Fall 14 Skins–Leather and Suede

I'm seeing lots of texture out there.  I love leather, suede, fur, fluff, puff–all that shape and texture, the stuff that says, "Go on, pet me."  It's wildly seductive and often practical. I've put together a short list of "softies" from the Carlisle / Per Se collections that capture the trend.

Meet Our White Label
Portobello Suede Jacket

Check out this Cognac suede number below. It has a detachable peplum that give you two jackets in one. It's peach-fuzz soft and the color is different, sort of a light oxblood.

Hello Cognac


Black, quilted, leather, belted trench. A forever "spy chic" piece. 

Oracle (for the bond girl in you)


Fluffy! A circle of the softest rex rabbit (sheared) fur to 

wrap and wrap and wrap around your neck.  Cozy!

Infinity $395

The Pattern Maker

When designing or crafting is a group effort, there always seems to be the unsung hero.  A behind the scenes guy that only the relevant few know about. I found myself awe struck by the pattern makers at the Carlisle design facility.  They quietly cipher a design, engineer it, coax it, manage it.  The end game is a garment that actually works on your body.  It fits, bends, moves and stretches. Repeats in the fabric are managed, pattern pieces are laid out keeping economy, fit and beauty in mind… Most pattern makers have a design back story of their own.  They come from a family of tailors or they obsessively made doll clothes as a child.

Here's a video of the Carlisle / Per Se pattern makers at work.

Creating Per Se

I recently toured the Carlisle/Per Se design and production offices in New York City.  Obviously, I'm committed to the brand.  I wear the clothes. I sell the clothes. I believe in the quality. I love the design. Now, I love the clothes all the more! I fully understand and appreciate what it takes to create the collections. Besides that, it's just really cool to be able to wear the clothes of a designer you've met and gotten to know!

Here's a few video clips and some pictures of Susan Klope, the designer of Per Se. You get a feel for how she works and her level of passion for all things that make up a garment; lace, weaves, yarns and buttons.  Look carefully, several of the background pieces will end up on next winter's Per Se runway!

Christina Binkley's Reporting On the Comeback of the Power Suit

I'm a Binkley fan.  I read her fashion column in the WSJ whenever I can and I'm usually both informed and impressed.  She can write about fashion without sounding vapid or snobbish, not easy. In her article The Leaner, Meaner Power Suit she give a great little crash course on the history of the power suit for women and peppers the article with some good statistics as well.  Apparently some 3.9 billion women's suit will be purchased this year, their market share up 27%.

Ahead of the trend, Carlisle / per se has been doing some great suiting for the last several seasons that is "powerful" and provocative, for a woman who is, well... a woman.  Clients are usually scared of being matchy, matchy, so I've been breaking suits up, but lately I'm feeling like this is less of an issue.  Executive women are actually gravitating towards the whole suit.  Finally!

Hands Turned On

I'm sure you can relate to being lost in a foreign country and having trouble deciding if you’re excited, or terrified! There is a perfect T-shirt out there that shows and says just what to do–breath!  Hands Turned On has fitted Ts that say things like “Excitement Without Breath is Fear, “ “Ten Seconds To Center” and “Practice Extreme Gratitude.” These soft cotton tops come in sherbet colors and have handprints on them, which display where to put your own hands to practice self healing (or self calming) techniques. The shirts come with a nifty hangtag that guides you in performing energy healing/breathing practices that are unique to each shirt.
Renowned energy medicine healer Dr. Ann Marie Chiasson wanted to launch a product that would give customers easy access to the use of energy medicine anywhere! The shirts allow the wearer to jump into a healing practice without going to a workshop, class, healer or clinician. Besides that, they look cool, travel well, feel good on and spread a great message. The shirts are available online at the company’s website, www.handsturnedon.com.

Summer in the Showroom

Hi There,

I thought I'd show you some terrific dresses from Carlisle / per se's summer collection.  This season my clients will receive $200 off on a purchase of three or more pieces.  I'm always interested in having groups of women up to the showroom to see what kind of spectacular service we provide and to taste how much fun shopping privately with friends can be. If you'd like to collaborate on a small event, please get in touch with me–wine, mimosas, appetizers and fashion–could be fun!

Now for some dresses–easy, breezy–one piece + jewelry = your done, dressed and fab!

Wrap it up!



A Little Audry

My Favorite!

Can you hear the drum beat?!


Easter Parade!

Rachel Moore, Sugar to Plum

Executive Director of American Ballet Theater Rachel Moore came up to the Greenwich Carlisle / per se Showroom not too long ago to check out the fall lines.  I knew the brand would be a great fit for her. When I asked her what her M.O. was in terms of her style and wardrobe choices she said, “I always want to straddle being polished and professional, but not boring.” And because she represents a world-class ballet, she’s got to be slightly “arty” without being too funky or “downtown.”  Imagine, in any given day Rachel might go from meeting with bankers, to a donor’s luncheon to a gala performance.

How does she do it?  She has no apologies about having to change clothes!  Better to be dressed exactly right than having to hodge-podge something together that isn’t perfect for the day or the evening function. This definitely flies in the face of the day-to-evening how-to dressing every fashion journalist has written about (including me!).

If you’re a former ballet dancer, you’re a friend to practice and preparation. Rachel’s packing regime sounds like trying to synchronize the intricate choreography of the four cygnets dance in Swan Lake! She explained, “I’ve given up the goal of traveling light.  I know my schedule before I begin to pack and I literally plot out every outfit before I leave.”  She creates a spreadsheet of what to wear from event to event, including evening bags, shoes–the works. Perhaps she could economize in her packing a bit, but there is no way she’s going with just a carry-on and besides that, as she said, “I want my stuff!”  Who can’t relate to that!

About dressing and the execute man, both Rachel and I agree; they’ve got it easy.  A nice suit takes a guy from boardroom to cocktail party and it’s all good. According to Rachel, “Men are not terribly judgmental of other men, but they are really judgmental of women.  They know when a woman definitely “gets it,” when she’s making a statement that is polished and professional.  Think of Diane Sawyer, she’s feminine, but their is no phony baloney.”  

Shown here is one selection Rachel made at the Greenwich Showroom.  She fit beautifully into everything and it was difficult for us to narrow down the choices into a few outfits.  I think you’ll agree it’s arty without being too funky and it says I mean business, no phony baloney.

Mr. Client Needs New Suits

Mr. Client wanted me to meet him at my.suit in the city (NYC) to see how his new custom suit looked and fit. I was intrigued by my.suit's website and Mr. Client had said he was reasonably pleased with the fabric and design choices offered. I was given a quick tour of the store before Mr. Client arrived by Product Coordinator Shao Yang. She explained that there are two tiers of fabrics, both in quality and price points. The mills for my.suit are in Mexico and the suits are made there as well. Mexico's fabric pedigree is rather "quarter horse," not exactly thoroughbred. BUT I liked the fabrics, the hand was very good, the choices great! And the prices were pleasing enough to get me over my fabric snobbery, not Italian, not French, sniff.

The big test came when Mr. Client put on his suit. It was nice, a two button, double vented jacket with flat front pants. Mr. Client had chosen a bright orange lining, sweet! The pants needed tweaking, although not much.

We then collectively, with strong opinions from me, chose three more suits. I was giddy with the freedom to actually design the suits. One has full rein to make an abundance of choices, even down to what thread color you'd like on a button hole. Mr. Client's profession doesn't beg for green seersucker or a navy jacket with orange piping. He's not a JT or GC (guess), but he had found the right place to get something perfectly "suited" (forgive me) for him.

Summer Carlisle / per se

In my introduction about the Carlisle / per se spring lines I talked about how impressed I was with the clothes, the fabrication and workmanship, awesome! The "Summer" collections are cool and I'd love for friends and clients to come up to the Showroom and see these breezy pieces and find out what shopping there is all about. Below explains how the Greenwich Carlisle / per se Showroom shopping is different from "in home" shopping and store shopping.

Sizes: The Showroom has multiple sizes available in each piece. Granted, if you are shopping late in the season your size might be sold out. (Sizes run 0-18)

No Delayed Gratification: You like it, you buy it, you take it!

Fit: A really good seamstress is on premise to make things fit your body perfectly AND that service is free of charge!

Fast Fashion: I can have a dressing room set up and ready for you in advance. We'll talk about what you're after and I'll have sizes and styles ready for you to try on the minute you walk in the door.

Door to Door: Carlisle delivers pieces that stayed behind for tailoring to your door (or porch, or patio)!

House Calls: I can pull things from the Showroom in your size and drop them by your house to try. You drop the "no goes" back at my house. OR we can have an "in home" styling session–different, more fun, a little more money.

Styling: Here's the best part... I've been a fashion stylist for years. I've dressed celebrities, politicians, homemakers, talk show hosts and rock stars; everyone from Cindy Crawford to Whitney Houston to Midori to Natalie Merchant to Guns and Roses. I've dressed models for beauty advertising, editorial and lifestyle shoots. I'm very plain speaking and I know what looks good and what doesn't! You can take or leave my advice, but I WILL give it to you and as long as we're at the Showroom, it's free!

Regret Not!: If something just isn't working for you (and you should love it to keep it), you can return it to the Showroom–no questions, no explanations, money back.

The Skinny on Price: Bargain shopping, it's not. There are no wracks, bins or stacks to sift through. You are not a stock girl. Rather, it's a bit like shopping at a salon depicted in an old movie (but the sales girl isn't trying to steal your husband). Again, the fabrics are from mills in Italy and France. The same ones used by Oscar, Donna and Chanel and the pieces are "built" in Hong Kong. Soooo it's "investing" in fine wardrobe pieces. Dresses, jackets/coats are $450 to $700, skirts and pants about $300, tops $150 to $250.

So I'll call you or you call me (or email) and lets set a date for you to come shop or just check it out. For a quick look-see, links are below, but remember, this isn't everything!

To those of you who have already shopped with me, come see and feel "summer," and please spread the word about your experience.
To those of you finding out about Carlisle / per se for the first time, welcome!

A Stylist and Her Backup - How to provide good clients great service

There are several ways I shop when styling a client. Often it is on my own or with an assistant. I usually purchase the clothes and bring them to the client for a fitting. The fitting could take place at their home, a photo studio, or a hotel. I have a long standing relationship with Studio Service at Saks Fifth Avenue in New York and over the years I've done many fittings through this department.

Today I took a chance on Nordstrom. I called the Store Manager, Tracie Bolton at the Westchester Nordstom at the very last minute to ask for a VIP dressing room. She provided me with a very nice room within a half hour of my call, by the time we walked in the store they were ready for us. A large dressing room, with bottled water and security (to dump our pocketbooks) was at my disposal. My client was pleased. Clients are paying for my knowledge and expertise (mostly), but that's not all, it's critical that the store provides excellent service and plenty of wardrobe options as well–the store is my backup. I premeditate where I shop for clients and I am especially careful about where I take them if they choose to shop with me.

Nordstrom graciously and efficiently helped us. We went from department to department and were able to "pull merch." and bring everything back to the one dressing room. They sent shoes I requested up to the dressing room to build on an outfit. The tailor arrived immediately. We were offered additional beverages. And when it was time to make purchases, we were in a rush and they hustled. All these niceties make a difference.

My client purchased enough pieces to create between 10 and 15 fall outfits (in two and half hours). I wanted to push her towards all those rich carmel colors of this season; browns, creams, oatmeal, camel... I don't think she bought one thing in black! She got a fun, bright top and gold flats that she's wearing with awesome fitting jeans to a party Saturday in Manhattan. A little leopard silk blouse went beautifully with brown slacks or velvety cords, and a long cozy oatmeal sweater. We got the hook-up from Lafayette 148 in the way of an burnt orange Loro Piana short blazer with patch pockets. This went great with brown pants and cream tops...

And I could go on, but stylist, shrink and hair dresser...must keep clients/friends secrets!

Pony up some Camel!

Spiegel at ShopStyle

If you have a camel coat, wear it! I'm liking the cropped ones they're showing this fall. A car coat length is always more wearable city or country, on board or on foot. Here's a few nice ones. Camel goes well with denim, white, brown and gold. Add a classic canvas rain hat, or a cream beret.

A paddock boot (with jeans) or high riding boot (with skinny leggings or jeans) also looks nice with a camel coat.

Fall Field Guide, Leather and Suede

Last fall I pulled leather and suede pants and skirts from several closets. They were put in the "save for a fashion rebound" pile, which ends up in a ben or trunk to be stored in never-land; attic or third floor closet, under Johnny's bed, above a bike rack in the garage... I'm sorry ladies, MyStylist says it's time to get them out again. I wouldn't have guessed so soon.

Field Specks:

A straight black leather pencil skirt, with a kick pleat, opaque tights to match, "reasonable" platform heals (don't do boots, we're not going for dominatrix–well maybe, a little bit.) The length, is up-to-you. I like just past the knee, but mid-thigh on the right gal can look great. Check out the ones that mix knit and leather. Be extremely conscious of the fit.

• The black leather pants they're showing are really, really tight and skinny. Congrats to the .5% of the population that can wear them. Frankly in pants, I prefer a brown suede. Ralph Lauren does a beautiful tan bootcut pant. If that's too low a rise, consider this one in dark brown (the styling in this shot is unfortunate, however).

As for styling with leather. Let your story be mostly about the leather. I would go with very simple cashmere sweaters or silk tops. Lace could work, but be mindful of whether or not you are channeling Stevie Nicks (um, you don't want to). Above all, feel tough and a little sexy.

Surf Fashion, USA

In the O.C, Orange County, CA, where I'm from, there are several "required Cali" visits that my kids will not let us skip. One is to Huntington Beach, otherwise known as Surf City, USA. My nephew explained that you have to include the USA part or the location will be confused with Santa Cruz. Apparently, there was some frenzied politicking by both local governments to get the official name. For me, it will always be Huntington Beach, home to Huntington Surf & Sport–mecca of surfer cool stuff.

HSS is the real deal. Absent is the blaring music, fake driftwood signage, nightclub lighting, model surfer chicks and dudes out front (except for the real ones walking to or from the beach). Unlike the store, Hollister, the only way to experience a "live feed" from Huntington Pier is to walk out the door and look to your left across the street. Hollister will always be the want-to-be of HSS. Like a store bought sea shell, their products promise the California dream, but once home, they are more reminiscent of a heavily marketed brand, admittedly a successful one, conceived by suits not surfers.

HSS is a must for anyone attempting to authenticate a surfer lifestyle, or style. They carry all the great surfer brands as well as their own house brand. And if you need to pick up a surf board and not just flip flops, well they have plenty to choose from!

Huntington is a fun place to beach, shop and surf. A hodgepodge of pacific beach humanity, it has great people watching.

To find out more about this favorite Cali destination read GoNOMAD editor, Max Hartshorne's article, Huntington Beach: A Surfer's City.

Summer Cover Up, Pashmina, even now!

My daughter has been wearing a lightweight pink pashmina this summer. She loosely wraps it once around her neck framing necklaces. Worn with a tank top on top of a cami, with not-too-short shorts and sandals, it's a great look. I'm particularly fond of this outfit because it hides the multiple of straps; bra straps, cami straps, tank straps that are de regure for teens.

While in the Hamptons I saw a woman more my age (don't ask) wearing a fettuccini strap sun-dress with a very lightweight scarf. Wrapped loosely, it effortlessly made what was a bare top not too bare. The scarf was fringed and colorful.

I was the grateful recipient of a featherweight pashmina from China that has a lovely illustration of three Chinese women in traditional garb, punting. Its cantaloupe, peach, orange, sand, green and turquoise colors are mixed together in a watercolor effect that is dreamy and it too is delicately fringed. I'm wearing it a lot. The color and fabric is a winning combination with a chartreuse silk dress I have that offers a bit too much up top.

My Chinese wrap was also the starting point for packing on Friday. Its sunny colors blend well with all that is Southern California.

Vegas, Again, Encore

Steve Wynn's Encore opened in January coinciding with his 67th birthday. In June my husband was on assignment photographing the resort. While I was piloting the kids, Tom was rubbing elbows and working his elbows shooting the resort and the NetJets poker tournament event taking place there. Anyway, Tom was "living the dream," as they say in Vegas–pretty girls, fancy parties, swank bars, stylish pools, luxurious rooms–all that glitters...

Guys, when in Vegas (especially the Encore), wear a collared shirt, always and everywhere. Teri Agins of the Wall Street Journal gives sage advice about What to Wear for a Trip to Vegas and resort areas like it.

Robin's Ribbon

At a Memorial Day party this weekend I was loving Robin's red and white ribbon. She wrapped it around her waist over a plain navy T and white a-line linen skirt. A floppy navy hat topped off the look. It was simple, patriotic and chic. The ribbon itself was medium width, sort of floppy and not overly perfect, which made the look even more charming.

I've also seen a plain black silk ribbon used to make a necklace out of a silver charm bracelet. Or try light pink or light blue ribbon with a gold bracelet, shown here.
Another girlfriend, Melissa, sported a red ribbon watchband this weekend. Apparently the watch came with interchangeable ribbons. She mentioned she got it at Gracious Living Design Studio, Pelham, NY. I thought it would be a fun idea to make your own band, perhaps using a vintage watch. Stick with more sophisticated colors, for me, no poka dots or green and pink stripes, bit too "Babs," if you know what I mean.

Always on the look out for creative and unexpected ways to enjoy girly things, like ribbons...

45 to 54, Buying Fashion, Online

There is a great article in the style section of the Wall Street Journal today by Christina Binkley, The Forgotten Market Online: Older Women. According to Binkley most online clothing shoppers are women over 35 but fashion sites seem to be targeting a younger age group. Binkley sites StyleCaster amongst others. If I were to poll my friends and clients, I'm almost certain they would agree that some fashion websites and blogs do make them feel like they are crossing a velvet rope, stepping into a night club resonating with house music, when they'd rather be having a quiet cocktail at The King Cole Bar, NYC.

I think Nordstrom does a nice job of catering to older women who shop online, but really, can we just stop saying "older women." I like, stylish women with purchasing power, access, knowledge and confidence. My clients have all been over 35. They are mostly crunched for time, but they usually enjoy shopping and that is why "environmental" department store sites–sites that make you feel as if you are in the store or a spectator at a runway show, sometimes work well for them.

It helps, no, it's critical, to know just what you're after, before shopping online. That is something my clients discover though the styling service I offer at MyStylist. I also shop with clients as many stylists do. Once armed with a good list of purchases to optimize their wardrobe, clients may rely on a personal shopping service provided by a store or a good and honest friend. BUT, be wary of a "good friend." They are either good and not too honest, or they are honest and not too good! I really think it is best to higher an honest professional.

To blog about clogs...

Last week a client had a pair of light blue suede clogs in her closet. When she suggested them for a particular outfit we were working on, I thought she was joking. I mean shouldn't clogs be relegated to gardens, kitchens and hospitals? Hers were cute, but I thought she had them only to wear very casually as slip ons around the house or quick footwear to walk the dog. Eventually, I put together a stylish outfit that looked great with the unexpected addition of her clogs, I thought, okay, I think I need a pair of these.

I like the ones that are sort of fun without being childish or ridiculous. In last month's Oprah Magazine, The O Pick, featured patterned ones that almost fit the bill from Cape Clogs, but they're a little juvenile. They'd be great for my 12-year-old.
If I was feeling really playful and needing attention, they'd be great for me!

Who would have thought that Palm Springs would be home to Clogwild. This store gets close to the clogs I'm after, but I still would like them without the strap over the top, which to me screams, "I'm nothing but a clog."

Always looking for an opportunity to shop abroad, this clog musing makes me think of a romantic "pre wedding ring" trip I took to Amsterdam with my now husband. There were plenty of tourist stores featuring Dutch clogs or klompen. I didn't get any for myself, again, too silly. But I'd like to have another crack at shopping in Amsterdam. I think I'd stay at the same place too, The Seven Bridges Hotel, a 300 years old canal house, a sweet hotel which made me feel like I fell into a Vermeer painting.


I'm seeing a lot of animal prints these days... Not so much on the streets, but in mags. I think it takes guts to wear them well, and some forethought. Here are some rules incase you want to head for the jungle. And I suggest you do!

  • Pick one thing, and only one thing, to wear at a time in animal print. Wearing more than one animal print can look like a safari gone terribly wrong.
  • Do not wear colored animal prints. If you can't find it in nature, you shouldn't find it in your closet!
  • Go easy on accessories. Choose bigger pieces that overpower the print, essentially putting a larger accessory on top of a smaller print, or vise-versa. You don't want both the print and the accessory to be the same scale.
  • Some things just don't work in animal print: pants, leggings, most knits, sheets!
  • Choose good fabrics, silks, leather–I like faux pony skin jackets, especially in Utah.
  • Be careful of the "Married to the Mob" look. Simple is always better. Wear your print without chewing gum or big hair...
Photo: WSJ, Ask Teri, Lafayette 148 New York

Coming Out Of The Closet, Fur

I love wearing fur. I hope red paint doesn't come squirting out of my computer now that I've confessed. Perhaps it is my Italian roots. Fur is to Italians what scarves are to the French and denim is to Americans.

With the economy looking more like a regurgitated fur ball, it's probably very wrong of me to even be blogging about it, but a recent article in the WSJ called, "Inside the Peltway" by Amy Chozick, has had me musing on fur for days. Apparently fur is fashionable in Washington, which seems at odds with the new administration's responsible spending, mantra. According to the article, "the first lady doesn't wear fur," but she does have a long brown mink...Maybe she's prudently recycled it into pillows or a throw. Is it covering a foot stool?

As a stylist to many a R&B and rap artists, it was no surprise to me when the article went on to explain the never waning love of fur amongst African Americans. The P.O.S.H Life, a blog coming out of Atlanta posted, "Black People Love Furs: PETA Who? Weather they sport fur or not, the Obamas are a stylish couple and they inspire glamourous fashion choices, across ethnic boundaries, in an understated way. Style is not about money. Often, the best place to acquire a quality fur is from a consignment shop–or your mother (thanks Mom)–or your sister (thanks Bonnie). My mantra–Wear the nice things you have and enjoy them!

Below is a personal list of fabulous fur moments:

• Barbara Stanwyck, in "Christmas In Connecticut" when she unpacks a fur delivered to her NYC apartment that SHE BOUGHT HERSELF.

• Myrna Loy, as Nora Charles, when we meet her in the first "Thin Man." She looks like a very grand poodle. We find out later she's from money, so Nick didn't buy her that fur either!

• Working with J. Mendel furs on a advertising shoot I once styled. I enjoyed working with, and learning more about furs and the fur business from
Gille Mendel who has since become quite the celebrity designer.

• Working with Paulette Washington. She arrived in an astonishingly
beautiful chinchilla (thanks Denzel).