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DRESSING ON THE SIDE

 

By Maureen Mancini Amaturo

 

(Pullquotes, if room)

 

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Sophia Loren

<“Sex appeal is fifty percent what you’ve got and fifty percent what people think you’ve got.” >

­–Sophia Loren

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Elsa Schiaparelli

 

<“In difficult times, fashion is always outrageous.”>

–Elsa Schiaparelli 

 

 

The trademark of French street style is a scarf. But for the donna Italiana, style goes deeper. Italian women dress from the inside out. You see their soul, their dreams, their passions, pride, temperament, temper, and fantasies in what they wear even to the market. Like talking with their hands, a chic fashion sense seems to be an Italian trait. And ever since Julius Caesar’s third wife, Calpurnia, bloused her toga by pulling it up over a rope belt and pinning it with a gold broach for her husband’s birthday party, Italian women have been the benchmark of impeccable style.  

 

What’s their secret? Here are some style fundamentals that Italian women have up their well-tailored sleeves that non-Italians can adopt, even on a budget. 

 

The Big Picture

 

• Quality. No need to have an entire famous-label wardrobe. Invest in one designer piece, one statement-making, luxury item that will last. Build outfits around it. Quality fabrics, quality tailoring, quality fit.  

 

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 The bag, the heels, the attitude

 

• Don’t save your “good” clothes for special occasions. For Italians, every day is special. Italian women will wear a luxury piece to walk the dog. 

 

• Attitude. To look like an Italian fashion icon, you have to feel like one. An air of seduction, strength, and mystery works.

 

And Now the Specifics…

 

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Italian street style printed coat and heels.

 

• Know your body and what accents your best features. Fitted silhouettes are a staple of Italian style–slim-fit jeans, tight tops and dresses. Choose figure-flattering pieces that highlight your arms, waist, legs, neckline…whatever is your best body part. You’ll feel confident and look confident. Attitude, remember?

 

• Dark blue, gray, or black jeans, preferably in a slim-cut or cut that flatters your figure. Choose a length that works with heels or flats.

 

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The perfect jean accenting the legs with high-heeled booties  

 

•Pencil skirts and fitted dresses. Your body type and height will determine what length is best. No pleats. No A-lines. The la dolce vita fitted waist with flared skirt is great, but wear it with a fitted top for balance and to create an hourglass figure.

 

• Add a jacket to your look. Leather jackets are <so> with Italian women, too. Current street trend in Milan: tailored knee-length and long, duster coats in bright colors and prints.

 

• Red lipstick.  Even if you’re wearing jeans and a white tee, the drama and confidence of red lips elevates everything. Know whether you’re cool (yellow-undertone) or warm (blue-undertone) to find your perfect red.

 

• A truly statement-making necklace. Italian businesswomen will always stand out at a meeting or at a black-tie event with this one stunning accessory. 

 

• High-heeled leather shoes and boots worn with everything. If you must, chic flats are fine, but scruffy-looking footwear, flip-flops, and crocs are taboo.  

 

• A great handbag. Any size. Any color. Make it leather, make it quality.

 

• As figure-conscious as Italian style is, it is not about baring too much. Mystery is a big part of their seductive fashion. 

 

• Sunglasses, as if this is a surprise. Nothing punctuates Italian style more than designer shades, even on a cloudy day. 

 

Try out your Italian style. You haven’t lived la vita di moda until you’ve walked a mile in Giuseppe Zanotti’s shoes (and the perfect outfit to go with them).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Maureen Mancini Amaturo

 

Once, long ago, there was a fashion trend that was totally functional. But it was a long time ago and only that once…until now. The recent multi-purpose trend in fashion continues and is such a relief — you can hear grateful sighs from Seventh Avenue to the seashore. Everywhere, women and their wallets are welcoming versatile, double-duty style. And this summer, fashion fans have hit the jackpot. 

 

Following the summer beachwear-as-street-wear trend, beach bags aren’t just for beaches anymore. They’re working overtime. They can be dressed up or dressed down. They’re serving up style that works from sand dunes to dinner. They look great with espadrilles, rompers, and maxi dresses. (Oh, and bathing suits.) 

 

Beach bag style spans the spectrum from classic straw to piñata-like. While the classic straw bag is a staple, there are trendier, more fashion-forward versions putting the <fun> in functional. This summer’s beach bags feature all the of-the-moment trends, like embroidery, tassels, pompoms, crochet, kitsch, figural shapes, words and phrases, and bright colors plus durability, roomy size, and the power to stand up to sun, surf, and sand. 

 

Here are the top beach bag trends that happen to be faves to wear to work, the gym, shopping around town, too. 

 

• Hand-Crocheted and Raffia Straw: Nothing says summer like these classics.

 

• Embroidery: It’s everywhere. One of the street trends that’s storming the beach.

 

• Tassels and pompoms: Another street fashion trend showing up at the shore.

 

• Multicolor, bold shades, and bright prints: Whether in adornments and details or as a beach bag background.

 

• Stripes: Eternally beachy. Chic, modern, and the perfect example of fashion duality.

 

• All-over prints: Especially ethnic and folklore prints. 

 

• Oversized: Fold over for an alternate look or to use as a shopping tote, or don’t fold for a family-size beach bag.   

<Beach Tote Notes>

 

 

 

Classic beach-to-street tote at Lola’s

 

• Carry your makeup everywhere? Find a beach bag that has an insulated lining to keep your makeup from melting (and keep drinks cool, too).

 

• Beach bags are big, and they should be. But their roomy interior can make it hard to protect or find small essentials. Grab a smaller, zippered pouch to store your cell, keys, money, etc., or choose a beach bag with an inner zippered pocket.

 

• Vinyl beach totes are perfect for the pool where you are close to lots of splashing. Straw or canvas beach bags are just fine for a sandy beach.

 

• With styles so chic and versatile, a trendy beach bag will be the only bag you need for a beach — almost any — vacation. 

 

•Not that you have to, but you could match your sandals to your beach bag. Accessorize your swimwear and cover-ups the way you would any other outfit.

 

• Need to keep your hands free, like you do when you take your kids to the beach? Try a beach backpack. They have lots of zippered compartments, are comfortable, durable, easy to store and clean, and are made with waterproof or water-resistant fabrics to protect from waves and weather.

 

• If you need a new summer bag, shop beach bags – even if you’re not a beach person. Dive head first into the statement-making, colorful, quirky, accommodating accessory that could be just the thing that makes your outfit.

 

 

Shopper/beach bag and trendy pompoms at Clutch

 

Big, bright, and colorful at Parkers

 

Fashion and fun in stripes with metallic trim at Great Stuff

Fun and fruity at Clutch

Oversized beach totes at Sarza

Tassels and pompoms at Shoes ‘n’ More

Touch of kitsch at Clutch

By Maureen Mancini Amaturo

 

Speaking of Fall Fashion…

 

Fall ’17 fashion can be described in one word: FUN. It’s all about details, bright color, creativity, sensual fabrics. “Texture. Update to a velvet blazer this season,” says Hayden Maitre, manager of Great Stuff. “It’s all about the sleeve details — smocking, fringe. I’m seeing lots of camo in shades of green. And fur trims and touches, faux and real. And lots of velvet.” Here are only a few of the trends everyone is talking about.  

 

<<<Red>>>If you add only one color to your closet for fall, make it red. Dramatic and classic, professional and playful. It adds pop in small doses or makes a statement as a jacket or boot choice.  

 

<<<Statement Sleeves>>> If you haven’t added a statement-sleeve something to your wardrobe yet, I’d be surprised. This will be an easy find as you shop for updates. 

 

<<<Classic Jeans>>> Higher waist rather than low-rise. Straight leg. Unfinished hems — with a fringe look — and deconstructed bottoms. “The trend is less rips, a cleaner jean with all the focus on the hem. Jeans with definition at the bottom,” says jeans expert Sheryl Blit, at Havana Jeans. “Mid-rise is very popular. It’s about comfort, comfort, comfort. Also, we’re seeing lots of velvet and stars on everything.”  

 

<<<Metallic>>> Not just for parties anymore. How do you not feel great in something shiny? Pair metallic with toned-down pieces, i.e, a metallic skirt with a wool blazer, metallic tank beneath a velvet or denim jacket, a metallic sweater with jeans. Too shy to shine? Try a silver clutch or scarf or metallic gold sneakers. Metallic is going to the office, too. 

 

<<<Luxe Looks>>> Rich, soft textures shearling, chenille, velour, and the No. 1 for fall, velvet. “Velvet shoes, dresses, tops, and anything with burn-out detail,” Melissa Mor, buyer at Angela’s said. Velvet shoes, bombers, tops, blazers, handbags, and anything that can possibly be made from velvet will freshen your fall look. Luxury looks, including leather, are big for the office.

 

<<<Fringe>>>

 “Definitely seeing lots of fringe in suede, cashmere, ponchos, everywhere,” says Caroline Schneider at Lola. You’ll find it on fall jackets,  tops, dresses, belts, and handbags will be fringed-out, too. As if fringe isn’t fun to wear on anything.

 

<<<Feathers>>> This trend was all over the fall runways. Rock feathers on shoes, trimming sweaters, tops, dresses, and more. This might be even more fun than fringe.

 

<<<The Visible Zipper>>> Like it or not, this detail is not going away just yet. The good news, zippers are being designed to look more interesting and funky and less utilitarian. 

 

<<<Anything Space-Themed>>> “We’re seeing stars everywhere from high-end designers to active wear,” says Melissa Mor. As fall prints go, this theme eclipses the ever-trendy polka dots and florals. Moon, galaxy images, and especially stars are hot.  

 

<<<A Flattering Belt>> Wide, waist-cinching, ornamented belts are updating sweaters, classic white button-downs, and maxi dresses. 

 

 

<<In the Shoe Department>>

 

Cheryl Zeitlin, manager of Shoes ‘N More says, “Slip-ons are still very big, and heels are shorter and wider. Details, embellished heels, and fur touches, on shoes. Suede is still very big.” A few of the newest fall footwear trends to watch:

 

<<Crisp white boots>>> Yep, white. Bright white combat, lace-up, or patent leather. Forget Nancy Sinatra’s go-go boots. Think Ashley Olsen’s lace-up version from “The Row”. Wear them any way you’d wear your black boots, but these are a lot more fun.

 

<<<Embellished Heels>>> Beaded, printed, embroidered, or metallic heels. Best with a clean look, like jeans, a black skirt, a tailored blazer to keep the eye on the heel. A heel with personality shouldn’t fight with the rest of your outfit for the spotlight. It’s meant to be noticed.

<<<Textural Details and Materials>>> Suede, velvet, shearling. Fur as trim or for the body of the shoe. 

Crop, flared leather star-print jeans at Angela's    

Denim jacket with star-design sleeve at Great Stuff    

Lots of fringe at Lola

Fur-trimmed jacket at Great Stuff

Accessories with a metallic touch at Angela’s

Red suede jacket with fringe and red clutch at Lola

 

 By Maureen Amaturo

 

Who woulda thunk that the season of lightweight garments and least amount of fabric would have so much to offer? Summer ’17 merges old standards with the ballyhoo of the most pulsating trends for an exciting, June-September fashion menu. Beachwear mimics streetwear and does double-duty. Fall trends translate to wispy versions. White, linen, and cut-offs release their alter ego. Plain is a thing of the past. Don’t panic. Put on your rose-colored sunglasses (a trend) and have fun with fashion. 

 

<<The Clothes>>

 

<Cut-Offs.> A summer staple. Cut your old jeans. (You know they fit.) Distress your denim. The best way is with sandpaper. Beats paying ridiculous $$$ for shorts.

 

Frayed hem cut-offs at Havana Jeans

 

<Dresses.> One of each – mini, midi, maxi– and you’re set. Play with different silhouettes in both reliable solids and bold prints. Option: skirt versions. Pair the A-line midi with a structured crop top and statement earrings. 

 

Gingham dress at Angela’s

 

<White.> Worn all year, but still a summer standby. What to wear under it? Fashion know-it-alls say the Commando Cotton Scoop Bralette is the thing. Seamless, great under sheer looks, comfortable. 

 

<Cropped Pants.> It’s the summer of the ankle. Streamlined, relaxed, voluminous, or flare …whatever silhouette you love, as long as they’re cropped. Most look best cropped between two to four inches above the ankle. Longer, and they look like regular bottoms that are too short. The length must look intentional. 

 

<Patterns and Mixed Prints.> Especially floral, gingham, and stripes. Push the limit – combine them. If you wear only solids, add accessories with prints.  

 

<Interesting Sleeves.> Leftover from fall and still hot. Volume (bell, lantern, balloon sleeves). Gathered sleeves and tops with exaggerated cuffs. Pleated shoulders are still a focus, as are smocked and cascading ruffled sleeves. 

 

Show-stopping sleeved top at Angela’s

 

<Touch of Tailored.> Balance flowing or oversized summer silhouettes with tailored items that define the curve of the bust, waist, and hip, i.e., peplum tops, pencil skirts, skinny jeans, structured jackets. Wear a billowy top tucked into tailored trousers to highlight your waist. 

  

 

 

 

 

<<The Shoes>>

 

The Everywhere Sandal. Try a simple t-strap sandal, without too much going on, in black or nude.

 

T-strap wedges at Shoes ‘N’ More

 

Ankle-Accentuating. Perfect for cropped jeans/pants. Andkle-strap sandals, shoes with ankle wrap ties, or gladiators. High-vamped footwear like loafers, oxfords, slip-on sneakers, hi-tops, mules, slides. Mules are the shoe of 2017.

 

 

Ankle-wrap espadrilles at Shoes ‘N’ More

 

Espadrilles. Summer classic sandal alternative. Pair ankle-tie, wedge with a maxi dress for summer evenings. Trendiest trend: metallic espadrilles, especially gold or glitter.   

 

Woven shoes. Should be worn sock-less. Wear them with denim, cotton, or linen pants.  

Minorquines. No one knows the name, but everyone knows the shoe. Chic and comfy for city strutting, shopping, or beach.  

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<<The Accessories>>

 

• Basket Bag. The summer purse, grab a straw version.  

Bracelet bags. They’re selling out everywhere, so that could only mean one thing — you need one.  

• Statement earrings                                                                                                 • Color. For accessories and shoes, especially bright green or orange. No matter how neutral your outfit is, pump it up.

<<Trends This Very Second>>

 

• Embroidered items are <the> embellished look of the season, but lots of touches are trendy –– fringe, pom-poms, lace insets, badges, tassels, ladder lace, bows, beading, and raw denim hems. Go tonal or high contrast. Even on bathing suits.  

 

 

Embroidered denim jacket at Angela’s

• Feminist/statement T-shirts                                                                                • Baseball caps. Street-style touch for any outfit. No rules. Just cool.                       • Sunglasses with pastel lenses.

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Maureen Mancini Amaturo

 

<“The best things in life are free. The second best are very expensive.”> – Coco Chanel

No style has aged better than Gabrielle “Coco” Boheur Chanel’s, who was born on August 19, 1883.

Her life was a model of independence, strength, and guts. “Trying to be a man is a waste of a woman,” she said. Not only did Chanel set the style gold standard, she was a feminist champion having lived what the suffragettes were just beginning to preach. The confidence that defined her designs defined her, too. She told a journalist, “I don’t do fashion. I am fashion.”

Chanel believed style is not what a woman wears, but who she is, and her clothes tell the world about her. For her, fashion was an art that mirrored society, emotions, and relationships. “Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening,” she said.

We know what timeless fashion is because she told us. “Fashion changes, but style endures.” Chanel’s strong opinions have remained a fashion guide for close to a century. The quotes below are among her style commandments.

• “Simplicity is the keynote of true elegance.”

Quality not quantity. Classic, understated pieces that subtly suggest excellence.

 

A little black dress with sheer hem at Great Stuff

• “I don’t understand how a woman can leave the house without fixing herself up a little — if only out of politeness. And then, you never know, maybe that’s the day she has a date with destiny. And it’s best to be as pretty as possible for destiny.”

What would Mademoiselle say about the pajama pants, ath-leisure wear, and naked dress trends?

“Dress shabbily and they remember the dress; dress impeccably and they remember the woman.”

Add a swipe of lipstick. Steam out those wrinkles. Don’t overlook the details.

• “A woman with good shoes is never ugly.”

No matter how simple your ensemble, great shoes will kick it up a notch. Shoes can add a strong color or pop of personality to a low-key outfit.

• “Women think of all colors except the absence of color. I have said that black has it all. White, too. Their beauty is absolute. It is the perfect harmony.”

There is no more versatile backdrop for accessories than black & white. Either extreme can be demure or dramatic. Both are eternally classics.

• “Look for the woman in the dress. If there is no woman, there is no dress.”

The length, color, print, silhouette for your figure = right dress. Don’t let your dress drown you. If you look in the mirror and see the dress before you see your face, you’re wearing the wrong outfit.

• “Fashion is architecture: it is a matter of proportions.”

Know your figure. Accentuate the positive. Invest in tailoring. Balance is everything. Too much billowy is overwhelming, and you have no shape at all. Too much tight can be tacky.

Coco Chanel was 87 when she died on January 10, 1971, but her gutsy glamour lives on. She continues to be the subject of exhibits, articles, and books. “SCOOP…” author Jeanne Mackin’s account of the feud between Chanel and Schiaparelli will be published in winter 2018. In the meantime, check out “Coco Chanel: The Legend and the Life” by Justine Picardie or “Chanel and Her World” by Edmonde Charles-Roux, two of many Chanel biographies out there. For fiction lovers, read the novel, “Mademoiselle Chanel” by C. W. Gortner.

So, on August 19, wear a little black dress, drape as many pearls around your neck as it will bear, spritz No. 5 in all the right places (according to Chanel, that would be wherever you would want to be kissed), gather your girlfriends, and celebrate Mlle. Chanel’s birthday.

Chanel mini purse at Encore Designer Consignment

 

Flapper elegance with multiple pearl necklaces at Great Stuff

 

 

 

By Maureen Mancini Amaturo

 

Exams, college applications, acceptances, and internships are settled. Now, for the important stuff. What to wear to graduation? And the parties? 

 

Wear what expresses your personal style, is comfortable, appropriate for the occasion, and works under your grad gown. Girls, a dress in any classic silhouette will work. Light colors and white are top choices. If you prefer color, remember GREENERY, a cross between lime and peridot, is the 2017 color of the year–a fresh, crisp tone right for the temp and season. Guys: khaki, solid color, or dark dress pants, light dress shirt and tie (try the 2017 Greenery shade.) Short sleeves, or rolled up sleeves. The goal: smart, casual, and comfortable. An expressive tie can mean everything to your look. Remember, ankles and feet are visible. Flip-flops or torn-up sneakers just take the whole look down.  

You’ll be taking lots of pictures. Wear what makes you feel good and what you’ll feel good about when you look back at the pics someday.  

 

Guests, dress for the surroundings — indoor, auditorium, outdoor, stadium, the weather. Choose fabrics that won’t wrinkle, so you’ll look crisp in the after-ceremony photos. A classic, neutral palette is always right, i.e., white and gold. Wearing pants? Consider dark pants and shoes.    

 

The Dress Under The Grad Gown  

What’s underneath represents you. To help you decide: 

• The A-Line: Flatters every figure and is classic. It’s smooth under a grad gown and is versatile enough for any event. 

Interesting Necklines: Find options that will add style and not compete with the cap and gown. Anything too complicated could be distracting. 

 

• Sheath: The robe is billowy enough. Avoid adding bulk. A sleek-fit dress works perfectly.  

 

•A Loose Midi will move with the robe and be comfortable. Great for all body types. Won’t cling.   

 

 

 

• Prints: Neutral, pastel, or white backgrounds work best. Avoid overwhelming patterns. Printed borders or subtle, classic all-over prints are best. 

 

• Maxi or Jumpsuit: Both are so trendy and will be sleek and comfortable under your robe. Or try a long skirt and cold-shoulder top. They’ll look hot in photos…but may also feel hot while you’re sitting through the ceremony. Check the forecast first.

 

•The Party: Ideally, find one dress that works for ceremony and celebrations. If not, choose a dress for the daytime/ceremony and a more wow-packed dress for partying with friends.  

 

<<The Shoes>> 

With everyone wearing the same grad gown, shoes can define your look. They’ll be visible, especially when you walk to receive your diploma. 

Tips: 

Be able to stand in them for hours.                                                             

Be sure you can walk on grass or dirt. (Or try Solemates heel protectors.)                                                                              

Don’t wear new shoes for the first time that day.                                                     

High heels add elegance and stature and make you feel confident. BUT, in this case, ballet flats or adorned slides may be better. If you want height, try    wedges (won’t sink into grass or sidewalk cracks.)                                                                                                       

<<DO’s>>

 

• Leave bags at home. Wear something with pockets to carry small items, keys, and cell phone. Consider a wristlet or small clutch if you must. 

• Dress comfortably. Graduation ceremonies are a combination of standing and sitting…and are long.

• Consider light layers instead of a jacket.

<<DON’Ts>>

 

• Don’t think that because you’re wearing a robe it doesn’t matter what you’re wearing underneath.     

• Don’t wear new shoes. Avoid shoes you’re not used to walking in (and heels if on grass or climbing stadium steps.) Your walk across the stage should be confident, no worries about slipping or tripping.  

• Don’t spend tons of time styling your hair. You’ll be wearing that cap. Try your hairstyle with your cap prior to graduation.   

 

All fashions at Great Stuff in downtown Rye.

 

• Flats/low heel

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http://www.prepinyourstep.com/2017/05/what-to-wear-to-graduation-dress-shoe.html 

Dimensional floral lace with deep-V back from Sea

Norma Kamali jumpsuit with trench coat details 

True blue Remy Brook lightweight mini 

Remy Brook minis in alternate colors, including a trendy green

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