Style Therapy

I bought the book Style Therapy: 30 Days to Your Signature Style by Lauren Messiah.

So far I’m in Week 3 of the challenge to alter your wardrobe so that you can get what you want in life.

Messiah crafted her career as a personal stylist after hitting her own roadblocks in life.

Now she’s a million-dollar entrepreneur.

The memoir aspect of Style Therapy is the part that inspires me the most. At the end of this blog entry I’ll link to Messiah’s website.

She used to be a Hollywood stylist. Her life turned around when she decided to go into business for herself helping ordinary women.

In Week 2 of the 30-day challenge you confront other people’s opinions of who you are and what your body looks like.

Messiah confessed that after a hurtful comment about her thighs looking fat in shorts she didn’t wear a pair of shorts until she turned 36.

Her defiance to rock short shorts inspired me to get over my own gaga about my thighs. To buy and wear a pair of shorts too.

Like Messiah I think being open and honest is the way to go.

My literary agent told me that maybe I should archive this blog and focus on other things.

Counter-intuitively I decided to keep posting blog entries here that tell the truth.

Messiah links rocking your authentic style to achieving your goals in life.

While working on the exercises in Week 3 I was empowered to reach for the stars.

Later in life I find myself becoming only more ambitious not less motivated.

See the Lauren Messiah website to download a free e-book.

Reading the emails she sends me is one of the highlights in my inbox.

Favorite New Book

By a happy accident I was able to get a copy of this book.

The subtitle is a misnomer. This is because there is one rule to this guide:

Only women who can afford the $100 and up shirts featured in this book have this kind of street style.

For everyone else this is a useful guide with Q&As and checklists that can help us recreate the looks in lower-cost versions.

What does ring true about this beloved borough of New York City is this quote:

“People who thrive here wear their freedom of expression.”

So–go out and treat yourself to this irreverent guide to fashion.

“Mix This With That” and “Build a Working Wardrobe” were the two sections that were my favorite.

Brooklyn celebrates everyone’s multicultural roots. People come here from all over.

Isn’t that what everyone wants–to be loved and accepted for who we are.

Brooklyn is the broken land where soul pilgrims land to find ourselves. Free to be the same selves we have always been.

Finding Beauty in a Broken World

Everyone living on earth is beautiful.

Finding beauty in a broken world can be a tonic for the hard time you’re going through.

Smearing on a new shade of lipstick won’t bring about world peace.

Yet I find myself wearing lipstick on Zoom meetings. This makes all the difference in how I feel.

Now that 3 bags of clothes are gone (I can see my bedroom rug again!) I feel like my load has been lightened.

Fashion is where you find it. I take inspiration from books.

My latest haul from a trip to Barnes & Noble were two books: Anatomy
of Style
and How To Not Wear Black.

The first book features famous models and actresses and talks about their
style preferences. With photos of the women in their standard outfits.

My favorite models featured were Kate Moss and Liya Kebede.

I find this book to be like taffy: sweet candy yet hard to chew. Your
confidence could nosedive seeing the photos of these attractive women.

Too for inspiration I recommend the first book by Scott Schuman The
Sartorialist
. In the book he features photos taken on the street of often
ordinary people dressed in distinctive digs.

This book was published circa 12 years ago. It stands up to the test of time.

I own easily over 15 clothes and style and makeup books. You need to have a
hobby to cheer you up when your city has gone into lockdown. Reading the books gives me joy.

Being able to find beauty in this broken world is nothing to be ashamed of.

Everyone living on earth is beautiful.

Define beauty.

I’m happiest wearing my world indigo hoodie black trainer pants and sneakers
to make a run to the deli.

“You look adorable” the woman behind the counter tells me.

I’ll take adorable over sexy.

I’ll take blogging to the beat of a different drum.

We can’t all have Liya Kebede’s cheekbones.

Yet we can take inspiration from how she dresses and from her humanitarian business ethic.

National Clean Out Your Closet Week

The third week in March is National Clean Out Your Closet Week.

Every year I write about this theme in the blog. The Salvation Army truck driver took off my hands 3 bursting donation bags full of belts, clothes, and pocketbooks.

It is strange to be in the position of having size 2 Petite summer pants become so loose that they no longer fit.

When other size 2 Petite pants are so tight not even a snake could fit into them.

Oh–the perils of the sizing system in the U.S.

That’s why a lot of American women run out of a department store dressing room in tears.

It’s not unusual to have pants and jeans of four different sizes in your wadrobe.

2, 4, 6, 8–no one appreciates the guessing game as to which item will fit when you order online and the box arrives at your door.

On the other hand it is not odd to suddenly fall out of love with the clothes you used to wear.

Goodbye, khakis. Hello, black jeans.

To stay young at heart you should refresh your wardrobe every so often.

The older I get the more obsessed with clothes and dressing up that I’ve gotten.

As a Generation X girl I don’t want to fade into the woodwork.

Millennials can have their avocado toast as they’re so famously accused of coveting.

I’ll take a good coat and boots in this NYC chill that doesn’t warm up until early June.

Fashion is where you find it–and you can find joy in the clothes hanging in your closet.

Donate the items that no longer suit you. Get rid of the pants that no longer fit. Say farewell to the colors that make you look ill.

The spring is here in one week. Having hope is called for.

Editing the contents of our closets can spark joy.

Who wants to spend the morning agonizing because your closet is bursting with items you don’t wear?

Keep the items you love.

Call the Salvation Army truck to take away good-condition clothes that could bring joy to a person in need.

This is a win-win.

Looking in a Cheer-View Mirror

The year is ending. A time when a lot of us look in a rear-view mirror to take stock of our lives. I say it’s time to look at our lives in a cheer-view mirror.

The memories can be sugar and spice or a bitter pill to swallow. Either way I think it’s wise to view our past with acceptance and understanding instead of regret.

Though I appear to be in my thirties or early forties I’m on the cusp of 56. Are you readers younger? Or are some of you older like I am?

The end of the year finds me thinking of the time I was a disc jockey on FM radio in the 1980s.

As I examine my life I take inspiration from Eric Daman the costume designer for Gossip Girl.

In his book You Know You Want It Daman says that we can use elements of our personal history to create our outfits today.

So too I think we can mine this history to uncover facets of our early life that we want to reclaim post 50.

To ask: “What do I want to keep in my life? What do I want to get rid of?”

You can make a comeback at any age. I’m thinking of my younger self with awe and reverence for how I broke the rules.

No–I didn’t conform when I was 22. I played alternative music on the radio. I subverted traditional beauty by using dramatic makeup on my face. I dressed in Avant Garde clothes.

This points to the reality that I don’t want to fade into the woodwork–to be rendered invisible–as I get older.

As a Generation X girl I want to make a statement once again.

Today I swipe on sassy rhubarb lipstick as a way to be bold.

I’m screwing up the courage to call the guy I’m interested in.

A fortune cookie I cracked open years ago proclaimed: Fate loves the fearless.

Hello tomorrow.

Spring Cleaning in December

I identify as an Artist. I’ve always thought that wearing clothes was a form of self-expression.

As the new year comes on I persist in thinking “I dress, therefore I am.” As if the right outfits will take me where I want to go.

It was time to let go of the clothes and the thoughts and the feelings that held me back. Out, out—with the old—and in with the new.

I’m doing spring cleaning in December to get rid of clothes that no longer thrill me.

I’ve tossed blue and faded jeans into the donation bag. An olive cardigan too dull and drab to continue wearing.

The beige-and-black summer blouses I washed out of my sartorial hair too. Couldn’t I command attention without having to wear shirts that made me look like a 1990s office worker? Wasn’t there a better way?

The urge to purge my drawers, closet, and storage rack was stronger than ever.

For me change starts with my wardrobe. Sorting and organizing better what I own. Not bringing into my apartment new clothes that won’t see the light of day.

Like the multi-color zig-zag pattern rayon cardigan. I’m not a disco diva so what was I thinking when I bought it?

Resisting the allure of buying things that catch my eye has always been hard. Who isn’t taken in by an item of clothing that beckons you to believe that if you wore it you would become a superstar? Or at least—a spectacular version of yourself.

At the end of the day to a lot of women a dress is just a dress. They don’t imbue their clothes with the magical power to engineer a positive mood in the wearer.

Only I’m ready to test the theory that dressing up in black jeans and different color pants and colorful tops could cheer me up.

My thinking was that clothes could have the effect of vitamins.

Living through 2020 has been hard for all of us. I firmly believe 2021 will be better.

What better way to bring in the New Year than to clear out your closets?

One day we will be able to go out and paint the town red or gold or whatever color catches our fancy.

Until then I stand by the maxim that whatever gives you joy shouldn’t be discounted in this time when the COVID-19 outbreak is still in effect.

Unlike a lot of people I enjoy cleaning out and organizing my closet.

What gives you joy? Just Do It.

Dressing for Yourself

Heck–I accidentally posted 2 blog entries about the Mally Roncal book.

In this time there’s a lot to be preoccupied with: staying free from the coronavirus, shopping for gifts if you do that, and caring for yourself and loved ones.

It pays to take joy where you can get it.

For instance: the Harper’s Bazaar November 2020 issue. The essay “Performance Dressing” was right-on.

Leandra Medine Cohen had championed the ethic of dressing for yourself.

In the magazine she wrote that writing about this online she went so far “as to suggest that if we all tried to dress to reflect our multitudes, we could actually start to become them.”

No doubt because of living indoors during the pandemic she saw things differently today:

“Clothes…hid me when I was vulnerable, magnified me when I wa strong, but their power was limited. This work of figuring out the kind of person I want to be, don’t want to be anymore, and the ruthless self-examination that comes with it, that’s on me.

What a terrifying and liberating and thrilling thing.”

Should the November 2020 issue be on the newsstand still I recommend buying it to have on hand this essay alone.

One thing that Leandra Medine Cohen wrote rings true with me: that testing the boundaries of your style allows you to be more than one thing.

It reminds me of the Psychedelic Furs’ song “Pretty in Pink”: the lyrics get at how the girl will be who she wants to be–until tomorrow.

And who will you and me be tomorrow after the pandemic ends?

The journey to our future selves is worth taking.

There’s nothing better than dressing for yourself. For the person you are today. Changing up your style as your life rolls along.

Remember the 1980s? Those clothes are best left in the dust bin 🙂

Active Minds

I’ve often thought that change starts first with the clothing you choose to wear.

In the 1980s I dressed in head-to-toe black long before it was the trend to do this. I wore mini skirts and thigh-high boots.

How you dress makes a statement without saying a word.

Maria Grazia Chiuri gets it right: “The way we dress is a manifesto of what we think.”

The 1980s were a decade memorialized in my memoir Left of the Dial. A time when I wore garish makeup and weird clothes. A reflection of the mad tones in my head.

It’s true: your clothes have the potential to say something.

Who are you today and who will you be tomorrow?

On a recent trip to JC Penney of all places I bought for $6 each a blue-striped tee shirt and a tie-dye sweatshirt and a yellow scarf.

That store might be going out of business. Everything was sixty percent off.

Today dressing to shock no longer holds an allure for me. Nor does dressing like a tart to meet a man.

If “fashion is where you find it” it would be interesting to people watch to see how protesters dress on the street.

Wearing active wear to get active in a movement:

It’s something to think about.

Facing Our Faces

Magazine articles talk about how the use of filters on selfies has altered how women view themselves.

Seeking perfection is a myth because it implies there can be no growth. Achieving a perfect state there would be no higher you could go.

I’m doing things differently today to dismantle perfectionism.

The idea of not using a filter to change the appearance of my face and body appeals to me.

It’s a radical risk to go outside with your hair undone or your face without makeup. Mostly because women are held to and buy into a higher standard of what’s right.

The part of me that resists want to disrupt the traditional notion of what’s acceptable beauty.

At 55 years old I no longer cover applying a full face of makeup.
Those Sephora makeovers were gorgeous yet impossible to maintain day in and day out.

As well getting dolled up that way in my OKCupid photos did nothing to entrance men to send me messages.

It is in the imperfect where everyone shines as human beings who are our authentic selves.

Now I’m owed a free Sephora makeover. This time I will get one with a twist: to tell the makeup artist to use only 5 products. To design a look I can recreate on my own.

Today I think it’s time to celebrate differentness.

Glossy and stylized images aren’t real.

After the pandemic is over I intend to experiment with makeup in a subtle way.

Bravery is called for no matter how old a woman is.

The daring to look in the mirror and shout:

“I see you. I celebrate you.”

Real beauty is what’s on the inside. Expressing the inner outwardly is the goal. This is when a person is most beautiful:

Not being afraid to express themselves.

In the coming blog entry I talk about my experience getting a haircut during the pandemic. The photo of my haircut is unretouched. Without using a filter. In it I used only foundation blush mascara and lipstick.

You could call this approach a makeunder instead of a makeover.

There’s a thin line between art and artifice.

It’s time to get real. Some of us are getting depressed seeing photo-perfect images on Instagram.

My hope is to empower blog readers to do your own thing not what society tells you to do.

Our Common Thread

The blog title is the title of the June/July 2020 Vogue. It is a special issue on Creativity in a Time of Crisis.

I want to quote from two people whose photos and quotes grace the magazine.

I use the quotes to encourage readers to buy Vogue.

____________________

Cynthia Erivo – Atlanta:

“I’m still picking outfits that make me feel good–even if I’m just going downstairs,” says the actor. “I’m still getting up and doing my little facial and skin care regimen. I’m still wearing my jewelry because I love that, and it’s a part of who I am…So that stuff hasn’t fallen by the wayside yet. I would say I’m staying fashionably cozy.”

Alessandro Michele – Rome:

“I’ve rediscovered knitting and the sacredness of manual work. Knitting is my way of praying,” says the Gucci creative director. “I’m also learning how to play my classical guitar, feeling the connection with my dad’s love for music. I’m aware of the privilege I have–I can slow down, while lots of other people are working tirelessly to help each and every one of us make it through these agonizing times.

We would not be here thinking about what this pandemic is teaching us without their priceless effort. From my windows I can hear the birds singing as I’ve never heard before; seawater in Venice is clear once again.

These are the little signs we need to look at once we go back to inhabiting this fragile world.”

______________________

What I have to add to the dialog:

Be grateful for what you have. You have everything right inside you that you need to succeed. Respect the natural world and the human beings living alongside you on this green and glorious earth.

Each of us gets only this life to live on this one planet. Live for today and focus on the present moment before it’s gone.

Today is the greatest day. Only today matters.

The past had an expiration date–it ended. The future isn’t guaranteed.

Today is a gift to open and rejoice in.

Pay attention to the birds singing on your fire escape. Listen to the song of life.

______________________

Living through this terrible and tragic pandemic I’ve decided not to play it safe when returning outdoors.

What I wrote in here years ago:

There’s no safety in playing it safe. The path of least resistance leads to a dead end.

Dare beautiful readers–dare to be yourselves and strive to make a difference.

More than ever the world needs us to band together for the common cause of humanity.