Denim: Day Five

Day Five: Gap jeans with rag & bone/knit sweater

Day Five: Gap jeans with rag & bone/knit sweater

1970s’ fashion – Huarache sandals, Huckapoo shirts or simple sweaters and high-waist, wide-leg jeans. Really wide-leg jeans, preferably with a crease down the front. This is how I dressed in 7th, 8th and 9th grades (and probably beyond) when I was first discovering the importance of jeans to my wardrobe. So it seems only fitting that I should conclude my Five Days of Denim recreating this look etched in my memory. I bought these jeans two years ago at the Gap: they are Gap 1969. The minute I saw them I knew they were just like the jeans from my young adulthood and I wanted to go back to that time, the 1970s. So I did. It is the crease in the center that does it.

With a high-waist and very wide-leg jean wearing a shoe with a bit of heel is important as is keeping your top simple. The pants are doing a lot of the work so you want to keep the rest of your look less fussy because less is always more! I chose this rag & bone sweater because it is casual and hits just at the top of the jeans.

Do you have a favorite pair of jeans? What is your story of this quintessential American fashion favorite? I would love to know!

All five days of denim photos by Alexandra

 

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Denim: Day Four

Day four, wearing my Hudson jeans, Diesel leather jacket and Vince t-shirt

Day four, wearing my Hudson jeans, Diesel leather jacket and Vince t-shirt

Who says jeans can’t be a little dramatic? Simply by adding a black leather jacket to my white tee and jeans, I go back in time to tell this story; a little tough, a little moody. Think Marlon Brando circa 1953 in the movie, “The Wild One.” This is the perfect time of year to pull out your leather jacket and this fall fitted, sleek leather jackets are very much en vogue. These medium-wash Hudson Jeans are ideal for the transition to cooler temperatures. But not too cool: before the temperature dives and I need warmer tights and leg coverings, these classic boot-cut jeans are just the right weight. Here I am wearing them with a black kitten heel but I often opt for black flats for those days on-the-go. It’s okay to make a statement. Let the Marlon Brando mood carry you …

All five days of denim photos by Alexandra

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Denim: Day Three

Day Three, dressing up with my Citizens of Humanity dark-washed jeans

Day Three, dressing up with my Citizens of Humanity dark-wash jeans – top styled by Kim Naci

Dark-wash jeans are a perfect staple for your wardrobe; they are dressy without trying too hard. These Citizens of Humanity jeans are favorites not only because they are dressy but the wide-leg style elongates my leg, making me feel taller than I actually am. The key is wearing them with a slight heel. They, too, have a little lycra giving them just the right stretch.

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All five days of denim photos by Alexandra – Day Three shot on location at Reeves-Reed Arboretum, Summit New Jersey

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Denim: Day Two

Five days of denim: Day two, wearing my slim-fit Vince jeans

Five days of denim: Day two, wearing my slim-fit Vince jeans

Five days of denim: Day two. I give full credit to my friend, stylist Kim Naci, for creating this look for me. These are my slim-leg jeans from Vince, and I was unsure how to wear them until Kim showed me how to give them new life. Rolled up and paired with a structured blazer (which dresses it up a bit) mimics the cropped-style pant and shows off a bit of ankle, not to mention a great shoe. Continue reading

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Five days of denim: Day One

Day One - wearing my Mavi jeans

Day One – wearing my Mavi jeans

I love denim. It is by far my favorite way to dress – a pair of jeans with a tee or a blazer or  sweater feels most like me. Considering how much joy I experience when I try on a cowboy hat or cowboy boots I would have to say that in my heart I am a cowboy. I own five pairs of jeans. Crazy? Well, yes. But I rationalize it by telling myself that I wear different styles for my lifestyle and wardrobe needs. One pair for every day of the week, in fact. So I decided it was time for me to do an experiment: five days of denim. Over the next five days I will wear a different pair of my jeans – and if you pick up a styling tip or two during the week my efforts will have been worth it.

Day One: My favorite jeans are my Mavi distressed boot-leg jean for their ease, comfort and fit. I think boot-leg are the most flattering. Continue reading

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Alicia Jay: Proud to be tall

Alicia Jay

Alicia Jay – Photo Credit: Clara Rice Photography

Tall is beautiful! These are the words of Alicia Jay: woman extraordinaire – fashion blogger, Game Operations Manager for the Golden State Warriors – Oakland California, business owner, model, and motivational speaker to tall girls and women everywhere. I first read about Alicia Jay in Bloomberg Businessweek’sWhat I Wear to Work” interview by Arianne Cohen. Her confidence and fierce attitude inspired me to track her down and meet her. And I did! Here is my conversation with Alicia Jay …

MKG: You are 6′ 6″ and proud of it. When did you reach your full height?

Alicia Jay: I reached my full height in my sophomore year in college (many moons ago). I had been 6’5” for 2 years and thought I was done growing but then, BAM! … I grew an inch. At that point I was getting comfortable in my skin and so the added inch was very exciting to me and still is. Continue reading

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Cindy’s style story …

Cindy and Stacy when they launched Style for Hire

Cindy and Stacy, launching Style for Hire

One remarkable day five years ago, Cindy McLaughlin and her friend, well-known stylist Stacy London, realized they had a great idea: to help regular people on regular budgets feel good about their clothes, their bodies and themselves. That was the day that Style for Hire, a network of top personal stylists handpicked by Stacy, was born. Cindy is not only the Co-founder of Style for Hire, but she is also its original client. I asked Cindy about her own style story …

MKG: Have you always been in the fashion industry?

CMI’ve been in the industry since 2000 – which, by now feels a bit like ‘always.’ Prior, I worked at a consulting firm doing banking technology research + consulting, and before that I was in the Peace Corps digging latrines and wells in Congo. Either of those jobs is as far as you can get from fashion, really.

MKG: Tell me where you were emotionally in 2008 when you called Stacy London to help you with your wardrobe?

CMI was schlubby. I was a restless stay-at-home mom of two young kids wishing I had something more intellectually fulfilling. I couldn’t muster the energy to apply for a job, though, because I didn’t fit into any one my work-appropriate clothes to wear for interviews (much less to the job if I got it.) One of the more inane reasons not to work, but if you’ve ever tried to navigate a day of shopping at Bloomingdale’s, exhausted and solo with a toddler and an infant, you’ll know what I mean.

MKG: What did you experience as you began to recapture yourself?

CM: Here’s what happened: Stacy took me shopping for a couple of hours. She made a bunch of clothing recommendations and they were spot on. Every single piece she helped me find was well within my (limited) budget and still lives in my closet 5 years later. And it was fun! I felt like I had a moment for myself that I hadn’t had in months. Then the result: I simply looked MUCH better. With that, I was inspired to make more incremental improvements. My posture improved, I bothered to brush my hair and put on a touch of makeup and I grew excited to get out there and be a part of the adult world again. That’s all the internal stuff, and then I started getting compliments from friends and family and noticed by strangers. It’s impossible not to feel more cheerful and open and even more powerful when people are smiling at you and telling you all day how great you are. Maybe years of psychotherapy could get you there too, but a couple of hours of intense retail therapy is more my speed.

MKG: Tell me about the moment when you and Stacy decided to start Style for Hire? What was your goal?

CM: We were having wine on my porch after the fact, talking about the unexpected psychological impact of feeling good about your style, and it hit us like a ton of bricks. The mission was – and remains – to help our clients look great, and save them time and money in the process. Of course, there’s only one Stacy and a whole world of clients, so we had to figure how to scale to include the best personal stylists in the country.

MKG: How is the company changing since you started?

CM: Nothing at all has changed about the mission; it’s still at the core of everything we do. Reading our client’s testimonials keeps us inspired and reminds us everyday that we’re still on the right track. Of course, some of the tactics have shifted over the years. We’re ramping up the frequency of our workshops (the vetting and training ground for all new stylists) to be able to extend the service to more people; we’re offering our stylists lots more in the way of ongoing information and training directly from Stacy and we’re helping to connect our stylists to each other. It’s exciting to watch our stylists become friends and bond as colleagues within a community rather than competitors. We’re always focusing on how technology can be used to help our stylists and clients interact more effectively.

MKG: Can you explain the role of a professional stylist? How do you select the stylists?

CM: A professional stylist earns a living by helping others build flexible, functional wardrobes. Generally speaking, this means the following:

1. Making sure the garments in the closet are all wearable, visible and clean/mended/tailored. Those that don’t work are sent to charity or consignment so that the client can milk the value of what s/he already owns.

2. Making sure that as many outfits as possible are made out of what’s already in the closet. This can save clients a tremendous amount of time and money as they look at old garments with fresh new eyes.

3. Making sure that any additions to the wardrobe make more outfits (so you’ll never have an ‘orphan’ garment that doesn’t go with anything else) and that money is invested wisely. All our stylists use ‘cost-per-wear’ as the metric for investment. It’s how a businessperson evaluates assets. It’s OK to spend more on something you’ll use everyday, but you’ll want to be careful for things that are only good for a few occasions/year or even a single wear (Bridesmaids – listen up!).

Stacy handpicks our stylists after a rigorous process in which we view their resume + portfolio, gather client testimonials, interview them 1:1, and spend two very intense days in a challenge-based workshop getting to know them. What’s great about the network is that our stylists help us find other top-tier stylists because they now trust that we’ve brought the best stylists out there. It’s a virtuous circle. We also take on newer stylists who have great talent but who lack experience, train them, and help mentor them through their career.

MKG: What is your favorite thing to hear from a client?

CM: I love variations on the phrases, ‘you’ve changed my life,’ and ‘I’m shocked at how powerful this was!’ I hear both all the time, I’ve felt them both myself, and I know them to be true. I get inspiring emails every day from clients – most recently a woman whose daughter got styled as part of a Make-a-Wish program. That reminded that what may on the surface to be a bit superfluous or indulgent can be incredibly deep and a source of great joy.

MKG: Finally, have your feelings about your personal style changed since starting Style for Hire? And … do you ever get a little closet touch-up from time to time?

CM: Yes on both counts! I see one of our stylists periodically and know a lot more about how to dress my own body. I’ve sat through a whole mess of Stacy’s workshops by now, so I know the theory of ‘science of styling’ cold. I also have more fun with fashion. I like to take more risks now and I’m more comfortable with my choices. Literally comfortable, too. This spring I love wearing sweatpants or leggings, a slouchy sweater and booties, as long as they’re flattering and kind of edgy. (It’s possible I’ll get a raised eyebrow from Stacy for this …).

 

 

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Kim: Portrait of a stylist …

Kim

Kim

Co-founders Stacy London and Cindy McLaughlin were lucky when they found Kim to join their network of professional stylists at Style for Hire*. Kim is warm, effervescent and incredibly knowledgeable in all aspects of the fashion industry. In other words, she is the quintessential fashion stylist, or “style therapist,” as Kim refers to herself. We met today and Kim shared her story with me: how she started her career in fashion, and what does it mean to be a stylist:

MKG: Kim, how old were you when you first became aware of fashion?

KIM: I must have been about six years old. My mother is, and always has been, glamorous. There is no one like my mother. She always loved wearing hats – big, statement hats: she could rival any Royal! She wore them with a dramatic flair; slightly tilted across the eye. The hat was part of the ensemble, no removing it. No second guessing the color, no tugging. And THAT’s style. Confidence in your look regardless of what labels you’re touting. Style means you wear your Payless as proudly as you wear your Prada. My mother was very brave in her fashion conviction and her courage inspired me …

As a Turk, I take full ownership of the Harem pant. Love it or hate it – it taught me about drape and proportion. No self respecting emperor would wear a tunic over a pant with such volume! My sister and I are only seventeen months apart and are very close. And while my sister took the lead in the beauty industry working as Ad Director of Vanity Fair, she is now the CEO of Glossybox. It seemed fitting that I would take the fashion route, covering our bases … Continue reading

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Fashion tips

Zanna Roberts Rassi Stylist and Senior Editor of Marie Claire Magazine

Zanna Roberts Rassi
Stylist and Senior Editor of Marie Claire Magazine

There’s Dear Abby with romance advice, Hints from Heloise with household advice and today I heard stylist Zanna Roberts Rassi on The Rachael Ray Show, with three quick fashion tips. Zanna is a stylist and the Senior Fashion Editor of Marie Claire USA Magazine: she stops in to The Rachael Ray Show from time to time, with the latest fashion news, tips and trends. Today she shared basic fashion tricks-of-the-trade from behind the scenes at Fashion Week, but also day-to-day basics for all of us. Time to share with you …

1) to keep your feet from slipping in your shoes due to humid summer days, line the bottom of your heels with a lightweight panty liner. Hint: they’re also helpful for underarm perspiration.

2) to keep slim belts (the rage this spring!) from flopping around from extra material, take a small, rubber hair band and wrap it around and tuck it in to the loop of the belt. You won’t see it and the problem is solved!

A couple of tips we can use. What do you think?

Rachael Ray with Zanna Roberts Rassi on The Rachael Ray Show

Rachael Ray with Zanna Roberts Rassi today on The Rachael Ray Show

 

 

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