Fashion essentials: Pittsburgh's style watchers tell what they can't live without
There is that one go-to item in every woman's wardrobe.
Whether it be a unique piece of clothing, a favorite accessory or a comfortable shoe, she knows when she grabs it and puts it on, it is going to be a fashionable day.
We asked several of Pittsburgh's most stylish women to tell us about the one fashion item that makes them feel different from any other and that they absolutely, positively can't live without.
“Confidence, mood booster or endless style — your favorite fashion item is something you cannot live without,” says East End resident Suzanne Mauro, a stylist accredited by the Association of Image Consultants International and producer of “Style Everyday With Suz” on PCTV Pittsburgh. “It is part of your soul. My red lipstick is the mood booster in my makeup bag and I am not complete without it. I know that no other single item can change my entire mood so quickly.”
Wadria Taylor, CEO of Style & Steel and founder of Style Week Pittsburgh
Wadria Taylor spends a good deal of her time planning fashion shows as founder and CEO of Style & Steel, an event production firm. And with the introduction of Style Week Pittsburgh in 2013, she combined many individual shows into a five-day event last August. This year's Style Week will be Aug. 11 to 17.
Taylor knows what will make a woman standout on the runway. She also knows what works for her. Taylor isn't afraid to wear interesting and unusual headpieces, many which create double-takes from people.
Taylor, formerly of Jamaica, was inspired by her late grandmother, Louise Davis, who wore hats everywhere. She finds headwear in vintage shops, local boutiques and national stores.
“Hats can really change up a look,” Taylor says. “I can't live without my hats. I might not be having the best hair day but, then, I put on one of my hats and I am ready for the day. Wearing hats is also a way of honoring my grandmother and keeping her spirit alive.”
Lana Neumeyer, fashion designer
Anyone who knows Lana Neumeyer of O'Hara knows she is bright and bold in her clothing, accessories and personality. This fashion designer from Brazil loves to celebrate like it's “Carnival” year-round. Part of her way to do that is through wearing bangles — lots and lots of them. She owns hundreds and isn't shy about decorating both arms up to her shoulders in multiple bracelets. From Lucite to Bakelite to plastic to wood, her extensive collection can be worn with everything from a ball gown to a pair of jeans and a T-shirt. She also has them at all price points.
Neumeyer mixes and matches colors and patterns and sizes. There is no rule as to which bracelets go with another one.
“I am all about more,” Neumeyer says. “I talk with my hands, so people see my bangles and they hear my bangles. I certainly can't sneak up on anyone because they are loud. But I am loud. Life is about being happy and expressing yourself. And I express myself through color in my clothing as well as in my bangles. I can never have enough of them.”
Miyoshi Anderson, founder Pittsburgh Fashion Week
For years, Miyoshi Anderson of Churchill modeled all over the world, witnessing fashion from various countries and a plethora of collections from top-notch designers. Anderson, who has been the leader of Pittsburgh Fashion Week for the past four years, still travels extensively doing fashion-related work, and will again coordinate Pittsburgh Fashion Week with events from Sept. 22 to 28.
Whether she is traveling or at home, Anderson finds adding a scarf to her ensemble changes her entire outfit. She has them in bright colors and fun patterns and in many fabrics.
“Scarves are a wonderful accessory because they both keep you warm, especially during this winter, and they add an element of color or texture to an outfit,” Anderson says. “I always have several of them with me when I am traveling. All accessories — from scarves to belts to lipstick — are great because they give a woman so many options. I wear a lot of black, so bright and embellished accessories give a pop of color to all of my outfits.”
Carol Kinkela, owner of Carabella
Traveling to find the latest fashions for her Oakmont boutique, Carabella, Carol Kinkela finds herself on cold airplanes and at fashion shows and buying trips in New York City, where it can be drafty.
So, she takes her Pure Amici 100-percent cashmere wrap wherever she goes, whether she is traveling or not. She has wraps in various colors.
“It keeps me cozy on an airplane,” Kinkela says. “I love to travel, and I do a lot of traveling for work, so this is the perfect piece to take with me. I can wear it as a wrap or a scarf, and it doesn't take up a lot of room. It's versatile, and it can go from day to dinner. It's also a great gift item. I have given them as presents since I know how much I love them.”
Kiya Tomlin, fashion designer
Kiya Tomlin, wife of Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin, is a well-known name among local designers. She has her own studio in East Liberty and has been part of many amazing fashion shows from the Pittsburgh Steelers annual event to the In Style With Children's fashion show for the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh Foundation.
Tomlin creates custom clothing, specializing in dresses for women, teens and children. One of her unique pieces is the sweatshirt dress. It's been popular because it feels like a sweatshirt but doesn't look like athletic wear. It can be dressed up or down, she says, like when she wears it with flats to run errands. But her favorite style item is her can't-live-without over-the-knee leather boots.
“I feel like over-the-knee boots are versatile and super- sexy, without showing a lot of skin,” Tomlin says. “They are great in winter because they give good coverage and they also give me height, which I love.”
Linda Bucci, former owner of Linda Bucci boutique
Years and years in retail have kept Linda Bucci, who now works part-time as a saleswoman at Catherina in Oakmont, on her feet for hours at a time. Having the proper clothing and accessories is important, but there is something underneath it all that's just as critical. Bucci swears by Spanx pantyhose. They give leg support and make an outfit look better, she says.
“I am a woman of a certain age, and, no matter what I do, I will never look like my daughter,” she says. “But I still want to look great. I exercise and I eat well. I am on my feet a lot in retail, and I have tried many pantyhose. And Spanx are the best. I also have to wear heels so having great leg support helps with that, too. I won't give up my heels. I will die in my heels.”
Roberta Weissburg, owner of Roberta Weissburg Leathers
Roberta Weissburg has been in the leather business for 30-plus years, with stores in in Shadyside and SouthSide Works. She sells, as well as designs, custom leather and fur pieces from pants to vests to jackets. Her stores also carry the finest in leather cowboy boots and accessories such as handbags and jewelry. You might be surprised to hear the one item she can't live without.
“I could have said my black cross-body Brighton handbag, or my Lucchese boots, or my sparkly Mariana bracelet with Swarovski crystals, or even my warm-as-toast Dominic Bellissimo shearling coat,” Weissburg says. “But the one fashion piece I always wear is the only fragrance that likes me — Chanel No. 5.”
JoAnne Klimovich Harrop is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at email@example.com or 412-320-7889.