The Therapeutic Pumpkin

Halloween is shaping up to be terrifying this year - but not for reasons you might guess.  My list of Halloween Horrors 2017:

  1. Having a meeting in the epicenter of Halloween shenanigans: the West Village (I have one tomorrow!)
  2. The general lack of courteousness and, more to the point, SOBRIETY in the West Village
  3. The general lack of Ubers in the West Village

I have a secret fear that I will get down there and not be able to get out due to the expected bedlam in the neighborhood.  Everyone takes to the streets under the guise of watching or participating in the parade but really it's just an excuse to get wasted and fall down in the middle of an avenue.  I am wearing sneakers and I will be prepared to run if need be - whether from ghouls, from ghosts, or from a bevy of young girls in "sexy nurse" costumes.

I have attempted to suppress my fears by turning to something I find very calming and therapeutic - pumpkin carving (AKA Styling a Pumpkin).  I know this will shock many of you considering I am not one who has ever been able to CRAFT on any level with any medium.  However, pumpkins and I understand one another.  They are surprisingly yielding if you have the right tools; I wish I could say the same for the West Village.  Alas, this year I fell in love with an image of a unicorn and executed the above pumpkin.  No stencils were used in the making of any of these pumpkins:

My cute sisters came over for the carving session and turned out the two beauties on either end of mine.  Tomorrow, no doubt, I will be drawing upon the Zen act of creating these.  Happy Halloween, dear readers.  I wish you loads of candy, and most of all, a detour away from the West Village.

 

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!

Snow suit or swim suit? I think you know my answer.

For the briefest of moments this morning I considered acting like a normal mom and going to the grocery store to stock up on bread and milk.  Then I remembered I'm not normal and bought a swimsuit instead.  This beautiful Zimmerman suit to be exact.  I subscribe to the mode of thought that when Life serves you lemons, make lemonade.  Except for future reference, Life, I'd prefer you serve me lemons rather than 24" of snow.  Thanks. Other pretty and forward-looking-suits I considered:

 

 

I chose mostly one piece swimsuits because perhaps subconsciously I'm afraid of being cold; but I understand that this reasoning is akin to my mom wanting to be buried in a mausoleum because she's afraid she won't be able to breathe underground.

Brim Witted

goorin-brothers-fedoraSome weeks I have the same conversation all week long but with each of my clients individually.  The good news is that I'm equipped for this since I have a 6 and a 4 year old and have the same conversation with each of them pretty much every hour. This past week it was about hats (with my clients, not my kids).  The collective answer to the number one asked question of last week is YES there is a hat out there that suits your face shape.  It takes some trial and error but the people at a good hat shop like Goorin Brothers are willing to assist.  If you don't want to go hat shopping with me (WHY don't you want to go with me?!? I'm so much fun!!!! Whatever.  It's your loss.) and you don't even want to go into the store, you can educate yourself with this helpful guide about finding the proper style hat for your face shape.  Then browse around and see what you like.  My suggestion in terms of color is that if you have a black or any neutral solid coat, go for a hat with some color.  If your coat is printed or bright, go with a neutral hat.

It's not for everyone but I recently picked up the plum colored wide-brimmed fedora with ombre band (featured above).  It is so pretty I felt my heart ache when I put it on.  A few other favorites for women:

goorin-bros-green-cloche

goorin-bros-red-beret

goorin-brothers-blair-rogers

A few of my favorites for men:

goorin-bball-cap

goorin-walter-hat

goorin-henry-hat

Hung by the chimney with care...

This suggests that indeed care was taken when this stocking was hung by the chimney. And now it's time for some unsolicited advice from Wardrobe Whisperer (incidentally this seems the only type of advice I've been giving these days):

If a man is paying a visit to your home, at no point does he want to view ratty old stockings.  And when I reference men this, of course, includes Santa.  He's worked hard.  He's brought you GIFTS.  For the love of all that is good and holy do not have him descend your chimney to find your reindeer and snowflake embroidered stocking from when you were two.  That stocking's memory should live on but its corpse should be tossed atop the yule log.  Bottom line: it's time for an upgrade.  Kim Seybert appears to be the type of woman who understands the importance of this act of common decency.  Witness her pearl fringe stocking above as well as a selection of some of her other beauties below:

We all need more ombre in our lives. Santa is not immune.

kim-seybert-stocking-3

You can be selfish...or you can take selfies

Killing it softly...very softly since he's in the elevator Not everything that happens in the elevator of an investment bank is as nefarious as John Lefevre's 2015 @GSElevator book Straight to Hell would have you believe.  In fact, I have proof of the opposite.  One of my most favorite banking clients uses his elevator time not to discuss deviance, debauchery, and billion-dollar deals (the subtitle of the aforementioned book) instead, he uses the time to send me elevator selfies!  This guy is such a team player (team Wardrobe Whisperer, that is) that he regularly posts me on what combinations he has chosen from his look book.  No doubt this man understands that a visual high-five of this nature not only keeps a stylist happy but also on her toes!  Here are a few more examples for your viewing pleasure:

Giving all new meaning to the term "tie game."

Not only am I not talking trash, I'm blocking you out with these headphones.

Blue Steel at its finest.

How To Style A Pumpkin

octopus-pumpkin-2016 I learned a few critical things this year at my annual pumpkin carving party:

  1. When in doubt, cut it out
  2. Apple cider and amaretto is the nectar of the gods
  3. It is way more fun to carve a design than to scrape a design into your pumpkin as I did this year (above)
  4. This song is the perfect accompaniment for carving (Thanks, Johnny)

As usual, it was like an episode of America's Got Talent up in my kitchen. Witness last night's output:

pumpkins-2016

Happy Halloween a few weeks early!

 

The Essential Weekender

rag&bone_weekender It has not even been two full weeks since school has let out and I already feel worn thin.  God bless you, teachers of the world, for dealing with our kids and their hyperactivity most days of the year.  When I'm not working, I find myself casting about for fun activities on a minute-to-minute basis and, friends, there's only so much Play-Doh a mom can handle - literally and figuratively.  Which leads me to the characteristic of summer which we can collectively agree softens the blow of having the kids home all day, every damn day:  Long Weekend Get-Aways!

To boost morale, let's talk about the bag that we will carry when said jaunts commence.  (This exercise is every bit for me as it is for you.) My current favorite weekender is the above pictured Rag & Bone Flight Duffel.  But as I know it is not eminently affordable, here's another option to consider:

Valextra K Val 23" Weekender

Oh wait! This Valextra K Val 23" weekender is even MORE expensive than the Rag & Bone.  I seem to be headed in the wrong direction on the cost spectrum.  One last try:

Nailed It!

This fun Want Les Essentiels Hartsfield bag is not only more affordable than the other two options, it's also on sale!  BAM!

Plantar Fascism/itis

merengue If you are a believer in everything-happens-for-a-reason (this type of kool-aid is typically not my flavor) then perhaps your interpretation of my getting plantar fasciitis is somewhat sunnier than mine. Mine, of course, is that it's a cruel, cruel world that decides a wardrobe stylist should no longer wear high heels. It makes me feel like Chris Farley in the Herlihy Boy skits: For the love of all that is good and holy LET ME WEAR HIGH HEELS!

As usual, I digress.  Back to you and your interpretation which is likely that I am experiencing extreme foot pain so that I can do a shoe edit for those of you who, like me, walk like they are 98 years old. Without further ado, here are all the sandals (in addition to the ones above) that I've bought and tried and can tolerate without a limp:

tortuga

snake

Dr. Scholl’s for J.Crew

 

Wardrobe Whisperer and Business Insider Talk Boots

the-chukka.jpgIt's Thanksgiving week and the mere suggestion of turkey has flooded my body with L-tryptophan.  All I want to do is sleep.  (Hush up, WebMD with your pesky science.)  And that sleepiness is what brings me to my decision to point you to an article published last week by Business Insider.  That I did actual work on.  Unlike this post which is the literary equivalent of what you will be eating for a full three days after Thanksgiving.  So without further ado (and by "ado" I mean "effort"), here is that article served up again.  Luckily it reheats nicely (over 104K views!): There are only 5 acceptable boots to wear with a suit by Linette Lopez

The Great Pumpkin Carving

IMG_3728 Whose brilliant idea was it to hand children twelve pounds of candy each, then add an extra hour to the next day for them to use begging for said candy?  Yesterday plus today has really been a one-two punch in that respect.  That is, until I developed a system:  for each indiscretion, my kids have to let me pick something from their basket.  Please note that I am ruthless.  Our afternoon went something like this:

Oh, you LOVE Reese's peanut butter cups?  Sorry, Mac, you shouldn't have hit your sister.  They're mine.

What was that, Lilli, Twix are your favorite?  Was that you just screaming in the other room?  Hand them over!

Mac and Lilli were up in Rounds 1 and 2 but Mommy has clearly won the match.

Now let's look at our pumpkin line up from this year:

Pumpkin Caper

Shouts to Johnny, Tia, Sacha, and Tom.  Here the pumpkins are again but this time spooky style outside on the front stairs:

IMG_3721

Mine was the dullest this year despite my eleventh hour efforts to create more negative space:

IMG_3730

I think I got cocky and gave up early because I was still riding the high from last year's pumpkin:

fairy_halloween

Business Insider Asks Wardrobe Whisperer

ShatterblueWho among us, man or woman, doesn't have a girl crush?  Mine?  Linette Lopez of Business Insider.  Because she is not only pretty but fearless and just as comfy talking about emerging markets as she is talking about men's summer accessories.  Proof?  Check her running posts on Business Insider. With July 4th around the bend, she and I circled up to discuss men's summer accessories:

http://www.businessinsider.com/four-things-men-need-for-a-weekend-away-2015-6

As she points out, you only need four.  Grab and go, boys, neither your girl crush nor that beautiful beach wants to be kept waiting!

Give and Let Live

Prabal Admittedly, I am often annoyed when a person uses his/her celebrity to preach to the masses.  I'm usually not at all interested in their message (but very interested in their outfit).  Not so in the case of Prabal Gurung, the super-star fashion designer originally from Kathmandu, Nepal who is raising thousands of dollars to support relief efforts in his homeland.  He is a brand ambassador and board member of Shikshya Foundation and is currently using this platform to raise money for food/water, search and rescue efforts, medical support, and other humanitarian needs following Nepal's massive earthquake on April 25th.  His organization is donating 100% of all monies received.  Click here to read more about the efforts of Prabal and Shikshya Foundation and learn how you can donate to this very worthy cause.

Pay it Forward With your Bridesmaids

Nicholas Gown I've been in my fair share of weddings and have adopted a standard policy on bridesmaid's dresses.  Which is: at the end, I leave them in the hotel.  By that point, I've already spent too much time (and usually money) and refuse to allow them to aggrieve me for one additional moment.  I simply wish them another life and walk away.  I always bear this in mind when I make recommendations to brides regarding their maids.  In my mind, it's most merciful to say, "buy a black floor length gown (such as the simple but elegant Nicholas gown above), let it not be shiny and let it not have sequins and all will be well."  I've been in weddings with this policy and have had one myself and, quite honestly, it's a recipe for success.  Every girl chooses a gown that flatters her figure, which means your photos turn out super, and - bonus points - she doesn't hate on you because she'll likely wear the gown again.  For real this time.

Putting the Sand in Sandals

solimar_smx-1664_naturalwhite_angleWhile many of you fervently approved of the Wardrobe Whisperer endorsed New Hot Shoe of the Summer, several of you have implored me to nominate a New Hot FLAT Shoe of the Summer.  You've spoken, I've listened.  And you don't even need to leave the Joie site because I am also in love with their Solimar sandal pictured above.  In the same vein as Joie's Yvette pump, a blend of nude and white leathers make this shoe a good choice with most everything.  Try it with a flowy floral maxi dress or slip these puppies on with your favorite bikini and cover-up and head straight to the beach.  Which is what I'm doing come Thursday!  And I'm fairly certain these Solimars will be my favorite traveling companions aside from the iPads which I hope (nay, PRAY) will keep my kidlets occupied on the plane.

New Hot Shoe of the Summer

yvette_smx-1553_nudemulti_angleMy friend, Jenny, has the uncanny ability to predict with perfect accuracy the "new hot song of the summer" (as she refers to it).  Every year as spring breaks she texts me to announce what it will be.  Two days into spring, I find myself scanning for her texts but she is yet unwilling to make a commitment.  I am trying to be patient and in so doing, I will distract myself by naming "the new hot shoe of the summer" which is... the Yvette pump by Joie!  This shoe is not only lovely and light, she is hugely versatile.  Toss her on with joggers and a blazer or with that sexy date-night dress you've been stowing in the side of your closet.  As for the new hot song, fingers crossed that it does not turn out to be "I Really Like You" by Carly Rae.  Higher powers, have mercy.

How to Stand Out this Spring Wedding Season

Brackish_product_shots_082613-22_1024x1024Due to the flurry of countless national/international Fashion Weeks and an epic awards season, I've reviewed a ton of men's formal wear.  And when I think back on all that I've seen, I'm searching to identify what defines fresh for THIS MOMENT.  But with the exception of interesting lapel pins, I'm at a loss.  (Red D&G tux with vest, you are NOT my answer. And further, you may be the secret second reason for Elton John's D&G boycott.)  Then I stumbled upon the quirky and ingenious company called Brackish Bow Ties and instantly wished that someone would have shown up with one of these on.  They feel very au courant to me and could have been that defining factor.  This may be because Brooklyn, the land of the urban outdoorsman, remains the epicenter of all that is cool or it may just be because these handmade beauties are different:  a monumental feat in menswear which moves by millimeters.  In any case, I endorse them, particularly with spring wedding season approaching.  Incidentally, they're killing it with the lapel pins too.  Pick one or the other and gift your groomsmen and yourself.  They will provide instant conversation, and maybe even forgiveness, for when your drunk best man is on minute 23 of his toast.

Happy HOLLA-Days From My Family To Yours

The thing I like most about holidays is establishing traditions.  It's so much fun to look forward to things that happen but once per year.  Some families do Elf on a Shelf but, frankly, that's too much work for me.  Other families dance in their PJs but, given my vocation, you understand that I need to get dressed up.  So my family dons green velvet elf costumes and THROWS IT DOWN in Brooklyn, Herald Square, Rock Center, Times Square, and the subway.  Hit it guys:

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!  XOXO

 

 

How to Style a Pumpkin

fairy_halloweenIt surprises a lot of folks that I don't enjoy dressing up for Halloween.  Costumes are just not my thing.  (Unless, of course, there's someone among you who might consider a new Tom Ford dress a costume??  If so, please step forward!)  I much prefer to commemorate this holiday with knives - lots of tiny ones to use for pumpkin carving!  That merits style points, no?   This year I did Tinkerbell (above photo) and nearly lost my right hand poking out the "galaxy" with a bamboo skewer.  I was 20 minutes in when it dawned on me that a drill would be much more efficient.  And sure enough I was right.  It pains my heart (as well as the phantom pain in my right hand) that she is beginning to wither because she turned out to be a pretty little thing!