Archive for the 'Style Tips' Category

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The Perfect Jewelry Box

In case it’s not patently obvious, I heart accessories!  (um, remember Brazil?) But, I especially LOVE  jewelry.  I believe more is more!  Yes, there are times when you can have too much jewelry on, but it’s better to be adorned than to walk around half-dressed.  Accessories can make or break an outfit.  For those of you who find my theory suspect — add a necklace, bracelet or a pair of earrings and stand back as the compliments start flowing your way.  If you are one of those people whose jewelry box has some empty compartments, here’s a list of 6 pieces of jewelry every woman should own courtesy of my stylist friend Monica Barnett to help jump-start your jewelry addiction.

I admit it, I have lots of jewelry (an addiction I come by naturally from the ladies on my mother’s side of the family).  But, for the most part, I manage to wear a good portion of my growing collection.  Storage, however, is becoming a problem.  I’ve been on the lookout for the perfect jewelry box for years now. Part of the problem is space.  There’s just never enough space in New York! But, the other part of the problem is finding something that will house my gems in a manner that will allow me to see what I have.  This is fashion stylist Masha O’s jewelry box, a simple filing cabinet.  Sheer genius.  I need one in white.

[image from Refinery29]

Walkin’ On Sunshine | Kork-Ease

I’m on my feet a lot.  I run around the city meeting clients and I stroll the avenues looking for great finds and new trends; all of which involve a great deal of walking. I’ve been on a quest for comfortable yet good-looking shoes for about 3 years now.  I discovered Kork-Ease wedge sandals about two years ago on a fine Spring day while shopping with a client.  We were on 34th Street in a shoe store looking for shoes to match an evening gown she’d just purchased.  It had been a long day. I was tired and my dogs were sho ’nuff barkin’.  I looked up from my client’s feet and saw a suburban mom who was very well put together in a kind-of JCrew meets Martha Stewart kind of way. She had on these really cool patent leather kelly green wedge sandals.  They looked sooooo comfortable! As I was wistfully eyeing her shoes, she made a beeline over to me with a pair of sparkly heels in hand to ask my opinion. Interestingly, I get that a lot.  I wasn’t doing anything overtly “stylist-like”, I like to think that I look more stylish than most and one stylish person to another kind of karma was going on.  Anyway, she showed me the shoes and a picture of her daughter’s prom dress.  She wanted to know if I thought they’d work together. She’d made a great choice and I told her so.

Then, I pounced!  I told her that I hoped her daughter knew how lucky she was to have a stylish mom she could trust to buy her prom shoes while she was off at soccer practice.  And then, I went in for the kill (now, what you must understand about me is that I would have found out about those patent leather green wedges before that lady left the store if it killed me, client shopping trip or not – that knowledge was going to have long lasting benefits not only for me, but for many) and inquired about her sandals.  She laughed and said, “They’re the most comfortable shoe I own. I have them in every color.  They’re a re-issue from a sandal that was really popular when I was in my 20s called Korkeeze.”  I filed the name in my mental rolodex and went back to my client.

A few days later, my husband and I were leaving dinner on our way to the theater when I saw a woman, my age this time, with what I knew had to be a pair of those Korkeeze sandals (I didn’t know the proper spelling at the time).  I stopped and asked her about them, she swore they were the most comfortable shoes she’d ever owned. Clearly, I was brain dead after my client shopping excursion because although my feet were throbbing when I got home, I promptly forgot all about Googling those sandals!  But, not this time.  I got home, sat down at the computer and bought myself a pair of Ava’s in black patent leather.  They arrived just in time for a weekend trip to Miami.  I put them on and felt like I was walkin’ on sunshine.  Soccer Mom was right, they were sooooo comfortable!  And, they looked really cool in a hipster meets Palm Beach kind of way.  The best part?  They gave me a little height – I’m short with hips so I need a heel to help balance my proportions out – but at no cost to my comfort.  Remember my stylish friend Mia?  She saw me with my Ava’s on and promptly went out and bought a pair.

Believe it or not, Kork-Ease, is the original platform wedge sandal that all the hipsters were wearing back in the day.  The first pair were created in Brooklyn in 1953 and they’re been immortalized in the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Landmark Shoe Collection.  An honor only bestowed to 25 styles of footwear. The best wedge known to womankind.  I kid you not.

[Prices range from $90-$135, from left to right: Bette, Bette, Shannon, Myrna, Shannon and Ava]

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I say Tunic, You say TuNix!

Tunics are all the rage.  They have been and they continue to be.  Meet our new sponsor – TuNix!  TuNix is the brainchild of Ashley Reiser.  Ashley’s a commercial real estate banker by trade, but when her husband landed a fab new job overseas, she jumped at the chance to live abroad and try her hand at entrepreneurship.  Et voila!  TuNix was born.  Ashley knew nothing about manufacturing clothing when she started her company a few years ago, but she’s a quick study.  She did her due diligence, talked to people in the industry and ended up creating a line of clothing that is comfortable yet casually elegant.  Her goal was to provide the modern woman with stylishly functional clothes. What makes TuNix unique is that their tunics come in 4 different styles – collared or collarless, hip-length and mini-dress – the silhouette is flattering for all body types. TuNix range in size from XS – XL.  And the great thing? TuNix is having a sale, prices are $49 -$110.

JT – Are you calling dibs on the TuNix pictured?

Skinny Jeans v. Jeggings, Part 2

Thank you soooo much for all of your comments on last week’s post, Skinny Jeans vs. Jeggings!  Usually, I try to respond to all of the comments and emails I receive, but there were so many that I thought another post was merited.  In general, folks have not bought into the skinny silhouette craze of the moment.  Some of you were concerned that you might be too large or too thin to pull off this look.  Others believe it’s just a fad and why fix what ain’t broke. All valid points and concerns.

So, who are skinny jeans and jeggings for?  Honestly, they’re for whoever decides they want to wear them.  One reader said that she initially thought this was one of those trends that was going to have to pass her by because she’s plus-sized.  She got up the courage, bought a pair, wore them out and people started asking her if she’d lost weight.  Like I said last week, it’s all about the illusion.  Skinny jeans and jeggings have lyra or spandex in them (which like good shapewear) will suck you in in all of the right places.  Another reader wanted to know if skinny jeans might make her already thin frame look thinner.  The answer is: Yes, they probably will.  So, if you’re not interested in looking any smaller than you already are, the skinny silhouette may not be right for you. [Just a side note here, as hard as it may be to believe, regardless of size and shape each and everyone of us - myself included - has body image issues. That's a whole 'nother posting, but I just wanted to put that out there.]

And then there was the group who wanted to know what exactly to wear with this new skinny silhouette.  My response?  Although the silhouette has changed, what you wear with skinny jeans or jeggings is really the same as what you’d wear with your bootcut jeans.  A long wrap cardigan, a cool tank or t-shirt, tunics and funky sweaters with a pair of ballet flats or a cool pair of heels, a piece of interesting jewelry and a  a to die for handbag or clutch and you’re good to go.

For my bootcut girls, keep rockin’ em!  If you like ‘em, I love ‘em!  For those of you on the fence, try on a pair of skinny jeans or jeggings and see what you think.  Who knows, you might fall in love all over again.

From left to right: Splendid wrap cardigan, $59.99; James Perse t-shirt, $50; Cj Joy Jegging -$110; Kimono sleeve sweater, $39; L.A.M.B. Bootie, $169.46 ; NYD’s Boot Cut Jeans- $98Crystal & Metal Spikes Pendant, $124.95; Kooba Studded Satchel, $645; Embroidered Tunic, $9.95; Kenneth Cole REACTION Ballet Flat, $60; Rebecca Minkoff Clutch, $330 ; Not Your Daughter’s Jeans Straight Leg – $88.

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The In-Between Time: Winter to Spring Transitions

It’s been 80 degrees in New York this week – 80 degrees like in the middle of July , hot & sticky.  Unbelievable, right? Then I learned that it was above 90 degrees in D.C. on Wednesday (actually, it hit 91 degrees in New York on Wednesday – no wonder it was so hot & sticky!).  If we’re hitting these highs in April, who knows what’s going to happen when Summer really hits.  But, as with all good things, the heat wave ends today and we’re back to normal Spring weather which if anything is consistently fickle (cool and rainy one day, sunshine and warm the next).  I call this weird time of year The In-Between Time.  I hated this time of year when I was practicing because it was so hard to know what to wear to work – it was cool when I left home in the am, hot in the middle of the day at lunchtime and the evenings were always a toss-up!  I was invited by Corporette, a blog for overachieving chicks, to be a Guest Blogger and write about successfully navigating The In-Between Time earlier this week.  So, if you’re looking for some tips to help you bridge the gap between your Winter and Spring wardrobes, check out my article and let me know what you think.

Interestingly, the next day I received an email from the folks at Lawshucks (you get it right? Law Shucks is a play on “Aw Shucks” – the long version of the tagline is “A self-deprecating look at life in, and after, BigLaw”- a play on “shucking” through the layers and getting at the core of biglaw) telling me that my article on Corporette inspired them to learn a bit more about me a la Google.  Their research resulted in a lovely profile.

Thanks Corporette and Lawshucks!

Skinny Jeans vs. Jeggings

After a recent couples trip to Las Vegas, my sister called to tell me that she’d bought her first pair of skinny jeans.  I know, shopping in Vegas?  But what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas  . . . Anyway, so glad she moved from  boot cut to skinny! But, what about these jeggings you keep hearing about?  What’s the difference?  Is there one?  I must admit, I love my skinny jeans but now I’m smitten by the jeggings craze.

Skinny jeans are just that, skinny.  They’re totally in right now, skinny is the silhouette of the moment.  Jeggings just take skinny to the next level.  Jeggings are simply jeans + leggings.  What I love about jeggings is that you get all the comfort of leggings, but none of the casualness that plagues leggings.  Jeggings may seem like the province of the young and rail thin, but think again.  If you’re not a toothpick and you often do all sorts of maneuvers to get your jeans up over your thighs (if you’ve ever had to do a squat to get a pair of jeans on you fall into this camp), believe it or not jeggings may be for you.  Why? Because jegging fabric is much more forgiving than the denim used to make skinny jeans (jeggings have 5 -7% lyrca/spandex compared to 1-3% in skinny jeans).  And, believe it or not, the Denim gods are smiling on those of us with butts, hips and thighs – jeggings actually have a higher waist which can help to give a more flattering slimming effect.  (Hint: They suck you in in all the right places).

Ready to give jeggings a try?  Check out Cookie Johnson’s new line. Yes,  Cookie Johnson, Magic Johnson’s wife.  She started her denim line, Cj, because she couldn’t find a pair of jeans with a perfect fit (i.e., no calestentics required and properly covers her B,H & Ts).  What’s cool about Cj’s is that the back of the waistband is lined with silk, no more rough material rubbing against your backside, the back comes up higher than most designer jeans but the front are still low-rise and the back pockets are smaller than the size of your fist which helps to minimize the derriere.  And the best thing?  They range in size from 2 – 18.  Oprah swears that they’re the best jeans for real women with curves. Cj Joy Jegging -$110.

Not into jeggings, but ready to go skinny minny?  Cj has a skinny pair for you, Cj Faith jeans – $112 (pictured below left), and so does Not Your Daughter’s Jeans. NYD Jeans come with a special Lift Tuck technology that they swear will make you a full size smaller.  Hey, I’m all about illusions! Not Your Daughter’s Jeans Straight Leg – $88 (pictured below right).

And if this skinny nonsense is offending your sensabilities and you’re a true boot cut girl, here are a few pair of classic boot cut jeans that will look good on just about everyone.  Cj’s Grace Boot Cut Jean – $112, NYD’s Boot Cut Jeans- $98 and Paige Premium Denim’s Laurel Canyon Jean -$179.

The most important thing to remember when buying a pair of jeans is that the darker the denim, the slimmer you will look.  Just a little tip from me to you.  But, I LOVE crisp white jeans in the Summertime!  I also love to hear from you, please take a moment to tell me which brand of denim is your favorite and why.

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Possess THIS:

The Beauty of Simplicity

In case it’s not obvious, I’m a minimalist. I absolutely love sleek lines. Isn’t this alarm clock gorgeous?  I mean really, if you wake every morning next to something so beautifully elegant, you might just wake up with a huge smile on your face despite the fact that you’ve got to get up and hit the ground running, right?   This Internet/FM radio alarm clock and media player by Sonoro brings tens of thousands of radio stations from around the world within immediate reach. Connect it to a LAN line or through wi-fi and choose a station by name, country or genre: jazz, classic, rock or from 64 additional choices, and stream your favorite music from a computer. This radio has a crisp OLED-display and matching, high quality RF (Radio Frequency for the uninitiated) remote control.  And the price?  It retails for $599, but is on sale for $386. Sonoro AU3001BL Eklipse Audio System (Black)

And if that’s a little rich for your blood, check out the less souped up version marked down from $299 to $169. Sonoro AU-4400BL Elements Audio System (Black)

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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.

I Heart My Hermès Scarf, Part Deux

Well folks, I just picked up Brazil from the Hermès store on Madison Avenue.  Here she is from a distance:

She looks ok, right?  Well that’s what I thought.  But then I looked closely and I admit it, tears sprung up in my eyes.  I realize that the folks at Hallak tried to fix her, I just don’t love the fix.  There were two holes in the scarf and apparently they were along the same fold line (honestly, I don’t really recall if there were on the same fold line on not, but based on the way she’s been repaired that’s all I can surmise).  Here’s a close-up:

See the black line down the middle?  That’s the fix.  Now you get the tears.  The saleswoman was lovely, I’ve worked with her before. Before I could speak, I could tell by her expression that she understood my frustration.  I calmly told her, “I’m not happy with the way this turned out.  I know I signed a release form, but I’m not happy with this.”  She felt my pain, said what were meant to be placating words and then went to have a talk with the manager.  While there I learned that I’m not the first person who’s loved her scarf to death and unfortunately, this is the “fix”.  They can’t weave the twill fibers back together.  However, all agreed that the fix does look somewhat like a band-aid upon further inspection.  Only this is a band-aid that can’t be peeled off when the boo-boo is healed.  Hermès agreed not to charge me for the band-aid.  Lesson learned?  Take better care of my scarves.  Carry them in my bag in a protective case (Ziploc bags are perfect for just such a thing) and store them in the flat square boxes they come in.

I’m sad, Brazil is still my favorite.  But, there are people in Haiti trying to figure out how to survive and service men and women in Afghanistan hoping to come home alive.  If my only disappointment is the repair of my Hermès scarf, I should count myself lucky and I do.  It’s easy to become tethered by earthly goods; my goal for 2010 is to loosen those ties, soar beyond them and be thankful for the wonderful family and friends I hold dear.  Because really, when it comes down to the come down, they’re what count most.

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]

You Little Minx! | Win a Free Minx Manicure

My friend Cass spends a good chunk of time in LA and somehow is always one step ahead of the curve on the latest trends before they reach me here in New York. Two years ago it when she came back to New York from an extended sojourn to the West Coast, she’d stumbled upon the most magnificant air-brushed manicure I’d ever seen. Not that airbrushing at nail salons is a new concept, it’s just that the way it was done that was sooooo cool.  She promised we’d make a lunch date to get our nails air-brushed (she’d found a similar spot she wanted to try out in Harlem), but life got in the way and we never made it.

Long story short, before I can get this air-brushed thing done, she tells me that we need to get a Minx manicure instead. Now, if your guilty pleasure is reading material focused on our nation’s pop culture, you know, magazines like Ok!, InTouch, or People you’ve probably heard of Minx.  Me?  My guilty pleasures take the form of tv shows like Big Love, The Tudors, Project Runway and The Real Housewives (I know, I hate to admit it), so the only minxes I was aware of were sly, flirtatious girls a la Holly Golightly. Clearly, I didn’t have a clue.  And then, I got my chance. I was at the IFB conference during Fashion Week in February and I got a free Minx manicure (high demand and limited time meant that attendees could only get 1 nail Minx-ed, but it’s also where I discovered my latest nail polish obsession, Black Diamond, plus did I mention it was free?!?!?!).

Kalyn & celebrity manicurist Maisie Dunbar at The 2010 IFB Conference

I’ve since learned that a Minx manicure is what all the cool fashion insiders are vying for . . . Remember when OPI came out with “Lincoln Park After Dark”?  It’s such a dark purple that it almost looks black and you weren’t sure if it was really the right color for you?  But, you stepped up to the plate about 6 months after the trend started and now it’s just about the only color you use on your nails.  Well, Minx is kind of like that.  It seems a little over the top at first, maybe a little dramatic, might be too much for the office kind of thing and then your stylish friend shows up at work with a Minx manicure and you start to get a little envious. She didn’t choose one of the wilder patterns, she went with the subtle snakeskin (hard to believe snakeskin can be subtle, right? but somehow on her it looks fantastic).  So, you start peppering her with questions over lunch:

You: How long will it last?

Her: They said 4 -8 days . . . I had them done on Saturday, it’s Monday and they’re still stuck on. No chipping to worry about.

You: Stuck on? No chiping? How exactly does it work? Do they glue the stuff to your nails? Is it safe?

Her: I dont know really, it seemed pretty simple. It’s almost like a sticker or a decal, they stick it on your finger and then you put your hand under a heat lamp.

You: Hmm … it almost sounds too good to be true. How long did you have to sit under the nail dryer?

Her: I dunno, maybe about 30 minutes while she was applying them to my nails. My dryer time was during the actual manicure.

You: Aren’t you afraid it will mess up your nails when you take them off?

Her: No, there was no glue and there weren’t any fumes or anything. The manicurist said I should warm my nails under running water and then use one of those stick things they use to peel it off from one side to the other. I remember she said not to peel it from front to back cuz it messes up your nail fibers or something. It sounded simple enough.

You: That’s all? Wow . . .

And then the wheels start churning … No extra time under the dryer, no chipped nails, less worry about protecting your manicure . . . And before you know it, you start to covet one of those manicures for yourself. It happens. There’s no shame in your game. And hey, imitation really is the sincerest form of flattery. So, you decide that maybe being a little bit of a minx isnt such a bad idea after all . . .

Fifi Nail Salon has been kind enough to offer my readers a free Minx manicure.  Let your inner minx out, tell me why you should win a free Minx manicure.  Eligibility is simple – you must be an email subscriber to Possess Your STYLE and live in New York or plan to be in New York between now and June 2010.  If you haven’t  subscribed to PYS yet, simply click on the “subscribe to Possess Your STYLE by email” button towards the top of the column on the right and follow the directions (you’ll receive an email in your inbox with a link to click on to complete your subscription) – et volia!   All comments should be submitted by Friday, March 19, 2010 and the winner will be announced on Saturday, March 20th.

You little Minx you!
As far as I know, Minx is only available through certified nail technicians. The average price for a manicure ranges from $45 to $65 and between $65 to $85 for a pedicure.
[images courtesy of Minx & Polyvore]

A PurpleBerry!!!!!

In case you haven’t noticed, I’m a little obsessed with the color purple.  My website, my blog and my Twitter page are all purple.  I don’t really know why I’m obsessed with all things purple.  I just am.  Other people like pink, blue, green, grey, brown, red, orange, yellow and black.  I like purple.   I’ve loved the color purple, and anything purple (with the exception of many grape flavored things), since I was a little girl.  If I had to pinpoint my first purple memory, it’s of my father and his fraternity brothers – Omega Psi Phi.  Their colors are purple and gold (and yes, my wedding colors were purple and gold, sounds tacky but it really was quite tasteful if I do say so myself .. come on, I’m a stylist, I have an eye for combining the not-so-obvious!).  I’m a daddy’s girl, so I guess it’s not surprising that I adopted purple as my favorite color.  Oh, and my niece Jada recently informed me that her favorite color is purple – go Jada!   I’m in good company;the artist formerly known as Prince loves purple and based on the eggplant craze, apparently lots of other folks are also obsessed with this vibrant hue.  And the folks at RIM finally got it!  They’ve created a purple, yes a purple Blackberry!  A PurpleBerry!  I’m gaga.  I absolutely LOVE my gold leopard print rhinestone Blackberry cover – it’s soooo sparkly – but I may have to trade that bad boy in and trade up to a purple BlackBerry Curve 8530.  Decisions, decisions …

Advice?!?!?!