First Fashion …

The Obamas at The Inauguration - synchronized dressing

The Obamas at The Inauguration – synchronized dressing                                                                                                                           Getty Images

A moment to take in the First Fashion from the Inauguration

Michelle Obama has great style. What I love most about our First Lady’s fashion sense is that she truly owns it. She knows what works for her and how she likes to present herself. Every time she steps out she makes a statement – one that says chic and approachable at the same time. Today, all three Obama women made statements, and the First Fashions were so well coordinated  …

… and for the second time, Michelle Obama chose a custom Jason Wu design for the Inaugural balls. I love this color red; she wears it so well.

What do you think?

The Inaugural Ball - Michelle Obama in Jason Wu

The Inaugural Ball –
Michelle Obama in Jason Wu                                                                                                                        Getty Images

Be a trail blazer!

Luxe Rachel Zoe chocolate suede jacket

Luxe Rachel Zoe chocolate suede jacket

There is something about a well-fitted modern jacket that feels like armor. If it’s cut well, it adds a dose of cool to anything you wear it with and does the heavy lifting when it comes to creating a flattering shape.” ~ Stacy Londonstylist, television personality, and author – from her new book, The Truth About Style

Do you own a blazer? Have you checked your closet recently? Blazers are so important for pulling a look together, and having a few well-fitting jackets, as Stacy London says, is necessary for feeling your best. I like the notion of a jacket as armor and I agree. Sometimes you want to say more rather than less. Sometimes you need the extra coverage; not just to complete a look, but to go deeper – to give you a sense of control and purpose when you need confidence. Sometimes, as your body ages, you simply need a little more structure and form, especially in the shoulders. And nothing, nothing gives a man or woman a sense of power and elegance like a blazer.

The expression ‘go to’ really fits when it comes to wearing a blazer. I have a few; a white and yellow for spring/summer, and my recent purchase – this Luxe Rachel Zoe chocolate-suede from her QVC collection. I chose it because of its good fit and interesting detail, including the puffed-sleeves (love!) and multiple zippers. And brown looks great with black, which makes it a classic for everything.

Take care of yourself and add your own protection with a proper jacket. Be a trail blazer!

What do you think?

Elle: Eating, styling, playing

Elle, styling in her Asos shimmer pencil skirt and Belle by Sigerson Morrison eskimo booties

Elle, styling in her shimmer pencil skirt by ASOS and her Eskimo Clog Booties by Belle/Sigerson Morrison

Elle writes a fashion and lifestyle blog (eatstyleplay.com): we enjoy reading some of the same fashion blogs and that is how I found her. She is in her 20s and lives in Washington, D.C. There is an ease and an openness to her writing. On the face of it, Elle’s story is very different from my own, and yet … is it really? Aren’t we all connected by fashion and life? Here is Elle …

What inspired you to start a blog? How long have you been blogging?

I’ve been blogging on and off for about four years. I was first inspired because I needed an outlet, I loved fashion, and when I shopped I was told that I knew how to select and find unique items. I also spent a ton of time online searching for things that the stores didn’t carry. My blog was more of an inspirational fashion blog. Then I lost my job, and I started blogging about the food I was cooking, which became a big hit. I then started venturing out into my personal style and covering events around D.C. As I continue to search, I find more things that inspire me everyday.


Your blog is focused on lifestyle. Why are you inspired to write about both fashion and food?

Growing up my grandmother was always in the kitchen and she and I were joined at the hip until she passed away when I was about 14. I helped her, literally, from the time I was two years old. I love to cook and I hadn’t realized how much I cook for my family until my mom pointed out that I have a “gift” for seasoning. I have made my own season kits, jazzing up even the blandest of foods. I wanted to somehow let that shine in my blog. My girlfriends told me that they loved to see me write about the basics of cooking, so that’s what I’ve been doing, or at least trying to do.

In the past year I have been inspired to write more about fashion from a plus-size woman’s perspective. Finding hip and trendy clothing has been so hard. I would often notice that someone else was often wearing my outfit! I want to show women that it’s possible to find unique clothing and be just as trendy as so-called “regular” sized fashion bloggers. Like other plus-size bloggers, I want to know that there are choices out there for me. This year I have been focusing on my health, which may result in moving out of the plus-size range. But that will never stop me from wanting to help and inspire women.


You know about style and designers. What influences you when making a clothing purchase?

I’m influenced by classic pieces, and trendy styles. All of the clothing I wear must be flattering. If I feel like something is too tight, I pass on it because the clothing will become bothersome and give the impression that I don’t know what works for me. There are some things I simply can’t pull off. I am motivated to buy items that I know will last and transition well; I have some pieces that I can wear in all four seasons. I buy the highest quality when it comes to shoes, handbags, and jewelry. Mostly, I want to wear clothing that makes me feel great, and adds to my confidence.


Do you think fashion affects our self-esteem?

That’s a hard question for me. At one point I noticed that women who looked like me didn’t exist in the media. And there was nothing out there for us to wear and feel good about. But I do believe that selections today have improved and are making many women feel better about themselves. I know I’m excited and happy to see more fashion options available to me and to women like me. 

What is it like to be a 20-something living in Washington D.C? Is the style conservative?

I have a love/hate relationship with D.C. I grew up here, and D.C. is changing all the time. I don’t think that all of D.C. is so conservative. I think the Hill is conservative and with good reason, but once you explore different areas there is a wide variety of people from all walks of life. It’s not New York; not everyone is comfortable stepping outside of their creative box. There are still people who will judge those who are different. I love certain things about D.C., though. I love Eastern Market, U Street, the lounges, and the smaller circle of blog networks here. I know that I will eventually leave and explore elsewhere, but D.C. is my home.
Thank you, Elle, for this conversation. I am grateful to you. Maybe we can meet someday! Keep on styling! Check out Elle’s blog: www.eatstyleplay.com.

Empowered!

Dress for Success Morris County - December Meeting

Dress for Success Morris County

I returned tonight to Dress for Success Morris County to share in its December monthly networking meeting (part two of the three-step process to help women in need pursue an independent life). DFSMC hosts this monthly meeting for the women, to have a chance to stay connected with friends (I was told that some have been coming for at least eight years) and to feel empowered to continue moving in a positive direction. It’s an evening that includes dinner, an informational keynote speaker and babysitting for their children. What I witnessed was an overwhelming outpouring of love and uplifting energy.

I arrived just in time to see the women finishing dinner and enjoying each others’ company. Everyone looked polished and professional, as they wore outfits that they had selected from their suiting and styling session with a DFSMC volunteer. But what was most noticeable were their genuine smiles being among friends and supporters. I met Simone, who told me that she had just landed a job and “felt like a queen!” To Simone, this job means freedom. “When I first came to Dress for Success Morris County I had no confidence. Now, I am full of confidence and this new job is power.” Similarly, Nancy described her remarkable transformation: “I had given up on myself and now, I feel like a professional again. By coming here – they give you anything you need – you get over your negative feelings and find your strength again.”

With a warm introduction, speaker Ceylone Boothe-Grooms took the floor; from the moment she spoke she made a connection with the audience. Ceylone’s message rang true for these women, all of whom like Simone and Nancy have had much to overcome: Believe in yourself. In Ceylone’s words, “We are women. By design we are fierce and fabulous! Confidence is powerful!” Perhaps Ceylone struck a cord with everyone when she told her own story; growing up in The Bronx in an environment filled more with drugs than dreams. She was forced to leave college early to work and help support her family. But she had strong parents who saw her potential and she herself began to dream big. It was then that she decided to hold her head high and change her thought process. By chance, she landed her first job in Alexander’s Department Store and later advanced to Macy’s as a makeup artist, all because of this belief in her dream and her unwillingness to give up. Today she is a national make-up artist and image consultant, performer, speaker, and former Mrs. New Jersey America (2011).

She was as if a spiritual leader, and the women reacted with applause and appreciation. There was something so moving about Ceylone’s message: first, believe in yourself and then, give yourself the best chance for success by dressing the part. When she finished, she answered makeup questions and provided makeup lessons.

I think we were all transformed tonight.

What do you think?

Simone: feeling confident

Simone: feeling confident

Speaker Ceylone Boothe answering questions and giving a makeup lesson

Speaker Ceylone Boothe-Grooms answering questions and providing a makeup lesson