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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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Wearing Vintage in Soho

There’s something about wearing vintage clothes in the middle of Soho, NY. Maybe it’s the cobblestone streets or imagining the lives of the individuals within those streets, but vintage suits just fine. That’s the thing about vintage: it’s not like anything else you will see at a mall and you probably won’t see another person wearing the same thing. It’s unique for you. This soft, leopard jacket that I purchased at my friend Gabrielle’s store, The Collective, is one-of-a-kind. I almost didn’t get it because of the extreme 1980’s style shoulder pads (which I thought were too much for me), but Gabrielle encouraged me and I am thrilled that I did. So when I found myself in Soho on a beautiful and amazingly warm day for October, I smiled in my shorts, knowing that I was the only one in that moment who looked like me!

Jacket, vintage; shorts Kohl’s; t-shirt, Rag & Bone; boots, Coach; socks, Wolford

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(Fashion) Mistakes Will Happen!

A fashion mistake: Tory Burch shoes that were lovely but hurt my feet! Photo: Abrina Hyatt

I have gotten much better at knowing my style and buying the right things. Much better. Fewer bad calls, fewer disasters. And yet … I still make fashion mistakes. I get impulsive. And, just recently, I purchased something on Ebay – something I have never done before. That, of course, should have been my first clue – it’s always tricky to buy something without seeing it and touching it (I am not a fan of buying online.). But, this was a velvet pant from the Altuzarra for Target collaboration and I was hopeful. A few years ago I had purchased things from this collaboration (in the Target store!) and I had great success with each piece. And because I want to add more velvet to my wardrobe this fall and the color was an inciting maroon-red, I gave it a go. It arrived and it seemed to fit, but when I wore it there was something wrong: a hard-to-describe-something – too big in places, perhaps? – but something just the same and the fit was off. After wearing it just one day, I resolved that it was not for me and put it in the pile of clothes-to-go.

Even as we age and mature and begin to know our style, fashion mistakes WILL happen. The always do. And when they do, I recommend giving it to someone else who will enjoy it. Please don’t give yourself a hard time about it. Rejoice that you are keeping only the right things for you. No almost-right. Almost-good-enough is not good enough for you.

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Falling for Velvet

I took Lezli Salz-Bradley at her word when she told us that velvet was the fashion trend to watch for fall. My new electric blue velvet boots give every outfit just the right boost and make me want to dance! I will be wearing them as much as possible – with dresses, skirts, and pants. Add this smooth velvet fabric to your everyday wardrobe and watch everything you own, pop!

Boots Laurence Dacade Paris; dress, Maje, stockings, Wolford, heart pendant, Baccarat

Photos by Abrina Hyatt

I dedicate this to my Uncle Herb, who always believed in me and supported me

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An Exhibit Honors the Fashion Forward

Models wear Schiaparelli clothing and hold an issue of Minotaure, a Surrealist magazine with a cover designed by Salvador Dalí.
Photographed by Cecil Beaton, Vogue, 1936 / Getty Images

St. Petersberg, Florida, is home to the Dalí Musuem’s new exhibit (opening Wednesday), “Dalí & Schiaparelli, In Daring Fashion,” honoring two creative forces in the art and fashion worlds: Salvador Dalí and Else Schiaparelli. In Vogue article, Steff Yotka, describes these artists and original thinkers: “Together they were an unstoppable force on the Parisian scene of the ’30s, he with his slicked-back hair, curled mustache, and stunts, she with a cutting wit and those leopard-skin boots. Between 1934 and 1936, each appeared on the cover of Time magazine. She was the first fashion designer and businesswoman to do so. But there’s another lens that makes the relationship between Surrealism’s most prolific artist and fashion’s most shocking designer even more interesting … At the core of Dalí’s and Schiaparelli’s work is an ideological mission to create something new. Both deeply believed that their work in art, fashion, film, advertisement, dance—whatever!—was in service of their quest for newness and novelty.”

Schiaparelli was the first to design a jumpsuit and design a fashion show set to music; Dalí introduced the world to the art hologram. I can only imagine the beauty and wonder inside this exhibit. Says the Dalí Museum’s director, Hank Hine, who selected and organized the artist’s works and designer’s couture pieces, Dalí & Schiaparelli “absolutely recognized each other’s genius and had a deep respect.” It brings true meaning to fashion forward!

“Dalí & Schiaparelli, In Daring Fashion” is open at The Dalí Museum in St. Petersburg, Florida from October 18 through January 18, 2018.

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Coming up Roses for Taryn Rose

Courtesy: Taryn Rose

A few years ago I discovered the Taryn Rose shoe brand and for the first time I was able to blend high style with true comfort. What a rare thing. The story behind the brand is even more compelling: In 1998, orthopedic surgeon Dr. Taryn Rose used her knowledge of the human body and partnered with design experts and tech innovators to create a collection of shoes that looked beautiful and felt super comfortable. She literally brought comfort to the world of luxury shoe design! I own two pairs of Taryn Rose shoes – what makes them so different is the cushioning, featuring a super soft memory foam footbed.

I received notice that Taryn Rose is relaunching it’s line this fall with “new designs, fresh silhouettes, and cutting-edge innovative comfort.”  If you are looking for high style and comfort, try Taryn Rose. Your feet will thank you!

My Taryn Rose favorites! Photo Kendra Olson

My Taryn Rose favorites! Photo Kendra Olson

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Meet CoverGirl’s Newest Cover Girl

Behind the scenes at Maye Musk’s CoverGirl photo shoot Photo: CoverGirl

Maye Musk: model for 50 years, dietician, nutritionist … and CoverGirl’s newest CoverGirl! At 69 years old Musk is the newest CoverGirl ambassador; an addition for the beauty company committed to adding diversity to its brand. And in a life full of achievement how did Musk feel when she found out she would be CoverGirl’s newest cover girl? Her honesty and positivity will inspire you and you will feel even better about CoverGirl  …

“I just love that CoverGirl wants to do diversity. They haven’t had a model this old in their campaigns. I’m turning 70 in April of next year. I think that women will be really inspired to see that even at 69 you can get a beauty campaign.

Aging has been good for me. You develop confidence, you’re able to handle the knocks a little easier. I model for my age. I’m not trying to hide it and say I’m 50. I’m so proud that I’m going be 70.

I don’t dye my hair. It’s so fabulous. I had brown hair for so long. I was always getting my roots done. Sometimes I did it myself because I couldn’t afford to go to a hair salon. When I turned 60, I decided to see what color I am underneath. I started dyeing my hair a very light blond and then I let it grow out. I cut it very short.

And what happened? Suddenly I have all these editorials and bookings, and everybody is loving it.”

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Jane Fonda is Having a Style Moment

Jane Fonda at L;Oreal Paris Fashion Week  Photo: Antonio de Moraes Barros Filho/WireImage.

Seeing Jane Fonda walk the L’Oreal Paris Fashion Week runway in a tiger print Balmain gown blew me away. Last Sunday Fonda didn’t need to use words to make a point. She did it her way, confidently making her way down the runway, flashing peace signs and holding her hands over her heart as the crowd cheered her on.

When it comes to style, Fonda does it her way and has been a trendsetter and a fashion-forward icon for decades. After all, in the 1980s she was the one who introduced athletic attire as a fashion staple – leg warmers, tights, leotards and all – long before the term athleisure was born. It does not surprise me that she is defining her style, her way now. Fonda will turn 80 years old this December but she is still dressing as she chooses and not letting her age affect her choices. Or maybe it’s because of her age that she makes these choices: bright colors (like the shocking pink dress she wore a few weeks ago at the Emmy Awards, or the bright green Balmain jumpsuit she wore a few years ago at the Grammy’s), leopard prints, ruffles whenever possible, and clean, strong lines.

Fonda reminds us that style is ageless. Just because we reach a certain age doesn’t mean we aren’t adventurous trend-setters. Nothing keeps us from having fun with fashion and pushing the envelope! We need not be afraid.

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Shopping Local and With Heart

The Team of Willow St. Gives to The Community Food Bank of New Jersey; courtesy Willow St.

“Every little bit counts. And in these times I think it’s time for all of us to come together as a community, put down our cell phones, give someone a smile, give someone a hug. I want to get back to the basics, support each other and our community – shopping local and small is a great way to start.” Lezli Salz-Bradley, Owner Willow St.

Last night a favorite local Summit boutique, Willow St. held its 2nd annual Fall Fashion Show (with a shopping party to follow). Owner Lezli spoke before the event, thanking the audience and her valued customers for their support for 23 years. For the shopping portion of the evening, Willow St. donated 10% of the shopping proceeds to the Community Food Bank of New Jersey. Before the show, Lezli talked about her favorite fall fashion trends seen in the , including velvet. “Velvet is my most favorite trend of the season. Kind of like velvet on everything – velvet shoes, velvet blazers – it really takes the most boring outfit and gives it a big pump … you can just do anything with velvet.” Other trends seen in the show included sneakers, ruffled/billowy sleeves, and studs. Lezli, I hear you on the velvet!!

It was a fun night of fashion and music but the best part was shopping local with community, and shopping with heart!

WillowSt. is located in Summit and Morristown, New Jersey. Here are Lezli’s 5 Fashion Trends of the Fall Season

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For Josephine and Her Mother

Josephine with her mother, the Maestra Sarta

My dear friend Josephine lost her mother last week. My heart is breaking for her. A few years ago, Josephine shared her mother’s story for TFIO. Today I want to share it again …

Josephine’s mother was a maestra sarta, a master seamstress, which was and still is a highly respected and honorable profession in Italy, where she was born. This is the story of Josephine’s mother and the gift she gave two generations of women …

My mom was born in a small town in Italy in 1931. She loved school and hoped to continue her education, but when she finished the 8th grade her family needed her at home to help out. It was the early 1940s, the country was at war, supplies were scarce, and my mother was the oldest of five children. Her mom was not well. She was needed: she sewed shirts, using parts of older shirts to fix newer ones, washed clothes by hand, and ironed for hours so that her younger siblings and extended family had the proper clothing to continue attending school or work. Her family was refined and tried to maintain a normal life despite food shortages and the other casualties of war. My mom remembers that her uncle, a shoemaker, made her high-heeled shoes out of a leather bag and wood. Growing up, I was often told about those shoes; my mom received many compliments when she wore the shoes with a dress she had made. Continue reading

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Leopard is the New Neutral

There have been moments when my fashion dreams came to life! I have seen my favorite fashion muse Leandra Medine speak before but to see her speaking in such an intimate setting, blew me away! Kate Spade store, West Village, NYC, was one of these moments: the sight of Leopard Leopard Leopard – a KateSpadexManRepeller pop-up store event. Medine, founder of mighty media company, ManRepeller, joined the visionary behind Kate Spade, Chief Creative Officer Deborah Lloyd, in a conversation about their personal stories, their feelings about success … and of course, how they feel about wearing the fashion staple, leopard, which in Medine’s words is “the new neutral!” It was inspiring! Continue reading

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