Archive for the 'Style Tips' Category

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It’s All About STYLE . . .

Now you know I am all about gadgets – I love my Blackberry, my iTouch, my iPad and the like . . . but every now and then it’s just good to put pen to paper.  The folks at Moleskin must’ve read my mind with their latest creation – The STYLE journal.  Ask any of my clients.  I arrive at their respective homes to do their Wardrobe Evaluation with my composition notebook in hand to record all of my notes about their likes, sizes, style wishes and desires.  When we go shopping, I don’t leave home without their particular composition notebook in my bag.  Two years later when we meet to revamp their wardrobes, I pull out my handy-dandy composition notebook with their name emblazoned on front.  So, yes, I think I’m switching over to Moleskin . . . STYLE journal not your passion?  No worries – check out the other journals in their Passion Line — Receipe, Wine, Book, Film, Music, Wellness, Travel, Gardening, Dog, Cat, Baby — there’s something to tickle everyone’s fancy.

Viva Le Caftan!

A few months ago, one of you wrote in and asked about the perfect hostess outfit for the holidays and I said “CAFTANS”.  I know there were a few raised eyebrows out there, but believe me what goes around comes around.  You can’t tell me that a modern version of one of the caftans above wouldn’t look darling on you as you lounge around the pool on your next vacation or host your book club at your humble abode.  As recently as a few weeks ago, I wrote about my love of caftans on PLUS SIZE GLiTZ when I road-tested one by eShakti.  I admit it, I’m a little bit disco – ok, well a lot – but hey, you might be too! Try one, you might like it . . .

[photo found on MyCupofTe]

STYLE Crush

It wasn’t until a few weeks ago that I realized I was in a style rut.  There were lots of great things that happened at lavish! (finally meeting my friend Shameeka in person, connecting with other bloggers I’ve been following and hanging out with my BFF Nicole), but I think the best thing for me was the realization that my daily attire has gotten a bit boring.  I work from home, I run errands, go to meetings, etc.; I always look appropriate, but unless I’m going out some place special or on vacation I wear my uniform.  Right now, my uniform consists of black cashmere, black leather (skirt or jeans), an interesting necklace, a cool pair of shoes or boots and I’m good to go.  Then, I met Kristen Giorgi at a cocktail party.  Lovely lovely young lady, but what drew me to her was the effortless way she wore the sequin top below with a pair of satin cargo pants.  It was the perfect outfit for the occassion.  She reminded me a bit of the younger version of myself.  Someone who’s always a little overdressed or overdone, depending on how you view the situation, but looks great nonetheless.

On the surface we have very little in common, but Kristen loves fashion, has a style blog and she’s an aspiring fashion stylist — plus, she has a great eye. From time to time you’ll see images from her blog, Sorellina, here.  To put it bluntly, I think I’ve gotten a little lazy.  It’s takes more effort to put an outfit together than it does to throw on a uniform.  So, Kristen’s become my muse in all things sparkly, fun and lady-like.

Point in case, I met Kristen, got inspired and made plans to go out with some friends for drinks. My BFF Susan who lives in the burbs happened to be downtown for her husband’s holiday office party the same evening.  She calls to say she can’t believe she’s down the street and we’re not hanging out.  Believe it or not, I’m literally on my way to the bar across the street from where she’s having cocktails with her husband’s co-workers.  So, she tips out to meet me so that we can have a 10 minute in-person catch-up.  We meet on in the middle of the street and she says to me, “Oh my God, where are you going?!?!?  You’re so dressed up!”  I had on black heels and tights, a sequin skirt, a charcoal grey wool jersey t-shirt, sparkly earrings and a fur coat.  I told her about my STYLE Crush and my resolution to get back to finding the joy in wearing the clothes I’ve amassed.  She chuckled and we had our 10 minute catch up before each hurling ourselves back into our frenzied worlds.

Lesson learned?  Although our society has become a much more casual, I’m not really that person.  It may take me a few minutes longer to get dressed in the morning, but that’s not a bad price to pay.  Inspiration is all around us and often in the form of the unexpected.  Thanks Kristen!

Who’s your STYLE Crush?

p.s. – Yes, in case you were wondering, I did run out and buy that sparkly sequin top (mine is silver).

[images courtesy JP, Kristen's husband]

I’m Being Featured . . .

Simply Chic: Fresh & Fun Style Advice

Kristin Larson, a style and fashion writer for MSN.com, featured me in her column Simply Chic. Stop by and check out the advice I provided to her readers about one of my favorite topcis, sequins! Click here to see what I had to say.

Recently, iVillage published an article titled, The 12 Steps to Shopping Wisely, I was featured in Step 7 “Know the Difference Between Splurging and Smart Shopping.” Click here for my tips.

Is Your STYLE in Balance?

Supermodel (and mogol) Heidi Klum is a woman after my own heart!  Last week she retired from Victoria’s Secret, inked a deal with Ann Taylor and launched Heidi Klum for New Balance, an active womens fashion line available exclusively through Amazon.com. The line features fashions that “look edgy and fashionable while still feeling comfortable.” It’s like she read my mind.  Unless I’m going Uptown for a Ladies Who Lunch date, I’m a Downtown girl who wants to be fashionable yet comfortable.  I’ve been making my own ensembles cobbled together from a little Lululemon, Target (pronounced Tar-gey) and a bit of addidas thrown in. Heidi’s no dummy, she proved herself to the masses during that first season of Project Runway (not to mention her line of Birkenstocks), and has clearly seen women like me running errands in our “souped up” workout clothes.  So what does she do?  She partnered with New Balance and created an edgy line of affordable active wear that women are going to scoop up. GENIUS. Check out her new line here.

[images from Amazon]

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Ginger+Liz

Sounds like they could be your two best friends, right?  Well, I’ve adopted them as mine!  I LOVE their vegan friendly and toxin-free nail lacquer.  A few weeks ago my friend Geneva invited me to a launch party for their Fall 2010 new colors at Carole’s Daughter’s flagship store in Harlem.  I fell in love with the liquid gold color (I know, it’s the Disco Diva in me), “Got My Groove Back” which I really think should be called “Living My Life Like It’s Golden!”.  Others went for the metallic-y forest green “Blowin’ Money Fast”, which I must admit I didn’t get until I saw it on others.  It’s a hot hot color and will definitely be one of my Fall go-to colors.

Color: Got My Groove Back

Color: Blowin' Money Fast

Ginger+Liz is the brainchild of H. Ginger Johnson (no relation to moi) and S. Liz Pickett, friends and lovers of fashion and beauty products.  I got a chance to talk to G+L for a few minutes and of course I wanted to know how they came up with such a genius idea.  They said that they just kept tossing ideas around and before they knew it, Ginger+Liz was born.  While neither has given up her day job yet, Ginger is an entrepreneur with vast experience in ad sales and Liz is a model, actress and author, they are hoping to sign a distribution contract with a large retailer soon which may make the need for their day jobs obsolete. In the interim, you can find their products online and at select nail salons for $12 a pop in New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta and Washington, D.C.

Liz Pickett and Ginger Johnson of Ginger+Liz

Geneva getting her nails done

New friend & Fab Style Blogger Sarah Conley

My Fall 2010 Must-Haves . . .

Fall is truly my favorite season!  I love the crisp cool days of September and October. It’s the perfect time to wear chunky knits, warm wool and cashmere, great hats, cool boots and lots and lots of texture.  For me it’s all about layering and pairing unlikely duos – I’m seeing myself with this fabulous Alexander McQueen kimono jacket, a pair of jeggings, hiking boots and a leopard print fur hat.

Review: Shoes of Prey

Shoes of Prey, an Australian bespoke shoe company, was kind enough to send me a pair of their platform pumps for review.  I went for the snakeskin platforms below (honestly, I hadn’t seen the hot pink fish skins above …).

Although Shoes of Prey is a bespoke shoe company (more about that in a minute), the shoes they sent me were not specifically made for me.  I chose a pair from what they had in stock in my size.  This is an option they offer, but if you’re going to go for broke, I say do it in a style that’s befitting you and only you!

So, what is a bespoke shoe company you ask?  It’s simple.  You get to design your own shoes. You choose from 7 different kinds of shoes – ballet flats, wedges, ankle booties, round toe pumps, platform pumps, pointy toe pumps, and gladiators. Then you choose the leather you’d like (for example, you could go with green snakeskin and then choose a silver or gold leather for the heel), the toe, the back, the heel height and any decorations.  The shoes range in price from $180 -$280 (ankle boots are $330) and come in an large range of sizes, US womens 3 to US womens 11.5.  If your foot is very wide or very narrow, Shoes of Prey will work with you to get the sizing just right (the additional sizing may cost extra). Oh, and they’re based in Australia so, shipping is a little bit higher – $25, but they do free returns and will work with you to make sure your shoes fit properly (and yes, if you are not happy with your bespoke shoe and have not worn it, Shoes of Prey will take it back).

I give Shoes of Prey a B+.  The shoes are well constructed and have a nice heel pad in the insole.  Mine were a little big in the heel, so I inserted the toe-pads that were provided which helped to push my heel all the way back and minimized slippage.  I vacillate between shoe sizes, it’s crazy but in some designers I’m a 7.5 US and in others a 9 US (I know, it killed me when the salesman at Bergdorf’s suggested I try a 9 a few months ago, but the shoes I got were fierce so size, smize!).  I say that to say, that in Shoes of Prey, I’m probably a 7.5.

My platforms were comfortable to walk around in, but I was walking on carpet. I truly believe that the true test after you purchase a pair of heels is:  ”What do your feet feel like after you end up standing on concrete or marble for an hour or two?”

That said, I absolutely LOVE the idea of being able to design my own shoes … My problem is I’ll come up with what I think are the perfect pair and then have shoe envy when I see another pair that are even HOTTER than the ones I created.  I guess I need to let my inner Disco Diva out of her box!  I’m still thinking about the green snakeskin with the gold heels ….. decisions, decisions, decisions!

FYI  – Shoes of Prey sent me these shoes for review only, the shoes will be returned to them after this post. This review is purely my opinion; it is a non-compensated and non-sponsored review.

All Dressed Up With No Place to Go?

If so, count yourself lucky!  I can’t tell you how many times clients, friends and family members regale me with their tales of woe — I was invited to a black tie at the last minute, but I didn’t go because I didn’t have anything to wear; I went to dinner with friends and I was completely under dressed; I took a girl’s trip with my college besties and felt like I was the under dressed step-sister, yata yata yata.

We’ve all found ourselves in this situation or a similar one at some point in time. It’s not fun. Although the folks at Bluefly ran a great ad campaign a few years ago called “Nothing to Wear to Work that’s Why Bluefly” promising to get the perfect outfit to you the next day.  The ads were great, but buying a new outfit every time you have some place to go isn’t realistic for most of us.

Of course, we all have that friend who seems to have the perfect outfit for every occasion.  College reunion?  She’s flawless and each outfit looks effortless.  A baby shower?  She shows up perfectly coiffed with the perfect Sunday brunch outfit to boot.  Diner Date?  She’s combined the downtown hipster look with the Uptown lady who lunches with aplomb.  How does she do it?  I’ll tell you – she doesn’t wait until the last minute to try to figure out what to wear.  Each season (Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall) she takes stock of her closet, figures out what she’s keeping, storing and getting rid of.  Then she determines which seasonal trends she’d like to add in and what her budget is for such additions. And lastly, and most importantly, she takes the time to put a few outfits together.  Some go to the extreme and literally mix-and-match everything while others come up with a few main outfits (general work uniform, going-out and special events); the point is that these folks take time upfront to figure out what will work so that 5 minutes before they need to be walking out the door they’re not standing in front of the closet searching for that elusive perfect outfit.

As Summer comes to a close and Fall is right around the corner, think about coming up with a strategy to maximize your Fall wardrobe and minimize your time spent getting dressed.  I’m curious, let me know what works for you …

STYLish Traveler

Travel has become a necessary evil.  Gone are the days when people dressed up to go to the airport to board their flights and cruise the airwaves in style.  Today, you see children in pj’s, women in sweatsuits and everyone in jeans. Although we’ve become much more casual in our approach to travel, doesn’t mean that style has to be sacrificed.  It’s easy to travel stylishly, yet comfortably, with a little planning ahead of time.  Here are a few of my favorite stylish travel essentials:

  • LUXE Travel Guides – I discovered these in Vietnam 4 years ago and have used them religiously since then.  They’re great – written in a cheeky manner with loads of info on hotels, restaurants, and the sights.  They even provide detailed shopping tours.
  • My Kindle – It’s wonderful to be able to carry my library with me.  Believe you me, I have traveled abroad before with a bag filled with books!
  • Converse Chuck Taylor All Stars – Comfy and stylish all at once.
  • Chocolove Chocolate Bars – Dark chocolate with chrystalized ginger is my fave.
  • Notecards – I try to remember to pack a few personalized notecards so that I can leave a personal note for an extra helpful concierge, salesperson or a new friend.
  • Rosebud Lip Balm – Great to keep your lips moisturized on long flights (it can do double duty as lotion too!)
  • A Cashmere Travel Blanket – I much prefer to use my own blanket on planes.
  • Beemans Gum – I’ve loved it since I was a kid, for some reason this gum reminds me of Summer vacations of yore.
  • Sunglasses – They prevent glare from the window seat, cover your eyes when you’re not at your best and act as a headband in a pinch!
  • Eye Mask – I know they give you a little travel kit on transatlantic flights, but I like the silky softness of my own eye mask.
  • iPod touch- Gotta have my tunes just in case there are no movies I want to watch.
  • Totebag – I’m a Goyard Girl, but Longchamps and Herve Chepellier make great light travel totes too.
  • Hermes Scarf – My neck gets cold easily, so I always pack a silk scarf to keep it warm.
  • Pashmina – You get the idea, I like to be covered from head to toe!

What are your travel style secrets?  Do share!

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Personal STYList: Scarf Tying Lesson

hermes scarf Pictures, Images and Photos

My friend V got married in February 2009, but she just got back from her honeymoon.  She and her husband post-poned their honeymoon because they had a number of friends getting married in exotic locales the same year they got married – pretty selfless of them, no?  Anyway,  she honeymooned in India where she went on safari, spent time at the Taj Mahal (the Shrine to LOVE), met the Maharaja and shopped of course!  On one of her shopping trips, she met a man who sold beautiful silk scarves at a great price, so she bought a few.  Now, she has all of these beautiful silk scarves, but she’s stumped as to how to wear them.

As you know dear readers, I heart my Hermès scarves and I wear them all the time.  At this point in my life, my scarves are a part of my daily existence.  I know, you may say this has more to do with my age than my style but I beg to differ.  See this silhouette? It’s of me wearing one of my scarves.  Pretty cool, no?

Anyway, after her sojourn to India, beautiful silk scarves in-hand, V wants to wear her scarves without looking like a little old lady protecting her hair from the elements.  And who can blame her?  I wasn’t quite sure how to wear my first Hermès scarf either, but with a little help from the folks at Hermès, I figured out my favorite styles and came up with a few of my own.  There are some great online guides – check these out and let me know which style, or styles, you end up adopting as your signature style.


Scarf Tying Guides:

How To Tie Scarves;

Texeresilk;

Brooks Brothers; and

Hermès I, Hermes II

Here’s to you and your scarf – wear her in good health!

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[image courtesy of Hermès]

Mrs. Howell Syndrome

A few weeks ago over lunch, Ellen, my financial planner informed me that she’d just started wearing jeans again when I told her about my post on jeggings.  El said that this was the first time she’s worn jeans in she can’t remember when.  So pray-tell, what made her start wearing jeans again? Get this, my financial planner, is a singer in an 80′s cover band.  Quiet as it’s kept, she did admit that she might be going through a slight mid-life crisis.  But hey, we should all be so lucky to go through a mid-life crisis and be able to carry enough of a tune to front a band!

Anyway, she wore chinos to her first gig and her friends just about laughed her attire off of the stage.  She said it never occured to her to wear jeans to a gig because she suffers from Mrs. Howell Syndrome (her phraseology, not mine, but one I may have to swipe!).  Why had she eschewed the most versatile article of clothing there is? (Thank you very much Mr. Strauss!)  Her answer? She suffers from Mrs. Howell Syndrome.

Let me refresh your recollection.  Eunice “Lovey” Wentworth Howell, Mrs. Thurston Bailey Howell, III, played with aplomb by Natalie Schafer, and her husband were two of the castaways on Gilligan’s Island.  The show’s premise was simple: the two-man crew of the charter boat S. S. Minnow took five passengers on a “three-hour tour”, they ran into a tropical storm and they were shipwrecked on an uncharted island somewhere in the Pacific Ocean. Even though she was stranded on a deserted island, Mrs. Howell managed to look put together (her pearls were always in place) and ready for a cocktail party or luncheon at a moment’s notice.

Still not exactly sure what Mrs. Howell Syndrome is?  Let me put it like this, you might suffer from Mrs. Howell Syndrome if nine times out of ten your attire is nicer than that of most of the people at work, at a dinner party, at your nephew’s christening and the list goes on.  As much as I’m loathe to admit it, I think I may suffer a tad-bit from Mrs. Howell Syndrome.  I didn’t know there was a name for it until Ellen clued me in, but I have been accused of being overdressed on occassion. My husband is the one who usually points this out to me as we’re heading out the door:

Him: Do you think your outfit is a little over the top?  We’re just going to X.

Me: No.  I like my outfit.  I think it’s perfectly appropriate for tonight.

Him: Ok, I’m just saying . . . You might want to put on a lower heel or something to tone it down a bit.

Me: No, I’m good. (Then of course I begin to question my choice once we’re in the cab when it’s too late to change!)

I’m fortunate, I live in New York.  So, however over the top I might be, and I admit that there are some nights when I am definitely the Mrs. Howell in the crowd, there’s usually someone who’s right in line with me if not a few steps ahead.

Personally, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with channeling your inner Mrs. Howell every now again.  As Coco Chanel said, “A girl should be two things: classy and fabulous!” I couldn’t agree more.

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[image courtesy of United Artists Television]