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Amy Hits The Red Carpet

I LOVE dressing up. My life consists of casual this and casual that, so being handed a reason to create a red carpet look is fine by me. Add in the ability to use a microphone and talk to people all night and I’m good to go. This is truly what heaven looks like in my twisted mind.

 

Not only did I have a fabulous LBD waiting to be worn in my closet, but I got to borrow diamonds, lots and lots of diamonds. Um, yes please. I found this perfect Nicole Miller dress at Lord & Taylor (the best place for cocktail dress shopping) and I had to have it. I had no particular reason to own it at that time, but there is always a need to possess the perfect little black dress. It is the, “Oh shit, I have something to go to and I have nothing to wear!” dress, but now you do. She waited patiently for about 6 months to be worn, she wanted to make a big splash for her initial outing. She got her wish.

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Did I mention that whole borrowing diamonds thing??? Oh yea, I definitely did. What girl doesn’t dream of going to a custom jewelry designer’s home and riffling through hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of accessories? The answer is NO GIRL. Those types of moments are what drive me and allow me to continue to live in what feels like a fantasy world sometimes. I landed on these mase style earrings and not one, but two pave diamond swirl rings. I decided to wear them both on one finger to really punch it up. It made holding the microphone look SO much more fashionable. Thank you Rebecca Koven for making my jewelry dreams come true!!!

 

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Accessories expert Michael O’Connor (@stylingspy) and I tag teamed the red carpet at the Women’s Jewelry Association Awards. I always love working with someone who is quick on their feet, witty and funny. Then we can be awesome together:) The key to any good red carpet interviewer’s look is to be fashionable without overshadowing the interviewee. I’m going to toot our horns and say that Michael and I hit the nail on the head in that department.  Simple and chic.

 

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This was seriously the most comfortable dress I have ever worn. It is a thicker stretch material with ruching making it oh so comfy and sexy at the same time! The only problem was a slight wardrobe malfunction at the beginning of the night that involved a hole in the seam of my dress at the top of my bum. I don’t think butt crack is a look these days unfortunately. Luckily one of the nominees had a safety pin so I was back in full form in no time. Note to self: Remember your stylist kit  of tricks next time so this doesn’t happen again!!!

 

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There is nothing like a good ridiculous selfie. My beautiful and stylish friend Monica of Elias World Media put this whole shindig of a red carpet together. I joke that she is who I want to be when I grow up even though we are the same age:) She is possibly one of the only people that could top my energy making our times together hilarious. The fact that we work together only makes it that much better.

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Unfortunately literally everything I had on for the red carpet is not available to you anymore!!! With that said, above is the best look-a-like outfit you could get. Since my jewels are one of a kind diamond pieces, they were really an option, but these costume pieces definitely capture the essence of the look. Throw on a LBD and a pair of thin, strappy black heels and you are good to go. This simple, yet sexy ensemble is pretty much the perfect look for almost anyone going to almost any cocktail event. Consider it your sexy uniform…..

cocktail ring, earrings, snakeskin clutch, sandals, black dress

Best (Swim) Suits of Summer!

That’s right folks, it’s time for everyone’s favorite subject, swimsuits. If the sarcasm isn’t apparent in that last statement, then you are a rare creature because NO ONE likes swimsuit shopping. Alas, pools and oceans await and since head to toe spandex onesies are not yet in style, let me guide you through choosing the right bathing suit for your lifestyle and shape.

 

Now before we begin, I want to address the fact that this post appears to be a bevy of gratuitous shots showing off my near-naked swimsuit clad body. In response to this I say, you damn right peeps. I work hard to keep my bits and pieces in place and although I mostly look like the shots below, I want to offer some “full-disclosure” information: Yes, I filter.  And yes, I have no shame in admitting this. I believe in health, fitness and honesty. We all come in different shapes and sizes and if I have learned anything working in this business for over 15 years, it is that no matter what size a person is, they still have some issue with something. I want for all women to understand that clothing and/or lack there of (swimsuits) can help to create a more confident and sexy you. No body is perfect, not even Christie Brinkley (who looks hella good at 63!!!!).

 

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I am very down with the one-piece bathing suit right now. Anything that can serve two purposes (act as a body suit AND a swimsuit) is dope. If you read this blog regularly, you now I am the queen of function and fashion. On this fabulous day I was in Capri with no idea how my time was going to play out. I wanted to wear something that I could shop, eat, sunbathe and swim in. Voila, one piece swimsuit with shorts and a fabulous hat, yes please. I was covered enough to walk into Cartier (because I shop there SO much:) and naked enough to take a dip in the Mediterranean. I found this cute bathing suit at Zara for only $30. I am truly an advocate of buying more expensive swimsuits typically, but this one was a good fun and done, one season piece. More on why spending money on bathing suits is so important later…..

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Oh the infamous white bikini.  It is what I would consider the end all, be all of perfect swimwear. So sexy and chic. It is almost like a unicorn, beautiful and fabulous yet essentially impossible to find. That is why when you do find one that lifts, tucks and covers correctly, throw down your credit card. I came across this beauty at Beach Bunny in Miami. I really love their designs, but they definitely are not known for coverage. Somehow they can take the smallest amount of material and have it lift everything just right. At $200, it’s a little pricey, but as I mentioned above, spending money on swimsuits is vital. Cheap bathing suits lose their shape quickly and truly do not offer the proper support for your boobies or bum. I know it is a tough pill to swallow considering how small bathing suits are and how crazy the mark-up must be, but you just have to go with it on this one. Spending more to look better in less material is a no brainer folks.

 

 

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I know the concept of a smaller bottomed bathing suit is absurd to most Americans (except for people that live in Miami), but do you want your arse to look better or not??? Go ahead, argue with me that this concept is ridiculous. That having a smaller bottom will only enhance the “problem area” you call your ass, but I will continue to disagree. We are not talking g-string here folks, I am just saying that it should slightly give you a comfortable wedgie. I am half kidding. No matter weather your bum is smaller, bigger, flat or round, wearing a smaller bathing suit bottom will create a much more sexy and flattering backside. 

 

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The sporty swimsuit is in and it is here to stay. Florissant colors,  fun piping and actual support are cool and you should go out and pick this style up. The great thing about this bathing suit is that you can actually have fun doing summer sports while wearing it. Look hot while playing volleyball. This particular suit has a string style top, but go for the sports bra-esque look and really rock out while playing paddle ball.

 

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I love a good theme, even in a swimsuit. I am kind of obsessed with this cha cha bikini. I need to book a trip to Mexico just so I can prance through the ocean in it. Yes, I buy clothing to match non-existent trips. The story behind this bikini is a tale of, “Oh my God, I just found the greatest secret trove of bathing suits and cover ups in all of New York City”. I went into a sporting goods store (Paragon Sports, check it out, it’s dope), and low and behold, they had a massive selection of mostly on-sale bathing suit related items. I went nuts. This particular suit had mix and match tops and bottoms so I literally “designed” this look. This is a very hot trend right now and makes you the creator of your own bathing suit destiny. Try it within your own bathing suit collection, mixing and matching what you have will “double” the amount of swimsuits you already have! Obsessed.

 

 

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Finally, what are the trends of the season and which ones are best for your body type? Here are my top 5 picks in no particular order:

1. The High Waisted Bikini: I don’t actually love this style. Ok, so that’s probably not my best sales pitch, but as I mentioned at the beginning of this post, honesty is the best policy. People have been tricked into thinking that the higher waist is covering your stomach and therefore making it more flattering. Wrong. It is actually accentuating the negative and making you look 3 months pregnant. Even if you are a skinny minny, this swimsuit style will just make you look like you borrowed your grandmother’s sexy bikini. I.E. NOT SEXY.

2. The Ruched One Piece Swimsuit: This is truly one of the best styles on the market. As opposed to the high waisted bikini, this bathing suit actually does cover an imperfect stomach. The front knot on this black option does double duty by drawing the eye to the center giving the illusion of being even skinnier. Who doesn’t want that? There is extra coverage down below, but by keeping the top open, the suit is still sexy yet functional. I have bought this for several clients with both big and small chests, don’t worry, they aren’t going to fall out.

3. Off the Shoulder Bikini:  This bathing suit is super cute and super trendy, but be warned, funky tan lines are in your future. Yes, you can take your arms out while you sunbathe, but then don’t you lose the whole point of this style? Essentially, if you want to look cool while sipping cocktails in a shady area and don’t mind that you have alligator arms (you seriously can’t move your arms), then this cool and uber fun bikini is for you.

4. Cut Out  One-Piece Bathing Suit: Again, there is a strong recommendation to avoid sun tanning in this (unless having a tan triangle in the middle of your boobs is your thing). This swimsuit is made for yachting and fabulous cocktails at the pool club where you never actually set foot in the pool. The criss-cross panels give you amazing coverage and the cut-out pattern says, “I’m sexy in a “rich bitch sort of way”. I’ve never been on a yacht, but at least I know what I’m gonna wear when I am.

5. String BikiniOh the good ol’ string bikini. It inflicts sheer terror in so many people and I completely understand. It is literally the smallest thing you can wear in public and still be respectable. With that said, if you got it, flaunt it. The string bikini is here to stay, it is not a fad, it is a staple. To wear this bathing suit there are a few simple rules: Have high, perky boobs and a tight butt. No miracles here, your everything is showing when you wear this so your everything better be pretty good.

High Waisted, Ruched One Piece, Off the Shoulder, String Bikini, Cut Out 

 

 

 

 

 

Good Jewelry = Awesome Outfits

Good jewelry is like the best friend who is always there for you, always pumps you up, always has you on your A game… Oh yea, it’s that fabulous. 

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I have been building my collection since I was pretty much 10 years old. I would go to the mall and stalk the sterling silver kiosk. I would search through my mother’s drawers in hopes of finding some bauble that she wasn’t interested in and steal it for my own collection. Unfortunately my mother wasn’t really into fashion so this adventure proved to be less then fruitful. Ironically, I think that experience has led me to become the treasure hunter I am today. I literally think about what pieces I can pass down to my future off-spring. Will they think grandma is cool based on her jewelry collection??? These types of questions haunt me and drive me to search for awesomeness. I wish I was kidding.

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It isn’t just “real” pieces that are included in my hunt. This huge crystal piece by Barbara Pellegrino actually hurts slightly because of the sheer weight of the stone. Who cares, it is amazing. It was a gift from a lovely gentleman I dated who truly took notice of my fun jewelry collection and gave me something that I couldn’t have even dreamed up on my own. Kudos to a dude who is that aware! It is doubly as cool because both sides of the chain are different. My grandkids are either going to think I’m nuts or amazing, but I don’t think that is specifically related to this piece of jewelry.

 

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I am also drawn to sentimental pieces. This broach is my own creation and I LOVE it. If you look closely you can see that it is family pictures of my brother and I. They were charms that my Nana had made for a necklace of hers. I took a hat pin and strategically placed them on to show off my own baby pictures. Weird, but awesome. I added another broach right above it to create a real “moment”.

 

 

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I am also obsessed with great costume jewelry. This ring is three stones, but really one piece. I can’t move my fingers all that well when I have it on, but who cares because people think it is so cool (which it is). It is by Kendra Scott and it is one of the only things I have ever paid full price for. It was too amazing to pass up.  Adding a layered up bracelet look (otherwise known as “arm candy”) only added to my funk factor. It is a great way to re-use pieces you may have had for forever in new and interesting ways.

 

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Buying jewelry when I travel has become part of my reason for traveling. These earrings are from a tiny shop in no-where Colorado on a mountain top. They are made by a Native American women and are created from porcupine quills. How freakin’ cool.  The top silver bracelet is from a small surfing town in Costa Rica and the larger cuff with a medallion is from Big Sur. The watch in the middle is from Guess and I pulled it out of retirement from 10 years ago! Not exactly sentimental, but mixing pieces together is the key to showcasing your jewelry talent.

 

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My final and most important way of creating the grand collection of jewelry I have today is from flea markets, thrift stores and consignment shops. You literally have no idea what you are going to find, it is the best treasure hunt. You may not be fruitful every time, but continuing the search for  your next great piece is half the fun. I am obsessed with my silver Wonder Woman cuff. It certainly makes a statement. The middle silver ring is also from a flea market, but was from a sterling silver vendor showcasing brand new goods. The thin sapphire ring is real (I had it checked out) and it is from a consignment shop in upstate New York that I bought for 10 bucks. See, you never know what you are going to find…..

 

 

 

Good Jewelry Collage

With any client, I always begin with foundation pieces, even in their jewelry collection. It doesn’t matter if it is silver or gold, just pick the metal you love. For most people, I suggest getting these staple items in BOTH metals. They include a medium pair of thin hoops, a short delicate necklace, a long medallion type necklace, a thin layering bracelet and an elegant yet bold neutral ring. You can layer all of these pieces in your ever growing jewelry collection or you can wear them on their own. It is the perfect place for someone new to the jewelry game to begin. This is one of the only areas of your wardrobe where I say more is better. Jewelry can completely change your look and that is something worth collecting over….

 

 

 

silver hoops, gold pendant, simple chain, rose gold bangle, cocktail ring

My Life as a Fashion Maven

I am a fashion maven. Not a stylist, not a consultant, but a maven. 

The definition of maven reads as follows: One who is experienced or knowledgable in a specific subject; an expert or a connoisseur. After years of being a fashion stylist, I realized that what I now did was much more than that. The goal of my current business is not just to dress people, but to teach them how to do it on their own through my expertise. I have gathered a ridiculous amount of information in my almost 15 years of running this business and nothing gives me more joy then sharing my absurd knowledge with the masses.

 amycloset

 

My career has seen many twists and turns. At this point I literally think I have seen and done it all. People always ask me how I got into this business, how I maintain my client list, so on and so forth. I decided it was time to tell the story, to answer all of the questions about this crazy career that I essentially decided to get into with no formal training or experience. When you are 23 and you decide you want to do something, you do it. You have no fear of failing and the unknown is everything, so how can it be scary? You have no stability in life yet so instability is your norm. That is the best way to start a business my friends, with no back-up plan so you have no choice but to succeed.

Firstly I had to decide who and what I was about. I thought I was going to be a photo shoot stylist. I had moved to Chicago after college in Boston with NO connections, but isn’t that what Google is for? I literally sat at my computer and looked up fashion stylists and asked for advice or opportunities. Chi-town peeps are good people so they actually responded to me. I was introduced to an agent who would go on to represent me for commercial work. This proved to be a great introduction, but let me be clear, in all my years of photo shoot styling it barely added up to paying my rent. It is grueling work that always seems to be “for your portfolio”. Unfortunately that does not feed me (my stomach or my shopping habit).

 

 

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Although I literally made no money, the beauty of that connection is that my lovely agent went over to Harpo (that’s Oprah’s production company for those that live in a hole). Remember, I was in Chicago at the time where she was filming her show. I got an amazing call from my former agent one day asking if I wanted to come to Oprah’s studios and meet a senior producer about doing “behind the scenes makeovers”. Um, yes please. When I arrived, the producer asked if I worked with individuals and I said yes. I figured it was a little white lie since that didn’t seem too far out of my wheelhouse even though I had never officially done it before. And voila, my first personal client was born.

This was a whole new world to me. Now I didn’t have to rely on an agent to call me with a job, I could build my own business with personal clients. First up, branding. I had to create a logo for my business so I began to question who I wanted to target. I had to build a website (Ok, I hired someone to do it) and start marketing the hell out of myself. My original logo included the girl to the right who obviously was an image created in my likeness. I grew to hate this bitch. Why is she so damn perky?? Eventually I re-did my branding years later and switched to a more sophisticated fashion sketch. I am SO sophisticated yo.

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Photo shoots were mostly a thing of the past, but I did enjoy doing them every now and then while I was building my business. They looked great on my site and showed off my more creative side since you can really get crazy when you are telling a “fashion story”. That gal on the top left is from one of my early shoots. WTF. Why did I wrap tulle around her waist and put a dirty white trench coat on her? Was this story about ugly dressing? Ah, live and learn. But hey, I got to style Kate Moss. Yup, that is definitely the one and only supermodel Kate Moss in the top right shot. Ok, I was actually the assistant on that shoot, but it was one of the most surreal moments of my life. She was nice as hell and running around naked because she doesn’t give a shit. She was super friendly and I still have a girl crush on her. The rest of the images are from one of many magazine spreads I did much later in my career. When you are in NYC you have access to everything fabulous so you can really go all out with the styling. As much as I love doing shoots, they really pay jack shit and the amount of work is cray. I am too old and too materialistic to work for donuts.

 

by sign

One of my favorite thing to do is host fashion events. This one was at a Bloomingdales in Short Hills, NJ. As you can see, my face is on that poster. I am sure you can imagine this was highly entertaining for me. For this particular event I was literally just walking around assisting customers with styling possible purchases. Seriously, it was great! You get paid very well for them to basically use your name and image to promote an event. I have also hosted fashion shows at Macy’s before which is WAY more work. Showing up and smiling is one thing, putting together 20 looks for a runway show is an entirely different beast.

 

How I became a stylist 7

 

Over the years I have gone on television a bunch of times. Sometimes I am just commentating on trends or awards show style and other times I am pushing products that someone has paid me to do. I’ve got to be honest, there is good money in product pushing, but talking about bad fashion on a red carpet gives me a certain kind of high. I have also been on not one, but two reality shows. Seriously, I couldn’t make that up. The picture above is from a segment on Arise 360 I did with a fellow cast member from a show called Million Dollar Shoppers on Lifetime. It was crazy. Filming that show took years off my life. People think being on a television show is the most glamorous thing in the world, but I have never worked harder on anything in my life. You never stop working in production, the hours are insane. The glamour of it after the fact is definitely fun, but the journey to red carpet arrival is like climbing a mountain. A really big mountain.

 SassNStyleworkshop

 

In addition to hosting events, I also do Sass N Style workshops. This is the biggest one I ever did with 250 people in attendance. I had 2 models, a man and a woman, that I styled to showcase the concepts I was highlighting. I LOVE talking about style to large audiences, both men and women, of all different shapes, sizes, lifestyles and socio-economic backgrounds. Everyone gains something different from attending and leaves with a better sense of understanding their body and how to dress it. It truly is the best feeling when attendees reach out to me after the workshop to tell me how it has affected their confidence. It is the reason I do what I do, it is why I now call myself a maven!

 

Styling:reality show

As I mentioned, I do love the glamorous part of my job. I am mostly running around in the trenches, but on occasion, I do get to be in front of the camera or walk a red carpet. The picture on the left is from the first reality show I did with Tommy Hilfiger on CBS called “The Cut”. How funny do I look? That picture never looked like me, I am not a pouty kind of gal. It was my press shot that didn’t get much airtime since I was kicked off first. Oh yea, I lasted 5 days before I was sent to no-where New Jersey to rot away in a hotel. Note to readers: If you are on a competition reality show you are not allowed to go home when you get kicked off. You are sent to a far off place until filming is done. That is where all the crazy happens because you start to lose your mind and every 3 days another reality show loser shows up. That is a whole other very insane blog post…. The image to the right is a truly happy moment. I was all dolled up and on a very real red carpet for Million Dollar Shoppers in a fancy dress (that I returned the next day). No one ever actually owns the dresses they wear on the red carpet!

Fashion styling is hard work for the most part, you are lugging things, up long hours, killing yourself physically and smiling for your clients at the same time. With that said, imagining myself in a cubicle or doing a “regular job” seems insane. I realized early on in my career based life that I was going to live a life outside of the box, that my creativity was going to be the driving force behind my life. Don’t ever let society tell you what you can do, be the master of your own journey.