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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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Dedication to a Beautiful Friendship

I dedicate this post to my dear friend, Michal, who is moving tomorrow, returning to her home in Israel. Michal took this picture of me for a feature I wrote about how my exercising changed when I treated myself to the right clothes. You see, a few years ago I came to Michal’s class uncertain and fearful. I hadn’t exercised in years and I was feeling my age. I began to exercise in sweats and shame. Every moment was uncomfortable for me. But Michal made me see the light – that movement and good heath and vibrancy were not only possible but doable! Yes, I bought the right clothes and spent the money at Lululemon to step up my game, but that was only the beginning. It was working with Michal and having her support me every week that really changed me. She helped me to see that movement will always keep me strong, and that I deserve to feel good. She helped me to feel my inner power, dare I say – Goddess – and push away the fear that was holding me back. I am not saying that I never feel fear; I do, but I am different now. I now look at the fear and keep moving forward.

I, and our wonderful class of new friends, will miss you, Michal. But you are in our lives forever. And you must know that you gave me a gift that is taking me forward as I hope to age gracefully and powerfully. There is an expression: Today is the first day of the rest of your life. Thank you for giving me my first day. Love you.

Photos, Michal Efron; shot on location at Mondo Summit

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Vogue and Google Come Out of the Closet for September Issue

Kendall Jenner in Vogue and Google’s ‘Supermodel Closets’ | Source: Caleb Adams for Vogue

I have enjoyed watching Vogue’s 73 Questions videos – for an intimate, if not brief look inside the lives of celebrities (I especially loved the inaugural, with Sarah Jessica Parker). Now, building on its popularity, Vogue and Google have partnered to celebrate Vogue’s 125th anniversary September issue: launching a 360-degree virtual reality five-part series, “Supermodel Closets” and offering viewers exactly what its title promises – an inside view of the closets of industry stars – beginning with Kendall Jenner. To that end, the viewer of Supermodel Closets is “alone” in the closet, as Jenner tells the stories behind her clothes, handbags and accessories, her most beloved and prized possessions.

Vogue’s long-standing objective is to show what’s new in fashion. The decision to partner with Google and its complex, wide-reaching fashion strategy, represents the next step for Vogue in delivering ever- alluring content. Says Julina Tatlock, co-founder of digital entertainment company 30 Ninjas, which produced the series, “There is an opportunity when you are making 360 and virtual reality to let the story shape itself a little more … The fact that Vogue allowed us to shoot the models for almost two hours, and then we cut it to four minutes, means that Kendall could completely relax.”

While Supermodel Closets can be viewed on a computer or phone via YouTube, the virtual reality elements must be experienced using special equipment. I am not set up for that, yet, but perhaps I can figure it out … eventually.

 

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Eva says, “If not now … When?”

Rosetta Grey shoes – all of Eva’s favorite things: good height, good leather, retro style

I met Eva at work and was struck by her original fashion sense and creative style. But Eva and I really bonded when we discovered our mutual love of Loehmann’s and why we miss it now that it is gone. I understand so well how Eva feels about her clothes and the personal relationship she has with each and every piece. And I am familiar with Eva’s story about how her love of fashion started. Here is Eva …

My love of fashion started when I was a little girl, shopping with my mom. I learned everything about the art of shopping for a good sale from her. Of course, there was an effort to be fiscally responsible but shopping for a good buy was so much more; it was about learning to shop creatively. I grew up in Elizabeth, New Jersey, home to the original Daffy’s  discount store. My mom and I would shop at Daffy’s and then head over to the Shoe Town across the street – that was our thing. We always had a time limit to our shopping day and I learned how to have fun with shopping and to be creative within constraints, something that is a big part of me to this day …

I grew up in a school environment which required me to dress with certain restrictions. I can trace my love of shoes to this time in my life. Shoes and accessories were the elements that helped me to stand out and step away from the conformity and simply, be myself. When I went to college and experienced total fashion freedom that was the moment I fell in love with vintage shopping – and learned how to fully express my individuality …

My husband calls me the vulture when I shop: I circle with great patience and wait for the right moment to make my purchase. It is really the thrill of the hunt for me. Continue reading

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The Hair Necessity

Photo by Lauren Hagerstrom

A funny thing happened to me when I became a mother for the first time: I began to cut my hair shorter. I guess I was looking for more serious hair to match this serious moment in my life. I didn’t cut it super short (to above my shoulders) but the trend lasted for a while. I wonder what it was that made me do it. Was it my age? Did I think that at a certain age a woman should wear her hair shorter, or that society would expect that of me? I think yes. Has this happened to anyone else? Now, 20+ years later, I have found myself again. It is with great joy that I am growing out my hair (and have changed my hair stylist, who is my partner in the process). Because except for a short stint as a 3 year-old when I had a pixie cut with bangs, I have always worn my hair long. It feels most like me. And why should I feel less like me as I get older? Why should I follow an idea of what it means to age, especially when it just doesn’t fit me? Why should I conform to what I think society expects of me when I don’t want it for myself?  It is the same with clothes and dressing. You must always be yourself, in all your life moments – and love who you are meant to be.

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Super Luscious and Splendid!

We believe that home is truly where the heart is and that you should be able to bring a little piece of it with you everywhere you go. That’s why what we create fits seamlessly into your life. Filled with color, softness, and a hint of playfulness. It’s casual, but polished. So no matter what you’re doing you always look as good as you feel in these moments. ~ Splendid

Finding softness in a pair of pants is the ultimate in securing the California vibe! I haven’t lived in LA since I was a young teenager but it doesn’t take long for me to recapture the feeling of living under its sunny umbrella. If home is where the heart is then I will always be at home in the simple style of California dressing. Playful and colorful, with the feel of a soft pillow, these periwinkle blue Splendid pants say LA, with style, substance, and softness.

Photo by Hannah Walker

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Selena Gomez: “To Be You is to Be Strong”

Coach x Selena Gomez. Photo: @coach/Instagram

Yes, I am a Selena Gomez fan. I, like the other 123 million-plus Instagram followers, feel a connection with her.  I like her honesty and her ability to acknowledge her vulnerability and to grow from it, especially as she has picked herself up from the perils of childhood fame. Last week Coach released its new Fall 2017 campaign and Selena Gomez is front and center as its face of the campaign. In addition, Gomez has collaborated with Coach and is about to launch an exclusive limited Coach x Selena Gomez collection, offering leather goods and accessories. Among the coveted items is the Selena Grace bag, co-designed by Gomez and Coach creative director Stuart Vevers, whom Gomez reports, “was just so open at figuring out our collaboration.” The bag features a hangtag with the singer’s signature, as well as a patch fastened inside the bag declaring: “To be you is to be strong.” Also embossed on the bag is another message from Gomez: “Love yourself first. I love it!

The Coach x Selena Gomez collection will be available for pre-order online beginning on August 14th, and will hit stores on September 1st

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It’s Cocktail Hour

There is a dress often overlooked but so very fun to wear – the cocktail dress. More formal than a work dress and less dressy than an evening gown – the cocktail dress is somewhere in between. But every bit as elegant. A dress for an under appreciated time of day, perhaps all that is left of a bygone era – the cocktail hour. I love the idea of cocktail hour, that time for relaxing and unwinding. I don’t drink cocktails but even so, I love dressing for cocktail hour.

I love designer Rebecca Taylor for her feminine touches – ruffles, peplums, florals – and in this case, an added puffed sleeve and exposed shoulder.

Dress, Rebecca Taylor; shoes, Manolo Blahnik, tights, Wolford.

Photos by Abrina Hyatt, shot on location at Huntley Taverne, Summit NJ

 

 

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Rosita Missoni’s Garden of Happiness

Rosita Missoni: Photo credit Federico Ciamei

What I remember most from seeing mother and daughter from the fashion House Missoni  interviewed a year ago at the 92nd Street Y was that the Missoni family literally designs their reality by living and working together in one beautiful spot near Milan, Northern Italy. This model that the Missoni’s have created is a rare thing in today’s world of fashion design. Now, one year later, Missoni matriarch, Rosita Missoni, is 85 years old and is still living and blooming from her family home and factory. Her love of color and vibrancy spreads well beyond her clothing designs, as she collects vegetables and flowers from her own gardens and shares them with family and friends. This is how she keeps herself vital. Says Rosita Missoni:  “I’ve been passionately dedicated to my career, so it’s never worn me out. I live in the kind of beautiful place where my husband and I wanted to spend our weekends. I have my children close by, and friends that come visit on Sundays.” Rosita Missoni: living a life of true creativity, love, and inspiration.

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Shoulders Don’t Seem to Age!

Abrina took this photo of me last year and I am happy to report that the off-the-shoulder trend and all its variations are still in style. The subject of baring shoulders came up with my good friends recently and nothing feels better than a fashion conversation with a friend. We talked about how challenging dressing can be as you age and its affect on your self esteem. Things you once thought nothing about wearing now make you stop and take notice. But as I looked at my friends, beautiful and stunning in their off-the-shoulder tops, I knew they were on to something. As it turns out shoulders don’t seem to age. They are unaffected by the years. We all agreed; rather than focus on what is changing or making us feel insecure, it is so much better to highlight those features that make you feel good.

Blouse, Madewell

Photo by Abrina Hyatt

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An Ode to Shopping Malls

An atrium in the Burlington Center Mall. Credit Peter Garritano for The New York Times

I live dangerously close to a high-end mall; The Short Hills Mall in New Jersey is always hopping – teaming with people, rain or shine. That is why when I read Steven Kurutz’s “An Ode to Shopping Malls” in the New York Times reflection of filmmaker Dan Bell’s powerful Dead Malls Series on YouTube – visual tributes to dead malls in working-class and rural communities across America – I was stunned.

Bell’s inspiration came when he returned to his favorite childhood haunt, The Owings Mills Mall, in the suburbs of Baltimore, Maryland – after almost a decade. It had been that long since Bell had been in that mall, or any mall. The year was 2015, and what Bell found shocked him. “The first moment kind of took my breath away, because it was this entire corridor of nothing … They had loud pop music echoing through the mall, and I’m looking down this corridor, and there’s no people, no stores open,” Mr. Bell said. “It was really a sobering moment.”

Like many of us who grew up in the 1980s, the mall held a special place in our growing up (think of Fast Times at Ridgemont High, 1982!) – shopping, food courts, escalators, make-up trials, socializing – it all happened at the mall. Mr. Bell visits the dead malls only; the ones in rural and working-class communities – he is less interested in the upscale, wealthier malls, where businesses continue to do well. One feels an emptiness watching Bell’s Dead Malls Series, even if you are conflicted with the idea of massive consumerism. I actually never loved malls, I still don’t – but the fact that they are dying leaves me feeling melancholy and lonely. Like a piece of my youth has left me.

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