In preparing for an event where I am speaking to teenage girls on style (understanding who they are in order to express their style), I am even more cognizant of how the media portrays fashion to teens. Advertisement after advertisement of unrealistic appearances certainly does not help. It was staggering when Abercrombie & Fitch started stripping their models of clothes. Now Urban Outfitters seems to be following suit to get attention. Their latest catalog made my jaw drop. Literally. The models are beautiful, but much prettier clothed.

It takes a strong youth to see beyond the surface. I hope the girls I speak to in February learn the importance of being themselves, versus following the crowd. Though the topic is style, it falls back on confidence ... and confidence allows you to be strong and hold true to who you are.

“Fashions Fade, Style is Eternal” - YSL

By: Millissa Mathai

It can be truly frustrating for a busy woman to keep up with trends. Every season we’re bombarded with trend after trend and many wonder, what are the things that will never go out of style? What should you invest in? As an editor, I see trends come and go, but I also take note of the things that will never go out of style. Here are some favorite fool-proof looks that are eternally stylish:

#1 The Little Black Dress (LBD)
I have many little black dresses. You should own at least one. The love affair with LBDs began during the 1920s when Coco Chanel introduced it as an everyday dress that can go from day to night with a raise in the heel, a switch from a handbag to a clutch, and a dash of red lipstick. The LBD is even more stylish today and comes in an array of cuts and detailing.

#2 Sunglasses
They really are life saving when you wake up in the morning only to realize you look as if you’ve been to hell and back. I suggest you invest in designer shades. Try shopping at vintage stores, you’re bound to find something that’s unique and durable. Please stay away from anything that makes you look bug-like. I adore Halston’s line of sunglasses.

#3 Extreme Nails
When it comes to nails, stick with two no fail colors. Either go with very pretty pale pinks or very rich dark reds. My favorite line for pale, sheer pinks is Essie and for rich reds I adore OPI. Try: Sugar Daddy by Essie (a luxurious sheer pink) and I’m Not Really A Waitress by OPI (a candy apple red).

#4 Bold Jewelry
Bold jewelry can add a little spice to your outfit. I love daring necklaces, cuffs and cocktail rings. Jewelry is also a great way to incorporate a season’s trends into your closet without breaking the bank. Find pieces that you will wear forever. And make sure your collection screams you. The best costume jewelry is always found during your travels. Whether it be real or costume, jewelry will always look fabulous with minimal care. Some items every girl should have:

  • - Cuffs (try to find exotic styles with eye catching details)
  • - Hoop earrings (thin is in)
  • - Statement necklaces
  • - Cocktail rings (don’t be shy, wear them during the day)

Style is not fashion and does not come easily. Some are born with it, while others have to work very hard. It’s a difficult task, but it’s not impossible. A few good places to start would be reading fashion blogs, fashion books and guides and, of course, magazines. A book you should get your hands on if you are new to the fashion world and want a crash course on the industry is the new title by Nina Garcia, The One Hundred. It features 100 pieces that every women should own, as well as tid-bits of fashion history. My favorite website for beauty updates is Temptalia. The editor is up-to-the minute and features almost every new product out there. For fashion updates, I enjoy La Couturier. It’s a great site with a fresh take on fashion. My favorite magazine is Town & Country.

I hope this article inspires you to work on your own personal style and must haves. Remember, be fabulous or stand aside.

store2In early October, I attended an event at SURFACE in Charlotte, NC, celebrating the opening of their new fragrance bar, provided by Jeffre Scott Apothecary. Appropriately named, Making Scents carries only exclusive fragrances such as Tous, Costume National, Babette and many more.

One year ago, Kendra Surface and her mom, Kerry, revealed a new clothing concept to accompany their successful boutique of 17 years, Perris. SURFACE carries exclusive European contemporary lines that you won't find anywhere else in Charlotte. Truly unique apparel that is exciting and fresh.


So exciting ... that I spent far too much time in the dressing room trying on the whole store and almost made myself late to a client meeting. The staff is incredibly attentive and knowledgeable, and the experience is one of a kind. SURFACE clients are clients for life ... and you'll see why when you visit. Kendra, who initially set out to be a school teacher, is full of energy and is truly in her element. Kerry is witty, exuberant and makes you feel right at home. And Jeffre, well you know how I feel about Jeffre ... it was inevitable that these three would create an incredible venture together that just made scents.
1_74921_fs2It was purposeful that I omitted liquid leggings from my FW08 fashion forecast. It's hard for me to take them seriously. Especially when the new season has so much to offer. Yes, they happen to be the "it" item of the moment. However, I can assure you the trend will not last very long, if more than a minute. Besides, I am fairly confident you will cringe in a "what was I thinking" moment while looking back at pictures years from now.

I am not saying that I don't think they have a hint of coolness to them, because I do. But for actually wearing them, I'll leave that to the celebrities. They obviously aren't listening to their personal stylists. So, tell me - do you love them or hate them?

After spending an exhilarating four days in NYC, I am exhausted. That's a good thing ... because it means I gave the city my all, everything I could (well, almost ... I missed a few new designer trunk shows). New York City has so much energy, it's unreal. You can't help but come alive. And having stayed up 'til all hours of the night every single night, I can attest to that. I will not let that much time go by again before my next trip to the city.

Of course you know I observed fashion along the way. It's hard not to notice. And really, it's the bad you notice more than the good. Like the girl wearing capris with striped ankle socks and crocs (good gracious). And the woman wearing her pants too tight, her shirt too short (sporting an exposed muffin top), and her hair too long (oh how I wanted to intervene). And a young girl who dyed her hair fuchsia to match her outfit (yikers).

Have no fear, there were many shining stars. A woman wearing straight-leg black trousers, a belted white, fitted button-down shirt with sleeves rolled up, black heels, a simple handbag, and complementary accessories. Now we are getting somewhere. And the young lady in the high-waisted jewel-toned pencil skirt, sleeveless silk top, skinny belt, fabulous stilettos, and a pewter clutch (yes!). No one needs to - nor should they - follow the same style guidelines. Everyone is different and that's what makes your style unique to you. That is what makes you fabulous. Express it, my friends.

kt1While snapping this picture of Katie (because I still can't get enough of shirt dresses, kimono wraps and tunics over jeans, pants or leggings), I tripped and fell. Yes, I did. But I got the shot! And I didn't sprain or break my ankle this time. Just a little uneven payment while walking in stilettos caused a small snafu. Why I took the shot: (1) her cropped leggings had the coolest button detail on the sides, (2) throwing the white cardigan on top for evening made the outfit workable no matter the temperature, and (3) because her husband doesn't understand leggings.

takWhile in the city, I met up with Alison Raffaele + her husband, Glenn, and Ulrich Lang (Uli) for breakfast. You could practically see the sparks flying around the room at the Parker Meridien with the plethora of ideas for business expansion. The breakfast was phenomenal, and the company - even better. The four of us ventured over to Takashimaya to admire all the lovely items on every floor of the store. And yes, we stopped to smell the roses - or Anvers and Anvers 2, to be exact.

sequenceThe most I have laughed in a long time was on the way to dinner the first evening. My mother-in-law, Dee, (featured in the middle), Amy (featured right) and I were attempting to take a picture of ourselves. It went from scared-looking-Dee to funny-Dee to eyes-closed-Dee to check-me-out-Dee. It was hysterical!

Aside from the sights (lots) and shopping (lots more), the most memorable of the trip was show night. Dee treated us girls to Jersey Boys. Holy cow - the music was outstanding. You were sucked in immediately by the music but the story line kept you there. At the end of the show, we were standing, singing and dancing (okay, maybe that was just me). Sans one of my stiletto heel taps (pulled out by the stairs in the theater) which forced me to buy pink oriental flip flops at the nearest convenient store, I never missed a beat!

shownightBefore the show, we had dinner at Bar Americain. Boy did Cindy (featured second to left) make a great choice here. The food was out of this world! I could list what we ate, but you would only be jealous (and hungry). Cindy even got an autograph (not Bobby, though). When the show let out, we marched ourselves right back to Bar Americain for dessert. (P.S. Sorry Patrick that we weren't able to stay to buy you that drink we promised.)

first-nightA big shout out to Space.NK in Soho ... as soon as they found out I was a personal stylist + beauty editor, I was given this big beautiful bag of samples of all of their exclusive lines. Love it - thank you!

b2mI couldn't possibly forget singing along with Boys II Men in Bryant Park. "Although we've come to the end of the road, still I can't let go. It's unnatural, you belong to me, I belong to you." Yes, Diane Sawyer and Robin Roberts were rockin' it out, too. I am missing NYC already. Uli says I need to go ahead and set up a satellite office in NYC pronto! Don't I wish. One day, Uli, one day. Until then, let's keep enjoying our interesting red wines together.