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By Maureen Mancini Amaturo

 

Pullqoute:

 

“The moment I had to choose between the man I loved and my dresses, I chose my dresses.”

– Coco Chanel



Wearing something that makes you feel beautiful is always the right choice, but even more so on Valentine’s Day.

 

One way is to accentuate your favorite feature – great legs, small waist, enviable arms, fabulous face. With the day to celebrate love just around the corner, find an outfit you love that will love you back.

                                                                                                                           Red, black, and pinks are top color choices for Valentine dresses. But don’t forget blush and nude shades – they look innocent but are very suggestive.

Here are some to accent what you love about yourself.

Chest and Neck                                                                                                     

• A V-neck elongates your neckline and shows just enough cleavage.                  • Spaghetti straps, deep-V, or strapless. Check out the Lauriell red wrap front crepe midi from prettylittlething.us.                                    

• A sophisticated, sensual, velvet, plunging midi, like the velvet tulip dress in rose at FOREVER21.com.

Legs   

                                                                                                                     The mini. If it fits well, even a sweater dress in a short length is sexy. We Call Dibs mini dress (nastygal.com) amps up the appeal with a cute back cutout.                                                                                                                   • A short sheath is flattering for nearly every shape.                                                                                                                      • A sheer, peek-a-boo hemline, where the solid underskirt is shorter than the see-through overlay.                                                                                                   • Take slits up a notch in a neutral bodycon. See velvet cami dress in light pink at FOREVER21.com.                                                                                                                                                                                      • Going mini? Weigh the impact other details will have, i.e., jewelry, balconette bodice, bodycon silhouette. Multiple details can up the heat, but too much of a good thing is…well, too much.

Waist                                                                                                                            • Visit Missguidedus.com for a great selection of red satin wrap dresses.Try a V-neck dress with a belt to draw the eye to your waist.  

Curves  

An asymmetrical hemline is great for curvy girls. Calls attention to legs, takes the focus off stomach and hips.                                                                                                                             • Fit-and-flare mimics your shape. Perfect hourglass silhouette with room for curves and cinched at the waist.                                                                            • Curves can handle bodycon, which accents hips and bust and hugs waist. Darker shade or curve-in illusion panels on the sides exaggerate curves.                       • A-line dress or one with a full skirt.

Arms and Shoulders  

• Strapless, bustier top, a ruffle that drops off the shoulder. Check out the red lace contrast arm cuff bodycon dress (prettylittlething.us).                                                                          • Halter top.                                                                                                               • Shoulder cutouts or embellishments.

Focus on your face                                                                                                • Cowl necks. In a neutral metallic, they’re sexier than you think.                  • Choker neckline, ruffle necks that frame your chin, tight turtlenecks, a metallic sleeveless. Audrey Hepburn knew just how handle this look.                                                                                                                        • Details that focus on the top — lace appliqués along a flirty V-neck, bling at the neckline. Keep the eye high.                                                              

Who needs a Valentine to feel loved? Interpret Justin Bieber’s words in a new way. “Cause if you like the way you look that much, oh baby you should go and love yourself.” Exactly.




Captions:


#1760 Racy and lacy at Angela’s

#1762 Hot pink bodycon with front slit at Angela’s

#1771 Red drop-waist at Great Stuff

#1779 Black slip dress with lace hem at Great Stuff

 

 

 

 

By Maureen Mancini Amaturo



The biggest aww-factor with childrens’ clothes is that they are miniature versions of big-people fashion. Just think about those tiny construction boots, the mini glitter sneakers. So, if you’re looking to dress the kiddies in the trendiest holiday looks, all you have to do is find the small version of the big trends: velvet, embroidery, sparkle, colorful faux fur, denim, and red.

 

That said, the extra kick with kids’ clothes is that nostalgia can really up the adorable factor. Traditional prints – plaid, Nordic/Arctic patterns, buffalo check, and prairie or Victorian florals on flannel – turn little girls into real-life American Girl Dolls and little boys into animated teddy bears.

 

If buying gifts for the under-10 set, boys usually love fan gear (and you can get great buys at Marshalls or T.J.Maxx on NFL, NHL, NBA, and MLB wear). You can’t go wrong with character-inspired tees, gloves, and hats –from Marvel superheroes to Minecraft, and Lego. Girls are likely to imitate older sisters, mom, and their Disney Channel idols. Styles for the 5- to 12-year-old set are as sophisticated as trendy teen looks.

 

On Fashion’s Holiday Nice List

 

<For Girls>

• Velvet dress with sparkles or rhinestone/crystal accents

• Faux-fur trimmed jacket or dress

• Sequined skater skirt

• Red, white, and black print leggings under a red dress. Preferably with interesting sleeves, like a bell or ruffle

• Traditional red plaid skirt paired with a black mini moto jacket

 

<For Boys>

• Denim shirt paired with a plaid bow tie

• Red jeans

• Black jeans, red plaid vest, white shirt, and red sneakers (red sneakers take this look to a new level.)

• Buffalo check

• Velvet blazer paired with black jeans.

• Thick, shawl-collared sweater, instead of a blazer, with a dress shirt and tie. For a classic look, pair with dress pants.

 

And Don’t Forget Pajamas

 

Everyone loves cuddling in special holiday pajamas on Christmas Eve. The styles are getting more and more clever each year.



 


Cozy, warm buffalo check one-piece at Kohl’s


Fire chief themed pajamas that can double as a costume at Kohl’s.


Florence Eiseman plaid bow ties at Hoagland’s in Greenwich


Miss Behave brocade dress under rose gold faux leather jacket from Splendid at Hoagland’s

 

Zoe Ltd. organza and satin dress, a new take on the traditional black watch plaid, at Hoagland’s



For boys, shirts that feature red in a hip way. Pair with black jeans.

Silvian Heach navy faux fur jacket for girls

Alternate to traditional black watch plaid in organza and satin by Zoe Ltd.

Florence Eiseman plaid bow ties, Raguzzo white shirt to pair with jeans for boys

Colorful faux fur hair pompoms

Miss Behave brocade dress, rose gold faux leather jacket by Splendid, faux fur mini backpack

Billieblush navy tulle dress with neon faux fur pompoms

Billieblush tulle sparkle skirt with matching top (sold separately) with faux fur and charm details




 

 

 

 

 

 

By Maureen Mancini Amaturo



Pantone says this year’s choice is a “reflection on a collective cultural moment,” demonstrating “our shared desire for deeper understanding in an increasingly complex landscape and our eagerness to experiment to reach that level.” What shade could possibly take on such lofty responsibility? Ultra Violet.

 

Deep, mysterious, and provocative, Ultra Violet represents inventive spirit, imagination, ingenuity, magic, originality, the unconventional, and visionary thinking. It suggests the cosmos, discovery, and the future. It’s the color that symbolizes what is possible. From its better-known association with royalty to its identification with counterculture and artistic brilliance — think David Bowie, Prince, Jimi Hendrix — this color owns the concept of individuality. It’s the color of experimentation and non-conformity. No wonder it’s been a favorite among creatives, mindfulness practioners, and spiritualists.

About <THIS> Ultra Violet

 

It’s a blue-based purple, but versatile enough for both warm and cool complexions — after all, purple is a marriage of one cool shade (blue) and one warm shade (red). It’s an enchanting shade that lends itself to uncommon combinations and pairs with more colors than you might think. Also, it works across fashion categories from formal to athleisure, is well-suited to all ages, and is much more wearable than 2017’s high-wattage green. And when paired with metallic, it lives up to its royal connection.

Just a touch of Ultra Violet will bring energy and an update to already-in-the-closet outfits. How can you wear it?

For warm complexions, pair with:                                                                                          • Bronze, gold — royal and luxe.                                                                                      • Mauves, greens, grays, hazy or smoky hues — calm and elegant.                                                                          • Marigold, hot pink, poinsettia red, copper, melon — dramatic and brilliant.                                                                                                                        • Cashmere rose, burlwood, almond, ruby, peach-beige, beige — natural and organic.

For cool complexions:                                                                                            • • Mulberry, sparkling grape, periwinkle, pink — playful and exuberant.               • Chili pepper red, fuchsia, moss, hyacinth, olive — dramatic.                               • Deep teal/turquoise, citrus, raspberry, butter rum, muted orange —energetic and bold.                                                                                                              • Turkish blue, teal, olive, pale gold, pearlized black — strong and mysterious.                                                                                                               • • Gardenia, cherry blossom, lettuce green, peach, pale orchid, navy —enchanting.  

Try an Ultra Violet tassel earring, clutch, scarf, ankle boot. Grab a basic or graphic tee in this rich color to wear with a denim or leather jacket, shawl cardigan, or black blazer and jeans. Ultra Violet makes an intriguing evening look in velvet or satin but is equally powerful as an accent color for sneakers and workout wear. Accessories, jewelry, and eyewear in this shade add sumptuousness.

Makeup: Violet is the most universally flattering eye shadow (other than neutrals) and is especially great for brown eyes. True non-conformist? Try violet on lips and nails. Check out the Butter London Pantone 2018 Color of the Year collection at Ulta Beauty.

Guys, add an Ultra Violet shirt – solid, plaid, or print – sneakers, socks, and/or tie to the mix.

Wouldn’t Queen Elizabeth I be surprised to see fashionistas ambling in Ultra Violet. Lucky for us Sumptuary Laws are out of style. They forbade anyone but close royal family relatives from donning purple, so the color reflected the wearer’s wealth and regal status. Lucky again that English chemist William Henry Perkin accidentally created a synthetic purple compound while attempting to synthesize quinine, an anti-malaria drug, in 1856 making this decadent color accessible to the lower classes. And now Ultra Violet is color of the year. Take that, Elizabeth.     

 

Embrace the Magic

 

Carolina Herrera, Calvin Klein, La Perla, Rochas, Gucci, and others featured Ultra Violet in their spring/summer ’18 collections. It’s already brightening streetwear globally. Each year, Pantone’s hero color infiltrates fashion, package design, graphic arts, and interior design. So, you shouldn’t be surprised to find the Dream UP V2 Espresso Machine in Ultra Violet on Amazon.

 

 

By Maureen Mancini Amaturo



You can go with one of the top holiday fashion trends — metallic, sparkle, jewel-tone velvet, lace, and the eternally perfect little black dress, or, you can try something different this December. By different, I mean denim, dressed up in ways you might not try January through November (though you probably should). And when it comes to styling a show-stopping but comfortable festive look with denim, let me count the ways.

 

Denim is Fun, Funky, and Functional, as well as Fundamental to every wardrobe. You likely already have favorite jeans. Isn’t it a relief to know you can take the jeans you love, and with a few unexpected touches, make partygoers evergreen with envy?  



<<Pairings>>

 

Putting together an outfit is all about creativity and personal expression, and holidays give you carte blanche when it comes to extreme styling. So if you’ve never thought of pairing something unexpected with denim, now is the time. Here are a few ideas to take denim up a few decibels.

 

• Slip on a satin slip dress or velvet pencil skirt and throw on a denim jacket. Add a statement pin to the lapel.

 

• Pair with bright, notice-me colors like royal blue and red, and accessorize with a sequined clutch.

 

• Try jeans under a high-slit dress.

 

• Amp up the sex appeal: jeans, plus a slinky, sexy, spaghetti strap, or sleeve-focus top.

 

• Pair with sleek heels and a sophisticated top.

 

• Choose a romantic, frilly, lace top. Add ankle boots.

 

• Statement coats are big. Tapestry, embroidery, folklore prints, metallic, bright, bold colors and patterns, bold-color faux fur, graphic-novel colors in vinyl or patent leather. The coat is the star, and the jeans play the perfect understudy.

 

• Add a bow. Use satin or metallic ribbon tied in a bow as a belt for jeans. Or top jeans with a bow-detailed blouse.

 

• Step into your fanciest shoes, the highest heels, or the strappiest sandals. They’ll do all the work below the ankle. Bright red stilettos or gold, pointy pumps are great choices with jeans.



<<Jean Juxtaposition>>

 

• Hippie bell-bottoms take on a romantic glow with a ruffled, lacy, or high-necked blouse.

 

• Boyfriend jeans, plus bling: Add a colorful, faux fur jacket, metallic, high-heeled sandals, and a metallic or satin top.

 

• A glammed-out dress over jeans is the best of both worlds.

 

• Jeans-with-something-more step up the game for holidays. Find a pair with embellishments or different textures.

 

• Jeans on the bottom, sparkly, sequined, satiny, statement jacket on top.

 

• Step into strappy heels if wearing cropped jeans. Add a blazer. (BTW, a white blazer is ultra chic.)

 

• For a funkier look, start with high-waist, skinny jeans and add a graphic or rocker tee, tuxedo jacket, and high-heeled, ankle-strapped shoes in a bold color.

 

Deck out your denim this holiday and take festive fashion to a new high.



Captions

 

White fur jacket with beading

 

Sequined, beaded dress

 

Lace, velvet, and satin heels all pair well with denim jeans.

 

Evening clutches

 

Sequined top

 

Velvet and rhinestone dress

 

*All available at Angela’s in Rye



 

 

 

 

 

By Maureen Mancini Amaturo

The only thing more exciting than the countdown to the 12-o’clock kiss is the outfit you wear. New Year’s Eve is a go-big-or-go-home fashion adventure. It’s the night when you can pull put all the stops. For December 31, 2017, festive means sparkle — metallic, crystals, glitter, sequins. If you can’t bring yourself to slip into sequins, then grab a glitter eye shadow or glimmering accessory. Wear sparkle somewhere.

The Dressing

Sparkle doesn’t mean expensive. There are great options at the fast-fashion capitals, like Forever 21, Marshalls, and T.J. Maxx. Don’t forget Rent the Runway (renttherunway.com). Check out the Cynthia Rowley Rainbow Sequin Mod Shift Dress, which retails for $448, but the rent-to-wear price is $50-$80. Pair this dress with an ankle-strapped, high-heeled sandal, and you <are> the party.

Prefer pants? Try metallic jacquard slim-leg or sequined jogger pants. Check out what Michael Kors and Tahari are offering at Macy’s. If you’re wearing sparkle bottoms, keep it low-key on top, and vice versa, i.e. a twinkling top, blazer with bling, or sequined bomber jacket, try a velvet (or denim) pencil skirt or pants.

Sparkle phobia?

All is not lost. Alternate top party picks are:

• Velvet, especially in rich, jewel tones

• A jumpsuit, the No. 1 alternative to a party dress this year

• High-waisted pants and a silky or satin blouse–both fabrics have a sheen for a subdued shine factor.

• Pencil skirt in velvet or lace •Colorful faux fur jacket — in the same color as your dress for monochrome elegance, for a more casual look, with denim. If you want to dress to thrill, and you really mean it, try a multi-colored faux fur coat. For show-stopping chic, wear white faux fur over a white dress or white pants and a white blouse.

New Year’s Eve Accessories

• Swarovski jewelry: add a crystal cuff bracelet or clear choker so even if you’re wearing a classic LBD, your sparkle stands out.

• Sequined clutch/wristlet

• Glitter ankle boots, great with slim-leg velvet or denim pants

• Glitter makeup (Eyes: Stila Glitter & Glow Liquid Eye Shadow, Physicians Formula Shimmer Strips. Lips: L’Oreal INFALLIBLE PAINT Metallics, Kat Von D Everlasting Glimmer Veil Liquid Lipstick)

• Dramatic drop earrings

• Embellished headband, with stones, flowers, beads.

Picture Perfect

Holidays and special events are big photo ops. You want to look great for posterity, right? These tips can help you ace picture-taking.

Some colors photograph better than others. Lee Eiseman, the Executive Director at Pantone Color Institute and author of the new book, “The Complete Color Harmony, Pantone Edition”, says, “Solid colors are always best, as opposed to patterns. Very pale pastels and whites can make the subject looked washed-out. However, color in makeup can help considerably. Cameras sometimes have difficulty adjusting between very bright contrasts, so it’s best to keep brights as solid pieces, as opposed to separates.”

Eiseman’s options? “The best colors are deep reds, teals/turquoises, and other shades in the blue-green family (the most universally flattering family of all colors). Rich and deeper greens, purples, and blue are all good. If a neutral is preferred, gray is the best, even better than black. Earthy and warm browns are good. Black and white together can offer too much contrast as well. Mid-tone or more vibrant rose-pink tones and corals are flattering.”

As for a striking pose, try the celebrities’ trick. To create the illusion of longer legs, lean back and extend you’re your legs instead of standing straight. Cross them for a narrower silhouette (to look thinner).

Happy 2018. As John Lennon said, “Well, we all shine on.”

 

Matte silver sequined Norma Kamali top at Great Stuff

Glittering clutches at Clutch

Navy paillette camisole at Angela’s

Silver and white paillette jumpsuit at Angela’s

Rose glitter boots by Dirty Laundry at Marshalls

Sequin and metallic thread tops at Clutch

 

 

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).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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