Got cluttered wardrobe syndrome?

Well, that happens to the best of us…..on occasion 😉 But do you consistently suffer from “I cannot find a thing in there…”? If so read on.

Persistently cluttered wardrobes are a syndrome of a more pernicious beast that hides deeply behind the jumbled sweaters and strewn stilettos. It is a state of being that you have unconsciously adopted and you are properly not fully aware of. It leads to what I call the fashion flu, a nasty disease with unpleasant symptoms. Let’s get to the bottom of it, shall we?

Do you suffer from impulse shopping? Meaning you go shopping without a plan and buy random outfits that you end up not liking as much as you anticipated when you tried them on in the store?

Do you go to outlets a lot? The ones where they throw clothes into bins or have them randomly distributed in the store by price category? The ones were you buy way too much because “it was such a bargain”?

Do you have a tendency to shy away from “high-end stores” because you are worried about the price? And you feel that you shouldn’t buy anything that expensive?

Do you categorically avoid the fancy “couture” sections in department stores because you could not possibly……..

Do you listen to people who have little style sense and buy things because they think it’s “such a deal’?

Do you avoid organizing your closet out of fear you might suffer a mild anxiety attack?

If you answered yes to only one of the above you have the fashion flu. You have tried different remedies but nothing quite gets you cured. You end up with clothes that you either cannot find in your wardrobe, or (if you do find them) do not really want to wear, or (at the very minimum) do not know how to combine. You end up wearing the same few items in the same old combinations (let’s face it who has time to sort through all this clutter…)!

Ok, now that we have established the problem, let’s look at the easiest and most effective remedies against the fashion flu (most notable symptoms being the perpetually cluttered wardrobe and a sense of exacerbation when you stand in front of your closet):

Stop impulse shopping. It is the anti-christ to chic! You end up with way too many random items that do not resonate. Unless you have a closet the size of a house this won’t work for you. Instead have a plan. Shop for specific items because that will make you way less likely to buy too much. Take a look at your closet before you go shopping and see what you need to perfect another outfit. Does that beautiful brown skirt need a blouse to go with? Do these pants need a blazer? Do you need a silk scarf to lighten up this dress? Do you need a new cardigan that works with those boots? Think style, color, potential combination before you go shopping. If you want to buy an entirely new outfit think about it before-hand and form an image in your mind and consider the shoes you will wear with it. Do you already own a pair that will work with that new suit? Or do you still need to get them? If you have a plan you will not end up with bags of clothes/shoes that just clutter up your wardrobe.

When have you done the last closet spring clean? More than a year ago? It’s time. This is a yearly event my darling! You take a day to sift through your closet and everything that you honestly do not wear ends up in one of two bags — the donation bag and the second-hand shop bag. You drop these puppies off the next day (don’t wait) and notice a sense of freedom and joy! This is also the time to re-organize your closet so dressing starts to be fun again!

Can you shop your closet? Meaning you have a sense of ease while seeing everything beautifully displayed on hangers and organized in layers so it is easy to pick out? No? Then you need to re-organize. Try color coding your hangers (pink for light and airy; purple for professional; green for sporty; etc.). Dedicate your drawers (lingerie, socks, hose, scarves, throws, sweaters, etc.). The more you organize the less likely you end up in a jumble of stuff again. Never mix clothes with anything else. Keep your linens elsewhere. Linens have no business stealing space from your precious fashion pieces. Wardrobes are for clothes, shoes and bags!

Think quality over quantity. Wouldn’t it be better to have five quality outfits that make you look like a radiant goddess instead of buckets of stuff that you don’t really need? Get over the “I cannot spend that much”. Let me break it to you softly and gently — you already did, just not for the right items. Some people’s closets have so much stuff that it would pay for at least three fabulous couture outfits. So resist the “bargain shopping” in favor of treating yourself with the quality items you deserve. If you must have a bargain go to the sale sections of couture and designer boutiques where you find better quality items. But stay away from buying it if it is not your size. Just because it costs less does not mean you will look good in it.

Get a shopper if you need help. Many good department stores and boutiques will work with you and call you when the right item arrives. These people listen to what you like and will advise you. If they don’t, get another person. After you established a good relationship they may even alert you that something is about to go on sale.

Last but not least, avoid the outlets. At the very minimum have a plan before you shop there. Outlets are traps for the unwary shoppenista. They are packed with teasers to make you buy more than you need. Depending on the outlet they may not even carry quality items and you end up feeding your closet rather than your fashion soul. Opt for the sales rack in the better stores instead — same grand quality for less =-)

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Size should not matter when you want to be fashionable?

Indeed, fashion is not reserved for the thin; it is a form of self expression and it is for everyone. Just look at the new campaign from Lane Bryant and click the link below:

Size Should Not Matter

It is refreshing to see this add. 70% of American women are a size 10 or above. Isn’t it time to represent them in fashion adds and posters?

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CoolSculpting

What if you could freeze your fat away? Particularly, those nasty little fat deposits that just won’t budge no matter how much we diet or exercise. Lipocryolysis (CoolSculpting) promises just that. Watch it via the link above.

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Can your own cells make you look younger?

According to Fibrocell Science, Inc., the answer is YES. The company has developed a treatment where my own skin cells (fibroblasts) can be grown in a petri-dish in the company’s laboratory and injected back into my skin to reduce wrinkles and fine lines to bring back a more youthful yet natural appearance. The FDA approved the cell therapy for wrinkles in 2011: Article on FDA Approval for Cell Therapy for Wrinkles

The treatment is called “La Viv” and has been tested on clinical trial patients and is now available to the general public.

The March issue of Harper’s Bazaar ran an article on La Viv by Jessica Prince where patients reported that the treatment improved fine lines, wrinkles and large pores. While this is without a doubt exciting news, some physicians caution that not enough long term studies exist yet to know how the treatment will perform in the long term.

I will be watching this company with great interest. Although, as a former scientist (who worked with cells in vitro) I would want to see long term results (3+ years) before trying it myself. I would consider potential contamination (i.e., when cells are grown outside the body and manipulated in vitro they are subject to contamination that could potentially be transferred into the skin) or cells becoming accidentally immortalized (i.e., cells that no longer exhibit contact inhibition and have become cancerous because their DNA has changed as a result of being removed from their natural environment) or cells that simply won’t stop growing once injected (since they are fibroblast stem cells) as the biggest risk factors. According to the article in Bazaar, the concern about growing stems cells that cannot be turned off was brought before the FDA and has not been observed in any of the patients in the clinical trials or other patients (i.e., thousands of patients who have so far received the treatment).

I have no doubt that this technology will eventually replace traditional therapies. Whether or not we are there yet will have to be seen. I’ll be watching.

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Got Frizz?

If your hair looks like this it may be time for some extra TLC.

frizzy_hair_solutions

Hair goes frizzy on us for a myriad of reasons including harsh chemical treatments, too much coloring, too much heat from hot blow dryers and curl irons, harsh weather conditions, poor health, aging, and/or stress. Notably, a combination of these factors will make matters worse and may explain why some of us are struggling to get our tresses back in order. Add to that the simple fact that not all of us are genetically blessed with soft and lustrous locks to begin with and may find it difficult to even reach for such a lofty goal. But more often then not we become the victims of over-processing and get caught in a cycle where we spend gobs of money trying to repair hair damage that could have been prevented in the first place.

Hair is yet another part of this extraordinary machine called human body. But is healthy hair really different from damaged hair and if so, how? To answer this question take a look at Curly Nikki’s website and take the quiz at the end of the page: Healthy vs. Damaged

If you clicked back here you probably have some form of damaged hair. Then read on because that is exactly the point of my post today, what to do once you know that your locks are no longer in prime condition and you have suffered some serious loss of shine and bounciness.

I think of hair as an accessory, regardless if it is curly or straight or long or short it should envelope your face in a way that brings out the best in you. Hair without luster is like a shoe without the chic factor, you can still wear it but where is the fun in that? Let’s face it, if you are reading my site you care about your looks (and your locks). So what to do?

If hair is badly damaged from over-processing one must weigh the cost of making it manageable vs. cutting it short and simply getting rid of it. Hair consists of mostly keratin which hardens when the hair grows out of the scalp. Thus, hair is essentially dead material that cannot be healed or repaired once damaged. Over-processed hair cannot be restored to its former health, it can only be made “to look better” which can be costly and frustrating. If you are spending tons of money on a truck load of products just to wake up to the same old frizz head every morning it may be time to consider a sweet short cut that will allow your hair to come out healthy and shiny again and make you look younger and fresher. Youthful short hair is a lot more appealing than damaged long hair. Besides, hair grows back.

One of my most favorite short cuts is Meg Ryan’s shaggy bob; it makes her look young and chic and fresh. Besides, short hair will tolerate bright blonde highlights better than long hair since it is often cut: Pretty Meg Ryan Bob

Another favorite is the short cut that Cecile De France sports in the move “Hereafter”, which is ideal for anyone with wavy hair.

But hair that is completely damaged from over-processing is not the same as hair that is somewhat neglected, although certain products can help both to look better. For example, conditioning treatments can nurse neglected tresses back to their former glory. A good nutrient mask can do wonders for dry hair (e.g., masks from Kerastase). Sometimes a combination of cutting and conditioning can help too. There are many products on the market that can “make hair look better”. For example, products like glossers that contain silicone can make hair appear smoother (e.g., Fekkai Salon Glaze). Read all about silicone here: Silicone for Dry Hair

Another option for growing out hair is to get extensions. Hair extensions can be costly but if done well they can be quite beautiful. It is important to stay away from wanna-be extension shops that damage hair with glue and nasty chemicals. Here is a site that shows various hair extensions by using a (glue- and chemical free) locking method: HairAngel Extensions

As we get older, hair gets more brittle and less forgiving. Things that always worked suddenly work no more, especially when gray hair comes into the picture. As I have been finding out lately, gray hair can be quite tricky to deal with. Gray hair is not really gray, it looks gray because some hair suddenly turns white. This happens because cells called melanocytes (pigment cells) that inject our hair (keratin cells) with pigment stop producing melanin, the result is colorless, i.e., white hair. White hair lying on top of darker hair makes the entire mane appear gray. This process comes with some surprises, for example, camouflaging gray hair can be challenging as not all dyes work well with gray. Some women opt to emphasize their silky white or salt-and-peppery hair, which can be quite nice if done right. I personally believe that white hair is simply stunning; just look at beautiful Meryl Streep and her silky platinum locks: Gorgeous Meryl Streep in the Devil Wears Prada

Wearing white or salt-and-peppery hair is no longer considered outdated or old. But it does require a certain classiness and non-chalance to pull it off. White hair suggests confidence and a certain pristine elegance that one must be able to live up to keep it lady-like. Here is a good article on how to best care for gray hair to avoid the frizzy look: Gray Hare Care

I dye my hair (which is about 20% white now) but have always gone to a good hairstylist. I simply don’t want to take the risk of damaging my hair with home treatments. But I have recently started researching semi permanent color treatments that are peroxide and ammonia free (hence these color treatments are not permanent and will wash out after a few shampoos). On most websites, women report that these semi permanent dyes are not damaging to hair and add a lustrous shine. Care still has to be taken when doing this at home, including reading the label carefully to make sure that the product is safe. For the time being, I opt to see my stylist to avoid any potential disasters.

Whatever we do with our hair, whether our hair is long or short, wavy or straight, spiky or curly, the most important thing is to opt for healthy hair over trendy hair. Go for luster and shine over color and texture.

Beautiful Courteney Cox
Beautiful Courteney Cox
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Lawyernista wishes you a fabulous 2013!

Most women are fabulous by default and with a few tricks from the world of fashion and cosmetics you can be even more fabulous. But regardless of your style, true beauty begins on the inside and shines outward because as you love yourself and others it radiates outward encompassing everything in its vicinity.  So, as you celebrate the unique you through yet another year of passion and commitment reach out to the women around you and help them discover their fabulous selves.

Happy New Year from Lawyernista!

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Das Hochzeitskleid

If there is one thing that takes your breath away then it is whispery-light, airy-fluttery, ultra-chic, mesmerizingly-creative wedding gowns. I am not talking about the run-of-the-mill dresses reminiscent of bonbons, runaway ruffles, or silly over-size poufs. They lack style and imagination. Why look like confection wrapping if you can be a vision, an angel, an out-of-this world creation concocted by the most vibrant senses and sweetest of all emotions? But how to translate this into a dress? It can be done. And it has been done my Manuel Mota of Pronovias. He has created the most spectacular and breathtaking wedding gowns ever conceived. Very sadly, this creative genius passed away in 2013. This web post is dedicated to his creations.

So please check out my most favorite wedding gowns of this season from the 2012 Barcelona Bridal week and prepare to be dazzled by the new collection from Pronovias Manuel Mota. Even if you cannot afford these dresses it can still inspire you to re-think your Hochzeitskleid and remember Manuel Mota’s genius: 

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Lawyernista’s Weight Loss Primer and Common Misconceptions

Moderate Exercise will help me lose weight.

Sadly, that it actually not true for most people. Moderate exercise helps you maintain your weight and it keeps you healthier (e.g., reduces the risk of developing diabetes by more then 50%). But if you want to lose weight you have to also restrict your caloric intake.

Walking burns a lot of calories.

Actually, walking at 2 mph only burns about 200 calories per hour (this is about the same amount of calories as a chocolate chip cookie has) but it contributes to your overall health and improves your mood.

As long as I exercise I can eat anything I want and I won’t gain weight.

That is true for athletes who burn enormous amounts of calories (e.g., Michael Phelps burns about 5000 calories per work-out) but this is not the case for the average person. Whether or not you gain weight while you exercise depends on the amount of calories you take in vs. the amount of calories you burn through exercising (just subtract what you burned from what you took in and you know approximately if you are likely to cut even, lose or gain).

If my friend and I eat the same calories per day we will maintain our weight equally well.

That is not true. People have different set points for body weight. For example, Molly may be able to eat 1400 cal/per day to maintain her weight while her friend Sarah can eat 1600 cal/per day to maintain the exact same weight at the exact same height.

It does not matter what time of the day I eat, all that matters is the total caloric intake per day.

This is still controversial. Personally, I find that not to be true. When I stop eating at 5 PM and go to bed hungry I find it easier to lose weight then if I consume more calories before bedtime. According to Satchin Panda, associate professor in the Regulatory Biology Laboratory at the Salk Institute in La Jolla, California, there may be an explanation for this. Here is what she proposes: In order to burn the most fat, you need to go 12 hours without eating—say, from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. During the day, your brain and muscles use some of the calories you eat for fuel, and the rest gets stored in the liver in the form of glycogen. At night, your body converts that glycogen into glucose and releases it into your bloodstream to keep your blood-sugar levels steady while you sleep. Once the stored glycogen is gone, your liver starts burning fat for energy. So, you burn fat while you sleep. The catch is that it takes a few hours to use up the day’s glycogen stores. So if you snack until midnight and sit down to your breakfast of oatmeal or eggs at 7 a.m., your body may never get the opportunity to burn any fat before you start reloading your glycogen stores again. Moreover, night owls consume an average of 248 calories more per day than those who go to bed earlier, and most of those excess calories rack up after 8 p.m., according to a 2011 study published in the journal Obesity. See Link to Fox News

Soft drinks are bad for me but fruit juices are good for me.

Wrong. Soft drinks and juices are equally bad for you if you want to lose weight. They both contain mostly sugar and, thus, empty calories. An 8 oz. cup of unsweetened orange juice has 112 calories (sweetened orange juice has more). The sweet taste of a fruit is nature’s way to trick you into eating the healthy fiber. If you pass on the fiber you miss the point.

I lose a lot of weight if I do a liquid diet.

It appears that way but the lost weight is mostly water (with some muscles and fat thrown in). At some point the body enters starvation mode during which it conserves body weight extremely well and you will no longer lose weight quickly. Eventually, you will be so starved that you will likely break down and eat whatever you can get your hands on and the weight will quickly return (hence, the term Yo-Yo diet).

 Counting calories does not help.

Actually it does. Once you know your set point (where you maintain your weight at a given activity level) you can then begin to either increase your activity level and/or decrease your caloric intake to start losing weight. Best is to do both.

There is no real formula for losing weight.

According to the Mayo Clinic there is. Because 3,500 calories equals about 1 pound (0.45 kilogram) of fat, you need to burn 3,500 calories more than you take in to lose 1 pound. So if you cut 500 calories from your diet each day, you’d lose about 1 pound a week (500 calories x 7 days = 3,500 calories). Because of changes that occur in the body over time, however, calories may need to be decreased further to continue weight loss. See Link to Mayo Clinic

Ok, so let’s look at this more closely in form of an example: Sarah can maintain her weight at 1800 caloric intake per day with a moderate activity level (Sarah walks everywhere). Thus, 1800 calories/per day is Sarah’s set point for maintaining her body weight. If Sarah reduces her caloric intake to 1300 calories/day then Sarah will begin to lose about 1 pound per week. If Sarah wants to increase her caloric intake by 100 calories to 1400 calories/day then she needs to make up for those extra 100 calories by adding a higher activity level that burns an additional 100 calories per day (e.g., bicycling lightly on her stationary bike for 30 minutes a day) in order for her to still lose 1 pound per week. At the beginning this formula will work beautifully for Sarah, however, after a few weeks the body adjusts to this new regimen and becomes a little more stubborn in losing the weight and Sarah may hit a plateau. Now, Sarah will have to reduce her caloric intake to fewer calories per day in order to keep losing 1 pound per week (how much depends on the individual person).

Bicycling is not such a good way to lose weight for me.

Well, I beg to differ. Take a look at the chart below to see how many calories you can actually burn just with bicycling. You can use bicycling (including stationary bicycling) to target your weight loss. It is an efficient way to lose weight even in the comfort of your home. It also maintains your overall health, increases your sense of well being, improves your mood, and maintains adequate blood flow throughout your body. According to the British Medical Association, cycling just 20 miles a week can reduce the risk of coronary heart disease by 50%. Table below from www.nutristrategy.com

Activity (1 hour) 130 lb 155 lb 180 lb 205 lb
Cycling, mountain bike, bmx 502 598 695 791
Cycling, <10 mph, leisure bicycling 236 281 327 372
Cycling, >20 mph, racing 944 1126 1308 1489
Cycling, 10-11.9 mph, light 354 422 490 558
Cycling, 12-13.9 mph, moderate 472 563 654 745
Cycling, 14-15.9 mph, vigorous 590 704 817 931
Cycling, 16-19 mph, very fast, racing 708 844 981 1117
Stationary cycling, very light 177 211 245 279
Stationary cycling, light 325 387 449 512
Stationary cycling, moderate 413 493 572 651
Stationary cycling, vigorous 620 739 858 977
Stationary cycling, very vigorous 738 880 1022 1163

Disclaimer: Lawyernista.com is not a physician and/or trained nutritionist. This information is based on my personal experiences and accumulated research and I am not responsible for any issues that may arise from following these suggestions. Weight loss differs from person to person and hiring a trained nutritionist and/or physician is the safest way to remain healthy during your weight loss endeavor and is, thus, highly recommended.

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The ugly transform no less then the beautiful…

Maybe there is a link between the utterly impossible shoe or dress and our worldview on beauty as it exists today. It does take exaggeration to point out the flawed in ways to draw real attention to it. The runways do that consistently, not to convince us to wear unwearable gowns but to engage us into accepting change, new concepts, and new ideas. Pushing the envelope is as important to fashion as to art. What do you think? 

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Rock any dress with matching shoes!

I grew up in Vienna and remember a number of upscale boutiques where you could buy tailored suits and dresses with matching color shoes. In fact, matching color shoes are still a hit with European women and good stores offer that option. Strangely, I hardly ever see it here in the States (with the exception of Manhattan). But why downgrade your outfit? Match your shoes to the dress and you have a completely different look — elegant, sophisticated, complete. You can instantly upgrade any outfit that way. And while you are at it do not stop at the color. Make sure the style of your shoe matches the style of your dress. Not all black shoes are created equal 😉

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