Monthly Archives: March 2013

Don’t sacrifice comfort for style

By Hillary Schmidt

Photo credit: Tieks

Photo credit: Tieks

Every girl has suffered for fashion at some point in her life, and often it’s our feet that feel the pain. Heels today have reached heights no one would have ever imagined, while flats either lack style or just don’t seem to fit right.

Thanks to the Gavrieli siblings who built their company based on the idea of adapting the iconic ballet flat for the modern woman, girls now have access to what is arguably the world’s most versatile ballet flat. Known as “Tieks,” these durable designer shoes can be worn all day, every day, or a woman can fold a pair up and throw them in her purse.

Hand-stitched and made from authentic Italian leather, Tieks provide the wearer with complete flexibility to ensure comfort. Don’t believe it? Just listen to Oprah who got her hands on a pair and is now one of their biggest fans.

Photo credit: Tieks

Photo credit: Tieks

Tieks, with their signature blue sole, are designed to appeal to any woman –they come in every color of the rainbow, and in patterns from stripes to animal prints.

Convinced they’re a must-have? Purchase them on the Tieks website. Prices range from $165 to $295.


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Fab Five

By Hillary Schmidt

Photo credit:

Photo credit:

Creative Director Nicolas Ghesquière debuted his last collection with Balenciaga by sending models down the runway in his most sensual collection yet. But it wasn’t just the clothes that turned heads.

Ghesquière’s addition of these golden tube-shaped brass rings adorned on all five fingers of the models helped to accomplish the “edge” that is known to accompany Balenciaga’s sophisticated feel. The five-ring fad is now making its way off of the runway and onto the streets.

Photo credit:

Photo credit:

Think you could pull them off? Despite their hefty price of $765, companies like ASOS and online shopping sites like Etsy help you work around that with their similar, cheaper options. Or, buy them individually for $245 a piece and mix them with rings you already own!


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DVF Bold prints meets Roxy’s Signature Silhouette

By Jade Reichman

Photo credit:

Photo credit:

Diane von Furstenberg has paired up with Roxy to establish a one-time limited edition collection, which includes bathing suits, board shorts, beach bags and cover-ups. The playful and bright collection is a collaboration of DVF’s bold prints and Roxy’s signature swim silhouettes. All the pieces reflect DVF’s love of beach culture as well as Roxy’s active spirit.

These pieces can be bought online on DVF’s website.

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The surf spray is making waves

By Jade Reichman

Photo credit:

Photo credit:

With summer upon us, women are seeking the always-trendy beachy waves. Bumble and Bumble has introduced a product so that women both near and far from the beach can achieve this enviable look. In order to obtain this simple, sexy style all you need to do is spray Bumble and Bumble’s Surf Spray on your locks. This surf spray provides body with a light hold and a matte finish. It is as easy as spraying in and letting your hair dry naturally: What’s not to love?

To view more on the product, visit Bumble and Bumble’s site.

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More to Life Than Being Really, Really Ridiculously Good Looking

By Chelsea Harrison

When you think of modeling, what comes to mind? Victoria’s Secret Angels, flawless faces painted with cosmetics, sky-high stiletto-strapped feet. What do all of these have in common? They are meant for women.

But wait, don’t forget the six pack-clad, broad-shouldered men.

The world of modeling is changing. Today modeling is an arena where genders are beginning to see more equal representation.

Photo credit:

Photo credit:

Pick up any edition of GQ or Esquire. Yes, of course there are male models inside, men whom other men strive to look like. Sound familiar, girls? Then pick up this month’s Elle  or Vogue. There are just as many perfectly built, shirtless males within the pages.  After all, there is little difference between the buying inspiration derived from wanting to look like a model and wanting to find a mate who looks like the model’s partner. We are beginning to see these buff male models as often as their female counterparts.  And their appearance is bringing about the same positive response.


We’ve all heard “sex sells,” and that is a theory on which advertisers have heavily relied, and still do. In the past, male consumers had the advantage. They were the breadwinners, so the magazines were full to the brim with classically gorgeous women with large bust-to-waist ratios, telling them to buy the best new product. As women became more powerful consumers in the 1970s and ’80s, the advertising focus changed. Just as men respond to images of beautiful women, rugged, statuesque men can motivate females to spend. Male modeling gained an opportunity, and since this shift, there has been a slow evening of the industry playing field.

Ideal Image

Jan Strimple of Jan Strimple Productions is a fashion producer and model trainer. She says that the industry today has very specific requirements for a male model. Regardless of his age, the model’s height must be around 6 foot 1. He must have a 31-inch to 32-inch waist and a 32-inch to 33-inch inseam and wear a size 40 jacket, a tighter fit than earlier generations of male models.

Strimple says, “The silhouette of menswear is closer to the body than it used to be, a trend which we adopted from Europe.”

Photo credit:

Photo credit:

There’s an exception to every rule. In modeling, however, a young man must be truly exceptional to succeed if he deviates at all from industry standards, says James Williford, an agent with the Kim Dawson Agency.

“If a man is under 6 feet tall, he has to have something special: an amazing body, a wonderful face, something extraordinary that overcomes his height disadvantage.”

Unlike female models, male models have good career longevity. Agencies can embrace an aging male’s features “as long as he stays fit,” says Strimple. A 30-something male model can portray a sporty, mature bachelor as well as a handsome, family-oriented businessman. Female models’ careers, on the other hand, tend to peak in their early 20s.

Venus Versus Mars

There’s an obvious assumption today that the majority of models are female. Female models are, in fact, still the prevailing gender. Once a model herself, Strimple estimates that today about 70 percent of models nationwide are female and 30 percent are male, a larger gender gap than in the past. Williford cites the ratio at Dallas’ Kim Dawson Agency as two female models for every one male.

The fact is that females simply have more job opportunities in the industry. The cosmetics and lingerie markets are exclusively female — and even secure a higher rate. Men must find their niche. Although Dallas is a female-heavy market for models, Strimple recognizes markets where males thrive.

“When you think of fine menswear, what comes to mind? Seville row, fine Italian sportswear, Spanish leather,” she says.  “That [European] market is made for men.”

Photo credit:

Photo credit:

Strimple says that internationally, male models have huge potential. The equestrian styles and strong leather pieces many European countries, for instance, produce are very masculine and require a display to match. Men have to fill this niche — a small but important advantage.


Discovery is an extremely familiar word in modeling. An agency will “discover” a model, either inadvertently or actively. James Williford says that often this is simply a matter of luck.

“You can find good candidates anywhere from the grocery store to a baseball game, but it is a matter of what catches your eye.”

Of course, beyond certain size requirements, the characteristics that make someone a “good candidate” are generally opinion-based. Most agencies have a certain agreed-upon “look” they favor or are known for.  This is then used as a main factor in determining which modeling prospects they will follow through with.

“Just because I like someone, doesn’t mean everyone will,” says Williford.

Orchestrated model “searches,” of course, provide many new faces. But the stories that hold our interest are organic “sighting” stories, tales that continue to give hope to aspiring models everywhere. Mark Huntley, a senior at Southern Methodist University and former Abercrombie and Fitch model, tells about the day he caught a modeling scout’s eye at a crew competition.

“I was just warming up with my team and these two scouts approached me. I still remember their names. They said, ‘Hey, you kinda’ got the look we’re looking for.’”

This is a classic story about the making of a male model: Unlike females, who often seek out modeling opportunities, modeling opportunities often find young men.  These boys are found for the look, and scouts know where to find that and how to spot it.

Big Breaks

Most male models may be found by scouts on the street, but some seek fame on their own. Myles Crosby, a Calvin Klein model and incoming SMU freshman, is a case of this success in Dallas. Crosby came to the Kim Dawson Agency with known potential and a strong drive.

“His photographer took his portfolio back to New York, Calvin Klein picked Myles out of the pictures, and just like that, he got the campaign,” James Williford remembers.

This type of situation is quite rare. Even when male models secure an important campaign, like Calvin Klein, they must keep attending castings and push for their career, but “people just started calling for Myles and booking him,” Williford adds.

Photo credit:

Photo credit:

However, Crosby still did not follow the typical path of a newly successful model. He is dedicated to his role as a football player and puts it before modeling. When he started with Calvin Klein, Steven Klein, the brand’s lead photographer, requested a meeting in New York, an invitation most new models would jump at. Crosby, however, turned down the invitation because he had an existing football commitment.

“I’ve committed to this team. If this ruins the chance of getting the job, so be it,” was Crosby’s response.

Williford notes that this is typical Crosby behavior. “It speaks volumes of the type of person he is,” Williford says. “He is an example of someone who overrides people’s preconceived notions of how models are.”

Crosby intends to keep football a priority and play for SMU in the upcoming season.

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Aging in a Modern Age

By Kelly Matthews

MerylAs Meryl Streep glides gracefully toward the stage to accept her Best Actress Award at the 2012 Oscars, audiences everywhere notice how beautifully she has aged, without the help of extreme surgical procedures. She has an air of confidence about her– something that says she is comfortable with her age and appearance. Of course, I would be, too, if I’d just won an Oscar for Best Actress.

JoanOf course, the next step is to see what E!’s Fashion Police host Joan Rivers has to say about the night’s stars and their ensembles. It’s hard not to compare Joan and Meryl. Though Joan Rivers is nearly 15 years Meryl Streep’s senior (gasp!), her taut, seemingly lineless face may fool us into thinking otherwise. Numerous cosmetic procedures have altered and molded it into the façade we recognize today.

Joan Rivers is not so different from the rest of us though. Sure, she has taken anti-aging to a level beyond what most of us would consider rational or attractive. But how many women today wear sunscreen to ward off wrinkles or buy lotions that promise to keep us looking young? This all stems from a culture that has made youth and beauty synonymous.

Dr. Mary Lupo is well-versed in the youth-is-beauty trend. A board-certified dermatologist and nationally known educator in the field of cosmetic dermatology, Lupo has 29 years of experience under her belt. In that time, she says she has seen a dramatic upward shift in the number of cosmetic patients. She attributes this increase to the FDA’s approval of Botox to prevent wrinkles in 2002. Lupo estimates that today 85 percent of her patients come to her specifically for cosmetic anti-aging treatments, including Botox and fillers, laser resurfacing and skin tightening.

“On the face, women first start showing signs of aging with the fine lines and wrinkles around the eyes and dark spots,” says Lupo. “When a woman wants to look younger, I focus on correcting volume loss, skin laxity and skin discoloration.”

Photo credit: Youth Renew

Photo credit: Youth Renew

Lupo says she uses Botox, filler and lasers to help corect most of these skin conditions, and that some of her patients start on the regimen in their 20s as a “cumulative” or preventive treatment.

Botox in your 20s? That’s right. It’s not just middle-aged women investing in these procedures anymore.

Deborah Blumka, a medical aesthetician at Aqua Medical Spa in Dallas’ Uptown neighborhood, has noticed a generation of 20-somethings using Botox. Even though this is simply preventive, it can make a real difference in the way women age, she says.

Of course, a 25-year-old wouldn’t be getting the same quantity of, say, a filler, injected into her skin that a 48-year-old would. Different products are utilized for different parts of the face, and every face is different, so each treatment is chosen for that patient specifically.

Photo credit: Rimpel Consult

Photo credit: Rimpel Consult

In August 2010, Town & Country magazine published an article titled “Speaking Volume.” The article focused on injectable “fillers” and how they are “reshaping faces as well as ideas about beauty at every age.”

Well, they are doing a lot more than that. By 2010, the amount of money generated from 10 million injections of the filler Restylane, at $550 a prick, added up to $5.5 billion. That price may sound steep, but the filler can make a woman look an average of 7.3 years younger after one session, experts say.

The other side of a woman’s anti-aging regimen incorporates topical creams and ointments, some used in a preventive capacity, others in corrective, and still others in an effort to slow the aging process overall.

Tracy Giesler is a 22-year-old SMU senior who realizes the value of taking care of her skin now in order to slow the aging process later. Not only does she make sure to wear sunscreen on a daily basis, but she also uses Clinique Super Defense Age Defense Moisturizer, Lâncome Absolute Night Precious Cells and Olay Age Defying Night Cream.

Sure, it may seem like a lot for someone whose face is still wrinkle-free, but there’s something to be said for those women who have the foresight and discipline to protect and take care of their skin from an early age.

Sephora makeup and skincare aficionado Leana recommends the brands Perrione and Fresh as a first-line of defense in battling the aging process.

Perricone products go through extensive testing before production. They are stronger than many non-prescription products and will yield faster results. This makes Perricone ideal for both corrective and preventive treatments.

Fresh, on the other hand, is a softer, gentler line of skincare products. It was among the first skincare companies to pioneer the use of natural ingredients — sugar, milk, soy and rice — in modern beauty treatments.

Whether it’s an over-the-counter night cream or a $550-per-treatment injection, there’s no doubt that the anti-aging industry is doing well. The website predicts that the value of the anti-aging industry will “reach $114 billion by the year 2015 if current trends continue.” That’s a whole lot of money spent on youth.

Every woman, of course, wants to look her best, and great skin never goes out of style. Whether the goal is to look 10 years younger or slow the aging process, there’s no denying that women today have more power over that process than ever before.

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Fashion Career 101: Neiman Marcus Executive Development Program

By Ashley Anderson

Jim Gold Photo credit: Bloomberg Businessweek

Jim Gold
Photo credit: Bloomberg Businessweek

“Be inquisitive. Learn everything you can.”  These simple, wise words come from Jim Gold, the 48-year-old retail lover, businessman and current president of specialty retail at Neiman Marcus.  This talented entrepreneur’s 2012 total calculated compensation was nearly $5 million according to Bloomberg Businessweek – an amount that seems foreign to most of us college studentsAnd where did Gold’s career, which ultimately led to his incredible and elite position, begin?  The Executive Development Program at Neiman Marcus.

What is EDP?

The Executive Development Program is an intensive 12-week training program that, once completed, leads to placement as an assistant buyer with one of the business divisions of Neiman Marcus.  And, lucky for interested SMU grads, the EDP is based right here in metropolitan Dallas/Fort Worth.

EDP Logo Photo credit:

EDP Logo
Photo credit:

The EDP first arrived on the Dallas fashion scene over 30 years ago as a way to grow and build future executives.  In this exclusive program, aspirant store buyers and fashionistas spend time in the classroom learning theories and analytical approaches to running a business.  Students are able to practice these techniques hands-on during their buying-offices rotations.

Kelly Knez is an assistant manager of human resources for Neiman Marcus.  She explains that students select a store to shadow and follow the store’s current managers to understand each manager’s role and relationship to the buying office.  “Detailed training is provided in regards to the actual buying process and understanding of where you begin as an assistant buyer,” Knez says.

Knowing you’ll be trained so extensively should help ease your nerves, allowing your inner confidence to shine through during the interview.

How To Apply

Now that you know what the EDP entails, it’s time to take that leap of faith and apply.  What’s the worst that can happen?  Natalie Bornowski, who completed a BBA double major in Marketing and Spanish at SMU, went through the program shortly after graduating.  She says the EDP includes a number of different segments: “First, there is an online application that is split into a personality test and then a quantitative/math section.” 

The next step toward becoming a Neiman Marcus EDP student?  “If you pass this, then an on-campus interview is held,” Boronowski says.  ”After this you can advance to the onsite two-day interview at NM corporate offices where you will participate in group projects, interviews and tours.”  She says that after this process is complete, you’ll be notified if you have been selected for the EDP class. Jodi Kahn, manager of college relations at Neiman Marcus, says that job experience of any kind and leadership are two qualities they look for in a candidate.

Neiman Marcus Corporate Headquarters Photo credit:

Neiman Marcus Corporate Headquarters
Photo credit:


Well…you did it!  If you are one of the lucky ones offered a spot in the newest EDP class, congratulations – you deserve it.  Typically, a class includes between 25 and 30 specially selected students, most of them recent college graduates. In addition, men comprise about 35 percent of each group – always a bonus for fashionistas used to working in a predominantly female fashion environment! Bornowski explains that throughout the 12-week program, students will be in class completing projects, homework and tests as well as rotating part-time in a buying office.

During this time, another interview process begins to find the best buying fit for each candidate. “Some students will be placed in a buying office while still in EDP, others will be placed directly at the end of EDP, and others will still continue to rotate after EDP has finished,” Bornowski says.“It all depends on the interview process and finding the right buyer/assistant fit.”

Tayler Lee graduated from the EDP and now is the assistant manager for fine apparel at the Neiman Marcus NorthPark store. Lee believes the program has equipped her to one day achieve her goal of becoming a buyer for the store: “The program teaches you about the ins and outs of assistant buying as well as the history and traditions of Neiman Marcus.”

Tips To Take Home

Though this process may seem overwhelming, it is one that many students in the Dallas area and across the country go through to be part of one of the world’s most prestigious and well-known luxury department stores.  The program is offered exclusively in Dallas, so why not take a chance?  Follow the advice from employees at Neiman Marcus and current EDP graduates and you’ll be one step ahead of other applicants:

Tip #1: Knez says her primary role at Neiman Marcus is interviewing candidates for positions and promoting the EDP.  Fashion-loving students should start learning about the store and how it works before they even apply,” she says. “Build your career from the ground up to establish knowledge of the industry, customers and retail environment.”

Tip #2:  A graduate of the EDP, Bornowski says: “Be yourself! I suggest you take in everything you learn and conduct your own set of interviews.  Don’t be nervous – just breathe and smile.”  The SMU graduate compares the process to greek “rush,” or recruitment: “You want to be sure to find the right fit for you in terms of a job, just like you want to find the right sorority.”

Tip #3:  Tayler Lee, a graduate of the EDP Program, currently works as the assistant manager for fine apparel at Neiman Marcus. Lee advises potential candidates to try out many different aspects of the program. “The program is a direct feed into an assistant- buying position.  But, after you are an assistant buyer, the program can launch your career at NM in many different directions,” Lee explains.

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Be the brightest in class

By Jordan Moore

It's Potent! Eye Cream

Photo credit: Sephora

Late nights in the library, early-morning alarms and long days of class can dim our skin, particularly around the eyes. Lilac lids and puffy peepers are never desired, but sometimes lack of sleep gets the better of us. Thankfully, Benefit has produced a product that helps brighten dark circles and calm any beauty calamities. It’s called It’s Potent! Eye Cream.

Just a touch of the smooth, scentless cream underneath the eyes and within minutes your eyes seem wider, brighter and better than before.

You can purchase the magic mix in Sephora stores or online, here.

This little pot really is filled with a potent power, as the name suggests.

Never let a lack of sleep get the best of you again, and remain the brightest in your class, no matter the time of day.

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Spray and sprint

By Jordan Moore

For college students, time is everything. Getting to class on time is a challenge in itself, and sometimes 8 a.m. classes don’t allow for a full wash and blowout. For days when you may want to let your hair down, but don’t have the time to get a full shower, there’s another option: dry shampoo.

You might be skeptical, and you may be asking, what about residue? What about texture? Does it really work? As a personal testimony, I can say Oscar Blandi Pronto Dry Shampoo is the only one that has worked for me.

For a quick fix that leaves no white behind and brushes through completely, you can get the spritz from Sephora stores, including online, here. You can purchase it in one of two sizes: 1.4 or 3.2 ounces.

Oscar Blandi Pronto Dry Shampoo

Photo credit: Sephora

With a light, clean, sweet lemon scent, Oscar Blandi Pronto Dry Shampoo is the perfect perk for girls on the go.

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From turtleneck to cowl-neck: the fashion statement is back

By Hillary Schmidt and Jade Reichman


Cowl-necks at SMUTurtlenecks: the ultimate 90s staple. Admit it, you wore them. Today, however, turtlenecks are not a big fashion item. You’re more likely to see them on your grandmother, accompanied by her pearl earrings and slacks.

Secretly wish you could still pull it off? Not to fear! Designers like Phillip Lim and Missoni have incorporated cowl-necks into their lines, which have put an appealing twist on the turtleneck thanks to looser fabric that surrounds the neck.

The cowl neck, which was created by designer Madame Vionnet in the 1930s, has been seen on students across campus since the fall, but this style is a great transition piece into spring. The cowl-neck is the perfect addition to skinny jeans and boots, and they also look great under a light jacket.

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