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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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The Bridesmaid Dress

I, as a bridesmaid, with my Dad at my brother and sister-in-law's wedding

A  bridesmaid, with my Dad at my brother and sister-in-law’s wedding

Forget the expression: never the bride! Being a bridesmaid is estimable. More than estimable, actually. Because being a bridesmaid is a privilege, an honor to stand up for a dear friend on her special day. And the bridesmaid dress says it all: the tradition, the formality, the friendship, the love. I have been a bridesmaid seven times. I was a maid of honor once. Most of those times, the brides selected the dresses and I trusted them in the process. And though it has been many years since I donned my varied bridesmaid dresses, I remember each and every one of them like the friends that they were. I wish, in fact, I could see them all together just once more – but since they are no longer close, my memory of them will have to do. I wore hunter green (above), yellow, floral, blue, and turquoise blue. I wore floor-length dresses, tea-length dresses, and knee-length dresses. Like a wedding dress, a bridesmaid dress comes in every style imaginable.

It is prom season, yes. But it is also wedding season. And while we think of brides in their bridal gowns, let’s not forget the bridesmaids who stand with the bride. Like me, you may not keep the dresses as the years pass but you will always remember them. And the love you felt for the bride when you put them on.

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Embracing My Color Palette

My Forever Ring of Colors!

My Forever Ring of Colors! Photo by Lauren Hagerstrom

There is a quote from fashion icon Coco Chanel: “Dress shabbily and they remember the dress; dress impeccably and they remember the woman.” I think the same could be said about dressing with color: wear the wrong color and you notice the color; wear the right color and you notice the woman … Let’s talk color palette.

I thought I knew my best colors – the ones that bring out the best me. I know, for instance, that the moment I put on a cherry red, I feel happy. I see my eyes pop and my skin shine. I know that I have always loved wearing pink and have a long history with pink (my mother tells me I have been a fan of pink since I was three years old). And I know that I wear a lot of black and white and have come to love wearing brown – but I can’t tell you why. Because I realize that I don’t know it all. I still make mistakes with color – and more often than I would like to admit. And because I want to understand my colors and make good choices and fewer mistakes, I took matters into my own hands and had a color consultation with experts. Continue reading

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A Styling Tip that Helps Your Hips

Removing the inside pocket and sealing it

Removing the inside pocket and sealing it creates a clean line

Here is a simple tip that will help you look your best: remove the inside of the pockets of your trousers and seal them up. That’s it. When Kim Naci helped me clean out my closet a few years ago, this one simple notion changed everything. Here is why: side pockets add bulk and lines that aren’t needed. And who wants extra bulk at the hips?

Then and there I methodically took several pants and trousers to the tailor and asked her to remove the inside pockets and seal them. Everything became smoother and cleaner and more slimming – what was old became new again. These white pants are several years old; when I pulled them out of the closet I noticed that I neglected to remove the inside pockets. Now they are like-new.

Why not check your trousers this Memorial Day weekend and do the same? This single, simple style alteration is as important as any exercise or dietary change you can do to get ready for the summer months. Your body will thank you! Happy Summer!

 

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Turn Fashion Inside Out and Wash it First?

washing-machine-wont-drain-featureTrending question via The Wall Street Journal and WSJ contributor Heidi Mitchell: Do we need to wash our clothes before wearing them? Parents of infants are accustomed to washing their clothes before they wear them, but for many of us that habit ends after baby-hood. I only wash new, unworn undergarments but I never think of washing anything else before the first wear. Perhaps I (and we) should think again. According to expert Dr. Donald Belsito, a professor of dermatology at Columbia University Medical Center in New York, many people will not only touch the fabrics before you do, but there are also chemicals and dyes that are applied to these fabrics (especially to wrinkle-free fabrics) that are irritants. Other surprises too gross to think about include lice and fungus! Yikes! The recommendation from Dr. Belsito is to wash new clothing at least once with a double rinse before wearing. No need for soap – just water and rinsing will do. And if you have allergy sensitivity it is best to stay with natural fibers. I think I will be washing my new clothes from now on … you too? Gotta go – I am starting to get itchy!

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Style at The Market

Optimized-IMGP0886The return of my local farmer’s market brings out the best in me. Sometimes I am dressed in shorts, other times dressed in my exercise gear as I come straight from a class. Today I am dressed up, in honor of the beginning of market season. The farmer’s market is a friendly, colorful place where people (and their dogs!) meet and great each other away from the stress of the work week. Performance artists play to captive audiences and everywhere you look it is alive with activity. This feel-good attitude at the farmer’s market only increases as the spring and summer plays out.

Photo by Alexandra

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Why I Can’t Wait for The Intern!

From director, Nancy Meyers' Instagram Account

On-Set of The Intern: From director Nancy Meyers’ Instagram Account

Picture this: Anne Hathaway stars in a movie about a fashion website. Sound familiar? Remembering The Devil Wears Prada? This time, however, roles have changed and Hathway is the boss – and the movie is, The Intern, starring Hathaway and Robert De Niro. De Niro plays a 70-year old widower who becomes a senior intern at an online fashion site. Set to release September 25, 2015, The Intern is directed by one of Hollywood’s most successful female directors and a favorite of mine, Nancy Meyers. To date, my favorite Meyers’ film is 2003’s Something’s Gotta Give; I think The Intern will give it a run for its money. Because …

a comedy about fashion? Nancy Meyers directing? I would say this is a recipe for success!

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Rediscovering A Classic

Photo: Sophie MacMillan

Photo: Sophie MacMillan

Pearls are always appropriate.” ~ Jackie Kennedy

When was the last time you pulled out your pearls? I can’t thing of another accessory that completes an outfit as elegantly as pearls. If you want to radiate a polished, clean look, go with pearls. If you want to accessorize without trying too hard, go with pearls. If you want to dress up an outfit, go with pearls. And if you want to embody the iconic style of Jackie Kennedy Onassis, go with pearls. It is known that the three-strand faux pearl necklace was her favorite and the one she enjoyed and wore the most (it is believed that she inherited it from her mother). When QVC and Camrose & Kross offered the Jackie Kennedy Collection, I jumped at the chance to own a bit of Jackie Kennedy Onassis magic myself.

Rediscover a classic and pull out your pearls!

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Cutie Culottes

haMhDikQDpRBmMlyv7l-4vLlipxHTemtUZ0PSId0AW8,FyUfsEElQv6htb9p4hw8LbkdritHco7fXoEFu-r-hCk8_ITw_0fmVrBxRb1rXavd_2x2coK7MeXetNit6DQNEE,4fCjAh_b6nRsxxd0m85XS9DIT8cVMQXiHMvT8wrB6Uo,ziwUXzSxxq53LLxewf5FwhAm_vQkTISHkiERMzcaJmcrESw-YfSEXf-9bY1nIULclq0ukFig8AZpuIv8TYWlDY,69kUOjFjGueJJM-2CGoCxfqHhsSO0qaVCYIJ8LBru7cNeed an outfit change this Spring? Try culottes. First spotted for fall, this fashion trend is still going strong for spring and one that you can pull off! This pant that hits at the calf looks like a skirt but is actually a trouser. And you can find it in various fabrics and textures. High-end brand Tibi has beautiful and original culottes – but you don’t have to pay high-end prices to own a pair. I didn’t want to invest in culottes until I saw this pair at Zara for $60. And now I want to wear them all the time!

How would I style culottes? Since the pants are on the wide side, I suggest pairing them with a slim-fitting top and heel. And don’t forget to accessorize!

My outfit: culottes, Zara; top, Alice + Olivia; sandals Coach; and of course, pearls!

Photos by Sophie MacMillan 

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Stay Chic, You Mother-Warrior!

Photo Credit: Cheryl Kaplan

Photo Credit: Cheryl Kaplan

It’s not easy being a mother. The worry – the drama – the expectations – the carpooling. Everything is more challenging for the average mother-warrior. Even and perhaps especially, finding the familiar sense of self and style. My theory is that the minute we have a child we embrace that glorious heart-pounding new role of mother, while at the same time begin the internal struggle to stay the same person. Of course, we will never be the same; we have been elevated to a new purpose. But where does our style go and do we get it back?

The answer is yes, but it takes time and patience and acceptance. When my first child was born I was living in Manhattan, with access to boutiques filled with one-of-a-kind clothes. When I could finally get out of my overalls (as seen here) I dressed in outfits that screamed: “I am still Melissa – no baby-Mamma here!” Even though I had a baby in tow and became a master with my stroller (both on the streets and in the subway) – I did it in heels. I was determined to be me and that meant dress the way I always had. Of course, that was possible with one child. When my second child arrived and we moved to New Jersey things changed. The single stroller was replaced with a double and heels couldn’t give me the traction I needed to push! I had to re-learn how to drive and that required more comfortable clothes for getting in and out of the car. Worst of all, gone was my access to the boutiques and one-of-a-kind looks. I was now forced to select mass-marketed clothes – at least while my children were younger and until I understood the lay of the suburban land. Continue reading

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The Woman Behind MEN OF THE CLOTH

Vicki Vasilopoulos at 2nd fitting

Vicki Vasilopoulos at 2nd fitting

Master Tailor Nino Corvato with Vicki Vasilopoulos

Master Tailor Nino Corvato with Vicki Vasilopoulos

When I saw the film MEN OF THE CLOTH, I wept. I wept to hear and feel the stories of three master Italian tailors, filmed over the course of eleven years. Director Vicki Vasilopoulos tells a beautiful story. In this interview, Ms. Vasilopoulos shares her background, what inspired her to commit to making this film, and why these master tailors’ stories need to be told now …

MKG: Were you always interested in fashion?

VICKI: I’ve always been interested in fashion, since high school. When I got a job at DNR, the respected men’s wear news magazine (which later became a part of  Women’s Wear Daily) it was my introduction to the world of men’s fashion and design. As a fashion editor I covered shows in New York and Europe. When traveling to Italy, I met master tailor Checchino Fonticoli, and was introduced to the passion and pride and luxury of this Old-World profession.

MKG:  Why is this subject dear to you?

VICKI: I have a reverence for things that are made by hand; the personal and intimate creations by artisans and masters of their craft. My father was a craftsman (a furrier) and I grew up appreciating what he did. I know there’s a continuous feedback loop between the brain and the hands. The subject of master tailors fascinates me: I did my research, I used my journalistic background to investigate, and I uncovered the fact that this was a disappearing art. Creating the film was an eleven-year process. When I started, I took a topic-driven approach. As the years developed the focus of the film changed and in the editing process it became clear that this film needed a more character-driven approach. And I am very happy that we did that because the intimate portraits of these three wonderful master tailors now have a universal appeal. The message of MEN OF THE CLOTH is one to which we can all relate: what it means to find your true calling in life. Continue reading

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