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Take YOUR Personal Style to BlogHer ’14!

Tuesday, 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!


What the heck do I wear???

Thursday, January 19th, 2012

It’s the same time every year, so why am I always so surprised when I have to decide what to wear???  I am referring to the annual AICI (Assn. of Image Consultants Int’l) 3 day Education Conference I attend each January.  This is a wonderful, informative, action packed couple of days that sends your mind into overdrive by the time you leave on Sunday evening.  The San Francisco chapter of AICI sponsors this conference and I NEVER miss it!  I have been a member of AICI sine 2005, received my FLC (first level certification) in 2007 and my CIP (certified image professional) certification in 2009.  In order to maintain this certification you have to earn CEU’s on a regular basis, which is only ONE reason I go so religiously.

The only part of the weekend that stresses me out is when I go to put my outfits together for each day.  This is a great looking group, let me just say!!!  The only other comparison I can make is when I have to pack for NY Fashion Week…YIKES, that is stressful.  I’m sure you’ve heard it said that ‘women dress for women, not men’.  I definitely agree with that.  The vast majority of the attendees are women, and there are usually only one or two men (sorry fellas).  I definitely dress for the women I will be encountering over the weekend.  These are wonderful women that are mentors, colleagues and friends.  You’d think I wouldn’t be so overwhelmed by the prospect of packing for this weekend.

My rack with "potential" outfits

I start planning the outfits in my mind at least a month beforehand.  I re-work and edit along the way and then the week before, I take out my trusty rolling rack and start coordinating.  You might think this is strange behaviour from someone who makes a living dressing people…and it is!  After trying on all possible outfits, I tweak them and substitute pieces where necessary.  By the time the conference starts, I’ve put aside all possible doubts and settled into the fun and camaraderie the weekend brings.

Oh boy, better start planning for next year…


A fitting finale

Saturday, September 13th, 2008

It’s Saturday morning and I’m totally pooped!  After 8 days and 18 different shows, I am ready to come back to the bay area.  The last 2 days were fun and going to “Project Runway” on Friday morning was a real thril (more…)

In a New York minute

Thursday, September 11th, 2008

There is nothing like a clear, sunny beautiful day in New York City.  Wednesday was an 11 on a scale of 1-10.  These type of days don’t come along all that often here, so I totally enjoyed it.

I went to the Nanette Lapore show at 11 am.  I had been looking forward to this show because I personally like the line and buy it for myself.  It’s the type of collection that is fun but still sophisticated enough for 40 somethings and beyond.  I was relieved to find that Nanette did not use as many muted colors as the other designers I have been seeing.  I really like that she used a bright shade of melon, teal and turquoise.  The prints she used were very saturated colors with a festive feel.  She also showed short shorts and a cute mini jumpsuit.  What is up with these jumpsuits?  Since when does any self respecting woman wear a short jumpsuit?  Sorry, I digress.  Anyway, I loved Nanette Lepore’s flamenco inspired dressed with just enough ruffle to make it interesting, but not over the top.  This collection used more cotton and less chiffon which gave it a more casual feel.  The collection also paired striped shorts and pants with florals on the top.  There was a little leather in the form of a skirt paired with a silk blouse.  Lepore’s inspiration was lush gardens, paisley and stripes.  I loved the aesthetic and thought the line very inspiring indeed.

I was scheduled to see Milly and Mara Hoffman Wednesday evening…but in a New York minute I changed course and opted for some culture and philanthropy.  A friend in New York volunteers with an organization called “Bread and Roses”.  They sponsor a program called “unseenamerica”, which ‘gives cameras, lessons, and exhibits to the scores of people who have no public voice and little visibility in the larger culture’.  A group of Arab women were exhibiting their work at the Pomegranite Gallery in Soho.  Most of them were not in attendance because of cultural practices and not wanting to be in the public eye.  There was a wonderful performance artist who was half Arab, and whose performance was heartbreaking.  It was a very welcome change after all the glitz and glamour of the tents.  Sometimes you have to take advantage of a New York minute… 

Never a dull moment…

Wednesday, September 10th, 2008

Fashion week in New York continues and the shows never stop.  You definitely need a few red bulls to keep you going through all of the back and forth to the tents or other venues.

On Monday morning I headed to Chelsea for a show called Caravan.  This was a show sponsored by Tide (the detergent maker) and featured 7 different designers. The shows premise was that all of the runway styles had to be machine washable.  It was an interesting show and all of the garments were pretty casual except for a few evening dresses/ gowns.  I was very impressed with the high style and low maintenance these garments had.  One of the lines, gr. dano, is designed a bay area native. 

Catherine Malandrino was held at the Chelsea Art Museum on 22nd st.  It was nice to see a few shows that were not held in the tents.  This show was staged in a way the really made use of the space.  The models walked a path that went up and down several rows of people.  This line was so beautiful this season.  Again colors were shades of nude, lights, sunrise and dusk.   These clothes were so beautifully draped and ruched, I could really imagine them on lots of women.  Because the fabrics were organza, tulle (lots) chiffon and jersey, the clothing was not overly clingy and lay on the body wonderfully.  There were a few leather jackets, but done in nudes and neutrals so that they looked a lot softer.  Malandrino also showed lace overlays, a trend that we are seeing a lot this fall.  I thought this collection was totally pretty and feminine.

Luca Luca was next on the schedule and back in the crazy tents.  Serena Williams, Ivana Trump and Eric Benet were all at this show.  Once again, the color story was pales:  cream, blue, green, taupe, peach and plum.  Luca Luca showed a lot of organza, and moire silk, along with very sheer, layered looks.  A lot of designers are including very short shorts in their collections.  There are a lot of them on the streets as well.  Tailored short jackets were also shown in this collection.

Betsey Johnson and Max Azria were Tuesday’s shows.  Betsey Johnson’s show was just the drama one would expect from her.  Fun, frivolous and festive were all accomplished.  She used lots of printed floral fabrics with crinolines, tiers and ruffles. She included a bridal segment complete with the models hands handcuffed behind them.  I guess she made her opinion of marriage crystal clear!  There were lot of cropped and skinny pants and more color than one person can take.  You come away feeling that Betsey Johnson loves her job! 

Max Azria was next and the front was row filled with young celebrities.  The only person I recognized was Glenda Bailey, editor  of Harper’s Bazaar.  Max Azria was more homage to draping, movement and shaded neutrals.   This collection was mainly dresses and some seperates.  There was more draping, but this time it had a grecian feeling to it.  There were very plunging deep v necks and one shoulder dresses and tops.  There were skinny pants with belted vests over them.  There was more sheer chiffon and jersey and the requisite pantsuit (both short and long), which almost every designer I’ve seen included in their collections.   Max Azria did a good job with what is turning out to be a very muted looking Spring 2009.

Wednesday is Nanette Lepore, Milly by Michelle Smith and Mara Hoffman. 

The shows must go on…

Tuesday, September 9th, 2008

I am now a day behind on blogging, because the time seems to fly by here! Between running from one show to the next, trying to catch a meal here and there, and taking a much needed break now and then, the day is gone.BREAKING NEWS…I am definitely confirmed to attend the finale of this season’s Project Runway!!!  I am  beyond excited as I am a big fan of the show!Sunday was Tracey Reese to start the day.  She is such a great designer in part because she designs for real women.  Her styles were so feminine!  Andre Leon Talley from Vogue, Ana Ortiz from “Ugly Betty” and singer Brandy were all front row occupants.  Again, we saw a lot of flesh tones and chiffon, wide leg pants and some cute trench coats.  Soft peach was a key color for this show.  There were also some watercolor prints that I thought were pretty.  Tracey showed some raspberry, purple and kelly green in some of her designs.  I thought this was a very accessible collection.   Herve Leger was the next show and Maria Sharipova,  Joy Bryant,  Michelle Trachtenberg were front row along with some other minor celebs that I am too old to know about!  This was a very full show.  I was not that familiar with this line and I was really surprised by it.  This is a line that is made for the very thin, very tall and very beautiful.  Max Azria designs for this line and he has kept the line true to it’s origins.  The dresses were incredibly short, architectural and form fitting.  They are constructed with elastic panels (or so it seemed) and layered to form the dress.  There were varying shades of gray, along with orange formed into both vertical and horizontal bands of color.  The effect was really striking.  The evening looks were also beautiful and the show ended with what seemed to be bathing suits that wrapped around these beautiful models, although one dunk in a pool or ocean might render them completely ineffective! Tibi was next and so far the collection I liked the least.  This show looked like a throwback to the 80′s.  Very severe padded shoulders and colors that were so saturated that they seemed comic almost.  There were harem pants and lots of pleating.  This was disturbing because if something looks voluminous on a model, what about the rest of us!  There was a few Asian inspired dresses that I liked and the use of a cummerbund style belt in some of the looks was appealing.  Overall, not my favorite show.I had a close brush with Eva Longoria as she was in the tents introducing a new line of M&Ms.  I also passed Nina Garcia, judge from Project Runway, on my way out of the tents.The fun continues here in New York… stay tuned  

Rain, rain go away…

Sunday, September 7th, 2008

I knew it was coming and this year I was ready!  Apparently, there were 3 different hurricanes moving up the east coast and converging on Saturday.  It started out overcast and went downhill from there.  Rain wind and lots of deep puddles.  The plan was to stay away from the tents  for the day, and do something non-fashion related…oh well.

I had read about the museum at FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology) and really wanted to go there.  There were 2 incredible exhibits that really exceeded my expectations.  Arbitors of Style: Women at the forefront of Fashion was the first one and really an incredible collection of clothing from the 1850′s to present day designers like Dior and YSL.  I love looking at collections of iconic garments that really represent an art form in my opinion.  The second exhibit was called Gothic: Dark Glamour, and had just opened the day before.  Unfortunately, we just missed the opening reception the night before we arrived in N.Y.  This was also a great exhibit as it examined the influence of gothic undertones on fashion.  This started with “mourning” dresses and moved all the way up to designers like Alexander McQueen, Vivienne Westwood and others.  This is an impressive museum and it is free!

Broadway beckoned, so the night’s activity was to see “Legally Blonde”.  Navigating Times Square in the pouring rain on a Saturday night was a sight to behold.  The theaters were packed.  Apparently there was an MTV reality show called “Search for Elle Woods”, that had aired.  The premise being that young women from all over the country auditioned to be the next lead in the broadway show.  A woman named Bailey Hanks won the part in front of a national audience and boy, can she sing!  My favorite number was “Gay or European?”–you have to see this!  The show was funny, the music high-energy and the costumes pink.  A big 2 thumbs up from this critic!

A late dinner at highly recommended Insieme followed the show.  I love being in a city where you sit down for dinner at 11 pm.  The city that never sleeps indeed!

Sunday’s shows include Tracey Reece, Herve Leger (by Max Azria) and Tibi.  More coming, stay tuned.

Let the fashion begin!

Saturday, September 6th, 2008

Talk about hitting the ground running…arrived yesterday morning on the red-eye, groggy and a little disoriented.  After a quick nap (way too short) I headed over to the tents to make my first show at 10 am.  It felt familiar and electric all at the same time!  Lots of fashionista and wannabe milling about ready for the action to begin!

BCBG Max Azria was first on the list.  This was a pretty popular show to attend.  They had chairs in the middle of the runway facing each direction.  I would imagine that it felt like you were part of the show.  The famed Anna Wintour, Editor of Vogue (purported to be the inspiration for the Meryl Streep character in “Devil Wears Prada”) was front row with her beautiful banged bob haircut and large sunglasses.  Also spotted was Vivica A. Fox, Nigel Barker, judge from America’s next top model, and some past contestants from Project Runway.

The show started with a very muted palette of grays, taupes and tans.  The fabrics were jersey and the main construction was draping.  The dresses were very short and bare, as one would expect from runway-worthy clothing.  After the more somber colors came some dresses in very bright melon, raspberry, blueberry and teal.  Forget wearing a bra with any of these beautiful creations!

Next was a show by Rubin Singer ( more on him later).  I was very surprised by this collection…in a good way.  His creations were the very opposite of BCBG.  His dresses were very architectural and made with more structured fabrics like satin.  He used an abundance of black and white stripes and polka dots, together and separately.  He used very constructed details like super wide lapels in his jackets and dresses along with very dramatic collars.  I thought that his clothing was very wearable and appropriate  for the New York or San Francisco markets.

After a short break and some unpacking, I set back off for the Erin Fetherston show.  Erin is a Piedmont native and Cal Berkeley alumni.  After graduation, she set off for Paris and lived and worked there to hone her design skills.  She seems to be a current media darling and designs for many of the red carpet celebs. 

Much to my 10 year old daughter’s delight, Emma Roberts (niece of Julia and daughter of Eric) was the much photographed celebrity du jour.  She was front and center for this show.  Fethereston’s designs were uber feminine.  She used a lot of chiffon in creating very flowy and ethereal pieces.  Her colors were very muted peach, tans and beiges.  She used sequins very beautifully in her wide leg trousers and sheath tops.  Her gowns flowed away from the body with exaggerated “poufs” and gathers around the mid-section and bottoms.  I really like seeing a collection that was so ”girly” and wearable at the same time.

The last show of the day was San Francisco’s own Academy of Art University MFA student show.  Don’t be fooled by the “student” moniker..these people are TALENTED.  There were 11 collections, including 3 menswear.  There was textile designs, and Missoni-inspired knitwear.  Each of the collections was unique and wearable in its own way.  Oakland resident, Anne Jones, collaborated with textile designer and student, Michelle Clarke on a wonderful collection.  They used very vibrant blue hues with oversize sequins that almost looked like colored glass!  Their collection was very evening  with a microfiber dress, jacket and skirt along with grey silk pants and a pink printed sequined dress.  Anne and Michelle did a wonderful job of merging interesting textiles and cutting edge fashion.  AAU just launched their new magazine called “180″ referring to the street number of the fashion school.  There was a copy on every seat…

It’s a rainy day today (Saturday) in Manhattan and museums and possibly a show are on the agenda.  More to come… stay tuned!