A Styling Tip that Helps Your Hips

Removing the inside pocket and sealing it

Removing the inside pocket and sealing it creates a clean line

Here is a simple tip that will help you look your best: remove the inside of the pockets of your trousers and seal them up. That’s it. When Kim Naci helped me clean out my closet a few years ago, this one simple notion changed everything. Here is why: side pockets add bulk and lines that aren’t needed. And who wants extra bulk at the hips?

Then and there I methodically took several pants and trousers to the tailor and asked her to remove the inside pockets and seal them. Everything became smoother and cleaner and more slimming – what was old became new again. These white pants are several years old; when I pulled them out of the closet I noticed that I neglected to remove the inside pockets. Now they are like-new.

Why not check your trousers this Memorial Day weekend and do the same? This single, simple style alteration is as important as any exercise or dietary change you can do to get ready for the summer months. Your body will thank you! Happy Summer!

 

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Maestra Sarta (Master Seamstress)

The maestra sarta

Josephine’s mother, maestra sarta

Josephine’s mother was a maestra sarta, a master seamstress, which was and still is a highly respected and honorable profession in Italy, where she was born. This is the story of Josephine’s mother and the gift she gave two generations of women …

My mom was born in a small town in Italy in 1931. She loved school and hoped to continue her education, but when she finished the 8th grade her family needed her at home to help out. It was the early 1940s, the country was at war, supplies were scarce, and my mother was the oldest of five children. Her mom was not well. She was needed: she sewed shirts, using parts of older shirts to fix newer ones, washed clothes by hand, and ironed for hours so that her younger siblings and extended family had the proper clothing to continue attending school or work. Her family was refined and tried to maintain a normal life despite food shortages and the other casualties of war. My mom remembers that her uncle, a shoemaker, made her high-heeled shoes out of a leather bag and wood. Growing up, I was often told about those shoes; my mom received many compliments when she wore the shoes with a dress she had made.

As the war ended and her younger siblings continued their schooling, my mom had to figure out what to do. She felt that she was too old to start high school and she was still helping out at home. Her dad offered to pay for her to apprentice with a master tailor. She would learn how to design clothing and cut a pattern and sew. This was a very respected profession in those days since many people had their clothes made for them. There weren’t any malls in Italy where people could shop for mass-produced clothing. Since most women of her generation lived with their parents or their husbands and never worked, my grandfather was rather progressive. My mom continued her training in fits and starts, as she also helped at home. She made clothing for her extended family and friends but never worked for a company or opened her own business. In spite of the hardships she faced she remained faithful to her passion: she loved the latest fashions, followed fashion in magazines and imitated the styles of the time, adapting to her conservative culture when needed. Continue reading

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Loving leopard

ROAR! Wearing my G by Giuliana Rancic Leopard Ponte dress

ROAR! Wearing my G by Giuliana Rancic Leopard Ponte dress

A simple black heel downplays the fitted fit of the dress

A simple black heel downplays the fitted silhouette of the dress

Does it seem to you, too, that leopard is a huge fashion presence this fall? Animal prints have always been a staple in the transition season but this year we are ROARING with animal magnetism. Just ask Katy Perry! The key to wearing animal prints successfully is to do it sparingly as touches to your outfits and not overwhelm yourself with too much print at one time. Think of accessorizing with animal prints: shoes, clutches, blouses, jewelry … or perhaps this exquisite dress from G by Giuliana Rancic for HSN (which happens to be on sale!).

I love leopard prints. When I saw Giuliana Rancic recently on HSN I was mesmerized not only by her personality but by her design sense. She spoke so charmingly about her Italian father, Eduardo DePandi, who happens to be a master tailor. Continue reading

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Prom: Now/Samantha …

Samantha's original dress choices

Samantha’s original dress choices  – black and silver vintage and mint green contemporary

Samantha's second choice/second dress - strapless, deep purple with silver embellishment

Samantha’s second choice/second dress – strapless, deep purple with silver embellishment

Samantha is a junior in high school and she is my friend Karen’s daughter. I have known her for her entire life. In fact, I have known her since she was in her mother’s womb. After speaking with Samantha today I find it hard to believe that she is the same age that her mom and I were when we met. Here is Samantha on prepping for the prom …

I will be going to two proms this year: my boyfriend’s school prom is this Thursday and my school prom is May 17th. Almost from the minute I was invited, I started to feel pressure to find a dress, about two months ago. I began my search at the malls but found nothing and then searched on-line and didn’t find anything there either. Fortunately, I finally discovered two dresses at a local consignment shop, each for under $50! I know some girls who are spending up to $600 for just one dress, so two for $100 is quite a find for me. One is a mint green, contemporary style; the other is a black and silver vintage dress. They both fit well which is important to me. I needed to make a few slight adjustments to the mint green and I took it to a tailor. I have a pair of silver shoes that are a fine back up but I am hoping to find another pair before the proms. Recently, I wasn’t as sure about the black dress (I think because I’m not as comfortable wearing black in the spring). My boyfriend took me to the mall where I found a deep purple strapless dress with silver embellishment. I love it! I used gift cards to purchase the dress, so again, I was lucky …

I did feel pressure to purchase two dresses, partly because of the pictures that we will be taking, but mostly because my friends will be wearing two dresses. If they were wearing one dress for both of their proms I would probably do the same …

I decided to post my dresses to a Facebook page made for my school that exhibits every girls’ dresses. But I didn’t do the same for my boyfriend’s school. I found out that someone else will be wearing my dress at his prom but I’m okay with that because there will be many people. I will be getting a mani-pedi this week as well as having a spray-tan. I had an appointment to do my hair professionally at a salon but I think I will do it myself and save the money …

I think the biggest differences between going to the prom then, when you and my mom went, and today, are: the dresses are more outrageously priced, the preparation for the prom is more intense, and there is much more pressure from your friends to prepare in a certain way …

I am excited to go to the prom. Right now, though, I am thinking more about the preparation than the actual prom. I think that many girls feel the way I do and enjoy the preparation more than anything else.” ~ Samantha

I think that Samantha shows us that pressure from friends continues to be a big deal in high school. And no one should underestimate the power of the image in today’s world.

What do you think?

to be continued …

 

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Kim: Portrait of a stylist …

Kim

Kim

Co-founders Stacy London and Cindy McLaughlin were lucky when they found Kim to join their network of professional stylists at Style for Hire*. Kim is warm, effervescent and incredibly knowledgeable in all aspects of the fashion industry. In other words, she is the quintessential fashion stylist, or “style therapist,” as Kim refers to herself. We met today and Kim shared her story with me: how she started her career in fashion, and what does it mean to be a stylist:

MKG: Kim, how old were you when you first became aware of fashion?

KIM: I must have been about six years old. My mother is, and always has been, glamorous. There is no one like my mother. She always loved wearing hats – big, statement hats: she could rival any Royal! She wore them with a dramatic flair; slightly tilted across the eye. The hat was part of the ensemble, no removing it. No second guessing the color, no tugging. And THAT’s style. Confidence in your look regardless of what labels you’re touting. Style means you wear your Payless as proudly as you wear your Prada. My mother was very brave in her fashion conviction and her courage inspired me …

As a Turk, I take full ownership of the Harem pant. Love it or hate it – it taught me about drape and proportion. No self respecting emperor would wear a tunic over a pant with such volume! My sister and I are only seventeen months apart and are very close. And while my sister took the lead in the beauty industry working as Ad Director of Vanity Fair, she is now the CEO of Glossybox. It seemed fitting that I would take the fashion route, covering our bases … Continue reading

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Tailor-made

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A good tailor is a fashion essential
Photo credit: Google Images

I need to find a good tailor. There is a basic fashion truth: the right color and a good fit cannot be overlooked. Even a beautiful outfit will miss the mark if it doesn’t fit you properly. When you find a good tailor, one with skill and expertise, you will have found a fashion partner for life! For a reasonable fee, a tailor’s attention to detail will give life to almost-right pieces and add confidence. Watch things like: the length of arm sleeves on shirts and jackets, the length of trousers and slacks, and a well-defined shoulder and waistline. These elements are critical when it comes to a good fit and proper proportion. I notice that when we feel a little heavier, we tend to choose clothes one-size up from our regular size. This is a mistake because the clothing makes us look larger than we actually are. A fitted look is much more slimming.

I am off to find a good tailor. Do you have one in your arsenal?

What do you think?

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