Dressing For an Evening Wedding in July

what to wear to a formal wedding in the summer

Getting an invitation for a formal wedding that will be outside in July or August can seem like a cruel joke. But it happens. Here are a few tips to help you look your best when the temperatures sizzle.

  1. Black is your friend.  No really — hear us out.  Black hides everything.  Why do you think New Yorkers wear so much black?  The city is filthy and if you are walking around it hides all that dust, dirt, sweat and grime.  While I can hear my grandmother cringing at this suggestion — traditions run strong in the South and wearing black to a wedding is definitely one many still abide by these days.  This is one of those fashion rules that’s OK to break no matter what your grandmother says.
  2. Just say no to anything polyester or any synthetic fabrics.  Most synthetic fabrics are effectively plastic or derivatives of plastic.  Yes, that’s right plastic.  You might as well just wear a trash bag because it’s going to be just as comfortable and have the same moisture wicking capabilities.  We’ve written extensively on why we use silk linings in our garments.  It’s not just about luxury — it’s practical.  You can read more on this here.
  3. Gauzy dresses or skirts that are double (or triple) lined are a good option depending on your style.  A thin cotton or silk that is made with two or three layers of fabric have a fabulous bohemian ethereal look and is a remarkably easy way to stay cool in the heat.
  4. Choose a style that is either loose (like the look we are suggesting in point #3) or that has structure and stands away from your body like our Lawson Cocktail, the Carmel or our Diana skirts.

Stay cool and stay chic this summer.

Summer Errands Never Looked So Good

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If you really want to trim the number of items in your closet, you have to shop mindfully and really think about the number of ways to wear an item.  Our Brigitte dress in magnolia is truly the dress you can wear all year long no matter where you live.  Lined in a stretch silk charmeuse it’s the dress you’ll want to wear all year long.  Here’s how we’d style our tunic for summer months.

 

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Why We Sell Direct To Our Clients

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Selling direct to our clients eliminates the middle man, thus MULTIPLE levels of additional markup.  We sell direct in order to provide the best value to our clients at the outset.  We don’t have seasonal collections and we don’t have seasonal sales.

In a former life, I was a foreign exchange sales-trader at various major Wall Street banks.  I didn’t have a background in retail, other than as a consumer.  When I had the idea for Senza Tempo and was researching the industry I assumed I would wholesale the product (and spent more hours than I care to think about learning about what that entailed).  It was a project in the last semester of my MBA that made me realize why the direct to consumer model was the only way to go.  It’s the only the only way we can provide the best value to our clients.

Instead of artificially inflating our prices and then offering promotions so that our customers can feel like they are getting a great deal, we eliminate this

 

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.

Who Doesn’t Love A Tunic

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With the spring comes drinks on the rooftop, baseball games or music in the park.  Most women don’t really have the time to change clothes in between events, but also don’t want to look like the woman who wears a suit to a baseball game.  The key is finding a good basic like a tunic dress that you can style up or down.  Our Brigitte is elevated enough to work in the most conservative offices, and simple enough that casual accessories like sneakers look just as good with it as a pair of stilettos.   That it’s made with an Italian virgin wool and lined with silk charmeuse, both with a touch of stretch for comfort, you won’t mind wearing this dress for twelve hours.

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.

 

If we want fashion to be sustainable, we must slow down (Part II)

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From luxury retailers to fast fashion, the fashion industry’s main concern is getting to the next trend and getting consumers to buy into it. Creating needs instead of producing items consumers actually need. I launched Senza Tempo, an accessible luxury women’s clothing line, because I couldn’t find a simple, well-made, black A-line skirt — a style that’s never really out of style.

Globalization accelerated the retail life cycle and ultimately created a vicious circle that’s wreaking havoc on retailers bottom-lines (it’s no secret the fashion industry in crisis) and the environment (most don’t realize that the fashion industry is the second dirtiest industry behind big oil and rife with labor abuses.) We live in a world of short-lived micro-trends brought about by the collapse in trade barriers in the late 90s. Manufacturing was outsourced to the lowest bidder and the overall quality of our clothing declined along with prices. Clothing is cheaper than it was 20 years ago, but there’s a cost in terms of its impact on the environment and the human condition.

Ethical, organic, sustainable, fair trade — they are all great buzzwords, but if consumers really want to shop responsibly then they need to shop mindfully. In order for fashion to be truly sustainable, we must slow down. Fashion companies need to get back to basics and produce fashionable high quality, versatile wardrobe essentials. The market is missing a brand that makes garments that are meant to be worn repeatedly and last for years. Consumers need to buy less and buy better.

In order to buy less, every garment you own needs to be truly versatile. Versatility starts with the design and ends with the fabric. The designs must have clean lines and classic silhouettes. Three timeless silhouettes anchor Senza Tempo’s collection: the hourglass, shift and A-line trapeze. The shapes flatter a wide range of body types and personal styles — and they are always available. We also keep our designs deliberately simple with clean lines and European style tailoring

If you inventory your closet and identify the items you’ve worn the most, I’m willing to bet there’s an inverse relationship between the number of times an item was worn and how ornate it is.

Fabric is the second aspect that determines a garment’s versatility. At Senza Tempo, we use only the finest natural fabrics, and line all of our garments in silk. Using silk linings is common in high-end ready-to-wear, but less so at the advanced contemporary price point. Silk linings are a luxury and necessity in our view. Silk is breathable and adjusts to your body temperature — cooling you in the summer and warming you in the winter. It isn’t necessarily the wool that makes a suit or dress unbearable during the warmer months, but the fact that it’s lined in acetate, which is a plastic derivative. The one detail helps a garment better span the seasons, thus increase its wearablity. The seasons are blending, unseasonably hot or cold temperatures are the norm no matter where you live, yet most retailers continue to produce highly season specific garments.

Buying better quality items isn’t about the label, but the design, fabrication and construction. Details like interfacing around the neckline or armholes, which give it a clean finish, are skipped since the consumer can’t see them. All the consumer sees is the label. Most garment workers are paid based on the number of garments they complete in an hour. The factory where our garments are made in downtown Los Angeles, which has some of the strictest labor laws in the world, are paid by the number of hours it takes to make a garment. Whether I produce 12 or 1200 Jackie dresses my cost of labor is the same. Volume doesn’t change the fact that this dress takes approximately 11 hours to create. If volume is the goal, then quality will never be a priority.

Versatile items in classic styles that are fashionable season after season — that’s what’s sustainable.  High-quality garments made by people paid a living wage — that’s what’s sustainable.   At Senza Tempo, we’re doing both.

 

 

 

 

 

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.