Archive for the 'Style Tips' Category

A Little Monogram In Your Life . . .


I’m a sucker for just about anything with my name or initials on it.  I think it stems from growing up in an era where everyone had simple names like Lisa, Jane and Amy and I had a name no one could pronounce much less spell properly.  My name was NEVER EVER on a key chain or license plate at places like SeaWorld and Disneyland.  I was lucky to find the letter “K”.  I think as a means of compensation, my mom got whatever she could monogrammed for me.  I had book bags, jackets, sweaters and overnight bags with my name emblazoned on them.  While as an adult I’m happy to have a such a unique name, I’m still in love with the idea of monogramming whatever I can get my hands on.  So, while I haven’t pulled the trigger on one of Louis Vuitton’s Mon Monogram specialities, I do go to their website from time-to-time and play around with the colors, stripe options and various initial combinations trying to figure out which I would get if I were going to buy a new Speedy bag or get a Neverfull.  What color combo would you go for?  I’m partial to purple and orange ….  


Do you have a bunch of keys on your keychain?  Are you constantly trying to find the right key because they all look the same? Stat Key to the rescue! Stat Key is for those who recognize and enjoy a higher aesthetic standard.  It is dedicated to freedom in design and robust but beautiful mechanical execution.  The result is atypical – striking, elegant, and personal. What more could you expect from a company made up of aesthetes from different professions — industrial designers, engineers, and business people.  Stylish and functional?  Really, what more could you ask for?  They’re about double the price of what you’d pay for a new key at a hardware store, but $5 for great design and ease of purpose fits squarely within my budget!


I was in Georgetown on Saturday night and saw some great Halloween costumes.  It’s been ages since I dressed up for Halloween, but I do delight in the style choices of those who do go all out — from the babes in arms to the grown folks with a fondness for the holiday and all those in between. I didn’t have time to buy a pumpkin, much less carve one, but if I had it would look just like the ones above! Have a stylishly Happy Halloween.

2011 Fall Must-Haves!

Now that Fashion Week is over and the dust is beginning to settle, I’ve had a chance to think about the items I’d like to add to my wardrobe this Fall.  While there’s sooooo much to choose from, I’m adopting a Keep It Simple Stupid attitude and baring things down to the essentials.  I took a minute to think about what looks good on me and my personal style (incase you’ve forgotten, I’m a Disco Diva at heart!) – so while there’s lots of beautiful stuff to choose from . . . I’ve chosen classic items with a hint of 70s flare to round out my wardrobe this Fall.  What about you, what are you fiending for this season?

Fendi Top Handle Pony Hair Bag; Theory Poncho; Lanvin Court Shoes; Lanvin Leather Wedge Boots; and Theory Fox Fur Coat.

Embrace Your Inner Prepster

Stubbs & Wootton slippers are staples in the wardrobes of preppy fashionistas from the UES (the Upper East Side in Manhattan) to Nantucket and Southern Belles in states like D.C., Virginia, the Carolinas and Texas.  And now, they’re staples in the wardrobes of rappers like Kanye West (he spied them on a Yale undergraduate student at Barneys who he ended up hiring as one of his fashion coterie. Yes, he did!). If you don’t remember the lessons imparted by The Preppy Handbook or are too young to have memorized its dictates from cover to cover, what makes Muffy, Buffy, Biff and them preppy is that everything they do and wear and are about comes from old money. Although Stubbs & Wootton has only been around since 1993, somehow Percy Steinhart, the mastermind behind S&W, has been able to carve out a niche in the prepster world that makes owning the obligatory pair of his witty velvet slippers de regieur.  Now, if shelling out $400 – $600 (the Bespoke line where you get to choose each element of the slipper) is a little rich for your blood, JCrew, Zara and ASOS all have their own versions priced between $75 and $300.  Get ready to embrace your inner prepster this Fall!


Magic In A Bottle!

I got married in The Mexican Riviera on one of the hottest and most humid days of 2009. Like any Type-A destination bride (all brides are special but destination brides have a tendency to take special to the next level because there’s so much they have to give up to chance), I’d met with and was made up by a great make-up artist here in New York, Karen Duncan,  to create my wedding face. Unfortunately, Karen had a previous engagement and wasn’t able to come to Mexico for the festivities.  As sad as I was that I was going to have to rely on someone I didn’t know to do my face, Karen created a great face chart for him to follow and introduced me to this magic in a bottle called “Oil Control Lotion” by MAC.  See if Karen had come to Mexico, I would not have purchased this gem.  But, because I had to duplicate her make up kit which included this magic potion its in my possession. It worked fabulously!  Although it was hot, humid and sticky on my wedding day and throughout all of our festivities, I managed to remain relatively shine-free for the whole she-bang.

I know that it seems counterintuitive to put make up on in this type of heat, much less a layer of something in between your moisturizer and foundation, but it works! I’d forgotten about this little miracle as I am wont to do when going through my daily paces, but we went to a party at a friend’s house last weekend and it was a little sticky outside.  As I was rifling through my make-up kit, my fingers landed on this magical bottle.  I had the time to take the extra step and I did. Boy, am I glad I did. I was outside all night, the stickiness did not abate and my allergies flared up un-mericifully.  Fun party, but I was a little uncomfortable. By the time I got home, I felt like one hot sticky itchy mess.  I looked in the mirror when I got home and was pleasantly surprised to see that I looked exactly the way I did when I’d left 6 hours earlier. Yup, miracle in a bottle!


Vain & Vapid

The past 6 months have been absolutely fabulous, but they’ve gone by in a complete blur.  There have been amazing highs and along with those highs some pretty low lows.  Life’s all about the peaks and valleys – the dark times help make the good all the brighter.  Pretty deep, huh?  Ok, well now on to to the vanity.  As I’ve been moving at the speed of light through the past 180 days, my closet has been in an absolute shambles. During this time period, we’ve gone through a season change and I’ve been on more planes than I can count on two hands.  Through it all, Style Maven though I purport to be, I’ve been living in a clothing chaos.  So, this past weekend when on Saturday, July 29th, I experienced what seemed like my first real languid day of Summer, I got myself organized.  And then I took things a step further.  A comsumate list maker, I began to mix and match my outfits in a notebook in Evernote. I created categories and delineated them by notes – Day, Ladies Who Lunch, Evening, Weekend, Travel. Then in each note, I listed my Summer outfits and variations on each theme. Vain? Yes.  Vapid? Probably. Helpful? Most definitely!  A girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do . . .

[photo courtesy of Vanity Fair]

Packin’ Bling!

Ok, so I admit it. I’m at a loss.  As you all know, I travel quite a bit . . . but I’m loathe to admit that I have not yet figured out how to satisfactorily pack my bling.  The real stuff is in a small jewelry roll that never leaves my side and goes from my tote/handbag to the hotel safe like clockwork. It’s the statement pieces I’m talkin’ ’bout ….. I got a great necklace from JCrew awhile ago. It came in a lovely silver box. Why did that silver box, affixed with two rubber bands become my travel jewelry box? It made me cringe everytime I opened it up, but it did store my bling quite nicely (everything was in a separate jewelry pouch). Now, I know some folks believe in ziploc bags, but they haven’t proven to be adequate jewelry storage for me (I use them to store all kinds of stuff in my suitcase, but I haven’t found them to be particularly useful when packing jewelry).  How do you pack your gems for travel?


Have you noticed that every couple of years, your personal style changes just ever so slightly? That dress you loved 2 years ago, while still in great shape, just doesn’t do it for you anymore. You put it on, look in the mirror and notice that something isn’t quite right.  There’s no time to change, so you head out to work, dinner or your date – and while you’re out you see someone who’s dressed exactly the way you envisioned dressing in your head but you didn’t have the right stuff your closet. And then it hits you – duh, it’s time for an overhaul.  Change is hard and let’s be honest, a new wardrobe is costly! But, there is a way to go about re-vamping your closet that won’t break the bank.

  • First, figure out the direction you’d like to head in.  Once you’ve pinned down your new style direction – The Bohemian, The Prepster, Mommy Dearest, Ms. Fancy Pants, The Rockstar, The Hipster, etc. – go through your closet and figure out which items fall into this category and which do not.  Now obviously, you cannot get rid of all of your clothes, but you know the golden rule – pull out anything you haven’t worn in two years.  Then go back through and re-assess.
  • Next, go through your shoes and accessories employing the same tactics. [Truth be told, I am an accessories whore and I rarely get rid of accessories, because accessories never become too small and they generally come back around.] However, if you have serious space constraints, then cull to your heart’s content!
  • Pack up your discards and determine which are consign-able and which should be donated. Soon you’ll have money coming in that can go towards a few of your new purchases.
  • Now, think about the 4 or 5 items you’ll need (based on what you have in your closet) that will help you begin to transform your current wardrobe to the one you desire.  For example, the trend is platform heels; are you still rockin’ your Jimmy Choo’s from 7 years ago?  If so, you my dear may need to buy a new pair of shoes or two.  I’m not advocating trendy here, I’m advocating stylish.  Now, f you work in a corporate office, 5-inch platforms may not be the most efficaious purchase.  But, there is a middle ground.  Take some time to flip through magazines like Lucky, Bazaar – the ususal suspects – to find items that will work for you and your lifestyle.
  • Armed with your list and budget, you’re ready to shop and begin your metamorphosis.

Give yourself time and know that unless you have an unlimited clothing budget, your metamorphosis is not going to happen over night ….. this process will take at least a year.  Just keep your eyes on the prize and remember that Rome wasn’t built in a day. New clothes are an investment in you and your personal brand. And the lightness you’ll feel from shedding unworn items will allow you to spread your wings and soar just like a butterfly.

[before dress: Karta; after dress: Heidi Merrick]

Platform Diaries

I’ve been eyeing these FAB linen platforms by Theodora & Callum. Theodora & Callum is the brainchild of of Stephani Greenfield (co-founder of Scoop NYC) and Desiree Gruber (co-creator of Project Runway). Theodora & Callum is an accessories-based line featuring scarves, jewelry, shoes and bags inspired by their collective travels. Drawing inspiration from Morocco, Bali, Turkey, India and the Mediterranean as well as the bon vivant mentality of the late 60’s and early 70’s European jet-set, each style feels as if it has been discovered in a far-off locale. They’re a little pricey at $395 a pop.  What do you think?

Hot Buns In the Summertime!

My signature hairstyle is a chignon (pronounced shin-yon), a.k.a a bun.  The word “chignon” comes from the French phrase “chignon du cou,” which means nape of the neck.  I love wearing my hair in a chignon because it’s neat and I don’t have to worry about my hair not looking the way I want it to.  I’ve noticed that the chignon is also the default hairstyle some of my favorite stylistas too – JLo and SJP to name a few.

Believe it or not, annually, I spend hours at the hairdresser; I often wear my hair down, but the easiest, and possibly most flattering, hairstyle for me is a chignon.  It’s chic and simple:  it can be big (add a fall here or there) or small, it can be messy or neat, on top of my head or at the nape of my neck.  Since the chignon is my hairstyle of choice, I’m always on the lookout for products that will help me have the best chignon possible. Leave it to the folks at Goody to come up with the Goody Spin Pin for you guessed it, buns.

They look a little daunting, but I found this great how-to with step-by-step instructions here.  I’m thinking it’s going to be a scorcher this Summer, high temps and thick hair on the nape of my neck do not go hand-in-hand.  If you’re like me, you might want to check out the new fangled Goody Spin Pin for yourself. Click here to find it.

Tell me, which of these chignons do you like the most?

Fascinated With Fascinators!

The girl who would be Queen, has fascinated us with her fascinators!  Now, by the time this post hits your inboxes, Kate Middleton will be Princess Catherine.  And to her credit, she has made a name for herself all over the world not with her designer duds and gaggle of celebrity friends, but with her High Street sense of style.

What is a fascinator you ask? A fascinator is a headpiece.  A delicate, slightly-to-very frivolous head decoration worn almost exclusively by women. A fascinator may be worn instead of a hat to occasions where hats were traditionally worn—such as weddings—or as an evening accessory. I became obsessed with fascinators a few weeks ago.  I needed a hat for a luncheon I was attending and I decided that I wanted one of the cute little numbers Kate Middleton is so fond of donning. If I told someone I was looking for a fascinator they looked at me a bit dazed and confused, but if I told them I wanted a hat like Kate Middleton’s they new exactly what I was talking about.  Not bad for someone under the age of 30 (she’s 29) who’s been dressing herself without the aid of stylists and haute couture designers thus far. I’m thinking we might have a style icon in our midst.  Only time will tell, but in a short period of time we’ve become fascinated with her fascinators!

Want your own fascinator, but you’re not working with a budget fit for a Queen? Check out my foray into the world of milinery on FaceBook. Yes, I fashioned my own fascinator.

Hip Hip Hooray for Princess Catherine & Prince William – may their cups of happiness runneth over!

[photos clockwise, courtesy of Bridefinds, Lisa's History Room, Laura Hughes & Lisa's History Room]