Erica Bryan has pursued her artistry through theatre and music since childhood. From an early age, she realized that she’s not afraid of failing, she’s “only afraid of never trying.” This principle has guided her craft and her career around the country from her hometown outside of Atlanta to New York City, and finally to her current home base in Nashville, TN. Erica believes her theatre experience has enhanced her new journey as a singer, which springs from her realization that her goals for theatre and songwriting are one in the same: to make people feel something.
I can say first hand that Erica is making people feel something through her artistry. She gave me an exclusive preview of her debut single, This House is Haunted, and encouraged me to draw inspiration from the song to compose the wardrobe for her upcoming performance in Atlanta at Smith’s Olde Bar.
Erica’s debut single has a beautiful balance of light and dark. When you first hear the title of single, the word “haunted” elicits that feeling of darkness and possibly a place that is plagued by something or someone. As you listen to the verses, a lightness trickles in, revealing a sense of nostalgia and fondness. While it’s evident that the speaker is in fact haunted by a person or memory, there is a warmth and deep connection, possibly even love, with the “ghost.” It’s this sensation that is truly “haunting” the speaker and illustrates the dichotomy between light and dark in the song. This duality instantly became the inspiration for her look.
While styling Erica for her performance in Atlanta, I focused on the balance of light and dark, the juxtaposition of softness and strength, and the harmony of femininity and edginess. As I proposed concepts, we both felt inspired by Kristen Stewart’s upcoming Chanel Pre-Fall campaign, Paris-Dallas, which plays with opposing styles from the cities and blurs the line between the two cultures.
We built her ensemble around a key piece featuring one of spring’s top trends, fringe. In addition to the cropped fringe faux leather jacket, Erica purchased a pair of statement studded black booties. The rest of the outfit evolved from staple pieces in Erica’s closet: faux leather pants, a flowy silk and lace tank, and vibrant turquoise jewelry. The finished look stayed true to Erica’s Country/Folk vibe and illustrated the play between light and dark in This House is Haunted.
For more information on Erica, please visit her website and listen to her music on Reverbnation. Her debut single, This House is Haunted will be available for purchase on iTunes May 13. Until then you can listen to this exclusive preview on Erica’s YouTube page. Erica is also active on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, so connect with her on these platforms to follow along with her journey!
Longer days, warmer temperatures, nature in bloom… Spring is in the air. It’s about that time to rotate your wardrobe, box up those winter items, shift them to the back of the closet, and bring forth the sundresses and shorts. It’s the perfect opportunity to do a little spring cleaning in your closet.
I know that the mere thought of tackling your closet can be overwhelming. The closet, by nature, might not be the most organized place, might be overflowing because your shopping habit is bigger than your rent, and might just seem downright daunting. There’s a reason the closet has a door! It’s an easy space to close off to the mind after you ransack it each morning before work or each weekend before heading out for a night on the town. I promise, if you just carve out a Saturday afternoon and open that door, you’ll find that Spring Cleaning: Closet Edition isn’t so bad (it might even be fun!). If you need a little help getting started and creating a plan of attack, I’ve got 5 tips on how to clean out your closet that might just help!
1. Cultivate Positive Energy
Although the process may be a bit of a pain, the outcome of cleaning out your closet should be rewarding. Remind yourself of the good old phrase, out with the old, in with the new. I’m not saying that you should plan a massive shopping binge after your closet clean out, but the purpose of a seasonal closet cleaning is to make room for the new items your inevitably going to add when a new season rolls around. Another good incentive to clean out your closet is the option to sell or consign your clothes. I spent years being a severe clothes and accessories hoarder. My garments are and always will be an extension of myself, and for years the thought of parting with a single item felt like I’d be chopping off a limb. In college, I finally took the plunge. I went through years and years of clothing and memories. I reminisced and might have even snapped some farewell pics. Then, I loaded up my car and headed to the local consignment store in my college town. After a short 45-day period, I got a major check, and since then, I’ve continued to make some big bucks consigning. The key is finding the right consignment store with the right policies. For a great example of one, check out the consignment store I still continue to use in Athens, GA – Suska is the best!
2. Make a Game Plan
The task of spring cleaning your closet will be a lot less daunting if you make a game plan. First, think about your current lifestyle. Notice I say lifestyle not just style. Your life is a major influence on your style. You may not love sheaths and pencil skirts, but if you work in a corporate environment, these items make up a major part of your wardrobe. Second, get a second opinion. This is particularly important if you’re a first-time closet cleaner. You need a second set of eyes – okay what you really need is someone objective who is not as emotionally attached to your closet as you are. So talk to your roommate, your bff, your sister, or your most fashion forward gay friend, and ask if he/she would be willing to come over next Saturday and talk you off a ledge, should you need to be. A closet cleaning companion will help lighten the mood and keep things fun. Come on! Didn’t you always want to reenact What Not to Wear? You may be on the end where your precious clothing memories are being discarded into a trashcan, but still, now’s your chance!
3. The Big Day: Start Cleaning!
The day is here. Your closet cleaning companion is on the way. Breathe in and out. Put on some upbeat music – something you’d want to strut the catwalk to – light some candles, pour a couple cocktails or drink of choice, be sure there’s good lighting and a full length mirror, and once your consultant arrives, you’re ready to begin! Remember, you’re taking it one season at a time. Should you decide to donate, sell, or consign, only in-season items will be accepted. There! We just eliminated half your closet. We’ll get to the other half in the fall. As you and your consultant go through your closet item by item, there will be pieces you know with 100% certainty you want to keep. For everything else – anything slightly in question, anything rarely worn in the past two years – try it on, and use the following 5 questions to evaluate it:
– Does it have set-in stains?
– Is it damaged/worn?
– Does it fit you?
– Does it fit your current lifestyle?
– Would you still buy it today?
The sixth and final question is the most difficult. You answered NO to stains and damage, you answered YES to fitting you and your current lifestyle, and YES, you would still buy it today. But here’s the kicker: do you actually wear it? This is the toughest and most important question. We all hold on to things in our closet. There’s nothing wrong with them, they fit and look great, but for some reason, we just don’t wear them. These are the items you have to let go, and these are the items that will likely be best to sell or consign. Someone else will not only love them but also wear them.
“Clothes mean nothing until someone lives in them.” – Marc Jacobs
4. In the Midst of the Mess: You’re Almost There!
I’m going to tell you now, when cleaning out your closet, things will get worse before they get better. About halfway through the process, you and your closet consultant may exit the emotional clothing roller coaster and break for a snack. It’s then you’ll realize you can barely walk across the room because there’s an explosion of clothing and accessories everywhere. There’s a donate pile, a consign pile, a back in the closet pile, a wtf pile, and your consultant has started making a pile for herself. The good news is, this means you’re making progress! While you take a moment to step away from the chaos, consider making a shopping list of voids you’ve noticed in your wardrobe. This will be a good reminder of why you entered this process in the first place: to make room for the new!
5. Final Touches
You’ve gone item by item through your warm weather wardrobe. It’s no small task, but I knew you could do it! Now, it’s time to put what’s staying back in the closet and transport what’s ready to donate or sell. You’ve already put so much time and energy into this endeavor. Don’t just toss everything back in the closet and close that door! Take this time to do a little re-organization. Invest in some closet-organizing accessories from stores like Target, The Container Store, or Ikea, and implement the basic closet organization technique: either by color or by garment type. Next, bag up the donations and gather the items to sell or consign. For the latter items, you’ll need to check the store’s policy if you plan to consign. For example, some consignment stores want items on hangers. If you plan to sell through another outlet like eBay or Bib + Tuck, do your research and take measures to protect yourself as a seller!
Hello April! For those of us who have yet to officially experience spring, fingers crossed, it’s right around the corner! What better way to celebrate warmer weather than with an awesome deal? The Bloomingdales Friends and Family sale has officially kicked off, and you can get an extra 20% off with the code: BFF14 now through Sunday, April 6.
For me, spring = dress season. Dresses are the easiest ensemble to slip on for work or play. With the right dress, you’ve got a complete go-to outfit in minutes. Throw on a dress, grab a great pair of shoes, get your handbag, and head out the door. Once warm weather hits, I’m ready to bare my legs and go. Dresses make dressing easy! They save time and energy, and they’re super flattering and cute!
I scoured the Bloomingdales site and selected some simple, sweet, and stunning dresses for every occasion. With this deal, now is the time to stock up on spring dresses! All my picks are under $100, so start shopping!
Best POP of COLOR DRESSES
1. Splendid Easy Ruched Dress in Fiesta, $72
3. Free People La Mamounia Babydoll Dress in Flame Red, $77
Best BLACK and WHITE DRESSES
2. Guess Floral Lace Dress, $48
Best SHIRT DRESSES
Best MAXI DRESSES
1. Calvin Klein Pleated Maxi Dress, $67
2. Free People Andrina Maxi Dress, $47
*All prices reflect the Friends and Family 20% discount!
I’m so excited to celebrate the first day of spring with a spotlight on the spring look book from one of my favorite boutiques: Encore.
Encore is an upscale clothing boutique in the heart of downtown Athens, Georgia. When the owner of Encore, Nikki Grant, published their first official look book in the summer of 2012, I was absolutely blown away. Nikki took the quaint charm of her little southern boutique and raised the bar with high quality photography, skilled models, and impeccable styling of the boutique’s apparel and accessories. Encore’s look books truly set it apart from the numerous boutiques in Athens.
They recently published their Spring 2014 look book, which was shot by photographer Logan Potterf on location at The Hill, a neighborhood owned by Lee Epting of Epting Events. Some of their top spring looks were selected and styled by Nikki and her team and modeled by the stunning Mercedes Bleth.
I chose three of my favorite ensembles from the look book that feature some of the hottest trends for Spring 2014.
Spring 2014 Trend: Try a NEW Look
Spring is all about renewal. This spring try a new look – something boho chic like this ensemble. The key pieces that make this look are the brightly colored and patterned maxi skirt and the beaded bracelets by local Athens designers, Chic Sisters Designs! Remember, local always looks good on you!
Spring 2014 Trend: Floral
This is my favorite outfit from the look book because it pairs an ultra feminine and spring inspired floral pattern with a wardrobe basic: the white blouse. When a new season rolls around, it doesn’t mean you have to run out and buy a whole new wardrobe. Use the staples you have in your closet in combination with investing in a few key pieces that are on trend for the season, like these Line & Dot shorts!
Spring 2014 Trend: Fringe
Fringe is my favorite new and exciting trend for Spring 2014. This versatile sheer fringe wrap by Ellison is aptly styled with a classic denim short in the look book. This piece would also pair perfectly with a pant, a skirt, a dress, or even a swimsuit. I could see this transitioning to fall as well – the possibilities are endless!
We are well into the third month of 2014 – have you touched base with the goals you set for this year? When the New Year comes around, we typically set out with a lot of ambition and expectations. In January, I urged you to set a goal to FEEL GOOD and LOOK GOOD in 2014 by making small changes in your everyday life to produce big results.
When the year starts to pick up, we often lose sight of the goals we set in January. Don’t get discouraged when life gets in the way! You can always check back in with yourself and your goals. What better time to do so than the coming of spring? A new season is right around the corner, and spring is a great time for renewal and reviving your 2014 goals.
Need a little nudge? I’ve got 4 ways to FEEL GOOD and LOOK GOOD in March!
Instagram Inspiration from Bethenny Frankel, DVF, Splendid, Elizabeth and James, and Home on the Runway