Last week I had the tremendous pleasure of interviewing Jessica Cline, Publisher of Riviera Magazine San Diego. I anticipated that our conversation would be a fun opportunity to explore the current trends in fashion and lifestyle with someone who is on top of the scene. Jessica has her finger on the pulse of style and fashion trends nationally and internationally. Boy, was I in for a surprise! Our talk was an enormously insightful and evolved perspective on life, fashion and the art of living well. It turns out that fashion, even wearing your grandmother's brooch, can be a tool for helping you be and express more YOU.
Q. Jessica, what recommendations and clues can you offer someone looking to create a fun and exciting lifestyle?
A. Fashioning our lives so to speak has to start first with the basics: finding a job, career, volunteer organization or hobby that's fun for you and surrounds you with good people. (A life with good, fun people is the key to daily happiness.) Ask yourself, "Do I feel good about what I am doing and who I am doing it with and for?" From there you have the foundation to build on your passions, emotions and inspiration to realize the best "you" that you can be.
Q. Wow, that is a fascinating perspective and one very few people would expect from a curator of fashion and style such as you. How might someone build upon her "foundation"?
A. It's as simple as flipping through a magazine and seeing that the color red is big this fall, then embracing that trend, or one that speaks to you, to bring out your inner-self. For me this is perfect, because I'm a huge fan of red and bright red lipstick, especially. The pop of red lips helps bring the "me" out. I wear it proudly every day, and it gives me confidence. Another example of a fall trend that I'm loving is brooches. My grandmother wore them, so I have many of hers, and they are huge this year. When I wear something as simple as my grandmother's brooch, not only am I flashing my fashion sense, but I am making it personal. When I pin them on, I feel like my grandmother is with me all day saying, "You go girl!"
Q. So it seems that what you are saying is that you can maintain your individuality and at the same time explore popular trends and styles?
A. Absolutely! Fashion and style should be a vehicle for empowerment. Don't be a slave to fashion; be you and all the self-expression it affords you. As women, we are continuously finding ways to express ourselves, and fashion is a liberating opportunity to show yourself and the world who you are in an infinite number of ways. Constantly changing up your look (and that does not need to be a budget buster) allows us to say to the world: "Here I am! I am unique and special! I know it, and I'd like you to know too!"
Q. Empowerment is a good segue. I'm passionate about empowering women with the information and encouragement they need to make a plan for living a healthy and fulfilling life. The intention of my blog is to help women deal with menopause and the symptoms that aren't much fun like hot flashes, depression, not feeling sexy or sexual. My motto is "Reaching out is IN! Suffering in silence is OUT!" Is there any advice you can give for women dealing with menopause and who may feel left out of the fashion and style conversation?
A. Embrace your beauty and femininity at every age and stage. Looking your best has an instant mood-lifting effect, so I wouldn't forsake fashion. I would look to women who are aging gracefully and maintaining a sense of style that works for them. Think of a chic turtleneck-clad Diane Keaton or a cleavage-bearing Helen Mirren. And fortunately, we live in San Diego, so it's acceptable to peel off the layers of clothing.
Q. I remember someone saying that fashion changed forever when Jackie Kennedy walked out of her New York City apartment for a stroll wearing a pair of blue jeans. From that point on they said fashion became a huge equalizer, allowing people from all economic levels to share common experience... in this case blue jeans.
A. That's exactly right. Jackie was a trendsetter. In that iconic fashion moment, she was expressing freedom and fearlessness. She wasn't afraid to be her authentic self -- she didn't always need to be wearing an Oleg Cassini original. Sometimes a classic pair of old blue jeans and, of course, a pair of those famous oversized sunglasses, was all she needed. In this case, she opened the door to the accessibility of fashion at every economic level. Today mainstream fashion is influenced by say, hip-hop and funky street style. For example, a certain man in your life dresses hipper than some men decades younger, and everyone thinks he looks cool and great. When people meet him, they know that he is expressing his inner cool, just as I am when I'm wearing my hot red lipstick or my grandmother's brooch. Fashion can bring generations together, and it's a medium for people to share their individuality.
Q. What final fashion tips can you give?
A. Seek style inspiration from a variety of department stores and boutiques, whether you can afford to shop there or not. For instance, I often go to Neiman Marcus to see what's new and different and to be informed about the trends. Sometimes I make a purchase and other times I seek out that similar style or trend item from a more affordable -- but no less chic -- retailer, like Zara. Just like designers and fashion setters are constantly being inspired by one another, I like to soak up inspiration from retailers of all levels.
Q. Great advice Jessica! I am often in New York City for radio and television interviews. When I have the time, I drop by my favorite small boutiques as well as my favorite department stores. For instance, there is one small boutique chain named Variazioni. I cannot tell you what amazing things they have there and the price point is a fraction of the high-end retailers. Fashion can be found at Target, Wal-Mart or Bergdorf Goodman.
A. I would say that fashion is a reflection of how you feel. If I feel great about a particular item, it's because it reflects how I feel inside -- and that's a great thing!
Q. I know that you have kind of adopted a motto of one of your friends. Would you like to share it with us and perhaps tie it into lifestyle and fashion for us?
A. I thought you'd never ask! The motto is "doing well by doing good." Full-disclosure: I adopted this from a friend, who just happens to be your husband, David. Essentially, this means that I can do well for myself by doing good for others and being good to myself. Style and fashion are methods of being good to yourself, because it makes you feel better, then you can share that joy with others.
So, Jessica has given us our fashion assignment for the season: Reach inside, explore trends that feel right for us and use them to express our individuality and personal style. She certainly is right that we feel better when we look our best, and while we know this is an inside out process, we can help this feeling along by putting ourselves out there. Try a new look. Wear a daring shade of lipstick for both the wow and the fun factor. Express your fabulous self! In a way, I see my conversation with Jessica as an example of thinking women's relationship to fashion. We decide. We choose. We follow and set trends, and we do it because we enjoy it. We're smart enough to recognize that fashion can be a tool of our self-expression. Smart is beautiful, so smart is always in!
Remember, reaching out is IN. Suffering in silence is OUT!
Tell me: What favorite piece of apparel or accessory makes you feel more you ?
- "Your grandmother's closet will be at the top of your shopping list next fall." The New York Runway Report: Fall 2012, HarpersBAZAAR.com
- How to Wear Bling Over 50, style.lifegoesstrong.com
- The September issue of Vogue is my favorite. The 2007 issue weighed in at a record 4 pounds, sold 13 million copies, and inspired this fun documentary. The year's seminal fashion issue hit newsstands on August 19. When you finish reading it, you can bench press it.
- "Don't go for second best, baby, put your love to the test." - Madonna, the queen of self-expression.
- And just for fun ... "You think this has nothing to do with you."
About Ellen Dolgen
Ellen Dolgen is the author of Shmirshky: The Pursuit of Hormone Happiness -- a cut-to-the-chase book on perimenopause and menopause that's filled with crucial information, helpful guides, and hilarious and heartfelt stories. Known for her humor, compassion, and sassy personality, Ellen has appeared on numerous television and radio broadcasts, including: the Rachael Ray Show, The Doctors, Oprah Radio, Playboy Radio, "Tell Me More" on NPR, Doctor Radio, and dozens of other regional and national media outlets. Ellen is a regular guest on the popular radio show, "Broadminded," on Sirius XM Radio (Stars XM 107) and KSWB Fox 5 Morning News San Diego. When Ellen isn't promoting women's health and wellness, she's busy trying her best not to eat all the ice cream in the freezer.