This is How My Mind Works

Credit: Patricia Saxton

Last Sunday I was at a college tour with my son Cameron and as I looked around at the other parents and their kids – I stopped in my tracks: I saw a really stylish mom wearing a dress with fitted, ankle-length boots to die for! They were black with a kind of mesh material and I was mesmerized. I saw this mother and son pair several times throughout the day and each time I noticed something else about these boots. I smiled to myself, too, because we were in the heart of Manhattan and only in New York would you see a mother dressed this way for a college tour!

Of course, I did pay attention at the tour. I paid attention when we checked in and listened to the student panel; I paid attention when we toured the dorm; I paid attention (especially) during the admission and financial aid discussion; and I paid attention when we walked the streets and talked to the many student tour guides who shared their admiration of the school. But, those boots! They stayed on my mind throughout the day.

I find inspiration in everything around me. I see something in a window, in a magazine, or in this case, in the heart of Washington Square Park, during a college tour. Fashion is more than the clothes. It is about self expression and finding a way to be in the world – to be the me I want to be. Everything spurs my imagination. This is how my mind works!

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A Conversation with Maya Albanese

Maya Albanese - Photo credit Maya Albanese

Maya Albanese – Photo credit Maya Albanese

I discovered Maya Albanese through her work, watching her film on the website, PopSugar, about a day in the life of celebrity fashion stylist, Anita Patrickson. I enjoyed it so much that I shared it on TFIO. It did not take me long to see that there was much to admire about Maya – her talents and her passion for justice guide her in a most positive way. Maya is a multimedia reporter, producer, and film director, who covers music, social justice, sustainability, Latin America, and innovation in food, fashion, and technology. But there is something bigger, something that enables her to delve deeper into the world: her warm and inclusive heart. Here is Maya …

MKG: Tell me a bit about how/where you grew up?

MAYA: I always say “I grew up in the world”…I was born in Vermont, but I have lived in 5 states (Vermont, Michigan, Ohio, New York, and California) and 5 countries up until today.

MKG: Your passions are far-reaching. What do you consider the important issues that guide you?

MAYA: I wake up every morning concerned about how the world can be a better place for people, and that involves maintaining a healthy planet and environment. The connection between people and nature, and how we can resolve dissonance occurring between the two right now – that is just one of the issues that drives me.

MKG: What inspires you?

MAYA: Art. Film. Music. I’m inspired by anyone who speaks through his/her creative self, whether that’s painting walls or singing from the heart, or producing media that is outside-of-the-box, making people think in new and different ways. Continue reading

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Say it with me: I am Enough!

i_am_enoughHave you had that moment when you say to yourself: “I am not (fill in the blank) enough?” As women we often look to our bodies to fill in that missing word. I have done that. I have questioned myself and wished I could change certain things about me. After much self exploration, I have finally come to a place where I can say with conviction, “I am enough.” That is the most important thing we can say to ourselves for healthy, happy, wholehearted living.

I recently heard about the inspiring work of Brené Brown, research professor at the University of Houston, and author of several books. Ms. Brown calls herself a researcher and a storyteller; she has spent the past decade studying vulnerability, courage, worthiness, and shame. Big stuff! Listen to what Ms. Brown has to say on the subject: “This is what I have found: to let ourselves be seen, deeply seen, vulnerably seen; to love with our whole hearts even though there is no guarantee, and that’s really hard, and I can tell you as a parent, that’s excruciatingly difficult; to practice gratitude and joy in those moments of kind of terror when we’re wondering, ‘can I love you this much?’ … and the last which I think is probably the most important, is to believe that we are enough. Because when we work from a place, I believe, that says, ‘I’m enough,’ then we stop screaming and start listening. We’re kinder and gentler to those around us and we’re kinder and gentler to ourselves.”

So, say it with me: I am enough! And let’s let the acceptance and the joy make its way in.

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My new fashion crush is Kayla Seah

IMG_3402 blackcoatLiving in Berlin is a young, Canadian-born woman with great style and creator of the blog, Not Your Standard. Her name is Kayla Seah and no question about it … she is my new fashion crush. Even though she is only in her twenties, Kayla has a mature sense of who she is, where she is going, and how she wishes to present the elements of fashion style and lifestyle. As a result, Not Your Standard is a mix of Kayla’s favorite things with an inspiration that is contagious. And that means a lot to me; that she has influenced me from across the ocean! Just back from London Fashion Week, Kayla shared with me her story, her dreams for the future and how she fell in love with Berlin …

MKG: You are Canadian-born. How did you end up in Berlin?

Kayla: I traveled to Berlin with my boyfriend a few years ago and we rented an apartment for a month in Kreuzberg. Although it was only one month, the time we had really stuck with us and we completely fell in love with the city. Continue reading

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Madonna’s one-time fashion designer, Jean Paul Gaultier, has been sighted in Brooklyn!

Jean Paul Gaultier at the Brooklyn Museum: "Ribbon corset - close up"

Jean Paul Gaultier at the Brooklyn Museum: “Ribbon corset – close up”

Ingrid Steffenson, a guest contributor to TFIO, recently visited, “The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk” at The Brooklyn Museum, which runs from October 25, 2013 – February 23, 2014. Here is Ingrid’s commentary …

Remember Madonna’s trashy underwear-as-outerwear ensembles during her Blond Ambition World Tour in the early 90s? Growing up in rural central Pennsylvania, Continue reading

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Five Days of Dressing for Success: Tamara’s dream to be free

Tamara T, speaking at The Dress for Success Transforming Lives Gala

Tamara Trotz, speaking at The Dress for Success Morris County Transforming Lives Gala

The minute I slipped that dress on, it brought the entire equation together. I thought: ‘maybe people can see my ambition now.’ I felt that people had no choice but to take me seriously. You see, I never felt that I was being taken seriously. And to know that the clothes were a gift to me, made me feel worthy in a new way. Dress for Success did that for me. ” ~ Tamara Trotz

Tamara Trotz is a remarkable young woman. She is a poet. At age 24, she is designing her life and her future with the grace and maturity of a woman much older than her years. Everything she is, everything she values and holds dear, Tamara received from her mother, whom Tamara lost last year to cancer. Her mother had just turned 50. When you meet Tamara you feel the love she has for her mother and you know that she is growing up with the same courage, strength, faith and hope that her mother had. This is Tamara’s remarkable story in her own words: how she grew up with 3 siblings and a single mother who was a victim of domestic violence, how she found her ambition at 15, graduated from high school and college, and learned to appreciate her outer self when she found Dress for Success Morris County. I only hope that I do Tamara justice …

I never really understood the difficulties my mom had endured until later in my life. Growing up was isolating and I was forced to grow up long before my years. I am the oldest of three girls (my brother is a few months older than I am) and I became the caretaker. I was six years old when I understood that my mother was being battered by my father. That was the point when I started to feel the need to protect my mother. She was an amazing, strong and capable woman and mother. She gave her children everything she had and took such good care of us; her life’s dream was to give to us. And I wanted nothing more than to protect her – always … Continue reading

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Five days of Dressing for Success: It starts with the mission

Stefanie L. Conley, Executive Director of Dress for Success Morris County, holding a Nanette Lepore jacket

Stefanie L. Conley, Executive Director of Dress for Success Morris County, holding a Nanette Lepore jacket

Let’s start the New Year right by focusing on the connection between fashion and wellness and self esteem. That has always been my intention for Turning Fashion Inside Out. There is no better service that recognizes this connection than the international organization, Dress for Success. For the next five days, TFIO will focus on the beautiful work that Dress for Success Morris County (New Jersey) is doing to help empower women in need.

For 7.5 years, Stefanie L. Conley has been the Executive Director of Dress for Success Morris County.  She says that the Dress for Success program is to “be there for women on their entire professional journey. It’s about helping women to regain their confidence. When they walk into the boutique they don’t see what we see – that they have so much to offer.”

Tune in tomorrow to see the how the journey works and the three-step process begins… Continue reading

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NOTHING like a schmatta!

Ghthe

The DVF  ‘Journey of a Dress’ Anniversary Party – Los Angeles, Wilshire May Co. Building              (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

(Schmatta (Yiddish) (n.) Rags: Don’t go out of the house wearing that schmatta!)

Diane von Furstenberg’s wrap dress turns 40 this year: this simple, easy-to-wear, dress-up-or-dress-down, sexy, flattering dress is everything and NOTHING like a schmatta! On Friday night, in Los Angeles, Ms. von Furstenberg threw a party to celebrate the dress and to kick off the new exhibit, ‘Journey of a Dress,’ at Wilshire May Co. Building, Los Angeles, which runs now through April 1st. “This is the first time that I ever honored the wrap dress, and she did so much for me. She made me famous. She paid for all my bills. And tonight we celebrate the wrap dress.” ~ Diane von Furstenberg

Diane von Furstenberg attends the DVF 40th Anniversary  'Journey of a Dress'

Diane von Furstenberg attends the DVF 40th Anniversary ‘Journey of a Dress’ Party                      (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

 

 

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Celebrating Cindy Joseph, an inspiring woman of style

Cindy Joseph

Cindy Joseph

Women take on a unique beauty every chapter of their lives.There is a shift that occurs as we age. One kind of beauty is replaced with another as time goes by. When we stop hiding and start celebrating and wearing our age proudly, others recognize our beauty as well.” ~ Cindy Joseph, CEO and Founder of BOOM! by Cindy Joseph

Happy New Year to all! On this first day of January, 2014, I look back to one of the most inspiring women I met in 2013, Cindy Joseph. Cindy has a terrific story: She had decided to stop coloring her hair. On the very day she cut off the last bit of dye, she was spotted on a street corner in New York City and asked to be part of a world-wide Dolce & Gabbana campaign. She has been modeling now for 14 years, and is empowering women as she began to spearhead what she calls, the Pro-Age Revolution and founded Boom! by Cindy Joseph, the first pro-age cosmetic line for women of every generation.

I am a better person and a better woman for meeting Cindy. I celebrate her this New Year’s Day.

(weekly Wednesday series, “I’m Not Buying That!” returns next week)

 

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I’m not buying that!

P1000049 3Wishing everyone a very Happy Holiday season … and wishing that we all remember to be kind along the way. I had a need to run to the mall yesterday. You know, the very thing you are not supposed to do the day before Christmas. But it couldn’t be helped. What I discovered was madness and rudeness in the parking lot; people scurrying in and out of spots wearing that evil-eye that says, “don’t even think about taking this spot. It’s mine,” people honking – at who? what?, why?, people feeling so much stress that they were driving just a little too fast and rounding corners a little too tightly. By the time I finally parked my car and entered the mall, I was on edge. The racks of sweaters and blouses seemed to be glaring at me. Is this the way to purchase clothes?

But then I took a deep breath and looked in to the happy faces of the children sitting with Santa, and I overheard a young girl reading a book aloud about ‘how mommy loves me’ as she walked through the store, and I breathed and I smiled and I remembered. Even if you don’t celebrate Christmas, it is the season of joy and peace and friends and family and love and kindness. I refuse to believe that this is the season of putting-something-over-on-someone. I’m not buying that!

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