Tuesday, March 17, 2015

spéciale de la mode: Vogue Sweep

Do you ever find yourself so stressed to the point where you feel like you need be swept away for just a moment to reprogram and reboot yourself back to a positive state of mind. Some people go to the fridge for this feeling, some people take a puff of the reefer, but here on #IMFBlog, my fix is the Vogue website. Say I am at work and I dealing with an overflow of calls where I feel I could risk my job at the moment with a giddy erg to just pull the plug from the wall, I pop on over the Vogue website and indulge in the rustling fabrics and juxtaposed textures combinations that Vogue has such a rich history of providing in regards to aesthetic relief. Their sartorial and beauty and content will enliven me, and help me remember the beauty that lies beyond the four walls of my cube. Vogue Sweep is my new segment I will begin this year in which I will highlight my sweep of the Vogue website for the most interesting and eye opening news headlines I find when I visit the website. Let me know what you think of what I find. 

Friday, March 13, 2015

spéciale de la mode: Dress for Success Drive a Big Winner for Charity and TAX

Editor’s Note: Jonathan Copeland set an example that other employees interested in helping those in need can emulate. He found a CVC charity he wanted to help (Dress for Success, which provides clothing for low-income women who need to upgrade their wardrobes for interviews and jobs), trained with them to become a volunteer, brought his idea for a fundraiser to TAX’s CVC Committee, and then led the effort. It was a big success for both the charity and TAX. Remember, classified employees get 16 hours of community service leave a year that is ideal for something like this. 

The trunk of my Jeep is finally relieved of all donations received during the Commonwealth of Virginia Campaign (CVC) Dress for Success Accessory Drive which ran from Nov. 17 to Dec. 5. I traveled many times between TAX and the DFS boutique to deliver the donations. The final tally of items collected was 750, along with a cash donation of $25. Based on the Salvation Army’s Donation Value Guide, and using the mid-range value for each type of item, the total value of the items came to $4,686.

This added a huge boost to TAX's goal of $23,000 for the year. In fact, the drive was the single largest contribution toward the agency's CVC goal.

“I’m amazed at the outcome!” said Bente Clatchey, TAX’s CVC program manager. “It was an awesome idea. I’d love to have other employees come forward who are interested in helping certain charities and work with us. We are always open to new ideas.” 

I was surprised and impressed not only by the number of items that was collected, but the type of items received. Even though the drive was only calling for accessories, I still received many clothes and suits that I delivered to the DFS Boutique. Items that were not suitable to be worn to a job were put aside for use in the 3rd Annual Dress for Success Fundraiser Fashion Show on April 17. 

The Dress for Success Fashion Show Committee says, "Thank you TAX!" Pictured from left are Shandra Thompson, Melisa Ross, Jonathan Copeland, Shantell Malachi, Cathy Durrette and Tiffany Malory
Fashion Show Coordinator Melissa Ross expressed her gratitude, saying that because of the Department of Taxation, the clothing donations received were enough to create six “Recycled Garment” bags. These bags will be given to each participating designer who will be able to recycle the pieces donated and invent three couture red carpet looks to showcase their talent in the show. We hope to bring in 20 designers and have seven confirmed so far. 

“At last year’s show the local talent literally blew my mind by creating gorgeous evening wear looks mixed with casual looks, all created from a bag of random clothes!” said Ross.

Dress for Success is asking TAX for further support in gathering the resources needed to make the show even grander and bring more awareness to the affiliate. Along with recruiting designers/stylists, DFS is asking for donations. 

If you are a designer/stylist or know of any who would be interested in participating, please contact fashionshow@dfscentralvirginia.org. We are also looking for backstage volunteers, make-up artists, hair stylists, and photographers/videographers who are interested in donating time to the DFS mission. 

We are also seeking donations of products or gift cards that can be used for our silent auction, door prizes and raffle. Anyone interested in promoting a business by donating gift cards or products for this event is welcome. 

Thursday, March 12, 2015

spéciale de la mode: Follow @inmyfashionblog on Instagram

As I mentioned in my Editor's Letter, the best way to stay connected with me right now is through my social media, namely Instagram (@inmyfashionblog). Below you will see my timeline and all that I have been posting since the beginning of the year. I have been quite busy as one can see. Since working on the Dress for Success Central Virginia Fashion Show, I have been very enterprising as I have been networking and marketing the show to my community. I have a good feeling about the turn out of our show, especially as we are closely approaching the show date. Please follow me to keep up with what #IMFBlog is getting into, and leave me your comments. I love to respond to those that double tap and comment on my photos! Here is a brief synopsis of what has been going on since the beginning of 2015. 

January 2015: 1) Began my social media onslaught by using Instagram and Facebook to solicit for Designers to participate in our fashion show 2) Celebrated my best friend's birthday who is real fashion plate, in my fashion 3) Began developing a business plan to start a Closet Organization Services, coining the name "Closet Auditor" 

February 2015: 1) Was hired as the new Dress for Success Central Virginia Boutique Manager and conducted my first Donation Saturday Volunteer Day. Every 1st Saturday it is my duty to supervise volunteers to update and clean our Boutique and Career Center. 2) In honor of Black History Month, I celebrated 'Black FASHION History Month' in which I highlighted fashion history pertaining to Black History (I even got comments from Clothing Mogul,  Dapper Dan and NBA star, Walt Frazier , themselves, who had left comments under the posts of which I commemorated their place in fashion history!!)

February 2015: 1) Valentines Day I featured Audrey Hepburn and Robert Wolders as a fantastic example of true love 2) I secured my first client as a "Closet Auditor" and received a positive review from my client on Facebook!

February 2015: 1) Fashion Week began and I featured shows of Black Designers for Black History Month 2) Snow days attempted to slow me down but I remained busy as I did market research to better serve my clients in Closet Organization. I even assisted my father in working on completing my parent's unfinished basement! 3) My client ended up wearing the outfit I suggested she wear for her Valentine's Date night which I was very proud to have helped with.

February 2015: 1) Conducted a photo shoot with my good friend, Sophia Briggs (final photos to come on IG and on Dress for Success Central Virginia Social Media)

February 2015: My birthday happened and I had a wonderful day as I made a huge change for myself that day!

February 2015: 1) Milan Fashion week (my favorite fashion week) occurred and I had to feature Street Style from that week as well as the Moschino show which I feel will be a commercial success in stores as it was this past season. Jeremy Scott is really revamping the brand for the current time, in my fashion. 

March 2015: 1) I was invited by local VJ, Clovia Lawrence, to attend the Virginia Legends Luncheon in which civil rights activists along side Martin Luther King Jr. (my all time Idol) were honored for their work to fight for civil rights. 2) Alongside Clovia Lawrence and Dr. Ervin Johnson, I had assisted in Dr. Johnson's DO SOMETHING MOVEMENT in which we prepared lunch bags with soup and passed them out along with blankets to the homeless within our community. We got up early and walked the streets of Richmond to those less fortunate so they could be a little more comforted in this cold weather season. 

Tuesday, March 10, 2015


Phew! It's been a while since I last posted to #IMFBlog! While there has been a shortage of content here on my blog, I have no doubt been busy providing content on my social media outlets (I told you I would get better with social media #NewYearsResolution)!!! You can find me on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, and Pinterest. Most exclusively, I have found that Instagram is my primary mode of communication in which I am able to post my daily happenings, and connect my other social media to those IG posts, but my commitment to providing fashion/style inspiration has not faltered!

Dress for Success Central Virginia Boutique
Looking back on the last two spéciale de la mode posts of 2014, you will see that I am working with the non-profit organization Dress for Success Central Virginia, and I am pleased to announce that they have charged me the responsibility of Boutique Manager!! It is my duty to ensure that old donations get filtered out of the boutique and new donations are selected to refill the boutique on a monthly basis. We get a large amount donations from the community, and in my fashion, we get some pretty good quality items! I am most proud to be able to serve the women in my community in this way in that its always great to put fashion to work for its finest purpose which is providing confidence, and self-assurance. I have had the pleasure of corresponding with a Board Member on the Worldwide Board for Dress for Success, Alex Garfield, and a phrase that he said to me always stands out in my mind: "Cause related marketing ought to be a part of every business." He will be being honored a the 2015 Something to Share Gala in NYC on April 16, 2015 for his service in the community by Dress for Success (see below). I wish I could attend, but our Fundraiser Fashion Show will be occurring the next day!!! I hope you plan on attending!!! 

In college, I wrote my graduating Independent Study paper on the Fashion Industry and it's social responsibility. I postulated that fashion has a unique responsibility in that even though the general perspective of the industry is that it is a frivolous business with superficial pursuits, when one approaches one's work with a heart for service, those "superficial pursuits" can mean much more! The efforts of Dress for Success is an example of what I had written about in 2010. I am so proud to be able to apply my creativity and business acumen to serving my community in a unique way that helps to improve employment rates, forward our economy, and foster positivity and confidence within those I help, USING FASHION! 

I have so many projects in the works because of Dress for Success and I am most passionate about using fashion as a vehicle for growth, not just for myself as I work towards my own career goals, but growth for the world at large. I figure there is plenty negativity being promoted in the world through our media, but it comforts me to know that all the while there is plenty positivity that I can contribute to. I have come in contact with amazing people as of late, and it's because I feel the Lord has built me for service. 

"Built For Service" is my new theme for 2015! Service means understanding people and what their needs are. It's about understanding what resonates with people, and what do they want. It's not about me me, it's about what other people are interested in. I think THAT is central theme about the The Secret of Stylists I came to realize in 2014! It's a new season for me going forward. I have under gone many changes in my life and I think they have all been for the better. As I focused on "The Secret of Stylists" all last year I think the key point I came to realize is that styling is all about how well you can understand other people's lifestyles and how they live and how you can help them make their time in life easier! In my fashion, the energy you put out in the universe is the energy you get back, and I can testify to that notion. I have been committed to exuding positivity, and empathy for others. As Audrey Hepburn says about empathy in the movie, Funny Face, "Put yourself in someone else's place!" I have been reaping some amazing blessings because of that notion, and I have new sense of clarity of how I see my life, and I think its mostly in part to having a passion for helping others.  I may not be at Vogue (just yet), but I feel the energy I am putting into the atmosphere is sufficient enough to make me feel whole and complete in my efforts to rise to the top ranks of the fashion industry, because at the end of the day, its all about service.    

Sunday, December 21, 2014

spéciale de la mode: Dress for Success Designer and Stylist Call

Dress for Success Central Virginia is calling all emerging and veteran designers to participate in our 3rd Annual Fashion Show & Fundraiser.

Each year Dress for Success provides hundreds of women with professional attire. All of our clothing comes from generous public donations. Occasionally, we receive donations that are not appropriate for work. However, we believe every article of clothing has a purpose. In 2012, we hosted our first Recycled Fashion Show and challenged local designers to create runway worthy designs from our collection of unworkable clothes.

This year the tradition continues with RED CARPET RUNWAY!
This year’s show features three categories:

Red Carpet Runway: Designers are challenged to recycle preselected garments in red carpet or runway ready looks! We’re talking high fashion! Designers can submit up to 3 looks but at least one of the designs must include red (Dress for Success’ signature color)

RVA designer spotlight: Local designers are invited to submit two of their personal and/or original designs to be featured in our fashion tribute to the River City

Dress for Success: Stylists are challenged to style our models using gently used professional wear from the Dress for Success boutique

Deadline for Entry: Friday, January 31, 2015
Designer Participation Fee: $30
Date of Event: Friday, April 17, 2015

Designs will be judged and prizes are awarded to the winners!
To participate in the show or for more information please contact fashionshow@dfscentralvirginia.org

100% of proceeds benefit Dress for Success Central Virginia

Saturday, December 20, 2014

spéciale de la mode: Dress for Success Helps Women Gain Confidence

Ever thought what would happen if your clothes were lost in a house fire and money was scarce? Or what would you do if you had to flee an abusive relationship and leave most of your belongings behind?

While these scenarios may never happen to you, Loretta Harvey, the Boutique Manager at the Central Virginia chapter of Dress for Success, informed me of the above examples of how the local group is helping women in unfortunate situations.

Dress for Success is a worldwide nonprofit organization whose core mission is to promote the economic independence of disadvantaged women by providing professional attire, a network of support, and career development tools to help them thrive in work and in life.

As a volunteer Personal Shopper, I understand why Career Center Manager Sandra Thompson is forever chanting the slogan of Dress for Success, which is “It’s way beyond the suit.”

In my fashion, volunteering as a Personal Shopper with Dress for Success is utilizing fashion  for its finest purpose: empowerment!

According to a 2013 study by the International Monetary Fund, “Women, Work and the Economy,” female labor force participation has remained low, around 50 percent. Being that women still fall under the categories of under-represented and under-served, each woman who is referred to be assisted by Dress for Success stands a chance to positively curve that statistic. 

Dress for Success Worldwide began in 1996, funded by a $5,000 inheritance that founder Nancy Nublin received from her great-grandfather. After the local chapter in the Central Virginia area folded six years ago, current Regional Director Shantell Malachi worked passionately to open the doors again in 2012. Volunteer committee organizer Sarah Hobgood reports that since the Central Virginia region re-established the chapter, it has served over 300 women in the area. Even though they are still in the beginning stages – their headquarters is in the basement of the Boulevard United Methodist Church – they are rapidly increasing their impact in the community. 

Dress for Success, which is eligible for contributions through the Campaign of Virginia Campaign (CVC), recently took another step forward to help women in need gain renewed hope in their journey with its first accessories drive. The drive at my department began Nov. 17 and ran through Dec. 5. 

I figured this would be the perfect time of the year for people to edit their closets, and called for black dress shoes and heels (especially, but not limited to, those above a size 9), handbags, and new hosiery. Scarves, jewelry and other accessories were also collected. In those three weeks (not including Thanksgiving break), I was able to collect over 750 items valuing over $4,600 based on Salvation Army Donation Values.

Although I was only calling for accessories, I still accepted donations of clothes and was able to stock the Boutique with more great garments, and was also able to gather items for our Dress For Success Fashion Show where we will have a competition for designers to take the clothing items that we cannot use to give for women to wear for work, and recycle those pieces into a couture piece of fashion which will be judged by a panel of judges. This is one of three competitions we have for our designers. I was very impressed by the items that I collected and look forward to seeing what designers create when we hold the show on April 17, 2015 at the Canal Club in Richmond, Virginia.

Friday, December 19, 2014

READing Your Style: Holiday Gift Etiquette: The Dos and Don’ts of Exchanging Presents

Of course, this is crunch time for gift buying. This is the last weekend to Christmas, and if you hadn't bought gifts since Black Friday, in my fashion, the below advice will help you prioritize how you go about gift buying (especially if money is tight). Gift buying can be a tricky endeavor when it comes to certain people, but thankfully Vogue.com supplied us with an overview of Holiday Gift Etiquette to help us out during the next 5 days:

Which family members get gifts?
Aside from the obvious musts—mom, dad, siblings—how do you determine what family members get a gift over the holidays? “My family is so big, we usually limit gifts to immediate members, and then do a Secret Santa exchange with our extended family,” shares one writer. “We even set it all up online on a site called Elfster, which makes everyone’s life easier.” It seems many are turning to the Internet to organize their gift-giving these days. One editor admitted everyone in her family made online wish lists and then emailed them out to each other, taking the guessing out of the equation. If you’re spending Christmas with your in-laws, it’s okay to limit your giving to only your mother-in-law and father-in-law. “I used to only get presents for my boyfriend’s parents, until one year I branched out to his aunts, so then they felt obligated to get me something from then on,” says one editor. “I think in the end, skipping presents is almost appreciated on the other side. It takes the pressure off the table.”
What about your friends?
Most of the staff said they no longer exchange gifts with friends. “It was something I used to do back when I was in college,” says one editor. Instead, most of them now choose to do something together as a mutual present. “My girlfriends and I always decide on something fun like going to see a play or having a spa day or a very nice dinner,” says one writer. If you do exchange gifts with friends, make sure you open the gifts at home and not in front of each other, says one editor. “It’s better this way. There’s no awkwardness or comparisons among them.”
In new relationships
There was a bit of disagreement among our staff regarding gift-giving during an early courtship. “If you’ve just started dating someone, even if it’s only been a few weeks, a little token is always thoughtful,” says one writer. But one of our editors was strongly opposed: “I think you have to be seeing each other for at least six months before you start buying them anything!” The jury is still out on this one.
Office guidelines
As for who in the office gets a gift, the general feeling is you should give something to either your assistant or someone you work with very closely to show them how much you appreciate their effort throughout the year. As for your bosses, while it’s not obligatory, a little something never hurts. “They’re aware of your pay grade, so there’s really no need to impress them,” adds one fashion editor. Finally, if you love giving your office mates presents, make sure to bring a gift along for everyone—and keep it under $25. “You don’t want everyone to start speculating how much money you actually make,” says one writer.
What not to give
Even though we work in the fashion industry, all of us agreed that clothing is usually a bad idea—unless it’s something the other person has specifically mentioned they wanted in the past. “The holidays are really not the time of year to force your personal style on others,” said one fashion editor. Other faux pas? “I hate it when people give me a funny gift,” says one beauty editor. “Honestly, who has ever liked a gag gift?” Finally, the general consensus in the office is, unless you’re an actual chef, artist, or designer, stay away from anything homemade. “My friend always gives me this jar of some nonsense she makes in the kitchen,” says one writer. “Just give me a card next time.”

Monday, December 15, 2014

EDITOR'S LETTER: December 2014

During the Thanksgiving Holiday, on my visit back home, my brother introduced me to the greatness of the HBO series, Orange is the New Black. Whenever I come home to visit my family, my brother and I have time to catch up with each other by binge watching television series I am too busy to pay attention to with my normal busy schedule. When he mentioned he wanted me to watch the critically acclaimed show, I had my assumptions that the only reason my 17 year old brother was watching the show was because of the plethora of women’s locker room scenes, but I found myself utterly captivated and amused by the show and I stayed up till 5 o’clock in the morning watching the entire first season, well after my brother had decided to go to bed. In my fashion, “Orange is the New Black” is genius! 

Dress for Success Personal Shoppers assist clients with wardrobe attire for their new positions. Women who are referred to DFS go through a program where they get 1 initial suiting for their interview. If they are hired, they then get an additional 5 outfits to go towards their 1st work week and beginning of a more independent lifestyle.

For the past two months, I have been volunteering with the non-profit organization, Dress for Success of Central Virginia. If you are unfamiliar with the organization I suggest you check IMFblog later in the next few days to read the article I wrote for my company’s community newsletter on behalf of the Accessory Drive I conducted at my job for Dress for Success. Dress for Success’ main mission is to promote the economic independence of disadvantaged women by providing professional attire, a network of support and the career development tools to help women thrive in work and in life. Having volunteered as personal shopper for the past two months, I am so proud to be affiliated with an organization that really speaks to the power of clothes, and the social responsibility of the fashion industry to use fashion for its finest purpose. Providing confidence! 

Considering, this is considered the season for giving I feel even better about assisting Dress for Success because it’s the holiday season and funds are looking a little funny in the gift buying department, so holding an Accessory Drive where I made a call for donations of dress shoes and heels, jewelry, handbags, and new hosiery was a really fitting for the time because in the two weeks I was able to collect over 750 items to stock the Dress for Success Boutique, as well as prepare us for our Dress For Success Fashion Show we are holding on April 17, 2015 at the Canal Club in Richmond, Virginia. There is no other satisfaction than being able to help someone get dressed and gain confidence to be able to forward their quality of life. In 2015, we are really looking to assist women who will be exiting correctional facilities to assist them with transitioning back into the public to start building a better life for themselves, so it was a coincidence for me when my brother had me watch “Orange is the New Black”, because now I have a new understanding and perspective on the lives of women in prison. 

I love the show because they will have a theme for what is going on in the episode, but on top of that they will show the back story of one of the women who correlates very closely with that theme for the episode, explaining why that particular women is in jail. Most women who are incarcerated are admitted because of self-defense or taking the fall for the crimes of another accomplice (i.e. brother, father, boy/girlfriend). Even though the women deserve time for their wrongdoing in most situations, the circumstances behind their actions is interesting to delve into. 

In my fashion, instead of receiving this season, giving to ones community can be just as fulfilling as receiving a Larson & Jennings chain metal watch (aside: on my wishlist), or the Hilfiger Collection shearling-lined army-green parka I have had an eye for since it was photographed in the October 2014 issue of Vogue. Thinking back to Audrey Hepburn, I have been inspired by how she contributed to UNICEF, giving her energy and notoriety to a noble cause. I am glad an organization such as Dress for Success exists and to have a great new project to be a part of in 2015.