The Ugly Side of Self-Promotion

I have been thinking long and hard about this post, but I want to speak out about something that has troubled me about the online community in regards to direct sales. When you are a blogger and/or a LuLaRoe Retailer like me, for example, you put yourself out there for potential scrutiny. Unfortunately, that is the society we live in. But some follow our social media accounts or blogs for inspiration, and that is what we are hoping to provide our followers. We bloggers and/or Retailers (insert any direct sales rep, really) knowingly put ourselves out there in hopes of a greater connection with our potential and current customers, building excitement and trust in the product we are selling.

But what about others using our photos and not giving us credit?

I blog here (obviously. Hi. That’s what you’re reading right now), and I cannot tell you how many private messages I get weekly from my LuLaRoe customers, letting me know that another Retailer is using my picture. I have even been cut out to look like an action figure in one Retailer’s post! I totally wish I still had the picture!

First of all, I would like to say this practice is in poor taste and to your DETRIMENT as an expert in your product. If you are only (or even mostly) sharing pictures of others in the clothing you sell, for example, your clients are most likely not going to trust you as much. They want to see it on you. They want to read your excitement in a social media post and see you market yourself. As my social media buddy Tracy said so eloquently, CREATE YOUR OWN CONTENT. Your customers will thank you for it!

Photo Aug 01, 11 36 13 AM

I took this picture back in August 2016. I humbled myself in front of my neighbors, and at the risk of looking like a self-absorbed idiot, I took a picture (with my tripod) in my new LuLaRoe Carly dress. My neighbor at the time actually saw me taking it and struck up a conversation with me about photography. It was not as awkward as it sounds. Ha ha.

I put this picture on my blog and on my social media accounts to show my potential customers how I style the Carly dress. I knowingly put it out there, and I have no problem with others seeing the picture, especially LuLaRoe customers who are looking for style inspiration. If I can help someone feel more confident in the Carly, then that makes me happy.

However.

Photo Jun 19, 11 03 26 PM.png

A sweet customer of mine noticed another Retailer using my picture and took a screenshot to show me how another said Retailer 1. put me up for scrutiny in a “this or that” post (I totally disagree with this practice because I think comparing two different styles is like comparing apples to oranges and perpetuates a “catty” culture of woman vs. woman, but that is just me…) and 2. put her name on my photo. I am actually showing you the revised version where she replaced “giveaway” with her name.

I felt like doing this to all of my pictures after this happened.

Photo Jun 20, 2 39 49 PM

So many things wrong here. And in speaking with the Retailer privately, I came to understand that she thought since it came from Pinterest, it was fair game. Technically, I did not watermark the photo, but I thought about how hard I work to promote my business by taking my own photographs…and I was upset. Though I am not a lawyer or well-versed in copyright law, my understanding is that the person who took the picture is the owner of the photo, even without a watermark. (Psst…if you are a lawyer or well-versed in copyright law, comment away…) Also, from a teacher’s perspective…we are teaching our young minds how detrimental it is to plagiarize, to take someone’s idea and pass it off as our own. We then need to most definitely follow the rules we expect our youth to follow.

In reality, the purpose behind this blog post was for you to think about what you post, to respect the work of another by giving credit where credit is due. LuLaRoe is very generous in providing us with stock photos, so if you’re not a fan of taking your own pictures, please use the stock photos. I know if my picture is used by another party, I would expect a tag on social media. You are welcome to use my picture at any time as long as you are providing me the credit I deserve. But in reality, take the time to create your own content so your customers get behind you and believe in what you are providing for them.

 

Strategic Accessorizing

I love clothes. I love accessories. I love shopping. I love shoes. I could go on, but I really haven’t shared any secrets with you there. It’s probably pretty obvious to you if I run a small clothing business and blog about style! But as I get older and more experienced in buying pieces that speak directly to my personal style and work for my body type, I realize how important key accessories are to a well-rounded closet.

And accessories should work to bring something new to your outfit. Essentially, they should work for you, not just be there, if you know what I mean. They should add interest, highlight a certain feature, speak to one aspect of your personal style…you get the point. I used to buy accessories just because I liked them, and while there is nothing wrong with that, I encourage you to really think about what that particular accessory you’re debating over can do for you and for your wardrobe.

Enter a structured jacket. I strongly feel that every woman should own a few for every occasion she might dress for…even if they’re budget-friendly. No need to splurge on these, as I’ve found some of my favorites at GAP, Old Navy, and Forever 21.

Photo Jun 12, 7 43 39 AM

I really like a fitted structured jacket, even in the summer. There is a 99 percent chance I am cold in any given environment, so I almost always have a jacket with me.

What does a structured jacket do for me?

It calls attention to my smaller upper body. I am a classic pear shape (smaller on top, heavier on the bottom).

Photo Jun 12, 7 45 47 AM

It balances out flowy or oversized pieces. My favorite LuLaRoe dress to wear in the summer is the Carly. The flowiness and comfortable factor are hard to beat. To me, it’s way more comfortable than a t-shirt and shorts. But if I’m not careful with my accessorizing, my frame can get lost in the dress. A jean jacket + Carly is my go-to spring/summer look.

Photo Jun 12, 7 45 30 AM

It can speak to my personal style. My most recent purchase is the OLD NAVY DISTRESSED DENIM JACKET, which is sold out in most sizes. And I’m not surprised because it is very flattering and well-made for the price point. I chose this one to speak to my trendy/edgy side with the various rips and holes in it. I know distressed pieces aren’t for everyone, but I pretty much live in them!

Photo Jun 12, 7 40 28 AM

Jacket: Old Navy Distressed Denim Jacket (size small), Dress: LuLaRoe Carly (size XS), Booties: Groopdealz/Qupid brand, Purse: REBECCA MINKOFF

I will be the first to admit that I buy my jackets tight. I don’t have a lot of wiggle room in mine, but it’s for a reason. I buy a small in most of my jackets because I have found that when I don’t go fitted, my jackets end up adding bulk to my frame or make me look boxy. That is definitely something to pay attention to when you’re shopping for a jacket.

 

Three Tips for Pattern Mixing

I admittedly wanted nothing to do with pattern mixing when I was younger. Truth be told, I found it to be kind of (actually really…) odd until recently.

In all actuality, even though the comparison struggles are real in the universe that is social media (especially Instagram for me), the boom in fashion/style-based Instagram accounts has affected my style for the better. One such way is through the art of pattern mixing.

After styling outfits for myself, styling my image consulting clients, and now styling my lovely LuLaRoe shoppers, I have whittled down this confusing and frustrating science of mixing two patterns (mixing three patterns is a whole other beast to be tackled another time…) to three main tips, and I even made them start with the same letter in hopes you would remember them.

1. Scales. Scales refer to the sizes of the prints. The print sizes should vary in that one should be smaller, and the other should be larger, for example. When they are too similar in scale/size, the print mix loses its effect.

Photo Jun 12, 1 27 05 PM

The stripes in my GAP tee are larger in scale when compared to the leopard print in my LuLaRoe Lola skirt. 

Photo Jul 18, 6 14 55 PM (1)

In this outfit, my stripes are smaller in scale than the Aztec print in my LuLaRoe Cassie skirt. 

2. Shades. There should be at least one complementary color found in both patterns. Bonus points if there are two or more colors that are the same in the two pieces because these complementary shades will make your outfit look intentional and out of the whoa, that’s kind of weird… category. I do not think there should be several varying shades (meaning colors found in one piece and not the other) in the outfit, but a few is usually OK.

Photo Apr 17, 5 23 39 PM

In this outfit, gray is the common shade, and though there is no teal in my top, the gray in both the top and the leggings unifies the outfit. My black and white accessories work to unify the look as well. Read more about accessorizing below. 

3. Styles. The styles of your prints should vary when you are just beginning to venture into the world of pattern mixing. Easy patterns to mix with include stripes, polka dots, leopard print, gingham/buffalo check, and plaid. What I’m saying here is that if you’re just starting out, I would stay away from trying stripes on stripes or leopard print on leopard print. A foolproof pattern mix, for example, is stripes and floral, but stripes (when they vary in size and are in complementary colors) mix well with nearly any other pattern, as seen above with Aztec print.

Photo Jun 12, 1 29 24 PM

I took this picture the day I onboarded as a LuLaRoe Retailer. Funny story: I tried to give a lady a free pair of leggings that day at Target, and she totally rejected me. And by rejected me, I mean looked at me and talked to me as if I had an infectious illness. I like almost cried about it, but it is really funny now. ANYWAY…The stripes and the Aztec are two totally contrasting patterns in that I’m not doing Aztec print on top and bottom to keep myself out of “jumpsuit” territory.

Now granted…I have done stripes on stripes before.

Photo Jun 12, 1 28 37 PM

What I will offer you here, though, is a bonus tip: simplicity in accessorizing.

When you put together the rest of your outfit, keep it simple. I went with a basic black pant in the outfit above, but if you think about jewelry, jackets, and/or shoes to finish the look, try to keep them simple and neutral so as not to distract from the pattern mixing and to stay out of Halloween costume territory.

DON’Ts…

Photo Sep 22, 7 32 09 PM

Some pattern mixes do not work. Though I am a LuLaRoe Retailer, I have no problem telling you that not all LuLaRoe pairs together well. Just because a top is LuLaRoe and a skirt is also LuLaRoe does not mean they will match. I would love to help you find a pattern-mixed outfit that works for you. If you join my VIP GROUP, I will have outfits posted in the next two days, but I actually post outfits I’ve styled quite frequently.

A NO due to scale…

Photo Jun 12, 2 34 54 PM.jpg

Do you see how similar the floral and the chevron are in scale? They’re almost exactly the same size. To edit this outfit, I would add a print smaller in scale to each.

A NO due to shades…

Photo Jun 12, 2 39 42 PM

The purple shade does carry over in both the LuLaRoe Irma and the leggings…however, the pinks in the leggings and the Irma do not match up, and the yellow seems out of left field.

A BETTER OPTION…

Photo Jun 12, 2 33 08 PM.jpg

In the above pairing, I eliminated the pink and the yellow and just concentrated on the purple and white being the complementary colors. The floral print is also larger in scale, and there is a definite variance in style of the two patterns as well.

A NO due to styles…

Photo Jun 12, 2 38 58 PM

I would say no to this pattern mix because of scale and style, actually. Do you see how both patterns are competing against one another due to the fact they’re the same style (geometric/Aztec) AND the same size? A better option would be to pair with a smaller print in a different style (polka dot, stripe, leopard print).

I hope my tips were helpful to you…now venture on into the closet and play dress up!

Unique Accessorizing on a Budget

Hey there! I’m sure you’ve been like me and stared in your jewelry closet, thinking Ugh…I’m bored by all of these pieces. The reality is, updating your accessories (on a budget, of course) really helps to breathe new life into some of your staple wardrobe pieces.

One of my favorite ways to shop for budget-friendly jewelry is from boutiques, usually on GROOPDEALZ or JANE. When you sign up for free, you get daily emails alerting you about daily deals. I’ve been purchasing from these websites for years and have been rarely disappointed.

Another budget-friendly option is FRANCESCA’S, especially with a discount or a buy one, get one half off deal.

Boutique jewelry, though, is a way to add budget-friendly jewelry to your closet, and by not purchasing from a big box store, you are almost ensuring no one else is going to be wearing that exact same necklace.

My friends at TWIRL BOUTIQUE in Cedar Falls, Iowa, are offering my blog readers two necklace options at a GREAT discount. Both are tassel necklaces, which are so trendy right now.

Photo May 18, 5 40 51 PM

Photo May 06, 1 55 24 PM

This ROCK NECKLACE is the perfect neutral necklace to add to your wardrobe in gray and gold. And at only $15 (with FREE SHIPPING using the code HEATHER), it will more than pay for itself by the number of times you will wear it.

Another daintier option is the MINT AND GOLD TASSEL NECKLACE. It is only $10 and comes with a pair of gold stud earrings, another accessory staple! I think this necklace is a great option for summer, especially, when we are wearing tanks, sundresses, etc. The lighter weight in this necklace lends itself to better balance in a summer look.

Photo Jun 07, 8 06 53 AM

What a great necklace option with a basic tee and shorts combo for summer. Here I paired it with a LuLaRoe Classic Tee in neutral grays and blue. 

With both necklaces, you can use the code “HEATHER” for free shipping! Happy shopping!

*I was provided with two free necklaces in exchange for this post, though all opinions expressed on this blog are my own.

 

May in Review: A Few Style Lessons I’ve Learned

As May draws to a close and as my children wander through the yard trying to find rocks, I thought it would be a great time to highlight some of my favorite looks from May and tell you some lessons I have learned while creating these outfits.

Lesson 1: White jeans are not the enemy.

I have had a healthy fear of white pants/jeans for like ever. I carry my weight in my legs, and summer is a really hard time for me, if I’m being honest, because I don’t feel 100 percent comfortable in shorts. White jeans are a great option for summer for this reason. I found this amazing pair from OLD NAVY. I have found that the stretch in them makes me feel more comfortable and that the distressing breaks up ALLLLLL the white because I have super long legs. Surprisingly, though, I am wearing the six regular in these…I did not have to go with the tall length.

Look for stretch. Look for distressing. Both will equal out to white jean amazingness. Pair your LuLaRoe Irmas with white jeans and sandals for an easy, pulled-together summer look.

Photo May 11, 12 48 06 PM

Lesson 2: A dress in a bold print is pretty much the easiest outfit ever. 

Find bold prints that speak to you, especially on a dress, and pair that dress with peep toe booties for a really easy look. Accessorizing is hard. A simple necklace will do against a bold print.

Photo May 13, 5 48 50 PM

Photo May 18, 5 42 42 PM

Lesson 3: Stalk your dream bag relentlessly until it goes on sale. 

Unfortunately (or fortunately, however you choose to spin it), over the past three-ish years, I have become a bag snob and prefer designer over budget because I can see a major difference in quality. This REBECCA MINKOFF bag was my dream bag, which turned into my reality bag a few weeks ago when it went on sale for over $140 off. The black hardware is just so unique. I’m in love.

Photo May 20, 1 33 54 PM

LESSON 4: A chambray top is one of the most versatile pieces you’ll ever own.

You may think, why would I wear a long-sleeved top in the summer? The chambray top is a perfect light jacket for a cool night, and when tied around your waist, it offers interest and texture to an otherwise ho-hum outfit.

Photo May 22, 8 52 47 AM

LESSON 5: Adidas sneakers are everything.

A lot of style bloggers have been raving about the white Adidas sneakers, but I wanted a pair that were A. updated from the original that I loved so dearly while in high school and B. more practical in my wardrobe.

I settled on THESE and am thinking about adding the blush pair to my collection. They are the perfect run-around shoe to achieve that athletic/leisure look.

Photo May 23, 4 51 51 PM

LESSON 6: Cobalt blue + black is a really fun color combo. 

I have never really tried blue and black before putting this outfit together last weekend, and I really liked the result. I plan on wearing it a lot this summer. I LOVE wearing black, but it’s not always summer-friendly. But the bright cobalt summer-izes it, if that makes any sense at all…ha ha.

Photo May 27, 11 28 20 AM

Now it is time for me to sign off…there are about 800 toys in my backyard, and my children are asking me if they can put sunscreen on each other…bye for now!