All Posts in Style Advice

April 9, 2015

Tips & Tricks: The Best Ways to Remove Stains

StainsPhoto: Lara604 / Flickr

\There's nothing worse than slipping into your favorite dress and realizing there's a stain front-and-center, taking away from that head-turning look you were going for ten seconds earlier. Maybe we just like to be the bearer of good news, but we've got a few tips for that predicament. While it's always better to catch a stain as it happens or soon after, there are still things you can do once it's had more time to set. Nicole shares some of her tips for saving your clothes before a stain totally sets in.

"This is an essential thing you have to do: Treat it immediately. I think this is where a lot of people fall short. If you're at the dinner table and you just don't feel like dealing with it until later—you have to remove it as soon as you possibly can. You may not be able to get everything out, but if you can lift off some of the particles, do it. Run to the bathroom and use cold water and detergent if you can—hand soap or body wash will work, too, in a pinch. The longer it sits, the more it penetrates the fibers in the textile and the less likely you can get rid of it later. You may not want a big water spot on your clothes, but ultimately if you care about the longevity of the piece, it's an easy sacrifice. That's something my mom taught me from a young age."

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March 24, 2015

First Impressions: What to Wear to an Interview

If there's one thing you want to last forever, it's a good first impression. Even more so now than ever, that first impression might happen far before that welcome handshake. With social media and Google searches leading people right into your digital world, it's important to put your best foot forward all of the time—and make sure to reiterate those positive vibes at the first meeting. Research has shown that you've got somewhere between 30 seconds and two minutes to make an in-person impression on someone. So what can you possibly wear to show off your best of the best in an interview where two minutes could very well make or break you? Simple—don't think about it too hard.

There are the obvious no-nos (a considerable décolletage, visible panty lines), but there are a few simple rules to live by when it comes to meeting a potential future employer while still staying true to your style. Read on for Nicole Lenzen's tips, and go take control of that interview:

Kindness Looks Good on Everyone

"I saw something on Twitter recently... there was a subway confrontation where someone was blocking someone else from getting in the car. One of them ended up using some strong words against the other. They ended up at the same office space, one to interview the other. There was this whole thread of people sharing similar 'road rage' experiences. It's total karma. Leave yourself enough time to get there without worrying about angsty commutes. Be nice to everyone on your way—the person in the coffee shop, on the subway platform, in the car next to yours—because you never know."

Be Comfortable

"I think where a lot of people go wrong is that they trying to impress or make a statement. What you really want is for your clothes to be more neutral—you want to be the focus in an interview, not your outfit. Style level obviously depends on the nature of your interview. If you're not meeting with someone like Anna Wintour, you don't have to wear the latest Prada piece. (We've all seen the movie.) If you're not trying to interview for a specific fashion, editorial, or creative director position, the most important thing is being comfortable. What that really means is wearing something that's the perfect balance of 'conceal and reveal.' It's something you don't have to adjust or think twice about, something you feel your best in."

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February 13, 2015

Fashion History: 5 Things You (Probably) Don’t Know About Lace

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There's a lot more to lace than its ability to add a feminine flair to any outfit it graces. Looking back, the fabric has hand a place in most fashion trends through the ages—from the overwhelming lace ruffles Queen Elizabeth would don in the 16th century to the "Below The Knee" dresses flappers so often turned to. For the custom evening and bridal gowns Nicole has created, she favors the exquisite laces made on traditional Leavers looms in France. But there's equally a place for modern-day stretch lace, and we also love the subtle sophistication and function it brings to our Evelyn Dress.

With so many delicate designs and patterns, it's hard to imagine the making-of being anything short of painstaking (and to call it "involved" would be an understatement). So, in our effort to bring everyone closer to the clothing they love, we're digging into a few highlights in the history of process of this elegant textile. Read on and learn.

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Lace History Tidbits

In the 17th century, lace was even used to decorate door knobs. Years later, "his and hers" lace collars would become all the rage. Today, the textile plays a much more strategic role in fashion—one that can put a design over-the-top or impress with its subtlety, depending on how it's incorporated. There's a lot to take in when it comes to the history of the fabric, but here are five things you probably didn't know before reading this.

  • Tatting (a specific type of lace making) was inspired by the intricate knotting of sailors—used for both functionality on the ships and as mementos for long-distance loved ones.  (Side note: Nicole's Great-Grandmother from Greece was an excellent tatter)
  • Lace helped people survive Ireland's Potato Famine. Once food became scarce, the women of Ireland created schools to teach crocheting and lace-making. The founders of the schools even assisted their students in selling their creations—helping them survive a time when money and food was hard to come by.

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January 5, 2015

Round-Up: Survive Winter (And Look Good Doing It) With These Tights

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Photo by Vanessa P./Flickr Creative Commons

With winter weather comes many things—wind-blown hairdos, rosy cheeks, and the great fashion responsibility that is layering. Instead of thinking of them as another layer between you and the great season that is summer, treat them as the versatile accessory that they are. The right pair of tights can take an outfit to new levels, whether you're working with patterns or a bold color.

Tights are also great for turning summer wardrobe pieces into weather-appropriate outfits—just like the Edie and Pixie Rompers. (We love how they look with either solid or patterned hosiery). We know it's overwhelming—you can't turn around in any department store or website without running into a pair of tights ('tis the season), so we rounded up some of our favorite for your shopping convenience. From the perfect everyday legwear to bold seamed varieties to flaunt on date night, we've found the perfect pair for you.

For the Sustainably Minded

vo3g1t1420174491Maggie's Organics from Abe's Market

They put it best: "Grown without pesticides, harvested safely, and spun without chemicals, this cotton is soft, safe and scrumptious." How can you resist a pair of tights that are described as scrumptious?

These tights are made to be lighter than other cold-weather designs, making them a great choice if you're looking for a pair to show off during warmer months, too.

The Go-To, Everyday Tight

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M6 from Bene Rialto

These opaque tights are perfect for weatherproofing your favorite summer outfit—whether it be a favorite pair of shorts or a romper. Make sure to play up your accessories to break up the opaque look, if you're working with a monochrome outfit. A stand-out pair of shoes can go a long way with a black pair of tights, as well.

M6 makes their hosiery in Germany, but you can find their designs at Bene Rialto in Manhattan.

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November 30, 2014

Nicole Lenzen Holiday Style Event @ Series by Young & Able

Holiday-Trunk-Show-Blog

Join us for a holiday style event and trunk show at Young & Able Series! Try on and shop for holiday dresses by Nicole Lenzen and jewelry by Abby Carnevale. Meet the designers to learn more about their collections, and be there by 7pm for a special holiday styling talk from fashion blogger and personal stylist Sara Jessica Berman. Please be sure to RSVP in our form below.

Interested in receiving personalized style advice? Let us know in your RSVP comments, and the first three to reply will get personalized suggestions from Sara during the event.

In addition to items to spice up your holiday (and everyday) wardrobe, Series has a wide collection of fantastic gift options from local and international designers. All items in the store will be 10% off exclusively during the event. We'll also have drinks from Maven Cocktails, and snacks to satisfy post-work peckishness.

HOLIDAY STYLE EVENT
Featuring:
Nicole Lenzen
Abby Carnevale Jewelry
Stylist Sara Jessica Berman

Tuesday, December 9th
Trunk Show: 6:30-8:30pm
Stylist Talk/Demo: 7:00-7:30pm

Series by Young & Able
345 Broome St.
New York, NY 10013

Drinks sponsored by Maven Cocktails
Light snacks provided

Press Inquiries: Mindy Raf

[wufoo username="mindyraf" formhash="m10nuy281exnlng" autoresize="true" width="520" header="show" ssl="true"]

Nicole Lenzen is a Brooklyn-based designer whose collection of dresses, rompers, and separates are inspired by the freedom of movement in swing dancing. As a trained patternmaker with over a decade’s worth of experience in the fashion industry including custom couture work, she is proud to represent a ready-to-wear collection that allows women to—as they do in the energetic Lindy Hop dance—swing out and let go. Mixing sustainably sourced silks with activewear fabrics, Nicole thinks across the size spectrum with an attention to fit that gives the modern, professional woman the freedom to effortlessly move from a quick bike commute to a high profile client pitch. In fact, you might catch Nicole, who practices low-impact living, wearing one of her pieces while biking around NYC.

Abby Carnevale Jewelry is a Brooklyn-based jewelry brand, offering an array of designs handcrafted from locally-sourced materials including semi-precious metals and stones along with vintage lace. Inspired by her grandmother’s jewelry collection, Abby’s line translates the classic “Old Hollywood Glamour” style into one with modern flair, making each piece timeless and everlasting, an investment piece to be treasured.

Sara Jessica Berman is an Elite Stylist for Keaton Row. Certified as a Marie Claire Master Stylist in July 2014, Sara's teaching background and penchant for fashion have earned her a loyal client base. She shares her expert styling tips on her blog fashinny.nyc.

Created by Stephenie Harris in 2012, Maven Cocktails is the world’s first ready-to-drink wine cocktail. Bridging the gap between cocktail and wine, Maven is the signature drink that delivers on three fronts—the pedigree of a truly fine wine, consistent drinkability, and a nice cocktail kick. Infused with ultra-premium wine, this vodka-based cocktail has the velvety taste of wine but the high-energy kick of a cocktail.

Series is a month-long collaborative pop-up space supporting designers in an offline setting produced by Young & Able, an alternative multi-brand retail platform devoted to sharing emerging designers and their stories.

 

November 12, 2014

Round-Up: Five Must-Have Scarves for Fall (and Winter)

Photo cred: Francisco Osorio / Creative Commons

Photo cred: Francisco Osorio / Creative Commons

Fall is an exciting time for fashion, and we don't just mean those of us looking to discover forgotten favorites at the back of our closets. With the cooler temperatures comes an opportunity to layer on more complicated combinations of style—some for the sole purpose of keeping us warm, and others, well, just because. If there's one accessory that falls right smack dab in the middle of those wardrobe agendas, it's the scarf. From infinity scarves to delicate silk handkerchief throwbacks, there are all kinds of styles for any situation you can think of.

We corralled some of our favorites below, but (as always) we'd love to hear from you. Make sure to share any standout scarves. We're even interested in those, um, more out-there suggestions—like this. You know what they say about form following function.

Calling All Commuters: Sash-ay Scarf, Vespertine NYC

ACCESSORIES

There's no such thing as being too visible when it comes to biking—day or night. This scarf from Vespertine NYC is a way you can add a little safety flash that won't pull away from your outfit when your bike is locked away waiting to be ridden home. The design features a woven 3M threading that illuminates when in direct light, meaning you stay highly visible without committing to any unsightly neon colors. Coming in at $92, you're jumping in on the 3M trend—and keeping yourself intact—for a steal.

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August 4, 2014

What to Wear to the Jazz Age Lawn Party on Governor’s Island

voon_michelleVintage style mavens Michelle Coursey & Voon Chew on the dance floor - photo by Paul Stein

When it comes to themed summer happenings, the Jazz Age Lawn Party on Governor's Island is one of my favorites. It takes place over two glorious weekends, with the final 2014 dates coming up August 16-17th. Conceived by the dapper bandleader Michael Arenella, the event is a dreamy escape back in time: 1920's garb, antique gramophones, a vintage motorcar exhibition, pie contests, properly themed cocktail, and—of course—lots of dancing. (You can see the complete "Run of Show" here.) Once you get past the excitement of what the Lawn Party actually is, don’t let the anxiety of coming up with an outfit weigh you down. There is no specific dress code, but everyone is encouraged to channel elegant vintage-inspired attire to contribute to the overall spirit. Here are a few tips for dressing for the occasion, but make sure to buy your tickets first.

miu_miuMiuccia Prada + Catherine Martin costumes for Baz Luhrman's Gatsby

The Dress
The 1920s style brings about visions of fringed shifts and beaded extravagancies. This is the event to pull out your finest and wear it well. For inspiration, the gorgeous costumes created by Miuccia Prada and Catherine Martin for Bahz Luhrman's Gatsby take the cake, and we absolutely love the campaign for Campari starring the lovely actress Eva Green. Try scouring vintage and thrift shops for aged beauties from the era. Or if you're feeling more daytime summery, lightweight feminine cotton dresses can also fit the bill. For previous lawn parties we've worked with clients to revamp their vintage finds: dresses in silk + cotton gingham as well as a pretty floral print.

nicole_lenzen_jazz-ageNicole Lenzen handmade lace & silk headband paired with a vintage dress - photo by Sarah Joj Tester

Mind Your Head
The headpiece played a role as an extension of a hairstyle in the '20s. What that means: Feel free to keep your 'do simple—a few waves and finger curls should do the trick—and compliment it with a flapper-style headband that was popular towards the end of the decade. If you are one of those DIY-inclined ladies, try using a plain headband or scarf and adding your own adornments to match your outfit. Or if you prefer a hat or fascinator, NYC milliner Gretchen Fenston has gorgeous jazz age-inspired creations. Otherwise a floppy woven hat is perfect for a hot summer's day full of drinking and dancing.

jazz_age_feetDancing in Air - photo by istolethetv

Dancing Shoes
This is a given. Whether you decide to go for a more modern look and pair your favorite pair of lace-ups with your get-up or an era-appropriate pair of crescent-tipped heels, make sure you won't end up nursing blisters halfway through the festivities. If it's a pair of '20s inspired shoes you're hunting for, look for a pair that features an ankle or t-strap (great for dancing!); low, chunky heels; or an oxford for a menswear inspired look. Finding a local pair might be the quickest, but Modcloth has a great selection of era-inspired shoes, as well as Remix and American Duchess for quality vintage repro.

gretchen_fenston_Milliner Gretchen Fenston in her own creation - photo by Voon Chew

Feminine Accessories, Bold Lips
A string of pearls can go a long way. Toss a few around your neck or on your wrists for a feminine touch that won't take away from the rest of your outfit. Bonus: Playing up the nude colors of your accessories allows for a bold, red lip—which is always the best way to cap the perfect outfit. Read more

July 29, 2014

The Peter Pan Collar: How to Pull It Off and the History of the Style

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The Peter Pan collar is a perfect way to pull off vintage chic without coming off too strongly. The feminine yet subtle detail on our Effie top is the perfect way to add a bit of character to your wardrobe without having to worry too much about accessorizing. Read on to learn more about where the collar originated and how to best style the sweet detail so it shines.

Where Did the Peter Pan Collar Come From?

It should come as no surprise that the first Peter Pan collar came from a costume designed for the play that inspired its namesake—"Peter and Wendy." In 1905, actress Maude Adams christened the now popular style in her role as Peter Pan in her performance in New York City. John White Alexander designed the first style, and although he is most well-known for his keen eye for portraiture, we think it's safe to say his solo contribution to the world of fashion was spot-on. Surprisingly, the collar wasn't as popular among later Peter Pan characters—you don't see another performer boasting the style on-stage quite like Adams did.

PeterPanCollar-Maude

Maude Adams and the original Peter Pan collar, which is a much more pronounced shape than we're used to seeing with more modern takes on the classic detail.

The design itself pulls inspiration from a few earlier styles, most notably the Parisian Claudine collar. Coincidentally, the Claudine's moniker also has a literary background. The style is named after the 1900 novel Claudine à l'école in which the main character donned the eye-catching neckline. More modern takes on the Peter Pan collar are a bit more refined—cutting down on the tails in the front and rounding the edges in a bit—making them easier to wear with lots of different styles. For those of you interested in the construction, this collar can be designed two different ways: in one piece with a front-fastening bodice or in two separate parts that are fastened in the back.

How to Wear It

Our Peter Pan collar takes the subtle, rounded shape of the Claudine and mixes it with the flair of a classic Peter Pan shape. It's delicate and feminine without taking over your outfit's entire style. The rounded neckline can be buttoned all the way up without looking too uptight, and the top two buttons can be comfortable undone to show off just the right amount of décolleté.

These Victorian Brass Beaded Tassel earrings and Word Up bangles from Erica Weiner are great examples of how to compliment your Peter Pan collar.

These Victorian Brass Beaded Tassel earrings and Word Up bangles from Erica Weiner are great examples of how to compliment your Peter Pan collar.

Effie's buttons have a brass finish, giving you a touch of style without having to do a thing. Everyone has their own beliefs about matching metals with jewelry, but there's no real rule. Since your neckline is taken care of with the sweet rounded collar, try playing up your earrings with a pair that dangles —we suggest a jazzy brass variety. Don't be afraid to toss in a cuff or a bracelet. We suggest checking out what Erica Weiner has to offer. A lot of her pieces come with a story, which is the perfect combination to add to your newfound knowledge of the Peter Pan collar.

PeterPanCollarBP-Lead

July 24, 2014

Five Tote Bags to Show Off at the Beach

TipsTricks-BeachSceneLead

When packing for a recent beach trip with my mom and sister, I realized I was missing an essential accessory—a cute and durable tote bag large enough to hold sunscreen, towel, snacks, and sunnies (not to mention mask & snorkel!) So we set off on a search for the perfect bag to carry around everything needed for a day trip to the beach—or even an impromptu picnic. We were pleased to discover there was no need to sacrifice style for function, and wanted to share our findings. Check out five of our tote picks for those days where you just need a good book and sunscreen on-hand.

TipsTrick-NeedSupplyBag Beach Tote with Mat, Need Supply Co., $82.99

The rope handles on this tote from Need Supply scream lazy beach days. You can forget the hassle of dragging along a beach towel, thanks to the mat—which comes with the tote—and its intuitive strap storage (with a charming bow in the middle!). For a function-friendly twist on a canvas classic, it doesn't get much better than this. Get your hands on your own tote here.

TipsTricks-GraphicBag Beach Wave Print Canvas Tote, Dezso, $175

The graphic design on this Deszo carryall is about as far away from the kitschy illustrated beach scenes you're more likely to see spotting the sand. We love this photo-inspired print—it's just abstract enough to pull in a few appreciative double-takes and give you a touch of the beach no matter where you are. The tote itself is a classic canvas construction, complemented with bold orange piping for the perfect amount of pop. Buy it on Intermix here.

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September 3, 2013

An Evening of Sustainable Fashion

by Nicolette Hayes

Last week I had the privilege of joining Nicole Lenzen in a beautiful SOHO loft for the monthly meeting of WISE, Women Investing for a Sustainable Economy. These talented and passionate women regularly meet not just to eat wonderful food and talk to like-minded people, but also to enrich their lives with lectures and discussions on diverse topics relating to sustainability in their everyday lives. When Nicole agreed to speak she didn't just sign up for delicious kale and a clothing swap, but also the chance to share styling tips, alterations advice, and general information about the Slow Fashion movement in New York City.

Lovely loft on Greene Street for the meeting of WISE

The evening began with some simple styling for Katie, one of the co-founders of WISE, and advice about how to make an ill-fitting but beloved vintage top into a more wearable part of her wardrobe.

Nicole looks over the items that Katie brought for the clothing swap

Katie_alterations_Nicole helps Katie with a vintage top that needs some alterations

Katie and Nicole discuss the perfect fit

While it can be tempting to simply toss something that doesn't look good, the problem often lies in the fit and not the style. Nicole demonstrated how modifying a garment can transform it into something personal and flattering--a much more sustainable alternative than throwing it out and buying new.

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