Take YOUR Personal Style to BlogHer ’14!

July 22nd, 2014

I am about to leave for a 3 day blogging conference in San Jose, CA.  I am going with my friend and Midlife Mixtape author Nancy Kho and friend and colleague Amy Roseveare, author of Jewelry Fashion Tips. Stop by their blogs and give them some BlogHer love.   Nancy is a seasoned veteran of BlogHer and has been my go to person for questions, concerns and advice for newbies like me.  It was at her urging, that I decided to weigh in on dressing for BlogHer.

Blogher 14

BlogHer 14 has a Facebook page that many of us have joined and the MOST asked question by far is “what do I wear???  Normally, I would jump all over this question!  I am a Personal Shopper and get paid for helping people with their wardrobes.  After reading tons of entries over the last few weeks, I came up with advice and guidance to answer that ‘what to wear’ question.  I’m not going to offer packing tips, Pinterest boards, Polyvore sets or trend advice, but some thoughtful guidelines on how to dress for BlogHer or any other intimidating and new situation.

“Always be a first rate version of yourself, instead of a second rate version of someone else”.  I love this quote by Judy Garland and have repeated it many times.  Dress like and for yourself, not for someone else.  I have read countless posts about feeling scared, unsure and downright out of place, coming to BlogHer for the first time.  I am inspired by how many people have said to dress comfortably and in what you feel most powerful and confident in.  This is the very same advice I give to my clients.  If I am not taking their personality, lifestyle and spirit into consideration when choosing items, then the clothes we buy together will go to waste.  Buying clothes that aren’t ‘you’ is the equivalent of buying a new couch and leaving it in the attic; neither will ever see the light of day.

 

Be a first rate version

 

Are you artistic, flamboyant and outgoing?  Wear color!  Are you a bit shy and reserved, not wanting to stand out in the crowd?  That’s OK, wear more subtle understated colors and clothing!  Don’t like the way jeans fit your frame?  Wear A line skirts and dresses!  There is a solution for everyone.

Remember, personal style is not static.  Are you the same writer you were 5, 10, 15 years ago?  Probably not.  In that same way, our own personal style changes, grows and morphs as we make our way in the world.  No need to go all out dressing up if you spend most of your working hours in the comfort of a home office.  It’s not necessary to buy lovely dry clean only separates with babies or toddlers around.  Dress for your life today, don’t worry about where it will be next month, year or decade.  Celebrate where you are now.

My BFF has a picture of me circa 1999 in a pair of pale blue linen overalls!  She uses it in loving way to remind me of where I came from.  At that time I was a new mother to boy/ girl twins.  You could say I was overwhelmed and sleep deprived and that would be the understatement of the year!  The fact that the overalls were easy to clean, supposed to be wrinkled (they were linen after all) and could be easily undone for nursing, made them a slam dunk in my wardrobe.  Would I wear them now?  Most likely not, but my life has changed a lot since then.  My kids are going to be high school juniors this fall, so parks, playgrounds, dirty diapers and sippy cups are a distant memory.

My linen overalls.  I hated to get rid of them.

My linen overalls. I hated to get rid of them.

 

Having spent the whole of my career in the fashion/ retail industry, my style has grown and changed accordingly.  Spending time in NY covering Fashion Week (talk about stressful packing), requires a very different mindset and wardrobe than driving a carload of teens to the movies.  No matter what I wear with my teens, I will never look cool enough, young enough or hip enough.  Here’s the rub, I don’t want to!  I dress for my age, figure, budget, husband, girlfriends, but most of all, I DRESS FOR MYSELF!  So as you fellow BlogHer 14 attendees are scrambling to pack, do last minute errands, get manis and pedis, remember, whatever you have on will be the perfect outfit for YOU!

And if happen to notice you in overalls  (BTW, they are very on trend right now ), you will get an understanding, accepting and admiring nod from moi!

 

Packing Tips for the Experienced Traveler

June 17th, 2014

Most every school in the western U.S. is out for the summer, including my kid’s school (YEAH!).  That usually means some type of vacation or trip.  As we turn our attention away from driving carpool and towards lounging by the pool, packing the right clothing is paramount to enjoying your vacation to the fullest.  I’ve done other posts on packing tips and you can read them here, here and here.

What I want to share are some more specific tips for people that are already seasoned travelers , but want to take it to the next level.

1.  Carry-on is the only way to go!  This bears repeating, as anyone who checks these days is just asking for trouble!  You can fit everything you need in a carry on.  One of the things I love most about travel is the adventure of it and the ability to wander unencumbered.  One caveat to the carry on is if you are traveling for an extended period like the entire summer and really need more than a week or two worth of clothes.

carryon with hat

2.  What about workout clothes/ sneakers?  What always puts me over the edge while packing is the fact that I need to include clothing for running or working out.  Sneakers specifically, take up a lot of room in my carry on.  My solution?  I just bought a pair of Nike Free sneakers.  Mine are more for running and cross training.  I’m not going to wear them to run a marathon, but for vacation workouts or hiking, they’re PERFECT!  They are feather light, mashable and they come in fun colors.  I also pack light performance fabric clothing for workouts and roll them to fill in gaps in the suitcase.

Nike free

3.  One of the hardest parts of packing is limiting your color palette.  I always choose between taking neutrals; khaki, brown, gold, rust, orange, coral OR, I take black, white, red, teal, yellow and jewel/primary tones.  By doing this you automatically cut down on the shoes you need to bring and increase your ability to mix and match.   I am going on a tropical vacation in a few days, so I am sticking with warm neutrals.  I am taking 4 pairs of shoes: Nike Frees, bronze flat sandals, brown/gold flip flops and a cinnamon colored wedge with natural jute bottom.  Making sure that everything works together, gives you a ton of outfit possibilities and keeps you from over-packing!

cramming a suitcase

3.  If you LOVE to have music on your vacation, but don’t want to pack a lot of adaptors or hope the hotel has some kind of player, a Bluetooth wireless mini speaker is the way to go.  I just invested in the UE mini boom a by Logitech and I love it.  It has great sound for such a small speaker and it is so portable.  It is perfect for the beach, tailgate party or in your hotel room.   It has a 10 hour rechargeable battery  and an added plus is it’s conference call capability…  NOT that I recommend taking conference calls while on vacation.

ueminiboom-group

4.   In addition to your carry on suitcase, your personal item also has to work double or triple duty.  I like to have a tote bag that I can also use as a beach or day bag for sightseeing.  I really like the foldable ‘Le Pliage’ tote by Longchamp in the medium size.  It comes in tons of colors, folds up really small  and is made of a water resistant nylon material.  It can be wiped off with a damp cloth, is sturdy and fits a ton of stuff.

Longchamp Le Pliage

5.  Dresses are your best friend while traveling!  There is no need to match tops to bottoms and many dresses can also be used as a bathing suit cover up.  They can be dressed down with a jean jacket and flats and dressed up with a colorful wrap and heels.  I love maxis for beach locations and knee length dresses for cities.

Summer-Maxi-Dresses-Type

I know packing is an art form and everyone has their own little tricks and tips.  One of my favorite things to do for my clients is to help them pack for a trip.  If you have trouble narrowing down what you want to pack, call me!  I can help you put together a vacation wardrobe that fits your itinerary and makes packing for your vacation effortless.

pin on map

As for me, I am heading to Costa Rica with my husband for our 20th Wedding Anniversary.  I’d love to know what far flung places you’re traveling to this summer and what packing tips have served you well…  Bon voyage and safe travels wherever you may go!

airplane at sunset

A Tale of Two Skirts.

May 27th, 2014

Those of you who read my blog last week knew about the Marimekko and Banana Republic collaboration launching last week.  Being the fashionista that I am, I logged onto the Banana Republic site on Tuesday afternoon (a perk of being a BR cardholder ) to order a skirt from the collection.  Much to my dismay, my coveted skirt was SOLD OUT online!   I was devastated.  This is no ordinary skirt, it is THE Kivet Print patio skirt .   I placed an online order sans the patio skirt and hoped for the best when the stores opened on Thursday morning…

The coveted Kivet Patio Skirt

The coveted Kivet Patio Skirt

A little background, the Kivet Print patio skirt was the hottest item in the collection, especially since Jamie Chung was spotted in LA wearing it with black pumps, a red clutch and a matching Kivet print sweater.   That sent every fashionista, stylist and celeb wannabe,  into an all out frenzy.

Jamie Chung in the Kivet Patio Skirt and Sweater

Jamie Chung in the Kivet Patio Skirt and Sweater

Come Thursday morning at 9:40 am, I secure the 1st spot in line at the entrance to the Grant St., S.F., Banana Republic store (those of you who know me personally, know that I am a freakishly punctual person, so, naturally, I was in the garage waiting at 9:15 am).   I could see the collection through the windows and was trying to see the location of the Patio skirt.    People start to line up behind me.  I should note here, that I lived in NYC for 10 years, so don’t EVEN try to cut me in line!

BR outside

After waiting for what seems like forever, they open the doors at 10:03.  I frantically weave through the other shoppers, only to arrive to the rack with only 2 items on it, a size 2 and a size 0.   “What to do, what to do”, I think to myself.  I end up procuring a size 0 which, unfortunately, is nowhere close to my size 8 figure.

After milling around the store for a bit, I meet a very disappointed gal who needs a size 0.  We cajoled a salesperson with at 4 to give it to me, while I gave my size 0 to a very grateful company employee/fellow shopper.  I was getting closer to my 8.  I tried on the 4 and big surprise, it’s too small.  I decide that my talented seamstress with be able to let out the pleats in the back to transform a 4 into an 8.  I buy the 4 along with a few other cute pieces and hang around a bit.  Hey, 20 years in retail had to teach me something, right?  I spot a salesperson with a 10 and 12 heading for the fitting rooms.  The size 12 fits the customer who reserved them, so I snatch the 10 from the shocked salesperson and it’s MINE!  It’s still not an 8, but only one size off.  I leave the store with 2 patio skirts (size 4 and 10), feeling victorious!

www.theclassycubicle.com

www.theclassycubicle.com

Later that day, I post to craigslist.org for a trade and come up short…no one has an 8.  Meanwhile I get many offers for my 4, as I clearly state that without an 8, I’m keeping the 10.  Then it hits me, eBay!  I list the $98 skirt for $100 starting bid, with a $250 “Buy Me Now” price.  I can hardly believe it, but two hours later, I have a notification that my skirt has been purchased at $250.  Let me say that again, $250!  I am beyond ecstatic as I contemplate someone buying a $98 skirt for $250.  I am at a loss as I think to myself,  ”this is a CRAZY business”.

I’d love to hear if anyone else was lucky enough to get the Kivet Patio skirt.   Tell me your story!

Marimekko, Banana Republic, a Great Team!

May 20th, 2014

Exciting news from clothing purveyor Banana Republic,  Marimekko, the iconic Finnish fabric design and fashion house, is partnering with them for a wonderful capsule collection.  I have always been a big fan of Marimekko fabrics and their prints are just so FUN, no doubt about it!  They have created, or in some cases reimagined, vintage prints, to put together a really inspiring clothing group.

photo courtesy of bananarepublic.ccm

photo courtesy of bananarepublic.ccm

I love when retailers collaborate with designers and the outcome is a more affordable group.  Although Marimekko is not very high end, their fabric designs are always imaginative and feel very Scandinavian in it their aesthetic.  Marimekko has done some very successful collaborations with Crate & Barrel stores, where customers pick their Marimekko fabric and have a custom table cloth made for them.  They are also launching a showroom in the EQ3 store in San Francisco at the end of May.

Marimekko started in 1949 in Helsinki, Finland and was Printex before it was renamed Marimekko.  Their first fashion show was held in 1951 and the crowds were so excited, they practically bought the garments off of the model’s backs!  The first Marimekko store opened the following year.  Their most iconic and recognizable print is Unikko, an abstract interpretation of poppies.

unikko

Marimekko has it’s own stores as well as being carried in stores all around the world.  The store locator can help you find the store nearest you.

The Banana Republic collection includes shorts, skirts, dresses, pants, tops and a few cute clutches.  Everything is priced at $39.50-$130, a very doable price point!  It went on sale today for BR cardholders on their website and is available in stores starting Thursday, May 22nd.  The black and white skirt in the top picture is already sold out online, so I think that means there will be a lot of excitement around this launch.  I’ve already placed orders for my clients (and me)!

BR maxi

BR short set

BR short dress

BR clutch

Missoni Family attends AAU Graduation Fashion Show!

May 16th, 2014

The Academy of Art University students wowed the invitation only audience at the packed graduation fashion show last Thursday night, May 8th!  The venue was a massive warehouse in a south San Francisco industrial/chic neighborhood.  Attendees were treated to wine and nibbles before the show, in order to peruse the portfolios of select BFA and MFA graduating fashion students including Fashion Design, Textile Design, Knitwear Design, Merchandising, Jewelry/Metal arts and Illustration majors.  It was an impressive group of graduates!

Even more impressive were guests of honor Rosita, Angela and Margherita Missoni…THREE generations of amazing Missoni women.  The Missoni label was started by Rosita and her husband Ottavio  in the 1950’s and continues to be one of the most iconic knitwear brands in the world.  Rosita and Ottavio (Tai) were awarded Honorary Doctorates while they were guests of AAU in 1999.  I was working at AAU at that time as Merchandising Coordinator and instructor.  I had the great pleasure of spending some time with the Missonis and they were beyond gracious and charming!

The picture below is a wonderful reminder of that time.  Pictured (L to R) Maureen French, Bridget Kelly, Louise (top), GPP (bottom), Tai Missoni (top), Rosita Missoni (bottom), Rhona MacKenzie, Sharon and AAU President, Elisa Stephens.

The Missonis along with fashion school faculty in 1999

The Missonis along with fashion school faculty in 1999

Rosita was thrilled to see the 1999 picture, as was AAU President, Elisa Stephens and AAU Fashion School Executive Director, Gladys Perint Palmer.  Sadly, Tai Missoni passed away in May of last year at the family’s home in Sumirago, Italy.

Rosita Missone, Maureen French & Gladys Perint Palmer

Rosita Missone, Maureen French & Gladys Perint Palmer

It was lovely to see both Angela and Margherita Missoni receive their Honorary Doctorates during Thursday’s show.   They were both so grateful to be awarded these honors along with their parents and grandparents 15 years prior.  AAU President, Elisa Stephens said “The Missonis have created an iconic, globally recognized and celebrated style.  We are thrilled to have the Missonis as our esteemed guests, and it is an honor to have three generations of lady doctors join us for our Graduation Fashion Show.”

simon_unglessAs in years past, the show was as close as SF gets to a fashion week show!  AAU graduate students show at New York Fashion Week in the Spring and Fall.  Every year the show gets better and having missed only one or two over the last 16 years, I feel very qualified to say that!  Simon Ungless, Director of the School of Fashion and Director/Producer of the fashion show, is brilliant in his role and NEVER disappoints!  He has his hand in every detail of the show and it always pays off with a stunning parade of sartorial splendor.  He really is the heart and soul of the show and makes sure every student whose collection is included, really works hard for that honor.  Many tears have been shed by students who did not complete their collections on time or were lacking in quality and construction… talk about a project runway moment!  BTW, several AAU alumni have been on the popular show including fan favorite, Melissa Fleiss.

Overall, the collections were imaginative, original and impeccably tailored.  The variety of men’s, women’s and children’s collections kept the audience totally interested in whatever came down the runway.  Here are a few highlights…

AAU photo1 correct AAU photo5 correct

AAU photo4 correct

AAU photo2 correct

AAU photo3 correct

AAU photo 6 correct

And here is the full video from the AAU website.  Watch it, you WON’T be disappointed!

Animal Prints, It’s a Jungle Out There!

February 28th, 2014

Look around next time you’re out walking around a city or suburban mall.  You will definitely see a healthy amount of animal print roaming around.  Animal print used to be a trend for only the most fashion forward among us.  It has successfully crossed over from fashion ‘trend’ to fashion ‘classic’.  Animal prints have become mainstream and can be seen in many different sartorial iterations.  Here are some ways you can wear a little or a lot of animal print.

animal print photo3 corrected

If you just want to dip your toe in the pool and not dive in completely, take a baby step with a scarf, pin or umbrella.  The three pieces in this photo were all easy to find and easy on the wallet.  The lighter colored scarf and pin are both from H & M, VERY affordable.

animal print photo2 corrected

The next step you can take is a pair of animal print shoes.  These are all styles that I have worn consistently over the last 5 years.  I love the Zebra ones for easy black and white pairings with a splash of color (I do red with these a lot).  The Tod’s pair on the left are my absolute favorites and I wear them ALL the time.  Because they have black and browns, they go with so much!

animal print photo4 corrected

If you are feeling brave, you can go further with an animal print shirt, pant, or in this picture, a handbag.  I just got this Kate Spade bag and I am using it like crazy.  In an unusual twist, a client found this while shopping in Santana Row in San Jose with a friend.  I saw it and decided (with her agreement) I had to have it.  Again, it can be worn with black or browns, can be wiped off and travels really well.

This blouse is also a great way to work animal print into your wardrobe.

animal print photo1 corrected

I often caution clients not to go overboard with any particular look, animal prints included. Too much of a good thing is TOO much!  One or two small pieces, like shoes and a scarf or pin are lovely, but head to toe is a NO-NO.

animal print photo5 corrected

I LOVE the way Janice was able to wear this beautiful Tory Burch animal print dress with so much style and verve!  She is a wonderful example of embracing the look and making it her own, way to go Janice!  She kept things simple, like her jewelry and wore black tights and over- the- knee boots… perfect.

How do you wear animal prints?  I’d love to hear your answers and even better, see your pictures.

Pantone 2014 Color of the Year is Here!

February 15th, 2014

Pantone has announced the color of the year for 2014 in the usual flush of excitement and fanfare.  Pantone is THE authority on all things related to color.  So, drumroll please…the color for 2014 is RADIANT ORCHID!!! 

Pantone's 2014 color of the year, Radiant Orchid

Pantone’s 2014 color of the year, Radiant Orchid

While I think this is a lovely color, will this be a color that most women and men can relate to???  I combed my closet to see if I already owned any Radiant Orchid.  I came up with a work out top, that someone gave to me.  While I don’t have anything against Radiant Orchid, it is not the first (or second, or third, etc) color that I would reach for.  I then started to think about my clients and whether this would speak to any of their sartorial leanings.  The answer is not really, except for maybe one client.  She tends towards softer colors and never wears black!  So, that begs the question of whether just because a color has the designation of ‘color of the year’, do we try to incorporate it into our wardrobes?

My Orchid workout top

My Orchid workout top

There are a lot of other ways to wear Radiant Orchid besides a dress, top or jeans. Why not a Orchid colored handbag or clutch?  What about an purple hued pair of ballet flats or other kind of shoe?  Don’t forget that the beauty industry is also influenced by Pantones color forecasts.  Radiant Orchid is a great color for makeup.  What about a beautiful blush or eye shadow in this years’ color?

Pantone color board

The color board above gives some other ways to wear this sometimes difficult hue.  Take a look at the other colors in the 2014 fashion forecast this year.  I can really relate to Celosia Orange, Cayenne and Hemlock below.  So will anyone really care if I opt for a blush in the color of the year instead of a statement piece?  Probably not!  What do you think of Radiant Orchid, 2014 color of the year?  C’mon, don’t be shy…

Pantone fashion color forecast

Pantone fashion color forecast

Peter Pilotto hits the Target!!!

February 3rd, 2014

Peter Pilatto for Target #3Target is truly the benchmark when it comes to designer collaborations, it made Isaac Mizrahi a household name after all!  Well, for those of you obsessed with getting designer styles at a fraction of the cost, the wait is over.  Peter Pilotto and Christopher De Vos,  co-creators of the Peter Pilotto line have designed a capsule collection for Target.  It hits Target stores/website on February 9th, as well as Net-a-Porter.com.  That means those living outside of the U.S. can buy it too, c’est magnifique!

Peter Pilotto and Christopher De Vos are London based designers and met whilst studying at Antwerp’s prestigious Royal Academy of Fine Arts in 2000.  Pilotto is half Austrian and half Italian and De Vos is half Belgian and half Peruvian.  Pilotto’s passion is wonderful prints and textiles while De Vos leans toward silhouette and draping.  Together, they are just genius!

Capsule collection for Target

The collection is so interesting in the way it pairs Pilotto’s graphic and sometimes crazy prints with the architectural design of De Vos.  Almost the entire line is priced below $60 and keep in mind that a real Peter Pilotto dress can cost upwards of $2000!  Some have described their sensibility at Fem-Geek, which hits the nail on the head.

 

The line includes staples like dresses (can you say summer parties?), skirts, pants tops, as well as bathing suits, accessories (totes and clutches) and even a beach towel.  I was a little disappointed with the quality of the Philip Lim for Target collection, so I hope this latest collaboration is a step up.

Peter Pilatto for Target #4

I love the playfulness of the prints and the wear-ability of the dresses.  Until it comes out, it is hard to gauge how well it will fit.  Although from the lookbook, it seems to skew towards the younger side, I think some of the separates worn with a solid would be great on any age.  It’s all about what you wear it with, yes?

Peter Pilatto for Target #2Anyone have their eye on anything???  For the full lookbook, check out fashionista.com and let me know what you like … Happy shopping!

 

 

So Many Books, So Little Time

January 27th, 2014

Over the last several years, I have amassed a growing collection of great fashion books.  Some are truly spectacular (Thanks Deb for the gorgeous Alexander McQueen book and  Sally for the beautiful Yves Saint Laurent one) and others are more pedestrian.  Over the summer, I had the opportunity to browse in the mecca of all bookstores, Powell’s in Portland, OR.  This truly is the mother ship of all bookstores!  It is so massive, check out the map to help navigate it’s many nooks and crannies:

Map of Powell's book store

My daughter, a self proclaimed bibliophile, was in heaven!  I had never seen a larger collection of fashion books in my life.  I wanted to bring a sleeping bag and stay the night.

Powell's

Anyway, I digress … while at Powell’s I was able to peruse and buy some books I had my eye on.  The first one I read was by Nina Garcia, of Project Runway fame, called The One Hundred: A Guide to the Pieces Every Stylish Woman Must Own.

Nina Garcia book

I’m always a little hesitant about books that tell you what to wear.  I don’t like the MUST OWN command, it just sounds so mean.  Which if you watch PR you know that Nina can indeed be mean!  I must say that this book was entertaining, informative and easy to read.  One of the best parts of the book was the illustrations; they were amazing!  I love Ruben Toledo’s fashion illustrations, and this book had them on every page.  I am a huge fan and never tire of his art.  Garcia knows what she’s talking about as a fashion editor of Marie Claire and formerly of Elle magazines.  In addition to the beautiful pictures, Nina goes on to explain the history of an item, if that is pertinent, like in the case of the pearl necklace.  It tells you how Jacques Cartier traded a double strand of cultured pearls for the Manhattan store bearing his name in 1916, or that the fake strand of pearls Jackie O paid $80 for, sold at auction for $211,500 in 1996.  I was happy that I could  take credit for owning roughly 75- 80% of her top 100 must have items… not to bad at all.  I’ve made it this far with out a bikini and Minnetonka moccasins and haven’t suffered too much.  This is a great book whether fashion is your thing or not.  What fashion books, if any, are on your shelf???  The book can be purchased at ninagarcia.com.  Enjoy!

Rubin Toledo picture

 

 

Lesley Evers Warehouse sale!

October 15th, 2013

One of my favorite designers is having a warehouse sale starting on Wednesday, and I’m pretty excited!  Lesley Evers is a local Oakland designer of both clothing and wonderful fabrics, and I’m not sure which I love more!  They opened a lovely store on College Ave. in Rockridge, and their second store is in Lafayette, where the sale is taking place.  Come and check them out, even if you can’t make it to the sale …

See ‘ya there!

 

Lesley Evers sale