While Fashion Week has jumped across the pond to London to feature many favorites that hang in my closet (Acne, Preen, Vivienne Westwood), New York will forever be special because it was my first. You never forget your first.
We experienced and learned so much, while seeing and meeting incredible people. One of those people is Michael Costello, Project Runway Season 8 finalist and All-Star.
As we anxiously arrived at Lincoln Center the first morning of New York Fashion Week, Michael stopped us. Actually, he stopped Jslow to drop that compliment we all long to hear, especially here: “I love your dress.” She thanked him and whispered excitedly to me, “That’s Michael from Project Runway!” I didn’t recognize him since I’d stopped watching once the series moved from Bravo to Lifetime, too lazy to learn a new channel. Anyway, as we nervously made our way through the Lincoln Center entrance, Jslow struck up a conversation with the Project Runway All-Star and fan-favorite. To our surprise and delight, he could not have been more gracious and sweet, and more than anything, made us feel welcome in a world we feared was out of our league. We were not invited, but Michael welcomed us anyway.
Jslow kept her wits about her to ask him this critical question, which we wanted to share with you:
Jslow: “What one item of apparel should every woman over 40 own?”
Michael: “A fabulous statement coat.”
He explained that the coat should be an investment piece (not cheap, not a knock-off) that can be tossed on over anything. He added that women our age have the confidence, grace and better sense of personal style to “make it work.”
A big bright beautiful coat can pay us back in so many ways. To wit:
1. It allows us to be lazy about what’s underneath when we just don’t have the time or energy to “bring it.”
2. It is the ultimate “fat day” antidote. A diet on a hanger.
3. No matter how little we spent on what’s underneath, we’ll look and feel rich.
4. It keeps us warm. Who doesn’t love that?
A few tips on what to look for, or what turns a mere mortal coat into a statement:
1. Color. Avoid black or tan, go bright or patterned.
2. Collar. Go for fur, ruffles, anything flattering that makes the coat stand out and your face look pretty.
3. Silhouette. Seek dramatic shapes and lengths.
4. Texture. Look for luxurious materials and contrast (cashmere/fur/silk/boucle/feathers/etc.)
5. Fit. The coat must fit like a glove.
6. Construction. Make sure it’s lined, properly sewn and feels like it will last a lifetime.
So there you have it. Michael Costello has given us all permission to go out and get that coat, and make a statement, a truly liberating statement: “I’m over 40 and I’m overjoyed to be so fabulous in this coat.” A few more words of advice: Since this investment is going to cost you, for the love of God, don’t buy at full price: try the higher-end discount sites like Yoox or The Outnet, or wait for the current fall/winter crop to go on sale after Thanksgiving. If you play it right, you can save up to 80% and pay H&M prices for Balenciaga.
Thanks, Michael, for giving me and JSlow the best welcome to New York Fashion Week we could have hoped for.