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?

style + substance // Priscilla hopkins and how no woman wakes up the same person every day

I don't know Priscilla personally, I owe our acquaintance to her Instagram account and I am stoked about it.  

I think it went like this, as normally stuff happens on IG: a few of her images popped in my random search and her profile description says: Expression of Self. This article shows that our randomized acquaintance had potential.

Read along and memorize some of her quotes: do it as an exercise, you'll see how much they'll resonate along the day. 

  

On why she is on board (and my that I mean, she is one of team style + substance)

I think there is definitely a space needed for inspirational style instead of the cliché trend following.

 

On her personal style

My personal style reflects my eclectic personality, I like to consider myself ‘anti-trends’ , Fashion was always meant to be fun and to me trends take that factor away. I dress as a reflection on truly the things I love, regardless if they are on trend. I am a person that is never afraid to experiment with vivid and bold colors, patterns and textures.

 

Her background

I think this may be due to being submerged in a creative household from an early age, with both my parents holding artistic and creative occupations, always forcing an interest of art upon me from infancy which I am now extremely grateful to have. My mother especially was never afraid to wear what she wanted, empowered by her individuality and using her fashion sense to express this throughout her life. She inspires me every day.

It is refreshing to hear that you are searching for other women that aren’t afraid to break from convention within the way they dress, I think in this current day and age women can fall into the trap of dressing very much for their comfort zone or what society sees as ‘normal’.

 

How does she do it

It is a luxury to be able to play with texture and design, to find a right fit for you and what makes you feel good most importantly. As I said before, I am an emotional dresser. My daily mood sets the tone of the look I want to achieve. The fastest part of my day is choosing my outfit, although I wouldn’t go as far to say that the choice is spontaneous, it’s heavily influenced on the character I was up as in the morning. No woman wakes up as the same person every day, there are days where I want to feel extra feminine and girly or some days where I want to feel strong and powerful. Dressing for this not only allows me to recognize the character I am, but to give a subtle insight to others about my personality without having interaction.

 

 “No woman wakes up the same person every day” - Priscilla Hopkins

 

On shopping

When I shop, I never go with an idea in mind. I like the clothes to speak to me, if I see a piece I particularly love, I’ll work with it and mold it to suit the silhouette I desire.

 

One secret

I have taught myself basic and necessary skills to enhance my wardrobe such as applique, basic sewing techniques and other practicalities to suit my body shape. Customizing is key! Another theme within my dress is a juxtaposition of pieces, such as heavy, chunky pieces teamed with delicate silks and feminine pieces.

 

Another secret

Accessorizing to me is the best part of putting my looks together, chunky & heavy unusual accessories truly makes my heart beat a little faster. My number one weakness I would say.

 

On shoes

I am also in the longest happiest relationship with my shoes, my wardrobe can burn in flames, but I would surely save them first!

 

On feeling powerful

I also don’t like sexualizing myself, I believe a woman can look incredibly sexy with plenty of clothes on as I truly believe that feeling sexy comes from the allure that each woman possess and truly nothing to do with the length of your skirt.

“I don’t like sexualizing myself”

 

So that’s a little bit about me! 

She concludes like this. Now I want to hear from you: do you wake up always a different woman?

 

style + substance // Anita from "Look for the woman" and the ability to see beauty

Anita and I virtually met through Trusted Clothes where I have written a few pieces. 

She is an "age disruptor" and a "NYC lover" so now you can start imagining why we "liked" each other. 

she designed this bathing suit

she designed this bathing suit

The reasons why I chose to feature her in "style + susbtance" you will figure them out through the interview and you'll thank me (her) at the end, because if you "look for the woman" inside of you, she'll give you some clues on how to find her today. 

Style is who we are inside and trends are what people want us to be?
AI - Yes! Style is everything we are, from how we drink our coffee in the morning to how we go to bed at night. Style doesn’t just live in your closet. Style is one’s life with all of the details and even the “imperfections.” 
Let’s face it trends are mostly what people want us to buy. But I don’t think trends are bad in and of themselves, because trends can eventually become the styles of an era or a movement that can change the way we see.   

"Style doesn’t just live in your closet. Style is one’s life with all of the details and even the imperfections." 

Do you remember your first fashion moment?
AI - My grandfather was a tailor and all of the women in my family loved to dress, so fashion is something I grew to comprehend at a very young age. But I didn’t come from a well-off family; we were not always able to indulge in what we might have wanted. However, that ended up being a blessing because I learned about quality over quantity at the same time. 
If I did have one fashion “moment” it was the first time my mother, who also sewed, took me to a very good fabric store. We walked around breathing everything in and just touching beautiful silk, wool, and other fine fabrics. I looked around and thought, “Oh, this is good, this is quality.” And I want this!
These experiences are what have led me to the slow fashion movement. Quality, wholeness, relevance, style and substance; I really care about these things. 


When did you realize it was time to be fearless and badass to embrace your style ‘no matter what’?
AI - I’ve become more fearless quite recently really. I’ve always been a bit of a badass in other ways, but personal style has not always been one of them. Quite frankly, I was doing other things. 
Then, at around fifty, I realized I did have a style, that I liked it, and that I wanted to develop it. I looked around at other women my age and what I saw depressed me, it still does. Women are either following trends, or they have given up. Even women who were artists seemed not to be able to assimilate the beauty around them. In my opinion the one absolute prerequisite for style is the ability to see beauty! Got to have it.

Before leaving the house you …
AI - Look in a full-length mirror to make sure I like the woman I see. It’s absolutely not just about what I have on or how made up I am, it’s about whether or not I look like a person who would be interesting to me. Yikes! All about me…
 
Do you have a muse?
AI - No! I’m still looking for her. Hence, perhaps: Look For The Woman. There are many women I admire, for example many of the older model/fashionistas inspire me. Sarah Jane Adams is one, her seamless sense of self and style is absolutely unique. I love Maye Musk, or as I sometimes call her, Elon’s mom. She’s more of a chameleon, she can be the punked out vixen or the lovely soft scented grandmother. Patti Smith! For a lot of women my age Patti Smith is a muse. She’s iconic but not pretty or beautiful in the usual sense and that’s inspiring.   

"In my opinion the one absolute prerequisite for style is the ability to see beauty!"

"In my opinion the one absolute prerequisite for style is the ability to see beauty!"

The piece of advice that you wish you would have received yourself.
AI - Have no fear. 


Some thoughts.
The way you dress is a reflection of your cultural background.

AI - Yes, even if you end up not liking it, delve into it because you will learn a lot about yourself. I’m eastern European, but I’ve lived in the “west” for a long time. Still the European in me is very present. I like simple more than embellished. I need muted earth tones, pastels and vibrant colors scare me. And I’m all about natural fibers.    

You can have a career and love clothes.
AI - God yes. Clothes will enhance your career. It’s not always “fair” but it’s true. Power dressing is for real. You can define it for yourself but you have to define it.


You can follow Anita on Look for the woman and on Instagram

 

 

 

style file

The Donald of the closet

Cargo shorts are the Donald Trump of a man closet: the entire web is talking about them, and it’s not a good thing.

Because he is the only one 

I steer away from politics as seriously as I take my morning coffee. 

I rarely talk about man fashion and if I do it’s because us, the girls dressing the Italian way like “borrowing from the boys”, but that will happen profusely in one of the chapters of the book.

I could not avoid the fun stirred by the article that Nicole Hong first wrote “Nice cargo! You’re sleeping on the sofa” on the WSJ. It triggered a riot, it became the 2016 Woodstock of the summer staple. Ms. Hong I commend you for having taken the task.

Sometimes we gotta treat the tooth ache straight to the source.

It was twenty years this August when I moved to this country and saw men wearing shit that never in my worst nightmares: square-pointed black leather shoes, flared jeans with embroidered back pockets, muscle shirts and beefeaters outside of the boxing ring, repugnantly cheap colognes, composition tags sewn over a blazer’s sleeve.

The best part of this hell is that I am not  making it up, they are all episodes I could describe you in details as vivid as the first time you fall off the bicycle and savage your knees: marked for life.

Cargo belong to the land of the should-be-outlawed clothing, the Island of Misfits like Uggs, leggings worn as pants and bras with plastic straps, there was the right moment to wear them the right way, but they should have disappeared at the peak of their glory, like a Hollywood star. Alas, like people that break the law and get away with it, like that friend that used to cheat on all high school tests and yet pass, cargo infiltrated and stayed.

It’s not good.  

Some of the reactions.

“I despise them” a wife

“They are fugly” the not-surrendering journalist

“a humiliation for any man over 21 and should be sold only after proof of age has been presented.” The Daily Express

“The perfectly obvious awfulness”, banned at many upscale golf courses

“I like the comfort, I like the pockets” … so what, I like the comfort of my sofa and the pockets inside my weekender, do I put them on?

“It’s quite difficult to let go of what was cool when you were younger” a manboy

“They don’t look cool enough” finally someone who’s got it right

Dress codes may be more relaxed than 50 years ago, it’s a social evolution, crumbling status barriers, but there are limits, you can’t blur comfort with taste, dilute decency, you don’t mess with respect, "The eye has to travel" and like Diana Vreeland would say, What if you don't wear them?

Try to imagine all of the above if cargo shorts had remained confined as an utilitarian garment of military ranks.