Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Interested in a Career in Fashion?

First Fashion ShootToday I have a guest post from Brian Jenkins, a writer for BrainTrack who contributes content about many different careers, including those in fashion design. For more information about BrainTrack, check out their Facebook page.

Fashion designers need to be creative, artistic, hard working, and have a "passion for fashion". It’s a demanding and highly competitive field. There are many opportunities. Many fashion designers are employed by apparel manufacturers. There are job opportunities all over the world in this field. There’s a constant demand for new designs for women's, men's, and children's fashions for the mass market. However, approximately one-third of fashion designers are self-employed. Having a solid education can really help.

Fashion designers typically begin as pattern makers or sketching assistants, but many fashion designers are employed by apparel manufacturers. They create designs for women's, men's, and children's fashions for the mass market. However, approximately one-third of fashion designers are self-employed. Fashion designers typically begin as pattern makers or sketching assistants.


Employers prefer to hire designers who have a bachelor's or an associate's degrees in fashion design and have knowledge about fabrics, textiles, ornamentation, and fashion trends. You have a better chance of obtaining a higher paying fashion designer job if you have a bachelor's degree, especially if it's from a prestigious school.


Attending a fashion design school, or majoring in fashion design at a traditional college or university, helps you to build a portfolio. Taking a fashion design program gives you the opportunity to explore a variety of careers. One of the important advantages of attending a design school is that they typically work very closely with the fashion industry. Therefore, these schools provide valuable networking opportunities for their students.

Graduating students have the opportunity to show their collection at fashion shows at the end of their last semesters. Important people from the fashion industry attend these shows looking for new talent.

Besides degrees in fashion design, degrees are also available in fashion marketing and fashion merchandising. These programs focus more on the business aspects of the fashion industry.

Top Fashion Design Schools

One of the best foundations for a fashion design career is getting a fashion design degree at a prestigious school. A degree from a prestigious school adds credibility to your resume. Three of the top fashion schools in New York City are the Parsons School of Design, Pratt Institute, and Fashion Institute of Technology. These schools funnel graduates into entry-level jobs at top design firms. Two of the top schools located on the West Coast are Otis College of Art and Design and the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising. Other top schools in the U.S. are the Massachusetts College of Art and Design and the Rhode Island School of Design.

Choosing a Fashion Design School

Answers to the following questions can help you select a good school:
  • Are internships in the fashion industry provided?
  • Does the school participate in fashion design competitions?
  • Does the school have successful alumni in the fashion design sector?
  • Is the curriculum relevant to the topics your interested in?
  • Does the school offer a sufficient number of courses in your area of specialization?
  • Does the faculty have established fashion designers?
  • What type of financial aid is available?
  • Does the school provide guest instructors from major fashion design firms?
  • Does the school have career fairs?
  • Has the school been accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design?


Some designers gain skills via internships with design or manufacturing companies. Some design firms accept interns with an impressive portfolio who haven't attended a fashion design school, however without personal connections its' very difficult to obtain an internship without an education. Also, aspiring fashion designers have the opportunity to gain exposure to prospective employers by entering their designs in amateur contests.

Other Fashion Careers

Here are some of other career fields within the fashion industry:

Fashion Design Production

  • Fashion merchandiser
  • Accessories designer
  • Showroom sales representative
  • Fashion sales representative
  • Clothing pattern maker
  • Product manager
  • Pattern grader
Fashion Media and Promotions
  • Fashion writer
  • Fashion PR specialist
  • Fashion stylist
  • Fashion illustrator
  • Graphic designer
  • Fashion editor
  • Fashion photographer
Fashion Marketing/Merchandising
  • Fashion buyer
  • Retail merchandiser
  • Fashion coordinator
  • Retail store manager
  • Visual merchandiser
  • Boutique owner

Fashion career opportunities also include designing costumes for television, movies, and theater productions and personal stylist jobs with upscale department stores and also with private clients.

If you have a passion for fashion, there are a variety of careers paths to choose from. Getting a degree in the field of your choice can go a long way toward getting your foot in the door.

Photo Credit: Chris Michaels

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The New and Improved Clarins Spa Experience

The ideal shopping day for me would be to buy a pair of fabulous new shoes (and a handbag to match!), have a yummy lunch outdoors, and go to the spa for a little R&R. Well, I've been blessed to live in a city like San Diego where I can go to the mall and do all of those things!

Last summer I introduced you to the Clarins spa at Bloomingdale's Fashion Valley Mall. Since then I've been there a couple times just because I love the idea of getting a facial and then going shopping right after. You feel energized, refreshed, and in such a peaceful state of mind.

Just when I thought the Clarins spa experience couldn't get any better, I find out that they've launched 9 new facial treatments along with a new generation of PRO Forumula products that they use exclusively for these facials.

What I like about Clarins' estheticians is that they customize the facial according to your individual skin needs and issues. Also, the signature manual technique used is the same regardless of which Clarins' spa you visit - whether it be France, New York, or San Diego - you receive the same quality service.

So even before I stepped into the one-room oasis, I sat at a massage chair and was treated to a back and shoulder massage right there next to the makeup counter. That was a first!

Onto the facial...

I wanted to work on hydrating and exfoliating my skin, so after cleansing and toning, an exfoliator, mask, and moisturizer was applied to my face....all done with a gentle, massaging touch. I think I may have even dozed off a little because of the soothing, relaxing music.

During the facial I received a very relaxing hand, scalp, and upper chest massage, which was definitely a nice new addition to the experience. I declined the foot massage just because my feet tend to sweat, plus I'm very ticklish!

"Soft and supple" sounds so cliche to describe how my face felt, but those are the only two adjectives I can come up with!

The 60-minute treatments are priced at $90; a series of 4 treatments is also available for $270. In essence, buy 3 get 1 free!

Let's take a peek at some of the new Clarins products for spring 2011... 

Clarins Rouge Hydra Nude smoothing cream lipstick

I absolutely love, love, love the Rouge Hydra Nude smoothing cream lipstick ($24 - Limited Edition). It goes on so smooth that it feels more like lipgloss than lipstick.  I don't know if I can go back to regular lipstick after using this!

I have the Nude Coral color, but it's also available in Nude Rose, Nude Beige, and Nude Caramel.

I haven't tried the Blush Prodige Illuminating Cheek Colour ($28) yet, but I do love it's pretty presentation and packaging.  This new formula includes bamboo powder and tomato extract, and comes in the following colors:  Lovely Rose, Soft Peach, Miami Pink, Sunset Coral, Rosewood, and Spiced Mocha.

Another product that I still have yet to try out is the Instant Smooth Self-Tanning ($32.50) which is supposed to smooth skin and fill fine lines and pores.  When I do use it, I'll make sure to post my review.  It will be available beginning in March 2011 at Clarins counters nationwide.

This last product I received is the Vital Light Day SPF 15 Illuminating Anti-Aging Cream ($85).  This formula for spring is different from the one I've been using in that it has a new lightweight texture.  I also like that it already has SPF in it because I'm very bad about applying regular sunscreen every day.

What I love about this cream is that it gives my face a very radiant, luminous complexion.  What I learned is that as we age, our skin's ability to metabolize slows down, which dulls the appearance.  This product stimulates cellular elimination and restores deep luminosity.  It will be available next month.

Clarins in Bloomingdale's Fashion Valley is located at
7007 Friars Road | San Diego, CA 92108
Phone: 619-688-9100.  Visit Clarins online at:  www.clarins.com

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

My Favorite Jewelry: Sterling Silver Rings

Unique sterling silver ring
Lately I've been pretty particular about the clothing or jewelry purchases I make. What I mean is that I'm looking more at quality vs. quantity. Even if I have to pay a little more for quality, so be it. I also like things that are unique - not everybody and their grandma is wearing it.

As a jewelry designer I appreciate the craftmanship and work that goes into creating elegant jewelry. I tend to gravitate to pretty sterling silver rings and of course, one-of-a-kind beaded jewelry.

One of my favorite pieces from my collection is this sterling silver ring pictured here that I've had since college.  I used to joke that it was my "secret weapon" in case I ever had to fight anybody.  It's definitely a conversation piece because I always get compliments and questions about it. 

Peace ring - sterling silver
My other favorite ring is this Peace ring - an homage to the hippies and a reminder to be peaceful at all times.

Most women have one or two jewelry pieces that express who they are.  These two rings probably sum up who I am:  peaceful and unique.

What jewelry pieces in your collection represent who you are?

Monday, January 17, 2011

5 Ways to Help Reach Your Weight Loss Goal

I'm sure that many of you have made a New Year's resolution to lose weight. I haven't necessarily made a weight loss goal, per se, but I do want to exercise more and eat healthier, which will help me maintain the weight I am right now. Losing a little of the belly fat would be a plus, though.

It's no secret that obesity is a big problem in the U.S. I don't know the statistics, but I'm sure that there are thousands of people who die each year due to obesity-related complications while hundreds of billions of dollars are lost each year in medical costs. Not to mention all the money that is lost in productivity each year when obese workers have to take time off to go to the hospital.

I'm not saying that being skinny is better and you should be thin just to be thin, and I'm not here to judge you. I'm just saying that there comes a point when overeating can seriously affect your health. When you carry extra weight, you have less energy and are prone to diseases like diabetes.

I think it's time for people to be more conscious about what they eat. Besides that, being aware of the emotional reasons behind weight gain is important to know. I know that many women use food to fill that void when they feel any type of negative emotion like loneliness or sadness. They may not even be aware that they're overeating.

So if you've set a goal to lose weight this year, I'm on a mission to help you!

Exercise weights and jump rope
5 ways to reach your weight loss goal...

1.  Keep a journal/blog - I came across this article today, 8 Amazing Blogger Weight-Loss Transformations, in which people used their blog to keep track of the food they ate and their exercise routines.   They used their blogs for inspiration and accountability.  There's something about writing down your goals that keeps you motivated.  With a blog you will attract readers who can cheer you on. 

2.  Make a schedule - Another way you can stick to a resolution to lose weight is to create a calendar and populate it with exercises and inspirational quotes. There are many online tools available to keep a professional schedule of tasks complete with reminders.

3.  Eat healthier food and be aware of portions - Keep tabs on your weight loss resolution by becoming more vigilant on what you eat and how much you eat.  If your budget allows it, eat organic foods from places like Whole Foods or Trader Joe's.  This past year I have dramatically cut my intake of processed foods and junk food like chips and soda.  I've definitely seen a difference in my energy level because of it.  I also eat until I'm comfortably full and not "stuffed".

4.  Eliminate the emotional issues - As I said earlier, many people have trouble with weight loss because of emotional reasons.  There could be limiting beliefs that are preventing you from losing that weight, regardless of what you eat or how much you exercise.  I have worked with Stephanie Tran who uses this technique called EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) that helps you get rid of those negative beliefs that are buried in your subconscious. 

5.  There's an app for that - There are tons of free smartphone apps that can help you lose weight.

Do you have any other tips to share?

Saturday, January 15, 2011

How To Select Jewelry For Your Best Look

Today I have a guest post by Ms. Benator of Gila Leah, Inc. Enjoy!

You can look at another woman and think –she looks really great. Her outfit is perfect, her hair is stylish – she just looks really put together. But do we know why she conveys that impression?

Let’s suppose we were to dissect her appearance bit by bit to see if we couldn’t pinpoint what it was that made her look fabulous that day. Is that possible? Yes! In fact there is a whole industry built around doing just that. It’s wardrobe styling. Recently I met with a wardrobe stylist, not for myself, but to better serve my jewelry clients.

For myself, I know instinctively which jewelry pieces look best on which women, from professional experience and observation. Many times I can do this without even seeing her; after asking pertinent questions of the gift buyer, I usually know just the right look for her. However, I want to share this ability with you, so that you can use this information for your own look. In order to do this, I interviewed my wardrobe stylist and did some research.

Here is what I’m looking for and this has been supported by my interviewing the wardrobe stylist and by my research: By considering her scale, shape, coloring, and personality when selecting the jewelry she wears, a woman will look particularly well put together, even causing people to ask if she got a haircut or changed her makeup!

The right piece of jewelry is as important to an overall look as the right hairstyle, according to experts. However, for many women, jewelry selection remains a mysterious and highly personal subject. A woman probably knows what she likes in terms of the jewelry she sees and wears, but what she may not know is what styles specifically flatter her – or how to wear the pieces she owns and loves. She may also not know what to take into account when adding new pieces to her jewelry wardrobe.

A woman’s personality is key. She should always select pieces that reflect her own personality. There are jewelry pieces to suit every style and personality, ranging from conservative to those with a definite creative streak. The universal style categories, defined in 1995 by Alyce Parsons are: traditional, elegant, feminine, sporty, alluring, creative and dramatic.

I like to think I’m all of those at any given time! You may want to create a certain impression, such as authoritative, or perhaps approachable. Sharp angles, straight lines and geometric shapes convey authority, like this necklace, with the large angular geode pendant

Classic conservative designs (like small hoop earrings and classic pearls are highly professional and authoritative. To be more approachable, include colored gemstones or softer design elements like curves, circles and ovals. Pieces with movement lend approachability, like these pale pink round freshwater pearl earrings:

Think of the scale, shape, color and your personality whenever you select jewelry. Over time you will build a personal jewelry wardrobe that will reflect your personal beauty each and every time! Your look will be put together and you will radiate confidence!

About the Author
Ms. Benator is the owner and designer of Gila Leah, Inc., exquisite jewelry designs. Many of Ms. Benator’s clients rely on her sense of fashion and her creative ability for jewelry that reveals their inner beauty. Ms. Benator designs personalized Hebrew name bracelets using sterling silver letters and stars of David for Bat Mitzvah jewelry gifts, as well as other occasion specific jewelry.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Illusion of Perfection

The other day I watched a rerun of the Oprah Show in which Portia de Rossi opened up about her struggles with anorexia and bulimia. Although we don't hear about it too often, this is an issue that I'm sure many women have.

Here's a clip from the show...

It can be easy to get caught up in the self talk (what I call the "Ego") telling you that you're not good enough...you're not skinny enough...you're not pretty enough...Especially when we're bombarded with images in fashion magazines and on TV of women who the world thinks are "perfect".

We begin to focus on what we think are physical imperfections and forget that we have these beautiful souls.

The other day my friend's daughter made a comment about one of her friends...

"She has a perfect nose," she remarked.

What is "perfect" anyways? Perfect is an illusion - an idea or belief. Because so many people idolize celebrities and models, we begin to believe that they're "perfect". This idea that we are not perfect drives us to do things that are unhealthy and destructive. We start looking for ways to fix the outside without working on the inside, which is our soul and spirit.

I will say, though, that each and every one of us is perfect in our own way.  Begin to believe that you are perfect exactly the way you are.  Work on strengthening the belief that you are truly magnificent and beautiful.  Once you start doing that, you will experience happiness and you will stop looking outside of yourself to fill a void.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Hair Care Tips: Get Rid of Dry Hair and Prevent Split Ends

I have to say that I've been blessed with "good hair". It's pretty thick and grows fast. However, that wasn't always the case. In my early 20's I didn't care too much and would end up with split ends and frizzed out hair.

Now I've come to realize that next to a great smile, your hair is probably one of your best accessories. Bad hair can seriously negate a cute outfit!

So, if you want to keep your hair in tip-top shape, here are some of my hair care secrets:

  • Don't blow-dry your hair - Whenever I wash my hair, I usually just let it air dry naturally.  I know that this may be hard for those of you who take a shower in the morning before work, but maybe you could try washing your hair at night instead.  If you do blow-dry your hair, use an ionic ceramic tourmaline dryer with a diffuser.  Your hair will be less frizzy and dry faster.
  • Use less hair products -  It's been awhile since I've used mousse, gel, or hairspray.  Overuse of these products cause build-up and leave your hair looking lacklustre.
  • Use quality shampoos and conditioners - Lately I've been using Organix's Coconut Milk Shampoo & Conditioner.  Love it! Not only does it contain organic coconut milk, it is sulfate-free and paraben-free. My hair just feels soft, plus my fiance loves the smell :)
  • Shampoo at Walgreens at ShopStyle
Do you have any hair tips to share?

Which Beauty and Fashion Companies Do You Socialize With?

Blogging -- What Jolly Fun!

Lately I’ve been thinking about how much has changed in the beauty and fashion world. As someone who has worked in the industry for many years, I can see a shift in how companies are doing business. With social media at the forefront of marketing campaigns, those companies who don’t make personal connections with their customers are going to get lost in the noise.

If you’re active on Facebook or Twitter, you have probably noticed how beauty and fashion brands are now sharing information via these networks. It’s no longer about glossy fashion magazines or TV ads - one way communication. From a business standpoint, I think it’s important that companies know what their customers are saying about them on these social networks.

Nowadays companies are communicating directly with their customers, engaging in conversations, and providing useful content. I also love that I don’t have to sign up with an email address if I want to stay updated on sales or get special discounts. All I have to do is follow a company on Twitter or Facebook. My email box is full enough with business emails!

For example, I can "like" the ShopNBC Facebook page and get daily status updates in case there is a good deal on something that I need - like a new black handbag! If tweeting is more your thing, ShopNBC tweets on a regular basis about the promotions and new products too. You can also subscribe to watch ShopNBC on YouTube.

Besides keeping up with the latest sales, there are many beauty and fashion-related companies that I follow for giveaways and contests. I also share feedback with them about products I’ve purchased.

Which companies do you follow on Twitter or “Like” on Facebook and why?

Photo Credit: Mike Licht