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?
“Let gratitude be the pillow upon which you kneel to say your nightly prayer. And let faith be the bridge you build to overcome evil and welcome good.” – Maya Angelou
MAKERS, the largest video collection of women’s stories, featured 7 quotes on gratitude in honor of Thanksgiving. This one by poet and activist Maya Angelou speaks to me most. The words Welcome Good stay with me, reminding me to look for the good, allow it in, and realize all the good that is in my life now. Feeling gratitude is a way I want to of live in the world – even when the world looks dark – and a way that I choose to actively maintain every morning when I wake and every night before I sleep. Welcome Good. Thankful this Thanksgiving.
Photo by Lauren Hagerstrom
News via WWD: The Oak Fitting Room was unveiled yesterday at Polo Ralph Lauren’s flagship store on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan. Created by tech startup Oak Labs, this “integrated commerce” experience (as described by Oak Labs) will give the customer an enhanced shopping experience. Upon entering the fitting room with their selected items (all recognized via RFID chip), customers will be given the choice of three lighting settings: Fifth Avenue Daylight, East Hampton Sunset and Evening at The Polo Bar. They will see a touchscreen interactive mirror and can tap on the mirror to request a different size, corresponding items, or to seek assistance from an associate. At the end of the fitting room experience customers have the option of pressing the “I’m ready to check out” button on the screen and an associate would come with a mobile point of sale to complete the purchase.
Says David Lauren, executive vice president of global advertising, marketing and corporate communications at Ralph Lauren: “Both technology and the human touch are equal elements of Polo’s personality, and our customers should experience them seamlessly whether they are in the stores or shopping online.” Can this be done, I wonder? Bring the ease of online, e-commerce shopping into the stores for a complete yet personal shopping experience for the customer? To be able to gather the information and data that one can pick up online and still have the touch-and-feel experience of being in the store is a huge opportunity for Polo Ralph Lauren. If technology can indeed match the human element in the shopping experience, perhaps so.
“For too long the fashion industry has made the majority of women feel inferior, but we’re DONE with feeling invisible. Starting today, RunwayRiot, the fashion and beauty site for all women is celebrating you.” ~ RunwayRiot
Good Morning America greeted me with an inspired interview with model Iskra Lawrence. Committed to championing body diversity and improving the image of women in the media, 25 year-old model and fashion editor Lawrence is starting a movement today, with the launch of RunwayRiot, a new style and fashion site. Says Lawrence, “We plan to create a home for women to come and feel inspired. It’s going to be the first chance for women to feel included in fashion from 0’s to 28’s. We’re going to talk about cool and trendy clothes for all sizes.” Lawrence, who has been in the fashion industry for twelve years, is using her experience to start a fresh conversation. The website will have absolutely no re-touching and will embrace the beauty in all of us. We are all more than a size – we are more than a label. Here it is, for all women! #jointheriot I’m buying it!
A few years ago I treated myself to a bright, cherry red coat. The color makes me happy. As the leaves fall and the trees begin to bare my red coat stands out as the bright spot in my day. I encourage you to wear colors that pop, that make you feel good, and that bring you joy. I always forget how important a coat is during the summer. But when fall is in full swing a coat becomes the first thing the outside world sees – make it say “this is me!”
Photos by Lauren Hagerstrom
“My intention is to create shirting-inspired pieces that tread the line of traditional and edgy. My goal is to push the envelope of what shirting means and give it a feminine twist while maintaining a clean timeless aura. The Meredith Banzhoff woman is confident with a touch of attitude.” – Meredith Banzhoff
At five years old Meredith Banzhoff knew she wanted to design clothes. Throughout her young life she watched and absorbed her family’s traditions that were to become her heritage of quality and care for clothing. She watched as her father had custom clothing made for him and as her grandfather, a lawyer, always dressed with proper shoes, shirt, and tie. Since her grandparents lived near her, their influence on her thinking was strong. Now Meredith is a smart and savvy fashion designer with a singular and solid point of view for her designs and brand. And Meredith is only 29! We spoke about her philosophy on clothing and why taking proper care of one’s clothes makes all the difference …
MKG: How did your commitment to fit and proper tailoring begin?
MEREDITH: I have wanted to design clothes since I was five years old. My mother would get me patterns to make my own clothes. I grew up riding horses – Ralph Lauren‘s style was always an inspiration to me. And watching my father and my grandfather care for clothes and their attention to detail was ingrained in me at a very early age. As a young girl I was drawn to the quality of clothes rather than the quantity and when I bought things for myself I would choose quality shoes and clothes that would last longer. As I got older, I decided to major in business, major in fashion design, and minor in fashion and beauty communications; this was my focus. During college I had the opportunity to study abroad in Italy and that exposed me to true master tailoring in womenswear. Continue reading
In Time Magazine’s poignant essay by Susanna Schrobsdorff, ‘The Daughter Dress Code‘ Ms. Schrobsdorff paints an accurate picture of what it means to be the mother of girls and dress them – only to be stripped of that part of the mothering job by their tween years, if not sooner. Says Schrobsdorff: “I knew there comes a time in every daughter’s life when whatever her mother chooses is absolutely, horribly awful. Eventually they all turn, and it is a sad day. Because the dirty secret of being the mother of little girls is that we kind of like dressing them up.”
As the mother of sons I never really had that particular sad day. I never had to deal with the notion that I see my daughter as an extension of myself, I never dressed up my own little doll, never had the emotional connection between clothes and identity, and never had the discussion about what is considered ‘age appropriate.’ Sure, I had to remind my boys to dress up a little more, that track pants were not meant to be worn every single day. But you cannot compare the experiences of being the mother of girls and the mother of boys.
I am a daughter, though, and one with a strong need for self expression. My own mother must have found tremendous courage mothering me. I often tell the story that by the time I was three years old my own mother could no longer dress me. My expression was my own and there was nothing she could do about it. But on the flip side, my mother’s opinions did matter to me and if she expressed concern over a certain outfit I did pause and consider changing. That’s the power of a mother but that’s a different story!
Sample sales are fun opportunities to find your favorite designer items for a fraction of the price. But a sample sale at the warehouse and home to Rent the Runway’s selections, with a whopping 50% off everything, is well worth the visit. Yesterday was the last day of RTR’s weekend sample sale (which comes twice a year) and I decided to see it for myself. Walking into an entire warehouse of beautiful things at to-die-for prices was like capturing a bit of magic for myself. And I was not alone – there was an energy everyone shopping with me shared.
At RTR, women are offered their very own Cinderella experience with the chance to rent designer outfits at a fraction of the cost. With this easy and affordable access to luxury brands, RTR has changed the retail landscape. But unlike the brand’s four other retail stores customers can purchase their items at the RTR Warehouse Store (located in Secaucus, NJ). Just outside Manhattan, the shoppable warehouse is both home to retired RTR clothing and to the company’s massive dry cleaning operation.
Although the dresses were unique and stunning, I kept my purchase to an accessory: an Elizabeth and James handbag which retails for over $500 – for $58. This Cinderella did so well shopping and saving at the RTR sample sale, she really did live happily ever after!
It’s funny how by the time October rolls in my skin starts to feel dry. It’s almost like everything in my system is on a time clock. One of my secrets to combatting dry skin is Argan Oil. In fact, it has become my trusted skincare ritual. I discovered Josie Maran’s 100% Pure Argan Oil over a year ago on QVC. I use it on my face (after applying a facial serum), my body, and my hands. I even add drops to my cuticles. And my skin feels softer, more supple, and well-hydrated – immediately.
Native Californian Josie Maran is a model-turned-entrepreneur who started her own signature brand, Josie Maran Cosmetics, to “make cosmetics that are top-quality and healthy for people and for the planet.” The key ingredient in everything in the line is 100% Pure Argan Oil. About 10 years ago, on a modeling trip in the South of France, Josie met a French woman with beautiful, healthy, glowing skin – who turned out to be 70 years old! She asked the woman her secret and she told her, “Argan Oil.” Josie then researched Argan Oil and created her line of cosmetics,
They call it liquid gold and I believe it: Josie Maran 100% Pure Argan Oil. I’m buying it!
Two years ago my friend, the very talented artist, illustrator, writer, and designer Patricia Saxton took these photos of me with my boots. I am happy to report that two years later – thanks to caring for them and protecting them against the elements – the boots are still in good shape; in part because of the Kiwi shoe polish, in part because of shoe repairs at the cobbler. But mostly, because of my Dad. As a kid I would polish my Dad’s shoes. I would line them up with newspaper and spend time in front of the television polishing them to their shiny core. The black shoes, the brown shoes, and the cordovans. It sounds rather like a Charles Dickens tale but I remember it was quite satisfying and something about it must have stuck because now I do it for my own boots. And this is the season. Just as I am tucking my open toe shoes and sandals away for winter hibernation I am also evaluating the state of my boots and shoes and seeing what needs to be prepped for the upcoming weather and months.
This tradition has not only protected my shoes and boots but has also allowed me to hold on to what I own. We all know that shoes and boots can be expensive and few of us have the resources to replace them every year. That’s where polish and care come in; you can preserve what you have and save yourself a lot of money. And unlike other wardrobe items, shoes and boots are classics that rarely go out of style. They are worth the care.
Photos by Patricia Saxton
Every October I pull out my skull sweater. I would wear it to sleep if I could – I love it that much. I can’t tell you why, exactly, but I am kooky for skulls. I purchased it several years ago at my all-time favorite place, Loehmann’s. Sad sigh. Does anyone else miss Loehmann’s as much as I do – the original Loehmann’s with the Back Room and the one-for-all dressing rooms? But I digress! Wishing everyone a very Happy Halloween!