May 30, 2011

The Mood--- Black-Tie

Via Closet Visit
The mood this week is black-tie. A clutch tucked under my left shoulder (any of the clutches pictured above will due), an elegant bun, a sophisticated dress and jewelry to match. A black-tie event calls for unadulterated glamour. Pulling out all the stops if you will. 

This Thursday, I have a black-tie event to attend that I'm truly looking forward to. The event is a Spring Benefit for a non-profit that is my Raison d'être. Everyone should have a cause that they are passionate about. It's about more than simply putting my name on a fancy invitation. This is one non-profit that I'm always happy to tutor, mentor or leverage my professional contacts for.

I'm on the Junior Council of this non profit, but we are not hosting this event. This benefit is geared toward a more mature audience. Work is a big supporter of this non-profit, so I'm bound to run into company VIPs.  Herein lies the sartorial challenge. If ever there was a time to look polished and poised this is it. 

Luckily I have the perfect dress in mind for the occasion. I have been excited to wear this dress for weeks. Now it's just a matter of waiting for the dress to be sent over via messenger. Unfortunately, patience is not one of my greatest virtues. At last... demain. 

May 27, 2011

On Compliments

Via Miss Little Lime

"A girl should be two things: classy and fabulous" Coco Chanel

Needless to say this quote resonates with me. Personal style doesn't begin and end with clothing. It's much deeper than that. It's about poise. Inner grace. Comportment. MANNERS. When all of these things align perfectly it's effortless. 

I find it incredibly classy when people aren't afraid to compliment others. Who doesn't love a genuine compliment? A warm compliment can instantly brighten someones' day. Making someone feel good is infectious, you can't help but smile. It feels good to make someone stand a little taller or even better, notice something about themselves they haven't considered. If you haven't given someone a compliment today I highly recommend doing so.

A woman who can compliment others with ease has confidence, which is always inspiring. Being able to graciously accept a compliment is the true mark of class. It took me years to be able to accept a compliment without shrinking up, blushing and feeling really shy. I'm still a work in progress .

Speaking of compliments, how wonderful is K's shoe collection? This is a well edited shoe wardrobe that I find incredibly covetable. I would wear each and every pair. I'm especially partial to the Varinas. I'm reliant on my Ferragamo shoes for work. 

May 22, 2011

Little Navy Dress

Claudie Pierlot Robe Crêpe Marine Dress and Miu Miu Shoes

The sun finally came out (intermittently between rain showers) after a damp and rainy week. The nice weather was a lovely excuse to pull out one of my favorite Hong Kong purchases. I first wrote about this dress here.

My little navy dress has been an essential this spring. I hesitated before purchasing this dress because of the bold gold zipper. I was concerned that the gold hardware would be limiting since I don't like mixing metals when it comes to my jewelry and handbag. So far this dress has proven to be anything but limiting. The rounded neckline, puffed short sleeves and  flat pleating at the skirt exemplify the attention to detail that make this more than a simply little dress. Not to mention the deep navy color.

Dresses are the foundation of my wardrobe. This dress is versatile enough to wear to work (with a jacket), board meetings and evening cocktail parties. A dresses like this simplifies my morning routine. This is essential when I'm due at work even earlier in the morning during the summer. 

I have been slow to embrace posting personal style photos on the blog, but this dress is a fine example of the elegant and polished style that defines my wardrobe. 

May 19, 2011

Color Moves Fashion

Courtesy of Decade Diary

I'm a firm believer that weekends should be full of all sorts of wonderful little things. In reality, my weekends tend to be a flurry of activity. It's the plight of the overextended. My perfect weekend includes catching up on the weeks unread copies of WWD and a trip to one of the city's museums. Last week was so hectic, that I was truly looking forward to indulging in a little leisure time at Cooper Hewitt's exhibit "Color Moves: Art and Fashion by Sonia Delaunay."

The Cooper Hewitt is quickly becoming one of my favorite little jewels in the city. "Set in Style: The Jewelry of Van Cleef & Arpels" and "Quicktake: Rodarte" are two of my favorite recent exhibits with a focus on style. Sonia Delaunay is an artist whose work I adore. Known primarily for her work as an abstract painter and bold colorist, Sonia Delaunay applied her talents and theories on simultaneity ( the sensation of movement created when contrasting colors are placed side by side) to various mediums. 

Set of five fabric samples, Design 945 Courtesy of The Cooper Hewitt

The exhibit features rooms of fashion illustrations, gouache studies, garments, paintings and textiles. It was fascinating to see Delaunay's large scale paintings juxtaposed with smaller patterns that were designed for the Metz & Co. department store in Amsterdam in the 1930s. It was enlightening to see the imperfections in Delaunay's work and ideas transform from sketch to finished product. Textiles are currently on my mind. My closest friend at work is an extremely talented textile designer and will be leaving me on Friday to concentrate on launching her own company.

I highly recommend seeing this exhibit. It has been extended until June 19th and I have plans to see it again. I found it remarkable that many of the garments and scarves looked so relevant today. Sonia Delaunay was clearly ahead of her time.

PS- The very talented illustrator Bernadette Pascua was kind enough to allow me to use her wonderful drawing that was inspired by this exhibit. I think it captures the exhibit perfectly. Bernadette's Decade Diary is one of my favorite reads. Don't you just love her illustration?

May 16, 2011

The Birkin In The Room

Via The Covetour

Yesterday there was a guest at lunch. An elephant in the room, if you will. My dear friend's mother was kind enough to lend out her Birkin. The key word being LEND. This is not a bag that you borrow and return when you get around to it. The expectations were agreed upon upfront. Obtaining a Birkin is no fortuitous event. There was a five year waiting list to purchase this particular purse. Not to mention the price. 

I have never been a person who covets the "must have bag", however there is no denying that some bags are iconic. Chanel's 2.55 and Reissue,  Louis Vuitton's Speedy, Gucci's Jackie O and Hermès' Birkin are all purses that have stood the test of time. Each of these bags is engrained in our lexicon. I would argue that my dear ladylike Celine Box Bag is on par with the aforementioned timeless bags. These bags are recognizable. The brands have integrity.

My friend has been looking forward to borrowing the Birkin for months. Hermès is a brand that can cause hysteria. If you have ever experienced the annual sample sale, then you know what I mean. I have witnessed expectant mothers line up with lawn chairs in hand (a major fete since New Yorker's don't do lines)  to enter the annual sale. The sale was that good. I digress...

Each Hermès purse is handmade by skilled craftsmen. It can take up to 48 hours to complete one purse from start to finish. The finest materials are used. Alligator, calf, crocodile goat, and ostrich skin are tanned to cultivate the soft, buttery feel that we all love. The Birkin is hand stitched. The locks, keys, buckles and protective feet are made of gold or another high quality precious metal. All of the hardware is stamped with an "H" which I am partial to since it is one of my initials. The craftsmanship involved with every aspect of the process means that finished products are distributed to Hermès boutiques on an unpredictable schedule. This is partly responsible for the long wait to purchase. 

There is no denying that this is an elegant bag. I have known countless poised mature women who carry a Birkin. Yet as we each tried on the bag (complete with a little twirl) we found it disconcerting. The Birkin can be worn in a multitude of ways and can even be worn casually. My friend's and I adored this bag, but felt that we needed to grow into it. It felt a bit like we were playing dress up in our mother's clothes. Peering into the mirror like young girls do at our reflections. 

The saying "women in their twenties shouldn't wear diamonds and women in their thirties should ONLY wear diamonds" is bantered around my company frequently. I dislike the notion of forgoing diamonds, however the idea is that your twenties should be a time to define and hone your individual aesthetic. For some people that comes more naturally, but for others it's a process of trying different looks until you find what suits you. In a world that is consumed with youth it is refreshing to know that there are good things to come. 

Do you have a bag that you covet?

Elements of Parisienne Style


"Elegance is different than chic; elegance has to do with money, with leisure time, with upbringing, and education. The chic woman looks natural, not dressed up. Chic is not a matter of money. Chic means that, from head to toe, there is a sense of proportion.” 
One of the loveliest aspects that blogging affords is the ability to create a scrapbook of sartorial musings and images that inspire me. Sometimes you come across an articles that is timeless. You re-read it from time to time. Ellen Wallace's essay on French dressing, which appeared in the August 1982 issue of Cosmopolitan transcends time. This article was written before I was born, however it still offers relevant and useful advice.
I came across this article years ago when I was searching through archival issues of Cosmopolitan and made a photocopy which I intended to scan. When Eurochic and the lovely Fleurette posted it, I breathed a sigh of relief. I am posting this article, because I never want to misplace it. It's a lengthy article, but one of the greatest lessons that can be gleamed from French style is- INVEST IN YOURSELF. Whether it's making time for the gym, taking care of your skin, editing your closet or reading an article that makes you question your own style, it takes time and careful consideration to develop a concise style. 
To me chic is not exclusive to a particular nationality, beauty, body type or age. Chic is having a comfort and ease in your own identity. If there is an aspect of Parisienne style that resonates with me it is the idea of being taught from a young age what works. At a young age, I learned how to discern quality and tell if a garment will last. It's the attention to detail and nuance that I find most inspiring about French style. I have bolded a few sentences of Ellen Wallace's article that I find relevant.
Happy Reading!
Oui…Parisians always manage to look fantastique — even in “les blue jeans.” Jet with us then to cafe-lined boulevards and learn about French fashion flair!

The one thing they don’t tell you in travel brochures about Paris is the first thing every visitor notices: People stare. They stare at you; they stare at everybody. And everybody stares back.

My first taste of this phenomenon terrified me. I was wearing an overloaded backpack and a wrinkled black dress, which I had slept in on the train. My mascara was mostly on my cheeks. I wanted desperately to be inconspicuous, but there they were, all those terrible suave-looking Frenchmen I had heard about, staring right at me. I wanted to melt into the sidewalk!

There was also no way to avoid noticing something else: Those French girls look better than we do. Of course, the mysterious allure of the French woman is nothing new. She has been the target of love, lust, and intrigue in hundreds of books and films. Remember Gigi, that innocent heartbreaker? And Edith Piaf, the enigmatic, real-life heroine who stunned the world with her gutsy love songs? Not to mention the quasi-Parisiennes — protagonists of a dozen American novels who left home frumpy and meek, only to return from Paris a year later ravishing and self-assured. After devouring those stories, I could never quite give up the notion that a few months in France and — voila! — I would be magically transformed.

Alas, at the end of a year in Paris, I still looked moderately frumpy. In the interest of self-improvement — or maybe survival — I set out to determine why those French girls look so special. There must be a secret, I told myself, and I was going to discover it. The first step seemed obvious: Observe. So I settled down for the evening in what struck me as a good spot, the Cafe Select on Boulevard Montparnasse. Before long, three French women sat down next to me. Thinking I had found my first victims, I eagerly pulled out my note pad.

Unfortunately, my analysis wasn’t terribly enlightening. The women all looked pretty and sophisticated in a carefree, natural way. They had on clothes my American friends might wear: denim skirts, nice shirts with pullovers, and low-heeled shoes. There was nothing overtly French about their features and coloring, yet they looked Parisian to the core. Why? The only distinctive things I noticed were that two wore bright narrow belts over their sweaters, something most Americans — waistline conscious — would hesitate to do, and all three had perfect hair.

I was puzzled. None of them was doing anything an American friend might not try, but somehow the total look wasn’t the same. So, a few nights later, I decided to proceed to step two: Ask the French. This tack proved more successful, although I could see the Parisiennes were wondering why I was asking such elementary questions.

Pascale, in her thirties, helps manage a restaurant on one of the large tourist boats that run up the Seine. She has lived in the Far East and traveled widely, so I was certain she could explain why French women are more chic than others.

“Bof!” she declared while sniffing a vat of spaghetti sauce in her kitchen. (This is one of those untranslatable French words that let you know you have just said something absurd.) I was startled. “French women are not chic! Oh, yes, there are some chic women — there are always some — but most? … bof! In my father’s generation, women always had to be dressed up and looking their best, but that’s changing. Women now are working, we don’t have as much time to worry about our appearance.”

Yet, I demanded, isn’t it true that Parisians wearing pants look better than women elsewhere in pants? Pascale wiped her hands on the large chef’s apron that covered her oversize khaki shirt jacket and black cotton pants. I noticed that she had on flat, well-made black shoes. Simple, neat.

It turned out we had a semantics problem: “Oui, if that’s what you mean by chic. Elegance is different than chic; elegance has to do with money, with leisure time, with upbringing, and education. The chic woman looks natural, not dressed up. Chic is not a matter of money. Chic means that, from head to toe, there is a sense of proportion.” And she suddenly reproportioned her sauce with a splash of white wine.

“When I see American women dressed up,” Pascale continued, “I can see they’ve made an effort. Costumes and clothes have always been more important in France than in America — perhaps it’s historical influence of artists here. In order to develop a sense of what looks natural, which proportions are right, one must make an effort each day — not just occasionally. Here we are told, from the time we’re small, what looks right, what doesn’t. Our mothers tell us; magazines tell us; friends tell us.”

More specifically, what does a French mother tell her daughter? “She discusses colors. The basics — black, white, navy, burgundy, and beige — are the foundation of an outfit. Black is especially good because you can wear whatever you want with it. American women tend to mix too many colors, which is distracting, not chic. I’ve also noticed that they often wear trendy shoes, rather than investing in classic, well-made styles.

“In France, we’re also taught to know our own figures and to transform faults into assets. I know one large woman who has an equally generous personality — her wardrobe reflects her personality and size. Above all, you must be at ease in your clothes; a woman who is plump usually can’t wear tight things. On the other hand, there aren’t rigid rules, just guidelines. A woman with large breasts is often told not to wear raglan sleeves, but if the shirt is cut well, sometimes this sort of sleeve can flatter her.”

One of the earliest lessons a French girl learns is to invest well in her clothes. “Chic is knowing how to buy something that will last,” Pascale told me. “My basics must last for at least five, and often ten or fifteen, years. By basics, I mean clothes that I can wear from morning through the night. Maybe in the evening I’ll add a special necklace and bracelet, or a dressy belt — the accessories make the difference.”

Two other French women, Guillemette and Marie-Laure, took up where Pascale left off, remembering how they learned to dress. The night we met, Marie-Laure was wearing white pants, a lacy white blouse, black-and-white belt, white shoes, white net stockings, and gold jewelry. Somehow, she had managed to avoid looking overdone. Guillemette, as always, had made up her eyes and mouth perfectly, but subtly. Her long hair was neatly pulled to one side and braided.

“When I was little,” said Guillemette, “my mother used to help me set out my clothes every night before school. She would say, ‘Yes, that looks good together,’ or ‘No, you can’t wear that color with this one — marry your colors well.’ “

Marie-Laure nodded. “The mother’s influence is very important to a French girl’s developing a sense of style. I remember one time I wanted to buy a turquoise dress and my mother refused, saying it was a bad color. We are taught to be discreet, subtle in our choice of color. There is nothing wrong with bright color, but it has to be worn delicately — it shouldn’t shout at you.”

They agreed with Pascale that French women are less chic than they once were but attributed this fact to the cost of clothes in France today. “Italian women are the chic ones now,” said Guillemette, whose in-laws live in Italy. “Chic is a matter of how you put yourself together, and here even the smallest pieces of clothing costs so much. A really nice skirt or jacket by a designer — even prêt a porter — is extremely expensive. That’s why the young are always running around in jeans, clogs, and...”

I was beginning to feel confused. True, not every woman on the streets of Paris looks terrific (some of the worst dyed hair in the world can be found here), but enough of them do to make the rest of us take notice. Aren’t French women, in fact, more chic? I checked with Judy Fayard, a Life magazine assistance editor and former Women’s Wear Daily reporter, who has been watching the Paris fashion scene for almost ten years.

“In general, they are more chic,” she assured me. “Awareness of style is all around them because Paris has been the fashion capital for so long. There is exposure to what designers are doing, and it penetrates down to the woman in the street faster here than anywhere.

“French women are also much more aware of themselves than your average American. They take better care of their bodies. It isn’t just a question of weight. Here, even women of modest means visit the beauty salon regularly — to have their legs depilated or to tan or have their nails done. They always have their hair cut well, and I don’t think this is because they have better haircutters, but because Parisians go more often. They have the same attitude toward their bodies and clothes as they have toward food. They are willing to spend their money on it.”

Judy feels that there are three basic differences between French and American women. “French women are more self-confident in general, and this carries over into dressing. They are willing to experiment — say, to roll up the sleeves of a silk shirt and wear it with jeans or stick a gold belt on jeans. I can’t think of any American woman who would do that until she had seen it in a magazine.

“Second, the French are basically conservative but without the sense of practicality that Americans have. Most American women are too practical to buy a wardrobe of different stockings to accessorize their basic clothes.”

The greatest difference, she noted, is that looking nice has become a habit for French women. “At 9:00 A.M. at the corner market, I’m the only one with my hair in a ponytail and no makeup. American women either get dressed up — and when they do, you know they’re dressed up — or they simply ‘throw something on.’ There’s no such phrase in French! French women simply don’t go around looking sloppy.”

Judy also pointed out that one can still get better-cut clothes in Paris — even non-designer garments mimic the flattering lines of more expensive wear. French women still try, she added, to buy at least one nice — undoubtedly expensive — dress or suit and use accessories (a cheap belt, scarf, or pin) to alter it during the course of frequent wearings.

Although the French buy outfits just as American women do, they tend to skillfully mix the separate pieces and not wear the matched ensemble as often. “They seem to have a practiced eye for proportion — when the hem goes up, the shoe goes down,” Judy said. “It must be training. If you see good stuff around you often enough, you start to imitate it.”

Looking around might have helped those fictional heroines who went home chic, but they also must have had plenty of francs. This season, a decent pair of shoes in Paris costs at least $60; really nice pairs run from $80 to $150.

A British woman who has made Paris home for four years explained that the price of clothes affects how you wear them. “You can buy cheap French clothes, but they give out right away,” Evelyn said. “So you have no real choice but to spend more initially, knowing it will cost less in the long run. French women never keep their good clothes in the closet. They don’t wear clothes they don’t like in order to ‘save’ their favorite things for special occasions — they simply can’t afford to!

“Two years ago I bought a pair of St. Laurent pants on sale,” Evelyn continued. “Even then, they cost a bundle but I knew I could wear them for years. This winter I had them altered so the legs would be more in style; otherwise, they would hang in the closet. That’s what you have to do with your clothes here — make them last.” Evelyn pointed out that within a block of her apartment, there are three alteration shops, doing lively business. Nearby shoe-repair stores are also thriving. Women who buy expensive shoes often take them to the shop immediately to have protective layers put on the soles, so the leather will last longer.

Maite Turgonet, a Parisian journalist who covers the fashion world, concurred that French women are less chic than they once were. By this time, however, I was beginning to understand that what we consider chic is something the French take for granted as a basic starting point. For them, chic is something beyond that! So, for starters, I asked her what a Parisian would consider the key to simply looking nice.

“French women avoid clothes that are shocking,” she said. “We have a strong sense of not wanting to appear ridiculous. Even in the craziest French fashions, there is always a classical base; clothes must be cut well."

“Here a woman tries to be subtle,” she continued. “In New York, women seem to need to prove they are aware of fashion. The really fundamental rule is always be neat. You should be clean, your clothes ironed, your shoes polished. Then you must know and accept yourself; don’t try to hide your faults — that will only make you uncomfortable because you will be fighting what you are. American women often seem to be striving for some norm. If you’re short, there is no point in wearing high heels just to make yourself look taller.”

And if that’s the key to looking nice, then what elusive quality constitutes chic? What makes a classy woman stand out?

Personality. Self-confidence. A French woman dresses for herself, tries above all to please herself in the way she looks — because she must, if she’s going to please others.

Pascale had made a similar comment. “Chic is not a question of beauty or shape or age. It’s developing a self-identity, which you reflect in the way you dress. The sensuality of such a woman is subtle.”

Maite added that French women do not dress for men. “French women don’t dress to be sexy. Of course we do dress to seduce — that’s different from trying to ‘catch’ a man by wearing flamboyant clothes. The basic attitude is different. A French woman never feels she’s offering herself. There’s never a sense of surrender, but an attitude of ‘I belong to me’.”

A few nights later, I brought the subject up again, at a dinner party. I was surprised to note that the men were as interested as the women. Since roles are more vaguely defined in France, men are free to talk finance and fashion.

“French women never try to look younger than their age,” said a businessman named Patrick. “A woman of seventy can be more interesting than one of twenty. And they never try to fill a stereotype; each woman tries to find her own style.”

“Here, there’s an emphasis on imagination and creativity,” added Claude, a banker. “In the United States, you can buy anything in any color, but in France the market is smaller, so designers have to decide that this year they’ll sell red — they can’t afford to manufacture small quantities in lots of different colors Given that, French people must use imagination just to differentiate themselves.”

Odile, a translator, agreed. “a French woman tries to wear something that brings out her individual personality. If you see an American woman who is considered chic, she’s usually sun tanned, has long legs, is blond, and sportif — but looks just like everybody else who is this sort of chic!”

Another guest, Isabelle, had just come back from a vacation in Palm Beach. “In Florida everyone wears shorts and T-shirts during the day, then at night they dress up to seduce. In France, seduction is an all-day affair, part of your look, not just your clothes. It isn’t something you turn on and off.

I asked Isabelle if she had noticed that American women look at themselves more self-consciously. She thought a minute. “Actually,” she said slowly, “they don’t seem to examine themselves critically very often.” The others, most of whom have visited the States at least once, found that American women seemed a bit puritanical and shy about their bodies. A French woman, for example, is more relaxed about discussing or touching her breasts in public, if, say, conversing with a friend about the cut of a new bathing suit.

More to the point, French women frequently stop to check their appearance in mirrors — and without the self-consciousness that we have. This might be partly because there are more mirrors in Paris (in cafes, in the subway, on storefronts). These self-assessments don’t seem to stem from vanity, however, but from an honest desire to avoid sloppiness.

My conversations with chic Parisian weren’t completely theoretical, though. I did glean a few specific tips, just the sort of advice that made all the difference to those frumpy, fictional heroines:

~ If you need a basic addition to your wardrobe — such as a winter coat or suit — spend as much as you can afford on it and do without something else. Consider the new item an investment, just as you would a new car — you’ll probably spend as much time in it. If it’s still wearable in five years, you will have saved money in the long run.

~ Basic, conservative colors are sensible and attractive; but don’t forget to add accessories. Brighten up a navy, tailored skirt and white blouse by draping a pretty wool plaid scarf around your shoulders.

~ Don’t be afraid of a touch of frivolity — little pop elephant pins, plastic banana-shaped earrings, or hats (but no feathers or loud ribbons, please!) Wear very few other accessories with these in order not to clutter.

~ The focal point of an outfit need not be one of the large pieces. If you’ve splurged on a gorgeous pair of shoes that flatter your legs, draw attention to your feet by downplaying the rest of your clothes. You have a nice waistline and a pretty gold belt? Wear it with black pants and a black sweater — forget the old rule that gold and silver are just for dressing up.

~ When window shopping, try to envision clothing as more than what it was designed to be. One Parisian visiting New York for the first time saw a pair of boys’ black-and-white, ankle-high basketball shoes, and she decided that they would make great casual boots. She wears dark cotton pants tucked into them — très chic!

~ If you’re a few pounds overweight, don’t try to hide under loose, shapeless clothes. Fitted pants and dresses that are well cut will be more flattering and make excess weight less noticeable.

~ Avoid pastels, except as accessories. They flatter no one.

I’m pleased to report these practical tips helped me considerably — in fact, I might even approximate one of those rags-to-ravishing heroines on my next trip home! I returned to the Cafe Select with another formerly frumpy American. We spent an hour just watching women walk by. It was pleasant because too many Parisian women look great, though they may not think they’re as chic as they once were; nevertheless, they are often well dressed, wearing tastefully coordinated colors and flattering makeup and hair styles. Even more striking, most of them have an aura of self-assurance, which we Americans rarely possess. For whatever reason, we often seem dissatisfied with ourselves. We keep looking for that elusive outfit that will somehow change everything. French women do it the other way — first, they learn to appreciate their looks, then they decorate the package. When we left the cafe, we passed an art-supply shop with a mirror in the window. An attractive woman of about forty-five paused before it to check her lipstick. Just as we reached her, a man passed and whispered, “You’re beautiful!” She laughed pleasantly and walked off. I got the feeling that — without conceit — she knew exactly what he meant.

PS- Since we are talking about French aesthetics I couldn't resist this image of the enviable and lauded French cuff. The JCrew pants shown here are right on trend. I wouldn't mind a pair  those Prada sandals for spring either. 

May 10, 2011

Girl's Night Out!

My Standard Makeup Palette For Benefits

There is nothing like a good cause to get me out. On Friday night, Bobbi Brown Cosmetics hosted a Girl's Night Out with all of the proceeds from the evening going to Dress For Success. Dress For Success is an amazing organization that promotes the economic independence of disadvantaged women by providing professional attire, a support network  and career development tools to help women thrive in the workplace. More than 3,000 organizations throughout the world send women to Dress for Success for professional apparel and career development services. Bobbi Brown Cosmetics has been an ardent supporter of Dress For Success for the past decade. I love a brand with integrity. 

My lovely friend Tricia and I, along with women of all ages, enjoyed refreshments, having our hair styled by my favorite spa,  and  having makeup applied at the studio. The beauty professionals at Bobbi Brown Cosmetics are extremely warm and encouraging. There is an emphasis on skincare and natural beauty that fits my aesthetic. To me beauty begins with eating healthy, exercising, drinking water and taking good care of my skin. In an earlier post, I mentioned in an earlier post that this is my go to place for having my makeup applied before events, but it was really nice seeing mothers and daughters, sisters and friends leaving a little more confident and feeling good about themselves. There was great energy in the room. 

After a long week it was so nice to meet a friend and indulge ourselves for a good cause. I even ended up taking home a few new products. 

May 9, 2011

Model Moms

Via Cookie 

It should come as no surprise that my first sartorial memory involves my mother. For the first two years of my life I was an only child. My mother, father and I were a little team of three. We did everything together. I can't remember a time when I wasn't by their side. 

When it was announced that our little family of three was going to be a family of four, we spent the summer reading books in preparation for our trip to the hospital and my becoming a big sister. I was always a fast learner, so I caught on quick.  I was precocious. Of course my mother was coming right back home to our family. I would see my mother at the hospital.

Yet when it was time to go to the hospital I looked at the little bag by the door and was confused. I looked in my mother's closet and figured that she hadn't packed properly. Why wasn't my mother's clothing packed? I looked at my books for confirmation, but couldn't believe that my mother wouldn't pack her favorite garments.

So I packed. I took everything in three of my mother's drawers and was working on the fourth when I was caught. I packed all of the items that I would always look at and play with. I always loved putting together looks and getting dressed. It was unimaginable that my mother wouldn't bring her scarves, skirts, and blouses. Just imagine being in labor and your busy toddler has packed half your wardrobe in an overnight bag that is spilling onto the floor. In the midst of a harried race to the hospital, my mom explained that we would need to edit my selections down a bit. This story illustrates my mother's nature and her unwillingness to squash our little personalities. A true model mom if ever there was one.

Happy Mother's Day to all of the mothers that make the world go round. Happy Mother's Day to the mothers to be and those who desperately long to be mothers. Happy Mother's Day to all the women who nurture, mentor and encourage someone each and every day. Most importantly, Happy Mother's Day to my own lovely mother who has taught me so much about taste, manners and style. 

PS- I featured Liya Kebede and Natalia Vodianova because they both run charities that are dedicated to the well being of mothers and children. If you have time read about the Liya Kebede Foundation and Naked Heart Foundation. These moms are beautiful inside and out. 

On a frivolous note, I regret that I didn't purchase Natalia's Stella McCartney sweater. Every time I see that sweater I regret that I hesitated and let it pass by. 

May 1, 2011

Happy Spring

Via Starrshine
Last week was glorious. It FINALLY feels like Spring. A few days even felt like Summer. 

One of my favorite things about Spring is reaching for a lightweight trench coat. Whether paired with a sheath dress for work or a cocktail dress for evening outings, this is one item I wear constantly throughout the Spring. A trench coat always makes me feel poised and stylish. This week was finally warm enough to run out the door in a  trench coat. A trench is a quick way to look at once effortless, but pulled together. Being able to ditch the heavy coat and throw on a trench is always a joyous moment. My only requisite is that the waist must be cinched.

My Always Stylish Former Colleague Via L' Effort Moderne
Now that the days are warmer, I have turned my attention to my Spring wardrobe. I'm inspired to bring color into my wardrobe. Dove grey along with dusty blue, neutral shades of cream, blush and beige are colors that I will incorporate into my wardrobe. Although, I could live in my white and ivory silk shirts. There's something sculptural and clean about white paired with black that I gravitate toward. My silk shirts are quickly becoming a signature look. 

In spite of my busy schedule, I make it a point to get outside and enjoy the fresh air. The sun is mood improving. Last week I enjoyed catching up with friends and former colleagues over lunch al fresco. We all shared a good laugh over how stressful and intense the weeks leading up to my trip were. I'm a firm believer that laughter is contagious and a genuine smile the best accessory. Spring is made for meeting up with friends in Bryant Park; watching, cheering and maybe even squeezing in a Petanque game. 

Via Garance Dore
Spring is being able to sleep with the windows open. Don't you just sleep better with fresh air? Although, something tells me that I won't be able to sleep tonight. Met Season kicks off tomorrow with Met Ball and the opening of the Met Costume Institutes's exhibition "Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty." After months of anticipation it's finally here. Something tells me this is going to be another good week. Demain. 

My Personal Photo