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 have a history with the Fair Isle sweater: it involves a short-lived obsession my freshman year in college and my beautiful and devoted mother – you may remember that I shared it with you in a podcast with my mom on TFIO. At that time, I had at least four Fair Isle sweaters in my possession (thanks to my mom), only to lose them by the end of that freshman year. I have no recollection where they went but the memory of them has lingered, almost as if I was waiting, anticipating owning another one sometime in my life. Here it is, almost 40 years later – what?! - and I have finally found a Fair Isle sweater again! It is Italian-designer Philosophy di Lorenzo Serafini, and more sophisticated than my college sweaters – but a Fair Isle sweater just the same. I went back to school on this snowy day, to recapture that moment so many years ago and to finally give this fashion story a happy ending!
Fashion designer Vivienne Westwood returned to London Monday, the city that made her fashion famous, for London Men’s Fashion Week. Her latest show was unisex, with male and female models taking the runway in the same outfits, a wide range of styles including suits with wide lapels and flared pants, and flowing capes and tutus. Says Westwood, “Unisex may sound like a joke, but, in fact, it’s all about styling and being able to dress however you like. Swapping clothes with your partner means you can buy less, choose well and really make them last.”
At 75, Westwood is thinking ahead. She came home to London, not because she was feeling nostalgic, but because she wants to make her company more environmentally friendly. Entitled, “Ecotricity” the show illustrates that in designing for men and for women, Westwood may be the first designer hoping to sell less than more. Still breaking ground! I’m buying it!
What luck to turn the channel and find one of my all-time favorite movies, Three Days of the Condor, a 1975 thriller starring Robert Redford and Faye Dunaway! This movie is a must-see for the story, the acting, the NYC backdrop, and of course, the fashion. Redford plays a member of the CIA who finds himself in grave danger without a sense of whom he can trust. He meets stranger Dunaway, who becomes involved in his dangerous plight. I have seen it a few times and each time I relive the thrills and chills. It is a movie easy to absorb and what you also notice – are the clothes. Redford in a black pea coat with the collar pulled up and Dunaway in that 70s style that is so effortlessly chic. In one scene she wears a long skirt, boots, jacket, and winter hat. You can imagine my joy when I was able to recreate this look myself, the very next day. Continue reading
A big Happy New Year to you! I have been under a rock since New Year’s Eve – sick with bronchitis – and I have missed you! But I am lifting myself out of the dumps and finding my groove again, just in time for the New Year. Making resolutions at the beginning of a year can create major stress, especially when they become impossible goals that only set you up for failure. It’s the same with your approach to fashion – it can seem too overwhelming: be careful of clothing ruts … be more adventurous … stay away from wearing too much black … change your handbag more often … update your wardrobe … get rid of old clothes … dress your age … don’t dress your age … what does that even mean? I think it’s helpful to remember just a few things, going forward. Perhaps sharing my fashion resolutions will inspire you:
Wear what feels right – When you feel good, you look good. That’s the most important thing to remember; if I am uncomfortable in a certain blouse or a pair of shoes, I will know it and others will too. It doesn’t matter that it’s the style-of-the-moment or a popular designer. If it doesn’t feel right to you then it isn’t. Protect your inner confidence with the right clothing and the rest will take care of itself.
Find clothes that fit - Make sure everything you put on fits you. And if it doesn’t and you love it, then have a tailor fix it. Truly, your tailor can be your new best friend. Let the clothing bring out the best in you with a true-match fit.
Start from the inside – A good fit starts with the right bra. Take care to update your bras every 6 months, Everything will look better and you will be inspired to watch your posture, too. In fact, check all of your undergarments to make sure they are worthy of you!
Watch for fashion waste – Don’t buy what you absolutely don’t love or don’t need. Wear only what you love. Let go of the rest and share it with someone else.
Try lipstick - I can’t have a happy day without my lipstick. It is the best picker-upper I know.
How many times in my life have I asked my mom what she thinks about a piece of clothing? What is it about our relationship and our roles that require I have her acceptance and approval? Is it just that I think my mom has great taste and style? Could it be a combination of reasons – where the mother-daughter relationship is concerned that wouldn’t surprise me. It can be complicated. Whatever it is, I have asked her opinion a lot. Sometimes I didn’t even bother to ask; I simply searched her face for a look and a sign. At this stage of my life I do most of my shopping without my mom and since I have a better sense of what I like there are fewer times when I ask. But her opinion still matters to me and when I get her approval, I feel better. This holiday I found a luxurious Basler jacket on sale at an unbelievable discount and I bought it. Even though I loved the price, the cherry red color and the fit, and even though others in the store gave me the okay, I needed to hear it from my mom. I wanted to know that there was more to it than the great holiday deal (which is always tempting but is not enough of a reason to keep something that is almost-right). The jacket had to be special and much more than just a good buy.
I tried it on for my mom and asked for her honest opinion. When she gave it, I could enjoy owning and wearing this jacket. Thanks, mom!
Vanessa Friedman, Fashion Director and Chief Fashion Critic for The New York Times, wrote a beautiful piece remembering Franca Sozzani, editor of Italian Vogue, who passed away this past week at age 66. Friedman says that Sozzani was an editor who knew that fashion wasn’t really about clothes – she elevated Italian Vogue to a new level and made it better, and was not only talented but influential. When Friedman interviewed Sozzani in 2013, she said, “Here’s what I think: Fashion isn’t really about clothes. It’s about life. Everyone can afford fashion on some level, everyone can talk about it. So what else can we say? We can’t always be writing about flowers and lace and aquamarine.” In fact, in the 28 years that Sozzani reigned at Italian Vogue Friedman says she “redefined the job as editor,” never shying away from important issues of the day and regularly breaking boundaries. “At a time when so much of what designers and magazines and stores do has become a numbers game calculated by market research and page views and what sold well last season, her example argues for the opposite. She took risks. They didn’t always end well. But more often than not, she was proved right.” ~ Vanessa Friedman
On a day when I am waking to the sad news of the passing of George Michael, I am touched by the passing of this fashion influencer.
What is it like to be a freelance window designer at famed department store, Bergdorf Goodman? What is it like to have your heart in New York City but to have found your fashion inspiration in London? What are the consequences of leaving home at age 17? Erin O’Brien knows the answers to these compelling questions because they make the story of her life and journey. Here is Erin, one-of-a-kind style originator, sharing it with us …
I was always interested in fashion but it wasn’t until I traveled to London when I was young, that I found my true fashion sense. At 13-14 I visited my family in Ireland; while there, I begged them to take me to London. Being in London affected me enormously; the edgy style, the music influencers – I felt myself being drawn in to it all and that has stayed with me to this day …
Being a window dresser is not as glamorous as you might think. It’s a lot of grunt work and hard labor. I have been working with Bergdorf Goodman as a freelance window designer since 1997. I work on the windows at Holiday and for special windows throughout the year. For creating the Christmas windows, the process is year-long and begins as soon as Christmas is over. This Holiday, I helped install and style the window on 58th Street – a “Bird’s Eye View” of a dog maze – highlighting the most wanted luxury handbags. I selected the handbags for the window, and I also decorated and installed the Holiday Shop on the 7th floor of Bergdorf’s … Continue reading
Well, no, I am not the whiskey-smuggling, illegal-activity kind of bootlegger, but for the number of times I wear boots when the weather cools, I feel that I must redefine the term! (Fashion) Bootlegger: noun. 1 a: someone who wears boots to ward off cold feet and legs. verb. Bootlegging 1 a: the art of wearing boots as a replacement for stockings and and sock wear.
The truth is that when the weather cools you need a go-to type of shoe; something that does more than add height to your look but actually redefines how you warm your legs. Boots are your answer. You will need to remember the following when purchasing a pair (or two, or three!) of winter boots: find a color that is versatile and will go will most things (black is always a good idea), a little heel (like a wedge) is a perfect compliment to both pants and skirts and dresses, and a weatherproof boot will be your new best friend if you get caught in drizzle or rain or snow. And remember to make sure your boots aren’t too tight-fitting – you want to have enough room to accommodate heavier socks and tights. When you do, you will find yourself wearing boots dressed up and dressed down, always and in all ways. Become a bootlegger, like me, and give this naughty word a whole new meaning!
Photos by Kendra Olson
Fashionista researched 147 covers from 10 leading U.S. fashion publications and discovered the following: while some titles remained stagnant, the majority saw distinct improvement. Among the leading publications, which included Allure, Cosmopolitan, Elle, Glamour, Harper’s Bazaar, InStyle, Nylon, Teen Vogue, Vogue and W – Teen Vogue featured the most diversity this year by including women of color on seven of its 11 issues, 63.6 percent. — with cover stars like Amandla Stenberg, Willow Smith and Simone Biles.
This is so important because young women look for themselves on the covers of magazines. They want to feel that the magazine speaks to them and the cover is the fist thing they see. There is a long way to go for inclusivity but this is a statistic that is moving in the right direction. I’m buying it!
How ironic that clunky industrial machines of the Sophie Hallette factory turn out the most delicate lace – Chantilly lace, Leavers lace, and silk tulle. It has been this way since its was founded in the late 1800s at the height of the industrial revolution. In the small town of Caudry, France, sits this factory, a favorite supplier for luxury fashion houses such as Chanel, Gucci, and Erdem. And now, thanks to financial support from Chanel, Sophie Hallette factory will be able to continue to make lace well into the future. Says Chanel fashion president, Bruno Pavlovsky: “We want to guarantee they will stay in business and keep doing what they do.” Because Sophie Hallette is now a member of Chanel’s Métiers d’Art, a consortium of artisan suppliers that the fashion company either owns or has invested in. To that point, Pavlovsky concedes: “Deals like this nourish the progress of product development. We are constructing something not only for today but also for tomorrow.” Lacemaking is handed down from generation to generation and for the artists and craftsmen their extensive training is rewarded with a great sense of pride in their work. Joining this consortium guarantees the merging of the traditions of yesterday with the technology of today, and a chance for lace to continue to beautify the fashion world.