Yesterday, August 16th, was Madonna’s 57th birthday. To honor the day, Harper’s Bazaar highlighted her most iconic fashion moments. Of course there are many because Madonna is a fearless fashion risk-taker and the queen of reinvention. Certain images come to mind immediately: her 80’s bridal “Like a Virgin” look and her 90’s Blonde Ambition World Tour with the Jean Paul Gaultier-designed cone bra. But there is one look that I love more than any other: the red outfit she wore at the premier of her movie, Evita. When Madonna made the movie Evita she was pregnant with her first child, who was born in 1996 – as was my own son. I have heard that Madonna was truly happy making the movie and at that time in her life. I think it shows in this outfit. It is a reminder that clothing is so much more than our outer covering; it reveals the inner emotion, as well. Madonna. Still Style Star.
I was watching an old 8mm film made over a period of time by my mother’s family friend. The year was 1960. Images of my younger grandmother filled the screen followed by images of my Aunt Lila. My heart skipped a beat – they have both been gone for several years. Next, a few week’s old baby in a carriage popped on the screen and it took me a moment to place the baby – which I soon realized was me. Moments later, she was there; as her image panned up I first saw the dark sunglasses – followed by a white sleeveless sheath dress. And then her sweet, happy face I knew so well. It was my mother. The footage soon changed and shifted, next showing my mother holding me outside what must have been her apartment building. This time she was wearing a polka dot short-sleeved dress – very 1950’s/early 60’s. I didn’t pay attention to the baby at all; I saw only my beautiful mother.
Moving images preserved in time and space – all coming together to give me a long-lost hug from the formidable women I have loved so dearly. And the one mesmerizing me most was my mother, squeezing and hugging and holding me tightly, reminding me what true style is. The outfits, the accessories are all important. But above all else, true style … is love.
Today is my birthday; I will be celebrating with my family and friends and I will think about the clothes I wear. Not because I care about the clothes (which I do) but because I care that I am presenting the best version of me to the world. Sure there is the inevitable ‘I am a year older and what am I doing with my life?’ question. But mostly, birthdays make me think about what it means to be the best version of myself. Since starting this blog three years ago I have been pondering the connection between the clothes we wear and how they make us feel about ourselves. The older I get the more I see that the outer covering is a direct reflection of the inner me. If I take time to give my daily wardrobe attention I am saying to myself that I matter and that I am worth the effort.
This is the outfit I am choosing to wear today – my birthday – this time of inner reflection.
When I was a little girl, my mother represented the perfect vision of style and elegance. Her blonde hair, her manicured hands, her impeccable way of dressing. I watched her, fascinated, as she dressed for work every day, put her makeup on and left the house -looking glamorous. Through my little girl’s eye, she was more beautiful than Grace Kelly. As I became a teen, my sense of style changed and I was more influenced by my peers than my mother. Suddenly her way of dressing was “old fashioned” and boring. My new idols were Madonna and Janet Jackson and my mother did not dress like them! But time has an ironic way of putting things back where they should be. Now a wife and mother myself, I laugh when my children call their 20 year-old teacher “old”. I recently celebrated my 45th birthday and went out with my girlfriends for lunch. As I was going through my closet, I picked a special dress I bought years ago. It was a dress very much like the one my mother used to wear when I was a little girl. The second I saw it my choice was clear. I needed my mom to be with be in spirit, and she was – through the dress. The simplicity of it, the way it accentuates my waist and its full, airy skirt which could cause a “Marilyn” moment at any time, made me feel connected to the woman who has been the most important influence in my life. She lives a continent away from me in Argentina, and yet she was more present than ever. Wearing this simple yet beautiful dress reminded me of our unbreakable bond and of the unconditional love that we share. ~ Myriam Alvarez
Photo: Sebastian Scicolone
One of the most beautiful parts of a woman’s body is her shoulders. Sadly though, shoulders are often overlooked and we spend too little time exposing them. Some of the softest, most romantic pieces are off-the-shoulder. And they don’t need to be formal dressing only; off-the-shoulder blouses and dresses can be casually-inspired. Structured or flouncy, there are several ways to embrace unique off-the-shoulder looks. I’m buying it – You too?
Ever since last fall, I have longed for a silky, bomber jacket. But the ones I coveted were completely out of my price range. However, good things do come to those who wait. And this good thing is a really, good thing; a fabulous paisley bomber jacket by G by Giuliana Rancic for HSN. Purchased for under $100, the “Monica” Bomber Jacket is soft, and ultra-chic. Versatile and effortless, this jacket gives me the style I’ve desired, at a doable price. Today I wear it with shorts and a summer blouse, but soon it will transition beautifully to the cooler months, when I pair it with jeans or trouser slacks.
This is the second time I have purchased a G by Giuliana Rancic piece; the first was a leopard print dress I featured last September, almost a year ago. Giuliana’s attention to detail is exquisite, and she designs everything to make you look your best. It may be because Giuliana’s father is, himself, an expert tailor. And of course, all at a great price-point. Obviously, I am a big fan.
Shot on location at Pasticceria Rocco, NYC
Saying good bye to your vacation is a melancholy affair. First, It takes a few days to settle in and unwind, and just when you feel relaxed and de-stressed, you begin to realize it’s almost over. Then, before you know it, you are driving home. My family has been traveling to the Outer Banks of North Carolina for the past 15 summers. Charming painted horses are a mainstay along this beautiful strip of land, and bring out the cowgirl in me. This cowgirl may look happy, but on this last day of vacation, she definitely has the blues …
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
In today’s podcast, my dear friend, Kylie, and I talk completely off-the-cuff about the connection between fashion and self-esteem. She and I have known each other a long time: we met in New York City’s Upper West Side, had babies together, and are now watching those babies grow and move up on their own. Our lives have been full and hectic. Here is what happens when we are left to our own devices!
Didn’t we love Ellen DeGeneres as host of the Oscars?? She was so natural and so much herself; how she ingratiated herself with an audience filled with those-in-the-biz as well as those of us watching on television was truly impressive. What else impressed me? Her pre-show Twitter pic, wearing her “I am Happy” hoodie from Peace Love World. Last September, I interviewed Alina Villasante, founder and visionary of Peace Love World, and was inspired by her personal story; moving to The United States from Cuba when she was 8 months old and eventually settling in Miami. Alina feels that she is here to tell a story of peace, love and good will and that every PLW item of clothing is infused with positivity. The mission, according to Alina, is: “to spread peace, love, and happiness wherever and whenever we can.” It’s clear that Ellen feels that way, as do I. I’m buying that!