Thursday, January 8, 2009

Blame Sex and the City

As was the case with a lot of women who experienced their early twenties during the early Noughties, Sex and the City (SATC) was one of my favorite programs. Out of the four characters, we could all relate to at least one of them on some level. And those clothes, those wonderful clothes. Costume designer Pat Field realized how important dress was to the development of these characters. Remember how Miranda dressed during the first season as opposed to the later seasons? She and Charlotte, for a time, dressed in a near-stereotypical manner. The former clad in sterile all-black, and the latter in wasp waist enhancing dresses with a bow or ruffle planted somewhere.

Many of us were heavily influenced by the SATC philosophy of having fun with personal style. I was no stranger to the oversized flower corsage on my coat lapel during early 2001. And Carrie Bradshaw helped to usher in the vintage craze. Very few people indulged in used clothing before she made it acceptable. If they did, they were either high-end collectors of Courrèges and Rabanne or grungy types who had a steady rotation of flannel.

However, some have taken their personal style too far. Whatever your aesthetic is, it's imperative to edit. Thankfully, we're in the middle of winter and people are desperately trying to make it to the inside of their destination. There's basically a sea puffy black coats, black gloves, and black tams. It's during the summer where things really get egregious. There's a profusion of over-styled young women roaming the streets in shorts and stilettos. Their idea of juxtaposing different prints, styles, textures and labeling ends up looking like a hot-messed mish mash of madness. These girls fail to realize that the styles they're emulating are from television—a hyper-reality. The styles were meant to entertain and inspire, not be taken literally.

This February marks five years since our quartet of friends bid us adieu. The film that premiered this past summer brought with it a few more validated trends: belted waist, graphic print dresses, and statement jewelry. These have been lasting sartorial movements amongst those in the know, but SATC validates the styles to a global audience. While there have been some major guffaws on the street level, the show did teach a lot of us to take risks and push our fashion limits. The Style Therapy message is to figure out your own style organically. What works for YOUR figure, coloring, lifestyle; etc. Just because it looks cute on Carrie doesn't mean it works for the rest of us.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Do This In Private #1: Nose Picking

There are a host of things that need to be done in private: clipping nails, copulation, makeup application, and nose picking. Public figures and people in automobiles tend to be most inclined towards this egregious activity. I'm not referring to people with tinted windows either. Apparently the clear window is supposed to act as an invisible barrier. The driver is under the impression that no one is able to see him digging for gold.

As is the case with those folks who like to clip their nails on the bus or subway, public nose picking puts one on the same level as your garden variety serial killer. Truly, a public nose picker is no better. They're both menaces society and care only about themselves. These same public nose pickers will tell you, "I was just scratching my nose."

Just scratching your nose? Not drilling for oil? Not scratching an itchy brain? A true shame in the de-evolution of decorum. What's worse is that these people will be all too eager to shake your hand, sample the food on your plate; etc. Not only is it in poor taste. It can kill you. A poor old chap in the UK accidentally died from chronic nose picking.

The proper thing to do—if you sincerely can't wait to excuse yourself to the WC—is to take out a lovely (preferably monogrammed) handkerchief and pretend to blow your nose. Do a quick poke and swirl and get rid of the offending booger. Whatever you do, please be discreet about it.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

It's Called Nailpolish Remover

Ladies, ladies, ladies. There's nothing worse than some chipped fingernail polish. It can cheapen you faster than fishnet stockings and clear platforms. The other day, on the L train no less, I saw a young woman chipping away at her nails. Not only were the flecks of paint flying in different directions—which could have easily landed in someone's eye and injured them—but she was ruining her nails underneath.

When the Chinese invented nail varnish around 3000 B.C., they had no idea that they were creating a potential weapon. But what's even more dangerous is that a bit of your own nail comes off when you deliberately hack away at your digits.

Short, shaped, and groomed nails
are the loveliest accessories a woman can have. One of the least expensive, too. If you're decked out in a beautifully structured Lanvin dress and Pierre Hardy shoes, makeup to the nines, hair perfectly coiffed, and ragged nails, what's the point of getting out of bed at all?

Details ladies, details. If your nails are slightly chipped, the remedy is relatively small and takes little time. Dab a bit of polish remover on the index finger of the hand WITHOUT the chipped nails and gently smooth the offending area until the edges are smooth. Apply the necessary amount of coats to the nail and seal it with a clear polish protector. If you have several chips on different fingers and/or your manicure is over a week old, it's time to start from scratch.

The old adage of being able to tell a lot about a person by the shoes they wear applies to nails as well. Chipped nails may convey laziness or lack of attention to detail. While it may not signal the end of the world, you certainly won't be bringing your A-game. Early last year, the New York Times did an article on the chipped nail as a trend. You don't follow that trend. It's not for you.

Monday, January 5, 2009

New Service for 2009: $10 CAPSULE COLLECTION

For most of you, this is your first day back at work. You've eaten a lot of treats, downed some sauce, and danced the jig, jit, and dutty wine. What most of you haven't done is worked on bringing your A-game. You still have the same closet with the same ratio: you wear 20% of your clothing 80% of the time.

On January 20, Barack Obama will be sworn in as our forty-fourth president. His platform is change. You need to make that yours as well. The start of a new year brings with it a time of purging the old. That includes those MC Hammer pants you STILL haven't gotten rid of. Every time you reach for them to throw them out, they mutter, "Can't touch this."

I have a new service for those of you who need quick and inexpensive advice. Some of you are saying "$10?! I can't spend $10 on some advice!" Your other therapist gets $100 an hour to listen to you talk about yourself. I'm helping you for a lot less than that. Those daily lunches with your coworkers cost in excess of $10. What are you left with? Some good gossip, yes, but for the most part, indigestion, gas and an angry boss because you took more than an hour.

With a CAPSULE COLLECTION, I'll give you all the fundamental pieces you need in a wardrobe in order to bring your A-game. All of the suggestions I e-mail to you will be live on various e-commerce sites at the time you receive the collection. If you wait too long, sale items may have already sold out. Also, keep in mind people, these are just suggestions. If you don't have the capital now, simply use my advice as a guideline for when you do. New mommies, you really need to consider this. You may not have the time for a CLOSET DETOX, but at least this way, you still have access to STYLE THERAPY.

Here's what the CAPSULE COLLECTION service consists of:

1. Log on to your Paypal account, click on the "Send money" tab and type "" in the "To" box, and "10.00" in the "Amount" box.

2. E-mail me at with a color headshot and full-body of yourself. I need to see your figure/physique, as well as your coloring to determine the best silhouettes, patterns, fabrics and colors for you. Also include some information about yourself to give me an idea about your lifestyle. It can range from what you do for a living to your favorite designers and places to shop.

3. Due to the high volume of queries, responses may take up to 12 hours, but I'll get them to you as quickly as possible. Client satisfaction guaranteed!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Phyllis Hyman: Accentuate The Body You Have

Happy New Year beautiful people! It's 2009 and it's time to stop looking like a sweltering, hot mess. I can't begin to stress how many people have said they won't do a CLOSET DETOX because they have to lose a few more pounds. But an even more egregious type of behavior is trying to conceal what's obvious. We can diminish a paunch with a billowy blouse or play-up an A-cup with chicken cutlets, but there are some things that can't be changed, so let's embrace them.

Phyllis Hyman,
the late, underrated singer who left us too soon, understood this. At 6'2" in heels, she was no shrinking violet. In addition to her heels, she wore towering crowns, huge chandelier earrings, and was a friend to the plunging neckline. As a plus-size woman, she also understood the concept of scale. Her clothing and accessories were on a grand scale because she, herself, was larger than life. Dainty diamond studs and a tiny string of pearls would have been lost on this Amazonian diva. And a woman with a petite frame would be overwhelmed by the pieces Ms. Hyman was able to pull off.

Embrace your body now. Dress the body you have NOW! NOW! NOW! And dress it well. No excuses! New mommies, I know your bodies are changing. Weight fluctuation, different cup sizes, elastic-waist pants—you have it rough, because you got a new body practically overnight. But I continue to stress, don't put yourself or your style on the back burner. You buy your baby new clothes and give them several costume changes during the course of the day. You're still in your crummy sweatshirt from last week. Is that fair to you? Play up your new assets and if you want to get back to your original body, inject your wardrobe with some good transitional pieces.

If you think you're too short, too tall, too fat, or too skinny—get over it! Learn to play it up and as always, bring your A-game! Remember my story of the little girl with the fake toes? If she was bringing her A-game at age 8, there's no reason why you have all twenty of your digits and you're not bringing it at 30.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Smell Ya Later

Hey Mister, looking good. You know it, too...but I can smell you. You're waaaaaaaaaay over there and I'm waaaaaaaay over here.

Listen gents, as a Style Therapist I can really appreciate you taking the time to bring your A-game. But does this attention to detail HAVE to involve so much cologne? My nostrils are on fire and my eyes are watering. It's not even that your Eau de Homme smells bad, there's simply too much of it on your body. Take it easy for the public's sake...please!

We can still smell you 10 minutes after you've left the building. I know what you do, too. You lay your outfit on the bed and spritz the cologne all over—front AND back. In your mind, this is the subtle way to get your scent out into the atmosphere. But you don't stop there. You put it in your hair, on your neck, the palms of your hand—you refuse to leave any molecule unbathed in your special spice.

Please give the public's olfactory nerves a break. Your cologne seeps into our skin, attaches itself to our hair, our couches, car seats and any other surface that absorbs odors. My advice is to spritz in the air and run through the mist. That way only someone close enough to whisper can smell you. You're more appealing and mysterious that way. While you may be suffering from colognism, it's manageable disease. And in some cases, I've known it to be cured.

Friday, January 2, 2009

In Your Face

The other day I was frantically looking for a belt to wear with my favorite dress—a Zero Maria Cornejo number I bought a couple of years ago for a wedding. Nothing was working quite well. The fuchsia rope belt made it look too vintagey, which can come across as too costumey. The black leather belt was a bit too sober. I was attending a business lunch, but I didn't want to appear overly corporate either.

After an extended period of trial and error I realized tha the perfect belt had been staring me in the face the entire time. It was the original belt that came with the dress. Normally I'm not a big fan of this. Somtimes I think the designer assumes the consumer is a complete dodo brain and needs a great deal of hand holding. Afterall, shoes and earrings aren't thrown in when a garment is purchased. It's up to the consumer to figure what works best for him or her.

But in this instance, the belt was saying, "You don't have to wear me all the time. But I'm hear if you ever need me."

Thanks belt.