Thursday, November 4, 2010

I've been meaning to share this...

I’ve been meaning to share this with someone and considering I’m about to talk about a spread in the October Vogue, the sharing is at least two months passed due.
So here it is, two months ago I noticed something great in the October issue of Vogue! Stylist Grace Coddington totally digs my style! Or at least that is what I told myself. When I laid my eyes on a particular shot from her photo shoot with photographer Peter Lindbergh and actress Carrie Mulligan it was almost a perfect match to something I created last winter with Andrew Day. We of course weren't in the South of France or rockin’ Haute Couture threads by Dior, but close enough!

Tracy Reese tulle dress. (my own) Vintage hat

Dior Haute Couture satin-organza-tulle gown. Vintage hat

Please follow this link to see a better photo of this and the rest of the AMAZING shoot: Vogue Gallery

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Artist Collaboration Project 2010

When you have a friend like Freida Bailey who is Senior Logistics Executive of North American Operations (LA, Miami, NY, & Canada) for RALPH LAUREN full time, and a networking creative mind on the side, you GO when she says GO! Needless to say (but I’ll say it anyway) when she called to tell me she wanted to include me in the Artist Collab Project she was putting together, I jumped at the chance. Freida and I have grown to be close friends that we call family, but she is also my mentor that continues to push me in the “UP” direction.
In the weeks following Freida’s proposal we organized our project that included Jewelry Designer-Dana LeBlanc, Photographer-Abbie Cooke, Hair Stylist-Catherine Brockway, Makeup Artists Mimi & Jamie, and ME as the stylist/creative director. Put us together and we make a perfect team of personalities that mixed just as well as our talent. Notice we are all women, which was the obvious key to this project- GIRL POWER!
Power was definitely needed. The meetings and weeks leading up to the project were carefully planned...and this was the most difficult part for me. Me and Freida are friends but that doesn’t mean we think alike! She has a “Type A” brain and my brain is messy and creative. I work best when something is put in front of me that I can touch, see, and play with. After about a month of gathering models, conference calls, endless emails, spreadsheets, and an overall goal, it was time for the big day. I had made it through with a new respect for organized situations.
We started bright and early at 6AM (the first model arrived at 6:30) Freida had her friend (Mr. wonderful Alex) share his home with us and of course she had everything set up and flowing perfectly. Let me give you a run down:
Model arrives and collects cozy white robe.
Model gets beverage of choice (so what if it was AM).
Cat does hair magic.
Makeup is done by Jamie and Mimi.
I style Dana’s yummy candy-like jewelry on model.
Last is the photo shoot with Abbie, who takes a portrait of the model focusing on the bold jewels & model’s personality.
The end result is a networked circle of ladies. Each model gets a beautiful portrait, and the artists get portfolio work.
It was a long day full of creativity. I needed a certain feeling from the model to know what they were going to wear. This means I made a “Whitney spreadsheet” when I met each gal. To me Jewelry is special, each piece has it’s own personality that has to be matched perfectly with a woman’s character. Dana’s beads have so much depth, I could play for days! I can’t wait to see the presence of our day in the end result. Big thanks to Freida, Abbie, Dana, Cat, Jamie, Mimi & all of the models who put their time and energy into our project.

Dana LeBlanc:
Abbie Cooke: 

Behind the scenes photos taken by yours truly:

Monday, October 11, 2010

Made that way

When I was a little girl my favorite color was shiny. My sister swore that wasn’t a color but I still beg to differ. I wasn’t thinking shiny like sparkles or glitter, for some reason I loved the “color” of clear lip gloss. Thick Lip Smacker roll-on lip gloss...that did it for me. I always felt a little different growing up. I even strived for it as I got older. I never wanted to seem typical, or do the things that were ultimately expected. I grew up loved and always felt confident even with my big teeth, gangly arms, and giant eyes (due to plus lenses for my glasses). I really believe this is what gave me the freedom I needed to explore with fashion or anything having to do with expressing myself.
On April 16th I chopped all of my locks off, just for something new and different (I couldn’t stop myself from being inspired by Edie Sedgwick any longer.) April 16th was also the day my nephew Carter was born. I had just left the salon and hadn’t even had time to get used to this drastic change when I got the phone call I'd been waiting on. Of course, when I walked in the hospital room everyone gasped over my hair and that was actually the last thing on my mind. Later that evening my sweet nephew arrived. We then found out Carter was born with Down Syndrome. It was a whirlwind of emotions for everyone. My sister and her husband were strong and calm... this news couldn’t touch their love for their new baby. By the end of the night everything seemed so normal and planned. I finally had a chance to focus on my new look and I thought, I am always striving to make a change and not be typical and Carter was made that way. 1 in 800 babies are born with DS, I’d say those are pretty amazing odds. Carter will be 6 months old soon, he is growing and learning so fast. I am such a lucky aunt and sister. My family continues to inspire me every day and I only hope to inspire Carter the way he does me. I wonder what his favorite color will be?
October is Down Syndrome awareness month. This blog is dedicated to he was obviously born with Stylish Bones.

Please learn more about Down Syndrome awareness & join us for the Buddy Walk on October 23rd.
Here are some websites:
If you’re interested in making a donation in Carter’s name:

The adventures of ME & CARTER

It's true, I have the cutest nephew
Pumpkin Patch

Daddy Mommy & Carter

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Creative minds think alike?

Recently I was very intrigued after I watched the HBO movie Temple Grandin. The movie is a true story about an amazing woman living with autism. The scenes that struck me the most were her visions and motivations working in her brain. “I see in pictures” she says in the beginning of the movie, and throughout the rest of the film every thought flashed pictures and scenes that her mind has captured throughout her life.  After seeing this, I was immediately inspired by her as a person. She is famous for being an accomplished adult with autism and has been extremely influential as an author and speaker on the subject of autism. Temple is a beautiful, smart, powerful self-advocate. There is nothing more inspiring than that.
I have become fascinated with different people and their minds. I am so interested as a stylist/writer/creative director in other artists and their thought process. I watch and listen to people very carefully. Last night I was at Kathleen Kennedy’s apartment, (a seriously talented painter), She showed me some of her paintings and immediately I wanted to know what they meant and what her inspirations were. She told me that some minds can just see it and understand all of the things I was asking.
In further conversation I decided that every craft is different, but I think all creative minds except and appreciate one another. I am obsessed with thinkers, writers, designers, photographers, painters, drawers, musicians, pottery/jewelry makers, chefs, teachers...anything that gets the creative mind working. I’ve come to realize that people focus on what they have the power to communicate with. I am visual, verbal and social. I have a mind that can see the beauty in a painting but may not understand the thoughts behind it, so in turn I need to ask and talk about it. When people work with pottery I can see them using their hands while creating something their mind is picturing but I immediately want to understand what made them curve the handle on the coffee cup. With photography I can tell what the whole picture is trying to portray. This makes me a good stylist because I can see and hear what people want and what will ultimately make the best picture. For personal styling, when an individual is telling me what they want to dress or look like I see the end result in my head. When I style a photo shoot it is so important for me to hear and grasp the photographers inspirations and desires while gathering some of my own. Again, I put together in my head the whole picture and bring it out for the end result.
All of this is why I am so into Temple, she has a creative mind and has never let anyone stop her from inventing and creating things for the world to use and see. Temple is not just a mentor for people with autism she is a mentor for all people.

"The world needs all different kinds of minds to work together"-Temple Grandin

Sunday, September 26, 2010


After purging our closets Hanna and I decided to have a yard sale. (and I quote) “Not your typical yard sale” in not getting up at 7 AM to go scrounging through trash bags, and treasures (which I LOVE). 

“Purchase Our Purges” we called it, 4 to 6pm, wine and snacks are served and your dream yard sale will be fulfilled on the patio! Classiness was planned, sweat was gathered, and wine was consumed. Our yard sale gathered a perfect group of our favorite gals to do what we do better-gabbing, spending, and dancing. We played bluegrass, made a beer run, and showed off our flat footing/clogging skills. This yard sale wasn’t just a good plan to make make money, it was a camaraderie that us women folk needed. Revamp your closet, gather your group, and throw unwanted treasures together for your friends to want. (Side note: wine leads to more purchases...It’s Science!) We will continue to have our “classy” yard sales, it is a release of unneeded stuff and a gain of perfect memories!

Dancin' feet
Happy night

Thursday, September 23, 2010

(some) Lessons of a Stylist

Whenever I am styling other people MY personal style is put on hold. I need to work with their details, opinions, personality, and shape. All of that helps decide what trends I can or shouldn't do for the individual.
Take Andrew for example, when I first met him his wardrobe consisted of solid t’s and jeans. Now that he has entered the fashion world with his photography it is (passed) time for a change. Andrew is willing and ready to try new things 1/2 for his work and the other 1/2 to improve his wardrobe. Shopping with him is easy, he understands his shape and personality, and he is willing to go out of his box (it was a small box-so the world is his). 
Another example is my sister. While going through her closet the other night laughing at sweaters she has held onto since the beginning of time. She told me she doesn’t like certain things “yeah, skinny jeans are great on most people, but I’ve never been into them.” As a stylist statements like that put you in your place. She is choosing her style and what she is comfortable with. I listened to her and grasped what she was saying. We purged some old sweaters, chose outfits for fall, and moved forward...both on the same page. 
An open mind is a great way to develop your own style-but don’t force anything, stay true to yourself.

Here are some shots I took while shopping with Andrew.

All photos taken in JCrew dressing room (gotta love JCrew style for classic boys)!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Visions of fringe and crochet danced in my head...

I’m pretty sure Ralph Lauren stalked my dreams before making his Spring 2011 Collection...This is how I was raised to dress!
Vests, neutrals, cream-cream-brown-tan-white-white-cream, lace, crochet, high feminine collars, bad to the bone jackets, prairie skirts, man hats!!! I am drooling and I must say...patting myself on the back. I could see myself in every piece as it so perfectly flowed out of my dream onto the runway. This is BY FAR my favorite Collection of the Spring 2011 season. Ralph Lauren continues to amaze me. He is genius when it comes to unexpected mixing (a love of mine) metallics with denim and neutrals, sparkles with fringe...YES PLEASE!  Also, major points for the choker necklace. 
The silhouettes were more than stunning, they gave me a sexy and very cool 90’s feeling. This isn’t just my Spring wardrobe, it’s my lifetime style. Thank you Ralph Lauren for continuing to make things new. 
I am done ranting on RL, if you haven’t seen it please follow this link... I can’t stop watching!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Closet Time

Tis the season to revamp your closet! I know, it’s a major task for some, especially when you have a “gypsy brain” like me. I have never been one to tuck things away nicely, I drape, hang, stack, and display. My closet represents my collection of art. I need to visualize every piece that I own. My mind functions better when it’s all in front of me. This could (and most likely will) end up in chaos and result in cleaning up my organized mess more often than none.
I don’t believe in a lot of RULES for your closet. I don’t like when people say, “If you haven’t worn it in a year, toss it!” WHAT? I have things I’ve been luggin’ around for a decade that I still get satisfaction from when digging them out of the woodwork! As long as you love it every time you pass by the hanger...keep it. It’s yours and you collected it for a reason! Now, if it’s something you bought on a whim and every time you try it you find an excuse not to wear it...toss it! I think you should love everything you own. Oh and if you grow out of something, there’s no use in keeping it around so it can sit and laugh atcha! As a woman, I’ve come to terms with growing out of things. Make sure you’re healthy and happy and move on.

A good closet = a variety of layering pieces. I want to look in your closet and see all the choices you have for one great piece. This way you get more for your money and you can mix yourself up! There is no need to be seen in the exact same outfit (down to the jewelry and shoes) every time you wear your favorite top. There needs be a variety of items you’ve collected for yourself that work for YOU. Make sure you have your basics and plenty of accessories to go along. Accessories are key for expressing yourself and your closet.

I revamped earlier today and have lots to share, go take a look at your space, and see what you have to offer.

reflections of revamp:
favorite shoe I've never worn

favorite shoe I've worn the
CRAP out of

favorite shoe given to me by
a random elderly woman

collection of clutches

BOOTS that last a LIFETIME
favorite new piece for fall

favorite classics for fall


Saturday, September 18, 2010

Young At Heart

Realizations come right to you when you have conversations with kids. While hanging out with my favorite 8 year old today, this was said:

Me: Why am I so tired?
Mattia: Why am I so creative?

Without even realizing it, he put me perfectly in my place. Instead of being tired and “undisciplined” (I refuse to say lazy) I need to be asking Why am I so creative? When/where/how can I use this creativity? For me, having a creative mind makes it easier to get a little out of whack and unorganized. I am constantly thinking of new ideas and inspirations but not always following through. I don’t remember this being part of the deal when I was growing up. In those days I was full of dreams, ideas, and aspirations that I was SURE I would follow through without getting distracted by the world. I wonder what happens to our energy and gumption as we develop. I love seeing the lit up eyes of young people talking about what they want to be when they grow up or their favorite subject. I want to get back to that feeling of sureness and use it towards these days! If that doesn’t get my 25 year old bones going...I’m not sure what will.

I wanted to be a Figure Skater when I grew up...(really? yes, I know) I think I’ll stick with my Styling and Creative Direction work. Check out the photos Andrew Day and me shot today...inspired by the conversation with Mattia. I used the ties to give the adolescents an “all grown up” staple.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Two Things: Thrift Stores & Thrift Stores

What goes around comes around: This is how it will be the rest of our days. Designers and regular Joes will always be pulled towards the past. Nowadays I feel that everyone is reaching for it even more (present company included). My apartment has not a stitch of modern decor. I even have cocktail napkins that say “I live in the past it’s cheaper there”. So many of us are wrapped up in another time. We yank ideas from various decades that we wish we could experience... I live in a few myself. The 20‘s- yummy! I love the idea of pretty lipstick, sparkles, the perfect throw on beaded dress, living extravagantly, drinkin’ whisky and speakin’ easy. The 60‘s- my parents were under the influence and have unexpectedly morphed me into a flat sandal wearing...crop top diggin’ chick, with a love of music and anyone with a guitar. I was born in the 80’s and I’m a 90’s child who still can’t shake 90210 reruns, so WOW it’s been a whirlwind for me AND my closet. 

Reaching for the past presents a subject: VINTAGE SHOPS.
This has become so overwhelmingly popular, even for designers and celebs. This (hate the word, hate the word, hate the word) “hipster” vibe has taken control of our culture. It has become difficult to stand out from anyone if this has always been “your thing”. 
All of that said, vintage shopping has always been one of my first loves.
If you want secrets...I have them! Even though I said I wouldn’t give any away. Is anyone keeping up? This is a good thing!
SHOP SMART (oxymoron for some, I know). Don’t just run into the first cute&trendy vintage shop in SoHo and pick up a dress that is O-so-fab “you think you saw Mary Kate wearing something like this in a mag just yesterday”. A lot of these places are overpriced, COME ONNNNN!!! If every dress in there is marked $100 you’re NOT shopping smart. Even if you have the money, it probably isn’t that special.
That brings me to my next point: It’s ok to walk away with one piece as long as you are completely in love with it. Give me an estate piece, or a one of a kind chunk of jewelry. Walking out of that cute&trendy vintage shop with something you couldn’t find anywhere else (and the price was right) is your goal for shopping smart.
Now here’s the real deal: From my calculations a lot of what you’ll find in these perfectly merchandised vintage shops, is taken from a regular cheap-o-thrift store. Items have been marked up and made to look extra fresh and trendy. Thrift Stores are my 1st 1st love. There is nothing like scouring the aisles of A Goodwill or (my fav) “A random” and finding just what you need for $5!!! Again, shop smart, check your choices!

Use your imagination or look through a mag. Get inspired and hit the thrift! Some people say they don’t have the patience, in that case...CALL ME! 
(my) Rules for vintage/thrift shopping:
-NO STAINS or holes
-Make every purchase special, remember it has a story.
-Always buy a new head scarf
-Never pass up a vintage/antique clutch, they are great to funk up your event threads.

One Vintage Shop that has NEVER let me down is (a town favorite) Design Archives. They always have something perfect for me (and then some). Check them OUT!