Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Work Chic Redefined In Tough Economy

by Jean Patteson
Orlando Sentinel

Orlando, Fl. -- The popularity of dressing down for the office is sinking about as rapidly as the average 401(k). And the casual-Friday concept? Gone the way of CEO bonuses.

In the current economic climate, women in the workplace need to make more of an effort, says Martinette Mitchell, manager of the Personal Touch personal shopping service at Nordstrom in Orlando's Florida Mall.

"Dress not for the position you're in, but for the position you're striving to get," she says. "Dress to impress."

That is not new advice. It is simply an approach to business dressing that was overlooked during the anything-goes, boom-time atmosphere of the last two decades.

Piece together a winning wardrobe "The new chic is conservative. It's no longer fashionable to be wasteful. It's fashionable to make smart investments - to build a wardrobe where every piece works with every other piece," says Marie Johnson, style consultant for Stein Mart store in central Florida.

"You should be able to go into your closet with your eyes closed, grab three or four pieces, put them on and look great, " says Johnson.

Because we're in an economic downturn, "It's more important than ever to dress well. It empowers you. It makes you stand out."

In other words, women should dress for success in 2009 the way they did (or their mothers or grandmothers did) in 1989 - in suits, tailored separates, classic accessories, closed-toe pumps.

It is key to invest in quality items for their longevity, says Mitchell. "When building a career wardrobe, she should consider neutral colors that are easily interchangeable in order to accomplish different looks. Neutral colors ranging from black, navy, gray and tan to nudes."

In trying times, a woman must take charge of her wardrobe, says Jamie Yasko-Mangum, president of Successful Style & Image in Oviedo, Fl.

"When she presents herself to current or potential employers, she should reflect confidence and intelligence - and that means wearing a suit," she says.

In addition to a couple of suits, her basic business wardrobe should include about four pairs of slacks, four blouses and one or two jackets, says Yasko-Mangum.

But no matter what the state of the economy, "I do not recommend investing in just one expensive piece. You want to invest in a small variety of good pieces so you have more than one smart choice," she says.

Johnson's plan for a basic wardrobe is similar to Yasko-Mangum's.

With two skirted suits, two pairs of slacks and five tops, she says, "you can create 30 different outfits."

Piece Together a Winning Wardrobe
Can't afford to buy a complete business wardrobe all at one? Not a problem, say image consultants. Here are their tips for gradually acquiring the pieces you need, or building on items already in your closet:

* Update your old suits with new tops.

* Rely on statement jewelry, shoes an handbags to freshen your basic outfit every day.

* Try monochromatic dressing. It always looks businesslike - and it visually elongates and slenderizes the figure.

* Choose all-season fabrics such as featherweight wool and cotton-silk blends to avoid the expense of separate summer and winter wardrobes.

* Shop smart. Upscale boutiques and department stores are offering all kinds of special promotions. And discount stores have great deals.

* Keep in mind that a chic haircut and polished makeup are part of your business wardrobe.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Latest Obsession: Alex and Ani State Seal Charm Bangle

A cute twist on the traditional charm bracelet is the State Seal Charm Bangle by Alex and Ani ($68.00, alexandani.com). It has a vintage inspired design and will look great paired with other bracelets. It's a chic and affordable way to show a little pride in your state.

All 50 states are available.

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News Bite: Economy Has More Women Becoming Strippers

I know everyone's entitled to do what ever they want but I just find it a little disturbing that some women are chosing to go this route to make extra money.


Economy Has More Women Becoming Strippers
Many Turning To Adult Entertainment Industry For Work

by The Associated Press

As a bartender and trainer at a national restaurant chain, Rebecca Brown earned a couple thousand dollars in a really good week.

Now, as a dancer at Chicago's Pink Monkey gentleman's club, she makes almost that much in one good night.

The tough job market is prompting a growing number of women across the country to dance in strip clubs, appear in adult movies or pose for adult magazines.

Employers across the adult entertainment industry said they're seeing an influx of applications from women who, like Brown, are attracted by the promise of flexible schedules and fast cash. Many have college degrees and held white-collar jobs until the economy soured.

"You're seeing a lot more beautiful women who are eligible to do so many other things," said Gus Poulos, general manager of New York City's Sin City gentleman's club. He said he got 85 responses in just one day to a recent job posting on Craigslist.

The transition to the nightclub scene isn't always a smooth one -- from learning to dance in five-inch heels to dealing with the jeers of some customers.

Some performers said they were initially so nervous that only alcohol could calm their nerves.

"It is like giving a speech, but instead of imagining everyone naked, you're the one who's naked," Brown, 29, said.

Eva Stone, a 25-year-old dancer at the Pink Monkey, said dealing with occasional verbal abuse from patrons requires "a thick skin."

Makers of adult films cautioned that women shouldn't rush into the decision to make adult movies without considering the effect on their lives.

"Once you decide to be an adult actress, it impacts your relationship with everyone," said Steven Hirsch, co-chairman of adult film giant Vivid Entertainment Group. "Once you make an adult film, it never goes away."

The women at the Pink Monkey say dancing at a strip club might not have been their first career choice, but they entered the business with their eyes wide open. The job gives them more control and flexibility than sitting in a cubicle, and "it's easy, it's fun and all of us girls ... look out for each other," Brown said.

In this economy, "desperate measures are becoming far more acceptable," said Jonathan Alpert, a New York City-based psychotherapist who's had clients who worked in adult entertainment.

For some, dancing is temporary, a way to pay for college loans or other bills. Others say they've found their niche.

Dancers at the upscale Rick's Caberet clubs in New York City and Miami can make $100,000 to $300,000 a year -- in cash -- even with the economic downturn, club spokesman Allan Priaulx said.

Priaulx said 20 to 30 women a week are applying for jobs at the New York club, double the number of a year ago.

Still, analysts said, the industry isn't immune to the economic recession. Business is down an estimated 30 percent across all segments, including adult films, gentleman's clubs, magazines and novelty shops, said Paul Fishbein, president of AVN Media Network, an adult entertainment company that has a widely distributed trade publication and an award show.

"In the past, people have said this industry is recession-proof," said Eric Wold, director of research for financial services firm Merriman Curhan Ford. "I definitely don't see that; maybe recession-resistant."

Strip club dancers and managers said they're drawing in the same number of customers, but fewer high rollers.

"They're not getting the big spenders," said Angelina Spencer, executive director of the Association of Club Executives, a trade group for adult nightclubs. "They're not getting the guys who come in and drop $3,000 to $4,000 a night anymore."

Still, the clubs' operating structure leaves them with low overhead and profit margins of up to 50 percent, Wold said.

Dancers are independent contractors, paying clubs a nightly flat fee depending on how long they work. At the Pink Monkey, for example, dancers who arrive at 7 p.m. Sunday through Thursday pay a $40 "house fee," while women who don't arrive until midnight pay $90. And they keep their tips.

Wold and others say it's almost impossible to estimate the size of the adult entertainment industry because few companies are publicly traded. He does pay close attention to three that are: Lakewood, Colo.-based VCG Holding and Houston-based Rick's Caberet, which own clubs, and New Frontier Media, a Boulder, Colo.-based adult film producer and distributor.

All three are profitable.

Rick's Caberet had $60 million in revenue in its 2008 fiscal year, up from $32 million the year before, Wold said, and he estimates VCG will have $57 million for last year, compared with $40.5 million in FY2007. New Frontier Media generates more than $400 million in consumer buying a year.

Larry Flynt, whose half-billion dollar Hustler empire publishes magazines, produces and distributes films and operates a casino, said he's continued to do well. But he doesn't expect those who are solely in the film business to survive.

"A lot of the small studios are out of business now, there's no doubt about that," Flynt said.

Adult magazines also are struggling along with the larger publishing industry, and have to cut pages like everyone else.

But the economic realities aren't keeping jobseekers away.

Vivid Entertainment's Hirsch said the number of women in his business has doubled in the last couple years, with roughly 800 working as adult actresses. "It is more competitive than I've seen it in 25 years," he said.

That doesn't mean all the newcomers are planning on lengthy careers in the industry.

Stone, who has a bachelor's degree in graphic design, took up dancing four years ago to help pay her student loans. She plans to go to graduate school this year to pursue a master's in education.

Brown, meanwhile, has a ready answer for those critical of her career choice.

"I have job security," she said.

Beauty Pick: SPOTLIGHT by Avon

SPOTLIGHT by Avon $22.50 (1.7 fl oz)

This sultry yet delicate Eau de Toilette is a sensual mix of citrus, florals and subtle wood undertones for a gorgeously airy scent. This soon to be available fragrance is available on from Avon.

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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Irish Art Exhibit: Lorica Artworks

There are other options for celebrating St. Patrick's Day than sitting in a bar, such as visiting a museum, in the Boston area a beautiful Irish art exhibit is currently being shown at a local art gallery.


Lorica Artworks specializes in original paintings from Ireland and America. The works displayed are from emerging and established local, national and international artists. Our philosophy is simple, we are committed to showing and selling beautifully made work.

The gallery exhibits collective displays on an ongoing basis, showcasing beautiful locations in which the artists live, capturing the immense variety in Irish, Italian, French and New England scenery. Years of thoughtful observaton allows them to move with equal skill between landscapes, seascapes, and figurative painting, transforming the essence of their subject in life into a thing of beauty, a work of art, which can be enjoyed and shared by others for generations.

The art exhibit is open to the public for the entire month of March.


Lorica Artwork
90 Main Street
Andover, MA 01810
Tel: 978-470-1829
E-Mail: mguerrera@LoricaArtworks.com


Tues, Wed, Fri, and Sat: 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Thurs: 10 a.m. - 7 p.m.
Sun: 12:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. and by appointment.



Happy St. Patrick's Day

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Away on Business

Sorry about the posts or should I say lack of them, I've been away on a business trip but will be back to blogging as usual on Monday.

If you would like to contact me or Style and Focus PR please send all questions, press and news releases, lookbooks, etc. to: styleandfocuspr@yahoo.com.

Monday, March 9, 2009

40 Work & Casual Tote Bags: 4

Untracable Tote $99.00 Nine West

Striped Eco-chic Tote $39.00 Banana Republic

Rebecca Minkoff Canvas 'Bread & Wine' Tote $72.00 Bluefly.com

Marc by Marc Jacobs TOBO Tote $198.00 StandardStyle.com

Lilly Pulitzer Loose Lilly Bag $78.00 inthepink.com

Mossimo Supply Co. Suede Drawstring Tassle Tote $19.99 Target

Studded Paisley Tote $22.99 Charlotte Russe

Granada reversible Tote $24.50 Alloy.com only

Cole Haan Leather Convertible Tote $237.00 Bluefly.com

Laptop Tote $69.99 sale Nine West

Friday, March 6, 2009

Friday's Happy Hour Drink: Rock Candy Cosmo

As gorgeous as this drink is it's pretty much the standard Cosmo except you use rock candy to garnish. This drink was featured in the InStyle Wedding magazine. The name along is cute and will go over well at your next party.


1 oz. vodka
1/2 oz. triple sec
1/2 oz. lime juice
1/2 oz. Cranberry juice
Garnish with pink rock candy on a stick
Pink sugar rim (optional)


1. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add the vodka, triple sec, lime juice and cranberry juice to the shaker and shake vigorously.

2. Strain into the glass, garnish with the rock candy, and serve.

Drink Responsible and Don't Drink & Drive.

What to Wear for: A Laid-back Girls Night Out

The end of a long week and you got plans to meet your friends for a fun and low-key evening of cocktails and conversation. You want to wear something that's comfortable yet equally chic. What to wear: pair a tunic with jeans for that global glamour look. Complete the look with d'Orsay open toe pumps and with a bracelet or two. Oh, don't forget to have fun and enjoy the weekend.

(Click on jeans for a better look)

Alexis Woven Top $22.80 Forever21

New Low Rise Boot Cut Jeans $69.50 Gap

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40 Work & Casual Tote Bags: 3

Ooh La La! Tote $5.50 Forever21

The New Tote
comes with a leather snap-close pouch
$19.99 sale

American Eagle Finley Large Tote $16.99 sale Payless

Phoebe Canvas Tote $19.80 Forever21

Flora Shopper Bag $7.99 Target.com only

Dexter Piermont Large Shopper $24.99 Payless

Marc by Marc Jacobs 'Party Girl' Sequin Shopper $198.90 sale Nordstrom

Bueno Washed Double Handle Shopper $48.00 Target.com only

Agnes Croc Tote $89.00 Nine West

Kate Spade Tarrytown Quinn
short shoulder tote

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Event: Collete Celebrates Barbie's 50th Anniversary

For Barbie lovers in France or those planning on traveling to Paris this month a fun little event is coming your way. Collete boutiques will be celebrating Barbie's 50th anniversary with several fun events and exhibits. For more information read below. Don't forget to check out the pictures of Barbie.

Barbie celebrates her 50th birthday at colette, March 9th-28th. Barbie has embodied glamour, fashion and feminity for over 5 decades. Naturally she has settleds down at colette for her birthday.

An amazing event for 50 years of success and for a tribute to the icon of the biggest designers.

For the occasion, a "Barbie room" will be installed on the first floor presenting Jeremy Scott’s collection of Barbie clothing and accessories as well as various exclusive products including: MP3 players, Barbie Rocks of Beverly Hills Jewellery, Stila Make-up, Beautiful Stationery, Dylan’s Candy Bar Sweets and also a brand new line of beauty products.

Limited edition collaborations with designers selected by Colette will also be available, among which Married to the Mob t-shirts, a Bless hairbrush, an Uslu Airlines 219c pink nailpolish, a Azumi & David hat-bag, Linda Farrow glasses, Alexis Mabille bow ties, a Goyard trunk, a Jawbone headset, Domestic stickers, Bruno Frisoni stilettos... Even the water-bar will be Barbie style with a special edition of dessert Le Baiser by Ladurée.

Also, March 9-15, come check out our Barbie and Ken windows which are styled by Karl Lagerfeld. A special exhibit that is only on March 12th, a high security exhibition of the very first Barbie and Ken dolls, a Must for any Barbie fan.

March 9 - March 28

Monday - Saturday: 11:00 am - 7:00 pm

213 rue Saint-Honore
75001 PARIS, France

Contact Information
Gallery Tel: +33 1 55 35 33 97
E-Mail: galerie@colette.fr

Pictures below of Karl Largerfeld styled Barbie's with model Baptiste Giabicon as Ken. (Photos: Collete)

Click pictures to enlarge:

Smallville Episode "Infamous" Trailer

This episode features Tori Spelling reprising her role as gossip writer Linda Lake from season six episode "Hydro". "Infamous" airs Thurs. March 12 on the CW network. Check local listings for time.

Style and Focus News Bites: Barbie, Brad and Birthday Visits

** According to the Associated Press, West Virginia Deomocratic Delegate Jeff Eldridge is proposing to ban the sale of Barbie dolls and others like her in his state. He wants to outlaw the dolls, because the dolls influence girls to place too much importance on physical beauty, at the expense of their intellectual and emotional development.

My Response:

This is one of the dumbest things I have read, with all the things going on economically he want to go after Barbie. It's the parents responsibility to instill good judgement and values to their children and banning an iconic doll is not going to change our cultures obsession with youth and beauty. So, is he also going to ban gentlemen magazines because they hold a certain stereotypical view towards beauty on how women are suppose to look. Yeah, but I guess I don't see that happening any time soon.

** In the New York magazine article, "Why Were Milan’s Runways So Whitewashed?" details the lack of diversity among models used during fashion week in Milan.

** Shoe designer Yohji Yamamoto has signed a deal with Salvatore Ferragamo to create a new collection of ergonomic shoes called Salvatore Ferragamo for Yohji Yamamoto. The new Ferragamo footwear will be unveiled this Friday, in Yamamoto's fall 2009 runway show in Paris, according to a press release. The shoes, ergonomic Chelsea boots and hiking boots will be available to consumers early July in Yamamoto boutiques, Ferragamo flagships and more directional fashion stores. Prices will vary from just under $500 to just over $1,000. (Fashion Wire Daily)

** According to People magazine, singer Kelly Rowland paid a birthday visit to an ailing little girl, Jasmina Anema. Jasmina is in desperate need of a bone marrow transplant. For her 6th birthday on Wednesday, Jasmina enjoyed pink cupcakes and received a Hello Kitty bicycle. But she was so "over the moon" when Grammy-winning singer Kelly Rowland sang "Happy Birthday" to her in her hospital room at NYU Medical Center. Jasmina told PEOPLE that "Kelly made me feel like a princess and she made me feel so special."

** According to Fashion Week Daily, Rebecca Taylor will launch a shoe and jewelry collection. She has partnered with two licensing groups: Peter Marcus Group for shoes and MJJ Brilliant for jewelry. Both collections were inspired by Taylor's ready-to-wear collection and her continuous inspiration from European flea markets and free spirited travelers. The footwear will include leather boot and sandals with prices ranging from $300-$400 at retail. The jewelry collection will consist of whimsical designs in materials such as 18K vermeil and a new signature sequin group. The jewelry line prices will range from $150-$500 retail. Both collections will be available at Rebecca Taylor the boutique, select department stores, and contemporary websites nationwide.

** Brad Pitt to meet with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi to discuss Make It Right, a project launched in 2007 to construct affordable and environmentally-sustainable housing for low-income residents of the Lower Ninth Ward in New Orleans who lost their homes as a result of Hurricane Katrina. Pitt and Pelosi are slated to kick off their meeting at 3:30 p.m., after posing for photos for the press in the Capitol Building. (CNN)

** eBay is adding to its image as being a green company. Alan Marks, senior vice president for global communications at eBay says that its business model encourages reselling old items rather than throwing them out, and buying used merchandise rather than making new stuff reduces carbon emissions that go along with production. “We never set out to be a green business,” Mr. Marks said. “We realized it’s intrinsic.” To promote its green credentials eBay will team with Hearst to run ads Cosmopolitan, Good Housekeeping and Esquire.

EBay is rather late to the game in making claims about its environmentalism. Large corporations like General Electric and BP have run advertisements for years promoting their environmental efforts, for instance. “Over the last couple of years, protecting the environment has become as American as apple pie and Derek Jeter,” said Michael Brune, the executive director of the activist group Rainforest Action Network. “Every company wants to at least be seen as being friendly to the environment.”

Mr. Brune said he had mixed feelings about eBay’s claim for its green business model. “A lot of the things sold on eBay are new merchandise, and last time I checked the Postal Service still used fossil fuels for all of their planes and their trucks, so it’s not sustainable,” he said, referring to how eBay sellers ship items. “It’s fair to say that buying used goods on eBay is better for the environment, but let’s not get carried away and say this is the greenest thing since recycled paper.” (New York Times)

Diane von Furstenberg Spring 09 RTW: Part 2