Thursday, July 31, 2008

Is it cheap? Inexpensive? Or just both?

Good afternoon fashion-forward friends. After a lovely shopping trip at the Mall of Millenia in beautiful Orlando, Florida, I've decided to address a very provocative topic - the difference between being "cheap" and "inexpensive".

The dictionary defines "cheap" as "costing very little; relatively low in price; of little account; of small value "

The dictionary defines "inexpensive" as "not expensive; not high in price; costing little."

With that said, items in the world of fashion can be inexpensive, cheap, and can be both inexpensive and cheap.

Example 1 - catching the "Final Call" event at Neiman Marcus and buying a fantastic Michael Kors blouse at 90% off the original price would classify the Kors creation as being "inexpensive", as the price was relatively low. However, the quality of the garment's production was not indicative of the new, reduced pricing.

Example 2 - eagerly running out to your local Coach store and spending $700 on a handbag made in China, of lesser quality materials, under a poorly regulated ethic, would classify the bag as "cheap", as the bag cost very little to produce in terms of design integrity, investment, production, and, quality.

Example 3 - On the eve of a formal event at a hip new club, Ms. Stern searches the local "Wet Seal" shop to find a "great flirty top" for the evening. Ms. Stern buys a top made of rayon and viscose, that was manufactured by an unkept machine in Burma, and more than likely will fall apart immediately after being worn. This garment, only costing $7,99, would be considered both cheap and inexpensive.

Now, when expanding your fashion horizons and furthering your ensemble, it's important to remember that "cheap" isn't a bad thing. I recently saw the most beautiful hand-knit Ralph Lauren shawl collar sweater in a local department store, originally priced at more than $250, yet reduced during a summer clearance event to just $75. This would classify the well made sweater as "inexpensive", but certainly not cheap.

So the next time you're shopping for a bargain, no matter who the designer, or where you may be, remember to think "inexpensive" and not "cheap".

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The Art of Shaving

With a fairly strong background in skin care and aesthetics, and having what I consider pretty fabulous skin myself, I'm often asked about shaving techniques and tips. And judging by the fall/winter print advertisements of high fashion houses, the perfect shave may be the season's most sought after accessory for men.

1. While you're taking a shower, remember this: the more steam, the better. Steam opens up the pores, helps slough off dead skin cells, and preps the skin to receive treatment. In the steamy shower, first exfoliate your face. This is the process of removing dead skin cells, dirt, grime, and any other debris on the skin's surface. I use Origin's Never A Dull Moment. Next, wash your face and neck. Any soap-free, alcohol-free face wash should be good, especially if it's all natural. I use the Bliss Fabulous Foaming Face Wash, and have had great results.

2. After your shower is complete and your face is still damp, I apply the shaving cream. The best shaving cream I've ever used is from The Art of Shaving in Lemon Essential Oil. I dab about the size of a quarter worth of product onto my hand, and gently massage the cream onto my face. The more you massage into the skin/hair, the better. Once my face and neck are covered in cream, I let it sit on my face for about 5 minutes. This will soften the hair, and in turn prepare for an easier shave.

3. Next, shave the hair in gently, steady strokes. Apply even pressure. Shave in the direction of the hair. Be sure to take your time. The fewer the strokes you make, the better. Rinse the blade often to free it of debris and excess shaving cream.

4. After you're done shaving in the direction of the hair, relather your face with shaving cream. After about 5 minutes, reshave your face, this time going in the OPPOSITE direction that the hair grows. This will result in the smoothest, closest shave.

5. After shaving, rinse your face with COLD water. This will rinse away any excess shaving cream, and help seal the pores closed. Follow with an alcohol free antiseptic/balancing tonic, and finish with your remaining skincare regime.

The safety razor was invented in 1903 by King Gillette (yes, that was his real name!). It was a revolutionary invention that forever changed the way people shave, as the blades were designed to be used for a short time and then thrown away. Remember to change your disposable razor blades often. I typically change the blade every 3-4 shaves. Follow these steps to smoothness!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Arancia rossa per favore!

For those of you not lucky enough to have experienced the Blood Oranges of Sicily, you must imagine the most delicious, sweet-tart tasting, fragrant deep purple flesh of the decadent fruit. The peel of the fruit is typically a darker orange with hues of red and dark wine, and are generally the size of medium oranges available in Europe and North America.

Blood Oranges are prized for more than just their distinct taste - they are amazingly high in vitamin C and antioxidants. And such, drinking the juice of this Italian wonder helps intensify and purify your skin - a must for all fashion-forward people.

This fall, when you're planning your monochromatic based ensembles of khaki, gray, and beige, remember the colors associated with the Blood Oranges when choosing accessories - burnt orange like the peel, deep wines like the flesh, and bright greens like the leaves. Your taste buds will thank you, and you'll be one step closer to "la bella figura". Ciao!

Monday, July 28, 2008

what "eye" love this week

When you love fashion, fine living, and great style, you appreciate the best things, even when they're not made for your enjoyment. Today I'm loving three things, and they are tres chic!

1. The Dior Homme Sport fragrance advertising campaign has just launched. Fantastic message, beautiful scenery, and one of my favorite actors - Jude Law. You must view the commercial. It makes me want to buy the fragrance right now.

2. Giorgio Armani's cosmetic range for the fall/winter season offers eye shadow palettes with three different shades, all organized to look like python skin. Absolutely beautiful.

3. In a previous post, I wrote about my favorite Finnish designer Marimekko. The design icon has teamed up with Avon and designed a special range for the summer. I don't exactly love Avon's products, but I do love Marimekko. If nothing else, the cosmetics packaging is absolutely beautiful! Check it out for yourself here.

4. And last, but certainly not least, I'm still in love with Havianas flip flops. Not since Cachaça and Giselle Bündchen have I been more excited for Brazilian exports. They are the most comfortable sandals ever, are incredibly inexpensive, and come in at least 100 colors and designs.

Happy shopping! or as they say in Rio, compra feliz!

time to wrap things up!

It's time for our weekly fashion flashback! This time we're going to Florence, Italy. The year - 1972. A younger Belgian designer, Diane Von Furstenberg took a new spin on design and draping, creating what would be her signature wrap-style dress.

Flash forward to today. I love DVF's wrap. This wrap-style dress is the perfect dress, flattering nearly every body type. The curved lines of the dress give an illusion to cinch the waist, enhance the bust, and narrow the hip. And the garment is perfect for all occasions. Dress the wrap up with sexy stilettos and elegant jewels. Or relax on the weekend with your wrap dress, comfortable boots, and a cozy scarf. Pair a wrap-style blouse or sweater with skinny jeans and heels and you've instantly got a night on the town to remember.

However clever the design, always remember to pick the perfect pattern. You don't want your wrap to make you look drab, flabby, or old. Bold designs like animal prints or geometric patterns are always chic. As for color, classic black and white will flatter everyone, while bold colors of the season like bright yellow, raspberry, and metallics will be sure to turn heads for all the right reasons!

Speaking of design elements that flatter and slim, here's a great tip for men. When wearing a suit, if you are tall and skinny, I definitely recommend you wear a belt with your suit. (The best belts should be leather, with a discrete buckle, and should always match your shoes and other leather goods.) If you aren't as tall, or have more pounds than you wish, do not wear a belt. Your silhouette will appear longer and slimmer without the visual break that a belt provides.

Again, if you're tall and skinny, wear a belt with your suit for a modern, sleek appearance. And if you're not so tall, or not so skinny, leave the belt at home. Either way, a belt should be unnecessary, thanks to the expert skill of your tailor. Because all suits should be tailored, whether they're off the rack at your local Target superstore, or made-to-measure just for you.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Today is a special day.

I am going to tell you a story. A love story, actually. Every year, there are items I lust after. It might be the Maserati Quattroporte. Or the MacBook Air. Or any number of the Bang & Olufsen electronics. Regardless, there are lots of things I lust after. Mostly, I only dream of owning these things, as they are almost always incredibly expensive, very difficult to find, and usually all of the items are accounted for through long-standing waiting lists.

Last year, one of my favorite designers upped the fashion ante. Muccia Prada announced last February that she was joining forces with a world renown company. Who you ask? I'll give you a hint. She wasn't collaborating with Meredes-Benz to make the most luxuriously fashionable automobile. And she wasn't lending her designs to Design Within Reach, even though she would make one damn sexy couch. Muccia Prada announced that she was working with none other than the mobilephone giant LG to offer the world's first designer, totally touch screened interface, mobilephone. After hearing this news, I had to see one. I had to touch one. I was in love. Or lust. Who knows. All that mattered was I wanted one of my very own.

Flash forward to last week. My not-so-well-designed Motorola Razor phone was acting up. For those who don't know me very well, it might be understood that I sort of text message a few times per day. Ok, that's an understatement - I text ALL the time. Nonetheless, my #2 key and #5 key were not functioning properly. Do you know how hard it is to send a text without using the letters A, B, C, or J, K, L?! I had to do something about this.

So I began searching for new phones. As with every purchase, I wanted to do my homework, and make sure whatever phone I purchased would meet all of my demands, be durable, and hopefully last a long time. After much searching, I thought I had decided on getting the new iPhone. Only problem - I didn't exactly want to sign a 2 year contract with AT&T. I love AT&T, don't get me wrong, but I think I love them because I'm no longer in a contract with them, so on the rare chances that I do have an issue with them, AT&T likes to jump through hoops to make me happy so I don't just shut off my service with them...

So, what could be better than the iPhone you ask? THE PRADA PHONE! I ordered the new Prada phone. And thanks to our friends at American Express and the Centurion Bank, I was able to use rewards points towards this most important purchase, and only had to pay $100! (Pretty amazing, since the phone debuted around 10 times that price!).

Not only is the phone smaller than the iPhone (a good thing), but it comes in a great leather case with a discrete logo (you know how I feel about logos), has the most wonderful German Schneider Kreuznach camera lens, and countless other high-tech features.

The phone is charging next to me now. I never thought I'd think this, but DAMN THIS PHONE IS SEXY!

Sorry. I must go now. Fashion calls.

The answer is "no"...until you ask.

I must tell you, part of being absolutely amazing stems from having absolutely amazing contacts. You won't ever learn how to do this unless you start to practice. I happily offer assistance.

1. When traveling to a new place (or a place you haven't visited very frequently), your first stop should be to the most expensive, luxurious hotel you can find. Kindly introduce yourself to the concierge. They are your friend. Tell them you're visiting the city on business (or pleasure), and have heard great things about the city, especially the concierge. Tell them you'd like to eat at one of his/her favorite restaurants, and then go to a fantastic bar/museum/point of interest. More than likely, they will make reservations for you, or at least give you the name of someone who will take care of you. Now tip the concierge. Take their business card, and send a thank you note. Be sure to include your business card. And tip them well. When you return again, call the concierge before you arrive. Remind them of the fantastic assistance they provided. They will remember you, and will be happy to go out of their way to make your experience even more memorable than the last.

2. The easiest way to find the best dry cleaner, whether or not you are at home, is by calling the most expensive, recognizable, fashion-forward store you know. For example, on a business trip in Los Angeles last winter, I inadvertently stained one of my favorite Dior Homme shirts. Knowing that there was a Dior Homme boutique nearby in Beverly Hills, I phoned the store, explained my predicament, and was invited to bring the shirt to the boutique, where they promptly sent it to their "secret" dry cleaners, whom they entrust the duties of cleaning all their delicate and most trusted items. After 6 hours and $25, my shirt looked brand new.

3. No matter where you are in the country, there will be times that require you to send flowers. Your Mother's birthday. Your wife's anniversary. Your mistress' divorce officially settled. No matter the occasion, B. Brooks is your answer. Hands down, the most beautiful, artfully designed, fragrant arrangements you have ever imagined. Works every time.

No matter where you are in the world, some things are always "in fashion". Smile. Be polite. Thank people who go out of their way to help you. Be on time. And if there's something you want, or a place you'd like to go, the answer is "no"...until you ask.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

iconic investments

If we were having this conversation in person, it would begin with me saying "listen very carefully"...but we're not talking, and we're not in person, so I'll begin with "read this very carefully" instead.

Read this very carefully. I don't advocate buying clothes or accessories solely because of the brand name or designer that crafted it. To those who actually care about design and style, there is nothing more repulsive than seeing something slathered in tacky logos. Or even worse - fake/counterfeit merchandise.

Don't get me wrong, though. There are some brands and designers that I absolutely love. But not particularly for their name. I'll always love Christian Dior. After all, it was He who started modern couture. It was He, who after the end of World War II, on February 12, 1947, showed the world a "New Look", at 30 Avenue Montaigne in Paris - soft, feminine shoulders, cinched waists, long flowing skirts, and the overly excessive use of fabrics, furs, leathers, and materials. It was such a revolutionary idea, after nearly all material goods were rationed during the War Era, to use such large quantities of fabrics and goods. The world loved it. And fashion was never the same thereafter.

I'll always love Burberry, and their iconic trench coat. After all, it was in 1895 that Thomas Burberry's Tielocken coat was adopted by the British Army during the Boer War as their official coat of choice, which later evolved into the art known as Trench. And if making the world's most classic and versatile coat wasn't enough, the man invented the amazingly durable Cotton Gabardine some 15 years before.

And who could ever forget the house of Thiery Hermès? Hermès began his famous Saddle shop in 1837 in Paris, and has evolved as to one of the most sought after purveyors of ready-to-wear and designs, especially in leather, silk, and velvet.

I present to you the three iconic investments I hope to acquire in my lifetime. Hopefully sooner than later.

1. An incredibly lightweight cashmere v-neck sweater.
Dior Homme usually offers a fantastic version in either light gray or black, with long, tailored arms and a narrow body. Opting for the lightweight version allows for year round wear, especially under suits in the spring or fall seasons, or paired with a fantastic coat. Loro Piana offers the most luxurious of all cashmere products, and always has plenty of styles and versions to choose from.

2. The perfect trench coat.
Hands down, Burberry owns the market on the trench. Opt for a longer version of medium weight. You want the coat to fall mid-calf, offering the right protection in inclement weather, but still allowing for easy movement. If you don't already own a trench, the only colour to consider is khaki. "Khaki" after all is a Hindi word that means "dust"...which means it will hide the effects of use during said inclement weather beautifully. If you already own a khaki trench or two, opt for navy, black, or red.

3. Hermès makes the most amazing silk wares. This mastery is extended over their iconic scarves, ties, and pocket squares. For the serious savant, begin collecting an array of all three.

With these 3 iconic investments, your entire wardrobe will be transformed to a whole new world of lust and luxury.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

glorious gray

I love gray. In the winter time, it's the staple of my uniform - gray pants, gray shirts, gray sweaters, gray scarves, gray jackets. I love to pair different hues of grays. But gray doesn't have to be reserved only for your wardrobe. Celebrity interior designer Nate Berkus is also obsessed with all things gray, and has gray walls, gray furniture, and gray accessories. Metallic Gray (or silver, if you will), is one of the most popular colors for luxury automobiles, like Mercedes, BMW, and Landrover.

For men this fall, I think we'll see lots of gray. Just like we'll see for women, add an unexpected pop of color to otherwise monochromatic looks. Think acid yellows, brilliant blues, and radiant reds. Fall is less about fashion and more about style. Focus more on textures, cuts, and silhouettes. Choose what flatters you most. When you feel good, you look better.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Fall Into Nature

So I just got a sneak peak of some spring/summer 08/09 collections online, and I'm definitely excited to see them in reality. And with autumn right around the corner, it's time to fall into nature.

This fall we'll see lots of Animal Prints - zebra, cheetah, leopard. The more authentic the design, the better. Think rich chocolates, bold blacks, brilliant whites, and all the beige/khaki you can handle. Offset the animal instinct with bright pops of color - reds, orange, acid yellow, and royal blues and wines.

One of my favorite looks this fall is nearly all monochromatic - pants, shoes, shirt/jacket all in the same hues, but accentuated with the perfect pop of unexpected color. If you're not sure what I mean - just imagine Christian Louboutin's signature style - obvious color and pattern on the top of each shoe, with the vivacious red sole underneath.

You don't have to break the bank this fall to look your best. Remember, classic fall staples are always a great place to start. Earth tones in shades of green, brown, and orange will always carry you through, so update your look with new accessories, shoes, and the perfect jacket.

With record high temperatures, I know it's hard to fathom wearing long-sleeves and boots, but fall will be here before we know it. Take advantage of pre-season sales, or even venture out to your local outlet mall. Remember, think monochromatic. Think natural beauty. Just don't think too much...

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Get your "fashion forward face" in no time at all.

I have a small confession to make. I didn't exactly pay attention to the homily at church this morning. There is a moderately attractive woman in the congregation that usually catches my eye. Quite honestly, her ensemble is always elegant, slightly flirty, and just perfect. But the thing I noticed today, for the very first time, was that her skin is absolutely flawless, and seems to be her best accessory. I began thinking about all the other people who get noticed for their fashion, and they all also have fantastic skin. And since I dominated the skincare/cosmetics industry for a couple of years, I thought I'd give a no-nonsense rundown of what you should generally be using, so you too can get your "fashion forward face" in no time at all. If you have specific skincare concerns, I definitely recommend paying your dermatologist a visit. (You do have a dermatologist, right?!).

To start, exfoliate your skin at least twice a week. Exfoliating removes the dead skin, debris, and other pore-clogging gunk from your skin. I keep Origin's Never A Dull Moment in my shower for easy use. It's an all natural exfoliant with alpha-hydroxy fruit enzymes, crushed walnut shells and apricot seeds, mango, papaya, and other goodies. The enzymes and rough ingredients basically unlock the glue that holds dead skin cells to your face. Thinking of exfoliating as though you SWEEP a floor before you MOP it. Fresh skin is good skin.

Next, cleanse. You should wash your face at least once a day. And if you're wearing makeup, or slathering anything else on your face for that matter, you should gently wash your face before bed, too. I use the Bliss Fabulous Foaming Face Wash. It's a two-in-one oil-free exfoliating face wash for all skin types. This fresh, fruity cleanser contains rose hip extract, milk thistle, passion flower and chamomile in a non-stripping formula that balances even the most schizophrenic of skins. Try it, and fall in love.

If you have problem skin (dry and flaky, oily and shiny, redness, or any one of a number of possibly situations), I recommend using a corrective mask once or twice a week. I actually use 2 masks, once a week. Too keep your skin pure and healthy, I use a detoxifying mask. Origin's Clear Improvement has the active charcoal pulls out impurities, and white china clay absorbs toxins. This mask is absolutely amazing - just don't panic when you make up and have a blemish or two (that's just the toxins that have come to the surface of your skin). I also use a hydrating mask as needed, but it's not available in the US anymore.

Once your done in the shower, gently dry your face and neck. First, tone your skin. I like Clinique's Scruffing Lotion because it helps eliminate shine and excess oils. Now, there are a number of different lotions, potions, and serums on the market. Anti-aging, anti-dry, anti-oily, anti-oxidant, anti-shine, anti-wrinkle - it's all there and more. Every day, I use Origin's A Perfect World to help keep my skin looking great, and feeling great. I protects against dehydration, deterioration, and oxidation. Then I apply Murad's Energizing Pomegranate Moisturizer SPF 15 - it moisturizes, stimulates healthy skin function, protects against skin stressors, and provides great UV protection. I definitely recommend this moisturizer for people who don't have a lot of time in the morning and don't want to use a lot of products.

I know this can seem like a lot, but it's really not. So let's review. Here's an order of what to do, and when.

1. Exfoliate (1-2 times a week)
2. Cleanse (1-2 times a day)
3. Treat (use appropriate masks 1-2 times a week)
4. Dry your skin
5. Tone (every time you wash your face)
6. Treat (every time you wash your face)
7. Moisturize and Protect (every time you wash your face)

Voila. Skincare made easy. Follow these easy steps, and unlock the keys to this season's must-have accessory - flawless skin. So put your best-face forward and get your fashion on now!

PS - great skin isn't cheap, or necessarily travel friendly. With the cleansers and exfoliants for face, body, and scalp, plus serums, potions, lotions, masks, and tonics, I could fill a whole suitcase with skincare alone. Better retailers will sell small travel kits with empty bottles and jars for all of your grooming products. I bought one at Aveda a few years back that works well, and still allows you to carry on your luggage. Hopefully one day soon TSA will have mercy on us all who just can't fathom traveling without our skincare favorites!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Can I help you please?

The economy sucks. We all know that. Gas is expensive (relative to historical American pricing, at least), the housing marking is awful, and the rising prices of oil are only surpassed by the rising unemployment numbers. You'd think with such tough economic times that stores would refocus, regroup, and reinvigorate their customer service.

Now is not the time to receive underwhelming service. Having a good bit of retail experience, I know firsthand that the atmosphere in a store that seems to constantly have a growing sale rack isn't exactly the greatest. It's not exactly heartwarming to hear a steady stream of customers gawk at the price of this season's coveted Gaucho bag by Dior. No matter how good the market or how strong the economy may be, customers will always search out a deal. Why spend $599 on the iPhone, when you can wait a few months for the better, cheaper version?

Yesterday I took a quick shopping trip to the Town Centre. I was in the Gap for nearly 10 minutes. Not one associate offered to help, let alone even greeted me. I happily took my potential business next door to J. Crew. Not that I needed any help at the Gap in the first place, but knowing I couldn't have it was not what I wanted to experience. And you wonder why everything there was so heavily marked down, with an additional percentage off all previously reduced items.

It makes smart business sense to reduce items that aren't selling, and offer additional discounts on sale items to entice more customers. Reducing the cost is one thing, but reducing the customer service is a complete different story.

At Dior, our better customers are offered beverages while they shop. The low cost of bottled water, or even the not-so-low cost of champagne, yields such a high return on investment. It's the little things that mean the most. I know not every retailer is able to do the same, but all stores can provide great customer service. Associates should greet every customer. Smile. Let the customer set the pace of interactions (don't be pushy, but don't be too hands off either). Offer assistance, but give your customer space. Be mindful of your clients, wrap up purchases quickly. Thank them for their purchases, and invite them to return soon.

Furthermore, having good associates is just as important as being a good shopper. Again, I draw on my experiences with Dior. You have no idea how difficult it is to "not prejudge customers" when nearly 90% of the people who walk in your store are "just looking" or are coming to the boutique as though it was a museum. With that said, after a few brief moments of interaction, it quickly became obvious who the associate needed to spend time with, and who you could let free to roam the store on their own time. And so as a customer, if you know that you are "just looking" when you enter a store, especially a store with associates who work on commission, be kind and let them know immediately of your intentions. If you're just looking - you don't need anyone's help in doing so. Additionally, be mindful of the store's ambiance. If the store is quiet and formal, leave the snacks and mindless banter on your mobilephone outside.

It pays to be kind to sales associates. They often can notify you of private sales, can assist in locating speciality items or sizes, and often will go out of their way to help make a sale. Plus they can always invite you to fashion shows and special events.

So next time you're shopping, just remember - "can't we all just get along"?

Friday, July 18, 2008

Fashion? Style? or both?

So I just returned from a quick shopping trip. For those who don't know me yet, a "quick shopping trip" is really an adventure in or around retailers that lasts less than 3 hours.

While I was out searching for the next best things, I started to think to myself: "if people knew the difference between style and fashion, our stores would offer completely different selections."

Example 1 - MetroPark. If you've never been to a MetroPark store before, you might need to reference their website to know exactly what I mean. I've never seen more trucker hats, studded belt buckles, or multicolored fabrics amassed in one store. Now I'm sure it was fashionable at one time to plaster yourself with Ed Hardy's name and a plethora of rhinestones and beads, but those times are long gone.

However awful the trends here may be, I did find a fantastic lambskin bi-fold Diesel wallet in the clearance area for $14.99. Maybe stores that attract people without style or good fashion sense is a good thing for those of us who do - that way we can buy great things on sale that others simply overlook.

Example 2 - Anthropologie. Now normally I wouldn't promote something that tries too hard. While Anthropologie is indeed a corporately controlled chain of stores found in nearly every larger city's premier shopping plaza, the store does a fantastic job at providing a "boutique" shopping experience designed for the style-maven. Here, you'll find a friendly staff who are fashion conscious AND exude serious style. Soft fabrics, vintage inspired designs, and "antiqued" accessories seem haphazardly displayed in the most gentle of ways. Quaint seating areas with homegoods, deliciously scented candles and soaps, and thoughtful gifts are scattered throughout. Each item seems unique, enriching, and fabulous.

Selections at Anthropologie aren't exactly inexpensive, and it may be easy to overdo the "bohemian/vintage" look, so limit yourself to wearing 1-2 items at a time if you're unsure of yourself. Too much of a good thing isn't always a good thing.

Fashion to me is all about time. A unitard, sweatband, and giant florescent pink hoop earrings instantly take you back to 1981 and Olivia Newton John belting out "Physical".

Style to me is all about your attitude, decisions, and vantage point. Giant, round black sunglasses will always evoke a little bit of Jackie Kennedy.

So the next time you're ready to go shopping. Stop and think first. Are you looking for something fun and exciting for the mean time, or are you looking for that classic piece to enhance your every day?

What I love today.

I must tell you, I have had a small obsession with all things Scandanavian. And I'm not just talking about taking a quick trip down to your local Ikea for some Swedish Meatballs and the latest space saving kitchen gadget. I love the "work hard, play hard" mantre. I love J. Lindeberg's clothes. And Merimekko's umbrellas. I think we're going to see much more Scandanavian influence this fall/winter. And it will be amazing.

Hello there!

Good afternoon, world!

I hope this mesage finds you well. It is with sincere pleasure that I welcome you to my little slice of the introweb! I know you have been secretly wondering when I would begin to publish my thoughts, rants, and raves, and now - voila, I present to you, "It's Just Joseph".

I'll do my best to keep you entertained, informed, and up-to-date. As long as you promise to visit often.

As many of you may know, I am in the midst of my "quarter-life retirement". Not many young people get to experience retired life so early, and there are many things you never really know how to deal with when you're retired. For example, every day is Saturday. And it's always either time to eat, time to sleep, or time to go shopping. And so, having looked at the clock, I think it's time for shopping.

Enjoy your day!