By Maureen Mancini Amaturo

The only thing more exciting than the countdown to the 12-o’clock kiss is the outfit you wear. New Year’s Eve is a go-big-or-go-home fashion adventure. It’s the night when you can pull put all the stops. For December 31, 2017, festive means sparkle — metallic, crystals, glitter, sequins. If you can’t bring yourself to slip into sequins, then grab a glitter eye shadow or glimmering accessory. Wear sparkle somewhere.

The Dressing

Sparkle doesn’t mean expensive. There are great options at the fast-fashion capitals, like Forever 21, Marshalls, and T.J. Maxx. Don’t forget Rent the Runway ( Check out the Cynthia Rowley Rainbow Sequin Mod Shift Dress, which retails for $448, but the rent-to-wear price is $50-$80. Pair this dress with an ankle-strapped, high-heeled sandal, and you <are> the party.

Prefer pants? Try metallic jacquard slim-leg or sequined jogger pants. Check out what Michael Kors and Tahari are offering at Macy’s. If you’re wearing sparkle bottoms, keep it low-key on top, and vice versa, i.e. a twinkling top, blazer with bling, or sequined bomber jacket, try a velvet (or denim) pencil skirt or pants.

Sparkle phobia?

All is not lost. Alternate top party picks are:

• Velvet, especially in rich, jewel tones

• A jumpsuit, the No. 1 alternative to a party dress this year

• High-waisted pants and a silky or satin blouse–both fabrics have a sheen for a subdued shine factor.

• Pencil skirt in velvet or lace •Colorful faux fur jacket — in the same color as your dress for monochrome elegance, for a more casual look, with denim. If you want to dress to thrill, and you really mean it, try a multi-colored faux fur coat. For show-stopping chic, wear white faux fur over a white dress or white pants and a white blouse.

New Year’s Eve Accessories

• Swarovski jewelry: add a crystal cuff bracelet or clear choker so even if you’re wearing a classic LBD, your sparkle stands out.

• Sequined clutch/wristlet

• Glitter ankle boots, great with slim-leg velvet or denim pants

• Glitter makeup (Eyes: Stila Glitter & Glow Liquid Eye Shadow, Physicians Formula Shimmer Strips. Lips: L’Oreal INFALLIBLE PAINT Metallics, Kat Von D Everlasting Glimmer Veil Liquid Lipstick)

• Dramatic drop earrings

• Embellished headband, with stones, flowers, beads.

Picture Perfect

Holidays and special events are big photo ops. You want to look great for posterity, right? These tips can help you ace picture-taking.

Some colors photograph better than others. Lee Eiseman, the Executive Director at Pantone Color Institute and author of the new book, “The Complete Color Harmony, Pantone Edition”, says, “Solid colors are always best, as opposed to patterns. Very pale pastels and whites can make the subject looked washed-out. However, color in makeup can help considerably. Cameras sometimes have difficulty adjusting between very bright contrasts, so it’s best to keep brights as solid pieces, as opposed to separates.”

Eiseman’s options? “The best colors are deep reds, teals/turquoises, and other shades in the blue-green family (the most universally flattering family of all colors). Rich and deeper greens, purples, and blue are all good. If a neutral is preferred, gray is the best, even better than black. Earthy and warm browns are good. Black and white together can offer too much contrast as well. Mid-tone or more vibrant rose-pink tones and corals are flattering.”

As for a striking pose, try the celebrities’ trick. To create the illusion of longer legs, lean back and extend you’re your legs instead of standing straight. Cross them for a narrower silhouette (to look thinner).

Happy 2018. As John Lennon said, “Well, we all shine on.”


Matte silver sequined Norma Kamali top at Great Stuff

Glittering clutches at Clutch

Navy paillette camisole at Angela’s

Silver and white paillette jumpsuit at Angela’s

Rose glitter boots by Dirty Laundry at Marshalls

Sequin and metallic thread tops at Clutch





By Maureen Mancini Amaturo


(Pullquotes, if room)



Sophia Loren

<“Sex appeal is fifty percent what you’ve got and fifty percent what people think you’ve got.” >

­–Sophia Loren



Elsa Schiaparelli


<“In difficult times, fashion is always outrageous.”>

–Elsa Schiaparelli 



The trademark of French street style is a scarf. But for the donna Italiana, style goes deeper. Italian women dress from the inside out. You see their soul, their dreams, their passions, pride, temperament, temper, and fantasies in what they wear even to the market. Like talking with their hands, a chic fashion sense seems to be an Italian trait. And ever since Julius Caesar’s third wife, Calpurnia, bloused her toga by pulling it up over a rope belt and pinning it with a gold broach for her husband’s birthday party, Italian women have been the benchmark of impeccable style.  


What’s their secret? Here are some style fundamentals that Italian women have up their well-tailored sleeves that non-Italians can adopt, even on a budget. 


The Big Picture


• Quality. No need to have an entire famous-label wardrobe. Invest in one designer piece, one statement-making, luxury item that will last. Build outfits around it. Quality fabrics, quality tailoring, quality fit.  



 The bag, the heels, the attitude


• Don’t save your “good” clothes for special occasions. For Italians, every day is special. Italian women will wear a luxury piece to walk the dog. 


• Attitude. To look like an Italian fashion icon, you have to feel like one. An air of seduction, strength, and mystery works.


And Now the Specifics…



Italian street style printed coat and heels.


• Know your body and what accents your best features. Fitted silhouettes are a staple of Italian style–slim-fit jeans, tight tops and dresses. Choose figure-flattering pieces that highlight your arms, waist, legs, neckline…whatever is your best body part. You’ll feel confident and look confident. Attitude, remember?


• Dark blue, gray, or black jeans, preferably in a slim-cut or cut that flatters your figure. Choose a length that works with heels or flats.




The perfect jean accenting the legs with high-heeled booties  


•Pencil skirts and fitted dresses. Your body type and height will determine what length is best. No pleats. No A-lines. The la dolce vita fitted waist with flared skirt is great, but wear it with a fitted top for balance and to create an hourglass figure.


• Add a jacket to your look. Leather jackets are <so> with Italian women, too. Current street trend in Milan: tailored knee-length and long, duster coats in bright colors and prints.


• Red lipstick.  Even if you’re wearing jeans and a white tee, the drama and confidence of red lips elevates everything. Know whether you’re cool (yellow-undertone) or warm (blue-undertone) to find your perfect red.


• A truly statement-making necklace. Italian businesswomen will always stand out at a meeting or at a black-tie event with this one stunning accessory. 


• High-heeled leather shoes and boots worn with everything. If you must, chic flats are fine, but scruffy-looking footwear, flip-flops, and crocs are taboo.  


• A great handbag. Any size. Any color. Make it leather, make it quality.


• As figure-conscious as Italian style is, it is not about baring too much. Mystery is a big part of their seductive fashion. 


• Sunglasses, as if this is a surprise. Nothing punctuates Italian style more than designer shades, even on a cloudy day. 


Try out your Italian style. You haven’t lived la vita di moda until you’ve walked a mile in Giuseppe Zanotti’s shoes (and the perfect outfit to go with them).















By Maureen Mancini Amaturo

The biggest aww-factor with childrens’ clothes is that they are miniature versions of big-people fashion. Just think about those tiny construction boots, the mini glitter sneakers. So, if you’re looking to dress the kiddies in the trendiest holiday looks, all you have to do is find the small version of the big trends: velvet, embroidery, sparkle, colorful faux fur, denim, and red.


That said, the extra kick with kids’ clothes is that nostalgia can really up the adorable factor. Traditional prints – plaid, Nordic/Arctic patterns, buffalo check, and prairie or Victorian florals on flannel – turn little girls into real-life American Girl Dolls and little boys into animated teddy bears.


If buying gifts for the under-10 set, boys usually love fan gear (and you can get great buys at Marshalls or T.J.Maxx on NFL, NHL, NBA, and MLB wear). You can’t go wrong with character-inspired tees, gloves, and hats –from Marvel superheroes to Minecraft, and Lego. Girls are likely to imitate older sisters, mom, and their Disney Channel idols. Styles for the 5- to 12-year-old set are as sophisticated as trendy teen looks.


On Fashion’s Holiday Nice List


<For Girls>

• Velvet dress with sparkles or rhinestone/crystal accents

• Faux-fur trimmed jacket or dress

• Sequined skater skirt

• Red, white, and black print leggings under a red dress. Preferably with interesting sleeves, like a bell or ruffle

• Traditional red plaid skirt paired with a black mini moto jacket


<For Boys>

• Denim shirt paired with a plaid bow tie

• Red jeans

• Black jeans, red plaid vest, white shirt, and red sneakers (red sneakers take this look to a new level.)

• Buffalo check

• Velvet blazer paired with black jeans.

• Thick, shawl-collared sweater, instead of a blazer, with a dress shirt and tie. For a classic look, pair with dress pants.


And Don’t Forget Pajamas


Everyone loves cuddling in special holiday pajamas on Christmas Eve. The styles are getting more and more clever each year.


Cozy, warm buffalo check one-piece at Kohl’s

Fire chief themed pajamas that can double as a costume at Kohl’s.

Florence Eiseman plaid bow ties at Hoagland’s in Greenwich

Miss Behave brocade dress under rose gold faux leather jacket from Splendid at Hoagland’s


Zoe Ltd. organza and satin dress, a new take on the traditional black watch plaid, at Hoagland’s

For boys, shirts that feature red in a hip way. Pair with black jeans.

Silvian Heach navy faux fur jacket for girls

Alternate to traditional black watch plaid in organza and satin by Zoe Ltd.

Florence Eiseman plaid bow ties, Raguzzo white shirt to pair with jeans for boys

Colorful faux fur hair pompoms

Miss Behave brocade dress, rose gold faux leather jacket by Splendid, faux fur mini backpack

Billieblush navy tulle dress with neon faux fur pompoms

Billieblush tulle sparkle skirt with matching top (sold separately) with faux fur and charm details



By Maureen Mancini Amaturo


Speaking of Fall Fashion…


Fall ’17 fashion can be described in one word: FUN. It’s all about details, bright color, creativity, sensual fabrics. “Texture. Update to a velvet blazer this season,” says Hayden Maitre, manager of Great Stuff. “It’s all about the sleeve details — smocking, fringe. I’m seeing lots of camo in shades of green. And fur trims and touches, faux and real. And lots of velvet.” Here are only a few of the trends everyone is talking about.  


<<<Red>>>If you add only one color to your closet for fall, make it red. Dramatic and classic, professional and playful. It adds pop in small doses or makes a statement as a jacket or boot choice.  


<<<Statement Sleeves>>> If you haven’t added a statement-sleeve something to your wardrobe yet, I’d be surprised. This will be an easy find as you shop for updates. 


<<<Classic Jeans>>> Higher waist rather than low-rise. Straight leg. Unfinished hems — with a fringe look — and deconstructed bottoms. “The trend is less rips, a cleaner jean with all the focus on the hem. Jeans with definition at the bottom,” says jeans expert Sheryl Blit, at Havana Jeans. “Mid-rise is very popular. It’s about comfort, comfort, comfort. Also, we’re seeing lots of velvet and stars on everything.”  


<<<Metallic>>> Not just for parties anymore. How do you not feel great in something shiny? Pair metallic with toned-down pieces, i.e, a metallic skirt with a wool blazer, metallic tank beneath a velvet or denim jacket, a metallic sweater with jeans. Too shy to shine? Try a silver clutch or scarf or metallic gold sneakers. Metallic is going to the office, too. 


<<<Luxe Looks>>> Rich, soft textures shearling, chenille, velour, and the No. 1 for fall, velvet. “Velvet shoes, dresses, tops, and anything with burn-out detail,” Melissa Mor, buyer at Angela’s said. Velvet shoes, bombers, tops, blazers, handbags, and anything that can possibly be made from velvet will freshen your fall look. Luxury looks, including leather, are big for the office.



 “Definitely seeing lots of fringe in suede, cashmere, ponchos, everywhere,” says Caroline Schneider at Lola. You’ll find it on fall jackets,  tops, dresses, belts, and handbags will be fringed-out, too. As if fringe isn’t fun to wear on anything.


<<<Feathers>>> This trend was all over the fall runways. Rock feathers on shoes, trimming sweaters, tops, dresses, and more. This might be even more fun than fringe.


<<<The Visible Zipper>>> Like it or not, this detail is not going away just yet. The good news, zippers are being designed to look more interesting and funky and less utilitarian. 


<<<Anything Space-Themed>>> “We’re seeing stars everywhere from high-end designers to active wear,” says Melissa Mor. As fall prints go, this theme eclipses the ever-trendy polka dots and florals. Moon, galaxy images, and especially stars are hot.  


<<<A Flattering Belt>> Wide, waist-cinching, ornamented belts are updating sweaters, classic white button-downs, and maxi dresses. 



<<In the Shoe Department>>


Cheryl Zeitlin, manager of Shoes ‘N More says, “Slip-ons are still very big, and heels are shorter and wider. Details, embellished heels, and fur touches, on shoes. Suede is still very big.” A few of the newest fall footwear trends to watch:


<<Crisp white boots>>> Yep, white. Bright white combat, lace-up, or patent leather. Forget Nancy Sinatra’s go-go boots. Think Ashley Olsen’s lace-up version from “The Row”. Wear them any way you’d wear your black boots, but these are a lot more fun.


<<<Embellished Heels>>> Beaded, printed, embroidered, or metallic heels. Best with a clean look, like jeans, a black skirt, a tailored blazer to keep the eye on the heel. A heel with personality shouldn’t fight with the rest of your outfit for the spotlight. It’s meant to be noticed.

<<<Textural Details and Materials>>> Suede, velvet, shearling. Fur as trim or for the body of the shoe. 

Crop, flared leather star-print jeans at Angela's    

Denim jacket with star-design sleeve at Great Stuff    

Lots of fringe at Lola

Fur-trimmed jacket at Great Stuff

Accessories with a metallic touch at Angela’s

Red suede jacket with fringe and red clutch at Lola


By Maureen Mancini Amaturo

You can go with one of the top holiday fashion trends — metallic, sparkle, jewel-tone velvet, lace, and the eternally perfect little black dress, or, you can try something different this December. By different, I mean denim, dressed up in ways you might not try January through November (though you probably should). And when it comes to styling a show-stopping but comfortable festive look with denim, let me count the ways.


Denim is Fun, Funky, and Functional, as well as Fundamental to every wardrobe. You likely already have favorite jeans. Isn’t it a relief to know you can take the jeans you love, and with a few unexpected touches, make partygoers evergreen with envy?  



Putting together an outfit is all about creativity and personal expression, and holidays give you carte blanche when it comes to extreme styling. So if you’ve never thought of pairing something unexpected with denim, now is the time. Here are a few ideas to take denim up a few decibels.


• Slip on a satin slip dress or velvet pencil skirt and throw on a denim jacket. Add a statement pin to the lapel.


• Pair with bright, notice-me colors like royal blue and red, and accessorize with a sequined clutch.


• Try jeans under a high-slit dress.


• Amp up the sex appeal: jeans, plus a slinky, sexy, spaghetti strap, or sleeve-focus top.


• Pair with sleek heels and a sophisticated top.


• Choose a romantic, frilly, lace top. Add ankle boots.


• Statement coats are big. Tapestry, embroidery, folklore prints, metallic, bright, bold colors and patterns, bold-color faux fur, graphic-novel colors in vinyl or patent leather. The coat is the star, and the jeans play the perfect understudy.


• Add a bow. Use satin or metallic ribbon tied in a bow as a belt for jeans. Or top jeans with a bow-detailed blouse.


• Step into your fanciest shoes, the highest heels, or the strappiest sandals. They’ll do all the work below the ankle. Bright red stilettos or gold, pointy pumps are great choices with jeans.

<<Jean Juxtaposition>>


• Hippie bell-bottoms take on a romantic glow with a ruffled, lacy, or high-necked blouse.


• Boyfriend jeans, plus bling: Add a colorful, faux fur jacket, metallic, high-heeled sandals, and a metallic or satin top.


• A glammed-out dress over jeans is the best of both worlds.


• Jeans-with-something-more step up the game for holidays. Find a pair with embellishments or different textures.


• Jeans on the bottom, sparkly, sequined, satiny, statement jacket on top.


• Step into strappy heels if wearing cropped jeans. Add a blazer. (BTW, a white blazer is ultra chic.)


• For a funkier look, start with high-waist, skinny jeans and add a graphic or rocker tee, tuxedo jacket, and high-heeled, ankle-strapped shoes in a bold color.


Deck out your denim this holiday and take festive fashion to a new high.



White fur jacket with beading


Sequined, beaded dress


Lace, velvet, and satin heels all pair well with denim jeans.


Evening clutches


Sequined top


Velvet and rhinestone dress


*All available at Angela’s in Rye





By Maureen Mancini Amaturo


<“The best things in life are free. The second best are very expensive.”> – Coco Chanel

No style has aged better than Gabrielle “Coco” Boheur Chanel’s, who was born on August 19, 1883.

Her life was a model of independence, strength, and guts. “Trying to be a man is a waste of a woman,” she said. Not only did Chanel set the style gold standard, she was a feminist champion having lived what the suffragettes were just beginning to preach. The confidence that defined her designs defined her, too. She told a journalist, “I don’t do fashion. I am fashion.”

Chanel believed style is not what a woman wears, but who she is, and her clothes tell the world about her. For her, fashion was an art that mirrored society, emotions, and relationships. “Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening,” she said.

We know what timeless fashion is because she told us. “Fashion changes, but style endures.” Chanel’s strong opinions have remained a fashion guide for close to a century. The quotes below are among her style commandments.

• “Simplicity is the keynote of true elegance.”

Quality not quantity. Classic, understated pieces that subtly suggest excellence.


A little black dress with sheer hem at Great Stuff

• “I don’t understand how a woman can leave the house without fixing herself up a little — if only out of politeness. And then, you never know, maybe that’s the day she has a date with destiny. And it’s best to be as pretty as possible for destiny.”

What would Mademoiselle say about the pajama pants, ath-leisure wear, and naked dress trends?

“Dress shabbily and they remember the dress; dress impeccably and they remember the woman.”

Add a swipe of lipstick. Steam out those wrinkles. Don’t overlook the details.

• “A woman with good shoes is never ugly.”

No matter how simple your ensemble, great shoes will kick it up a notch. Shoes can add a strong color or pop of personality to a low-key outfit.

• “Women think of all colors except the absence of color. I have said that black has it all. White, too. Their beauty is absolute. It is the perfect harmony.”

There is no more versatile backdrop for accessories than black & white. Either extreme can be demure or dramatic. Both are eternally classics.

• “Look for the woman in the dress. If there is no woman, there is no dress.”

The length, color, print, silhouette for your figure = right dress. Don’t let your dress drown you. If you look in the mirror and see the dress before you see your face, you’re wearing the wrong outfit.

• “Fashion is architecture: it is a matter of proportions.”

Know your figure. Accentuate the positive. Invest in tailoring. Balance is everything. Too much billowy is overwhelming, and you have no shape at all. Too much tight can be tacky.

Coco Chanel was 87 when she died on January 10, 1971, but her gutsy glamour lives on. She continues to be the subject of exhibits, articles, and books. “SCOOP…” author Jeanne Mackin’s account of the feud between Chanel and Schiaparelli will be published in winter 2018. In the meantime, check out “Coco Chanel: The Legend and the Life” by Justine Picardie or “Chanel and Her World” by Edmonde Charles-Roux, two of many Chanel biographies out there. For fiction lovers, read the novel, “Mademoiselle Chanel” by C. W. Gortner.

So, on August 19, wear a little black dress, drape as many pearls around your neck as it will bear, spritz No. 5 in all the right places (according to Chanel, that would be wherever you would want to be kissed), gather your girlfriends, and celebrate Mlle. Chanel’s birthday.

Chanel mini purse at Encore Designer Consignment


Flapper elegance with multiple pearl necklaces at Great Stuff



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