Tory Burch Visits Charlotte, North Carolina This Week and Your Hip Reporter Becomes a Mute in Her Presence


























I have spent a few days trying to figure out how to write this blog entry so I don’t sound like I’ve lost 37 IQ points.

Let me start out by saying this first:  I don’t value celebrity. My demographic tells Hollywood consistently that we are old and wise enough to see through the ‘shiny’ veneer and the sham of it all:  the fake smiles on the red carpet, borrowed $35,000 gowns, the often short and shallow marriages, the crazy push for youth and perfection that leaves egos fragile and rehab clinics booked.

I kid you not, there is only one famous person I ever cared to meet and this past week I met her. And now I can go about my life, a big ‘wish’ on my Wish List filled in full. It’s a magnificent thing.



Tory Burch rolled in to Charlotte, North Carolina on Wednesday, July 16th for a rare visit to her boutique at our SouthPark Mall and most especially to meet with Bank of America reps and local female entrepreneurs about her foundation, The Tory Burch Foundation which helps to provide micro-loans, ranging from $500 to $50,000, to female small business owners in need. Currently, over 200 loans have been administered to female entrepreneurs in eight different states including North Carolina.

Tory’s first stop for the day was her boutique with an invitation only, security-in-front-of the-boutique’s-huge-lacquered-orange doors event.  It was also standing room only as my daughter (Caroline) and I were welcomed in and had a chance to scan the well-heeled women of Charlotte who, like us, understood the allure of Reva flats, a $295 tunic and the necessity of carrying any one of her bags, wristlets or clutches.

As a fun side bar, the boutique had been prepared up and down,  inside and out for the unusual visit.  (Tory rarely gets around to visit her boutiques and has not visited all of them, she said to us.) Carpet was changed, props (like large Baluster vases in the classic blue and white pattern) and vases of pink peonies, her favorite flower–or so I have heard– were placed just ‘so’ around the boutique.  A coffee table to anchor the two white couches, standard in most Tory boutiques and so cozy for trying shoes on and chatting, was flown in from corporate in New York City.  And most importantly, the lighting was adjusted and dimmed because Tory does not like bright artificial light. (Me either– another reason to love her.)

My daughter Caroline was poised. I was a mess. I was nervous and curious and overwhelmed. And yes, I will admit, shaking.























(Tory’s head of visuals for Tory Burch stands to her left.  He did not stop smiling in all the time he was there.  I think he loves his job.)

Tory arrived a touch late but not so much that you think the event and you and everyone else there who had stopped the middle of their day to meet and greet, were an afterthought to her. Nope, she gets high marks from me for being respectful of her fan’s and associate’s time and being appropriately on time.  That’s big to me.

Caroline had wisely positioned us at the back of the store by the dressing and stock room entrance and with a turn of our heads, suddenly there she was Tory Reva Burch the designer I’d been following since 2004 (yes, even before that big Oprah debut in 2005).

 I remember when I first saw a Tory Burch piece and I thought to myself right then that I had no idea who this designer was but if she kept doing this kind of fashion magic, this could be big.  I was collecting Tory before she was on most women’s radar. I liked her pieces even back then, a decade ago. Her collections had strong Moroccan and equestrian influences. I found her tunics that are so iconic today,  to be so refreshing and wearable; they were beautifully cut and embellished with the coolest Ikat prints, a look I’d really never seen on the street. 


A Tory jacket from her Resort 2014 Collection that is entirely reminiscent of a similar jacket of hers I purchased back in 2006. Everything 'old' is new again...

A Tory jacket from her Resort 2014 Collection that is entirely reminiscent of a similar jacket of hers I purchased back in 2006. Everything ‘old’ is new again…


















So on Wednesday, Tory walked into an adoring Charlotte crowd with the most delightful body language–a little shy– and with a python Tory bag in front of her, almost for protection.

There were two women just before Caroline and I and Tory first stopped to talk to them. I was shocked. No one not even the associates at the store knew if anyone would get to talk to her. They had no idea what to expect of the store visit so I think we all caught our breath that she made herself available and approachable immediately. I whispered to Caroline: “I can’t believe this. I am standing an arm’s length from Tory Burch.” So began the downward spiral of my IQ that afternoon…

And then, then Tory Burch turned to Caroline and myself and extended her petite hand and said, “Hello! I’m Tory Burch!”

I shook her hand and I shook while shaking her hand.

Caroline was poised and behaving as if this were a routine introduction.

If you don't believe I was shaking the whole time, this photo is proof. That's why it's blurry.

If you don’t believe I was shaking the whole time, this photo of my daughter Caroline and Tory,  is proof. That’s why it’s blurry.



I  had  followed faithfully Tory Burch and her rise for 10 years, stocked my small closet to overflowing with her tunics, sweaters, coats and shoes, googled her, watched her on tv, read her about in Vogue and Vanity Fair and now here she was,  kindly, elegantly and graciously engaging me in conversation.   I will be honest–I had to defer to Caroline with some responses to her. I couldn’t get my act together enough to tell her where we were originally from when she asked us nor could I ask even one of the intelligent questions I had gone over and over in my mind for her.

Fortunately Caroline was seamless. She responded that we were originally from Ohio but we loved living in Charlotte now.  Tory said she would love to have been born in the South and been a Southern belle and said how much she loved visiting it. Caroline asked her if she was staying overnite and Tory smiled and said that no, she and her three boys were heading to Montanna the next day for a vacation so she would be flying home to New York that evening. By the way, she has a beautiful voice. I know that sounds odd. But in person, her voice is really pretty to listen to.

I asked her if she would mind taking a picture and she said no, not at all.  I felt light- headed.

I had researched before this shindig, Tory in photos and noticed that she did not always place her arm around whoever she was standing beside. And too, you never know if people–even those not famous–feel comfortable with when it comes to their personal space.  So respectfully I held my arms down and prepared for a picture I planned to put on my Facebook page immediately. But then! Then! Then Tory put her arm around me for the picture and I did the same and I thought all this was a class act.

I took a picture of her and Caroline and you can see how that went, above. I was too shaky to get a clear picture.  More IQ points subtracted from my dwindling total.

We thanked Tory for the photos and off she went to meet and greet her next adoring fan, kindly asking me a second time as she walked away,  the name of my blog I had mentioned to her as we talked.

“The Hip Report! Think of your hip!!!,” I said. Oh that she would ever remember to check it out! A pipe dream I suppose.  (“Think of your ‘hip‘? I said this to Tory Burch? Ugh. Definitely subtract a wad of IQ points for that one.)


Tory talks to Anne-Marie (center) and her mother, Terre.

Tory talks to Anne-Marie (center) and her mother, Terre.





















But that’s not it.

There are ‘Tory Observations.’ Yep. There are observations my daughter and I made about her. I stopped by the Tory boutique yesterday enroute to picking up my daughter at her job at Nordies and my dear Charlotte sales associate Anne-Marie Bullock (who I profiled a few months back on The Hip Report)  had her own ‘Tory Observations’ from her visit so we discussed!   That ‘Tory’ magic had not worn off.  I will say with solid conviction that Tory Burch is quite a presence to meet. You don’t get where she has gotten without some really incredible presence.

So here follow some Tory Observations from the big day. Again, what I didn’t pick up, Anne-Marie and Caroline did.  And when you meet Tory Burch, you want to know and notice everything about her. It’s hard to explain but it’s just the way it is. Then you want to talk about it with someone else. It’s hard to explain but it’s just the way it is.


The outfit she was wearing:  Tory had on a blue striped tweed jacket and pencil skirt with fringe detail and a blueish gray silk shell. Anne-Marie did not think her shoes were Tory Burch and she said Tory wears a lot of Balenciaga so perhaps??? I thought her navy blue and white spectator-inspired shoes actually looked very ‘Tory’–a lot more conservative than Balenciaga typically is.




















I was also informed that Tory will have one-of-a-kind Tory Burch pieces made for her so perhaps this was one of those suits.  It was conservative, lovely and a flattering color for her. And it was a good weight for a humid Southern day in the Queen City.

Her outfit to me was reminiscent of Spring/Summer 2012 when for the first time, she showed at New York fashion week to excellent reviews. It was inspired by Deauville, France and the chic resort town that it was in the ’20′s.  Today it all remains some of my most favorite Tory and I feel lucky to have collected some pieces from it that I still wear often.

A look from Tory's Spring/Summer 2012 Deauville-Inspired Collection

A look from Tory’s Spring/Summer 2012 Deauville-Inspired Collection


























Her ensemble also reminded me of her Resort 2014 looks with the thatched tweed.  Again, when you own the company, you have it all at your disposal to create a one-of-kind.

Tory's look this past week reminded me too, of Resort '14.

Tory’s look this past week reminded me too, of Resort ’14.

































The Bracelet and Watch She Wore:  A leather band (maybe a watch–no idea of the brand) and a dainty charm bracelet were all I saw on her wrists.  Perhaps this is the cherished charm bracelet her mother Reva gave her, one she has spoken fondly and sentimentally of in interviews.






















Those Earrings, Those Covetable Earrings:  Right away you noticed Tory’s earrings. They were like nothing I had ever seen.  A perk of living in the world’s greatest shopping destination, NYC, she has at her access the best and newest. I found myself staring at her earlobes because I keep up on the trends but I had never seen anything like these before. My daughter whispered to me, raving about them as we watched Tory work the room.




It took Anne-Marie to figure this one out. I just guessed they were maybe Van Cleef and Arpels but after some detective work, Anne-Marie gets props for discovering their provenance: ‘Christian Dior’s ‘Mise En Dior’ earrings.

Apparently this utterly gorgeous accessory had completely missed my trend radar and here they were, all over Hollywood.
























Actually inspired by tribal jewelry, these little numbers come in wild shades and various finishes. They will set you back over $500 and beyond, depending on the style.  It remains to be seen if these will become as iconic as say,  Elsa Peretti Diamonds by the Yard earrings:









or Van Cleef and Arpels Alhambras:











I think they will.  I think Mise in Dior earrings are going to have a long shelf life because they are profoundly unique but simple– and really,  they’ll go with anything. If you are catching your breath at the price, fear not–there is a cheaper option. Go to:

Here you will find some very acceptable knockoffs. They will not of course have the quality or heft of the Diors but you can still have the runway look for much, much less.

I can tell you in person, these earrings are spectacular and fascinating to look at. Never seen anything like them.  And of course Tory was sporting them as effortlessly as she does everything else she wears.

Tory’s Skin:   I also noticed Tory’s completely flawless (and I do mean flawless) skin as she stood in front of me.  I don’t see skin on women her age (she’s 48) looking that good. I don’t see it that smooth, that healthy looking, that youthful looking and free of sun damage.  By this age we all usually have some sun spots. Botox can take care of the lines but skin as luminescent as hers is just not the norm.  She didn’t wear much makeup and I wasn’t really surprised by that. In all her pictures she looks fresh and natural and that’s exactly what I saw standing in front of me.

Tracie Martyn, the woman responsible for the perfect complexion I saw in front of me.

Tracie Martyn, the woman responsible for the perfect complexion I saw in front of me.










Again, props go to Anne-Marie at Tory Burch who tracked down Tory’s skin care and facialist.  She’s of course out of NYC and her name is Tracie Martyn, and she owns a salon in her namesake and also offers a line of natural, organic skin care. Yes, it is pricey. Yes, it works if Tory’s skin is any indication of its effectiveness.  Says Tory of  Martyn:

” I go to Tracie Martyn for a facial when I can.  It’s incredible.  I started going there a few months ago when a friend told me about it. I have her products and use the Resculpting Body Cream all over my face and all over the body.”


















You can go to Tracie’s website and even purchase her products: 

I wish I could explain how surreal Tory’s skin looked.  It looked so healthy. Yes, that’s it. It looked healthy and fresh. It was skin I covet.  I think in the future I might try a few of Martyn’s products, curious about the results. If I try it, you can be sure it will be in a future edition of The Hip Report.




Tory Burch and her incredible Charlotte store team.

Tory Burch and her incredible Charlotte boutique team.

















Meeting Tory Burch was exciting and inspirational. She is quite a woman on all accounts—-accomplished, beautiful, driven, talented, visionary and she knows how to assemble a good team, key in any CEO’s success.

But when it all comes down to it, she’s really just a single mom trying to make her days count, do a good job and get home to her boys in time to enjoy them for the evening.  In fact, when we were talking, her face lit up the most when she mentioned her three boys.

She’s just like the rest of us. Of course.

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Miuccia Prada  (Prada’s designer who also does a wild, young line called Miu Miu) held a party this week for the Miu Miu Resort ’14 Collection.  Alexa Chung was in attendance and I had to post this picture of her at the party.

I am pretty much going nuts over the red on Alexa and the baggier silhouette. Oh that every woman would once–just once in awhile—wear a such a silhouette out in the evening, eschewing the overly tight, plunging neckline and higher hem and heels so vertiginous, ears are popping and the air is thin.

I also adored the scarf, draped around her neck and I am thinking: note to self–interpret in my own way with a gorgeous Missoni scarf I’ve had for years.















It’s long and is comprised of the best colors, goes with anything. I plan on resurrecting it from its rest and pairing it with a baggier solid dress that is on my ‘To Buy’ list now.

Often all it takes is a picture of clotheshorse like Alexa to inspire. And if God is in the details, her snub-toed heels and diaphanous scarf are heavenly.



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A Sublime Resort Collection












When I think of Marni, I have two thoughts:  one is of a clearance rack at Saks a few years back and  me rifling through it, finding lots of Marni.  I remember one skirt specifically,  with these big -pop-art-Warhol-looking-flowers splashed on the front.  I was stunned at how peculiar it was and I put it back wondering who in the world wore Marni. (I think the hipster girls wear it, the likes of Sophia Coppola, Alexa Chung–you know, the type who isn’t in to the boob and bling and overtly sexy–like most celebrities usually are.)

My second thought is from back in 2012 when Marni collaborated with H&M. My daughter and I were looking at the collection and we found this top (below) made of out of a vinyl bodice and fabric sleeves. She tried it on and I stared and not in a good way. It looked weird and totally uncomfortable (let’s face it–wearing vinyl isn’t fun).

I decided that I probably would never be even a slight fan of Marni, then and there. It was just difficult to relate to.


















Caroline models the odd Marni for H&M top.

Caroline models the odd Marni for H&M top.  She reminded me that I was telling her at the time I thought this weird top looked like a bib you put on and eat lobster in.  





















Marni is so eccentric.  And generally it can be challenging to find if you don’t live in a big metropolitan area.  Also it doesn’t garner a ton of press and although a status brand, it’s just not your average luxury brand like Vuitton, CHANEL, Lanvin and St Laurent to name a few of the glamourous design houses. Marni isn’t going to make you look oozey sexy. It’s going to make you look chic and current and creative in a louche, mod kind of way. In an urbane way.  An art school, gallery girl kind of way.  Let’s face it, most women I know equate gorgeous in a completely opposite way than the Marni way.

Started in 1994 by Gianni Castiglioni  whose family was originally involved in fur, and his wife Consuelo,  he said of his new venture:

“We target young, trendy women.  They like a clean look, and that’s hard to find out there.”

Marni has been churning out wild pop art looks, mismatched tops and bottoms and boxy tops when boxy wasn’t as vogue as it is now.

I happened to be on the other day. On it I saw an outfit that captured my attention in a double-take kind of way. I did some sleuthing and wouldn’t you know….it was Marni.  A first.

I discovered it was from the Resort ’14 Collection, not yet available and still in production.  I was hypnotized. It was this look, (below) that had caught my eye:





Who knows why I went nuts over it. I guess lately I have been in to the boxy top look– and I’ve always loved voluminous pants. I adored the all the primary colors and thought it weirdly terrific that once again the athletic shoe trend seen at Marc Jacobs, Prada and Celine made a showing at Marni in this collection.















Finally Marni is on my radar. I love the athletic and pop art feel. I adored the Bird of Paradise print on the navy dress, above.

Notable trends from this collection to interpret in your way:  the boxy top, athletic shoes as day wear and color blocking, a trend we saw a few years back. Somehow Marni makes retro feel so modern.

If you can’t go out and buy the real thing, just note the silhouette and details.  You can do it at your price point with ease. For my money, it’s all about investing in a longer A-line skirt for fall and signing up for the boxy top trend, a look I’ve avoided because of my hips. But I think a boxy top paired with a straight skirt will be a good balance for my figure.

It’s another lesson to be learned–you can’t get your hands on designer?  Bank account steering you clear of the cost? Then copy, copy and copy some more. Take elements of the Marni resort look and make them your very own in Anywhere, USA with other labels at better price points.

It can be done. You just have to extract the trends and emulate.


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I was was having a conversation with my Ohio friends last week about the endless challenges of dressing appropriate but not looking like a twit at our ages– 40′s and 50′s.  But listen, this applies to any woman out there, no matter what President she was born under. It’s a universal conundrum. I think we all wonder how our wardrobes need to change as we pass in to each new decade.

We all agreed it’s a loaded topic because the moment you start to think too much about how hip you’re trying to stay as the years pass, it’s very possible to start sliding down that scary, slippery slope of being a muddled fashion victim.

Or there’s the flip side–you’re so overwhelmed with the wild clothes you see in retailers and in Vogue that often have no relevance in your life, you decide to just bail and keep things safe and boring. Generally the women I see are the latter. We all usually err on the side of ‘safe’ making sure we aren’t going to make ourselves present a ‘bigger’ persona to the world than we can handle. So I see safe and more safe, bland and more bland. And sadly, it often gets more (yawn) vanilla the older we get.

Here’s how I will answer my dinner companions question of how to dress cool but appropriate the older we get:

Let’s take in to consideration a Gen X’er’s style today, Alexa Chung. On the odd chance you haven’t heard of Chung, she’s famous for, hmmmm–being well dressed? –Yes. In a big way she’s famous for that. But she’s been a designer for Madewell and recently now AG Jeans, a tv personality, a socialite, a girl who is an all-around dabbler and who simply makes herself seen.

Oh and she just wrote a book called ‘It.’ (No one seems to know what the ‘It’ refers to in her title-maybe that she has ‘It’–that undefinable something that makes her the girl in the room who gets noticed the most, who knows).  Her book is being met with underwhelming reviews considering her dynamic public persona and enlightened style which is disappointing.

And a little on the Gen X concept:  technically, a Gen X’er is anyone born from the early 60′s to the early 80′s. I am considered the oldest of the Gen X’er’s being born in the ’60′s, Chung, the youngest of the X’er’s born in the early 80′s.

There’s a twenty-something age span between the youngest Gen Xers and the oldest, myself.  Those two plus decades are the difference between music at Woodstock–Janis Joplin among the performers– and a Michael Jackson concert and moonwalking.  In other words, they’re parallel universes.  It’s the difference between Courreges in the 60′s

















and the onslaught of the world of Ralph Lauren in the early 80′s.


















You can see the challenge of the older Gen Xer’s like myself keeping fresh and relevant in their own way, to the youngest Gen Xer’s who are often our children.  But it’s those younger Gen Xer’s who are most modern for isn’t it always the youth who decides on the trends? And it’s their youth that allows them to take trends to the nth degree without consequence. We older Gen Xer’s run the risk of total embarrassment interpreting any trend in it’s entirety.

Thus the conundrum.

The best advice I can give the older Gen Xers out there is to take inspiration from the younger but cherry-pick carefully. So because Alexa has pretty terrific style, neither too trendy, more ladylike with a sprinkling of hipster–and definitely never slutty and inappropriate, I’m going to use her as a shining example of how even the older Gen X’ers like myself can dress chic and confident by emulating the younger Gen X’ers

Here we go.









Something has to be off, less than perfect.

“I always find beauty in things that are odd and imperfect–they are much more interesting.” -Marc Jacobs

I just go back to that quote all the time. It’s hard to extrapolate ourselves from the perfection we see all around us these days because of airbrushing and the crushing workouts for the perfectly thin body, all the money we spend on make up and botox and fillers and….I could go on and on and to some extent I am guilty of getting sucked in to the black hole of it all.  But just when I think I’m getting too far gone with this perfection thing, I usually reel myself back in and remember Jacobs’ ‘perfect’ quote.

I love translating the imperfect in to my looks at my age as much as I can. In fact when I do, I am so totally content and comfortable, I really think it shows.

Here’s what you do–you have a beautifully tailored jacket? Pair it with some beat up jeans.  A few holes, a slightly untucked shirt (the half tuck–go to your local J Crew to see how to do this right) and a great pair of shoes/boots.  Pick a handbag that doesn’t scream status (it can be status but make it a little more subtle than Louis Vuitton–sigh) and if it’s a Vuitton, never fake and make sure it’s nicely worn in.

You look aged when the jacket is perfect, the blouse is perfectly tucked in, the accessories are the typical and expected and the shoes are so-so. By the time you are a late Gen Xer, you should be able to afford at least one pair of pretty good boots or booties. You also age yourself if things are matched.  Our mothers would match the purse to the shoes to the belt. Not us. Our accessories compliment but don’t match all the time.   A good idea is investing in a nude or vachetta belt. They’ll go with anything.

Study the picture, above, of Alexa. Shoes are incredible, shirt is crisp and tailored but not perfectly tucked in, the jeans have some well placed holes and you can bet they aren’t cheap and nothing about her is perfect but she is perfect.

Ditch the twinsets, find a flattering pair of jeans, at least one pair that is chicly distressed, learn the half tuck, invest in one great black jacket and boots or booties and find a handbag that is a bit of art and a lot of statement but avoid the typical status bag (yawn) that every other woman out there gets because they think it’s what they’re supposed to have to be stylish.

And above all, release yourself of  perfection. We seem forget that there is so much beauty in imperfection.















Get some cool t shirts. 

I think this particular bit of advice scares the complete heck out of us late Gen Xers. I guess we think t shirts are just for around the house, that our glory days wearing them were the ones we bought after a Journey concert and wore to high school the next day.

But the tee is as iconic as a trench, a stiletto, a crisp white shirt, a black jacket–it’s a classic. The catch is to find a tee that is cut well, drapes well if you have figure issues and that doesn’t have something cheesy splashed all over it that will make you look like you’re trying too, too hard.

So you take this tee  (if you’d like a plain one, Vince makes the best)  pair it with that black jacket (I favor Rag and Bone) and you add some nude Manolo BBs and you carry a hip clutch with it and you’re golden.

I am liking J Crew’s tees lately. They are made of a linen blend, they drape well and have some really unobtrusive but cool designs/words on the front.  You can get them on sale for around $25. Yes, you can wear t shirts in your 50′s and beyond. But they should never, never, ever have any reference to hot air balloons, animals, wolves, Precious Moments, teddy bears or dumb sayings of any sort. You can also pair that tee with a skirt to make it louche and casual.  You could even do a tee with a sequins skirt. I have a Ralph Lauren Blue Label sequins skirt I’m mad for and I would definitely pair it with a casual tee and a great pair of heels.  Of course I caution the hippie look –you know–the  full cotton-y skirt and a sloppy tee. I am NOT talking that look.

You’re smart. You know exactly what I  mean so go out and find an appropriate tee and pair with a jacket and low heels. You’ll scream cool.


Alexa Chung takes a smoke break in NYC















Get a leather bomber jacket and wear it with a feminine dress for evening.

I think what the younger Gen Xers are the best at is mixing things up. They seem to instinctively get that things are much more interesting when something totally unexpected is thrown in and it makes a look their very own—and very unique.

I love nothing more in the fall and winter than wearing a feminine dress and then topping it off with my leather bomber.  It’s probably one of the most modern things any woman can do.  And who on earth doesn’t look terrific in a black bomber jacket.

Alex above, does the look with such perfection I find myself staring at every piece and part of it. The taffeta dress with full skirt, high heels and black turtleneck are so modern, she deserves for this one look alone,  to be on Vanity Fair’s Best Dressed List.

You can tackle this look with ease and confidence. It doesn’t take much creativity to pair a  leather bomber with after 5 dresses. It’s not rocket science. And in one fell swoop–bam–you are more hip than you could have ever imagined.



Bvlgari evening party, Haute Couture Fall Winter 2013, Paris Fashion Week, France - 02 Jul 2013






















The bag. The shoes. The bag. The shoes. The bag. The shoes. The bag. The shoes….etc.


How do I stress enough, the value of good shoes and at least one good bag? Alexa’s trademarks are her bags and shoes.  Her shoes are usually low-heeled (she hates walking in heels) and she’s often carrying a Chanel bag.

All you have to do is focus on your shoes first. Have at least one pair of really good shoes. If you’re a follower of my blog, you know already that mine are my Manolo BB’s. It took me 50 years to get a pair so don’t think I’ve had them in my closet for years. Nope. I saved and saved some more. I have other really, really beautiful pairs of shoes I’ve saved for but they’ve been a rite of passage as I age. Expensive shoes aren’t stupid to invest in. If they were, there’d be no market for them. Once you’ve worn a well made shoe, you understand why it is hard to get as excited over a pair of Nine Wests. And believe me, I have a lot of Nine Wests in my closet. It’s just that by a certain age, there should be at least one box of Manolos or Guccis or St Laurents or Choos in your closet. For the times when you want to just smile as you look down at your feet.

You’ll see what I mean. Trust me.

The good handbag can be a hard sell. But let me tell you this–I follow sales voraciously. I have put myself on every designer email list who I wear and favor. And there are bargains out there, if you are patient, if you look and if you swoop in quick. Case in point–I am now the proud owner of a Marc Jacobs handbag for $200 and it will be a lovely 31st anniversary gift from my husband. It was drastically reduced on the Marc Jacobs website and I swooped. And it isn’t Marc by Marc. It’s Marc Jacobs. It’s so yummy I could cry.

It can be done. You can have lovely shoes and bags even if  it is only once in a blue, if you are patient and swoop.

And then you wear them so much because they look good and they make you look good and they become a wise, wise investment.















The older you get, the bigger jewelry can get. 

The kiss of aging death comes with small, precious pieces of jewelry as we age.  There is something about aging that requires a one, two punch when it comes to adornment. It’s just so confident, so cool when you see a woman wearing a big, bold piece (Note: I am not talking Kate Spade bubble necklaces), instead of a small charm necklace or tiny bracelet. It’s modern, it’s flattering, it shows personality and creativity and it’s youthful.

If you don’t believe me, when you go to church this Sunday, take note of the older women who surround you. My guess is you aren’t going to see many of them wearing something modern, big and artistic. You might see some big beads, yes, but generally you aren’t going to see most women wearing much of anything that makes you stop, stare and covet.

Whether we get it or not, jewelry is not only a window to our socio-economic status but it also gives others a big head’s up on our age. If you want inspiration on how to adorn with jewelry, google Iris Apfel. She’s extreme but she’s incredible. I’ve written about her a couple of times in my Hip Report and she’s worth mentioning again.  She gets the ‘bigger’ jewelry concept. She’s excessive for most of us but she’s a fine inspiration.

So take clue from Alexa–bigger jewelry, hip, modern, unusual—it’ll keep you feeling on the near side of forty even when 40 is far, far gone.


































Don’t be afraid of monochromatic looks.

You know, I think we generally forget the chicness in the monochrome. I really do. I think we forget how thin, timeless, flattering, expensive we can look when we stick to one color top to bottom. (Shoes should be a different complimentary color of course or you’ll look like an M&M.)

Lately I’ve started collecting monochrome pieces. I love wearing a cream colored skirt and a cream Irish sweater with nude heels. It just feels so cool and effortless. I feel so confident in this kind of dressing. While everyone else out there thinks they need pattern and color to look stylish, I am a simple palette of neutrals.

Alexa’s all burgundy had me double taking and wishing more women would reign the pattern and color mixing in once in awhile and just keep it simple. So you have an assignment.  Go forth this week and notice how many women DON’T do the monochromatic thing. Notice how many choose prints that are unflattering, too large for them, too dated. Notice how many look like color bombs exploding.

And then put on your list of ‘to buy,’ separates in the same color line to put together for one powerful pop. And do me a favor, know that black doesn’t count. Pick a color or a neutral.  Pair it with a nude or black shoe and see how simply beautiful you look.

You’ll be changed forever. I promise. It’ll open up a whole new world for you.


























Ditch the skin, ditch the sex for evening and cocktail—and now and then ditch the mile high  heels.


I think showing a lot of skin anywhere after around 45-46 and beyond feels sad and desperate. By now it feels like we should be confident enough to not put it all out there for general consumption.  It feels that like by now we know what we have, we know what we don’t have and never had –and it doesn’t matter one iota what another person other than our loved ones think of us. We’re so completely over trying to be accepted and overtly sexy, we yawn at the thought of the effort. Beautiful and chic yes–sexy and out there, no.

What I love about Alexa is that she goes out a lot at night and she’s never vulgar.  She’s not the girl with the D cups and she’s probably like me, relieved about not having them in the first place. I’ve always felt my lack of boobs filtered out the bs and left me with the real gentlemen.

Anyway, Alexa always gets photographed because her evening looks are feminine, creative, unique and eye-catching.  She’s never spilling out or revealing too much and yet she still manages to look so completely fantastic (and confident).  It’s all so anti-society because we’ve all been taught to yank the girls out at night, hike the skirt up and pull out the miserably high heels.

But like Alexa, I love being the girl who doesn’t put it all out there. Who understands that there’s a lot of mystery in not flashing the world.  I love wearing almost ‘nerdy’ evening wear, you know, the dresses that cover me.  Alexa even goes so far as to keep her heel height contained–nothing vertiginous which makes her look even more hipster and so much less va va voom. I myself usually do a demure dress and killer heels.  To me it feel right and  just yet still modern.

There is definitely an expiration date for the skin show. It’s funny because Alexa is in no way past hers yet she still chooses to keep it all under wraps. Man.  It’s a great lesson to take from her.
























So you know, as we age I think we sometimes go in to this internal conflict and panic thinking that we have to really start giving up all the fun stuff  we used to wear–all the youthful looks—and pieces of ourselves–so many of the things that made us happy when we were pretty young things.  But it’s just not true.

I told a friend recently that aging has its downside but there’s a really neat side to it too. It’s the challenge of staying relevant and looking and dressing with a certain confidence (and a better budget) than I had in my youth. I know all the dumb subtleties of my body, I know my angles and curves and what works and what doesn’t. After all these years my body and face have told me what they require to look their best and I finally listen.

The fun of it all comes together when incredible designers like Marc Jacobs force me to rethink what feels ‘right’ and style icons like Alexa Chung show me their idea of ‘right.’  And I get to mishmash it all together as a fifty-something and surprise even myself.

Stay inspired. Rethink what’s right. Listen to and observe the youth out there.

You can look completely relevant and totally hip well in to your 90s. Promise.

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Reflective on Deeply Kind…. And the Latest, Greatest.
























(On Kelly left, pants, Tory Burch, on Kim, middle, top, Vince, skirt and belt, J Crew, shoes, Ralph Lauren Collection) 

This past weekend when I was back in my home state of Ohio I had one of the most enjoyable, relaxing evenings I have had in a long time with an old friend and a new friend. Both women were the best of what I hope to find in another human being–deeply kind–they were full of humor, supportive, non judgmental.  I could continue on with the accolades and they would both deserve them all. But what I want to get across is that they were deeply kind. I felt happy being with them.  It was an easy evening and a happy evening. It is easy being with deeply kind people, right?

We got on the subject of The Hip Report, both dear supporters (you know who you are Kelly and Carrie) of my blog and Carrie asked how I come up with so much to write about. (She also raved about a Rag and Bone jacket she recently invested in thanks to The Hip Report).  I told her I had so many ideas that for lack of time, never even hit the internet airwaves, they languish around in my head, something I need to get to but never do.

But I said that the stories I do write about find their way in to my brain because I am always sampling things, reading voraciously and often sniffing in America’s retail meccas, something a lot of people hate but when I am in the right mood, I love.

An example– a few weeks ago I was on a shopping trip in Atlanta and I must have been in the Ralph Lauren store there for an hour and a half, just meandering through the clothing, accessories and furniture. I stared forever at the hand tooled belts made in Italy (even being so lucky as to come home with one, done in a Western motif, below, that I will treasure and pass down to my daughter some day). I wandered through Blue and Black Label, always delighted by Lauren’s world of blue blood taste.

Nothing makes me happier than seeing what is out there–the newest and most unique and well-rendered and I approach it as if I am headed to a museum to observe the latest and greatest exhibition on some fabulous artist who looks at the world so differently from me and who expands my brain by feet, not inches.











So it is, I have been all around the South sniffing, checking this and that out and have found a few noteworthy things.  Here goes:


I hit the Yves St Laurent counter with a dear Charlotte friend recently. We were trying to get her ready for a big wedding in Boston. We did but we also got ‘me’ ready for who-knows-what because I walked away with a couple things I never anticipated since my focus was supposed to be on her.

I felt a bit guilty but since purchasing them, they’ve been in my rotation non stop so they’re proving to be a good investment in my beauty regime. After all, there is something luxurious and very special when you pull out anything that is YSL, whether it be eyeshadow, a pair of Tribute sandals or a smoking jacket–if you’re ever lucky enough to own one.

















First  off, St Laurent’s Pure Chromatics quad eyeshadow caught my attention big time.

#19 was the one for me in a rich brown, a gray brown, gray pink and taupe pearl. It was eyeshadow nirvana. They are meant to be used with water to activate the intensity and shimmer. If that’s not for you they can be worn without the injection of water for a slightly less intense look.

I am having a ball with this quad. The depth of pigment is what you’d certainly expect in a luxury brand. If you’re in Nordies, Neimans or Saks, check out Pure Chromatics.  I am without words.  It’s pretty special.

















For some reason, that same day I found myself heading home with another Yves St Laurent product in my bag:  Yves St Lauren Rouge  Pur Couture glossy stain. It was a little weird, I’ll admit. It’s thinner than a typical gloss. It’s a little runny and sloppy but I can’t bear to let that be what you take from my review because it really grows on you. My friend walked away with one too even though we were a bit confounded and unsure if we should have purchased them.  In the end, I can tell you, it’s what I’m putting in my evening bag for special nights out all the time. All the time.

What I found is that Pur Couture literally melts on to your lips and then bonds (yes it bonds) and stays. It really, really stays. It’s just an odd product because the texture isn’t what you expect and then once it’s on, believe me,  it really does bond. It’s wild! The color is intense and the color choices are fantastic. Typical YSL–incredibly luxe colors that will get you noticed; they’re not for shrinking violets.

The applicator is unusual too. It’s angled and it takes some time to get used to–sometimes it can be a little sloppy in the application.  But trust me, once you get over the ‘uniqueness’ of this product all the way around I think you’ll be as smitten as I am. I love it so much–so much—I plan on getting more as my budget allows. At $35 it’s completely pricey, I’ll admit. Check it out at the Yves St Laurent Beauty website.

















I was out hooting and tooting in my Charlotte mall and of course stopped at Tory Burch and Anne-Marie was there so I stayed and talked to her for a few minutes, always a delightful time. We topic-surfed and ended up that I asked her if she had any beauty products she couldn’t live without. Without pause she said, ‘MAC Prep and Prime’ for lips. I said, “Really? Tell me more…”  She proceeded to sell me on another primer.  Another one.

As it is, I use a face primer, an eye primer and now we have a lip primer I had to check out. In some ways this is getting embarrassing and ridiculous but ok, it’s fun  I’ll sheepishly admit. I asked Anne-Marie why she loved it so much. She is infamous for her gorgeous, strong lip color and that gorgeous strong lip color must need an extra boost to stay colorful and stay long through her challenging days working at Tory Burch.

I headed right for the MAC counter and began sniffing out this product I’d never heard of until now.  It is touted to add moisture to lips, smoothes and refines the appearance and texture of lips preparing it for lipstick.

I have to say, when I use it my lipstick does stay on longer. It really does. It doesn’t make my lips too moist and I suspect in the winter it will be a really terrific product to use when my lips are really dry.  I use it all the time now; it feels odd not to put it on before any of my lip products. I especially like to use it before the Yves St Laurent Rouge Pur Couture (above). When I do, my lips stay colorful noticeably longer.

It’s another workhorse in my beauty bag and I have Anne-Marie at Tory Burch to thank for it. Available at finer department stores and MAC stores and online. $16 and it will last forever. Promise.

And while you’re at it, find a friend who is deeply kind and thank them. Thank you Kelly and Carrie for such a delightful night back in Ohio…


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IN COLOR: Tory Burch’s First Book Due Out in October
























It was only a matter of time before mega entrepreneur/designer/visionary/and wildly successful retailer Tory Burch ticked off on her ‘to do’ list: ‘Write coffee table book about it all as seen through my eyes.’

And she finally has.

Slated for release October 14th, ‘Tory Burch : In Color’ promises to be a chic compendium of all the things that inspire her–people, places and yes, color.  The cover is actually a rug by the artist Damien Hirst (pictured below)  and none other than Anna Wintour writes the forward.












(Only Tory would feature a rug on the cover of her first book. And of course it would be designed by Damien Hirst, above. And it’s not just any rug. This one will set you back about $85,000.)




(Photo courtesy of Tory’s Blog)


One thing you can say about Tory’s designs is that color, art, exotic destinations and beautiful people– they’ve always figured in to her collections and  interiors. And speaking of interiors, who ever thought pumpkin orange and a forest-y green would be a part of an iconic logo (and store colors!).  In the world of fashion, austere, minimalist and modern when it comes to logos and store interiors– has generally been all the rage.  But when you walk into a Tory Burch boutique, the color that surrounds you makes you feel perfectly chic in a trippy, mod way.

Tory also interviews famous business leaders, style icons, artists and interior designers she admires.  Her rolodex is full of who’s who in so many different circles so I’m sure the roster of notables will be most impressive; this book should be full of (hopefully) compelling content and a peek inside her curious mind that never seems to rest when it comes to pursuing the brilliant and beautiful.

Here’s a link to order. I can’t wait to receive my copy and on some cool fall night relax with it and savor its (I am sure) colorful pages. Her book is available in hardcover and is retails for $29.70.


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Not Drinking the Fashion Kool Aid










Last week the CFDA (Council of Fashion Designers of America) Awards took place in New York City with the fashion glitteri coming together to honor established designers who’ve had a hallmark year as well as to single out those up and comers who show promise, whose names will perhaps one day be as much a part of our vocabulary as Lauren, de la Renta and Kors.

The CFDA also bestows the ‘Fashion Icon’ Award to a celebrity, socialite or personality who if to be honest, has a lot of money to spend on clothes, who doesn’t have to choose between fixing a leaking roof or blown air conditioner or paying college tuition, all over the purchase of a Roberto Cavalli gown.

Past Fashion Icon award winners have included Sarah Jessica Parker, a fashion icon if ever there was one.



























And Johnny Depp, whose award when I was doing research for this article, left me perplexed.















I’ve never felt Depp has had enough style to make note of, in fact he’s always come across as disheveled to me, a man who can afford the best, probably wears the best but it doesn’t look the best on him. And don’t get me going about how he’s ruined his looks with smoking and his personality by fame.

In fact, I think Depp’s finest fashion moment was when wardrobe got ahold of him and he played a pirate and wore probably the best smudged kohl eyeliner look I’ve ever seen on anyone, including women.















CZ Guest, an American Socialite in the ’50′s and beyond was also honored one year.  Her whippet thin frame, East Coast classic wardrobe  and her elegant restraint earned her the title deservedly.

















She represented the one percenters with  a certain grace and inspired the other 99% to avoid extremes in one’s wardrobe. She entered the room–then her clothing arrived quietly– but potently. It’s incredible that these pictures were taken decades ago and the clothes still look relevant and fresh.













Iman, Somali-born wife of David Bowie and top model in another life received recognition in 2010. She’s aged with a breathtaking hipness you just don’t generally see in the masses who are her peers. Next year she will be 60 and she gives us all hope.































And of course the CFDA went gaga over Gaga, honoring her in 2011. I’m at a real loss as to how to segue from CZ Guest who wore Oscar de la Renta to Gaga who wore a raw meat  outfit:




















…And whose fingerprint on fashion has included her appearance in not fashion per se but costumes that appear to be inspired by a (bad) Salvador Dali landscape.

















And so it was, this year, for 2014, the CFDA Fashion Icon Award went to Rhianna. This is a young woman who can afford the best and the most.  She has at her call, the finest designers, the best advice on which designers to wear, front row seats to any fashion show she chooses.  Her UPS man is probably being worked overtime with package after package coming from the design houses across the ends of the earth as they offer her free swag and a plea to wear their pieces for press time and credibility.

And the CFDA? It is their responsibility to select awardees who consistently demonstrate  a certain and unique deftness, creativity and vision with the prickly minefield fashion can be. It isn’t easy getting up day after day with your life and wardrobe choices documented for the world to see.  Just yesterday I selected for myself, a most dismaying and utterly unflattering wardrobe choice so much so that if my readers would have seen me, they’d have never hit my blog again, ever. The CFDA must hold standards high and their awardees must rise so far above the fray appearance after appearance, even day to day privately to be completely honest, so as to seem almost superhuman when it comes to wardrobe savvy.

It is also on the CFDA to select a winner who does what they are awarding:  wear clothes. Say for example the Country Music Awards handed out an award to an opera singer.  We’d all be laughing and it’d be front page news the next day…are they off their rockers? Opera? In Nashville?

This is precisely what is happening at the CFDAs and they are loosing their credibility with me fast. While everyone is praising Rhinna for her extraordinary taste in fashion, I am completely lost, believing I am watching an opera singer awarded at the CMAs in Nashville.

Rhianna has slid down a very slippery slope in the past few years, exchanging her sexuality for attention instead of her talent for attention. Now when we think of her we don’t think of one of her freakishly good songs like ‘Breaking Dishes.’  We think of the latest photo of her baring herself, sensually staring in to the camera, asking us all to focus on her body parts (that we all have) and not her talent (that most of us don’t have).  She’s forced us  in to a place that is not just unfair to us, but to her as well.

Rhianna has sold herself short. Way, way short.


(Above: the making of Rhianna’s non-dress, dress)

I refuse to post the picture of her here from the awards night because I find it so sad. I just feel sorry for her. I can’t imagine having all that talent, that beauty, the body, all of it–she hit the genetic lottery–and she’s giving it all to the world just for free, just for some passing fame.


Keeping things nicely covered.

Keeping things nicely covered for a change.


















Shame, shame on the CFDA for allowing her in to the venue wearing what she did (not).  They were all guilty of being a part of the Emperor’s New Clothes.













Shame on them for trying to tell us all that Rhianna is the penultimate in fashion for 2014.

When your awardee comes undressed to a ceremony that honors ‘dress,’ you end up looking as ridiculous as the naked ‘icon,’ you’re honoring,  void of much credibility to the rest of us who still have our good senses and aren’t impressed by fame.

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Juan Carlos Obando

















You probably haven’t heard of Juan Carlos Obando. He’s been on your Hip Reporter’s radar for some time now but that’s because I am fashion obsessed and I think he’s got some of the best looks out there.












Juan Carlos, a native of Columbia went in to advertising stateside in 2002 and ended up serendipitously in fashion when he was required to put together a shoot for a car commercial that called for gorgeous, luxe clothing.  He immediately went to Sears, purchased a sewing machine, got some fabric and taught himself how to sew on the spot for the wardrobe call. The rest is well, a lot of hard work and history.  By 2010 he had quit his job at the firm and committed himself to designing full time.


His looks are completely feminine and his Latin DNA ripples through his collections with its plunging necklines, lush, full satin skirts and voluminous sleeves,  sashes, trailing streamers, bows and intense jewel tones.  Here follow some runway looks from his Spring 2014 Collection:


























































































































Many of his looks are almost reminiscent of Spanish Flamenco dancers.  Almost.  It’s as if he took was is most beautiful about Flamenco and spared us the kitsch and costume it often is.



John Singer Sargent, El Jaleo, 1882

I fell in love with Obando a while back because I felt his designs were just the way women wanted to look when they dressed up–sexy without being too, too much, without being ‘more’ than the woman who was wearing them. And I have come to call a certain, intense, sublime blue in many of his collections,  ’Obando Blue.’ More on that later.

Jenna Lyons of J Crew fame extended an invitation to Obando recently along with two other CFDA finalists (Council of Fashion Designers of America,–a compilation of American designers who are established and successful who aim to help burgeoning talent, emerge and grow) to design capsule collections with the theme, ‘Indigo.’











Obando’s pieces retail in the low to mid four figure range so for most of us and our practical, non red carpet, non gala lives, they aren’t going to be on our radar. Which for this girl, is most unfortunate because he’s too good of a designer to pass on. Those flow-y blouses, they would look fabulous with skinny jeans or smoking pants or pencil skirts. They’re completely applicable for dinners out, church and parties.

Thankfully, Obando accepted Lyons’ invitation to create this capsule collection under the J Crew label and he nailed the vibrant ‘Obando Blue’ (keeping of course true to the ‘Indigo theme Jenna requested) in the Dolores blouse, retailing for $198. It comes complete with a sash/bow that must be six feet long, meant to wrap twice at least around a bare neck and drape languidly down like a streamer.

It’s one of the most spectacular blouses I’ve ever tried on and the bow is a blast to work with. Generally I’m not down for bows at fifty  plus as I am—but Obando works etherial magic with this blouse and it’s modern, sexy bow.  It’s perfect for all ages.  The color is indescribable and will look completely of-the-moment with a white pencil skirt and nude heeled sandals. In my estimation, it’s the best offing in the capsule collection that includes a couple boho skirts, one of them in that infamous ‘Obando Blue,’ a jumpsuit, tee and sweatshirt. Check it out at J Crew’s website.

I’ve been such a fan of Obando and owning one of his pieces, so versatile and flattering, is such a thrill for your Hip Reporter.

I confess, I keep going to my closet to touch it and to imagine the perfect evening wearing it.

Finally I own some Obando. Life is good.

(Photos courtesy of W and

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Kate’s Visit Revisited













The Windsor’s trip to down under has ended with the star of the show being a precocious Prince George. Already he seems to have the personality of a leader, taking charge of the biggest toys in playgroups and forging ahead boldly when his parents introduced him to strange animals that were larger than him by strides. Never the shrinking violet, George rose to the occasion at every engagement he was required to attend and delighted his curious and adoring public. He was a royal success.

By the way, there is a computer generated photo that is circulating, of Prince George as a teen (below), having his mother’s eyes and nose and his dad’s mouth. Ah the speculators out there…I’m sure they’ll be as ‘off” with their prediction as those criminal mugshot drawings amateur artists make from descriptions they get from rattled victims.






















What was not a consistent royal success in your Hip Reporter’s opinion however, was Kate’s revamped, more serious, more conservative wardrobe apparently mandated by the Queen. Plain and uninteresting, simple lines, vivid colors, mostly free of patterns, completely  void of separates, Kate’s wardrobe for her royal visit just plain underwhelmed.  Not much can make her look bad (save an unfortunate set of bangs we know), let’s be honest. She is beautiful and her smile is one of the best in the world.












(One of the royal duties I’d want to pass on, thank you very much.)


But when you’re thirty two and are taking fashion mandates from an eighty-eight year old woman, it can be a problem. And on this latest trip, it was at times.
















I loved her Tory Burch dress worn to a playgroup meet and greet. It was flattering, more interesting than most of  what she packed and the graphic black and white was refreshing as I reflect on all the color she wore the rest of the trip.  She could definitely add more Tory to her closet and look chic at a fairly reasonable price point (for a princess that is). And those pumps. Will someone please pass a law at Buckingham Palace that it’s okay to show your toes in 2014 on official royal business.























My absolute favorite look of the entire trip was this Diane von Furstenberg wrap dress in graphic navy print.  These dresses, contrary to popular belief and contrary to what Ms. Furstenberg wants us to believe, are notoriously difficult to wear.  They show every roll, dimple and sag. They are unforgiving and a rarely flattering.

But if  you have a figure like Kate’s, void of curves and whippet thin, then you can work this dress like nobody’s business.  And she does.  It’s a modern selection and just perfect on her.  Her hair that day was blown out beautifully and she looked every bit the cool, cool princess.

By the way, that dress sold out in eight minutes.

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge Sydney Manly Beach, Australia






















I loved the eyelet dress (if a bit girlie for her at her age) she wore on the beach. It was from Aussie label Zimmerman and their site crashed soon after she went public wearing it. What I loved most about this look were her wedge sandals.

Her legs looked long and gorgeous in them and it’s a treat seeing the princess’s toes after them being imprisoned in dowdy pumps day after day after day.



























I went loopey over her Zara navy jacket and striped top (above).  I tried to order her jacket but of course, sold out. It retailed for $99 and looked about as chic as any Alexander Mc Queen she wore that cost thousands. Kate does preppy exceedingly well. Her clean good looks seem so tailor made for this iconic style.































I very much liked the LK Bennett dress with flowers.  The sleeve length was interesting and I enjoyed the artfulness of the flowers placed randomly on the dress. The waist was nipped in nicely and flattered her always elegant figure. Again, throw the pumps to the curb.


And now for the looks that seem as if the Queen herself selected them for her daughter in law…






















A primary green Katherine Walker coat was aging and dowdy.
















Her pink Alexander Mc Queen was ok. But it was also underwhelming when you consider this is also Mc Queen:

Alexander McQueen Pre-Fall 2013_1
























You give me Princess Kate and I would get her in a dress like this Mc Queen above,  just fine for her royal duties.  Get rid of the stripper boots here, lengthen the hemline and add some Manolo BBs in black and you have a demure, event appropriate dress for her adoring public.  It’s a look that is modern and perfect for a 32 year old woman who is beautiful and elegant. Now this is McQueen.

I know the Queen would turn up her royal nose at a look like this but it would be incredible to see Kate wearing something couture that really looks couture versus the puff pink two piece that looks as if she is ready for Easter Sunday and ham.




















Roksanda Ilincic, above. Bleh.















Annnnnnd we have good Stella Mc Cartney., above.

















Not so good Stella Mc Cartney, above.

Kate makes the best of a dull shift dress with even duller black pumps.

(@#*$&@ pumps.















If it’s all about representing ‘The Corporation’ (monarchy) then this dowdy Luisa Spagnoli two piece suit with peplum is as perfect a boardroom suit as you can get. It’s also not necessary for a 32 year old woman to ever been seen wearing something so aging and underwhelming.

I saw this suit 35 years ago at my the oil company my father worked for back in Ohio. And that’s not a good thing. The women there, um, not so much. Just not so much.
















In Emilia Wickstead dress with matching fascinator. Yawn.


The Duke And Duchess Of Cambridge Tour Australia And New Zealand - Day 6

























At $3000, I’m not sure Kate got her money’s worth with this green Erdem coat.  Will didn’t seem to care for it and said it was ‘a bit bright.’ Retire the primary green.






















The yellow Roksanda Ilinicic ‘Banana Dress’ (according to Will) felt like a ‘Peep’ at Easter. Definitely not a fan of this one.


Bad Jenny Packham:























Good Jenny Packham:





And lastly, in Catherine Walker, below. I think we Americans struggle to understand this kind of dressing. It looks cartoonish to our sensibilities and seems like a uniform. It feels stuffy and uncomfortable which well, is rather the Queen’s persona to best honest. Kate is too young to be wearing this kind of look. It’s military gone bad.


























Kate arrived in the southern hemisphere with a $64,000 wardrobe and your Hip Reporter would ever so politely argue that she didn’t get her money’s worth for most of her looks.  A lack of pop, creativity and a low ‘wow’ factor kept her appropriate, yes but just not at all interesting and inspiring.

Someone at that palace needs to sit down with the Queen and kindly remind her the asset that Kate is to her monarchy and to allow this compelling young woman be just that–compelling.

Let’s hope Kate’s next siting will be worth waiting for because if she continues on this trajectory, we all will get very numb to the primary colored dull dresses and coats and LK Bennett pumps that do nothing for someone so genetically blessed and who looks every bit the real life Princess.

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Latest Greatest













I have problems every year when it’s time for the big spring reveal of my feet after a long winter. They embarrass me to no end, the way they have become over months of neglect in socks and boots.  It makes me sad to even look down at them.

Worst of all are my heels. Dry, cracked–so much so they often actually hurt to walk on. And nothing to me says ‘old woman’ more than neglected heels.  I decided when I was a young girl, very young, that I would never tolerate unkempt heels.

I found the other day at the my esthetician’s office as I waited for my appointment, a product that intrigued me. For sad feet, it is called “Poor Soles.” It is a stick which makes application so easy. I can’t stand touching my feet (for whatever reason) so this product takes care of that peculiar phobia of mine.

It’s botanically based so you smell refreshing lemongrass as you use it. Potent healing and    softening ingredients like shea butter and avocado oil will combat tough callouses and refresh tired feet. It contains no parabens, dyes or sulfates so use with confidence. Also great for knees and elbows. Put it on at night before you go to bed and wake up to softer skin, promise.

Available at, about $15.

So far I am loving my Poor Soles and am pleased I am getting my feet back in to shape for summer. I have a lot of gorgeous sandals I anxious to wear with pretty feet.  And speaking of sandals, read on…














I find the older I get, the less I like flats.  I like a little ‘lift’ in my shoes, just enough to ever so slightly lengthen my legs which seemed to quit growing around 7th grade, a time when they should be sprouting inches by the week.  Not me. I joke that my mother, an avid health nut back in the 70′s, refused to feed us meats with hormones so I completely missed out on the boobs and long legs women have now, thanks in part to hormones in our meat supply, or so I hypothesize.

I digress. Anyway,  now and then you’ll find me getting sick and tired of paying for overpriced Tory Burch shoes, or any other label for that matter and I revolt. I do not believe in a closet full of cheap shoes and I have my parents to thank for that in some way. I always had the best quality leather shoes to wear as a child.  Not many pairs mind you but what I did have were bought at a nice shoe store in my hometown not known for low prices but for shoes that would last.

I was in Old Navy not long ago and I don’t go in Old Navy often.  I get frustrated with the quality and their clothes usually don’t flatter me at all. But I chanced on some wedge sandals that I thought were honestly, a great shoe for the price. They were real suede (usually Old Navy uses synthetics) and when I tried them on they fit very well indeed and were comfortable to walk in.  The demi wedge gave me that little lift my legs need to feel not so clunky and thick; I loved them. I bought them in all three colors:   suede, navy, black and nude–which is especially pretty and luxe- looking.

So far they are all I reach for this spring. They flatter my feet and I can walk in them all day, recently doing so around the campus of University of North Carolina.  And believe me, I walked and walked that day. No pain, no tender spots, no fatigue. These were a great find indeed.

They are most likely sold out at your local Old Navy but are still, thankfully available online. They do not come in half sizes so you will have to make a judgement call in your own situation if you happen to be in between. I am a classic eight and they fit true to size for me.









And by the way, they are rather reminiscent of some Tory Burch wedges (above) out this season, her Savannah sandals, $250. –Thanks, but I’ll save the $220 and work on my IRA.
















If you are not yet in your late forties, early fifties,  this product is not going to resonate with you.  Except that some day you are going to be at that age bracket and then you might feel like I do…that it’s not particularly fun looking in to the mirror and seeing your face and neck slowly melt down your body as gravity begins to have it’s own personal field day with your visual identity.   It just isn’t fun.

Now. There’s a fine line between intelligent body and skin care– and hitting the obsessed range and loosing site of the bigger picture of what life is really about as you age:  living fully and loving deeply.  But taking care to preserve what you do have as age advances, seems only wise and healthful.  If you’re not in this age demographic, never say never.  Just trust me on that one.  At forty I gave little thought to my future tactics for age prevention.  Now I am on the lookout for wise investments for a more healthy, youthful appearance.

In the past three months I have had a laser, injections, microderms, started a retinoid, gotten my eyebrows dyed for the first time because of gray hair apparently in them, had callouses buffed off my feet, had extractions from my face (ugh. painful.) and I have purchased for the first time in my life, a neck cream to ward of the signs of gobbler’s neck that I know is not far off.  Only a few years ago my only beauty regime was Clinique three step and some random zit cream.

Oh trust me.  I have heard it all:   the why-don’t-you-just-age-gracefully comments and you-are-so-ridiculous-to-spend-money-like-this.  Yawn–is what I say to all of that.   It’s funny–from the mid 40 and under crowd I hear how ridiculous I am and the later 40 and  50 and over crowd tells me they wish they could do what I do or that they had the technology when they were my age.

So recently I purchased from my doctor’s office, Nectifirm, a neck cream that the nurse there says they cannot keep in stock. I asked why. She said simply, “It works. We’ve never seen anything like it on the market.”

“Give me one, please,” I said and walked out with my hope in a jar.

I went home and did some research on Nectifirm and was utterly impressed with the results.
It’s touted as a comprehensive anti-aging treatment formulated specifically for the neck. The neck ages differently than the face and therefore requires its own unique, topical anti-aging technology.  It treats the different symptoms of the aging neck including slackened skin, crepiness, horizontal necklace lines, turkey neck appearance and mottled skin appearance. Peptides, bamboo extract, English Pea extract, antioxidants and Vitamins C and E  are some of the ingredients that are giving 96% of users a firmer neck. And this is no ‘fish oil’ promise. Go to their website for an excellent explanation of their product and a before and after gallery that will have your mouth agape.

Did I pique your curiosity? Go to 

and to purchase at $60 for 1.7 ounces:




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