What Leandra Medine Thinks About Dressing With Originality

Krista Anna Lewis for Man Repeller

leandramcohen/Instagram

When I started my blog 7 years ago, there was an outstanding young writer starting a website called Man Repeller. That writer was Leandra Medine; Man Repeller has become a multi-media business and in my opinion, a global fashion masterpiece. I follow it – and Leandra – religiously – to this day. In fact, when Fashionista interviewed her in NYC a year ago, I ran to see her and wrote about it on TFIO.  So now, I feel like I know her! Leandra spoke to InStyle Magazine about what it means to be an original – her words are so comforting, I happily share them with you. Here is Leandra Medine on dressing originally:

There’s a quote attributed to Coco Chanel that often turns up on Facebook profiles: ‘In order to be irreplaceable, one must always be different.’ I’ve read it so many times that in spite of its underlying message—be original—it’s become, ironically, completely unoriginal.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. We’re taught as kids to follow our heart and our gut, not what popular opinion recommends. Only when we’re truly one of a kind, we’re told, will we be destined for greatness.

But is this concept overrated? I’m tempted to think so. To be original, according to the wise oracle Google, is to be an eccentric, unusual person. Continue reading

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Remembering My Style During Summer Vacation

My go-to dress in the summer - by Splendid: photo by Kim Naci

My go-to dress in the summer – by Splendid: photo by Kim Naci

I have been on vacation this week. After spending a few days in a lovely beach town, I was reminded of an essential fashion fact: stay true to your own style. This is a lesson hard-learned, especially growing up a woman. It starts in the middle school years – that feeling that you have to look like everyone else in order to fit in. And so you tell your mom that you have to have a certain kind of clothing in order to be successful (your mom, wanting to help you, will be tempted to succumb to your whims in order to help!). It gets better once you enter high school and begin the process of wanting to stand out – even if just a bit. And so you experiment with new styles and explore different attitudes, but the truth is that the need to fit in rears its head at different points in your life, especially when you find yourself in new environments. It did again for me when I started college – a very preppy college – and found myself in a sea of pink and green with nothing to wear! (I have shared the story of how my darling mother bought me several fair isle sweaters in various colors while on my first break from school freshman year. I returned with my sweaters and wore them a few times before leaving them in the closet for good and embracing my true style). Moving on in life, with each new setting, with each transition, the need to fit in is a tempting pull.

But the beauty of growing up and finding your way is identifying when you know yourself and your style. And even though you may feel unsure entering a new environment, you eventually realize that your individual style is what will help you feel stronger – on your own. When I walked through this beautiful town on the beach I wanted very much to treat myself to a piece of clothing – something that would always remind me of being on holiday. But I couldn’t find it. Everything looked the same to me and though the style of the town was lovely – it wasn’t mine. I didn’t want to look like everyone else; I wanted to look like me.  So I left the beach having bought nothing, wearing my tried-and-true jean shorts with a tee, and the last favorite article of clothing I bought on summer holiday a few years ago: my black dress.

 

 

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“The Best Fashion Show is Definitely On the Street …”

Photo: Steven Lane, New York Times reader

Photo: Steven Lane, New York Times reader

always has been and always will be.” ~ Bill Cunningham

News of the passing of New York Times photographer, Bill Cunningham, hit me hard. He was the friend I never met. His on-the-street fashion musings have long inspired me (you may remember that I referenced him often on TFIO, most recently with his capture of the latest summer trend, off-the-shoulder dressing), and his photos and voice soothed me. If Bill Cunningham followed the style on the street, it was a style worth following.

He died on Saturday at the age of 87. He had worked for the New York Times for nearly 40 years. A humble man himself, it was someone’s personal style that mattered most to him. He was not interested in capturing celebrities or red carpet looks; most people he captured were unknown. He became a part of New York City and the City embraced him.

Dean Baquet, New York Times executive editor, said: “He was a hugely ethical journalist. And he was incredibly open-minded about fashion. To see a Bill Cunningham street spread was to see all of New York. Young people. Brown people. People who spent fortunes on fashion and people who just had a strut and knew how to put an outfit together out of what they had and what they found.”

 

 

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It’s a Leopard and Leather Day!

plraTwoufeQKTTOHjcpfwWUEeMVFNoxr5VmrgTLN5t0,ztAewArcq4Y4DDviiYSks5l1HltBFp5A6BtJM6iO_wo-1Autumn crush and surging winds are in full swing and I am in the mood to wear my leopard dress with my leather jacket. I usually wear this jacket with jeans and a tee, but it’s fun to shake it up and pair it with a dress, tights, and boots. Why is it that we follow old pattens and have the tendency to put clothes together in the same way? Following fashion and style blogs has helped me to broaden my thinking and experiment with my clothes. I recommend it for expanding your wardrobe and starting to think of yourself as a free spirit. Put the leather on and carry on!

(Leather jacket Diesel first seen here; leopard dress G by Giuliana Rancic first seen here; boots Belle by Sigerson Morrison; tights Wolford; vintage handbag Prada)

Photos by Sophie MacMillanKNpGaT1mGSG2wreyO1__Vy4x6ofi_8oEXLYl26XtqRox5G0Mi1gJNWG2Na0_1Tf8u51nPrB4n6SOosG6pIIiEs,GM5zdGn_0ZAx0pt89E5H51_tArSlqakFoBnjhoqlH_YrWIjGATg5lZH2TDa24DZugbhR6m8Hw6TAsJSl_jadHk,rX1gizf_0Yj_91G_R8uqU7odWsmiy0GrM1lWBqJ1sHk



 

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Jenny’s Personal Style and The Story of Her Pink Coat

Jenny

Jenny Williams

Can you imagine how pleased I was to read an article entitled: How I Found My Personal Style When I Let Go of Most of My Clothing?  And even more excited to meet its author? The person who wrote this thoughtful piece is Jenny Williams; I connected immediately with Jenny and her message, which may sound familiar, from recent conversations I have had about Zero Waste, with Lauren Singer and Daniel Silverstein. Jenny agreed to share her story on TFIO. It is a lovely reminder how fashion is one of our universal connectors. Here is that conversation with Jenny:

MKG: You have embraced the concept of less-is-more, when it comes to clothing and personal style. What does that mean to you?

JENNY: I think getting dressed in the morning should be a creative jump start to your day. It should be an expression of your personality; since it automatically sends a message to the people who will be seeing you, and you want it to be accurate.

Since I have started to focus more on quality rather than quantity the past few years, I have found that I feel more creative when I get dressed in the morning. Having more options does not mean that you have a more versatile wardrobe; in fact, a larger wardrobe overwhelmes me and stifles my imagination. I feel more ‘myself’ when I am working with a smaller wardrobe. That is liberating!

MKG: Tell me about that ‘coming-of-age-moment’ when you purchases your pink coat from Anthropologie? Where were you in your life and why do you think you were ready to understand that spending more for a single item could be worth it? Continue reading

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Sophie’s Choice

Sophie in her red!

Sophie in her red!

Sophie and I just met, and I am lucky that she will be shooting the images for my blog. Sophie is a gifted photographer, a high school senior, and a blogger. And she and I share a passion for fashion, self expression, and red lipstick! Sophie shared with me her dreams for the future, why she became inspired to express herself the minute she started high school, and why red is her new favorite color 

MKG: Were you always interested in fashion and photography?

Sophie: Ever since middle school I have loved the idea of being able to dress anyway I liked. I watched my older sister get ready for high school every morning, envious of her creativity and individuality, as she put an outfit together. When I started high school, I instantly fell in love with creating an outfit, and for the first time I enjoyed going to school, because I felt good in my skin, because I had discovered my personal style. It was then that I realized how much I loved fashion and that I wanted to be involved in the industry in some way. During my sophomore year I took my first photography class, and fell in love with creating pictures and watching film slowly develop.

MKG: What inspired you to start, The Adventures of S? What is your intention for the blog and how long have you been blogging?

SophieI started my blog, The Adventures of S, in 2013, because I felt that I had something unique and inspirational to offer. Through my blog I want to show that you can dress however you like as long as you are always happy with what you do. I also stress the idea that ‘Confidence is Key, with weekly inspirational posts, illustrating that when you are confident anything is possible. Continue reading

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“I’m not buying that!”

Photo of me, taken by my mother, Claire

Photo of me, taken by my mother, Claire

Welcome to my first “I’m not buying that!” … a weekly series of thoughts from me, a fashion outsider. My blog and podcast is called Turning Fashion Inside Out. The fact is that I am not a fashion insider. At 53 years old, I am … a wife, mother, substitute teacher at an all-girls school, writer and lover of fashion. I love sharing my fashion stories and others’ stories about how fashion is central to our self expression and ultimately, our self-esteem. But there is more to turning fashion inside out: there is commentary. There is me …

I went shopping with my mother recently and was disheartened to see how few options there are for women over 70, at least in the suburbs. I’m sure it’s different in larger cities where there is more of everything giving people more options. But here, if you are over 70, stores see dressing as an after-thought. You are relegated to the top floors of the department stores and the pickings are slim. Gone are the stylish prints and fabrics, replaced by over-sized tunics and out-of-date patterns: it’s simple – my mom is not finding clothes she likes. My mom has always been so stylish and someone to whom I look for ideas and trends (and frankly, to borrow clothes!). She is the same woman now that she was then and she still wants to feel stylish in her clothes; no less than when she was in her 20s and 30s and 40s.

Should we be paying LESS attention to those over 70 while at the same time ignoring their style? And continuing to omit them from the fashion scene? I’m not buying that!

 

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Fair Isle Sweaters and Growing Up

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TFIO Photo: Patricia Saxton

TFIO Photo: Patricia Saxton

My second podcast recording with my mom, Claire, brings me back to the days as an insecure college freshman. My school was the ultimate in prep; a style that was unfamiliar to me. Here I was, having grown up trusting my sense of fashion, for the first time feeling unsure and looking to those around me to define my look. My first school break, I told my mom that I needed something called a Fair Isle Sweater and my darling mother treated me to not one or two, but several, and in different colors. By the end of my freshman year these lovely sweaters were gone from my wardrobe as I began to feel more comfortable in my own skin and see my style return (but still … how I wish I had at least of these sweaters with me now!!!). Most important, I was left with a feeling of love and gratitude for my mother that I will never forget for as long as I live.

Here is that conversation with Claire as we talk about Fair Isle Sweaters and growing up …

 

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