New Year, New York, New You!

Oh, the windows of New York!

Oh, the windows of New York!

Whenever I am in New York, especially at holiday time, I come alive … much like Farnoosh’s sister, Fara. The walking and the windows are a constant source of energy and inspiration. And so, when my mom and I had the chance to meet our friend Jodie for omelets and coffee at our favorite spot, Pastis, I jumped at it! New Year, New York, New You! New Me!

What do you think?

Breakfast at Pastis

breakfast at Pastis

Here, kitty, kitty, kitty!

My Ellen Tracy leopard slingback kitten heels

Not just for our Grannies anymore, kitten heels have made a huge comeback this fashion season. What I love most about kitten heels is that they are feminine and elegant and built for most outfits, including slacks and skirts. Kitten heels have all the benefits of wearing a heel, such as adding confidence and better posture, but are comfortable and without the wobble. Couture designers are trending with kitten heels; you can find them everywhere. But you aren’t locked in to couture prices: I bought these Ellen Tracy leopard slingbacks at Marshall’s on sale for $35! Meow!

What do you think?

Solve your problem, shop on-line

I found my own pair of red suede shoes shopping on-line at Boden USA.

In the past two days, I have purchased items on-line that I could not find in the stores, once again reminding me: solve my problem, shop on-line. It is true that you can’t find everything on-line and also true, that items may arrive that are not right; neither the size nor the color or fabric. But it is also possible, more often than not, to easily meet your fashion needs by simply making a call or ordering on the computer. Problem solved.

Here is how the last two days went. First, I shopped in-store for a few corduroy slacks for my son, only to be told that they don’t carry his size at the store; I must buy them on-line. Next, I (and every other woman or man on a pre-storm tracking mission) traveled to The Home Depot looking for a cover for our patio furniture to protect it when Hurricane Sandy strikes (and I hope not too hard!), only to be told that the store is all sold out and I must order on-line. These two reminders, coming on the heels (no pun intended) of finding the perfect red suede wedge shoes at Boden (a favorite on-line destination, London-based clothing company).

When life gets a little crazy, make it easier on yourself. Shop efficiently and travel less. Solve your problem, shop on-line.

What do you think?

Creating sustainable fashion

Stella McCartney’s Mock Croc Lauren Pump – faux-leather pumps with partly-biodegradable rubber soles

Fast fashion is a term that describes the disposable, see-it-once-and-replace-it world of contemporary, very moderately priced fashion. H&M and Forever 21 are fast fashion stores. A positive alternative for younger consumers who want to experiment with fashion and not invest in haute couture prices; but unfortunately, fast fashion comes with a price of its own. We as an American society are buying and discarding more than ever at a time when our planet needs us to recycle and reuse. We need to think more in terms of sustainable fashion.

Fortunately, there is a growing albeit slow moving attempt to recycle fashion, and some well-known designers are catching on. Stella McCartney, who has always been conscience of the fabrics she uses (she refuses to use fur or leather), revealed a new platform pump this September that is a mix of faux leather and partly biodegradable rubber soles. (I wear these in my dreams, by the way; I could never afford them nor could I walk in them, but I completely love them!). Stella admits to “having a huge admiration for my mom. I think that I’m keeping alive some of the things she believed in and elaborating on that.” (Her mom, Linda McCartney, who was a health advocate, animal rights activist and vegetarian, passed away in 1998.).

Sustainable fashion is also making news in smaller, grass roots stories. A new book called Fashion and Sustainability: Design for Change examines the potential for the fashion system to transform itself to a more sustainable industry. One of the individuals highlighted in the book, Michael Swaine of San Francisco, is doing his part to reuse fashion in his own local community. San Francisco writer Darby Minow Smith interviewed Mr. Swaine about his on-going project, called The Free Mending Library. This project is about people both bringing clothing items to mend and those who come to help do the mending. Supportive and sustainable.

These are inspiring stories. They have forced me to stop and think about how I am contributing to the waste stream and what I can do about it.

What do you think?

The secret to success

Dress for Success Morris County, New Jersey

“We are very selective with our clothing. Everything is clean, current and relevant.” Stefanie L. Conley, Executive Director, Dress for Success Morris County, New Jersey.

Stefanie L. Conley

Suzy, Volunteer Personal Shopper
Dress for Success Morris County, New Jersey

Tucked away in the basement of the Madison Community House is a gem called Dress for Success Morris County. Don’t let its size fool you; its mission is noble and its depth is far-reaching. This New Jersey chapter is just one of 100 Dress for Success affiliates, and the impact of this global non-profit organization now reaches twelve countries. What is the mission of Dress for Success? “To promote the economic independence of disadvantaged women by providing professional attire, a network of support and career development tools to help women thrive in work and in life.” In other words, Dress for Success is here to assist women who have lived with severe hardship turn their lives around. Extraordinary.

I met with Stefanie L. Conley, Executive Director of Dress for Success Morris County. She said that the Dress for Success program is to “be there for women on their entire professional journey. It’s about helping women to regain their confidence. When they walk into the boutique they don’t see what we see – that they have so much to offer.” Stefanie also walked me through how the journey works as a three-step process:

Step One: The Suiting Program – A free-of-charge shopping experience where women are welcome to shop the boutique with the assistance of a volunteer personal shopper, and select attire that will earn them respect in the interview process. Each woman receives one hour of dedicated time and may choose one suit or business casual outfit, several separate pieces, two pairs of shoes, a handbag, two pieces of jewelry, and a coat and extras, including cosmetics, pantyhose, etc. Everything is donated from individuals and corporations and only top quality items are chosen for the boutiques.

Step Two: Monthly Networking Groups – An opportunity to network and be with other supportive women, including dinner (babysitting provided) with a keynote speaker.

Step Three – Career Center – One-on-one assistance in the areas of interview techniques, resume review, skill enhancement, job related internet searching and career coaching.

Beyond the shopping and the information and the coaching lies the magic behind Dress for Success: the transformation and building of self-esteem for women who need it most. Stefanie notes that you can actually see the the change: “When women come in to the boutique for the first time they are unsure and naturally wary.” Many have never had someone help them to feel their best selves. As a result of the personal attention they begin to believe in themselves and feel confident … the best part is that the kindness “comes full-circle; many women come back to mentor others and to help.”

Again, I say extraordinary! What do you think?

Shoe Fetish

Carrie Bradshaw, HBO’s Sex and the City
“Hello, Lover”

Fetish: inanimate object worshiped as magic.

Apparently I am not the only one who thinks “shoes first” when getting dressed for the day. This summer, major department stores like Macy’s, Saks and Barney’s added square foot space to accommodate the growing interest in shoes, according to Bloomberg Businessweek (August 27). And growing interest leads to growing sales. Macy’s executive vice president, Muriel Gonzalez says, “We see a high degree of passion among our customers for shoes.”

I’m not sure why but I connect with my shoes. They complete the story of how I want to present myself for the day. That day starts with the big question, what am I going to wear?, followed by the next one, which shoes?! Now that we are transitioning seasons I am reminded to check my closet for shoes I already own before being lured into buying new ones. I know I will be surprised to find something I forgot I owned and will probably fall in love all over again …

What do you think?

More Missoni madness

 

Missoni Loves Havaianas Flip Flops
Made in Brazil

It’s summer and it is hot – scorchingly hot! I am thrilled to report that for the second year in a row designer Missoni has collaborated with Brazilian sandal designer Havaianas, to launch its Missoni Loves Havaianas limited 2012 collection.

This year’s designs are colorful and flirty and will keep you cool for the season, Missoni style. Eco-friendly too, they are produced with leftover rubber from the manufacturing process, so you not only look good but feel good to be helping our planet. At $70, they come with their own satchel and Missoni shoe box. I found mine at Nordstrom’s BP Department, but you can also find them at other department stores and on-line. 

Angela Missoni, Creative Director of Missoni, said, “I am not new to these kind of partnerships, and I find they are fascinating, reinforcing experiences. The meeting of icons, of distinguished well known brands, always has a unique, exciting and playful impact. Furthermore, I love Havaianas, they are flip flops I collect and like to wear.”

With whom will Missoni collaborate next? I wait eagerly, skipping into summer with my own pair of Missoni loves Havaianas flip flops, because …

Missoni loves Havaianas. I love Missoni and Havaianas too.

What do you think?

Sweet 16

 

Reading with my baby

My son turned 16 yesterday, and although it is not customary to refer to a young man’s birthday as “sweet,” it is to me. Because he is sweet and I can’t believe that little baby with the big, red cheeks is now 16 years old, and a dashing young man.

In our 16 years together, we have never shared fashion tips or shopping sprees or hung out at the mall in search of an outfit. (Although I will tell you that he is the first to compliment me on my outfits! See? … Sweet!). He dislikes shopping so much that it is more about trial and error as I travel to stores on his behalf or purchase on-line, and cross my fingers, hoping that: 1) he likes the clothes I bought, and 2) they fit him. In his world of fashion it is more about function than anything else. … You can see where I am going with this; we have very little in common when it comes to our expectations of fashion and our fashion choices.

Or do we? There is one thing we have in common. Shoes!! Boys covet their shoes! …

What do you think?

Read more – See (Styling with Mel) article

More leg!

 

My search has ended! I found the nude pumps that I have been looking for, and it is true … they do elongate my legs! I encourage you to find your pair, and while you are at it, treat yourself to a pair of stockings from Wolford for a silky feel and polished look. These are Naked 8 – Cosmetic.I guess there are times when I will say yes to pantyhose.

What do you think?