monica and hearing her tales about her work and how it relates to the rest of us is riveting. Who knew that gems could make the world a better place?

 

5 Reasons African Gemstones Sourced by Anza Gems Are Your Next Piece of Jewelry

5 Comfy Trends that Could be Sloppy or Chic, Depending on Your Pairing.

It's true. Sometimes you just want to wear something soft and cozy. The danger is that once you know the bliss of old sweat pants, you'll have a hard time convincing yourself to change out of them to head to the market. Thanks to fashion trends, there's some great news for those of us who would like to be comfortable and still fashionable. 

5 Comfortable Trends that you can Elevate.

This Guy.

Today is my husband's birthday. We've been celebrating for a week already. We affectionately refer to this as his birthday season. This is a very talented, thoughtful, innovative, hardworking and stylish man. To celebrate him, I thought I'd share some of his very favorite things with you, Dear Reader. Why? Well, because his picks are often solid recommendations for gifts for the ones you love. 

 

Things My Husband Loves That You Might Love Just as Much.

Stop. It's Slipper Time.

If you read this blog with any regularity, you know how much I adore my rubber Birkenstocks as the ultimate, "house shoe." After all, in the Pacific Northwest, most people don't wear shoes indoors. But, because we have wood floors, going barefoot simply isn't an option for me. The Birks provide support and look adorable.

Well, times are changing, my friend. 

I have become completely enamored with CP Slippers. Let me tell you more.

Why I Heart CP Slippers.

You, Your Personal Stylist & A Tailor Trained in Design.

As a personal stylist, I spend a great deal of time helping my clients strategize. The goal is for her to know why she's making each purchase and how each piece helps communicate her vision. If you've ever started at a dress in your closet that still has the tags on or looked at the shoe box in your closet with unworn shoes, you can relate to the need for strategy. If you don't use the clothes, the money is simply wasted. 

But, you don't always need to toss the item and start over. Many pieces can not only be salvaged, they can be celebrated. In fact, I've been thinking a lot about this lately as client after clients reaps the benefits of working with my tailor AND me as we bring new life to their existing wardrobes. 

5 Reasons YOU Need Time With Poplin andMy Tailor of Dreams

How to Inject Your Personal Style into your Work Attire

Yes! Yes! Yes!

Ever since I saw this photo of Minnesota State Representative Ilhan Omar, it's been on my mind. It can be very difficult to communicate you personal style while wearing your work clothes. In my experience as a personal stylist for women, this is especially true for women in male dominated industries. Technology, government and executive level positions can be particularly challenging because a woman often wants to be taken seriously and may worry that being perceived as feminine or fashionable somehow takes away from the content of her message.

Because of this, I'm always on the lookout for high profile women that can serve as examples to other accomplished women, when it comes to finding strength and self expression in their personal styles.

In the category of fashionable women in government, Representative Ilhan Omar is at the top of my list. Here are a few lessons you can take from her when getting ready every morning. 

 

Lessons for Powerful, Fashionable Women from State Representative Ilhan Omar

Introducing Very Well Designed Gear to Communicate the Resistance.

Local designer Lauren Wallace is a friend, an immensely talented individual and a force for good in this world. With all the upheaval as of late, Lauren decided to channel her art and make things to make the world better. 

If you've been struggling to style up your inner activist, worry no more. From totes to tees and everything in between, Lauren's looks are just for you. 

AND.... 100% of the profits go to organizations that protect the health, safety and security of women, the LGBT community, immigrants and the long term health of our planet. 

10 New Places to Find Inclusive Sizing (10 and up)

Let me begin by saying, I know what you are thinking: size TEN and up?! Seriously?

Indeed. Inclusive sizing is a new trend and I must say, I'm a fan. Rather than hitting the tipping point at size 14 and labeling anything beyond that, "plus size," brands are starting at lower sizes and going well beyond the size 18 or 20 of years past. As a personal stylist, I often find my clients struggling when they go from a size 14 to a size 16. Why? Because the brands they love aren't transitioning with them. Suddenly, a woman is not only coping with changes in her body, she's also dealing with changes in her shopping habits and perhaps her personal style. 

If you follow Poplin on Instagram, you've likely seen posts about brands we love with inclusive sizing. There's much more available everyday. For now, here are some resources if you are looking for hip pieces in size ten and beyond. Prefer a more personal approach? Just reach out! I'm here to help. 

10 Resources for Ladies Rocking a

Size 10 and Beyond

The Power of Being Seen.

When I write to you, Dear Reader, I write as if we are in a conversation with one another. Sometimes those conversations are light. Sometimes more serious. And, my goal at least, is that they are always useful. 

So, when the opportunity arose to contribute to Kari Gran's Wear Yourself In Campaign, I wondered what information would be especially useful. I've been a big fan of this campaign for some time now. Each month, a different woman shares her story about becoming comfortable in her skin. I appreciate the different perspectives and have found the essays I identify with as the most powerful for me. With that in mind, I opted to go with a very personal edit of my path to becoming a personal stylist. 

This is an emotional day and this piece felt like it was an opportunity to offer some hopefulness when many of us need it most.

With that, here's my story about, "Wearing Myself In." 

The Power of Being Seen. 

Support Pro-Women, Pro-Immigrant, Pro-Earth Groups with Your Purchase of Great Style

Style goes well beyond the clothes you wear. As a personal stylist, my job is to help get inside each client's head and help her express herself through her apparel. As we know, that's only one way to amplify your voice. It's always a good time to support organizations and brands that are consistent with your values. 

Yesterday, I visited with local gem dealer, Monica Stephenson, founder of iDazzle. She uses gemstones to help her build community and support ethical sourcing. You'll see more on that in a future blog post. My discussion with her was just another reminder of the importance of standing together to support issues we care about. Each of us can make a difference.

A tribe of brands are supporting pro-women, pro-earth and pro-immigrant groups right now. When you make a purchase from any of the following brands between now and Monday, January 23rd, 2017, twenty percent of your purchase price will go to support the ACLUPlanned Parenthood, the Center for Reproductive Rights and Earth Justice. 

Because I believe strongly in the work these organizations are doing, especially at this pivotal time, Poplin will donate 20% of all proceeds from now through January 31st, 2017. #whyimarch #imarchfor #womentogether

3 Reasons To Get Your Portrait Taken NOW

Hello Dear Reader! 

I'm a big fan of local photographer,  Amy Catherine.  She helps Seattle women look and feel beautiful. So, as we dive into the New Year, let's celebrate YOU. Below is a guest post from Amy as well as a super fabulous deal for Poplin readers. Enjoy! 

-Mellicia

Goodbye to the Limited.

If you have yet to hear, the Limited is gone. Well, the brick and mortar stores are gone. Right now, you can still score crazy deals online. It's unclear whether the brand is officially closing up shop or just going to online only. What is clear, is that we'll have one less place to go for affordable office basics. Alas. 

To pay homage to the Southcenter Store and the team that I adored, here are a few images from the past three years. Special thanks to all the clients who have been texting me about this. Have thoughts on the big news? That's what comment sections are for. 

New Year's Resolution 2017: Celebrate the Body You Have by Knowing How to Dress Your Body Type

Happy New Year, Dear Reader! It's nice to be back with you again. As we head into the New Year, it's all about resolutions. Seeing so much messaging about self improvement can either be motivating or oppressive. Sometimes, it's a little bit of both....

Because of this, I am diving full force into the celebration phase of the season. Learning how to love the body you have and dress it accordingly is a powerful tool in this world and my hope is that this is just one of the tools in your arsenal to take over the world this year. 

As a personal stylist, I spend a great deal of my time having really intimate conversations with women about how they see themselves and how they think others see them. Not surprisingly, those two images aren't always aligned. After all, we are often our own worst critics. Lucky for me, I am an independent observer with the opportunity to release women from a sizable portion of this self defeating baggage. 

One of the big wins right now is the ever growing selection of apparel for women of all sizes. We're also finally seeing celebrities of various body types flaunting the bodies they have, rather than the bodies they want. Sure, there's still much further to go. But, for now, it's something to embrace. I'm also loving that more of my favorite brands and retailers are expanding their sizes. From Boden to the Limited and more, we're seeing pieces up to size 16 and 18, rather than the cap at 14 of years past. 

Beyond sizing, celebrating the body you have is really about dressing for your frame. Now seems like a great time for a refresher course on how to do that. Have more questions? That's what I'm here for!

How to Dress Your Body Type 

Getting Organized in Style for the New Year.

I'm a freak for office supplies and as it turns out, I'm not alone. Beyond the graphic prints and sleek design, I look for tools that will actually help make my life easier. This time of year I get especially excited about all the opportunities for a fresh start. Here are a few of my favorite products to get you there. Have some of your own? Please share!

 

Organizing the Stylish Woman's Life for 2017

Your Coat & You: Staying Warm Does Not Mean Sacrificing Style.

As a personal stylist for women, I talk a lot about your developing strategies to ensure you rock your authentic personal style everyday. Of course, most people love the sound of this. But, when life throws them a curveball, like late nights up with a child or an especially cold day, that style is thrown to the wind. 

I'm here to assure you, Dear Reader, you can look smashing and be comfortable. Shoes can be functional and hip. Dresses can be flattering and fitted. The mysteries of fashion are many and the goal on this blog is to decode them for you. 

As of late, the weather has been crazy cold. Perfect for kids, less perfect for those of us with an especially stylish (read: lightweight) coat collection. No need to revert to your down parka everyday (unless that's your style, of course). There's a solution. 

WANT: Warm, Stylish Coat that Isn't too Expensive.

Now, Please.