2018 Holiday Gift Ideas

I'll admit it. I hate buying presents for other people. It's the process that I don't like- trying to figure out what they like balanced with what they need and want at the same time. However, the act of giving around the holidays is what makes the season so special and watching someone open a present you selected for them with huge smile is one of those moments that makes it all worth it. 

With the overwhelming amount of gift guides circulating out there, I thought I'd advise on a few things I think would make a great gift option for someone special in your life to hopefully help ease the struggle of figuring it all out yourself. 

WOMEN

Rodan + Fields

The lash boost product is one of the best stocking stuffer ideas! Lash boost has been one of the hottest products in the beauty/skincare industry this past year, but most women are hesitant to purchase it themselves because of the price (one eyelash extension cost at least $80 so the price is actually great). With raving reviews from publications and everyone that uses it, you can't go wrong with this one if she is into beauty and skincare.

contact me to buy with 10% off and free shipping!

contact me to buy with 10% off and free shipping!

Great Shoes or Handbag

Women love receiving a designer pair of shoes or a luxe handbag as a gift. Adding another item to their collection is exciting and it makes it even more special receiving it from someone they love. There are so many options out there depending on your budget and her personal style, so you shouldn't have too much trouble finding the perfect one that doesn't break the bank and makes her happy. If you're totally clueless on what to get her, plan a cute shopping afternoon where she can choose her own gift and end the day at a great place for lunch or dinner. 

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Spa Day 

Going to the spa is a treat. Most women rarely find the time or want to spend the money on treating themselves to a couple hours at a beautiful spa. Giving the gift of relaxation is a no brainer. 

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Beautycounter Gift Set

These body sets make really great gifts, especially if you experience winter climates. Not only do they provide her the products to create her own private spa day, but they are free from all harmful chemicals and ingredients and only use elements that are certified organic, natural, or naturally derived along with the safer synthetic ingredients too. 

Personalized Goodies

I loved personalized gifts only because growing up I could never find anything with "Gianna" on it. Personalization also shows you put some extra thought into the gift. Try to keep an eye open to see if she needs a new make up bag, clutch for the weekends, phone case, etc. and then find a cute company, like Monpurse, who makes stylish items you can personalize for her. 

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MEN

Alcohol Subscription Box 

If your man appreciate quality cocktails and enjoys mixing it up at home, then this makes a great gift idea. He will receive a box of goodies (depending on what type of subscription best fits his interests) each month over a 6-12 month timeframe which will allow him to play mixologist as well as receive a few more presents even after the holidays are over. 

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Shaving Kit

Men rarely treat themselves to quality skincare products that can actually have an impact on their lives. Introduce him to a nice shaving kit that can help improve his skin and make shaving less of a chore. 

contact me to buy with 10% off and free shipping!

contact me to buy with 10% off and free shipping!

Apple AirPods 

If he hasn't already purchased the new AirPods, then these will make a great stocking stuffer. I love mine and most people that transition will never go back to being wired. 

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Quality Winter Accessories 

Similar to the quality shaving essentials, most men don't pay attention to quality accessories especially when it comes to wintertime. Treat him to a nice cashmere hat, gloves and scarf set to keep him warm through the holidays and winter season ahead. 

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Tickets

Men tend to appreciate experiences over things. If he is a sports fan then buying him tickets to see his favorite team play is easy. But if he doesn't really enjoy sports, then think outside of the box to come up with another idea like concert tickets or research an event you feel would be fun to do together- wine tasting, cooking class, brewery tour, etc . If you want to go big, plan a surprise weekend getaway! 

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I hope you have a wonderful holiday with your friends and family! Remember that the season is about much more than presents. Take the time to live in the moment, reflect on the past year and give thanks for what's to come. 

Fashion and Style in Asia

I just had the opportunity to spend two weeks in Asia visiting Tokyo, Hong Kong, and Singapore. I’m a cultural traveler as in I’m more interested in the people, food, and local activities versus site seeing and discovering each city’s Times Square (understanding there are some sites you HAVE to see).  As a stylist and someone who works in fashion, it’s natural of me to dissect the style of every city I visit. Hong Kong and Singapore were more westernized and housed a lot more expats than Tokyo, so while their street style didn't exude the same uniqueness, it still had a few similar characteristics. 

Below are three ways I would categorize the fashion of the Asian cities I explored:

Minimalist, yet Cool

Asian fashion appreciates clean lines, textures, and quality fabrications. I noticed that a lot of people dressed very simple, but the silhouettes of their outfits were balanced in a very cool way- think over sized trench layered over a t-shirt and culottes, a monochromatic look layered in a comfortable but chic way, or a slip dress layered over a long sleeve t-shirt and paired with sneakers (see more here about styling slip dresses). They master the basics of dressing, but adjust simple staple items to fit their personality and make them their own. 

Feminine and Conservative

The style was very conservative in Asia which somewhat ties into the first observation. There was actually one American girl I saw who was wearing a tube top and cut off jean shorts that stood out like a sore thumb. Even in the heat, they dress very neat, put together, and feminine. They appreciate the bows, embellishments, lace, etc. that adds girliness and flirtation to clothes. The brand that I think really resonates with this category of style in Asia is Miu Miu- sophisticated and ultra fem.  Think of something you’d wear to a fancy country club brunch and that’s how a good amount of Asian women like to dress everyday. 

Graphic and Bold

On the opposite side of the spectrum, we have the Harajuku crowd. Harajuku is known internationally as a center of Japanese youth culture and fashion. This style includes just about everything from mixing bold colors, layering graphic prints, platform shoes, neon hair, knee high socks, ripped fishnets, and more! Now depending on where you go, you won’t see too much of this, but it is significant enough to be associated with Asian fashion and something that is unique to the Japanese culture. It is mostly adopted by the tweens and teens so perhaps it’s a phase before they progress into the other two categories above? Or they just rock it all life long?

Observations of the culture around you can be great inspiration for your own personal style. I encourage you to learn how to adopt things that you see and love for yourself. There is always room to try something new! Never be afraid to be surprised. Who knows, you might find blue hair looks great on you ;) 

Are Clothing Subscription Boxes Right For You?

Subscription personal styling and shopping services are popping up everywhere, and while they are a great idea and most likely satisfy your need for efficiency, are you really getting what you need when it comes to fulfilling your personal style and having a wardrobe you love?

There is something to be said about these companies given Stitch Fix has raked in nearly $1 billion in sales and recently filed for an IPO. They set out to solve a consumer issue and it seems like a lot of people had this particular one. Bingo!

So why would someone hire a personal stylist or shopper when they can pay $20 to get a box full of items curated from their style profile and measurements delivered straight to their doorstep? Check out three of my top reasons below on why a more tailored experience might be right for you:

Live Interactions are More Valuable

Working with a stylist or shopper in person provides a more valuable experience. There are several layers to someone’s personal style that may not become as transparent through an online questionnaire or phone call.  Los Angeles stylist, Lauren Messiah, stated in a NYT article discussing this topic, “What I do for women as a personal stylist, a lot of it isn’t even about the clothes. Working with a stylist is more about figuring out who you are, and then dressing yourself accordingly.”  Working with someone in a personal setting really allows you to dive into your goals, intentions, and problem areas that will allow you to create solutions for developing your best wardrobe possible.

It’s Not a Numbers Game

When I first got the idea to start my own business, I started looking for “stylist” jobs just so I could keep something more consistent while still gaining the experience I wanted. I noticed that so many companies now have shifted the title “sales associate” to “stylist”, “style advisor”, “personal stylist”, etc.  I also have talked to several people who have worked for these box companies and say that it is very numbers driven and they are expected to hit quotas and sales goals each month.   While it's only smart for a large company to set up these type of goals for their “stylists”, I can only imagine that the stress of hitting a number could impact someone’s ability to truly understand their customer's needs and wants and focus on providing them the best experience possible.  This is part of the reason I charge flat rates for all of my services. I want to enjoy the time with my client, get to know them, and make sure I fulfill exactly what they hired me for- not to check my watch every half hour or notice them doing the same.

360 Point of View

You learn someone's objectives from observing their current state and developing an understanding of where they want to go. Most people hire a personal stylist or shopper because they are unhappy with their current situation, but how can you impact the status quo when you don’t know what it is? Working with someone in person allows the stylist or shopper to see the whole picture. I often will go into client’s closets to see what they currently own and come up with the best recommendations for items needed to enhance their current wardrobe and overall look. Having this insight allows me to do my job better, and having a deeper understanding of my client's problems and goals as a whole will help me provide them with a more customized and beneficial experience.  

With all of this being said, the subscription model does work well for a lot of people hence the success of these companies, but it’s important to have the right expectations and understand the experience you’ll receive versus working with someone one-on-one whose sole focus is YOU. 

Mens Top Styling Tips

“A well-tied tie is the first serious step in life.”
– Oscar Wilde

Men, don't be afraid to have great style or to make it a priority in your life. There are so many ways you can upgrade your go-to flannel shirt and jeans look. While you don't have as many options as women, there are a lot of ways you can enhance your everyday look and my favorite way is through the art of layering. 

Pants aside, let's focus on a few easy ways you can style your tops, add some cool shoes and call it a day. Below are three of the most important elements you should have in your closet when it comes to layering for the fall. Feel free to layer one piece or layer them all. A jacket looks great over a cardigan, a cardigan looks great under a vest, a vest looks great under a jacket, and the formulas go on.  Feel free to layer which ever way suits your personal style and is appropriate for the current weather. 

Jackets

While this may seem obvious, I don't think many men realize how a jacket can impact their outfit. With options ranging beyond the average sport coat, you're able to mix and match different jackets with different shirts to help create a versatile wardrobe. Try opting for styles you haven't tried before and see if you like them. Play around with wearing a jacket over a button down versus a t-shirt and figure out which combinations you prefer. As you can see from the examples below, a cool jacket can even make a white t-shirt with jeans look good. 

Cardigans

Sweater weather is upon us and cardigans are one of my favorite items for men. They come in so many different varieties- light weight or heavy knit, button down or open front, shawl collar or collarless- and also prove to be a great alternative to a jacket. See below on how you can layer over items ranging from a white t-shirt to a suit for those days you prefer something a bit more cozy and comfortable. 

Vests

Vests are a great way to add some warmth without the bulk and you can pretty much layer it over anything including a sports coat, suit, and sweaters. They are also great to layer under lighter jackets if you need the additional warmth, but would rather not make it the main attraction. Vests are a great way to transition lighter, fall jackets into the winter and always add a bit of an unexpected twist to an outfit which makes them cool and effortless.

Interested in learning more about simple ways to upgrade your personal style or how to layer up for fall? I'm always here to chat! Contact me at gianna@blenderstyle.com with any questions.

Updating Your Summer Dresses for Fall

If you know me well, you are aware that I love Frank Sinatra. There's nothing like listening to "Summer Wind" as I walk down the busy streets of Manhattan during a hot summer day. But, at the risk of being a buzz kill, summer is coming to an end and don't you hate when a new season creeps up on you and suddenly it feels like you have nothing to wear? You’re a bit tired of the clothes you wore last year and there are so many new trends and styles that you can’t wait to factor into your wardrobe, however, finding the perfect pieces that are purchase worthy is time consuming and by the time you feel you have enough fall clothes, it’s time for winter then spring. 

Summer dresses are a great item that you can reinvent for the fall season, and below I provide some great examples on how you can repurpose them to fit into your fall closet without having to start all over again.

Slip Dresses

Slip dresses have been a fashion favorite for the past couple of years due to their versatility, subtle sexiness and comfortability. They are one of the easiest layering pieces you can own. For fall, you can simply layer under light outerwear like a denim jacket, leather jacket, or blazer, and pair with booties. Also, try layering it over a form fitting long sleeve t-shirt or a turtle neck for a tailored look. One really cool way to layer a slip dress is over a sheer top because it still keeps you covered in all the right places but adds a little more style by adding the unexpected sheerness.

chicityfashion.com 

chicityfashion.com 

Flirty Mini Dresses

This one is my favorite.  With the feminine trend holding strong over the past couple of years, we’ve been seeing a lot more flirty dresses that are made with chiffon and silk fabrics, have billowy silhouettes, ruffle trims and cute patterns. Given a good amount are bohemian inspired, you can find them in earthy tones and neutral colors that easily carry over to fall. Pair them with thigh high boots, booties, or a block heel with tights. Layer them under a fur or faux fur vest for colder days and add a wide brim fedora if you're feeling like a real fashionista.

revolve.com 

revolve.com 

Work Dresses

Assuming you work in a more business casual dress code environment unlike the casual work place I discussed in my previous blog post, jackets are key here. If you stick with a simple color palette when it comes to your work wear, then it should be easy to transition from season to season while adding accent pieces here and there. Simply layer your dress under a blazer or duster jacket, or pair with patterened tights and a close toe block heel, ankle bootie or flat.  To add more style to your outfit, opt for bold accessories like a statement necklace, earrings, or a killer work bag. Shoes are also another great way to jazz up a simple work look. Try ones that come in a unique fabric (velvet is huge!), a metallic, or play around with unique embellishments like studs and chic buckles.

Alexa Chung, stealthelook.com.br

Alexa Chung, stealthelook.com.br

Maxi Dresses

This one takes on very similar recommendations to the slip dress and flirty mini dresses. It can be layered under fall jackets (a leather jacket over a maxi dress is one of my favorite combinations) or layered over t-shirts and turtlenecks. I often prefer booties with maxi dresses to help balance out the longer silhouette, but if you have a cool slit in your maxi dress then try it with a knee high or over the knee boot for an unexpected peekaboo moment. 

closetfullofclothes.com 

closetfullofclothes.com 

If you have any questions on how to repurpose your wardrobe in any way, I'd love to talk with you! Contact me anytime at gianna@blenderstyle.com and don't forget you can sign up for my Digital Daiquiri service for only $89 while spots are still available. 

How to Dress Better for the Casual Work Environment

Work clothing is like toiletries. You hate spending the money on them, but you have no choice. A lot of companies these days are adopting a more casual dress code where the A-line pencil skirts and suits are a thing of the past. While this causes many employees to jump for joy, it also disrupts how they get dressed every day, and makes them think a little harder about what they are putting on in order to balance the casual with the cool. 

I've taken a few components of work dress below and offer recommendations on how you can adjust it to be more contemporary, professional and stylish. 

The Pants

Casual work environments are now allowing denim as part of their dress code, however, I find jeans to be a bit boring. Unless they have some amazing distressing, or make my butt look like J.Lo's, I'll pass for the most part. On the other side of the equation, the typical work pant often leaves you dissatisfied because they aren't flattering, come in a weird cut, or are too cookie cutter. Here are some tips on how you can implement alternatives to both jeans and the classic work pant:

  • Opt for a black pant with an unexpected twist like this one with the front zipper to add a little more style.
  • Try a looser silhouette like a striped culotte. Pair with a small block heel if you aren't that tall to help balance your proportions and the extra fabric.
  • Pair silk joggers with a nice top and chic loafers or heels to make it more office appropriate.
  • Leather always gives your outfit an instant upgrade. I recommend pairing leather pants with loose blouses for the office since most of them fit tight like a legging. Try them in another color besides black if you're feeling extra bold.
from left to right: Zip Front High Rise Black Pant- Elizabeth and James, Intermix on SALE; Striped Culotte- Soulmates, Dillards; Silk Jogger -Target; Leather Pants-  J Brand, Bloomingdales

 

The Jacket

I love a good blazer. I feel like I got a six figure raise every time I wear a tailored blazer and strut down the street with my big sunnies. They are classically great, but why stop there? There are so many jacket options right now that can help you keep your wardrobe diverse and versatile - bombers, dusters, jean jackets, leather jackets - all ranging in multiple styles.  Also, the blazer is such a staple item that has been reinvented over and over again that you can find it in some really cool options that include textures, double breasted buttons, all different colors and patterns, long or cropped, the list goes on. Below you'll see that you can pretty much layer a jacket over anything ranging from a striped t-shirt to an oxford button down or turtle neck.  Reimagine these looks without the jacket. Pretty boring, right?

 

from left to right: Leather Jacket- VINCE on SALE; Linen Blazer- J.Crew on SALE; Embroidered Bomber- Forever 21; Duster Jacket- Helene Berman, Nordstrom

The Dress

Step away from the J. Crew shift dress. Femininity had a big comeback over the past few years and we are seeing a ton of ruffles, lace and embroidery. These are only a few examples of the type of details you can look for when searching for the above average work dress. Silhouette is another key player here. Don't think that maxi dresses are just for your beach getaway. Layered under a leather jacket, it can be a very chic work look. Also, try playing around with what fits your body best. Fit and flare, drop waist, shirt waist, sheath and wrap dresses are a few types to begin with. Even the slightest detail like a unique sleeve on a simple dress can make all the difference. 

from left to right: Drop Waist Dress- MINKPINK, Shopbop.com; Wrap Dress- DVF; Shirt Dress- Missguided; Lace Maxi Dress- Free People, Shopbop.com

The Shoe

I could write a novel on this one. Leave the gym sneakers at home (yes, I see this a lot).  Remember, you're still coming into an office setting. And if sneakers are your jam, there are so many brands out there that make cool, casual sneakers versus the ones you'd work out in. Also, if you're a city girl like me, flats are your best friend, but that doesn't mean you need to sacrifice style. There are so many options for you to choose from in order to step up from the classic ballet flat that include alternatives such as metallics, embellishments, and unique fabrications, to name a few. Also, don't rule out one to two inch block heels, which I actually find to be more comfortable than flats sometimes. This will provide you with an even wider range of comfortable options when considering stylish shoes for work.  And depending on your outfit (going back to the striped culotte), having a little extra height can help balance out your entire look. 

from left to right: Velvet Mule- Rebecca Minkoff; Embellished Ankle Strap Flats- Aquazzura; Metallic Loafer- Nine West, DSW; Casual Sneaker- Adidas

I will be writing more on work style in future blog posts, but if you have any questions about updating your work wardrobe, please don't hesitate to reach out to me anytime at gianna@blenderstyle.com. Also, don't forget my Digital Daiquiri service is now available for only $89! Sign up is easy. Just click here.

Personal Style and You

I recently read a book called “The Last Lecture”. It’s a heart-warming book based on the final lecture given by a well-known professor, Randy Pausch, after he discovers he has pancreatic cancer.  Within the book, Pausch mentions how he thinks fashion is just a way of being “hip” and a way of trying to be impressive on the surface.   He leaned toward the long-term, earnest way of living and abided by his parent’s teaching of only buying new clothes when your old ones wear out.

As a personal stylist, this stuck with me. People’s perspectives and relationship with fashion is something that has always fascinated me, which is why I love doing what I do.  Obviously, my views of fashion and style differ from Pausch’s, but I still respect his choice to prioritize earnest living over what he believes to be “hip”. My problem is that fashion always has the connotation of being pretentious, snooty and expensive, but that’s not always the case.

I believe there is a connection between someone’s outward appearance and how they are feeling internally, and a lot of the time, people don’t know how to bring those two together or develop their own personal style that portrays who they are. Some may laugh at the idea that fashion is a representation of ones self, but take a walk down the street, look at people and actually pay attention to the thoughts that arise when you digest those first impressions. Personal representation matters and style is a big factor that plays into it. 

So, how do you develop your own style? One thing that has always worked for me is observation and adaptation.  I’m always absorbing what’s around me (believe it or not, I was a very shy child and observing was my favorite hobby, aside from dressing my Barbies). I will see something on someone and love it, or hate it, or decide how I would adjust it to fit my taste. Developing style is like developing a certain palate for food. You have to find what fits you and what you like, and with everything at our fingertips these days, there is inspiration everywhere ­­– the streets, Pinterest, Instagram, magazines, and so much more. Ask yourself, "How do I want to look? What do I like/dislike? What makes me feel my best?"

For instance, I’m a big fan of long, billowy-sleeved blouses paired with belted denim shorts. It’s just a look I’ve always liked on other people and I tend to wear the combination often because it fits me. It has a bohemian, balanced sexiness to it that I love. One thing to keep in mind is that everything you like may not fit you, and that’s ok, but don’t be afraid to try new things and step out of your comfort zone in order to develop your personal style. You’d be surprised at how it will make you feel.