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Ask Gretta: Fashion Industry

Our style savvy source Gretta Monahan answers your fashion inquiries!

I am 39 years old and have always worn surf industry clothes, Abercrombie and American Eagle. But I am just too old for that now, but it is really all I can afford. I am having such a hard time switching over to another style for my age...The problem is that instead of feeling casual now, I just feel sloppy and "old". Like I am still holding on to my youth...what can I do? - Kim

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Catch up on Tim Gunn's Guide to Style on the Bravo App.

Hi Kim,
With a little guidance, I don't think you'll have any trouble honing in on a sophisticated style that's all your own. Abercrombie and American Eagle are not inexpensive stores, so, I think you'll find there are plenty of chic looks within your budget, you just have step outside your comfort zone and take off that logo hoody! The first step is to find a few, new "must" stops at the mall. J.Crew, Gap and Ann Taylor Loft are great stores for easy to put together, casual looks that are still age appropriate and wallet friendly. While you absolutely need to get rid of anything that has writing on it, you don't necessarily need to weed out your surfer girl attitude. Take a hoody, for example: if you invest in this style in cashmere, you can still rock that carefree part of your personality, whether with jeans or a nicer pant. It's all about picking and choosing. So many of us have had the same, old, outdated style for years and then suddenly realize the rut we're in! That doesn't mean every piece of clothing in your closet needs replacing, you just need to be able to discern what's worth keeping and working into your new look. Stay tuned to the show every week because you'll pick up way more pointers than I could give you in one blog response, but here's a start - Build from the basics. When I think of a grown-up Abercrombie girl, I think a nice, crisp, dark denim, good quality t-shirts in basic colors and some chic sweaters and jackets. No woman in her thirties could ever wrong with dark jeans, a great tee and a leather jacket (worth investing in). What's really important is getting comfortable in your own skin and learning to accept the style that you're creating for yourself. It's about trying things on and seeing what works. You're obviously not feeling the "old you" look, so, when you find the "new you" look, you'll know. Happy Shopping!


Hello Gretta,
I am a devoted Bravo Fan because of all of the great style and fashion shows...You and Tim make a great team. I have a passion for fashion, styling and designing, even though I'm in the field of education. I've always had a drive for anything fashion related and would like to know how to get into the fashion industry. Would you have any advice? Thanks for your time. - Itzel

Hi Itzel,
Getting into a new career is a difficult and intimidating move to make, and easier for some than others, depending on how hard it is to phase out your current commitments. Fashion is particularly difficult, only because there are so many young women trying to break into the industry. If you had the freedom to move to New York or LA, that's where things are really happening. You can work try to work in a designer's studio, in a wholesale showroom or in some of the best retail in the world. This requires time, strength in the face of rejection and, overall, financial resources to get by in cities with high costs of living and low-paying entry level jobs. If you're more established and can't relocate so easily, then picking up a part-time job in a boutique can be a good way to familiarize yourself in the day-to-day of selling fashion at the retail level. Doing what you love is one of the best gifts that life can give you; I'm very lucky to have made my way up the ladder and I recommend pursuing the dream to anyone I meet. It's not easy, though, so be prepared for set-backs! Good Luck!

Dear Greta,
I just found out that my husband and I are expecting a baby in June . . . SURPRISE! Needless to say, I haven't a clue what clothes to wear and what clothes to avoid. I want to look stylish, not homely and I don't want to be swallowed by clothes. Any tips? Types of clothes? Places to shop? Thanks. -Ginger

Hi Ginger,
Before we begin talking fashion, I want to extend a huge congratulations to you and your expanding family! It's probably best to wait a couple months, and get a better idea about how you will carry your baby weight, prior to making any purchases. When you do invest in some pieces, try and pick some (comfortable) staples that will expand with you, and your belly. I would start with a great black dress, a pair of jeans and cardigan. Also, check the fabric tags since maternity clothing with a lycra content are perfect; they'll keep you looking shapely and aren't size specific. Liz Lange designs some great basics for Target, and you can never go wrong at Mimi Maternity. They have a very user friendly website and an educated sales team. While at either the store or on the website, you must check out the "secret belly fit jean." My clients and girlfriends swear by them...
Best of Luck, Gretta

Once you purge your closet, how do you rotate items? Can I wear the same classic black pants 3 days in the same week? Now I wear one cute outfit once or twice a week and somewhat frumpy outfits the other days so I don't over-use the stylish ones. Please, please help! - Kelly

Hey Kelly,
I find that so many people do this: think one dimensionally about "outfits." It's one thing to think through purchases you're planning to make in order to know you have the right things to wear it with. That's good. On the other hand, limiting yourself to wearing only outfits you know already work seriously cuts back on how large your wardrobe is, not to mention the fun you can have with creatively putting together new looks with old basics. I'm happy that you have a couple great looks that are stylish and that you love, so start there. Challenge yourself to take each component of your favorite outfits and create an entirely new outfit. Spend an evening at home playing dress up. While fashion comes from within, use people who's style you admire to get ideas from. If you always wear a particular top with pants, try it with a pencil skirt, tucked in. In terms of rotation, it's easy to get away with double, even triple wears of the same piece if it's simple and basic. As long as they're freshly pressed and clean, no one is going to notice those black pants were the black banks from Tuesday. But, again, be creative! If you wear black pants and a fitted top one day, pair them with a blouse and cropped jacket the next. It might sound nerdy, but make a note on your calendar of what you wear each day. I'm willing to bet that you'll be pleasantly surprised with how much variety you can infuse into your wardrobe without ever taking a trip to the mall and the only way to be sure of your success is to keep track.
XOXO -Gretta

I'm extremely tall! 5'11" tall! I see all these cute shoes and they've all got heels. I would love to wear stylish shoes in everyday life but if I wear something with a heel I look like a GIANT. How do I find shoes that are cute, stylish, and don't make me look like an ogre? - Lis

I'm so envious! I'm on the other side of the coin, if I'm NOT in heels, I feel like you do when you're in them — out of place and uncomfortably short, so I can totally sympathize. The good news is — who needs a heel when you've blessed with the stature of a model?! There are so many fashionable flats out there: toe cleavage, pointy toes, round toes, mary janes, ballet flats, buckle details, and that's just to name a few different styles. There's a flat for every occasion and I bet you're just not seeing them because you feel like you "have" to wear heels! Every premier shoe designer does fabulous flats from Louboutin to Manolo, which means every regular brand copies them from Aldo to Steve Madden. If you still yearn for a little bit of a heel, try what we call a "kitten" height — just a little heel, maybe an inch to two, that gives you that feminine, dainty feel without the extra inches.
XO -Gretta

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