Archive for the 'Fashion Tips' Category

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Fashion Trends for Spring 2010

Spring Is In The Air

Spring is literally around the corner.  One of the hardest things about the anticipation of Spring is finding the right thing to wear while Mother Nature tries to make up her mind.  But even worse is Spring finally arriving and having nothing to wear.

To insure that you’re not left out in the cold when the warm weather finally arrives (and stays!), here’s a list of what’s HOT for Spring Fashion 2010.  The list is by no means exhaustive, but with the addition of just one or two of these items you can re-vive your Spring wardrobe without breaking the bank.

  • Wedges – A must have for this Spring.  Plain and simple.
  • Nude/Natural Colored Heels – This Spring is all about subtle footwear. Upside? Nude/Natural colored heels will give the illusion of lengthening your legs.
  • Nautical – Simplicity at it’s finest.  Crisp white shorts and jeans will help you pull off this trend.
  • Ikat Prints – These come in a variety of color pallets.  Go for the bolder patterns as accent pieces and the more subdued for the office.
  • Safari – Easy to pull off with simple khaki safari inspired dresses and blouses to anything with beading, studs or wood.
  • Sequins! – The shinnier, the shimmier, the better!
  • Clogs, clogs and more clogs – High, low or stacked-heels, they’re not just for the Swedish this season.
  • Floral Prints – Chanel your inner girly-girl with pretty floral patterns in everything from dresses and blouses to ballet flats.
  • Bright Colors – Bring a little sunshine into your wardrobe this Spring with bright yellows, hot pinks and fiery oranges.
  • Statement Jewelry – Statement jewelry rarely goes out of style.  If you haven’t found your go-to item yet, make it a priority to do so this Spring.
  • The Color Grey – Grey is the new black.  Lighten up this season with the color grey.  It’s just a chic as black, but not nearly as harsh.

Get ready to say goodbye to Winter and hello to Spring!  Spring will be here before you know it  . . . You’re gonna be sad if you’re not ready.

The Price of Happiness

How much is too much to spend on a handbag? A pair of shoes? A dress?  A suit?  . . . We all have different thresholds based on our own incomes, lifestyles and paradigms. That said, regardless of your income-bracket, it’s sometimes difficult to justify spending what seems like an ungodly amount of money on a pair of shoes(my ungodly amount might be different from yours and yours might be different from your best friend’s, but you get my point here).  However, all of us engage in a little Retail Therapy from time-to-time.  Feeling a little down, frustrated because you have to work the weekend yet again, wading your way through a horrible break-up? It happens to all of us.  Before you know it, your fingers just start dancing all over the keyboard as you participate on that conference call and peruse Zappos, Amazonor Bluefly to find your “fix”; you know, that item that once you have  it in your possession will make you feel soooooooo much better!  A little retail therapy never hurt anyone and it’s certainly helped keep the economy afloat, but how many of those purchases have really given you more than a momentary high?

There’s a FAB pair of shoes you’ve had your eye on, but they’re really really expensive.  So, you pass on them and buy 3 other items that you like but don’t love. Duh!?!?!?!  You coulda had the FAB pair of shoes and been really happy.  Your high would come back each time you wear them!  Instead, you’ve got 3 new items that in all likelihood are going to be relegated to the back of the closet or to The Salvation Army once the shine of having something new wanes.

Lesson learned here?  We ultimately end up spending more money not buying that expensive handbag, pair of shoes, or beautiful suit because we buy to fill the void we feel by not having the item we really wanted.  Sounds crazy, right? Maybe so. Pay attention as you clean out your closet this Spring, what are you purging?  Rarely is it those coveted items that you treated yourself to (unless one’s gone beyond its shelf-life), it’s the things you bought instead of that coveted item.

I’m not advocating that you go out and spend a paycheck on a handbag.  Far from it.  My point here is, think about your Rate of Return and spend wisely rather than spending to spend.  There’s always a first time, but to date, I’ve never regretted purchasing something I really really wanted.  Spending the money is always hard for me but each time I pull out my YSL Tribute shoes, for example, they take my breath away. On the other hand, when I purge my closet each season and get rid of those filler items the regret is palpable.

[image courtesy of Chanel]

Baby, It’s Cold Outside!

dvf-nomad-hat

Is it just me, or are we having a particularly harsh Winter?  I can’t seem to stay warm.  I am the queen of layers.   But, I’ve  learned over the years that if my head is covered and my feet are warm I’m usually good to go.  The problem is looking stylish while trying to stay warm.  It’s almost as if people just give up in this kind of weather  . . . I must admit, there are days when I’m tempted to just throw on anything to keep warm before I head out into the tundra, but I’ve done that one too many times and bumped into the wrong person (you know:  ex-boyfriend, potential client, former boss, etc).  So, I decided to take the bull by the horns and spent some time finding stylish hats, coats and boots so that I no longer have to think about what I put on when I’m heading out to fight the elements.

I got married last Fall and was consumed with All Things Bridal, so I missed much of what was on the runways for Winter 2010.  I discovered the Diane von Furstenburg Gallinet Nomad hat above, along with DIY step-by-step instructions for the frugalista, from Jazzi McG recently.  I absolutely LOVE this hat, and while the $200 price tag is a bit steep, not to mention that it’s likely out of stock, if I can find one I plan to snatch it up!  I look at it like this – finding stylish Winter hats is sometimes like looking for a needle in a haystack . . .   I LOVE this DVF hat and would wear all of the time, so I’d definitely get my money’s worth over the course of a Winter; remember Kalyn’s Rate of Return?  But, if I can’t find the Gallinet Nomad hat, I’ll do just what Jazzi did and attempt to make one.

My point is while this hat may be a bit much for you, literally and figuratively, stylish Winter accessories will make braving the elements so much more bearable. How?  Now, honestly, that I can’t really articulate.  But you know what it feels like to wear something and just feel good in it.  Imagine that feeling every day when you walk out your door and it’s 30 degrees but with the windchill factor it feels like 9 degrees.  It’s that je ne sais quoi that I’m talking about here.

This is the hat I fell in LOVE with last Winter – my friend Mia (one of the most stylish women I know) had it on in purple (you know I’m a sucker for purple) and I just about beat at path to Barneys to get one the next day (imitation is the sincerest form of flattery).  It’s by Fred Bare Headware, a UK company – those funky Brits again! And yes, it cost a pretty penny but I wore this hat almost every day last Winter and until I get or make the DVF one above, it will be worn just about every day this Winter.

Do your Winter accessories make your heart leap?

[images from Elle and Kalyn Johnson]

I Heart My Hermès Scarf

Hermes scarves

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways:

Perfect for bad hair days

Keeps my neck warm on the plane, in the subway and in over airconditioned rooms

Looks fab tied on the handle of some of my handbags

Protects my tresses from the elements and

Acts as a shawl in a pinch

My friend Karla introduced me to the virtues of owning an Hermès scarf, or scarves if you’re lucky, in 1991.  Yes, it’s been a love affair of almost 20 years.  I was a bit younger then and I confess that the idea of paying an arm&leg for a scarf that seemed somewhat old ladyish wasn’t my idea of high fashion.  But, then I saw how versatile the scarf was – Karla wore it around her neck, her waist, in her hair – and Elaine from Seinfeld even had one hung on her apartment wall.  I couldn’t afford one on my graduate school stipend, but I resolved to get one once I had a real salary.  Fast forward another graduate degree and 11 years.  My sister and I were in Paris shopping at Clingnancourt – one of the most wonderful flea markets I have ever been to – when I saw it, “Brazil”.  Black silk with pops of gold, green, brown and white.  It was second-hand, but authentic.  I dithered for a moment and then plunked down my francs; my life hasnt been the same ever since.  For the past 9 years I have collected Hermès scarves and worn one almost daily (my neck gets cold easily, so Summer, Winter, Spring or Fall at some point in time during the day my neck is wrapped up).  I’ve got them in a rainbow of colors with some of the most beautiful patterns created by designers from all over the world for the venerable house in France, but my favorite scarf is “Brazil”.  I don’t leave home without it. No matter how small my bag is, Brazil is with me.  Just like the Teddy that received a little bit too much love, Brazil was starting to look a little hagard (a spill of suntan lotion notwithstanding, the magicians at Chris French Cleaners worked their wonders on that one); I recently discovered a hole in it along one of the folds where the silk twill fibers have separated.  I was devestated initially.  Then shocked.  What have I done?!!? How could I be so careless?

I dropped Brazil off at the Hermès store on Madison Avenue a few weeks ago. Suzy, the Assistant Manager, was so nice and kind to me.  She completely understood my devastation and indulged my concerns as she wrote up my repair ticket.  Brazil is in bad shape.  I discovered another hole while showing Suzy my scarf.  So fingers crossed, the folks at Hallak Dry Cleaners (Suzy swears by them) will be able to resuscitate my baby.

Believe it or not, from time-to-time, Hermès re-issues scarves and as luck would have it, Brazil was re-issued Spring 2009 (it’s the yellow scarf in the far left panel – pretty funky, no?).  The black version has pops of purple, red, yellow, green and orange.  It’s really pretty, but it’s not my Brazil.  Each scarf has a history behind it’s creation; Brazil was designed by Laurence Bourthoumieux.

For the uninitiated, a little background information on the House of Hermès.  Originally, Hermès made harnesses and saddles for a privileged clientele but with Henry Ford’s invention of the automobile horse-power went by the wayside.  So, he applied a bit of ingenuity and began to add a line of luxury items to his inventory – boots, luggage, jewelry, home decor items, and watches.  The first scarf square to accompany the Hermès collection was produced in 1928, inspired by that worn by Napolean’s soldiers. To be ‘of its time’, the scarf was printed with the names of cars. It was a big success; eleven years later a factory for scarf production was opened in Lyon.

Each design requires:

  • nine to twelve months of research and development;
  • fifty-odd designers;
  • ideas drawn from all styles and genres; and
  • contributions from artists from all over the world, famous and not so famous.

It takes six to eight weeks to prepare as many silk-screen printing frames as there are colours in particular scarf. For instance, in 1994, the “Celebrations of the Sun-King” required 1,200 hours of work to make its 35 frames.  The printers prepare their pigments to make a palette of tonnes of printing inks. Then, the Brazilian silk is spread out on heated tables 150 metres long. This allows a batch of 100 squares, comprising forty colours, to be printed. After printing, seamstresses roll and stitch the hem of a square, by hand, in 30 to 45 minutes. The Lyonnaise factory can produce 40,000 scarves in a week. Every year, there are two collections, each consisting of a dozen designs, of which four to six are classics with the colours updated.  Hence, the re-issue of Brazil last year.

Nora Ephron said she feels bad about her neck, I don’t and I hope I never will thanks to Brazil!  I’ll keep you posted on Brazil’s condition when I get her back.  Finger’s crossed, she’ll be as good as new.

[images courtesy of Hermès]

The Virtues of Stylish Workout Gear

woman_working_out

If working out on a regular basis is one of your New Year’s resolutions, you’re not alone.  Every January, gym memberships peek as people come off of their holiday highs hoping to drop a few lbs before swimsuit season hits again.  Making the resolution is easy, following through on it is the challenge.

Crazy as this may sound, I always feel better about dragging myself out of bed to walk to the gym on dark cold mornings if I know that, while I may be a tad bit out of shape, my workout clothes are slammin’!  (For the record, James, my instructor at Physique 57, said I was his best-dressed student, what he was too nice to say is that I’m probably the least coordinated!  But I digress).  Working out in old t-shirts and ratty sweats doesn’t do it for me.  Some might argue that it doesn’t matter what you workout in just as long as you workout.  Agreed.  All I’m saying is that it’s much easier to get myself to the gym if I’m in workout gear that makes me feel good.

Workout clothes don’t have to cost you an arm and a leg – although I have seen some pretty FAB gear that I’ve just had to walk away from before I convinced myself that I would be able to run longer and faster on the treadmill if I wore it.  Now, I can be a little cheap when it comes to work out clothes; this is an area where I’m definitely looking for a bargain.  Truth be told, I’ve purchased my fair share of workout clothes from Equinox because in my haste to get there, I left a vital piece at home (um, shorts for example).  So, to balance those pricey purchases, I shop for workout gear at my favorite discount stores - Marshall’sTJ Maxx and Target. Black is slimming, or so they say, so much of my workout wardrobe consists of black items with pops of color here and there. This also makes it very easy to get dressed while I’m half asleep because just about everything goes together so I don’t have to put thought into looking good, I just have to get to the gym.  And if I fall off the wagon, I don’t feel badly about having wasted money on expensive workout clothes . . .

Now, if none of this is your cup of tea, our friends on the other side of the pond conducted a study found shopping to be healthy exercise – we burn 5 calories for every minute of shopping (who knew?!?!).  So, rather than go to the gym, grab your purse and your best shopping bud and head to the nearest mall to burn off those extra lbs!

[image from WellSphere]

New Year, New You! (part 2)

sartorialist1

To go from Hit Or Miss to Glamazon, you gotta love just about everything in your closet.  May sound strange, but it’s true.  To get to this point, you’ve go to figure out what your personal style is, plain and simple.  Here’s the thing about personal style – it’s just that, personal.  To get to the point where you love everything in your closet and the way it looks on you, you’ve got to do some work.  It’s worth the time and effort, but it will take some time and effort.

Elevate Your Style Quotient – Morphing Into A Glamazon

The first step is to figure out which styles and shapes are most flattering to your shape.

  • For example, if you have a bit of a pouch, form-fitting dresses, tops and sweaters while definitely in this season (and most if we’re perfectly honest) are not necessarily going to be your go-to items.  Shapewear can help you minimize a pouch no doubt, but shapewear may not be something you want to wear on a daily basis.  More flattering cuts would be A-line dresses, kimono-like blouses and tops or possibly even a wrap dress depending on the cut of the dress.
  • What’s tricky about this first step is two-fold:  (1) Sometimes it’s hard to be honest with yourself and (2) Figuring out what looks good is more than a notion.  Ask a trusted friend to come over and try on a few outfits to get his or her honest opinion.  Or, go to a department store and enlist the help of a salesperson as you try on some of the latest trends.  IGIGI has a great shape calculator that can help you determine the best styles for your figure.
  • As you try to determine what shapes are most flattering, remember that very few of us have the bodies clothing manufacturers are cutting for.  Don’t despair, just make your tailor your new BFF and have your clothes altered to a perfect fit.  Small waist and a bit of junk in your trunk?  Buy slacks and jeans to accomodate your junk and then have the waist taken in.  Volia! A perfect fit in no time.

A great wardrobe is made up of quality classic pieces.

  • You’ve got a closet full of clothes and nothing to wear.  You must be crazy, right? No.  Most of us make the mistake of buying what’s “IN” rather than building a wardrobe of classics that can transcend trends or incorporate trends.  Integrate trends into your wardrobe by buying one “IN” item or a few accessories each season as you grow or re-vamp your wardrobe.
  • Make sure your closet is stocked with The Classic 8:  (1) A dark suit; (2) A crisp white shirt; (3) A black wool or cashmere turtleneck; (4) A LBD; (5) A pair of dark jeans; (6) A trench coat; (7) A good pair of classic black heels; and (8) One item that makes your heart leap – an amazing coat like the woman pictured above, a FAB purse, or possibly a beautiful watch. Believe it or not, you have at least 2 weeks worth of outfits if you have just these 8 items.
  • Find designers and stores in your price range who make clothes that fit you well.

Morphing into A Glamour Goddess

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.  Glamour Goddesses come in all shapes and sizes.  Sara Jessica Parker is Glamazon, but dont get it twisted, so is your colleague who is always well-put together and polished or the mom at drop-off who looks like she stepped out of a JCrew catalogue or right off of the page of the NYTimes SundayStyles.  A Glamour Goddess isn’t defined as someone whose exploits are chronicled on Page 6 (although, she may very well be); she’s simply someone who wears her clothes confidently.  This is easy for her to do because she loves everything in her closet; now getting dressed in the mornings or for an evening out on the town is easy.  She injects her personal style by choosing jewelry, handbags, scarves, totebags, shoes and belts that take her basic underlying wardrobe from classic to chic.

The Glamour Goddess in you is dying to come out, take the time this year to help her emerge!  I know Jada would . . .

[image from The Sartorialist]

New Year, New You!

My niece turned 3 last week and like any budding fashionista, she squealed with delight when she opened her birthday gifts and found the latest playground styles in the heavy gift boxes.  When I asked her if she was going to wear her “I Am 3″ t-shirt to school the next day, she looked me in the eye and said, “No, I’m going to wear one of the gifts my family gave me.”  I kid you not.  The next morning, she negotiated her outfit with her mother with a level of skill that I haven’t seen since my high school days when my mother and I tap danced around what I wanted to wear and what she thought was appropriate.  It was so refreshing to watch this little person assert her style preferences without regard for rules, fashion edicts or fear of breaking some esoteric fashion rule (granted she has people with pretty good tasting buying her clothes, but so does Suri Cruise and I’d bet good money she’s got something to say about what she puts on daily too).  The lesson to be learned here is to trust your gut.  Jada’s exuberance over her new clothes and her confidence in her clothing choices are a reminder to us all that clothes are supposed to be a fun expression of one’s self.

Think back to the days when the hardest thing you had to do on a weekly basis was to climb the rope in gym class or possibly get hit during dodge ball.  You definitely had a favorite outfit, pair of shoes or an accessory that you were fiercely proud of – it made you feel invincible.  Channel the confidence of your inner child as you re-assess your wardrobe and think about the new you for the new year.  Answer the following questions with child-like honesty as you go through your drawers and closets:

  1. How many outfits or items do I have that I love?  Overall, do I like my clothes?
  2. Do I feel confident when I leave the house?
  3. Do my clothes make me look polished and professional or do they say “I don’t care?”
  4. Is getting dressed in the morning an anxiety-ridden process?
  5. Do you ask yourself  ’Why do I have a closet full of clothes, but I never have anything to wear?’
  6. Do I have a good sense of what I look good in?
  7. Do I have a signature look or do I wear variations of a uniform every day?

These questions are intended to help you take stock as the new year begins.  If you love your clothes; you’re a Glamour Goddess and we’re all trying to be like you!  If you’re a bit Hit Or Miss, vacillating between good outfit days and bad, take solace in the fact that you’re not alone.  What will help you ascend the style ladder from Hit Or Miss to Glamour Goddess is taking the time to figure out what your personal style is and then doing what needs to be done to get to that next level.  More on this next week for those of you who are feeling a bit Hit Or Miss (post comments if you have questions and I will do my best to address them in next week’s posting).  And if you answered “NO” to more than 5 of the questions above, consider hiring someone to help you take things up a notch.  There should be no shame in your game – when you look good, you feel good, you’ll walk taller, smile more and have greater confidence whether you are out for a night on the town or going to work.

Rome wasn’t built in a day and your wardrobe won’t be either, but with patience, some great sales and me by your side you will be dressing like a Glamazon in no time!

[image from blogs.smarter.com/babieskids]

Buckle Up!

shou_pic

While visions of sugar plums are dancing in the heads of others, I’m craving another one of Ann Lansing‘s belts, the buckle and strap combo are so retro – you know you had a belt from Pappagallo – but Annie’s creativity gives them  just the right amount of edge!  I’m hoping Santa leaves me a new one for Christmas.  To insure Santa leaves one of Annie’s belts under the tree for you, pick up one for yourself at Ann Lansing’s holiday trunk show this Saturday if you’re in New York.

WHERE: The Lancome Boutique, 201 Columbus Avenue (@69th Street), 212.362.4858

WHEN: This Saturday, December 19th, 4-8pm

WHY: Her belts are unique, fun to wear and 10% of each belt purchase will benefit Memorial Sloan Kettering.  Plus, if you buy a belt and then want to buy some makeup, you’ll get 10% off of all Lancome purchases.  Oh, and there will be free goodies, champagne and hors d’oeurves.  Sounds like a great way to kick-off the holidays!

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[images from Ann Lansing Design]

Fur!!!! Glorious Fur!!!!!

J Mendel fur

I’m obsessed with fur.  Plain and simple.  Have been since I was a little girl growing up in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.  I remember going to Dittrich Furs with my mom as she amassed a nice little collection of furs – there was the silver 3/4-length mink wrap coat with the notched lapels (I loved the coat, she had a great pair of silvery-grey high-heeled boots she wore with it – Mom, where is that coat?!?!?!); the racoon jacket that she’d wear during the week when she drove my dad’s Corvette and look oh so chic; and then the beaver full length coat for those really really cold Michigan winters. I think her love of fur was a direct result of my grandmother’s love affair with fur – it runs in the family (my Aunt Kay had a fur fetish too, I was lucky enough to inherit all of her furs when she moved to Florida).

My mother initiated me into all things fur when I was 20.  I was home from college for Thanksgiving; we were at Dittrich’s picking up her furs.  There was a great full-length opposum coat on sale. Perfect for a young lady my mom said.  So, it became mine.  I loved that coat.  I’ve now passed my first real fur on to one of my young friends, she’s been initiated into the way of all things fur.  It was the least I could do.

Now, let’s be clear – I love all kinds of fur – faux, vintage, new – I don’t discriminate.  Yes,  I’m aware of the ethical issues and I’ve worked those out for myself.  If you have issues with fur, you do and you’re not alone.  I’m not writing this posting to convince anyone to drink my particular brand of koolaid on this point. However, I am writing it because wearing fur, faux or real, is a luxurious experience.  This season the retail industry has done a bang-up job of providing those who don’t believe in fur, along with those whose bank accounts may not ready for fur, with a plethora of fabulous options.  The folks at TopShop get STYLEpoints  for having the most penny-saving stylish faux furs out there this season – Kate Moss has designed her butt off. H&M, Tory Burch, and Rebecca Taylor are on the bandwagon too.

So, if you’re on the fence – try a faux fur.  If you’ve been hankerin’ after a real fur but weren’t sure of the direction to head in – go for it!  Any questions about what to buy, where and how?  Shoot me an email.

Be FURablous this Winter!

[image from Style.com]

Stylish Stocking Stuffer

The Little Purple Book of STYLE makes a great stocking stuffer, Hanukkah present, Secret Santa gift or gift topper.  Give your friends and family the gift of STYLE this holiday season!  Order by December 18th to insure delivery by December 24th. Place your order here.

“I graduated from Harvard last year and found The Little Purple Book of STYLE extremely valuable in my transition from college to the world of investment banking. The Little Purple Book of STYLE is a fantastic quick primer on dressing in today’s workplace for young professionals.”  - Alexis Cepeda Maule

“I graduated from law school more than 10 years ago, but have struggled with feeling professional and stylish in the workplace.  Kalyn’s Little Purple Book of STYLE helped me to bridge the gap.  I wish I’d had it 10 years ago when I started practicing.”  - Jennifer Turner

I Feel Pretty, Oh So Pretty!

What is it about going to the make up counter that some of us find exhilarating and others find loathsome?  One friend who’s eyes are always done, whether she’s going out on a date or down the street to the grocery store, told me that she loves buying makeup because the high she gets from being made up at the MAC counter is fantastic compared to the lows she sometimes experiences when shopping for clothes. (FYI:  the lows sometimes experienced while shopping are a whole ‘nother posting that I’ll focus on at a later date).

Back to the topic at hand, makeup.  It’s believed that makeup has been on the scene in one form or another since at least 3500 B.C.; in fact, during Ancient Egyptian times, Queen Nefertiti and King Tut are some of the first-known adopters.  The controversy over the wearing of makeup has been raging since the Middle Ages, when makeup was generally worn by those in the upper class although the church frowned upon its usage.  In the 1800s, Queen Victoria declared the use of makeup improper and for a time only prostitutes and actresses wore makeup (the Queen said it was ok for actors).  However, by the 20th Century makeup was in widespread use by women in most industrialized nations.

Whether you love makeup or not, if you’ve never had your makeup done professionally you owe yourself a treat.  Most of us have figured out our daily makeup routine and I’ll hazard a guess and say that 70% of you have been wearing the same family of colors for as long as you can remember.  What’s that old saying, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”, right?  Wrong.  Change is a good thing.  At a minimum, have your makeup done by a professional once a year to learn new techniques, experiment with new colors and generally improve your appearance. You consult with your hairstylist regularly, right?  The same holds true for your “face”.  And honestly, once you learn how to properly apply makeup (which most makeup artists are chomping at the bit to teach people – typically, you’ll even go home with a face chart detailing what goes where and how to apply it) you’d be surprised at how easy it is to apply and I guarantee that you will love the results!

The best use of makeup is as an enhancement and truly, the best way to figure out how to enhance your features is to have the objectivity of a professional’s bird’s eye view.  Having a professional do your makeup doesn’t have to be costly nor do you have to come through the process looking “made up”.  You will spend a few bucks whether on the makeup artist’s services, products or both and you may feel like you have on a face full of makeup if you’re someone who rarely wears makeup.  Your gauge, however, is how your family and friends re-act to the new you and ultimately, how you feel about your new look.

If you’re thinking about dipping your toe in the water, stop by just about any department store makeup counter and ask one of the makeup artist’s to help you choose a new look for your eyes, for example.  The MAC makeup artists are well-trained, skilled and generally very good at coddling newbies.  Or, set up an appointment to have your makeup done by one of their artists.  If you are in the New York area and would like a more personalized experience in your own home, contact Karen Duncan or Dara Klein. Both are great make up artists and wonderful people to boot!  But, if the idea of having a stranger put their hands all over your face is not your cup of tea, there are 3 great books worth checking out Making Faces and Face Forward, both by Kevin Aucoin, and Make Up Your Mind by Francois Nars.

Maria (from Westside Story) said it best, I feel pretty, oh so pretty.  I feel pretty and witty and bright! And I pity any girl who isn’t me tonight.

Looking Your Best This Holiday Season

Is your calendar literally filled with engagements from now until the beginning of the year?  In addition to coming up with a stash of hostess gifts, you’ve got to figure out what you’re going to wear to each holiday dinner party, office party, drinks with friends, tree trimming party and of course to the big events themselves.  Godforbid if you’ve got a formal or two to go to as well!

There’s no time like the present to start recycling the goodies you’ve got stashed away in your closet.  Now, if you’re related to the Rockerfellers and can afford to go out and buy a few key pieces to spice up your holiday wardrobe, by all means please do and just pass this posting along to one of your less well-off friends!  If however, you’re trying to figure out how to do it all (holiday travel, shopping and party-going) with limited funds, here are some tips for looking your best this season without breaking the bank.  It’s simple, Shop In Your Closet (or your friend’s if yours is low on sparkly items). It’s all about looking like you spent a fortune when you haven’t spent a dime.

Dressing for the Holidays a la Your Closet:

  • Locate the following items and put them on your bed: (1) LBD; (2) Black wool slacks; (3) Black cardigan; (4) Black turtleneck.
  • Go through your shawls and pull out the black one of course and any festive looking shawls you may have. Put these on the bed too.
  • Now, pull out the jewelry box and locate your most sparkly items – necklaces, cocktail rings, bracelets – everything that’s too much for work, you know those pieces you’ve been saving for the right moment or the ones that someone gave you and you just weren’t sure what to wear them with. Lay the pieces on your bed.
  • Go through your stash of clutch bags and pull out the black one and any sparkly ones you have. These go on the bed too.
  • The same goes for your heels – pull out your black dressy heels (peu de soie is fine, the everyday work ones are not) and any glammy shiny heels you own (the more color, sparkle, sequins or feathers the better!). Yup, on the floor next to the bed.
  • Now, go back to your basics listed in the first bullet point and begin to mix and match your outfits.  Nothing needs to be matchy-matchy.  Your foundation is basic black which is sleek, slimming and sophisticated.  Your accessories regardless of how you combine them will dress up your basics and help to get you in the holiday spirit.  And remember, it’s the holidays so it’s ok to go a little over the top.
  • Once you’ve matched your outfits, think about what you are going to wear to which events so that the day or evening of you’ve got nothing to do but make sure the items are clean and get dressed.
  • Finishing touches – If time permits, and your budget allows, stop by H&M, Ann Taylor, Aldo, Forever21, JCrew, TopShop, Claire’s or some other such store and buy a sparkly headband, hair clip or a fun feather number just to take things to the next level.
  • Top it all off with your regular wool coat (this is where one of those colorful shawls can be helpful in transforming your everyday coat to a little bit something more) or if you’ve got a fur or a fun fur (whichever is your preference) now is the time to show us what you got!

Have fun this holiday season!  Eat, drink and be merry.