Celeb Sighting: Jenna Lyons (YES she is a celebrity)

Jenna at the 2017 Tony Awards

A few days ago Jenna Lyons passed me in SoHo.  That I recognized her registered on her face and resulted in her picking up her pace ever so slightly.  Which makes me think I may have a latent stalker vibe (?!?) to which I’ve been blind.  I began feverishly texting my friends, as one does when one has latent stalker tendencies, to report this majestic sighting.  A few of the responses I received:

  1. WHO is that?!
  2. Oh my gosh – I LOVED her in The Office.
  3. Channing Tatum’s wife?

Answers to the above:

  1. The former creative director and president of J Crew widely credited for reinvigorating the brand as it was slumping in the early 2000’s.  She is a Damn. Fashion. ICON.
  2. That would be Jenna Fischer.
  3. That would be Jenna Dewan Tatum.

So what if no one else found this sighting as glorious and serendipitous as I did, I still wanted to chase her down to grill her (LATENT tendencies!).  Her rise to fame is fascinating to me.  Yes: FAME.  She began as a junior designer in 1990 and ascended not only to the highest ranks but became the de facto face of the company.  When word of her departure was released, it was reported that the decision was mutual.  That is code for: tumultuous but suppressed.  To quote Seinfeld: “It was the first mutual break up in relationship history!” Which is to say break ups are rarely ever mutual; And I suspect this one follows suit.  In any case, I would like to end with an open letter to Jenna:

Hi Jenna,

It’s me, the stalker you saw on Broadway and Prince, AKA the Wardrobe Whisperer.  PLEASE for the love of all that is good and holy write a tell-all book immediately.  That is, if you’re not already penning said book which I’m certain you must be.  It would be a completely missed opportunity to keep us in the dark.  I require details.  Please start from the beginning of the end.

Thank you,

WW

 

In It to Pin It

A few years back I was hired to style a finance expert who regularly appears on CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, CNBC, Bloomberg, etc.  What I learned while working with her is that, although they supply commentators with nada wardrobe-wise, these networks are relentless with their wardrobe requests.  One news giant (allow me to be evasive) was particularly unscrupulous and would send direction of this flavor: “Please no pants, and wear shorter skirts.” It’s worth noting that after this appeal, they switched their format to round-table (vs behind a desk) to ensure lots of leg-shots.  Good times.

While all were guilty of putting the “direct” in direction, typically the organizations had more reasonable (and less exploitative) requests.  For instance, a different news outlet that shot primarily from the torso up asked this client to distinguish herself by creating a “signature look.”  For her, this was akin to receiving a wedding invitation that specified “garden casual attire.”  The point is that people who are not stylists rarely want to think that hard about what they need to wear.  My immediate instinct was to try incorporating a brooch/pin into her look because I couldn’t remember ever having seen a commentator wear one.  My go-to, of course, then and now is Alexis Bittar.  The lucite pins we chose were a HUGE success and not only garnered kudos from the network, it registered in her viewer appeal ratings.  Which leads me to the point of this post: YOU TOO SHOULD WEAR PINS.  As evidenced by my experience, they are NOT for old ladies only and ARE an easy way to distinguish yourself from the masses. Lucky for you I recently previewed AB’s stunning fall collection I have identified next season’s IT pin.  It’s a diamond-encrusted snake acting as the pistil of a lucite flower and it is to die for (above).  No link yet as it has not yet been released but will be soon!

Wimbledos and Wimbledon’ts

Chris Quinn gets served literally and figuratively.

As a parent of two small fries, I’ve been trying to embrace the “teaching moment.” Recently while in the grocery store my four year old and I crossed paths with a woman who had bathed in perfume moments before causing Lilli to shout, “Mommy! WHO STINKS?!”  It was obvious to me this was a teaching moment.  Clearly the lesson was to lower your voice so you don’t get caught saying what you really think.  Wait a minute.  On second thought, maybe the lesson was supposed to be to not say unkind things?! Damnit!  I never claimed to be a pro.  I’ll tell you who is, though – Kim Clijsters.  Not only is she a pro at tennis but she is also a pro at life.  She recently took the teaching moment to new heights during one of her matches at Wimbledon.  She had a heckler that was so obnoxious he moved her to invite him onto the court to face her.  As is well known, at Wimbledon one can only play in all-whites and this man hadn’t the proper attire. Undaunted, Kim grabbed a skirt from her bag and made him stuff himself into it.  Unsurprisingly he was unable to follow his own technical advice and failed in spectacular fashion on the court while looking like a sausage personified.  Needless to say, he got schooled.

While we are on the topic of teaching moments, allow me to use the Royals at Wimbledon to illustrate a few lessons I’ve been forever preaching.  Namely:

  1. Embrace prints (points to both Kate and William for this and also that random third Royal)
  2. A textured tie, like Will’s knit, is a welcome change for a warmer season
  3. I can and will kill for Kate’s hair
  4. Everyone looks hotter in sunglasses (take note random third Royal and, also, please tear that bow from its perch)

Witness:

What to wear sky diving

Me (in Missoni) and my badass 72 year old dad pre-skydive

At least once a day, every day, I’m consulted on what to wear while doing/attending SOME thing.  Typically that thing is not sky diving but this past weekend it was; And the question came from within.  The instruction given from the facility was to wear comfortable clothing and lace-up sneakers.  In my world comfort is trumped by a million different factors and therefore I don’t own multitudes that would fit that description.  In the end I chose a pair of black and hot pink Nike athletic pants that I wear to play tennis in the cold plus a black tank top and Adidas Stan Smith sneakers.  Little did I know that this look would NAIL IT.  Apparently sky diving culture embraces and exults extremely loud, tight, printed pants.  This was verified by one of the instructors who approached me as if I was a veteran flyer (this was only my second time) based solely upon my bottom half.  Needless to say, I felt triumphant, despite the fact that I was uniting myself with folks in some of the ugliest pants I have ever seen in my life.  No matter: when in Rome.

Loud, tight, printed pants was but one of two trends that I identified on Sunday.  The other happened to be the no clothes or bikini bottoms only sky diving trend.  This raised so many questions for me, not the least of which were:

  1. Who is slated to wear the issued harness after said harness was rubbing the sensitive areas of the naked sky diver?
  2. And if that next person is slated to be me, will the harness be cleaned in some fashion?
  3. And, more specifically in WHAT fashion?
  4. And how thoroughly?

This was scheduled to be a rated G sky diving adventure to celebrate my dad’s 72nd birthday and yet these were the questions and the imagery with which we we were confronted as a family.  I’ve faced many things with my father and siblings through the years but naked folks jumping out of planes in our full collective view has not been one of them.  Until now.

Here are those pants I mentioned:

If you want to appear to be a sky-diving insider, go loud or go home. Or go naked.

Somehow the debate about men’s shorts rages on

I was pumped about summer vacation for exactly 72 hours until:

  1. I spent 48 of those 72 hours applying sunscreen to tiny necks and backs
  2. “Bored” became a leader in my kids’ vocabulary
  3. Spontaneous fist-fights erupted in my house at regular intervals
  4. Littles began waking up before 6am, despite black out curtains, because the sun somehow still peeks through

People, it is not even real summer yet.

In addition to the above list of affronts, the debate about men’s shorts seems to have extended beyond what Linette Lopez and I tackled a few years backAs Quartz confirms, there are an increasing amount of folks who take the position that men should never wear shorts. I consider that an extreme opinion and wish to defend the right of men to regulate their body temperatures as best as they can.  I understand that in places like England shorts are abandoned as part of the right of passage into manhood but here in the good old USA, shorts are hugely relevant (case and point: New York City in the middle of August) and are part of American culture in much the same way as denim.  To me, the problem is in the execution not in the garment itself.  This goes back to our cargo shorts debate (which, by the way, was published a full year BEFORE the Wall Street Journal took on the same topic and got a TON of media attention for it).  Basically too often we see men wearing oversized, overstuffed shorts and, in effect, ruining it for everyone else.  If men would, as a whole, commit to wearing streamlined styles like, for example, the Theory model pictured above, I don’t think shorts would have such a bad reputation.

I’m sure I will get a million texts and emails saying that flat-front shorts don’t work on every body type but in fact they do work on most.  If your waistline doesn’t support them then let’s not blame the garment.  Put down that fifth beer and back away.

Standing O or Hell No: The Tony Awards 2017

I can point to many times in my life when my tendency towards stream of consciousness has gotten me in trouble.  For instance in my Goldman Sachs days, while attending a productivity seminar, the presenter asked the group for our understanding of “posting.” My hand shot up.  (It is important to pause and note that I had been riding motorcycles with my brothers the previous day.)  I blurted out that posting is when you are on your bike and go around a sharp turn and kind of drag your foot a little bit.  She looked at me with the pure disgust I clearly deserved considering my answer was solid proof I had been daydreaming for the whole first hour.

I find myself in a similar predicament today as I try to conjure up something relevant to say about the Tony Awards because, confession: I don’t pay attention to Broadway either.  I know that, to many, that is akin to admitting I don’t like puppies or ice cream but it’s true; And its reality is preventing me from both recognizing the attendees AND from writing anything that has to do with this particular awards show.  What it is NOT preventing me from is commenting on the outfits NOR from (stream of consciousness alert!!) singing every Tony! Toni! Toné! song I know (especially Feels Good) because they’ve all been running through my head on repeat ever since I realized the Tonys were showing last night.

I AM A LIVING NON-SEQUITUR.  Here I go again…

The primary thing that struck me about the Tony red carpet was the sheer number of patterns worn.  My heart was aflutter!  Ask any of my female clients my feelings on a patterned dress/gown and they will dutifully repeat two words: HIGH VALUE.  Such is the voluminous Zac Posen (above) worn by Liu Wen.  I feel that if Rebecca Taylor met Zac in a dark alley she’d find a way to punish him physically for coming up with this design first.  Standing O!

Fortunately for me I sometimes dabble in unsavory television programs like UnReal from which I recognize Denee Benton.  (Hot damn that show is GOOD.  The premise makes it sound like trash but the production value is high.  Trust me.  Or if you don’t trust me, the proof is in its Peabody Award.)  The production value of this Oscar de la Renta is also high.  It’s unusual and lovely and is super fun against that background.  Standing O!

 

Rachel Chavkin’s marvelous dress in one word: MOOD.  Standing O!

 

Badgley Mischka gets top marks for this splendid black and white print worn by Laura Osnes.  My only edit to this look would be to trade up for a bright red lip.  Otherwise she is perfection.  Standing O!

 

While not technically a pattern, Chrissy Tiegen in Pamela Roland is supreme.  She’s had so many successes on the red carpet this year and can count on me to keep cheering her on!  Standing O!

 

And one more for the non-patterned but severely stunning category: Cynthia Erivo in custom CG Studio.  Standing O!

 

It would be criminal – CRIMINAL – to rob you of your chance to ogle a handsome and perfectly turned out gentleman like David Oyelowo.  Enjoy.  Standing O!

Oh what the hell – we have time for two!

Standing O, Orlando Bloom!  Always.

 

WW with Business Insider: How to wear a dress shirt

Men, when the proportions of your dress shirt and trousers make you look like a mushroom, it is time to rethink your strategy.  Luckily for you, Linette Lopez and I sorted things out for Business Insider in a few easy-to-follow steps.  See our latest collaboration here:

Gentleman, a few things to keep in mind about your dress shirt

Standing O, Hell No, or So-So: Cannes 2017

Apologies for interrupting a show already in progress: The Cannes Film Festival.  But I continue to receive a multitude of texts to the tune of:

“Cannes you please stop everything and blog some dresses?”

Faithful readers know I am incapable of ignoring a pun and so I will jump in late with a mini-review…

A few years ago I ran into an old friend I hadn’t seen in 20 years and her belly was protruding; So confident was I in my assumptions that I sang out “BABY!!!” and rubbed her stomach only to part ways and later discover she was NOT pregnant.  I had a similar overwhelming confidence when I viewed Nicole Kidman’s silver frock above.  I would’ve sworn it was a Gucci then learned it’s a Rodarte.  I need to quit being so cocky.  As I’m working on that, let’s call this So-So and move on to this:

Like Glenn Close in Basic Instinct, this Michael Cinco dress WILL NOT BE IGNORED.  Rightfully, it should not be ignored, for it is a wondrous thing. Witness Aishwarya Rai from this vantage point:

Standing O.

Speaking of vantage points…

When I was a child I remember being told that Satan takes on many forms. That frightened me.  Clearly I had no idea what true terror lurked out there because this Alexandre Vauthier hadn’t yet been designed.  It seems a fitting time to evoke Hell as in Hell No.

 

If Versace needed to update its resume, my suggestion would be to simply insert this photo of Uma Thurman. The technical fashion term “amaze-balls” comes to mind here.  What also comes to mind is Naomi Campbell wearing another version of this dress to the Golden Globes and also killing it.   Standing O.

A few things a stylist “buys” on a Monday

I’d rather swim all day in a heavily chlorinated pool with my eyes and mouth wide open than to sit for an hour in Starbucks.  I’m not sure what lies within the fumes of their coffee but each and every time I go there I stagger out nauseated and in need of fresh air. It’s the closest spot with free WiFi and has outlets galore, though, and so there is no end in sight to my suffering.

That intro has nothing to do with actual fashion, only my efforts to write about fashion. Which, in this environment have been seriously hampered.  So allow me not to tax my brain (or airways) further.  Let’s just look at the items that I helped people buy today.  It’s much more fun (and less toxic):

This photo requires no caption.

Gucci Ophelia Ankle Strap Sandals

Summer pocket square by Simmonet Godard

John Vizzone Suit

Gauchere pleated midi skirt

OK, no one actually bought this $3K Alice Archer kimono but I’m going on record to say I love it.

Standing O, So-So, or Hell No: MTV Movie/TV Awards

It’s a universal truth that if you attend an MTV event it is mandatory that you select your outfit from the following categories:

  1. See-through
  2. Micro mini
  3. Replete with sequins and/or gems
  4. Metallic
  5. Skin tight
  6. Confusing

Apparently Cara Delevingne (above) was coerced by Saint Laurent to submit to each and every grouping. However, while I don’t typically recommend shaving your head and also matching your lipstick to your boots, somehow her top quarter still looks stunning.  And that, in a nut-shell, is why she is a model.  Overall though: So-So.

Onto my personal favorite: Zendaya

If this Zuhair Murad dress was not entirely see-through then I would have to argue that it was too demure for an MTV event.  However, since her entire body is on full view like a menu in a restaurant window, it indeed satisfies categories #1 and #3 and is therefore acceptable fare.  Standing O!

 

Yara Shadidi’s face is absolute perfection.  (Doesn’t she resemble Chilli from TLC?!)  She is a glorious beauty but whereas I covet all of the pieces of her Gucci outfit separately, I’m unconvinced that they should all be playing on the same team.  I’m going to say So-So since each component has extreme independent merit and since this ensemble addresses categories #3, #4, and #6 and since I’d abandon all of my morals and good sense to have 1/10 of her natural beauty.

Another entry for “all of the above” :

Ok, ok, the entire outfit isn’t skin tight but the pants are.  Don’t argue with me.  This insane Balmain concoction is a straight up Hell No.

 

Listen, I LOVE Taraji P and the energy that she always brings to the red (black) carpet.  But even though she has pulled out another A++ hairstyle, I’m afraid her overall look is just a few accessories shy of this:

But still she remains TARAJI-Flipping-P and cannot merit a Hell No.  Instead I will impart a So So.

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