Category Archives: Fashion

When can I start wearing boots?

BootsThis is one of the questions I got most often this time of year at Salt & Pepper. Keep in mind, this advice is primarily for folks in the southern states because for us here in Louisiana, it can – and will most likely be – quite warm until almost Christmas.

We had a bit of a cool snap on Saturday, so ladies like me who are itching to dip into our fall clothing options, pulled out boots and scarves and sweaters and wore as much of it as possible while we had the chance. Deep down inside, we knew that we’d have to wear something sleeveless by mid-week this week, but we were going to make the most of those 60-degree temps while we had them!

As I was thinking about which fall item I was itching to wear, I thought back on my time at S&P, and I thought about that ever popular question – When can I wear boots in Louisiana?

The fact of the matter is, I think you can start wearing boots in August – if you can stand it. For me, the fall season is in full swing once August arrives. I begin to put away and avoid the more summery things and start wearing more fall colors and items. However, it’s usually still HOT here, so I mix in whatever fall pieces I can stand. If I enjoyed taking outfit photos, I’d share a few here to show what I’m talking about. I’m really working on that, folks. (If you want to see some outfit options that I’m drooling over these days, check out my Fashionista board on Pinterest.)

When I start to pull out my boots, I typically start with a short pair. This isn’t some sort of “rule.” Instead, it’s usually just my way of getting to wear a boot when I’m ready to without sweating to death. So, if you’re ever dying to pull out your boots but it’s just a little too warm, I’d suggest starting with a shorter option. This has been my strategy for the last three years. I know this because I documented it on Instagram. After all, the day you get to pull out your boots is a day to celebrate!

If you just can’t resist that tall boot, go ahead and wear them! I completely understand what it’s like to miss those babies for months. If it’s still a little warm, pair them with shorts or a dress with bare legs. This usually gives you the chance to wear the boot while still not ignoring the fact that it’s still pretty warm outside.

So, if you’re wondering when you can pull your favorite boots out, I say do it now! If it’s still a little warm in your neck of the woods, try one of the options above. No matter how you wear them, it’s time to dust those puppies off!

September is in full swing and I’m loving it. If only it weren’t back to 90 degree temps already…

Also, if you’d like some suggestions on how to wear cuffed jeans with short boots, check out this post.

#mapfirsthouse – Closet Plans & Inspiration

flamingo printI had a closet room in our last rent house, but I never quite made it into the room of fabulousness that I had hoped for. In this house, I have pretty large plans to make this room a dressing room paradise. 

My overall inspiration for the room came from this nursery. I loved the black and white stripes with hot pink and orange accents. I even ordered this flamingo print from Elise!  (Once upon a time, I really hated pink. However, since this spring I’ve really kind of liked it.) 

My original idea was to hang black and white striped curtains, but when reading this post by Myquillyn, I saw the striped wallpaper and fell in love! Striped wallpaper would make such a grander statement than just curtains, and I’m pretty excited about my new idea. (Also, I love the idea of those Style Saturdays by Lowe’s and would love for one to take place near me!)


As for other inspiration, I plan to paint our current dining room chandelier and use it in the space. I’m also thinking I’ll spray paint/update my dear mannequin a copper color to pull from the orange. The yellow worked great at Salt & Pepper, but I think it’s time for an update. Have I mentioned that I’m loving copper these days?? I’d paint everything copper right now if it made sense. (P.S. That’s my wedding dress that she’s wearing.) 

Yellow Mannequin I certainly hated to take down my old shoe shelves, but I was excited to make a new plan for this closet. I brought in this shelf as a temporary solution for my shoes until I could decide exactly how I wanted things done. However, I think I might love this option! This shelf was built by my dad with 100 year old wood from our old barn. That’s amazing, right?? I’ve always used this shelf for picture frames and such because the shelves are too narrow for books and taller items. I never considered it as an option for shoes, but I’m thinking that I might be in love! 

Barnwood ShelfAs of right now, I brought in the orange printed rug from my last closet. I’ll wait until more of the decor comes together before deciding if it stays, but I definitely love this rug. I’m thinking that I might end up with an ottoman in the center of the room, but I’m still thinking on that too. 

Orange RugMy next plan is to recover my grandmother’s cream vintage chair in this black and white printed fabric. I purchased this fabric from a clearance rack years ago with no plan for it. I’ve been waiting on the right project, and I think this is it! You might remember this chair from my old living room. I’ve used it since I was a little girl. Speaking of recovering chairs, if anyone has any tips for that project, I’m all ears! 

vintage chairThings are definitely coming together around the house. Of course, it’s a slow and steady process, but I’m feeling good about what we’ve accomplished so far. I’ve enjoyed dreaming up plans for this closet space of mine, and I can’t wait to pull it all together. Have you seen any fabulous closet spaces lately? Send me a link! 

White After Labor Day

White After Labor Day 2Before I even begin discussing wearing white after Labor Day, let me first tell you what I think the number one most important fashion rule of all is. Get a pen…you’ll want to right this down. Are you ready? Rule number one is…WEAR WHAT YOU WANT. Yes, I love keeping up with the latest trends. And yes, there are certain guidelines that you can follow to look your best. However, the most important rule that you can follow in regards to fashion is to not take all of those rules quite so seriously.  

So, let’s talk about Labor Day. I think it’s safe to say that most people know that I don’t really enjoy following the rules. After all, rules are made to be broken right?? I think the no-white-after-labor-day rule might be one of the longest living and most strictly followed fashion rules of old. People who still follow this guideline usually stick to it pretty firmly. Today, I want to offer some tips for ways to wear white after Labor Day in a trendy and acceptable way.  

  1. I never wear white shoes after Labor Day or before Easter. Honestly, I don’t really care for white shoes that much at all. However, I usually reserve my creamier colored options for the spring and summer months. (Actually, you should be very careful with true white shoes, as they can sometimes look cheap. Usually, something with a creamier color to it will look more expensive and classy.) Now certainly, there could be some exceptions to this rule. None of the tips I’m offering today are meant to be followed religiously. There are always exceptions and it’s always okay to bend the rules a little. Have a fabulous pair of cream heels like these? Wear them! They’d look fantastic with a pair of cuffed jeans and a baggy sweater.
  2. When wearing white pants out of season, I always wear dark colors or heavier fabrics with them. Wearing a bright color or summery printed fabric with white pants will make your outfit look a little out of season. However, pairing the pants with an oversized sweater or deep fall colors, looks perfectly acceptable. Similarly, I usually only wear dark colored shoes with white pants after Labor Day. Wearing a dark shoe instead of a light-colored one helps bring the white pant on into the cooler seasons. One of my favorite looks for winter is white pants with black riding boots and a heavy wool sweater. Following this guideline helps ensure that you won’t look out of season. Instead, you’ll look crisp and trendy!
  3. In addition to not wearing light-colored shoes with white pants after Labor Day, I’ll also seldom wear sandals with them. The exception to this rule for me is wearing a sandal that’s dark-colored and more substantial like the one in my photo from last week. I try to avoid wearing a simple sandal with white pants after Labor Day unless I’m wearing a long sleeve or bulkier top. I usually opt for a closed toe flat or boot instead. Again though, don’t take this rule too seriously. There are almost always exceptions.

White After Labor Day
While these are a few of the parameters I use when breaking the no-white rule, I don’t even follow them exclusively. As I said above, there are typically exceptions. What I tend to do when planning to wear white after Labor Day or before Easter is ask myself….does this outfit look like fall or does it look springy? If I think it looks a little springy, I’ll try to darken it up a bit. If it looks like I could be standing in a pile of fall-colored leaves holding a steaming cup of coffee, then we’re in business. 

As for white purses, if your handbag has an ivory or cream tint to it, then I think it’s acceptable year round! I would, however, reserve a true white purse for the spring and summer months. Again though, be very careful with true white accessories. You always want your clothing and accessories to look more expensive than they actually were, never the other way around. 

So there you have it…my thoughts on the no-white rule. As I’m writing this, I can’t actually think of any fashion rules that I follow exclusively. I think I’ve created my own list of “rules” and I like the flexibility of those rules so much more. 

Do you have an outfit idea that you’re unsure of? Or a question about how to wear your white accessories after Labor Day? Leave a comment below! I’ll be happy to offer some thoughts/suggestions. 

Let’s go break some rules! 

Closet Room – Shoe Shelves

Shoe Wall
Anyone who knows me, knows that I have quite the shoe collection.
My last count was over 150 pair, and that number has certainly grown since then. The problem with having so many shoes is how to store/display them.

If you read my last post about shoe storage you know that I found an awesome new strategy for storing my out of season shoes. While that set up is still working wonderfully, my in-season shoes weren’t as accessible as I’d like. During the spring and summer months, my old shoe shelves worked ok and everything fit on the shelves decently. However, there was simply no way to fit all of my winter shoes/boots on those shelves. (See my earlier post to see what shelves I was using.) Last year I used a second shelf for tall boots, but I didn’t like having to rearrange the room to bring in another shelf just for boots. Besides, we sold that old shelf in the garage sale. (What better way to force yourself to come up with a better solution that to sell your current method in a garage sale?!)

Winter Shoe WallI am so very lucky to have a handy husband who agreed to build me some custom shoe shelves. By making the shelves go from door frame to door frame, we added room for more shoes. Plus, by spacing the shelves farther apart, I can fit all of my shoes there, including my tall boots. We used the Pinterest-popular molding trick for heels and even ran the molding above the doorways for more storage. (I use one of those grabber thingys to get those down.) The molding isn’t working quite right, but it’ll do until we can investigate other solutions.

I’m not offering a full tutorial here because these were your basic shelf design…except for better because my wonderful husband built them. Matthew purchased the wood and ready-made brackets from Home Depot. He cut and rounded the corners of the shelves so I wouldn’t break my hips from running in to them…it’s bound to happen. He attached the brackets, sanded the wood, and I painted them this cool teal color. I wanted the color to be a tad darker, but I wasn’t going to argue with the grumpy old paint man in Lowes. (By the way, if you or someone you know needs a Lowe’s coupon, let me know. I have discounts that I can email to my clients/friends.)

I had to fight to fit all of my winter shoes out, but my summer shoes fit pretty well. During my last closet organization spree I mentioned getting rid of extra lounge pants to make them fit in just one drawer. I had to do a similar thing with boots. While I wasn’t ready to part with any of them, I had to put a few pair back in their containers to have enough room for my favorites. If I couldn’t remember wearing them even once last year, I figure they’ll be fine to leave in the top of the closet. After all, I can get them down if I decide to actually wear them this year. The reality is, I only wear those black cowboy boots to country music concerts. They can hang out up top with a few other not-regularly-worn friends until it’s time to “go out with my boots on.” I did the same thing with some summer shoes that aren’t worn often.Shoe Wall

What do you think about the new shelves? Didn’t Matthew do a wonderful job?? I love getting to shop these shelves while getting dressed in the morning. It’s like having my own personal department store! I hated to have to take the shelves down when we moved last week, but I’m already working on ideas for the new house!


Salt & Pepper – New Ownership!

Salt & PepperAs most of you know, I opened Salt & Pepper Accessory Boutique with my sister in 2009. Almost 4 years later we sold the business to our wonderful friend, Jessica Pollard. Both Sherri and I wanted to pursue other things, (I am LOVING new real estate career by the way.) and we knew Jessica could take the reigns and make magic happen with the business. Since taking over, Jessica has added her own spin to our little shop, and it’s been so fun to watch it evolve. I thought I’d take a minute to formally introduce Jessica to my readers and friends.

Pamela: Thanks for taking the time to do this interview for my readers. Tell us a little about yourself.
Jessica: I am originally from Oak Grove, Louisiana and this is my second retail store to own. I have a degree in fashion merchandising and have worked in retail for 19 years…it’s in my blood! I love being able to be creative with the business and styling customers based on their individual personalities.

Pamela: Nineteen years is a long time. What makes you love the fashion/retail industry?
Jessica: Fashion is ever changing…from styles and seasons to colors…there’s always something new to explore. Plus, getting to interact with customers is very exciting.

Pamela: What sorts of products have you added to S&P?
Jessica: I’ve added more clothing options, new boots, sandals, and the well-loved Minnetonka Moccasins. I’ve also expanded our collections of customer favorites like Lenny & Eva and Natural Life.
Pamela: (You all MUST go see the new Lenny & Eva products…they’re my favorite!!)

Pamela: What have you done to make the store your own?
Jessica: I have taken the clothing options in a different direction, offering a different style than the store had before. I’ve also added local art from our area.

Pamela: What do you feel sets S&P apart from other similar businesses?
Jessica: We take great pride in our customer service…you just don’t find that everywhere. Plus, our merchandise is so versatile that it fits any age group.

Pamela: What have been your biggest challenges from owning your own business again?
Jessica: It’s always tough to find unique products that aren’t offered just anywhere, and that’s something I’ll always be pursuing. Staffing is sometimes a battle because it’s important to find employees that work hard and represent your business well. On top of that, I’d saying finding the balance between a work like and a personal life is something I’m continually working on.

Pamela: As we wrap up, please tell us what your favorite trend is for the Spring 2014 season.
Jessica: The boho trend is my favorite! I love boots with dresses because it’s funky and fun. Plus, I’m in love with fringe!

Salt & PepperThank you, Jessica, for the interview!  Make sure to stop by the store on Antique Alley soon and show her some love! You can also follow Salt & Pepper on facebook and Instagram. She’ll ship items nationwide, so be sure to snag some of your favorites! We want you all to welcome and support Jessica just the way you did us. We truly appreciate the love you’ve shown her the last 8 months, and we hope you’ll keep it up!

Salt & PepperAs for me, I truly loved getting to know you all and have missed seeing your faces regularly. Please add me on Facebook (Pamela Bryant Petrus) so I can keep in contact with you. (You can also follow me on Instagram or twitter.) Furthermore, if you know of anyone hoping to buy or sell a house, please call me! My contact info is on my real estate page.

Salt & PepperBefore we wrap up, there are two more things to talk about.

  • First, Jessica is hosting a FASHION EVENT this Saturday, March 15 at the store (400 Trenton Street, West Monroe). The fashion show starts at 7:00 pm and there will be food and lots of fun. I will be there cheering Jessica on and I really, really hope I’ll get to see lots of familiar faces there. Please join me in supporting Jessica’s first event at the store!
  • Second, Jessica and I are teaming up to offer my FIRST EVER giveaway on the blog! You can enter to win a $25 gift certificate to Salt & Pepper just by heading over to the S&P Instagram (@saltandpepperboutique). Take a look around and then come back here and comment with your favorite item. (Be sure to click “follow” because you don’t want to miss seeing the spring arrivals.) Leave a comment here and a random winner will be chosen on Friday, March 10, 2014 at 4:00 pm!

Thank you again for stopping by! Don’t forget the show on Saturday, and be sure to comment for a chance to win! Much love – Pamela

What We Wore: ’90s Palooza

90s OutfitsLittle excites me more than ’90s music, so when Amanda invited us to come along to a ’90s Palooza last fall, we jumped at the opportunity! To make this event even more amazing, ’90s attire was required. Costumes and ’90s music…what could be more fun??

As usual, I waited until the night before to start getting my outfit together. Turns out, I had a much harder time than anticipated. If you follow me on Instagram, you saw the disaster in my closet. I eventually settled on something and created a ’90s look from high-waisted cutoff Levi’s (that didn’t actually fit me) and a velvet crop top…oh, how I love velvet! I was rather brave to show my midriff, especially without a tan, but when a ’90s event comes around, you gotta make the most it! I’ve been looking for an excuse to wear that sequined choker…this was the perfect moment!

Matthew ripped up some old jeans, wore a flannel shirt unbuttoned, and a hat backwards. It took me a long time to get used to his new look…it was like I was back in middle school! Also, be sure to notice that hemp necklace I snagged at Goodwill. Amanda looked a little more “put together” than me. She wore shorts with tights and combat boots, a denim vest, and flannel…the epitome of ’90s grudge.

90s OutfitsOne of the highlights of the night was running into the Spice Girls!! You would have thought that they were the real deal if you saw how excited Amanda and I got over them. The Spice Girls are definitely on the top of the list of things I miss from the ’90s.

90s Palooza

Matthew, Amanda, and I are known to have a barrel of fun together, but we certainly enjoyed this evening at the Dixie Center for the Arts. We’re already planning for next year and can’t wait for more ’90s attire, good times, and fun music!

This sound like an event you’d enjoy? Feel free to join us this year!
Warning: you’ll leave with a sore throat from screaming your favorite songs. It’s all part of the experience.

Happy Halloween!

Audrey HepburnThis year’s Halloween plans were rather tame. However, I made sure to take full advantage of our Halloween event at Keller Williams. We had a potluck lunch and costume contest at the office, coupled with a baby shower for two of our agents.My first instinct was to go as a mermaid, but I decided on Audrey Hepburn as Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany’s…it would be much easier to work in after the party. Do you know anyone who has their hair professionally done for a Halloween costume? Yeah…probably not.

Halloween HairI should point out that it was literally FLOODING  on Halloween morning. Of course it would be, considering I had a legit hair appointment for this costume. I had my hair done first thing that morning which means I wore a shower cap and sweat pants to take my mom to treatments. It was a lovely sight! Then, I rushed home and changed. It was tough not to look like a drowned rat by the time I made it to the party, but somehow I pulled it off!

Audrey Hepburn and a BallerinaMy new assistant started her first real day on the job, so she joined us as a pretty ballerina. Doesn’t everyone wear a tutu to their first day at the office?? There were witches, a banana, a pirate, Captain America…you name it! Courtney made the most adorable homeless person…her sign really made the costume. It read, “Homeless. Need rich husband.” What a fantastic solution!
Audrey Hepburn helps the HomelessAudrey Hepburn and Brett MichaelsBrett Michaels even made a star-studded appearance! I should mention that his vest and leather pants were from my garage sale stuff. No joke. My Mom made that zebra vest for my senior prom date to match my dress. Again, not joking. This was before zebra print was everywhere…I was making a statement!I think my most significant accomplishment this Halloween was mastering cat eyes with liquid eyeliner! Makeup is not really my thing, and I was terrified of that liquid liner. Now I think I might rock it everyday! For inspiration on Audrey Hepburn make up, this 12 minute video was pretty detailed! You can also try the scotch tape trick, but I failed at this one…I taped my eye shut!

If you want to see what Audrey Hepburn looks like in the morning, click here!

Audrey HepburnSo, how do you think I did?? I simply love dressing up!

My Favorites: Blazers

When I’m “all about” something, I’m “all about” it. Take colors for instance. If I’m shopping, I’ll gravitate to one color all day. If it’s gray, everything I notice, look at, and want will be gray that day. During my last shopping adventure, the color of the day was teal. Absolutely everything I wanted was a pretty blue color.BlazersThe same thing happens with trends. My favorite right now is blazers. If you follow my fashionista board on Pinterest, you’ll see that the majority of outfits I’m pinning include a blazer of some sort.I think my new obsession with blazers comes from my desire to bring my wardrobe to a dressier level since launching my real estate career. My favorite look right now is tattered jeans, heels, and a blazer with a big, chunky necklace. I haven’t mustered the courage to wear tattered jeans to work yet, but it might be happening in the near future.BlazersThe funny thing about the blazers I’ve acquired lately is that several of them even have shoulder pads! I’ve never been a fan of them in the past, but for some reason, I’m liking them lately! Basically, I can’t get enough of blazers in all colors, styles, and patterns. I’m looking forward to slightly cooler Louisiana weather so I can wear them without risking a heat stroke.


Left to right: cream lace and denim polka dot (TJ Maxx), navy floral (Gap), red/orange (Kohl’s) 

My other fashion obsession right now is leather. (Faux, of course!) I’ve only invested in one leather-trimmed item so far, but I’d expect to see some leather items from me very soon!
What are your obsessions lately?? I want to hear about them!

What I Wore: To Work

The transition from one career to another has been a fun ride. In addition to the millions of other things that I’m learning to do differently, I’ve also had to make some adjustments to my personal style. I’m still experimenting with what the real estate look is going to look like for me, but here’s what I’ve learned so far.

  1. I don’t want a stuffy, strictly-business look.
  2. I want to show my edgy/fashionable/fun side while still looking professional.
  3. I’m enjoying mixing dressy and casual elements to create looks that provide a dressy/casual vibe that’s a nice middle ground.
  4. Dresses are my outfit of choice as this Louisiana weather gets warmer and warmer.

For this outfit, I chose a burnt orange, sleeveless dress. This dress has a great, flattering fit and is nice and breezy for these hot, summer days.

orange dressThe dress came with a camel-colored belt, but I really wanted to add a different color to make it look a little brighter for summertime. My first choice was to pair it with a new, magenta belt, but the belt was too big for the waistline of the dress. Instead, I settled for this creamy white option. Adding the lighter colored belt still gave me the brighter, more summery look that I was going for. Plus, this braided belt added a slightly more casual element to help me achieve that middle ground I’m going for right now.

braided beltTo coordinate with the white belt, I added these cream & gold earrings (my new favorites) and layered my orange Lenny & Eva leather cuff with a white Lenny & Eva beaded bracelet. (There are just so many options with Lenny & Eva!) I added a pair of nude sandals, and I was good to go.

gold & cream earringsLenny & Eva braceletsThis outfit gave me the professional, yet casual look that I’ve been gravitating to lately. My personal style will continue to transform over the next few months, but I like where its headed. When I first started this new career, I quickly realized that my style had become very casual while working at Salt & Pepper (a far stretch from my business suit days as a marketing director).  Don’t get me wrong, I loved my tattered, vintage, boho style…but it’s just not what I want for this career. I also liked my business suit style from working at the Monroe-West Monroe Convention & Visitors Bureau. However, I’m very excited to develop a new style that’s somewhat of a combination of the two. Here’s to a new look!

The dress, all jewelry, and belt are from Salt & Pepper.

More on my personal style here and here.

Little Changes, Big Differences: Scarf Organization

This post is the beginning of a series of posts called “Little Changes, Big Differences” where I’ll show how tweaking small things in your home can make a big difference.

My first project for this series is tackling my scarf storage. Owning a boutique where we’re known for our scarf selection means one thing: I have a ton of scarves. One of the main questions we get in the store (after how to tie scarves), is how to store them. Here’s how I’m currently storing mine, beginning with a before picture.

Bad scarf storageI mentioned before that I turned a spare bedroom into a giant closet. This project is still a work in progress, so it’s not exactly the fashion oasis that I’m hoping for, but we’re getting there. As you can see, my scarves are hanging on rods on the wall. I like to hang them so everything can easily be seen. I love seeing how pretty they all are, and I like the color it adds to the room. Even if you don’t have a closet room like I do, you can still hang scarves with a rod on the back of a closet door or back or side wall of your closet.

To hang these scarves, I used silver bars from Ikea. As you can see from the picture, the system wasn’t working. The problem was that the bar wasn’t far enough off of the wall for me to be able to easily hang the scarves. The thicker scarves barely fit through there, and when I was in a hurry (always), I wouldn’t have time to fight with them. In turn, the scarf wall ended up look like this crazy mess. Not good.

If a system or storage function isn’t working in your home, CHANGE IT. Spend a few minutes thinking about what the problem is and usually a small amount of effort and/or money can remedy your problem and makes things work more smoothly for you.

Since I determined that the bars were too close to the wall, I decided to replace them with actual curtain rods. We’ve used curtain rods on a wall at Salt & Pepper before, and it worked wonderfully. I already had these rods so this update didn’t cost me anything, but you can get similar ones at Ross for under $5. These were $3.99! After installing the new curtain rods, I have more room to slide the scarves in, making it much more feasible for me to keep it tidy.

(Shopping tip: I actually get most of my curtain rods from Ross, because they have really nice ones for amazingly cheap prices. Obviously, the ones that I’m using for this wall aren’t the “really nice ones,” but I needed smaller ones with a yellow tint for a different project, and they’re coming in handy for this project too.)

New scarf storagenew scarf storageAgain, making a small change, such as this one, can sometimes make a big difference in the overall function of a space. If you’re looking to make your home less cluttered and more functional, be on the lookout for areas like this where you can make a small adjustment and in turn create a better environment.

Do you have any areas that aren’t working for you in your home? Tell me about them…I might can help!

See more from my closet room here!