Camera-Ready – Fashion Tips for Your TV Debut

As we browse to find that perfect look. Bloomingdale’s 59th St. NYC.

When your BFF Dr. Kimberly Williams, a leading NYC neuropsychologist, is invited to share her words of wisdom on TV, it’s a great reason to spend a Saturday afternoon shopping closets and finding the perfect outfit for the occasion.  While today’s selfie culture makes it seem like everyone wakes up camera-ready, there is an art and a little science to picking the right on-air outfit.  These are my five fashion tips on prepping for a TV debut.

  • Dress for the Occasion.  The first thing to do when preparing for a TV appearance is to gain an understanding of the show format.  What does the set look like?  Will you be sitting or standing?  Does the show have a formal or more casual vibe?  What is your role in the show?  By answering these questions, you will be able to match your look with the show. 
Yes, there might be a ton of color selections, but you want the color that works best with your complexion.
  • Create a wow moment.  TV cameos are great because they position you as an expert in your craft.  They also create a means to connect you with the viewership in a personal manner by your engagement on the screen.  For these reasons, COLOR is key.  There are some basic rules like don’t wear white on the set because it often drowns a person out on camera.  While black is slimming, it can be a little blah on TV.  Look for colors that work with your skin tone.  To find the perfect color, I suggest you take pics of yourself to check colors against your complexion.  Remember, TV works with bright lights.   For that reason, you want a color that works well under the lights.  For my BFF, we went with a warm and vibrant color of burnt orange.  It truly popped and created a high-energy feel that tied in with the image that Dr. Williams was looking to create on camera. 
  • Don’t be a walking billboard or distract the eye.  Unless you are doing an advertisement promotion, my recommendation is to avoid logos on your outfit.  They could date the piece and also may limit where the footage could be shown.  Stripes and plaids may be a challenge on the eye.  While I typically suggest fashions with visual variety, for TV, stay away from busy patterns that cause the eye to work too hard to focus on you. 
Try on your pieces to ensure you like the look and the feel of the outfit. Because camera lights can be hot, think about this when selecting a material.
  • Think about the total image.  Because TV is all about the visual, you want to ensure that your total look is correct.  While your outfit is key, you also want your hair, makeup, and nails on point.  Just as I would take my car to the mechanic for a tune-up vs. me trying to do it at home, I say the same thing for hair, makeup, and nails.  Call a professional!!!  On camera, you want a flawless look.  Most people have a beautician, but a makeup artist might be a stretch.  However, everyone has access to a mall where you can stop by a Mac counter.  By spending $65 or more, you are able to have your face done.  If you share with your makeup person that this is for a TV shoot, they can adjust your foundation and coloring to ensure that you have a natural, polished look on camera. 
  • Enjoy the experience.  While it might seem that there are a ton of things that you must do to get ready for a TV appearance, it can also be a great excuse to pamper yourself.  Treat yourself to a facial and makeover.  Maybe this is a chance to add a coveted piece to your wardrobe.  Whatever you do, make this moment special for you.

While I can’t show Dr. Williams’s final selection because she plans to do a formal launch, I will share that her look was professional but with a pop of color.  We selected a dress with a timeless silhouette that added to my BFF’s charm.  She looked amazing.  I will be sure to post an update once the show airs.  See you on TV land. 

New Nordstrom NYC Store – Amazing

I am a bag lover. This is me enjoying the lovely bags at Nordstrom.

In a time when stores are shuddering their doors, Nordstrom makes a big splash in the New York market with the much-anticipated opening of its east coast flagship on 57th (235 W 57th St.) a mere two minutes from Columbus Circle.  Actually, they opened two stores, Nordstrom Men’s Store and a seven-story masterpiece fully dedicated to styling, dining, and shopping for the savvy fashionista.  I spent about three hours on Saturday taking it all in from the two floors of cosmetics (yes, beauty for days) and their jaw-dropping shoe floors.  Not to mention the seven restaurants.  These are my top five reasons why I think Nordstrom on 57th street is absolutely amazing.

Generously sized waiting/fitting room area.
  1.  Store Design – In NY you typically experience two types of store architecture – new space that is tightly built because of trying to maximize sales per square feet or renovated older spaces with charm but weird structural challenges like poor lighting or abnormally high ceilings that make the space feel more like a cave (this was one of the problems with the Lord & Taylor on 5th Ave).  Not the case with the new Nordstrom design.  The best word to describe the store is AIRY.  While filled with merchandise, the aisles are adequately spaced, and there are several displays that stand alone to create an open environment that feels more like a loft versus a downtown department store.
  2. Exclusives for Days – Nordstrom’s merchandising team must be exhausted from all the negotiations they pulled to acquire the number of exclusive items in the store.  I mean from the Valentino metallic shoe collection to the countess handbags designed solely for the Nordstrom shopper.  FABULOUS.
A wonderful team sharing insight about the store. I loved the style of the team. Peep this outfit.
  1. Superior Service – While this isn’t new for Nordstrom, I feel that they have stepped up the service element to create a vibe like the one you get when you visit that special relative that goes out of their way to make you feel comfortable at their home.  No seriously, the sales/brand ambassadors are charming, knowledgeable, and appear to be genuine fashion lovers.  This is very nice and welcomed in the midst of busy and sometimes rude NYC.  Oh yes, the Nordstrom team members wear headsets so they can discretely stay in touch with their team while servicing clients.  The store is also adequately staffed, so you don’t have to work hard to find assistance.  I hate it when that happens. 
  2. Cocktails Everywhere – Because the store’s vibe is all about making you feel comfortable, there are these charming individuals that casually walk around asking whether you would like a cocktail while shopping.  Love it!!!!  Hence me being at the store for three hours. 
If you get hungry while shopping, no problem. There are seven restaurants.
  1. Yumminess – About two hours into my store shenanigans, I decided it was time to try one of the many dining experiences.  Since I was anxious to keep exploring, I sat at the counter of Bistro Verde (fifth floor).  I also went with the counter seat because it was an amazing people-watching spot.  To keep it light, I ordered the burrata, apples, and walnuts served on a baguette.  Absolutely delicious.  The apple, a tart but ripe green, was meticulously sliced into chunks accompanied by toasted walnuts. There was a slight drizzling of aged balsamic to create a bitter but sweet taste.  Placed on top with the utmost care was a generous portion of burrata on a plate lined with slices of a grilled baguette.  Of course, this feast deserved some bubbly, so I enjoyed a chilled glass of Veuve.  Lovely, lovely, lovely. 

In a time when we often feel like brick and mortar is dead, give online shopping a break.  Visit the Nordstrom on 57th street.  I am sure you will have many more thoughts to add to my top five reasons why the store is amazing.  Enjoy!!!

The store also has amazing visuals.

Let’s Shop Like We Care

This is me in the greenroom at the Fashion Innovation conference during NYC Fashion Week. I was on a panel about sustainable fashion.

In my day job, I focus on fashion and innovation.  When we think about innovation, it often leads to the question of how to make fashion more sustainable.  My concept of SHOPPING YOUR CLOSET not only speaks to my philosophy on spending, but it also meets my desire to support a better environment.  Globally, 80 percent of discarded textiles end up in landfills or are burned.  An alarming 20 percent of textiles are recycled or reused.  Yes, I said 20 percent.  Help the planet!!!  In an effort to promote the benefits of conscious fashion, these are my top five ways to be a sustainable fashion consumer.

  1. Avoid over shopping.  When I shop, I often ask myself these questions – does this look better than what I already have in my closet, and how many times will I wear it?  Very early in my career, I was a true shopaholic.  Since I went out every weekend, I shopped for a new outfit every weekend.  Over the years, I have come to appreciate the benefits of building a timeless wardrobe that is adaptable to the many social and professional demands of my life.
  2. Spread the love.  Since NYC is cold a fair amount of time, I often try to support those unable to dress adequately for the weather.  Thus, I have a rule.  If I buy a coat, I must give a coat.  This helps me to avoid wasteful buying while also ensuring that I am thinking about others.
Vintage shopping in Brooklyn at Harold and Maude Vintage (592 Lafayette Ave, Bed Stuy),
  1. Shop other peoples’ closets.  If you love designer looks, take the time to find a great vintage store that is known for its high-end scores.  Just like when you buy a car, the value of the item depreciates the moment it leaves the store.  I also make sure that my girls, who are also fashionistas, think of me when they purge their closet. 
  2. Buy trans-seasonal pieces.  I found this ingenious tip in a Harper’s Bazaar article.  Look for materials and styles that can be worn across seasons.  This will increase the number of wears, and you will also be improving the versatility of what’s in your closet.  Some trans-seasonal pieces are lightweight dresses that can be worn alone in the warmer months and paired with a sweater or jacket when it is chilly.  Blazers that can double for an overcoat in the spring are great for a jacket that can be worn with a coat in the winter.  This trick also works well if your travel schedule takes you to locations with varying temperatures. 
  3. Repair before you replace.  My sisters call me cheap, but I like to think of myself as thrifty.  My two favorite peeps are my tailor and my shoe guy.  Since I shop a ton of vintage, my tailor does an amazing job of getting me to have a custom look from thrift finds.  The photo at the beginning of the article is a $10 dress that I found in a thrift store ben.  For a mere $40 dollars, I had the dress re-cut, hemmed, and cleaned.  I got so many compliments on the outfit that I was truly amazed.  I do a similar strategy with shoes.  At the start of each season, I re-heel my heels, and I reinforce the soles of my boots.  For less than $20 a pair, I am able to get another season out of my precious shoes and boots. 

Do yourself and the environment a favor, be a conscious fashion consumer. 

My $10 vintage find from the Foyer Vintage located at 80 Bond St. (Downtown Brooklyn)

Fashion Inspiration – The Curated NYC

When a dress just makes you pause. Christian Siriano tulle gown.

While it is probably one of the busiest, crowded, and most expensive ($$$$) places in the world, I truly am grateful to live in NYC – the home of my fashion inspiration.  As I was preparing for an upcoming gala, I visited The Curated NYC this weekend.  The flagship boutique of the body affirming designer, Christian Siriano, who has rightfully earned recognition for his commitment to dressing the diverse sizes of the modern woman.  Yesssss!!!!  A point of trivia, this 1920s property was once the office of Cary Grant – totally explains the cinematic vibe of the space. The moment you enter, you are immediately transformed into a world of glamour by the visual stimulation of ornate floral arrangements and walls discretely covered in precious hues of pink, purple, and ivory.  FABULOUS.  Each room is a showcase of red-carpet beads, baubles, and jewels displayed alongside Siriano’s latest collection of body-universal styles.  Of course, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the uber insightful Siriano team members who wait on your every request – at your ready are a library of look books from all of Siriano’s collections – while gently reminding you that each item can be customized to your size and style direction.  Imagine that; you get to do a remake of a Siriano look.  Love it!!!

The second floor is the gown and red carpet jewelry show area .

Siriano personally selects the featured designers while also meticulously creating the perfect presentation by filling each room with plush carpets and cozy seating arrangements.  I felt like I was in my dressing room at home – then I was reminded that my whole apartment was the size of the fitting room (such an NYC reality).  Tastefully, throughout this multi-brand boutique, you can find luxury womenswear, ready-to-wear, accessories, fragrances, vintage home décor, and gifts.  When the weather is cooperating, you can even sip on a spiced latte at the quaint outdoor café. 

While I was an economics major in college, I always wondered what would have happened had I studied interior design.  I have a real passion for details like original crown molding, winding staircases, polished doorknobs and hardware, and jaw-dropping chandeliers.  Well, Curated NYC has that and more.  It is a visual wonderland of all things grand with a twist of fashion whimsy. 

Portrait of Laverne Cox that hangs in the gown section.

Oh, I can’t forget the original artwork.  As one of the Siriano fashion ambassadors so politely reminded me, the portraits of Lady Gaga and Laverne Cox were the same images shown on the runway during a Siriano Fashion Week show.  Who knew?  I’m still trying to get an invite to a Siriano show.  Oh well, there is always next season. 

If you are looking for fashion inspiration, spend an afternoon in the Siriano paradise.  You will not be disappointed. 

The Curated, Christian Siriano’s flagship boutique located at 5 W 54th St., New York, NY 10019.

My Top Six Martha’s Vineyard Things To Do

Beach life…

As a true east coast girl, born in Boston and raised in Philly, Martha’s Vineyard was my Jersey shore as a kid.  Each summer my parents packed my two sisters and me up and ferried us away to the magical Martha’s Vineyard, a Massachusetts island kind of south of Cape Cod.  These trips continued in my 20s and 30s when I rented or forced myself upon my friends to stay in shore houses on the Vineyard.  After about a break from the Vineyard for a decade, I went back this past week.  Absolutely amazing.  While many of the restaurants on Circuit Ave. (the main strip in Oak Bluffs) have changed, the island still is the charming, friendly sanctuary looking to welcome its summer visitors. 

During the summer months, especially August, the Vineyard is quite the buzz.  It is the vacation destination for the Obamas, the host venue for the MV African-American Film Festival, and the choice gathering spot for many girlfriend trips, Greek organizations, and those just looking to have fun. 

The thing that I love about the island is that you can do as much or as little as you like during your stay.  This year’s trip was all about relaxation and connecting with friends.  From house hopping to long walks on the beach, I enjoyed my stay and came up with this list of top six Vineyard favorites.

The Martha’s Vineyard Airport works just fine. Treat yourself; fly to the Vineyard.

6.  Unless you just feel compelled to have your car on the island (Note:  all the shared ride services are available and biking on the island is quite en vogue), do yourself a favor – FLY.  While there is a quaint charm of being on the ferry line, that lasts 5 minutes, fly.  Martha’s Vineyard airport is convenient and quick.  If you book early, you can get a reasonable rate.  Delta and Jet Blue are the main carriers.  Trust me; it is worth it.  No ferry lines for me.   

Black Dog shop in Edgartown, MA

5.  Visit the local towns of Tisbury, Edgartown, and Oak Bluffs.  As a fashionista, the towns are great to see the craftwork of local artists and grab some of the tourist gear like the island uniform (just joking) Black Dog sweatshirt. 

The only thing missing is my Smartfood white cheddar popcorn.

4.  Drink some Prosecco on the beach.  Not much more I can say about this, but many hours were spent pondering life sipping, chatting, and listening to the waves.  Thanks, Cathy and Sharon for indulging me. 

These smiles say it all. House hopping on the Vineyard.

3. House hop.  One of the things I love about the Vineyard, unlike NYC living, it is a house friendly place.  Most people expect that there will be visitors, so it’s a great time to connect with friends and family without having to wait for Thanksgiving.  The Vineyard, especially Oak Bluffs, is also a great sitting on the porch and people watching place.  Shout out to Rhonda on Narragansett for hipping me to this Vineyard pastime.

46 Narragansett House. Best MV BNB.

2.  Stay at an amazing b&b.  This is me with Kahina Van Dyke, the fabulous owner of the Narragansett House.  A real island treasure with quaint rooms, lovely morning pastries, and the most precious staff.  Not to mention, the wonderful programming that Kahina has arranged to ensure that the inn is always filled with authors, artists, and fun guests.  Must do!

Pure joy. I’m a polar bear.

1.  Be a polar bear.  Yes, I did it.  Each morning at 7:30 AM, myself and about 115 other guests, took a plunge into the Ink Well waters to partake in a precious ceremony of water aerobics.  A genuinely freeing and communal experience.  As I am not a swimmer, I was pleased that I tried but thrilled that I felt the love and support of the community.  Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful.

See you on the Vineyard next year!