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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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Listen to Your Mother!

Claire

My mother, Claire

Your mother’s words are powerful. No matter how old you are, you listen to your mother. You listen when she tells you that an item of clothing may not be the right color or the best fit for you. You listen when something you really want to buy is not worth the money. And you listen when she tells you how she wants to dress, too. My mother and I went shopping for a coat for her recently and as much as I tried to force my ideas on her, she reminded me that she knows what she does and doesn’t like. It was an important reminder that frankly, put me in my place. Few things give us the sense of control and power over our own lives like choosing how we want to dress and present ourselves to the world. We should never lose sight of that, no matter what. When my mother asserted herself with me she was saying, ‘I know who I am.’ Brava, mom.

Listen to your mother.

 

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Mayhem and J. Crew Create Magic Together

Photo Courtesy of J. Crew: Mayhem creates a t-shirt "using her two favorite materials - jewels and glue"

Photo Courtesy of J. Crew: Mayhem creates a t-shirt “using her two favorite materials – jewels and glue” Photo by Bryan Derballa

Photo by Bryan Derballa

Mayhem! Photo courtesy of J. Crew: Photo by Bryan Derballa

Talent and creativity truly have no boundaries, no age-limits, no end and no beginning. And joy and play are essential elements when it comes to being a visionary. The news is out that 4 year-old Mayhem (nicknamed for her free spirit), has designed an exclusive capsule collection for J. Crew’s crewcuts, using her “arts-and-crafts-know-how.” And I say, Wow!

Mayhem began making dresses out of construction paper last year, when she was just three years old, with the help of her mom, Angie, as part of an arts-and-crafts project. Angie has been showcasing Mayhem’s designs in her blog: #FashionbyMayhem. And when Jenna Lyons, J. Crew’s executive creative director, called to express interest in working with Mayhem, it was as Angie describes in Mayhem’s blog: a “Game. Changer.

Mayhem’s J. Crew collection will hit stores next summer. I am charmed and delighted. And I’m buying it!

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This Holiday, Turn to a Tuxedo

Q-y1Zalxg4iKCODgSnA6_hxxBqyrdkioNNdyCWmbEPo,0U8_0vaMC8mc_4QT9DAhpvruqw2iiMV0SKQ266xXSEEVxQxbzz4yfA3_ZiQGAPBvcbEK218qKttr4cVbg9wJUs,qVP9AHw4syqAxkJr_8eI_pshmaOjbe3ww5zCkRXWT1QWhy not give your little black dress a rest this holiday? Turn to a tuxedo. Versatile and super-chic, tuxedo-dressing is a way to go sleek without being over-the-top dressy. And tuxedo dressing has moved way beyond the suit, with options and more creative ways than ever to incorporate tuxedo elements. In fact, a tuxedo need not be so formal – you can break it up to wear many different ways (I also wear my tuxedo blazer with jeans and a white tee). An added plus to tuxedo dressing? It moves from day to night with ease. Continue reading

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Every Girl Will Want This Muffin Top!

Muffin Top: with Cathryn Michon and Marisa Jaret Winoker

Muffin Top: with Cathryn Michon and Marissa Jaret Winokur

Muffin Top: Cathryn and Tucker

Muffin Top: with Cathryn and Tucker

Muffin Top: with Cathryn and Tucker

Muffin Top: with Cathryn and Tucker

You know you are watching a movie with a meaningful message when the opening screen fills with these inspiring words of Eleanor Roosevelt: “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” What follows is a hilariously funny, charming, and slightly sexy film called Muffin Top: a movie that addresses important issues like body image and self esteem and is brought to life by a super-talented cast that includes Cathryn Michon, Tony Award winner Marissa Jaret Winokur, David Arquette, and Melissa Peterman. I was fortunate to catch the premiere and meet Cathryn Michon herself – the writer, director and star of the movie. Ms. Michon and I talked about the essence of Muffin Top, body image messages, why it is essential that women have larger roles in filmmaking, and of course, the costumes! Here is my conversation with Cathryn …

MKG:  What is the message behind Muffin Top? What are you hoping to say to women and men with this story?

CATHRYN: Muffin Top is a great Girl’s Night In movie. That makes you laugh and get inspired to be kinder to yourself, because you are beautiful. It goes very well with wine and chocolateWe really want the takeaway from Muffin Top to be,love yourself NOW, not 5 lbs from now.” We all came together to make a truly funny and romantic movie because we believe that comedy really helps open your heart to looking at yourself in a more loving way.

MKG: What do women need to know about their bodies and feeling good about themselves?

CATHRYN: We need to remember that these media images that make us feel so insecure about our bodies are photoshop cartoons, not real women. Even supermodels don’t look like their magazine covers in real life. Continue reading

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Do I really have to shop for it?

My podcast returns! Photo credit, Patricia Saxton

Photo credit, Patricia Saxton

I really dislike shopping for clothes. Huh? You mean, you write about fashion and you don’t like to shop? Absolutely, don’t. like. to. shop. Department stores make me dizzy, the lights bring out my claustrophobia and I can’t see the clothes clearly after a while. In fact, I have developed an attitude of just get in, get out every time I go to a department store. Online shopping is easier but filled with uncertainty because you aren’t able to touch and feel and see the clothes until they show up at your door, and frankly – half of everything I purchase online has to go back. The most bearable way for me to shop is at consignment or vintage stores because that is less about feeling the anxiety and pressure to find something, and more about discovering new treasures. That is perhaps why I loved Loehmann’s so much; shopping there was more like a treasure-hunt. And there was something so wonderful about the large, dressing rooms filled with women encouraging you and supporting you. Everyone deserves to hear: “Honey, you should really buy that. It looks nice on you!” But sadly, the original Loehmann’s is gone and you know how I feel about the online version of Loehmann’s

No, I love how the right clothes make you feel and love expressing myself through clothes and color and texture, but I do not love to shop for them. And therein lies the problem. In fact, every time I need to buy something, I kind of break out in a sweat, and ask myself, ‘do I really have to shop for it?’

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In search of the Color of The Year

Marsala is a subtly seductive shade, one that draws us in to its embracing warmth.”
Leatrice Eiseman
Executive Director, Pantone Color Institute®

Each year Pantone selects a color to inspire and provide a catalyst for creative spark. Last week, Pantone selected its Color of the Year: Marsala, an earthy red-brown, like the red wine itself. I hesitated at first because the red I favor is more of a clear, bright apple-red but I kept an open mind as I went in search of a richer, deeper red – to see if it has a place in my wardrobe.

I searched clothing: P1050408P1050430P1050413

I searched accessories:P1050457

I searched outerwear:P1050424

I searched underwear:P1050433

I even searched Chanel:P1050454 Continue reading

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Fascinated by Kate’s fascinators!

Photo Credit: Jason Whatling/Splash News

Photo Credit: Jason Whatling/Splash News

It’s official – ever since that July morning in 1981 when I awakened at 4 am to watch the wedding of Princess Diana and Prince Charles – I am a Royal follower. In fact, I have been catching British Royal moments ever since. And in just two days when Prince William and Princess Kate arrive in New York City I will be there too. I am compelled to see what Kate will be wearing; she understands her personal style so well. And I love that this Royal couple are such positive British ambassadors, because as modern as they are, they are also quintessentially, British. How do I know? No one wears a fascinator like Princess Kate!

So, even though this will be a first trip to New York for Prince William and Princess Kate, it will be a first for us Americans, too; to see the best of British fashion up close and personal. A win-win, I would say. And I am fascinated by Kate’s fascinators.

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Alexander Wang Does Denim? I’m buying it!

Coming soon:

Coming December 8: DENIMxAW

Fresh off-the-heels of the instantly sold-out collaboration with H&M last month, contemporary designer Alexander Wang is making news again, dropping a provocative image on the brand’s Instagram Account accompanied by the caption: “#ComingSoon #DENIMxAW #AWLaunch.” “It’s not provocative just in terms of sexy, but provocative to provoke conversation,” Wang told WWD ​of his denim. A full denim range has been missing from Wang’s arsenal, but no longer. The Alexander Wang Denim line is set to shop on December 8 both in his New York store and on his website. And I will be checking it out: I’m buying it!

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In college and khakis

Eric in college and khakis

Eric, in college and khakis

I saw many changes in my son, Eric, when he came home for Thanksgiving. His first year at college is bringing great signs of independence and a new sense of self and self expression. But the one change that caught my eye was his new-found sense of style. This once oh-so-casual-dresser now loves wearing khakis and flannel shirts – keeping it neat and simple. Just a few years ago I couldn’t beg him to dress in khakis, except for holiday occasions and now he tells me that he prefers this way of dressing.

The interesting part in this fashion equation is that I am not a part of it. This all evolved without me. Left on his own, Eric has found his style (style of the moment, at least) without any interference or participation on my part. That is because how we choose to dress belongs to us. When left alone we learn what we like and don’t like and what feels best. And college is the perfect time to figure that out. As a grownup, I seem to recall that I found my own style during the college years. As a parent, I am blown away by the many transitions and moments of letting go that are weaving in and out of my life. As a lover of fashion, I am moved by the reminder that clothes are personal and our singular stamp of identification.

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Let’s All Shop Small Business Saturday

2014_SBSWe hear a lot about Black Friday, but here is a reminder that tomorrow, November 29th, is Small Business Saturday. Founded in 2010 by American Express, Small Business Saturday is a way to celebrate small businesses and encourage more customers to shop small.

Malls and large department stores are practical destinations when it comes to finding clothes, but it’s the small shops and boutiques that make the best shopping experiences. No fighting the crowds or dealing with large impersonal dressing rooms. In fact, people really want to help. Not only can you find an outfit, but you will walk away having made memorable personal connections. And it’s that personal touch that makes all the difference when shopping for clothes. I hope you will turn out to support your local shops tomorrow. It’s a win-win for everyone: Shops get more customers, and you get closer to your community.

 

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