Ali's Makeover

Ali talks about her tendency to name drop designer labels!

Watching my episode, it still amazes me how many days of shooting we underwent for a one-hour show. Hats off to the Bravo crew for being so thorough and kind. I think the way I was portrayed is fair, as I did feel closed off during the initial days of filming, and was sleep deprived due to twins. But what is not demonstrated to the viewer is that the participant (in this case, me), is sequestered during the entire filming process, and is therefore feeling like an outsider during what is supposed to be a very personal and transformational time. This, they say, is done for the sake of "purity" - to keep the reality aspect REAL. Unfortunately, the effect it had on me was one of frustration and the feeling of being a pup in the pony show, expected to perform with glee when thrown onto the stage. The sequestering process actually made my interactions feel more surreal - it was harder to open up to complete strangers like Tim and Gretta. This added to my resistance. But their role was to enter my closet and advocate change, which they did.

Tim is incredibly polished. He is a huge proponent of living in the now and it was his every intention to bag the bollocks and get to the bulk of what mattered. He was very graceful when it came to getting past the tension. I respect him immensely for being so forgiving and focused on moving the process along, despite our little hiccup! As an informed consumer, I am still perplexed by having been called out for associating designer brands with quality. The "label," as T + G kept referring to it, is not the driving force of what inspires me to buy. Anyone who has ever worked in fashion knows that assembly lines of sketchers, assistants, interns and machines are the ones who ultimately make the garment - the label does not signify that Giorgio Armani himself sat there sewing my blouse. My reverence is for the brand, as I know the quality credos that every top brand must adhere to in this discerning fashion market. Being aware of designer labels ("name dropping" as Tim refers to it), is speaking the fashion lexicon. I walk a little taller when sporting a finely crafted, original-looking, impeccably detailed designer label. There, I said it! So splurge on that designer item people, and stop buying a lot of fluff and filler, as I used to.

In particular, my meeting with Hal Rubenstein at In Style had a very profound effect on me. He was the number one advocate of reminding me that style is not a dress size, but an attitude. After having twins I softened considerably and lost a lot of my edge. My confident style attitude laid dormant while I tried to figure out how to dress my new body. This was a hurdle that Hal helped me see as an uphill battle that might never be won. "Go for the beautiful clothes, embrace your womanhood, revel in motherhood (!), and look at who you are and all you've accomplished. You're not in your 20's anymore, think about how you live and all your good fortune...celebrate that...and dress the part," was Hal's message. And then came the gift of the excellent belt (did I mention that it's Fendi?) Hal did - so I guess that makes the "label" relevant!

I learned a lot from Tim regarding shopping habits and sticking to the lock-stock and three smoking barrels of silhouette, proportion and fit. I have found myself in many boutiques since the show and when I try on clothes, these three tenants enter the equation. If any of them are absent, I ditch the garment and keep on lookin'.

Big (double) kiss. Ali Pearlman

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Ask Gretta: Trenches and Wrap Dresses

Our style savvy source Gretta Monahan answers your fashion inquiries!

I just received a Burberry trench and it makes me look like Inspector Gadget. Do you advise having it altered? And to what length? Thank you for your time. Shazia

Hi Shazia,
I think a trench should be right to the knee. The look of a trench coat is classic, and Burberry is certainly the most classic trench you could own. Perhaps you are not a classic dresser by nature and feel a bit stuffy in a trench? I'm sure with a little tweaking of the proportions, you'll grow to love it and there are certainly ways to personalize the look. You could belt it with a different belt or use fun accessories like a great bag or killer boots to make this classic piece a part of your personal style. Good Luck!
XO, Gretta

Please speak about patterns vs. solids on a dress. I love the DVF wrap dress. What does a pattern convey vs. a solid? Do you have any guidelines for pattern size? Thank you! Hope to hear back. NP

Hi NP!
The wrap dress is an iconic piece of fashion because it's so versatile and can flatter just about any body type. I actually think a patterned DVF is more useful than a solid. I think patterns add more interest to the style and can conceal "problem areas" better than a solid, as often the jersey fabric the dresses are made of can cling — much more noticeable in a solid than a print. In terms of pattern size, a print that's not huge but not really small is ideal. I'd say that the majority of Diane Von Furstenberg prints are created with this in mind; the DVF wrap dress has been a wardrobe go-to for well over twenty years so, really, you could say the art has been perfected. Let your own eye be your guide; you're making the investment so try on what's available and see what looks best! I'm willing to bet one print will be a home run, so hit those fitting rooms!
XO, Gretta

I'm in the market for a mid-size 'investment' watch - I look better in gold but have platinum/diamond wedding bands. Are two-tone watches as classic as all stainless? I don't want to do all gold. Alexa

Hi Alexa!
I think that a two-tone style is actually more classic than all stainless. Even though your wedding bands are platinum, you also wear gold, so having both colors of metal would be more versatile for the different looks you'll want to wear the watch with. To me, it seems useless to invest in something that you won't wear all the time, particularly if it's a splurge that you're treating yourself to, so I think it makes sense to think both in terms of your everyday jewelry (wedding rings) as well as whatever trendier pieces you'll vary from look to look. Plus, mid-range stainless watches are a dime a dozen, so, if you're investing in a high end piece, I think that gold accents will also give the watch a more luxurious look.
XO, Gretta

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