Five Cold Weather Superstars





Winter is soon upon us.

My pool, a few months ago, a welcoming reflection of summer’s haze now looks a bit sinister. Leaves clutter its bottom and wolf spiders lie in wait in the basket filters to torment and attack me when I go to empty them.

Summer’s last sweet note has been sung–even in South Carolina where I live and now it is time to add layers and layers upon us, draping ourselves in structured blazers, riding boots as vertical as chimneys and sweaters that bulk us up like inflated inner tubes.

Can you tell I am a bit fraught with the onslaught of shorter, nippier days that bring with it the onslaught of winter woolens?

But we can only fight it for so long. My closet looks like a bomb went off in it. I refuse to switch out my summer wardrobe for winter and with cooler temps here in the South lately, I have had to import my cool weather clothes and mix them in with the summer. It’s a mess. I can barely stand to open my closet door. Sigh.

Still, inasmuch as I dread winter rolling in with it’s pervasive gray-ness, I have been working on making my current fall and winter pieces even more ‘au currant’ with the addition of a few well-chosen items that I know will be great investments– and accessories that make those classics completely hip and fresh for a new season ahead.

Here follow five quick must haves for Fall 2014. At least in my opinion.


















1. The Irish Sweater. 

Question:  What is life without one classic Irish sweater hanging in your closet?

Answer:  Like an unending, unforgiving damp rain in Limerick–not nice.

Lest you think the Irish sweater is passe, fuddy-duddy, too preppy, too whatever, listen up–you will never own a better, more flattering, more versatile, more cool sweater in your life except for maybe a black cashmere turtleneck.

The Irish sweater goes with everything hanging in your closet and everything you’ve yet to buy that will hang in your closet.

Pair it with a kilt and moto boots. Subversively sublime. Top it over a striped button down and make sure the tail of your shirt hangs out at the bottom, add booties, boyfriend jeans rolled up so a bit of your leg shows and you’re fashion gold. Pair it with a long peasant skirt and beat up Fryes underneath and channel the crunchy. Top a leather moto jacket in black over it, grab a thick, studded leather bracelet (a la Hermes Collier de Chien, left) aclk  and you have a look you can wear until you’re 99.



If it was good enough for Steve McQueen about what, fifty years ago, it’s just fine by me.










You’ll find the best Irish-inspired sweaters at Vince and J Crew.










2. The Mary Jane


Every year a designer or two or three or more churns out their version of the Mary Jane. (Above, Yves St Laurent for Fall 2014, about $800)  And just so you know– there are bad, bad Mary Janes out there every year. Really bad.

Here’s the thing:  you are going to have to drop some dinero on a pair of Mary Janes, if you choose to buy.  For whatever reason, they are just that shoe (like a pair of riding boots) that you just can’t skimp on or they look tragic. I have no idea why. I have tried to figure this out. I do not have the answer.

I will say this–Mary Janes that are not well made always, always end up looking dumpy and nerdy and sad. They do. You can argue with me all you want but they do. You have to spend some money on Mary Janes. You can get cheap sandals, you can get cheap pumps but you just cannot get cheap Mary Janes or you look cheap. 

So now that we’ve  got that little spiel out of the way. On to the good stuff.
















This year Ralph Lauren sent his new Polo line (gorgeous!) models down the runway in Mary Janes to chic effect, above and below.














Hedi Slimane, chief designer at Yves St Laurent Mary Jane-d his models on the catwalk.  It was school girl done so not nerdy.














Chloe made a terrific pair of T-strap Mary Janes for fall, about $400:











Tory Burch churns out her version of preppy meets urban Mary Janes that are greedily swooped up by women from coast to coast most every season. For Fall 2014, she was inspired by ‘the Mary Jane of Ireland’, the Ghillie, below.











All this to say, Mary Janes get a bad rap. They’re thought of as a nerdy shoe, a frumpy, unnecessary and un-fashion-y addition to one’s image– and that’s just not fair. I have a pair of patent Marc Jacobs Mary Janes from years back that I pull out in the fall. And when I do,  I get stopped.

I find a zillion different ways to wear them; they look modern and fresh every single time. In fact I wore them today to church and while the choir was belting out a hymn, I stole a glance at my Mary Janes and smiled.

J Crew always makes some great Mary Janes that are more affordable.  But stay far, far away from no-name Mary Janes  and the crunchy, hippie kind you see in art communities. No, no and no.

Alexa Chung always inspires me when it comes to Mary Janes. She’s often pictured pairing them with a sexy LBD when a tall, sexy sandal would be chosen by anyone else. She rocks her MJ’s to impressive effect and doesn’t look a bit nerdy:



















Love her in Mary Janes and leather skirt, above.

Now this is how you wear a feminine shoe–you take it and wig it out a bit with the edgy–here a pencil leather skirt– and you’ve got a look with the perfect amount of tension–a little lady-like with the subversive. It’s how a modern woman dresses at any age.





Cara Delevingne Sighting In London - April 9, 2013















3. The Beanie

The humble beanie has been gaining momentum and for good cause. Everyone can look so cool in them, no matter your hair color, weight, face shape or your age.  A beanie is just universal.

Cara Delivigne, above seems to wear them so well.  And take note: they always look good with two things–chunky sweaters and leather jackets.

There’s a formula to the best look in a beanie:  No pom pom at the top. A bit of a slouch to the back. A thin knit works best. Ribbing makes it extra special and cashmere–well, it’s the ultimate.

The best beanies are by Vince and they’re thin and cashmere and have the perfect slouch, below.







Ralph Lauren also does a sexy beanie. Go to each respective website and you’ll find them there. Expect to pay somewhere between $75 and $100-plus for a cashmere beanie that will never go out of style, always make you look so louche and will keep your warm for many, many winter moons to come.

And if you’re in Asheville, North Carolina, stop by the imitable store, ‘Street Fair’ on Battery Park Avenue where you’ll find some fabulous beanies (amidst all the other incredible finds) in a basket in the back of the store. It’s a thrill to visit and the thrill of the chase really gets your adrenaline up!


























4. The Footless Tight

This was a trend I was perplexed about initially. I have seen footless tights before and have found them unappealing. I’ve thought they are odd and dopey-looking and completely useless and irrelevant.

Now I own a pair.

My opinion did a 180 when I saw the Fall 2014 Ralph Lauren Polo runway images (above). Model after model was working the catwalk in these like it was nobody’s biz. I found myself staring at their legs more than the clothes.

What were these odd things? At first I thought they were leggings. I did a little research and found out no, indeed they were not. These were literally footless tights, paired with those aforementioned Mary Janes, mixed with dresses and skirts! I wanted a pair immediately. It’s no secret my legs aren’t my best feature and yet, with a well-made pair of opaque black tights, they come alive and are less menacing!

I ordered a pair from Ralph Lauren online, curious to try this totally new and for me, unexpected look. I actually wore them today and paired them with my Marc Jacobs Mary Janes, a short tartan plaid skirt and an Irish sweater. I got the once over often because it was such an unusual look and I would like it to think it was not only flattering but confusing…What is she wearing? Are those tights? Are they leggings? Why do they have the foot cut out?

This look is so completely cool, I struggle for words. What could have been really, really bad on me and not age appropriate, ended up being modern, flattering, comfortable and so hip I was sold.

Take a chance this fall and try this runway trend. You can get footless tights at Nordstroms too. The ‘Commando’ brand footless tight Nordies carries online gets high marks and comes in light control. I plan on trying that brand too.

This look is best with Mary Janes. I’ve seen footless tights paired with pumps and to me, it comes of looking a little ‘Flashdance’/clubbin’ to me. Ralph gets it right on the runway with the Mary Janes. I’d stick with those.



5. The Camp Sock










If God is in the details, then camp socks or fall 2014 are directly from His hands to our feet. Once again, the Ralph Lauren Fall runway provided inspiration for this look.  Models wore them scrunched with hick-soled clogs and sandals of all things. And did they ever look fantastic.




















Add a diaphanous, romantic silk dress with it and it’s just inspired dressing.  I bought a pair and wore them with a platform bootie and a Polo RL maxi black henley dress I got for winter, paired with Western concho belt the other day. Yes, I got stopped and yes, I was comfortable to the nth degree.

It’s amazing what a small detail like that will do for a look.

You’ll find the best camp socks in black, navy, and even brown at Ralph Lauren online and J Crew online. And not only are they are cheap pop of cool for your fall looks, they are really comfortable and cozy to wear. You’ll hate to take them off at the end of the day…


The cold weather doesn’t seem so menacing with a few well-edited additions to your closet, right?





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Interactive Befores and Afters



Bobbi Brown makeover

Bobbi Brown makeover










Behold, the power of the make over.

Perhaps my favorite makeover ‘magician’ is Bobbi Brown. Her vision for a beautiful, appropriate look is spot on. Never too vampy, her touch is midas. I have a few Bobbi Brown books and I love going back to them and taking inspiration from the subtle, often nude way she contours eyes and always adds her signature pop of color ( shocking pink!) on the apples of the cheeks. She’d be the first make up artist I’d love to have an appointment with.

















And how could I forget Pat McGrath, British make up artist whose faces have graced Vogue and many a catwalk. Her touch can be more theatrical, less real world. But she’s no less talented. Her faces are often part fantasy, part high fashion.


Pat McGrath

Pat McGrath

















So it was, I was sniffing around on the New York Times web page and found a neat article on make overs for the Spring 2015 runway shows.


It is interactive and allows the reader to slide over the models faces to get a feeling of before the make up team does their magic and then after, generally to shocking effect. If you ever wonder how some (not all mind you) of the catwalk models can be so impossibly beautiful, this neat page will let you see them without make up. They look like any fresh faced young woman we’d see anywhere. It’s just that the make up team gets ahold of them, hair and wardrobe descend…voila…the catwalk model is born.

Pat McGrath's work.

Pat McGrath’s work.















Have fun glancing at this–and continue to scroll down as it is a full page of befores and afters.  I couldn’t stop moving the pictures back and forth, marveling at the changes.  My two favorite transformations? Roberto Cavalli and Tom Ford.  The worst, where they took a perfectly beautiful, exotic girl and created an unfortunate mess? Marc Jacobs.

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That Cape. That Darn Cape.













Ahhhh that we would always remember the ‘art’ that fashion is and always has been. In an era of mass-produced fashion, throw-away looks in chain after chain stocked with often questionable quality (all too soon seams begin to unravel, fabrics dull and  become shapeless), true investment pieces serve to make the basics we all wear look spectacular.

The Hip Report celebrates a closet that embraces the necessity of big box retailers like Gap, J Crew, Banana Republic, etc., for what is a closet without an impeccable Gap Boyfriend white oxford, a J Crew School Boy blazer or a Banana Republic merino sweater?

But with the addition of a pair of Manolo Blahnik BB’s in say, a nude, those basics are elevated to a most terrific level. A cashmere Vince sweater turns a pair of basic jeans into chic and modern, ready for date night and something ‘big.’  A Ralph Lauren vachetta belt in tooled leather adds a real punch to an H&M oversized cardigan.

What counts is knowing where to make the investment and where to go for the affordable. And so it is, I have been sifting through the Fall 2014 runway looks and have been deciding where I could potentially take a hit with an investment piece and where I could just give my bank account a rest and keep it as inexpensive as possible.

I have decided to pursue the acquisition of the Burberry monogrammed blanket cape (above) that Cara Delevigne wore down the runway for Fall 2014.  The moment I saw it I knew it would be sold out quicker than you could say ‘Comfy cozy’ and I was right. I swooned when I pulled it up online. I imagined myself swaddled in it’s warmth and security on a nippy winter Carolina day.

I decided to pop in to my Charlotte Burberry store and inquire about the probability of  a mere mortal like me in the rather deep South calling that little number mine. After an aggravating runaround with a sales associate there who told me she was sorry but ‘The capes are completely unavailable now and oh by the way, would you be interested in anything from the Spring 2015 Prosorum line?’ –was she serious– I left kerfluffled to say the very least.

Christopher Bailey, designer for Burberry has a major home run on his hands with his Burberry poncho.

Christopher Bailey, designer for Burberry has a major home run on his hands with his Burberry cape.














I have, since this encounter found out a second run of the illusive capes will theoretically be available in November. They are not cheap. And they are really not cheap when you have some ass**** from Florida run off with boatloads of your cash in a greasy business deal he orchestrated, as has happened to my husband and myself. But if karma is a boomerang, that poncho, if I ever get my hands on one will signify more than just some silly luxury.  It will signify that I can take a hit by a man as rotten as a biblical Ahab and still once in awhile, once in a very blue moon, buy something so beautiful, it makes my heart sing and say ‘screw you’ to him.  My modern day ‘Ahab’ didn’t take away my chance to fall in love with a little piece of art to wear if I have anything to say about any of this. No damn way, if I have my way.

As it stands, I am on a ‘cape waiting list’–who knew there was such a thing? If I do get one, I will have the option of having my initials woven in the fabric of the piece. This is no monogram on a machine. It is loomed in to my cape. (I die.)

I imagine myself wearing this for all the days of my life ahead…from 51 to 81. And I will, you can bet that. And it will remind me that my husband and I–we are the ‘comeback kids,’ that we dug and groveled and clawed and dragged ourselves out of being financially victimized by someone as shitty as Bernie Madoff.  We did it.

That’s when clothing becomes more than just something to look pretty in and yes, more even than just an investment:  it becomes an important, emotional milestone.

No J Crew or Gap can do that, folks.

Stay tuned to see if the gods of fate part the heavens and deliver me that cape…to be continued…







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Virtual Closet–Do Join Me!



















Let’s pretend I have a bank account like Melinda Gates. And let’s pretend I get to shop wherever, for whatever my little heart desires from the Fall runway looks.

Below, I’ve picked out my favorite which all add up to one freakishly amazing dream closet for your Hip Reporter. Here goes…


Let’s start at Altazurra, one of my favorite lesser-known designers. But he’s really not that lesser known in the fashion circles that be. And you know what? He’s doing a line for Target to be released in September. But he’s been on my Cool-o-Meter for a long time. Him heading to Target? It’s about time. 

Altazurra, Look #14:

















I’m loving this dress (featured in a previous post of The Hip Report) for it’s art gallery vibe. It’s like wearable art in fact inspired by the ’70′s textiles of artist Shelia Hicks…google her…gorgeous, enormous woven wall hangings that almost look like worms wiggling, spilling off walls and on to floors.  These dresses were hand-woven by artisans in  New York, slubs and all.  I’m nuts for the color–I’d stand out at a cocktail party in this and I’d switch out those ugly black shoes for some Jimmy Choo stunners.



Famous for their luxe basket weave leather handbags, Bottega Veneta also offers clothing I find myself occasionally coveting. 

Bottega Veneta, Look #11

















I’m a sucker for anything paired with a turtleneck and when it’s gray (or black), it’ll surely be a wardrobe favorite.  Mix it with a lime-y green (in the winter–fantastic!) swishy skirt and it’s everything I feel my confident best in.  At Bottega Venetta, fall meant graphic, energy and comfort. Yeah, that’s how I’d sum up this look.  Sold.



Modern. The height of chic simple. Celine isn’t always on everyone’s radar. But it’s on mine and has been since Michael Kors was designing for it years back. (Yes, that Michael Kors!)

Celine, Look #1


















Can you ever have enough coats? Can you ever have enough military inspired coats? No. And no. I’ve forever loved the simple lines of Celine, the easy luxury of supremely beautiful fabrics and cuts. When I enter a Celine boutique, I get rather quiet. I look at seams and shapes and feel the fabrics.  And I walk out, trippy from the perfection of it all.  This coat is sublime. I love the double breasted front, love that its nipped in the waist and am mad for it’s flair from the hips down. It’s classic. But wait–with that one earring trend going on and those fabulous shoes–it’s classic done very, very modern.



A little man, Alber Elbaz has some of the biggest talent out there. Always the epitome of Parisian chic. 

Lanvin, Looks #4, 13, 14, 34


















That skirt is killah. I am not sure a girl like me with the hips I have, could pull all those ruffly ruffles off and not feel a bit like a bootylicious Can-Can dancer but I’d sure as heck give it a whirl. I guess I picked this because I am nuts about the ying and yang of this look: the modern, minimalist turtleneck paired with such a fussy skirt. But it’s what I’m always preaching on my blog: the tension in an outfit–low and high end, prim but something completely off and deconstructed– and in this case: feminine and masculine mashed up.  Only Alber Elbaz could make me love such a frou frou skirt and make me willing to risk it all to wear it.


















This outfit is just the pinnacle of perfection. Another home run by Elbaz who dubbed this Fall ’14 collection ‘Triple X’: X-travagant, X-treme and X-periement.’  How to-die-for is that?

I am jonesing for this look for several reasons–I love the monochrome shades of cream with the top and skirt and the soft, subtle gray in that beefy fur coat. (By the way,  those beefy fur coats are pretty hot for Fall ’14.)  I daresay by the way that Elbaz has done tweed far prettier than Karl Lagerfeld at CHANEL this season. Lagerfeld’s tweeds looked cheap. Elbaz, his tweeds are all chicness and timelessness. Everything a tweed is meant to be.

















Heck yeah this would be in my closet. And I would go and look at it and touch it once a day. I can’t imagine where I’d wear this but if there were double coupon days at my local grocer, this is the dress I would pull out to celebrate in. I love the texture.  It’s a LBD done a bit subversive and wicked with the frayed hem and slubby texture.


















Minus that awning-like hat, this is how I adore dressing for evening. The conundrum remains–where do I wear something like this with the life I have? But if I had some big life with parties that thrust me in to a social setting with the beautiful and interesting, this is the look I would wear. It’s not for men–meaning it sure as heck isn’t sexy. But it’s languid and fluid and intelligent but quietly beautiful. I don’t need to be a sex bomb at night. It’s never been me. Nope, I’d be the girl in the corner with her bits tucked away and having a party in my head knowing my label said, “Lanvin.”
Dior’s really had a lot of exposure lately. Made more and more famous thanks to Jennifer Lawrence wearing Dior couture on the red carpet,  her impish personality has rendered it unexpectedly youthful and modern. 

Christian Dior, Look #26

















I’m generally not the Christian Dior girl. Dior’s look is a bit too origami-looking for me–like abstract art but this jacket made me do a double-take. I can imagine the seams in it are like steel girders in a skyscraper–they support this jacket and make it like architecture, a work of art. I know it lays perfectly on the human body, enhancing the curves and yet supporting as it should to perfect effect and I bet those button holes are like works of art too.  This is a jacket you would never let part from your closet. It’s that perfect.



Not the biggest fan of LV handbags but perennially dy-ing over the clothes. With new deisgner Nicolas Ghesquiere at the helm now, I can sleep peaceful knowing the iconic house is in good hands indeed, now that Marc Jacobs has resigned.  

Louis Vuitton, Look # 1

















Reminding me of Ali Mc Graw with a mish mash of preppy and 60′s mod, this first look at Louis Vuitton, Fall ’14 mesmerized me. Worn perfectly by model Freda Beha Erichsen, everything about it is right–from the cream turtleneck to the cream jumper, to the black boots and black leather coat with orange lapels. Here’s the thing: you have to have a certain look to pull this off and fortunately this is one era (the 60′s) your Hip Reporter can rock. Give me anything 50′s and I look tragic. But there’s something about preppy and something about the 60′s that I can work.  And of course I am taking note of the one earring trend on Freda too. All of this is just everything I want to be when I walk out of my house and take on the world.



Is there any design house that can make black look even more cool year after year… I go to our boutique, Capitol here in Charlotte, North Carolina to just stare at and touch the St Laurent. (I really do.)

Yves St. Laurent, Looks #3, 4, 10, 15



















Maybe in some other life I wanted to wear a school uniform. Or maybe in another life I wanted to live in the Highlands of Scotland. Who knows but when you combine both those themes, you get this Yves St. Laurent look above, that is as classic as it gets and it makes my eyes watery with pure joy. THIS is how you can dress from 5 to 100. The older you get, the funkier the accessories need to be and the longer the skirt –and boots for sure by the time you’re 50.  This is a look that will be recycled when my children’s children have children. You get the point. This is forever cool and made only freakishly cooler than cool because it’s Yves St Laurent. My heart is palpitating. Excuse me while I collect myself for a moment…and forgive me for using ‘cool’ so much but there’s no other word I am feeling right now.



















Now we add a gray flannel skirt and a double-breasted coat and it’s more of the same: freakishly cool and forever flattering. Hair needs to be messy. Remember, something has to be ‘off.’ No perfect prim school girl. Keep it a touch whacked out.



















And speaking of whacked out, I will take this revolver dress for the days I am tired of being a bit Catholic school girl-y. Only Yves St Laurent can make wearing firearms desirable. Paired with tights and a leather jacket, it’s urban genius. Imagine this at the PTA meeting: so socially wrong but so stylistically right.


















A houndstooth coat. A houndstooth coat. I need say no more. Except remember, this is a Yves St Laurent houndstooth coat. Can you imagine the pixie dust on this coat that would rub off on you while you wore it? Magical. 



I’m not the biggest fan of the Italian designers but I always make concessions for Gucci which I more than adore. 

Gucci, Look #31

















You can never have too many LBDs and this one may just be one of the biggest home runs I have seen for fall. The iconic bridle bit belt is pure old school Gucci and the high neckline and the flare from the waist down is demure and yet so sexy. I love the pink snakeskin boots with it, proving that it’s all in the accessorizing when it comes to the LBD. Imagine if those were black pumps. A whole different vibe. I’ll take this entire look, top to bottom. This is how I dream of looking after dark–a little prim, a little wiggy with those nutty boots.



No longer khaki trenches and plaid handbags, Burberry has in the past several years, become ‘hip central’ because of its innovative designs that take the classic and turn it wildly but perfectly upside down. It’s like an English auntie who’s all prim but has a dirty secret…

Burberry Prorsum, Look #51

















The last look down the Fall ’14 Burberry runway was our girl of the moment, Cara Delevigne in a monogrammed Prorsum blanket cape. I continue to still try and figure out how I can snag this cape. I envision myself wearing it on an airplane, hiding from some wack-a-doodle next to me, or wrapping myself up Eskimo-style in a movie theater where temps are consistently sub arctic or cocooning in it for privacy, warmth and comfort any time I want to step away from the world and hide. I would never find such happiness again in my life, being wrapped in this magnificent swath of wool. And of course I’d get it monogrammed. I love the font.



My homeboy. He taught me it’s ok to not be perfect. 

Marc Jacobs, Look #22

















This outfit would be for those days that I just want to be comfortable and warm on a nippy Carolina day.  I’d probably bag those shoes; they’re a bit too Jetsons looking.  That coat looks scrumptious and I love the soft color palette. I think looks like this –where there’s little color– can be so beyond the pale chic, we often forget about its high intensity impact.  I picture myself wearing this on a trip to Chicago too. I’d walk down the Miracle Mile and those winds off Lake Michigan, they’d just make me giggle.



My favorite designer probably of all time. Mr. All-American.

Polo Ralph Lauren, Look #9

















I have a serape sweater on my ‘To Buy’ list this fall and of course it has to be a Ralph Lauren because only he gets how to do it right from the colors, to pattern, to details like the buttons. I’d wear this constantly, with such great pride and pair it with just about anything.  Nothing to me is more iconic and more noble than the West and its motifs. And no one does it better than RL.



 I am still trying to find out a way to marry Tom Ford. So is the rest of America. Male and female. 

Tom Ford, Look #20

















It might be a stretch for this curvy girl to again, fit in to a dress this straight up and down but as the heavens are my witness, I would try. I’d wear this dress clubbin’, though I am no ‘clubber’–but  I would probably take up nightly clubbin’ if I had this little frock to wear out. What’s it all mean? Well, enter Jay-Z where he not only dedicated an entire track to Ford on the album, he repeatedly raps his name in the chorus. The stand out line of the song is, of course, the quip “I don’t pop Molly / I rock Tom Ford”, referring to the fact Jay-Z doesn’t dabble in ecstasy; he gets his kicks from wearing Ford.  So Tom made this in honor of the rapper. I couldn’t agree more: I don’t pop Molly but listen,  I could, I swear if I had the chance, rock Tom Ford.


I love walking in our Charlotte Hermes store and taking a long, deep inhale. All that leather gives me a nice, stoner high. And don’t get me going on the clothes.

Hermes Look #36

















Channeling Bianca Jagger in the ’70′s wearing her Halston at CBGB, this cream pantsuit from Hermes screams louche.  It also rather reminds me of Lauren Hutton–both of these women oozing femininity in two completely different ways. The older I get the more I think about the one, two punch of a cream blazer and smoking pants and I suspect before I hit the next decade, I’ll have one hanging in my closet to wear till I’m 97. I could only hope it’d be Hermes. Can you imagine?


The epitome of youthful cool, Alexander Wang can dress me any day. I own a pair of his heels and they are the most spectacularly engineered footwear I own. They’re art for the foot. His designs always seem appropriate surrounded by concrete–read: urban. 

Alexander Wang, Look #15


















I picked this look because it’s a silhouette I wear often in the winter: shorter skirt, turtleneck and boots. It suits my lifestyle and figure. I’m mad for the over the knee boots here ( a huge trend this year) and I love how cozy that sweater looks.  The blue in it makes me happy but I like too, there’s some gray and black. What’s winter without gray and black–a must for me. The blue just gives it a good pop. I could see myself wearing this on casual Friday and just feeling right in it. Not too much, not too little. But completely edgy and utterly fabulous for a trip to Target, right?



Prada is often an enigma to me. I love it but am often confounded how to wear it with confidence. All those clashing colors and fabrics, textures and patterns send me in to some other dimensional sensory overload. Still, drawn like a moth to the flame, I find myself always checking in each season to see what fantasmagoric magic Miuccia Prada has spun from her savant mind. 

Prada, Look #14 

















I’m a product of the ’70′s and ’80′s–you know–the shoes match the dress, matches the bag and the nail polish. It has taken years of deprogramming to come to the conclusion that not everything we wear at one time has to make complete sense. It’s ok to inject something ever so slightly dissonant so as not to be utterly predictable and perfect–the ‘keep ‘em guessing’ mentality.   Miuccia Prada has spent her design career cajoling us in to glorious confusion with wildly clashing prints and patterns, almost grandma-like bejeweled dresses and coats and the craziest shoes. I’m finally ok with all this schizophrenic activity, in fact I’m starting to empathize with it, recently wearing a Collection J Crew striped midi pencil skirt with a  Marc Jacobs Spring ’14 red jungle print top. It was a bold move for me but I’ve never felt more chic or pleased with the clashing outcome.  I love this dress above,  and would select it for several reasons: one, I’m looking for a shirtdress for Fall to define my wardrobe,  two, I love the colors in this (they are stunning with glossy black boots) and three, the art deco pattern reminds me of Sonia Delaunay, an artist whose round, colorful circles and half circles were shockingly modern for her time. (She was born in 1885 and died in 1979, google her art–so completely hip for a woman born in the Ukraine!) I would wear this dress constantly, once the weather started to turn chilly, even so much as pairing it with a cashmere turtleneck and a Tory Burch black shearling vest I own that goes to my knees. I might feel a little Dr Zhivago in it, with the shearling vest and boots, Da? Vodka anyone?



There you go. There’s my dream closet for Fall ’14. Just a little bit of this and a little bit of that, of course. 





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A Changing of the Guard at LV Ushers a Replacement for Marc Jacobs






Regarding the inaugural Fall 2014 runway show for Louis Vuitton:

“There was a tender typewritten note from Nicolas Ghesquière on every seat at his first show for Louis Vuitton this morning. “Today is a new day. A big day…Words cannot express exactly how I am feeling at this moment…Above all, immense joy.” Emotions were high in the crowd, too. Few designers are as beloved, respected, or copied as Ghesquière is, and he’s been off the scene and badly missed since his departure from Balenciaga a year and a half ago.”


Marc Jacobs has left the house. Literally.

This is in no way news.  Marc’s last collection for the big, no, ginormously gigantic fashion megopolis was Spring ’14 (below)  where he sent us to a dark carnival, complete with references to his early glory days when he enlisted Stephen Sprouse to graffiti-up those stuffy LV monogram bags, as much as telling us that luxury and street could and should co-exist nicely, thank you very much.

LUX_5985.450x675 LUX_5993.450x675 LUX_6046.450x675 LUX_6402.450x675 LUX_6458.450x675












































































Jacobs decided that he wanted to focus on his own label exclusively and so he left us all wondering how any one could possibly follow his billion dollar (yes, billion) success at Vuitton, taking a design house that was making $20 million sixteen years ago, to a billion where it is today.

As Jacobs exited, Nicolas Ghesquiere (photo, top) was ushered in. The fashion world and the women all over who had been Jacobs’ groupies (like myself) held their collective breath, thinking Ghesquiuere had a thankless job. After all, how do you follow those Stephen Sprouse graffiti bags and clothes, Murikami cherries, Yayoi Kusama’s schizophrenic dots and everything else Vuitton became under Jacobs’ creative tenure? It’s a monumental undertaking.

Ghesquiere has risen to the challenge with grace and eloquence. Thrilling!

Giving nod to a mod ’60′s vibe but with the classicism and elegance of Vuitton, Ghesquiere tapped in to tweed and equestrian themes to boot, all of it understated, considering it is Vuitton and considering too,  what Jacobs had sent down the runway a season prior for his final collection in the spring.

All in all it was a collection that I suspect will be flying out of the stores because it is so eminently wearable. And good news- it’s a season brimming with looks that we mere mortals emulate easily and beautifully without juicy bank accounts.  Bits of it are J Crew ramped up to a certain level of luxury that’s hard to duplicate– but focus on details…a great belt, immaculate boots and a beautiful cream cashmere turtleneck with a tweed jacket. We can all do that, right?

And don’t forget to note the one earring trend in the shoot: modern to be sure but it takes someone with nerve and no OCD. –Otherwise you’re surely going to feel incomplete with two different earrings of different sizes. Your Hip Reporter’s advice–why not give it a whirl being asymmetrical…

(Photos of Fall ’14 Louis Vuitton below,  courtesy of Interview Magazine)


img-louis-vuitton_100245336134 img-louis-vuitton_100609845534 img-louis-vuitton_100627946008 img-louis-vuitton_100649597249 img-louis-vuitton_100707199339 img-louis-vuitton_100724506159 img-louis-vuitton_100744680641 img-louis-vuitton_100802293405




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The Hip Report Is Now on Instagram





















(In a 2013 Fall/Winter Marc Jacobs Optic Dress, taken at Capitol in Charlotte, NC)



I was recently urged by my son who manages the logistics of my blog, that I need to get The Hip Report on Instagram and document life as I see it, with my aesthetic.

I think social media is both a blessing and a curse; there’s nothing else to say. It’s all been said on that hot topic.

So know that I open my account to the world with trepidation. However, I just started following Tory Burch on Instagram with her posts being by far my favorite of all my Instagram contacts.  She gives me peek in to her world which is incredible:  lighthearted, busy, creative and colorful.  Tory is great inspiration for my own Instagram postings so I decided to run with it and give it a whirl.




















(A recent Instagram posting from Tory Burch)


The Hip Report Instagram can be found at PANUB2 if you’re interested in following all that I see, of course with my own spin of humor and curiosity. I’m based in Charlotte, North Carolina, a pretty magnificent place to live with the mountains only an hour and a half west and the ocean to our east, about three hours.  So if you don’t live in the South, you’ll get a glimpse in to life here which is in my mind, pretty perfect.

And of course you know I’ll document fashion and beautiful things.  Come on, that goes without saying.


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Are You Game for the One Earring Trend?














I was visiting Atlanta recently, a fun weekend trip to Buckhead to relax and shop.  My visit turned a bit sour to say the least when I returned home to discover as I was unpacking, that I had lost a cherished CHANEL CC earring–my favorite–at the hotel.

If I even think about it now, I get a pit in my stomach.  I don’t have a splendid jewelry collection, instead my husband and I made the decision to purchase a business with any extra monies we had saved through the decades of our marriage.  But along the way, I had managed to collect a few pieces of CHANEL that I adore.

My sad loss turned hopeful when I started noticing the one earring trend. (above, Louis Vuitton)  Now I could still get use out of that one beautiful earring that remained and be au courant.  For Fall, I will be rocking my one CC earring with a single Diamonds by the Yard Elsa Peretti stud in the other ear. I expect to be stopped by those not privy to the latest one earring trend and my intentions and have them say something like this: “You know you have two different earrings in?”

At that point, I’ll know they just don’t read The Hip Report.

Louis Vuitton, Celine, Isabel Marant and Cushnie et Ochs have sent models down the runway for Fall ’14 wearing one large statement earring.  It might be something for the rest of us to get used to but I love the art school, youthful look of it.


Louis Vuitton

Louis Vuitton




































Cushnie et Ochs

Cushnie et Ochs


















Even Dior sent those double sided pearls down in Spring 2014–those infamous double-sided pearls I noted Tory Burch wearing on her visit to Charlotte.  She was wearing two but wearing one is encouraged if you’re to take a runway trend literally.

The best way to wear one earring is your choice:  a large statement or luxury earring– or a smaller designer earring complimented by a stud in the other ear. You might feel off-kilter the first time you do it but in your circle of influence, you could start your own trademark and inspire those around you to embrace this runway trend.

Here follow some red carpet photos of the perennially stylish Emma Watson working her one earring look.  Inspiration indeed.

(Photos courtesy of and Teen Vogue) 
































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Fall Wish List: A Mash-Up of the Season’s Great Trends and Classics





In a few short weeks, we will turn the calendar page to September.  Here in South Carolina, that really only means more humidity, more sweet tea and more weekend jaunts to the Blue Ridge mountains for refreshment or to the beach for ocean breezes.

But by the end of September, early October, we will be feeling cooler nights and the itch to wear our riding boots and a jaunty blazer. We will be wishing for more cashmere in our closet and yet another new pair of boots that will define winter 2014. (Despite the many other pairs we already own!)

I always start to get excited about my fall wardrobe around the end of July. Summer sales at Marc Jacobs, Net-a-Porter, Tory Burch and J Crew have usually netted me an inexpensive ‘score’ on summer fare I will enjoy mostly next year.  About now I slowly, slowly start to crave the richer colors of fall and the timeless look of a well-made pea coat paired with the coziness of a cashmere turtleneck underneath.

When my August Vogue rolls in, the horses are out of the gate, so to speak and I am ready to dig in and be inspired by it’s pages filled with Fall trends I start to mentally edit for my own life and needs.  I actually love to edit as it allows me to build a tight narrative for my wardrobe, which is very, very important to me.  For a short time in my life, money was  not as strongly an issue as it is now and at one point,  I could afford some real luxury labels:  Ralph Lauren Black Label, Cavalli and Gucci.  But life circumstances have once again brought me back to a place of frugality and extreme editing. And even though it is not ok, it’s still ok. Because what I pick now is so carefully thought out and considered,  I make very few mistakes and I end up with wardrobe options that serve me well.


Rustle Up Some Western Wear

Blake Lively is on the cover of the August Vogue and the moment I saw it and the feature on her in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, wearing Western-inspired looks, I was lassoed and done for.  The cover has her wearing Ralph Lauren and I need no more inspiration for my own closet.  The article featured clothes I covet ’till I break out in a sweat,  by stunning photography courtesy of Mario Testino:
















Listen, if this doesn’t get your blood racing for a few Western pieces to inject into your life, no matter where you live, I am at a loss.

So first on my shopping list is Western- inspired wear. And call me a label snob, it has to be from my man Ralph. His pieces always have that provenance and authenticity that doesn’t make me feel like a poser.















I have the Ralph Lauren Blue Label cashmere sweater, above from Fall 2012. I fell in love with its Navajo inspired theme and bold colors.  To this day, it is one of my most treasured pieces and although not something I can wear every day, I look forward to wearing to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, a destination in my future. Talk about Western wear done right!

I have hopes high that as his Fall looks for Blue Label are unveiled, I will find a perfect serape blanket sweater like the one Clotilde wore in a Ralph Lauren print campaign back in the 80′s, below.  It’s profound how stylish that looks today, some thirty years later.  I was in college when this ad came out.  It ended up on my the walls of my sorority room.























If  you love this look and plan to emulate, don’t forget the concho belt.  Of course my favorite are Ralph Lauren.  They are investment pieces you will hand down to the next generation.


























I found the  RL Denim and Supply serape sweater (above) available for $125 now at:
















I’m also nuts for Ralph Lauren’s Blue Label Plaid Cashmere Wool Maxi dress, above.


I love the sophistication of the plaid and the full skirt cinched with a Western tooled leather Ralph Lauren belt I own would be gorgeous.  And comfy.  I’d pick this over wearing jeans any day.  So much more cozy, flattering to girls like me with bigger hips and thighs –and really, so much more of a statement.  Retailing at $798, I will definitely be waiting for it to go on sale and when it does, my Atlanta Ralph Lauren sales associate, Kirkland, will be getting a call and he’ll hook me up.



Channel Your Inner Boho by Traveling ‘Round the World and While You’re at It, Go Preppy and Equestrian Too 















Tory Burch’s Fall 2014 Collection is simply fantastic.  She takes us to Scotland with old world tapestries and ghillies,  by way of Japanese-inspired prints and equestrian motifs too, if you can believe that crazy mash-up. But it works and it’s full of embellishment taken to a sophisticated extreme, especially by Tory standards.

Some highlights from her Fall runway show:





























































































































Perusing her fall collection,  I have selected 90% for my own closet.  Sadly, with Tory Burch prices, that will not be of course.  So for now, I have whittled my selection down to three things…for now.

















I have pre ordered the Cora dress above, inspired by an antique Japanese bookplate. Menswear in feel, I will wear it as shown online, with black tights, black boots–even a black turtleneck and a totally chic looped inky black yak-like Tory vest that goes down to my knees from years back– before the masses were thronging to have Ms. Burch dress them. Or I will pair it with my Michael Kors leather moto jacket.

At $450, this was an investment piece to be sure but one I think will get a lot of wear on cold winter days when I just don’t feel like being bound by jeans. You may pre order here:


And lest you think the embellished look for Fall begins and ends with Tory Burch, check out Mary Katrantzou’s Fall 2014 Collection wildly opulent–a feast for the eyes.














































































































The Tory Burch Frances Loafer, below, captured my flight of preppy fancy:



















With stock running low online, I jumped quickly and am pleased I did. It has a nice but comfortable heel to it, giving me a lift I need.  I love the sporty white sole and grosgrain trim and in a black and navy leather combo, it will go with so much.  It’s a really neat shoe that will look good without socks, paired with my boyfriend jeans rolled up, exposing some ankle and with my much-loved  J Crew Schoolboy blazers, in both navy and black, below.




















In taking stock of my winter boots, I decided a few weeks back that I am good to go when it comes to my boot situation. I have plenty of Tory Burch boots to carry me through a (mild) South Carolina winter. They are all so cool, so equestrian in feel, I probably should be showing horses in them.  I love all my Tory boots.

But I when laid my eyes upon her over the knee boots that were in many runway looks for Fall, I was in a quandary and flustered because I don’t have an over the knee boot and they would look so modern with a lot of my winter pieces. So here I go again…another winter where I have to budget like a fiend for the next months, to get those covetable boots.

Grrrr. I swear, fashion has me coming and going.  But what can I do? I love the art of it all. Below is the Simone over the knee boot for $525.  Available at Tory Burch online, Nordstroms and Tory Burch boutiques nationwide.




















Fall Can’t Be Fall Without J Crew, Right? 















I found the other day at my Charlotte J Crew, the most sublime gingham checked shirt to help me transition painlessly in to Fall.

Called the Gingham Utility Shirt, woven in a cotton and linen blend, it felt delicious to the touch and was perfectly rumpled with a louche but sexy look to it. I pictured it with white jeans and a pair of Tory Burch orange suede driver mocs I have and topped with a slouchy cardi or that J Crew Schoolboy blazer in navy I wear constantly in cooler months.

Here’s the link so you can snag your own. Available in navy (preferred by your Hip Reporter) and other colors.

It is definitely on my hit list and will be a classic piece to add to my preppy/boho little closet.  And other than Ralph Lauren, no one does cool preppy like J Crew. And sometimes J Crew does it a little better than Ralph because Jenna Lyons, Creative Director for J Crew, has us all mixing it up in the strangest but most perfect of ways.  (Oh she of camo and ball gowns…)



Rag and Bone Classic Newbury













Lauded as the shoe of every cool girl from LA to NYC, Rag and Bone’s Classic Newbury has earned its fashion chops. Year after year, these shoes are introduced to a rabid following and sold out in no time.

They come in a variety of colors and leathers, even fabric for summer months.  All I know is that I tried one on yesterday at Nordies and it felt like a puff of air on. Incredible.  They were definitely foot friendly and were something I could walk in without pain for an afternoon out.  The heel comes in at 3 inches, perfectly doable and so flattering to us girls who are just a touch height-challenged.

Knock offs abound but if you can swing a real pair of Newbury’s you’ll be rewarded with a shoe that will last for a long time and wear beautifully into a hip, rich patina.

I decided this is the year to get my own pair of Newburys.  I am tucking money away for them as I compose my blog.  The $525 price tag is steep for an ankle boot but someone help me, I love them and want a pair.

Available at finer department stores nationwide, Neimans, Saks, Nordstroms and at Rag and Bone’s website.




And in the ‘A Girl Can Wish’ Category, Burberry Sends Me Dreaming
















The latest fall trend that is such a ‘must have’ and a real standout is the blanket as coat look.  Visit the Daily Mail’s website for a great little article all about it:

Christopher Bailey of Burberry did such a wildly artistic Fall collection, above, for the company’s Prorsum line, it got my attention immediately and flip if I wish I could figure out how to convince my husband I need one of these blanket ponchos Bailey’s hawking, below.













This was the final look for the Prorsum Fall runway show, with ‘it’ model of the moment, Cara Delevigne leading the line of  models  swathed in them, stoic faces but surely smug knowing they were wearing something we all want and want now.

I can’t think of a better idea than wrapping myself in a cozy blanket on a fall day and feeling safe and warm. I am positively nuts about this piece and I can’t stop thinking about it.  For a mere $1395, it could be mine. Big sigh.

Olivia Palermo has been spotted wearing hers already (in the summer, with shorts of all things), monogrammed as Cara’s was on the runway. The font for the monogram is just perfectly beautiful on the piece. The fashion powers that be could not have selected a better font.





















Really, the entire Prorsum Fall Collection was a stunner.  And completely, wildly artistic and creative which is a real credit to Bailey.  It’s got to be a challenge to take this old, iconic Burberry name and wig it up a bit (to say the least) so it stays relevant and desirable. But did he ever.










































































































Dresses in the collection had an easy shape and flow and looked  hand painted in bold, simple strokes with a flower theme prevalent throughout. A hand painted sheepskin coat (Blake Lively is actually shown wearing it in Wyoming, above) is a piece of wearable art, available for $10,000.

Huge Burberry Bowler Bags were hand painted too, whimsical and wild, a far cry from the proper Burberry plaid we often see on bags.
























They were also mish-mashed with fabric that was so Navajo blanket feeling you’d almost swear Bailey had pilfered them from the Ralph Lauren showroom.  Utterly gorgeous. Below, Christopher Bailey poses with the blanket ponchos of the year and those stunning Navajo Bowler Bags.


















Please, visit the Burberry website for a look at a collection that will go down as one of Bailey’s most fanciful, artistic and best:


As Fall draws closer, your Hip Reporter urges you not to run out willy nilly to the retail destination of your choice at the peril of making questionable choices just to fill your closet.  Rather, draw up a list of looks you’d love to have for a Fall update that will  add to and enhance what you already have. Imagine yourself as a lead character in a story and how you’d want to look as you set the tone and mood of your life and how you live it out. I do that every time I go out. Who do I want to be today?

You’ll make fewer mistakes and you’ll have a wardrobe that has pops of real greatness and harmony–and of course high and low and classic and trendy–which is what it’s all about. Pick that one great piece for fall and then build around it.

It’s a formula that works. Have fun Fall shopping.





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Louboutin’s Latest














I approach the Christian Louboutin shoe display at my local Neiman Marcus with the same attitude I’d have going in a night club.  (And know that I don’t frequent night clubs.)  That is, I’d go in skeptical and stressed and I’d come out overstimulated, skeptical and stressed.

Oh I know, I know, for many women the pinnacle of sexiness and success is nailing a pair of very expensive Louboutins to take home and cherish for years to come. Those red soles to many women the world over are the penultimate of supreme style and epic good taste.

Except when you are talking to this girl.

Christian Louboutin reminds me of a circus barker He asks you to step up and revel in his oddities, be mystified by them, become entranced by their potent spell and promises, then shell over your hard earned shillings to be a part of the magnificent wonder of it all.


W.C. Fields as a carny. Which pretty much reminds me of C Louboutin.

W.C. Fields as a carny. Which pretty much reminds me of C Louboutin.




















The problem is, for every beautiful pair of Louboutins and don’t get me wrong, there are some very beautiful pairs out there, (he does an amazing nude peep toe and a gorgeous, timeless black pump that you simply can’t beat), there are the ‘bearded ladies’ of his collections he’s most famous for,  that are dreadful. –With a captial D.




Yes, she wears Louboutins.













If you don't love your feet, you do this to them.

If you don’t love your feet, you do this to them.














If you're a Kardashian or Real Housewife of Beverly Hills, you do this to them.

If you’re a Kardashian or Real Housewife of Beverly Hills, you do this to them.














If you're Victoria Beckham, you wear these. Then, slowly over time, something bad starts to on...

If you’re Victoria Beckham, you wear these. Then, slowly over time, something bad starts to happen…read on…
















Perhaps surfing the web for photos of starlets feet after years of high heels will win you to my side….



Everything looks perfect until....

Everything looks perfect until…
 see the feet her Louboutins and other heels have molded in to a mangled mess.

…you see the feet her Louboutins and other heels have molded in to a mangled mess.


































If we are to be honest with ourselves, fashion can render us shells of our normally wise selves. In the quest to be attractive, desirable and of the moment, we can slink shamelessly in to being gullible victims. Louboutin has created legions of women who have drunk the ugly shoe Kool Aid.

His circus-like fetish shoes have left women’s feet mangled; he’s made them look like Christian Grey has requested a ‘meeting’ with them in The Red Room of Pain, which let’s face it, is tacky and dumb.  Louboutin has demanded a very, very expensive entrance fee to his footwear circus: our money and our feet’s health.

As if the world of Christian Louboutin couldn’t get any more ridiculous, the cobbler has released a line of nail polishes that of course, will compliment his nutty shoes.





Louboutin has created Rouge Noir,  hailed as the most luxurious nail polish on the market inspired by the  luxury of Chinese or Japanese lacquer which is notoriously rich, deep and extremely long-lasting.

WWD (Women’s Wear Daily) says of the new product:


“At $50 for a bottle of polish and $55 for the necessary care kit, Louboutin’s nail enamel is not for the budget shopper. The brand will be marketed as a genuine luxury experience, with what executives say is the highest percentage of pigment in the industry and an eye-catching bottle and wandlike cap that looks like it would be more at home in an art gallery than on a dressing table. The 16-faceted bottle, produced by Pochet, has its edges smoothed with a hand-held flame. Likewise, the little box container is also made by hand. Roggero said it takes 22 weeks to make each piece.

Louboutin’s final design consists of basic forms: a faceted glass base incorporating square and round shapes, plus a spirelike cap evoking a finial on a building — or a cone-shaped heel. “I wanted the color to be almost frozen in a pack of glass,” he said. “It’s actually a very classical bottle.”


Attention to packaging detail is hard to deny. The underside of the cap is colored in signature red, just like the soles of his shoes. Incidentally, if you haven’t heard the story about the red soles of his shoes, Louboutin was not happy, when during his third collection, the shoes were not turning out as colorful as he’d hoped. In frustration, he grabbed a bottle of nail polish from an assistant, painted the soles red (to the assistant’s howling dismay)–and voila! The red soles were born.

The choice is yours: $50 dollar Louboutin nail polish to go with those bigger-than-life Louboutin shoes–or your summer flip flops– or you can just walk away, grab a bottle of OPI in your favorite color and figure that the $42 dollars you saved can be put toward something well, a little less silly.

 ***As a post script–this nail polish has been rumored to be completely sold out as of mid August.                I can’t stop rolling my eyes. 


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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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