Category Archives: fashion

Depp Obsessed: What Makes a Fashion Icon?

Johnny DeppJohnny

Tonight Johnny Depp becomes the first man to ever be honored with the Council of Fashion Designers of America Fashion Icon Award.

He’s a deserving nominee I think.

After all, he’s always displayed a love for vintage pieces. He isn’t afraid of a little imperfection. And he fully expresses his personality with his clothes.

It’s pretty clear that Johnny dresses Johnny for Johnny and not to impress the Fashion Icon voters of the world!

And maybe that’s why we love his style so much.

Don’t we all secretly want to be someone who’s so sure of who we are that we can throw on clothes and look GREAT without giving a toodle about what other’s might think?

If you ask me, THAT is one of the main requirements of being a fashion icon.

A while back I was interviewed by Glamoursurf and was asked to name my own fashion icons.

Nope. Uh-uh. No way. You can’t make me.


Because I don’t want you or anyone else looking to MY fashion icons for YOUR own sense of style.

YOU need to find your own fashion icons and not pay attention to mine or anyone else’s.

Maybe yours is that old lady at church who always sits in the third pew from the back. Or the woman who shares your elevator most days who works somewhere on the tenth floor.

After all, personal fashion icons needn’t be famous. In fact, maybe they shouldn’t be.

So here are a few requirements I look for in my own fashion icons:

1. They dress themselves. They don’t rely on stylists. They’ve honed their own style sense enough to know without a doubt what they like and what looks good on them.

2. They make mistakes and they don’t care. An occasional fashion faux-pas doesn’t keep them from continuing to express themselves with their unique point-of-view.

3. They’re not label snobs. They appreciate and embrace great design at any price point.

4. They choose not to wear fur.

5. They take risks. Dressers who play it safe may look nice all the time but they seldom make you go “Wow!” or inspire you to try something new yourself.

It strikes me as funny that so many people look to Fashion Icons nominated by the press and then scramble out to buy the products they wear or carry.

Do we really believe that if we just wear Johnny’s blue-tinted glasses or carry the same handbag that Sarah Jessica Parker sported over the weekend that some of their coolness will rub off on us?

If only.

Here’s the thing.

The glasses and the bag aren’t necessarily cool. Johnny and Sarah Jessica are cool because they are so connected to their authentic selves.

THAT’S what we’re attacted to. THAT’S what we all want.

That same connection to who WE really are. And the COURAGE to show it to the world.

Question: What requirements do you have for your fashion icons?

GOD SAVE MY SHOES Trailer – New Fashion Documentary


vogue archive

What fantastic news for fashionistas!

The Vogue ARCHIVE is now live and gives you unprecedented access to every issue of Vogue from 1892 to today.

Just imagine every page of Vogue—all of the articles and all of the ads—along with their 400,000 images.

Now imagine that it’s all searchable by brand, designer, model or photographer.

That you can sort results by articles, images, covers or ads.

That you can organize and store favorites. Print spreads and, rumor has it, even search by individual garment.

What a resource!

The only drawback?

This fashion treasure chest will cost you $1575 a year.

But as Reuters suggested today, many of us “would be willing to shell out significantly more that $131 a month for access to Google if that were the only way I could access its database and if it didn’t have any real competitors.”

So what do you think?  Are you as excited as me?

More info and a video here.

Vintage Crusader Spotlight: RJ Lowery, Suits4Saints, Buying American and Dressing Your Man

mary kincaid and rj lowery

Mary Kincaid and RJ Lowery

This month’s Vintage Crusader Spotlight highlights the work of R.J. Lowery, founder and Chief Image Officer of Your Expert Image and founder of the Suits4Saints charity that is diverting used men’s clothing from landfills and onto the backs of needy men in Ohio.

I met RJ and his lovely wife, Connie, at a training conference this past year and he and I immediately connected over our similar views on fashion and style.

And while he’s been super busy preparing for a seminar in Columbus, Ohio next weekend, he was generous enough to carve out a little time for Zuburbia.

I think you’ll all enjoy his insights about style from the male perspective!

Before launching your own company, you spent 20 years working for The Tom James Company, the world’s largest custom clothier for men. That means that over the years you’ve dressed some very successful men including top entrepreneurs, lawyers, doctors, and CEOs. What did you find they all had in common in terms of their attitude toward wardrobe and style?

There were two common threads actually.

One group of clients hated dealing with clothing and their wardrobe and considered it “a necessary evil.” They just delegated it to me to handle it for them.

The other group was really concerned about looking good!  Sometimes that meant hiding the parts of their body that they didn’t like. Or sometimes they just wanted to enhance what they did have. But the bottom line is they wanted to use their clothing to ENHANCE their image so that it made them more attractive to others.

I found that either way, I could help people be perceived the way they wanted to be, gain more confidence in themselves and attract greater levels of success in ALL areas of their life!

And what is the RJ Lowery Personal Philosophy of Style?

mens suit

Image Credit: stevendepolo | Flickr

Three things. First, I believe one’s image should look like they care but without caring too much. Does that make sense?

We all know that person who just cares way too much and it becomes “all about them. ” But we also know those folks who just don’t seem to care at all and it smacks of self-image issues.

Next, I think one’s image should be intentional and congruent with the message you’re trying to send. I’m all about my clients having a wardrobe of congruency! Sometimes we look at someone, find out what they do and we go “Huh? I’m confused.” There are times when this may work out okay but not on a regular basis.

Lastly, I’m a big respect guy so I make sure that my clients are always paying respect to 4 factors:

1) The weather/season
2) The event/occasion
3) The person/people they’re with
4) Ourselves and our values.

You work with men and women, but mostly men, on a one-to-one basis to clean out their closets and overhaul their wardrobes. What do you think are the key benefits to working with an image consultant versus doing it by yourself?

I believe in working with EXPERTS in their field and letting them do their job.  When I hire someone, I hire them because they are one of the best at what they do and then I let them do it! So one of the benefits to working with me is that I’m good. I don’t mean that in an arrogant way—it’s just truth.

I’ve been one of the top image consultants in the custom clothing industry for over 20 years. I also partner with the finest manufacturer of custom clothing IN THE WORLD, who has local representatives in every major city worldwide. So, after a full day of working with me my clients are extremely pleased with the results and once the clothing comes in, they are even happier. There’s nothing like it!

You worked over 20 years for the world’s largest custom clothier but not everyone can afford custom-made clothes. What are the signs of quality that we should be looking for in off-the-rack clothing?

mens shirts

Image Credit: Worakit Sirijinda |

First of all, I’m a big American-made guy.  I think a a lot of people forget that we have American companies that still make clothing right here in the good ol’ USA!

So whether it’s suits, sport coats, pants, shirts, ties, shoes or even nice jeans, I would say look to buy American FIRST. The quality, in most cases, is fantastic, and you can find most styles that you are looking for. It cracks me up when people say, “I want an Italian suit” and they have no idea it was made in China!

People are making very poor decisions because they are uneducated on the topic and because they don’t take the time to do it right or pay someone to do it right for them.

Using suits as an example, you can get custom-made for less than you think. You can actually stay American for about $800 and up, but if you want to invest less, I recommend going South, not East. The company I partner with has shops in Chile and can deliver suits at a retail price of about $600. Plus, it’s good to know the nation whose manufacturing we’re supporting isn’t a communist regime who would still love to take America down!

Beyond that it takes time and money. If you don’t have the money to have someone help you then you are going to have to take the time. Don’t make impulse decisions and don’t be afraid to walk away if something doesn’t fit right or look fantastic on you—or your man!

You bring up a good point. I’m sure that many women reading this would love their men to be more stylish, to “up their game” so to speak. And I once heard you say that one of a woman’s best accessories is a well-dressed man. So what advice do you have for us women to help our men care more about their personal style?

First thing I would say is go to Your readers—or the men in their lives—can watch a free video I did on The Five Fashion Faux Pas for Men. It highlights the most common mistakes men make when dressing AND how to avoid them!

I’ve watched this video and just want to point out that your Five Fashion Faux Pas for Men are also mistakes a lot of women make. So ladies make sure you should check this out, too!

man and tie

Image Credit: healingdream |


Is there anything else you suggest we women do?

Next, you need to find out what “guy” your man wants to be. Does he want to be the classy, elegant  gentleman? Or is he the old school, old money type who doesn’t want to appear too “dandy?” Maybe he wants to be seen as the chic, trendy guy who’s “with it.” Or he might want to be that guy with an edge. You know what I mean.

And you may think you know your man, but if you can get him to talk about his image before having someone like me come to work with him, it makes things a lot easier! But be prepared. You might be surprised with the answer you find once you start talking.

Also, getting a third-person involved and having their objective opinion can be very helpful.

Then make a day of it! Going through the closet together as a couple with an image consultant can be fun. It doesn’t have to be a chore.

Finally, tell us a little bit about Suits4Saints, the project that is so close to your heart and that is keeping tons of great men’s clothes from ending up on landfills and instead is channeling them to men who actually need them.

I started Suits4Saints about 15 years ago when I realized that many men I was working with were THROWING AWAY their old clothes after they got my new clothing in!

While that was a compliment to my quality and service, it made me sick to my stomach. I thought to myself that there has to be someone else who these clothes could fit and who would be blessed to have them. So I decided to offer an alternative.

I offered to take that clothing to the charity of my client’s choice and get them a receipt for tax purposes.  Right about that same time, I was elected to the board of my church and I started meeting more and more people who had needs for nicer clothing but couldn’t afford it. And Suits4Saints was born.

rj lowery at work

RJ Lowery with client

We now have a room in my church with cedar racks filled with clean, donated clothing. I’m not sure of the exact statistics but we’ve now had hundreds of people that have either contributed or been blessed by this charity. It’s incredibly humbling to be a part of physically putting these garments on the backs of men receiving these clothes. It’s so awesome to see their faces and watch how they leave with such pride in their new outfits!

I can’t tell you how many times clothes have come in to the organization and within days I’m made aware of a need. Then when I fit that person, he’s THE EXACT SIZE THAT HAD JUST COME IN! And I’m talking about custom-made clothes. Wow, incredible, incredible experiences. There are some times that I can’t help but be blown away when I realize I’m part of a much bigger, grander plan. My second favorite book starts off with the line “It’s not about you.” I think we all need to be reminded of that from time to time.

We certainly do! Thanks so much for your time RJ and I look forward to working with you in the future!


For more info on RJ’s products including his Extreme Wardrobe Makeover Day, his business seminars or his Suits4Saints charity, give him a call at 888.404.3468 or head on over to


One lucky reader will receive a FREE 1-hour consultation package (a $500 value!).

You’ll receive a half-hour phone consultation with me to talk about your style and image PLUS a half-hour phone consultation with RJ for a special man in your life or about a special man in your life. It could be your husband, father, son, boyfriend, partner…You decide.

Just CLICK HERE and enter your name and email. Contest ends October 31 at noon PST. Good luck!

(To receive the VPOD free via email with detailed size and price information, sign up for the growing email mailing list here. Your information will never be sold or shared and you can easily unsubscribe at any time. DISCLOSURE: Zuburbia is an affiliate of YourExpertImage)

Karl Lagerfeld for Impulse Only at Macy’s Debuts Next Wednesday

karl lagerfeld impulse for macys video

Gear up for next Wednesday’s Karl Lagerfeld for Impulse Only at Macy’s capsule collection launch, with this behind-the-scenes video of Mr. Lagerfeld working on the sketches, interacting with models, and commenting on the most anticipated affordable luxury collection of the season.

My favorite Lagerfeld moment from the video?

His declaration: “Think pink but don’t wear it!”

Just click the image to view the video.

© Mary Kincaid 2006-2009