Latoya Richards-Sturgis made a great first impression as I spotted her walking to her first day of her new job. Her look was polished-traditional – wearing a $16.99 skirt found on Amazon, a ruffled feminine blouse from H&M, and a pair of pointed nude heels from BCBG – that all showcased perfection. Latoya would have made “Mad Men’s” Betty Draper proud when she said “The simplicity of a plain top with a pristine floral full skirt can make any day beautiful.” When I asked Latoya if she dressed like this because it was a special day, she said it’s her everyday look. In fact, it’s rare if you ever find her in jeans.
I call it “The Stepford Look.” It makes any woman look like they are party ready or ready for the club. . . Country club that is! Representing the classic 50’s style where wearing florals, fitted waist pants or skirts, and feminine colors and pearls were staples!
I love playing around with different styles depending on my mood of that day or finding a fabric or design that inspires me. But one of my all-time favorites is the ultra-feminine form fitting “Stepford” style. This is one of the few looks where the tennis-shoe is a no-no…which is a welcome rule by me! I must point out that I am biased because my size 39.5/9.5 foot looks the size of a Hinckley boat in anything other than a pair of heels. You’ll see this look is most often at country clubs and horse races. But – personally – I like to wear it when you least expect it and be recognized for exuding some good old-fashion Southern graces and charm! Allison O’Brien and I had fun being twins wearing the Stepford floral pattern style as we were cooking. Not in the kitchen, though. This was strictly office stewing and brewing, as we worked on our next great idea/creative solution. Allison’s outfit recipe? A mix of pieces from Brooks Brothers and J. Crew, while I found my concoction in a vintage store.
Found – To complete “The Stepford Look,” leave your running shoes in your gym locker. Only sexy ladylike heels will do! Colorful satin ones to be exact. I found both pairs of Manolo Blahnik’s on sale online. The pink pumps came from gilt.com and I hunted down the sapphire pair on eBay. No need to break the bank with designers when adding a little color to your look. I found a pair of satin emerald sling-backs with rhinestone detail at Zara for $69, as opposed to the others – which can run over $900. Pick your poison, but they are all class act winners for me!
And then there’s a Baltimore “Don Draper”. I had lunch recently with Justin Batoff, who certainly fills the bill as the poster child for refinement and fashion sophistication. I was “Mad” about his ensemble; a sharp pinstripe suit from Southwick and Holiday & Brown tie purchased from Yoicks!, T.M. Lewin shirt, and Brooks brothers cordovan loafers.
Justin talked about his tie; his favorite and handmade in London – by a now closed company that lasted more than a century. The tie is a true classic like all of Justin’s accessories, down to his signature pocket square. “I’m a subscriber to the basic Anglo-Ivy [League] old school traditions – updated where appropriate. I like the built-in conventions, like always carrying a handkerchief and having a sport coat handy to lend to a companion to ward off an unexpected chill.” Don couldn’t have said it any better!
Then there’s the importance of the pocket square being an accent to an outfit. It shouldn’t be confused with a handkerchief – equally important, notes this expert steeplechase rider. “Whether it’s used to wipe horse slobber off your arm or clean up after a spilt drink, it is the ultimate utilitarian accessory,” he said. Justin suggested going for a simple cotton bandanna – bought in bulk on Amazon in an assortment of colors. After our lunch, I had my own suggestion for Justin. He should write a book that would be an extension of the Brooks Brothers’ “How to Be a Gentleman” collection; books known as classic advisories on attire and social graces – something that will never go out of style. Just like Justin.