Twirlers and dreamers

My conversation with my twirlers and dreamers – Gracie, Olivia, Maggie, Charlie, Zosia, and Natalie … Magic!

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Twirlers and dreamers

Me with my new best friends - from the left: Gracie, Olivia, Maggie, Charlie, Zosia and Natalie

Me with my new best friends – from the left: Gracie, Olivia, Maggie, Charlie, Zosia and Natalie

You would be hard-pressed to find anyone who had more fun on a rainy Saturday afternoon than I did yesterday! I had the terrific pleasure of hanging out with six enchanting 6 and 7 year-old girls: Charlie, Gracie, Maggie, Zosia, Natalie and Olivia. We all wore our favorite outfits and we talked about fashion, of course: how they feel when they wear their fancy clothes, accessorizing, our mutual love of sparkles, boys’ fashion, and other things like tonight’s Oscars and evening wear and shopping at Target. And when we had exhausted our conversation, we twirled. Heaven!

More of this fantastic conversation is coming …

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Spring dream

My white lace Valentino blazer

My white Valentino blazer

In the midst of more dreary winter weather ready to drag me down I found a moment to Spring dream! My new favorite stylist, Stacy London (co-host of TLC’s What Not to Wear, now in its 10th season!), revealed the spring style trends. Illuminating! So let’s talk! …

white and lace. Flirty and feminine, the combination of white and lace will be big. I have this one covered with my Valentino blazer (it’s white eyelet, actually) that I snatched at my local high-end consignment shop. Find a consignment shop for yourself, if you haven’t already! Go!

gladiator sandals and ankle-strap sandals. Watch for gladiator sandals, especially, with the designs reaching every length, even up to the knee! Continue reading

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Phoebe

Phoebe

It warms the heart to enjoy a conversation with a young woman with whom you have history and have known all of her life. I sat down with Phoebe, who turned sixteen last month, and at first, all I could see was the adorable cherub of a baby I once knew. But as Phoebe spoke, I left the baby behind and saw only the young woman sitting next to me. And isn’t she effortlessly chic and stylish? Here is Phoebe, in her own words: on fashion, where she shops, and the need to express oneself …

“My feeling about fashion is that you should dress the way you want to dress. I never understood trends. I just pick the things I like and I wear them …

My high school is big (Fiorello H. La Guardia High School of Music and Art and Performing Arts, or simply, La Guardia High School), and like any other large school there is a wide range of fashion looks. But we definitely feel free to express who we really are without judgment. Sometimes students’ choices are wonderful and sometimes terrible, but at least they are their own and I think that is what’s important …

I shop at J. Crew, Forever 21 and The Gap. If I had to pick my favorite place to shop, I would say J. Crew, because their clothes are always current and classy. My friends and I also like to shop at Buffalo Exchange, a consignment shop filled with current looks and is geared toward a young, hip crowd. There really isn’t one store where I shop most, because I look everywhere for pieces that fit my style. As long as it’s not too expensive and I think I can make it work in my wardrobe, I’ll buy it …

I wonder about the connection between fashion and self-esteem and people who don’t care about how they dress or what others think. I have a certain level of self-respect and it affects how I choose to dress. From what I observe at school people care about how they present themselves, too; from their outfits, to their makeup, to their shoes and their accessories. I think it’s connected to having a more positive self-esteem …

I used to wear only jeans, t-shirts and sneakers. Now, I like to add different pieces to enhance my outfits and go a step further. I may choose a collared shirt under a sweater, with leggings and boots, for example. I’m also warming up to accessories like headbands and bracelets and I have a pair of pearl earrings that I wear with everything. I’m definitely more open to different styles.” ~ Phoebe

Phoebe, you are doing so well! I think you have a smart fashion sense and a solid perspective on the benefits of expressing yourself through your clothing choices. I love to see it and to see you too!  xx, Melissa

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Farnoosh’s sister

Farnoosh’s sister Fara

Do you remember Farnoosh? She moved to The United States from Iran ten years ago with her parents and two older sisters. We spoke about how difficult the move and transition was for her at the tender pre-teen age of twelve, about how Farnoosh views fashion, and about the need for us to express ourselves, no matter what our circumstance; even when restrictions are placed upon us and our expression comes in the form of colorful fashion accessories, as in the case of Farnoosh’s female cousin, who lives in a modern-day Iran.

I spent the last morning of 2012 having a cup of coffee with Farnoosh and her oldest sister, Fara (her middle sister, Farnaz, lives in San Diego). Fara is 29 and is living in Chicago as she pursues her Master’s Degree in Designed Objects from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Like her sister, Fara is lovely and creative and full of energy. She has her own story and relationship with fashion. Here is Fara …

“When we left Iran I was nineteen. It took me a while to get comfortable, but I was open to the move. I had already graduated from high school in Iran and had an idea that I wanted to be an artist. I stayed local when I first arrived, and for the first year and a half learned English as a second language at Seton Hall University. Immediately I knew that the school was too small for me and that I needed more. I was drawn to New York City and left Seton Hall for New York, where I attended NYIT, the New York Institute of Technology, and graduated with a degree in architecture …

I’m a city person and from the minute I came to New York I was happy. I loved the energy and the diversity and how people in NY are original, especially in the way they think and dress. My favorite thing to do became walking: I would walk everywhere! I was inspired by the streets and the windows. That might be why I dislike shopping in malls where everything is so generic and everyone looks the same. I can’t be linked to only one brand and one designer, head-to-toe. I like variety and dressing high and low. That is why I am a fan of H&M …

I would describe my look as chic enough but not too fancy. I enjoy mixing pieces and remaining eclectic. My passions remain shoes and handbags!” ~ Fara

Fara and Farnoosh have adopted their American life but also embrace their Iranian culture. We had an interesting conversation about what that means. I shared with them that I have Colombian blood and at one time I wasn’t comfortable embracing it, but as I get older, I understand that it is a major part of who I am and I treasure it. I guess that explains why I love Latin music and always want to start salsa dancing … even though I don’t know how!!

I hope I meet Farnoosh and Fara again soon – and meet their middle sister next – Farnaz!

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Fara with Farnoosh

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Fara with me

 

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Creating sustainable fashion

Stella McCartney’s Mock Croc Lauren Pump – faux-leather pumps with partly-biodegradable rubber soles

Fast fashion is a term that describes the disposable, see-it-once-and-replace-it world of contemporary, very moderately priced fashion. H&M and Forever 21 are fast fashion stores. A positive alternative for younger consumers who want to experiment with fashion and not invest in haute couture prices; but unfortunately, fast fashion comes with a price of its own. We as an American society are buying and discarding more than ever at a time when our planet needs us to recycle and reuse. We need to think more in terms of sustainable fashion.

Fortunately, there is a growing albeit slow moving attempt to recycle fashion, and some well-known designers are catching on. Stella McCartney, who has always been conscience of the fabrics she uses (she refuses to use fur or leather), revealed a new platform pump this September that is a mix of faux leather and partly biodegradable rubber soles. (I wear these in my dreams, by the way; I could never afford them nor could I walk in them, but I completely love them!). Stella admits to “having a huge admiration for my mom. I think that I’m keeping alive some of the things she believed in and elaborating on that.” (Her mom, Linda McCartney, who was a health advocate, animal rights activist and vegetarian, passed away in 1998.).

Sustainable fashion is also making news in smaller, grass roots stories. A new book called Fashion and Sustainability: Design for Change examines the potential for the fashion system to transform itself to a more sustainable industry. One of the individuals highlighted in the book, Michael Swaine of San Francisco, is doing his part to reuse fashion in his own local community. San Francisco writer Darby Minow Smith interviewed Mr. Swaine about his on-going project, called The Free Mending Library. This project is about people both bringing clothing items to mend and those who come to help do the mending. Supportive and sustainable.

These are inspiring stories. They have forced me to stop and think about how I am contributing to the waste stream and what I can do about it.

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