… who liked to twirl!
Clothing can do many things. It can raise us up, it can give us strength, it can keep us warm and cozy, it can free us, it can help us to mature, and it can also bring us back to our younger selves. Growing up, I was a girly-girl. I used to love wearing dresses – especially party dresses – and I loved dresses with wide skirts that would allow me to twirl. The flouncier the better. Although I never lost my love of wearing dresses, I forgot how much I liked to twirl in a special party dress. So it was with an indescribable joy that I purchased this dress … and for an excellent price. It needed alterations so that it could be more fitted in the bodice but it was worth it. I had not seen a dress with this kind of swing, well, since I was a young girl.
Styled for the Autumn chill with my leather bomber jacket, black tights, and booties, I found myself twirling and feeling like my younger self. #Happy!
Photos by Jess Yee. Dress, Issa London; jacket, Diesel; boots Sigerson Morrison; tights, Wolford.
Photo of Jess, courtesy Jess
To look at Jess and me is to see two very different people. Jess is a 16 year-old high school junior with an edgy look of youth and fearlessness. I am a 56 year-old woman in the middle of my life, with a less-than-edgy look but a strong desire to push boundaries. The thought that the two of us can connect on any level is questionable. But then it happens. We start to speak. Jess tells me how fashion has changed her life and given her confidence and courage. And Jess tells me about her ritual of selecting her clothes for the next day the evening before. And then I knew that we have a lot more that connects us. I knew that we are not bound by our ages or our appearance or life experience. I knew that we are, in fact, soul sisters. Because like Jess my clothes are my salvation and the most important way I express myself. And because I also pick out my clothes the night before. I asked Jess about her story of expression and evolution …
“I never thought very much about fashion until the 7th grade. That was the year that I started to window shop with my best friend and she and I began to play with clothes, and have fun dressing up. That gave us both a feeling of confidence. Freshman year of high school was tough for me – I was very shy and didn’t have many friends. But something happened in my sophomore year that changed my life. I started taking a fashion class at FIT in New York; this class made me think that fashion can change what you think about yourself. The teacher talked about the importance of clothing and self expression and I began to believe it. I started to dress up and experiment with my style. I began to dress for school and to get compliments about my choices. It was such a nice feeling … Continue reading
I have a fashion favorite this time of year, when summer has almost faded. It is the blazer – my tried-and-true workhorse. This one item of clothing is all that I need to transition to slightly cooler temps. Light enough to pair with a tee for the warmer afternoons but cover enough to ward off the chill in the brisk mornings and early evenings, the blazer is the one item of clothing that can go with most things and fit with everything. If you don’t have one, start with a classic. You will find yourself grabbing it before you head out the door – guaranteed!
Blazer, Weber; Jeans, Frame Denim; Boots, Rachel Comey
Photos by Abrina Hyatt
My Grandma Eleanor’s Longines watch
Several years ago my Cousin Michelle surprised me with my Grandma Eleanor’s watch. Michelle wanted me to have it – this beautiful Longines white gold watch. My Grandpa had given it to her for a special wedding anniversary and when I held it in my hands I knew I would treasure it forever. I made it my own when I took in a few of the links and started to wear it every day. Little did I know that my Grandma wore this same watch, every day herself. When Michelle told me recently that every one of her memories of our Grandma were of her wearing this watch, I was moved. I loved my Grandma Eleanor dearly; to think that we share this piece of jewelry is like having her squeeze my hand and letting me know she is still with me. Strong magic for a piece of jewelry.
(Annabelle New York black faux fur jacket) Similar to … The One That Got Away!
I have a philosophy about shopping for clothes: if something stays on your mind for a day and you haven’t bought it – go back and get it. If it leaves your thinking, let it go and move on. Because it’s better not to buy anything you don’t absolutely love, but it’s worse to let something go that you really like, and could love for a lifetime.
I have passed on many things and that is fine. I don’t remember them. But I do remember the ones that got away. And that hurts.
Last winter, when I was working at Talbots, there was a black faux-fur jacket that was perfect in every way – the right length, the right touch, the right feel – and the right price, especially since I had the employee discount. But for some unknown reason I didn’t get it. I am not sure why. I liked it – it stayed with me – and against my better judgment I passed. By the time I tried to buy it, it was already sold out. You may wonder why, in the middle of a summer day, I am thinking about a black faux fur jacket, and I have a hard time explaining it myself, but that’s what I mean. The one that gets away stays with you!
When I found this dress, I knew I had found a treasure. Unlike anything I have seen this season; the subtle nuances, the draping, and the special touches in this Eva Franco dress remind me why I love shopping in consignment stores and vintage shops … for that one-of-a-kind look that you simply can’t find anywhere else! These days, when clothing starts to look like the same thing I see over and over, I find myself wanting something all my own. I turn to consignment and vintage shopping to give me that unique edge that enables me to express my personal style. And I feel even better, knowing that I am also helping to preserve the planet.
Dress, Eva Franco; Shoes, Talbots. Photos by Abrina Hyatt
My go-to Coach sandals
Yesterday was Tuesday Shoesday! This wave of warm weather is enticing me to expose my toes and find that pair of sandals that I can wear well into the sumer. I love these; super-simple but chic, with a bit of a heel that isn’t too high. I will be pulling them out often. I encourage you to do the same! #FavoriteThings
Photo: Sophie MacMillan
When you first step into Meredith Banzhoff’s west-side showroom in the heart of New York’s garment district, you are drawn to the clean, crisp, and colorful clothes and the custom design of the showroom. And as Meredith herself showed me her studio, I felt her personal connection to her clothes and her environment. It’s all personal for Meredith, in fact; she refers to every shirt by her name and much of the furniture and handiwork is from her native Pennsylvania. The four original shirts – four original “girls”- were given names: Bella, Catherine, Liz and Jane. These four are the originals, born from a desire to create the epitome of comfort, construction, and tailoring. Meredith’s commitment to “40 Points of Measure” is the foundation for the design of her shirts. The brand is now three years old and though it has grown to include shirt-inspired pieces, the core is still the classic, made in New York shirt.
I knew when I first interviewed Meredith Banzhoff that I would visit her studio and get fitted for a custom shirt of my own. And that is just what I did – to my utter delight! I ended up with a navy, Isabella shirt, perfectly-fit with just the right combination of stretch. I look forward to seeing where Meredith Banzhoff* is headed!
*TFIO readers: want to own your own Meredith Banzhoff shirt? Through April 15, 2016: you can purchase any of the four “original girls” styles for 30% off the original price. Just use Promo Code: TFIO30%
The four original girls: Bella, Catherine, Liz, and Jane (Meredith’s favorite)
Measuring the perfect-fit
Meredith Banzhoff Showroom
Oh, Downton Abbey! So sad to see you go. The characters, the drama, the fashion! Yes, I will miss the fashion. Especially when things were getting so interesting. The fashion of the 1920’s is so much fun: the cloche hats, the long pearls, the dresses – simple, color-blocked, … all so very Coco Chanel. And the women were getting so interesting, too: strong and independent – the clothes reflecting this change.
Farewell, Downton. My fashion fave!
Rachel S. Schneider’s Homeyee’s stretch tunic dress – against her own ‘green screen!’
Who knew that it was possible to be a part of a trending phenomenon while purchasing a dress for just $23?? Rachel S. Schneider! A month ago, trending news highlighted a snapchat between meteorologists that went viral when dozens of them purchased a flattering dress on Amazon and featured themselves in front of a green screen. The dress, Homeyee’s stretch tunic, is form-flattering with a hint of spandex and comes in bold colors. For meteorologists who have strict dress code standards this single dress met their needs. But could the dress translate to the average woman? Rachel gave me the scoop on the dress that she made her own:
“I always struggle to find dress clothes that flatter my curvy build and hips. And because I have sensory issues, finding comfortable clothes is tricky for me. When I noticed this story and first saw the dress I was caught by the flattering pencil-skirt bottom. And the black and white houndstooth print with black, form-fitting skirt seemed to have promise. I love houndstooth and always have. It seemed to fit perfectly for the newswomen but I wondered how it would translate to a curvy, real-woman’s figure like mine. The deciding factor was the price – $23 for the dress – when my husband and I have to watch our money was too good to pass up. Because of its popularity there was a delayed delivery date and I had to wait with anticipation. When the dress finally arrived I was excited and hopeful. I tried it on and immediately knew it was special. I felt good when I looked in the mirror. It fit perfectly and hugged my hips in a most flattering way, and it felt comfortable against my skin. What a great find – for the meteorologists and for me!!”