Sunday, October 26, 2014

spéciale de la mode: Shopping Secrets of a Vintage Clothing Vet: Lynn Yaeger Shares Her 5 Golden Rules

Anyone who knows anything about me, knows I absolutely ADORE a great thrift store! If you can find a store where you seem to find at least one great item each time you go to it you have found a good thrift store for yourself. Considering one can find clothes for $1 to $10, how can one not be tempted to spend $2 on a barley worn blouse, especially if it's designer. In my fashion, its all about how the item is worn that allows one to step out the box of the trends of the moment. The unfortunate fact of the matter is that most people cannot imagine sifting through the humongous, and seemingly disheveled inventory of some stores to find pieces that can pass for daily wear that don't make one look they stepped off a Warner Bros. movie set from 1950. That dreaded "selection overload" is what we like to scapegoat the culprit to be, but I was pleased when I saw a post on on Vintage Shopping advise from the accomplished, now Contributing Editor to Vogue Magazine, Lynn Yaeger. Her eccentric style is strongly recognized within the fashion community, and her work in fashion writing spans past 30 years. In the post entitled, Shopping Secrets of a Vintage Clothing Vet: Lynn Yaeger Shares Her 5 Golden Rules, and in my fashion, her advise goes along perfectly with my theme, The Secret of Stylists, in that she helps to demystify how to go vintage shopping or thrifting without being overwhelmed. 

Vintage Shopping Lynn Yaeger
Photographed by Tim Beddow, Vogue, May 2013

Julius Caesar, that ancient vintage shopper (you thought he paid full price for those togas?) once said, “Experience is the teacher of all things.” By which we are pretty sure he meant that before you begin shopping at the Manhattan Vintage Clothing Show tomorrow, you will probably benefit from a few gentle tips, offered by a veteran who has been attending these events (and hauling home treasures, along with some whopping errors) at least since the Clinton administration.

1. Please don’t buy it if it doesn’t fit! If it’s too big, you might be able to make it smaller (but that could ruin its line, and therefore its charm), and if it’s too small—well, it’s old, and may be rip-prone anyway. So please, just don’t.

2. If you are fairly new to vintage shopping, you may be more comfortable finding something that echoes current runway trends (the sixties resurgent at Saint Laurent; the seventies in all its loopy fringy glory practically everywhere else). If you’re skittish, start small, with a bag, a scarf, a hat.

3. Be wary of the advice of your fellow shoppers! Sure, it’s fun to hang in the communal fitting room and swap comments. Everyone, maybe for their own sick reasons, will tell you you look great, even when you sort of don’t. Remember that in these circumstances, you have only one real friend—the mirror.

4. Don’t forget to bargain! And always say, “What is your best price?” if you are not sure you want it! If you say, “Will you take x amount?” and the dealer says yes, you are honor-bound by the laws of the flea world to buy the thing.

5. Go super early for the best selection—plus you will see what the scouts from design houses are buying, which is always fun—or super late, for the best prices. The nearer to closing time it is, the less likely the seller wants to lug that 50-pound, 1920s wardrobe trunk back to the van.

*6. #IMGBlog SUGGESTION: What if you find an absolutely amazing piece at a Thrift, but you tend to be the type that cringes at the thought of wearing someone else's clothes which have already been lived in, I personally suggest the following:

Depending on the delicacy of the fabric the first thing you will want to do is wash it immediately in the washer, or take it straight to the dry cleaners on the way home from the thrift to pick up as soon as possible. Then even after you have washed it and you still feel the unsettling feeling of the fact that this-was-someone's-piece-of-clothing-and-you-don't-know-who-that-person-was put it on a hanger in your closet or in your drawer and leave it there unworn for a considerable amount of time, or at least until the feeling starts to set in that you have owned the piece for a good amount of time to consider it officially yours, and you can forget the anonymous other person existed.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Preserving Style: A Surprising Way to Treat Chapped Lips

Every winter, for me, is such a battle for hydration! Some people are blessed with skin that retains enough moisture where external application can become too much of a good thing (i.e. clogged pores and pimples). But for people like me who have to be on the constant scour for the best hydrating products that avail me the moisture I need to get through the day without shriveling up, hydrating my skin can be a terrible burden, especially with winter looming around the corner. A particular area that has always been a issue for me are my lips. If you have a "chapped lip" issue, hopefully the following advice below from helps you out. I am in the process of testing these methods myself so perhaps I can report in the future on the fact that these practices work. You can also view their review of a ton of other lip balms on their site here

A Surprising Way to Treat Chapped Lips

Here's something really surprising that I learned recently: "Eating a lot of citrus fruit in the winter can make it harder to heal chapped lips, because juice from oranges and grapefruits irritate them," says Jeanette Graf, a dermatologist in Great Neck, New York. "The same goes for certain toothpastes." Use a lip balm right after you brush your teeth or eat an orange, and your lips won't become as dry. And then there are two more things you should know about treating chapped lips, including the fastest way to rehab them:

Soothe chronically chapped lips, fast. "The quickest way to fix them is by dabbing on an over-the counter hydrocortisone cream before bed, and then smoothing on Aquaphor the next morning," says Graf. "Keep using the Aquaphor morning and night until your lips are back to normal."
Pick the right lip balm for everyday. One that's creamy or viscous penetrates and heals the cracks in your lips better than a wax. Look for ingredients like hydrating shea butter and hyaluronic acid. If your dry lips are persistent, a treatment with ceramides will help repair your lip's natural moisture barrier (try By Terry Baume de Rose SPF 15 with ceramides and shea butter).

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Style Watch: The Secret of Stylists

If you are familiar with my Style Watch posts from when I began #IMFblog at the beginning of 2012, I would post music videos as my suggestions for style inspiration. For a while now my Style Watch post have been fashion interviews and documentary-like videos, but I still think one can get a lot of style cues from music videos for, in my fashion, music videos help to complete the message the artist is trying exploit. They help to leave a lasting impression of the message being expressed. To me a song can be made or broken from a music video (aside: unless the song is one of true talent and genuine expression, then of course, a song can stand alone). If you are not particularly captivated just by hearing the song, seeing a video for the song helps one to understand the perspective of the artist and bring a new level of appreciation for their artistic expression. The same can be said of a good song, that has a bad video, which in turn leaves a unsettling feeling of inconsistency between the two that unconsciously puts us off to accepting and appreciating the message of the art. The songs below accomplished the former for myself. I think the visual and audible cohesion envelop the viewer into their world of thinking. From being in an artists mind for four minutes through visual interpretation, there are many style cues one can pick up on and translate for oneself. For me the energy in these videos are so sensual and seductive, but in two different ways, both of which makes one feel sexy from watching it. What do you think?

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

EDITOR'S LETTER: October 2014

Well, I guess since the last time I posted it was Spring, heading into Summer, one could say I took a little “Blogging Summer Vacation". In my fashion, it was much needed because think about when your favorite singer or band is producing great work from their new album, and you favor them so much that even their old material seems just as fresh as their new single. You are on a hiatus, but as all good things come to an end, the band has to rest and recuperate from promoting the art you love so much. After coming down from your high of their insatiable music, you crave more, but there is such a void while they are away. You feel selfishly impatient as slight feelings of disdain for their absence leaves you feeling personally abandoned (kinda the way I feel about Rihanna right now if you get where I am coming from). But during their absence, we have to realize they too are only human and in order to continue bringing world shaking music to our lives, we must allow them to renew and soak in new experiences so as to translate them into new classics on our personal playlist. 

That is what I think of my break from #IMFblog. In my May Editor’s Letter, I mentioned how I have been building my sensibility as a stylist and have been conditioning myself to be a most effective and efficient stylist/style mentor with my ongoing theme The Secret of Stylist. In doing so I hope to answer the question how can we apply the experiences of successful stylists to improving our own style sensibility by examining the commonalities and differences between different stylists approaches to style. For me, this summer has been about taking what I have read and studied, and taking the time to practice what I learned instead of blogging about it for a while to gain a fresh and more mature perspective, especially as I was able to apply some of what I learned at Forever 21 as I styled the mannequins.  For instance, one trend I have been experimenting with is “women repelling”. When I think about it I have been women repelling for a while now for I enjoy women's clothes because having a thin frame I find a lot of their clothes (especially menswear inspired women's wear) fit and look more flattering on me. But lately I have been going as far as to  wear a string (or strings) wearing pearls with my button-ups going into work, knee highs on club nights, and delicate floral prints. I find it a fun challenge to find different ways to wear them on myself in combination with other masculine pieces as to suggest a masculine appeal in combination even though these pieces are traditionally feminine. Right before I went on my “Summer Vacation”, I picked up the Summer 2014 H&M magazine and was satisfyingly titillated to read the trend report “Beyond the Suit” by Lauren Sherman. Thanks to Leandra Medine, founder of the popular style blog “Man Repeller”, the term “Man Repelling” or wearing cool, quirky clothes that guys don’t really get has been the term for fashion forward women as of late. But as Sherman highlights it appears the concept is bleeding into the dressing sensibilities of this generation of men, and it's not just for the gays, in my fashion.

I think men are seeing clothes as simply clothes and that a gender association doesn't mean much in regards to ideals of masculinity when you consider our modern social climate. In my fashion, women repelling DOES NOT say I want to be a like woman. Instead it says, “Yeah, I am wearing a dress, AND I am still the top dog!” It’s almost a new proclamation of masculinity, one that adheres to feminist ideals of equality among the sexes, where the man is proclaiming how much he can look like a women, but still ooze masculine appeal. As I have observed, its almost like the sixties all over again with women and hemlines. The hems of men’s shirts seem to becoming acceptingly longer and longer among young consumers, and as Sherman’s article shows examples of men in women repelling looks, it appears we can take hemlines where ever we want. Taking after men like Kanye West and Jared Leto, men are not afraid to experiment with different accessories and more feminine hairstyles. With the right amount of cool machismo and creative combinations with other masculine pieces, a skirt on a man doesn't look as feminine as one might think, and this type of view on clothing is, in my fashion, our generation’s fashion revolution. 

At VA PrideFest 2014
I have written about this before on #IMFblog, case in point, Casey Legler, who is the first female ever signed to Ford Modeling Agency’s men board. In my post READing Your Style: Androgynous models who ignore the gender rules, I quoted Legler from an article in the UK Guardian, and she stated: "We have very strict ways in which we identify ourselves as men or women and I think that those can sometimes be limiting … Seeing me on the men's board … speaks to a notion of freedom, you know. There's something really bold about that … it's saying there is also this other way and it's really rad." Her statement is the basic reasoning for which I wore the look in this post with my zebra print caftan belted with a silky track jacket (both of the latter were from H&M coincidentally), black leggings, and Chelsea boots. I wore them at this year’s Richmond Gay Pride this past weekend, and felt this was the perfect time to break out this look during that time. Women Repelling really speaks to the notion that clothes are clothes and we should feel comfortable to express and celebrate both our masculine and feminine qualities that make us individually unique. I personally like playing with the idea that to be a man doesn't necessarily mean one has to wear a suit and tie day in and day out.We all have feminine and male qualities, and to embrace those qualities regardless of which sex we are is how we will attain self-actualization of who we are in this life. 

At VA PrideFest 2014
It was funny to me to read Sherman’s article where she writes: “Stephanie Trong, co-editor-in-chief of, would rather her guy look like Ryan Gosling than a street style head turner. ‘I’m more into guys who do the sportswear thing, and who don’t look like they spent more than ten minutes deciding what to wear,’ she says.” Unfortunately for Trong, it would seem that this breed of men is dying off as more men clamor over fashion like high school girls. As I mentioned in November of 2012, New York Magazine reported that “the luxury Men's fashion market is growing at 14% per year, twice as fast as the women's market which has shown a steady growth of 8% per year”. With this trend taking off the way it has, I can’t help but think about the chant we use to say to the opposite sex from our grade school days, “I can do anything better than you.” It’s as if men have decided, “If you can wear a dress, why can’t I?” and, in my fashion that is a very valid question to ask. As Tim Gunn has informed us, a lot of the popular fashions modernly associated with women, were most likely, in the past, begun by men. So it’s no wonder we are coming around full circle in fashion history, because after all, fashion doesn't repeat itself, but it sure does have a way of having the same rhythm as past time periods. 

Certified Women Repeller! This isn't too feminine is it? What do you think?
Speaking of time periods, now that the Spring/Summer 2015 shows are coming to close today, I can really assess what is to come of fashion's future, so it’s back to the grind, and I will keep you posted with my sartorial philosophies.