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?
“The greatest way to honor my mother’s legacy is to keep going. Because she was not a quitter. Nothing ever stopped her; if she couldn’t get through this door she went through that window.” ~ Melissa Rivers
Monday night saw the return of E’s Fashion Police, with Melissa Rivers not only serving as the show’s executive producer, but also joining the show’s current panelists, Giuliana Rancic and Brad Goreski, as a co-host. After a six-month hiatus and a dramatic exit by two of its stars, Melissa Rivers kicked off the new season of Fashion Police with these words: “Yeah, it’s been a little bit of a crazy year around here. And, well, I’m still cleaning up messes.” Addressing the drama-filled year head-on is something that would make Joan Rivers proud.
I discovered a gem of a story in T: The New York Times Style Magazine about Tom Lonergan and his booming business as an independent repairman for the shoe company, Birkenstock. Here is a man who, after retiring from real estate 10 years ago, was looking for something to “keep him ‘out of trouble,'” had worn Birkenstocks himself, and enjoyed working with his hands. The company offered him a trial license as an authorized repairman as long as he agreed to buy the equipment necessary, which he did. Lonergan knew nothing about the rise in popularity of the Birkenstock sandal a few years ago (thanks in part to Céline’s Spring/Summer 2013 collection), or how it has grown to be a fashion hit in places like New York and L.A.; in fact, he has no idea about couture, or fashion trends and fads, or when this shoe went from ugly to super-cute.
What he does know is his craft – repairing over 1,000 pairs a year – that Birkenstock customers are long-standing and loyal. And that the business of repairing Birks may be going to the dogs. Says Lonergan, “The people who’ve been loyal wearers are really good customers. Plus, there’s always the dogs. People love Birks, but dogs love Birks. I probably get three phone calls a week where the dog has destroyed a pair.”
The Birkenstock Doctor, written by Alex Ronan, appeared in T Magazine on August 28, 2015.
I met Ellen Lubin-Sherman recently at Talbots; she had come to shop for a white blouse for a friend. After spending just a few moments with her it was clear to me that Ellen was sophisticated and talented with exquisite taste and a strong sense of self. Ellen knew what she liked and how to express herself through clothes. We had a conversation about why she loved Japanese fashion, the necessity of having a proper tailor in one’s arsenal, and why, when it comes to style, labels aren’t what matter most. Here is more from Ellen …
MKG: What is it about Japanese fashion and its fashion culture that you find so appealing?
EL-S: I fell under the spell of Japanese fashion about six years ago. I was visiting L.A. and stayed in Santa Monica. I discovered a marvelous shop called “Weathervane.” Evidently, the owner has a love affair with Japanese designers and my ace saleswoman/stylist introduced me to the concept of wearing pieces that don’t accentuate the body but rather establish an idiosyncratic look that’s original and quirky. I’ve been “quirky” for the last 10 years in terms of my style but these clothes — the oversized shirts, the selvage baggy jeans, the unfinished hems on a skirt — spoke to me.
MKG: You spoke to me about the fact that Japanese fashion is made without labels; why is this important to you? What has happened to American culture, that we follow labels?
EL-S: I totally get it when it comes to wearing a label. It’s comfortable, non-threatening, and indicates the kind of money you can spend on a handbag or a pair of glasses or a shirt. These “labels” are, unfortunately, a result of insecurity. It’s hard to wear clothing and accessories that don’t “shout” your financial wealth. Most of the designers — Tory Burch, Michael Kors, Kate Spade — make a deliberate effort to keep the labels front and center. They’re very much aware that people prefer to be in a “community” of like-minded people so they feel as if they belong. Clothes that are label-free are what I call “stealth.” They’re under-the-radar and mysterious and confident. Continue reading
“Featuring gorgeous, never-before-seen photos from Johnson’s childhood and modeling days, The Face That Changed It All gives a no-holds-barred look at the lives of the rich, fabulous, and famous. It is also a story of failure and success in the upper echelons of the fashion world, and how Beverly Johnson emerged from her struggles smarter, happier, and stronger than ever.” Beverly Johnson website
Iconinc supermodel Beverly Johnson has a new memoir: The Face That Changed It All. Ms. Johnson, 62, was one of the original 1970s supermodels, becoming the first black model to appear on the cover of Vogue in 1974. She then made fashion history with a successful 3-decade modeling career. The Face That Changed It All appears to be an honest and thoughtful look at Johnson’s life, and an opportunity for us all to feel inspired and energized to be our best. I’m buying it!
Is it okay to wear white after Labor Day? Absolutely! With the end of August fast approaching, I say it’s actually a good time to pull out your white; there is never a wrong time. In fact, adding a pop of white is a happy alternative to black. As the weather cools, you just have to watch the fabrics and textures of your whites: lightweight cotton, linen, and seersucker are meant for summer and should be avoided after Labor Day but if you choose heavier textured fabrics like wool, twill, and cashmere you will look seasonally appropriate. Don’t be afraid to try, to experiment (think accessorizing and layering) and find the right shade of white for you and your skin tone.
One of the ways I like to wear white is to combine a white jean with a darker, contrasting color like navy, black, and gray. Of these, my new favorite paring is white and gray. I think it is super-chic, simple and subtle. It’s the perfect combination.
The clothes I wear to meditate and exercise are most meaningful to me. They lead me to the light, the understanding, the relaxation, and the power to be my best and most pure self. I realized recently that what you wear to exercise is important; when you choose comfort and fit and quality it says that you matter. At the very moment when I chose to select the proper clothes, I gave myself permission to practice with authority. Clothing does that. Namaste.
Dreams and dreamers come in all shapes and sizes. I met a young 18-year old woman named Kayla Odenthal, a small-town girl from a neighboring city of Portland, Oregon – just across the river in Washington State. Kayla is studying to be a nurse, working at Hollister (her first job), and about to start her new job as a certified nursing assistant! But with all this going on and in Kayla’s words, “as crazy as it may sound,” she also dreams of modeling. In pursuit of this passion, Kayla has done a promotional shoot for Avari Magazine. She is not signed to an agency at the moment, but is planning to build a portfolio and submit it to agencies as soon as she can. Kayla has had a love of fashion since middle school, when she started reading Teen Vogue and Seventeen Magazine. However, at 5’3″ Kayla is considered petite for a model. Says she: “I know that I have a hard road ahead of me with my careers and education, but I look forward to the journey!” Here is more from this 18-year old dreamer …
MKG: You mention being interested in fashion and modeling since middle school, when you started reading teenage fashion magazines. When did the notion go from an idea to a true pursuit?
KAYLA: I never really took modeling seriously until this year. Previously, I thought that you had to be tall and thin and have that “perfect” body, as seen in most magazines. It wasn’t until recently, however, that I realized anyone can model; the type of modeling that is right for each individual just varies. I tried submitting some simple photos of myself when I was in middle school, but I was turned down. I felt hopeful, but at the time I didn’t have the confidence to try again. That changed when I met with the photographer for my high school senior portraits, Jeananne Sizemore of Avari Magazine. Continue reading
Yesterday, August 16th, was Madonna’s 57th birthday. To honor the day, Harper’s Bazaar highlighted her most iconic fashion moments. Of course there are many because Madonna is a fearless fashion risk-taker and the queen of reinvention. Certain images come to mind immediately: her 80’s bridal “Like a Virgin” look and her 90’s Blonde Ambition World Tour with the Jean Paul Gaultier-designed cone bra. But there is one look that I love more than any other: the red outfit she wore at the premier of her movie, Evita. When Madonna made the movie Evita she was pregnant with her first child, who was born in 1996 – as was my own son. I have heard that Madonna was truly happy making the movie and at that time in her life. I think it shows in this outfit. It is a reminder that clothing is so much more than our outer covering; it reveals the inner emotion, as well. Madonna. Still Style Star.
Who is Adam Lippes and why is his Adam Lippes for Target Collaboration a potential fashion favorite? A luxury designer who began his career in fashion at Polo Ralph Lauren and then moved on to Oscar de la Renta as one of the youngest creative directors in the designer fashion world, Mr. Lippes eventually launched his namesake line. Eight seasons in, he is known for his clean lines and wearable pieces. All of which he will bring to the upcoming Target collaboration in stores and at Target.com just in time for fall on September 27.
There have been many Target collaborations and we may be wary of yet another, but there is something about this plaid and plentiful offering that reminds me of the earlier collaboration with fashion megastar, Missoni. Continue reading
No question: my favorite part of generating the blog Turning Fashion Inside Out is meeting the people and sharing their stories. Yes, I do love to write, but it’s really about the people. People like Carolina Alvo. I met Carolina in May 2013 when I interviewed her and featured her in a post and a podcast for TFIO; she had just started a new business and I had been blogging for a year. We were two people with a purpose and I felt an immediate connection and friendship with this petite powerhouse. At 4’9″ Carolina had lived with such difficulty shopping for appropriate clothing that she decided to create an empowering shopping experience for other petite women. I loved watching her business grow; first as Gambita, and then with a Kickstarter campaign as she launched her own designs for the petite woman: Carolina Alvo. And today, I am watching her move to the next part of her journey, as she closes her brand. Her notice appeared in the blog and although I am saddened to hear this news, I am encouraged that Carolina herself is taking her message of optimism and positivity forward. She reminds us to be more mindful as empowered women (by not being so hard on ourselves) and as consumers (by learning about the consequences of wasteful spending). We will miss the brand but not the petite force that is Carolina Alvo, as I know she will emerge again and remind petites everywhere that indeed, “Petite is Powerful!“