It’s a dilemma for sure, but not in the way you would imagine. One of the joys of dressing has always been the spontaneity of it. I dress to express myself, to match my inner feelings with my outer shell – always in the moment. Since starting my full-time job however, (I just celebrated my one year anniversary!), waiting to choose what to wear for the morning has become really stressful for me. And so I force myself to think about it the night before. Sometimes there are last-minute decisions about shoes or other accessories, but for the most part, I have let go to make room for a less stressful morning. Like many of us who work full-time, drinking that first cup of coffee is about the only thing possible in the morning!
The New Year is a time to regroup and give yourself a break with a clean slate. When I looked at my closet a week ago I knew a clean slate for me would start with a clean closet. What a mess! I could no longer see my wardrobe pieces clearly and that was when I knew: you can’t style what you can’t see. I also knew that I had forgotten what my dear friend Kim taught me just a few years ago – I was holding on to things that were no longer right for me. How had I let this happen in such a short time?
Two years ago I met my beloved and talented friend, style editor, Kim Naci, who had come to my house for a closet audit and frankly, a bit of an emotional ‘what for?” She took a brutal look at my clothes – what I should keep and what I should let go. And her message? Love everything you own, and if you don’t – then remove it – immediately! Because you are worth it and you deserve to wear only the right clothes. Kim’s words about a somewhat threadbare black handbag that I had been clinging to still haunt me when she said: “Melissa, you’re better than that!” We are all better than that. The truth is that we all accumulate too much, hang on too much and wear too much that does’t work and that we just don’t love. Most of the time we don’t even know we are doing it or why. But as we continue this pattern we are not caring for ourselves and we certainly aren’t making room for the clothes and accessories we should be wearing. They simply get lost in the overflow. You can find yourself reaching for the same (wrong) pieces and creating the same outfits over again without hitting your true potential.
A closet cleanse is an organizational and emotional breakthrough. Weeding out the wrong and keeping the right makes you feel better about yourself. And creating a beautiful space for your wardrobe is just as important (even down to using proper hangers and storage organizers). They all create a feeling of self-worth and love – just in time for the New Year.
I met Ellen Lubin-Sherman recently at Talbots; she had come to shop for a white blouse for a friend. After spending just a few moments with her it was clear to me that Ellen was sophisticated and talented with exquisite taste and a strong sense of self. Ellen knew what she liked and how to express herself through clothes. We had a conversation about why she loved Japanese fashion, the necessity of having a proper tailor in one’s arsenal, and why, when it comes to style, labels aren’t what matter most. Here is more from Ellen …
MKG: What is it about Japanese fashion and its fashion culture that you find so appealing?
EL-S: I fell under the spell of Japanese fashion about six years ago. I was visiting L.A. and stayed in Santa Monica. I discovered a marvelous shop called “Weathervane.” Evidently, the owner has a love affair with Japanese designers and my ace saleswoman/stylist introduced me to the concept of wearing pieces that don’t accentuate the body but rather establish an idiosyncratic look that’s original and quirky. I’ve been “quirky” for the last 10 years in terms of my style but these clothes — the oversized shirts, the selvage baggy jeans, the unfinished hems on a skirt — spoke to me.
MKG: You spoke to me about the fact that Japanese fashion is made without labels; why is this important to you? What has happened to American culture, that we follow labels?
EL-S: I totally get it when it comes to wearing a label. It’s comfortable, non-threatening, and indicates the kind of money you can spend on a handbag or a pair of glasses or a shirt. These “labels” are, unfortunately, a result of insecurity. It’s hard to wear clothing and accessories that don’t “shout” your financial wealth. Most of the designers — Tory Burch, Michael Kors, Kate Spade — make a deliberate effort to keep the labels front and center. They’re very much aware that people prefer to be in a “community” of like-minded people so they feel as if they belong. Clothes that are label-free are what I call “stealth.” They’re under-the-radar and mysterious and confident. Continue reading →
My perfect patriotic accessory isn’t a pair of shoes or a handbag or even a piece of jewelry: it is a scarf. I think scarves are widely underestimated; there are countless ways to wear them which makes them the most versatile of accessories. Around the neck, over the head, down the back, as a belt, or on the wrist – all versions work. I am wearing mine as a tie, under a crisp, white blazer – simple, easy, and colorful. I found it at a charming local boutique but vintage is just as special as new. Try shopping your closet and you may find your perfect scarf accessory waiting to be worn.
“We look for clothes that are timeless because they are ladylike, simple but not contrived, gimmicky or extreme, smart but not faddy, fashionable but not funky – chic and understated, the hallmarks of good taste .” ~ Nancy Talbot
I have just signed on to be a client specialist for Talbots and I am excited. My earliest memories of Talbots involve my mother; she would take me shopping with her and she introduced me to this world of classic design and elegance. I felt grown up just standing by her side. And here I am years later, opening the red doors to help women look and feel their best.
The Talbots story and heritage is special: Nancy and Rudolf Talbot opened the first Talbots store in 1947, just after the war. The store was located in a beautiful old house in Hingham, Massachusetts. They were entrepreneurs and forward thinkers, ahead of their time, with vision and artistry and an eye for color. Their daughter, Jane Winter, recalls: “They decided to paint the door red. It was mother’s favorite color and they wanted something dramatic.” The hallmarks for their stores were classic style, personalized and gracious service, and impeccable tailoring. The Talbots would become retail icons.
I hope to carry on the tradition of the Talbots as I open the red door!
And a white pantsuit is even better! There is something so pulled together about a pantsuit, so chic – and it moves with ease from day to night. At once classic and modern; updated styling has elevated the pantsuit and given it a refreshing point of view. This white suit, paired with black ankle boots and a colorful-patterned blouse is fresh and crisp.
If you don’t already own one, it’s time to add a pantsuit to your wardrobe! I’m buying it!
Here is one of my fashion secrets (I have shared it before but it’s worth mentioning again): I love to mix high-low dressing. What do I mean? I will spend more money on certain clothes and bargain-shop for others, and then mix them together in a blended marriage of high-low dressing. And why do I it? For two reasons: because dressing high-low saves me money and because I can express myself more individually and eclectically. This outfit is a perfect example: I paid a higher price for the jeans and the boots and I saved money on the jacket and the sweater. Denim is an essential part of my wardrobe and something I wear most days. If I purchase a quality pair of jeans I know I can wear them often and they will hold their shape and fit. Continue reading →
Photo Credit: Rachel and her team at New York Fashion Week via @RachelZoe Instagram
I am inspired by stylist, designer, and trailblazer, Rachel Zoe. Ever since I first noticed her on Bravo’s reality tv show, The Rachel Zoe Project, I have loved the fashion, the styling, the team; but most of all, I have loved watching the woman who is Rachel Zoe. Because she inspires me. The show continued for five years and ended, just as Ms. Zoe’s career exploded to include launching her own apparel and accessories business, The Rachel Zoe Collection, and creating The Zoe Report, a daily online style destination. You can imagine my delight, then, when I discovered Rachel Zoe’s inspirational words in a feature she wrote on LinkedIn:If You Let Passion Guide You, You Can’t Fail …
“Since the beginning of my career, I have always been guided by my gut, meaning I never followed a list of how things should be on a given day— I’m not one to script how my life should go. My goal in the beginning was to ensure my clients felt confident and glamorous.”
“So at any point in your career— whether you are just starting out or deciding to grow an already established business— remember what your dream was to begin with. Define your passion and remember why it has ignited and inspired you to be where you are today. I believe that you can and should live your dreams – and that rule should apply even in your professional life. If you love what you do, the success will come. If you let your passions and strengths guide you, failure won’t be an option.” ~ Rachel Zoe
The pencil skirt is a solid addition to your wardrobe and a chic choice for fall. It’s traditional, with added style. Paired and belted with a cardigan, gives it polish. This outfit is a combination of two favorite designers: Tory Burch and Altuzarra. The wonderful thing about this look is the high style without the high price. The Tory Burch cardigan is vintage, that I purchased at a consignment shop. And the Altuzarra pencil skirt, belt, and blouse are pieces from the Altuzarra for Target collaboration.
Rounding out the look, are the accessories: Michael Kors clutch, and shoes, Taryn Rose, another consignment store find.
Can you imagine being a teenager with an interest in fashion, lucky enough to meet someone your own age who is a bonafide artist and fashion designer? That’s what is happening this week in New York, at Fashion Camp NYC, with guest speaker, 13-year old Isabella Rose Taylor. And can you also imagine being me, creator of this blog, meeting Isabella and her mom, Sherri, while they are here in NY? It was beyond special!
We spoke about her message to the girls at the fashion camp and the issues facing young designers of Isabella’s generation. According to Isabella, “It’s important to know the basics of design, including pattern-making, but at the same time, understand that everything will be streamlined very soon. You must know the technology of fashion.” Continue reading →