StyleBakery.com | Ask The Style Chefs

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Q. How did you get started as a fashion and beauty blogger?

A. It’s always interesting to talk to someone about how they ended up on their career path, you’ll often find that it was not a straight line from A to B. This was very much the case for Beth Herbst and myself, and our path to creating StyleBakery.com was an interesting one.

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Shortly after graduating from Syracuse University (I majored in Advertising, Beth majored in Speech Communications), we both found ourselves working at a small media marketing and television production company in NYC. We interviewed for the company after hearing from some friends that they were hiring. I had always envisioned myself as a copywriter at a cool NY ad agency, but the job offer seemed so intriguing, I couldn’t resist.

The company produced fashion and lifestyle segments for television shows such as NBC’s Today Show and ABC’s The View, created syndicated video packages, and wardrobed celebrities. Since neither of us had any fashion or TV experience, our boss and mentor, Pier Piccoli, taught us everything. Working at such a small company was an incredible learning experience; it meant that we weren’t limited to one position or job responsibility. We did everything right from the start, including shooting and editing video, hiring and styling models, media training on-air talent, writing copy, pulling clothes to wardrobe celebrities, and more. Of course, it also meant that we did a lot of unglamorous jobs like schlepping, answering phones, packing and unpacking boxes, waking up at the ungodly hour of 4 a.m. for a television call time… But we learned and did so much more than we would have at a large cubicle-laden corporation.

After several years of learning the business inside and out, we decided it was time to venture out on our own. We started a small production company called Reach Marketing, Inc. and were lucky enough to work with the Today Show, Vogue magazine and the NBA almost right from the start. Our company was small — just the two of us — and we worked out of our apartments, still doing all the glamorous and unglamorous aspects of the job but with the added pressure of running and owning our own business. It was an amazing, yet somewhat scary feeling to be on our own and masters of our fate at such a young age.

In early 2003, I taught myself HTML and the mechanics of building a basic website, so we decided to launch StyleBakery.com. At the time, there were very few sites about fashion, style or beauty — and certainly nothing like the fashion and beauty bloggers that are so commonplace today —so we had to forge our own path and learn everything as we went along. What started as an online magazine that published every two weeks as a supplement for our TV fashion segments, eventually turned into a self-sufficient and thriving website that updated every day with fresh content. We soon added specialized sites for teens (StyleBakeryTeen.com), moms (StyleBakeryMom.com) and budget shoppers (Sweet-Savings.com and CheapChicDaily.com) to become the wide-reaching women’s style network that we are today.

Having gone to college in the very early days of the Internet, we certainly never could have imagined our eventual career: that we would be writing and producing content for the Web. Our advice to anyone starting out in their career, or one looking to make a change, is to consider every opportunity that comes your way. It may not be what you studied in school, or what you envision your path to be, but you never know where each new opportunity might lead you.



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Q. I keep hearing about metallic skirts lately, but I have no idea how to pull them off! Any tips on how to make it work?

A. Surprising, but true: you pretty much can’t go wrong with a metallic skirt. It’s sassy, adventurous and a little bit daring, but it’s not so OTT that it’s impossible to pull off. The great thing about this piece is that it’s so versatile, and because of that it’s a great alternative to the basics you might otherwise opt to wear. For example, recently Hilary Duff was spotted wearing a gold maxi skirt with a black tank. It sounds impossibly bizarre for a day out and about, but guess what? It works. The key here is to strike a pronounced balance. Steer clear of tops so overwhelmingly busy that they compete with the skirt’s glazed finish. Try your metallic skirt with one or more of these suggestions:

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Topshop Flower Ceramic Print Crop Cami, $45
Amy Gee Short Sleeve Sweater, $78
MICHAEL Michael Kors Sleeveless Silk Blouse, $271.51
Topshop Daisy Bead Tee, $72

BR Metallic Mini, $59.99
Duro Olowu for jcp Metallic Pencil Skirt, $40
BCBGeneration Metallic Circle Skirt, $26.99
Q. I’m super excited that spring is finally here, but I’m not sure how to deal with those days that just aren’t warm enough to go without a jacket or sweater. What can I wear that’s comfortable and practical?

A. I feel your pain. One day it’s bright and sunny, the next it’s so dreary you can’t believe it’s the same season. No doubt, the winter-to-spring transition can be tricky. The key is to select lightweight yet substantial enough pieces that are easy to slip on and off without a second thought — no-fuss cardigans, easy blazers and comfortable jackets that are appropriate to wear during those early days of the season. Layered over a pretty top and worn with anything from a pair of classic jeans to tailored pants to leggings to pencil skirts, these effortless pieces make life so much easier when the weather can’t quite make up its mind.

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Gap Utility Jacket - $59.95
RD Style Pastel Vegan Leather Moto Jacket - $98
Sparkle & Fade Ponte Knit Blazer - $39

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Wallis Blazer - $70
Dorothy Perkins Lace Back Cardigan - $35
Topshop Knitted Split Back Cardigan - $72

Q. I would love to see your bridal picks for a casual chic backyard wedding.

A. I love this question! Proof that there are many ways to celebrate your special day other than a traditional dressy affair. The important thing to remember is that, although the attire will be casual chic, you are still the bride — which means you want to look special and dress up a bit more than your guests. Rather than a traditional wedding gown, opt for a pretty white cocktail dress, flirty day dress or maxi dress. Add a pair of silver flat sandals (or heels if you won’t be standing on grass) and pretty earrings and you are all set for your wedding. Here are some options that we think would be perfect for your backyard wedding:

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Q. I have really dry skin and can’t seem to find a tinted moisturizer or foundation that doesn’t emphasize my flakey patches. Any suggestions?

A. I too have really dry skin, especially in the winter and early spring. After many years of trying out a variety of products, I’ve finally found the best way to combat dry patches and flakey skin. Here’s what works for me:

Step 1: Exfoliate before applying makeup. You can use an exfoliating cleanser or cleansing brush (like Clarisonic).

Step 2: Apply a serum with hyaluronic acid on damp skin. This will help draw water into the skin to keep it plump and moisturized.

Step 3: Apply a non-greasy moisturizer (preferably with SPF) and eye cream.

Step 4: Use a BB Cream designed for dry skin in place of a tinted moisturizer or foundation. Estee Lauder’s DayWear has hyaluronic acid and glycerin to trap moisture in skin, along with a gorgeous sheer coverage.

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