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?
I miss you! I have been having some technical issues with my social media settings. I plan to be up and running – and posting – again very soon! Stay tuned … Love, Melissa
I love red. Bright, cherry red. It is and always has been my favorite color to wear. This Valentine’s Day, I wore my new red dress by Maje that I bought at a crazy sale price. The entire week I have thought about the different kinds of love. The truth is that there isn’t just one kind of love – there are many. Because love has no boundaries. Is it wrong that one of the loves of my life is the color red? Wearing it makes me happy and brings out the best in me. We are good together. If that isn’t love, I don’t know what is! I love red.
Photo by Abrina Hyatt
When I started the assignment I had no idea how satisfying it would be. I had volunteered to help my friend and costume designer Katherine during the preparation of the local high school production of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. I told her to put me to work in any capacity, that I simply wanted to be a part of the costume crew. When Katherine told me that she would like me to accessorize the female performers’ costumes I was thrilled. This musical is set in an office in the heart of the 1960’s and I would be accessorizing the students portraying young women who worked in the secretarial pool. Fashion in the 60’s was full of color and silhouette. Accessories were simple but bold. Outfits were color-coordinated and highly accessorized and a bit matchy-matchy; big button earrings, brooches, bright necklaces, and headbands rounded out the accessories. Continue reading
I heard my body is a topic of conversation so I wanted to say, I’m proud of my body and you should be proud of yours too. No matter who you are or what you do. I could give you a million reasons why you don’t need to cater to anyone or anything to succeed. Be you, and be relentlessly you. That’s the stuff of champions. thank you so much everyone for supporting me. I love you guys. Xoxo, gaga
I don’t get it: Lady Gaga was body-shamed after her performance at the Super Bowl Halftime show? First of all, I can’t imagine anything to criticize. And shaming? Why? But it was Lady Gaga’s response that warmed my heart, with her positivity and empowering message. And by the way, the fashion show was amazing. Those sculptural shoulder pads from the opening number (fully-beaded futuristic costume designed by Atelier Versace) – accentuated by a bright, red lip? To die for!
Good for her – Brava, Gaga!
Tights are my essential go-to’s to offset the chill of winter without the sacrifice of style. These days, tights are so versatile that you can style them in creative ways – with a dress, under boots, peaking out from beneath ripped jeans, or in my case, with a skirt and booties. Wearing tights has changed the way I dress in the winter months, allowing me to wear the leg-bearing outfits I once thought only possible in warmer months. I am willing to pay more for my statement tights since I now wear them most every day; I choose Wolford for its top quality, durability, and high style. Continue reading
Most of us buy suede shoes for their rich luster and elegant finish. Suede is luscious! Yet slowly and ever so subtly, that same silky suede finish fades and loses its shine. You won’t necessarily notice it happening but one day you will look at your shoes and they will have become – ordinary. Tempted as you will be to buy new shoes, there is something you can do to bring your shoes back to life and save yourself money at the same time: suede dye. Applying suede dye is simple and won’t take too much time. You will make a little mess (I recommend newspaper for a bit of dripping dye), and you need to give it time to apply, dry, and re-apply … but these are manageable steps. Here are some tips for applying:
- before applying the suede dye use a suede brush to smooth out the surface of your shoes
- be prepared for a little mess; set up newspapers to catch any drippings and add newspapers to the inside of your shoes to protect the insides from dye
- after applying the first coat and letting it dry, apply a second – make sure you give enough time and outdoor space to complete the job thoroughly
- don’t try a color (other than black) unless you know for sure it is the exact color of your shoes (I made that mistake and bought navy dye only to discover that my shoes, more of an indigo blue, turned a goldish color!). Black, on the other hand, is always a win-win!
I ordered my dye on Amazon for less than $10.00, and I saved my wedge shoes and my favorite suede and leather Rachel Comey boots that I have owned for years! And the best part is that I can keep them forever young with the same suede dye when they need a refresher next winter. Save your suede – buy new shoes only when you want to and not because you’re forced to!
It was five years ago, the summer of 2012; I was starting Turning Fashion Inside Out and I met a lovely young woman named Farnoosh. Farnoosh shared her story about coming to the United States from Iran – with her parents and two sisters – and how they had to make adjustments to living in a completely new country and a new world. At that time, she was 12 years old and had to learn to fit in to a middle school environment which is not easy for any young person, let alone someone from Iran. She told me that initially, she chose to find her way through the clothes she wore. It was the first interview when I knew that we are all connected by our daily armour of clothing and our self expression, and when I truly understood the mission of my stories on TFIO. Five years later and Farnoosh is learning that she cannot travel to Iran, her home country, to visit her family. She is heartbroken. And I am heartbroken for her. I wish her and her family the chance to return to Iran very soon. I pull this story from my TFIO archives, and share again, Farnoosh’s story, as told to me in 2012. Here is Farnoosh:
“I always try to keep my style simple yet sophisticated.” Farnoosh
You meet Farnoosh and she looks like a typical American 22 year-old. Yes, she lives in America, and yes she is 22, but Farnoosh’s story is not typically American. Rather, it is other-worldly. The other side of the world, in fact, because Farnoosh was born in Iran and lived there until she was twelve years old. That is when she and her mother and father and two older sisters came to live in The United States. It was not her decision to come to America; “I was a little girl – I did not want to leave.” Farnoosh was living happily in Iran, in a city called Isfahan. She had her friends and her life, but her parents had three girls and they knew that their future would be limited if they stayed.
The year was 2002; it was not an easy time to be from Iran and move here, so soon after September 11th. It was certainly not easy for a pre-teen girl about to enter 7th grade and couldn’t speak a word of English. The first few years were very rough for Farnoosh – she remembers her Aunt (who had been living here already) picking out clothes for her, because she knew nothing about American fashion. Continue reading
When I was in my early teens I had a Saturday ritual of watching The Mary Tyler Moore Show with my best friend Alice. Even after Alice moved away, I continued to watch because Mary Richards was so inspiring! I wanted to be like her. She played a 30-year old, single, working woman in a Minneapolis newsroom. Although she was warm and full of smiles, she was also strong, capable, and independent, with a winning character. In 2002, in a CNN interview about whether her character Mary on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” was a feminist, Moore responded: “She wasn’t aggressive about it, but she surely was … the writers never forgot that. They had her in situations where she had to deal with it.”
Not to mention the fact that it was the 70s and Mary’s fashion style was of-the-moment and in-the-groove. I loved it all: Mary, her friends and colleagues, the story lines, the fashion. It was heady stuff for a teenage girl and each week I kept coming back for more.
It was with great sadness that I heard of Mary Tyler Moore’s passing – I felt like I did all those years ago when the show went off the air – like I had lost a great friend. A strong urge came over me to watch an episode of the show and see Mary again. One of my favorites, “Put on a Happy Face,” aired early in the show’s history. In an unlikely moment for Mary, she is having a series of bad days, just before the television award ceremony called ‘The Teddy’s,’ where she has been nominated for an award. Her hair gets puffy and things get worse from there. Rest in Peace Mary Tyler Moore, and thank you for showing me the way to be a woman in the world – all these years later.
Not long ago I discovered my best colors courtesy of fashion stylist and color consultant Rivka and her partner and beauty entrepreneur, Cindy – and it truly changed my life! In small ways and big ways. I learned to embrace colors that bring out the best in me, take risks with the unknown, and remove colors that don’t work with my skin tone. It all starts with your skin and some colors came as quite a surprise. For instance, Rivka told me that I should not be wearing any shade of yellow, that I should be wearing more silver-tones including silver jewelry rather than gold. I had no idea – in fact, most of the earrings and necklaces I own were gold. I began a total makeover to incorporate more silver into my wardrobe and replace my gold pieces. Now I feel like the true me is revealing itself; I guess you could say I am finding my silver lining.
There is a silver lining for you, too. Once you find the colors that bring out the best in you you will shine in new and unimagined ways. People will notice you and not the color of your clothes.
Photos by Kendra Olson
It’s a dilemma for sure, but not in the way you would imagine. One of the joys of dressing has always been the spontaneity of it. I dress to express myself, to match my inner feelings with my outer shell – always in the moment. Since starting my full-time job however, (I just celebrated my one year anniversary!), waiting to choose what to wear for the morning has become really stressful for me. And so I force myself to think about it the night before. Sometimes there are last-minute decisions about shoes or other accessories, but for the most part, I have let go to make room for a less stressful morning. Like many of us who work full-time, drinking that first cup of coffee is about the only thing possible in the morning!
Photo: Kim Naci