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?

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?

Tailor-made

A good tailor is a fashion essentialPhoto credit: Google images

A good tailor is a fashion essential
Photo credit: Google Images

I need to find a good tailor. There is a basic fashion truth: the right color and a good fit cannot be overlooked. Even a beautiful outfit will miss the mark if it doesn’t fit you properly. When you find a good tailor, one with skill and expertise, you will have found a fashion partner for life! For a reasonable fee, a tailor’s attention to detail will give life to almost-right pieces and add confidence. Watch things like: the length of arm sleeves on shirts and jackets, the length of trousers and slacks, and a well-defined shoulder and waistline. These elements are critical when it comes to a good fit and proper proportion. I notice that when we feel a little heavier, we tend to choose clothes one-size up from our regular size. This is a mistake because the clothing makes us look larger than we actually are. A fitted look is much more slimming.

I am off to find a good tailor. Do you have one in your arsenal?

What do you think?

Dressing up

Credit: Bill Cunningham, The New York Times
“On the Street – Tucked In” – Sunday, November 25, 2012

Today’s New York Times Style Section, On the Street with Bill Cunningham, highlights men dressing up and looking very much like the classic dandy. Notice the layering, waistcoats, vests, and impeccable tailoring? Designer Cally’s Kal Rieman is definitely on to something!

What do you think?

Mom, I joined a harem!

My kind of harem!

Well, there are harems and then there are harems. Not-exactly-but-almost harem pants, mine are a gift to myself. Helmut Lang jersey black knit slacks are an homage to today’s relaxed whimsy and at the same time a treat to me, giving me extra leg room to breathe. Full, yet slim and lean and fitted with soft pockets, it pairs well with my Jason Wu for Target tee. It is an outfit that says, I look like I am not trying too hard.

In 1916 Coco Chanel rocked the fashion world by introducing jersey to her collection. Before that time, jersey had been used primarily for women’s undergarments. Chanel was really on to something. Jersey is soft and entirely comfortable on the skin; it is the perfect material for cooler days. I plan to wear these as often as possible.

Consider wearing jersey. Your mom will be happy it is not the other kind of harem!

What do you think?

Fast Girl

Ingrid,’s book, Fast Girl. Photo by Klaus Schnitzer, well-known car photographer.
“I was looking for something that said ‘fast’ and ‘girl;’ I think
this Karen Millen cocktail dress says both.”

All of us are a lot more capable than we think we are.” ~ Ingrid, a.k.a. Fast Girl

Ingrid Steffensen is a Fast Girl. How do you explain why, at 45, this college professor of architectural history, this classic “good girl” –  suburban wife and mother of daughter Emma – took a hiatus from teaching to dive in to high-performance driving? And not only that, but also to tell her story in a new book, entitled Fast Girl. How? Better yet … why? Because as Ingrid says, “I’ve discovered the fierce joy of biting into life like a juicy steak …”

Ingrid’s husband, Mr. B. as Ingrid refers to him in her book, was the initial high-performance driver in the family. His passion for driving never interested Ingrid when he first started: She was too busy taking care of a baby, then toddler, then young child. But fast-forward seven years, and Ingrid, now with a ten year-old daughter, sees the possibility of joining him on the track, and it becomes a reality. “The first time I was terrified out-of-my mind. I’m proud of myself that I did it anyway.” And so our Fast Girl started her journey of high-performance driving on her own. When asked about a defining moment when she knew she was hooked Fast Girl responds: “I was driving my Mini-Cooper and an all-black Porsche Turbo with spitting flames, literally, was in front of me. But I was faster. Ultimately, he had to concede and let me pass. I felt a great surge … ‘Oh Yeah!'”

And now Fast Girl is a bona fide high performance driver; in the spring of 2012 she became an instructor herself, to both men and women. She is also an author, sharing her story of growth and confidence with all of us.  “I’m 45 and all of a sudden people are calling me a bad-ass!” ~ Fast Girl, Ingrid!

What do you think?

Fast Girl Ingrid at her book signing (Words Bookstore, Maplewood NJ, with owner Jonah Zimiles) wearing another Karen Millen dress, her favorite designer. “I’m a fan of her designs; they are beautifully tailored and have impeccable seaming.”

Jeans, jeans, and more jeans!

Contemporary fashion designer, Prabal Gurung likes to wear his standard uniform, jeans and a t-shirt (more of Prabal in this fascinating interview with Time Magazine!). His jeans of choice are J Brand, and his tees? American Apparel. I too, have my uniform of jeans and a tee. And now that the weather is cooling a bit this outfit transitions beautifully when you can’t dress too warmly but need the extra cover. The trouble is that I go overboard when it comes to jeans and I own several pairs: my go-to is Joe’s Honey, for the fit. My other favorites include, Gap 1969 high-rise trouser jean, Citizens of Humanity dark-wash high-rise wide leg, Vince slim-leg, Denim & Company with spandex that I ordered from QVC, and my ripped, torn and will-never-part-from jeans by Mavi. I love all tees, but Vince is my favorite brand for the fit.

I think the boot cut is flattering for most figures. Don’t be afraid to wear your jeans snug. That is how they are meant to be worn and jeans always stretch.

Join me and Prabal by celebrating this enduring and classic American uniform: jeans and a t-shirt.

What do you think?

Support from an old friend

The Town Shop: my old friend

It was time. It had been well over a year since I bought a bra and I was sorely in need of a change. You know that moment when your clothes don’t look as flattering as they should? And just like a surprise visit from an old friend, I found myself in my old neighborhood, staring at the shop where I had first learned about the significance of the right-fitting bra. I have spoken about the importance of a good fit. It’s as vital as any element when shopping for clothes. But I haven’t gone deeper, or should I say closer, to the real you. And that means a good-fitting bra. We tend not to think about it but nothing does more for your look than wearing the right bra.

So, here I was – with Eddy – who began to tell me what women need to know. First, says Eddy, “bras are a necessity; they are not an option.” You need a good foundation. In fact, says Eddy, “Women will spend money on shoes and handbags, but neglect investing in their bras and undergarments. They go to Target and K-Mart and save money, but don’t have the right fit.” Here are some tips for buying a bra:

– remember to replace your bra after a year

– if possible, have someone help you with the fitting. You need someone to measure you, not just for your cup size but also for your ribcage circumference. They also know which bras are made for which body types (I had no idea!).

– try on a bra with your top. This is crucial because you want to see how the bra fits with your clothes (and you want to like the look!).

– invest in a good bra. Don’t just go the fast, cheap route. I know you will feel more confident.

As I left Eddy and my favorite shop I smiled, knowing that I was standing taller with the best posture that I have had in a long time. I wish the same for you.

What do you think?

The story behind the photo

Natalie (11), Libby (15), Miranda (17)

Kylie is the mother of three young women: Miranda, 17, Libby, 15, and Natalie, 11. They  recently attended a fancy party. What is wonderful is that each of them felt good about themselves and their fashion choices. Before they left, they took this lovely photo. What interests me is the story behind the photo and what went through their minds getting ready for their big night out …

Miranda – I do feel pressure to find the right outfit. I want to look my best. I chose that dress because I knew it would make an impression. I like to make things my own. That’s why I chose the nude shoes – I could have chosen black or navy – but I went with nude  and the white pearl necklace, to give it my touch. I received many compliments that night and that made me feel good.

Libby – I bought the outfit the day of the party. I usually shop the day of the event because I think it’s fun to get something right before. I don’t like to buy things that I don’t love. I love to have really cool shoes and match them with a simple outfit. I chose this outfit first and then I selected the blue shoes. They were blue but they had neon, bright yellow heels. They were Vera Wang. I really liked my outfit. I thought it looked high-end. I would wear these pieces in a new way – another time.

Natalie – I was confused. I didn’t know what I was going to wear. But Libby and Miranda helped me out. (Usually they’re nice to me.) I tried on a few things from my closet and they told me what to wear. No, they didn’t force me to wear what they wanted me to wear – we came to an agreement and picked out what we all liked. I think that I looked my best and I liked what I wore.

Kylie – Whenever they need to get something for a party my job gets interesting. With Miranda, I feel that my job is to pull her back. She tends to go for more slinky looks that I find inappropriate; she may look like an adult but she isn’t and I want her to remain classy and elegant in her choices. This selection was a good compromise. Libby wants my opinion but not my advice. She really knows what she wants and makes good choices. It’s funny that she said that she likes to shop the day of the event because she is a thoughtful and discerning shopper, often pulling out pictures from magazines and collecting ideas; she is not impulsive. Natalie is my youngest daughter and I tend to dress her like a baby. It’s become a challenge and Miranda and Libby have to help me, help her. I don’t trust myself. She would end up wearing a Mini-Mouse print romper. With Natalie, my job is to let go.

New York Fashion Week, Part 3: The End … me!

Here I am outside Lincoln Center, in the middle of New York Fashion Week. I am not a fashion insider – I have never been in the tents to experience a show. Maybe someday, but for now I am simply a person who loves fashion, who is inspired by a beautiful design, an exquisite color and a perfect fit.

What does New York Fashion Week mean to me? It is a time to feel uplifted … to dress with more adventure and purpose and to be the best of myself at every turn. Yes, I am on the outside but I am feeling in!

What do you think?