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.

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.

Venice, Without Clothes

It's ironic that I'm beginning day two in Venice without my luggage. I've created an entire blog about style and travel and so the what-to-pack, what-to-wear thing is probably way too important to me. Is this my comeuppance, a get over yourself, Cathie, message? Happily, I didn't wear a sweatsuit on the plane (as you know, I think they're the worst), but instead, very comfortable cashmere bellbottoms with matching sleeveless shell and shawl, all in black. The outfit worked fine last night at the Ristorante Gran Caffe Quadri where we were introduced to the dignitaries of the Italian Tourist Board who are hosting this Italian Travel Symposium of the Veneto region.

Venice is, and always will be, the one dressed up. She's the dowager of finery, style and romance. My lost luggage is a blip on her radar and for that matter, as I'm swooning over her beauty, lost luggage doesn't matter to me either.

The gondoliers in striped shirts, the waiter in white dress coat–now that's trade-style that could, and has been, rehashed by countless designers. Would they let me borrow their shirts, jackets? There is a Chanel store on the corner in the building of this hotel, Luna Hotel Baglioni, perhaps I should pop in for new blouse? But no, it's not about me...

Looking Right from Morning to Night

Okay, there has been tons of stuff written about how to go from a morning to evening look without actually changing clothes. Weirdly, it's a subject that fascinates me. I'm going to Italy for GoNOMAD next week. It's a press trip hosted by the Italian Tourist Board. The itinerary looks delicious, both from a culinary and cultural prospective. It says "no jeans." Anyone who knows me will understand just how psyched I am about this mandate. Meanwhile, I imagine most of my fellow journalist traveling, groaning.

We'll be moving around a lot–Venice, Verona and Padova and we mostly will not be able to go back to the hotel to change into "evening attire." So here's my strategy: I clipped the article, Surviving a Grueling Work Day With Style, and I'm following it like the holy grail. The article, by Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan, is an interview with Nina Garcia who is both Marie Claire's Fashion Director and a judge on "Project Runway." The gist is to start with a layered outfit and "unpeel" as the day and evening wears on. Do the exact opposite with makeup–add more for night. The article is bursting with other tips and tricks and is worth archiving! Check it out.

If any of you have ideas about day to evening, or can share some how tos, post a comment. We all want to know!

Plane Travel. Can it ever be glamorous again?

In earlier blogs I mentioned flying with a cashmere wrap, taking a travel tin of chocolates along with you, and sporting a functional, yet stylish carrie-on bag; all tips to make your flying experience a bit more enjoyable. Sadly, for many of us, I'm just not sure plane travel will ever really be glamorous. Lets face it, most flying is more Grey Hound than Net Jets. Kimberley Newport Mimran did tell me about one airline that is all that and serves a bag of chips, well a snack anyway. It's Porter Airlines. Self proclaimed, "flying refined," Porter Airlines does have a good formula. Their branding is cool, they are located in Toronto's City Center Airport allowing passengers immediate access to the city and they actually provide sophisticated service. The motto for this short hall airline is to "keep travel smart, uncomplicated and dignified." Sounds good to me. Kim designed Porter's uniforms and they are smart!

I picked up a few additional tips for plane and packing from Kim that I'd like to tell you about. I could have kissed her when she said, "You don't want to be wearing a sweat suit." Please, could everyone keep their sweat suits at home, even the Juicy ones. That goes for fanny packs too, even the Gucci ones. Kim says the goal is to, "Get off the airplane looking the same way you got on." For me, in summer this
usually means a comfortable dress or top and skirt. Angus Miller who is on my short list of debonair men, says he always wears a sport coat when flying because he indubitably (his word, not mine) gets better service. Perhaps we should ask Kim's husband and business partner, Joseph Mimran, founder of Club Monaco what his opinion is on what to wear in flight.
Mr. Mimran feel free to leave a comment.

Summer or winter an appropriate scarf is always good to have on board. Kim recommends lightly spraying your scarf with a favorite perfume–a comforting fragrance next to your face can take you away.

Photos, Pink Tartan. Easy choices for travel.

What to Pack, Hamptons

I recently was hired to help one of my clients pack for Rome. We had a great time delving into her closet in search of just the right pieces to use to create several outfits that would be perfect for her Roman Holiday. As with any client, I took pictures of the outfits and created a Style Guide for her. I normally don't go to quite so much trouble for myself, but before going to the Hamptons I decided to take some picture so I could illustrate this process on my blog.

It all started with a favorite accessory that reminds me of the beach. It's a vintage necklace made of shells that has a breezy color combination, which reminds me of spring...
Using this as inspiration, I put together several outfits. I knew I'd need comfortable touring clothes as well as a dinner outfit or two. It wasn't going to be too warm so I'd need some cashmere and layers–camisoles were in order. I absolutely needed comfortable shoes and I didn't want to look like I was trying too hard so I was going for casual, but nice with a touch of wealth (and I don't mean money, I guess I mean class, but I don't like that word).
Below is what went in the bag...