Based on Emily Schuman's popular lifestyle blog, "Cupcakes and Cashmere" is a guide to dressing, decorating and celebrating with style. From crafty projects to spring cleaning advice, Schuman's book includes tips and tutorials organized by season. Here's an excerpt.
When I first began my blog, Cupcakes and Cashmere, in 2008, I wanted to create a place that brought together all the things I was passionate about. I was a few years out of college, and eager to find more of a balance, so that my life didn’t revolve solely around my job.
It occurred to me that we all could use a reminder to focus on the little things that bring us happiness rather than dwelling on those that don’t. I started a recurring weekly post called “Five Things” that spoke to that exact idea. Unlike magazines that had one primary focus, I wanted to incorporate a variety of topics, including fashion, food, interior design, beauty, and entertaining. My goal was to create unique content that inspired others to live an elevated, charmed life.
This book revolves around the core ideas from my blog, but provides a much more in-depth view that simply can’t be captured online. It’s categorized by season, with my tips, tricks, and tutorials on how to make the most out of the different times of year.
Fall is a great time to get inspired and polish up the feel of your interior space. Take care of a few of those things you’ve been putting off, like finding an attractive way to display one of your collections, so that when winter comes, you can cozy up in a home that is stylish and comfortable.
A complete overhaul isn’t necessary in order to acknowledge the shift in seasons. Instead, a few simple changes will help transition your place from a sun-filled summer home into one that’s inviting for fall. Easy fixes include draping a blanket over the sides of a chair, splurging on a nice heavier candle (avoid gingerbread, eggnog, sugar cookies, and peppermint as they’re often saccharine), and switching out light and colorful pillows in favor of ones with more texture and darker hues.
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the power of paint
One of the simplest ways to update your place is to use paint. Spray paint requires very little prep work or additional tools (no paintbrushes necessary!) and comes in a wide variety of colors. I always keep a few cans on hand in neutrals like gold, black, and white so that I can spruce things up within a few minutes. Here are some of the ways I’ve used paint to add a bit of polish around my place.
Do you have a set of mismatched candlesticks or porcelain vases that have lost their luster? A quick coat of paint will bring them back to life. Items to consider: small vases, candlesticks, bookends, figurines, frames, etc.
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The quickest way to transform a worn piece of furniture is with a fresh coat of paint. My dark, drab nightstands were immediately freshened up with white paint (if it’s wood, just make sure to sand and add a coat of primer before you begin). Items to consider: mirrors, side tables, benches, chairs, etc.
shifting wardrobe: the transition from summer to fall
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do your research
Either read magazines or look on blogs. It helps to be as organized as possible, so that you’re aware of what’s in your closet and you don’t end up buying any repeats. For example: think of colors, shapes, textures, patterns, and overall feel (’70s minimalist, structured and neutral, or flowy and bohemian). A sample list: high-waisted trousers, slouchy knits (in either white or cream), oversized clutch, and leopard-print booties.
buy now, wear later
Just because you buy new items doesn’t mean you have to wear them immediately (and if the weather is hot, you won’t be that tempted). Instead, fold them up and put them in some sort of bin until they’re seasonally appropriate.
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edit your closet
Each new season makes for the perfect opportunity to edit your current wardrobe to make room for new pieces. Look through your items from the year prior and get rid of any that show signs of age. If you find a piece that’s no longer current or on trend, donate that as well (unless, of course, it’s vintage and/or expensive, in which case you should store it somewhere safe).
The transition from summer to fall is usually a gradual one; you probably won’t need to be wearing an eyelet dress one day and a turtleneck the next. I like to incorporate fall pieces with my summer wardrobe in subtle ways, so that if I’m wearing a silk dress on a chilly night, I’ll throw on a pair of tights with platform sandals. This way, you can extend the wear of some of your summer pieces without immediately transitioning to your fall wardrobe.
wearable wardrobe — one piece, multiple ways
The key to having a functional wardrobe is to invest in classic pieces that can be worn a variety of ways. Things like neutral-colored blazers, black dresses, and white blouses are always good to have on hand, but my leather skirt is easily the most versatile piece I own. With just a few simple changes, it can transition from day to night, and it’s surprisingly current, no matter what the season.
clothes for your lifestyle
To figure out which pieces in your closet will get the most use, have a realistic view of your lifestyle. It’s all about calculating the cost per wear, so that even if you purchase an exorbitantly priced purse, if you carry it every day, it might make sense financially. If you often go out at night, invest in a great leather jacket that can also be worn over cotton basics during the day. The same can be said for someone who works in a conservative office and relies on classic, comfortable heels that are professional but playful enough so they can be worn out to a dinner date. Most important, before you make the investment, know which items will get a lot of use (a beautiful ball gown does you no good if it only collects dust in the back of your closet).
Reprinted from "From Cupcakes and Cashmere" by Emily Schuman © 2012 by Emily Schuman. Used with permission of Abrams Books.
© 2012 MSNBC Interactive