"Feeling unique is a habit you shouldn't give up."

- Alberto Fermani

"Anyone can get all dressed up and glamorous, but it is how people dress in their off days that is the most intriguing."

-Alexander Wang


One Dress...Multiple Parties

I was giving some tips the other day on how to dress for holiday parties and one of them was wear something different every time. At first, this freaked a lot of people out. But I quickly clarified. This does NOT mean you have to have a whole new outfit for every party. Wear the same dress... just mix it up with different accessories, shoes, handbags, jackets, and even makeup each time. Here's one dress, multiple ways. And, don't forget, each of these items on their own go with a bunch of different stuff so you have a lot of outfits here!

Vix leopard print dress $87 (on sale!)

Mason by Michelle Mason leather trim jacket$640

Faux leather collar jacket by topshop $118

Jeffrey Campbell Lita spike heel $220

Plan heels Aldo shoes $135

LILITH report shoes $110

Maxean Betsey Johnson $110

Beaded clutch Banana Republic $98

Glitter clutch J Crew $50

Handbag Mango $85

Mint Julep ring Kate Spade $78

cuff bracelet bcbgeneration $68

stripe collar necklace topshop $55

Boreal necklace Mango $62

Turquoise earrings Kenneth Jay Lane $53


Where Does the Time Go?

Just like everyone else in the world (or I guess just the U.S., really...), I am swamped this week with Thanksgiving/beginning of the Christmas/Holiday shopping season. I find that I tend to "nest" this time of year, too,(as opposed to the Spring) maybe because I'm having people over so I want things to appear that I'm organized. HA!

Anyway, in an effort to help YOU be more organized, here are a couple of outfit options for T-Day. One less thing to think about, right?


Outfit 1

Tasmine skirt- allsaints $195
Spotted snowfall sweater- Madewell $85
Elanie leopard heel- Vince Camuto $89
Bead fringe earrings- Charlotte Russe $7.50
Enamel orange bangle- Misselfridge $13

Outfit 2
Cafe plaid pants- J Crew $140
Tippi sweater- J Crew $70
Suede brogues- Asos $72
Caramelo necklace- Anthropologie $48
Coral stone earrings- Lucky Brand $25


Parties Aren't Just for Arms Anymore

This whole "arm party***" thing has gotten totally out of control. It's like no one remembers the neck anymore. I much prefer a "soirée de le cou" if you know what I mean.

Last week I picked up this amazing vintage necklace by Judith Leiber. I can't seem to take it off! Then, a couple of days later, I found this felt flower extravaganza at The Shoe Hive. For 15 bucks! How can you pass that up? Like my friend Elizabeth who owns the store pointed out, "It's so Marni!" Yup. I agree. And, since a year and a half after purchase, I still wear this long wooden beaded necklace almost every day, it seems appropriate that I mention it here, too. As I got dressed this morning, I found myself inspired by three things.

1. The rain. As in, it still is. sigh.

2. The Man Repeller (if you don't read this blog, you should.) Leandra was talking arm party again and it got me thinking.

3. This new skirt from Mara Hoffman which was a STEAL at Anthropologie. I wanted something bright and colorful to cheer up the dreary day but I didn't want the skirt to be lonely so...

enter the Soirée de le Cou! Eat your heart out arm party!

***Arm party- a term coined (at least I think it was) by Leandra Medine of Man Repeller. It means when you put a whole bunch of bracelets on your arm at once and you think it looks totally cool. Or like a hot mess, depending on how you want to look at it.


Rainy Day Dress

Having already grown tired of wearing my high-heeled rain boots with pants (of all sorts, I might add, since it's been raining so much), I decided that on THIS rainy day, I would wear a dress. Enter that cute H&M dress ($35!!!) that I wore in the photo shoot with Pearl for the Lucky Mag contest. I've worn it with chunky sandals but it's colder now and today my schedule included returns and shopping for a client, picking up kids from school, dashing to doctors appointment for Sam, booking-it to ballet for Pearl, speeding to Georgetown to finish shopping for client, cruising to Buzz for cupcake and milkshake as a treat for two tired but well-behaved kids, and, finally, making my way home. But I digress.

Recall the Dress-

I added:

brown fishnets and my favorite navy blue fedora from The Shoe Hive plus...

1. Motif 56 belt

2. Free People sweater

3. Gabriella Rocha Duckee Duck boot

and finished it off with Missoni multi color scarf, long wooden bead necklace, and resin "feather" earrings (by local designer Rachelle Celine). That makes 2 ways to wear the dress and counting!


Mixing It Up

Modern Meets Retro

Leather dress, $267
Steven by Steve Madden platform pumps, $159
Vintage bag
ASOS drop earrings, $22
Lulu Frost crystal bangle, $405

I had such a great morning today at a coffee where I got to speak about 60s fashion (specifically Mad Men style) to a great group of women who are planning a gala in March to benefit the Center for Alexandria's Children. The theme, of course, is Mad Men. I can't wait for the event!

But the inspiration today came from the absolutely AMAZING home of the woman who hosted the coffee. Her home is practically a museum of stunning and interesting art, sculpture, and furniture all perfectly integrated with the house which I am sure was built in the 1920s if not earlier. The mix of modern with traditional was exceptional and it got me thinking how wonderful it is when someone truly understands how to pull this off. It's important to mention that the hostess is not an interior designer (although she should be!); she's a lawyer. Only in DC. :)

My outfit inspiration... I am SO sad that this dress appears to be sold out. I am now on the hunt for it! Dress = modern mix of leather and feathers but streamlined, simple cut. It's minimalist despite the feathers. Jewelery and evening bag = art deco/1920s inspired (or actual vintage) that offset the edgy darkness of the dress. Shoes = mix of pretty, sexy, and ornate but in a color that doesn't compete with the boldness of the dress. Perfectly mixed up!


More Than a Muse

Yves Saint Laurent, standing in background, with Loulou de La Falaise
Photographed by Deborah Turbeville, Vogue, February 1975

On November 5th, 2011, Loulou de la Falaise died at her home in France at the age of 63. She is best known as the muse of Yves St. Laurent although the term "muse" is one that she did not appreciate, believing that it diminished her true role and influence on the YSL line. She was a real eccentric, a woman born into wealth and privilege but that embodied the spirit of a gypsy. She was the most elegant of bohemians. To me, one of her most important contributions to fashion was her inspiration and role in Yves St. Laurent's creation of Le Smoking which changed the way women dressed forever and which is a look I myself frequently reference. Click the link below to read the article on Vogue.com regarding her life, influence, and death. She was a very interesting woman and one worth knowing about.


Helmut Newton's 1975 photo of Le Smoking


A Re-do On My Room

In my house, the master bedroom is always the last to be "done." I don't know if I subconsciously first decorate the areas that other people see or if I just can't get a handle on being organized in my most private of spaces but 10+ years after moving into this home, my bedroom has never fully been decorated. As a matter of fact, since living with my parents, I haven't had a bedroom that was aesthetically the way I wanted it.

When Pearl was born, I was thrilled to create her nursery. For her changing table and dresser, I chose a pretty mirrored piece. At the time, I went ahead and purchased a mirrored chest and lingerie chest as well thinking that these 3 pieces would work throughout my home in different ways over the years if I needed them. Fast forward to 5 years later and this is what I'm thinking:

1. Lingerie chest is not very practical for lingerie because the drawers are too small. This piece will look perfect in my entry hall and be a neater/cleaner option for hiding but keeping organized bills, keys, sunglasses, etc.

2. The mirrored dresser in Pearl's room isn't going anywhere. It's perfect in there.

3. The chest in my room is also very practical and my husband and I like it so I think we'll keep it. It is like a neutral so any and all other furniture works with it.

My other jumping off points for the bedroom redecoration are this-

1. I did a mini-remodel on our bathroom last winter and like it a lot. The best part is the antique oriental rug that is in there. It gave me the idea to use a color in it to paint our vanity (in a really high gloss paint). So the vanity is a deep teal and the rug has just a little bit of that, too. I want those colors to play a part in my attached bedroom.

2. I still love my red dragon-painted oriental bedside table so that stays.

3. The walls of my room are the same mid-gray as the hall and living room and I like them so that stays, too.

Here are the major problems-

1. Storage, of course. I have a ton of shoes and clothes. And accessories. Currently, I have one entire wall of my bedroom "elfa'd" to hold as much of it as it can. Elfa is the closet organization system from The Container Store. I have a nice version with cherry fronting but I am sick of looking at my clothes every day.

2. I'm sick of our bed which has a frame all the way around but no headboard. It is old and I'm just ready for a big change.

This is my plan-

1. I'm having a sale of a bunch of my clothes and shoes with a couple friends in the next month. I've already removed a closet full of stuff but I'll need to do more.

2. I'm going to move the elfa system to my third floor office and keep formal dresses and out of season items there. I'll put a ceiling track and curtain around it so it can be closed off from the room.

3. I got another beautiful chest of drawers from One Kings Lane. Inlaid bone, very Moroccan- I love it. It should be here by December.

4. I got a gorgeous vintage suzani also from One Kings Lane that is black with red, teal, and yellow flowers. This will help pull in from the bathroom and still work with the bedside table. (This will go on the bed over the chevron duvet I mention below.)

5. I think I'm going to get this bed from West Elm. The headboard isn't my favorite but at least it has one! The main draw is the 6 drawer storage system around the frame. I can't decide on white or espresso so I think I'll go in and see if the white looks good or cheap. I have espresso now so it would be nice to have a change. Truth be told, this isn't my dream bed. But it serves multiple purposes so I think it will be good.

6. I also love this chevron-patterned duvet from West Elm. I think the mixing of patterns will be interesting.

7. First, I found this pretty suede and hemp metallic thread rug from Serena and Lily. Love. But sold out until February.

THEN, I found this unbelievable metallic cowhide rug from Calypso St. Bart. Love even more. But at $3,440, way to0 expensive.

SO, today I ordered a cowhide rug from an online place called Sunland in a brindle gray/white. I am going to Jackson Pollock that bad boy with silver and gold fabric paint. Keep your fingers crossed. The good news is that, even if I totally screw it up and have to get a brand new one, I will still be spending less money than if I got the Calypso one and just a teensy bit more than if I got the Serena and Lily one.

8. I have a chair upholstered in a pretty black and white damask. It was for Pearl's nursery originally but she moved on from it and now it is in my room unused except as a throwing place for stuff. I'm think reupholster in the teal that I love so much. The best would be teal pleather- super shiny and almost mod which will be cool with the traditional tufting and shape of the chair. But probably teal velvet will be easier to find. The search is on for that.

I'll keep you posted with pictures of the progress!


A Speaking Engagement

I had the honor last week of speaking to TC Williams advanced placement fashion marketing class about what it's like to be a stylist and personal shopper. The young women were wonderful and I was really impressed with how many of them are going to fashion school. I wish I had had that kind of direction when I was their age! Thank you to my friend Greg and Ms. Chavez, their instructor, for allowing me to share with them.

In typical fashion (ha! a pun!), I paid close attention to what I wore to speak. I wanted to look professional since they were allowing me into their classroom to provide information and guidance. But, given the creative nature of my job, I had to have some fun with it, too. Here's what I came up with- an almost exact recreation, actually- and I hope the class liked it as much as I did. (I did not wear the shiny satin top under the jacket. Instead, it was the Vince moss colored tank. The jacket feels very vintage/asian-inspired and I love it!)

Thanks, ladies, for having me and I hope to see you at the pizza fundraiser on Thursday!

A Speaking Engagement

Vince ribbed tank top, $29
3.1 Phillip Lim drawstring pants, $119
Miu Miu platform high heels, $595
Oroton earrings, 95 AUD
Gold necklace, $68
Rag Bone fedora hat, $150
Trina Turk | Ophelia Jacket, $228
Trina Turk | Ophelia Jacket, $228

Did I mention that I made it to the FINAL ROUND of the Lucky Magazine Lifestyle Contributor Contest?!! I'll send the link out tomorrow so all my wonderful readers can go online and comment on why they would love to see me win!


The Holiday Season Has Kicked Off!

You might think it's too early but, really, Halloween kicks of the holiday season these days. We're three short weeks away from Thanksgiving and the day after that, the gift-giving season officially kicks off. (Btw, I've already started my Christmas shopping. Sound crazy? Not really. Every place still has sizes, boxes, toys in stock, and no long lines. I intend to enjoy my Christmas this year!) So, with my first official cocktail party of the season this weekend, I have been thinking about what to wear today. Which reminded me that my second entry to the Lucky Magazine Lifestyle Contributor Contest was all about getting glamorous- a perfect segue to what to wear for a party.

Here it is in case you missed it before.

A Stylist's Guide to Glamour

“Glamour is something no woman can be born with. It’s not a gift at all. It’s more of a concoction than anything else.” - Loretta Young

The idea that we are not born with glamour is an idea that I love. We can ALL be glamorous with a little bit of effort. But let’s start with the everyday. Whether I’m running around town with my kids, working with a client, or having friends over for dinner, style is a part of my life. But style doesn’t automatically equal glamour which I think is a good thing. It makes the glam moments all the more special.

So, how do we achieve those moments in time that are more special, more memorable, more glamorous? What if we don’t have money for new dresses and makeup artists and people to do our hair? It’s easy—no really, it is!—if you follow a few, no fail steps.

Pop the Cork! There is nothing more glamorous than sipping bubbly while you primp. Put on your cutest bathrobe and get in the mood. (Try Francis Ford Coppola’s Sofia Blanc de Blancs sparkling wine. Even the bottle is glamorous!)

Go Big or Go Home. No, not big, crazy 1980s hair. But your hair should have some body whether you’re wearing it wavy and wild or chic in a chignon. Add some dry shampoo to your roots and be awed with how bodacious it gets! (My super quick trick for glamorous hair is that I add dry shampoo to my roots and turn my head upside down, gently shaking my hair. Next, I make a couple of twists with a large-barreled curling iron and run my fingers through to loosen them up. Finally, I pull it all back in a low, loose bun, fasten in my favorite flower, and give it all a once over with hair spray to keep it secure. The whole process takes about six minutes.)

Enhance, Don’t Exaggerate. Your face is your palette, so start with a clean slate. Wash, moisturize, and even-out your skin tone. Choose eyes or lips to stand out and add a soft blush to your cheeks. (My personal preference is to focus on the eyes. I love a soft, smoky look, but I feel extra glam when I do a subtle “cat eye.” Rather than use a liquid liner, which takes a really steady hand, I run the tip of a brush under the faucet and then dip into my favorite dark shadow. A couple of swishes later and, voilà, mysterious, sexy eyes! But remember—when you’re finished, you should feel beautiful, not overdone.)

Don’t Confuse Glitz for Glamour. Wear your clothes; don’t let them wear you. Too much of anything is a fashion no-no, so nothing should be too short or too tight or too sparkly or…you get the picture. (My favorite and most glamorous dress is a beautiful floral three-tiered maxi dress that was my mom’s in the 1970s. I’ve worn it alone with sparkly sandals, with a black leather Isabel Marant obi belt and black leather draped jacket, and—for my most glamorous nights—with a short fox fur and towering patent leather blush-colored Stuart Weitzman heels. Who knew something so sweet could be so glamorous?)

Glamour Equals Confidence. No matter what you decide to wear, you simply must be confident. Glamorous women make it look easy, but that’s not because of their outfit. It’s because they KNOW they look amazing! (Just last week, I had the honor of renewing my vows with my husband while we were at the beach. Despite the casual atmosphere, I have never felt so glamorous. My dress was soft and pretty, my shoes were flat but sexy, and my jewelry was interesting but not overdone. And, of course, I knew that my husband only had eyes for me!)

And the Number One Secret to looking glamorous is…

The Diva is in the Details. Perfect hair - check. Perfect makeup - check. Perfect outfit - check. Perfect undergarments, accessories, and perfume - check, check, and check. The glamorous woman makes sure every last detail is perfect. (Don’t let this one scare you. Perfect doesn’t mean that you have to look like Gwyneth at the Oscars. Rather, you just want to make sure you’ve addressed every aspect of your look so that no stone has gone unturned!)

All pictures by Amanda Martin of Fillmore Martin Photography

My Glamorous Beauty Bag Arsenal:

1. Neu Lash eyelash serum (for natural long and thick lashes)
2. La Mer “The Eye Concentrate” eye cream (it’s a splurge, but worth it!)
3. YSL Touch Éclat (to highlight and freshen skin tone)
4. Stila kajal eyeliner in Tigers Eye (smudges just enough)
5. Blinc mascara in black (to lengthen and separate lashes)
6. Tigi Bed Head “Hard Head” hairspray (your hair holds even in bad weather)
7. Bumble and Bumble hair powder (smells good and gives lots of body)
8. Jergens Natural Glow daily moisturizer (no need to look translucent, even in the winter)
9. Her Look Matchsticks double stick tape (keeps bra straps at bay, plunging necklines from peeking open, and even holds heel straps in place)
10. Her Look Commando underwear (no panty lines ever)