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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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Fashion Tip for Today: Add Texture!

Texture is often the forgotten element when shopping for clothes but it is one of the three keys: a good fit, the right color … and texture. How something feels to the touch and does it hold its structure and will it stand out – these are important questions to ask yourself. When I am shopping color and texture are the first things I notice. This See by Chloé dress has become a new favorite, with the combination of cotton, silk, and jersey that give it a unique look. I added the pin for even more texture! Happy shopping!

Dress, See by Chloé, shoes Pedro Garcia

Photos by Kendra Olson

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Stella McCartney Shoots Latest Campaign in a Landfill

Photo: Harley Weir for Stella McCartney

Photo: Harley Weir for Stella McCartney

“The idea we had with this campaign is to portray who we want to be and how we carry ourselves; our attitude and collective path … Our man-made constructed environments are disconnected and unaware of other life and the planet which is why there is waste.” ~ Stella McCartney, in press release

Designer Stella McCartney is tackling the issue of sustainability from a different angle in her new winter campaign. Hoping to take the fashion conversation to a new level, McCartney has shot her AW17 womenswear campaign in a landfill site on the coast of Eastern Scotland.  Photographed by Harley Weir in collaboration with artist Urs Fischer, the images see the models standing and lying upon piles of landfill. These sobering images reflect the reality of a world consumed by throwaway consumption, fast fashion, and fashion waste.

Thank you, Stella McCartney. I’m buying it. 

 

 

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Fascinated With Beth’s Fascinator!

Photo shot on location at MONDO Summit

Photo shot on location at MONDO Summit

Photo shot on location at MONDO Summit

Milliner Beth Alden has a signature: rain hats handmade from 100% recycled rain coats and gear. But when her friend Patty asked if she could design a custom fascinator for an upcoming Irish wedding, Beth was game to try. Because this artist and designer, who grew up playing dress up, has always been inspired by hats. In fact, Beth shared with me that she started her love affair with hats when she and her mother would choose the hat department in any store – first – and begin the dress up in earnest.

In the United Kingdom it is considered poor manners not to wear a fascinator to a wedding. Patty’s dress was peach; with this information, Beth designed two hats for her by making use of her antique fabric remnants – and this feathered fascinator was the winner. “I love to make one-of-a-kind hats,” says Beth. “I never pre-plan a custom hat design; I work with whatever comes to me. And I am committed to using existing materials and try to design as zero-waste as I can.” I would say this fascinator is jolly-perfect!

Beth Alden graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design. Today, she and her creative business partner and photographer, Joe, live in Saugerties, New York, where her business and studio is located, and where the dressing up continues.

Patty, wearing her fascinator at the wedding in Ireland – courtesy of Patty

 

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Shocked, At Bloomingdale’s!

I have always thought of Bloomingdale’s as my go-to department store – my store for my entire life. But today, I was truly shocked in Bloomindale’s. As I paid my bill I asked the young sales person if she could point me to the Diane von Furstenberg department (I was intrigued to see more after my last post). She looked at me as if I had three heads and asked me who that was – a designer? “Yes, a designer,” I said. She then suggested that the department might be found upstairs on the 3rd floor. I looked at her, seriously dumbfounded. And said, “No!” Still shell-shocked, I asked another salesperson where I could find DVF, and she told me that Bloomingdale’s hasn’t sold the Diane von Furstenberg line for at least two years. That came as a surprise to me but it wasn’t the shock. The real shock was that the first sales person didn’t know who Diane von Furstenberg was. Really? Are you kidding me?? Shame on you Bloomingdale’s for letting this happen!

I just had to share …

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Diane von Furstenberg in Her Third Act

Diane von Furstenberg at 70, in her office in the Meatpacking District, NYC (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

I always used to say that life has three moments,” she says, sitting in her downtown office on a recent afternoon. “One is development, until about (age) 30. One is enjoyment, and then the third, the last season of your life, is somehow about fulfillment.” ~ Diane von Furstenberg

Designer Diane von Furstenberg is refocusing her life. Having handed over the creative reins of her fashion label to Jonathan Saunders, one of fashion’s most iconic names is turning her energies to philanthropy.  When von Furstenberg turned 70 on New Year’s Eve, she had already been asking herself,  “What kind of senior citizen do I want to be? How do I stay relevant?” – for a year. What she decided, she says, was to use her voice to focus on women from the inside, rather than the outside. “All my life was about creating a product, fashion, something (women) could use to be the woman they want to be, and now in my third act I want to use my voice to help women be the woman they want to be, but from the inside.

When I read von Furstenbergs’ memoir, The Woman I Wanted to Be, I was touched by her mother’s story and the strength (and life!) that she received from her mother. Her mother was a concentration camp survivor. She survived two concentration camps, and even though she came home weighing only 59 pounds, she gave birth the following year to her daughter, Diane. Throughout her life, her mother would tell her that God saved her so that she could give her life. I think that is why Diane von Furstenberg wants to help women find their voices and their strength. I think it is what motivates her. I want to see how she inspires women going forward, in her third act …

 

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So This is Me Today – On my Birthday

So this is me, today. On my birthday – at 57.  It comes as a surprise that I am 57 years old. I don’t feel that age, whatever that means. Well, most of the time. To be honest, it has become harder to take pictures and expose myself in the 7 years since I started my blog (just before my 50th birthday). I am aware often now that certain things just don’t feel the same; like the time recently when Kendra was taking a photo of my necklace and I saw that my neck was getting wrinkled. Or the time when we took photos highlighting my very high wedge shoes and I was aware more than ever of marks on my legs. Or the close up of my hands holding a necklace, only to see a few extra brown spots that weren’t there before. Sharing yourself as you age is an interesting reality. And I am not always good at it. I often want to go back to the body I had. And I understand and do not judge anyone for wanting to do whatever you can to look as young as possible. And yet, I also know this. Writing a blog is about being authentically you. You must be your true self so that those who log in feel that they know you. The real you. And since I write about the connection between fashion and self esteem, I must be honest, too, when my own story wavers and my own self esteem falters. Which it does.

Aging isn’t easy. You are forced to face things you would rather not face. But I hold true to this: my clothes are a part of me and I am a part of them. They fill me with happiness and help me to be more of myself than any other thing. When I wear things that make me happy, I am ageless. I begin to look beyond wrinkles and marks and spots. I see only me. Wear what you love, find clothes with colors that brighten your mood (even if it is black, which can be the best color of all!), fill your closet only with things that fit you properly and throw out or give away the rest. And do it now, wherever you are in life, whatever your age. So this is me, today. On my birthday – at 57.

Dress, James Perse Los Angeles; shoes, Missoni for Target

Photos, Abrina Hyatt

 

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Summer and Swimsuit Memories

I can’t think of summer without thinking of my beloved Outer Banks of North Carolina, where beach and bay share the same slim, gorgeous peninsula. I spent 14 summers in OBX with my dear family. My boys grew up on those beaches and kayaked on that bay. Even though we stopped going a few years ago, my memories take me back in a heartbeat – to the white, soft beach where I had my walks – to the view of the bay where I started and ended every day with a silent meditation, to the local farmer’s market and the free pie samples my mom and I used to love, to the fresh seafood, to the house that we loved, and to the joy of being with my family.

And of course, to my swimwear! My clothes are so tied into my memories that I could never separate the two; I bought my all-time favorite black one-piece Lisa Curran Swimsuit for summer vacation at the beach. Feminine yet strong and secure, it fit like a glove and I knew it could handle the trip perfectly. And it did. It’s important to find the right swimsuit because, as completely exposed as you are, you need the suit to fill you with confidence and a little bit of attitude! Of course it helped that this particular suit was named Clare, my mother’s name!

Photos by Cheryl Kaplan

 

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What You Wear Brings You Into Character

Anna, in her stunning dress

When Anna first appeared on stage in that exquisite black lace fitted gown, I was mesmerized. She looked stunning but it was so much more – Anna commanded the theater. Every character she portrayed was so real, so believable.  By the end of Anna’s concert performance, I knew, I knew, that I needed to ask her about the dress. What the dress meant to Anna and the role that it played in her music and her singing. We sat down and I had my chance to hear from Anna …

About Dresses in General …

I have always loved wearing dresses. I was a tomboy, but I still loved wearing dresses – dresses with a baseball hat! Jeans actually gave me a skin rash. Today, I find dresses to be very freeing. They allow me to stand tall and watch my posture. I will never forget the first dress I wore to perform; I was a senior in high school. It was a red satin gown, v-neck, with a rectangular jewel at the neck. I loved it so much that I kept it (it still lives in my closet at home, even though I can no longer wear it!).

About The Dress …

I wanted something I could wear for this concert. There are certain protocols regarding dressing when performing as a soloist with an orchestra or choir: your dress needs to be floor length and cover your shoulders. I wanted something that I would wear often. I was in the city and decided to check out Macy’s. The dress was the last one I tried on and the best price from the sale rack! The minute I tried it on, it was perfect: the fit, the length (no hemming needed!), the style, and I couldn’t beat the price – everything was just right. I was able to check everything on my list! The black lace overlay on a neutral bodice was elegant but simple and I really loved the interesting back detail (which is important for the performances when I am conducting and my back is to the audience). The dress was so perfect that I didn’t need heels, and the only accessory I wore were large earrings. Continue reading

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Stars and Stripes Brings New Life to My Wardrobe

This holiday I wear my stars and stripes scarf tie styled with my Banana Republic white blazer. The best part about adding this patriotic pop of color that is both stylish and meaningful, is that it has given new life to my long-time white blazer (at least 15 years old!).  Happy Fourth of July to you! With love, Melissa

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OOh, I have to have that!!

Ooh, I have to have that necklace!

Ooh, I have to have that!,” I say, as I pass a window: I have said it so often and in front of so many windows that I am abnormally great at it. If I look back at my life I realize that I have purchased my most precious things after passing them in windows. Not just for what they are but also for how they make me feel. I bought my white down coat by Searle 20 years ago when driving past a window in NYC – I got home, called the store and had it shipped to my house in NJ. A few years ago, while on vacation in my beloved Outer Banks, I saw a simple black summer dress by Splendid in the window – tried it on and bought it on the spot. Five years ago, when I was trying to push through my fears and start exercising it was seeing these super-cool pink camo yoga pants in the window at Lululemon that caught my eye and got me moving. When I bought them I took my first step to changing my health. And it was this necklace that has become my all-time go-to; while walking the streets of Soho, New York, I saw this unique accessory and I knew that I had to have it. I had never seen anything like it before – the textures and fabrics were a unique combination that drew me into the boutique. Of course it was the only one of its kind and I bought it! I always get comments when I wear it – it is a conversation starter.

Windows are the gateway to our dreams, what happens when we press our noses to the possibilities and make them our own. When you see something in a window and buy it, you take the unobtainable and will it into your closet. To literally window-shop is to make your imagination your reality. It is no wonder that all of these purchases are my favorites.

Photos by Kendra Olson

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