Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Great jeans under $50

Five women model Lee Jeans.
Finding the perfect pair of jeans is a daunting task. Finding the perfect pair of jeans for the perfect price? Even harder. Adam Glassman, creative director of O, The Oprah Magazine, has scoured the fashion world to find a budget-conscious jean on which he can put his fashion stamp of approval.

"I'm always looking for great jeans under $100," he says. "Guess what? I found a pair of jeans under $50. They're totally incredibly, they're only $42, and they're by Lee Jeans." Adam says Lee has the three styles that look best on women with real curves: trouser cut, boot cut and straight leg.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


Inspired by celebrities like Jennifer Lopez, focus in the mid 90’s into the first part of the 21st century was on the buttocks. Styles designed to showcase the derriere created booty mania and it seemed no one noticed how much girth was created by such “hot” new looks. Interestingly, it was the same at the turn of the last century. The difference being that women used corsets and bustles. Today we use pocketdetail, fading, tapered styling and low slung hip belts to increase focus and size.

Though some find it difficult to believe, many women desire a boost to their booty. If you want to enlarge or draw attention to your hips and buttocks remember these handy “Christopher Quotes”:

  • The tighter the taper the bigger the butt.
  • Hip huggers help build hefty hips.
  • Bias cut equals bigger butt.
  • Wherever a pocket, so too our eyes.
  • Fade on your fanny gives sprawl to your seat.
  • Bling on your butt puts junk in your trunk.

Booty Booster Bottoms

  • Bias cut
  • Tulip or pegged
  • Tapered
  • Hip huggers
  • Yoked
  • Cropped

Remember: The smaller you make your top, the bigger you make your bottom. Choose dark colors that fit closely on your upper half if you wish to make your bottom bigger.

The simplest way to minimize your bottom is to maximize your top. Style lines that broaden the shoulder and upper body will help balance the hips.

Diane's Makeover

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Irving Penn, Fashion Photographer, Is Dead at 92

Published: October 7, 2009

Irving Penn, one of the 20th century’s most prolific and influential photographers of fashion and the famous, whose signature blend of classical elegance and cool minimalism was recognizable to magazine readers and museumgoers worldwide, died Wednesday morning at his home in Manhattan. He was 92.

Horst/Staley-Wise Gallery

Irving Penn, New York, 1951.

© Condé Nast Publications

Irving Penn's “Woman With Roses,” with Lisa Fonssagrives-Penn in Lafaurie Dress, Paris, 1950.

His death was announced by Peter MacGill, his friend and representative.

Mr. Penn’s talent for picturing his subjects with compositional clarity and economy earned him the widespread admiration of readers of Vogue during his long association with the magazine, beginning in 1943. It alsobrought him recognition in the art world; his photographs have been exhibited in museums and galleries and are prized by collectors.

His long career at Vogue spanned a number of radical transformations in fashion and its depiction, but his style remained remarkably constant. Imbued with calm and decorum, his photographs often seemed intent on defying fashion. His models and portrait subjects were never seen leaping or running or turning themselves into blurs. Even the rough-and-ready members of the Hell’s Angels motorcycle gang, photographed in San Francisco in 1967, were transformed within the quieting frame of his studio camera into the graphic equivalent of a Greek frieze.

Instead of spontaneity, Mr. Penn provided the illusion of a seance, his gaze precisely describing the profile of a Balenciaga coat or of a Moroccan jalaba in a way that could almost mesmerize the viewer. Nothing escaped the edges of his photographs unless he commanded it. Except for a series of close-up portraits that cut his subjects’ heads off at the forehead, and another, stranger suite of overripe nudes, his subjects were usually shown whole, apparently enjoying a splendid isolation from the real world.

He was probably most famous for photographing Parisian fashion models and the world’s great cultural figures, but he seemed equally at home photographing Peruvian peasants or bunion pads. Merry Foresta, co-organizer of a 1990 retrospective of his work at the National Museum of American Art, wrote that his pictures exhibited “the control of an art director fused with the process of an artist.”

A courtly man whose gentle demeanor masked an intense perfectionism, Mr. Penn adopted the pose of a humble craftsman while helping to shape a field known for putting on airs. Although schooled in painting and design, he chose to define himself as a photographer, scraping his early canvases of paint so that they might serve a more useful life as backdrops to his pictures.

He was also a refined conversationalist and a devoted husband and friend. His marriage to Lisa Fonssagrives, a beautiful model, artist and his sometime collaborator, lasted 42 years, ending with her death at the age of 80 in 1992. Mr. Penn’s photographs of Ms. Fonssagrives not only captured a slim woman of lofty sophistication and radiant good health; they also set the esthetic standard for the elegant fashion photography of the 1940s and ’50s.

Ms. Fonssagrives became a sculptor after her modeling career ended. In 1994, Mr. Penn and their son, Tom, a metal designer, arranged the printing of a book that reproduced his wife’s sculpture, prints and drawings. In addition to his son, Mr. Penn is survived by his stepdaughter, Mia Fonssagrives Solow, a sculptor and jewelry designer; his younger brother, Arthur, the well-known director of such films as “Bonnie and Clyde,” and eight grandchildren.

Mr. Penn had the good fortune of working for and collaborating with two of the 20th century’s most inventive and influential magazine art directors, Alexey Brodovitch and Alexander Liberman. He studied with Mr. Brodovitch in Philadelphia as a young man and came to New York in 1937 as his unpaid design assistant at Harper’s Bazaar, the most provocative fashion magazine of the day. But it was under Mr. Liberman, at Vogue, that Mr. Penn forged his career as a photographer.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Fashion Week Goes Eco-Chic

Bamboo dress by Lara Miller
Lara Miller Spring 2010 collection
Several years ago, it was hard to find eco-fashion in stores, aside from a pair of bamboo socks. Now, Miller sells her designs in more than 40 stores across the country, and stores like Target, H&M, Saks Fifth Avenue and Barneys New York have embraced eco-friendly fashion lines.

Although manufacturing eco-friendly fashion is a cause Miller feels strongly about, it isn't exactly economically friendly. Miller says materials like organic cotton and bamboo can be expensive because they are hard to find. "Silk is actually the least expensive fiber I work with because it's already so popular," she says. As eco-fashion gains popularity, Miller says she expects prices to get better—for both designers and shoppers.

If you can't find eco-fashion in stores near you, Miller says there are other ways to be green. "I really think there is something to be said about investing in pieces you feel really strongly about versus buying 20 throwaway garments from Target—and then literally throwing them away into a landfill."

Monday, September 14, 2009

Trends Anyone Can Wear


Tone up! Two or more shades, inventively combined, make for a brighter outlook.

The color wheel turns again as designers go in for daring juxtapositions of rich, sophisticated hues like violet and saffron (blouse, Club Monaco, $119; skirt, J.Crew, $78). To make a mix like this work, use tones that are the same level of intensity; it also helps to separate them (grosgrain ribbon worn as belt, Mokuba). The one-bare-shoulder look highlights a part of the anatomy that's slow to age (hooray!). Kara DioGuardi, who needs interesting tops as a judge for Fox's iconic music show American Idol—she's mostly seen from the waist up—says this style makes her feel "sexy but still strong." Edgy quartz, onyx, and sapphire jewelry (Iradj Moini) and glittery-strapped nude shoes (Lanvin) give this Grammy-nominated composer (for everyone from Gwen Stefani to Celine Dion) a touch of rocker chic.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Tim Gunn Gets Real

Tim Gunn
Photo: Virginia Sherwood

The fashion, the models, the celebrities, the tents—it can only be New York fashion week. Gunn, a fashion authority and beloved mentor on Project Runway, will be surrounded by it all this September.

But for women everywhere, there is a bigger question than what the "it" color for spring will be or what trend will become the new must-have look. The real question is: Will any of it fit me?

Charming, witty and impeccably well-mannered, Gunn recognizes this. He isn't the typical fashion figure—he's not afraid to declare that fashion should be for everyfigure.

"We are on the cusp of fashion week, and on the one hand I love it and the whole exhilaration of it," Gunn says. "On the other hand, those women walking the runway are not from this planet. Many of them haven't even left puberty. So how can someone in the audience look at these women and think, 'Oh, I'd look great in that?'"

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Shopping in Paris @ the Art Museum

“Common creatures, in other cities, dress to live; but in Paris people live to dress.” –

Charles Dickens (1867).

We all know how Paris has been inspiring fashion addicts for centuries, but it is fascinating to discover the evolution of the shopping process.

The Shopping in Paris exhibition, showing at the Spain Gallery of the Philadelphia Art Museum until October 25th, pairs, among its nearly 35 garment and accessories, the luxurious designs of leading couturiers such as Charles Worth, Emile Pingat and Paul Poiret with American fashion items inspired by these Parisian designers.

The exhibit also underlines the radical changes in ladies fashion at the corner of the century, evolving from stiff, heavy gowns to light, leg-showing dresses as women were experiencing a newly found independence.

Shopping in Paris French Fashion 1850-1925 Now through October 25, 2009

Philadelphia Museum of Art 2600 Benjamin Franklin Pkwy, Philadelphia, PA (215) 235-3200

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Two interesting bits of news arrived from Tokyo. The first comes from Tiffany Godoy, an American journalist in Tokyo. The author of “Style Deficit Disorder: Tokyo Street Fashion,” Godoy knows a lot about the heart and soul—and history—of genres broadly connected with Harajuku. She and the writer Ivan Vartanian have a new book, “Japanese Goth,” due out in May, which looks at the strange aesthetic blend of rococo and heavy metal.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Wardrobe Party!
Pat was feeling frumpy in the brown outfit, and fit in the red print!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Before & After

Ashley is a friend and client of my "What to Wear" wardrobe consulting. She agreed to let me snap a few shots of her in an outfit we found in her closet which is less than ideal and then, the better alternative.

The striped sweater does nothing but exaggerate her broad shoulder line, add bulk, and visually add width to her middle, while capris that pull show off her tummy. Her second outfit gives her a longer, leaner line because it is one color, dark (recedes), and it doesn't pull. The collar pulls our eyes up, and the deep V neckline does wonders for slimming and breaking up a wide area. I generally would recommend wearing full length pants to elongate even more, but if you're going to wear capris - this is the way to do it! An excellent comparison of same-category outfits that Ashley already has in her wardrobe! When she wants to be taller still, she's got fabulous heels, full length pants, and a dress that flatters via cut & color!

Thanks, Ashley!


Lena-Horne--C10101637.jpeg.jpgIf anyone argues that women don't get better with age, they haven't heard of Lena Horne.

A woman whose life wasn't easy, but the beauty of her spirit grows beyond the face of adversity.

The first photo is at age 26, the second at 69.

Today, at 92 years old, she's what we call a legend. And the reason is clear. A radiant woman can grow more lovely each passing year.

Lena Horne.jpg

Monday, August 3, 2009


Putting your best bust forward is one of the simplest ways to look younger, slimmer and healthier. It’s been said that from seventy to eighty-five percent of American women are wearing the wrong bra. Let’s change that, shall we? As you age, breakdown of the skin and breast tissue causes your breasts to sag. This problem occurs on small breasted women as well. Wearing the correct bra is simply healthier for you and your breasts. Here are some bra pointers to help you help your breasts. 

•    If you gain or lose 15 pounds or more get refitted for a new bra. 
•    The perfect position for your breasts is midway between your shoulders and your elbows. 
•    An under-wire should surround and support your breast—not poke into it. If the wire pulls away from the body in the center, then the cup size is too small. 
•    The cups should be secure against the breasts with the center of the under wire flush against the cleavage area. 
•    If one breast is larger choose the cup size that fits your larger breast.                                                       •    The band should fit around the smallest part of your back not across your shoulder blade.                      •    Your bra should be level front to back. Avoid securing your bra band too high on the back, causing the band to ride up and the cup to fall forward.                                                                                              •    Comfortable does not mean loose. A firmer band will ensure a better fit.                                                 •    You should be able to remove the straps without the breast falling much. Eighty percent of the support comes from the band and the cup not the straps.                                                                                       •    If you’re large busted lift your arms up after securing the bra band to make sure they are not dropping out of the bottom of the cup. 
  •    When your clothing size changes, so does your cup size. Refit and resize regularly. 
  •    Every brand fits differently, depending on the style and where it is manufactured. YOU NEED TO TRY SEVERAL   ON. 
  •    As a bra's band size increases, so does the cup size. For example: a 38B has a larger cup than a 36B. 
•    When part of your breast actually bulges out of the top creating four instead of two breasts, the cup is too tight 

Sunday, July 26, 2009


Before and After:

Here is another dress makeover to shed weight without a diet! Many of us don't have fringy dresses but we DO own puffy, clingy, less-than-flattering pieces! Trade yours in for a wrap - the summer ones are on clearance now and the fall ones are moving into stores already! A short or 3/4 sleeve wrap dress will take you through seasonal changes and weight fluctuations. The strong diagonal line is slimming, angled gathering can camouflage, and poly's are easy-care and always ready for looking your best without effort!

Friday, July 24, 2009


jennifer_love_hewitt1.jpgI'm a Ghost Whisperer fan.  I admit it.  I was instantly enamored with Jennifer Love Hewitt.  Instantly enamored with her now husband played by David Conrad (and am every single time he walks on set...I've tried, really hard not to be, but alas) and then again, I'm enamored by Camryn Manheim. They are all pretty and lovely... but back to Jennifer.

What is it about her?  What is the draw that put her on the cover of Maxim three times. It's not a perfect figure or a perfect face, but it is the perfect sense of charm.  She just makes you feel good.  Which is the ultimate power of pretty.  To make you want to open her door.  To make you want to send her flowers. To make you want her.  Without appearing to try.

It's loveliness at it's most girl next door.  The girl next door who knows naughty and listens without judgment.  She is, or at least the image we are shown, what I call lovely.  To further the point, she offers young women something to aspire to that raises the bar.  

It is no wonder she was chosen to play the role of "Audrey Hepburn," one of the worlds most recognized ladies of lovliness, because sh e is, or at the very least appears to be, this generations' model of grace, elegance and humanity.
Christopher Hopkins