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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?

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New York Fashion Week Will “Salute the Runway”

Photo courtesy of Salute the Runway

Photo courtesy of Salute the Runway

About the power of clothes: New York Fashion Week is getting patriotic. On September 3rd, to kick off New York Fashion Week, fifteen military service women, both veterans and active-duty members of the U.S. Army, Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps, will participate in a fashion show, during an event titled Salute the Runway. They will be wearing variations of the little black dress, ranging in sizes from 2-12, and designed by DKNY, Calvin Klein, Carmen Marc Valvo, Norisol Ferrari, and Mara Hoffman.

Similar fashion shows, sponsored by Little Black Dress Wines and Fatigues to Fabulous, have been taking place at military bases throughout the U.S., aiming to raise awareness of the difficulties military servicewomen face as they transition back to civilian life. Retired Army captain, Leslie Nicole Smith, who will also be walking in the show, says:  “We are able to raise awareness of the issues surrounding women veteran reintegration, acknowledge their heroic service, and highlight the versatility of the little black dress and how this wardrobe staple can help women veterans’ transition from military service.”

Ah, the power of clothes!

 

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Moving days, Milestones, and Motherhood

P1050020I am moving my son to college tomorrow. The day has finally come; after the college tours, the high school graduation, and the too-short summer, we are packing up and getting ready to go. To move, I will be wearing these jeans and t-shirt, which is always my go-to outfit, not just for the comfort but for the style. And I will remember this day and this outfit. The day Eric was born, I wore a bright yellow dress. He was a big baby and I must have looked like a huge bumble bee walking through the hospital corridor! Too funny. That day feels like yesterday.

Although I have the questions running through my head: did I teach him enough, did I prepare him enough, did I do enough? And although I had a fleeting moment when I wondered: How would it be if I moved down there with him? – today is not about loss. Today is about love; the love that a mother feels when she nurtures her baby for eighteen years, and then sends him off to fly on his own. I am moving my son to college tomorrow. And I will remember this day and the outfit I chose to wear. With love.

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When it comes to our hair, no more should messages!

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P1040986Hair colorist, Isak, opened my eyes earlier this week, when he talked about society’s should messages about hair and age. I realize that for the last 20 years, I have slowly but surely cut my hair, as I reached certain ages and stages in my life. And you know what? I no longer like wearing my hair shorter! So, I have changed that. In today’s podcast, I talk about these harmful should messages and remind us to stay clear of them!

Photo by Kim Naci

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How do I feel today? Splendid, thank you!

P1040961P1040974I found this dress while on vacation. Which is funny, because when I wear this simple, chic dress by Splendid, it feels summery, yes, but also “un-beachy,” and as sophisticated as any other little black dress I own. How do I feel today? Splendid, thank you!

My pops-of-color accessories? Prabal Gurung-for-Target sandals, and Cole Haan blue handbag (not to mention a NY yellow taxi!).

Photos by Kim Naci

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“Age shouldn’t define your hairstyle or hair length,” says Isak

Isak in the salon

Isak, at the salon

Isak knows hair. And he knows me. I am a bit finicky about my hair. Most of my life I have worn it the same way (center part, on the longer side – at least shoulder length); yet, I realize that the older I get, the longer I prefer my hair. I just feel better about myself with longer hair. So it was today, when I went to add glaze to my hair (a great alternative to chemical coloring, by the way), that Isak shared with me his thoughts on hair length, color application, and hair do’s and don’ts. I was surprised to see a connection between hair trends and fashion trends. You may, too. (And I was glad to finally learn what ‘ombre’ means!) Here is Isak…

Age shouldn’t define your hairstyle or hair length. At some time, it became accepted that as women age, they should cut their hair. But not every woman should being cutting her hair and in fact, you may look better with longer hair. Similarly, younger women can wear shorter hair, too. Not every young woman should wear her hair longer. The key is to understand what works best for you, and to make a change based on this, and not simply because you are following a trend … Continue reading

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Discovering Paris at 23

At graduation: Emilie-Rose with her parents. Her dress is

At graduation: Emilie-Rose with her parents. Her graduation dress is from a French company called, ‘The Kooples

Last November, I met Emilie-Rose; a 22 year-old young woman, born in Paris, attending her last year of University in Cantebury, England. Now, at 23, Emilie-Rose has graduated (on July 18th – the hottest day of the year!) and is set to begin her life journey, adventure, and discovery. She has not lived in Paris for five years, but her journey takes her back home, to the heart of Paris, where her family has been living, and where she herself lived for 18 years. How is she feeling? What is she thinking about returning to Paris? Emilie-Rose had this to say:

I am excited to be back in Paris. After being away for a while, I have a new appreciation for Paris and I feel as if I have a chance to rediscover the city, and see it with new eyes. I have a few project ideas that involve discovering Paris. The city is built like a snail; there are 20 districts, called arrondissements, located spirally around the historic center, and each is given a number. My plan is to visit each arrondissement, spend a few days, and document the flavor of each: the food, the fashion, the look and the feel. I grew up in the heart of Paris, in Arrondissement #2, and I never really appreciated the beauty of this city until now. I look forward to taking this on …

The contemporary Parisian woman has become more trendy, with a somewhat laid-back fashion flair. You will find more young, Parisian women wearing sneakers with leather pants and leather jackets. My own style is shifting; I used to dress more girly, but I have realized that it’s okay to dress comfortably. I still love to wear dresses, but my favorite things now are striped shirts called marinieres, a very French style of white shirt with navy stripes, which sailors wore and were later made fashionable by Coco Chanel; I wear a lot of those. I notice that many people in my age group are dressing like me. I also like dressing high/low, mixing higher-end pieces with low-end fashion finds. Recently, I have been following Lucy Williams, creator of, Fashion Me Now, and I really connect with her style and her look.

I like to think that while I was in college, I made an effort to dress with style. Now that I have graduated and am returning to Paris, I look forward to seeing where my style, and the road, take me.” ~ Emilie-Rose

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A bomber jacket that was worth the wait!

P1040949

P1040953Ever since last fall, I have longed for a silky, bomber jacket. But the ones I coveted were completely out of my price range. However, good things do come to those who wait. And this good thing is a really, good thing; a fabulous paisley bomber jacket by G by Giuliana Rancic for HSN. Purchased for under $100, the “Monica” Bomber Jacket is soft, and ultra-chic. Versatile and effortless, this jacket gives me the style I’ve desired, at a doable price. Today I wear it with shorts and a summer blouse, but soon it will transition beautifully to the cooler months, when I pair it with jeans or trouser slacks.

This is the second time I have purchased a G by Giuliana Rancic piece; the first was a leopard print dress I featured last September, almost a year ago. Giuliana’s attention to detail is exquisite, and she designs everything to make you look your best. It may be because Giuliana’s father is, himself, an expert tailor. And of course, all at a great price-point. Obviously, I am a big fan.

Shot on location at Pasticceria Rocco, NYC

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Even Cowgirls Get the Blues

P1000515Saying good bye to your vacation is a melancholy affair. First, It takes a few days to settle in and unwind, and just when you feel relaxed and de-stressed, you begin to realize it’s almost over. Then, before you know it, you are driving home. My family has been traveling to the Outer Banks of North Carolina for the past 15 summers. Charming painted horses are a mainstay along this beautiful strip of land, and bring out the cowgirl in me. This cowgirl may look happy, but on this last day of vacation, she definitely has the blues …

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Following Nicole on her journey to marriage and self-love

Nicole at her first bridal shower, with her Aunt  - feeling beautify and empowered

Nicole at her first bridal shower, with her Aunt Margaret – feeling beautiful and empowered

Let’s face it: we all have enough negative body speak in our arsenal to drag our mood down by deep degrees. We may find ourselves noticing the things that are changing about our bodies, comparing ourselves to others, and wishing things could be different; the list goes on. For Nicole, creator of Body Boop, whom I first featured on TFIO in early June, body image is an especially delicate issue, because Nicole had struggled with anorexia and bulimia for years. Fortunately, she has been in a healthy cycle of recovery for two years, but the journey is still challenging, especially for Nicole now, as she prepares to be married in September. And especially, when it comes to the fashion …

Here is an example: not long after Nicole and I spoke, she attended two bridal showers. Two showers, two different cities, two different dresses –  and only 2 weeks between. For the first shower, Nicole felt beautiful; as she says, “It was the perfect energy, though out the day.” For the second, however, everything had flip-flopped. Nicole says she felt “ugly” and “uncomfortable.” She was the same person. The dresses were similar. Nothing had changed except her mindset. Thinking about it afterward, Nicole says it was a reminder that the bad feeling you may have one moment, one day, will not last, and you will feel better again.

Last week, Nicole had her first wedding gown fitting, and it proved to be really stressful. Continue reading

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Sisters, sisters, there were never such devoted sisters

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Devoted to my sister, Cheryl

Devoted to my sister, Cheryl

Sisters, sisters, there were never such devoted sisters – Caring, sharing, every little thing that we are wearing … All kinds of weather we stick together, the same in the rain or sun. Two different faces, but in tight places, we think and we act as one …” (From White Christmas, Rosemary Clooney and Vera Ellen. Copyright, Paramount Pictures)

Join my sister, Cheryl, and me, in today’s podcast as we talk about how to stay feminine in the midst of boys and motherhood …

 

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