Freckles in April: Fashion Blogger (for a day): Merrick

Monday, April 4, 2011

Fashion Blogger (for a day): Merrick

I've met everyone in Merrick's family except Merrick. So I guess I have to call her a blog friend even though she feels like a real life friend. Merrick is Janssen's little sister and I'm kind of thinking this means I should probably try to get Landen, their other sister, in on this as well (and yes, they all have awesome names).

Anyway! Merrick is a gorgeous artist with great style. Her weekly belly pictures while she was pregnant with her son had me reevaluating my own maternity style (Baby 2 is just a couple weeks younger than her little Peanut). I knew when I asked her to do a guest post she would go above and beyond and then yesterday she sent over a full WEEK worth of outfit pictures. Because that's how she rolls.


WARNING: What I am about to tell you will change your life. 

Ok, so in the interest of full disclosure, I had nearly zero interest in fashion until several years ago and most certainly fell into the “grunge” category of dressing for the majority of my high school career (yes, I am ashamed), which may convince you to take what I say with a grain of salt, and question why Kayla even asked me to be a fashion blogger for a day. 

Well not to worry; I’ve since grown up a bit and started caring about the clothes I wear...and started watching “What Not To Wear” every so often, which is where I learned about the four elements of a great outfit (pay attention, cause this is the part that is going to change your life):

The 4 Elements of a Great Outfit
1. Color
2. Texture
3. Pattern
4. Shine

Now before you start over thinking, let me tell you that you probably already know this (although possibly only subconsciously). Think about when you cook dinner; do you want all your food to be the same color? Or the same temperature? Or the same texture? No! You want a variety of all these elements because it creates BALANCE and APPEAL. A big plate of mushy tan food is anything but appealing (I almost threw up just typing that sentence). 

Interior designers do the same thing and create balance and appeal in spaces by breaking up solid colored couches and walls with colorfully patterned pillows, textured curtains, and shiny picture frames or lamps. 

I am a part time oil painter, and I create balance and appeal in my paintings by having areas of smooth paint and areas of textured paint; sections of warm colors balanced out with sections of cool colors.
Everything in life requires balance, or else it is unappealing. Get it? 

Now let’s bring it full circle: the same goes for your clothing. An all black outfit has no balance, and very little appeal. Throw on a colorful patterned scarf and a little sparkly jewelry and suddenly you’re gaining appeal. So every day when I get dressed, I think about these four elements and try to incorporate them into my outfit. It might sound complicated, but trust takes only a tiny bit more thought and has a big reward.
Here are some examples of my outfits from last week that incorporate all 4 elements: 

Sunday (Church): Dress (handmade and hand-me-down from my sister), striped cardigan (H&M), belt (from another dress), necklace (Gift from mom - Francescas), Nude heels (payless), silver stud earrings (tiffany’s)
Monday (Teaching Art Class): Cream t-shirt with flowers (Charlotte Russe), Striped caridgan (target), Belt (stolen from my sister), Jeans (Hand me downs - Nordstrom), Red Flats (Target), silver stud earrings
Tuesday (library story time & visiting teaching): Black peter pan collar top (Target), Jeans (gap), Leopard peep toe flats (Plato’s Closet - Steve Madden), purple bag (knock off D&B - New York), silver stud earrings
Thursday (Park & errands): Green embellished t-shirt (old navy, embellished by me), jeans (nordstrom), white sandals (target), Sunglasses (H&M),     pearl earrings (kohls)
Friday (date night): Polka dot top (Old Navy), black cardigan (Target), Jeans (nordstrom), Shoes (Forever Young), pearl bracelets (Charlotte Russe), Silver earrings (gift from my sister)
Saturday (errands & girls night): Orange shirt (Hollister), Striped cardigan, belt, jeans (gap), black ruffle flats (payless), hoop earrings (gift from my sister)

Some of these outfits have a few more layers than others, but even jeans and a t-shirt and some little stud earrings can fulfill all four elements.

Knowing these four categories has also changed the way I shop. Because I often gravitate toward solids, I have a lot of solid colored shirts and sweaters in my closet so I’ve recently tried filling in the patterned and texture gaps with things like striped cardigans (which have changed my life), and embellished tops (some of which I do myself when I get bored of old solid t-shirts). 

Some of these I bought pre-embellished, some I did on my own
patterned cardigans can instantly add interest and dimension to your outfit

Also, did I mention I’m a stay at home mom? My one year old could care less if my outfit is balanced, and I’m not about to put on high heels and a velvet jacket to go to library storytime or play cars in the living room, or spend a million dollars on clothes that will be slobbered on. So I make up these four elements with inexpensive t-shirts, cardigans, simple scarves, cheap flats, and small earrings.

Use your shoes to add texture, pattern or color!

Studs are my daily earring of choice as a stay at home mom. I feel good because I’m wearing jewelry, but I’m not in danger of getting my earring hole torn through by my little boy.

Because I care about how I look, and because I don’t want to look homeless when I go to the grocery store or the library, I make an effort every day. That means a complete outfit, hair done, makeup on, and jewelry. And the best part is that looking put together makes me feel put together, which in turn makes me a better mom, wife, friend, housekeeper, and painter. Win, win, win, win, win.


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  1. I got a striped cardigan recently, and it has changed my life, too. No exaggeration! Could we got an embellishment tutorial, Merrick? I have been too scared to try on my own so far. Like, what material do I buy? How to make it so the stitches don't look all wacky?

  2. Sometimes I find it hard to believe that Merrick and I are related.

  3. @RA

    Yes, RA, I can definitely do a tutorial!

  4. Great post! I love all her outfits and tips! She is so tiny!

    amy day to day

  5. oooh. i would love a tute on some of those pieces!

  6. Merrick - you are beautiful and always look so put together. I LOVE that you have shared your secrets with us and YES - this IS changing my life!!!

  7. Does she have a blog, or did I just miss the link?

  8. @Annie

    You missed it :) It's in my intro.

  9. Dang it, the links were there in theory but they weren't working. Blogger has been struggling with that lately. They're fixed now!

  10. That really does help me!

  11. Yeah, guess I should make more of an effort. Cause today I went to the grocery store looking exactly like a homeless person in their pajamas. I even saw a few people I knew and didn't care at all....sad. I have encountered a few probs:

    1) If I were as tiny as Merrick I would sport an outfit everyday of the week, alas I am not and therefore it makes me want to stay in my pj's all day. I do go to the gym, but am just not seeing the results and certainly don't have any extra energy as a mother of 3 to put forth more energy.

    2) I just don't feel cute anymore. I feel that I am getting more unattractive as time goes on.....another sad point. When I get all "ready" (outfit, make-up, hair all done, etc...) I still feel "not cute."

  12. i used to know Merrick. small world. we were in the same ward for like a summer. funny. and yes she has awesome style!

  13. Brilliant! Hey Mer, can you teach us how to have a rockin' Mom-body too?!

  14. Last night, as I planned my outfit for today, I was thinking "Pattern, Color, Texture, Shine. Pattern, Color, Texture, Shine." I'm not sure how I did on the shine unless shiney shoes and bright tights count. Either way, Merrick you are right, totally changed my life!

    North Meets South

  15. I've watched tons of What Not To Wear - how did I miss this fabulous secret?! My outfits are going to be so much more awesome now, like Merrick's :)

  16. @Erica Shiny shoes are perfect! If I had shiny shoes, I would use them for that element of my outfit all the time! Glad it's helping!

  17. I don't wear much jewelry, but I love just about every piece you posted! My favorites are the hand-stamped ring, the & necklace.. and if I were a mom, I would absolutely want the necklace with my kids' handwriting.

    antique jewellery


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