Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Style Therapy New Year's Resolutions

As 2008 comes to an end, it's time to set some realistic goals regarding your wardrobe. Here are some tips to help you along the way:

1. I will not buy an item simply because it's on sale.

2. I will not get caught up in the number on a label. A size 2 by one designer can be a size 12 by another. I will not be a pawn to anyone's vanity sizing.

3. I will not buy an item I have doubts about in the hopes that it will grow on me. Fungus grows.

4. I will not keep clothing in my closet that I haven't worn in over a year.

5. I will detox my closet before buying another item. I'll either do it through Style Therapy or on my own.

6. I will try on EVERY SINGLE THING I purchase before leaving the store.

7. I will not allow pushy salespeople to force me to buy something so they can get their commission.

8. I will not hold onto an item I don't wear just because it's by a high-end designer.

9. I will not hold onto items I don't wear just because I got them at a steep discount.

10. I will not twirl or constantly stroke my hair.

11. I will not buy or wear any counterfeit items.

12. I will not buy any clothing that's too tight in the hopes that I'll fit into it after I lose a few pounds.

13. I will only buy colors and silhouettes that flatter me.

14. I won't get the Rihanna haircut, because it does not flatter me...even though I wish it did.

15. I will not allow my cousin Peaches to dress me. He doesn't know what he's talking about; and he's rather tacky.

16. I will make 2009 my most stylish year ever by following these simple resolutions!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

An Open Letter to Parents: Please Stop Buying Your Adult Children Clothes

Dear Parents,

Please stop buying your adult children clothing. Not just during the holidays, but in general. You seem to think you and your children share not only the same personal taste, but also the same size. Especially you baby boomers; I want you to cut it out!

Chances are, your offspring's sartorial preferences are so diametrically opposed to yours, you might as well be on two different planets. Of course the thought is appreciated...kind of, but a gift card will be appreciated a thousand times more. Your adult children are not your contemporaries. While they may be able to relate to you as they mature, the parent-child dynamic hasn't changed.

Dads, stop trying to force pleats and church (or temple or mosque) shoes onto your sons. Moms, your daughter's are just not into the holiday sweater thing. And if you read the previous post, you would know this. I'm not done with you yet, moms (as you hold most of the purchasing power in your household). Your sons are not husbands. Just because you bought your husband that golf shirt, it does not mean that your Williamsburg-dwelling son needs one, too. I don't care if it's a two-for-one sale.

I'm sorry to be so acerbic parents, but it needs to be said. Money and electronics are always the way to go. Trust. I can't begin to tell you how many Closet Detoxes are comprised of items you bought your kids that they have never worn. You've wasted money and they've got dead energy in their wardrobes. How about a Freaks and Geeks DVD collection? Or What's Happening!! on disc. Get the second season, it has the Doobie Brothers two-parter. And no child would be mad at you for getting them a flat screen.

If you MUST, if you absolutely INSIST on buying them clothes 1)You're not listening to me and 2)You still think your kid needs you to buy them new clothes for "school". It helps you feel validated and wanted.

It's time to let go. They don't love you any less. You've (hopefully) raised them to be independent, upstanding citizens. They will never admit to you how much they hate the oversize fleece you bought them, so I'm telling you. You can make it up to them by purchasing the aforementioned DVD collections. You (and they) will be happy you did.

Warmest regards,
Your Style Therapist

Monday, December 8, 2008

Holiday Sweaters: Public Nuisance

'Tis the season to show truly bad taste in apparel. Whether received or given, Holiday Sweaters rear their ugly turtlenecked heads during the first week of December. Long a sartorial blister, this nuisance of a knit endures.

The Holiday Sweater is an 80s relic that refuses to die. While this is one of my favorite decades fashion-wise, there are certainly some things that are better left in the garment grave: acid wash, ripped denim, hairsprayed bangs, and last but not least, the Holiday Sweater.

There are some that are marginally acceptable. And then there are those that should be shot...if one is bonkers enough to shoot a sweater. Please make sure it's not being worn if you do decide to go that route. If there's a sweater that ever deserved to be shot, it's the Holiday Sweater with a holiday sweater motif.

Should you receive one as a gift this year, it's time to reconsider your relationship with the giver. If the person is a grandmother, she's two generations ahead of you and should be given some slack. Moms, aunts, sisters; etc. should all know better. If you manage to get one from a member of this list, consider it a ploy to sabotage your wardrobe. And in retaliation never, ever wear it around them or anyone else. In fact, it should be a reminder to bring your A-game when you're around them. No person would give this to you if they really loved you. It's akin to getting one of those complimentary bookmarks from Barnes & Noble as a gift. It's that low.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Wrapped Hair is Not An Actual Style

I suppose I'm on a roll when it comes to this decorum stuff. I get easily riled up. This message is directed towards a select few. There is a type of woman who likes to be seen on the street with her hair wrapped and covered in bobby pins. Usually, the young woman goes to the hair salon and instead of having her hair styled like a normal person, she asks her stylist to wrap her hair up and secure them with the pins. Think of it as leaving the salon with your hair in rollers. They're both on the same level.

If the said woman was to go directly from the salon to her house, there would be very little harm, very little foul. I can't say with confidence no harm, no foul because she's still out in public not bringing her A-game. However, if the windows in her car are tinted, almost no one will see her. When I used to straighen my hair, I wrapped it all of the time in order to keep the frizzies away. On the rare occasion, your Style Therapist would indulge in semi-public wrapped hair...but only if I was going straight into a car and then a house. No, I was not bringing my A-game. Plus, that was before my Style Therapy training. But some women brazenly walk about town as if it were an a legitimate hairstyle.

I remember during my undergrad days, the occasional student would show up to class with this dreadful look. It's become so accepted that some women run their errands with the wrapped hair. They're on the subway, walking down the street, and engaging in regular public life. What does that say about them exactly? Why stop with the bobby pins? Why not come out in fuzzy house slippers and drawers.

Style Therapy is about bringing your A-game—always. I'm not necessarily referring to high-end, fashion forward looks. That's not for everyone. I'm talking about clean and fitted in your signature style. When you present yourself to the world, practically in rollers, you're shouting out that you don't care about yourself or what people think about you. That's not the makings of a rebel or maverick, but a slob...and a damn fool.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Imaginary Basketball

Style Therapy
isn't just about how to dress and wardrobe efficiency. It's also about decorum: civility, protocol, and deportment. Good old fashioned etiquette. And etiquette isn't solely based on how to eat an artichoke. It's doing everything in your power not to behave like, for lack of a better term, a damn fool. Damn fool conjures up a stronger image than merely fool.

Yesterday, while waiting for the train, I discovered a damn fool on the train platform. He was listening to a song on his iPod that he was singing along to. But that's not what made him a damn fool. If I have an exceptional tune on one of my playlists, I may hum along as well.

What made this young man a damn fool was the fact that he was playing imaginary basketball. Yes, imaginary basketball. Instead of one-on-one, it was one-on-no one. He dribbled and made three point shots. I knew they were three point shots because he threw his pretend ball while standing on the edge of the platform and tried to make it across to the other platform. He didn't stop there. His repertoire also included crossovers, pick and rolls, and ali oops. Standing on the yellow caution portion of the platform is dangerous when the train is bolting down the tracks. But practicing your jump shot is another matter altogether.

His imaginary solo game wasn't offensive. It was his acute case of attentionwhoritis, not to be confused with labelwhoritis. Every time he slam dunked his imaginary basketball, he'd turn around to see who was watching. I must admit he caught me looking at him a couple of times. I wasn't in awe. I wanted my face to be read as, "Aww, you poor, damn fool." I'm not sure it worked. Right now he's probably gearing up for the Imaginary Basketball Northeast Semi-finals.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Dear Style Therapist: Can I Keep My Velour Suit?

Dear Style Therapist,
I am in love with my velour jump suit. I wear it around my apartment when it's cold but I dare not wear it out in public. What are your opinions on wearing velour jumpsuits outside my home... in public. Do you suggest I purchase a regular cotton jumpsuit instead?

Thank you,
MAB on Long Island

Thanks for writing MAB. I'm an advocate of wearing whatever you want around your house...providing that it's not a sweatshirt, fleece, or velour jumpsuit. A velour jumpsuit is like marijuana. It's the gateway "drug" of the sartorial world. It can lead to stronger (read: worse) substances (read: clothes) in your closet. And while you say there is no way you'd wear it outside of your house, that's the same thought process of a lot of crackheads. No one sets out to become a crackhead. It gradually happens.

I propose a good replacement is a denim and sweater jacket/cardigan combo. If you believe this is too formal for indoors, I think you should completely separate your school clothes from your play clothes. Approach your lounging clothes as a time to pamper yourself in luxurious fabrics for maximum comfort. After all, there's no way you'd run an errand in a silk caftan.


1. Cable-knit jacket

2. Tie-waist sweater

3. Cardigan coat

4. Shawl cardigan


1. Skinny jean

2. Tight jeans

3. Skimmer skinny jeans

4. Classic flare


1. Paisley caftan

2. Peacock caftan

My point is you could easily be caught outside of your house with your velour on. A caftan is more extreme (and more comfortable), which means you'd think twice before exiting. When you're on the road, you should always, ALWAYS try to look sharp. Velour suits have contributed to our overall sloppiness. Bare midriffs, exposed thongs—not to mention they're not the most flattering things. If the caftan idea is too mystical, and you insist on keeping your velour, I suggest you do something to it that will make it impossible to wear your fuzzy suit in public. Say an Elmo applique?