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If your socks are visible, you’re either a middle-schooler going through a growth spurt, or a trendspotter. Statement socks have been popping up in the fashion world for a few seasons now, and they aren’t hard to find if you keep your eyes at ankle-level. They were on the runways at the most recent New York Fashion Week, according to Marie Claire, and French fashionistas showed off their (sometimes lumpy!) socks in The Cut’s January slideshow of Paris street style. It all begs the question: how can non-Parisians flaunt their socks without seeming like preteens? To investigate, we paired three fun pairs of socks with non-gym shoes. (We threw in some suggestions on what to wear above the ankle, too.) RUFFLE SOCKS Model is wearing: Eyelet Ruffle ankle sock, Urban Outfitters ($12), and pumps by Steve Madden. Insider sock fact: The ruffles are like having an extra head of hair on each ankle. They can get (minor) cowlicks, and they sometimes go limp. To keep them looking fresh, fluff them regularly. Try wearing this look with: Some tomboyish pieces that contrast with the girliness. For warm weather, try these Madewell boy shorts ($64.50), a plain sweatshirt like this terry-cloth Gap one ($39.95), and a punky bag, like this one from Nasty Gal ($90). PATTERNED SOCKS Model is wearing: Magic socks by Stance ($14), and oxfords by G.H. Bass. Insider sock fact: These socks feel great. They’re one-size-fits-all, so they’re ultra-stretchy, and they really hug your foot like they care about you. Try wearing this look with: Ankle-length dark pants and a slouchy sweater, like this rich brown one by A.P.C. ($295), or a button-down (top button buttoned!), like this simple chambray one from American Eagle ($39.95). SHEER SOCKS Model is wearing: Sheer-backed socks by Rachel Comey x Hansel from Basel (no longer available, but browse similar socks in the Hansel from Basel store), and platforms by Rachel Comey. Insider sock fact: These socks look like stockings from the back and textured tights from the front, but unlike either, they aren’t prone to toe-holes—their toecaps are made of sturdy sock material. Try wearing this look with: Something bright. The colors here are pretty muted, so you could try any color, including this tangerine-colored dress from Modcloth ($49.99). Top photo: Andrew Nawrocki, Groupon; all other photos: Mae Rice, GrouponRead More
Even as a toddler, Kim Cosentino was tidy. An acquaintance once recalled how, at the age of 3, Kim had set about helpfully organizing her utensil drawer. And as Kim grew, her knack for organization matured along with her, eventually transforming from a hobby into a profession. "God gives everybody a gift, and God gave me the gift of space," she says. Today, she puts her gift to use as owner of The De-Clutter Box, which serves the Western suburbs and the city of Chicago. She and her team manage assignments from coordinating moving sales in people’s homes to helping them with paperwork organization, services that “give [clients] control of their environment again.” Without that control, it can be hard to achieve a sense of calm. Kim believes that disorder causes stress, especially if the chaos lies in the bedroom, where clutter is "the first thing [people] see in the morning and the last thing they see at night." And one of the most common culprits of bedroom clutter is an overflowing closet. To create a more peaceful home for your sweaters and yourself, Kim outlines some handy tips. Don't expect any hard-and-fast rules, however—she insists that the best system is whichever one works for you. Set Aside Time to Organize No matter what the organizing project, Kim's first rule of keeping neat is to schedule a time for getting it done. "It doesn't have to be that much time, as long as you're making progress," she says. If you really want a cleaner closet, pull out your smartphone (or old-school planner) and make an appointment with your mess. This tip might sound basic, but Kim says that many people overlook it. She remembers giving an organization presentation to a group of realtors. Afterward, a 60-year-old woman came up to her and told her that she finally realized why she had never fully tackled the chore: she’d simply never scheduled it. Setting aside small chunks of time for sprucing can also help perfectionists deal with an all-or-nothing mindset. "Progress, not perfection, is what people want in life," Kim says. "Schedule time and make progress." Try the Hanger Trick The changing seasons are an opportunity to reassess what clothes you really need, but a try-everything-on marathon can be overwhelming. Kim’s less-stressful alternative? The hanger trick. "When the weather changes, usually about October, turn all the hangers in your closet so they face out toward the room," she says. "And then, when you wear the item and launder it, turn it back the normal way." In about a month, you'll have identified the core items in your wardrobe—the things that you wear on a regular basis. Then, if you wait until March or April, you'll see what things you haven't worn at all. Those are your prime targets for weeding out. Recognize Your Limits "The size of your closet sets a limit as to how much you can accumulate," Kim says. That fact can be hard for clothes-lovers to accept, but organizational aids such as extra shelves and dedicated boxes can help. A trip to The Container Store in Lincoln Park, Oak Brook, Schaumburg, or Northbrook can give you the supplies that you need. But then, it's up to you to stick with the system. For instance, if you find a box for your scarves, “the container sets a limit for how many scarves you [get to] have,” Kim says. Of course, you don’t have to go crazy buying pretty new organizers to keep your closet uncluttered—Kim often uses basic supplies when she meets with clients. She visited one client 12 years after their appointment to find her using the exact same old shoebox. “I just could not believe it,” Kim says. “She said, ‘Oh, it works for me, I just left it that way.’” Weed as You Go An organized closet starts at the store. When you’re shopping, learn to give nonessentials special scrutiny. "Look at the item you're buying," Kim recommends. "Are you willing to get rid of four things in your closet if you buy this one item?" Once you’ve made a purchase, you should prune down your old possessions to make room for the new ones. Take the castoffs to a donation center (such as Goodwill or The Salvation Army) or trade them in for cash at places such as Crossroads Trading Co. in Lincoln Park and Wicker Park or Buffalo Exchange in Wicker Park. It might sound like a daunting task, but if you stick with the principle of clothes in, clothes out, you won't find yourself buried in items you never wear—and your favorite pieces will be even easier to find. "Maintenance really is the key to organizing," Kim says. Illustration: © Dav Yendler, GrouponRead More
When I was little, I owned a ballerina jewelry box—the type with pink felt lining and a porcelain ballerina doll that spun inside. It didn’t seem right to fill such a pretty box with little kid things like slap bracelets, but I had better things to do (i.e. play) than worry about acquiring pearls. I’ve since lost that jewelry box, but my jewelry collection has grown. For years, it has sat atop my dresser in cluttered piles. It was the sight of this tangled mess that recently motivated me to scavenge Pinterest and my favorite blogs for a DIY jewelry organizer. What follows is a step-by-step guide based on my online research and what I found worked best in practice. May your earrings never lose another mate to the space behind the dresser. What You Need: Bamboo or wood silverware tray (I found a bamboo one at Bed Bath & Beyond for $20) Electric drill Mod Podge adhesive Newspaper Paintbrush or paint sponge Pliers Spray paint Super glue Three cabinet knobs (I found cute ones at Target for $9.99) Two teacup hooks or picture-frame hooks Two sheets of 12”x12” scrapbook paper What You Do: 1. Open and attach the hooks to the tray. Using a little elbow grease and pliers, open the hooks into a C shape. Since teacup hooks were too big for this tray, I used picture-frame hooks. Next, determine the placement of the hooks by measuring and marking the silverware tray. Then pre-drill holes into the tray before screwing in each hook by hand. TIP: You must pre-drill holes if using a bamboo tray because bamboo does not expand like wood, it splits. 2. Paint the tray. Once the hooks are in place, spray paint the inside and outside of the silverware tray (I used Krylon indoor/outdoor satin spray paint in Catalina Mist). Apply one coat, wait 10 minutes, then apply a second. Let it dry overnight. 3. Apply scrapbook paper with Mod Podge. The next day, measure the length and width of each individual section of the tray, then cut the scrapbook paper to fit. If the largest section of the tray is longer than the length of the scrapbook sheet, that’s OK. Just cut a second, smaller section to cover the remaining area. To adhere the scrapbook paper, use Mod Podge, which is an all-in-one adhesive/sealer/finish that comes in many different finishes (I used satin). Using a paint sponge, apply Mod Podge to the bottom of the tray, one section at a time. Next, carefully place the appropriate sheet of paper on top of the Mod Podge, smoothing out any bubbles and bumps with your fingers. Repeat until each section is covered and let the paper dry for at least one hour. 4. Finally, adhere the cabinet knobs. Apply glue (I used Gorilla Super Glue) to the back of each knob. Take care to apply the glue only to the back and not the sides. Firmly push the back of each knob onto the scrapbook paper for 30 seconds, then let dry for one hour. TIP: I chose to eyeball the placement of the knobs, which wasn’t too hard. But I do recommend measuring if you want the row to be precise.Read More
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