Celebs Who Have Upgraded Their Style

While watching the red carpet lineup of the Grammys via E! News, I started to think about a few of the ‘stylish’ celebrities and how they used to dress. Kelly Osbourne, for example, is one of the hosts of Fashion Police—so that means she’s regarded as a style expert. She dresses her shape well and embraces a style all her own…now.

Kelly Osbourne red hair, grey hair

Photo Credit: Getty Images, WENN via whowhatwear

I’m not re-posting these pictures to knock any of these ladies. Instead, my intention is to bring awareness to your own style and to go easy on yourself. For many of these women, their style transformation was due to age (teenager to adult), changes in lifestyle (you’re now a princess) or career. And yes, for others, their style upgrade is credited to now working with a stylist.

Taylor Swift in moccasin boots and long navy coat

Photo credit: WENN, Getty Images via whowhatwear

Kate Middleton in jeans and knee high boots, green dress

Photo Credit: Getty Images via whowhatwear

solange knowles yellow outfit

Photo Credit: Getty Images via whowhatwear

We’ve all looked through old photos and had some ‘eek’ moments. Since so much of our world is focused on the looks of musicians, actors and…people that don’t act but are on TV, I think it’s important to remember that people are people. We all go through changes in life which alter how we feel and how we want to be perceived. If you are in a rut style-wise—your usual go-tos just aren’t feeling like you anymore—know that this is normal. How do you get out of it? The best place to start is to pay attention to what catches your eye: maybe it’s cruising around Pinterest, ripping out of a magazine or really digging the ensembles from your favorite TV show. Without putting any pressure on yourself, this mess of pictures will start to form a look just for you. {If this is too much effort, you can always hire a stylist! (cough: me)}



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3 Pieces to Hack into Maternity Work Clothes

Guess what? I’m having a baby!
I’m seven months pregnant!

I’ve written before on maternity clothes—resources and ways to wear them…I even offered a Chic Mama style package several years ago. (No one booked it, by the way. It turns out the post-baby mamas like to come to me to tweak their style.) Anyway, I’m not negating my previous pre-natal posts; I’m now adding on to give a first-hand perspective.

In talking to lots of mothers, I’ve learned that each pregnancy is different (from when you ‘pop,’ to delivery, to the behaviors of your newborn).

making a snow angel in Plymouth, MI

My playing in the snow activities are now limited to…

This past fall, while working with Saks Fifth Avenue on their fashion marketing, I found myself needing to be in a corporate dress code, daily. When I’m working one-on-one styling women and men, I don’t wear suit separates and pencil skirts; the environment is much more relaxed. I.E. I’m deep in someone’s closet or carrying armfuls of clothes through a store. In order to blend with the rest of the executive team for a few months and look appropriate, I hacked my wardrobe. Please note that I was 4-5 months pregnant and not massively showing. It was an in-between stage where maternity clothes were too big and my regular clothes, a bit tighter. So what did I do?

1. I paired a blazer to cover the fact that my dress pants weren’t able to zip up all the way. (It wasn’t like I was running around with my pants undone! But an inch or so was definitely not zipped.) No one knew.

2. Wrap dresses with knee high boots became my go-to. These dresses are like an elegant version of elastic pants! They will grow with you. And as long as your boobs aren’t spilling out of the V-neckline, you can wear these for quite awhile during your pregnancy. IF, you do start to notice cleavage, simply pair a cami underneath.

3. Speaking of camis, I’m loving the Ingrid and Isabel ones that were gifted to me. They were the first pieces of pregnancy clothes I got and can be worn at any body stage: normal self, all stages of pregnancy self, and I believe post pregnancy as well. (Thanks Kara!)

paisley wrap dress, burgundy wrap dress custom made

The dress on the left has a cinched belt. As pregnancy progresses, move it up to give definition to your body. The wine colored dress on the right is made of structured material with a pre sewn wrap design. This doesn’t allow as much for expansion and therefore you may not be able to wear through all 3 trimesters.

wrap dresses

The sleeveless wrap dress allows you to get creative and have multiple looks. Wear a long or short sleeved shirt underneath or blazer or vest over top. It can be worn year round! All 3 styles shown can be worn through all 4 trimesters as the belt is self adjustable.

* If you are wondering about the “W” and “D” hand stitched inside each dress, that isn’t the designer. For me and her customers, my grandmother would sew one of these letters inside each garment she made so that the wearer would know if it had to be dry cleaned or could be washed. Smart and easy!

The ‘maternity clothes journey’ has been interesting. No other time in your life can you potentially wake up each day and have things fit differently. I also want to talk about forecasting for your future size—my adventures in maternity swimwear—will save that for another post.

If you know of someone that is pregnant and her job requires a business dress code, please share these tips. Knowing ways to extend your wardrobe is always useful!

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The New Fashion Feedback App

Should I get this?

Lena Porter tries on a Andrew Marc x Richard Chai leather jacket for the Snapsure app

dressing room decisions

Raise your hand if you’ve ever taken a picture of yourself while in a dressing room or at home, to help decide if you should buy it/wear it?
You may have also sent this photo to someone—usually a friend, family member or significant other for their opinion.

If you’ve answered yes, check out this brand new app, Snapsure. It simplifies the whole debating to buy something/does this look good question, that we sometimes ask ourselves.

BONUS: I’m going to be a guest Fashion Expert this Saturday for the app. So, although you love your sister, if you’ve been dying for a professional’s style advice…whether that be on an item you’re thinking about getting or on an outfit combo that just needs another set of eyes to help make a verdict, NOW IS YOUR CHANCE. 🙂

Read here for the official press release:

Let me help you shop the holiday season in style!

Great news, everyone! I’ve been selected as a featured fashion expert in the Snapsure 12 Days of Instant Fashion Feedback event!

Snapsure is an app that makes it quick and easy for you to get instant feedback on the things you buy from the people you trust. Snapsure has chosen a select group of fashion experts to use the app to provide instant feedback on holiday shopping purchases.

On Saturday, December 13, as my gift to you, I will provide FREE personal styling advice to you as you shop and style your way through the season.

Connecting with me on Snapsure is simple:

1. Download the Snapsure application in the App Store and register yourself as a user.

2. Connect with me on Snapsure–my username is Lena.

3. On Saturday, December 13, use Snapsure to take a picture of your holiday style or a holiday shopping item, set the timer and send it to me. I can give you instant fashion feedback as you shop. You can also send your pic to other friends and family. All the responses come back in one easy to read graphic. NOTE: You must have an iPhone or iPod to participate.

Let me help you shine this holiday season with styles that work best for you and your loved ones. Every fashionista could use a little feedback… see you on December 13!

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8 Accessories to Update Your Fall Look

“The Great 8: all the essentials you need to update your fall look”

This was a recent story I styled for Birmingham Magazine. It’s out now, so pick up your copy, then head to downtown bham (Michigan) to check out the goods in person. Ooooh!

photo shoot displaying a lacy bodysuit, chunky chain necklace, blue suede and pony hair bag, Miu Miu tote, wool camel coat, black leaner wrap belt by Jarbo, Pinch Provisions mini emergency kit, Elizabeth Sayles icon bracelet

Styled by Lena Porter
Photographed by CJ Benninger
Birmingham Magazine Fall 2014

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“No Fish No Nothing” You Can Wear Its Sweatshirt

While pulling for a photo shoot, I learned of Kenzo’s “no fish no nothing” slogan.

More and more brands are getting a conscious (or at least being more vocal about it) and that’s something that excites me. Whether you are empowering people to create a better life for themselves, giving access to greatly needed resources, or gifting a kid with a new pair of shoes (!) incorporating philanthropy into your business model is becoming second nature.

Anything that has to do with water is high on my charity list. Maybe it’s the Pisces in me, but when I see water being wasted, I itch (with helpless anxiety). We can’t act like we have endless resources, especially us Americans (which sadly, have a bad rap for being wasteful consumers).

Enter in Japanese born, French luxury retailer Kenzo. The brand is speaking out against the dangers of overfishing and pollution. To help raise awareness, they’ve designed a unisex capsule collection where ALL proceeds will be donated to the Blue Marine Foundation, which ensures the protection of the world’s oceans.

I’m picturing this sweatshirt paired with light blue/grey/black jeans. Hey, maybe even a leather skirt with some asymmetrical zipper action to give it some punch. Or if you’re the kind of person that prefers to break the rules, get nuts with volume and pair it with culottes.


model on runway in Kenzo no fish no nothing sweatshirt

photo: blogs.nordstrom.com

Kenzo no fish no nothing tank

photo: farfetch.com

* Good news! This capsule collection is now on sale.

 For you retail marketing junkies, read below on how Kenzo put a spin on its pop-up shop in Paris (digital)!

in Paris spring 2014, electronic fish swim on Kenzo's digital pop up shop

photo: Kenzo.com




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A Blast from the Past: 3 Back-to-School Brands

My sister is off to college this month! I remember the day she was born, so shopping for dorm stuff with her is weird, and exciting.

A few quick picks for those heading back to school…and for those of us who aren’t, but like to shop like we are [starting a new season].

1. JanSport

Just like Trapper Keepers, didn’t we all once have a JanSport bag? If you’re feeling nostalgic, you’ll be pumped to know that Madewell is doing a collaboration with JanSport on a variety of backpacks.

jansport madewell compadre backpack color: burgundy

photo: madewell.com

jansport madewell compadre backpack color:  olive

2. Aritzia

This free-spirited Canadian brand came out with a playful back-to-school campaign today. As cheeky as the titles are, I’ve had all of these types in my classes. If you don’t identify with any of these 5 styles, you’re bound to find some go-tos in the Essentials section.

Aritzia models posing as student body: studious, rebellious, adventurous, flirt, most popular and essentials

photo: aritzia.com

Aritzia back to school looks: Essentials and Most Studious models 2014

Aritzia models posing as Most Rebellious and Most Adventurous, leather jacket, plaid shirt

Aritzia models posing as 'biggest flirt' and 'most popular' mini skirt, denim jacket

3. Nike

A recent assignment led me into Pogo where I was drawn to the, newly released from their archives, Air Jordan 3 Retro in Wolf Grey sneaks. I know very little about the sneaker head world, but these kicks are cool. While inside the shop, I learned that pre-teens, college kids and collectors are going bananas over this limited edition shoe.

Nike Air Jordan 3 Retro Wolf Grey product shot

photo: inflexwetrust.com


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Summer Clothes to Protect Your Skin

If you can’t take the heat, wear this…

HSN has asked for dressing tips on how to stay “Safe and Stylish in the Sun.”

If my 25 and under self was writing this, it would read much differently. It wasn’t until about 25 years old that I realized dressing in the summer wasn’t always about how to avoid tan lines, but more importantly about staying cool, being comfortable and protecting your skin. For 3 years I drove along the Pacific Coast on my way to work. (That didn’t suck! Actually, the traffic did, but not the view.) Researchers have stated that American drivers’ with skin cancer had more of it on the left side of their face compared to their right.

I say that because I didn’t use to wear a moisturizer with SPF—thought only to do that when heading to…the beach, lake, pool etc. In talking with several ladies, the general consensus is that we used to get much darker when we were kids. Yes of course, that is party due to the fact that we slept in our swim suits and were outside for much longer than we are now, as adults. It isn’t just that though, my body just can’t take the heat like it used. My face and shoulders get hot very quickly. My maxed out skin color is much lighter than it was growing up.

Just like how our styles evolve as our lives and bodies do, so too is the way we handle dressing for the sun.

If you can relate to any of the above, then here are some suggestions—on looking fantastic while doing your skin a favor.

Lena Porter_for HSN_Safe and Stylish in the Sun campaign 1


tops—lightweight material with sleeves provides coverage for your shoulders

sheer is sexy, cotton is classic. knotting the bottom and rolling up the sleeves adds interest.

* As always, pair opposites to visually look balanced. i.e. flowly linen pants with a form fitting tank; loose top with structured jean shorts

hat—fedora for everyday/driving/errands/BBQs

wide brim sun hat—for some, this is one of those hats you feel more comfortable wearing…while on vacation…in Monaco (because it quite GRAND and maybe not practical for home life.) I like wearing hats like this while gardening—gives full coverage of the ears and shoulders. If this is too luxurious for your tastes, opt for a less wide brim.

sunnies—it’s real annoying when you have on a pair of shades that lets the sun in through the sides. Instead, try on before you buy.

backpack—less is more in the summertime. That rings true for bags, jewelry and makeup. I love my vintage woven backpack in the summer. It’s less weight and gives my shoulders a break. Plus, I dig the texture.

scarves—this one doubles as a beach wrap. There are tons of ways to tie a sarong (and a million videos on Youtube to watch).

* bonus! I have owned all of these items for YEARS. Another beautiful thing about summer clothes is that they really don’t go out of style.

Tigers fan

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Fashion & Jewelry Workshop Recap

Here’s what happened at the fashion & jewelry workshop I did last weekend at the Showroom of Elegance—as shown through these snapshots:
 Everyone on the planet can wear this tie front blouse.

{does not discriminate against size or personal style}

I was frightened by patterned pants.

{kidding. caught me mid-sentence}

A woman yelled out, ‘uniboob’…

{and it actually described what I was talking about quite nicely}

The ladies took a style personality quiz.

{who doesn’t like quizzes?!}

Indigo Salon gave hand massages

{an underrated luxury}

All the clothes were made in the US.

{think: Ella Moss, Splendid, Rachel Pally, James Perse, Mitten State}

Thx lolaryan!

Stripes CAN be flattering.

{This surprised many. It’s all about the spacing and angle. Thin spacing and stripes do not widen you; wide spaced stripes do. Stripes on diagonals are your friends too.}

Lena Porter, Personal Stylist, holding up clothes at the Showroom of Elegance

event planner and hair stylist pose for a picture, clothing and jewelry are displayed, a striped maxi skirt


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A ‘mother-daughter’ boutique

It’s the 100th anniversary of Mother’s Day. How fun!

In honor of this, I want to talk about 3 things:

1. A contest! Long Elegant Legs is a fashion site that caters to taller women.

To win a printed canvas of your mom, as well as a gift card of your choosing, all you need to do is leave a comment below this post, describing the best fashion or life lesson your mother has taught you. Then, LEL will choose a few of their favorites to win!

Cindy & Lena

2. I recently stumbled upon a new boutique (new to Ann Arbor; they have other shops in Kerrytown, Petoskey & Charleston, SC). While chatting with the manager about their merch she said, “We’re a mother-daughter shop.” She means, moms and their daughters can both successfully wear the clothes. In this case, I agree. (unless your daughter is a child) The very fun part of this is that each of you can walk away with a new find, instead of the ‘your store, my store’ shopping excursions. Who knows, you might even pick up the SAME item, but wear it differently. If shopping is a favored pastime for you & your mum, check out V2V.

bustier + long skirt at V2V women's boutique (Arbor Crossing) Ann Arbor, MI

V2V boutique display


glass table jewelry display at V2V Arbor Crossing Ann Arbor, MI

3. If your mother wasn’t or isn’t a big style influence in your life but you love her so damn much…and would like to give her a heart-felt gift, how about creating a Pinterest board of your favorite mom memories? Then, SEND the board to share with her directly on Mother’s Day!

*Pinterest is running a contest too, in which you make a public board of your mom and they select a winner to receive a Teleflora gift card. I read their message yesterday, the deadline is May 7th. Really should check their emails more often.

Pinterest Mother's Day ChallengeP.S. Mollypacks has met and surpassed their goal on Kickstarter—we’re getting fanny packs! Thanks to all of you who pledged and promoted her designs.


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Fashionable leather fanny packs

A long time friend of mine has designed Mollypacks: a line of leather fanny packs—two styles in a variety of colors. The strap is removable, so it doubles as a clutch, giving you lots of use—like concerts and cocktails. I also see this being really useful for all you young moms (hands free!).

models posing outside in New York City with leather fanny packs

This is Molly’s debut line and in order to fund production, she’s created a Kickstarter campaign. In less than a week, she’s already reached 50% of her goal!

To pre-order your favorite one (at a discount) go here: www.mollypacks.com

As with all Kickstarter campaigns, you have to have a video—check it out!

In her words:

“I love a good fanny.

Last year, I found myself in extreme physical and emotional pain. My back was killing me from lugging around my huge handbag everywhere. Not to mention, I was hitting the concert scene pretty hard and I was tired of bumping people with my bag as I squeezed myself to the front row. I needed something smaller and easy to carry, but still fashionable. Then it dawned on me…I needed a fanny pack.

Unfortunately, the only high quality fanny packs I could find were upwards of $500 and I wasn’t even that crazy about the styles. So I decided I would design my dream fanny pack myself. I’ve been working in the NYC fashion industry for several years, so I knew exactly what to do.

Eventually, I made two sexy fannies (Envelope and Circle).”

Here’s my soon-to-be (if funding is raised):

leather fanny pack in vintage green color

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