Packing Light: A Summer Capsule Wardrobe

Gone are the days when people packed giant steamer trunks for their vacations. Now, how to pack for travelingwoe betide the traveler whose suitcase weighs more than 50 pounds. Between the overcharges from the airlines and the pain of carrying extra luggage, it makes more sense to travel light.

For years, the British have embraced a concept called the “capsule wardrobe,” and the idea has been growing in popularity in the United States as well. The idea of a capsule wardrobe is to own a minimum number of garments that can be mixed and matched to form dozens of unique outfits.

The capsule wardrobe concept lends itself easily to travel, since traveling naturally limits the number of clothes we can have with us for the duration of the trip. A capsule wardrobe of eight pieces, for instance (three shirts, one skirt, one pair of pants, one pair of shorts, and two sweaters) can yield an impressive 40 outfits!

To build your summer travel capsule wardrobe, follow these easy steps:

Step 1: Plan your activities. Will you be hiking, swimming, or doing other outdoor activities, or will you be doing more city walking and visiting museums? How much time will you spend at the beach? How often will you go out to meals? Try to list a general schedule of what you will be doing on each day of your trip.

Step 2: Identify the clothes you’ll need for each activity. Take into account the climate you’ll be visiting; how hot will it be? How often does it rain? Does the temperature drop significantly at night?

Step 3: Plan general outfits for each day. For instance, on a day when you plan to go to the beach and then out to dinner, you’ll need the following items:

  • Bathing suit
  • Cover-up
  • Dress
  • Sweater

Do this for each day of your trip.

Step 4: Tally the items you have listed for each day. Gauging the length of your trip, how often you can wear each item, and your access to laundry during the trip, build your capsule wardrobe based on your itinerary. Bear in mind that small items like bathing suits and underwear can be easily washed in a hotel sink and hung up to dry. Also, most bottoms (skirts, shorts, and pants) can be worn several times before needing to be washed, whereas shirts are more likely to get sweaty and dirty if you’re out walking a lot.

Bon voyage!

The Fashion Problems of Living in North Carolina in the Summer

Living in North Carolina is a wonderful thing. We have four distinctive seasons and great what to wear in NC during the summerfashions to match each one of them. But anyone who’s lived here for any length of time knows that summer can bring its own set of fashion challenges, and we wanted to help you just in time for this year’s heat arrival!

  1. You’re going to be hot. If you live in North Carolina during the summer, you can pretty much count on temperatures in the 80s and 90s every day. This is the season for light sundresses, linen separates, and breathable fabrics to keep you comfortable. If you’re going to be out in the sun, you might want to avoid dark colors because they absorb the heat of the sun. But if you’re wearing a sundress, don’t forget extra sunscreen on your shoulders, back, and chest!
  2. Corollary to #1: you’re going to be freezing if you go inside. The good news is that you can cool off in almost any North Carolina building during the summer. The bad news is that you might cool off a little too much because restaurants and stores often have their air conditioning turned down to the low 60s to keep the building cool. Always carry a light sweater or jacket to use, if needed, inside during a North Carolina summer.
  3. Chafing: the struggle is real. With humidity averaging 90 percent in the summer, it can be almost impossible to walk in a skirt without your legs chafing. Bike-short-style lingerie eliminates the problem, or you can keep a stash of powder handy to keep things cool and dry. Some people also swear by athletic anti-chafing balms like Bodyglide when they plan to walk a lot.
  4. Days blend into nights at the beach. North Carolina is blessed with miles of beautiful coastline, where locals and tourists can soak up the sun by day and enjoy the boardwalks at night. But what to wear to go from day to night? A simple shift or maxi dress looks great on the beach and in bars, restaurants, or other beach venues.
  5. You have to embrace the heat. North Carolina in the summer is not for perfect makeup, constricting clothes, and impeccably smooth hair. Let loose and enjoy!

Staying Cool at a Hot Summer Wedding

Whew! It’s only May, and the mercury is already creeping awfully close to 90°. But what if you’re one of the millions of people attending—or participating in—a hot summer wedding? We have some tips and tricks to help you keep your cool, whether you’re the bride or a guest.

Tips for the Bride:

As the bride, you have a great deal of control of other people’s comfort. If at all possible, try to have some indoor, air-conditioned space available for you and your guests to cool down; this also gives you an option in case of rain! If there is no indoor option (or even if there is), providing shade for your guests should be a high priority. A tent is always a good option (and again, provides an option in case of rain), or large umbrellas to provide people with a cool area to congregate. Sun shades (also called sun sails) are an attractive option as well. With their variety of shapes and colors, they can add a whimsical or dramatic touch as well as much-needed shade.

To keep yourself cool, see the tips for guests below. A fainting bride can take the fun out the wedding: especially for the bride!

Tips for the Guests

Chances are that if you attend a wedding in the south during the summer, you’re going to be dealing with oppressive heat at some point. Assuming that the wedding couple has been so kind as to provide air-conditioning or shade, your first order of business should be to seek cooler spaces. If you’re able to go back and forth between the cool areas and the hot ones, you’ll keep yourself from getting too overheated.

Otherwise, one of the most important things you can do is remain hydrated. Avoid coffee and (sorry) alcohol, and drink plenty of cold water. Choose pale colors to wear; dark colors absorb the sun and can really raise your temperature.

Many drugstores carry products that can help keep you cool, like purse-sized misters, tiny battery-operated fans, and absorbent powders to combat sweat. A pretty paper fan can be a lovely addition to your outfit, and you can fan yourself like an old-fashioned Southern belle! Expanding on the Southern theme, a parasol can keep you out of the sun and add a delightfully nostalgic air to your outfit.

Introducing Herve Leger!

What do Beyonce, Taylor Swift, and Kate Winslet have in common? They all wear designer Herve Leger by Max Azria. And now, thanks to Nitsa’s, this iconic label is available exclusively to Nitsa’s in Charlotte.

BCBG/Max Azria absorbed Paris couturier Herve Leger in 1998 and then spent almost a decade refining the brand’s signature bandage technique. Using materials and styles traditionally associated with foundation garments, the bandage dress shapes and emphasizes the feminine silhouette. Since the brand’s first runway show at the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York in February 2008, celebrities and fashion-forward women have embraced the glamorous and sensual style of Herve Leger by Max Azria.

Herve Leger by Max Azria’s oft-imitated—but never truly replicated—bandage dress has spawned a movement of body-conscious (bodycon) apparel over the past eight years, but for the true style setter, only the original will do. Wearing Herve Leger by Max Azria sends a strong message: “I am a powerful, dynamic woman. I recognize that strength and sensuality can go hand-in-hand.” Are you ready for this exclusive couture?

Herve Leger by Max Azria celebrates the female form with powerful apparel that appeals to the modern woman: the jetsetter, who’s ambitious, sensual, and athletic; the socialite, who’s glamorous and seductive; and the executive, who’s sophisticated and elegant. For summer 2015, look for tonal intensity on Herve Leger’s iconic silhouette. Bright jewel tones are accented with cutaways and metallic finishes for dramatic sensuality.

Accessorize Your Mom for Mother’s Day

Spring has sprung in the Triad, and what better way to celebrate than with some springtime accessories: just in time for Mother’s Day! So what’s on trend this spring? Look below for some great gift ideas to remind mom of how special she is to you.

Statement Earrings: These aren’t your everyday studs! Statement earrings are big, showy, and a lot of fun. But how do you keep them from looking over the top? Tone down everything around them. This is especially pertinent for other jewelry; if your earrings are the centerpiece of your outfit, skip the necklace and bracelet. The same goes for your clothes; statement earrings are a perfect addition for a little black dress, where the dress won’t take attention away from the earrings.

Flats: Flats, thank heavens, are back in style. Mom doesn’t need to murder her feet in stilettos, and neither do you. Mules, cut-outs, gladiators? Pastels, brights, or just plain black? All options are available this season. Embrace the comfort and the style!

Chokers: Last seen in the ‘90s, this versatile accessory is making a comeback for 2015. Some chokers are true to their name, with a dog-collar look for the extremely fashion-forward. But others are lighter and more subtle, with styles that imitate tattoos or make use of ribbons, leather cords, or nautical rope. Like longer necklaces, they come in a variety of styles, from casual to red-carpet. Which style is best for your mom?

Handbags: A woman can never have too many handbags: especially when designers keep coming out with such enticing ones! This spring, the bucket bag gets an update with cutouts, exotic leathers, and interesting ties. A bucket bag holds all your mom’s stuff, so it’s always a good bet. If mom (or you) needs a smaller bag, think floral this spring; clutches and other small bags are in bloom! A new shape is also in style: the vertical bag. From casual to evening, the clean lines of this rectangular bag add style to any outfit.

 

 

What Should I Wear to Work Today?

Career-Wear Ideas for Every Day of the Week

Gone are the days where work attire meant pants suits and pantyhose. Today’s workplaces are a little less formal and allow some leeway to incorporate stylish and fashionable pieces into your career wardrobe.

The type of industry you work in will still determine how dressy or casual your work clothing can be. For example, those in more creative industries, such as advertising or marketing, can get away with a more casual and trendy look, while those working in banking or law may need to look more conservative. No matter where you work, you can learn to pull together outfits that are professional but not boring.

Here are five work-wear ideas for every day of the week, so your attire never has to look boring at the office:

Monday – Classic career look

Every woman needs to own at least one pair of good black pants that can be paired with just about any top to create a classic career look. Pick a style that flatters your body type: straight leg, slim leg, wide leg, or boot-cut. Pair it with a colorful blouse and black flats or heels. The key to keeping this classic work look from getting too boring is to pick one statement piece to wear with your outfit—such as a statement necklace, a scarf, or a bright purse.

Tuesday – The work dress

Pick a style that looks professional but is still comfortable. Wrap dresses are a good choice, as are classic shift styles. Forgo the pantyhose and choose tall boots for winter or sleek heels for spring or summer. A few rules of thumb to keep in mind when choosing dresses for work—stay away from necklines that are too low-cut, spaghetti straps, and sequins—save those for your out-of-office looks.

Wednesday – Pencil skirt and top

Slim, pencil skirts are very trendy right now and look polished when paired with a blousy top and heels,  or wear a shell and add a cropped blazer.

Thursday – Jacket and pants combo

Cropped, slim pants in neutrals like black, grey, or khaki are great pieces to wear to work and pair with a jacket. Add ankle booties, flats, or heels to keep the look interesting.

Friday – Casual Friday

Many work places have casual days on Friday, but it’s still important to look put-together and not too relaxed. Jeans are usually acceptable for casual Friday, but choose a dark wash to keep it professional. To keep the look more polished, skip the t-shirt and pair your jeans with a shell and less structured jacket. Flats or booties work best as footwear with a casual work look, or even flat sandals in warmer weather. Just stay away from sneakers and flip-flops at the office.

Invest in a few quality pieces for work and mix and match to keep your office look interesting.

 

What Are the Spring 2015 Fashion Trends?

After a harsh winter spent bundled in heavy layers and down coats, the weather is finally starting to warm up, and that means it’s time to start thinking about spring. Break out those sandals and sundresses and plan to do a little shopping to add some of the latest spring fashion trends to your wardrobe.

Here’s a list of some of the top spring trends and wardrobe must-haves fashion experts are seeing for 2015.

Color: Color is making a bold statement for spring. Bright whites, blushes, pastels, olive green, and black and white are popular this season. Yellow also is very popular for this spring as well as shades of red and orange. Floral patterns were big on fashion runways this year in everything from tops and pants to dresses and scarves.

Styles: The Bohemian look is very on-trend right now with clothing featuring fringe, headbands, embroidered patches, and feathers. This look is very eclectic with a 1970s vibe in prints and colors. Crochet, flesh tones, lace, and floral make for a very feminine look. Sheen and shine, sequins, and metallic foil finishes will be everywhere as well as embroidery and jeweled trims. Asian patterns are also trending with pajama and kimono shapes seen a lot.

Must-haves: Maxi dresses are a must-have for your spring wardrobe. This style is typically a floor-length sundress and comes in solids, prints, and florals. Another item that is hot this year is Bermuda shorts. In between a crop pant and shorts, Bermuda shorts hit right above the knee and can be dressed up or down. Tunics, wide-leg trousers, layering shirts, and woven tops are other must-haves.

Shoes: Look for metallic and neutral combinations for spring footwear. Sandals, wedges, and flats are still popular and stylish with sandals that are reminiscent of the ankle boots that were popular this fall. Gladiator sandals remain trendy as well as loafers with a square toe.

Accessories: Belts will be everywhere, whether wide or skinny, and are best worn with a dress. Layered necklaces and fringe are also trendy this season.

Happy spring shopping!

Designer Spotlight: Neon Buddha

Nitsa’s is proud to carry women’s sportswear by Neon Buddha, whose slogan is “nirvana neon buddha at nitsasfor your body and soul.”

Neon Buddha started with the idea of producing a lifestyle clothing collection for travel, home, work, yoga, and you. The collection is Canadian-designed and produced and managed by a team of 300 women in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Neon Buddha’s ethical work standards are fundamental and at the forefront of its management strategy.

Neon Buddha was launched in 2006 and features casual cotton-spandex knitwear—T-shirts, jackets, skirts, and pants that also have handmade buttons. Their spring 2015 line features skinny pants and wide-leg pants, bright tunics, colorful cotton jackets, and comfortable dresses and tanks in a color palette featuring 22 different colors.

Neon Buddha’s ethical work standards are fundamental and at the forefront of its management strategy. Also woven into the fabric of the company is a steadfast dedication to sustainable practices.They use green technologies whenever they can and have a new dye house that is 100% pollution-free. Currently, both the Canadian head office and their Chiang Mai facility uses solar power to heat domestic hot water. Extra insulation has also been installed in the buildings to keep the staff cool in Thailand and warm in Canada. All paper, cardboard, plastic, glass, and metal are recycled. At their warehouse in Chiang Mai, dozens of trees have been planted for shade, and green spaces have been created for the staff to enjoy and to offset the company’s carbon foot print.

During the season, any excess fabric is donated to several non-governmental organizations and women’s groups where it is used in income-generating projects.

Neon Buddha’s designs inspire them as members of the global community to give back. One percent of all sales of garments are donated to various projects to make the world a better place.

Visit Nitsa’s Winston-Salem location to find the latest designs by Neon Buddha.

 

 

Easter Dresses Aren’t Just for Little Girls

There’s nothing sweeter than seeing little girls dressed up in their fancy Easter dresses and hats. But who says the tradition of a new Easter dress has to be reserved for kids?  There’s no better way to kick off spring than with a colorful new dress in the bright colors Easter dresses for women 2015of the season.

How can you make this tradition more grown up and current?

Choose a dress that says spring. Think bright floral prints, pastels, pinks, yellows, greens, whites, and lavenders. Obvious choices for Easter would be a pretty sundress, but if the weather isn’t quite warm enough to go sleeveless, you can throw on a pretty cardigan or wrap, or splurge and invest in a spring coat. Spring coats can be found in lighter canvas or cotton fabrics in bright colors like hot pink, yellow, mint green or even in a pretty floral print.

Good choices for styles for Easter dresses include knee-length, A-line sleeveless dresses or classic sheath dresses. Maxi-dresses are still hot this season, but for the holiday, choose one in a lighter spring color or pattern. If you want to show off your figure, fitted dresses are also trendy right now.

Easter dresses embrace femininity with girly, floral prints or bright solids in lace, cotton, or silk. Ruffle and lace accents are current right now. Or if you prefer more classic designs, there are a plethora of structured dresses available for spring in solids like navy blue or black with white piping. Sleeveless styles work best for Easter, but if you prefer a sleeve, be careful when choosing a short sleeve dress as cap sleeves or sleeves that hit too high on the arm can be unflattering to even the slimmest arms.

Dresses not for you? You can still put together a pretty Easter outfit with a pair of wide-leg pants in linen, silk, or rayon paired with a bright top or sweater.

Easter also marks the day that most ladies break out their sandals after months of being in storage for winter. Wedges and gladiator-style sandals are still popular choices this season, but you can never go wrong with a flat sandal embellished with gold or silver accents.

If you are longing for that “Easter bonnet” you used to receive every year as a child, be bold and wear a hat with your Easter dress. Available in a variety of styles and colors that range from subtle pastels to bright, vibrant tones, Easter hats for women are an elegant and sophisticated way to complete any fashion ensemble. Choose a wide-brimmed hat and tie a pretty scarf around it to finish off the look.

Embrace your inner child and get decked out this Easter. Happy spring!

Southern Wedding Traditions

The South is steeped in tradition and Southern weddings are no exception. From outdoor weddings to seersucker to bridal portraits, even if you don’t live in the South or aren’t Southern-born, you can incorporate some of these traditions to make your wedding extra special.

Here are some of the top Southern wedding traditions:

  • The Charm Pull Cake.This cake can be at the wedding or at a bridal shower.

    Groom’s Cake from Cakegallery.org

    Charms tied to ribbons are baked into a layer of the cake and before the cake is cut, each bridesmaid picks a charm and pulls. The charm that the bridesmaid chooses is supposed to signify something to come in the future; for example, a bridesmaid who pulls a charm in the shape of an engagement ring is the next to get married.

  • Burying the Bourbon. Burying the bourbon is more of a superstition but a very Southern one! It involves digging a hole and burying a full bottle of bourbon upside down at the wedding ceremony site. Doing so is supposed to ward off rain on the wedding day. After the ceremony, the idea is to dig up the bottle of bourbon and share with your guests. Of course, if you’re not into bourbon, any drink will do. Just make sure it’s sealed tightly and that you don’t forget the spot where you left it!
  • Bridal Portrait Sessions. Southern brides have always donned their wedding gowns before the wedding to sit for a formal bridal portrait. The portrait is then framed and displayed at the wedding reception and later hung in the couple’s new home.
  • Groom’s Cake. Who can forget the bleeding armadillo groom’s cake in “Steel Magnolias”? While not usually quite that unique, a groom’s cake is a Southern tradition that is a gift from the bride to her groom. It’s an opportunity for the bride to get creative and present her groom with a personalized cake that represents something special to him, for example, his favorite sport or sports team, favorite hobby or film. It is usually served at the reception or at the rehearsal dinner.
  • Light-colored Menswear. With Southern weddings usually taking place in the summer and because the South is HOT, it’s no surprise that menswear for Southern weddings leans toward the lighter side. Seersucker or linen is popular, as are light grey or tan suits.
  • Pearls. A true Southern bride is not complete with out a strand of pearls!