Looks Speak Blog



Too Tight Too Loose? Anyone get the joke? (Other than you, Mom!) #ToulousLautrec #Phillips Collection.

Even though this is a fashion blog (sort of!), and the “too tight too loose” seems fitting, it is actually an old joke, nothing to do with a garment being too tight or too loose.  It’s a punchline in reference to Toulous Lautrec.

The Phillips Collection has over a hundred of Lautrec’s works on display right now. And this show is no joke!  Go see!!!  I am even headed back to take it all in again (and again!). The exhibition is a collaboration between the Montreal Museum of  Fine Arts and The Phillips.

The iconic Moulin Rouge poster is on display! His very first experimentation with lithography. Additionally, you will find “never before trial proofs”.

Come discover the master who revolutionized printmaking!!!

It’s Winter?!

Its Winter!

Its Winter!

It’s Winter? What???  Where did 2016 go?? December 2016, The Hallmark Channel is already airing the Christmas specials and I am barely out of my summer wardrobe! I know I am repeating myself, but it is time to closet edit, make sure you have what you need to get you through winter AND, lets plan spring!

I hear many complain that the stores are already displaying spring and the winter items are tossed around like yesterdays news, they can not find a thing. I told you so!  Didn’t I tell you in August to have winter ready? Good News/Bad News.

Mr. & Mrs. Italy

Mr. & Mrs. Italy

As for the bad news, I will not rub it in for those who did not heed my advice to shop early. Good news. If you have not planned for winter there are some fabulous sales. For example, at Hu’s in Georgetown, in the lower level everything is 40% off!!!!  The other piece of good news is you do not have to make the same mistake for spring!  Looks Speak will start posting SPRING MUST HAVES very soon.  In the meantime for all of you “Deansters”(as in my son Dean who doesn’t always follow my advice!), here is an abridged winter checklist. If you still need any of the following and can not find it or need advice on where too find it (on sale), give me a call, email, text, stop by, or whatever your favorite form of communication might be.


  1. Warm, warm boots. Winterized.

    Warm Boots

  2. Warm, attractive, in excellent condition winter coat(s), preferably two, one for running around and the other for work, special occasions.

    Casual Coat

  3. At least one very cozy, warm, sweater. (Come to the Looks Speak Holiday Sip & Shop)
  4. Winter boots (less bulky than the aforementioned warm, warm boots). An attractive over the knee or just below the knee or bootie.  All three if you are feeling a shopping spree, if not, no worry. There are amazing sales right now, you can pick something up anywhere from $30-$400 plus. Something for everyone!
  5. Opaque Tights.  Make sure yours are in good condition. TIP: If you are wearing tights with booties the tights tend to get pilled by the zipper, reserve those pilled tights for booties only and when your entire leg exposed have a separate pair. holiday-sip-shop-popup

The 2016 Emmy Awards…. Take it to the Streets!

Last night was the 2016 Emmy Awards. By early morning the critiques were in, Best Dressed/Worst Dressed.  If you google “fashion” today, the top stories will be some variation of the best and worst motif. I asked myself, as a fashion lifestyle blog, what does Looks Speak report on today without either being redundant or ignorant?  What is left to say about who dressed best and who was a disaster? Or, if Looks Speak overlooks The Emmy Awards completely, we look like, “sorry, your mommy’s just a dumb dumb”. We say we are Looks Speak, yet didn’t realize the Emmy Awards were on last night? That “dumb dumb” quote was a funny only my own mommy can understand! And no, Sheila is NOT the dumb dumb. If you must know, it is a quote from I Love Lucy, Sheila will get the reference and since the only person I can count on to read Looks Speak faithfully is my own mommy, I like to send some messages in a language only we can understand. Like, “wear the purple dress”, or “some of us look good in hats” (head nod to Marcy on that one!). And, if you want in, keep reading faithfully and we all will be speaking in code!

Emmy Awards #SaraHyland, "Monique LHuililer #Looks Speak

Emmy Awards Sara Hyland, in Monique Lhuillier-Take it to the Streets!

After hours of trying to resolve the dilemma, what I decided, is to report on the “LOOK” from last night that not only worked on the red carpet, but can be (with a few tweaks), additionally perfect for the streets. After all, this is what Looks Speak is about! Looks Speak dresses real people, living real lives. Yes, Looks Speak readers and clients attend their fair share of significant events, galas, fundraisers etc. And yes, that may mean something out of the day to day norm as seen at the Emmy Awards last night. However, overwhelmingly, the spirit of Looks Speak is about fashion and style that fits the person, their lifestyle, and their goals. To that end, Looks Speak today chose a look from last night’s Emmy Awards to discuss that can be taken to the streets!

Sara Hyland, from Modern Family was dressed in Monique Lhuillier. Cropped straight black pants and what was essentially a tunic. What a marvelous look for fall!

You can start by assessing your summer dresses. Which of your dresses can also double as a tunic? More than you think will work!!! Lay out the dresses, hike up a pair of skinny jeans and start trying on some combos. You will look fabulous!! Then, if the weather starts to get chilly (for some it already has), start layering. And not just the layering as in over the dress. Of course, one way to drag your dresses into fall, is a simple leather or faux leather jacket over the look. But do not overlook layering that goes underneath the dress. Say a long sleeve crew or turtleneck. A cropped jacket as the outside layer would be awesome. And a sheer long sleeve turtleneck for an inside layer is a nice transition. When the weather gets even colder, do the layer underneath as well as on top. Voila summer becomes autumn, becomes winter!

The 2016 Emmy’s, Take it to the Streets!



NMAAHC opening their doors on September 24th!!!!

#NMAAHC #LooksSpeak

#NMAAHC #LooksSpeak

#NMAAHC The National Museum of African American History and Culture http://nmaahc.si.edu is the only national museum devoted exclusively to the documentation of African American life, history, and culture. It was established by an Act of Congress in 2003.  After decades of efforts to highlight the contributions of African Americans, on September 24th 2016 this long awaited, long overdue museum will open their doors to the public!!!  It will be a weekend of activities and events. #MeshellNdegeocello, #PublicEnemy  #angeliquekidjo

Some of the museum’s more than 35,000 artifacts include slave shackles, a dress Rosa Parks made in the 1950s, Muhammad Ali’s boxing headgear, a Jumpsuit worn by Diahann Carroll on the television show Julia and a Prayer shawl from Beth Shalom B’nai Zaken Ethiopian Hebrew Congregation.

#Jumpsuit #LooksSpeak

#Jumpsuit #LooksSpeak

Looks Speak will join in this momentous occasion. We will be attending the opening ceremonies and you can check this blog for all the NMAAHC Fashion that is fit to print!!! Additionally, we will be organizing three tours in 2016-2017, more on that in a later blog! What I will tell you in this blog post, the Looks Speak tours will be unlike any you have encountered! The food will be amazing and of course, it will be an excuse to dress up!!!

Over the course of the next several days Looks Speak will feature inspiring LOOKS to sport at the NMAAHC.  This is Washington DC folks, anything goes, but lets show the nation we are more than St Johns Knits, more creative than a head to toe any one designer look. We know fashion and we do not need to leave the District for great fashion finds. Of course, Looks Speak loves a good fashion trip around the States (and world), but in celebration of the only museum of its kind residing here in the backyard of Looks Speak, lets show the world we can dress to impress!!!


Fashion Week Spring Summer 2017


#AugustGetty #LooksSpeak

Fashion Week, the preview of styles to come and named for the season the clothes will be available is always a fun and exciting time! Lately, for me it is a trip down memory lane. The older I get, the “new” fashions are a reminder of “old” styles I wore way back when!

#AugustGetty #LooksSpeak

#AugustGetty #LooksSpeak

While Fashion Week Spring Summer 2017 looks are not available for some time, this year, Autumn Winter 2016, two designers jump out at me, their pieces are fresh, modern, killer! And, better yet, I can not recall wearing anything like their pieces. Whew! Thank you Gabriela Hearst and August Getty!!!

I am absolutely wild for August Getty. Lets face it, “August”, the Lion of the Zodiac (LEO), those born from July 23 to August 22 are the ultimate LEADERS. It is said that Leo’s are impossible
to resist, bold, creative and passionate. Now I have no idea of August Getty’s astrological chart, but I can tell you this (as a natural Leo that I am), August Getty’s fashion is truly IRRESISTIBLE!!!!

I was introduced to Getty’s line at Hu’s in D.C. I promise you, come to Hu’s, grab a Getty, and NO ONE in DC will look like you!!!! The inventory is limited, hurry!! I love when I can multi task my wardrobe. Every piece is wonderfully unique and can be transformed from a wildly appropriate, unique, stunning black tie staple to the perfect everyday work wardrobe staple.

#GettyGirl #AugustGetty………………..Be a Getty Woman!!!

Back to School! Photo Op!!!!



Back To School #LooksSpeak

Back To School #LooksSpeak

September is here tomorrow, to me, the month forever associated with BACK to SCHOOL. Every year I would look forward to my mother buying me new clothes, a new handbag (pocket book), pencil case, lunchbox, etc. And of course, back to school also meant the photo op.,  those dreaded photographs.  Sheila didn’t miss a photo op!!!! There are several photo’s of me floating around from way back when, always sporting a new outfit and lunchbox on Back to School morning. Thank goodness we didn’t have Facebook back then!!!!

Sheila emailed me an article this morning about decorating handbags and I immediately thought, how timely!!!  Back to School, Photo Ops, Handbags, my mind zeroed in on a lunchbox/handbag Sheila made years ago.  Thank goodness, unlike me, Sheila saves everything!!!!  See her design circa 1970’s. Get inspired! I am!!!  Check out these vintage lunchbox’s on Etsy, just waiting for a little decoupage!!!

Note, in Sheila’s designer lunchbox she swapped the original handle with a decorative black chain.  She found photo’s, announcements, news clippings, etc., pasted to surface, set shellac and voila!

Sporting photo’s on your handbag is a fabulous way to share your photo’s and getting them out from under the pages of a photo albums or computer. Another photo opportunity is in home decorating.  I always feel sad the few photo’s I have taken only live in some album or cell phone, so I decided to sport them all over my flat, especially my dressing room.

I do not have any dressers or cabinets, instead I use large plastic tubs, left over from my house fire. The cleaners packed the few surviving shoes and handbags in these ugly plastic tubs. I have since decorated them with photo’s and my dressing room is a wall to wall reminder of happy days!!! Then, because I am obsessive and can’t get enough of a good thing, I started pasting photo’s on everything!  Now my shoe box’s are covered. I wouldn’t be surprised if next I do an entire wall.  My only limitation is  that I was so traumatized by all of those back to school photo’s, I hardly ever take photo’s. What a dummy I am!!!


PHOTO OPP-Decorate with Photo's #LooksSpeak

PHOTO OP-Decorate with Photo’s #LooksSpeak

Photo Opp #LooksSpeak

PHOTO OP-Closet Art #LooksSpeak


Vintage Lunchbox #LooksSpeak

Vintage Lunchbox #LooksSpeak, Etsy, Waiting for Decoupage

Lunchbox by Sheila, #BackToSchool, #LooksSpeak

Lunchbox by Sheila, #BackToSchool, #LooksSpeak

White Out! White In After Labor Day!!!!

Does anyone remember “white out”? That wonderful white liquid that could erase any typewritten mistake.  For that matter, does anyone remember the typewriter??? If you answered “yes”and “yes”, then I bet you remember the advice of Emily Post and others, “no white after Labor Day”.

White Out, White In After Labor Day! #Looks Speak

White Out, White In After Labor Day! #Looks Speak

The first Monday in September (next week folks!) is the holiday honoring all workers in America and the unofficial end of summer.  Some where along the way Americans decided wearing white after Labor Day was a fashion faux pas. In 1920 Coco Chanel made white a year long statement, yet still, many Americans can not do the same in 2016.

Looks Speak says, do it! Be brave, follow Coco’s footsteps, wear white after Labor Day. In fact, wear white all year long!  Can’t get your arms around it?  Here are five ways you can take baby steps toward incorporating white year round.

  1. Wear White with Fur (fur signals winter, perfect way to offset summer association of white)
  2. Wear White with Leather  (leather, a winter staple tames the white)
  3. Wear White with Velvet (heaviness of velvet offsets the summer feel of white)
  4. Wear White with Black Accessories (gloves, handbags, tights)
  5. Wear White with Heavy Sweaters (sweaters, a nod to winter is permission to wear white pants)
    Channel you Chanel, Year Long White #Looks Speak

    Channel you Chanel, Year Long White #Looks Speak


White Out! #LooksSpeak

White Out! #LooksSpeak

FASTECHY- Fashionable Technology


No secret technology is part of every facet of our lives.  Technology makes so many things possible, easier, enriching. On the negative side, many worry human interaction is waning because technology can distance us from our fellow (wo)man.  Looks Speak will be covering how technology is now wearable and where (wear) that may lead us. Look Speak has coined the word “FASTECHY” referring to the ever growing phenomenon of Fashion Technology. The letters F-A-S  is for FASHION.  The T-E-C-H for TECHNOLOGY, which gives you FASTECH. The Y is added on the end of Fastech, which gives you-FASTECHY. A  Y at the end of a word makes it all so personal and endearing. And, in this case it helps counter the impersonal reputation of technology.

When Deanny (Dean with y at end) calls (called) me Mom(my) or my niece and nephew call me Franny, it all sounds so warm and fuzzy.  Maybe that is why (Y), technology folks (who used to be called geeks and thought of as loners when I was growing up), refer to themselves as techies. Too bad they used the i-e to create the y sound, “techy” would have warmed things up for them even further.  Right? More, Touch-y Feel-y.

We all are aquatinted with the apple watch and the fitbit, all wearable technology seen on just about everyone. And, most of us, especially in marketing are familiar with analytics that measure sentiment across the web over the course of a specified time period. Now fashion technology measure sentiment.  How long until we all wear a collar? The “Phebster”, aka “Pheb-y” my dog sports a collar so I can keep her reined in, will I be next?

NY Magazine/FASTECHY #LooksSpeak

NY Magazine/FASTECHY #LooksSpeak

New York Magazine has an article announcing a 3-D collar which when worn around ones neck can detect when someone is gazing at you and react to people for you. The collar can either shrink or extend “porcupine-like spines in the direction of  the eye contact”. What next? Will I be wearing a belt that eats for me so I never have to exert the energy to chew? Talk about one technology replacing another.  TV usurping radio, the web usurping TV, now this new collar replaces a need for my fitbit since there is no need to measure my steps, technology is making it so I do not need to move at all!


FASTECHY is not only here to stay, it will be blossoming.  Look Speak is here to shed light on all of the upcoming possibilities.  Who knows, maybe we will create a fashionable technology of our own. A Looks Speak scarf that opens up to a magic carpet, which eliminates the hassle of having to decide between Uber and Lyft, or the Looks Speak umbrella that does a Mary Poppins thing, also eliminating Uber and Lyft. Wow, Uber and Lyft should start worrying, Looks Speak is on their tail!!

Watch for more FASTECHY news!!! #FASTECHY Spread the word!


Clothing is Alive!!! Viva La Wardrobe!!!


Clothing is personal, it is alive, it breathes!!! Jennifer Grant, the daughter of Carey Grant, donated her fathers clothing to charity.  Grants suits do not hang in a museum, they outfit men looking for work, all the while, these men have no idea of their original owner. The suits, when allowed (not sold off in auction to hang in a museum) continue to breath, they live on!!  They are purposeful!!  The Wall Street Journal quotes Jennifer Grant, “clothing carries someone’s scent. It’s very personal.”  http://on.wsj.com/2bBnA0vhttp://on.wsj.com/2bBnA0v

Clothing is alive, clothing has a voice, clothing “speaks”!!  Ones wardrobe must be nurtured and used purposely. A life worth living is one with meaning. When Ted Stevens faced a tough Senate debate he wore a tie with the image of the Incredible Hulk.  Whenever I want to feel extra strong and channel my inner Donnie, or bring my father with me to places I know he would have loved to visit, I wear the tie he loved best to wear. (That’s the tie in the photo, I wore it to both RNC and DNC 2016 conventions, if Donnie were still alive we would have had endless conversations about these conventions and the election.)

Ted Stevens Power Tie

Ted Stevens Power Tie  tough debate clothing

Ted Stevens understood the power of wardrobe management.  Now, not everyone can pull off an Incredible Hulk tie, nor should they.  That is the very point of wardrobe management, authenticity.  I am a big advocate for Wardrobe Management.  In fact “Looks Speak” is trademarked and is a process of being strategic with your wardrobe, managing the use and affect of clothing on ones self as well as on others.  Its not trickery or trendy, Looks Speak is about bringing forward one’s best self so we can embrace our authentic selves and when our “looks” “speak” our highest self, we define who we are to the world.  Not the other way around!

So, go to your closet, let your wardrobe breathe!! As we approach a new season (Autumn is very close, hard to believe), this is a great time to do some closet editing.  If an item no longer feels alive, donate it or sell it to someone who will give it new life!! To every thing there is a season!!!


DADS TIE GOES TO RNC & DNC CONVENTIONS – convention clothing





Hemline Theory. Don’t Hem Me In!

Sheila is working double time! This morning I received several newsy items in my in box , she is amazing!  I think she has made up for what happened to me in the second grade.  The article she pulled from WSJ reminded me of the Mrs. Goodstein/Lori Shapiro incident in the second grade. More on that later!  Lets talk Hemlines!!

According to WSJ, mini skirts, short skirt suits are in!  Hello Ally McBeal!!!!

Hemlines Go Up! http://www.wsj.com/articles/the-new-miniskirt-suit-fashions-tribute-to-ally-mcbeal-1471893715

Now I hope this also implies the economist George Taylor is correct, short hemlines indicate economic boom.  The Hemline Theory dates back to the 1920’s, the thought was women raise their hemline to show off their silk stockings.  In bad times, women wear long skirts to hide the fact that they are not wearing stockings.

Hemlines Go Up!

So here’s what happened in the second grade. We were in our library class. The librarian, Mrs. Goodstein called me to the front of the class and pointed to my hemline. She proceeds to tell and show the class how short my skirt was and that it was inappropriate. I stood there holding back my tears. In swooped my classmate Lori Shapiro. Lori ran to the front of the class, grabbed my arm and pulled me back to my seat, simultaneously Lori was yelling at Mrs. Goodstein to stop picking on me. Well Goodstein had to have the last words, “does your mother know how short your skirts are?” I was in the second grade, my mother dressed me for goodness sakes!!! And there in was the root of the problem, Mrs. Goodstein had it out for my mother!  My mother was a substitute teacher and Goodstein was jealous of Sheila!! Sheila is and always was gorgeous!!! Sheila’s skirts were as short as mine and she looked amazing!! Goodstein couldn’t take her envy out on Sheila, Sheila would have clocked her! (And I’m not kidding, maybe in another blog I will tell you how Sheila beat up Adele, our neighbor,  Adele, a fully grown adult had pushed me. Sheila retaliated, take that Adele.) Sheila is fearless!!

So I say, if you want to wear a mini skirt, go for it, raise your hemline, the Mrs. Goodstein’s of the world be damned!!!  Don’t be hemmed in and a slave to any one hemline.  I am proud my mother and I through her, we were (are) always fashion forward!!!  Now, what will they bring back next? Hot pants?



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