Style

Game changer!

If you picked one thing from your fashion past that made your life better – and that you think everyone should consider for a joyous 2015 – what would it be? Here’s what three CLT_Style writers said.

Tell us what was a game changer for you by emailing style@charlotteobserver.com; we’ll share your suggestions with readers and you could win an Alexis Bittar compact dual mirror, made with 24-carat gold and Swarovski crystal.

Cashmere Tights

It used to be, when the winter highs failed to top 50 degrees, skirts and dresses stayed in my closet and out came the pants. Every time.

In very cold weather – and I saw plenty of it during four long winters in upstate New York – I’d even pull on pantyhose or cheap cotton tights under my pants, in an effort to keep my legs from freezing.

But three winters ago, in Charlotte, I received my first pair of cashmere blend tights as a gift.

Suddenly, out came the dresses and skirts, even on cold days. I found myself buying more tunics and winter dresses than ever before, pulling on my dark gray cashmere tights and pairing them with a tall boot, short bootie or even pumps.

And crazy as it sounds, my cashmere blend tights felt even warmer than pants some days. I take good care of them – I wash them on the delicate cycle and hang them to try – and three years later, they’re still my favorites.

The company that made my original pair (HUE) has discontinued them, but you can find similar pairs at Nordstrom ($28) and Neiman Marcus ($48, by Alice + Olivia). A splurge, to be sure. But if well chosen, constructed and cared for, it could be a winter fashion game changer in your closet. too.

Cristina Bolling

Clothes Steamer

For years, my two biggest clothing requirements directly conflicted.

Rule 1: Natural fibers only.

Rule 2: I don’t iron.

Then I bought a Steamfast SF-407. I bought it because it was on sale at $56.99 (It was $3 less than it is right now on Amazon, which lists its retail value at $90), and because I had just gouged, again, my hardwood floor with the one capless, sharp ironing board leg. And because I had recently paid $40 for a “better” iron, which seemed no better to me at all in that I still needed a board – and to iron.

The Steamfast SF-407 isn’t perfect. It can tip if you move it carelessly, and it thirsts for distilled water, which I know I should use exclusively, yet don’t. But it has worked every day (except for vacations) for more than three years, and everything I wear looks better. It unwrinkles silk and thin cotton perfectly, light wools and cashmere beautifully, heavier wool blends and cottons pretty darn well and linen not badly, as long as I use the little Teflon-y-looking, silver-square-cushion thing you’re supposed to hold on one side of more difficult fabrics while you steam from the other side. (The same works for a denim hem gone awry.)

It’s best if you steam from the inside out and from bottom to top. You learn how to not steam too closely (things get wet) and how close your fingers can get to the steam (not too close). But the ease, and the time saved (and money, if you count the times I’d have dry cleaned something that only needed pressing), is nothing short of miraculous.

Abandon irons, all ye who enter 2015!

Helen Schwab

Kevyn Aucoin Concealer

I wouldn’t change anything about being a redhead, but it does have its challenges. One of them for me is facial skin so fair that minor imperfections unnoticeable on darker skin tones are magnified on me.

Over the years, that struggle has turned me into a concealer junkie. Then, thanks to a tip from Charlotte beauty expert Jeffre Scott, I discovered the best concealer ever: Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer Foundation. The multitasking formula was created by the late, great makeup-artist-to-the-stars Kevyn Aucoin, whose family is continuing his makeup line. It can also be used as a highlighter or all-over foundation, but especially excels as a concealer.

It comes in a tiny 0.63-ounce pot and is so powerful, just a dab will do the job. With a few pats of my finger, dark under-eye circles, a few spider veins along my jawline and a small but vexing scar seem to disappear.

Even though I’ve used it almost every day for more than a year, there’s still more than half of the product left in the container. It’s available online, or here in Charlotte for $49 at Jeffre Scott, 607 Providence Road (704-339-0010; www.jeffrescott.com). That may sound pricey, but the staff jokes that it lasts so long as a concealer, you can take it with you to the nursing home.

Olivia Fortson

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