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?
Samantha Cameron, wife of former British Prime Minister James Cameron, will be launching her own fashion line the beginning of 2017. This is a story of perseverance, patience, and creativity. Cameron, a distant cousin to Diana, Princess of Wales, was preparing for this during her six years as the wife of the Prime Minister. She took that time to learn the craft of dressmaking and was at her sewing machine every day. Her new fashion line, Cefinn, which is named after the initials of her four children, is designed to “create an urban uniform for busy women” and to bridge a gap in the market for a British brand that offers a wardrobe that could take women from day to evening. Cameron told British Vogue: “I felt that there was a lot of American and French brands out there that fit that bracket of designer contemporary with the right price point and the right styling, but there aren’t that many British brands which fill that space.” I love this story!
It happened the other morning – I woke up at 5:00 am with a conversation in my head: Why We Miss Loehmann’s. My friend Kate sat down with me to discuss why some of us cannot seem to replace this one-of-a-kind shopping experience …
Filmed and Edited by Eric Guarino; Shot on location at Mondo Summit
Were you like me this weekend, losing yourself in the four-part return of the Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life – on Netflix? Following the banter, the loves, and the lives of mother and daughter, Lorelei and Rory Gilmore? I did, of course, follow the clothes and the fashion! Gone were the uniforms and the classics for Rory, replaced by a more sophisticated style; Lorelei’s style continued to evolve with feminine twists (I noticed a lot of pencil skirts and wrap dresses! Yet the dressing was still full of whimsy, like the women themselves).
Perhaps it was watching the 1934 film, The Man Who Knew Too Much. Since that moment I have been pining for a pair of man-style trousers. I found them in this plaid pair by Michael Kors. I bought them a bit too big around the waist but I saw their potential, and had them taken in – voila!
I love mixing man-tailored clothes with feminine touches so I paired the trousers with a soft tie and heels.
Photo: Abrina Hyatt
Tomorrow is Thanksgiving with Black Friday and the holiday craze following right behind. In fashion world, that means finding the right outfit for the holiday party (or two) and even more specific – finding the right undergarment to make everything look good. Gone are the days of the girdle (for the most part) and we are left with the mission of finding the right shapewear. Bring in the Spanxi! “Suck It In, It’s Party Season” is the title of the recent humor column, “I Was Misinformed” in The New York Times. It tells the story of one woman’s journey to purchase Spanx for a holiday dress, or as she says: “I’m a little tired today because I just went six rounds with a Spanx Extra Firm Control body suit, an undergarment constructed with the same sort of expandable concrete used in airport runways.” Continue reading
“Finding a great vintage item is like winning the lottery. It’s completely unique and special and has a life and a story behind it.” ~ Pamela Love
New York City jewelry designer Pamela Love says that she wouldn’t have become a designer if it hadn’t been for her early passion for vintage. It started with her grandmother’s vintage jewelry that was passed down to her, and eventually Love became a collector of vintage pieces herself. It’s the special details and the time and craftsmanship of the clothing that make a difference and allow the jewelry to pop. In this interview with Elle Magazine Love talks about working with the Shinola design team and finding the proper neutral palette to accentuate the jewelry and make the perfect statement. It is refreshing to see jewelry taking center stage: “for me jewelry is so powerful; it’s not disposable, it’s not seasonal – it really becomes part of women’s lives.”
When Amy called me out of the blue today it took me a awhile to make the connection between our friendship and an old pair of cowboy boots. Almost 30 years ago, my dear friend and college roommate Amy was to marry in her hometown of Waco, Texas, and she asked me to be a bridesmaid. I had never spent time in Texas, and I was so excited to be a part of Amy’s wedding and everything western! We ate barbecue, we danced the two-step, and we went shopping at an authentic western store where I purchased a pair of Nocona cowboy boots.
These very boots have lived with me for almost-thirty years, watching as life came my way and waiting patiently in the back of my closet – for the day when I would wear them and take them dancing again. A few years ago I had them refurbished and gave them back their shine. They are tighter on my feet now but I can still wear them, and do. But not often enough. Even today I planned to wear my tall black boots but suddenly the cowboy boots caught my eye before I left for work, and I decided to pull them on (which wasn’t easy!). What a day it was – the boots felt happy on my feet after a long hiatus. And on my walk home I suddenly thought of my friend Amy.
Once home the phone rang; I didn’t pick it up because I didn’t recognize the number. When it rang a second time I picked it up. Amy was on the line telling me that she thought of me today and something made her call. I think it was the boots. The boots brought us together again. My boots with magical powers!
“Fashion is one of the most harmful industries on the planet, and I think people are a little more aware of that now.” ~ Stella McCartney
Monday night, Stella McCartney was the guest speaker at the London College of Fashion for a sustainability-themed talk, hosted by her label’s parent company, Kering. How I would have loved to hear this conversation in person – I admire McCartney’s willingness to go beyond awareness of a situation to actually activating change. Fifteen years ago when McCartney launched her label, she said she was “ridiculed” for banning leather and fur from her collections: “I was told definitely I would not have a business, I wouldn’t have an accessories business…by people I worked with, that I looked up to.” But sales have been “in the double digits … for a while now,” and her commitment to producing products that are entirely vegetarian, has paid off. Raising awareness and making us consumers accountable is her mission. I’m buying it!
In the last line of my last post, I reference my L.L.Bean boots. These boots are my tried-and-true go to’s. I have owned them for so long that I can’t even remember how old they actually are. Long enough though for me to take them for granted. These odd-looking but classic “duck” shoes that have gotten me through cold, rain, sleet, snow, and everything in between are now in high demand. Who knew that these very boots, synonymous with outdoor practicality, are enjoying a surge of popularity! It started in 2011; the L.L. Bean boot that has been selling for over a century since 1912 suddenly became trendy. That’s when the duck-boot shortage first began and consumers were heartbroken when retailers ran out. Last year in fact the Bean boot became a holiday sensation.
The company continues to make boots in its Brunswick, Maine facility (where they pump out up to 3,000 Bean boots a day) rather than export operations, to preserve its brand. And its materials are primarily sourced in the United States. “There is a significant sense of pride associated with actually making something here in Maine, with Maine employees, and producing something that customers love,” says Donna Lamberth, Director of Manufacturing for L.L. Bean.
Today L.L. Bean is proactive, producing even more boots to stay ahead of the demand and prevent potential heartbreak for this year’s holiday shoppers.
This is the time of year I love to pull out my heavy-duty, cozy Rebecca Taylor sweater – too bulky to wear with a jacket but warm enough to wear on its own. I love Rebecca Taylor’s feminine designs. The story of this sweater? Several years ago I noticed it in a fashion blog, loved it, and tracked it down – to a single remaining sweater in Atlanta! I knew I had to have it so I purchased it over the phone and had it shipped. In other words, I worked hard to get this sweater. But it was unique and I was willing to make it happen. Today, it is holding up so well that I don’t regret my decision at all. In fact, it was well worth the effort!
Photos by Sophie MacMillan