Prom Dress Shopping, For Real!

Shopping fabrics with Kira

The conversation with my friend and fashion designer, Kira Ross, was not your typical, “What are you wearing to the Prom?” Not, because Kira wasn’t planning to go to a random store in search of a one-of-a-kind dress. Instead, Kira was going to do what she does best – pick out a fabulous fabric and make her dress herself, especially now, for her Senior Year. And as we talked about it I realized … I had to go along for Kira’s journey … and document everything. The shopping, the designing, and ultimately, the big reveal.

This Sunday was shopping day in The Garment District in New York. There are two blocks where Kira likes to “snake my way up and down the streets” to find the perfect fabric. It can take a while, Kira explained: “I like to touch the fabrics so I will know how it works and how it will fit. When a fabric has a little give, it is easier to work with … I don’t really have a specific color in mind, it varies so much. And a fabric looks very different once it’s off the bolt.” Knowledgeable words from a very talented artist and designer. As we strolled the stores and aisles of fabric and prints – plaid, gingham, silk charmeuse, silk satin, stone-washed silk, seersucker, crepe de chine, twill, taffeta, cotton – I was aware that Kira’s gift was to see the possibility of a dress. To look beyond the colors and textures and see herself in something she would make. To be so close to fabrics was intoxicating. Continue reading

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Before you Hit the Stores, Accessorize!

One of the best ways to extend your wardrobe and keep from over-shopping is to add new accessories to the classic pieces you already own. Each variation creates a new look and extends the life of the clothes you own. Not to mention having the chance to appreciate clothes that you may have overlooked. Before you hit the stores, accessorize!

Blouse, Michael Kors, assorted accessories

Photos by Kendra Olson

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Jeans Covered in Fake Mud?

Nordstrom

Nordstrom made news this week when it was revealed that stores are selling men’s jeans with caked-on, fake mud – for $425! Barracuda Straight Leg Jeans by Prps.  This faux-distressed look is distressing. Mike Rowe, host of Dirty Jobs, reacted on social media: “The Barracuda Straight Leg Jeans aren’t pants. They’re not even fashion. They’re a costume for wealthy people who see work as ironic — not iconic.

Well said. Why spend $425 on a pair of phony mud-caked jeans, or as described specifcally on Nordstrom’s website – “rugged, Americana workwear?” –  just to let others think you live the rugged life? Why would we as consumers be willing to spend so much money to look like we did something when we really didn’t? Is the actual looking like we did something better than the doing it? That is the real question and I guess I know the answer. Because one of the things about our clothes is that they can be a status symbol of who we are and what we have. Maybe this story is not so unusual after all: people have been using clothes to establish their identity forever; if not real, then invented.

Jeans covered in fake mud? I’m not buying it!

 

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The Murray Brothers: Bringing Back The Cool to Golf

Bill Murray in February in a William Murray Golf shirt from the fall 2016 line (Credit Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)

The last time I saw Bill Murray on a golf course was in the 1980 movie, Caddyshack  -(Murray played the deranged grounds keeper Carl Spackler!). I never knew that Bill Murray was one of six brothers. I never knew that growing up, he and his brothers (Ed, Brian, John, Joel, and Andy) worked as golf caddies at the same club, the Indian Hill Country Club in Winnetka, Illinois. And I never knew that this lifelong love of golf would inspire the Murray brothers to introduce a golf-apparel line, William Murray Golf, last fall.

Youngest brother Joel Murray, and the chief executive for Murray Brothers Golf, said the clothes are intended to inject liveliness into the sport. Says Murray, “You look at the golf world right now, it’s just not that cool. I’ve got boys that are 26, 25, and they’re not into golf like we were growing up. They think it takes too long.”  The line recently released its spring collection with polos in tropical flower patterns and baggy shorts of aqua camo reminiscent of the loud patterns of 1970s. The brothers plan to introduce two collections a year and eventually expand into light jackets, blazers and pants.

This family of brothers who love golf know how to bring a little irreverence to the game – pairing whimsy with practicality. Who knew??

 

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Opening Day of Baseball!

Well, actually, Opening Day is behind us but my fashion sense is just catching up! Today I found myself at the field with my favorite baseball-inpsired tee (the first time of the Season) and harem-style pants. It’s invigorating to wear clothes that belong to the spring season; like taking an old friend out for a spin on a sunny day!

Photos by Kendra Olson

Tee, Rebecca Taylor; pants, Helmut Lang; boots, Sigerson Morrison

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Meet “The International Color Guru!”

Leatrice Eiseman

A few years ago, I had the pleasure of meeting color expert Leatrice Eiseman, who works directly with the Pantone® Color Institute to forecast the color trends. In fact, when Pantone® introduced the color of the year for 2017, “Greenery,” I immediately thought of Ms. Eiseman and her vision and creativity. Green is not my color and I won’t be following this particular fashion color trend, but I am reminded of that conversation with Ms. Eiseman, and why she is called the “International Color Guru!” Here is Ms. Eiseman …

MKG: What is the Pantone® Color Institute?

Leatrice: At its core, the Pantone® Color Institute is a think tank for Pantone®; a place for people to go to find out about the psychology of color. I have been the Executive Director since its inception in 1985, when the (then) owner of Pantone® wanted to go beyond the technology of color. Today we are involved in color consulting, color forecasting, and we help our clients make informed decisions about color for their brands or products to gain a competitive edge.

MKG: How does Pantone® come up with its Color of the Year?

Leatrice: It is an interesting process. I and my team comb the world to investigate what colors we feel are on the ascending. When you travel as much as we do, we have a good idea where color is heading. We look to various indicators: the art world, entertainment, the film industry, social upcoming events (is it an Olympics year, etc.), and of course, the fashion industry. We ask where are the top designers going with the color family. There is no magic bullet; it takes a lot of homework and asking a lot of questions to find the Color of the Year. Continue reading

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On the Costuming of Broadway’s War Paint

Courtesy of War Paint

A musical just opened on Broadway – War Paint – highlighting the fierce rivalry of two cosmetic giants, entrepreneurs, and icons: Helena Rubenstein and Elizabeth Arden. Vogue’s Hamish Bowles interviewed War Paint’s much sought-after costume designer, Catherine Zuber, and I am reminded of the power of costume design. Zuber is much admired in the industry and has earned six Tony Awards for her costume design productions, which also include South Pacific, The King and I, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, Awake and Sing!, and The Light in the Piazza. For War Paint, Zuber is once again telling a story and addressing the character of these larger-than-life women through their costumes. Played by acting icons themselves, Patty LuPone as Rubenstein, and Christine Ebersole as Arden, these hugely successful women were among the wealthiest of their time and at that time, the only two women in America to have their names above their company – by doing something not done before in the beauty industry – bringing makeup into the mainstream of society. The timeline for War Paint begins in the 1930s and follows these women into the 1960s, which provided excitement to move through the different time periods. Rubenstein was, according to Zuber, more flamboyant, and dressed in “Poiret, Schiaparelli, and Balenciaga.” However, finding costumes for Arden’s story was “just as powerful,” says Zuber – and gave Zuber high contrast with which to work. The production focuses on the working world of these women. Says Zuber: “They were such hard-working women, and so much of their lives were focused on their careers and their businesses that we decided to celebrate that.”

This show is a must-see for me!!

 

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“Blue Jeans: A Symbol of My Recovery”

Nicole in her denim shorts

Beautiful words from my friend, Nicole – on the purchase of her new jean shorts

“I’ve always been hippy, with big, strong legs. My family is Lebanese, and I have always fought against my natural body type and shape, falling into life-threatening battles with anorexia and bulimia through my teens and my 20s. A couple of years ago, after the pressure of fitting into a wedding dress fell away, I noticed that I was letting myself be happy and enjoying time with my husband. That meant not torturing myself at the gym and eating and drinking what I wanted, when I wanted. Pair that with some serious medical difficulties last year, and guess what folks: I gained weight.

I am now what the fashion industry would consider a plus size woman. My BMI would say that I am obese. This makes finding peace extremely hard and finding clothes that fit me even harder.

But last week, I found a pair of JEAN SHORTS – that fit me! No gap in the back, not too short. They truly make me feel sassy and beautiful. It has been the most emotional road accepting who I am and what I look like but having this pair of shorts is a symbol of my recovery and my constant journey to peace and happiness. It is my hope that all fashion designers will understand how much that means to their consumers. I plan to have a great summer in my new shorts.” ~ Nicole Rohr Stephani

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Victoria Beckham for Target

My Victoria Beckham for Target poplin shirtwaist dress

I showed up 15 minutes before the store opened; there was a line but not too long. As I chatted amicably with a mother and daughter, who, like me, were waiting for the doors to open to the world of Victoria Beckham I realized something: there is a warm camaraderie when shopping these Target collaborations. You are in it together, waiting in anticipation to see if the item you want is available. It’s a mad, mysterious, dash! But more often than not it is worth it. I have done it now several times (as have my new friends) but it has not lost its magic. Why do I return time after time? Because there is no other way for me to afford the fashions of these high-end designers. Because the quality is top-notch (this poplin shirtwaist dress is a first-rate sturdy cotton). And because my Target purchases have become favorites in my wardrobe!

I love owning distinct designer pieces. It makes me feel special. And isn’t feeling special in your clothes what it’s all about?

Dress, Victoria Beckham for Target; Handbag, Kate Spade, Sandals, Pedro Garcia

Photo by Alexandra Queripel; filmed on location at Reeves-Reed Arboretum

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Ooh, I Need Those Boots!

Photo: AKM GSI

One of the joys of getting older is having a better sense of your style; in practical terms, that means making fewer impulse buys and costly mistakes when it comes to buying clothes! I have come a long way, especially in the last few years – in terms of buying clothes more efficiently (and happily!). So that when I wake up in the morning I look at my closet and know that most of the clothes I select will feel like me. I have come a long, way, yes, but … there is still that moment ….

You may know that moment; you could be flipping the pages of a magazine, or catching a television show, or even a movie. You see an image, a look, a moment, and you say to yourself, “I love that ____! I really need it!” In my case, I had my moment checking out a site online and reading about Malia Obama, who is currently working as an intern for film producer Harvey Weinstein, in New York City. Apparently, she is very fond of a pair of lace-up caterpillar boots and wears them often. So often that she is photographed styling them in every which way (with dresses, with leggings, and in this photo, with jeans). I scanned the pictures and it happened … I said to myself, “Ooh, I need those boots!”

I checked out the Caterpillar website and I seriously considered it. But, then I realized that what really inspired me was the feeling in the photos -the thrill of working in New York City and the on-the-street excitement. It wasn’t that I needed those boots particularly. In fact, I am the wrong age to be wearing them with short dresses and leggings – but I was taken in. The power of suggestion is strong and hard to pass up. I guess that’s why we all get sucked in with a good advertising campaign.

My trick is this: sit with it for a moment – if the feeling goes away, pass on the clothing. If it doesn’t – grab it and wear it!

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