The Gingham Resurgence!

My Diane von Furstenberg gingham dress

You may have noticed that gingham is making a comeback this Spring. That fresh fabric that was all over J.Crew about a decade ago is now all over Instagram as it enjoys a 2017 resurgence. It is the singular color print and the close-knit checks that make gingham distinctive and full of charm. Not just the preppy standard it was years ago, gingham of today is styled in new and unexpected ways, including shoes and other accessories. Last year, I bought my own gingham dress (Diane von Furstenberg) and what I love is that this dress can be dressed up or down. I have worn it to work, for a family brunch, and plan to wear it to a summer evening party in a few weeks. Give yourself a fresh start to Spring with this ultimate playful fabric.

Dress, Diane von Furstenberg

Photo by Alexandra

Your thoughts?

I love comments. Feel free to share yours

A Subtle Sexism

J.Crew men’s Ludlow tuxedo jacket, rugged cotton V-neck sweater, slim Irish linen shirt in solid, broken-in chino in 770 urban slim fit, tie in black, English linen pocket square and New Balance® 791 leather sneakers.

Courtesy: J.Crew men’s

Here is how our conversation began: I told Lisa I loved her trousers. I was first drawn in by their color – a soft, blueish-gray – but soon I noticed the sharp lines. Lisa surprised me by saying they were men’s pants she purchased from J. Crew. Then the conversation took off! Lisa shared with me that she buys a lot of her clothing in the men’s department where the clothes are generally better-made and well-tailored, and certainly, less expensive. Less expensive? You bet! I have often thought about this generally unacknowledged reality; we as women are paying much more for our clothing than men, and in many cases, for the same item of inferior quality.

Then I saw Lisa’s cool shoes. Lisa said they were Cole Haan – women’s shoes – but the male version of the same shoe came with an extra piece of leather padding at the back of the heel. Lisa wanted that extra padding. I would have wanted that extra padding, too. Lisa knows that there are certain items of clothing that she can purchase in the men’s department. And I ask – what is going on? Why are we women being gipped? And we don’t even know we are being gipped. That is the worst part. It’s a subtle sexism.

Your thoughts?

I love comments. Feel free to share yours

The Gingham Resurgence!

Optimized-IMGP3487-2You may have noticed that gingham is making a comeback this Spring. That fresh fabric that was all over J.Crew about a decade ago is now all over Instagram as it enjoys a 2017 resurgence. It is the singular color print and the close-knit checks that make gingham distinctive and full of charm. Not just the preppy standard it was years ago, gingham of today is styled in new and unexpected ways, including shoes and other accessories. Last year, I bought my own gingham dress (Diane von Furstenberg) and what I love is that this dress can be dressed up or down. I have worn it to work, for a family brunch, and plan to wear it to a summer evening party in a few weeks. Give yourself a fresh start to Spring with this ultimate playful fabric.

Dress, Diane von Furstenberg

Photo by Alexandra

Your thoughts?

I love comments. Feel free to share yours

Mayhem and J. Crew Create Magic Together

Photo Courtesy of J. Crew: Mayhem creates a t-shirt "using her two favorite materials - jewels and glue"

Photo Courtesy of J. Crew: Mayhem creates a t-shirt “using her two favorite materials – jewels and glue” Photo by Bryan Derballa

Photo by Bryan Derballa

Mayhem! Photo courtesy of J. Crew: Photo by Bryan Derballa

Talent and creativity truly have no boundaries, no age-limits, no end and no beginning. And joy and play are essential elements when it comes to being a visionary. The news is out that 4 year-old Mayhem (nicknamed for her free spirit), has designed an exclusive capsule collection for J. Crew’s crewcuts, using her “arts-and-crafts-know-how.” And I say, Wow!

Mayhem began making dresses out of construction paper last year, when she was just three years old, with the help of her mom, Angie, as part of an arts-and-crafts project. Angie has been showcasing Mayhem’s designs in her blog: #FashionbyMayhem. And when Jenna Lyons, J. Crew’s executive creative director, called to express interest in working with Mayhem, it was as Angie describes in Mayhem’s blog: a “Game. Changer.

Mayhem’s J. Crew collection will hit stores next summer. I am charmed and delighted. And I’m buying it!

Your thoughts?

I love comments. Feel free to share yours

Launching a reasonably-priced J. Crew? I’m buying it!

Photo credit: Getty Images

Photo credit: Getty Images

Years ago, when I first discovered a store named J. Crew, I noticed that they carried a mix of elegant, casual clothing and simple, chic professional pieces. I liked the store right away. I also noticed (and remember, this was years ago) that there seemed to be one price-fits-all: $79. $79 was the price for everything; it didn’t seem to matter what the item was.

Years have passed, J. Crew has evolved and grown, and so has its prices, with the development of its high-priced J. Crew Collection. As of late, the $79 has been replaced by much larger price points. I have not shopped at J. Crew in a long time.

However, The Wall Street Journal is reporting that J. Crew is developing a lower-cost label, for a more budget-conscious shopper, called J. Crew Mercantile. I’m not sure when the new format, J. Crew Mercantile, will launch, but it just might bring me back to J. Crew. I’m buying it!

 

Your thoughts?

I love comments. Feel free to share yours

Hey fashion brands! Are you listening? You’re forgetting tweens!

Lauren and Lindsay

Lauren and Lindsay

Being twelve years old isn’t easy. And I imagined, being a twin twelve year-old is challenging, too – a twin and a tween. But that was before I met Lindsay and Lauren. And their mother, Victoria. Because these twelve year-old sisters are growing up with a sense of confidence and grace. And their mother, Victoria, is supporting them in the very best way. I sat down with all three ‘girls’ to talk about life and fashion and why, as Victoria notes, shopping for a pre-teen is “very difficult” and “takes a lot of research.” Hey fashion brands – are you listening??

MKG: What is it like to be a twin? Do you dress like your sister or do you express yourself individually?

Lindsay/Lauren: Being a twin feels normal; it’s the only thing we’ve known. And we are friends with a lot of twins so that feels normal, too. We try to be individual but we do share clothes and end up dressing similarly much of the time. Our style is somewhat preppy because we like to dress simply. Continue reading

Your thoughts?

I love comments. Feel free to share yours

Considered online swimsuit shopping??

My Lisa Curran Swim One-Piece - "Clare"

My Lisa Curran Swim Clare One-Piece

Shopping for a swimsuit is a tricky business. The thought of stripping down and exposing yourself to the harsh lights that laugh at your every dimple is daunting, to say the least. Perhaps that’s why I have hung on to my tried-and-true swimsuits for a few years, even when they are clearly past their prime, preserving them and treating them with great care so that I can avoid the process just one more year. But all the gentle care in the world can’t change the fact that I need a new swimsuit – and fast, because the weather is warming up quickly. Isn’t there another way to shop? …

The answer is: yes! You can shop for a swimsuit online. I have never considered online swimsuit shopping; like many other women I simply braved those harsh fluorescent department store lights and small, cramped dressing rooms – hoping for the best. But this time I wanted to try something different and the thought of shopping in the comfort of my own home was enticing. I also wanted something specific: a swimsuit from the Lisa Curran Swim collection. I met Lisa last fall when I interviewed her and was inspired not only by her personal story but also by her desire to design the highest quality swimwear for women of all shapes and sizes … Continue reading

Your thoughts?

I love comments. Feel free to share yours

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

Your thoughts?

I love comments. Feel free to share yours

Cally: Fine and Dandy

cally

Cally is a fashion designer with purpose and a point of view. We met because she happens to have graduated from my Alma Mater, though I am older, but that doesn’t matter, right?! What strikes me most about Cally is not just her warmth and spirit, but also her commitment to her designs and the message she wishes to convey: That women can be every bit as pulled together as a man, and that we can make choices in our wardrobe that empower us and help us stand strong. Cally calls upon the image of a classic male dandy (definition: man devoted to style and fashion) to inspire her collection. In fact, every season she has a dandy inspiration to keep her designs focused. This year’s dandy impetus is the main female character in the classic movie, In the Mood for Love. I sat down with Cally to hear more about her extraordinary story …

Mel:   When did you launch your company?

Cally: I launched Kal Rieman in 2009. My first delivery was Fall 2010.

Mel:   Did you always know that you wanted to be a fashion designer?

Cally: No. I was going in to the business study program and became an East Asian Studies major. I wasn’t raised in the arts. I grew up in Cleveland, Ohio and was one of five kids. We were into sports and my fashion look growing up was preppy American – Ralph Lauren sportswear. Before J. Crew and Banana Republic modernized their lines, the big store for me was The Limited. It was a cool place to shop! Continue reading

Your thoughts?

I love comments. Feel free to share yours