style

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.

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. 

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 file, styleandsubstance, style, must-haves, chic, holidays

The one item every chic girl swears by

Tell me what comes to mind when you hear the word “turban” and I’ll tell you who you are. No, that was another story, but not really.

I think of Joan Crawford, Old Hollywood femme fatale, pool, a martini and some good Norman Parkinson or Richard Avedon portraits.

Then think for a moment of Mia Farrow in “Great Gatsby” and her head covered in a cascade of crystals (and also Robert Redford and then I go out of contest).

Then, in order of appearance (in my mind, I mean) it’s India, elephants, the British Empire, the Tour of the World in 80 Days, then Scheherazade and Arabian nights. Come down from the magic carpet and bam, Margherita Missoni and it's real. 

Now stop and find the fil rouge.

Because all the different scenes have a thing in common that is strength, confidence, power, authority, royal privilege, or in one word badass.

The turban is sensual, mysterious yet determined and matter-of-factly. It’s not a beanie, not a hat, you step in a room, you don’t quietly enter, no words are needed, or, no caption needed in social media language.

You are part of a clique, a circle of trust, this is the year of the turban, it’s a thing, or at least, I made it a thing and, once again, via Instagram I met le.Conturbanti this bombastic duo that eats, prays and loves turbans and I got fascinated. You will get more on their story in the book, (including what the work means for non Italian speaking friends) but now I can’t wait to share my first outing with a le Conturbanti turban.

Packaging says it all 

I had received it a week before, it was dangling on the living room table, on my easel, on top of a pile of books. I would put it on, wrap it and it was so easy to wrap that I thought I was doing something wrong (thank you self-esteem for always having my back).

A couple of times I wore it tied in the back, so incredibly Jackie Kennedy that I thought I was plagiaristic, I was knocking her off.  But, I thought it was a OK to go, and I left the house in whatever I was wearing from the day at work and went. 

I swear, I dragged myself in a 2-mile radius to pick-up Japanese take-away the first time and to Publix the second. My thought process was if I get even just a nod from the places the most remote from where my imagination would spot me wearing a turban, it's good. The reaction was positive and, hello Mr. Self-Esteem, people were strangely nicer to me than usual, women and men.

With general rehearsals passed magna cum laude, the time for the premiere was as short as two days after. Because I was late and the whole outfit had started with the turban, I ended up not having time to put make-up on before leaving, one more time, the rearview mirror at the traffic light is my bitch.

You HAVE to read the whole shenanigans HERE 

What I learned:

Don’t over think: boom, boom and done;

1.   The messier the hair the better, I know that my hair … invented messy hair meets crow’s nest meets bed hair, but if your hair is curly, you are 1 step ahead in the game;

2.   You’ll see your reflection in the windows while you walk or on the pavement and you’ll be baffled and for a split second unable to connect the two together;

3.   People will look at you, they will ask to take pictures of you, they’ll compliment you, they’ll ask you “who are you wearing” like an array of clones of Joan Rivers on the red carpet;

4.    What do you do? You take it all in, say “thank you” smiling and blushing, air kiss, hug, pose for a picture, while thinking that Angelina Jolie does that every day of her life and you deserve your Angelina moment, all brain, smart and a turban (if you have her long legs, work them too!)

5.   Even if you are intimidated, scared, apologetic inside because you are not used to all of the shenanigans going on, don’t you ever let fear slip through the cracks: the show must go on;

6.   Go back home, rewind and enjoy with a smirk while you put your winning cannon to rest;

7.   What now?

8.   You are awesome, you’ll feel the adrenaline pumping while you prepare the outfit for tomorrow when you’ll step and repeat;

9. Are you pregnant? Take it from my glowing preggo friend Keturah: "Just ordered a gorgeous chic turban from Le Conturbanti, makes me feel less shabby and more chic" and remember kids in that womb form 9 months know everything that's going on and you gotta start them early with the notion of " chic ".

 

chic, niche, style, style file

Aleksandra Lacka: the entrepreneur with style || style + substance

This is the launch of a new series of interviews dedicated to highlight women succeeding in their career with substance and style.

I will have more on this in every feature, by now enjoy this brain-stimulating interview and make it to the comments and ask away or comment if you find yourself agreeing or not.   


Aleksandra and I first met virtually through her Facebook Group called Defining Your Ideal Client. She is a business strategist consultant, a title that sounds belonging to a male dominated world, she is a woman, she is an entrepreneur, she is inspired by uniqueness and brilliance.

Our conversation went to throrough, that it helped her and assisted me to know more of each other. 

You can't miss it, because #girlspower sometimes is good.   


FB - I have read somewhere that extroverts spark and introverts glow. There’s always a unique brilliance in anyone, how did you find yours?

AL - Finding one’s own brilliance is a process. I believe that it needs to start from deep within. For me, it was about understanding what it is that allows me to be in my most creative space, my ultimate zone of genius. I knew that I loved being surrounded by and working with entrepreneurs. It’s their creative way of thinking, their openness to new ideas and that ‘no constraints’ mindset that inspires me to create, think beyond my perceived limits and bring new ideas to life.

It also is about creating an experience that transcends time, place and culture. Creating something that combines my extensive travel and cultural experiences into something universal. I believe that as entrepreneurs there are certain tenets we all share, whether it’s common values, struggles, successes, the appreciation for what’s different and unique…

That’s why I believe that the internal part is so crucial. It really is the foundation for everything else we do. Once you have figured that part out, you can express it in any way you want and that expression may change and evolve over time. I combined my passion with the love of intellectual challenge and my deep expertise in media, marketing and strategy. Because ultimately, my goal is to bring something of value to my clients.

And I go through that same process with my clients too. First, we go deep to find their fundamental brilliance and then we intertwine it with their skills, expertise and our knowledge of the market. The end goal is to create unique, distinct offerings that are highly valued and desirable in the marketplace. 

FB - What’s your take when it comes to defining your style (or brand)?

AL - Hmmm…I think our style is very important as it is the expression of who we are on the inside. For the past year, I have been going through a lot of transition and internal transformation. When I left my corporate job and became an entrepreneur, I didn’t realize how much implication that would have on my personal style. My style is now evolving at a rapid pace, making it difficult for me to keep up haha – a big surprise, as I’m now realizing that prior to that, my style hasn’t really changed that much for the last 10 years.

Defining our style is a process. Over the last few months I learned that style is not something that we can just define overnight – even though believe me I tried, and even believed I could do so. Now that I have my own personal brand, my style is more important than ever. I had worked with multiple stylists and tried to reinvent my style before each new branding photoshoot over the last year – while I believe that it has helped to speed up the transformation, I’m also seeing that I’m not quite there yet. It really is something that requires time and that needs to come from within.

Now I’m truly seeing how the evolution of our style is a reflection of our internal growth and transformation. For me it was pretty much flat for 10 years, but now things are finally in motion haha. I have a feeling that a lot more evolution, experimentation and bold statements will come for me in the next few months.

It was my quiet way to rebel against ‘office attire’ standards

FB - How much self-expression or risk-taking do you put into it?

AL -  I’m now starting to experiment more and more I’m also more discriminative when it comes to selecting brands that reflect my values and style.

I have lately become obsessed with statement pieces from Donna Karan’s Urban Zen because they are a manifestation of the high quality craftsmanship and cultural tradition that has been almost lost in today’s world of mass produced luxury that’s more tied to the superficial logo versus true quality, heritage and deeper values.

Another area that I’ve been also exploring due to my frequent travels to India, are the caftan and the sari. I’m especially interested in pieces that are less traditional, characterized by muted colors, perhaps the ones that are more reflective of my European heritage and yet embody my fascination with the Indian culture and its expressions of femininity. There is one sari designer whose work I’ve admired for few years now and I finally feel that my style is maturing to the level where I’m ready to explore and experiment with his pieces. 

FB - In your ‘previous’ corporate life, did you have to sacrifice your style for a certain attire you were required to maintain?

AL - Now that I think about it, no, not at all. I have worked in the media industry where there are no strict rules regarding the attire. However, the constraints are there, they are just subtle and subconscious. Working in a company or corporation, you subconsciously tend to conform to what everyone else is wearing.

Media world is competitive, so I wanted to look edgy and sharp. Thus my signature style consisted of skinny jeans, pencil skirts and leather jackets. For example, instead of wearing a more traditional blazer or suit to a client meeting I would wear a dress with leather jacket over it. Or a pencil skirt with a print t-shirt instead of a silk blouse. That’s how far I went with my self-expression. It was my quiet way to rebel against the ‘office attire’ standards..

I always secretly wished that I worked for a creative agency as those people have ‘style’ and the more creative and unique that style is, the better. I remember telling my stylist few months ago that I wanted her to help me to look like someone who works at a creative agency haha

FB - What’s Italian style in a one word or two?

AL - Refined, feminine, minimalist, classy – that’s already more than two words but it’s hard to describe it in so few words. 

FB According to your imagination, who is a personification of Italian style (doesn’t have to be alive)?

AL - For me, that would be Margherita Missoni. Her style bridges the classic Italian minimalism with a bold modern twist. She masterfully mixes patterns, textures and colors making them still look classy, refined and feminine. She really knows how to pull it off.

Missoni is one of my favorite designers and Margherita certainly was born to wear those pieces (or rather the other way around lol). To me her style is a true embodiment of the best of Italian fashion: classy, feminine, bold and seductive at the same time. 


Aleksandra Lacka is a business strategy consultant who helps her clients connect their true brilliance with their ideal niche audiences. You can contact her HERE 



style file, style, trends, chic

5 TRENDS gone, 11 still strong: are you on the right train?

We begin the year by closing a circle.

With January comes Epiphany that swipes all the holidays away, the men shows, some snow or the 61 degrees Miami version of snow and all that gear we started swooning over last January's runways. 

That's where it starts allover again. 

So, what are we wearing now? What are we carrying on from last year, that is literally 2 weeks ago?

Are we all on the same track that #wedontfollowtrendswesetthem? If it sounds new to you, go HERE before you continue further.

Concept is: one thing is having a defined sense of style, another 'pair of sleeves' is grasping an overall aesthetic stream and embody it. That's why I am not the regular outfit-of-the-day blogger, I am unpredictable, I may not be cool, but I spice things up with a little bit of attitude and I enjoy getting away with it. 

I keep having these congitations and convince myself I am right, and I am determined to show you so, but what do YOU think? 

Take it to the comments and please contradict me, will you? 

 

THE TRENDS THAT (SHOULD HAVE) NEVER MADE IT TO YOUR CLOSET

  • the nude dress: somehow from Queen Bey it trickled down to the KKlan, but we never adopted it. In my case, I never had the body and should I had the occasion there would have been other Couture options to choose from. Take that. 
  • normcore: we ain't no Steve Jobs (may he rest in peace) nor Mark Zuckerberg. Must be noted that we are strong believers in our own IQ, we just rock it with mooooore taste, style and creativity.

Now here I ought to open a piece of heart: shouldn't this American workplace show a little respect in 2016 and refrain from judging women with the frivolous adjective when they are brave enough to express their own personality and character in a male dominated professional environment? 

It is sad and sickening at the same time to still read  'corporate attire' required as standard jargon that forces a woman to dress with the unspoken uniform (black suit) just to be hired, initiated in the circle and eventually taken seriously.

Rant is over, free the nipple. To say it with the Giorgio Armani pre-fall collection: 

 

Freedom from all that is ordinary 

 

  • sheer and lace underwear as outerwear, although we love to wear pajama outside. 

 

YOU MAY WANT TO CHECK THE ART OF PAJAMA DRESSING  in THE STYLE FILE

 

  • latex (oh man, when did that become a trend, outside of any street mall sex shop?)
  • athleisure is that awkward evolution of the Juicy Couture's chenille tracksuits with UGG boots. Sorry any celebrity signing leggings, tracksuits and yoga pants which you wear as your signature uniform, but by definition it’s still the same average athletic gear made to look expensive and by signing it you make it also over-priced. i am diverging opinion from Corinne Wang who on Refinery 29 approves of athleisure as one of the epic trends of 2015, easy and minimalist way of wearing comfortable clothes on a regular working day. Thing is what if your regular day doens't involve lounging on the couch and being photographed by your Instagram boyfriend?

 

THE ONES THAT survived and moved TO 2016

  • the off-the-shoulder and bell-sleeved top: there was one white Tibi top that became the piece of the summer, but I never bought it. Let's put it this way, the off the shoulder is the 2015 equivalent ot the peplum top of 2010. nope we haven't adopted that one either. However having a shoulder visible in the flesh is sexy no matter the age, as Harper's Bazaar 
  • Adidas' Stan Smith: this is tricky. If you, like me, have always worn them regardless of the normcore/blogger trend, you are already bugged that everyone has been flaunting them. Stick by them because they belong to your style, but maybe, I mean maybe, I will opt for those suede hunter green high-top Nike just because

 

  • the geek chic(k) I can’t get enough of the new Gucci era by Alessandro Michele, the modern Renaissance man, in total awe of his forward gender bending and barriers thinning. Elements of this granny chic? silky tops, socks and pumps, pleated skirts, pussy bows (a lot), embroideries, lace, bomber elevated, middle crease straight pants and fitted jacket, 
  • neck-gear: bandanna, silk and skinny ones(for this heat over to Etsy and search form Smith Lab, Sarah Smith is the girl: you are welcome) 
  • slipdress great under a blazer with platforms for a day look and long, shiny with flat lace-up sandals or pointy ballerinas for the evening.
  • shirt: the element that keeps on giving, the love for a white crisp shirt never fades, but the shirt-dress has surpassed its own role and risen itself to a power dressing position. A simple exquisite blue cotton shirt-dress belted and worn with wedges (like those Gucci ones) makes the woman entering the meeting room remembered in a forgiving silhouette.
  • denim still a strong seasonal plunge, favorite are frayed cropped straight pants and jumpsuit
  • cropped flares: I am having a crush, still have to find the right ones (unfortunately Zara had the perfect one, BUT I am not buying fast fashion any longer)
  • man pants or like The Man Repeller says, who is wearing the pants? #girlboss, #entrepreneurialmind
  • prints I personally have never been a passionate lover of prints, mono-chrome has been a signature, but when a print touches me, the click is done.  
  • animal print I am bias and believe in animal print like in Santa Claus. Jenna Lyons, the Executive Creative Director of J.Crew said something wise
...as far as I'm concerned, leopard is a neutral

Did I omit something important to you?

If so let's discuss it, because I may not agree (smiley face)

 

italianstyle, chic, classics, niche, style

THE JACKIE O GUIDE TO SUMMER DRESSING

It was a queer, sultry summer ...
— Sylvia Plath

 

9in the morning and it’s hot as balls, but we must pick something suitable to wear at work. As if it wasn't already a lot of work to go to work when Europe is on vacation en masse.

Mornings in the Sunshine State are a real hustle. My brain goes in constant ping-pong battle with having to dress up for work even though per popular belief we live off mojitos.

I have dedicated the previous post to a summer in the city.  We have the compelling task of pulling our shit together, keep it current, nonchalant, not too stuffy, not too casual, with élan and a little spice of sexiness. We must perform the eternally chic wonder-woman role at work, at the gym, at the PTA meeting and at the kids birthday party where your ex-husband will show up with his new girlfriend (ugh, did I have to mention that?).

Some more tips: 

  • shirtdress with or without a blazer, 
  • choose fresh fabrics like linen, 
  • cotton or ultra-light wool (offices are freezing), 
  • midi skirt, 
  • culottes and any boyfriendish style of trousers and 
  • jumpsuit … and this one might be off limits if you work in a strict boring conservative environment like healthcare or the court perhaps?

Now it's August, let’s concentrate on some of my favorite addi(C)tions.

Remember to apply the essentialism rule: for every piece that goes in, one goes out. Separate from physical belongings, shed clutter, clear paths and welcome the new.

The 6 things you need to make a perfect chic summer wardrobe.

BIKINI

Everyone knows the best swimwear to suit their body: one piece, string bikini, high waist bottom, push-up, triangle bra, I leave it to you. At the swimwear show, I fell in love with two collections and their designers.

Magda Gomez bewitched me and I already said it here.

Dijana swimwear has a soul on its own, like her designer, Watch for her interview soon to know more, meanwhile you go grab anything from this first-time designer, before her exclusive prints get sold-out.

THE DRESS

If you are someone who dares, a chiffon caftan by Santika is the answer. The quintessential resort-wear, designed by ever stylish stylists Erika Pena and Danny Santiago has the right amount of chiffon, plunging necklines, bright colors, sheerness to get noticed anywhere you go. The best part is you wear one and go from day to night glammed up and the only thing left for you is enjoy the moment.

Jolie Kica’ is for the timeless, chic, understated and eternally flawless after a day at work or on the boat. A style that go perfect for the mother and the daughter, sophisticated fabrics, Made in Italy with love.

You know that last minute dinner invitation when you think you have nothing to wear? That's it, it's that dress in your wardrobe that’ll make you look impeccable and will make you feel good like a phone call to your best friend.

THE STRAW BAG

One image here: Jane Birkin and her basket. (Not her eponymous Hermes bag, that is another story).

Some directions: it must be big, not overwhelming, nor heavy, made of straw, spacious enough to throw sun protection, book, magazines, sarong and a pestemal.

What’s a pestemal?

Leave it to LIDO world to show you how to use 'an original Turkish towel' to linger by the shores, lay under the tree and picnic in the park. Then buy one + the bag, if you are lucky enough to be heading to North Fork go say hi to darling Heidi. If you are in other lidos, buy online.

JEWELS

Given that we have our own real jewels, we are not Wallis Simpson arrying our rubies, sapphires and pearls from Cartier to the beach, let's be realistic. 

  1. Cavana jewelry to go cool and for who wants thin, layering, barely there sparkles.
  2. Go bold with Erika Pena Designs mala beads, silver skulls, layers layers layers. Just remember to balance it out with simple monochrome bikinis and chiffon caftans.
  3. Any silver plated marine inspired piece of jewelry from Magda Gomes

THE SANDALS

I have an obsession with flat sandals, I know, but I am in good company. Valentino presented their Haute Couture collection with one shoe on the runway, a gladiator sandal. In other words, gowns worth a common salary, with a pedigree of hundreds of hours of embroideries and workmanship were paired with flat sandals. The high-low is the best element you can absorb from the Italian way.

Need more? Royal wedding of the year Beatrice Borromeo marries Pierre Casiraghi in flat sandals, chic as hell.  

Rule n.1: can’t go cheap, I am not talking about chancletas or flip flops.

Rule n.2 get one pair and good and will last enough to become your go-to shoe from the beach, to the sunset stroll to the glitzy dinner to work. 

Two things jet setters and iconic women like Jackie and Marella Agnelli, do?

Visit the surroundings and wear flats.

In other words, you don’t visit Ponza, Positano, le Cinque Terre and pack vertiginous stiletto if you don’t want to hang out with a neon sign on your head that says ‘tourist’. Wear local and trust them, they know what they are doing, the Italian way. So, when in le Cinque Terre, go to Monterosso and visit Lanapo, the best kept secret.

THE PANAMA HAT

Regina Chevallier I met her during the Swim Show last month, the right explosive and joyful personality to wear and design hats! Remember a stylish woman on vacation must be ready for that impromptu boat ride – it’s like stuffing the raincoat in the luggage to London.

If you are in Italy, head over Cappelleria Palladio in Vicenza and let your Italian bold, elegant and flamboyant in you free. 

NOW, I would love to hear from you.

You are a mini-Jackie O and this is how you rock at the beach

You think it is unrealistic, going to the beach means shorts and flip flops

Nothing in the world would convince you to dress like that

You'd like to venture to a beach vacation the Italian way 

chic, style file, style, SS15

5 reasons to be addicted to a summer in the city

 

 ‘I  love the fact that you brought Shakespeare with you and no clothes. Ermelinda says you wash the same shirt out every night. Is that true? … She can do that stuff for you.’

says rich, spoiled, decadent Dickie while in Capri in The Talented Mr. Ripley a movie that always puts me in total summer mood.

I want to wear all Gwyneth dresses, sandals, posh cardigans, and set sail in that boat with Jude Law in my imaginary summer in the Golfo dei Poeti, northern than Capri, but still one of world’s wonders in the Mediterranean sea.

 

I have been talking about essentialism just this past week when referring to one’s closet. I have done my homework and applied the concept one word at a time while unfolding my summer wardrobe and retiring the winter’s.

I killed my darlings and recreated a “no clutter with a meaning” condition. The meaning was: no excuses, something like “I will lose weight”, “I bought this when …”. When in doubt I have used the same question I use with my daughter when she rolls her eyelashes like Bambi to tell me in order that she loves me and that her shopping cart has 15 items: “show me three different outfits”.

Three piles of hand-me-down clothing after, there it was a clear sense of where I am going.

I felt lifted from the drag of shuttling things back and forth to the storage without a purpose, generous as my own garbage will be another one’s treasure and in gratitude for having detached from a most basic form of attachment.

How do you feel after cleaning up your closet?


the ideal Italian summer in the city eating ice cream al fresco outfit 

the ideal Italian summer in the city eating ice cream al fresco outfit 

And now I am ready for a summer in the city and found what elements we should all incorporate in the closet to make our outfits current, styled, nonchalant, not too stuffy, not too casual, with the right weight of elan and a little spice of sexiness.

The skirt 

 

I just feel that languor of a mid-length skirt that hugs the body, leaves room to strut, go up and down the tram (in Milan) and the car and still be feel feminine with that touch of comfort whether you are a heels or a flats girl. 

The blazer 

You know that blazer that you pull out season after season, stands with the dignity of a Navy uniform in the closet and fits immaculate because  

It’s not about retro or modern, it’s more about if it’s well done and it looks good
— Blaze'

You know that piece that is like that one friend you have that you can take at any event, frivolous or boringly academic and he always has the right conversation? That all you need is a blazer is their tagline and THE blazer to look at is Blaze’ 

The perfect dress 

I have one in mind, the Ballerina dress by Marianna Cimini, I have said it starting from last year and it will have to be mine this season.

In crisp cotton white or black, Vichy checkers or stripes, short enough to be appropriate with flat soles and with strappy heeled sandals.  

THE IDEAL FLAT SANDAL 

To say it with Diana Vreeland:

By flat sole I mean the sole that is heeless sole that creates a walk that is exactly like being barefoot
— Memos, Diana Vreeland

Do you know those “exquisite shoes […] made to walk […] nakedly in the street” of Capri like Jackie and Lee Radziwill.  With that said, my teen-ager love at first sight for the summer are the sandals by Alvaro Gonzalez 

Check it out and just please tell me you want them as badly in your closet as I do. 

THE BOATER HAT 

It feels so Chanel and Deuville and Wallis Simpson all together.

I discovered these by Leontine Vintage with PLV Milano, a mix of flair for vintage haberdashery with a modern gipsy feel that turns out to be feminine, gamine, understated, chic.

The love collection comes personalized with a tassel and a gram of love ... check this out for more 

MAKE-UP 

I barely talk about beauty routine because mine lasts the minute and a half of a red traffic light.

In the summer I used to think that no make-up was needed thanks to the glowing healthy rosy cheeks and the golden suntan. My eyelashes were thick and long and prosperous that they didn’t need mascara (my most dreaded element of the nightly wash-your-face routine).

Now with a few wisdom years on my shoulders, I still put make up at the traffic light or down/up the elevator, because that is what Italian women do.

We are never late … because of the restauration progress, we are late because whatever we decided to wear needs ironing, the shoes are not polished or that clutch was riposta in the other season’s armoire.

My best friends this season is Beauty For Real’s cheek tint & luminizer  by beauty maven Leslie Musnell.

It works wonders and it does everything that you want it to do plus smelling delicious like a vanilla infused pastry shop.

It inconspicuously hides those expression lines on the sides of the eyes, rises the cheekbones, and makes people tell you “you look great” even when it’s one of those days when you haven’t slept all night, but fell asleep right five minutes before the alarm rang and the whole enchilada begun, including those 6 coffees to keep your eyes open.

 

P.S. There’s not one word of this piece that has been sponsored, it is all fruit of my dedication to the beautiful things the Italian way. 

style file, style, SS15, chic

that 70's show

Spring arrived and officially the '70s vibe the runway perspired for this season trickled down. No signs of stopping.

Ever fascinating Suzy Menkes' latest column questions what is it that made the contraddictory return of the Seventies, otherwise known as 'the era that taste forget'. She recalls a conversation with Yves Saint Laurent, compares the denigratory and outraged press that his 1971 Scandale collection received and wondorously concludes that most probably current designers went  a trip down their youth memory lane. 

High waisted denim, A-line skirts, suede, fringes, vertiginous platforms or mocassins, bohemian dresses, long, flowy and sheer is what comes to mind together with Jane Birkin and Brigitte Bardot.

I am going to say 'street style' but I want you to stick with me.

I will not pontificate. I am going to roll out my opinion through a chain of thoughts: let me be your Happy Potter. 

From outbound to inbound.
— Yours Truly

The concept was born in the '60s, and it meant tribes of individuals freely expressing themselves through style,what they were wearing and the way they were styling their wardrobe at their own paste and taste. Ted Polhemus has been the most prolific sociologist to collect, describe and document how fashion has taken inspiration from the streets. One of his books, published twice and accompanied by an exhibit at London's V&A, witnessed the evolution of Street Style: from Sidewalk to Catwalk by showcasing how style found in the streets, spontaneous, genuine and bountiful of self-expression has been a long time inspiration for fashion designers. 

Now fast forward to today, or let's say, yesterdayear.

A lot has been said about the current state of "street style" affairs, including that it's dead or false. But, what is it? It involves a crop of popular gamines, bloggers or influencers, wearing sample-size dresses of whatever season is about to hit the stores, accessorized by their own team of videographer, photographer, social media manager, living in an eternal state of photoshoot - take the picture, post the picture, work a new "secret project" post it on their blog and so on.

See the difference? 

In the late '60s it was bringing your way of dressing out in the streets and there it was staying, outside. Birkin and Bardot defined an era by wearing their bikinis and basket bag just because they were naturally and uniquely chic and elegant (ok, gorgeous too).

Nowadays, until someone really pronounces it dead or unreal, the chosen influencers get showered with gifts of what brands and designers want to fly out of the shelves, put them on, go out in the streets, get snapped and photoshopped professionally and send them back to their millions of followers through their social media profiles. 

Both cases are the equivalent of wearing clothing with a purpose, but, chronologically we go from wearing whatever you want and becoming an icon, to making money out of other people's buying what you have been gifted to wear. 

So, after my Edna Mode exploit, let's go back to the Seventies and all there was so good that it came back. 

The instructions to read this redux is: keep your style in mind, don't delve into a trend just because it's allover. 

If it doesn't feel or look good to your eyes, it won't work just because the magazines tell you so.

Just pass, there's always something you will be able to embrace and wear that will make you feel at rhythm with the times and magazines.

Be aware of the "It" anything, it most probably costs an arm and a leg, it may look good on paper, it will be stored next season and you will end up looking like everyone you follow on Instagram and who pins on Pinterest.  

I often said I wish I had invented blue jeans: the most spectacular, the most practical, the most relaxed and nonchalant. They have expression, modesty, sex appeal, simplicity - all I hope for in my clothes
— Yves Saint Laurent

Denim for everybody, seems like a liberating slogan like "free the nipple". 

Dust off what's been lingering in the closet, store skinnies (F I N A L L Y), dark washes and wide legs are a must, they are the best trick to elongate the legs and they go to work and after work. 

Let the pant do the legwork.

Wider leg, cropped hem, add super luxe materials like suede and croc and it becomes a dusted modern '70s interpretation.

Flared denim: we can finally declare the skinny DEAD (let's not tell the Kardashians)

Patchwork denim: daring alternative, MUST be watchful not to do the scarecrow performance.

Denim salopette: glorious with a blazer, A-line skirt and knee hight boots

Denim on denim: this is the mother of all mothers. 

P.S. this is actually denim on chambrai, but it gives the idea.

The A-line skirt.

Vintage sounding indeed, especially when it's suede. The denim skirt buttoned in the front can be made actural with kitten heels and a trench or your classic navy blazer. 

Long bohemian dress.

The long, swirly, flow-y, easy-breezy chiffon dress  

Fringes.

Yes, but be cautious, life's not Coachella.

Shoes.

Make a statement: the saucier the platform is the better it is, be bold, think about the batchelorette party scene of Mamma Mia, be yourself, have fun BUT don't dress up. Two things I should add: stay away from knock-offs (by that I mean don't pretend to substitute the Saint Laurent with some King's Cross street market pleather concotion) and the good thing about the platform is that they are comfortable.