Guest Post: How to Care for Your Leather and Suede

You might as well bookmark this now. I’ve asked one of my favorite people, Maggie Burns, co-owner of re-souL in Ballard to give us the low down on taking care of leather and suede. I’ve had LOTS of questions from clients about this lately. Maggie is the first person I think of for such things as re-souL carries very high quality shoes and accessories made from Italian leather including the re-souL shoe line made in Italy and designed by Maggie, right here in Seattle. (Maggie also volunteers with me styling homeless youth each month at YouthCare.) strongly suggest you swing by the shop (or go online) to order leather care products that re-souL stocks. I like to pick up Otter Wax, for example, as a stocking stuffer each year. And while you are there you might as well pick up some shoes, jewelry, handbags, socks…….

How to Care for Leather

10 Absolute Game Changers

Hello Dear Reader!

First of all, I sure hope you received the Poplin newsletter in your inbox this morning. I heard from three people within 20 minutes of sending it. This tells me that I should share it with everyone. So, here you go. And, please remember to subscribe so that you’ll see all the good stuff every time.

Style Essentials: My Favorite Steamers (Handheld and Upright)

As a personal stylist, it's clear to me that a great steamer is everything. I know, it can seem so fancy to have a steamer. Trust me. Once you have one, you'll never look back. Here's everything you need to know about owning your very own steamer.

Steamer 101: Why you need one

and which one(s) to buy

5 Real Life Fashion Hacks that Will Make Your Life Much Easier

As a personal stylist for women, I've discovered that the smallest issues are often the ones that really derail our days. Surprisingly, the average office doesn't employ a tailor. I often tell our 7 year old, there's always a solution. You may not like it. But there is one. The same is also true for fashion mishaps. Hopefully, these will fall under the, "I'm so glad I know this," column. 

5 Fashion Hacks to Save the Day

Must Have: Rubber Shoes

I hope you are on the Poplin Style email list. After all, subscribers get a weekly email with my favorite items right now as well as other updates on brands, makers and more. Subscribers are

Repurpose. Repackage. Making an Old Coat New Again.

Upping your style game does not have to mean running out and purchasing a ton of new clothes. Whatever your budget might be, there are creative ways to help you embrace your style and be mindful of your money. On of my very favorite things to do is to find new life in existing pieces. If this speaks to you, you'll should certainly check out the post about updating your "they work for work" pants. There are lots of ways to stretch those Banana Republic/ Ann Taylor/ Express pants.

Moving on.

My client, Julie, is a manager at a large tech company. She opts for pieces that are on the professional side but expresses her style through unexpected prints and textures. Going through her closet was SO much fun. We found a wide array of pieces that could easily be updated with some key tweaks. You'll see lots of that in an upcoming booklet on tailoring. For now, let's dive into one of the high impact, minimal effort transformations from her closet. As Morrissey says, "Repurpose repackage reissue reevaluate." Who said the Smiths wouldn't stand the test of time? 

Transforming a Vintage Coat

with Tailoring

What do I do with Outdated Pants?

As a personal stylist for women, I can't tell you how many times I've ended up in a client's closet going through a giant pile of, "work pants." You know the ones. They are usually from Banana Republic, Ann Taylor, Loft or some other company that offers functional trousers for work. More often than not they are wrinkle resistant, easy to care for and work as the, "essential uniform for work." 

Over time, the cut becomes dated. So, they fall out of the heavy rotation. But they are still functional, they've held up well and, "they work." However, they don't look fresh and they certainly don't make the wearer feel like she's killing it at life. 

That's when I inevitably hear the question, "Should I keep these?" Which brings us to today's post:


What do I do with Outdated Pants?

Genius Tricks of the Trade: How do I Get Tall Boots on?

I'm always delighted to see the most popular content on the blog. Lately, this post from 2013, yup, 2013 has been blowing away the competition. As your very own personal stylist, it seems only fair that I'd share it with my regular readers, too. After all, it's especially useful in this weather. 

Genius Tricks of the Trade: How do I Get Tall Boots On? 

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

Should I Get Rid of Clothes That Don't Fit Anymore?

Ah, the eternal question. It doesn't fit right now, but it might fit again. It was fill in the blank (expensive, from a special trip, a gift, a go-to, etc.). 

One thing I can count on discussing during a Closet Edit is the fate of that special piece. Or, in some cases, those special pieces. For whatever reason, it isn't working anymore. What it is doing, is taking up space in your closet and in your mind. So, here are a few tips on determining how to deal with the dreaded item that simply doesn't fit.

A Fresh Approach to the Closet Edit.

The first step in any style transformation is the Closet Edit. You need to know what you have, what you need and what you don't before you can move forward successfully. Otherwise, things just become overwhelming. I know I shouldn't be, but I'm always amazed at how transformational a Closet Edit can be for a client. Despite having fewer pieces (and sometimes, significantly fewer pieces), she should feel like she actually has more outfits. 

I recently learned that Amazon declared the second most popular book in 2015 as Marie Kondo's, "The Art of Tidying Up." No surprise there. I can't tell you how many women have hired me after reading the book and attempting to tackle their closets on their own. The book is motivating, to be sure. It focuses on simplifying your life rather than ensuring you are authentic to your personal style. Two different goals mean two different approaches. 

The Poplin approach focuses on your authentic personal style. This approach uses a client's body type, personal style and goals to determine what should and should not be in her collection. We also organize her closet by type, then by color to make creating outfits easier. I often tell clients that your closet should feel like a boutique curated just for you. Everything should fit, it should make you look and feel beautiful and communicate your personal style. I also organize my closet in this way.

However, I'm experimenting with my own closet and I'm confident that my new approach will be a helpful next step for some readers who are at the edit 2.0 level. Therefore, as we head into a long holiday weekend. This post is all about sharing. 

Re-engaging with Your Closet. You've Already Done the Edit, Now It's Time to Organize.

What do I do with Clothes that are Not Nice Enough to Donate or Re-Sell?

As a personal stylist, I love a good Closet Edit. If you are one of the millions of people who read, "The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up," by Marie Kondo, you likely love a good closet/ book/ house edit, as well. (I chose the audio option and wrapped it up in 4 hours.)

When I work with a client, our goal is to ensure that each piece in her closet is just perfect for her right now. It communicates her personal style. It fits. It's flattering for her body. And, it's at the level she is. That last part can be the hardest lesson of all. If you love it, but it's crazy old, pilling, torn, missing buttons and so on, it's only going to bring your otherwise stellar outfit down. Yes, you should try to save it. If it can be saved, that is. Purchase a shaver to remove pilling. I'm recommending a favorite of my friend and local organizing guru, Annie Traurig. Take it to the cleaners, determine if you can actually make it into something else (perhaps a handbag or scarf). 

After you've exhausted all those options, it's time to let go and donate the piece. As you may know, Dear Reader, Poplin and the One Eighty Foundation hold monthly styling workshops for homeless or formerly homeless youth in YouthCare's Barista Training Program. We teach the youth what is appropriate for job interviews and help them select pieces they can keep. Find out more about donating to YouthCare here.

As we all know, there are pieces that simply aren't fit to be donated. Then what? Do you just throw them away? 

In a word, "no." 

Head over to your local H&M. That's right. H&M. You can donate your pieces to be transformed into new textiles. There's usually a bin near the cash register or you can ask a sales associate. 


If you are into this kind of thing, and I hope that you are, H&M is actually doing quite a bit of work to combat the impact of the often disposable pieces it creates from fair and living wages to water conservation. You can also look to Eileen Fisher and other high end brands as beacons of hope on this front. 

Now, back to tidying up.

Are you on the Poplin Style Direction email list? What? No? That's crazy talk! Sign up for tips, invitations and all around style goodness.