Rear Window Shopping List

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Over sixty years have passed since Rear Window was released, yet like so many other Hitchcock films, it still inspires fashionistas around the globe.   Some watch Hitchcock films as much for the fashion as they do for the mystery, Rear Window is no exception.  The movie is a veritable fashion show, yet Grace Kelly’s character still manages to have an overnight bag (a Marc Cross still available today) that is smaller than most of our purses today.  Here’s a short shopping list on how to get Grace Kelly’s iconic style in this classic film:  

  1. Black and white anything always looks chic.
  2. Ensembles are a retro yet modern alternative to wearing a suit.
  3. Statement jewelry IS your outfit, thus keep everything else simple.
  4. Invest in a pair of silk pajamas — because why not.
  5. Pearls aren’t as conservative a choice when paired with the right outfit like the black and white ball gown with its deep V neck.

 

Dressing Like A New Yorker

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Dressing like a New Yorker doesn’t just mean wearing all black, though there is a certain practicality an all black outfit affords, but it’s more about individuality.   Every neighborhood and career type has its own style, but New Yorkers are always practical and it is the simplicity of their style that helps them always look so effortlessly chic.  Here are our five tips on how dressing like a New York City gal.

  1. Monochrome whether it’s black, cream, camel or red is always chic.
  2. Dress up, even if it’s just a touch.  A skirt like our Diana paired with a simple tee and flats works for brunch, errands and topped with a jacket the office.
  3. You never have to sacrifice style for practicality.  New Yorkers walk everywhere.  They go from work to drinks to dinner and rarely make it home to change clothing, so they are always prepared for weather and not being able to catch an Uber.  Our Brigitte tunic dress is made from a stretch Italian virgin wool AND lined in a stretch silk charmeuse.  It’s equally elevated and comfortable.
  4. Pick one statement piece.  Whether it’s your bag, shoes, jewelry, coat or skirt.  Choose one bold piece to pair with neutral basics like our Lawson — it’s a blank canvas begging for an outrageous shoe or fabulous vintage necklace.
  5. The most important thing is that whatever you wear it needs to fit your personal style.  You can’t help but be confident when you are wearing things that flatter your shape and suit your individual tastes, not what magazines or bloggers dictate what is in style.

The thing that people around the world consistently admire about the women of New York style isn’t that they are always on or ahead of trends, but the range of styles worn with confidence and ease.

The Hardest Working Heiress

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Though she could have lived a life of leisure as an heiress to the Vanderbilt fortune, Gloria Vanderbilt is an author, model, actress, artist though best remembered as a fashion designer.  Raised by her aunt, who founded the Whitney Museum of American Art, Gloria Vanderbilt’s roots in design started as a fine artist.  She was a pioneer in the fashion industry, arguably producing the first high-end denim line.  Her jeans were an essential part of every woman’s wardrobe by the 1970’s.  She raised her sons as a single mother, and made and lost her fortune over her long career.  Though her strong work ethic, persistent grit and undying optimism (even in the face of tragedy at times) are her most admirable traits, her classic style cannot be overlooked.

  1. Always embrace your shape.  Her jeans were known for how they accentuated a woman’s curves and brought out the best features of women of any shape.
  2. Clothing with clean lines in timeless silhouettes is like a blank canvas because statement jewelry is your outfit sometimes.
  3. Rich tones or unique textures can elevate a simple item.
  4. Layering is how to achieve your unique style — in your wardrobe or home.

 

Fashion As Your Armor

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Clothing can communicate an attitude far better than words sometimes, and for Wallis Simpson, this idea couldn’t have been more true.  Wallis Simpson was an American socialite and eventually married the Duke of Windsor, who gave up the throne for her.  She was once quoted as saying: “I’m not a beautiful woman.  I’m nothing to look at, so the only thing I can do is dress better than anyone else.”  She use fashion as a political statement, and is remembered for her daring style that often went against the grain. Here’s what she’s taught us:

  1. A bold red lip works for anyone — as long as you wear it confidently.
  2. Play to your strengths.  Accentuate a tiny waist with tailored dresses and coats like our Carmel.
  3. She showed us how to look chic at any age.  She cultivated a simple, urban yet elegant style early in life that she maintained until her death in 1986.
  4. Confidence is having your own style, rather than feeling forced to wear what’s trendy or in her day appropriate for a woman of her social status.  She modeled Elsa Schiaperelli’s outrageous lobster dress for Vogue.
  5. A headpiece can set you apart from the crowd and complete your look.  A hat or scarf is chic and traditional.  Jewels aren’t only for your earlobes, wrists and fingers.

How To Dress Like America’s Sweetheart

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She was the original American Sweetheart and girl next door. Most people remember her sparkling smile and perfectly coifed hair before they remember her clothing. But Hollywood icon Doris Day had a style was as elegant as it was bold. Her outfits often look as relevant today as they did back then by focusing on the details and simplifying your wardrobe.

Keep the focus on your neckline

An unassuming outfit can become a fashion statement with the smallest of details. Doris Day was often seen wearing dresses and tops with structured or unusual necklines.  It was a way to stand out without having to try too hard.  Some of our pieces like our Jackie or Audrey take a page from her book; incorporating dramatic cuts draw attention to your shoulders and collarbones, and take a garment from simple to tastefully sexy.

Coordinate your colors

When was the last time you put on an outfit consisting of only one or two colors? Not a neutral like black or navy and a color, but two bold colors like pink and red or purple and green. Color blocking is bold (we’re big fans of wearing color as a neutral) and not nearly as risky a fashion choice as you’d think: almost any combination will work so long as they are in the same general color scheme or complimentary colors.

Pick a signature color

Doris often wore white as that not only looked stunning on her, but it best portrayed the type of character she played. Our clothes are the first impression we make before we ever speak a word. Science has shown that wearing red intimidate opponents that wearing red heightens ones perception of dominance. Regardless of what color you pick and why, choosing a signature color (or coordinating colors) will help you trim your wardrobe without effort. You won’t be tempted by that aubergine shirt you’ll never wear because it doesn’t go with anything you own.

 

 

More Than The Little Black Dress

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Hubert de Givenchy taught us all how to be a lady in a dress. His style was chic and feminine, modest yet sexy. He’s most frequently associated with cultivating Audrey Hepburn’s look, designing the little black dress she wears in the opening scene of Breakfast at Tiffany’s (arguably the most famous little black dress of all time.) He was more than Audrey and more than a little black dress.

His debut collection was a series of separates, primarily long skirts and tailored tops. Due to a lack of financing it was entirely out of men’s white shirt material.   The philosophy of creating coordinating separates is generally attributed to as Donna Karan’s invention with her 7 Easy Pieces.

Givenchy worked for or with some of the most famous and influential names in fashion history: Christian Dior, Pierre Balmain and Elsa Schiaperelli to name a few. He teamed up with his mentor Cristobal Balenciaga to create the sack dress in the late 1950s. The shapeless shift dress with no waist was a far cry from the fitted “New Look” that dominated the earlier part of the decade. He’s also generally credited with creating the baby doll dress silhouette.

Hubert de Givenchy believed: “the dress must follow the body of a woman, not the body following the shape of a dress.” We couldn’t agree more.

How to Dress Like Jackie O

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Jackie Kennedy Onassis is one of the greatest style icons of the last century.  She launched countless trends from bouffant hair to pillbox hats while serving as First Lady.  It’s her style through the years, in the White House and beyond, that continues to inspire women around the globe today.  Here are 8 lessons that defined Jackie’s signature style:

  1. Everything in your home and wardrobe should be there for a reason.

  2. Face framing necklines instantly elevate a simple dress or top.

  3. Clean lines and tailored silhouettes are the keys to a timeless wardrobe.

  4. Shift dresses are always appropriate.

  5. When in doubt, simplify your outfit and accessories.

  6. Pick a signature accessory or two.  She was best known for her triple strand of pearls and oversized sunglasses.

  7. She wore few accessories mainly: pearls, sunglasses and a Cartier watch.

  8. Black, cream and camel colored separates dominated her wardrobe, but when she wore color it was bold.

Diana Vreeland: A True Original

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Diana Vreeland was the most influential editors in fashion history launching the careers of numerous household names in fashion and photography.  She is also as famous for her bon mots as she is her style, creativity and quirks.  She rarely left her house before noon and often conducted serious business from her tub.  Whether it was her “Why Don’t You” column in Harper’s Bazaar or guiding photographers for a shoot, she had a unique way of describing things and the world around her.  One of our favorites is her request to her interior designer that her living room look “like a garden, but a garden in hell” and in the process created design history.  She believed red was the great clarifier and said she couldn’t imagine becoming bored with red — “it would be like becoming bored with the person you love.”

Why Don’t You” was an advice column of extravagant ideas for the modern woman. The divine Mrs. V’s credo was to invent and reinvent yourself. Why just be your dull self? “Your imagination is your reality,” she once said. This philosophy effectively created the profession of fashion editing, along with countless careers in fashion designer and photography over her fifty year career. Her imagination changed the course of fashion history.

“Peanut butter is the greatest invention since Christianity.”

“A little bad taste is like a nice splash of paprika.  We all need a splash of bad taste – it’s hearty, it’s healthy, it’s physical. I think we could use more of it. No taste is what I’m against.”

“The bikini is the most important invention since the atom bomb.”

“Vulgarity is very important ingredient in life.  I’m a great believer in vulgarity — if it’s got vitality.”

Fashionable First Ladies

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Politics and fashion don’t usually go hand in hand, but this election cycle has been a first on many fronts.   Over the last eight years the fashion press couldn’t get enough of Michelle Obama’s cardigans and skirts, a departure from the typical first lady formality.  They were not the first fashionable First Ladies, though.  Here are a few of our favorites:

Jackie Kennedy is generally regarded as the original first lady of style.  America’s obsession with Jackie began when her husband announced his candidacy.  She kicked off trends in globes, head scarves, oversized sunglasses, pillbox hat and bouffant hair.  Jackie was probably the originator of the all white monochromatic look.  She was the epitome of chic and remains an inspiration to fashionable women still today.  Her main contribution during her time as First Lady was the restoration of the White House. Her efforts revitalized the White House, bringing back the houses’ historical character from the art, to the furniture as well as some of the grounds.

Nancy Reagan’s signature color was red.  “It’s a picker upper,” she once said.  Like Jackie Kennedy, she consciously only wore American designers while her husband was in office, and received a lifetime achievement award from the CFDA in 1988 as a result.  John Galanos, who dressed Reagan for both the 1981 and 1985 inaugural balls, told the L.A. Times that the first lady “knew her style very well, and it was always simple and elegant.”  Reagan herself said as much in a 2007 interview with W Magazine. “I don’t like a lot of frills and fusses,” she told the magazine. “I’ve always gone for the more understated look.”

History regards Dolly Payne Todd Madison as the first American fashion icon, known for her elaborate turbans and evening ensembles.  Though she should be better remembered for her preservation efforts.  She was responsible for saving the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, and Gilbert Stuart’s portrait of George Washington when the British Army attacked the Capital during the War of 1812.

Frances Folsom Cleveland was both practical and stylish and always wore a pansy pin at her neck.  She hosted Saturday afternoon socials intended to offer working women the pleasure of visiting the White House and strongly supported higher education for women, viewing a college education as a “women’s best chance for equality.”  

Alice Roosevelt Longworth, President Theodore Roosevelt’s daughter, was the most talked about and copied woman in the twentieth century.  She discovered the style that worked best for her at an early age and rarely strayed from it for the rest of her life: single strand pearls, broad-brimmed hats, shift-style dresses, and “Alice blue” which matched her blue-gray eyes. Her best friend in Washington was Marguerite Cassini, the daughter of a Russian ambassador. Marguerite would later have a son, Oleg Cassini, fashion designer to Jackie Kennedy.

Claudia Alta “Lady Bird” Johnson is perhaps best known for her bouffant hair.  Her style consisted of tailored dresses and slacks outfits, accented with either a scarf, belt, or a hat.  Lady Bird loved beauty, quoted as saying “Where flowers bloom, so does hope.” She understood the importance of being surrounded by it – starting a capital beautification project and promoting the Highway Beautification Act, nicknamed “Lady Bird’s Bill.”

The Divine Mrs. V

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Diana Vreeland is one of the most influential figures in fashion history, though many outside of fashion may not realize it. Her support helped launch the careers of numerous household names in fashion and photography. This timeless icon inspired one of the core pieces in every Senza Tempo collection. She was the most famous editor of her era, holding the top position at both Harpers Bazaar and Vogue.

We share her philosophy that all who have style share one thing — originality. Our items deliberately simple in their design with the thought that our clients want to make each item their own. The divine Mrs. Vreeland was as famous for her style as she was for her bon mots. Here are a few of our favorites:

“Too much good taste can be boring.”
“Give ‘em what they never knew they wanted.”
“It’s not about the dress you wear, but it’s about the life you lead in the dress.”
“The only real elegance is of the mind; if you’ve got that the rest really comes from it.”
“A little bad taste is like a nice splash of paprika. We all need a splash of bad taste — it’s hearty, it’s healthy, it’s physical. I think we could use more of it. No taste is what I’m against.”
“Fashion is the most intoxicating release from the banality of the world.”
“Luxury is a point of view. It’s not what you pay but what you make of yourself.”