When Your Clothes Speak Louder Than Your Words: Four Factors to Ensure Your Verbal Message Is All Your Audience Hears

Even in this digital age, where phone alerts of breaking news developments pop up on my screen, I still watch the news. I have since I was little.  Growing up, we’d routinely watch the news during dinner. I even worked out to the 6 am news while in college and law school.  As a grown adult, with kids of my own, I still can’t fall asleep without catching the first five minutes of the local news, at the very least.

Why bother, you might ask?  Probably not for the reason you think.

I grew up trusting news anchors not just because they were the gatekeepers of the most up to date information concerning the state of the world pre-internet, but because of how they dressed. Female anchors, dressed in a suit or sheath dress; and their gentlemen counterparts, clad in a suit and tie, commanded respect and appeared credibly by virtue of the way they dressed and before even speaking a word.   Their polished appearance inspired the audience’s trust — and mine– in providing accurate answers and reliable, credible information.

And it’s no coincidence.

Before working as a professional fashion stylist, I worked as a litigation attorney for over 15 years.  After hundreds of depositions, I became fascinated less with impeaching a witness or catching them in a half-truth; and more with why I approached them the way I did.  If a witness showed up looking polished, in a coat and tie or a dress, I instinctively felt the need to “up my game” because the individual was likely well-coached by their counsel, he/she was a “know it all,” or some combination thereof.  If they arrived looking like they had just rolled out of bed, they were likely unprepared, uninvested, and disinterested — which meant they didn’t know what was coming and I was about to have some fun.

Call me judgmental. But I’m not alone.

Studies show that it takes less than seven (7) seconds to form a first impression of someone. Worse still, it takes less than one tenth (1/10) of a second to assess someone’s trustworthiness.

What does that mean, practically speaking?

It means we all judge a book by its cover, whether we want to or not.  These statistics don’t lie — they strongly suggest we are hard-wired that way, likely because it was better to be safe than sorry in the caveman days. Indeed, it was better to wander out into the night to find the source of that rustle in the grass, lest allow your family to perish because you assumed the best of the animal out there, wanting to feast on you for supper; or the enemy wanting to seize your land or property.

In modern times, it means before you’ve even said a word, or shook a hand, someone has already decided who you are, what you are about, and whether you can be trusted.  And it’s not your resume, your pedigree, or your actual character upon which they are basing that judgment.  It’s based on one simple thing: how you showed up.  Based on what you are wearing, how you carry yourself; whether you are put together; your makeup; your hair; whether your clothes are pressed; your accessories; and/or whether your shoes are polished, someone has decided whether they like you, can trust you, whether you are credible; and/or whether you pass muster.

So, regardless of whether you are interviewing for a job; broadcasting on television; or delivering a speech/presenting to a crowd of 100 or 1000, your goal is the same: to deliver a clear, consistent, powerful message.  The key to doing that is simple:  focus on the things over which you have complete control, namely  (1) the message itself; and (2) how it’s delivered.

While the first is more obvious, and likely the natural focus on your attention, I urge you not to overlook the second because how you deliver your message is arguably more important than you may initially think. 

Sure, delivering your message entails mastering your intonation and driving home your key points in a manner consistent with the message’s content.  But, how you deliver your message is as much about how you show up to deliver it as it is anything else.  To ensure your message packs a punch, devote as much time to crafting it as you do your look — i.e. what you wear and how you wear it because how you show up to deliver your message may send a message different from your verbal one.  And if you do, it’s highly unlikely you will get a chance to clarify or correct.

To ensure you dress the part and communicate effectively, remember the ABCD’s in assembling your look.

A: Audience, Appropriateness and Authenticity:

First, consider your Audience. Who are you speaking to and what are their expectations of you?  Where are you speaking and does your look align with your surroundings and/or venue? Is your topic sensitive, ethereal, academic in nature, or spiritual? Are you inspiring or educating people?  By keeping these factors in mind, your outfit can draw the audience in as easily as it can alienate them if you opt for the wrong silhouette and/or fabric, for instance.

Next, dress Appropriately.  This goes well beyond dressing in a weather appropriate manner, consistent with your surroundings.  It means avoid wearing stiletto heels if you are delivering your speech while standing on grass.  The stilettos may elongate your legs and be the perfect shoe to match your look; but in this context, it reflects unpreparedness — and will likely result in both your message and stance searching for firm footing.  It means being mindful of your hemlines and necklines (i.e. not too short or long).  It means avoid wearing a suit or a structured jacket if your topic is emotional or ethereal in nature — it will incorrectly convey that you are unapproachable and undermine your message overall.

Finally, be Authentic Brene Brown said it best when she described authenticity as “the daily practice of letting go of who we think we are supposed to be and embracing who we are.”  To authentically communicate your message, strike a balance between the other “ABC” factors and your personal style — all the while remembering that the balance is circumstance and situationally dependent.  Without it, your message will be diluted because it will fundamentally lack credibility.

B: Branding:

The “B” factor, or Branding, is especially critical in this day an age, perhaps more so than ever.  The reasons for this are simple: the internet has a perfect memory and you are the face of your brand.  And, you don’t have to own or work for a Fortune 500 company owner to have a “brand.” Personal branding and being “on brand” is just as important, if not more important in communicating your message.  How you show up is both a promise and an expectation:  it’s the promise you are making about what people can expect from you.  Always bear in mind that who you think you are may differ from who others perceive you to be based on how you choose to show up, so make sure to strive to align those on every occasion.

C: Consistency:

Speaking of which…  “C”  is about Consistency.  Consistency is key — plain and simple — in how you show up and in everything you do.  The world struggles with change, so the best way to firmly establish yourself — and effectively communicate your message– is to hone your personal style, pick a signature look in line with the factors we have discussed, and run with it. It’s why Steve Jobs gained notoriety and success he did — and why everyone knows him:  it all came down to a simple black turtleneck.  Each and every time he addressed an audience, he wore a black turtleneck. It became his calling card.  People knew precisely what to expect from him, his company and their products — which thereby enhanced the efficacy of his message and his brand’s awareness and popularity.

D: Dressing free of Distraction:

Finally, “D” stands for Dressing free of Distraction.  Generally speaking, avoid:

  • loud, bright colors (unless it’s on brand);
  • prints (especially large ones; stripes can sometimes be ok, depending on their width (too small can make your audience dizzy; and too wide can be distracting));
  • logos;
  • patterned fabrics;
  • large, bulky accessories and
  • too much bling.

Be mindful about color choice, and make sure your color selection aligns with your audience, your messaging and your environment.  Wearing a power color (aka black, navy, dark grey) can communicate authoritativeness, confidence and strength, which is great in court, but bad if your message is emotional in nature, generally speaking.  If you are covering a sport team, be mindful about your color choices.  Donning the opposing teams’ colors will have your audience questioning your loyalty, your choices, and worse still, your credibility.

Be careful with fabric and silhouette choices as well.  A lace dress is great for a cocktail party but will undermine your message broadcast from almost any other venue.  Worse still, wearing a nude colored dress at a manifesting spirituality conference will undoubtedly manifest thoughts in your audience better suited for a private venue.

In sum, dress in a way to ensure that your message is the only thing your audience remembers.  It’s in part, why I still watch the evening news every night before bed, even though CNN never leaves me void of news updates.  I just want to make sure I hear it from the people I’ve grown up watching and trust.  In the end, that’s what we all want: to work with, know, hear from and be in the company of people we know, like and trust.

Fashion Sequel: Derek Lam 10C + Athleta Winter Collaboration Drops Today!

Everyone who has seen a movie they love hopes for a sequel.  As the audience, we can’t wait to experience the newest adventures of the characters we revere, know and love.  A successful sequel hinges on striking the perfect balance of giving people enough of what they initially loved about the first installment with just enough twists, turns, nuances, drama and intrigue that push the envelope a step forward.  But not too far. Sequels fail because they step too far outside the box, or play it too safe.  The ones that succeed go just far enough, but stay true to what’s original.

I love me a good movie, but it should come as no surprise that I’ll take a fashion collaboration sequel over a movie sequel any day (sorry Star Wars episode VII!). And the best part? I don’t have to wait several decades for it to drop!

Part Deux of the Derek Lam 10C + Athleta collaboration drops today.  Like the original, it seamlessly fuses functionality with a fashion forward aesthetic, achieved both through couture silhouette and fabric choices — all in an athleisure line.  But like a perfect sequel, it goes a step further by incorporating an on-trend, oldie-but-goodie style —  a 70’s flair – in a completely innovative,  mind blowing way that exactly the hook every sequel needs!

So much strikes me about this collaboration….where to begin!

First, it is replete with amazing athleisure and athletic pieces we have come to know and love of Athleta.  The En Route Jogger Pants; the Union Top; the Tower Pant; and the Tower Track Jacket, to name a few, will keep you as cozy as they do stylish.  Completely interchangeable, they function both as their own capsule collection; and pair seamlessly with your favorite Athleta pieces — whether pants (think Aspire, Jogger, Metro), or tops (hi Odyssey top!).

True to form, the athletic wear capitalizes on the first collaboration’s design genius and aesthetic, and features similar creative color blocking patters to reflect aerial views of urban cities. This facilitate mixing and matching with earlier pieces from the collaboration. Some notable new arrivals include The Layer Up tank and long sleeve shirt: the stripe detail peeking out under a cropped sweater or jacket is a great little peekaboo pop. Yet, the pieces perfectly function as a base layer for winter outdoor activities. The Union tank is far more than just a tank — the neckline highlights the shoulders like no other. The linear pattern embedded within the fabric mimics cars lined up in traffic — perhaps those lining the streets of 10 Crosby and others in Manhattan.

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You may look at the Highline tank and think – cute.

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I see much more. Knowing the history of the brand, and Derek Lam’s Inspiration (see my earlier blog), this piece is much more. I’d like to think it pays homage to the infamous High Line in NYC (the disused New York Central Rail line turned linear park, which due to private efforts, is now a crown jewel in New York, known for its linear parks and artistic communities).  Leave it to Derek Lam 10C and Athleta to design a top that literally creates the High Line — side stripes like rail way tracks–on either side of this piece.  Somehow, this simple crop top embodies the High Line project’s innovation and creativity — and leaves me gasping for air.  I will own this piece because of the new creative design heights it reaches; and because, in some way, it symbolizes the collaboration’s bold ingenuity.

Second, to find a single collaboration that does cashmere, silks and leather in an elevated way that incorporates fashion forward design, on trend elements, functionality and versatility is novel. Unsurprisingly, this collaboration does it — and astoundingly well.  Almost magically so.  Cashmere sweaters with bell sleeves embrace the 70’s vibe that is THE trend this winter — but in a way that is so very on brand for both design houses (Athletic (aka Athleta); and so very Derek Lam 10 C (fashion forward, sleek and contemporary, with athletic undercurrents)). Genius. Pure genius.

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The blocking technique on the Central Dress, Central Sweaters and Elevate Jackets are universally flattering, blending the colors of the season (baby pinks, black and white) in a modern, edgy yet classic way.  The sweater and jacket will elevate athleisure pants, while the Central Dress is the modern woman’s perfect knit dress:  it pairs as seamlessly with leggings and sneakers as well as it does with heels and a statement necklace (or even pearls!) for work. Don’t overlook the Dwell Cashmere pant. It’s a must for pares ski, for lounging and sipping cocoa or a hot toddy; or even paired with a leather  jacket (even your Derek Lam 10C + Athleta Downtown Jacket!), peep toe booties and tee shirt for an elevated urban athletic look.

Speaking of leather, the Elevate jacket is the modern woman’s varsity jacket!  I dare you to find a woman who did not covet the varsity athlete’s letterman jackets in high school!  Fast forward, this one provides a more sophisticated yet purely sporty vibe to even the most conservative of LBDs, pencil skirts, slacks, or your Athleta jogger pants!

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Third, I’m obsessed with the Uptown Jackets. Seriously?!  These pieces epitomize why I am –and why you should be– obsessed with this collaboration.  These pieces push the envelope literally into the stratosphere! The craftsmanship, fabric choices and silhouettes combined together are barrier breaking in this fashion genre.  The Uptown coat (left above) could be worn on a red carpet — and will be my coat of choice this fall to every holiday party.  The Satin Uptown Funnel Jacket is the more affordable version of the first collaboration’s Leather Downtown Jacket that is as party ready as it is casual — with the same functionality and draw as its leather older sister – but without the price tag.  And the Pink Uptown Bomber jacket is finally my entree to being the Pink Lady from “Grease” I’ve longed to be ever since I was a little girl singing “Beauty School Dropout” along with Frenchie and Frankie Valley and the Four Seasons.  Over my grey wool Jogger pants, or a pencil skirt, it’s going to be my new fall go to –leaving everyone tickled pink, and the T Birds clamoring for more!

A sure fire winner, this sequel is not to be missed.  Run, don’t walk, to Athleta Corte Madera this Friday (or your local Athleta store or online at athleta.com) to snatch these limited edition pieces.

#powertotheshe

http://www.athleta.com

xx Betina

Where Fitness and Fashion Fuse….Derek Lam 10 Crosby x Athleta Collaboration

If ever there was a perfect marriage between two brands, it’s Derek Lam 10 Crosby and Athleta.  Derek Lam’s 10 Crosby line is the epitome of contemporary women’s sportswear for today’s on-the-go woman:  clean lines, sophisticated pallete and silhouettes, modern yet classic. Any designer whose muse is “understanding how women live” is just going to get it right. And he does. And this collection is no exception.

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I was so honored to have been asked to style and cohost the launch of this collection at my local store in Corte Madera. In preparing the model’s looks, and my words for the evening, I could not control my excitement. It was electric and fueled me in a way no other collaborative experience I’ve worked on had before. After much reflection, I was finally able to articulate it–and  three ideas emerged.

The first was how this was TRULY a collaboration — and not a collection.  It’s  rare that two design houses working together can create pieces that are on brand for both brands— until now.  The reason is simple: both parties came to the table with as much to learn as they had to offer. Derek Lam and Liz Giardina (Derek Lam 10 Crosby VP of Design) educated Athleta’s design team on seamless color blocking techniques.  Athleta designers shared their expertise in performance fabrics and built in support design– techniques Derek Lam now seeks to incorporate into their future collections. The result was a seamless collection that is authentically Derek Lam as it is Athleta – and nothing short of pleasing to the eye, the silhouette and the touch.

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(Pictured, Nancy Green, GM of Athleta and Derek Lam)

The second salient feature is the truly couture approach to designing fitness and athleisure wear. The Downtown leather jacket embodies this to the core — it’s a leather jacket that is as buttery and soft as it is edgy and sophisticated. Yet, it breathes and it bends. It was 102 degrees yesterday during the launch party, and I threw on the jacket to test for fit to better educate myself. The jacket never came off — the whole day and the whole night. I needed another leather jacket like a hole in my living room wall — and certainly not one in blazing heat.  But, as I explained to everyone (and justified to myself), I did not need it, but could not live without it. I could bend my elbows and feel like I was wearing a sweatshirt while wearing leather. It’s what dreams are made of – and epitomizes this collection: functional, fashion forward, performance athleisure wear. In leather!

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Finally, I’m awestruck by how the inspiration behind this collection translates.  After studying aerial photographs of major cities across the United States, what emerged were shades of greys and blacks– the concrete jungles which drive our economies; with pockets of blues and greens–our natural surroundings which ground us. The Block Avenue pieces — the performance leggings, capris, tanks and crop tops fuse these so beautifully in a carefully orchestrated, physique flattering way that feels nothing short of organic.  The city streets, full of traffic, chaos and busy people who are alone, together, glued to their tech device of choice, getting from one place to another appear full of order from above — simple, unchaotic mathematical orderly grids, as reflected in the Mesh Tank.  Angles and shapes seen from above manifest from what feels amorphous below showcase themselves almost ethereally in the Corner Lane pieces. The mix of the emerging prints feels natural and effortless paired together, or with the Downtown Leather Legging, pant or short for a subtler statement — all the while channeling the symbiosis of our urban and natural surroundings.

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(Stylist, Betina Baumgarten, Best Foot Forward; Lesley D, Athleta Brand Ambassador and Senior Yoga Instructor at Yoga Works; Grace Yu, fitness and yoga guru, Bay Club Marin; MJ of Aveda; Sarah Knowles, Designer)

In sum, the word that keeps coming to mind is seamless — and I don’t mean the fabric.  What modern woman – the woman who is trying to do it all, and be everything to herself and those that matter to her –does not want THAT in her life?  I strive for seamless transitions, seamless pick ups and drop offs with my kids, and pieces that seamlessly outfit me head to toe, looking and feeling fashionable, fearless and fabulous as I attempt to seamlessly get through my day – trying to fly as much as I try to remain grounded.  In Derek Lam’s own words “For me, the greatest compliment is when something I design can walk off the runway and right into her life.” This collaboration does so — and more–seamlessly.

The limited edition collection is available in stores now and online at http://www.athleta.com. #powertotheshe

Sitting Shivah for Jen and Ben….and their loss of privacy

Today, I am in mourning. True sorrowful mourning. Admittedly, when I saw the tabloid cover reporting the near dissolution of their marriage, it sent shock waves through me. Sure, he’s an alcoholic, and has a gambling problem – but no one is perfect, right? She’s gorgeous, smart, talented — what man would not want to be married to her? She’s as demure as she is a total and complete bad ass (um hello, remember Alias??).  Maybe she is controlling? What working mom is not to some degree. Most importantly, they have three gorgeous kids together. When they got together years ago, it seemed like a match made in heaven. You kind of just knew they would end up together- their onscreen presence in Daredevil (admittedly, I did not see the movie, but the promotional posters said it all). When they married, I secretly hoped it would the THE modern Hollywood fairytale. Move over Tom and Rita — Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner have arrived.  She, like the rest of the female species, drooled over his good looks.  Men drooled over all of her – period.  G-d knows, with the divorce rate being what it is in Hollywood, let alone the US these days, we needed Bennifer part deux to be the real deal.

Sure, there were signs. His Oscar acceptance speech for Argo (our marriage is work – but the best kind….WTF?!) was not a good omen — was it the beginning of the end? Or maybe it was the end of the beginning for them. The end of the courtship — which she fully acknowledged was long gone–but there’s truth to that. You need not be in the spotlight to acknowledge that relationships change as they endure the test of time – like old pairs of shoes, you stop working them in and just wear them. Until they get worn out.

Yesterday, the news broke. And with it my heart — for them, for the hope, and for their kids. Shivah began at precisely 5 pm when I saw the post on Facebook. What followed was even more harrowing — surfing the internet incessantly for any bit of information to confirm what I refused to believe. And there it was — everywhere. Confirmation that they are indeed splitting.

Today is the second day of shivah for Jen and Ben. I mourn the loss of yet another fairytale — and the idea that there is no such thing as the fairytale. Fairytales just set everyone up for failure. Talk about outrageous expectations. I mean seriously — who wears a glass slipper to a ball anyway? Who has mice make a ball gown not once, but twice, that requires no alterations? Yet, we all cling to them for one simple reason, I believe: that we too might be so lucky to experience a tiny drop of it.  Glass slipper in size 6 please?

But what saddens me most is not the fact that they are divorcing (which is so sad, don’t get me wrong). It’s the fact that they have to divorce publicly. The truth is people are people – whether their faces are blasted all over newspapers, magazines, 20 foot screens, or 4×6 photos in your office. They have problems just like the rest of us. They understand that marriage is as much about loving the person with your whole self as it is hating them just as much. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn’t. And what I mourn more than their split is how public it is, and how hard that must be for them and their kids. When something ends, when your heart breaks, it’s visceral, palpable. It overtakes you and overwhelms you. Then you add flashing lights and tabloids — and inquiring minds (I’m one of them, and I apologize). I’m sorry you have to endure this, and so sorry your kids have to experience any of this to boot. I sit shivah and pray that the media grows a set of values that include respect and integrity to allow Hollywood personalities the one thing we all deserve: privacy. Where is that invisible bubble shield when we need it??

xo Betina

THE Biggest Fashion Faux Pas You Can Ever Make at a Wedding…..and Martha Stewart (and Pippa Middleton) Will Help You Make It

Fashion faux pas happen daily. I’m sorry to say it – but if I could bet my life on anything, it’s that. From the VPL, (visible panty line) and black “opaque” tights as leggings, to the way too short short-shorts,  I struggle to wrap my head around what someone must have been thinking when one got dressed that morning. Or, if they were thinking at all. Here are a few flagrant examples…

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I say this tongue in cheek because it happens to us all. Even me. Maybe not the VPL – but definitely fashion choices that miss the mark.   Let’s just say that there were days when I would hide in my office when I realized that my “night before” fashion choices did not stand up in the light of day. I’d hide until the stores downstairs opened when I’d make a break for it, and try to redeem myself.  See, it happens to us all. Even Martha Stewart.  Martha’s orange as the new black stint was far from her finest. But that was not her only fashion faux pas….

As I was researching best dressed wedding guest fashion choices for this summer’s season, I came across a 2014 Martha Stewart Weddings web article entitled “20 Outfits to Make You The Best Dressed Wedding Guest.”  As I scanned the article, the cardinal fashion rule blares in my mind: unless you are the bride, never wear white to a wedding.  I don’t care how envious you are, how fabulous your new white or white-like dress is, or if the bride says it’s ok — it’s not. It’s the biggest fashion faux pas you can make. Listen to Nancy Regan: don’t do it.

Ironically, it always happens. I do not think I’ve ever been to a single wedding where at least one guest tried and failed to compete with the bride and wore white, or some version thereof (think bone, ivory, pale pale pink, or some other dimly dyed pastel resembling white in low light). Don’t think people don’t notice — they do. Do it and you will forever be THAT girl.  So, ignore the sales girl desperate for her commission at the boutique who  convinces you it’s ok to wear that white dress to a wedding (it happens – I was there) – it’s just not. Her job is to make the sale – not to be the social fashion police.

You should also ignore Martha Stewart. She and her fashion editors at Martha Stewart Weddings suggest this frock as their number one pick for best dressed wedding guest:

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Seriously. I’m not making this up. See for yourself: http://www.marthastewartweddings.com/best-guest-of-wedding-dresses-summer-2014#363810

Where do I even start? Never mind that it looks like you just disembarked from your trip to Rio, or that you were en route to your flamenco dancing class, but it’s white. Black trim does make it less white.  While Martha may have cornered the market in home decor, she should respectfully relegate her talents to the four walls of any space in or outside the home MINUS your closet.  Let the simple rules of etiquette guide your fashion choices in putting your best foot forward at your weddings this summer.

Check out my picks on my blog at Union and Fifth (forthcoming), and reposted soon here at bffbybetina.wordpress.com, to see fashion DO’s for this summer’s weddings!

Happy dressing! xo Betina

Styling Caitlyn…..

Caitlyn Jenner has arrived. And she’s gorgeous – inside and out. To me, there is nothing more beautiful than someone being their authentic selves and leading an authentic life. I cannot even begin to imagine the pain and suffering she has undergone for 65 years! It’s a testament to how powerful fear can truly be — and how courage and bravery can ultimately triumph in the quest to find authenticity when fear is cast aside.

While I am sure celebrity stylists are LINING up to dress Caitlyn, if I lived in LA, I would certainly throw my hat in the ring — but not (invoking the Bachelor/Bachelorette terminology) for the “wrong” reasons. Doing that would be inauthentic. I too hid from my authentic self for many reasons – fear of disappointing others, fear of failure, fear. When I surrendered and heeded my feelings and true passions, ones I tried to suppress for so long about my career aspirations, how I saw myself, what I wanted from my life, I finally felt at home: in my skin, in my life, as myself. I think we all, to some extent, act out the roles, the person, others perceive us to be or want us to be – sometimes, even need us to be. But being who you are is the ultimate freedom. And having experienced that on a fractional level to what Caitlyn must have gone through, I’d love the opportunity to help her express herself, be herself and show herself to the world.

Where to start?!?!  How about the red carpet at the CFDA awards last night?

Here are a few looks Caitlyn could easily rock on the red carpet. Which would you pick for her?

NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 01:  Taraji P. Henson attends the 2015 CFDA Fashion Awards at Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center on June 1, 2015 in New York City.  (Photo by Rabbani and Solimene Photography/Getty Images)

NEW YORK, NY – JUNE 01: Taraji P. Henson attends the 2015 CFDA Fashion Awards at Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center on June 1, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Rabbani and Solimene Photography/Getty Images)

attends the 2015 CFDA Fashion Awards at Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center on June 1, 2015 in New York City.

attends the 2015 CFDA Fashion Awards at Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center on June 1, 2015 in New York City.

NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 01:  Victoria Beckham attends the 2015 CFDA Fashion Awards at Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center on June 1, 2015 in New York City.  (Photo by Rabbani and Solimene Photography/Getty Images)

NEW YORK, NY – JUNE 01: Victoria Beckham attends the 2015 CFDA Fashion Awards at Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center on June 1, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Rabbani and Solimene Photography/Getty Images)

attends the 2015 CFDA Fashion Awards  at Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center on June 1, 2015 in New York City.

attends the 2015 CFDA Fashion Awards at Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center on June 1, 2015 in New York City.

attends the 2015 CFDA Fashion Awards  at Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center on June 1, 2015 in New York City.

attends the 2015 CFDA Fashion Awards at Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center on June 1, 2015 in New York City.

Congratulations on being the woman you want to be, Caitlyn. Put your best foot forward each and every day and know we’re in your corner.  Always. xo Betina

Zoe for less….

Confession: I love Rachel Zoe. I loved her reality show. She has great taste and great style — something that I think you are just born with. I can do without most of her jargon (because it’s BANANAS), but she’s an icon as much as she is a live cartoon character.

That said, she’s living on a different planet. Her idea of a small shopping spree is what some countries yearly GDP is. While I love her designer picks, I refuse to be the little old lady who lived in her shoes because she could no longer afford her mortgage (Sorry Carrie Bradshaw – I love you, but there’s not enough room in my Louboutins for my two kids and my 55 lb labradoodle, nor my husband – and I’m not going anywhere without these folks.)

When I opened her latest picks email, first I drooled, then I laughed at dollar figure on each of these pieces – especially when one of her editors claimed a $400 pair of Gucci sandals were “affordable.” Maybe for Gucci – but again, $400 for a pair of sandals is not really what most people on earth consider affordable.

I, however, found some great alternatives to some of her picks I thought I’d share:

1. Jumpsuit:  Like the $900 Missoni jumpsuit?

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Try this from Calypso, for $350.

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2.  Like the $400 Gucci Sandal?

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Try Zara’s version, which incorporates the fringe trend ($99):

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3. The Red Dress by Cedric Chalier ($ 1117 on sale) is gorgeous:

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Get the look for less at Old Navy ($37):

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4.  The Eyelet Isabel Marant Ruffle Blouse ($575):

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Get a similar look for a whole lot less without losing an ounce of style, femininity or flair with the Ruffles and Lace blouse ($110):

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Happy shopping….and saving. You can thank me later. 🙂

xo Betina