Joppa International – Where Every Woman is Made Beautiful

Hello fashionistas,

Can you imagine what the world would look like if every woman knew she was Made Beautiful? This is the mission behind Joppa International, where every product and every woman behind it is MADE BEAUTIFUL!

The other night, I had the pleasure of attending an event hosted by my friend, and founder of Joppa International, Amanda Wilkes. Joppa International is a collection of beautiful jewelry made by beautiful women.  All of the pieces come from reliable organizations that are helping sustain the women designers! Beautiful gemstone designs made by women in Thailand, and beaded pieces made by women in South Africa.  Each gem tells the story of a woman and a story…of hope.

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And the collection of jewelry is as eclectic as it’s founder. Amanda Wilkes is one of the most beautiful women I know, which is why I love supporting her and her business. Her spirit and positive outlook on life truly shines, she is involved in countless organizations that support women and is an extremely savvy business-woman.

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When I went to the Joppa International event the other night, I learned where many of the pieces were made, and by who. Like this piece made by a woman in South Africa:

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And, of course I bought something! I fell in love with this gorgeous blue and coral bracelet, hand-picked for me by Amanda:

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If you are looking to purchase a different piece of jewelry for you, or as a gift, Joppa is certainly a great company to support!

For today, I will leave you with two things: a great quote from Alicia Keys, and another favorite necklace from Joppa.

Yours in style & flattery,

Tara

“The most important thing to remember is that you can wear all the greatest clothes and all the greatest shoes, but you’ve got to have a good spirit on the inside. That’s what’s really going to make you look like you’re ready to rock the world.” —Alicia Keys

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Photos courtesy of Joppa International and Nancy Dion Photography.

StyleFlattery Red Carpet Rundown

Good morning my loves,

Lets cut to the chase – overall, I give the Oscars 2013 Red Carpet a solid B+. I was absolutely in love with a few of the gowns, but many of them just fell kind of flat for me. I think this seasons’ red carpet gowns have been good (especially the Golden Globes), but the Academy Awards is the Super Bowl of ceremonies!

I spent the night Tweeting for SocialBliss.com about the event, and nonetheless did have some favorites:

Helen Hunt, I love you for wearing H&M – so accessible and gorgeous:

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Jessica Chastain, you beautiful woman. You rocked my world in this Armani Prive gown. This is your best gown yet!

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Charlize Theron, you would look amazing even if you shaved your head! Oh wait, you did. Add your gorgeous pixie cut to the fact that you are wearing my favorite trend this season – the peplum – and you’re equation equals Charlize Theron/Dior magic.

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Naomi Watts sparkled and shined last night. She was definitely one of the biggest “risk-takers” of the night. Talk about a “fussy” gown! I would have been so worried about a wardrobe malfunction I don’t know if I would have enjoyed myself. But, I digress. Ms. Watts pulled this look off impeccably with style and grace. If she was worried about flashing someone, I certainly couldn’t tell.

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Kerry Washington happened to be the first gown I saw last night, so I, of course, compared everyone else to her, putting the other stars at a disadvantage in my book. I couldn’t stop gawking at her. The gorgeous shade of red of her Miu Miu gown is perfect for her skin tone, the gold sparkle literally was breathtaking, and just for good measure they added a BOW! Perfection 🙂

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Last but not least is my favorite girl of the season, Jennifer Lawrence in Dior Haute Couture. All season long she has been wearing incredible gowns, but all the stops were pulled out for this. Because of my bridal background, I’m extremely fond of this look, and I’m tempted to make a prediction that some bridal designers may take a page out of the Jennifer Lawrence Oscars 2013 dress book. Just saying 🙂

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Hope you all have a fantastic day catching up on all things Academy Awards!

Yours in style & flattery,
Tara

All photos courtesy of LA Times.

More spring 2013 trends

Hi Everyone,

February weather is in full swing on the North Shore of Boston! Spring 2013 trends are a great way to take my mind off of the fact that I am still sloshing through snow. As far as spring 2013 trends go, I think we can all agree that peplums are in, statement-prints are everywhere, and pops of vintage style are making a come-back.

Let’s face it, nothing says “feminine” like a peplum. The perfect peplum was added to this flirty sheath dress from Loft:

Gorgeous for the office, or special occasion, this dress in Teal Blast will light up every room you walk in to! Another great way to add a little peplum-drama to your wardrobe is through this spring jacket from Armani Exchange:

In Black, or Ultramarine, you can face North Shore spring showers looking ultra-sheik.

Since inspiration can be drawn from anywhere, I love when the print tells the story:

The JCrew head designer was inspired by vivid botanical scenes from Time Life magazine to come up with this stunning hummingbird print-dress. A reminder that summer really is just right around the corner. I found another great “print-story” at New York and Company:

NY&C’s spring line of Crosby pants are sleek, and polished. Worn with a solid-color-blouse, these pants can easily go from “day” when worn with a flat, to night when shown-off with a great pair of heels and chunky necklace!

Finally, a little bit of vintage flair is back! Accessorize your spring-party ensemble with this vintage revival bag from Fossil at Macy’s:

Fossil vintage-inspired clutch

Or, refine your look with this vintage-inspired lace sleeveless dress by Eliza J at Nordstrom:

The ladylike, natural-waist-skirt and pleated dress is an impeccable choice for your spring garden-party, or browsing your favorite museum exhibit.

There are so many picture-perfect spring trends to choose from this year, and they are all really easy to add to your wardrobe! While winter winds down, we can all brighten up our days with a visit to North Shore Mall – where Spring 2013 is in full swing!

For now – stay dry, stay warm, and stay fashionable!

Xoxo,
Tara

A Lesson in “Sheath” vs “Shift” Dresses

Ok ladies, I admit it, I don’t know everything! I found myself reading a magazine article about dressing a particular body type and recognized the words “sheath” and “shift” but found myself pondering the difference between the two types of dresses. How could I not know the difference? I’m grateful to be able to admit that this is humbling 🙂

Sheath dress:

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Shift dress:

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The distinct difference between these two dress designs is how much you want to flaunt. A sheath dress is fitted, showing off all your bodacious curves, while a shift dress gives you some room to, well, shift and move around, and flatters any figure.

Another difference between the two is how “dressy” they are. I personally reserve a sheath dress for a special night out, or dressed-up work day. The sheath dress can stand alone as a statement piece, or be complemented by some SIMPLE accessories like earrings and a great bracelet – it doesn’t really need much. A shift dress, on the other hand, can be taken from day to night. Flats and a belt – great for a shopping day, or dress it up for a girls-night with a fabulous pair of high-heels, a chunky necklace, and cute clutch.

Thank you Google for being my quick go to for all the times I’m thinking “what in the world does that mean, and why don’t I know this already?!”

Hope you all have a stylish and flattering day!

Xoxo,
Tara

Fashionionably Late with Ak Maral Arzybaeva

Hi Everyone,

Today is the perfect day to post part three of my “Week of Fashion” blog. Two weeks ago I had a fashion-packed week, and shared about my experiences at the Cruiseport Gloucester Bridal Fashion Show and the Boston Fashion Meetup Group: Styling with Vintage at SOWA Vintage Market. Today I’d like to share about the great fashion show I went to at the Liberty Hotel on Thursday, January 31, 2013 – Fashionably Late, featuring the gorgeous line from Ak Maral Arzybaeva.

Photo courtesy of Ak Maral Arzybaeva

Photo courtesy of Ak Maral Arzybaeva

Ak Maral Arzybaeva showed four pieces from her black and white collection. Each dress was exquisitely handmade, with gorgeous embroidery. It’s hard to put into words and do justice to the hand-done embroidery because it was so beautiful. The raised tecture, and intricate detail made it so visually interesting!

Photo courtesy of: Ak Maral Arzybaeva

Photo courtesy of: Ak Maral Arzybaeva

Photo courtesy of: Ak Maral Arzybaeva

Photo courtesy of: Ak Maral Arzybaeva

The upbeat show was great; The Liberty Hotel was transformed into a multi-level, runway mecca. Literally, the models started high above the audience and made their way down the levels, stopping at different areas to show what they were wearing. It was a very fun evening, and they feauture different designers each Thursday!

After the show, I got a chance to catch up with Ak Maral, and she is such a sweetie pie. I told her how much I enjoyed her show, and we both laughed about our affinity for red lipstick: every fashionista knows it dresses up any outfit.

Fashionably Late with Ak Maral Arzybaeva

I’m convinced that this up and coming young lady will go far. She is studying fashion design at a Boston university, and was featured in New York’s Fashion Week last fall. Akmaral Designs can be purchased on thehautehouse.com. I am especially obsessed with this sassy gabardine black and white dress. I think I know what my next “splurge” purchase is going to be!

Looking forward to more fashion events and trends in the coming week!

Yours in style & flattery,
Tara

Boston Fashion Meetup Group – Styling with Vintage at SOWA Vintage Market

Good morning,

It’s time for part two of my “Week of Fashion” blog. Last week I attended so many amazing bridal/fashion/style-related events, I just have to share them all with you! This post will be about my experience with the Boston Fashion Meetup Group – “Styling with Vintage” at the SOWA Vintage Market in Boston.

First of all, the SOWA Vintage Market is an incredible, immense space. It is the length of several city blocks, and includes over 30 vintage vendors. The exposed brick and large windows add to the charm of the space.

Photo courtesy of Chris Masci

Photo courtesy of Chris Masci

Photo courtesy of Chris Masci

Photo courtesy of Chris Masci

Stephanie Pernice is one of the owners of SOWA Vintage Market (the other owner is John Warren). “There are 30 different vendors in the SOWA Vintage Market and everyone owns all the things in each of their spaces.” The best part of SOWA Vintage Market is “you get a flavor of each ‘shop owner.’ Each nook is different from the other and every person who sells here has an identity all their own that you can see in the items they bring in to sell at the market,” says Pernice. When I arrived at the meetup event, I was immediately struck by how much vintage merchandise this market has. From coats, accessories and dresses to gorgeous furniture, this place is a dream for those of us who love shopping for vintage items.

Photo courtesy of SOWA Vintage Market: http://www.sowavintagemarket.com/

Photo courtesy of SOWA Vintage Market: http://www.sowavintagemarket.com/

The topic for the night was how vintage items can be used in styling for individuals, movies, photography, home and restaurants. The speakers included Bobby from Boston, Doreen Dove from The Organized Wardrobe, Stephanie Pernice (owner SOWA Vintage Market), Mike Diskin (photographer) and Erica Farthing (stylist).

Photo courtesy of Mike Diskin: http://mikediskin.com/

Photo courtesy of Mike Diskin: http://mikediskin.com/

Bobby from Boston has been selling vintage items since the 70’s. He is well-known in the movie industry as being the go-to-man for all vintage items. His vintage items (costumes and set-decor) have been featured in many major motion pictures, such as: Moonrise Kingdom, Shutter Island, Apollo 13, Forrest Gump, Ali, Catch Me If You Can, Aviator, as well as the hit show, Boardwalk Empire. The reason the studios love using Bobby from Boston is because none of his vintage items have been used before; he doesn’t rent them out, he sells them to the studios. This is a costume and set designers’ dream; authentic, never-been-seen-before items!

Photo courtesy of Bobby from Boston

Photo courtesy of Bobby from Boston

Bobby also boasts a major line-up of current designers who come in to visit and get inspired by Bobby’s vintage collection. “Many designers are inspired by vintage details. A designer from Ralph Lauren came into see our collection and fell in love with a particular smoking jacket. Next thing I know, the design-pattern from the smoking jacket ended up on the pocket of a pair of jeans in their next collection,” said Bobby. Marc Jacobs, LL Bean, and Gap are just a few other labels who visit Bobby and are “big into vintage inspiration.” So, what does Bobby from Boston say are the best reasons to shop vintage: 1. The quality of fabrics used years ago are better quality than today, so you can get a high quality item for a lot less. 2. If you know your body shape, you can most certaily flatter yourself by choosing vintage styles that look amazing and timeless. 3. In vintage shops you will get an honest opinion! Don’t be afraid to ask “how does this look?” If it isn’t for you, the person will tell you because they aren’t trying to sell, sell, sell like in the retail stores.

Next in the amazing line-up of speakers was Doreen Dove, image consultant, stylist and owner of The Organized Wardrobe. Dove has many years of experience in the fashion industry, and helps women tackle their style challenges with “skill, clarity and a sharp eye for editing,” which inevitably saves people “time, money, and wardrobe anxiety.” She has some great tips on how to “punch up your wardrobe with vintage pieces.” First, it needs to be the right fit. If you find a great vintage skirt, but it is too long, tailor it! Second, the shape of the item should flatter your body, if it doesn’t, move on, there is always another great piece waiting to be discovered. Another great tip is to start with a wardrobe basic, like a nice pair of black pants. You can add a vintage jacket or blouse. If you are afraid of buying something “pre-owned” the dry cleaner is your friend! “Fashion is supposed to be fun, we are not all supposed to look the same,” says Dove. Her best advice of the night, “shop vintage a little at a time, and be open minded. You can’t really go on the hunt for anything too specific, but you can find some great items if you are willing to pick them up along the way.”

Photo courtesy of The Organized Wardrobe: http://theorganizedwardrobe.com/

Photo courtesy of The Organized Wardrobe: http://theorganizedwardrobe.com/

Finally, Mike Diskin, photographer, and Erica Farthing, owner of Assembly Boston discussed how to be expert “end-users” of vintage items. As a photographer, Diskin likes to pair the modern with the vintage. He believes he would not be able to do his job as well as he does without using nostalgic pieces to help capture “that” moment. He also takes inspiration from the models he is shooting. “Some models (think Scarlett Johanson) lend themselves to a more vintage, classic look, and that works with vintage items.”

Erica Farthing started using vintage items in event-themes to make everything “feel real.” She uses SOWA as her #1 destination for sourcing vintage items for events. Whether it’s different British items, bottles from a particular time period, or a flag from 1865, Farthing knows that “it’s all in the details.” Not only is she an expert event-designer, but also restaurant stylist. Her latest work was creating a real-old-vibe for the new South Boston restaurant “Lincoln” tavern and restaurant. This new construction on West Broadway was modeled after a 1930’s restaurant with a vintage tin ceiling and lots of small details to make the restaurant look like it has been a part of the Southie landscape for many years. So, what tips can Diskin and Farthing give to photographers and wardrobe/decor stylists on using vintage items? “Less is more” and “you need to make the client picture it.” Putting too many focal points into one shot, or area of a room is just too much. Edit yourself, and give the vintage items some “alone time” with each other. If you are able to paint the picture and make the clients feel the feeling, they will be happy.

In just under an hour and a half, I learned so much amazing information on vintage styling. If you are looking to shop vintage (and if you are, you better call me!), here is a list of stores recommened by the professionals:

Remember to flatter yourself today, my loves!

Xoxo,
Tara

Week of Fashion – Part One

Good morning,

I had quite the week last week – filled with bridal fashion events, styling meetups and networking. Each day I woke up so grateful to have all of these amazing opportunities in my life! I will be writing a three-part post about my fashion-filled week – one about the Cruiseport Bridal Expo Fashion Show, another about my experience at The Boston Fashion Meetup Group – Styling with Vintage, and finally a post about the amazing Liberty Hotel – Fashionably Late Fashion Show, featuring designs from Ak Maral Arzybaeva. Stay tuned for all three posts!

Cruiseport Bridal Expo & Fashion Show – Sunday, Jan 27, 2013

The Cruiseport Bridal Expo and Fashion Show is always one of my favorite events of the year. The vendors at this show are top-notch, as are the brides and their families whom attend. Bella Sera Bridal & Lorraine Roy at Bella Sera Bridal put on a gorgeous fashion show, and had a table at the event.

Bella Sera Bridal & Lorraine Roy sign

The morning started early with hair and makeup for the models. Rosalie and her fabulous team from En Vogue Salon, Gloucester did an amazing job! Stellina Saia was one of our beautiful runway models for the day who took a moment to smile with me. Stellina also writes a fabulous blog http://myyogurtaddiction.com/ (it’s about living her life one healthy addicition at a time!)

Cruiseport Fashion Show - Stellina Saia & Tara

The overall feel for my day was relaxed and un-rushed, which  many of you know is VERY unusual for me. My high-energy and constant perfectionism usually send me whirling around like the Tazmanian Devil, but at the Cruiseport I felt more like Minnie Mouse – all dressed up, and pleasantly going about my day shaking hands and hugging people. The fashion show went off without a hitch, and on-lookers got to enjoy a fabulous array of bridal gowns and special occasion gowns from Bella Sera Bridal and Lorraine Roy at Bella Sera.

Photo courtesy of Donna Ardizzoni Photography

Photo courtesy of Donna Ardizzoni Photography

Photo courtesy of Donna Ardizzoni Photography

Photo courtesy of Donna Ardizzoni Photography

The styling for the fashion show was done by me and Amanda Sanford-Smith (Bella Sera Bridal & Lorraine Roy’s General Manager). We spent time choosing each look to make sure the show had a great variety of gowns and accessories. It’s so important to us that we keep everything fresh, fun and visually interesting! We featured all of these gowns: Bella Sera Bridal & Lorraine Roy at Bella Sera – Cruiseport Fashion Show Line Up.

I am so thrilled to be a part of these fashion events. They are fun to style and produce, and an amazing opportunity to meet new brides and their families. I am really looking forward to our next fashion show at the Danversport Bridal Show on February 24, 2013. For complimentary tickets, sign up here.

Stay tuned for part two of my “Week of Fashion” post about The Boston Fashion Meetup Group – Styling with Vintage.

Yours in style & flattery,
Tara