Tuesday, December 11, 2012


Rose Hartman, the quintessential photographer is seen here, seen there, quite frankly she seems to be seen everywhere , and in the course of her journey as a photographer she gained exclusive entre into the world’s most fashionable happenings and access to celebrities and movie stars. One would not have suspected that this powerhouse of energy, determination and drive could have started out in life as a teacher, but she honed her skills and studied the art of photography and from then on she parlayed herself into the good graces of the all-powerful publicists and gained entry to cover the most exclusive clubs, parties and events. And therein is how over the years Rose Hartman was at the forefront of world’s fashionable events from New York to St. Petersburg and Mumbai and beyond. During her remarkable career she has accumulated a vast archive of memorable images and has authored a book, INCOMPARABLE WOMEN OF STYLE, recently published by the ACC Publishing Group.
A GORGEOUS VOLUME The gorgeous volume features more than 100 photographs, including rare vintage silver pints developed by Hartman in her home studio, as well as never-before-seen image of New York City’s underground style icons. She has captured the trend setters for three decades, and in so doing has helped to chronicle and define what we remember most about glamour and those who create Incomparable Women of Style includes both iconic and rarely seen pictures of Nan Kempner, Marisa Berenson, Jackie O, Brooke Astor, Anna Wintour, Paloma Picasso, Diane von Furstenberg and Daphne Guiness, just to mention a few. Her images are never set up, never staged, instead Harman says, “I wait until I see an expression that moves me and then I shoot-not before, not after. I want as much spontaneity as possible.” And that is what makes this book so special; the spontaneity of the images is both riveting and captures a moment in time.
PHOTOGRAPHER PAR EXCELLENCE With her photographs appearing in worldwide books and magazines, Hartman has distinguished herself as a photographer of keenest ye; even her candid works has the finish and insight of portraiture. What one fails to realize is that many of the photographs associated with style, an event, and an era, have belonged to Hartman, whether it is Bianca Jagger on a white horse as she enters Studio 54, or Isabella Rossellini at a private dinner in the Hamptons.
IN THE BEGINNING Rose Hartman is a true New Yorker. She was born in Manhattan’s East Village but started to patrol the night scene in 1975 as an arts and society columnist at the SoHo Weekly News. Her first big break was a photo shoot of Joan Hemingway’s wedding in Sun Valley, Idaho where she manage to induce Ernest Hemingway’s wife, Mary, to pose for her relaxing in a hammock. You may not have realized it but her photos have been published in Vogue, Glamour, Vanity Fair, Art & Auction, Harper’s Bazaar, Der Spiegel and many, many more magazines


Friday, December 7, 2012


Anyone who wanted to enter the Emerald City in the Wizard of Oz was made to wear green-tinted eyeglasses, as an effort to protect their eyes from the “brightness and glory” of the city, but it really just made everything green. Now the emerald era dawns on us once again as fashion decrees “Emerald Green is the color the year 2013,” in fashion, accessories, furnishings, appliances, automobiles and even aviator sunglasses with green polarized lens. This lively, lush, radiant green, number 17-5641 in Pantone’s LLC’s numerical lexicon is the color of beauty, hope, healing and prosperity. Its greatest attribute is that of renewal, rejuvenation and new beginnings, a change for the better. Good reason to adapt emerald green next year.  
THE GREEN REVOLUTION Just when we thought that the 1980’s green was a thing of the past its recall encompasses a wide swath of products ranging from fashion on the runways like sporty pants suits, dresses and evening gowns. Le Creuset embraces the color and is already selling a full range of cookware in deep green, it calls ‘fennel,’ while Waterford glassware sparkles in green crystal and GMs Chevrolet Camaro concept car is a color they call ‘unripened green.’ Of course, emerald jewelry would make any woman glow with radiant charms. Sleeping in a bed of green JC Penney’s home department will be lush with green components; sheets, bath towels, rugs and bath accessories.
SYMBOLISM OF GREEN Emerald green is a refreshing change in the color spectrum. It conjures up lush foliage, the renewal of spring, the harbinger of hope and happiness and the preserver of unconditional love. It also represents abundance; after all it is the color of money, too. Green is a good omen for 2013 as it is the color of harmony, balance and peace. People who gravitate to green have personality traits that include understanding, compassion and generosity. They are nature loving and also have romantic inclinations. To let go of stress picture yourself in an open field of green grass and visualize calm washing over your body bringing with it healing, health benefits.


Saturday, November 3, 2012


Fashion designers always digging into fashion’s historical past by re-introduce the 'Cape,' and I cannot help but wonder why? The cape as a fashion accessory for daytime wear seems like something out of the dim past with limited appeal. It may look great on models, celebrities and superstars on the red carpet, but remember they do not have to daily carry around a handbag or a tote full of a day’s activities. It may entice women who do not have this outerwear style in their wardrobe to purchase a cape, just for the fun of it. However, mere mortals, like most of my friends, may feel less confident about wearing a cape on the street.
OUT ON A LIMB Nonetheless, the cape fashion has swept down the runways and designers including Jason Wu, Gucci and L’Wren Scott showed daytime versions, even the capelet, a short version of the cape. Now remember this: the cape is a loose outer garment that falls from the shoulders and typically does not have sleeves. That means your arms are jutting out of slits at the side and are therefore exposed to draftiness and rain or shine. So some kind of cover up is needed for the exposed arms like long gloves, perhaps. Then there is the problem of carrying a purse, and where does one put a chic lady’s backpack?
THE FASHIONABLE PAST The cape may have been de rigueur in the days when clothes were somewhat frivolous but with the face-paced lifestyle the cape presents certain mobility issues for the modern woman. There’s no denying, however, that the cape was an important part of traditional dress in centuries past and played a functional role or could be signifiers of rank in societies. However, as an element of high style the cape still has its place.
THE SWEEPING FASHION The flowing cape, in silk or plush velvet, worn at an opera opening or the elegant cape dress, in lure brocade, worn by a super star has showstopper appeal, and lends photo opportunity allure when an entertainer tosses a cape over a sensuous satin evening dress. The cape worn by royalty commands respect and signifies dignity of office but for the working woman, it takes a certain bravado and confidence to carry off a cape on any occasion.


Friday, October 12, 2012

MAROON, THE NEW BLACK (c) By Polly Guerin

Maroon, burgundy, claret, oxblood—call it what you will this deep, sultry color steps up to the fashion plate as the new black. Like a fine wine maroon ages well and with time becomes a staple color in the fashionista’s wardrobe. Why? Because it is a luscious, rich shade that is more lively and dramatic than dead end black. The word maroon comes from the French word marron which means “chestnut,” but the first recorded use of maroon as a color name in English was in 1789.
AUTUMN’S ELEGANT SHADE On the color scale maroon is a deep, dark red that is part red and deepened with black. It therefore combines the fire and drama of red with the sophistication of black. It is a notice-me color that looks dramatic in shiny satin, delicious in plush velvet, slick in patent leather and royal in bright fur.
FASHION EXPECTATIONS A cocktail dress in a sumptuous maroon print has more eye catching appeal, while a frilly Victorian-style blouse’s femininity has a royal bearing. Instead of traditional colors look for the sensuous hue in a trench coat or add a dazzling leather clutch to your nighttime ensemble. Ruby red or oxblood stones in costume jewelry are a rich way to convey your dignified persona.
DAYTIME DRAMA This fabulous color is not marooned in nighttime fashion. A business suit can add panache to the corporate scene, particularly if punctuated with a shiny satin matching blouse. A stylish deep ruby or maroon jacket for the office can be paired with a matching Pucci-like printed dress and the ensemble has haute couture appeal. Of course, this jacket always goes well with the little black dress, especially when you add a necklace fashioned with ruby beads entwined with seed pearls.


Friday, September 14, 2012


“Ah,” said the young lady, “You must be an Ivy League man? I can tell by your attire that you either hail from Yale, Harvard, or Dartmouth.” No wonder she was captivated by his wardrobe, because dating an Ivy League man was quite a feather in a young college girl’s ambition. Why? Well, Ivy League identified with a certain class of individual who attended any one of a group of Ivy League universities having a reputation for scholastic achievement and social prestige. Ivy League was considered an elitist style that identified with class, bearing and distinction but its classic good looks made it an all-American favorite. The Museum at FIT pays homage to Ivy League with the exhibition “Ivy Style,” one of the most enduring clothing styles of the 20th century on view through January 5, 2013.
ONCE UPON A TIME While Ivy League or Ivy Style was once the cutting-edge look worn exclusively by young men of means the look has come main stream and has permeated both men’s and women’s fashion collections, and leading designers, such as Tommy Hilfiger and Ralph Lauren, Michael Bastian and Thom Browne call it their own, while other designers pepper their collections with the look. Ivy style spread way beyond the hallowed halls of the elite universities to influence the evolution of men’s classic clothing and has rooted itself info the fashion vocabulary on an international scale.
ORIGINS OF IVY STYLE During the interwar years from 1919 to the onset of World War II, classic items, such as tweed jackets and polo coats, were appropriated from the Englishman’s wardrobe, modified and redesigned by pioneering firms such as Brooks Brothers and J. Press for young men on the campuses of elite East Coast colleges. Ivy Style included Shetland tweeds, gray flannels, Oxford button-downs, repp ties, and casual seersucker and madras. From approximately 1945 and the late 1960s Ivy Style spread across the United States and khaki pants and penny loafers were being worn by a whole new, diverse population that included working-class GIs as well as leading jazz musicians.
THE EXHIBITION ENSEMBLES The Ivy Style exhibit is arranged thematically in an environment that evokes an Ivy League university campus. The side venues feature typical university settings, such as a classroom, dormitory room, and fraternity house with clothing and accessories appropriate to their use. Another key setting is a ‘university shop,’ the kind of retail establishment that existed in nearly every city in the United States in the mid-20th century. Again, environments feature period objects that enhance the story being told by the garments

The Museum at FIT, is part of the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) and is located at 27th Street and Seventh Avenue. Museum hours are Tuesday-Friday-noon-8pm, Saturday-10am-5pm. Visit fitnyc.edu/museum.

Friday, July 13, 2012

PARASOLS: Keep Your Sunnside Up (c) By Polly Guerin

“Mad dogs and Englishmen might go out in the midday sun,” (Noel Coward), but savvy fashionistas know better and avoid the sun’s most penetrating rays at noon. Southern women have always been known for their peaches and cream complexion and this is due to a simple little accessory they carry on torrid days, called a parasol. It’s chic, it’s protection and it’s revival has a lot to do with the incredible heat wave that has blanketed the country. Image: Claude Monet's "Lady With Parasol." 
FUN and FUNCTIONAL A parasol is defined as a lightweight umbrella used as a sunshade especially by women, but I have seen men opening their black practical umbrellas as protection from the sun rays as they dash about the city streets. A stylish umbrella can serve the same purpose as a parasol, and you know you have many to select from in your closet. Choose a pretty feminine floral or charming print to dress up even the most casual outfit while pure white casts a refreshing pristine look to your ensemble. Opt for a solid color parasol to pop a print ensemble.
PRETTY PAPER PARASOLS I’ve seen them in China Town, on Broadway in Soho and in boutiques that sell those adorable paper parasols with bamboo spokes. Paper parasols look just like those miniature umbrellas that decorate certain exotic cocktails. Real life incarnations are the modern answer to a woman’s fashionable beat-the-sun prevention without slathering on sunscreen. You can also order them through Parasols.com or LunaBazaar.com. Paper parasols are amazingly reasonable from about $8 to $20. Avoid those tony retailers where parasols are quite pricey.
AN ANCIENT FASHION The parasol has a long and storied history dating back to ancient times. Egyptian Queens knew a thing or two about protecting themselves and escaping the desert sun. In historical images depict a loyal servant shading the great lady with a huge parasol-like umbrella. Adding to their charming ways Japanese geishas in the 18th century carried parasols to keep their skin unblemished, and today savvy women are claiming parasols as their own special accessory.
THE VICTORIAN CANOPY It was also a Victorian sunblock accessory and its popularity grew due to societal obsession with having a porcelain or fair complexion. Why? Because pale skin was a sure sign that you were a Lady and did not have to work under the sun. Yes, I know in the 1920's getting a suntan became fashionable, but now we have all kinds of warnings about getting skin cancer, and believe me a canopy against the sun is one of the chic solutions. Okay, Getting some healthy sun rays is acceptable, but really, as Noel Coward warns, "Don't go out in the midday sun!!!"

Thursday, July 5, 2012

JACKET REQUIRED, Tale of The Little Black Jacket (c) By Polly Guerin

You’ve heard of Chanel’s famous ‘little black dress,” now get ready for the ‘little black jacket.’ It’s as basic as you get but this is no ordinary jacket. By Chanel’s standard it’s short, chic and versatile. All the fanfare about the little black jacket came about with publisher Steidl’s forthcoming coffee table book, “The Little Black Jacket: Chanel’s Classic Revisited,” by couture designer, Karl Lagerfeld and stylist extraordinaire, Carine Roitfeld. The book was showcased at a pop-up event which exhibited the book’s 113 portraits of notables displaying the jacket’s versatility. So what’s in it to you? Think ‘little black jacket’ the next time you shop for a ‘must have’ wardrobe accessory.
LAGERFELD MOBBED Lagerfeld was mobbed at every turn as he greeted the celebrities and fashionistas. Mr. Lagerfeld, the head designer at Chanel, made his way through the gallery, like a visiting potentate greeting the crowd with sophisticated charm. Such a supreme individual garners accolades and was followed by photographers, videographers and party guests all eager to be photographed with him. Alber Elbaz got so carried away she pulled out her iPhone to take a snap of her own portrait on the wall. Carine Roitfeld was wearing an interpretation of the jacket she had actually constructed from a skirt. “You know Karl, you have to surprise him,” she said of her approach to styling the portraits. Theophilus London who was coaxed into the tweed Chanel creation for the book wore it again to perform at a post-opening dinner at Balthazar.
BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE The book features a mix of beautiful people shot in black-and-white wearing a black, tweed Chanel jacket in surprisingly varied effects. An enormous photo of Vogue editor, Anna Wintour’s tweed-jacket-clad back greeted guests as they entered the gallery. Ms. Roitfeld, the former editor of French Vogue, who is now the fashion world’s darling, was also trailed by a video crew shooting a documentary about her fabulous life. You can’t imagine Karl Lagerfeld with children but it appears he has a soft heart for the little ones. Hudson Kroenig, the four year old son of male model and Lagerfeld’s favorite Brad Kroenig exchanged a high-five with Mr. Lagerfeld.

Like Cinderella, Mr. Lagerfeld did not linger long and exited the building, leaving the Black Jacket crowd holding champagne flutes and admiring each other.

Saturday, June 30, 2012


“It’s freezing in my office,” screamed a young office worker into her cell phone as she raced across the steamy hot streets to catch a bus. The temperature did not get any better as the bus was chilled to the bone like a Frigidaire. When she disembarked at her stop she raced into the bank and was hit with a blast of Arctic air that nearly blew her away. It’s summer in the city and sweltering outside and even the cold blast in movie theaters or air-conditioned cafes can raise the alarm that it’s just too, too darn cold for fashionistas. Working in cold temperatures when it’s so hot outside can be a health hazard, and in some cases the incubator for a summer cold. Quite frankly I do not understand why, wherever I go, the chill is raised to such high levels. Dah!!! Doesn’t the electric bill skyrocket? Well, to tackle the problems there are several chic solutions to compete with the big chill. Photo image from the Wall Street Journal. Illustrations by Joy Gilinsky.
WARM UP TECHNIQUES A basic sleeveless linen dress is an ideal summer wardrobe basic that allows you to prepare for the big chill. Simply pack a Pashmina shawl for the commute to work or keep a shawl tucked away in a drawer in your office desk. Solid color Pashmina’s are okay but try to find one with a paisley or discreet floral weave that adds interest to a solid color sheath dress. When you are presenting at a Board or division meeting, add that professional panache to your sheath dress. A short tailored jacket is youthful and chic in a contrasting color, such as red over a black sheath; cinnamon orange over a royal blue sheath or chartreuse green over a chocolate brown sheath. For further drama keep a stash of good quality, 48-inch scarves in your desk drawer, the kind that you can drape around your shoulders. They always come in handy for extra warmth. Choose prints that do not overwhelm your professional performance but will match you sheath dress.
DOUBLE BENEFITS I have never given up on the shell matching cardigan idea and many new versions come in lightweight cotton or synthetics. Fashionistas update the look for evening by removing the shell and adding a matching lace-edged slip of a shell underneath. Remember the golden rule and take a hint from Kate. Skirt hems that say you’re professional skim the knee at work. If something shorter is wanted for the cocktail or club night out, then pack it and change later. Daytime accessories should be discreet and feminine. No dangling earrings that clank and glitter as you present your ideas to management. Save them for evening wear as well as other more dramatic jewelry that conveys a stylish message.
BIG BAG STASH Now I understand why all those savvy office gals carry a big bag to carry these add-on items, not to forget the after-work-gym gear. Be sure the satchel or tote is chic and commodious enough to accommodate all the extras you have to carry around. And, please do not put it all into a backpack and look like you’re heading for the hills. Some of the items can be kept permanently at the office, and that’s a good idea because you should keep the big bag as lightweight as possible. And, please do not anchor the straps on one shoulder, it simply distorts your balance and may in time give you the appearance that one shoulder is lower than the other.

Thursday, June 14, 2012


Pin-Up glamour girl swimwear takes to the waves this summer, giving a new meaning to the word “modesty.” Yes, my dears, it’s time to cover up and the relatively chaste looks can make you feel like a Hollywood starlet. Forget the bikini, it’s out of style and welcome back the sexy one-piece bathing suit in all its glamorous incarnations. To most women this is welcome news. Think Ester Williams, the queen of water ballet or Betty Gable in their seductive yet covered up maillots.
STYLISH SWIMMING Thank goodness that the Victorian restrictions of the bathing costume of the 1860s gave way to practical, good-looking, form-fitting swimsuits that make figure curves the focal point of attention. Older women in the 45 plus range favor one-piece suits and young starlets are welcoming modesty as a new stand on femininity. Marc by Marc Jacobs ushered in a charming halter strap, low leg style while Chanel opted for a one strap bodysuit with side shirring. If you want more exposure seek out Land’s End, side drawstring bathing suit that lets you adjust the length of the swimsuit.
COORDINATING GLAMOUR When I was vacationing on the fashionable Riviera un France I was inspired by the way French women coordinate the entire swimwear experience. Pool or Oceanside glamour means coordinating a matching billowy sheer, shirt or terry dress in color or a jazzy print, and while you’re at it, strut your stuff wearing a wide-brimmed hat and matching sandals. It’s total fashion impact with a glamour pitch.
THE SHOPPING TERRORS Nothing strikes most women with more angst than shopping for a bathing suit. It can be an endless search for the right suit to hide tummies, or to find adequate coverage to hide hips or minimize derrieres. Try the vintage or thrift shops in your area for retro styles or shop the stores for new designer versions. Push up styles enhance the bosom, high hour-glass silhouettes seemingly shrink the waistline and bows and frills are perfectly 'girlie.'
NIGHTTIME GLAMOUR Glitter and gilded strapless or one-shoulder swimsuits add sparkle to evening parties, pool, surf or indoors. Just add a long black jersey skirt and your ready to party. I’ve even seen the same ploy used for a cocktail party, this time the wearer wore palazzo pants. Make a splash in a glam suit anytime the mood strikes you. Celebrate the “hourglass Look” and new modest YOU. Darling, you’ve never looked more glamorous!!!

Polly Guerin

Wednesday, May 30, 2012


When you’re given the boot on the job or for that matter in a personal relationship it is easy to at first want to seek revenge, criticize or condemn the person or the organization. This should be the furthest from your mind. I’m a proponent of the old adage, “Don’t burn your bridges.” In other words savvy fashionistas take a stiff upper lip approach, smile and when questioned by peers or friends with inquiries like, “What happened?” They just smile and say, “I really cannot discuss it at this time,” or “It was an amicable agreement.” And don’t let the conversation go any deeper than that.
KEEP RELATIONSHIPS POSITIVE One of the first rules of farewell savvy is 'honey is sweeter than vinegar.'  When it comes time to end the relationship (or you were given the pink slip) try to keep as friendly a relationship as you possibly can with co-workers or individuals. WHY? Okay good question. Because you would be burning bridges with people with whom you may find yourself working with again at another firm. Or when a couple splits you’re bound to run into one of the partners again and their friendship may still be important to you.
REVENGE BACKFIRES Some people just cannot help themselves and criticism seems to be their best revenge, but it is the worst thing they can do. Whenever someone tells me a nasty piece of business or criticizes a company or fellow worker I immediately wonder, “If they can say this and that awful thing about their colleagues, what are they saying about me?” On the other hand when someone departs and is no longer a couple I wonder what they saw in that person in the first place when they criticize with such vengeance and assassinate that partner’s character in such a degrading manner.
NASTY SECRETS Sometimes it gives the ousted person an opportunity to tell nasty little secrets, which they think will align the listener to their sympathies. This shows very poor judgment and besmirches their reputation. People usually react to revealing office gossip, secret affairs or confidential company business unfavorably, and may wonder shy such a jerk ever was hired in the first place. A public dressing down of a company's executives, your boss or the firm itself can actually get you into legal trouble, particularly if you have signed an agreement with the firm that you won’t malign the company’s reputation. On the personal side of the secret compass you're better off keeping mum. Best policy, do not reveal any juicy details of a couple’s personal life that may have been given to you in confidence. Keep your dignity intact and refuse to listen. Such secrets should be kept in the vault and never discussed.
HIGH END EMOTIONS Many people just can’t wait to set the record straight and make the mistake of sending retaliatory emails at the height of their emotions. Okay, go ahead; you need to vent those disappointments or rejection. However, be sure that you don’t press the send button. Save that email or any written communications as a draft and then read it over and over again the next day and see how you can soften the blow and chose words that show that you’re a straight shooter. Remember that you should always keep your communications on a friendly basis because you never know when you’ll need to reconnect with someone at the office or on a personal level.
SAYING GOODBYE LIKE A PRINCE OR PRINCESS Even if you think that you have been wronged, hold your head up high and sail forth on a sea of positive outlooks. Remember, maybe getting fired was the best thing that happened to you, because it forced you to press onto a better situation. If you must communicate then sit yourself down and write an email to your colleagues and tell them what an honor it was to have worked with them, but don’t point anyone specifically out for commendation, just be magnanimous about how much you learned at that great company. On a personal level, think how lucky you are that it is over. Try to remember the good times and don’t have regrets. The flame of love may have died but you still don’t want to burn the bridges of friendship or possible reconciliation.
Last word to the wise. In all situations keep your emotions in check, think before you speak, before you email or write and most of all keep yourself dignified and confidant.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


Do you want to stand out in a crowd of geometric and flower prints? Well, nothing is more dramatic or eye-catching than monochromatic fashion, that all-in-one, top-to-toe neutral color scheme that evokes a highly personal style of dressing. It’s fashion’s newest message but it is one that often the average fashionista has discovered to be difficult to pull off with confidence. It takes courage to go the monochromatic route, but it has its unfussy appeal. Monotone beige, washed out pinks, water aqua, pale grey, simple beige and warm champagne are the latest crop of neutrals. Pure white is yet another story. It is challenging to take the leap into top-to-toe white, but it’s dramatic and makes a ‘WOW’ entrance.
DRESSING EFFORTLESSLY The monochromatic look is simple, sharp and totally individualistic. It’s an effortless answer to color-coordinating garment pieces with a singular message that spells chic, rich and iconoclastic. It could also be less expensive on the fashion budget. For the timid, the simple beige would be a good starting off point. Brazil-born designer Francisco Costa’s spring collection for Calvin Klein evoked the clear neutrality of Lalique vases. Diana Vreeland, the famous fashion icon, wore head-to-toe red and adorned her apartment in the same color. A fashion designer I totally admired stood out from the fashion crowd because she always wore simple beige from her beret right down to her matching shoes.
SHOPPING MONOCHROMATIC Shoppers need only keep focused on one color scheme. Nothing looks more modern or chic than a matching trench coat tossed over a matching jacket and pants. It looks couture, it looks like you can afford the dry cleaning bill. Color-coded accessories also figure into the mono look and complete the total image. Just think about it, with such neutrality there are no distractions. People will focus on You, not your clothing. Take White, for example, it is the personification of purity and honesty. These are messages you would want to convey in business. It says you’re a high-minded person with scruples and integrity.
COLOR INTERPRETATION Blue has always been a perennial favorite and even the palest blue monotone evokes a sense of honesty within the core of its coloration. It lifts one’s spirit and says that you are a steadfast and reliable person. Pale pink may be too girly for career women, but its inner strength is red mixed with huge dollops of white. It is warm and inviting and sends out messages of nurturing and love. As for pale grey, it has the foundation of black creamed over with a lot of white and it is a no nonsense color that works well in the office. It evokes neutrality, a peaceful player in corporate hi-jinks. Not every monotone works on every woman. It depends upon your complexion and hair color. Before plunging into a specific monotone evaluate the effect on your total image.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012


Pantsuits spring into action as a fashionista's stylish expression of freedom and panache. There will be more busy print pantsuits and busy pants mixed in with solid coordinates at retail to let you walk on the wild side of fashion. Geometric, faux snakeskin, aquatic swirls, jacquards, pop-art and abstracts hit the runways at Prada, Peter Dom, Louis Viutton and Jean Paul Gaultier heading the pack. The pantsuit couldn't be more modern, than it is today, coming full circle with a coordinating coat or jacket to set a woman free and to complement a woman's demanding lifestyle:

THE FASHION TREND If you are timid about prints, the key to wearing this print trend is ‘do not tread into uncharted territory,’ stick to traditional solids and throw in a jazzy new jacket to update the look. If you can go full throttle and carry off wearing a matching jacket-and-pantsuit style, in one of those audacious prints, be careful what kind of print you choose to go head-to-toe. You could be perceived as very daring, a ‘take notice of me,’ type of gal and that might work in social occasions, but the office critics might put thumbs down on the look.
FASHION HISTORIAN The pantsuit was introduced in the 1920s, when a small number of women adopted a masculine style, the ‘garcon,” boy look, including pantsuits, hats and even canes and monocles. Seems to me that with such a shortage of men, who were sacrificed in WWI, women just needed to have some semblance of a man around. When WWII came about and Rosie the Riveter and her friends worked in factories it seemed a practical solution to climb aboard in ammunition and airplane building work wearing pants for modest distraction. Fashion designer, Andre Courreges introduced trousers for women as a fashion item for women in the late 1960’s.
YSL’S PANTSUITS In 1966, designer Yves Saint-Laurent introduced his Le Smoking, evening pantsuit for women that mimicked a man’s tuxedo. In 1968, the designer’s line of “Safari” suits, transformed the functional hunting outfit into town wear for women, and by 1970, with the acceptance of trouser suits, the Western woman’s silhouette was assured for career wear. By the way there was a time when restaurants would not seat a woman wearing a pantsuit or trouser. Such an event happened to me at one of those tony French restaurants.I had to run over to one of the department stores to buy a skirt. Nothing like that happens today; because ‘boy’ would they lose business. So uptight was the reaction to pantsuits that until the 1990s, women were not permitted to wear pantsuits in the United States Senate.
A LOOK AT THE PAST Trouser, harem pants, pajama style has been acceptable as an element of Orientalizing ensembles, for sport, as lounge wear and beachwear. Trousers were popularized as an expression of iconoclasm by celebrities like Greta Garbo, Marlene Dietrich and Katharine Hepburn. Today, fashionable women opt for the lady pantsuit in bold and adventurous prints with accessories to coordinate. Miuccia Prada, for one, included patterned shoes and purses to match some of her pantsuits in Milan. Such bold and pop-art prints that are offered today are not meant for the faint-at-heart fashionista, but the choice of an individual who can carry off such bravado. Aside from being fashionably correct one great advantage of the pantsuit is that you cannot be a victim of upskirt photography or accidentally expose yourself by leaning over or sitting awkwardly in a short skirt at a television interview or board meeting.

For what it is worth, remember that it was Amelia Jenks Bloomer, who created the first feminine garment approximating pants called ‘bloomers.” The outfit liberated women from skirts, whalebone corsets, petticoats, bustles, and created an unprecedented freedom. Bloomers did a lot to influence the popular feminine bicycling costume of the 1880s and from then on women sprang forward mobilized into the future.

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Polly Guerin

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


The dictionary explains Pixie as a small pert, mischievous person who is playful, impish and whimsical. So what does that have to do with the current comeback of the boyish cuts, the pixie style and other incarnations of lacquered spiked hairdos? Well, Pixie style is not for the faint of heart. It takes a gutsy gal, preferably one with a cute, youthful face to pull the Pixie hairstyle off with pizzazz. Otherwise short no-nonsense unkempt hair just looks downright dowdy. Well, in a nutshell maybe those starlets like Hally Berry and Mia Farrow can get away with the Pixie look but as Noel Coward decreed, “Please Mrs. Worthington, don’t put your daughter on the stage.”
ART DECO CAPS IT ALL The chic cap-like hairdo with short bangs and its side curlicues was all the rage with the flappers of the 1920s and in a sense as hemlines got shorter so did women’s hair. Short mannish bobs may have had their incarnation as a reaction to the loss of thousands of men who had been sacrificed in WWI and the over population of women. It was an era of the gamine, the boyish look. Tamara de Lempika the famous painter of the era depicted her streamlined beauties flaunting their new independence with short sleek hair. On the silver screen Louise Brooks, pictured here, personified the capsulated look that even the most conservative woman could easily adapt. Mary Martin with her impish looks could certainly convince us that Pixie hair was the style of the moment.
ACCENTING THE POSITIVE The best advantage of a Pixie cut is its wispy nonchalant attitude. It can create an elegant swept up look that enhances one’s cheekbones and gives ample room to accent the eyes with a smoldering or innocent look. Audrey Hepburn’s Pixie cut was indeed the personification of the ingénue look as she gazed out at us from Breakfast at Tiffany. For one thing her marvelous bone structure took center stage and if you’re lucky enough to have such an advantage then go ahead and chop away but please remember to look in the mirror and ask yourself, “Is this right for me?” Maybe you should try a wig on first to see if it’s ‘You.’
SOPHISTICATED CUTS Don’t think that all you need do is to step into the nearest barber shop and demand a Pixie. It takes a talented hairstylist to generate the delicate layering, the wispy tendrils that caress your face and taunt viewers with your whimsical prankish hairdo. And it really isn’t maintenance-free because the Pixie, boyish cut needs to be regularly maintained to perfection, or else it just sags and drags you down. Twiggy said it all when she made the scene and transformed herself into a fashion icon but my all time favorite pixie sprite is Kate Moss whose gorgeous face simple overpowers the pixie cut.
Enough said. One thing to remember is that the Pixie is charming on the right face and on the right age of a woman who is young at heart, is perky and has a pixie sense of humor.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

EMAIL THANK YOUs...I HATE THEM!!! (c) By Polly Guerin

I hate “Thank You” emails. They miss the beat on social etiquette and reveal a person who thinks that an email is all that is needed when a written note is most likely the correct thing to do. For every step forward in electronic communications it seems that we have stepped backward as social communicators. People know how to use the computer and high tech devices but have forgotten how to connect with one another. That’s because thank you emails have no real voice, they are so impersonal, they lack sentiment, they make me feel like my largess is tossed off as if it meant so little that all that the sender need do is to email a one-liner thank you and be done with it. Nothing doing. Polly Manners says that if you want to make the right impression consider becoming the fashionably correct in these uncivil times.
THE BIRTHDAY LUNCHEON/GIFT When you have been invited and treated to a birthday lunch and a special gift is given as well it would behoove you to send a written thank you note as soon as possible after the occasion. That note, which in the old days was called, “a butter note,” can be brief, but it should include something about the gift and what pleasure you expect to derive from it. You might start your note with a one-liner, “Thank you so much for the special birthday lunch, sharing it with dear friends made it so special. I am also deeply touched by the gift of the (blank, blank) and it will bring me years of pleasure. I shall never forget this warm and touching expression of your friendship.”
THE DINNER INVITATION It may not be a special occasion, like a gala, but even if you are invited to dinner at someone’s home, the afterglow of the event should inspire you to send a written thank you note. If you are lucky enough to be invited to as a guest to a gala, a fund raiser dinner, or an organization’s annual event it is sufficient to say that a courteous hand written thank you note on your finest stationery is appropriate. For a gala you might say, “It was a pleasure to attend the (blank, blank) gala, and I thank you most heartily for inviting me to participate in the celebration, which was so impressive, and, for me, a memorable occasion. Sincerely, Your Name.
QUALITY NOTE PAPERS It is a good idea to invest in some quality note paper and letterhead, which can be individualized to your specifications. Or you can find some nice note cards at the Metropolitan Gift Shop with a gold icon of a butterfly or heart motif. Always have different quality note cards handy to dash off a thank you note. You can’t imagine the pleasure the recipient has upon receiving such correspondence. It actually makes a person feel that their effort to include you in a dinner or gala really resonated with your finest sensibilities. A note like a letter should express some quality of yourself in the language used and the form you choose in the shape and style of the paper, the color of the ink, and even the design of the postage stamp.
PLEASE AND THANK YOU I have noticed plenty of executive men and women who do not know how to hold a knife and fork properly, but the lack of kindness and consideration is far more egregious. The inability of people to relate to one another has really deteriorated. There are far too many people today that have not learned how important it is to take time to say, ‘I’m sorry’ and ‘Please’ or ‘thank you. A gentleman friend of mine related how he held the door open for a woman who sailed through and never said, ‘Thank You.’ I recently stepped aside to let a senior person pass onto the bus before me. You bet, no thank you came forth.
FIRST NAMES BOTHER ME If you’re like me there is the inevitable phone call from a firm and the person on the other end of the line, a perfect stranger, addresses me by my first name. I’m immediately annoyed with this overstepping the boundaries of social etiquette. They might at least, ask first, ‘Do you mind if I call you by your first name?” I most probably would say ‘Yes.’ However, I never let my college students call me by my first name. It was always Professor Guerin.
Enough Said!!! If you are deeply moved by some experience, write a thank you note or brief letter. It will give the recipient great pleasure. Of course, the obligatory note can be avoided by the simple expedience of a brief telephone call, but it should recapture the moment and, yes, be sure to include your impression of the event that made it so memorable. But, don't blow it away and leave a message. You would have to call back when your host/hostess is available.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

PEPLUM...Trendy Fashion Revival (c) By Polly Guerin

What can we say in favor of the peplum? “The dictionary describes it as a short full flounce—an extension of a garment below the waist covering the hips.” In one way it accents the waist and conceals a small tummy but in another more egregious way it just adds more fabric to a part of a woman’s body about which she is most sensitive.
POLLY'S OPINION In my opinion the peplum is a carry-over from another era and fashion designers' penchant to reinvent a woman’s figure. Whatever the reason, the peplum has re-emerged in red carpet fashion shows and while the look is stunning on model-like figures, if you are short or slightly overweight there is no way you should consider bringing more attention to your figure flaws than is necessary. So ban the peplum…but if you’re model-skinny the peplum is a charming new way to wear your fashion.
BLAME DIOR When the celebrated “New Look” made its debut in 1947 the picture of a fashionable woman presented a silhouette with nipped-waist jacket that had rounded hipline creating as it did, the dernier cri, hourglass silhouette. Full skirts, curves and slightly padded and nipped waistlines recall the elaborate designs of the 19th century. If you are a model-type like Kate Middleton, who has been spotted wearing peplum dresses, you can get away with wearing anything and it just looks perfect, but oh that flirty peplum gives me pause to reflect on my not-so-perfect figure.
THE CURRENT PEPLUM REVIVAL The craze for the peplum was more vividly popular on television in the 1980s. Remember the TV soap operas “Dallas” and Falcon Crest” and those female fashion victims with their broad shoulders and peplum silhouettes. Women viewers got the message and peplums were fashionable again. I ask you, “Is the peplum a reincarnation, a modernized throwback to the bustle of the Victorian era? Yet, for spring fashion collections pay homage to the peplum and for many women the peplum poses a problem. If you are not runway-model slim the peplum will just accentuate your hips and if you have a short waist the peplum only exaggerates how short your waist actually is.
KUDOS TO THE PEPLUM Some praise is needed to thank the peplum for accenting the waist and making it look smaller. It is a refreshing change in silhouette but I protest adding anymore fabric to my body than is necessary to look fashionably chic. However, there are still those fashionistas shoppers out there falling prey to the peplum craze, even if the look just doesn’t work for them. So I ask you. “Are they going to wear the peplum fashion to impress their girlfriends?” Believe me no man concerns himself about whether you are wearing the latest fashion trend; he is more interested if you are interested in ‘him.’ Yes, of course, darling you should look band box pretty, but consider seriously whether the peplum is right for your figure type.

Polly Guerin

Thursday, March 8, 2012


Louis Vuitton, one of the world’s leading international fashion houses well known for its LV monogram is one of the most counterfeited brands in the fashion world due to its image as a status symbol featured on luxury trunks and leather products to fashion ready-to-wear accessories, jewelry and footwear. It is the subject of an exhibition, “Louis Vuitton-Marc Jacobs” at the Museum Les Arts Decoratifs in Paris and runs through Sept. 16, 2012. Marc Jacobs, as you know, has been Vuitton’s artistic director since 1997. The multimedia exhibition examines the vastly different periods in the fashion industry: the 19th century world of steamer trunks by founder Louis Vuitton, and the exuberant global business generated by Marc Jacobs. VUITTON ON THE PARIS RUNWAY Vuitton’s originals were always luggage, steamer trunks and cases meant for elite travelers and Marc Jacobs’ Paris show took off with a spectacular presentation that harkened back to the glory days of travel and suitcases. At the recent Paris showings two massive steel doors parted and a full-scale 1890s navy blue locomotive with the name Louis Vuitton on the tank in gold lettering, pulled into the temporary LV station at Cour Carree du Louvre in a bath of steam. Elegant models disembarked one by one wearing richly adorned dresses; each greeted by her own uniformed porter with armloads of Vuitton bags. It was a fantasy production with even a suitcase-inspired crocodile train cases with giant Swarovski closures and baggage that went from miniature to oversize in a spectacular display of Vuitton workmanship. Viva Vuitton!!! It just made me want to board the Orient Express, piled high with LV luggage. THE LUXURY BRAND Louis Vuitton Malletier, commonly referred to as Louis Vuitton is a fashion house founded in 1854 by Louis Vuitton who introduced his flat-bottom trunks in 1858 making them lightweight and airtight and easily stackable. It is curious to recall that before the arrival of Vuitton’s trunks, rounded-top trunks were used, generally to promote water runoff, and thus could not be stacked. Within short time luggage makers began to imitate Louis Vuitton’s flat-bottom style and design. To protect against duplication, Vuitton changed the Trianon design to beige and brown stripes and copywrited the lightweight, waterproof trunks in 1867 with the “marquee L. Vuitton deposee, which translates into “L. Vuitton registered trademark to curtail imitation of the famous Vuitton look. The famous monogram, LV, as we know it today was produced in 1896 as an homage by Georges Vuitton to his late father.LOUIS VUITTON REVISITED Louis Vuitton did not merely step up to the stage of celebrity luggage maker, he honed his skills. After spending seventeen years apprenticing at one of Paris’ packing specialists, house founder, Louis Vuitton set up his own operation on Rue Neuve des Capucines in Paris, France, noting “English Spoken” on his first label. It was the Golden Age of luggage when well-to-do women would change dresses up to seven times a day a dozens of trunks were required for a voyage. The exhibit in Paris clearing illustrates this point with a trunk from 1888 bearing a plaque from the House of Charles Frederick Worth, considered the father of haute couture. With the genius for marketing in 1897 Vuitton participated in the universal exhibition in Paris as well as other exhibition venues which contributed to establishing the company as a worldwide corporation. THE MARC JACOBS ERA The street-smart New York designer enlisted to launch Vuitton into the international marketplace with ready-to-wear and fashion accessories also gets his due recognition at the exhibition. Louis Vuitton may have seen a world mobilized by travel and industrialization, but it was Marc Jacobs who represents modern communication and global expansion through collaborations with celebrated artists. Stephen Sprouse, for one, in collaboration with Marc Jacobs designed a limited-edition line of Vuitton bags that featured graffiti written over the monogram pattern. In 2003, Takashi Murakami, in collaboration with Marc Jacobs masterminded the new Monogram Mulicolore canvas range of handbags and accessories in 33 different colors on either a white or black background. Murakami also created the Cherry Blossom pattern. THE LVMH HOLDING COMPANY Louis Vuitton worldwide sells its products through standalone boutiques, lease departments in high end department stores, and through the e-commerce section of its website. 1987 saw the creation of LVMH. Moet et Chandon and Hennessy, the leading manufacturers of champagne and cognac, merged respectively with Louis Vuitton to form the luxury goods conglomerate. http://www.louisvuitton.com/.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012


Fashion victims have been the killing themselves for the sake of wearing the latest trendy garment or accessory to the point of causing themselves some very serious health concerns. This penchant to suffer is not a new phenomenon; women and men have been torturing themselves throughout the ages with devices that are too tight, too loose, too heavy, and too high, all for the sake of being on the cutting edge of fashion. When you fall suddenly tired or your body or legs ache the type of clothing you are wearing may well be the culprit. Unassuming fumes from fabrics may give you a headache and fabrics that don’t ventilate can suffocate. Stop to think about it. A disturbing reaction to your clothing may be a warning sign that your health is in jeopardy.
KILLER HEELS and FOOT AGONY Squeezing your feet into killer heels made even higher on a platform shoe may seem to be, as the French say, "the dernier cri," the height of sexuality, but with steady wear you’re heading for the podiatrist or worse foot surgery. According to studies heels higher than two inches have been the culprit of any number of foot disorders that develop over a lifetime. Hammer toes that cross over one another because the foot has been pressured into pointed toes and nasty bunions may even require surgery to relieve the agony and pain of expensive medical treatment.
FALLING FOR FASHION I have noticed any number of women falling off their fashion prerogative and spraining their ankle when they lose their balance as a result of killer heels. Further complications include shortening of the Achilles tendon, which can cause leg trauma. Some foot bones merely die due to lack of circulation caused by wearing plastic or imitation leather shoes that do not breathe. Need I say more? Yes, one thing, forget about those flip-flops, except for the beach. I once had a case of plantar facilitis, an inflammation at the bottom of the foot by wearing flats that lacked arch support. A word to the wise. Your feet have such an enormous task in carrying you throughout your lifetime, why not make it a comfortable journey.
RECONFIGURING THE BODY From the beginning of fashion adornment women have been reconfiguring their body through undergarments with various forms of padding or pillows and wire cages to affect a silhouette that nature never intended. Today’s answer to reshaping your body comes as Body Shapers that are touted to reconfigure bulges and bumps into a smooth, slimmer silhouette. These contraptions that are made of Spandex or other elastic materials may do the trick but if they are too tight they can compress the body’s organs and may even cause nerve damage. This is essentially the case if the body shaper extends from under the bust right down to the hips. Such compression may cause shortness of breath and headaches flare. Tight jeans that slither over your body without an inch of ease not only compresses you’re abdomen but may trigger leg pain or even sciatica.
I HATE MY BRA By the way, “I hate my bra.” That’s what so many women lament because if a bra is too large it does not give support and results in inevitable back pain. An ill fitting bra will look lumpy and questionable under a blouse or sweater. Okay you can purchase a padded bra, but that too must be the right size. If the bra is too small it will dig into your flesh and compress the breasts, which is something you do not want to do on a day-to-day basis as it could lead to other medical side effects. Solution: Visit a reputable bra boutique and invest in the proper measurement and fit.
VICTIMS THROUGH THE AGES Today’s fashionistas are not alone as fashion victims. Consider the court of Marie Antoinette. The ladies were suffocating themselves with a heavy load of rich silk or brocade fabric encompassing their legs in massive skirts that concealed their bodies. Adding to this extravagant silhouette were added phantasmagorical wigs, the harbingers no doubt of lice, and huge, weighty millinery atop their heads. They must have looked like a formidable fashion battleship.In addition, imagine the stench, more cosmetics and perfume were used than soap. The Victorians were not any better. Women were willing to squeeze themselves into corsets that could compress ribs and curtail breathing. No wonder there were fainting couches. Imagine the displayed organs from the tight lacing of corsets that may well have deformed their physique into a thirteen -inch waist, but worse such restriction may probably have been responsible for a woman’s inability to deliver a full-term baby.
IT’S A CRIME TO BE CHIC The fashion police ought to give women who tote around heavy-loaded satchels a desist notice. Even those new fashionable humongous handbags where women stash all their gear are the blame for that unattractive shoulder sloping. It can send you to the chiropractor to adjust your back or worse cause arm strain that rivets right down to your fingers. One lovely friend of mine is permanently off center, one shoulder seems permanently bent lower than the other from slinging a heavy bag over that shoulder. Good news is that there are some rather attractive retractable handle, rolling totes/handbags on wheels to accommodate laptop, paperwork or to use as an overnight bag. It’s better to protect the structure of your body than to abuse it to the point of seeming deformity.
Why not be inspired by the TV soap opera title, “One Life to Live,” and make it your mantra for healthy fashion choices that assure you the key to fashionable longevity.

Friday, February 24, 2012


Making an entrance like a star may not be exactly your aim, but you should want to make a good first impression especially in business circles and social encounters when looking your absolute best is de rigueur and breaking through conversation circles is essential. Like yourself, I am constantly meeting new people at business meetings, industry events or social occasions and I discovered that being prepared is really paramount to my success and yours too. Preparation means advance planning and research about the subject and the occasion so that I will be able to converse with other colleagues or guests about the business at hand or the charity event I am attending. Advance planning will also provide information on how to dress appropriately. So let preparation be your mantra. It is the key element to feeling confidant and comfortable in any business or social occasion.
PREPARATION Very often people come to a meeting so totally unprepared that they cannot make a contribution to the proceedings. You don’t want to be caught ‘asleep at the switch,” so to speak. When I first entered the corporate world I learned that fact the hard way. I was in such a fuzz about the whole discussion that when the president of the company was discussing the fiber ‘polyester’ I piped up, “Yes, Mr. Garson,” as I thought that he had spoken my first name, Polly. “Do you have something to add?” he said looking at me over his bifocals which had slid down his nose. I awkwardly replied, “Not at the moment.” That embarrassing episode taught me a severe lesson. After his disdainful look and a few muffled guffaws by my colleagues I vowed stay alert and never to be unprepared again. So I humbly told you this little tale because I have become a beacon of preparedness ever since, and so should you.
BACKGROUNDER TIPS Remember that whatever the occasion first tap into the research you did previously about the event. Whether it is a business or social occasion you’ll want to appear to be more than a “Yes,” man or woman. It’s a good idea to know about the purpose of the event and why you are involved and invited. If you have worked on one of the committees don’t be shy, mention your participation. Find out about the speaker or the celebrities or individuals who may be honored at the event. Not only will you impress others with your preparedness but you’ll have more reason to speak to other individuals and discuss current business or world news. Maybe you might even catch the eye of an executive who may want to eventually invite you to become a team player in their company. Better yet you may just find that Mr. Right is sufficiently impressed to ask you for a date.
INFILTRATING THE CIRCLE It is sometimes difficult to break into a conversation circle that seems to have closed its ranks to newcomers. If you find this is the case, you may still have a chance to be recognized. Just hover nearby and wait for someone to notice you and invite you to join them. If within a few moments this does not happen don’t slink away just regally walk away and try another conversation group. Sometimes I find it best to merely introduce myself to an individual who seems to be alone, like myself. I look them square in the eye and start the conversation off with a firm handshake while smiling in a friendly manner. Usually, this individual will be glad that you singled them out and you may be presently surprised when they will introduce you to other like-minded people.
TALK, TALK, TALK Being talkative is a good thing, but do not overdue it and monopolize the situation. Once you have center stage in a conversation circle be sure to engage other people into the conversation. Ask questions and let them reply and have the floor, so to speak. Keep up good eye contact and smile even if someone is somewhat boring. Take particular note of an introverted individual who merely stands by on the fringes of the conversation circle or a wife who seems to be rather quiet. Try to engage either one of them in the discussion as well and watch how much they appreciate your interest. It’s just good manners and someone will invariably say about your talent for being polite, “Isn’t she charming.” However, if someone who you are addressing seems to be distracted or their eyes are roving around the room, take the clue and simply say, “It was nice to meet you,” and move out of their orbit and onto the next conversation circle to find a more welcoming and interesting group of people.
DRESSING FOR THE OCCASION Many women make the mistake of wearing something brand new to the office without giving the outfit a trial run beforehand. In order to make the best impression in the corporate sector you want to feel confidant and comfortable. The week before or the night before an important business meeting put on the entire ensemble: blouse, suit, jewelry, the shoes, handbag, gloves and coat that you will be wearing, and stand before a full length mirror. Survey the affect and ascertain what has to be eliminated or adjusted. For example, accessories like costume jewelry may have to be eliminated for a more conservative earrings and broach. Killer high heel shoes may not be appropriate with the suit, and while you’re at it check the hemline of the skirt, sit down and be sure that the hemline is at a length that provides modest coverage. Check the blouse. Is there a gaping window at the button closure? If so a tiny hidden safety pin can hold the closure in place. Well, you get the point. Be your most severe critic and always be fashionably correct.
FASHION EVALUATION In these days when most of us do not have a ‘Lady’s Maid,” to assist us in dressing you can do a self-evlauation of the entire outfit. Before the company dinner, party or gala event I suggest that you try on the entire ensemble from the hairdo and hair ornament right down to the underwear to evaluate the look and to be sure that all the pieces work perfectly together. If not, eliminate or add something more effective. I did just that recently before a gala dinner in Rio de Janiero, Brazil during an International Art Deco conference. I tried on my dressy outfit only to discover that I had a deep décolleté top but that I had forgotten to take a strapless bra. Fortunately I had a black elongated chiffon scarf and was able to tie it in place to create a more modest plunge. The dressy shoes were a problem and I could not attach the buckle because the holes in the strap were too small. So out came my mini scissors and I inserted the point to enlarge the holes, making it easier to attach the strap. Having performed this costume evaluation and its accoutrement in advance I avoided becoming anxious or worse being late the night of the occasion.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012


Fashion is awash in orange, splashing through the color palette in a burst of melon, salmon, pumpkin, orange juice, lemony orange, sherbet tints, mango and intensive vibrant orange. Just wearing this shade will give you a boost of optimism and happiness, because orange combines the vibrancy and energy of red with the sunshine feel-good of bright yellow, a color that dispels rays that brighten any day.
BRIGHT INTENSE ORANGE is a powerful color and as such women sometimes shy away from it, thinking they cannot wear it. This is not true. Bright orange is a standout color, remember it has a base of show-stopper red. It says you're an extrovert, a go-getter, an individual who has fashion savvy. Wearing intense orange can pump up any basic wardrobe and boost your confidence and optimism. Bright intense orange also works well in combination with colors plucked from autumn leaves. Think of adding forest green, goldenrod, crimson or brown to the mix. A sporty jacket in terracotta with forest green pants and a bright orange turtleneck looks rustic and outdoorsy. It says you're approachable and friendly. The same is true for men working in creative fields and the corporate world. They too can adopt autumn colors in wardrobe separates for weekend wear and continue to make a statement on casual Fridays. CITRUS CHIC To tame the flame of bright orange other options are available from flattering tints to soft earth shades. However, you don't have to look like Halloween or a Thanksgiving pumpkin, instead just like an artist's palette you can reflect nature in all its autumn glory. Artists of the Hudson River School were colorful interpreters of America's autumn countryside. In the painting, "Autumn" 1853, the artist, Frederic Edwin Church (1826-1900) in his desire to portray a true American landscape created a masterpiece, a brilliant evocation of fall, portraying a season whose colors are a sublime vision of harmonized tones:copper, forest green, burnt sienna, and brilliant crimson give forth a spectacular panorama in the full triumph of autumn’s resplendent hues. Similarly fashion also takes its inspiration from nature and offers a wide range of orange possibilities. Visualize the autumn leaves that inspire flattering shades of burnt peachy rust and brown basted orange and golden sunlight.
FASHION FORWARD A tailored wool dress in a deep rust shade is conservative. It says you're serious and businesslike, a person who is warm-hearted and a good team player. You're gregarious personality who keeps everyone snapping to attention in an atmosphere of cooperation that makes work far more pleasant each day. Why? Because deep rust has the energy of red with the grounding of brown in its formula and like autumn leaves you project a powerful multi-faceted persona. Pumpkin looks chic and sophisticated in a blazer coordinated with steel gray wool pants and a shimmering gray silk blouse. The look has executive punch and is elegant for town wear. Add a gray suede tote and you're ready from day into night with a powerful sense of well being. Men also look great in autumnal colors. A deep pumpkin, suede bomber jacket with gray trousers and a gray turtleneck says he's coordinated with executive punch for casual Fridays.
EVENING ALLURE By evening the desire for more sumptuous outfits calls for a dramatic approach to enriching your image. The total effect of amber has stunning impact, especially on auburn haired women. Wear a shimmering amber rust taffeta strapless evening gown with a matching stole and sweep onto the dance floor as your magnetic charm garners all eyes' approval. Add a necklace of Russian amber jewelry and the look is elegant and breathtaking. Be adventurous and don't be intimidated by orange. Tints of peach, coral and cantaloupe are dainty, feminine versions of orange that create a sunny disposition for any woman and give you a springy upbeat look. A creamy peach silk blouse softens a black suit and transforms it into an ensemble for a night on the town. Wear coral with brown and its warm glow says you're down to earth and reliable. Get on the wild side of fashion and coordinate with orange handbag and shoes coordinates fashioned in leopard spots or tiger prints. A classic blazer in a zesty shade of bright orange, tangerine or dazzling reddish orange may be all you’ll need to spring forward as a savvy fashionista. ACCESSORIES ADD PUNCH Orange is definitely on trend and has managed to touch everything from jewelry to handbags, scarves and shoes. An injection of orange into your accessories wardrobe is all that is needed to punch up the benefits of looking perky and positively citrus chic.


Thursday, January 26, 2012


The astonishing aspect of haute couture, a term referring to fashions created in the grand couture houses of Paris, is that it is a mesmerizing showcase of ultra fashion indulgences that brings entertainment to the forefront of the world runways. Charles Frederick Worth, the founder of the first Parisian couture house, and the House of Worth itself no longer exists, but the great man himself, Worth, set the stage for fashion and its celebrity. He ruled over his clients like a dictator guru and swathed them in rich fabrics and draperies in the crinoline of the day. Fashions a la couture were and still are an astronomical commodity and in order for a couture house to survive a rich client base is mandatory. Yet despite the economic crisis demand for couture is steady and the coffers of the couture are fueled by a new wave of rich customers; Russian, Chinese and Brazilian women who want one-of-a-kind clothes and are willing to pay $10,000 to $100,000, depending on the embellishments.
HAUTE COUTURE FOR THE MASSES? So why is haute couture a mainstay on the stage of fashion? One standout reason is that many designers are peddling their brand today to the mass market and the cheap chic brands are giving couture a new lease on life through marketing and publicity. At the same time marketers are hoping that women will eventually graduate to high-end fashion. Couture is something to be coveted. I remember working at the House of Guy LaRoche in Paris and although I expected to be paid in cash instead I was given a couture dress in a sort of barter arrangement. Not a bad deal for me. I discovered that once you put on a couture garment something inexplicable happens to you. You instantly rise to the demands of the design, holding your head high and feeling fashion confidant in your new garment you have vicariously ascended to the heights of fashion authority. In short you feel very much the princess or queen that you are. The fabric is exceptional, the workmanship, the fine lining and just the way the garment complements your body makes you feel exceptional, all because you are wearing the “derniere cri de la mode.”
THE HIGH COST OF HAUTE FASHION Upon observation we must consider that the exorbitant cost of a fashion has a lot to do with the fact that each garment is a one-of-a-kind, made-to-measure garment that has been stitched inch-by-inch by the couture house’s atelier seamstresses for a specific customer. Although the designers, top-of-the-fame houses Christian Dior, Chanel and Atelier Versace get full credit for the design, it is these time honored seamstresses who labor for hours, days, sometimes months behind the scenes and who actually give birth to the design working the best of their craft to create a garment of exquisite beauty. Today the same traditions continue and the red-carpet-ready fashion goes on with amazing venues and in-house fashion shows for the rich cognoscenti who covet wearing couture to distinguish themselves and their lifestyle.
SETTING THE STAGE OF FASHION You cannot fully image how spectacular some of these fashion show venues, produced for the elite press and rich couture customers, garner press coverage and collectively capture the attention of women worldwide. Show Biz is at the core of some of these productions. Case in point: recently Karl Lagerfeld’s Chanel couture collection, spring 2012, called Jet Blue, took to the runways in more ways than usual in the Grand Palais with a jumbo airplane installation and seating for 250 select fashionistas. The double-C monogrammed carpet and swank cocktail bar cart suggested that we could fly away in the chic trappings of this elegant version of air travel. Lagerfeld, the master of his craft did not disappoint. The clothes were like a blue symphony in a monochromatic rainbow of blues, many of the styles were embellished with shimmering sequins, crystals and bugle beads, perhaps set by at the House of Lesage, the preeminent embroiders to the couture trade. Despite the entertainment the fashions were the main event with a lean, straight silhouette for daytime wear. However, the mood was young and transparent for evening with ingénue organza dresses flirting with hand applied flowers at one shoulder and fluttering like billowing butterflies on skirts. On other creations exquisite embroidery shimmered in delicate blues. The collection was a skyrocketing success and Lagerfeld emerged from the cockpit to take his bow. Now, that spectacular venue is worthy of a Broadway production.
CELEBRITY FRONT ROWS Couture fashion shows and celebrity front rows take to the newspaper headlines and red carpet appearances of movie stars wearing couture gowns give the couture new impetus to maintain their position of excellence. When Angelina Jolie and Nicole Kidman wore couture to the Golden Globe Awards that pumps up the image of couture. But remember, these ladies probably borrowed the gowns for that occasion and the couture house gains by the publicity. Couture is an experimental fashion laboratory where designers can test out new techniques. At Dior crocodile skin was cut up and re-embroidered onto organza and Donatella Versace used PVC to made 3D flowers on her dresses. Such feats of fashion innovation, all created painstakingly by hours of hand application are difficult to translate into ready-to-wear lines but they are the source of inspiration and practical application.
WHO CAN AFFORD COUTURE? Don’t fret if you’re not counted among the fashion cognoscenti with deep pockets, who can afford the over-the-top couture fashion prices. More accessibly priced products are available through the couture house’s accessories collection; signature scarves, handbags, wallets, costume jewelry, shoes and millinery. The allure of owning a couture item also draws in wannabee couture customers to the sunglass, eyeglass, perfume, luggage and even home furnishings collections, which in most cases, though pricey, are more affordable for thee and me.