Whether or not it is intentional, your watch communicates things about you. Leslie Albrecht from the Wall Street Journal's digital finance site, Market Watch, asked me to translate what is being said. (Keep reading, mom, most of my quotes are in the last third of this article):
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:
- Who is slated to wear the issued harness after said harness was rubbing the sensitive areas of the naked sky diver?
- And if that next person is slated to be me, will the harness be cleaned in some fashion?
- And, more specifically in WHAT fashion?
- 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:
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:
Recently I was called in to end a family feud. It was a father/son showdown regarding suspenders and whether or not they should be worn with a belt. The answer is that both accessories were designed to keep your pants from falling down and so they should not be worn together. That would, for us ladies, be like wearing Spanx and a girdle. Or a bustier and a bra. A decision must be made between the two. When settling this particular debate I was tempted to add that a person who feels it necessary to wear both belt AND suspenders might also have some deep-seated trust issues. But then I reminded myself that no one cares about my psychological interpretations of sartorial conundrums. (But why is this I wonder? Is it because I don't have a psychology degree? Qualifications smallifications! I think we can all agree they are irrelevant and unnecessary.) So if anyone would like to hear more of my psychological analysis, please do contact me directly. I'm more than happy to spew all sorts of ill informed and misguided nonsense your way. In the meantime, let's look at some truly dapper gentlemen who are aware of the no-belt-with-suspenders-rule:
And no post about suspenders could go without a look in the review mirror at this memorable image:
Linette Lopez and I have not written together in awhile but that doesn't mean we haven't been offended together in awhile. And so we got our priorities straight (as should you after reading this post) and identified all that needs to be burned from your closet if you work on Wall Street. Do not delay:
If Justification was a college course, there would be a bidding war for my professorial services. Obviously this is a critical job function for me and therefore a skill I have spent time cultivating. The fact is that no one likes to feel guilty about spending hard earned money and so often my role is to gently permission them. This has never been easier than at a recent event where I teamed up with Goldman Sachs, Hugo Boss, and the Susan Komen Foundation to raise money for cancer research...by shopping of course!
An infallible mantra I adopted for the evening: Stop thinking of yourself and start shopping for charity!
Luckily attendees were good sports and took this (questionable) logic to heart which equated to a good bit of financial support for the foundation. Success! (Note to readers: it might also have helped that I was double-fisting bottles of persecco and pouring liberally while simultaneously doing on the spot styling and fittings. Just a hunch.)
- When in doubt, cut it out
- Apple cider and amaretto is the nectar of the gods
- It is way more fun to carve a design than to scrape a design into your pumpkin as I did this year (above)
- 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:
Happy Halloween a few weeks early!
For me, the photo above is like a red flag to a bull. Incidentally most often Trump's ties are red and I'm rather bullish and so you can see how I'm bringing this idiom full circle for you. The bottom line (which, given the length of his tie, Trump does not believe in) is that this tie is too damn long. There are many things for which to get mad at Trump, but it is my job to get mad at him for fashion and so this is my grievance. Here's what I told Business Insider about my feelings on this matter:
Every year we take a week long vacation at my parents' lake house in upstate NY. It's magical for many reasons, not the least of which is that we all drink heavily and pretend to watch each other's children. (Which, of course, amounts to no one really watching any children and said children jumping wildly off the dock/various boats and not wearing life jackets.)
The other part of the magic is the backdrop and the diversity of weather that you encounter in a single day. The mornings are temperate, the afternoons can be blazing, and the evenings are often chilly - not to mention that you are subject to crazy rainstorms at any moment in time. This could make packing tricky but luckily, I'm a professional! For last week's adventure, I got myself and both kids packed in under thirty minutes and fit all of our clothing in one medium-sized suitcase. This was a cinch given the challenge I was presented with a few weeks ago by two of my favorite LA-based clients, and the founders of Lifehack Bootcamp, Carey and Demir Gjokaj.
Carey's and Demir's challenge was this: to create a wardrobe for each of them for a full year that will work for all occasions (from hiking to giving presentations to meeting with clients to touring around), and span all climates since they'll be living in Spain, Bali, Hawaii, and Columbia. Oh! Did I mention that each wardrobe had to fit in one CARRY-ON SIZED suitcase? That's right. And, yes, we rocked it:
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:
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:
This fun Want Les Essentiels Hartsfield bag is not only more affordable than the other two options, it's also on sale! BAM!
This is a fashion column, not an etiquette column. Frankly, though, I have no other platform on which to express my views and so I'll sling them about as I see fit. First up: Dear readers, when you send out an invitation it is cruel to the common invitee to request dress codes like "Festive" or "Creative Black Tie." Most people (read: those without a stylist) do NOT want to spend oodles of time decrypting your sartorial expectations. Most people have go-to items for "Black Tie," "Cocktail" or "Casual" but not for "Smart Casual" or "Elegant Casual." Have mercy, people, the masses still cannot wrap their heads around "Business Casual." Kate here is attending a Garden Party for the Queen's 90th Birthday. (Why Do I Feel Like Anything Referring To The Queen Has To Be In Caps??) Truth be told, I've been asked many times but I've never advised a client to wear a long gown to a garden party. Chiefly this is because most garden parties are slightly less formal than this one appears to be and also because long gowns work best with heels but heels don't work best with grass (although wedges do!). However, if we are still telling the truth, I have never advised on a garden party wardrobe for a QUEEN'S birthday extravaganza. In this case, given the Royal element, I think this Temperley number works wonderfully. It's intricate but not overly so, it's sheer but not scandalous, it's white and detailed and fitted and lovely. I'm not over the moon for the chandelier earrings but their role is not prominent so I forgive them. But, WAIT:
For the Queen's pleasure, Will slices Kate's gown in half!? This alternate photo was a surprise to me because I thought we were viewing a gown, not a skirt and top. But I actually prefer this notion. It's modern and even more appropriate for being less formal. It's "Queen's Birthday Slightly Formal" or maybe "Royal Garden Dressy Casual." Whatever the invitation said, this is a damn good interpretation of the request.
One of the things I love best about the spring, besides it being perfect mojito weather, is wearing all white on the regular. It's cool, crisp, polished and, as a hue (or lack thereof) it works with everything. Sadly, though, "universally flattering" does not appear on the list of its virtues. So unless you have Jessica Alba's body, here are the two most important things to consider before wearing white:
- Sheerness: White tends to be see-through which, especially in the work place, can be damning (as in DAMN, what is she wearing up in here?). For a top or a dress sheerness often mandates a camisole or a slip, and for pants it often mandates that they be burned (or at the very least have their pockets cut out and sewn up). The idea is that you want to make it impossible to glimpse what is under the fabric (undergarments, tattoos, skin texture, etc). If anything can distinctly be seen, this is not the garment for you. Or anyone except, maybe, Jessica Alba.
- Structure: White is most flattering when it comes in the form of a structured garment. (Jessica Alba, why are you even still reading?) This holds the most true for white pants which tend to be the toughest to get right. Even white denim, which is inherently structured, can be difficult. Light colors, and white in particular, are not very forgiving so it's necessary for you (even better - get an honest friend to assist) to do a thorough inspection of the pants in natural light while you are wearing them to make sure lumps, bumps, and other imperfections are being mitigated and not enhanced by said pants.
And if these two things scare you, try a white mani instead, and get back to that mojito.
Sometimes it feels like the Keebler factory in here. Except that instead of making cookies, which would be delicious and appeal to everyone, I produce fashion content which sometimes is completely unappealing. Case in point - this article I wrote with Linette Lopez where I bring down the gauntlet on the vast majority of button downs I find in my clients' closets:
Don't shoot the messenger. Or the cookie maker. Or me. For the love of God, won't you just put your guns down already?
In the spirit of Don't hate the playa, hate the game I'd like to propose Don't hate the giver, hate the gift. Post Christmas, I've been flooded with questions from clients which are variations on this theme:
"Sweet mother of mercy, Wardobe Whisperer, what do I do with [insert heinous gift here]?" (Followed by several photos of the offending item.)
There are a few ways to think about this. If, for instance, your great grandma knitted you a hat that is two sizes too small and in an unbecoming color, then you thank her graciously and add it to your Good Will pile. On the other hand, if your (wo)man bought you something expensive that doesn't quite represent your style, then you have to consider coming clean. Here is how:
First figure out if the gift is returnable/exchangable/refundable. If not, chalk it up to a lesson learned. Next year you will find a friend who will act as your conduit to feed your (wo)man desirable gift ideas. If it IS returnable, wait until it's just the two of you and then appeal to his/her investment. Perhaps, something along these lines:
"Thank you so much for the thoughtful [insert heinous gift here but don't use the word heinous] but I don't think I'll get as much use out of it as I'd like. I want to be mindful of your investment and get something I will be sure to use all the time. Would you mind if I made an exchange?" That should do it. In the end, even if hurt feelings occur, I'm sure the giver would ultimately prefer that you love your gift.
They say God only gives you what you can handle so I'm pretty sure that's why He gave me a husband with excellent taste. Witness my favorite gift, the above pictured double diamond cuff bracelet by Alexis Bittar. I am in love. Better yet, no confrontation required!
(PS: If I died and my remains were recycled into a bracelet, this would be me.)
Have a guy in your life who doesn't know how to dress? Business Insider's gift guide will give you some ideas. And some of those ideas are mine, of course (the no fail To Boot dress shoes, the Brathwait watch, and the Saks reversible belt). Don't miss the very best gift idea of all - at the end in the bonus section. Check it out:
It'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
In my line of work I wear many hats - literally and figuratively. One of the literal hats is an emerald green cloche with a gorgeous feather tucked into the side. One of the figurative hats is that of translator. Even when you are working with a good tailor, meaning someone who truly understands garment construction, it is still not easy to attain a perfect result. This is because what the tailor thinks is correct is often 5-10 years out of date. Or they plain don't speak English. Or sometimes both. Therefore I make it a point to attend all tailoring sessions with my clients in order to specify EXACTLY what we want done. I shared some expert tips with my girl, Linette Lopez, over at Business Insider. This is our story: Everything you need to know before talking to a tailor about your suit
Part of my job is to purge closets. Tons and tons of closets. And the most interesting thing about it (besides occasionally seeing something I KNOW I was not supposed to see) is spotting repeat items and/or brands. I see this most frequently in the closets of my clients who work in finance. I decided to talk to Linette Lopez at Business Insider about the trends I spot and how those trends correlate to position/role: There's a whole hierarchy to dressing on Wall Street
When I texted Linette Lopez from Business Insider to ask if she wanted to discuss men's dress shoes she responded immediately with the following (her emphasis), "I ALWAYS want to discuss men's dress shoes."
Is it any wonder we get along so swimmingly? Henceforth our newest collaborative piece:
Linette Lopez and I sat in Saikai Dining Bar feasting on sashimi and imbibing copious amounts of sake while discussing one of the burning issues of our day which, of course, is the debate over men's shorts. So many questions surround said issue such as "how many pockets are too many pockets" and "are prints considered acceptable" as well as the ever present "how should shorts ideally fit." Linette and I SOLVED IT for Business Insider but ultimately, men, for YOU. See our latest post here: The debate about men's shorts is over - here's why you probably lost