The activewear revolution

Sunday, November 16th, 2014

I watched What Not to Wear religiously throughout the show’s ten season run and can still see Stacy London’s disapproving frown at the sight of someone standing in front of the show’s infamous three way mirror in baggy sweat pants. She not only disliked sweat pants but she also felt that exercise clothing should only be worn when working out. Those days are gone. No longer reserved for the gym or yoga class, workout apparel has become the latest chic men and womenswear trend. As I see it, the amazing evolution of activewear designs combined with our increasingly casual lifestyle account for this phenomenon.

Whether you are young or old, a marathoner or a couch potato, the love of activewear is universal because it is comfortable and affordable. Designers like Alexander Wang, who recently created an activewear inspired collection for H&M, have their fingers on the pulse of what people want. Elie Tahari’s Designation collection for Kohl’s is flavored with a French terry jogger pant and faux fur sweatshirt. Retailers everywhere have enhanced their activewear offerings in response to the surge in sales of this clothing category. I recently discovered Nordstrom’s line called Zella. My sister gave me two pairs of Zella pants, two tops and a jacket for my birthday this year. All the pieces fit like a dream and also have fabulous features like ruching and strategically placed mesh inserts that give them an ultra–hip look.

Active wear is such a formidable fashion force that it has influenced how we dress on a daily basis. Instead of reaching for my skinny jeans, I now put on my yoga pants to run errands. Although I still love my ballet flats, I’ve become quite attached to my puma sneakers. The line between active wear and street wear is so blurry that we might just start referring to activewear as “everywear”.

Active Wear is now Everywear

Favored footwear at New York Fashion Week

Tuesday, February 11th, 2014

If you doubted the wisdom of your decision to stock up on a few pairs of boots after the holidays, then find comfort in knowing that boots of every kind reigned this week at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week. Models walked the runway in taupe suede high heeled tall ones, and short flat ones that buckled and tied. This favored footwear noticeably took center stage at the BCBG, Koonhor and Emerson shows.

Boots, like blue jeans, endure because of their functionality, comfort, and versatility. I start wearing boots as soon as I feel a slight nip in the air, and wear them until the trees start blooming. Boot wearers everywhere have discovered that they often make an outfit.

New Yorkers love their boots, especially this week as the temps plunge into the teens. Even their furry companions follow suit. Check out this adorable Corgi in his pop of red booties.

Even furry friends in New York love their boots.

Even furry friends in New York love their boots.

Fur unfurled at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week

Monday, February 10th, 2014

I am currently in New York City for Mercedes Benz Fashion Week. This mega style extravaganza at Lincoln Center features the lines of 69 iconic as well as emerging designers. Snow and freezing temperatures here cast a perfect backdrop for the unveiling of fashions for fall and winter 2014. Judging from the abundance of fur on the runway in the form of oversized jackets, scarves, capes, and vests, it is clear that Mother Nature acted as the creative muse for designers from the likes of BCBG to Herve Leger. Menswear inspired coats adorned with fur and leather embellishments, also made a strong showing this week. If climate change continues to deal us brutally cold winters, you can be sure that clothes that keep us warm and dry will dominate future fashion weeks throughout the world.

Wherever I looked this week, I saw fur, both faux and real. I also wrapped myself up in fur for my long walks around the city. Here are a few pics of fur wearing folks.

nyfwfurgroup

nyfwlady3

Tis the season to be stylish

Wednesday, December 25th, 2013

Has the Grinch stole your style? if you’ve dressed down and dowdy for this season’s festivities, there is still plenty of time to go glam. Give yourself permission to defy convention by dressing up. Wear beads, sequins, brocade skirts, and high heels. I guarantee that others will notice and enjoy how you look.

Perhaps Santa will bring me this outfit on Christmas.

Holiday Chic

Suited for business fashion basics

Sunday, September 29th, 2013

As soon as I walk into Dillards, I head directly to the Antonio Melani, Vince Camuto and Gianni Bini sections of the store. If you peeked into my closet, you would see a variety of dresses and separates from these three exceptional lines.

I’ve often written and spoken about my winning formula for a powerful professional image. Quite simply, I advise men and women to always wear B.E.S.T clothes and accessories at the office – basic, elegant, simple, and tasteful. These three lines offer all four elements at a reasonable price point. I swear by Antonio Melani dresses and jackets because they offer classic, well tailored styles in practical neutrals. I own two Vince Camuto blazers that suit both South Carolina summers and winters. Last month I purchased a stunning cobalt blue Gianni Bini fitted jacket which makes my neutral separates come alive. I especially like the the ruched detailing on the sleeves as well as their cropped length. These design details automatically make me look taller.

I chose to showcase these lines at an upcoming fashion show entitled “Suited for Business”. I along with Dillards, The YWCA of Greenville, Business and Professional Women, and Events with Amore are hosting this free event to celebrate National Women’s Business Week. The evening includes a networking reception and silent auction to support the programs of the YWCA. So, if you live in the Greenville, SC area, I invite you to sip wine, mingle, and see fabulous working wardrobe fashions. Here is a sneak preview of some of the styles you will see on the runway on October 24.

Suited for Business

Antonio Melani dress / Vince Camuto tank dress / Antonio Melani blouse / Gianni Bini blouse / Vince Camuto jacket / Vince Camuto t-strap pumps / Antonio Melani handbag / Vince Camuto earrings / Vince Camuto stone pendant necklace / Vince Camuto dressy scarve / Antonio Melani

The Eva Mendez collection is fall’s biggest fashion surprise

Sunday, September 22nd, 2013

I don’t often shop at New York & Company because the clothes generally look worn after a few washings and also fit me poorly. On the other hand, many women swear by the place. Now and then this retailer impresses me with stylish sweaters, nicely made blazers that look expensive, and fun jewelry. I own a New York & Company khaki blazer and one in burgundy velvet that I love.

New York & Company just stepped up its style game with the launch of the Eva Mendez collection. Even though I prefer that designers and not celebrities create apparel, the Eva Mendez line wowed me. It offers several modern versions of the LBD, and has updated the classic shirtwaist as well as fit and flare style dresses. In fact, I bought the burgundy Bianca sweater dress below. I plan to wear it as a jumper over a blouse or sweater, and with several of my jackets. I also bought the blush, burgundy, and pink floral scarf, an Eva Mendez accessory, to wear with the dress. The scarf should also liven up a black outfit.

My number one favorite piece is an off white chiffon combination blouse/body suit with sheer billowy sleeves and a gorgeous draped neckline. I bought it for my satin tuxedo suit by Antonio Melani and my Bebe black leather flared skirt with stud embellishments. Eva Mendez and her creative team answered my prayers when they came up with this piece. In spite of the fact that I only wear fitted blouses, they still pouch out slightly and look sloppy when I tuck them in my pants. Every time this happens, I wonder why the blouse body suit of yesteryear disappeared. The best invention since sliced bread, these blouses hugged your torso and stayed perfectly in place. My new blouse fits me like a glove. The snap crotch area of the new and improved Ava Mendez body suit also runs longer and wider so that you don’t walk around with a wedgie all day.

I styled my new burgundy dress with the pale pink coat in the collection, Chloe + Isabel jewelry, a liberty scarf, heels by Guess, and a demure purse by Forever New. Armani lipstick completes the look.

What do you think of the new addition to NY & Company? Are you a fan of the blouse/body suit?

Eva Mendez Collection for NY&Company

Leopard print flat fan club

Friday, September 13th, 2013

Judging from the buzz around my last posting, it appears that many women out there love leopard print shoes. Although the Michael Kors leopard print peep toe platform pumps I featured are my objects of desire, I know that my feet don’t feel the same. One of my very good friends gauges a fine pair of shoes by how far she can walk in them. When we shoe shop together and I wax poetic about the beauty of a certain shoe, she always sets me straight by asking this simple question: How many miles could you walk in those shoes? I own two pair of high heels and wear them only on rare occasions. The rest of the time you will find me in low heels or flat shoes and boots. I know that the leopard shoe fan club includes members like me who wear leopard print kitten heels by Michael Kors or a sharp and eternally stylish leopard print flat by Sam Edleman.

I hope you enjoy viewing this eclectic collection of flats and boots of the feline variety. Personally, I covet the buckled Enzo boots. Which ones do want in your closet?

Leopard print flat fan club

Via Spiga loafer flat / Banana Republic nude ballet pumps / Enzo Angiolini short heel boots / Sperry Top-Sider animal print flat / Leopard print shoes / Charlotte Russe leopard print flat / Ted Baker oxford shoes, $175

Sunday stroll along Park Avenue

Sunday, March 31st, 2013
Springtime stroll on Park Avenue

Alaïa knit skirt, $1,665 / Chanel , $2,270 / Kate Spade high heel platform shoes / Wallis black and white handbag / White House Black Market faux pearl jewelry / Talullah Tu pearl bangle, $24 / Chanel black face watch, $2,795 / Maison Michel hat / I Heart New York Empire State 12 x 12 Paper

Vintage Chanel and memories of New York in spring inspire this ultra feminine ensemble. Mix a little Chanel with a little White House Black Market, and you get an outfit with a whole lot of class!

Afriyie Poku wins CFW’S Emerging Designer competition

Sunday, March 31st, 2013

Atlanta based designer Afriyie Poku won the coveted title of Emerging Designer East and the People’s Choice award at Charleston Fashion Week. Poku stood out at CFW for several reasons. His ebony skin, chiseled features, and tall hair captured the attention of nightly CFW audiences. He was also the only menswear designer among twenty featured semi-finalists. Most importantly, Poku masterly succeeded in accomplishing his goal of modernizing 18th and 19th century menswear clothing, and making his designs totally wearable for the here and now.

This sensational rising star lives to design. I had the pleasure of interviewing him a few hours before he unveiled his stunning collection. He had these words to say about his relationship with his work: “The day I stop designing is the day I cease to exit.” See his designs at http://www.oberimaafriyie.com.

Countdown to Charleston Fashion Week

Sunday, March 17th, 2013

I arrived in Charleston this afternoon, and plan to spend a few days of r&r before the work of fashion week begins. What a week it’s going to be! Since its inception in 2007, Charleston Fashion Week (CFW) has grown into a formidable fashion force in the Southeast. CFW’s unique focus on emerging designers and model talent distinguishes it from other events of this kind. The fashion world converges on Charleston’s Marion Square from March 19-23 for five whirlwind days of 35 runway shoes, competitions, and nightly entertainment.

The emerging designer competition, CFW’s cornerstone event, provides career launching exposure for rising young designers. Models on the cat walk at “Rock the Runway” contest will have a rare opportunity to showcase themselves and not the couture fashions they wear.

The guest panel represents a who’s who of fashion notables such as the following: designers Antonio Azzuolo, Johnson Hartig, and Christian Siriano, Arlene Goldstein, Belk’s Vice President of Merchandising and Trend Direction, and international fashion consultant and architect of New York Fashion Week, Fern Mallis.

Belk, the largest privately owned department store chain, is a major sponsor of the 2013 CFW. For event information and tickets, go to: http://charlestonmag.com/fashionweek/main.

Stay tuned for more on this week’s events.