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?
Today my banana shirt is in Richmond, Virginia enjoying the hospitality of family and the charm of this beautiful city and surrounding areas. This unique tee is Dolce & Gabbana, purchased several years ago at my favorite consignment shop. It is a summer favorite and travels with me on vacations. The very same camo banana shirt and cut-offs took a snooze with me on a lazy afternoon and shopped at a local Lilly Pulitzer store at the beach in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. I am definitely going bananas!
I first heard the name Rachel Zoe in 2008 when I watched a reality show on Bravo TV called The Rachel Zoe Project. I had never been inside the world of fashion and celebrity styling and I was hooked. Ms. Zoe was exquisitely talented and in her own words, I went ‘bananas’ for her. Today, Rachel Zoe, still a fashion guru, has expanded her business world as a distinguished stylist, editor and designer, and is the mother of two young sons. Now, after a two year hiatus it seems fitting that Rachel Zoe will be returning to television this fall. The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed that Ms. Zoe will host a half-hour talk show on Lifetime called “Fashionably Late With Rachel Zoe.” The show, scheduled to air on September 24 will be set in Ms. Zoe’s Melrose Avenue headquarters. I am thrilled to see her on television again! You’re so maj, Rachel Zoe! xx.
Podiatrists are calling it ‘shoe-icide;’ Hillary Brenner, spokeswoman for the American Podiatric Medical Association, says wearing ultra-high heels can lead to everything from ankle sprains to chronic pain. But it’s not just high heels that provide complications to our feet, and those of us who think wearing flats is safer are wrong. According to WebMD’s recent article on the worst shoes for our feet flats provide absolutely no arch support. And pointed flats are hard on the toenails. Wearing flip-flops can cause problems with the knees, hips, or back.
For the first time in my life, and now that I am on my feet a good part of the day for my new job, I am more aware how important it is to have proper shoes with arch support. The trick is not to sacrifice style. When I discovered Israeli footwear company, Naot, I was so happy to find stylish sandals with a solid support. I still love my wedges and heels and will always wear them but I do think twice now before wearing certain styles for long periods of time. Trying to avoid ‘shoe-icide!’
I was watching an old 8mm film made over a period of time by my mother’s family friend. The year was 1960. Images of my younger grandmother filled the screen followed by images of my Aunt Lila. My heart skipped a beat – they have both been gone for several years. Next, a few week’s old baby in a carriage popped on the screen and it took me a moment to place the baby – which I soon realized was me. Moments later, she was there; as her image panned up I first saw the dark sunglasses – followed by a white sleeveless sheath dress. And then her sweet, happy face I knew so well. It was my mother. The footage soon changed and shifted, next showing my mother holding me outside what must have been her apartment building. This time she was wearing a polka dot short-sleeved dress – very 1950’s/early 60’s. I didn’t pay attention to the baby at all; I saw only my beautiful mother.
Moving images preserved in time and space – all coming together to give me a long-lost hug from the formidable women I have loved so dearly. And the one mesmerizing me most was my mother, squeezing and hugging and holding me tightly, reminding me what true style is. The outfits, the accessories are all important. But above all else, true style … is love.
It turns out that the Queen of England – a most unlikely source – is one of the world’s best proponants of recyclable fashion. A recent article from online fashion watchdog, Glammonitor, points out that Queen Elizabeth II has “never been afraid to re-wear clothing.” Historian Sir Roy Strong calls her the “make do and mend Queen,” and goes on to say that she was shaped by growing up during World War II, when Britain was forced to embrace food rationing and austerity. Strong says that, in fact, one of the reasons The Queen likes Kate is because she is not afraid to wear the same dress twice. Kate, The Duchess of Cambridge, is known for wearing (and being photographed in) a dress more than once.
The Royal Family has the ability to make a strong statement simply by being photographed. What they do, how they look and represent themselves is monitored carefully by those around the world. Words aren’t necessary to state the message: avoid mindless consumption, shop carefully and less often, and make the most of the clothes you already own. It’s a great message – Long live The Queen!
Just because you are familiar with a product doesn’t make it safe. For years I chose Neutrogena sunscreen for my family because I had always used it and I believed it to be a solid and effective choice. But it is important to know the truth about sunscreens and I soon discovered something: there are reports that chemical sunscreens that contain the compound oxybenzone (like those found in Neutrogena) absorb through the skin and may disrupt the hormone system. I reviewed these reports from EWG, The Environmental Working Group, and immediately stopped using it and switched to others (from EWG’s list of best beach and sports sunscreens). Safer choices include UVA/UVB Broad Spectrum sunscreens with zinc oxide and titanium dioxide.
And although I feel more comfortable using safer sunscreens that is only one part of my sun care regimen: I accessorize with hats and UVA/UVB sunglasses, I stay out of the sun more – especially during the hottest part of the day, and I cover up. I will even catch the sun for 10-15 minutes early in the day without any coverage for some added vitamin D. Just being mindful of the hidden dangers will do so much for your good health and satisfaction.
Not long ago my mother’s dear friend, Mihoko, passed away. Although I did not see her often I knew her for most of my life and she was dear to me. A few years ago Mihoko had been visiting her daughter in Japan and came back with a gift for me – two blue and white porcelain bracelets with Japanese designs. I was touched that she had thought of me. I quietly tucked away the bracelets, always meaning to wear them but preferring to admire them from a distance.
That changed a few weeks ago when something compelled me to take them out and wear them. Too lovely to put aside I now pair them with everything. So much more than jewelry, these bracelets are my memories of Mihoko. Enjoy your keepsakes and allow them to bathe you in the love, perhaps of a lost friend. Wear your treasures now. Don’t put it off for another time.
Today is my birthday; I will be celebrating with my family and friends and I will think about the clothes I wear. Not because I care about the clothes (which I do) but because I care that I am presenting the best version of me to the world. Sure there is the inevitable ‘I am a year older and what am I doing with my life?’ question. But mostly, birthdays make me think about what it means to be the best version of myself. Since starting this blog three years ago I have been pondering the connection between the clothes we wear and how they make us feel about ourselves. The older I get the more I see that the outer covering is a direct reflection of the inner me. If I take time to give my daily wardrobe attention I am saying to myself that I matter and that I am worth the effort.
This is the outfit I am choosing to wear today – my birthday – this time of inner reflection.
I love jeans. In fact, if I had to choose a favorite outfit that most feels like me it would be jeans and a t-shirt. And I love a good story. That is why a favorite site is Jean Stories, a welcoming place of great style and substance. In 2013 co-founders of Jean Stories, Florence Kane and Jane Bishop, two fashion insiders, began to share stories and information about denim and what makes wearing it so special. I follow Jean Stories religiously for tips and inspiration; in fact, it was Jean Stories that led me to purchase my all-time favorite jeans, Frame Le High Straights, which I often feature on TFIO.
Long before you walk into a store to shop and well after you leave, there is a world of behind-the-scenes activity that you never knew existed, thanks to the very hard work of the true fashion warriors – the sales associates. We may have just celebrated the Fourth of July but today I feel like honoring Labor Day. After my first few weeks as a client specialist at Talbots, I am acutely aware of those on the battle field of the fashion experience and how much we owe to them. They are the ones who stay close and personal with the customers and the product and they are the ones who set the stage for the day and tear it down just to bring it back again the next morning. And it is all done with seamless precision. I think of myself as a considerate shopper, but I never really thought about the fact that as soon as I put down an article of clothing someone is right there to fold it neatly and put it back in its proper place.
I hope you will take a moment to think about them the next time you shop. They work hard to make the shopping experience a pleasurable and productive one for us all. They are the real fashion warriors!