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Lorraine is a style obsessed mama to two young kids, a wife to a supportive husband and a family photographer. Lorraine graduated from Rochester Institute of Technology in 2006, with a degree in advertising photography. She enjoys quiet moments, silly kids, clothes, shoes, coffee and a little wine too. Can't get enough of her here on FredParent? Check out her personal blog: Rain in Style.


Rain in Style

What to Wear for Family Photos

'Tis the season...the leaves are changing, the pumpkins are being picked and carved, there is a crispness in the air...and that my friends, probably means you are getting family photos done.  I know this because, not only am I a style blogger, but I am also a family photographer here in Fredericksburg (find me on Facebook- Lorraine Serbinski Photography, or on my webpage, here ).  I thought that I would take a moment to talk about what to wear for your family photo sessions. I recently took my own family photos, and the struggle with what everyone should wear is real!! In fact, I have to bribe my son to wear actual pants and not those athletic running style pants... and shoes...that's a whole THING. A shirt with BUTTONS?!? The terror!!!!!!! 

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Anyway, so as both a photographer and a mom, I get that coordinating everyone for your photos can be a task.  So, I will give you a few suggestions that hopefully will make it a little easier, but the bribing...that's all you. This year, for my family photos (yes I took them myself) I wanted to wear a tutu skirt...and that is a statement piece, so I had to work everyone else's outfits around my tutu. I chose white, because I knew that the couch I would use was red, and the color scheme I wanted was white, teal, red with grey thrown in as a neutral. You can find this tutu skirt in every color imaginable, on Amazon, here.  

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So that brings me to my suggestions:

  • Start with a color scheme in mind-  You can search pinterest or google and find a lot of interesting color combinations.  Everyone in the photo should be wearing the colors in your chosen scheme.  They don't all have to wear every color at once.  Use neutral colors too to create balance and rest, and by "rest" I mean neutrals give your eye a rest from a lot of color. 
  • Choose a statement piece or a pattern- be careful with patterns.  Stay away from loud patterns, and use it sparingly, for example, don't put everyone in plaid, one person in plaid and the others in cooridinating solid colors.  Whoever is wearing the pattern, will stand out. However, I broke that "rule" in the photo above...LOL. My son is in plaid and I have a polka dot cardigan.  It works though because both are understated.
  • If in doubt, layer-  Layers add interest to an outfit.  With my family photos, I probably should have put my husband in a jacket, that way he would have had an extra layer.  
  • Think about your entire outfit- From head to toe, everything matters.  So, don't wear holey socks, or beat up shoes.
  • Accesorize-  yes yes yes.  Accessories are a great way to put personality into your photos. They are also a great way to bring in different textures. Scarves, jewelry...etc  
  • Ask your photographer- I know a few photographers that have strong feelings about certain colors, or clothing styles, so ask thier opinion.  However, always always be true to your likes and what you love to wear.  We are here to help, but if you don't love what you are in, the pictures will reflect that.
  • Lay it out- I find it easiest to lay everything out on the floor, so you can see all outfits together.  I am a visual person, so it helps me see how it will all come together and if I need to change anything.

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 And, my most important suggestion...get your family photos done every year.  I am still amazed at how fast both my family and my clients' families change and grow.  Here is one of my family photos from last year.  Color scheme for this one was neutral colors.  And oh my how we have changed! Looking back at this now, I should have had blue earrings instead of the neutral colored ones.  It would have helped to draw the blue across.    

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 This one is from maybe two years ago (maybe three)... and it brings back so many memories!  Don't let their happy faces fool you, they were NOT HAPPY.  My kids have something called "photographers kid syndrome". It's a terrible thing that affects their capability to listen to direction as soon as their mom picks up the camera.  It's this strange affliction that turns them into little demanding divas who act like wild hyenas. 

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Regardless, I hope you all are getting your photos done, or maybe you are ahead of the game and already did. Either way, go on and get them done.  Capture the moments, all of them, because pretty soon they won't want to sit this close to each other, or bribing them to do it will involve something bigger than Smarties. But most importantly, let it be FUN. Let them do thier goofy shots, the goofy poses... you'll get the images you want faster.  

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Stay tuned next week when I talk about how to style over the knee boots, another fall favorite.  



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Let's Talk About Scarves

Hi everyone, I’m back this week with one of my fall (and winter) favorite things... scarves. I have a love, verging on obsession, for scarves that I cannot and will not ever deny. It’s like a necklace that keeps you warm and cozy. Although, unlike jewelry, I know that they can be difficult to style, especially those “is this a blanket or a scarf” ones... conveniently and accurately called blanket scarves. They can be tough to handle, but don’t fear, I have made a video to show you how I wrangle those beasts. I’ll get to that later.

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I own quite a few scarves, but the ones I wear the most are plaid. Do you remember my post a few weeks ago, about being obsessed with plaid? The majority of my scarves are plaid, and most are either infinity style or blanket scarves. Why? Because plaid mixes well with a lot of patterns, which I talked about in my plaid post, here.  My favorite pattern mixing is plaid and leopard print.  Close second is plaid and polka dots.

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Infinity scarves are pretty simple - they are the ones that are just a circle, that you wrap around twice (or at least that’s the only way I do them). I do have a few Infinity style scarves that I love, like this one, that I got at Nordstroms last year. With the infinity style scarves, they are usually shorter and less bulky then blanket scarves and I like that you can wear a long necklace underneath and it peeks out the bottom

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Rectangular scarves can be styled probably a million different ways, but I really only wear mine one way. I made a video to show you how I tie the traditional rectangle scarf, and while I don’t wear them as often as the other two styles, I do have a few that make the cut. In this video, I also show you how to tie blanket scarves.

See? Super easy. Hands down my favorite style of scarf is blanket scarves. I wear them a lot, and learning to tie them so they aren’t bulky is a process. Last year, I went a little cray cray and cut a lot of my blanket scarves in half. Yes, this is an actual thing. Cutting them on the diagonal helps to make them not as bulky, however, I wish now, that I hadn’t done it. I feel like I miss the warmth of the full scarf. For example, these two are some of the ones that I cut...

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Compared to these that are not cut...

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Some blanket scarves are more rectangular in shape, so it makes cutting them a bit tricky. That blue one is a prime example, because it is not long enough for the ends to wrap around, I had to tie it in the back, which leaves me with a large knot at the back of my neck. It's kind of annoying, and I am currently searching for a replacement (which I won't cut). I am always searching my favorite scarf places...try Grace and Lace, Zulilly, Nordstroms and TJ Maxx or Marshalls, for new scarves.  I have just enough space in my closet for like, 3 more.  


Ready to give them a try? Let me know if the video helps you wrangle the blanket scarf beast.  Next week I will be back to talk about my next fall/winter obsession...over the knee boots. 



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My Closet and Lessons Learned Along the Way

I know I said that I would discuss my love affair with scarves this week, but I am going to postpone that discussion to a later date. I have news! Do you remember my blog post about my closet quitting me? If you missed it, find it here. Well, friends, guess what? My new closet was just installed and it is glorious. For this post, I am going to give you a run down of my new closet, and some lessons that I learned along the way.  So bear with me. 

First, the company that I used is called Tailored Living of Fredericksburg - find them here.  I loved working with them; they were very courteous and helpful. They sent a designer out to work, and rework, the design for my closet. She made sure I got exactly what I needed to fit my needs. And, you all know, my needs are shoe storage and lots of hanging space. We had to tear out all the shelving, repair the walls, paint and put in new hardwood floors. All of which was quite the task. 

I started with removing all the old shelving and brackets. I did this by myself. And it was a JOB. One of those jobs that you want to curse and scream at all know like being a "jack in the box" toy tester (that, my firends is an ELF reference). What lesson did I learn at this step? I learned that with enough brute force, you can pull anything out of a wall. Well, OK, brute force and the right tools. I had to try multiple different tools, before I found what worked. Don't judge specialty is fashion, not tools. That and persistence. Knowing that those mollies and brackets stuck in the wall WILL come out. 

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After I successfully ripped, I mean gently pulled out, all of the brackets and mollies, I was left with walls that looked more like swiss cheese than like acutal walls. So, onto the next step, repairing and painting the walls. This step was also done by yours truly. And it was equally as frustrating. I wasn't very loving when I took those mollies out, so the holes were rather large, and there were a lot of them. It took a lot of spackle and sanding to get them filled in. Just when I thought I was finished, I was told it wasn't spackled enough, so back for more sanding and spackling. And sanding...and spackling, until the walls passed the "run hand over wall and see if it's smooth" test.

Painting was rather easy; I even painted the ceiling. I don't actually remember most of that part of the job. I blame the paint fumes and working in a small space. I think I might have lost a few brain cells. It's what was I saying? Oh, a lesson learned here, leave the spackling and sanding job to the OCD person...demolition is fun-ish, but meeting the demands of an OCD spackle inspector is not. 

Up next, floors. The carpet had to go and it had to go before we could get the closet installed. So we put in hardwood, which will be done to all of the bedrooms, eventually. The good thing about my closet is that it’s off the bathroom, so there was only a small area that we had to take care of immediately. Lesson learned here: It doesn’t matter how small the area, putting in hardwood floors is annoying, tedious and worth paying someone else to do. That's all I will say about that. Moving on.  

Once all of that was finished, the closet installers came and put the closet in. It took roughly three hours, and every bit of the process was well worth it. Ladies and gentlemen, I have my long awaited shoe wall! I will get to that in a minute, because it is worthy of its own paragraph. Here is what my closet looks like currently.  

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This is the longest wall which is facing you as you walk in the door.  I have so much more space then I thought I would have. Hanging here are skirts, dresses, tops and jackets/blazers. Folded on top will be sweaters, and my patterned and colored jeans. In the baskets in the middle are clutches, bags, and maxi skirts. The basket on the right will be light weight scarves. I have another basket for up there which will have my flat sandal type shoes.  

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 Now, I know this wall looks a little messy.  But this section is necessary for my closet. This is where I hang all my outifts for the week ahead. I even have enough room to plan for two weeks! Also on this rack, at the end, is rompers, and a few of my pants. The shelves on top, will be home to all of my blanket scarves. I even have shelving under this section and on the other wall too, for more shoe storage!! Speaking of shoes...

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My shoe wall is a beautiful thing to behold. I couldn't fit its entirety in the photo, but it is floor to ceiling shoes. Every time I come in here I want to cry - tears of joy of course. It's just so beautiful. The lesson that I learned here is a good one, if you need to solve a problem, and are stuck trying to find a solution, look at it in a different way. I needed to make more space for my shoes, but even with this shoe wall, they weren't all fitting. So, I turned them so one faces out and one faces in. Storing them this way creates enough room for one more pair per shelf!  Perfection. Plus this way, I can see the heel type for each shoe. So it's a win win. 

Next week I will be back with fall fashion. I haven't forgotten that I owe you a post about scarves and other fall inspired outfits. I just had to share with you my happy place. And, yes, sometimes I just go in there to forget about the sorrows and try on all the shoes...very possibly with a glass of wine...and probably chocolate. 



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What A Moment Brings

I know that I had said that I would talk about scarves this week, but I feel like taking a step back for a minute...and speaking from the heart. Hear me out, if you have a minute. I'll continue the style talk next week.

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I’m not sure exactly where to go with this post. I have changed the direction of this so many times. But I feel the need, a pull, to speak about current events. Yes, this is a style blog, but style encompasses more than your outward appearance; it can speak volumes as to how you are emotionally. And right now... today... emotions run deep. I started off wanting to speak real talk, from my heart, about the madness surrounding us. It started earlier this week (we write our posts here a week ahead, so today is October 4) as I was sitting in the car line at my kids’ school. I noticed the flags were at half staff. And it started to make me think... How many times have we seen these flags at half staff over the past decade, or so, from tragedies, unfathomable tragedies? How many times will we see them at half staff in the years to come?

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The thought of this brought tears to my eyes. I started thinking back to my childhood, and I don’t recall the flags being at half staff even half as many times as they are now. Back in my day, it was a big deal to see them flying that way. We’d all whisper and wonder who would be a concern, a question that needed an answer. But now, now it’s almost as if it's become so commonplace that no one questions it. Do we still wonder who died...or is it now more about how many died?

I don’t want to get very political here. What I do want to do is just talk about what a moment brings. In that moment, as I sat there staring at the flag, listening to my kids acting crazy in the back of the car... in that exact moment, everything was silent. I could almost hear the flag as it whipped in the breeze. And I thought to myself, how many times has one of the school officials had to come out here and lower it? How sad is that job, to lower a flag in a display of a nation in mourning? The weight of knowing that millions of flags across the country are flying at the same height, half as high and equally heavy with sadness.

And then in that moment, I realized that there must also be someone that comes back out to raise it, after a given amount of time. Someone has to return the flag to full staff. As that flag rises, the question becomes how do we rise? How does the nation rise like the flag? If only there was a simple answer, a simple solution to end the madness. But there isn’t. Unlike the flag, we as a nation, are not attached to a pully mechanism that helps lift us. We must become the pully for each other. We must lift each other up, embrace the wind as it whips us, and figure out how to never allow us to be lowered again.


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Hey! It's October, Bring on the Plaid

Squeal!! It's the first week of October! My favorite month, my favorite season. For my photo business it means I will be busy taking photos of my beautiful clients and their families. And, for my style blog, it means we are shifting into all fall all the time.  Pay no attention to the fact thas it has been near 90 degrees outside.  I am ignoring that, it won't break my fall spirit.  So, I’m back this week to chat about plaid. Do you love or hate it? If you ask me, it’s a definite love. I wasn’t always pro plaid. But I’ll get to that later. First, let’s talk about ways to wear plaid. Scarves, shoes, shirts, and skirts...they all start with S, "S" for stylish... LOL. That was cheesy, I know. And, actually as I sit here and write this post, I think that I will break this up into seperate posts, because my love for plaid runs deep. So, let's talk about plaid shirts....but see plaid scarves are so perfect too... focus, Lorraine, focus! Scarves will be next week.

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 So, first, let’s take a look at the obvious, plaid shirts. Plaid shirts are fun to play with. You can of course wear them with jeans, but you can also pair them with skirts and dresses. This blue and teal one I just got recently at Target, here, and it's my current favorite. I have it it two sizes, XS and small. I can wear both, but it is rayon, and I always worry with rayon shrinking, so if the XS ends up shrinking, I have a back up. I'm obsessed with it that much.  

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For the first outfit I tied the shirt at my waist, and have a sequin skirt on. I love the contrast of edgy with glamour. It's interesting, give it a try. Then I layered it under a vest, although I wish I put that one with grey booties.  The last two I have it layered on top of a graphic tank.  This plaid shirt is more fitted in cut, so it's perfect for using it as a cardigan.   


This is red/pinkish plaid shirt is another favorite. It's by Rails, and I recently found it on ThredUP.  You can find Rails shirts at Nordstrom. I didn't see this exact color, but check out this beautiful colorway, here.  At full retail, they are expensive. I will say, it is one of the most comfortable plaid shirts that I have.  It's also lightweight and soft, so it's easy to layer. I styled it similarly to the blue one above. Again, this shirt is a fitted cut, so it's easy to use it open, or tied at the waist. When looking for plaid shirts, look for a fitted cut, so they don't look too baggy and oversized.

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Another versatile option is a black and white plaid shirt. I looked for one for a long time before I found this one, last year at Francesca's, but they don't have it anymore. I found a similar one at Target, here. It's also lightweight and easy to layer. I like it with anything olive. So, I tied it over an olive LuLaRoe dress, and then with an olive anorak jacket. Pattern mixing is fun to try with plaid - it can go with leopard print, like I did, or with polka dots, or stripes. I've seen women put floral and plaid together, although I have yet to master that pattern mixing. Practice makes perfect though, and I am no quitter. I'll report back, if I make it work.

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So, I bet you'd never guess that I used to hate plaid. Like I just couldn't ever imagine wearing it. And now look! So, how did I overcome my plaid aversion? I started with one easy, versatile plaid shirt, which is now too big, but it was similar to the first blue one. I used to only wear them buttoned up, like a proper shirt. But now, I think it's fun to try them different ways. You can easily use the same shirt, 3 different ways, and it would look completely different. Seeing how versatile the pattern can be, I started a collection of other plaid favorite being scarves. 

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That sign is 100 percent accurate, I am out of my gourd for plaid. So meet me here next week, and I will talk about scarves (plaid of course, but others as well), and discuss how to tie blanket scarves, and now to work them into your outfits.   


Catch ya at the pumpkin patch.  I'm waiting for the Great Pumpkin to come.  



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