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WHO DOESN’T WANT TO look and move and dress like Madonna, especially if you’re in the vicinity (real or imagined) of Sweet Sixteen?  Well…look out world!  The Madonna fashion train is rolling into town!  This is fascinating!

You have to admit that while the entry of celebrities into the fashion world en bulk has often been annoying (after all, they often sell their names and know little if anything about the designs and business), this celebrity line launch does make you stop and take notice. 

We are talking about Madonna and her daughter who are introducing a new “Material Girl” collection of clothes and accessories geared strongly toward the young, and positioned to hit the stores in time for back-to-school this year.  Look out for it; it should make waves.  Big waves.

 

                                             Very Here-Now

 

Madonna has long been interested in fashion and if industry gossip is correct, she does take a hands-on active role in this as well as in everything else that she does.  No “here’s my name, you do the work” posture for this remarkable lady.  She is very Here-Now.

The inaugural “Material Girl” collection, channeled strongly through the superstar’s 13-

year-old daughter takes strong inspiration from the world of dance,  Madonna says.

It promises to be an exciting, flexible junior’s line including apparel, footwear, and a bevy of trendy, youthful accessories.

 

YOUNG, EXCITING FASHION WITH A MADONNA ESTHETE IS FUN AND GEARED TO SELL.  LOOK HERE FOR SOME GREAT STOCK CHOICES:

 

 

                                             Jewelry, Too!

A NEW COMPANY, called MG ICON, has been formed by Madonna and her daughter.  It will produce the new collection of apparel, footwear, handbags, jewelry and fingerless (yes, you got it right!) gloves.  The entire collection will retail for $12 to $40.

Despite Madonna’s direct involvement in the company, there is still word on the street that there is a company muse…only who knows who that is? We assume it means the line will not be quite as independent as some say.  We’ve been told by some undercover agents working the runway scene that his (or her) identity will be released shortly.  Hmmmm.

 

Anyway, let’s take a look at some of the new Madonna and daughter designs: 

 

  • One outfit consists of a cute, super-mini strapless summer dress in a fun blue/red/black/white print.  It fits very close to the body and reflects much of what is happening right now in the fashion world.  Madonna shows this outfit with big, squared-off sunglasses, colorful multiple bangle bracelets on one arm and a summer white wrist watch on the other.  The model is also fashion-equipped with   scroungy sneakers, laces untied.  Chic! 

 

  • Another outfit, equally relaxed, features pale blue skin-tight dropped waist jeans,

            a high cropped little blouse in hot pink print, and a delightful dark grey fitted             jacket with a black and white polka dot lining.  The model’s hair is upswept, with            a huge hot pink bow centrally placed on her head.  Multi-strands of dark beads are wrapped around the neck and dropped down to swing free over the jacket,          while an edgy pair of fingerless gloves gives a final touch to the whole shebang.             

           Are kids going to love this!

  • A third “Material Girl” look involves a sweet, tight, and dark polka-dot print mini dress with halter-like top design.  It is shown with loads and loads of bangle bracelets running up both arms, also in that hot, dark jewelry finish.  A handbag, in black with plenty of glitzy embellishments, is medium sized, with a long shoulder strap.    

 

                                                 The Madonna Look

Shown with all three costumes are long swingy drop earrings in a sensual (or spiritual)
 cross design befitting the two Christian namesakes.  Ah, Madonna. This should be a collection to really enjoy, and its impact will most likely be as much inspirational as profitable.  Maybe more so.

WANT TO GET THAT MADONNA LOOK, TOO?  HERE ARE SOME GREAT PRODUCTS THAT FIT THE BILL: 

 

Comments (0) Posted by Mary McGarry on Wednesday, June 30th, 2010

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MONEY, MONEY, MONEY!  $900 million dollars!   That’s what Ralph Lauren is expected to net on a secondary public offering of about a quarter of his Class B voting shares in Polo Ralph Lauren Corporation. Can you believe it?  $900 million dollars!  And for that, the super-designer will only dilute his control of the voting stock by a miniscule amount. Not bad! He sells off a portion of Polo, pockets almost a billion dollars, and still retains almost 93.5 percent control. Bravo, Ralph.

LEGION OF HONOR:  Karl Lagerfeld is excitedly sporting a new piece of silver jewelry, a limited edition medal suspended from a red ribbon, an impressive accessory just meant to be worn with one of Lagerfeld’s high collared shirts.  The medal, presented to him by French President Nicolas Sarkozy, brings the super designer into an esteemed community as a Commander of the French Legion of Honor. It was presented to Lagerfeld during a ceremony at the Elysee presidential palace June 3rd.  This is France’s highest civilian award. 

SPRINGTIME IN PARIS:  Oh, we’re still reeling from the magnificent emporium opened recently in Paris by Ralph Lauren, and now Michael Kors is at it, too.  A former creative director at Celine, Kors plans to open his largest store in Paris – 7,000 square feet – sometime in the spring of 2011. The store will be located at 279 Rue Saint Honore, which Kors calls the perfect street for his clients…glamorous, chic, romantic and fast-paced.

     Major product emphasis will be on accessories, with handbags, small leather goods, eyewear and watches prominently featured on the main level.  Women’s ready-to-wear will be showcased on the second floor.  Company CEO John Idol says that the Michael Kors retail locations have a proven track record of success globally, and adds, “We look forward to further growth throughout Europe.”

THE FRENCH JUST CAN’T STAY OUT OF THE NEWS WHERE FASHION IS CONCERNED!  HERE ARE SOME DELIGHTFUL ACCESSORIES TO GIVE YOU AN INTRIGUING LOOK ON YOUR NEXT TRIP TO PARIS:

 

 

SOCIALLY RESPONSIBLE:  The Gap has unveiled three limited edition special designer collections created  exclusively for the store by three top winning designers of this year’s CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Competition Awards. The collections are for men’s and women’s apparel and for jewelry. 

         Patrick Robinson, executive vice president of Gap, credited the designers (Monique Pean, Patrik Ervell and Sophie Theallet) with creating “amazing interpretations” of Gap’s iconic classics, saying they will serve as a window to the high-end fashion industry for Gap customers. 

        The jewelry, by Paen, includes eco-friendly necklaces and bracelets made from naturally shed buffalo horn, coconut, buri twine and organic cotton.  Paen worked with artisans in Colombia in creating the line, which consists of 12 jewelry styles, saying the pieces “reflect the design and organic direction of her fine jewelry.”

        Paen said this is the first time she has worked with jewelry in quantity.  Until now, all her designs have been for fine jewelry collections featuring one-of-a-kind pieces.  “So, this has been a challenge, but it has also been very exciting,” she declared.  The necklaces in the grouping run from about $200 to $300.

ECO-FRIENDLY IS THE WAVE OF THE FUTURE.  LOOK HERE FOR PIECES WITH A “GOOD EARTH” LOOK:

 

 

Comments Off on Fashion & Money: Lauren to Pocket Almost A Billion on Stock Sale– Kors Plans New Paris Emporium Posted by Mary McGarry on Tuesday, June 29th, 2010

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This has been a spectacular year for jewelry design!  A score of young, talented, and highly imaginative designers have come to the fore, all giving their utmost to new jewelry looks.  It has been thrilling!  One of the strongest themes to come forth has been earthy, even eco-sensitive, works with styles that take inspiration both from the earth and from cultures worldwide. 

Nominated for the Swarovski Award for Accessory Design for the CFDA fashion awards were several highly talented designers whose personal dedication to jewelry and accessories lifted their profiles to new heights of esteem within the fashion world.  Among them was Dana Lorenz, and oh! what extraordinary designs she has produced this year!

One industry publication described her works as “a unique blend of edge and elegance found in her signature collection, Fenton, and in her lower priced line, Fallon.                  –Fenton launched in February 2005 and quickly took center stage in stores such as Ikram and Barneys New York.”

 

                                   Exciting Diffusion Line

 

Dana used much of her Fenton design acumen in creating the Fallon line, which bowed in 2007.  An exciting diffusion line, it includes whimsical pilings of crystal, pearls and chains, all with what she calls a “rock and roll” vibe.  Fallon has also come to the attention of super-retailer J. Crew, where the pieces have been on sale since this spring.  Unlike the more costly Fenton line, Dana’s Fallon jewelry sells in the vicinity of a low $100!

Dana wears her own jewelry with style! She is especially fond of bracelets, and has designed a number of large, chunky pieces in earth-shades of white, black and tan.  One piece in particular, sporting a cuff-width of several inches, combines classic bead and stone work with ultra-modern sea shapes and forms.  

YOU CAN FIND FABULOUS BEAD AND STONE WORK WITH AN EARTHY SENSUALITY RIGHT HERE:

 

 

                                     Street Culture

EDDIE BORGO is the designer other designers go to for highly imaginative and creative jewelry designs for the runway.  Known for his exceptional versatility, Borgo’s jewelry has a sexy toughness with plenty of New York Street culture styled in.

Much of Borgo’s jewelry stands out because of its texture and depth.  He also creates spikes, cones and triangles out of materials like onyx and pearl.  These bold pieces, with no small amount of Punk designed-in, have captured the attention of jewelry lovers worldwide.  One piece that combines Punk with a classical aesthete is a simple black onyx spike bracelet that sits flat on the wrist. 

The highly acclaimed and award winning designer, ALEXANDER WANG , has rapidly moved strongly into accessory design, so much so that it now makes up about 1/3 of his fashion collections.  At a young 26, the designer is constantly expanding his vision, developing new ideas and creative modalities.

Earlier this year, he launched a line of eyewear with designer Linda Farrow, at the same time actively pursuing his career as a much-respected menswear designer.   “You don’t want to get stuck in a corner,” he says, explaining why he is continually pushing the edge of design.

                                                               Gothic Traces

Right now, Wang is working on a collection for fall that is best defined as having a Goth- romantic-meets-menswear-vibe.  It is a style consciousness that flows into his accessory pieces as well, bringing them dramatically into a super-mod 2010 modern era.  

Wang is especially big on handbags.  Last October, during a highly successful truck show, Barney’s New York sold out of his spring collection completely in one day!

…AND THEN THERE IS DONNA KARAN. Donna is celebrating her 25th anniversary as a womenswear designer

and one of the most important design influences in the Fashion Industry.  Her “Forever Black” is just one collection exquisitely addressing the needs of the modern, urban woman, and making her a favorite with fashionistas worldwide.

Donna’s personal life is as fascinating as her designs.  She is particularly philosophical and is deeply into yoga, humanitarianism, and Zen, all of which are reflected in her designs, which are clean, straightforward, and refined.  She might be called the queen of minimalism, never overdoing anything.

Donna not only designs accessories, but she wears them beautifully.  We were particularly impressed with a necklace she wears made up of matte-finished stone and coal-like pieces, all geometrically cut into squares, rectangles, triangles and ovals.   The necklace is very long, black, and dramatic.  Wow!

YOU CAN TAKE INSPIRATION FROM DONA KARAN IN CHOOSING MODERN, RICH ACCESSORY PIECES.  HERE ARE SOME SUGGESTIONS AT GREAT PRICES:

Comments (0) Posted by Mary McGarry on Monday, June 28th, 2010

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Prints are walking off with high awards as resort continues to fill fashion walkways east to west.  Boho styles take the lead in many collections, as do young, bubbly fashions with young girls and fun quirky tastes in mind. The interesting thing about many of the prints is how they go (or don’t go) together, often creating a chaotic, yet somehow or other pleasant print jumble.

It often reminds me of my Aunt Peggy, who couldn’t put a room together without incorporating a dozen or more prints.  Like many of today’s fashions, she never seemed to think about how one print looked with another.  If she liked it, in it came!

Take a resort runway outfit put together by Nicolas Ghesquiere of Balenciaga.  On top, you have a t-shirt-like blouse, tight to the body and short sleeved, in a gold, black, white, and green geometric print of circles and band-like stripes set in on a diagonal. On the bottom, the same print, essentially, but totally different.  Here is a mini-mini skirt in that same gold, black, and white geometric print, only this time with a blue instead of green base, and it is all running vertically.  It is very strange. 

Balenciaga accessorizes the outfit well, with a skinny gold and black belt and a heavy silver chain choker that is a little offbeat for warm climes.

YOU CAN GET THE FEEL FOR ACCESSORIZING PRINTS WITHOUT MUCH EFFORT.  HERE ARE SOME GREAT SUGGESTIONS:

 

                                            

                                                              Visual Conflict

MARC JACOBS HAS GONE in the same “I really didn’t think too much about the outfit” direction with a swimsuit, overcoat and accessories.  The bikini suit is a tropical print in gold, brown and blue, topped by a gold, long-sleeved mini-skirt-length coat.

The big sunglasses are gold.  The shoes are gold.  But the head scarf is in a tailored large size check of gold, black and white that doesn’t in any way, other than color, relate to the bathing suit.  The handbag is gold on gold, done in a criss–cross design material. 

A few years ago, we would have referred to these pattern mixes as conflicting.  Now, well…I guess you could get used to it! The mantra here might be to choose accessories that don’t go with the outfit, because they do go under the new design formula.  (Maybe.)

SOME OF THE PRINTS are just a little wild by themselves.  A long evening dress from Naeem Khan is on one hand quite beautiful, even though you have to rub your eyes after looking at it.  This is a splatter, multi-print design in many, many colors, from white to black, pink, orange, turquoise, and yellow. The overall print is all over the place:  strips of black and white polka dots, flashes of bright bubbly yellow, long, leaf-like green pieces, white textured material breaks, and black and white lightning-rod shapes.

   –Khan only accessorizes this with a black and gold skinny belt, which is probably just as well.  No need to have the accessories add even more confusion to the mix. 

                                                          Micro Prints

ANOTHER BIG CATEGORY FOR RESORT IS MICRO PRINTS. Take some of Donatella Versace’s latest cruise wear, with her itsy bitsy mini skirted little dress in a mix of micro patterns. This is a terribly young design with a basically green base laced with orange, blue, and black.  Another micro printed Versace dress is a snug, short dress in tiny-dotted violet print overlaid with graphic black elements. 

Most of Versace’s accessories are low-down, on the feet, and very assertive. Versace displays a strong love affair with the wildest of high platform shoes, mostly wrapped in strings and cords and ankle straps, invariably matching the dress in color and mood.

Celine likewise dips into the micro-print arena with micro printed long sleeved blouses in all-over black and white print with matching long hanging scarf.

Many of the exciting prints being seen on fashion runways this year are done in bold patterns.  Others are soft, feminine.  Florals, both traditional and modern, abstract, play an important role.  There is also a distinct presence of retro designs, especially from the 70s and 90s.  Here and there, a bright rose blossom girlie print set against a white background peeks through, bringing back the fashion princess look of the 50s.

   —A very artsy floral look is also on tap for the season, bringing up visions of Claude Monet’s “Water Lilies,” many updated with an overlay appearance of softly blurred geometrics, like little dots or micro squares. 

 

                                              The Pucci Look

EMILIO PUCCI IS LIKEWISE BACK with his huge as well as micro prints featuring butterflies and wisteria.  These printed dresses are a definite New Millennium take on the designer’s famous yesteryear prints, swirling and curving, and brimming over with color.  Pucci designer Peter Dundas works well with accessories, frequently paring the main color of a dress with the color of bracelets or necklaces.  He also tends to pick up the fabric print forms in the design of the jewelry. Ovals are a particular favorite.  All in all, it looks terrific!

PRINTS WITH A RETRO FEEL ARE BIG NEWS FOR RESORT THIS YEAR.  HERE ARE A NUMBER OF ACCESSORIES TO MAKE THEM LOOK EVEN BETTER:

 

Comments (0) Posted by Mary McGarry on Friday, June 25th, 2010

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A NIGHT TO REMEMBER:  Wasn’t it a glittery night at Alice Tulley Hall in Manhattan recently as celebrities gathered for the 2010 Council of Fashion Designers Fashion Awards!  Sarah Jessica Parker made a Board of Directors’ special tribute to the late Alexander McQueen, saying she was honored to be given the award-bestowal role.  Michael Kors received the Geoffrey Beene Lifetime Achievement Award, while Marc Jacobs won the Womenswear Designer of the Year Award.  Alexis Bittar was acclaimed Accessory Designer of the Year.

Oh, but to see the fabulous clothing and accessories!  Mary Kate Olsen was there with all sorts of interesting and big bracelets on her wrists, along with big stone cocktail rings.  Sasha Plvovrova was radiant in a long black skirt, white silk cami, and huge grey and white beaded bib necklace.  Sarah Jessica Parker was elegantly attired in a blue-violet floral long dress.  She wore black and gold bracelets, large button earrings, and carried a medium-sized black snakeskin handbag.  Little clutch handbags were pandemic!  Jessica Biel’s was light tan; Alesa Chang’s was covered with gorgeous jet beads. 

Donna Karan wore a heavily draped silver grey silk satin off-the-shoulder dress.  Rachel Weiss wore a Jason Wu blue print short dress.  And Iman trumped everyone with a fabulous long black Giambattista Valli evening dress which she wore with spectacular Fred Leighton diamond cuff bracelets on both wrists.  Magnificent!

RESORT VACATIONING:   Grey was a dominant color at the latest unveiling of several resort collections.  Oscar de la Renta presented a gorgeous grey and black evening dress with a Cinderella-flamboyant skirt and a lacey top.  The model wore the dress with a small beaded choker with a delicate black drop pendant.  Carolina Herrera showed a heavily textured grey and brown strapless evening dress, while Diane von Furstenberg put forth a somewhat traditional grey and white bathing suit with a white, orange, blue and black geometric-print over blouse.  Needless to say, she accessorized the very European-styled beach suit with big black sunglasses.  Looked like Cannes!

RESORT OFFERS WONDERFUL OPPORTUNITIES FOR ACCESSORIES.  HERE ARE JUST A COUPLE OF DELIGHTFUL JEWELRY LOOKS FOR WARM WEATHER CLIMES:

 

 

TO CATCH A THIEF:  Los Angeles, Dallas, Houston, Miami and New York are among the areas where retail crime flourishes, according to a new report just released by the National Retail Federation. Other areas with high retail crime include Chicago, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Tampa, Orlando, Washington, and northern New Jersey.  The survey says that larger amounts of merchandise are being stolen from stores, but the number of retail establishments being hit by crime has declined. 

Hyped up law enforcement has helped reduce the percentage of merchants who reported being hit by criminals from 92.2 percent in 2009 to 89.5 percent this year to date.  An executive with the NRF says, however, that criminals are becoming

more brazen with sophisticated theft rings and more aggressive tactics to intimidate store employees.  Criminal activity is estimated to cost U.S. merchants $15 to $30 billion annually.

More than 48 percent of retailers said they are spending more money to fight crime.  That’s up from 41.8 percent last year.  In addition, they are putting thousands into lobbying lawmakers and the Obama Administration to crack down more heavily on organized crime. 

HERE COME THE BRIDESMAIDS (EEKS):  Who would ever, ever wear a bridesmaid dress to a dance, a dinner party, or any other formal occasion once the wedding is over?  Let’s face it:  Once that one big event comes to an end, the quicker you get rid of that monstrosity dress the better!  Bridesmaid dresses have long been unattractive.  Often, they are an embarrassment to the ladies who pay for and wear them. 

   –Well…things could be changing.

The bridesmaid dresses of yesteryear are on the way out. Suddenly, attractive colors are being shown for these dresses, along with sophisticated lines and designs that flatter rather than detract from the wearer. Beautiful blush tones such as those recently introduced in high designer lines have trickled down into bridesmaid dresses, and the effect is often stunning. Pale pinks, pale beiges and soft blues are all a welcome replacement for the garish colors long used in these frocks.

Why it has taken so long to transform these dresses into multi-wear gowns is a mystery, but at least the change is finally taking place.  The idea would seem to be that a friend (i.e., the bride) shouldn’t make friends (i.e., the bridesmaids) buy dresses that will only get one use.

Cynthia Rowley has included a number of good looking bridesmaid dresses in her first-ever bridal collection.  They feature strapless signature cuts, feminine cocktail skirts, and handsome soft colorations. From Vera Wang, one of the fine doyennes of bridal wear, comes a bridesmaid dress that combines the beauty of classical Greek styling with the sleek refinement of modern design.  Done in soft peach, the crinkled chiffon can be worn dressed up or down, depending on the wearer.  It can also be handsomely personalized by jewelry!

HERE ARE SOME FASHION ACCESSORIES THAT WILL ADD CHARM AND PERSONALITY TO ANY NEW BRIDESMAID DRESS:

 

Comments (0) Posted by Mary McGarry on Thursday, June 24th, 2010

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Dressing light for the warmest months of the year is a given:  teens gravitate to minishorts; matrons to sundresses and Bermuda shorts; many men wear tattoo- or muscle-revealing T’s, and the babies among us wear bonnets and stay under the protective overhang of the carriage.  But “light” not only means skimpier clothing crafted of sheer, whisper-thin fabrics, but something just as important:  light in color

–Rarely have designers been so “on target” for a season’s needs than right now.  Light is the mantra for 2010.

                        The Personal Art of Thermal Management

It’s hardly a physics lesson, but color is magical:  the lighter the color, the more it reflects light (and, conversely, the more the object reflects light, the lighter it will appear.)  The darker the color, the more it absorbs light (and, again, the darker it will appear to the eye.)  This is the formula for maximum comfort in mid-summer because sunlight is also heat.  And, as light colored clothing reflects light, it simultaneously reflects heat…away from the body!

White reflects most light/heat, and is the ultimate fashionista choice as temperatures climb.  Black is the other extreme, and absorbs the most light and heat, causing some degree of summer discomfort (unless chilled by air conditioning.)

Best colors for the fun sun season are:  white, cream, tan, pale grey. plus the entire group of colors termed “neutrals,” all favored by top designers for resort wear for 2010.  Deconstructed is the word for many luxe resort collections, even slouchy. 

New ways to be comfortable at rest and in movement are shown in stunning organic lace mini-dresses by Stella McCarthy, muted palettes and gently draped mid-calf dress shapings by Calvin Klein, and just-so cropped jackets by Zac Posen.  Armani’s tulip-shaped cotton miniskirt can go anywhere, any time; as can Tommy Hilfiger’s white cotton shirtdress or Ann Taylor’s sleeveless white top with clusters of fabric petals cascading down from the left shoulder.  So cool! 
But isn’t bright color de rigueur for summer?  Of course!  And that is precisely where accessories come in. Light and comfortable outfits enlivened by bright accessories are dynamic, energetic, and downright fashion-brilliant! Nothing looks as glamorous as shining gold against tanned skin—rings, necklaces, bracelets.  And saturated bright colors can telegraph your mood and fashion sense.

Think of bright bracelets and necklaces, shiny bright clutches, and color-vibrant neck scarves.

REV UP YOUR ‘LIGHT’, BILLOWING CLOTHING WITH KNOCKOUT COLOR

CHOICES LIKE THESE:

 

 

 

 

                                                                                                                        

                                                                                                               

Chic is Easy—Choose What You Love

White denim shorts by Michael Kors are truly must-have!  Pop an oversize blurry-colored peasant blouse over it, an impressive bulky necklace, and you’re ready for the day in an oh, so ravishing way!  This summer long beach dresses, thong sandals, a raffia big-brimmed hat and lots of bracelets will have you looking like you’re on site for a fashion spread. 

Scarves catch the breeze, and can either accent soft pale shades or blaze brightly in contrast.  And don’t forget sunglasses!  They not only protect your eyes from glare, but are ultra-glam as part of an outdoorsy ensemble.  And the choice of shape and color are all yours.
Nothing promotes a sense of personal confidence more than simply feeling physically comfortable in your skin.  As one designer said, referring to resort, “People want to look put together without looking too dressed up.”  Maybe that’s why hippie chic is in, as well as khaki safari ensembles, batik prints, military touches, relaxed looks. But understatement isn’t the mode – personal statement is.  The truth is, everyone wants to look terrific, but without seeming to be trying too hard. 

HERE ARE SOME EASY WAYS TO LOOK GREAT AND COLORFUL YET KEEP TO A BUDGET:

 

                                                                                                                  

Comments (0) Posted by Mary McGarry on Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010

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You’ve heard of the power suit?  Well, now think of the power dress, a whole new wardrobe look for women at the office!  More and more, women are opting for a look that is more feminine

— but no less professional and authoritarian – for the work-a-day world. 

The big change is in the style – the expression.  From CEOs to mid-management, women are turning away from pantsuits and toward the dress, increasingly being called the Power Dress at the women’s executive level.  It combines a look of business acumen with womanly charm and attractiveness.  

                                            One Piece Dressing

Michelle Madhok, chief executive officer of SheFinds and MomFinds says, “The best thing about a dress is that it’s one piece.  No worrying about mixing and matching tops and bottoms.  In fact, one of our most popular buying guide categories is dresses.”

Madhok isn’t the only one who feels this way.  Marsha Welcher, founder and designer of Thayer, a new fashion line, contends that a dress is the perfect answer because it is mindless.  You put one on and your whole outfit is complete, in one quick and easy step.  That makes for fast and uncomplicated early morning dressing. Slip on a dress, grab a cup of coffee, and go!

THE DRESS MAY BE FINE AS-IS, BUT IT BECOMES A COUTURE WORK-OF-ART WITH THE RIGHT ACCESSORIES LIKE THESE:

 

  • Black and silver crystal jewelry.

 

                                               Improved Self Image

                              

The exciting thing about this change of attitude toward the dress is that it indicates an acceptance of femininity on the part of women who no longer feel they have to look like men to function effectively in a working environment.  And the change has been strong enough for the dress to actually begin storming the corporate board room as the outfit of choice for executive women.

But does this look compromise a woman’s ability to manage a staff?  Let’s be honest:  Until recently, it certainly would have!  But the new power dress, with its strong shoulders and structured silhouette has a great deal of sophistication and in no way trivializes a woman’s authority.

Caroline Hedaya, co-owner and designer for a fashion firm by the same name, says “The office tends to be a place that is very serious and stressful, and wearing a dress that is fashionable makes you feel good and can make all the difference.” 

                                        Putting the Idea Together

There are, however, some “dress” codes to comply with.  To start with, mini dresses are strictly taboo for executive office wear.  If you are looking to downgrade your authority, there is no faster way than to wear a short, sexy outfit to work! 

     –Likewise, make sure the neckline of the dress is not too revealing, although you can offset that with a tank or camisole underneath the dress.  

Staying with classics is a good way to assure you’re on target with your dress.  Black is always a great color for an office or corporate environment, but steel grey, navy blue, ivory white, and tan are also excellent choices.

Stay away from “cute” colors or prints, like candy cane pink or cartoon-y images.  Stick with more refined designs, such as geometrics or stripes, in artsy but not blatant styles.

A dress with a blazer or tailored jacket over it is also ideal.  You can wear the jacket to a company meeting, and then take it off when working at your computer.

                                  The Ever-Perfect Versatile Dress

 

That’s called versatility, and the dress offers plenty of it!  That’s especially true when it comes to going out after work wearing the same outfit worn all day.  Wow!  Does the dress ever do terrific double duty here!

A dress with a jacket over it, flats, and a simple, subdued necklace is handsome and fashionable for work.  But how difficult is it to change into a pair of those fashionable super high heels, take off the jacket and the quiet necklace, and add a dynamite statement necklace, maybe a sparkling cocktail ring, and a sexy pair of long, swinging crystal earrings? 

   –Easy switch-a-roo, and you’ve got a dinner-and-dance ensemble to die for!  This is truly after-five extravagance without the fuss!

TURNING THE POWER DRESS INTO SEXY EVENINGWEAR IS EASY WITH THE RIGHT ACCESSORIES.  LOOK AT THESE:

 

Comments (0) Posted by Mary McGarry on Friday, June 18th, 2010

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GOLD! WE’RE IN THE MIDDLE OF ANOTHER GOLD RUSH and it could make the California (1848-1855) look almost infantile.  Well, OK…that may be an exaggeration, but gold is hot and pricey and still going up, up, up on the exchange charts.  A bad economy, with no indication of when it will get better, doesn’t help most people’s pocketbooks.  But oh…is it good for gold!

You see, gold is the ultimate default setting. People flock to gold when their money loses value, or when their economy goes south, or when their investment vehicles look hazy.  Gold is then the big safety zone.  A few gold bars under the pillow at night will certainly help anybody sleep better in bad times. Right now, the price of gold is high.  But, you really should understand something about the value of gold in both good and bad times, especially if you are in any part of the jewelry or fashion industry.  Gold captures men’s hearts and minds, and many will sell their souls for it!

 

Let’s set up a “pretend” situation in which you have several pieces of gold to sell.  Follow these instructions and you’ll find out the gold value of jewelry, and be able to calculate the value of any piece of gold you or your customers might have.

BUT FIRST… HOW ABOUT CALCULATING THE BUYING POWER OF FASHION GOLD — REAL OR FAUX – IN FASHION AND ACCESSORIES?  GOLD, GOLD DUST, GOLD THREADS, GOLD LAME, YOU NAME IT.  EVERYBODY WANTS A TOUCH OF GOLD.  HERE ARE SOME PRODUCTS TO STIMULATE THE MIDAS-MENTALITY:

 

 

                                                   Figuring It All Out

ALL GOLD IS WORTH the same price, no matter whom you sell it to.  But getting the same price from everybody is just about impossible!  If you are going to buy or sell gold, or otherwise just deal with it as a retailer, there is a bevy of things you’ll want to know, not the least of which is the going rate for gold.   

You also have to understand karats.  24 karats, for example is 99.9 percent pure gold.  It is also very soft, which is why it is rarely used for jewelry.  18 karats is 75 percent pure, and it is the preferred jewelry gold in Europe.  14 karat gold, which is mainly used in the United States, is 58.33 percent pure.  And 10 karat gold is 41.6 percent gold, sometimes loosely referred to as “gold-filled”.

Gold is priced by the troy ounce.  So, you ask, what the devil is that?  A troy ounce is not the same as an avoirdupois ounce!  A troy ounce equals 31.1 grams, and is somewhat heavier than an avoirdupois ounce, which is 28.3 grams.  Don’t confuse these two, because it can give you very different idea of what your gold is worth if you do!  To make things easier, you can get a conversion table on the Internet.  Try Yahoo.

Some commercial buyers give a gold seller an offer in pennyweights, to be more exact.  A pennyweight is a unit of mass, which is the same as 24 grains, or 1/20th of a troy ounce, or approximately 1.555 grams. Once you get the exact weight of your gold, you can multiply that by the amount of gold in the karats, and then multiply that answer by the present cost of gold, listed on many financial websites.  Sounds good?  Well, you aren’t home yet!

First of all, you really can’t hold fast to any formula that promises to tell you what you should get for your gold.  This is an Iffy market, and not everybody is ethically pure.  (Or did we really have to tell you that?)  Then, too, the value of gold changes from day to day.  What gold sold for yesterday may have little relation to its selling price today.

And, then, there are also costs involved.  So, once you have the value of your gold jewelry, you have to reduce it by the percentage that the buyer will take, which is normally 25 to 30 percent.  Double check this carefully!  You also have to consider a small percentage that the refiner will take, as well.

                                                 The Big Gold Formula!

Figuring the value of the gold in jewelry takes a few a simple calculations. 

  1. Weigh the jewelry.  If you don’t have a jeweler’s scale, use a regular kitchen scale that weighs in grams.
  2. Convert the weight of the jewelry into troy ounces.  A troy ounce is 31.1.3 grams.
  3. Multiply the weight of the jewelry by the amount of gold in the karats; i.e., 10 karats = 41.6% gold.                        That will give you a formula of : Weight (in troy ounces) X .416.(amount of gold in the karats)
  4. Multiply your answer times the present cost of gold (available on many financial websites) and you’ve got the sale              

value of your jewelry.

                                        Gold and Fashion Accessories

IT ISN’T SURPRISING that when the value of a gold bar goes up, so does interest in gold of all sorts.  Right now, gold is a big mover in the fashion industry.  Gold-plate is in high demand in fashion jewelry.  Gold lame and gold sequins are part of a new look in jewelry and costume couture, all very glitzy-ritz, and classy.

Valentino, Proenza Schouler, and Miu Miu are just a few of the top designers working with brilliant gold coloring for handbags. Dsquared2 presented a dynamic gold statement necklace as part of his runway show for Fall 2010. Balmain jazzed up a brilliantly colored military outfit with gold braid and buttons, real showstoppers in his runway presentation.

WHO DOESN’T ADORE GOLD?  HERE ARE SOME TERRIFIC PRODUCTS TO HELP YOU GLITTER-UP YOUR FASHION CLOSET, ALL AT REMARKABLE PRICES:

 

Comments (0) Posted by Mary McGarry on Wednesday, June 16th, 2010

Filed under Americana
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JULY 4, 1776:  The Official Beginning of the American Revolution.  That’s our country’s all-American rootin’ tootin’ shootin’ date, July 4, 1776.

–But:  battlefield fighting in the American Revolutionary War began over a year earlier, in April 1775, up in Massachusetts!  And, at the outset, most colonists actually wanted to remain loyal to King George III and believed the colonies should continue as part of the British Empire.  But Britain was brutal and abusive, and colonists gradually changed their attitude.

It was England’s overbearing effort to extract money from the American colonies (the Stamp Act and many other crippling taxes) that fueled the colonists’ zeal for independence and self-determination.  And the King’s punitive Prohibatory Act (Feb. 1776) that formed a blockade of American seaports and targeted American ships as “enemy vessels” didn’t help the British in the least. 

What our Founding Fathers decided was to create and publish a “declaration of independence” that would clearly state our position, our grievances against England, and our right to revolution.

This would be a document presented to the colonists, England and the major countries of Europe.

THINK ABOUT IT:  Thirteen young colonies challenging England’s right to rule (and exploit) them, taking on one of the then strongest naval/military complexes in the world.  Definitely a David and Goliath match.  What resulted was a stirring manuscript, the Declaration of Independence, expressing the American philosophy that:

            We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal,
            that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that
            among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Just to be sure all parties understood, a lengthy listing of grievances against the British Crown was set out in the Declaration.  The following is but a brief, explicit excerpt:

He (King George III) has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns
and destroyed the lives of our people.

 

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat
the works of death, desolation and  tyranny, already begun with the circumstances

of  Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally

unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

 

Wow.  There’s no mincing of words there, or elsewhere in the complete document.  And finally,

these extraordinary, courageous men all signed their names, knowing that if the struggle for independence was unsuccessful, they would all surely be executed as traitorous revolutionaries.  Their closing statement:

            And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the

            protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other

            our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

 

And then, one by one, they took pen in hand, and each placed his signature to the Declaration of Independence.  The famous John Hancock signature is almost five inches long! 

NO WONDER WE CELEBRATE THE 4TH EACH YEAR with parades and flags and fireworks and speeches.  Our country was founded by men of sterling character who were willing to sacrifice everything for what they knew was right.

MAKE SURE YOU’RE READY TO DISPLAY THE FLAG AND ADD A PATRIOTIC PALETTE TO PARTIES AND PICNICS THIS JULY 4TH.  HERE ARE SOME RED/WHITE/BLUE WINNERS:

 

  •  American Flag and Eagle Tie.  andHanHandsome artwork.  The bald 
    eagle has been our national emblem since 1782!                         

 

MANY FAMILIES TRAVEL TO WASHINGTON, D.C. FOR THE 4TH.      According to 

a press release from the National Archives, it will celebrate the 234th anniversary of the adoption

of the Declaration of Independence with its traditional Fourth of July program.

The celebration will include patriotic music and free family activities and entertainment for all

ages.  Following the morning celebration, the first-ever National Archives float will launch the

National Independence Day Parade in front of the National Archives Building at 11:45 a.m.

The National Archive celebration highlights include:  Meeting Thomas Jefferson and signing a

Facsimile of the Declaration.  (The original signed Declaration is featured in Archive exhibit.)

Evan Hughes will sing our National Anthem .There will be a dramatic reading of the

Declaration of Independence by historical reenactors.  Attendees can write their grievances in

Revolutionary manner with a quill pen.  And:  All can sign a facsimile of the Declaration  of

Independence .

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WHEREVER YOU CELEBRATE, FEEL THE PRIDE OF HOW WE BEGAN, AND WHAT OUR FOREBEARS ACCOMPLISHED.  BASIC TO ALL THIS IS DISPLAYING OUR FLAG.  CHOOSE THE SIZE THAT WILL SERVE YOUR ACTIVITY:

  • American Flag with 2 eyelets for hanging.  34” x 61”.  Suitable
    for outdoor use.  A number of other sizes/types available.

 

 

 

 

  • Rhinestone American Flag Pin.  Beautiful colors, gold plated.

Wear it with pride.

Comments (0) Posted by Mary McGarry on Tuesday, June 15th, 2010

Filed under Fashion Accessory News
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IN PRAISE OF THE EARTH:   Resort collections are breaking on the fashion world with a hurricane of natural wonders.  The colors are almost exclusively from the earth: neutrals, grassy shades, autumnal oranges and sea-blues.  The looks are generally casual, only excited by pops of glitz and, of course, those unimaginable rocket-high shoes with straps all over. 

Some of the glitz comes from little handbags, like tiny sequined clutches and across-the-body bags in mesmerizing snakeskins.

Shapes hold fairly close to the body, with waistlines emphasized by little belts.  A particular favorite:  little chain belts with a charm finished hang-down.  Also look for rich materials, like silk georgettes, in safari prints and colors:  brown, black, tan and gold lioness colors, or vibrant tiger skin reproductions. : Leather jackets are also hot, most softened by nature colors, as opposed to the hard-line black biker leather we’ve gotten used to in recent seasons.  

The geography is heavily African, filled with jungle lure. Taking a book to read while resorting?  Make sure it’s Rudyard Kipling!

CLASSY RENOVATION:  Interested in updating your overall business appearance?  Take a note from Nicole Miller and start with your website!  Miller contends that the overhaul, which has a modern, a more editorial feel, is the way to go in the present day business atmosphere.  It also reflects her personality and lifestyle better, she says.

Miller also says that continuing evolution of technology gave her the inspiration to upgrade the site.  “You constantly have to update,” she declared.  But apparently, Miller went a little further than just an update spruce-up, the company has radically changed the site.  The new site has the feel of a magazine, and is filled with exciting visuals.  Improved e-commerce pages and intuitive flash collection galleries are just some of the innovations.  Social media play an important role here, too.  The site even includes customer-submitted material. 

As fashion and business associate Richard Agerbeck put it, “The website can be the first place your client is going to see your company. We wanted to help use it to properly brand what Nicole Miller is all about.”

LOOKING TO UPDATE YOUR IMAGE?  WHAT BETTER WAY THAN WITH RIGHT-NOW TRENDY MERCHANDISE THAT WILL GIVE YOUR CUSTOMER ALL THE NEWNESS HE OR SHE IS LOOKING FOR!

HERE ARE SOME GREAT EXAMPLES:

 

 

 

 

TICK-TOCK:  Movado is closing down 26 boutiques?  How can it be?  The iconic museum watch manufacturer says it is shutting down all but one of its stores as a result of years of losses.  It makes you wonder where American taste has disappeared!  The boutiques have featured Movado watches alongside fine jewelry and other fashion and accessory items.

Going forward, Movado will put major emphasis on the wholesale operation of its watch business.  That will include the continuing operation of some 31 retail outlet stores, along with a single boutique in Manhattan’s Rockefeller Center. 

WHERE THE SUN “COMES UP LIKE THUNDER”:  What else could you expect?  The latest report from KPMG says that Chinese consumers are remaining loyal to luxury brands, despite the global economic turmoil.  Market research group TNS conducted the survey in 15 Chinese cities toward the end of 2009.  Here are some of the things they uncovered about the consumers, aged 20 to 44:

  • 72 percent of consumers surveyed said they felt little or no impact from the global recession
  • 62 percent said they would continue to maintain their luxury goods spending into 2010. 
  • 54 percent said they bought luxury goods as a reward to themselves.
  • 44 percent said the motivating factor for their luxury purchases was self-pampering.

 

TNS also reported a strong potential for greater use of technology in China.  The research firm pointed to increased use of mobile phones across the country and to the introduction of 3G technology.

EVERYTHING’S COMING UP ROSES:  Oh, wasn’t it a gala fashion evening at the recent annual garden party thrown by the Museum of Modern Art in Manhattan!  Everybody, it seems, came dressed in florals…wonderful flower prints or floral colors with a sweet smell of Spring about them.  The floral explosions went on and on, with one dress more delightful than the other. Carole Lauder came dressed in a delightful green Prada print, while Renee Rockefeller wore a crisp white Michael Kors outfit, sort of early spring posie style with gardenia bloomings.  Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs performed after dinner, wearing a floral embroidered tunic designed by Christian Joy.  Rachel Feinstein wore a brilliant purple Zac Posen dress while Jo Carole Lauder wore a silvery floral dress with tight black pants, all by Prada.  Yvonne Force Villareal was stunning in a long, Bohemian black and white floral print by Badgley Mischka.  Fabulous!

FLORALS, FLORALS.  HERE ARE SOME PRODUCTS JUST MADE TO GO WITH THESE BRIGHT SUMMERTIME PRINTS:

 

Comments (0) Posted by Mary McGarry on Monday, June 14th, 2010