It’s the little things …

Jennifer Lawrence in her tangerine-red couture gown and slim black belt

Jennifer Lawrence in her tangerine-red couture gown and slim black belt- Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Details in dressing are important. It’s the little things that help you reach your style potential and create value that will take your look over-the-top. When I saw Jennifer Lawrence in her gown at The Golden Globes, the tangerine-red dress was beautiful, yes, but it was the slim black belt that made it stand out! Accessories, when done right, are accents that bring charm and identify you and your personality: a belt on a cardigan sweater, a necklace worn in an open v-neck, or the right bracelet on your wrist. Other details are critical, as well. I have spoken about the need for a good fit and having a tailor in your arsenal. Proper seams add sophistication to your shirts and jackets, and slacks hemmed appropriately for your size will do the same. Pops of color brighten an outfit, but more important, your mood. Think of a colorful handbag or clutch, or scarf worn around your neck, or even a manicure, the next time you want to feel brighter.

It’s the little things that bring huge benefits!

What do you think?

Farnoosh’s sister

Farnoosh's sister Fara

Farnoosh’s sister Fara

Do you remember Farnoosh? She moved to The United States from Iran ten years ago with her parents and two older sisters. We spoke about how difficult the move and transition was for her at the tender pre-teen age of twelve, about how Farnoosh views fashion, and about the need for us to express ourselves, no matter what our circumstance; even when restrictions are placed upon us and our expression comes in the form of colorful fashion accessories, as in the case of Farnoosh’s female cousin, who lives in a modern-day Iran.

I spent the last morning of 2012 having a cup of coffee with Farnoosh and her oldest sister, Fara (her middle sister, Farnaz, lives in San Diego). Fara is 29 and is living in Chicago as she pursues her Master’s Degree in Designed Objects from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Like her sister, Fara is lovely and creative and full of energy. She has her own story and relationship with fashion. Here is Fara …

When we left Iran I was nineteen. It took me a while to get comfortable, but I was open to the move. I had already graduated from high school in Iran and had an idea that I wanted to be an artist. I stayed local when I first arrived, and for the first year and a half learned English as a second language at Seton Hall University. Immediately I knew that the school was too small for me and that I needed more. I was drawn to New York City and left Seton Hall for New York, where I attended NYIT, the New York Institute of Technology, and graduated with a degree in architecture …

I’m a city person and from the minute I came to New York I was happy. I loved the energy and the diversity and how people in NY are original, especially in the way they think and dress. My favorite thing to do became walking: I would walk everywhere! I was inspired by the streets and the windows. That might be why I dislike shopping in malls where everything is so generic and everyone looks the same. I can’t be linked to only one brand and one designer, head-to-toe. I like variety and dressing high and low. That is why I am a fan of H&M …

I would describe my look as chic enough but not too fancy. I enjoy mixing pieces and remaining eclectic. My passions remain shoes and handbags!” ~ Fara

Fara and Farnoosh have adopted their American life but also embrace their Iranian culture. We had an interesting conversation about what that means. I shared with them that I have Colombian blood and at one time I wasn’t comfortable embracing it, but as I get older, I understand that it is a major part of who I am and I treasure it. I guess that explains why I love Latin music and always want to start salsa dancing … even though I don’t know how!!

I hope I meet Farnoosh and Fara again soon – and meet their middle sister next – Farnaz!

What do you think?

Farnoosh and Fara

Fara with Farnoosh

Fara with me

Fara with me

Marvelous Maggie!

Marvelous Maggie

Remember Maggie? She is getting ready for the holidays with her champagne-colored lace scarf and bright blue jacket. Her mix of color is festive and bright and perfectly seasonal!

The scarf – a pinky-champagne – I bought on sale. It’s so long and has pale sequins that match so well that you can barely see them. Also, when in need, you can throw it down for a table runner! LOL!” ~ Maggie

I love it, marvelous Maggie! Happy Holidays!

Hat head

Having a bad hair day? Try a hat!

When you are out of sorts, you will do anything to feel normal again. Here is a tried-and-true fashion tip: When having a bad hair day, put on a hat! Hats are the solution for off days; chic and warm, they cover your hair without anyone knowing what lies underneath. It is a win-win!

This is the season for warm and woolly hats and there are so many styles from which to choose. During these last two crazy weeks when I didn’t have a moment to think, I opted for a hat. It worked every time!

What do you think?

Heather: “Creating is the most fun …”

Heather, polishing her silver bracelets

When I met Heather at MONDO today, she was polishing silver bracelets that she designed, in order to keep them from oxidizing. It is one of the many details that make the process of designing her own jewelry completely personal. Her love of jewelry began as a child, raiding her mother’s jewelry box. She was always fascinated by color and enjoyed accessorizing from an early age. As Heather got older, “the fun part of my morning was  selecting the jewelry pieces I would wear and taking time to do it.”

When I asked Heather, now a wife and mother of two young sons, how she turned her fun play time into a solid business, she told me that it started simply enough, after she had her second son and had a little more available time (just a little!). She began to create her own bracelets and necklaces, because “my eye naturally goes to my neck.” Women would come to her and ask her where she found her beautiful jewelry, and when she would tell them that she made it herself, many wanted to buy it right off her wrist and neck! Eventually, Heather realized it was time to make jewelry for others. She started her business in 2006 and began selling her pieces at small, local schools and church events. Now for the first time Heather has her own retail space at MONDO, a lovely space in downtown, Summit, New Jersey, and is selling directly to her customers. She feels fortunate to be selling locally because that keeps it personal. “I am happy to be selling as an individual on a smaller scale. I think about my customers; I remember what they bought previously and I like to keep the relationship with them consistent and intimate. I think they appreciate that, too.”

Heather sleeps with her sketchpad next to her bed, ready for an inspirational thought that can come at any time. When her children were younger, she would take them to the playground with the sketchpad; they would be enjoying the freedom of play and so would she. Although she likes the entire process of making jewelry, Heather says that creating is the most fun and challenging.

I like to think of Heather drawing in her sketchpad, capturing the color of the world go by. I might be wearing that very image!

What do you think?

Heather’s watches: “Fun for a pop of color!”

Heather’s silver and beaded bracelets

Heather’s bangles

Scarves!

Scarves!

Scarves are the perfect accessory, especially as the weather cools. I have several cold-weather scarves that I wrap around my neck and ears and head – when necessary, just leaving slits for my eyes – as I battle the elements. But I also love to wear lighter weight scarves in this transition season. They are functional and fashionable. Arranging a scarf can be daunting, but I keep it simple ..

… a long scarf gives you the most options …

… wrap the scarf around the front of your neck, cross it in the back, and pull the sides back around to the front ..

… knot the two hanging sides and you have it! …

… or simply wear it long! You can’t miss!

What do you think?

Photos taken at Willow St. Boutique, Summit, New Jersey. Photographer, Janice Maydick.

“I’m very aware of color and texture and fabric …”

Maggie at home with her artwork

… and I’m very tactile.” ~ Maggie

Maggie is an artist. She sees the world in color. She sees the world in music. She has a gift of expression. And even though she describes her style as clean, preferring simple, comfortable designs and natural fibers, like high-quality linen and cotton, it’s important to note that the artist in Maggie is never far away. As Maggie herself says, “I like to funk it up with earrings and jewelry. I wear a lot of vintage and I have a few preferred spots where I buy it, as well as the little flea markets, like the vintage brooch I wear on my blazer. I also love really good costume jewelry, like Alexis Bittar. A small strand of pearls looks good with everything, especially when you funk it up! I have a little edge but I always wear things that will last for several seasons.”

At 65, Maggie is aware that she is getting older and that affects what she wears: “I won’t wear t-shirts anymore.” But, I love Maggie’s philosophy on aging and fashion:

“Getting older never means it is okay to be sloppy. As you get older, start to wear more color around your face (I never wear black around my face anymore – only on the bottom half of me.). That is why I love wearing colorful scarves. I especially love sky blue and the blue/gray family around my face. I always wear lipstick, too. I used to wear red, but now I prefer a color with more blue in it; more pinkish with brown undertones (I wear Audrey, by Laura Mercier).” ~ Maggie

I think Maggie knows herself and her fashion well. She has earned that.

What do you think?

More from Farnoosh

Farnoosh’s cousin and her friends – modern girls of Iran

Even when all freedom of expression is taken away, one finds a way to be different and to stand out.” ~ Farnoosh

“Here is a picture of my cousin. She is the one wearing a blue scarf, sitting between her two friends. This is a classic demonstration of how the young girls (modern girls, of course) dress in Iran now. Notice the bright colors and looser-fitting scarves. The more conservative women continue to wear the dark veil.” ~ Farnoosh
What do you think?

On trend versus trendy

 

On trend nail color, opaque orange/tangerine
“Big Hair, Big Nails” by OPI

There is a difference between fashion that is on trend and fashion that is trendy. The trick is to figure out which side you want to be on. I try to choose on trend because I find that when I choose trendy, I often make mistakes. Have you done the same?

Fashion that is on trend is about modernizing your looks, even the classics. Buying on trend these days, means adding certain pops of color to your wardrobe. Now that it is summer, for instance, bright colors are everywhere. Accessorizing an outfit by adding an orange or yellow tee or a colorful scarf with your neutral khakis is on trend. Choosing a new color for a manicure or pedicure is subtle yet very much on trend.

Fashion that is trendy, on the other hand, is buying something of-the-moment simply because it is of-the-moment, without really thinking about whether it works for you and your body type. This is when mistakes happen. Recently, I bought skinny light gray jeans and regretted the purchase as soon as I brought them home because really, who looks good in skinny light gray jeans?? …

What do you think?

Read more – (See Styling with Mel article)