Spring In My Step

SHOES

ONE.  Utilitarian-Chic Lace Up Sandal
TWO.  Color Blocked Warm Weather Bootie
THREE.  Sleek & Sophisticated Cut Out Mule
FOUR.  Sultry Knee High Gladiator
FIVE.  Practically Perfect Leopard Print Espadrille

 

One of the things I love most about spring is the abundance of shoe options.  With winter you can’t be too picky– the weather dictates 90% of what you wear.  However, when spring comes, so do endless possibilities for outfit and shoe pairings.

Even though current fashion trends leave much to be desired, I am really looking forward to this season’s footwear of strappy sandals and practical stack heels.  As a city girl who doesn’t have the luxury of car to curb, it’s thrilling to see all of these styles that offer some form of ankle support as well as a sturdy, yet stylish heel.

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The Case For Classics

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One of the questions I am most frequently asked by friends and readers is which designer pieces are worth dropping money on, and which aren’t.

When making an “investment” purchase it’s essential that you choose something that both fits in with the rest of your wardrobe, and is something you could see yourself wearing five years later.

For example—that suede fringed bag?  Maybe this a good purchase if you’re channeling John Wayne within your professional life, but what will you do with it when the fringe trend passes?  Will it sit in the back of your closet for the next fifteen years?  Will you consign it to a vintage reseller for less than 75% of the price you paid?

To give a broad answer to the question, “What designer pieces are worth investing in?” I’ve assembled a list of my 10 favorite designer classics.  These ten pieces have proven their staying power for decade after decade and are certain bets.

So, before you go spending the entirety of your tax return on fast fashion, consider investing in one of these tried and true staples you’ll love for seasons to come.

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Kendall Jenner’s Devilock & Other Observations

alexander wang kendall jennerImage via Style.com

Well I’ve got something to say…

I know what you’re thinking.  Oh god, another “expert” blogger voicing her opinions on fashion week.

Yes, that’s exactly what this post entails.  So hear me out.

The best metaphor I can think of to summarize NYFW, is that the city was a sleeping lion that no designer dared disturbing.

A majority of collections were repetitions of those prior, as many designers forwent creativity and merely amalgamated the best elements of their past seasons, playing it off as a “new” collection.

Although nothing particularly groundbreaking (we’ll save that for Paris) appeared on the Big Apple’s runways, a majority of the collections’ wearability factor was through the roof.  Numerous designers—even Alexander Wang and Victoria Beckham—vocally attributed their collection’s inspiration to their customers’ demands.

Naturally, we’re inclined to like the collections more since they are being designed specifically for our aesthetic predispositions.  However, likability does not an ingenious collection make.  (I’ve discussed this in depth within an article called “Holding Patterns” for Fashion Decode Magazine, but designing for the consumer ultimately puts us in a creative standstill where fashion cannot progress.)

It’s kind of like eating your vegetables— even though you don’t like it, you need to eat them so you can grow.  This season was pure ice cream.  Delicious, desirable, but with no nutritional value.

However, that doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy every second of it. 

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What Is It Really Like Being a Professional Vocalist?

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 Everyone dreams of pursuing a career that let’s them do what they love–something that’s creatively satisfying, allows them to make their own schedule,  fulfills their curiosity and passions, and pays their bills at the same time.

However, what does it take to actually make that dream a reality?

The answer–raw talent, flexibility, business smarts, and a lot of determination.

For the third installment of MO’s Real Girls series, I couldn’t think of a person who embodies all of these aspects more than international performer, songwriter, and STARROCK PRODUCTION’S owner and founder, Claire Khodara.

As an artist, Claire has had experiences most aspiring vocalists can only dream of— performing as the soprano soloist at Papal Benedictions for not only one, but two Popes, holding residencies at some of London and New York City’s most prestigious venues, and releasing her original album Brand New, just to name a few.

However, Claire’s talent doesn’t stop there.  Her passion and entrepreneurial mindset has enabled her to turn her gifts into a full fledged business.

Having performed most of her life, Claire took her knowledge of both front of stage and behind the scenes and founded her own entertainment company, STARROCK PRODUCTIONS.  With offices in both New York City and London, STARROCK boasts big name clients such as Condé Nast, CBS, and New York City’s Soho House, as well as providing entertainment to celebrity weddings and other private events.

Pretty impressive, right?

I caught up with Claire to find out how she does it all—stays creatively inspired while managing a business, balances a bi-coastal performing schedule, maintains her focus—and ultimately what it takes to be successful in a highly competitive, always changing industry.

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Valentine’s Glamour

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Do you remember those Victoria’s Secret ads that asked, “What is Sexy?”

VS might not be the best people to ask since their brand offers a very narrow depiction of what constitutes “sexy,” but they pose a good question nonetheless.

The interesting truth behind “What is Sexy?” is that there’s no “right” or “wrong” answer.  Just look at instagram and you’ll see a lot of different ideas of what it means to be “#hot” (since they rather inconveniently won’t let you use #sexy.)

For some “sexy” may mean six pack abs, quick wit, silky hair, glasses, or maybe even a special talent.  In this sense, sexiness is subjective—It can’t really be commodified since it’s a concept rather than a product.

The answer is as personal as an individual’s experiences, upbringing and cultural conditioning.  I mean, could you imagine if we all found the exact same thing attractive?  Humanity would cease to exist.

With Valentine’s Day coming up there’s not only a large focus on “romance,” but also self-appreciation.  Marketers push product aimed to customers feel beautiful such as Valentine’s Day themed lingerie sets, lipsticks, and perfumes.

Arguably, Valentine’s Day has become equally as much about indulging in what makes you feel beautiful as it is celebrating amorous love.

Taking this into consideration, it might be better to reword “What is Sexy?” into the following question, “What makes you feel the most confident and attractive?” 

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3 Things No Working Girl Should Ever Be Without

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Ask any successful woman— putting in your 9 to 5 at the office isn’t enough.

There are dinners with clients, “not mandatory but highly encouraged” work events, meetings, cocktails with coworkers, and (of course) networking events to help you plan your next strategic career move.  The “hustle,” (as Instagram users love to call it,) is not only the time you put in, but the value of opportunities you take.  It’s essential that you’re ready for anything at all times, since you never know when opportunity will hit.

I mean, what could be worse than having to pass down seeing your career role model speak because you’re not dressed appropriately?  Or having to pass up a last minute dinner with a high revenue client because you don’t have time to go home and change?

We’ve all been there at some point.  Myself, probably more than others.  However, over time I’ve learned that the secret to not getting into this rut is as simple as always being prepared.

My trick?  Keeping these three outfit elevating accessories under my desk…

 

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Better Off Red

PSYCHOLOGY OF THE COLOR RED

For centuries, the color red has held symbolic value.  Associated in Western culture with amorous love and passion, red is also a symbol of good luck in Chinese culture and many brides in the East wear red at their wedding.  Also, red serves as nature’s warning sign, alerting creatures of possible dangers.  It’s only natural that we chose red as the color of our stop signs.

Diana Vreeland said it better than anyone else, “Red is the great clarifier – bright and revealing. I can’t imagine becoming bored with red – it would be like becoming bored with the person you love.”  

Red is exciting, bold, alluring, and dangerous—but could it be that there’s more to the color than meets the eye?

While I was at a digital marketing conference in San Francisco last week, I had the pleasure of hearing a ton of amazing speakers.  However, something one speaker, Dr. Kit Yarrow, said during her presentation has stuck in my mind…

While analyzing the effects of color with marketing, one study discovered that  waitresses who wear red earn on average 14.6 % to 26.1% more in tips than those in other colors.

Could the color have specific physiological and psychological effects on our subconscious?  If so, do those who incorporate more red into their wardrobe have some kind of advantage?

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Listen Closely

St. John Fox Fur Coat

I was 21 years old and working at Anthropologie when I received one of the best pieces of style advice I’d ever heard— and still have yet to hear pearls of fashion wisdom as poignant as this one.

To provide a bit of back story, at this point in time I had accepted my internship and knew I would be moving to New York the end of December.  I just signed a month to month lease on an apartment in Chelsea (that I had never seen before except for some photos on Craigslist!) and was positively stoked to be moving to the big city.

The world was my oyster.  I was all ready to go and couldn’t wait to begin my new life, but there one problem…

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