classics, op-ed, styleandsubstance, style file

STYLE + SUBSTANCE the return

On why I am relaunching STYLE + SUBSTANCE.

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style + substance

I keep thinking at vulnerability as one of the greatest traits of strength in a woman’s life. The more I mumble over the subject in my head, the more I see it happening through life’s daily episodes and I convince myself of its truth.

In dire moments of political and social turmoil, we all long for strength and confidence, as I perceive from many of my readers messages. It’s to honor my small and rich community of exceptional women that I have decided to relaunch the series by inspiring everyone with the same women that inspire me.

Because “empowered women empower women” something I wish I had said first, instead I read it somewhere and I would credit the author if I knew it.

“Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita” the inception of Dante’s Inferno that we all have tattooed in our memories, reminds me of my freshman year, also known as “quarta ginnasio” for my Italian readers.

Back then, I was 15 going on 40, I had a life ahead of me, the world in my pockets, I was invincible, in my head. I was also so many light years distant from my mom’s and the little town where I grew up. My life used to revolve around summer, the season when I would become the butterfly from a year in the cocoon.

I was never instructed, invited, empowered to nurture the best of me, my strengths were never magnified because even with a B+, there was always someone else in my class who had scored an A, right? Which is, according to my friend Gabriella, typical of Italians: we don’t promote ourselves like we were our own marketing team, we are always prone to consider who did it better than us. We don’t cry, we don’t show we are hurt or vulnerable, we swallow pride and accept that there’s always someone better than us.

That’s why I have always been “team summer” and never autumn, the season when nature starts decaying, sad and depressing, leaves die, it’s cold and grey, all elements of that vulnerability that “we don’t show”. Until I found myself living in a place where there was no autumn or winter and all that strength of the summer started fading poorly. Maybe I was as good in the summer as I was in a season that doesn’t exist down here?

“I’m grateful to them, and to my fifth-grade class, because if they hadn’t made me cry, I wouldn’t be able to cry on cue now. [Dabs tears]

If I hadn’t been told I was garbage, I wouldn’t have learned how to show people I’m talented.

And if everyone had always laughed at my jokes, I wouldn’t have figured out how to be so funny. ” says Gabourey Sidibe in Vulture

It’s on the weaker side that you build your strength.

Emotions guide your life, they don’t define it, they are like revolving doors, you smash your face on them once on the way out and chances are you will again on the way in the kitchen. You cry, learn and move on.

“Happiness comes from solving problems” – The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck

Everyone wants the perfect and fabulous life, the one that many depict in their social media persona.

Success and the empowerment that derives from it are the product of your pushing through struggles, defy your current status and reach for the stars.

If you do all this with the most exquisite clothing, les jeux son faits, or, as yours truly says it: “Luxury is a state of mind”.

classics, italianstyle, op-ed, style file, style

When your age is in between

Menocore is the new Normcore was declared by The Manrepeller.

Intrigued as to what 'meno' would stand for? 

My Latin and ancient Greek trained mind interpreted it as “less” and got excited that it was a Manrepelling version of minimalism. Alas, it referred to a-50-something year old woman that who doesn’t care what other people think and just wants to be supremely comfortable.”

So: sure, that’s what you do when you are not a Millennial and you are lucky enough to have reached a point in your life when you own your style, you know what looks good on you and what doesn’t without having to fit into a description or a trend or a social media post. In other words, th art of not giving a f^&*

At this point, the description of what is “menocore” went on and all that liberty and freedom above was bypassed by a need of fitting into a definition.

Pero, why? (one of the fine things I have learned in Miami)

Here’s what Menocore dressing is according to The Manrepeller:

-      billowy pants sporting elasticized waist bands (in Stromboli or Panarea that’s all you wear; in the book's chapter "Borrow from the boys" I describe how )

-      head-to-toe ecru (chic in my books)

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-      well-loved market bags (like the shoppers that you use instead of using plastic bags at the supermarket? Like Ikea or Balenciaga?)

-      loose tops with bold prints (Hawaiian shirts?)

-      exposed bras (honestly, us over-50 love free nipples)

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-      clunky sandals (Marni or Prada you mean?) or sneakers (All Stars for sure)

-      loose ponytails secured with scrunchies (please refer to the last chapter of the book: “Some things you never do” no matter what age)

-      a porcelain bowl of freshly-cut pineapple sitting on rumpled white bedsheets (we eat in porcelain plates, don’t use SOLO cups or plastic nothing and bedsheets are hand-embroidered linen)

-      jewelry that looked like something a kid might make in art class (yes, you don’t wear those cookie-cutter parures of bijoux they sell at the mall, and said jewelry is usually mixed with 24 karats gold family heirloom jewelry)

-      unapologetic sun protection for unapologetic sun protection’s sake (we don’t wear sunprotection, remember? We are over-50 and wrinkles we have already. Tourists wear unapologetic sunprotection)

-      tarnished gold barrettes (we don’t own cheap pharmacy stuff, do we look like we live in a dorm?)

-      sequins just for the fun of it (if not us, who?)

My first time being hurt by something The Manrepeller publishes, I guess I felt called into the conversation because of “that certain age” or “older”. 

The article redeemed itself when they realized they had hit the “ageism” button and specified:

“the movement […]  pays long-overdue homage to an age bracket that is often ignored by the fashion industry.” So basically is Millennials and Gen Y on one side and Iris Apfel on the other side, middle-aged women have no saying and menocore is what is for us.

Why do we need to categorize and be put in a class, like “no you go in A and your friend goes in B, you may meet at recess or for lunch, but not together for this year”.  Then you know where is the problem? We need to define everything in this country, “normcore” “menocore” “office attire” “cocktail attire”.

I wrote a book in which I described “Italian style” and what it means in 10 chapters because there isn’t one single definition that serves to describe what it takes to adopt the Italian way. And, no there are no trendy or pretty adjectives to be used, we may eat pineapple, but also a great pasta and a red Chianti, and we know a good one from a bad one, we don’t ask for Cabernet or Chardonnay, we look at the wine list. It’s a timeless, comfortable in your own skin attitude, simple, slow, sophisticated, and, by all means, we never buy stuff one size smaller.

classics, op-ed, style file

Are you living a luxurious life?

Is luxury a concept that went bankrupt in the year 2000? You know when people in 999 thought the world was going to end and nobody would ever see 1000?

A luxe life can be made of cars, travel, possessions like real estate, jewelry, furs, cars, boats and airplanes, art and travels, it’s normally something tangible, visible, show-off-able. All of the glitz and glamour, the richesse that was expected of the Hollywood stars is now in the hands of celebrities and influencers.

For what I am concerned, luxury is a state of mind.

You don’t need to have a floor dedicated to your closet, to always look impeccable, as long as whatever you wear is chosen with the mind, the heart and a good dose of taste and style. “Buy less, choose well, make it last.” Vivienne Westwood said it back in 2014 in a statement interview about capitalism, consumerism and sustaining her war against fracking.

You don’t need to have a chef, why not just be your own chef? When the ingredients are impeccable (that’s where you don’t settle) no need to EXTRA anything: a simple bowl of fresh pasta, butter and Parmigiano is comfort for the senses, when’s time for artichokes or truffles add them.

Flying private is a luxury, however a peaceful sailing on a small boat, fish and eat your catch, and get lost in an inhabited island with no Wi-Fi is even more of a luxury.

Haute Couture is a 1%er reality, something that we can profusely dream on, however the alternative is not that fast fashion “I would like but I can’t” attitude. How about a talented dress maker? You’ll wear pieces inspired by the catwalks yet made to measure, you’ll choose your fabric, print and accessories and will go through a privileged experience that encompasses all the senses.

What's not luxury?

Luxury is not mass, is not cheap perfumes or knock-off bags, aspirational new-money, is not shining logoed belts, key-chains and shoes.

style file, style, op-ed

It's a Fashion Revolution

April is the month in which the activities around slow fashion and sustainable practices take center stage and culminates with Fashion Revolution day on the 24th.

It's also the month of Vivienne Westwood's birthday whose quote became a motto of any sustainable aficionado.


Buy less,
choose well,
make it last
— Dame Vivienne

Why a revolution?

Because we all love fashion but has come the time when looking good also has to mean feel good about what you are wearing.

It means knowing that what you have purchased has been imagined, designed, cut, sewn, steamed, embroidered, produced and finished in fair and transparent conditions. Fashion is still an industry that values ideas, people, without forgetting about the environment and profit.

The production chain of the fashion industry has reached that far exceeds the limit: one of the heaviest environmental impact in the world after oil industry. And this is because coal mining is almost at its extinction.  

#whomademyclothes

It’s a campaign launched in the UK three years ago and its worldwide impact has prompted the creation of a Transparency Index, that is, a list of global fashion brands that disclose name and address of all the facilities where their garments are produced. It’s an empowerment movement for garment workers, sustainable companies, for designers and creatives, students, who have an extra chance to become visible.

Why did all this start?

Do you remember in 2013 the collapse of a building in Bangladesh that killed 1134 people and left 2500 injured remained in history as the Rana Plaza tragedy?  They were garment workers left to work in conditions so inhumane that could be compared to slavery, forced to live in the same unhealthy establishments. Those were the guys that would sew the $10 H&M jeans or $15 Zara T-shirts.

Why us?

It’s our duty, it’s not “them” anymore, we can’t allow blind ignorance “they are all the same, they all pollute, I go for the cheapest, I won’t make a difference alone”. The same way we need to know where our food comes from, that it’s not injected with poisonous ingredients to make it look uniform, shiny and plump, we have the right to know who made our clothes, if the materials are produced under best practice rules, if labor laws are respected and fair trade applied.

I strongly believe that in 2017 we ought to be active citizens, not just citizens that are governed by some out there entity, responsible consumers and conscientious entrepreneurs. Community builders, if we really need to label ourselves, is another of those roles that we ought to take as parents, if we want to hand our children a healthy future.

In my vision, it’s a revolution to bring things back to how they were.

We have too much, we don’t need to produce more, we must waste less.

The parameters of the affluent society are o v e r . Economic growth has created a need for more with less, less time, less creativity, less money, less protection, and less quality. Fast, everything is fast, shopping compulsion leaves you craving for more, you cannot just be, you have to have, own, throw and buy. We are led by the carrot like donkeys and what loses in the game is the environment, because economic growth and environmental protection are two opposite forces. 

The Fashion Revolution has its ways of leading towards transparency, there are events all through the week of April 24th and one in Miami too. Take it to the comments if you will be attending. I will.

To see how sustainable is sexy and chic, GO HERE

interview, style, style file, styleandsubstance

The simple pleasure of makeup: Beauty for Real

“What men think about what women wear” it was an article in which a guy, your simple average guy who happens to be an actor distilled his male view.

He had some points.

·         You can tell a lot about people by their appearance (good start)

·         Good style in a woman is all about her being herself (kudos)

·         It’s not about what you think it’s cool, it’s about what you make cool which according to him it’s this rare species of woman that dresses in a unique, spontaneous and believable way

·         a woman should “look put together”, dangerous zone, it set my antennas on red alert, as it can go wrong, really “bondage dress” wrong, but he redeems himself by adding that she should also “look comfortable” like have a good time, being able to handle a conversation and play at the bowling alley at the same time.

What did I get out of it? The dude didn’t get it at all, he would have had zero chances to sparkle that conversation with me. The idea of dressing for the men, putting heels and make-up for pure showcase, is so old that it smells like mothballs.

Then I thought I may be the weirdo, one of the chapters of the book says to “Put make-up with discretion […]” I tend to prefer flats to heels, I must be the rebel here, or brought up to be independent from conformism or clichés, Man Repeller style.

This is Women’s Right Month and the thought that we are at it again, having to make our voices heard again, because they think we are weak and inferior, has taken such a role in my daily life, that heck, I have started a whole new relationship with beauty and makeup. If you start from inside your body, you glow and beam and your face will show it.

Thing is: love yourself first and you’ll be the source of love for your loved ones.

A few weeks ago I met with Leslie, the powerhouse behind Beauty for Real the one of the very few makeup brands I use. Imagine my marvel when I found out that her line represents “beauty simplified”. It’s made for someone like me and the thousands of other women that cut out time to add concealer and mascara in between traffic lights and lipstick while riding the elevator to the office.

Vintage jewelry courtesy of www.ViBeconsignment.com

I call it my “no brainer” make-up, that is no more overwhelm at a cosmetic counter (do I need this or that, do I need to buy both?), a newfound pleasure in wearing makeup that looks like it effortlessly happened to fall in the right place. 

Did you know the lhe lip balm has a mirror and a light switch, like hello.

It also has a cheeky side: the set of lip balms is called 3-some and the eye-set is a 4-play which makes you feel part of the gang, you know what I mean, winky face?

It smells delicious because it’s made of essential oils and natural ingredients, on this I confessed to Leslie that when I have my sugar-crash at 3 pm I get a coffee and reapply the Blush + Glo because it feels like having a macaron.

The high tech formulas are meant to make it stay until you remove it at night even if you keep touching your face because you are not used to wear makeup, which is a plus for a newbie and goofie like I am.

Leslie is a veteran makeup artist, with magazine covers and celebrity athletes on her pedigree, a 24/7 committed entrepreneur with a special talent, she is a competing equestrian. Many of her early mornings are blessed with Nabucco her horse who lives in the stables in Wellington, he is a beauty as well as she is while jumping and riding.

On that note: her red lipstick is a constant and it’s impeccable as her white shirt and navy blazer. Considering her makeup is horseback riding proof, you are as sure as hell that eye shadow is as indestructible.

Beauty & Grace is a campaign she has launched to celebrate Women’s Rights Month and “recognize women, who not only look beautiful, but who are actively doing beautiful things and changing other’s lives”

She is asking “who inspires you?”

Take it to the comments to nominate your Beauty & Grace icon.

I start, since I am at it: Emma Watson. From child prodige actress she became the UN Goodwill Ambassador for #heforshe the campaign to end gender inequality. She has a voice, a platform of fans and followers and she has committed to empower girls and women to end the gender gap that pervades the workforce and has social, economic negative impact on sustainable development and peace. Besides, I think she always wears the perfect makeup no makeup and her skin is fresh and plump whether she is at a red carpet event of coming out of Starbucks. 

interview, styleandsubstance

style + substance // Sarah Hartley of Holl and Lane Magazine

You know that when it's instant love with an Instagram account it's because everything resonates, the "media" attached to "social" in perfect harmony, imagery and words meet in heaven.    

"Holl and Lane is based on the idea that your story is powerful." 

"Holl and Lane is based on the idea that your story is powerful." 

Holl and Lane  was like that to me: there was something behind those gorgeous images, there was a woman, a strong, determined, loving, powerful, romantic, passionate one, definitely a talented and equally tunes team and a message. And the word was loud and clear H O N E S T

It may be because I am Italian, or because I have reached a time in my life when BS smells bad and I find pleasure in ignoring it, saying it as it is, accepting that life is never perfectand being OK with it, is the best choice.  

Sarah Hartley, the founder of Holl and Lane, is there, happy or sad, tired or excited, she represents many of us women, yet she has an extra shift, like we say in Italian, like a rare motorvehicle at a vintage car show. She has a plan, a mission, a passion and she doesn't stop.

I have had the honor of interviewing her, because she is a perfect example of style + substance, women inspiring other women, entrepreneurs supporting each other, mothers, wives, daughters who bring life to life. 

"Nearly every decision I make s based on my gut" - Sarah Hartley 

"Nearly every decision I make s based on my gut" - Sarah Hartley 

Vixens , Dynamic, Powerful, Bold , Fearless, Outrageous, Unique these are some of the connotations I have started determining of this style + substance tribe we are forming. Please pitch in, say which one is really one, add yours if it’s missing.

SH : Powerful.  Holl & Lane is based on the idea that your story is powerful. Each time you open up and share a part of yourself, you help someone else to feel less alone.  And that is an incredibly powerful thing.  I would also add Honesty because that is a key foundation in both the magazine and my personal life. 

When did you realize you needed to do something different?

SH : I have been a personal blogger for over 5 years now.  When I started writing about my pregnancy and how difficult it was (so NOT like what media led me to believe), I noticed that people began to really open up to me with their own stories, and that they really appreciated someone being honest. That sparked the idea that our media was sorely missing HONEST stories from real women talking about their trials and their triumphs.

Did you ever make a decision based on your guts and vs. the rest of the world?

SH : Nearly every decision I make is based on my gut.  I base decisions on how something makes me feel - sometimes at the peril of reality.  

When you have the odds against you what do you do?

SH : Just keep pushing.  In starting your own business, it feels as if the entire world is against you just waiting with stumbling blocks.  But you just have to put your head down and do the work.  Research, talk with others in the same industry, ask for help when you need it.  In general, the people in your life will want to see you succeed and will be glad to help.

"The women who contribute to the magazine keep me inspired" 

"The women who contribute to the magazine keep me inspired" 

“There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women” - Madeleine Albright

SH : In the world of female entrepreneurs, it’s important to help out where you can.  This doesn’t mean giving away all of your best secrets, but just being around to bounce ideas off of, letting them know you support them, being a cheerleader and accountability partner when they need it.  

“You are the average of the 5 people around you” has been said and you have created a honest media gleeful movement with a beautiful magazine. You are an inspiration, especially in these critical times when the voice of women has suffered a setback. How do you keep being inspiring?

SH : Thank you!  

The women who contribute to the magazine keep me inspired - as cliche as that may sound.  I find such strength reading through their stories and am humbled that they’re allowing me to tell them.  Each time I’m able to bring a story to life, knowing that it has the chance to help someone, it’s so inspiring.  As far as creativity and designing goes - I’m inspired by other magazines and photography.  They stir my soul to want to create something beautiful.

What would you tell the next generation, other fellow entrepreneurs to look for to keep striving?

SH : It’s going to be hard and you’re going to want to quit.  But if you find something that you’re passionate about - something that even on your hardest days you cannot imagine giving up - it will make all the difference in the world.  When it’s something that you fully believe in, you will do whatever it takes to see it succeed.

What’s your take with “taking risks and facing adversities”?  Do you retreat, do you dive in?

SH : The magazine is one big risk for me and along with it I’ve faced plenty of adversities.  I tend to be a bit on the cautious side but I’m learning that sometimes I just need to follow where my gut leads because on the other side there is often something magical waiting for me.

What’s that thing that fires you, that makes you go ahead?

SH : Doing something that hasn’t yet been done.  We’re starting this movement to give people a voice and I take great pride in that.  I want to continue to be the place that people know they can come to and they’ll be allowed to be vulnerable and honest.  I want to change the face of media and to remind people that their lives are perfect just as they are.

Read, follow, contribute, buy, share, download, participate, be a player in Holl and Lane, everything you should know is HERE.

P.S. Watch for the gift that comes with the calendar and when you get it, come back here to toast for a sparkly and successful 2017. 

interview, style file, styleandsubstance

style + substance // Dawn Gallagher

You know by now about my passion for Instagram and how I take my social medium of preference seriously. I have found another gem and started a pen-pal friendship.

Dawn Gallagher is a fashion model turned role model, she embodies beauty, fashion, creativity and love for color and beauty.

She uses her voice to give voice to whom doesn't have it by giving back to craftsmen with fair trade practices. And just because we are entering the season of giving, I suggest you visit her site www.dawngallager.com and shop away with a cause. 

She is the embodiment of style and substance. 

Your style

DG - My style is all about comfort. I have a 7 year old and I am running around with her, so my shoes and my clothes need to be commfortable during the day. At night, i like to dress up when I am going to an event. I don;t want to walk around as a designer label head to toe. I like to mix and match expensive with inexpensive and unique. For example, I love to pair a Gucci dress with a beautiful artisan pair of earrings made in another culture. (It's all in my website dawngallagher.com)

I don’t like walking around as a designer label [...] I like to mix and match.
— Dawn Gallagher

Your first fashion moment

DG - When I was 17 and went to Rome to shoot the Italian Bazaar collections and worked with all the best designers. I thought ... wow! This is the epitome of fashion

Your muse, or icon of inspiration

DG - Valentino and Chanel

Do you recall the moment when you set yourself free from preconceived limitations and started being who you wanted to be. 

DG - I guess that comes with age. You realize you don't have to dress for other people and you are free to dress for yourself. It doesn't matter what people think. I am not trendy or a trend setter, but rather a non conformist who does not follow trends. I don't care what color is IN right now, I care about what color looks good on me and what I feel good in. I am free to be me. 

You realize you don’t have to dress for other people
— Dawn Gallagher

The piece of advice you wish you had received

DG - I wish when i was younger i had the freedom to experiment and dress however I liked, to use more of my creativity. My 7 year old is so creative and has been since she was three. I let her wear what she wants with no filter and she always looks so chic. I asked her why she loves to dress in lots of colors and mixed patterns, she said: "Mommy, I dress according to how I feel inside" I think that was great advice I wish I had the freedom to explore when I was younger. So now I dress and experiment with colors and patterns I would have never tried before. I guess I am using my creativity like a child. 

SOME THOUGHTS

"There's a special place in hell for women who don't help other women" - Madeleine Albright 

DG - AGREED

"We don't follow trends, we set them" 

DG - I Like people who set trends without even trying, like kate Moss.

"You never leave home without ..."

DG - My red lipstick, it gives me a pop of color and it makes me happy. 

 

 

 

 

styleandsubstance, interview

style + substance // Somy Ali of No More Tears

The style + substance series was born as a celebratory corner in the internet, as my way of supporting women that exude power, vision, strength, drive, leadership and blend it with vulnerability, femininity, poetry, romanticism and inspiration.  

This is a different type of portrait, where style took second place.  Somy Ali is a force of nature, an advocate for change, a woman of passion who took her personal experience of domestic abuse as a motivator to help others, as many as she can, day after day.

If this is not strength and inspiration, what is it? Talking about her personal style sounded insignificant when I wanted to know much more. Somy is gorgeous inside and out. 

The numbers on human traffickng, domestic violence and sex exploitation are staggering. Miami falls 3rd place in the humiliating, infuriating and revolting statistics of cities in the US for human trafficking, a podium that nobody would want to race for. 

Sexual assault, unfortunately, has been in the news for the wrong reasons in the last couple of weeks, that I wonder how does that make you feel, as a victim yourself. Because it hurts and shakes me.

SA - It makes me sick to my stomach. For me, no amount of therapy will ever undo what happened at the age of five, then nine and, again, in my teenage years. I am appalled as to how far Trump has come and how much damage he continues to do on a daily basis. What’s more appalling is that he has followers that speak the same language and carry the same beliefs. This does not help ease any victim’s pain, nor does it encourage him/her to speak out and seek help. Trump’s actions and words have assaulted victims of abuse all over again. He is blatantly ridiculing victims that have been courageous enough to speak up. This is the primary reason we are afraid to tell anyone what has happened to us. This is definitely not the progress I wish to see in our society when it comes to the issue of sexual abuse. 

Your job is tough, heartbreaking, it requires strength, determination, legal knowledge and law enforcement, yet you conduct yourself with such tenderness, femininity and grace. That duality is something peculiar and innate to women, yet do you think it is one of the reasons men feel freedom to abuse of them?

SA - Absolutely. Certain men though, a specific type of mindset, a specific culture where it is taught that we reside in a male dominated world. I have dealt with and faced these specific mindsets in Pakistan, India and the U.S. I know I will continue to encounter them, as they do not have any prejudices. 

As for the duality, I find that to be fascinating in women and believe it is what makes us so unique and so beautiful. I would not want to lose that about myself as it assures me that I am still good in spite of all the bad I have encountered. 

I disagree with the requirement of eliminating the very element that makes us women.
— Somy Ali

Vulnerability, sentimentalism, romanticism and grace are some values that come natural to women, how can we use them as a source of strength instead of keep hiding them in male dominated environments where power still means, anachronistically, wearing the pants?  

SA - I have learned many lessons in ten years and have dealt with the best and the worst when it comes to humans. I had to teach myself how to use all of the above-mentioned traits with simply one goal in mind: rescue more victims. I disagree with the requirement of eliminating the very element that makes us women. We have many role models that have held on to their femininity, yet, are changing the world. They are ambitious and strong.  

We must remove the stigmas attached to vocalizing sexual abuse
— Somy Ali

You have helped thousands of women and families and children and we are all inspired by you. How do you think we can assist your grassroots tireless job to help break the silence on human trafficking and abusive relationships? How do we tell our children? 

SA - The most important aspect of taking a stand against abuse is talking about it. As a society we must find it normal to discuss these issues at our dinner table. We need to train ourselves to be less selfish. We must remove the stigmas attached to vocalizing sexual abuse. 

I would also encourage people to donate to non-profits where the majority of their funds go towards their mission, not their admin costs. NMT takes pride in using every dollar towards our victims’ services programs and we do not have paid staff, solely volunteers.

We have to speak with our children, as the statistics are terrifying. 325,000 children are at risk for becoming victims of sexual exploitation in the United States. The average age of entry into the sex trade in America is 12–14 years old. And, a pimp can make $150,000-$200,000 per child each year while exploiting an average of 4-6 girls. These stats are real and we really need to sit with our kids and explain this to them.

We can’t win this war by ignoring it and hoping it will go away. This is not a third world country issue, this is happening here. Our children are being trafficked from one state to another. 

NO MORE TEARS has a 

crisis hotline 954-324-7669

volunteer program

donation link

 

classics, italianstyle, style file, op-ed

When a man asks for style advice, what do you think I do?

"The Cheat Sheet of Italian Style" is not published yet, but I found out it can help the guys too, who don’t have it that easy as we think.

A friend, Ed, posted the following challenge in a closed Facebook group.

“Ok ... here's a challenge for you folks.

Back in the day, about a hundred years ago, I used to LUV wearing a suit and tie to work.

Now that I work from home? I have two uniforms: Summer, cargo shorts and a polo. Winter, jeans and a heavy flannel (or hoodie).

So what I need from you good people is convincing that I need to dress better... say like this dude, my Insta bud” accompanied by a picture featuring a rainbow circle of what looked a bunch of lace up, brogues, loafers.

First of all: Ed is a professional, owns several businesses, is the only member of the group I have personally met and, even if we differ in our opinion for cargo pants (gulp) is a man of style. Don’t mess up with his wristband watches collection though, and, for his own delight and many more hopefully, there’s a chapter in the book titled “Borrow from the boys” which will be highly entertaining.

The Facebook group he is the administrator for is composed of men and women, all independent consultants who write, that is copywriters of a new generation, the ones that are entrepreneurs first, they come from and live all around the globe, and I think it’s enough to describe the kaleidoscopic congregation of highly prolific minds.

Which brings me to my first point: walk out of your comfort zone.

It’s easy for me to talk about style and fashion and the empowering experience that is discovering one’s style when I talk (and write) from the standpoint of a “professor”. I know, I see where you are making the mistakes, I correct, you pass the test, prize? Your own contentment, happiness, fulfillment, growth and one more person distinctly dressed in the world.

But the lively conversation that ensued catapulted me out of my realm: it was like preparation for the SAT (and yes, I have a Junior in the house, so the analogy comes spontaneous), rough territory, mine fields. I am humbled by the experience and I have to share my takeaway.

The concept that stood out was: I work from home, I don’t need to dress-up and that makes me happy because the years of corporate dressing are gone. The peak was “dressing up slows me down and depresses me”, a brazen statement to hear that I am still trying to dissect it and attempt to understand.

Corporate attire

In the book I describe in details what happened when I was handed my first Employee Handbook that listed in HR jargon what I had to wear. My first encounter with “corporate attire” resulted in 6 of the most miserable months my heart recalls. “Do you mean I am “the girl that does Facebook” because I am wearing a black taffeta full skirt by Oscar de la Renta to work? Didn’t you ask me for “black”? So but then if I’d wear a black ill-fitting sheath dress from ____ (I blank out, but it’s some bridge collection from Macy’s) I am “the girl from marketing”? I leave it as is, I still get fired up about it and the book will do.  

Dress-up.

Truth is: there’s no dressing-up for _____ insert what you want, church, office. The only dressing up is when you are attending a gala that requires couture level and sartorial knowledge or when you play dress-up as a child wearing what your parents wear for galas.

Dress for.

I am going to break another news, the concept of dressing for _____  is a major fail that brings the self-esteem levels lower down the drain, besides creating an insurmountable divide between Italian style and American style. B O Y I said it, but it’s true, just look in the streets and in the metro.

Only person one should dress for is oneself. 

The cliché

The undertone of many comments was the cliché of style and fashion as shallow which is so … shallow, I don’t really know where it comes from, maybe usual male dominated corporate America that sees a woman or a man caring for their appearance, clothing, accessories, new seasons, colors, fabrics, collars as frivolous.

Really?

I just have a quick annotation: many of the colleagues of the group own a business, have a website, have profile pictures all “dressed-up” according to their standards, because the rest of the time they live in comfort “exercise clothes” and “scruffy looks”. When they need to meet a prospect client they simply put the “interview suit” on. I find it an alarming divide.  First, truth is, when you dress up for an occasion in which you want to impress, like a networking event or an interview or a meeting with a prospect, good chances are you’ll be sniffed miles away. Second, we are not college students going for the first interview with a Calvin Klein suit charged on the department store card and returned the following day, that is not what you expect from a professional.

To put it in different words, the ones of the founder of the group, “Even when I'm only on the phone with them,[the clients] I can't imagine having a serious conversation if I was in raggedy sweats.”

Metrosexual, who?

There seemed to be some misunderstanding as to what metrosexual means, which is, by the way, one of those words so 2011 that is not used anymore, unless you want to corner someone. And, to give so humorous respite to this opinionated piece, I’d like to invite everyone to laugh their belly out with “Fuck yeah menswear”. Style is an individual language, the first and primordial one, boxing it in to definitions and titles has been attempted forever, some of them resisted the gods of the weather, like prep or sprezzatura, some of them like metrosexual or normcore got weathered down.

Hell yeah, it was a trip down a lane I had never walked before, hard to digest, but more so convinced that my ten struts to the Italian way make sense even for whom is not Italian.

THERE ARE A LOT OF OPINIONS STATED, THAT I'D LOVE TO KNOW WHAT YOU ALL THINK. COMMENT AWAY THEN 

 

style file, trends, style, chic

socks and heels: the 101 manual good for every age

I get it it's not a look for everyone, it may seem childish, it's forward, it's a sexy "je m'en fou" to men since the ones advanced enough to appreciate it are unicorns and it must be done well. 

WHAT TYPE OF SOCKS

lace, sparkly, ankle, fishnet, cashmere, see-through tulle or nylon like my absolute favorite ones by Pan and the Dream crystal encrusted, decorated 

WHAT TYPE OF SHOE

pointy, thin heel, kitten heel, vintage sling-back, mary-janes. You can do it with flats, my favorites are N.21 by Alessandro dell'Acqua and Gucci by Alessandro Michele. 

No wedges, oh no, no wedges (who wears wedges anymore?), platforms we should be good, especially if they are Marc Jacobs or Miu Miu.

WOULD YOU DO IT?

WHAT'S IN IT THAT WOULDN'T MAKE YOU DO IT?