I love a good find, and for those Fall evenings quickly approaching, my new go-to accessory is a Carolyn Rowan cashmere shawl. Carolyn has been in the fashion industry forever, and started her own brand of beautiful accessories that complete every outfit. She takes pride in the craftsmanship, as each piece is handmade locally, and unique. Whether it be special jeweled buttons, fur trim or fringe, these shawls, wraps, and scarfs are made to last and be worn time and time again, a true staple in your wardrobe. Carolyn is all about quality, and her product is reflective of that. Whether you have a special occasion and need to warm up your look effortlessly, or simply want to be classic, cozy and chic in your jeans, Carolyn’s newest collection is the perfect finishing touch!Read More
I was thrilled when I heard that my friend Quincy Davis, ultimate beach babe and pro surfer, opened up her own shop in Montauk. If you follow her, you know she’s always in the cutest gear and has the best selection of swimsuits and coverups in town. Her store, conveniently located next to her brother’s place, Happy Bowls, is beautifully curated with rare finds that you don’t typically see in stores on the east end. It’s the perfect little beach hut, filled with swimsuits, rash guards, sweatsuits, and beach coverups, so basically everything you need out here in the sunshine! Quincy is a true inspiration, dedicated to health, wellness, athleticism, fitness and adventure at such a young age, and now the owner of her own store. I’m excited to see what’s next for this beauty!Read More
Many years ago, I found my favorite pair of strappy sandals, that I wore summer after summer, by a designer who was unknown to me at the time. They are actually the only pair of shoes that have withstood the test of time in my closet, as they are currently still here about 7 years later! The designer was Alexandre Birman, and now the brand is back in my life collaborating with Black Iris for our Fall/Winter Look Book shoot. His shoes are unbelievably well-made, flattering, and unique. Whether it be his new Fall booties, a flat sandal, or heels for a night out, they come in an array of neutrals that go with most anything in my closet. I was thrilled and honored to have the brand participate at the annual Mama & Tata shopping event this past week at Topping Rose House, where they brought a beautiful selection of shoes to complement our new collection, and for a great cause, benefiting New York Children’s Hospitals.Read More
Starting off my Hamptons features today, and I couldn’t help but share one of my favorite new shops, Cabana, in Southampton. Julie Heller started off selling her vintage finds, and we all know how I love a good oldie. She has great taste, and always curated the best pieces, all in great condition. She’s opened up a shop where you can buy your elevated basics alongside her racks of vintage for all summer occasions. I love that I can go to her for my favorite white t-shirt, jeans or casual shirt dress, and then also find something vintage to add to the mix, and make an outfit unique and personalized. She will be having a lot of fun events throughout summer, so swing by anytime.Read More
Heather Severs, is not new to the accessories industry. Having a career in fashion publications, over a decade as the accessories director at Town & Country, she knows jewelry WELL! It is of no surprise that her longtime passion became her newest venture, creating a new line of vintage charm necklaces called Netherfield. Each necklace is special in that it’s one-of-a-kind, vintage charms are made to order depending on the tales of your life’s journey. They are the best gifts, even for yourself, as they tell a story that you can build upon each year. Today we are giving you a head start with our giveaway on Instagram. Head over to my page @mamaandtata for more details.Read More
A dear, old friend of mine, Lilly Weekes, has launched her second business with friend Elizabeth Bonner, and it’s at the top of my Mother’s Day wish list. Heritage is a fairly new jewelry brand filled with chic, classic, everyday pieces that are the perfect accent to any wardrobe. They have rings, bracelets and pendents that you will want to collect, filled with meaning and heart, encapsulating family memories and significant moments in time. Their pendents are exquisite and timeless, and look best layered or stacked. These two close friends have created something very special, and their pieces are the ultimate Mother’s Day present. I'm excited to announce I’ve partnered with them to give away one of their signature mother of pearl Mommy & Me heart necklaces for Mother’s Day. Head over to my Instagram @mamaandtata to learn how to enter!Read More
Although I’ve never needed this service for myself, I noticed that more and more women around me are hiring stylists because they have difficulty piecing outfits together for themselves. Whether it’s a matter of women in business being too busy to shop for work and events, or just needing help figuring out how to make your clothing more versatile so you wear them well, this is a service that proves very beneficial. Nicole Russo has been providing this service for many years working as a top stylist at Net-a-Porter, and is now venturing out on her own with a new business called Let’s Get You. Nicole doesn’t follow trends, rather she looks to improve upon her client’s own personal style, by helping fill in the gaps to make a cohesive, sophisticated collection to be worn many ways, many times. She is as friendly and kind as they come, and has impeccable taste, encouraging her clients to take risks in their wardrobe. In 20 minutes of looking in my closet, she was able to pull 5 looks that I would’ve never thought to combine, and I am so excited to wear them this Spring!Read More
Fashion stylist Nicole Russo recently dropped by my home in NYC to talk with me about her personal styling business Lets Get You. She was also kind enough to put together a list of her 10 Must-Have styles for Spring/Summer 2019 for me to share with my readers on Mama and Tata. You can see her list below and if you would like to learn more about her business, feel free to read the full interview here.Read More
Describe yourself in 3 words...
Mother. Art. Spirituality.
What inspired you to create Midheaven?
Midheaven was inspired by all the women I would meet who were tall like I am. It was a constant topic of conversation: jeans for tall women! "Where did you get your jeans? Ugh, I can never find them long enough...." I grew up to be very tall, very fast. I kept getting taller, and my pants kept getting shorter. I couldn't find a company out there that I could be loyal to, that would always have a selection of on-trend, beautifully made garments that were customized for women who had a taller than average frame. I really wanted to create a line of denim for others out there who cared about not only length, but who cared about fit and quality also.
Please share your launch story...
I had been marinating on the idea of creating this product for some time, when I happened to run into a neighbor of mine. We got to talking and it turned out she had been in the denim world for 30 years as a manufacturer. Her and her husband got out of the business in 2008, but still had all their contacts and offered to show me around and introduce me to their old factory, production manager and pattern maker. I started by making one pair of jeans: a mid-rise flare with a 38" inseam, something I hadn't been able to find in the right length. That pair of jeans took me 1 year to perfect, and during that year I learned as much as I could about the process of bringing a design to reality from start to finish. I kept going, and created three more styles with that particular team. During that time, I came up with the name "Midheaven," and decided to launch those four products as a small collection specifically for tall women, and advertise this would-be business on social media. We launched in January of last year and haven't looked back.
What has been the biggest help for brand exposure so far?
Instagram! What a powerful tool instagram is. We live in a world where everyone is so connected and we are able to bring forth our creations and expose those creations to a wider audience in a short period of time than was ever possible before. Not only am I able to target my specific demographic, but I am able to communicate with my customers and ask them what they would like to see next. That communication and access to my customer is invaluable and is solely because of social media.
What differentiates your denim brand from others in your market?
Most of the denim brands focus on the widest audience possible which means AVERAGE. Unfortunately, many of us fall outside of the "average" sizing scale. Midheaven caters to a very underserved demographic: the tall woman. While we carry product that a not-so-tall woman would absolutely love also, we really wanted someone to be able to shop Midheaven no matter how tall they are. We also carry plus sizes as well, so that no matter your figure, Midheaven will have product you can depend on that is both made to fit beautifully and offers a wide variety of styles for different body types.
How has your new baby motivated and inspired you to create?
Westlyn is a huge inspiration for me to go for my dreams and continue to create, no matter what. She is constantly moving, constantly laughing, constantly excited to see new and different things and people. I feel like my inner child is expressed through her. I don't ever want to allow my life to get so complicated that I stop doing what I love and being creative on every level. I love working hard. I love challenging myself. I love newness and exploring and educating myself. Business is so interesting to me, and in the beginning, I knew NOTHING about business. I loved the challenge and have learned so much not only about what it takes to run a business, but I learned so much about myself also. I want her to be proud and to see that her mother sets goals and achieves them. And when she is older I want her to understand the premise of Midheaven: that it is about confidence. Fashion is expression, and what we put on our bodies should help us express how we feel on the inside. My goal for Midheaven was to help women feel comfortable and confident in their clothes and that inevitably impacts how we operate. I like the positivity of the message and I like that Westlyn's impact on me as a mother and as a woman is absolutely part of each step we take in growing this business.
What are your favorite go-to fashion brands?
Stella McCartney - she is a pioneer in the sustainable fashion space and that is so inspiring to me. We source our fabric from Candiani, which is the greenest denim mill in the world. I don't think you can work in this business, or simply be a consumer of fashion without looking at its impact on the world and the environment. In building this company, I really wanted to make sure that I wasn't being reckless in trying to minimize my footprint. We pay a lot of money to get our fabric here from Italy, and the reason why we do that is because of the way the mill is aiming for sustainability as well. Their cotton is responsibility sourced from the Better Cotton Initiative and all of their waste products are recycled from their spinning, warping and dying departments. I am always researching ways we can improve our processes as a whole and what we can do to explore more sustainable means of production. We very much respect other brands who are doing the same.
What values do you hope to instill in your child?
I would love to teach her that being respectful and honest is so important in everything you do in life. Nothing is worth cutting others down for. We are living in such a beautiful time where women supporting women is being spotlighted and encouraged. I want her to feel the impact of the work that is being done right now and know in her bones that you give what you get. If you give support and love and encouragement and genuinely feel happy for others when they achieve their dreams or hit milestones in their endeavors, she will get that energy back in spades.
I also want her to feel connected with her spiritual life. I am religious and very spiritual. It has taken me a long time to find stride with my own personal spiritual journey. I was very encouraged by my mother to read as much as I could, to research as much as I could and think and explore and find my own connection to God as I felt truth in. I want to pass that on to my children as well.
What are your favorite go-to activities in LA for Moms?
Taking a hike up Runyon Canyon or any hiking in Malibu and Santa Monica... going to the beach or going to the Santa Monica pier and playing video games or walking to the very end and watching the fisherman... Taking a bike down the Venice boardwalk is definitely a weekly activity of ours. We also recently brought "Bean" (Westlyn) to the Getty Museum to see Sally Mann's exhibit. She absolutely loved it and stared at each piece we strolled her in front of. Highly recommend.
What would be your dream collaboration?
I would absolutely love to do a collaboration with a bathing suit company. My customers are always asking for bathing suits (mainly one-pieces) that are designed for taller women. I would love to do activewear too, which is actually in the works with a brand we cant reveal yet (yay!) Also, Cynthia Rowley is pretty amazing and has been one of my mentors since the beginning. I would love to do a pair of jeans or two with her at some point.
Jasmine Snow was an accessories editor for 8 years, and style is her nature. She, like many other women, couldn’t understand why there were so many unattractive bib options for her new baby when she first became a mother. She would purchase these adorable outfits for her baby, and spend all of this time dressing her up, and then slap on these colorful, printed bibs the second they got to a restaurant. She wanted to create a chic and unisex option, a forever baby accessory, and The Black Bib was born! This black leather bib, much like a great leather moto jacket, looks great with any outfit, and isn’t distracting. They are totally baby-proof, and can be cleaned with a wet wipe. My girls, even at this age, get very messy, so I’m waiting for Jasmine to make a few in their size!Read More
Describe yourself in 3 words...
Driven, Dreamer, Optimistic.
What inspired you to create Good American?
When I started thinking about and exploring the opportunity for Good American, it was clear that so many women are ignored by the fashion industry, and I wanted to create a brand that bridged this gap. At the same time, I was pregnant with my daughter, so it was really important to me that I build a company not only I would be proud of, but she would be proud of too.
Please share your launch story…
I was very passionate about starting a company that was focused on inclusion and at first it wasn’t just about denim. I thought about the market differently and wanted to create clothes in a range of sizing beyond what many brands were already offering. After connecting with Kris Jenner and Khloé Kardashian, I came to Khloé with the idea of creating an inclusive brand and immediately, she was in. When we reached $1 million in sales on launch day, we knew we were creating something truly amazing.
How has working with your partner, Khloe Kardashian, helped build the brand? What are the benefits and challenges of having a partner in business?
Khloé is an amazing partner. Khloé and I are both very specific about the way the product looks, feels and fits, and we think about our product range from different points of view and offer unique perspectives. Khloé is the kind of partner that I can speak to honestly and candidly about everything, which really streamlines our decision-making process.
One challenge is that people can dismiss Good American as just another celebrity fashion label. However, the mission of Good American extends beyond one person. We celebrate all women and empower them to look and feel their absolute best. Since we’ve launched, we’ve seen the support and love of our brand from women across the world, and know that’s due to the extraordinary fit, quality and style of our clothing, as well as our brand values.
What differentiates your brand from others in your market?
First and foremost, it’s our design approach. We’re not a trend-based fashion brand, we make amazing fitting clothes that are really classic pieces that you can layer with more fashion. I believe that Good American really is different because not many fashion brands can say they are fully inclusive, and we are proud to be a pioneer in the space. We are also a benefits brand, meaning that everything we make has a benefit through the design. We approach product development with our customer’s needs in mind, with a fit-first philosophy. Most importantly, we always make sure our clothes fit and feel good, and our denim has no gaping, tugging or sagging - problems that are common among other denim brands.
How have your children motivated and inspired you to create?
Well - children are expensive, I need to stay motivated to work and pay the bills!! Haha!!
What are your favorite go-to fashion brands?
I wear a lot of Frame and Good American of course, and I also buy classic pieces from Céline, Balenciaga, and Chanel.
What values do you hope to instill in your children?
I think it’s important that my children develop a strong sense of empathy for others, especially in the times we’re living in. I really try to make sure that my children know they live a blessed life and I talk to them a lot about the charity work I do with Women for Women international and Baby2Baby, and all of the people I meet through that work.
What are your favorite go-to activities in LA for Moms?
I like taking them to LACMA because I feel like there’s something for all of us there but my children’s favorite spot in Los Angeles is the Venice Boardwalk, and then onto Santa Monica Pier to the old arcades! They will watch the skateboarders at the Venice Skate Park for as long as I’ll let them. Then, we’ll walk to Santa Monica to the pier. They love playing the games, working hard to collect as many paper tokens from their winnings as possible. I let them buy something completely useless from the arcade shop, but they’re so happy and excited about it!
Way back when, when I was pregnant with my first child, approximately 7 years ago, there was only one shop I loved, and it was Giggle in soho. They were a small boutique, where I ended up befriending my regular salesperson, because she was just the coolest, and it made the search for the endless newborn products easy and enjoyable. They were well-curated with only the best products and furniture on the market, so even if you were new to the baby game, you kind of couldn’t go wrong in this shop.
I remember walking into stores like Bye Bye Baby and feeling so overwhelmed by the sensory overload surrounding me, I’d literally run out the door. I was sad to see Giggle go a few years back, even though I was past that phase of life, however they are now under new ownership, back as an online store, and better than ever!
Erin Moennich has found all of the best baby products and will even be starting her own line to add to her site. She has a very well-curated layette available for purchase and has partnered with Darian Ablon to create a quality private label collection of children’s pajamas and clothing at affordable prices. For all of you new Mamas out there, this will be your go-to for all things baby.Read More
As many of you know, I have a real affinity for vintage clothing and accessories. As the years have gone by, my collection has grown to be too large for my apartment, and I finally found a good place to sell it. Vestiaire, a platform for buying and selling used clothing and accessories, that specializes in vintage apparel. They have a tremendous collection on consignment from various collectors around the world, as they started a decade ago in Europe and have more recently opened up their site to the US. We all know about the Real Real, but Vestiaire has been providing this service as well, and their stylists curate a truly beautiful, chic online boutique.Read More
There’s a new shop in town, and you all need to know about it. As busy women, whether attending work events, social gatherings, or philanthropic functions, we have a lot of occasions that require evening wear. This can be an extremely expensive endeavor, as well as wasteful, since the likelihood of wearing that memorable, special piece to multiple events is slim. We all like to feel confident and beautiful, and we deserve to be able to wear many important dresses and gowns, at a much more affordable price.
Nova Octo is a place where you can find all of the most luxurious designers, even some you’ve never seen or discovered in the states, and rent them for a small fraction of the price to wear to an event. The entire experience from start to finish is glamorous and fun, and owner/founder, Silje, is very accommodating to her clientele. For each rental, Silje gives back, making a donation to the client’s charitable organization of choice. She has a great eye and a kind heart.Read More
As Valentine’s Day is quickly approaching, a holiday I now only celebrate with my kids, I wanted to bring back the romance of the the day with this feature. Jane Winchester has been in the accessories business for decades, and has now launched her own brand of jewels inspired by the gypsy coins of the 1900s. The reason for this inspiration, is that she sought out to create pieces with meaning, pieces that last a lifetime. Each amulet Jane creates symbolizes positivity, strength, hope and luck, to be worn daily as a constant reminder. Jane is passionate about her product, and making sure that each piece expresses the important, personal milestones in her customer’s life. It’s a true feel good gift!Read More
Well, the day has finally arrived! The day I have dreamt of since childhood, unsure if it would actually become a reality. Let this be a reminder to all of you, that dreams do come true, if you work hard enough and execute your ideas. Never give up, and always move forward.
Black Iris, the new DTC womenswear collection founded by me, Aly Gradone, Chloe Rosenberg, and Rachel Wexler launched today! The excitement we all feel is tremendous beyond words. The Spring/Summer ‘19 collection is filled with romantic, whimsical, feminine dresses and sets meant to be coveted, lasting pieces in your wardrobe. We call our customer "The Lady," elegant and sophisticated, with a modern sensibility. All of YOU are our lady.
The site is live now, and you can pre-order at http://shopblackiris.com. We are also thrilled to announce we have partnered with ShopBAZAAR and Moda Operandi for the launch of our initial collection. We look forward to seeing all of you in these very special, limited edition garments, and would love to see how you style and personalize them. Please tag us @thisisblackiris on Instagram, so we can share your beauty with the world!Read More
As you all know I am sweating puddles over at Tracy Anderson on a daily basis, and sitting in that sweat for about 2 hours through classes. I always thought that cotton was the most breathable material to wear during my workouts, however I was sorely mistaken. After a long and informative interview with the very inspirational, Stacey Hunter, founder of Quo Active Gear, I learned that the undergarments I’d been wearing cause bacteria which lead to infection. Although it’s not the most glamorous topic, the truth is when we sit in our sweat for extended periods of time, women are prone to yeast infections and urinary tract infections, both incredibly painful and undesirable. Quo undergarments are made with science in mind, ensuring that even if we sweat for a long time, the underwear absorbs the wetness, decreasing the chance of bacteria forming. I wear them everyday, and I can attest to them being life-changing. Quo is also coming out with a full line of athleisure in the same amazing fabric very soon!Read More
My favorite gift for the holidays are Lele Sadoughi headbands! I wear mine everyday, and it makes my outfit complete. Whether it’s a good hair day, or a bad one, I pop on a jeweled headband and instantly look put together and cohesive. Lele is incredibly creative, always having fun with bold, bright colors, and fun materials to make her costume jewelry. Her signature floral earrings are a staple in my jewelry box, and they are so light, I hardly feel like I’m wearing anything. I’m excited for her new collection of home decor and sunglasses, as whatever she designs is always very happy and beautiful.Read More
I’ve been in outerwear my entire life. It was my family business for generations, and I worked right here in the garment district where our offices were located almost every summer of my childhood. I definitely know a good coat when I see one, and Michelle Waugh has mastered her craft. Michelle’s outerwear collection is elevated and chic, tailored and classic. She has coats fit for every occasion, but what’s even more special about her line is that all of her pieces can be worn both casually and formally. They are versatile. Her fabrics and fits are stellar, making women feel beautiful and confident throughout their day. Her palette is neutral, and complement any outfit. Michelle happens to be one of the sweetest, most genuine women I’ve met, and her talent makes her a triple threat!Read More
Last week, I was lucky enough to reunite with all of my closest girlfriends at BA&SH Nolita for an evening of shopping and cocktails. This womenswear collection, originating in Paris, now has stores rapidly popping up all over the US. It started with two best friends who wanted to make beautiful things, and they are doing just that, with the most stunning jeweled sweaters, chiffon dresses, and fitted jackets. What’s even better, is that the line is accessible, although I’m still trying to figure out how they make such high quality product at an affordable price. Everything in the store is geared for friends shopping together and having a fun experience, right down to the photo booth in the dressing room! The store itself is beautiful, open, airy and inviting, so I suggest everyone go for a visit to try out this new, innovative shopping experience.Read More