Mary’s Mother’s Coat

Winter made its presence known this weekend and I am happy to have the cold temperatures so that I can wear Mary’s mother’s coat. My friend, Mary, was holding on to her mother’s custom-made black faux fur coat for 25 years. When her mother gave it to her and asked her not to give the coat away, Mary took her mother’s request seriously and tried in vain to wear the coat. Though Mary remained hopeful, she could not wear the coat – it just didn’t feel right on her. Finally, just as Mary was ready to give the coat away, she asked me if I wanted to see it. The minute the car door opened and I saw this beautiful black coat with gold buttons staring back at me, I fell in love.

Dressy and elegant, this coat would happily go to the theater and a dressy dinner. But I like to do the unexpected; I am pairing the coat with jeans and a turtleneck, and casual shoes. Of course, I will also wear it dressed up but I believe that beautiful things can be worn every day, too. I will always thank Mary’s mother for this luscious coat! Did I mention the hot-pink lining??

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I Dreamed about a Handbag

Last night I actually dreamed about a handbag! In my 57 years, it was the first time that I dreamed about a piece of clothing! I had seen a handbag during the day, liked it very much, but had pondered whether to make the purchase, so I didn’t get it. Obviously, this handbag stayed with me, even in my subconscious.

I try not to buy impulsively because I have made my share of mistakes with purchases I have regretted the minute I brought them home. So I have learned to hold back. There are, of course, the clothes that I know immediately are perfect for me. I try not to waver with those – as I have also had my share of heartbreak after losing something because I waited. In general, though, my philosophy about buying clothes has served me well: for the ones I really like but can’t say for sure – I hold off for a day or so to see if it leaves my mind. If I stop thinking about it, it was not meant for me. If I continue to think about it (or in this case, dream about it) and if I can picture it as part of my wardrobe, then I will buy it.

My clothes are my friends. We become a team. I think my dream was telling me something – so I returned today to purchase this special handbag – without hesitation!

Handbag, vintage Gucci; t-shirt Milly; tuxedo blazer, Bebe

Photos: Serena Chmelar; shot on location at Batavia, Summit NJ

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Dressing With Texture

The right color and proper fit are essentials when it comes to dressing. But it’s the texture that makes clothing pop and turns simple pieces into an “outfit.” On their own, the individual pieces of this outfit are fine; together, they are magic. Add texture and celebrate the meaning of deliberate and thorough dressing. Allow your clothes to reach their full potential!

Wrap dress: Diane von Furstenberg; stockings, Wolford; jacket, vintage Christian Lacroix; boots Belle Sigerson Morrison

Photos by Abrina Hyatt

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Wearing Vintage in Soho

There’s something about wearing vintage clothes in the middle of Soho, NY. Maybe it’s the cobblestone streets or imagining the lives of the individuals within those streets, but vintage suits just fine. That’s the thing about vintage: it’s not like anything else you will see at a mall and you probably won’t see another person wearing the same thing. It’s unique for you. This soft, leopard jacket that I purchased at my friend Gabrielle’s store, The Collective, is one-of-a-kind. I almost didn’t get it because of the extreme 1980’s style shoulder pads (which I thought were too much for me), but Gabrielle encouraged me and I am thrilled that I did. So when I found myself in Soho on a beautiful and amazingly warm day for October, I smiled in my shorts, knowing that I was the only one in that moment who looked like me!

Jacket, vintage; shorts Kohl’s; t-shirt, Rag & Bone; boots, Coach; socks, Wolford

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This Holiday Try Your Turtleneck With A Side of Hot Chocolate!

q9WUg4CD20OghNz01PFtDnfQVri3w4ffc03KtgCqQvU,98KlfVc-12OIMPhola-HyewSejp0A-HO8c2f1oQ-cbI70gbfccwaT5KL3k34PvVCVpJhahCc220YE6JYAS6COA,5-d9i1hH-eOEU9BvVX8icoiii9uZwaV_HPSrUEVyQdAI love the classics for the holidays: a turtleneck with a side of hot chocolate. The turtleneck sweater is a winter staple; paired with jeans, the combination is cozy, understated and simple, yet undeniably chic (think Jackie Kennedy Onassis). But adding hot chocolate with whipped cream takes this look to the next level and screams ‘Happy Holidays!‘ like nothing else.

Turtleneck, vintage Akris; jeans, Frame Denim; bracelet, Tory Burch; hot chocolate, courtesy of Boxwood Coffee

Photos by Sophie MacMillan; shot on location at Boxwood Coffee, Summit NJ


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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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Stormy weather and Vidal Sassoon

Beth Rogan

Vidal Sassoon giving British actor Beth Rogan his signature haircut in 1962 [Credit: Getty Images]

Here on the east coast, Hurricane Sandy is bearing down. I am remembering just a year ago we experienced another crazy storm: a fluke snowstorm that took us by surprise, taking the leaves on the trees with it. At my house we lost power for eight days. Just before the power came back, my friend (who had not lost power) saved my life by inviting me to stay with her overnight. I felt like a princess, warm and well-cared for. And the best Continue reading

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Betsy’s cap

“I ran into to local 99-cents shop looking for one thing, and came away with this cap for $1.29. It is the best $1.29 I have spent in a considerable time. I wore it recently in Maine, and everyone noticed it and asked me about it. I think I could sell it for a lot more than I bought it! But I won’t.

I like it because it carries the Latin flavor. I think that the image on the cap is Our Lady of Guadalupe (the Latin Virgin Mary). She is always shown in radiant light. My mom and my aunt would often pray to Our Lady of Guadalupe. It was very personal for them to have a Latin Virgin Mary.”

~ Betsy

Betsy holding her $1.29 cap, Our Lady of Guadalupe

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Jodie in her own words …

Jodie on The High Line, NYC

Jodie on The High Line, NYC, wearing one of her favorite outfits

I met Jodie Berlin Morrow in the early 1980s after I graduated college. I was taking a walk in my neighborhood with my mom (probably pondering my future) when we ran into Jodie. Because, for a brief and wonderful interlude in her life as a New Yorker, she lived in my town in New Jersey and became our neighbor and very special friend. Jodie eventually moved back to New York and we lost touch with her until a few years ago when we all reconnected. How happy my mom and I are to have Jodie back in our lives. She is a beautiful woman with the gift of bringing out the best in us. Stylish as always, she truly inspires me. But enough from me. Now, Jodie, in her own words …

I didn’t have any identifiable style until I was in my early 40s. Before that, I had worked in a school setting and in human resources, and I wasn’t that interested in fashion. A significant change happened when I became the owner of an antique store, and that is when I began to find out what I liked. It took leaving those earlier environments and becoming a buyer for my own store, responsible for choosing and selecting pieces that I liked, to change my style perspective. I would travel to do my buying and developed new relationships and friendships along the way. I soon fell in love with vintage. I began to wear Victorian Whites and I started to buy clothes that felt like me and that I absolutely loved … Continue reading

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