Paradise Found at the Tailor!

Optimized-P1050749After my interview with Ellen Lubin-Sherman, I began to think of her words: “some of my clothing can be worn the day after I purchase it, but most of my pieces need a little work — shortening the sleeves of a coat, adding cuffs to a pair of pants — to make them look perfect.” I thought I used a tailor properly: to shorten the length of a pant leg, to remove and streamline pockets, or to adjust a sleeve length. But to truly alter and perfect an article of clothing was relatively knew to me and that came as a surprise, as I think it would for many women (it tends to be something only men do). When I bought this colorful pencil skirt I loved the look, the feel, and the length. I could have left it as was and it would have been fine. But the notion of tapering it just a touch at the sides took it from fine to modern and edgy. Then it could become a true pencil skirt. I tried master tailor, Dario Basilone and his business, Paradise Tailors, at Ms. Sherman’s recommendation.

A native of Benevento, Italy, Dario’s parents were both tailors. He learned his trade from them and from master tailors in Italy. After moving to the United States Dario and his brother (who eventually returned to Italy) worked for his uncle. When his uncle retired, he took over his tailoring business and Dario has been tailoring ever since. The way he masterfully adjusted my skirt is a reminder that the right alterations make all the difference. Why wear something that is almost-right when you can wear perfection? Or should I say Paradise?!

Pencil skirt, blouse and shoes from Talbots.

Dario Basilone

Dario Basilone

 

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Ellen: “I dress to express not to impress!”

Ellen Lubin-Sherman

Ellen Lubin-Sherman – Photo by Chris Jorda Photography

I met Ellen Lubin-Sherman recently at Talbots; she had come to shop for a white blouse for a friend. After spending just a few moments with her it was clear to me that Ellen was sophisticated and talented with exquisite taste and a strong sense of self. Ellen knew what she liked and how to express herself through clothes. We had a conversation about why she loved Japanese fashion, the necessity of having a proper tailor in one’s arsenal, and why, when it comes to style, labels aren’t what matter most. Here is more from Ellen …

MKG: What is it about Japanese fashion and its fashion culture that you find so appealing?

EL-S: I fell under the spell of Japanese fashion about six years ago. I was visiting L.A. and stayed in Santa Monica. I discovered a marvelous shop called “Weathervane.” Evidently, the owner has a love affair with Japanese designers and my ace saleswoman/stylist introduced me to the concept of wearing pieces that don’t accentuate the body but rather establish an idiosyncratic look that’s original and quirky. I’ve been “quirky” for the last 10 years in terms of my style but these clothes — the oversized shirts, the selvage baggy jeans, the unfinished hems on a skirt — spoke to me.

MKG: You spoke to me about the fact that Japanese fashion is made without labels; why is this important to you? What has happened to American culture, that we follow labels?

EL-S: I totally get it when it comes to wearing a label. It’s comfortable, non-threatening, and indicates the kind of money you can spend on a handbag or a pair of glasses or a shirt. These “labels” are, unfortunately, a result of insecurity. It’s hard to wear clothing and accessories that don’t “shout” your financial wealth. Most of the designers — Tory Burch, Michael Kors, Kate Spade — make a deliberate effort to keep the labels front and center. They’re very much aware that people prefer to be in a “community” of like-minded people so they feel as if they belong. Clothes that are label-free are what I call “stealth.” They’re under-the-radar and mysterious and confident. Continue reading

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