You’ve just graduated from college – time to get serious with your wardrobe

Lauren

Lauren

Lauren searching ...

Lauren searching …

Lauren finding ... ($40 black A-line skirt)

Lauren finding … ($40 black A-line skirt from Banana Republic)

Just ask 22 year-old Lauren. Having graduated from Fordham University in The Bronx, NY, Lauren is about to start her first professional job at Ernst & Young (EY). Today, Lauren and I spoke about what it means to transition from a relaxed college wardrobe to more sophisticated attire. It’s a new mindset and Lauren, like others in her position, is adjusting to it. We started in Lauren’s closet where we did a quick review (a must, to shop your closet first!), and then did a little shopping to see what we could add to the staples already in Lauren’s wardrobe.

With basics like a black blazer, several black slacks and white blouses, and a tweed sleeveless dress from Theory, Lauren owns some conservative starter-pieces. I suggested that she introduce color to her wardrobe. I would love to see Lauren find another dress in blue, for instance. Even though Lauren is conservative in her style, she can wear classics that reflect her youth and vitality, with color, style, and attitude. I also think it will be important for Lauren to find pieces to mix and match with her staples, since budget is an issue. I told Lauren my mantra: ‘buy only what you absolutely love!’ Continue reading

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High school girls represent

Leaders of the Fashion Club and the Diversity Club: from left, Linden, Denver, Anisa and Ashley

Co-Presidents of the Fashion Club: Linden, Denver, and Ashley, and the Diversity Council,  Anisa (missing: Shayla, Diversity Council)

As you know, I am the mother of teenage boys. I wouldn’t trade that for anything, but there are times when I really miss having important conversations with young women. That is why writing Turning Fashion Inside Out continues to bring me so much joy. Today was one of those days, and I was honored to join a meeting with a group of spirited and thoughtful high school women of Kent Place School. The meeting was a combined effort of the Fashion Club and the Diversity Council and the topic was diversity (or lack thereof) in the fashion industry.

The leaders first identified startling facts and then they opened the floor for discussion, feedback and conversation. The facts are these: that even though white people represent only 16% of the global population, white people dominate the runway at 94.6%. There is a very small representation of women of color on the runway, including black, Asian and Latina models. Continue reading

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Phoebe

Phoebe

It warms the heart to enjoy a conversation with a young woman with whom you have history and have known all of her life. I sat down with Phoebe, who turned sixteen last month, and at first, all I could see was the adorable cherub of a baby I once knew. But as Phoebe spoke, I left the baby behind and saw only the young woman sitting next to me. And isn’t she effortlessly chic and stylish? Here is Phoebe, in her own words: on fashion, where she shops, and the need to express oneself …

“My feeling about fashion is that you should dress the way you want to dress. I never understood trends. I just pick the things I like and I wear them …

My high school is big (Fiorello H. La Guardia High School of Music and Art and Performing Arts, or simply, La Guardia High School), and like any other large school there is a wide range of fashion looks. But we definitely feel free to express who we really are without judgment. Sometimes students’ choices are wonderful and sometimes terrible, but at least they are their own and I think that is what’s important …

I shop at J. Crew, Forever 21 and The Gap. If I had to pick my favorite place to shop, I would say J. Crew, because their clothes are always current and classy. My friends and I also like to shop at Buffalo Exchange, a consignment shop filled with current looks and is geared toward a young, hip crowd. There really isn’t one store where I shop most, because I look everywhere for pieces that fit my style. As long as it’s not too expensive and I think I can make it work in my wardrobe, I’ll buy it …

I wonder about the connection between fashion and self-esteem and people who don’t care about how they dress or what others think. I have a certain level of self-respect and it affects how I choose to dress. From what I observe at school people care about how they present themselves, too; from their outfits, to their makeup, to their shoes and their accessories. I think it’s connected to having a more positive self-esteem …

I used to wear only jeans, t-shirts and sneakers. Now, I like to add different pieces to enhance my outfits and go a step further. I may choose a collared shirt under a sweater, with leggings and boots, for example. I’m also warming up to accessories like headbands and bracelets and I have a pair of pearl earrings that I wear with everything. I’m definitely more open to different styles.” ~ Phoebe

Phoebe, you are doing so well! I think you have a smart fashion sense and a solid perspective on the benefits of expressing yourself through your clothing choices. I love to see it and to see you too!  xx, Melissa

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