36 In Style/ Substance

What I learned at Winser London’s fashion week event

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.

Winser-London-cashmere-rail

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. Winser-London-Pale-Aqua-and-bling

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.

Winser-Midi-Cotton-Coat

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.

Winser-emerald-green

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.

linking to- visiblemonday, stylesplash

You Might Also Like

36 Comments

  • Reply
    Susan B
    March 10, 2019 at 4:33 PM

    Oh Lisa, Lisa, Lisa. Both those yellow and green coats look so fabulous on you. Here’s hoping I guessed my size right, because I just ordered the shorter version in yellow, and the green you’re wearing here.

    And yes, I remember Lillie Rubin! That store just seemed like the pinnacle of glam. 🙂

    • Reply
      Lisa
      March 10, 2019 at 6:20 PM

      You and I have almost the same colouring, so I KNOW they will be fabulous on you too, Susan. I’m a size Medium in both of these coats, if that helps.

      Wasn’t Lillie Rubin just a dream? I loved that place. xx

  • Reply
    Michelle
    March 10, 2019 at 6:53 PM

    I had the biggest smile on my face reading this Lisa. I love these little peeks into your past, you have such an interesting life! The fact that your parents wouldn’t let you off the hook rings in my ears. We should all remember that old style of parenting, it’s priceless really. Sadly I see a lot of young adults getting handouts whilst living an affluent lifestyle on credit. Makes me wonder how they learn to save!
    As for your days at Winser, well I for one knew you’d be a natural. No doubt you made a lot of Women very happy xx

    • Reply
      Lisa
      March 10, 2019 at 8:36 PM

      Thank you so much, Michelle. I think every kid has to learn these lessons the hard way. I learned mine later than I would have liked, but boy did it stick! I so wish you had been here to come to the Winser London event. I KNOW you’d have loved all of the yummy cashmere as much as I did. xx

  • Reply
    Jean
    March 10, 2019 at 6:57 PM

    Your mother loves you in green (she loves you anyway) and she enjoyed reading the article with the flashbacks!

    • Reply
      Lisa
      March 10, 2019 at 8:33 PM

      Haha, thanks Mom! I’m sure you remember the summer statistics course with as much annoyance as I do! xx

  • Reply
    Vanity And Me Style
    March 10, 2019 at 7:13 PM

    I love the Winser brand. I’m sad that I couldn’t make it there, I would have happily let you boss me into wearing colours I haven’t tried before Lisa. xx

    • Reply
      Lisa
      March 10, 2019 at 8:32 PM

      I’d have had fun doing that with you, Laurie! Hopefully I’ll get to do it again with them one day. It was so much fun. xx

  • Reply
    Roswyn Glenny
    March 10, 2019 at 8:12 PM

    Wow that photo of the sweaters, I would have wanted almost everyone of them.

    • Reply
      Lisa
      March 10, 2019 at 8:31 PM

      Yes I’m with you Roswyn; every single one is gorgeous. I’d happily have them all if I could! xx

  • Reply
    mithraballesteros
    March 11, 2019 at 1:49 AM

    So fun to see your mom chiming in here. And like the others, I love the glimpse of Lisa in her formative years. Your fashion I.Q. has always been high and what I’d give to try on green Winser with you standing over my shoulder. For a sponsored post, this went down like honey. Well done!

    • Reply
      Lisa
      March 11, 2019 at 11:56 AM

      I know we have many more shopping outings together in our future, Mithra! I shall never ever forget the vintage Dior coat.

      I’m pleased you enjoyed the flashback to the folly of my ‘yoof’. Isn’t it funny how these mistakes inform our future?! xxx

  • Reply
    Tracy Patil
    March 11, 2019 at 11:18 AM

    Really enjoyed reading your story!! You look beautiful in the green and the yellow and that blue too😘

    • Reply
      Lisa
      March 11, 2019 at 11:53 AM

      Thank you Tracy, I’m so pleased! I’m absolutely loving the yellows and greens these days! xx

  • Reply
    stylishatsixty
    March 11, 2019 at 3:13 PM

    Loving the bold green colour. It certainly is an eye popping ourtfit. Love – Jill x
    http://www.stylishatsixty.wordpress.com

    • Reply
      Lisa
      March 11, 2019 at 3:17 PM

      Thank you so much, Jill. The green is just the nicest shade! xx

  • Reply
    1010parkplace
    March 11, 2019 at 3:35 PM

    I loved Lillie Rubin! I still have a dramatic, black Adolfo knit dress with two dramatic purple V’s on the lower part of the dress. It’s a show stopper! I’ll never wear it again but I bought it for an important event so it never makes the “cull” when I’m cleaning out my closet. LOVE the long coats! I can no longer wear heels so long coats don’t have the same impact on me anymore, but you look sensational in the yellow one, Lisa! xoxo, B

    • Reply
      Lisa
      March 13, 2019 at 2:13 PM

      Wasn’t Lillie Rubin amazing?! I wish it still existed. I remember their Adolfo knits well. Thank you Brenda, I love all the knit coats Winser does. This green one is a firm favourite already. I have three friends with it now, so we’ll have to coordinate when we wear it, haha! xx

  • Reply
    nancybaten1966
    March 11, 2019 at 3:52 PM

    What a fabulous story about your life in New York. Could be a script for a romantic movie. When I worked I was a manager in a women s fashion store. I loved to see women walk out of the store with a huge smile when we helped them pointing out the beautiful features they had and complimented with a good outfit. That was rewarding!

    • Reply
      Lisa
      March 13, 2019 at 2:14 PM

      Thanks so much, Nancy! It really is a good feeling seeing women spend their money wisely on things that will serve them well for a long time and that they look AMAZING in. I bet you were a great manager. xx

  • Reply
    Lynne Farrage
    March 11, 2019 at 5:28 PM

    This is such a joyous post. Need to head to website now

    • Reply
      Lisa
      March 14, 2019 at 9:34 AM

      Thank you Lynne, I’m so glad you liked it! xx

  • Reply
    LA CONTESSA
    March 11, 2019 at 10:35 PM

    COLOR COLOR COLOR………….YOU do not have to TALK ME INTO THAT!
    LOVE THE LOOK OF THE LINE!
    YOU are so SPOT ON about a BUYERS PAY!THEY WORK SO HARD TOO.I went down that road but then jumped to THE wholesale side!
    XX

    • Reply
      Lisa
      March 14, 2019 at 9:35 AM

      Yes, you are already a convert to the School of Colour! You’d love the brand, and the long cotton knit coats would be divine on you too, Elizabeth. xx

  • Reply
    melissa williams
    March 12, 2019 at 5:49 PM

    Fabulous post Lisa! These Winser London pieces are absolutely stunning. SO well made and chic looking. Your story had me laughing- wow…..there are a lot of similarities in our past! I can’t believe that our paths never crossed back then…..I too went from waitressing to getting a job at the most expensive and fashionable retailer in Fredericksburg at that time Carlton Limited. Unfortunately I didn’t have your gift for numbers as it was there that I learned to calculate percentages using a brilliant mathematical method called “Lay-A-Way”. Yep…….10% down meant that if I went into the store with $10……….I actually had $100!!! Ha! Ha! Spent every single dime I made but had the most amazing wardrobe in college! 😀
    ~Melissa xx
    https://freshairandfalselashes.com

    • Reply
      Lisa
      March 14, 2019 at 9:38 AM

      We really have had quite parallel lives, Melissa! I had trouble not buying EVERYTHING at Lillie Rubin… I did buy a quite a bit with my employee discount and when I moved from school to go work in New York, my working wardrobe was already hanging in my closet! I remember a red trouser suit with gold buttons that I wore for YEARS until the lining and eventually the suit fell apart. I’d kill to have it now, it was gorgeous. RIP, Lillie Rubin! xx

  • Reply
    Samantha Blair
    March 13, 2019 at 5:23 PM

    Look at all of the lovely colour!!!!
    SOOOOO pretty.
    XXX
    Samantha

  • Reply
    whatlizzyloves
    March 13, 2019 at 6:01 PM

    I always love hearing about your life Lisa. You are such a multi-faceted woman with so many talents and strings to your bow. I adore the green on you. It’s lovely to see so many vibrant colours in their latest collection. And brava on hosting such a wonderful series of events xxx

  • Reply
    No Fear of Fashion
    March 16, 2019 at 1:43 PM

    Of course you look lovely in every photo, in every outfit. You always do. You are a beauty. And I couldn’t agree more with you over your last paragraph. SOOOO true.
    I bet you learned a heck of a lot about combining and proportions when you worked at Lillie Rubin. Great basis.
    Greetje

    • Reply
      Lisa
      March 16, 2019 at 3:40 PM

      Oh Greetje, you are so kind, thank you SO much!

      It is funny how critical we are of ourselves. If I could change one thing about women, that would be it. Fashion normalizes the abnormal.. the abnormally beautiful, the abnormally tall, the abnormally thin, etc.

      Lillie Rubin was such a great training ground for me, and my boss Lee Ann is probably STILL one of my biggest style influencers. In my next blog post when I show a leopard scarf with a pearl design on it, my first thought was ‘Lee Ann would love this!’. xx

  • Reply
    Catherine, Not Dressed As Lamb
    March 18, 2019 at 7:34 PM

    Oh lord HOW good does this green look on you Lisa?! It’s incredible. A beautiful colour on a beautiful woman. Your storytelling is always my favourite – I hang on every word and am rather disappointed when I get to the end!! You so need to write a book!

    Plus, THIS: “All of us are self-conscious about things that NO ONE ELSE even notices.” Never a truer word said, and something I have to remind myself of regularly…!

    Catherine x

    • Reply
      Lisa
      March 18, 2019 at 8:38 PM

      Thank you so much, Catherine! Such a new colour for me, and an Annie-approved one at that, so win-win 😀
      I really appreciate your kind words about my storytelling. I feel a book is brewing but I keep changing my mind about what I’d like to write about. We’ll see what eventually bubbles up. xx

  • Reply
    Jean
    March 18, 2019 at 8:11 PM

    Her mother has tried to get her to write a book for years! Good luck with that but I wish you success with the nudge…

    • Reply
      Lisa
      March 18, 2019 at 8:35 PM

      One day! xx

  • Reply
    Emma Peach
    March 19, 2019 at 11:51 AM

    Seeing all these beautiful colours makes me happy…as does reading about your very interesting life 🙂 I love the yellow and green coats! I have those green Zara boots too but haven’t worn them yet! Maybe I need to get that green coat to go with them 😉

    Emma xxx
    http://www.style-splash.com

    • Reply
      Lisa
      March 19, 2019 at 4:20 PM

      The colours really are all so mood-enhancing! I could take the merino wool edge to edge coats in every colour of the rainbow, I think! Maybe you do need a green one; you can join my green girl gang 🙂 xx

    Enter your comments

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.