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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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Doing a DoubleTake of Kelly Killoren Bensimon!

Kelly Killoren Bensimon with Marci Kessler, Owner of DoubleTake Consignment Boutiques

Kelly Killoren Bensimon with Marci Kessler, CEO, DoubleTake Consignment Boutique

Kelly's new book, perfume and candle

Kelly brought her new book and candles, “Baiser Rose,” for purchase

Celebrity stylist, Kelly Killoren Bensimon, came to DoubleTake Consignment Boutique in Short Hills, NJ, last night, to style fall fashions and share tips with customers. It was an evening of smiles, fashion fun, flare, and information. I, of course, remember Kelly from earlier seasons of The Real Housewives of New York, but meeting her in person at DoubleTake Consignment Boutique, a favorite fashion spot of mine, was a treasure treat and a match made in heaven. Ms. Bensimon stunned in a floral outfit and high heels (something she says she is never without!), but what became clear from the start was her warmth and her sincere interest in styling. As a stylist, she was confident and fearless, telling me it’s important to “have fun with fashion” and that “life is too short” to make fashion more than it is. Kelly gave me more fall fashion insights:

On fashion trends for fall, Kelly says: “florals, winter white, argyle, and A-line skirts are big. I like layering because it makes wearing clothes more fun. Henley’s are cool for kids, worn with chunky sweaters, plaid shirts, jeans and boots.” Continue reading

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The joys of a blowout

Me, and the after-glow of my blowout

Me, and the after-glow of my blowout

Tara and me

Tara and me

Okay, full disclosure: I do not blow dry my hair. I do not own a blow dryer. When I get my hair cut at the salon, I don’t wait to dry my hair, choosing instead to leave with wet hair (which is great in the warm-weather months, but is challenging in the winter!). Why I am like this I can’t say for sure, but I guess I prefer a natural look, and I guess, too, that I don’t like to take time out to fuss with my hair. But that was before I learned about the magic of the blowout. And now I am keeping an open mind. I recently noticed a blowout salon in my town, Blow In Blow Out, and I decided to see for myself what is behind this growing trend. That is just what I did. The good news? When I finished, I was pleased to recognize myself in the mirror; just a more styled version of me.

Tara Galatt is the owner and proprietor of Blow In Blow Out. We talked a bit about her story, and what it means for women to experience an opportunity to, according to Ms. Galatt “reflect, relax, and have 30-45 minutes in a hectic day to be pampered.” Further, at $35 per blowout, Tara calls the procedure “affordable luxury.” Here is Tara …

I have always loved fashion and beauty, and for years worked in the world of advertising. When I had my children, I became a stay-at-home mom, but as they grew older and entered school, I began to ask myself, ‘What’s next for me; what is my Part Two?’ … Continue reading

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Co-founder of Modcloth speaks her #FashionTruth

Susan Koger, courtesy of Modcloth

Susan Gregg Koger, courtesy of Modcloth

Earlier this month, Co-founder and Chief Creative Officer of Modcloth, Susan Gregg Koger, wrote an op-ed piece challenging the fashion industry to change for the better, and create empowering images for all women to aspire.

Says Ms. Koger: “For as long as I can remember, I’ve loved fashion. I love the whole process: the excitement of shopping, the thrill of finding something unique, and that powerful, transformative experience that happens when you put on a garment you love and it makes you feel like the best version of yourself. As the co-founder and Chief Creative Officer of ModCloth, I’m proud to call myself a fashion insider; but I’m also deeply disappointed in the way my industry depicts fashion to consumers. I look out, and it seems less about helping people find fashion they love to wear, and more about convincing them that they need to conform to one eerily consistent standard of beauty. A standard built on highly altered and often unrealistic images.”

Ms. Koger went on to say, “I think we can do better.” And she has. In an effort to reduce extreme Photoshopping and change the growing disconnect between consumers and the fashion industry, Modcloth became the first to sign The Brave Girls Alliance ‘Truth in Advertising Heroes Pledge’, an anti-airbrushing petition which aims to “do our best not to change the shape, size, proportion, color and/or remove/enhance the physical features, of the people in our ads in post-production.”

Ms. Susan Gregg Koger is true to her word, that fashion “makes you feel like the best version of yourself.” Brava! I’m buying it!

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A triumphant Isabella Rose Taylor!

Isabella Rose Taylor at the launch of her collection: Nordstrom BP

Isabella Rose Taylor at the launch of her Collection: Nordstrom BP

What a week for Isabella Rose Taylor! Following her first-ever show at NY Fashion Week, 13-year old designer, Isabella Rose Taylor, came to New Jersey on Saturday, to launch her Collection at Nordstrom BP. I was lucky enough to catch her, where she practically sold out in one hour. The Collection obviously rings true for Isabella’s contemporaries, for whom she designs. That is the magic of Isabella Rose Taylor: she doesn’t have to imagine what young women want to wear … she just has to ask herself. Continue reading

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Slip-On and Carry-On into Autumn

Steve Madden Slip-Ons:

Steve Madden Slip-Ons: Ecentric

P1050120P1050113What happens when you can’t wear sandals any more, but you’re not ready for cold-weather shoes and boots? The answer is: go mid-way and find a transition shoe. I discovered the ever-popular slip-on. No fuss, no strings, just slip it on and go. It’s like wearing a closed-toe sandal.

Steve Madden makes a comfortable, stylish and well-priced slip-on shoe in a full range of colors and styles. For me, there was no question: I had to have the leopard-print!

As we enter the period of transition from warm to cooler temps, the slip-on is a perfect solution for your wardrobe. Because really, we aren’t ready to say good bye to the ease of summer, are we??!

My outfit: shoes, Steve Madden; jeans, Paige Boyfriend Skinny; tee, Michael Stars; blazer Banana Republic

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Meeting my new best friend, Ilene Beckerman

Just two girls dishing (me with Ilene Beckerman)

Just two girls dishing (me with Ilene Beckerman)

Here is what I wore to meet my new best friend, Ilene Beckerman: my most comfortable (ripped) jeans and a long-sleeved tee. Not the most elegant of my outfits, but certainly a favorite. And after all, Ilene Beckerman, author and illustrator of several books, including the runaway hit, Love, Loss, and What I Wore, and now, a playwright, insisted that I stay casual. I listened.

We sat down over coffee and dished about … well, about love, loss and what we wore. Ilene was as charming as I imagined (how could she not be) and entirely warm and generous. I asked her about how and where she got the inspiration to write the book, what happened when she met Nora and Delia Ephron (who picked up the option to the Off-Broadway show), and what she is doing now …

On the inspiration behind Love, Loss, and What I Wore: “I had a story to tell about my life, and this was the best way to be heard. At first, one dress that my mother had made for me came to mind, and then another, and another. I started to draw the dresses, put words to my drawings, and they began to tell the story of my life. At that time, there were no selfies, and no way to instantly record memories. This was my own personal photograph album. I made it to keep alive the memory of my mother, who passed away when I was twelve. Continue reading

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I’m buying it … or not … (breaking bad shopping habits)

A bad shopping habit: Buying something expensive like a Chanel bag, then buying a bunch of cheaper bags soon after. (Photo: Jenny Norris)

Via Stylecaster: “Buying something expensive like a Chanel bag, then buying several cheaper bags soon after, is a bad shopping habit.”  (Photo: Jenny Norris)

With a fresh new fall season upon you, it’s tempting to fill your wardrobe with inspired new clothes. And it is difficult to figure out, in that fleeting moment of shopping frenzy, what you really need versus what you may want. Sure, you think you have the discipline to enter a store and hold back on non-essential purchases. But buyer beware: there are shopping habits that can be dangerous, and leave you feeling emotionally and physically spent. Here, Stylecaster lays out 12 shopping habits that we need to break, right now. I find number 5 to be the worst of the bad shopping habits: You don’t play the wait-a-day game. If you find something you love but may not need, put it down for 24 hours. If it stays with you, consider getting it. You’re meant to be together. On the other hand, If you forget about it after a day, then forget-about-it! It’s not meant for you. I’m buying it … or not …

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New York’s Finest At New York Fashion Week

IMG_0713IMG_0690-3The sun was shining today, as I stopped by Lincoln Center to check out New York Fashion Week. People were everywhere, but my favorite friendly faces were two of New York’s Finest, who joined me for a photo. The sights and sounds were an inspiration to the fashionista in all of us. But the best part of Fashion Week doesn’t live at Lincoln Center in New York; it lives inside me – the notion of dressing to my best ability, taking fashion to new levels and taking some fashion risks, but never, ever taking for granted that I have the chance to express myself every minute of every day. Happy Fashion Week!

Photo credit: Linda Colarusso

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Joan Rivers: Beeautiful!

My lady bug bee pin, by Joan Rivers, paired with a tee by Missoni (for you, Joan)

My lady bug bee pin, by Joan Rivers, paired with a tee by Missoni (for you, Joan)

The bee pin, for those of you who don’t know, has been my signature. It represents achieving the impossible, because the bee absolutely cannot fly, cannot get off the ground, the way it’s built; yet it flies, and makes the world beautiful. So, it gives you hope … When people say, ‘give up,’ … no, no, no, no, no … don’t give up, up and at ‘em, make the world better.” ~ Joan Rivers speaking on  QVC

I am heartbroken at the loss of Joan Rivers. I celebrate her life today, with my own Joan Rivers signature bee pin from QVC. Thank you for this beautiful, meaningful piece, which I will wear and think of you. And no, I won’t give up, nor say ‘I can’t.’ Rest in peace, Joan.

Photo by Alexandra

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Post-Labor Day White Out: I’m buying it!

Wearing white jeans last spring: These are Citizens of Humanity

Wearing white jeans last spring: These are Citizens of Humanity

Fashion rules are made to be broken. One in particular is the old, out-of-date rule to stop wearing white after Labor Day. The Zoe Report knows about fashion do’s and don’ts. One do: wear white after Labor Day. In fact, you can, and you must. White is so crisp and chic; it will enhance your wardrobe year-round. The trick is knowing how. Here are a few tips:

white jeans (as seen above) are a staple here to stay. Mine are boot-cut, but a slim-leg works well, too, with a flat shoe or a simple pump.

season-appropriate fabrics are more practical. According to TZR, as the weather cools, it’s more on-trend to wear white cashmere, wool and twill fabrics. Linen, very light cotton, and seersucker are all associated with hot, summer months, and should be worn only during that time of year.

white blazers and jackets are refreshing alternatives to black. Try adding one.

Enjoy your Post-Labor Day White-Out. I’m buying it!

Photo Credit: Lisa Reznik

 

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