My name is Melissa Kaplan Guarino. Welcome to Turning Fashion Inside Out! I believe there is a connection between fashion and self-esteem and I am interested in understanding that relationship. Tell me … What is your story?
I caught up with Francesca Azzara on Friday night, at an art exhibit, where her paintings were being showcased. Several weeks ago, TFIO featured Francesca’s Chapter Two Collaboration with Fashion Designer, Marchesa, a story of second chances and dreams come true. I connected with Francesca’s spirit immediately! So vital, she was embracing this second act of her life. And Friday, I saw it first-hand. We spoke for a few minutes, and Francesca reiterated her empowering message: “Always take chances, because you never know what is around the corner.” Don’t you love that?
Note: Francesca will be running a two-day workshop, late October – early November (Berkeley Heights NJ). For information and details go to Francesca’s website.
The pencil skirt is a solid addition to your wardrobe and a chic choice for fall. It’s traditional, with added style. Paired and belted with a cardigan, gives it polish. This outfit is a combination of two favorite designers: Tory Burch and Altuzarra. The wonderful thing about this look is the high style without the high price. The Tory Burch cardigan is vintage, that I purchased at a consignment shop. And the Altuzarra pencil skirt, belt, and blouse are pieces from the Altuzarra for Target collaboration.
Celebrity stylist, Kelly Killoren Bensimon, came to DoubleTake Consignment Boutique in Short Hills, NJ, last night, to style fall fashions and share tips with customers. It was an evening of smiles, fashion fun, flare, and information. I, of course, remember Kelly from earlier seasons of The Real Housewives of New York, but meeting her in person at DoubleTake Consignment Boutique, a favorite fashion spot of mine, was a treasure treat and a match made in heaven. Ms. Bensimon stunned in a floral outfit and high heels (something she says she is never without!), but what became clear from the start was her warmth and her sincere interest in styling. As a stylist, she was confident and fearless, telling me it’s important to “have fun with fashion” and that “life is too short” to make fashion more than it is. Kelly gave me more fall fashion insights:
On fashion trends for fall, Kelly says: “florals, winter white, argyle, and A-line skirts are big. I like layering because it makes wearing clothes more fun. Henley’s are cool for kids, worn with chunky sweaters, plaid shirts, jeans and boots.” Continue reading
Okay, full disclosure: I do not blow dry my hair. I do not own a blow dryer. When I get my hair cut at the salon, I don’t wait to dry my hair, choosing instead to leave with wet hair (which is great in the warm-weather months, but is challenging in the winter!). Why I am like this I can’t say for sure, but I guess I prefer a natural look, and I guess, too, that I don’t like to take time out to fuss with my hair. But that was before I learned about the magic of the blowout. And now I am keeping an open mind. I recently noticed a blowout salon in my town, Blow In Blow Out, and I decided to see for myself what is behind this growing trend. That is just what I did. The good news? When I finished, I was pleased to recognize myself in the mirror; just a more styled version of me.
Tara Galatt is the owner and proprietor of Blow In Blow Out. We talked a bit about her story, and what it means for women to experience an opportunity to, according to Ms. Galatt “reflect, relax, and have 30-45 minutes in a hectic day to be pampered.” Further, at $35 per blowout, Tara calls the procedure “affordable luxury.” Here is Tara …
“I have always loved fashion and beauty, and for years worked in the world of advertising. When I had my children, I became a stay-at-home mom, but as they grew older and entered school, I began to ask myself, ‘What’s next for me; what is my Part Two?’ … Continue reading
Earlier this month, Co-founder and Chief Creative Officer of Modcloth, Susan Gregg Koger, wrote an op-ed piece challenging the fashion industry to change for the better, and create empowering images for all women to aspire.
Says Ms. Koger: “For as long as I can remember, I’ve loved fashion. I love the whole process: the excitement of shopping, the thrill of finding something unique, and that powerful, transformative experience that happens when you put on a garment you love and it makes you feel like the best version of yourself. As the co-founder and Chief Creative Officer of ModCloth, I’m proud to call myself a fashion insider; but I’m also deeply disappointed in the way my industry depicts fashion to consumers. I look out, and it seems less about helping people find fashion they love to wear, and more about convincing them that they need to conform to one eerily consistent standard of beauty. A standard built on highly altered and often unrealistic images.”
Ms. Koger went on to say, “I think we can do better.” And she has. In an effort to reduce extreme Photoshopping and change the growing disconnect between consumers and the fashion industry, Modcloth became the first to sign The Brave Girls Alliance ‘Truth in Advertising Heroes Pledge’, an anti-airbrushing petition which aims to “do our best not to change the shape, size, proportion, color and/or remove/enhance the physical features, of the people in our ads in post-production.”
Ms. Susan Gregg Koger is true to her word, that fashion “makes you feel like the best version of yourself.” Brava! I’m buying it!
What a week for Isabella Rose Taylor! Following her first-ever show at NY Fashion Week, 13-year old designer, Isabella Rose Taylor, came to New Jersey on Saturday, to launch her Collection at Nordstrom BP. I was lucky enough to catch her, where she practically sold out in one hour. The Collection obviously rings true for Isabella’s contemporaries, for whom she designs. That is the magic of Isabella Rose Taylor: she doesn’t have to imagine what young women want to wear … she just has to ask herself. Continue reading
What happens when you can’t wear sandals any more, but you’re not ready for cold-weather shoes and boots? The answer is: go mid-way and find a transition shoe. I discovered the ever-popular slip-on. No fuss, no strings, just slip it on and go. It’s like wearing a closed-toe sandal.
As we enter the period of transition from warm to cooler temps, the slip-on is a perfect solution for your wardrobe. Because really, we aren’t ready to say good bye to the ease of summer, are we??!
Here is what I wore to meet my new best friend, Ilene Beckerman: my most comfortable (ripped) jeans and a long-sleeved tee. Not the most elegant of my outfits, but certainly a favorite. And after all, Ilene Beckerman, author and illustrator of several books, including the runaway hit, Love, Loss, and What I Wore, and now, a playwright, insisted that I stay casual. I listened.
We sat down over coffee and dished about … well, about love, loss and what we wore. Ilene was as charming as I imagined (how could she not be) and entirely warm and generous. I asked her about how and where she got the inspiration to write the book, what happened when she met Nora and Delia Ephron (who picked up the option to the Off-Broadway show), and what she is doing now …
On the inspiration behind Love, Loss, and What I Wore: “I had a story to tell about my life, and this was the best way to be heard. At first, one dress that my mother had made for me came to mind, and then another, and another. I started to draw the dresses, put words to my drawings, and they began to tell the story of my life. At that time, there were no selfies, and no way to instantly record memories. This was my own personal photograph album. I made it to keep alive the memory of my mother, who passed away when I was twelve. Continue reading
With a fresh new fall season upon you, it’s tempting to fill your wardrobe with inspired new clothes. And it is difficult to figure out, in that fleeting moment of shopping frenzy, what you really need versus what you may want. Sure, you think you have the discipline to enter a store and hold back on non-essential purchases. But buyer beware: there are shopping habits that can be dangerous, and leave you feeling emotionally and physically spent. Here, Stylecaster lays out 12 shopping habits that we need to break, right now. I find number 5 to be the worst of the bad shopping habits: You don’t play the wait-a-day game. If you find something you love but may not need, put it down for 24 hours. If it stays with you, consider getting it. You’re meant to be together. On the other hand, If you forget about it after a day, then forget-about-it! It’s not meant for you. I’m buying it … or not …
The sun was shining today, as I stopped by Lincoln Center to check out New York Fashion Week. People were everywhere, but my favorite friendly faces were two of New York’s Finest, who joined me for a photo. The sights and sounds were an inspiration to the fashionista in all of us. But the best part of Fashion Week doesn’t live at Lincoln Center in New York; it lives inside me – the notion of dressing to my best ability, taking fashion to new levels and taking some fashion risks, but never, ever taking for granted that I have the chance to express myself every minute of every day. Happy Fashion Week!
Photo credit: Linda Colarusso