Ivanka Trump: Bring it on!

 

One of the most wonderful parts of getting to know more about some of today’s top new jewelry designers is that so many of them have such interesting stories as they struggled to succeed and build their businesses. One of the most interesting jewelry designers of our time has to be a woman who doesn’t need to work:  that is Ivanka Trump, daughter of billionaire Donald Trump.

 

Ivanka Trump

Ivanka Trump

 

 

 

She’s a fascinating young woman, born with more than the usual advantages and/or burdens.  While most of us think of being super-rich, beautiful, 5’11” and blonde as an advantage, it could be that living life in a fishbowl, having a famous dad that many people don’t even like, and facing immense preconceptions anytime you meet someone could be a burden.

Somehow this child of privilege avoided the pitfalls of drug abuse, reckless partying and other destructive self-indulgences that many in her situation fall prey to. Instead become a successful woman in her own right.

I have followed Ivanka more closely since Tres Mariposas expanded our fine jewelry business last year. She graduated summa cum laude from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. At only 32, this former runway and print model is a writer, mother of two adorable young children, and executive vice president of development and acquisitions at The Trump Organization.

Her life took a different direction in 2007 when she founded her own line of fine jewelry in 2007 and opened her first flagship retail store on Madison Avenue.

Far from being a plaything of the idle rich, her line is exquisite, saleable fine jewelry that appeals to confident American women. As our jewelry business has grown, we had the opportunity to choose among the best and the finest fine jewelry lines consistent with our focus on fashion and quality, and Ivanka Trump Jewelry fit our criteria.

Much of Trump’s jewelry line is inspired by her passion for travel, architecture and design.  One of her most popular collections at Tres Mariposas has been the “Metropolis Collection.”   This line of 18kt yellow gold and diamond jewelry was inspired by 1920s Art Deco architecture in Ivanka’s favorite metropolis, New York.

 So how does she pull all of this off?  I got a glimpse of what drives her from her book, “The Trump Card:  Playing to Win in Work and Life,” published in 2009. As with most people, when they describe what influences shaped them, it was family expectations. “In the Trump household, it was never just about meeting the expectations of others,” she wrote.  “It was about exceeding them. It was about surprising people.”

For instance, she describes being incredibly apprehensive before a board meeting, knowing she would be in the company of middle-aged men who saw her as young and inexperienced.  As she became accustomed to being underestimated, she made it an advantage. 

Now, when asked about not being taken seriously because of her family name and her beauty, she responds as she did in a Forbes.com interview, “Bring it on.”

In the same interview she shared her top three style tips for women at work:  context, modesty and femininity.  “If you work in a law firm, you can’t wear the same thing you would wear if you worked at an ad agency,” she said. “Understand what is appropriate for your industry and in terms of how much skin is being shown.” 

She went on to say how much her own style of dressing has changed at work. “My office style has changed pretty drastically, and a lot of it became being comfortable with expressing femininity in a way that, when I was younger, I was nervous about,” she added. “I was almost afraid to be feminine on the job, which in retrospect was probably a mistake. I wear pink to the office now, whereas when I was 22, I was nervous to wear anything other than a black pinstripe suit.”

I’m guessing that whatever she wears these days, she makes it all look better when she adds her beautiful jewelry! Ivanka Trump Metropolis Collectioin

Not for the gym: Two athletic-inspired trends

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In previous columns this spring, we’ve talked about how mesh fabrics and perforated materials – two athletic-influenced trends – are adding great new texture to spring fashions.

Today, let’s see how athletic styles are influencing two of this year’s new silhouettes. It’s wonderful when new silhouettes enter the fashion scene. Well, mostly wonderful. It’s fresh and interesting, but most of us hesitate a bit before taking a risk on something new. That’s the way it will likely be with these new looks that are part of the trend toward athletic influences on fashion.

Pants with banded hems

One of these great new trends: loose pants ending in knit bands at the bottom of the legs. This style may be inspired by those fleece gym pants of old, but this is far from workout wear. These new pants are in luxurious silks, drapey charmeuse, or soft linens.

It’s funny – it seems like new silhouettes always start in black, then move to other solid colors and then prints. Watch this trend evolve in that way. Fashion is always about change. That’s what we love about it. We’ve been in a tight skinny pants trend for a few years. So this trend, of course, is looser, more fluid and relaxed.

At Tres Mariposas, the new banded-bottom pants are selling quite well to El Paso fashionistas. One question often asked is, “What kind of shoes do I wear with these new pants?” Good news is that either high or low heels work. Strappy high shoes will make the look sexier, more feminine, and dressier. Just as workable are flat sandals for a casual look.

Fashion sweatshirts

Ah…the comfort of a sweatshirt translated to cutting edge fashion. Hip lines like Rag and Bone, Helmet Lang, and 10 Crosby are all about sweatshirts for the cool and casual. And they aren’t like your old hoodies you wear for jogging. These styles still have the athletic sweatshirt’s comfortable raglan sleeves and round neck, but the comparison stops there.

The sweatshirt gym staple has been restyled and reinvented in rich fabrics like cashmere, silk, and lace. Many of these stylish tops even have leather trim details. Wear them with dressy banded-bottom pants, of course. But also with skinny pants, sleek skirts, or your most flattering jeans.

Give these new athletic-inspired silhouettes a chance – you might just fall in love with the comfort and the fresh new styles!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Clean your closet and donate to YWCA: A win-win

Closet-BlastIt’s that time of year again for the great seasonal closet switcheroo. If you still haven’t switched from your winter wardrobe to your spring and summer clothes, don’t delay. I like to think of the middle of March as your annual wardrobe-switching deadline, so make this your weekend to get to work.

We’ve already enjoyed some gorgeous summery spring days. The last thing you want to do on a bright warm morning is scrounge around tweedy jackets, cashmere sweaters, and leather pants as you look for something light to wear.

The drill is the same as every seasonal change. Sort through your winter clothes before you store them in your out-of-season closet or drawers or wherever you stash them until fall. Make four piles: items that need to be cleaned before storage, items ready to store, a very few transitional winter items that can stay in your closet for a little longer in case it gets chilly, and items that you are ready to give away.

This closet changeover may be a bit tedious, but it’s really therapeutic — and philanthropic! A friend once wished for a closet large enough to hold all of her clothes so she wouldn’t have to do seasonal changes. I disagree. While a gigantic closet sounds great in theory, I think it’s good to be forced to look at your wardrobe at least twice a year. It gets you in the mood for the new season and makes you confront the clothes you should get rid of.

As you consider what clothing to give away, just think about how you’re making space for new clothes that are on trend for this year!

It doesn’t matter if you are giving away something because it doesn’t fit, it’s no longer your taste, or you just can’t bring yourself to wear it one more time. You are entitled to your own rationale, which could be no reason at all – no one needs to justify or explain.

But I can give you one good reason to cull out what you’re not wearing any more, or rather 1300 reasons. The staff at Tres Mariposas is once again collecting women’s and children’s clothes for the YWCA’s acclaimed Sara McKnight Transitional Living Center, with a goal of 1300 items by April 16.

In addition, for every item donated up to 1,300 items, Tres Mariposas will contribute a dollar to go toward an urgent need the center staff has identified for the children living at the TLC: activity uniforms.

Think of all the great activities you might have enjoyed growing up – Camp Fire Girls or Girl Scouts, girls’ soccer or volleyball. Now think of the children who can’t take part in out-of-school activities, such as team sports or Boy Scouts, because they cannot afford the uniforms required for participation.

You can help Tres Mariposas raise $1,300 to purchase these activity uniforms for the children staying at the center. Together we can help children experiencing homelessness in our community have some fun after school!

Especially needed are almost new or gently used women’s clothing for job interviews and office work. However, think about what any woman might need, especially if she had to leave a bad domestic situation in the middle of the night without packing or if she has been homeless with little more than the clothes on her back.

The women who live temporarily at the center while they get back on their feet receive shelter, safety, job training, independent living skills, and help with child care. These women appreciate what all of us appreciate. They need skirts and slacks that fit, attractive tops and jackets, jewelry, watches, purses, and even nice pajamas.

This year, we’re also collecting children’s clothes. If you have kids or grandchildren, you know they outgrow their outfits long before their outfits wear out. It would be great if you can donate gently used boys’ or girls’ clothes for any age, from babies to teenagers. These kids need sweaters and coats, too.

You may already have activity uniforms that your kids aren’t using – things like Girl Scout blouses, Boy Scout shirts, basketball shorts, football pads and pants, baseball pants. With our donation, which will be presented at the YWCA Luncheon on April 17, the Transitional Living Center can buy the special team jersey or shirts needed so these kids won’t be prevented from taking part because they didn’t have the right uniform.

The collection campaign brings a win-win situation: you get a closet organized for spring and the TLC gets 1,300 items of clothing and $1,300 for children’s after-school program uniforms!

A Cutting Edge Trend That Cuts Edges – Literally

White cotton open weave dress by Yigal Azrouel

White cotton open weave dress by Yigal Azrouel

Technology influences many aspects of our world, and fashion is no exception.

It’s no accident that a major 2014 fashion trend is technology based. It is a trend that is likeable, crisp, interesting, and works in a myriad of bright or neutral colors. It works in tops, skirts, dresses, jackets, and accessories.

What is this versatile trend? Laser cut fabrics and materials. Today’s advanced laser cutting machines can slice the cleanest of edges on virtually everything from silk to fur, and turn out consistent patterns at an incredible speed.

Laser cuts create intricate tactile masterpieces of interesting textures. We are seeing laser cut leather jackets, laser cut cotton dresses, and trendy laser cut booties. It’s all about the cut-outs this year. Closely related trends include perforated fabrics, mesh, open weaves, or cutaway styles.

Once laser cutting techniques were limited to haute couture brands whose delicate laces and intricate leathers were painstakingly created by craftsmen.  Now, due to technological advances, laser cutting is more affordable and practical for a variety of higher end and even mainstream manufacturers. The results are intriguing – just check out how well this trend works for apparel, accessories and shoes!

P.S. Next week, we’ll look at another technology driven fashion trend…

 

 

Question of the season: What do women want?

Men ask me this all the time, Sigmund Freud asked it, and probably every great thinker since Socrates asked it. What do women want? What in the world can a guy give a girl that she will be sure to like?

Successful gift giving can be a challenge for men. Women don’t hide it well when they are less than thrilled with a gift.

At the Tres Mariposas Men’s Night this week, I decided to ask a few of the men there about this issue. Here’s what they say about gifts that have won the hearts of the women in their lives.

 

Dr. Bruce Applebaum_2

Dr. Bruce Applebaum:  “My most successful gift was a puppy when my wife and I got engaged — an adorable German Shepherd.  I haven’t been as successful in other categories of gifts!”

 

Jesus Canaba2Jesus Canaba:  “The best gift I’ve ever given was a watch.  Why did she love it so much?  Because of the little diamonds.  She was really into diamonds.”

 

Gene Carrejo2Gene Carrejo: “Jewelry from Ippolita.  She wears the earrings and necklaces all the time!”

Howard Smith2Howard Smith:   “Jewelry is always a winner.  Women just love bling.”

Michael Zimprich2Michael Zimprich:  “I’m planning for my most successful gift to be the one I’m going to give her next week.  I can’t divulge what it is of course, or it will spoil the surprise.  I try to get things she would not buy for herself – luxury and higher end items.  Christmas means a lot to her so I try to get her something nice she’s been wanting.  Guys sometimes forget until the last minute.  I try to watch and listen all year when I’m out shopping with her and then I go back.”

I like Michael’s perspective; sometimes I think women just want to be listened to! And there’s a message here for women here in our community – your men are trying hard to please you, so keep your smile on no matter what you receive Christmas morning. Remember, you can invariably exchange it if you need to!

 

The Meaning of Jewelry

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Having a fine jewelry store inside Tres Mariposas has been an amazing experience. The pieces are so gorgeous and it’s been wonderful to see customers admiring them and studying their details. It’s interesting — as I become more involved in fine jewelry, I am also becoming more aware of the deep significance jewelry holds for people.

Archeologists have discovered jewelry pieces dating back 75,000 years; its appeal is universal through virtually all cultures and eras. Jewelry has been worn for decoration and fashion, but also for its perceived qualities of power, protection, and even magical effects.

Women seem innately attracted to the adornment factor of necklaces, bracelets, and earrings. The right jewelry can bolster a woman’s confidence and bring out her beauty. It can pull together an outfit and make a special occasion absolutely dazzling. But women also love jewelry for its connections to others and for the stories behind the jewelry.

Flori Trudeau is a new Tres Mariposas associate and long-time jewelry industry veteran. We love to hear her talk about the jewelry – she is full of great stories about the gemstones and different designers.

“Every designer has his or her own story,” she says. “They all have different sources of inspiration and motivation. For instance, John Hardy was an American designer who moved to Bali for his inspiration. Now his pieces are made by Bali natives.”

Hardy_fall13_Naga

Hardy has one line called the Naga Collection which features a dragon motif. Flori says that the dragon plays an important role in the people’s folklore. The legend is that a dragon lives on the top of a mountain, but he is in love with a pearl at the bottom of a lake. He visits the pearl underwater and when he flies back up to the mountain top, the water on his wings drips down to water the rice fields.

For the natives, the dragon is a symbol of love, good luck, protection, and prosperity. For some women, it’s empowering and comforting to think that the beautiful dragon on their wrists can attract all these good things. In any case, it’s a lovely story – and all of us can do with more love and good luck in our lives!

Of course, certain pieces of jewelry carry their own stories. You remember where you were and the story behind the occasion when a loved one gave you a special bracelet, ring, or necklace. Each of those pieces carried a silent message of “you are so, so important to me” or “you really deserve this” or a clear and definitive message of everlasting love.

Jewelry treasures that are passed down from generation to generation carry stories of memorable women and moments in time. Jewelry pieces that women buy themselves come with their own stories: “I survived my first year of teaching,” “I passed the bar,” or “I got a raise!”

As valuable as these pieces are – with all their diamonds and colored gems, pearls and stones of all kinds, set in platinum, gold, or silver – part of their value comes from the stories behind them and what the pieces mean. Think about one of your favorite pieces of jewelry – what is its story?

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Fall Bestsellers: The Customers Have Spoken

As you probably know, the fashion cycle has a rhythm all its own. New style trends emerge each season, and retailers have to predict months in advance what they think will sell in their own stores. As buyers, we do our best to guess which items are going to be big winners for the season.  Which looks and outfits will our customers desire the most?

Right about now, mid-October, retailers are finally seeing what trends customers are responding to with the most enthusiasm. It’s interesting — bestsellers at Tres Mariposas invariably reflect the bestsellers emerging with other retailers across the country. Our tastes on the Border are in line with national trends.

Here are a few early winners for this fall:

Jacquard Pattern Jeans

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Why it works? Texture!

Fashion is all about texture – and everyone needs jeans in her wardrobe.  These are basically textured jeans! The term jacquard refers to fabric with a pattern woven into it.  Your interesting fact of the day: French inventor Joseph Marie Jacquard invented the first loom for these intricate patterns in 1801.

Fit and Flare Dresses and Skirts

DSC03775-2Why it works?  Figure flattering!

Not all of us look fantastic in straight pencil skirts.  The fit and flare style is fitted at the waist and then flares out into flirty fullness at the hem.  It’s been a classic since the 1950s.  Every skirt and dress in this style that we’ve received at Tres Mariposas seems to fly out the door.  Women must be hungry for something feminine and flattering.

 

 

Motorcycle Jackets

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Why it works?  Instantly ups your cool factor.

Every girl needs a bit of racy biker machismo now and then. The motorcycle jacket in black leather and other fabrications has been cool since James Dean. Wear it over everything in your wardrobe.  Add boots and you are set for the season.

Fur Vests

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Why it works?  Makes the outfit.

New design techniques and technology have morphed furs into garments almost as lightweight as sweaters. These are not your grandmother’s mink coats. Friendly to El Paso’s climate, fur vests are great for casual lifestyles.

We may very well see other bestsellers emerge as the season goes on, but these four trends have already taken El Paso by storm. The customer has spoken!

 

Dressing for the decades: What to wear at gala

Elegance in Navy

Elegance in Navy

It’s almost time for one of the major fixtures on our community’s fall social and philanthropic calendar: the Annual Friends of FEMAP Gala.

As many locals here know, FEMAP (Federacion Mexicana de Empresas y Asociaciones Privadas) is a nongovernmental nonprofit organization serving future and expectant mothers in Ciudad Juárez. FEMAP founder Guadalupe Arizpe De la Vega wanted to make family planning and prenatal care accessible to women living in poverty and has worked side-by-side with many El Pasoans, including longtime leaders Adair Margo, Mary Ann Dodson, and Dr. Jack Heydemann, to make this goal a reality.

What started out as a two-room clinic named Clinica de la Familia became the beloved Hospital de la Familia, where thousands of babies have been born since 1976. I have been a serious supporter of FEMAP since I visited that hospital in Juarez years ago. I was amazed at the medical services provided with such limited resources.

Today FEMAP has two full-service inpatient hospitals, a nursing school, community-based health programs helping children and teenagers develop emotionally and physically, and a micro-finance program. It’s a good cause and hundreds of people from both sides of the Border are expected to attend the benefit ball at the Judson Williams Civic Center this Friday, September 20.

Anna Aleman, executive director of the FEMAP Foundation, tells me that this year’s theme is “Decades: 1973-2013” to celebrate FEMAP’s four decades of service and the Foundation’s two decades of fundraising.

In 1973, when Guadalupe founded FEMAP, disco was king and everyone was doing the Hustle under mirror balls and strobe lights. So for this anniversary year, the gala’s entertainment will start with ‘70s disco tunes and work its way up through hits of the past to the present, while celebrating each decade of the organization’s milestones.

So, naturally, women are asking me how they should dress for this themed party but still be elegant and stylish. Good question! Here are some thoughts on the questions I’m hearing:

  •  Length? Either cocktail length or long ball gowns are appropriate. Both are in fashion. Choose the length that makes you feel the most fabulous.
  • Color? Navy blue is by far the most up-to-date color for evening wear this year. It is so trite to say it’s the new black.  Ok I won’t say it.  In addition to navy, burgundy and teal are great evening colors.
  • Details? One of this season’s top trends is the return of lace and illusion – sheer fabrics to cover a little but still tease.
  • Jewelry? Less jewels on the dress itself – not so much in sequins or beading.  More drama in colored stone necklaces, earrings and bracelets. Think sapphire or blue topaz

I hear that some tickets are still available for the gala! Call 544-4151 or visit www.femap.org

 

New season, new surroundings, new venture!

This coming week brings a special business milestone for me: a new store within our store. Any small-business owner – or large business owner, for that matter – can relate when I say it’s both exciting and a little un-nerving when you dream of something new and you watch it come to fruition.

To back up, earlier this year, after a lot of thought, I decided to move forward with a business expansion opportunity: a fine jewelry boutique. It was a natural progression for our mission to dress women on the Border in style from head to toe.

Tres Mariposas has been under construction much of this summer to build this new boutique within our store’s footprint and it’s finally coming together. We’ve torn up our store and are putting in designer display areas to create an amazing fine jewelry environment for customers.  We’ve debated about perfect lighting, about interesting wall textures, about just-right pieces to go in the cases.

However, as I write this, I confess I am a tad nervous about whether everything will be finished in time for our grand opening this Wednesday!  But hey, if you don’t plan a party or special event, you’ll never get finished, right?

The building project is only a part of the picture, though. The key components: people and product. My to-do list is long, but I can check these off with pleasure:

  • We hired Carmen and Flori, two fabulous associates with serious fine jewelry expertise and experience.  They have integrated seamlessly into our retail environment that emphasizes teamwork.
  • We went to the world’s largest jewelry market/show in Las Vegas in June, and carefully selected top designers to carry.  In every industry with designer lines, you can’t just pick what you want and buy it.  The vendor decides if you are      “worthy enough to carry their product.” You see all kinds of jockeying for different designers in the prestige jewelry world.  We are thrilled to be launching with some really gorgeous jewelry from Ivanka Trump, Yvel, Carrera & Carrera, and Cassis, in addition to best-selling lines from Ippolita, Jude Frances, and others that we already carry.

Needless to say I have robbed my “Retirement Piggy Bank” to invest dollars in personnel, boutique build-out and expensive inventory, but I’ve never been one to stick to the status quo when an exciting new opportunity presents itself.

We’re in the countdown now. We’ve got jewelry trunk shows for four days and lots of festivities from September 11 -14. Drop in and see what it can look like when you dream of new changes – and your dreams come true!

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Fall Fashion Trends, Part 2

As I wrote last week, we are all gearing up for fall. This week, we have a few more trends for you to watch for as you shop. Check out the big September issues of the leading fashion magazines and you will see some wonderful examples of what’s hot this season.

Sometimes people wonder what retail buyers do – when they’re not at market actually buying! Besides placing orders for what they project will sell well, our buyers at Tres Mariposas, are  also responsible for educating our staff about the clothing they saw at market and why they think our customers will be drawn to some of the new styles.

Our contemporary buyer, Gesuina Legaspy, identified some interesting directions that designers are taking this season:

Keep up with the latest trends.  Follow our Tres G.A.L. on Instagram. http://instagram.com/tres_gal#

Keep up with the latest trends. Follow our Tres G.A.L. on Instagram. http://instagram.com/tres_gal#

 

1. Leather Detailing: Leather is always big for fall but now you’re seeing it show up in new places. It’s about the details this year. Leather accents can be found on collars, sleeves, and even peplums. You’ll still find plenty of leather jackets and pants, but watch for some distinctive details.

2. Mini Statements:  After years of big handbags, the tide is turning. Purses are downsizing. Once oversized bags are giving way to minis that still can provide a big impact. Luxury handbag designers are having fun with these smaller accessories that can add a lot of personality and style to an outfit.

3. Popular Purple: Mulberry, plum, and dark saturated purple hues are a major trend color this fall. Stylists are mixing and matching purple with other colors, both neutral and bold. No matter what shade you favor, purple is a gorgeous jewel tone that conveys elegance, creativity, romance, and luxury.

4. Retro Flare: Call it fit and flare – it’s a lady-like silhouette with a close-fitting bodice and a softly flared-out skirt. Cinched at the waist, these dresses create a flattering fit for almost any size. This is one of those styles that accentuate the positive!

5. Mixed Media: You can see so many variations on this trend, which can include novel ways of combining fabrics, styles, and looks. For instance, mixed media can be a fun way to play with textiles, such as combining cashmere with chiffon, leather with ponte knit, or wool with silk. It could be a dress that looks prim and proper in front and sexy in the back or an outfit mixing a vintage look with cutting edge details. It’s all about versatility and individuality.

Enjoy shopping for fall – cooler weather is right around the corner!