Lifestyle with Robert is Moving!!

Lifestlye with Robert is moving permanently to www.RobertBallew.com.
Don't forget to update your bookmarks!
We will be closing up here on November 1

Thank you!

MY NEW HOME


Online Blogtique launches first-ever personal style resource -- Get chic today!

Welcome to LifeLibertyLux.com, a fashionable, not-so-serious Blogtique.™ As an online resource for both the fashion hopeful an style-savvy, Life Liberty Lux brings together personal style education, insider tips on great deals and steals happening at local retailers. Most importantly, Life Liberty Lux provides style advice from a source that won’t steer you wrong – me!

Become an L3 Insider NOW!

How did it all start? For years, I’ve received dozens of emails, calls and texts from real men and women – just like you – looking for guidance on what to wear, where to shop, how to dress for their body type and more. Interestingly, what I learned was that helping people develop an understanding of personal style helped them feel more confident in a fun and meaningful way. So... to help share the knowledge and assist everyday people feel and look their best, I created LifeLibertyLux.com!

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Tell your friends to join you as an L3-Insider

Five ways LifeLibertyLux,com transforms fashion “eek” to fashion chic:

Ask Robert: I am super excited about the “Ask Robert" tool. By using an interactive Twitter and email platform, you can “Ask Robert” (that’s me) for fashion advice in real-time. You can ask me anything, anytime (well… unless I am asleep or on a plane) and I will answer you back.

L3 Blogazine: The Blogazine™ showcases articles from my colleagues that are informative & uplifting. Don’t worry… my LifeStyle with Robert blog will still continue to provide information & personal experience about fashion, lifestyle, beauty, wellness and more.

Happenings: The What's Happenings section of the L3 website is dedicated to local boutiques in Phoenix-Scottsdale area and eventually the world, providing a venue to communicate news about store sales, hot must-have items, events and more through listings.

Insider Postcard: As a L3 "Insider" you will receive the Life Liberty Lux e-postcard. The short, to-the-point “catch you-up” is delivered right to your email bi-monthly, highlighting upcoming events, favorite finds and more.

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The Man Behind the Scenes

Robert Ballew is a wardrobe stylist best known for his ability to create, develop and reliably execute national and international print and runway projects. Robert’s love for architecture plays a critical role in his approach to wardrobe, resulting in a keen understanding of how to create silhouettes that compliment varying body types, unlocking confidence and style in models and private clients alike. For Robert, there’s no such thing as an “off the rack approach” and he enjoys helping those aspiring to be style savvy with personal advice via email and Twitter. You can “Ask Robert” anything at robert@lifelibertylux.com

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Keep up with me or ask me anything... I would love to hear from you!! robert@LifeLibertyLux.com

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Clearly unique


In the late 1940s, post war DuPont introduced a new plastic technology called Lucite. The material was a of a higher quality than previous plastics. Noted designer such as Wilardy of New York created the most coveted Lucite purses. Manufactured from 1948 through 1967. Other collectible Lucite purses and cuffs from the same time period include Llewllyn, Gilli Originals, Patricia of Miami, Rialto and Maxim. Structured and shapely in many forms such as beehives, lanterns and hatboxes. Embellishments may include rhinestones, colored glass, pearls, confetti and shells.


I think these make amazing accoutrements to any wardrobe or occasion. Particularly spring and summer. Many designers, such as Alexis Bittar are including Lucite details in their accessories including, rings, cuffs and shoes. You could add a pop of color by lining the clear box with your favorite silk scarf. Glamorously tote one during a holiday or special gala, you may attract noteworthy attention fit for a star.


Lucite handbags and original accessories have held their value, and their beautiful designs will no doubt continue to appeal to anyone who appreciates these fabulously imaginative, clearly unique pieces.


The above pieces I photographed and learned so much about at Easterbelle's Emporium in Scottsdale, AZ. Thank you!!

Cherish the Rarity


Treasured designer Miriam Haskell was born in 1899, at the height of Art-Nouveau Vanguard; she was one of four children, and the daughter of small-town merchants in Albany, Indiana. Some 30 years later, Miriam Haskell would have tea with Coco Chanel while selecting the upcoming season’s beads at Madame Gripoix’s- the finest source in Paris. While Miriam would bring her young design artist, Frank Hess, Chanel was alone. They would talk. Share ideas. Trade fashion celeb secrets. They were among a new class: independent women who began their careers designing jewelry to complement high fashion clothing in an exclusive boutique.

Haskell's creations are still made entirely by hand. The value of a Miriam Haskell piece was, and still is, a reflection of this workmanship and meticulous detail. One piece may take as long as three days to create. Miriam Haskell was simple elegance. Her friends were ‘the’ New York and Hollywood glitterati. She opened her first boutique in 1926, Le Bijou de l'Heure. She created collections for the society women of her day, the lavish productions of Flo Ziegfeld, as well as the couture of Coco Chanel. Joan Crawford, Lucille Ball, the Duchess of Windsor, were among her greatest patrons.

Vintage jewelry remains a cherished trend that compliments style, grace and shows appreciation for uniqueness and rarity. You can never go wrong.

Flipping Fantastic Find

Summer is upon us and it is time to refresh our existing wardrobe with a whimsical but practical treat. Check out Flipped Bird. I stumbled upon this fantastic summer find at La Grande Orange Grocery.

Recently featured in AZ Magazine, Flipped Bird reversible bags were created for those who have their own unique perspective and style. Their eco-friendly reversible bags, floppy hats, headbands and yoga or beach bags are fantastically funky and chipper.

With great attention to detail, each piece is made in Phoenix, AZ. Handpicked unique, fun, durable and eco-friendly fabrics for limited production so your purchase will be special and allow you to reflect your personal style that can be changed up with a quick flip. I am a fan of this easy-fun style and suggest you become one too.

Freedom = Resistance


While in Bikram Yoga class this week, I felt as though I was hitting a wall with my practice, in fact, I felt as if I was digressing. I was becoming frustrated, thinking I was having some spiritual blockage or resistance. Then teacher said in a zenful voice "... the price of freedom is resistance."

It was like she threw a monkey wrench into this giant machine full of cogs, wheels, belts & pulleys in my head; all my spinning came to a crashing halt. Her words resonated as if in a empty hallway... echoing. "The price of freedom is resistance."

Freedom is that mental & physical place we all desire to be in. How do we know if we are there, have it or lost it? With out the turmoil or resistance we become complacent & take for grantit what freedom we have or could loose. So as life starts to throw things against you, sometimes with no reason, persevere... freedom is on the other side.

Put Up Your Cuffs


I see a lot of cuffing of jeans right now - single cuffs, multiple cuffs, skinny, wide, & high cuffs. Even cinched or pegged like I did in high school. So what is up with the cuffs now?

Cuffing started out of necessity, but then became an ever evolving trend... to look stylish with little effort.

The Ankle-Baring Cuff of a slimmer pair of jean is effortless with ballerina flats or slides; maybe even higher than normal for that summer flare. OR with boots (NOT cowboy boots) during the winter months to add detail the top of your boot, tucked in or out. The Low Cuff of your straight or wide leg denim will complement the casual style of sneakers and other laced footwear. This is a no-nonsense, casual look that works perfectly with your slower paced, “Boho-Chic” kind of day. The 80’s have cycled back around with that Pegged or Tight-Rolled Cuff. Try them with heels, gladiator sandals & slides for a cool edgy, downtown look. CAUTION: if you did it the first time around... don't do it again. With a dark pair of indigo jeans the Skinny Cuff is carefree, clean & classic. For that Could Careless Cuff, fold your jeans up only once to show the selvage and leave it at that. Choose the best height cuff for your mood & shoes of choice-- heels can either get a super high, ankle-baring cuff, or a medium-height one that teases the heel from underneath.

Avoid cuffing cargo jeans (really you shouldn’t be wearing those anyway.) Fussy or overly embellished shoes with the cuffed look can be hazardous. Do not tie strappy sandals over the cuffs of your denim, it looks over worked & sloppy... no matter who does it. Also, some denim-cuff combinations can give you an over all shorter appearance. If this haunts you simply avoid cuffing that particular pair of denim & have them tailored properly.

Good luck & put up your cuffs.

Inviting Commitment


Just a consideration...

"The irony of commitment is that it's deeply liberating -- in work, in play, in love. The act frees you from the tyranny of your internal critic, from the fear that likes to dress itself up and parade around like rational hesitation. To commit is to remove your head as the barrier to your life." Anne Morris

Can we get out of our own way? Can we turn off the hesitation? Will we choose to be liberated?
#COMMITMENT

Call to Action


I received this email from a high school friend who lives in San Diego, CA. I cannot pretend to know the anguish & loss that this family is feeling; I can only imagine… a childhood friend of mine was kidnapped on his way home from school one afternoon. He managed to escape. The trauma, for him, has since faded as he has grown and is now raising his own family. Amber was not so lucky.


This was on the local San Diego station this morning.
For those of you from outside San Diego….Amber Dubois
was abducted over a year ago, but her body just found
recently after the bastard who killed her admitted to
killing another young girl, Chelsea King, in our area.

In an effort to support the family, there is a campaign
to send Amber’s sister Allison b-day cards and well-wishes,
just to make her day a little brighter. The info is below…
so please, take 3 minutes and send her a card.

Thanks!

April

Please take a minute & reach into your heart and embrace Allison, let her know she is loved. A campaign to get as many birthday cards as possible to Amber Dubois' little sister Allison is underway. She is turning seven on May 6th. Cards can be mailed to: Allison Cave, 1101 W. San Marcos Blvd., San Marcos, CA 92078

Thank you!

Inviting Change?


Do you want change in your life? Have you invited it?

First off, I am NO Life Coach; just a friend sharing the benefits & errors of my personal experiences.

So consider and answer for yourself; why do you want or need change? Do you know what that change is? What is your ultimate goal? You may or may not have the answers, but that is OK, by asking those questions you are inviting the winds your direction.

Maybe you don't know you need change; I didn't, at least conscientiously. Step off the normal path of things, such as saying YES instead of NO; or WHY NOT? I created the necessary shifts in my normal routine to see & realize the opportunities that I could grasp if I choose to. IT IS A CHOICE. (It should go without saying... but I am saying it anyway, I am not talking about anything that may be damaging to your mind, body or soul.)

Bikram became my invitation; but for you it could be writing, hiking, running a marathon, church or simple meditation. The common thread is the commitment to do something out of the ordinary for yourself. The accomplishment will become the new foundation for the next steps in your life.

Re-Shaping Your Image


So a friend emailed me, sounding in a bit of a panic. “Robert, I have an event to go to this weekend; I am loosing weight & I am in between sizes. I swim in one size, but JUST fit in the size I am slimming down to. What do I do?”


The first words typed by my fingers Shapewear— undergarments that control and smooth figure problems like Body Perfect by Donna Karen, Spanx by Sara Blakely and there are many others. You have seen stars on the red carpet wearing them, whether you realized it or not; Rihanna & Lady Gaga dawning the foundations on the outside, remember Madonna did it too; and the glamorizing of girdles of the Fifties by Mad Men. Whatever shape you are, the shapewear works by shoring up the excess in areas that you should not have any, and reshaping the buttocks, thigh & mid-section. Unfortunately it is not permanent, it only works when you wear them.


New innovation and technology have also caused a resurgence. Heat-sealed applications and laser-cut treatments as well as lightweight microfiber blends with Lycra spandex, Modal, Meryl; organic blends such as bamboo with cotton; antibacterial and moisture-repellent applications have made the garments lighter, more comfortable and a must have.


WWD reports “annual retail sales of shapewear grew 10.6 percent to $848.3 million from March 2009 to February 2010, and unit sales increased 3.8 percent during that period, according to The NPD Group research consultancy. A leading area of growth was plus sizes of XL to XXXL or larger, with sales gains of 14.8 percent last year.”


I received a follow up email from my friend “… I cannot believe how well these work, it sucked me into my next smaller size.”


These shaping foundations are affordable and should be in every woman’s arsenal. Boost your butt & boost your confidence. Pick yours up at Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Macy’s & even Target. #DKNY #SPANX

Instructional Technologies


I gave a short presentation to a group of Fashion Students at Metro Tech High School in Phoenix, AZ. The Phoenix Union High School District has been making news for all the right reasons. Performing schools, excelling students, outstanding teachers, innovative programs, improving trends, growing enrollment and a construction wave of new and rebuilt schools are all part of Phoenix Union's success story.



The Fashion Students are educated on as many points of the industry as possible; in my case “What is a Wardrobe Stylist.” I wish they had something like this when I was in high school in addition to Home Economics & P.E. LOL!

There were over 30 students in the morning class; I was amazed how eager they were & they were taking notes too. I think I appreciated most of all the questions…. “What is a clip” to “Why would an individual need a Personal Stylist?”

I received the following email from the teacher~ “Thank you so much for speaking to our students. You were such an inspiration to them. Many of them commented about how great it was to have you as a speaker. You did such an awesome job of presenting your styling business to the students.”

Kids now days (I can say that right?) need to be introduced to not only the corporate way of life, but freelancing and vocational elements that spark their creativity & helps them discover their own gifts & passions. I really am looking forward to speaking to the afternoon class.

So please support your local schools that have adopted instructional technologies to the classroom, you will see the difference.

Do you want to be on top? ANTM #15


April 10th UPDATE: Stephanie from Collins College did NOT follow through & let Campus Staff or Security know that I was being allowed to interview the models in line, in return for my blogging, facebooking & tweeting prior to the event . Over 213 contestants had gone through the audition process; I was only able to interview a handful, before I was ejected from the property. I am truly disappointed in the miscommunication & lack of follow through from Collins College. HOWEVER, I wish ALL the local AZ Talent the BEST OF LUCK!!!

As many of you know I received an email from a representative from Collins College, Phoenix, AZ asking me to partner with them...

"...thought it would be great to partner with you in order to spread the word throughout the region about the upcoming auditions via your blog. Wouldn’t it be crazy if America’s Next Top Model came from the Phoenix area, or better yet, if she was one of your blog readers?!"

Did I have to think twice about that? NO! So I am putting it out to all my model friends on Facebook & Twitter... I TRIPLE DOG DARE YOU!!

April 10, 2010~
America's Next Top Model auditions to be held at Collins College

Audition for the national television show and see if your modeling dreams can come true Saturday, April 10 between 8am and 4pm at Collins College. Collins is located in Phoenix, AZ and offers a Fashion Design and Merchandising degree, as well as several other technology and design degrees.

For more information on America's Next Top Model Auditions being held this weekend, please visit the
Collins College website.

UPDATE; Looks like I can hang out with the AZ Model Contestants in line! WOOP WOOP!!! See you there!!!!

#ANTM

Je Ne Sais Quoi


I have made some lovely new friends in Paris & I want to introduce them to you!!


No, I have not been recently, but through the MAGIC of TWITTER we have, I feel, become good friends in an abbreviated period. After many fleeting TWEETS, “Je Ne Sais Quoi” reached out to me to take a personal look at some new arrivals in their global boutique.


Launched at the end of 2008, Je Ne Sais Quoi “To Make Unique”, is a Paris based multi-brand online boutique that specializes in a fashion-forward selection of niche brands & emerging designers from around the world. Combining edgy but elegant accessories that add a touch of originality to an assortment of ready-to-wear. Also selected lifestyle goods for women & men, which will be more complete this fall; shopped to fit seamlessly into your style.


Whether the purchase is intended as a gift or as a personal treat (I recommend a personal treat every now & again) JNSQ knows that one of the primary pleasures of buying a luxury item is discovering its packaging. Your gift will arrive wrapped in silk tissue paper or in a linen pouch, placed in a crisp, white shopping bag and secured by an organza ribbon. We deserve luxury service & personalized attention.


We all deserve a little “Je Ne Sais Quoi”… that is not a question, but a statement.

Featured Friday Article



“Up-cycling” by The Style Coach

I recently came across another awesome website – this one for handbags. It’s called reMade USA and they are based in San Francisco. All of their bags are chic, cool and very affordable. Most important, though, is that they are all made from recycled (or up-cycled”!) leather. So beautiful! Each bag is custom-made and one-of-a-kind with many styles to choose from. In fact, you can even donate your own old leather jacket – you know, the one that you just don’t/can’t wear anymore but it costs too many bucks to toss. Send it to them and you will even receive $20 off the cost of the bag. You can call or email them with any questions you have.

You can also buy the bags at Barneys CO-OP stores, but frankly, I’d rather work with the designer to perfect my unique bag!

There’s SO much info, I can’t do it justice so please check it out for yourself. You can also find them on Facebook and Twitter.

I already have plans for one of my husband’s old jackets. Now if I can just figure out how to get it out of his closet without him noticing….

Read more by The Style Coach...

RULES... BLAH BLAH BLAH

It is a revolution. The OLD fashion rules are changing. For instance… “long hems are for evening…” or “… white is only for summer.” Not anymore. Fashion is about your shape, your mood… your personal style.


Let’s build you up...

  • Do you have an important presentation? Take the tired pant suite... lets wake it up. Wear a longer, more fluid skirt or pant. Lean, lanky whites command respect. A contrasting sandal wedge gives you the forward thinking edge in the room.
  • Impress your new boss with a professional & detailed look of a button-up, mixed with a longer, small symmetrical print skirt, revealing a little personality.
  • If you are on the petite side, try a little red dress, in the new trendy tiered silhouette; it can give you the illusion of legs that don't quit. Need to “office it up?” Add a soft cotton or silk jersey blazer.
  • How about something a little “artfully romantic?” Full cotton ruffled skirt paired with an unexpected “zoomy” top in textured organza or silk. Interest is the key; look like someone everyone needs to know.
  • Feathers are BIG BIG BIG. Flaunt your plumage with a short hemmed skirt; this won’t overwhelm your petite frame. Add tights & wedge booties for those cooler nights.
  • Take a longer tiered skirt, paired with a structured cotton sateen jacket; keeping the volume contained, as to not overwhelm your slight frame. Add some great platforms to underscore your confidence. This is especially nice for you of taller stature.
  • Don’t be afraid to mix & layer opaques with transparents; flirty but not reveling is key. Don’t want to invite the wrong attention.

Think beyond the rules… it is more about pushing your limits & highlighting your personality & style. Fashion should be fun… not frightening.

Out & About in New York City


This visit was equally exciting as the last.

Qi | Asian Eatery
Taoist Macrobiotics & Hindu Ayurveda gastronomical philosophy inspired cuisine, the belief that the quality of food can contribute to our health, well-being & happiness. I personally believe this is absolutely the truth, even if I do not practice it 100%. Think about it, why would it not contribute to the vitality & longevity in the modern world? Not only was it pleasing to the palette, the elegant presentation enhanced the already hip atmosphere & the moderate lunch price point will give you the much needed holistic experience.

DOMA Café & Gallery

I was walking back from my appointment with Elisa Palomino & thought I would give it a try. Cozy, not overly crowded, book filled café. My velvety smooth late was D-LISH, paired with the house made granola square, soft with pleasing bursts of fruit. If you get a chance it is an ideal reading spot or people watching and mingling with the local color.

Joe the Art of Coffee

Another incredible & visually stimulating with fabulous quality espresso, at five boutique-coffee locations. Most recently featured in Time Out NY & Huffington Post. I sat my stylish-self down at the one near Parsons, The New School for Design. Joe In addition to espresso-based drinks, a single-cup, drip-coffee bar dispenses a rotating selection of brews, while baked goods from native New York companies like Ceci-Cela & Donut Plant provide just the kind of breakfast this coffee addict needed. And for real bean aficionados, Joe offers classes, such as coffee's history, while sampling some fresh seasonal brews at Coffee 101. Sign me up!!

Buddakan
This downtown chic restaurant features exotic flavors of modern Asian cuisine with creativity, drama & impeccable service. The dishes come out as they are prepared, so the experience is family style. The concept is very communal & harmonious. There were so many items on the menu I want to try, I definitely will be going back.

The Jazz Standard
An extraordinary lineup of world-class artists, warm hospitality & pitch-perfect sound. From classic jazz to funk, R&B, blues & more. I had the privilege of experiencing Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society. The freshest, outside the box of big band ideals. Paired with the menu from Blue Smoke Barbecue, and if you know me... you know I LOVES my BBQ. #NYC #FOODIE #JAZZ

Elisa Palomino Debut Label Collection


















A longtime collector of Twenties and Thirties kimonos, Elisa Palomino brought the era to life with a feminine lineup of delicate tulle embellished flapper dresses and beautiful Asian floral motifs. Elisa used to design for Moschino Cheap and Chic; she also worked for John Galliano, Dior, Cavalli and DVF, before she decided to launch her own label.

Her label debut collection tells a story of romance in ravishing pinks, chic crèmes, moody mauves & caramelized apricots. Emphasizing light as air textures with feathers & snipped organza petals on silk jersey & chiffon. Contradicting with heavy knits, supple leathers & fox furs. While all at once overwhelming; individual silhouettes are quit cunning, in the art of show off… but don’t tell. #NYFW Elisa Palomino

Jeffrey Fashion Cares 2010


Last night, Jeffrey Fashion Cares 2010 brought together fashion’s most fabulous for a dazzling evening of cocktails, a silent auction, and haute couture on the runway, on the Intrepid Aircraft Carrier. Leading International Fashion & Luxury companies came together with New York City’s charitable and social communities to benefit four of the most worthy non-profit organizations that improve the lives of people living with HIV/AIDS and members of the LGBTQ community.

Over the past 17 years Jeffrey Fashion Cares was established to heighten awareness of the plight of people living with HIV/AIDS and members of the LGBTQ community. Raising over $9 million for our communities’ most important charities & non-profit organizations.



It was the biggest night ever, 1240 attendees; that is over 400 more than last year. With a silent auction of at least 100 items & a bidding auction hosted by Christie's on 5 luxury vacations,raising $550k for the community. It was fun & a big success.
#FASHIONCARESNY #LGBTQ #HIV/AIDS

Do You Know Your ABC’s of Skin Care


Vitamin A topically applied, helps with fine lines, wrinkle and overall better skin health. Prescription products, from your Licensed Esthetician or Dermatologist, like Retin-A and Renova are most effective. A non-prescription Retinol may also be used, however it may take a bit longer to see the desired result.

Vitamin B also topically applied can aid in moisture retention & healthy glow. Vitamins B-3 (niacin) and B-5 (pantothenic acid) have become popular additions to skin-care products because of their ability to assist in retaining moisture. B-3 offers a milder alternative to acidic exfoliates like glycolic & salicylic acid, which some may feel too be harsh for their complexions. B-5 is a more common skin-care additive, and is widely recognized for its (along with Vitamin E) moisturizing ability. It's also good for those with sensitive skin, as some creams made with Vitamin-E have been known to cause irritation.

Vitamin C
medical grade & topical, is a proven prescription lightener to improve dull, tired-looking skin. C serums are proven to help maintain normal cell turnover, neutralize free radicals at all layers of the skin. C greatly repairs damaged cells, builds collagen, L_Ascorbic acid is essential for cross-linking collagen molecules, lightens and brightens skin, reduces inflammation, decreases water loss in skin and helps sunscreen, acting as an additional protection factor from UVA & UVB rays and sun damage.

Don't forget D...

Vitamin D is a powerful antioxidant and anti-carcinogen. Basically, the sun’s rays contain ultra violet light that acts on unprotected skin (no sunscreen) and allows it to manufacture Vitamin D. Although this is a very easy way to get Vitamin D into your body and reap the benefits, sun exposure must be controlled. Too much sun exposure will lead to skin cancer and premature skin aging. Five to ten minutes of daily summer sun exposure on unprotected skin such as the face, hands, arms, and back will provide enough ultra violet light exposure to produce the required amount of vitamin d for the body.

Fact: The sun is just as strong ALL year round. As the FDA recommends you should be protecting yourself all year around. Anytime of the year it is suggested that you avoid prolonged sun exposure without protection. While on any skin care treatment or system, you can participate in normal outdoor activity, however, your skin may be slightly more sensitive to the sun & heat protection as normally suggested allows for us to increase the cell turn over in the summer months to prevent the damage from occurring as much as possible.

The Art of Craftsmanship Revisited: New York



While in New York, I had the privilege to attend a joint presentation by LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton Inc. & Parsons The New School for Design.

The Art of Craftsmanship Revisited: New York
This new initiative celebrates the authenticity, creativity & craftsmanship that has inspired & defined the luxury industry for years.

The students competed to create fashion ensembles & documentary films inspired by the work of local artisans and the world of LVMH. This is the first phase of this project. Parsons students collaborating across the disciplines of fashion, art, media & technology, have created a new vision for Artisanry in the 21st century.

I have to say it was inspiring. The students created the needed materials to fulfill their vision. I was so impressed, there is a spring of talent coming out of that school.

Sometimes it is about creating something amazing out of nothing.

#NYFW #LVMH #PARSONS

Skin Defense


It is important to protect your skin from harmful UV rays, no matter the climate you live in... sunny or cloudy. The following are recommendations from my Licensed Esthetician, varying in price & content.

Skin Ceuticals
Ultimate UV Defense SPF 30
This true broad-spectrum sunscreen contains 7% transparent Zinc oxide (Z-Cote®) to help protect against the damaging effects of UVA & UVB rays. Cosmetically elegant and moisturizing Ultimate UV Defense is ideal for daily use & perfect for high altitudes.

iS CLINICAL SPF 20 Powder Sunscreen
Uniquely combines micronized Zinc oxide and transparent Titanium dioxide to provide the finest & safest physical UV protection. This self-dispensing, convenient powder sunscreen is easy to use and excellent for all ages, including children. Great for travel, sports, or over make-up. SPF 20 POWDER SUNSCREEN is available in translucent & sun medium shades. Excellent for post-procedure application.

Neutrogena Helioplex® Sunscreen Technologies
While SPF measures UVB protection, there's a rating system called PFA that measures UVA protection. The higher a sunscreen's PFA value, the better its UVA protection. In some sunscreens, UVA protection begins to break down the moment your skin is exposed to the sun. Neutrogena developed Helioplex® technology to help provide long-lasting UVA protection. With an unbeatable PFA owed to Helioplex® plus the highest SPF available, Neutrogena Ultra Sheer® SPF 100+ offers the best UVA/UVB protection there is.

TIP: After applying to you face, per your Licensed Dermatologist or Licensed Esthetician recommendations, apply to the back of your hands. They take a beating with the sun glaring at them as we drive to & fro. They will be the first to give away your age.

Fur & Fur Alike


Fur conjures controversy world wide, but there is no doubt it makes a statement. Chanel made a splash in “fantasy fur” (sounds more magical than faux… right?) Karl Lagerfeld delivered an over the top “Polar” collection. Other designers have incorporated fur into their Fall Winter 2010 collections as well. Viktor & Rolf, Yves Saint Laurent & John Galliano to name a few.

So what is in your closet? Is it a real “live” fur or “fantasy” fur? Either way, if this piece is just slumbering in the back of your closet, wake it up!!! You may not feel comfortable wearing a full on fur or fur like coat; but would you wear is it as a sash, or utility belt? Maybe update a military like jacket, by adding pieces to the collar or cuffs. Even a military styled cap; add a fur band or cover the bill. OR take a measured swath & add leather ties to create a cuff for you wrist or a longer piece for a belt.

Are the wheels turning? Have your tailor help you so it looks quality. Let the fur fly. #PFW

Tag... You Are It


Graffiti printed apparel is nothing ground breaking, but, it is whimsically inspiring & I am seeing a resurgence for both women & men. This trend may not be something that you would fill your closet with, however you may want to keep your eyes open and select a piece or two.

For instance, a top can rejuvenate existing bottoms or jackets that you feel are growing tired in your current wardrobe. Or you may find that comfortable Maxi Dress that will carry you from spring, summer & transitional fall with a jacket or cardigan/shrug. With the multi-colors, you can mix up accessories & create many looks.

Guys, we can pick up a t-shirt to wear from spring & layer it under a long-sleeve button down or casual jacket trough fall. Don't splurge on the large printed blazer or pant... they really become a "one time wear" item.

Have some reckless... legal FUN!!!

[1] Balenciaga Fall Winter 2010
[2] Moschino Cheap & Chic
[3] Just Cavalli Mens Graffiti T
[4] Fendi Graffiti Rain Boot
[5] Top Shop Maxi Dress by Unique

Featured Friday Article



Support Yourself
I recently had a friend over for dinner. Rather than bringing the usual hostess gift – wine or dessert – she brought her newly enhanced breasts. Talk about “show and tell”! I got to see and, yes, touch them. (Please note that she insisted: her feeling is since she spent several thousand dollars that, by golly, she wanted everyone’s “first-hand” opinion). They were very nice and definitely worth the money and trouble. But I just about died when I saw her bra! I’m sorry but how can you take out an equity line of credit on your house to buy new boobs and not put them in a proper bra? The bra was the wrong cup size and I must have pulled the back strap about six inches. That’s how stretched out it was. You should only be able to fit your hand between your bra band and back.

Think of it the same way you would buy jeans: you buy your jeans so that they just fit you, knowing that after a while they give and conform to your body. Same thing with bras. It should fit you snugly, but comfortably, on the first hook. As the bra ages and gives, you gradually move the hook to the middle then the last. Once you hit the last hook and it’s gets to be too big, then you’re ready for a new bra.


Naturally, I chided her but I also offered to go bra shopping with her. It still confounds me that well-dressed women who see nothing wrong in laying out several hundred dollars for a new blazer or designer shoes or bag STILL have the same underwear they wore in college, let alone think they are still the same bra size they were in college! It was time to be properly fitted, especially considering my friend’s new dimensions.

The very best place to be fitted is a local lingerie or bra boutique. Just about every large to mid-sized city has one. The staff are absolute experts and you get a one-on-one experience. Plus, their selections are usually better and can accommodate more than the most common bra sizes. (I was in the shop I patronize once and a woman with a 30G bust was there and they had her size in stock. A 30G!!) You can almost always get a bra custom fitted, if necessary. If you have one of these boutiques in your area, consider yourself lucky and patronize them. You’ll never go anywhere else.


Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom also have very well-trained bra fitters but please note that they fit bras very differently. NM fits by measurement using a tape then calculating cup size. You are then fitted in one or two styles appropriate for your breast shape and tissue (soft vs. firm, otherwise known as real vs. fake). I find it quite efficient. Nordstrom, on the other hand, fits you by “eye”. Meaning the bra fitter does not measure you with a tape but instead gauges your size by eye then has you try on a few predetermined “fit styles” they select for you. It’s time-consuming and not for the impatient but you will finally get a properly fitted bra. I have been fitted both ways and both were correct (32C demi-cup). I would skip Victoria’s Secret altogether. From my experience and the opinion of many others, their fitters are not as detail oriented and the quality of their bras is not very good.
A good quality bra runs about $75. You only need 2 or 3 with one of them being a convertible bra that can also be worn strapless. With proper care, they will last for several years.

*Tip: Once you are correctly fitted, buy just one bra at the store. Then go home and buy your additional ones online from lingerie shopping sites such as www.abriefaffair.com (my favorite), www.figleaves.com or www.barenecessities.com. Not only will you save on tax but you can always find an online discount coupon as well as free shipping. Your best bet is to find a favorite site and sign up for their emails. I always stock up during their special promotions.


As for care, the two most important things to remember is to “stack” your lined/padded bras, cups up, in your drawer (unlined ones can be folded in half). This is important because if you crease or bend the foam in the cup, it will NEVER go back, even after washing. Do the same thing when packing. Speaking of washing, beware of Woolite. It is notorious for eating up elastic. You must hand was in a very gentle detergent such as Forever New or Dreft Laundry Detergent for baby clothes. Never, EVER wash your bra in the machine, even if you put it in a lingerie bag on the gentle cycle.

They will be ruined in no time, trust me.
So get a couple of girlfriends and go treat yourselves to a bra fitting and a new bra this month. You won’t be sorry and you’ll look and feel terrific!


For more from The Style Coach

Ask Robert


Today Lyndsey W. from Arizona asked “… I have an event tonight; I need to be professional, because I am networking, yet approachable. What do you recommend?”


Robert Says… Be the person to get to know.


Wear something that makes you feel empowered & comfortable, without breaking the bank. People can tell when you’re not comfortable & will most likely avoid you. Party-goers don’t want to engage “Connie Complainer” if they don’t have to.


No matter what your shape, find a silhouette that enhances your assets & hides your flaws. It could be in your closet or at JCrew, Anthropology or that boutique around the corner. In this transition from winter to spring, I would recommend colors like grass green, jade or emerald, midnight blue, lapis, magenta, cantaloupe, melon, soft grays and of course black.


So let's build you up…. say you have a strapless black & white print dress that you love & is super flattering to your shape; pair that with a black heel, maybe with an interesting detail. It is still cool at night, so a soft cashmere shrug that covers your shoulders & maybe at least ¾ of your arms would be warm & hide the back of your arms.


Next, add a super interesting necklace, cuff and or clutch. Having that interesting piece that has a pop of color will invite conversation to you.


Top it off your nail color. If your nails are short & feminine don’t choose a matching color to your clutch or necklace. It says… “I am trying too hard.” Get a fresh coat of your everyday favorites. Even if it is super different… again great conversation starter & says you’re an interesting character & you might be someone fun to get to know. If your nails are longer & more “vamp,” chose a softer, more elegant of your favorite shades. It says smart & sophisticated… another person to get to know.

[1] February Forever Dress $44

[2] Cropped Shrug $15

[3] Luiching Kam Me Pump $78

[4] Sondra Robert’s Rose Box Clutch $115

[5] Gem Forest Bib Necklace $198 & Morning Mist Post $28

Fast Fashion

Fast fashion is a term used to describe clothing collections which are based on the most recent fashion trends presented at Fashion Week in both the spring and the autumn of every year.These trends are designed and manufactured quickly and cheaply to allow the mainstream consumer to take advantage of current clothing styles at a lower price. This philosophy of quick manufacturing at an affordable price is used in large retailers such as H&M, Forever 21, Zara, and Top Shop. It particularly came to the fore front during the vogue for "boho chic" in the mid-noughties. Recently however, these retailers have been in pending lawsuits over violations of Intellectual Property or Trade Dress rights. Target is becoming more well know for contracting quick designs from designers like Anna Sui, Isaac Mizrahi, Rodarte and many other well-known emerging designers.

While I think it is great to give everyone access to a designer or trend, I am always wary of the dilution of the brand or label. By dilution I mean less unique or coveted.How less special would that Louis Vuitton bag that you saved & saved for be if they decided to sell them for half the price at H&M; of course the quality is not the same, but outwardly looks the same. It would make me want to put it in my closet for a while, till the craze faded... now you know.

Tightly Trending

I wanted to give you a leg up (get it... LOL) on what's trending for Fall Winter 2010.

[1] Rodarte romantic overture defined by delicate colors, glorious knits and yards of traditional Mexican lace — girlish elements grounded in an earthy craftiness. Sheer silk narrow pants were worn like tights under wrap skirts and densely woven sweaters [2] Trias Hand knit ombre tights, in shades of cocoa, charcoal & ink [3] Chaolu Lab, “The place where the pleasant scent is generated” & some cool light tights, sheer on the front & back & opaque on the sides [4] Mikio Sakabe a heavy hand knitted layering tight/ legging, depending how you want to wear them. [5] Balenciaga by Ghesquiere, new tights come in every shade… with a twist. They are opaque on the front & transparent on the sides.

Many of the above will be available for purchase from the respective online or boutique locations. TIP: if the pocket book does not allow, look for the Fast Fashion versions, they will be popping up all over the place as we get closer to season. #NYFW #JFW