First a bit of background…
When I was a young lass of 19, I thought it would be a good idea to take my university’s statistics class (a requirement for an Economics degree) during summer school, rather than during the regular school year. I wanted to really focus and get a good grade (that didn’t happen). What DID happen that summer was this: I attended my statistics class every morning at 10:00, then spent the rest of the afternoon drinking terrible (from a box) White Zinfandel beside the pool with the other summer school students. That summer, I didn’t have my usual summer job waitressing in a nice restaurant to earn money for the following school year. White Zinfandel doesn’t pay for itself you know, and neither did my rent. You would assume someone embarking on an Economics degree would have thought this through a bit more, but I didn’t. Unsurprisingly, I racked up a monster of a credit card bill since all of my expenses, from food to Zinfandel, went on plastic. I assumed my parents would pay it off for me, you know, since I was being so studious and focused on the statistics class. My parents had other ideas though, and paying for me to be a professional student wasn’t one of them. I had to pay the entire debt off myself, with interest. It definitely taught me an important lifelong lesson about credit. Once the school year started again, I got a job at Lillie Rubin, the fanciest and most fabulous clothing store in town. I worked evenings and weekends so it wouldn’t interfere with my studies, and eventually paid off my bill.
If any of you remember the store (it was a Las Vegas based chain which has since closed) you’ll know just how incredible it was. If you don’t, I’ll tell you. There were marble floors. There was a huge chandelier. The walls were mirrored. There were Bob Mackie gowns. There were sequins upon sequins upon sequins. I had the most glamorous, elegant, and clever boss, Lee Ann, who I am still friends with to this day. I call her the Duchess of Drape, because she is one of those people who can make a tiny adjustment to say, a scarf, and it goes from looking OK to OMG. She just has the magic. On quiet days, we’d pore over the pages of Vogue together, analysing every single detail, and soaking up every ounce of super that the supermodels (Linda! Christy! Naomi!) served up. On busy days, we had local celebrities, newscasters, pageant girls, drag queens, mothers of the bride, and any magpie attracted by the lure of a shiny sequin or bugle bead, coming through our door. We helped them find clothes for special occasions, clothes for every day, and clothes for work. This was long before the dreadful days of fast fashion. Clothes cost more then, and people considered their purchases carefully… even the clients with money to burn. Although I was a student, I already had strong opinions (imagine that) on fashion. If I didn’t like the colour or the fit, or if I had a better option for the customer, I’d say so. Clients trusted me, and I honoured that trust by being honest. Everyone appreciates tactful honesty and a second opinion before a big purchase, don’t they?
I enjoyed every moment at that job; it made me want to pursue a career in retail buying. I was accepted into the buyer’s program at Saks Fifth Avenue in New York after university… but those same parents who wouldn’t pay off my credit card bill certainly weren’t going to foot the bill for an apartment in New York. The salary for a Saks buyer would have barely covered my groceries, let alone a whole apartment, so I channeled my love of buying, my lesson on credit, and the conviction of my opinions into a career on Wall Street instead, which you can read about here.
Fast forward 30 years, and here I am, still mad about style and full of opinions. Recently, my beloved brand Winser London asked if I would like to co-host a London fashion week event with them where I would help show their spring collection. WOULD I?! Of COURSE I would. I already had a sneak peek of what was coming from the press day. There were new shapes, new prints, and an explosion of new colours. I mean, just look at the photo I took of the sweater rail below; it’s like a cashmere and cotton candy shop! I can’t tell you how much fun I had bossing women who were a little unsure of colour into trying some of these on. The right colour can be absolutely transformative to your face.
Let me show you what I chose to wear from Winser’s spring collection for the event. Here is a photo of the Miracle Dress in cool aqua styled with my own bling I wore on the first day.
The second day, I wore this long side-split cotton coat, my love-at-first-sight piece from the spring collection. Admittedly, it is only for tall people. I’m 5’8″ and it is almost to my ankle. The soft golden yellow flattered nearly everyone I saw who tried it on. Unsurprisingly, it has been a sellout for Winser. It also comes in navy and stone, or you can special order it in several custom colours (pale aqua, fuchsia, red, white, chambray blue, orange, etc.). Get it touch with them if you’re tall and you need a dramatic wear-everywhere coat. It also comes in a very similar shorter style in that same glorious yellow.
On the last day of the event, my plan was to wear either this leopard print wrap dress or the sleeveless drape-neck version that isn’t on the website yet. What I like most about it is the ladylike small print, and that it is nearly monochromatic (which makes it easy to style with brights, unlike a brown-based leopard print). My plans went off piste after seeing how amazing everyone looked in this shade of green for the previous two days. I had to try it for myself! After getting so many lovely women to try colours and shapes they’d never worn before, I ended up trying something I’d never worn! I got so many compliments on how well I looked when I wore this colour. I’m not the only one, because I see Winser now has a whole ‘Green Edit’ section on their website. I don’t own a single item of green clothing; it isn’t a colour I’ve ever been drawn to until now. I happened to have green boots that my son picked out two years ago for my birthday, so I wheeled those out with the emerald knit coat and silk top.
Co-hosting this styling event with Winser London transported me back 30 years, back to my time spent helping women in dressing rooms at Lillie Rubin. Here’s what I learned, in a nutshell: nothing has changed. All of us need a little push to get out of our style rut, including me, as evidenced by the green. All of us are self-conscious about things that NO ONE ELSE even notices. I can’t tell you how many gorgeous women don’t buy something they look spectacular in because of some imaginary flaw they see in themselves. All of us look fantastic in colour, no matter how comfortable we are sticking to neutrals and basics. All of us need to throw limiting rules like ‘blue and green should never be seen’ out the window. All of us can use a fresh unbiased pair of eyes and an honest assessment as we tweak and update our wardrobes. Our bodies, our skin tone, and our hair change as we age and we have to accommodate these changes with colour and style. The whole point of my blog is to help women do this with confidence.
Disclosure: This is a sponsored post.