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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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Walking in Who What Wear

Optimized-P1050892Optimized-P1050894My new favorite outfit comes from the Who What Wear/Target collection. These culotte trousers and matching black and white striped shirt are at once dressy, yet simple and easy.

My culottes and I walked our very own Abbey Road today; I think this fashion look is here to stay.

Photos by Abrina Hyatt. Top and culottes, Who What Wear; shoes, Taryn Rose

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Sofia Coppola and Valentino Take to the Opera!

Valentino Garavani and Sofia Coppola with designers Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo  CREDIT: DANILO SCARPATI

Valentino Garavani and Sofia Coppola with designers Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo  CREDIT: DANILO SCARPATI

When I was in my last year of college, I spent a January in Rome, Florence, and Athens. It was called a January-Term and though it was a long time ago, my memories are hidden just below the surface of my heart. They came to life when I read that the talented Sofia Coppola is directing her first operatic venture which debuted over the weekend: the production of Giuseppe Verdi’s La traviata, at the Teatro dell’Opera di Roma. With costumes designed by Valentino Garavani himself, and his protégés Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli, the visual splendor is palpable. Coppola was persuaded to take on the challenge by Valentino, who is a patron of the opera house; Valentino invited Coppola to direct La traviata after seeing her 2006 historical drama Marie Antoinette, and was impressed by her creative aesthetic. Continue reading

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Athleisure: Not Just a Fad

Models walk the runway during the Alexander Wang x H&M collection launch event on Thursday, Oct. 16, 2014 in New York. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)

Models walk the runway during the Alexander Wang x H&M collection launch event on Thursday, Oct. 16, 2014 in New York. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)

Athleisure is the hottest thing in the apparel industry and much more than a fad or a passing trend: it is a lifestyle change that is here to stay. Martha Teishner’s piece on CBS Sunday Morning featured news on the rise of the athleisure industry. Says Teishner:  “Which brings us to 2015: Americans spent nearly $44 Billion Dollars on so-called ‘active wear’ – up 16% over 2014; meanwhile denim sales have taken a hit, down 5% or more, every year since 2013. Athleisure companies, such as Fabletics, have caught the wave.”

What is it about athleisure that is hitting the American fashion market – especially the women’s market – so hard? Could it be that we are working out more? Or are we simply dressing like we are? Whatever the answer, it is a lifestyle change that is hitting Main Street – and the Runway. And it is here to stay.

 

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Kira is Designing Her Life

Kira, from her very first blog post

Kira, from her very first blog post: While She Walks!

Kira Ross is completing her Junior year of high school. In many ways, she is like other high school students. And yet, she isn’t. Because Kira is not afraid to stand out. In fact, she wants to be different, and expresses that through her clothes – original designs she makes herself. Here is Kira …

MKG: Did you always love fashion?

KIRA: Yes, I always loved dressing myself in the mornings. It was my way of making the school day more interesting. It wasn’t until a few years ago, that I started sewing my own clothes ad I became more ‘hands-on’ with my fashion interest.

MKG: What is it about fashion and self expression?

KIRA: I like wearing things that are different; I prefer to stand out than to be like everyone else. There’s a wall you have to get over – it’s more about whatyou think of yourself than what others think of you. Once you climb that wall, you just keep going further. Continue reading

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Calling On The Cardigan – The ‘Obama Effect’

Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Mark Wilson/Getty Images

And it’s probably not coincidental that Michelle Obama has glamorized this once-mundane staple. Her way of dressing has resonated with American women, says Robin Givhan, the Pulitzer Prize-winning fashion critic for the Washington Post. – Karen Grisgby Bates, NPR

First Lady Michelle Obama has made her mark with a single fashion item – the cardigan. Call it the ‘Obama Effect,’ in these high-profile years as First Lady,  Mrs. Obama has taken this ordinary staple, the cardigan, and breathed new life (and color!) into it. She has worn cardigans with colorful a-line sleeveless dresses, over skirts, and as accents to much of her wardrobe. She made her casual style relevant and approachable and women began to see themselves doing the same thing. Stocks started to soar and markets followed: “There are even numbers that prove it: David Yermack, a professor of finance at NYU’s Stern School of Business actually tracked Mrs. O’s looks for about a year in a study that was published in the Harvard Business Review. How This First Lady Moves Markets looked at 189 outfits Mrs. O wore to public events from November 2008 through December 2009 and eyeballed 30 publicly traded stocks from the businesses whose brands the first lady wore.” (NPR)

And Michelle Obama made her mark in another significant way; she became a fashion influencer as a woman of color and of a certain age. Few others have done that.

 

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Why I Love That One-of-a-Kind Look of Vintage

Optimized-P1050876When I found this dress, I knew I had found a treasure. Unlike anything I have seen this season; the subtle nuances, the draping, and the special touches in this Eva Franco dress remind me why I love shopping in consignment stores and vintage shops … for that one-of-a-kind look that you simply can’t find anywhere else! These days, when clothing starts to look like the same thing I see over and over,  I find myself wanting something all my own. I turn to consignment and vintage shopping to give me that unique edge that enables me to express my personal style. And I feel even better, knowing that I am also helping to preserve the planet.

Dress, Eva Franco; Shoes, Talbots. Photos by Abrina Hyatt

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Mentoring is the Best Part for This Costume Designer

Katherine with her costume team leaders,

Katherine with her costume team leaders, Kate Klaschka and Kira Ross

There is no question that mentoring the kids is what brings me back year after year. I don’t need to make another dress.” ~ Katherine Winter, Costume Designer

As the costume designer for the award-winning Summit High School Theater Arts Program (Summit, New Jersey), Katherine Winter’s job is to design and create costumes for the full casts of the Fall and Spring productions. For over 13 years at the high school, with every production, every cast, every performance, Ms. Winter leaves her mark, her knowledge, and her passion with the students and the adult volunteers who work tirelessly with her on the costume crew. Because more than anything else, Ms. Winter believes that her true purpose is to teach, mentor, and elevate the young people with whom she works. It is a passion that started when she was a young girl using her mother’s Singer sewing machine and a desire to tell stories that is an integral part of Ms. Winter’s Irish heritage. Brooklyn, New York, was the original stage for Ms. Winter’s love of costume design; it all started with that Singer sewing machine and the strong need to create, always create, something entirely from scratch …

I grew up in Brooklyn, the first generation of Irish immigrants. It was common for many mothers of the time to purchase sewing machines and learn to make their own clothes. As my mother, who was very fashionable, was learning to sew, she encouraged me and my brothers to learn with her. My brothers lost interest quickly but I became hooked. I couldn’t sew enough! I loved making things: buying the patterns and the fabrics, and creating most of my clothes! Every weekend I attended a Parish dance, and it became a ritual for me to make a new dress for each dance. As time went on, I made my own Prom dresses (I still have two of those dresses!) and most of the clothing I owned. Continue reading

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Pearls of Wisdom

Photo: Sophie MacMillan

Photo: Sophie MacMillan

When looking for the perfect accessory don’t forget a classic – pearls. Ever modern, ever appropriate, ever lovely; you can never go wrong with pearls. Single, double, or triple strand: Pearls of wisdom ever after.

My pearls: Jackie Kennedy Collection

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Mix it Up in The Spring

Photo: Lauren Hagerstrom

Photo: Lauren Hagerstrom – on location Reeves-Reed Arboretum

Last spring, I started mixing patterns; it is something that I continue to do because it keeps my outfit selection fresh and unpredictable.  It was a year ago that I wrote this and it still rings true  …

Stripes mix so well with a floral or printed skirt … don’t be afraid to try it this spring. You can even mix stripe on stripes, as long as you keep the stripes top and bottom different widths. For instance, if you have a wider stripe on the bottom then keep a skinny stripe on top. The key to mixing stripes with florals and prints and (even more) stripes is to make sure that they share one color in common. Top off with a sleek accessory and you have successfully mastered this casual-yet-chic look.

My striped sweater is getting new life with this printed skirt (for which I searched many months!); in this case, my top and bottom share two colors – black and white.

My look: sweater, August Silk; skirt, Karen Millen, sandals, Coach; necklace, Prabal Gurung for Target.

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Trash Talk from Emma Watson

Emma Watson in a custom-made Calvin Klein

Emma Watson in a custom-made Calvin Klein

Truly beautiful things should be worn again and again and again,” ~ Emma Watson

Monday night was the 2016 Met Ball Gala – some outfits were outrageous, some sublime – but there was one that stood out, not simply for the style but for the words of wisdom behind the fashion. Emma Watson’s custom-made Calvin Klein dress was a statement about sustainability and preservation from the actress and activist herself. In her Facebook page , Watson explained the design and fabrication of the dress: “Thank you Calvin Klein & Eco Age for collaborating with me and creating the most amazing gown. I am proud to say it is truly sustainable and represents a connection between myself and all the people in the supply chain who played a role in creating it … Continue reading

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