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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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Who’s to Say I Can’t Wear a Drop Earring!

Heather Duetsch Silver Drop Earrings

Heather Duetsch Silver Drop Earrings

The earring police? Too often we tell ourselves when it comes to accessories; if it’s too big, too bold, too different from our usual, and even too age-inappropriate, we shouldn’t try. In these moments we are forgetting the most important thing about fashion: it is all about self expression and sometimes that means stepping out of our comfort zone. Especially when we really love something. These purple drop earrings designed by talented artist Heather Duetsch caught my eye – and there is no reason why I should hesitate to wear them – especially if the price is right. Inspired by the dramatic jewelry worn by style icon  Diane von Furstenberg, I ditched my usual simple, button style earrings for something much more playful. Try it – step out and dangle a little!

 

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On Again … Off-the-Shoulder

Photo Credit: Harper's Bazaar

Photo Courtesy: Harper’s Bazaar – Daniel Jackson, November 12 Issue

One of the most beautiful parts of a woman’s body is her shoulders. Sadly though, shoulders are often overlooked and we spend too little time exposing them. Some of the softest, most romantic pieces are off-the-shoulder. And they don’t need to be formal dressing only; off-the-shoulder blouses and dresses can be casually-inspired. Structured or flouncy, there are several ways to embrace unique off-the-shoulder looks. I’m buying it – You too?

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The Beauty of Mixing Patterns

LGH_150418_6464Stripes mix so well with a floral or printed skirt … don’t be afraid to try it this spring. You can even mix stripe on stripes, as long as you keep the stripes top and bottom different widths. For instance, if you have a wider stripe on the bottom then keep a skinny stripe on top. The key to mixing stripes with florals and prints and (even more) stripes is to make sure that they share one color in common. Top off with a sleek accessory and you have successfully mastered this casual-yet-chic look.

My striped sweater is getting new life with this printed skirt (for which I searched many months!); in this case, my top and bottom share two colors – black and white.

My look: sweater, August Silk; skirt, Karen Millen, sandals, Coach; necklace, Prabal Gurung for Target.

Photo by Lauren Hagerstrom; Photographed at Reeves-Reed Arboretum,”Daffodil Day”

 

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Maggie, Her Mother, and Her Makeup

Maggie and Her Mother

Maggie and Her Mother

Maggie’s story starts and ends with her mother. As a child, Maggie Zakhary would love watching her mother’s beauty ritual before she left for work, or church, or on a date with Maggie’s dad. In fact, it became one of her favorite things to do and a special time for Maggie to spend with her mom. It was the 70s and the makeup (which included liquid foundation) was colorful, and yes, there was hairspray! But it was less about being high-maintenance and more about her mother simply taking care of herself and paying attention to her femininity in the way in which she was accustomed. Maggie’s mother (and father) grew up in Egypt; in the Egyptian culture getting fully dressed and applying makeup was the norm. And this custom of putting oneself together became the guiding light for Maggie’s own life and experience. As Maggie grew up and started her own family, she found herself in the position to turn the tables and teach and inspire her mother. Here is how

My mother was forty when she was diagnosed with cancer. Just as I turned forty, I had a lightbulb moment of clarity: it was time to take stock of my own health and the health and care of my young boys ( I count my blessings that today my mother is cancer-free and fully recovered.) Continue reading

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The Woman Diane von Furstenberg Wanted To Be

Diane von Furstenberg:

Diane von Furstenberg’s Memoir: The Woman I Wanted To Be

I love reading stories about strength and survival and compassion and romance. And I especially love reading about people’s lives and the things that really happen to them, because there is always that moment when you know that nothing fictional could come close to the reality of life. That is where the beauty is – that is where the surprise is. One may think of designer and philanthropist Diane von Furstenberg a certain way, but I guarantee that if you read her memoir, The Woman I Wanted To Be, you will be amazed to know the life she has led and that this woman is real.

Her words are honest and endearing and forthcoming …

On her mother, who survived the Nazi death camps at Auschwitz and Ravensbrück: “I feel it is my duty to make up for all the suffering she endured, to always celebrate freedom and live fully. My birth was her triumph. She was not supposed to survive; I was not supposed to be born. We proved them wrong. We both won the day I was born.

On taking time with yourself: “You cannot have a good relationship with anyone, unless you first have it with yourself … I was lucky to start a relationship with myself very early in life. I am not sure why; maybe because I had no sibling until the age of six and I was alone a lot, or maybe because I was taught from an early age to be responsible for myself and for my actions.”

On confronting cancer at the age of forty-seven: “I became more compassionate to the sufferings of others, appreciated the value of health, became more spiritual and understood both my fragility and my strength.”

On taking chances in life: “I’ve long believed that the ‘if’s’ were the doors to my future, and I dared to open them, one by one, as they came along. I knew the kind of woman I wanted to be but I didn’t know how I would become her. Opening those doors led me on a path to fashion, and that became the path to the woman I am today.”

On the nature of Nature: “Nature is never still. Things are growing, ripening, aging, fading, and then starting again. The trees are beautiful even when bare. I love every phase and I am endlessly fascinated by that life cycle moving on. Nature never stops.”

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Finding my Colorful Colombian Connection

When I hear about Colombia I am intrigued. My Colombian roots come to life as I search a face or see a photo or hear a piece of cumbia music. So when my friend Tina traveled to Cartagena and took images for me I had to see for myself what is Colombian fashion and maybe, discover what makes me, me 

IMG_5822.JPGSilvia Tcherassi is a Miami-based, Colombian fashion designer born in Barranquilla, Colombia. She has been described as “revolutionizing the Latin American fashion scene in a definitive way.” Says Tina, “Haute couture melds with street fashion in Cartagena… just as the old melds with the new!”

IMG_9998Tina: “I love the front window at this fabric store! I don’t know if you can see all the detail but the orange dress actually has 3D flowers on it! The perfect place for budding designers… and if you can’t afford the fashion at Silvia Tcherassi make something unique yourself!

Continue reading

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“I Feel Confident as a Woman and as a Carpenter,” says Nina

Nina MacLaughlin Photo Credit: Jonah James Fontela

Nina MacLaughlin Photo Credit: Jonah James Fontela

Nina MacLaughlin’s story is unexpected and inspiring. When Nina quit her job as a journalist, she had no idea what she would do next. A job on Craigslist as a carpenter’s assistant with the tagline: ‘women strongly encouraged to apply’ peaked her interest. With no formal training, Nina did apply and got the job! Since then Nina has been perfecting the trade and working as a carpenter in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Now, coming full circle as a carpenter and as a writer, Nina has chronicled her experience in her new memoir, Hammer Head: The Making of a Carpenter. Nina is busy with the launch of her book, but took time to speak with me about her life-changing experience and why mascara is her new friend …

MKG: How long have you been working as a carpenter? Do you love it?

NINA: I’ve been working as a carpenter for the last six years. I’ve found that the satisfaction that results from building a deck, for example, or a set of bookshelves, is one of the deepest I’ve experienced. Carpentry is consistently challenging, and there is so much left to learn. Some days I love it. Some days are sweaty and dirty and boring. Like any job, there are stretches when it’s incredible, and stretches when it’s tedious. I’m grateful to have the combination of writing and carpentry in my life; for me, the two compliment each other very well.

MKG: What surprised you most about being a carpenter?

NINA: I didn’t anticipate how powerful the satisfaction of building would be. That continues to boggle my mind. I had a sense it would be rewarding, but had no idea how much so. Continue reading

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Kal Rieman is Bringing Work Back to New York’s Garment District!

Cally: Photo Credit -

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Photo Credit:

I find it hard to believe that three years have passed since I first met Cally Rieman, founder and designer of Kal Rieman, Inc. So much has happened for both of us: I have just celebrated three years writing this blog, and Cally’s business has grown tremendously. Yet Cally is still the same person on a mission to provide clothes for women to wear everyday and to build on every season. Although she ships her clothes across the United States, Cally is committed to manufacturing in the garment district of New York and providing work locally with a made-in-the-United-States assurance. Here we are, three years later …

MKG: I can’t believe that it’s been three years since I first featured your story on TFIO (2012)! You launched Kal Rieman in 2009 and are now in your 6th year. That is truly impressive, Cally! What have you learned these last few years?

CALLY:  What haven’t I learned? What I am experiencing now is that it takes a lot of patience to grow a brand. It’s a very competitive market. But when you stay focused on your mission and stick to your vision the rewards are in front of you. Continue reading

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Nothing Says Spring Like Kate Spade!

LGH_150401_6344LGH_150401_6343Nothing says Spring to me more than my vintage Kate Spade New York straw handbag. I can’t remember where I bought it – Bloomindale’s, perhaps? I can’t remember how long ago – at least 15 years. None of that really matters to me. I do know that I bought this handbag before I had ever heard of Kate Spade, and certainly before she became the well-known designer that she is today. That could be one of the reasons that it is a favorite of mine and the first thing I pull out when the weather warms. The combination of the colors and the texture are at once classic yet modern. It carries a timeless quality that translates to every occasion and every opportunity to take it out for a stroll.

I bought this handbag simply because I liked it. And that is what really matters when we buy and certainly keep, our treasured pieces.LGH_150401_6387

Photos by Lauren Hagerstrom

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Kim Naci’s LUSTY Adventure!

Kim Naci

Kim Naci

Meeting fashion therapist and stylist Kim Naci changed my life. She gave me (someone who has always loved what clothes can do for my sense of self) more confidence and understanding that I am worth the time and the effort to dress my best. Until I met Kim and had her clear out my closet and my mental cobwebs, I wasn’t treating myself the best that I could. It was her skill yes, but it was much more than that; it was Kim’s huge heart, warmth, and wit. I just wanted to hug her all the time! So last fall, when Kim told me that she was working on a secret television assignment, I knew it would be special. And it was. Kim has been working as the lead stylist on the TLC series with fashion expert, Stacy London: Love, Lust, or Run! (The show airs Friday nights at 9/8C). Yes, tune in tonight to see this heartwarming fashion ‘make-under’ experience. But in the meantime, here is Kim to tell us about the show from a bird’s-eye view …

MKG: How long have you known Stacy London?

KIM: Stacy and I met over 4 years ago during the launch of her {now defunct} agency Style For Hire. I was tapped by Stacy to execute a training workshop for the incoming stylists.

MKG: The moment you were told you would be the lead stylist of Stacy London’s new show, Love, Lust, or Run - what went through your mind?

KIM: Great question! Until then, my experience had been styling private clients and magazines, both digital and print. This was going to be my first foray into television which had been long-time goal. And what better way than to join my friend and colleague, Stacy London? Continue reading

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