Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Summer Styling Class with Yours Truly!!!

Summer Styling Course for Tweens, Teens
and Young Adults 11yr.-24yr.

Do you know someone who is dying to be a Stylist? Join Nationally recgonized Stylist Amy Salinger and Fashionsita Prep along with Elle Girl Model Search:

Class Starts Aug. 2nd -5th M-F 11am-4pm $495
ONLY 20 students per class!!
Sign Up ends July 15th!!

Students will learn how to style for high fashion photoshoots and how to work with personal clients to develope their individual looks / wardrobe by buying what they need and using what they have. In addition the students will put together a mock business based off their individual interest in the fashion styling industry.
Students will take a trip to Bloomingdales flag ship store to learn how to put together a great outfit at any price and a class photoshoot will let them feel like a real nyc stylist! Students will walk away with a new sense of individual style and the knowledge of how to present themselves in the fashion industry. With Amy Salinger there is no such thing as having "nothing to wear."

Sunday, June 20, 2010

10 Tips for Getting Ready for Your Stylist - Advice from a Fashion-Phoebe

Guest post by Lisa Nielsen, The Innovative Educator

The day I came to grips with the idea that a regular person like me needed a stylist was in the mountains of Vermont after a day of skiing with some long-time friends. I shared how frustrated I was to have closets bursting full of clothes but had tremendous difficulty finding something I wanted to wear. It was at that time that I realized that though I was a 40-something with dreams of making the world a better place, I was still wearing my 20-something and 30-something clothes much of which was purchased when (and even before) we all first met. I needed an update that conveyed I was a professional to be taken seriously. So, on the advice of a few of my highly successful, and fashionable, friends I hired Amy Salinger a stylist.

I admit, at first, this seemed a little crazy for someone like me. Unlike my big business and high-fashion New York City friends, I work in education. Like others drawn to the field I love the work/life balance the career provides and have an active and fun lifestyle that has never been much focused on what I wear. As a teacher the dress code is pretty lax and in my free time I ski, snowboard, play beach volleyball, football, and dance. I hadn’t given too much thought to my appearance. But when my friend who's also a career advice writer and speaker Penelope Trunk first posed the idea and the two-year president of the National Association of Womens' Business Owners Melanie McEvoy and high-profile photographer Amy Fletcher resoundingly supported this idea, I had to rethink my position.

I am now in my forties and as a professional educational administrator who loves speaking to individuals, small groups and large audiences about ways to educate innovatively, I knew it was important that I presented myself well because my message would be received more effectively if I looked on the outside like the experienced and stylish professional that was on the inside.

So, I hired a stylist and learned a lot about doing so, which I’m sharing here for others who are interested in doing the same.


1) Weed your closet.
You don't want to spend valuable time with your stylist doing things you can do yourself. Throw out anything you haven't worn in two years. Throw out anything you'll never really get fixed. Put aside clothes you're thinking don't look quite right, but you’re not sure.

2) Get a friend.
This process is a lot easier with a friend to help. She or he can help you from the start to finish. They can push you to do the weeding and let go of the emotional connection and justification for keeping your clothing. They can help you determine what fashion areas of focus should be.

3) Think about real life events.
Think about real life events that you want help dressing for. Once you do that you can think of the fashion difficulties for which you really need support.
Here are some of my examples:
  • Going to a VIP party
    I knew what suit I wanted to wear but had no idea what shoes were right, what shirt goes best, and what accessories might compliment the event.
  • Meeting a sophisticated friend for dinner
    Yes, it's just dinner with a friend, but wearing my belly shirt and mood ring just doesn't look right anymore. What are the best jeans, shirt, shoes, and jewelry to have a casual, but grown up dinner.
4) Get in touch with your do's & don'ts
  • What are the fashion do's and don'ts about which you are wondering. Be prepared to ask. For instance I was wondering:
  • Is it wrong to safety pin a fallen button on my suit?
  • When wearing a sweater should it be open, buttoned, or partially buttoned?
  • How's my underwear?
5) What goes with this? And…Does this go with that?
  • You have those great pair of shoes, or that amazing skirt sitting in your closet. You love them! But what do you wear them with??? Have all those pieces pulled out specifically so your stylist can help you make an outfit with them.
  • You have your favorite outfits, but are you really putting them together as well as possible? This is where the stylist comes in. Be ready to try them on, or have pictures in advance, and find out how your outfits go together best.
6) Know your idiosyncrasies
Before you send your stylist off to shop for you, remember to tell her about your idiosyncrasies. While they may be obvious to you, they may not be to others. Pointing these characteristics out will result in your stylist getting you clothes you LOVE! Here were some of mine.
  • I don't iron so stick with wrinkle free.
  • I am messy. Don't give me light colored clothes that I will stain.
  • I'm petite and like to wear mid-high shoes7) Don't whine. Get wine
When your stylist comes to help you sort through your clothes and then try on outfits it is wonderful, but it does get a little tedious. Make sure you have a bottle of wine and turn it into a party. Just don't spill!

8) Have safety pins and a sewing kit on hand
When your stylist comes with all your fabulous clothes some of them may need minor adjustments and she’ll know exactly what looks best. Make sure you have safety pins and a sewing kit on hand so those small alterations can be adjusted so they look just right.

9) Get stuff altered
If you’re like me, the idea of getting stuff altered is not appealing. Well, get over it. You paid someone to find great clothes for you and there will probably be a few things that need altering. If you followed the step above, she’ll help you get it ready so all you have to do is drop it off at the cleaners.

10) Lights, Camera, Action
Take picture of yourself in your new outfits so you can remember what goes with what. You may want to get dolled up so your friends who want to look at the pictures can see you at your best.

In the end, the days of having a closet full of "nothing to wear" have become a thing of the past. Instead, I wake up each day knowing exactly what to wear, and when I forget, I can always refer to the pictures she took of me to help me remember, like the ones below.

Read why I hired a stylist in my post, Make the World a Better Place. Get a Stylist.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

College to the Boardroom: Dressing Appropriately

So, the party is over. College is ending and it is time for the "real world". Stop crying! It can be fun, I swear.

First challenge, transitioning seamlessly into the work world by looking the part. This is often times not an easy task for those who have never set foot in an office. You own the staple uniform of jeans, t-shirts and sweatshirts for daytime and black pants with sexy, little tops for nighttime... Now what?? Basically you have a closet full of "weekend wear". Get out your parents credit card (you don't have any money yet, you haven't started working) and get ready to shop.

I LOVE this look from J Crew and I think it is a great middle ground for someone just entering the work force. Let's be honest, you can't really afford to buy an entirely new wardrobe at this moment, so it is time to be creative. Owning pieces that are great for multiple occasions is the key to this great leap you are about to take.

Let's focus in on the details of why I think this is a great look for almost any working situation: First, you are put together, but you are not stuffy. Remember that you are 22 years old, look it. Be sophisticated, but don't try to age yourself by 20 years. The gig is up, everyone knows you just got out of college!

The top half of this outfit is so accessible that it could even be worn with jeans! Look, it really is just a fancy t-shirt and a colored cardigan. The print ups the ante of the tee (don't think Ed Hardy here!) and the color of the cardigan makes it a bit more youthful. The piece making the entire look so "office appropriate" is the pencil skirt. A necessity in any woman's closet of any age and almost any shape, this garment will kick it up a notch at the workplace. Plus, it is a great foundation piece and can be worn multiple times without your co-workers calling you out. Topped off with a complimentary red colored flat to offset the yellow cardigan and paired with funky bracelets, this outfit has full on green light approval! Mix and match any of the items shown here for looks ranging from casual to work. You can do it!

Another great item is the wrap dress. It is basic, simple, straight forward and can be accessorized how ever you like! This means that you have the power to exercise your styling muscle.... Within means! This is another garment that will stand the test of time, just like the pencil skirt. It has the flexibility to be worn in a sophisticated way or a playful way. You are in control. Adding a fun shoe, as this Banana Republic ensemble is showing, gives it that younger edge that you are going for. No need to be stuffy just because you are out of college. Fun and appropriate are the key words class.

Check out a Sass N Style video I did about being "Office Chic". My friend and I are just a few years out of college (OK, maybe 8), but you should get some fun and easy tips for looking great as you enter the workforce. Remember ladies, your look is going to get you immediate approval from your boss, but your confidence and attitude is going to get you a promotion!

College Photo courtesy of Getty Images
J Crew Outfit
Banana Republic Wrap Dress: $120

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Summer Straw Hats

Someone save Kim! Her hat is going to swallow her! Seriously, this is a little ridiculous. How does one maneuver doors in this hat? What you don't know about this picture is that Kim Cattrall has a personal handler just for her hat and it was placed directly on her once she sat down. It will promptly be removed once she decides to move again...... I am just kidding for those that don't get my sarcastic humor.

So what is realistic when it comes to summer straw hats? What is too big? I personally have one simple rule, if you can't see anybody around you, the hat is probably too big. Of course this may be a plus for certain people trying to avoid others.... It should be just wide enough to cover your face so the sun can't get to it. Sorry ladies, you are just going to have to slather sun screen on your shoulders because if the hat is that wide, you probably will need a hat handler as well.

Now here is another problem. Wide brim straw hats should, I repeat, should only be worn to warm weather events surrounding a body of water. You are very within your means at a pool party, BBQ on the lake or cruising around in a sailboat, but the red carpet sponsored by Zales? Really? Really?!? Bethany Frankel, I am one of your bigger fans (I love loud mouths like myself), but this hat is only part of your offense. I cannot go without mentioning that this entire outfit is nuts. Add in the lollipop to boot and I just can't take it. The ruffle, the sash, the hat, the feather, the lollipop, I am going to burst! Take that hat, rip off the feather and throw on a bikini, done. Oh yea, and get off the red carpet and head directly to the beach......

So here we have a good option for most gals.... It is breathable (so your head won't be drenched in sweat), it is a good circumference and it has some style. Look at how awesome this model looks in her wide brim summer straw hat! This piece instantly adds class and style to any water-bound ensemble. Don't you see yourself on the high seas near the French Riviera? Boat and hot captain not included.

I truly believe it is a necessity these days to own some type of wide brim hat to block yourself from harmful UV rays. Yes, I am a doctor as well as a stylist. Truthfully, when you can own something that does double duty, style and protection, why not? I love something that is two for the price of one.

Bloomingdales: Auqa Floppy Sun Hat with Metallic Edge- $58

Monday, June 14, 2010

Flea Market Finds: How to be a Master!

I take great pride in the fact that I am a self-taught genius of flea markets. This essentially means that I am capable of finding fabulous treasures among what looks like piles of trash. People are easily overwhelmed by situations like this, but I thrive on it. It is a talent that has been honed over many years, but I want to give you, my fashion audience, some quick tips about how to "find the fab".

Take this dress to the left. It was on a sad little hanger in the back of a parking lot flea market looking tired and bored. That is until I found her and breathed new life back into her body! I was just strolling past this particular flea market, as it usually goes in NYC, and I decided to do a walk through. Nothing too crazy, I just wanted to take a glimpse. I usually only go toward jewelry and bags in these situations because they are the easiest to search through, but for some reason, I decided to look at a rack of vintage dresses. The word vintage can be deceiving. People think of celebrities wearing vintage gowns on the red carpet, but mostly it just means that things are old! And so was the story with this long, wine colored polyester gown from the 70's. Right there in the parking lot I tried this baby on over my clothing to see if it even remotely fit. And lo and behold, my eye was right on. It was a little long and a little loose, but for $25, it was sold. Of course the fun part of this story is that I then had to have it tailored for $96. The key to this type of shopping is knowing that often times, tailoring is a part of the price. I still got a floor length gown that I have worn numerous time for $130. Not too bad.

Another one of my great finds is this snake skin bag. Sure she's a little beat up, but she just keeps on ticking! Whenever I pair this bag with an outfit, I receive a compliment. It is over-sized and relaxed, creating a laid back vintage look every time I rock it. For $12 in Chicago, this snakeskin bag has been put to good use. At any retail store a new bag just like this one would be upwards of $200 to $250.

Just this weekend I found this amazing art deco bracelet at my favorite flea market in Hell's Kitchen. I am in way too many weddings this summer and I am trying to save money by styling two dresses different ways. This way I feel like I am wearing different outfits, but not buying completely new ensembles. This is totally for my own benefit since I will literally not be seeing the same people at any of the seven weddings I am attending. Yes, I said seven.

This little bauble only cost me $28 and was worth every penny. The detail and quality of it are amazing. To me, it also adds a bit of character to my look knowing that every piece of jewelry I am wearing I searched for and found a fabulous deal on! I will, of course, let everyone at every wedding know this and how much I paid for each piece. I can't help myself.

So here are a few quick tips to navigating a crazy flea market:

PATIENCE IS KEY: You are never going to find anything if you are rushing through the market. You have to accept the fact that this is an activity and enjoy the search. Sifting might take time, but it will totally be worth it if you find your next favorite piece.

DON'T GO WITH ONE THING IN MIND: You are never going to find exactly what you are looking for. Certain pieces are more plentiful then others, i.e. vintage jewelry, but this place is NOT merchandised for your pleasure. Go with the idea that you might find something fabulous.... Whatever it may be!

GO FOR QUALITY: There is a lot of junk at flea markets. Piles and piles of it. At some flea markets, that is all there is. Be discerning. If it is clothing, look at the stitching and stain possibility. Check for missing buttons. If it is jewelry, look for tarnishing and broken clasps. It may look cute, but if it is inexpensive crap, then you will look like inexpensive crap when you wear it:)

ACCESSORIES ARE A GIRL'S BEST FRIEND: This is going to be the easiest thing to pick up. There is always a ton of bags and jewelry at any flea market. If you are looking for a trinket to get you through your shopping lull, then this is the place for you. Again, patience is key and only buy it if you love it.

CIRCLE AROUND ONCE BEFORE PURCHASING: Look at everything and make a short list of what you love. Go with a certain amount of cash and when you run out, it is time to leave. Most vendors only take cash so this is an easy way to stay on budget! Make wise choices and you will always love what you buy.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Make the World a Better Place. Get a Stylist.

Guest post by Lisa Nielsen, The Innovative Educator

I’ve always believed I could make the world a better place. My dad thought I was dreamer; my mom preferred I go into business. Despite this, I followed my passion and started working as a teacher more than a decade ago. The work was great and I began making a difference in my school. Next I began working on programs that helped many schools. Today I work on programs that receive city, state, national and international attention and I have the pleasure of sharing some of the ideas about which I am most passionate on my blog, in magazine and newspaper articles, and by speaking to others interested in teaching and learning.

The problem was that while I was acting the part, I was having a hard time dressing the part. Sure, I looked okay, but it didn't come naturally. Fashion isn't really my forte and I HATE shopping. As a result, while I have a full wardrobe of clothes, many are left over from when I was in my 20s. Now I am a professional in my 40s and I need to look the part. Don’t get me wrong, like most of us who get up and go to work each day, I can certainly put on a suit and a few accessories, but I don’t look entirely put together. There’s usually something slightly off… wrong bag, shoes, shirt, necklace, scarf, earrings.

As an educator I know that some people have talents and
passions in particular areas and they have the ability and motivation to be successful in those areas. Then there are others that certainly want to be talented in a particular area but they don't have the passion, interest, or talent, and for them we give extra help. The later described me when it comes to fashion. I wanted to look a certain way but it really wasn't an interest, passion, talent, or something I enjoyed or studied. Stores frighten me. The crowds, all the clothes, figuring out what is a good deal or what will look good and the dreaded dressing room and trying on all the clothes. I have no interest in fashion shows or magazines, and in general I've never developed a keen sense of what goes with what or what was in style. Additionally, I have a hard time getting rid of clothes (I get emotionally attached), so my closet tends to be overstuffed with items I can no longer wear or that are not appropriate for a 40-something professional woman. And quite frankly, I really just don't know what looks best on me.

I needed a fashion education, because as I learned from experts like
The Brazen Careerist if you are pulled together and look great you'll feel better about yourself which boosts your confidence and helps others feel better about you as well. I decided I needed a professional who could teach and guide me when it comes to letting me know what goes best with what and who could help me understand my personal style. So, I hired Amy Salinger, fashion stylist (, and I couldn't be happier.

Here's what she did for me...
1 - Closet Cleaning:While, this is a service the stylist can provide, (and you don't even need to be present!), being a bit of the pack rat that I am, I tried to save a few bucks and take on most of this myself with the support of a friend. By the time Amy arrived I had already tossed five bags of clothes. I needed about an hour more time of her time to help with the things I wasn't sure about, as well as help to go through the clothes I loved, but no one else did. At that point, the focus is to organize, sort and clean out the rest. In the end, although I had donated seven bags of clothes, I felt like I had even more clothes, because I could see what I had and it was organized.
2- Closet consultation:The real point of this is to see exactly what you own and how to evolve it. The aim is not to throw out everything in your wardrobe. The stylist takes a look to see what can be saved, what can be tailored and how to up the current style value of your wardrobe. It is also to organize it so you can actually see what you own and actually wear it all! She organizes it in a way to help you with styling so your brain doesn't hurt when you are trying to get dressed:) 3 piles are made, "salvation army", "maybe keep" and the "tailoring" pile. In addition, she will create a "fill in the holes" shopping list during the consultation. She will discuss a shopping budget with you once your exact needs have been determined. This lasts about three hours and in the end you will be able to utilize what you own and be ready to buy exactly what you need.
3 - Shopping:I have very little time or interest in shopping, so here is what my stylist did. She bought the bulk of my list at Loehman's which has designer clothes at a discounted price. She also gets an additional 15% off there as well which she passes along to the customer. She brings these items directly to her customer. No shopping, no hassle, no need to be present...unless, of course, unlike me, you have the time and interest. Then you can join her on the shopping journey. The best part is she discusses a realistic budget with you beforehand so you know exactly what to expect!
4 - Styling:This is the final portion and lasts about 3 hours. As fast as you can change is as fast as she will work! During this time she will combine the new items with your existing wardrobe and photograph each look. You will not put on a completely new outfit every time. Rather you may switch out the top half a few times and then the bottom half a few times or just change up the accessories. This enables you to discover multiple ways to wear everything you own and make the most of your wardrobe! When she is done, you will have about 30-40 looks from which to choose. This portion is also designed to provide a learning lesson so you will actually have the knowledge to create many more looks by yourself because you will own the right pieces!

Time to look the part.
Following our time together I had a V.I.P. party where I was networking with others sharing ideas about how businesses could support our students. I had on the right sling back shoes, broach, suit, lacy shirt, and bag. It all came together. Following that I spoke on a panel to business people about the importance of social media in education and not only did I feel the part, I felt I looked the part. You can see for yourself
in this video.

Am I an overnight expert? No. but that's where technology comes in.
Amy Salinger took pictures of me with all sorts of different outfits to remind me of what goes with what and what to wear and when. Now I get up in the morning, t. Think about what kind of day it's going to be, go to the collection of pictures sorted by clothing style i.e. formal, business, business casual, casual-are there more?, and pull it together.

Here is a peek into some of the outfits that comprise my new style.

Now I look on the outside the way I feel on the inside. Confident, excited, powerful, and ready to work with others who want to help make the world a better place with and for our children.

What do you think? Are you ready for stylist? If so, stay tuned for my next post, “10 Tips for Getting Ready for Your Stylist - Advice from a Fashion-Phoebe.”

Visit Amy Salinger at her website,
. You can also view her web series, Sass N Style, for more fashion tips at


Friday, June 11, 2010

HOT Summer Work Looks: Own the Right Pieces

Just because the temperature is up doesn't mean you have to sacrifice style! Let's face it, according to me, unless you are traveling through the insect infested backwoods of the country, you should never sacrifice style. Come down on me summer heat, I will fight back and do it in fashion.

The key to fighting this insane heat that is about to descend upon us is to layer on, layer off. Going to the office is much different then being IN the office. Why do they always put the thermometer at a lovely 50 degrees when it is pushing 100 outside??? Apparently the person paying the bill is not setting the temperature.....

Just as this look from J Crew is showing you, the most important thing in summertime is to look like you weren't trying too hard. It should be easy and breezy, just as your summer attitude is! Nothing too structured, nothing too overwhelming, the layers should almost always be able to go from daytime to nighttime. This lovely variable gives your summer wardrobe a lot more flexibility then any other season. Materials are light and breathable, meaning that any sort of lining might be stifling. Only suits should really present the possibility of having 2 layers to contend with.

The sheath dress is a fabulous option to play with during the next couple of months. You can easily layer items on during the warmer months and utilize it later in the year by layering under! I love versatility. A neutral color, such as this tan, allows you to truly play with it as a foundation piece and change it up completely depending on what you put with it. Change the belt, necklace, shoes, layering piece and bam, it is an entirely different outfit. The style works on most body types from straight to curvy, it really just depends on how you style it. Make it works ladies!

If you work at a location that requires you to wear a suit, don't fret. I can style you fabulous no matter what! Again, the most important factor is to keep it looking like you didn't try too hard. I know, I know, "How do I do that with a suit???" Easy. It is all about how you "wear" the suit and style it. Rolling up the sleeves is key. This automatically gives it a more laid back feeling. It becomes a bit more accessible rather then stiff and uninviting. Adding a blouse that is colorful and printed will help to brighten the overall look. Keeping the material loose and the shirt un-tucked may seem inappropriate, but remember ladies, you are wearing it under a suit! You are already so put together that wearing the undergarment in a more casual way will NOT throw off the entire ensemble. No one in the office will be staring you down for your inappropriate attire!

The final touch on any FAB ensemble is the jewelry! It is easy to buy, easy to style and a fairly inexpensive way to pump up any look, any season. For summer I always promote colorful stones. It pushes whatever outfit you have created into the playful, summer outfit you aspire to create! From necklaces to bracelets to earrings, adding a fun summer bauble is the final touch that your amazing outfit needs! Remember ladies, don't overdo it. A fantastic look really only needs one pop piece. Choose one great item and make it shine! Then, your whole outfit will be like a ray of sunshine.............

J Crew Leopard Skirt/Top/Cardigan
J Crew Sheath Dress: $158
Banana Republic Jacket:$150
Banana Republic Pants: $79

Ann Taylor Loft Necklace: $39.50

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Summer Shorts CAN Work For You!

You have no idea how many people are horrified by the idea of wearing shorts in the summertime. I am here to tell you that (for most people) there is a style that can be flattering! You WILL feel stylish and sexy when you leave the house.... I wouldn't let you leave if you didn't!

Almost every designer showed some version of a summer short during fashion week. Trust me folks, this is a trend that isn't going anywhere. Let's face it, the heat will not allow it. Function and fashion go hand in hand and when something fits the concept so perfectly, you better open your mind, because it is here to stay.

Now, let's talk styles and options:

The short short: First thing that comes to mind for most ladies, ug. I get it, unless you have perfectly toned thighs, this style is petrifying. That is why it is an option and you don't HAVE to own them. Truthfully, I hate throwing out rules, but if you are over 35, this might be past your prime. I am 31 and I love them, but it appears to be countdown time to the end.....

Pop quiz: Which one of these shorts is too short even for the most in shape person? Um, if you don't know the answer I am scared. The orange shorts from J Crew are a perfect option for anyone that is looking for a fun and flirty bottom half. The silk material allows it to go from casual to dressy just by adding the right jewelry, bag and high heel shoes.

Now although this model clearly has the upper hand based on the fact that her legs are a mile long, don't let that deter you from choosing the same style of shorts! This mid-thigh option is a perfect choice for most women. Because of the slight pleating, there is room for movement and comfort, yet it is not adding on the pounds. Pleating can often be a gal's worst enemy, but this easy draping is masking flaws rather then adding them. In addition, the tie string draws the eye to the the middle and gives the shorts a bit more of a stylized look. Legs of all shapes and sizes can be happy in these shorts by Aqua at Bloomingdales!

Now if you are seriously still not convinced that shorts are your thing, let's try out one more style you might be comfortable with. The Bermuda short is great for a little more coverage, but still rocking the shorts look. They should be straight and be form fitting. A flat front is going to be the best option for a long short, otherwise you are going to be swimming in fabric and it will not look good! If you are extremely wide through the thighs then this is not you pair, but even if you have curves you don't extremely love, you have to make sure these skim the body. Otherwise, your sexy curves will turn to, well, fat. You get the idea!

So there it is folks. Three basic styles that should fit most women. Options are key and finding a pair that suits your body and lifestyle is the most important way to feeling and looking great!

J. Crew Dejeuner Silk Shorts: $88
Aqua Slouchy Paper Bag Pleated Shorts: $58
Lauren by Ralph Lauren Bermuda Shorts: $49.50