Which necklace to wear? + Style workshop invitation

Jewelry. It hints at your mood, and is usually the last piece you put on before you leave.

Just like clothes, there are specific types of jewelry that are flattering on you. Your bone structure and personality play a part in the selection—as does the image you want to convey.

Never mind the fact that I’m not smiling in one of the photos below. The agate graduated stone necklace is intense and sleek; it feels fitting to match it with a sleek ponytail. Do you also see how my neck looks longer in that picture? The yellow necklace, in an obviously cheerier color, seems more approachable. (to anyone I come into contact with) It also visually shortens the appearance of my neck, which is fine, because it’s long to begin with.

black agate graduated stone necklace and yellow necklace on lena porter

I like both necklaces, for different occasions. For a first session with a new client, I most likely wouldn’t wear the black, as it might intimidate him/her. (And I want the people I work with to listen to me, not to be scared!) But, if I have a meeting with a brand, then the black necklace would fit in perfectly. As for that audience, the piece can come across more so as creative, and not ‘rah!’

Disclaimer: the photos were taken at the end of the day, hence the reason I look so sleepy!

Speaking of jewelry, here is your Save-the-Date! I’ll be speaking at the fashion & jewelry workshop in May. Hope to see you Michigan ladies there. 🙂

jewelry and style workshop with Lena Porter invitation


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Tops to wear after a double mastectomy

This title feels very blunt…so I guess I’ll continue on with the feeling.

Last month my grandmother had a double mastectomy. We found out 2 weeks prior that she had breast cancer. So the whole thing happened very quickly, and the timing made it tough to [want to] celebrate my birthday.

The surgery went well and when my grandma woke up, she looked around and said, “Well, I guess I’m still here!” Then joked to the doctor, saying that her boobs would grow back. Ha. When you’re close to 90 years old, people have to laugh at your jokes. Or maybe you just get funnier?

family photo

I don’t want this post to bum you out. Instead, I want to address the very real conversation of life after a double mastectomy. Each of us knows someone affected by Breast Cancer, it’s alarming how many people I can count. (including my namesake grandmother, whom I never got to meet)

Not everyone diagnosed has surgery. Not everyone who has a mastectomy has reconstructive surgery. (or as some say, “their boobs put back”) I’ve learned this is a general misconception; you have to choose to have this reconstruction, it isn’t ‘included.’ Remember, it’s not the main purpose of the operation!

Each woman has her own choice to make. For my grandmother, she chose not to [have reconstructive surgery]. This is mainly because of her age—she really doesn’t give a damn if she’s now flat chested. To me and my sister, it was a little odd when we first saw her, post surgery. Our plump Polish ‘Bacia’ wasn’t the shape we grew up loving. And since we are both at the age where we DO care what we look like, it kind of made us rethink the female body and what is its ideal.

i.e. Are you not feminine if you don’t have boobs anymore? I felt ridiculous just writing that. We do put a lot of emphasis on our bra size though. Post surgery, post breast feeding, pre-puberty…us girls can get preoccupied with the size and shape of our top half.

So what if you don’t go Angelina Jolie and instead, stay without breasts? You use similar techniques to that of a small chested women—to add volume to your top so that you visually balance your appearance.


LOFT model wearing dot collared shirt

photo: loft.com

LOFT model in mint top

photo: loft.com

model wearing a leopard post mastectomy tank top

photo: curediva.com

In tops, these are your friends:

1. ruffles

2. chest pockets

3. pattern

4. cowl neck

5. scarves

I stumbled upon the site CureDiva and am incredibly impressed. Your arms can swell after surgery and their compression sleeves come in a variety of patterns…kind of makes me want to sport one, just in support.





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Leather bow ties by ReformedSchool

“Wait, is that…leather?” The knot of our fit model’s bow tie caught my attention. I don’t think I’ve ever gotten so excited about something that I couldn’t wear. (I mean, yes, girls can wear bow ties—just not this girl.)

Adult Recycled Brown Tweed Bow Tie with Leather by ReformedSchool on Etsy

photo: Reformed-School.com

Last week I taught a packed New Stylist training class for J.Hilburn in Chicago. During the measurement section of the day, I demonstrate how to take a man’s 16 body measurements. After, the class pairs up and practices what they’ve learned on our fit models. Mind you, these aren’t professional models; they are current clients that live in the cities in which we’re conducting a class. I’ve met so many interesting people that have ‘modeled’ for our classes—finance guys, surfer dudes…they’ve all been different shapes and sizes—which makes for great practice!

In Chicago, I had the privilege of working alongside four gentleman who work in theater. If their physique didn’t clue you in on their profession, seeing them, subconsciously, stand in first position while having their measurements taken, would!

I learned that the bow tie wearing gentleman actually made his bow tie and has a variety that he sells on Etsy! I was totally impressed with his hobby that I wanted to let people know about it. (The price is SO reasonable that if you are a bow tie wearing guy, you can stock up on Reformed School’s selections or if you aren’t, but have wanted to try, now’s an excellent time.)

A sneak peek—check out the distressed denim, floral and love note!

a display of Adult bow ties with leather, distressed denim, floral, studs and red tartan plaid

photo: Reformed-School.com



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A jazzy bag made by a U.S. soldier

As I walked into a meeting, this bag caught my eye. Then I learned the story behind it and I liked it even more!

daughter posing with a leather hide cross-body bag with guitar strap made by her father, a former U.S. soldier

photo: Lena Porter

I’m sure a lot of women can relate to the work bag dilemma: you don’t want something so big that you stuff it full, and look like you are struggling to carry it (because you are) but you also need room for all your things. (tablet, notebook, headphones, giant March issue of a fashion magazine, snacks, etc.) For this reason, I particularly like a cross-body bag. (less weight on your shoulder)

handmade leather cross-body bag with guitar strap on display

photo: Cyndee Harrison

Check out its details. The leather used here is so soft and the contrast of the textured hide on the flap gives more interest. And yes, that strap is, a guitar strap. Fun! Even more impressive, this bag wasn’t made by a chic young lady selling her creations via Etsy or Of a Kind. It was handmade by this woman’s father—a man who learned to sew while in the Army. I smile to think that sewing was one of the ‘survival’ skills he learned during his 27 years in service. Now, his daughter can benefit from this useful and unique everyday bag!

Do you have something that was uniquely made? I’m a sucker for good stories and interestingly crafted pieces—be it clothes, accessories, furniture and so on. If you have something to share, please tell me about it!


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Cam Newton in your pants

This was the title of an email I wrote to a new client.

It unintentionally sounds sexual! (not professional) Which I thankfully realized right before sending…and therefore erased half of it. Do you write your subject before or after composing an email?

My client had selected this (gorgeous) Blue w/Light Blue Deco plaid fabric to be made into a pair of trousers by J.Hilburn. NFL quarterback Cam Newton recently wore one of our sport coats in this same material. Through experience I’ve learned that all guys like to see a visual when it comes to understanding how pieces ‘go’ together—whether he tries it on himself, or in the case of custom clothing, can see a picture of someone else in it. That’s why I wanted to send this photo; so my client could picture a piece of fabric as a fully made garment.

Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton wearing a J.Hilburn  blue plaid sport coat at the ESPN ESQUIRE party

photo: J.Hilburn

The title more clearly could have been Cam Newton is wearing the same fabric you picked out, only he got a sport coat made from it, not pants. That doesn’t have as nice a ring to it.

I like how Esquire Fashion Editor Nic Screws paired red, an often intimidating color for a guy to wear, with the low contrast of blue and grey. The Pro Bowl QB is wearing a dress shirt, sweater and blazer, yet he doesn’t look the least bit bulky. Take note: you can do all 3 and not look or feel stuffy. It seems many men think it has to be an either or—sport coat + shirt or sweater + shirt. If you wear a lightweight sweater underneath, there’s room for it all.

So there you go, a few tips on suit layering and an example of Cam Newton in your pants. Ha.


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The Mexican skier + what you wear to work

I want to talk about Hubertus von Hohenlohe, the slalom skier —Mexico’s only competitor in these Olympics—more specifically, his mariachi-inspired uniform.

Hubertus von Hohenlohe  wearing a mariachi  ski uniform at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia

He is 55 years old and had little chance at winning a medal. That doesn’t seem to bother him as he’s also a musician, a photographer…and a (German) prince.

I think this uniform is great! Not only from a design perspective, but also because it very clearly portrays a planned image. von Hohenlohe is obviously creative, up for a good time and wanted to generate some buzz for his birthplace. It worked—NBC named him the “Most Interesting Olympian in the World.”

We can all relate to this. Each time you have a meeting, a date, an interview or pick your kids up from school, every time you get dressed and leave the house, you are deciding the image/mood you want to project.

This month I had fun dressing two of my clients for a media tour. Even though you want to feel like yourself in your clothes, there are different versions of yourself; you tailor your look based on your audience. In their case, it was important to dress more conservatively/family friendly for a show on the Hallmark channel, and more lively/dressed up for Arsenio. You are still the same person, but you are coming across as more relatable to your audience. Another example would be how you dress at work (obviously excluding the scrub-wearers!). Virtually everyone nowadays gets ‘more dressed up’ if he/she will be seeing a client that day. All other days, the office rule is more lax. Then of course, the type of client dictates what you will wear. (If they wear suits, you do too; if they wear jeans, you wear jeans…and a blazer—you get the point.)


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What will happen to this Old Navy sweater?

You see this sweater?

Old Navy v-neck sweater on counter

It was part of our Halloween road rally. (We won 1st place in the costume contest. :))

The characters of Mystery Inc. Scooby Doo posing for the Halloween road rally

(After being forced to clean out his closet) Mike throws this sweater and says, “Do we have a Goodwill bag started?” No. “Well, I’d like to give this to someone who can use it.”

This is what we all think when we drop off clothes to our nearest Salvation Army/Goodwill. It’s what I thought too, until I read Overdressed. Geez.

The first part of the book explains things we all know: cheap clothing is mass produced in Asia and doesn’t last very long.

The author then went deeper to explain that because the price of clothing is at an all time low, there’s NO value in the [cheap] pieces we buy. Thrift stores used to be filled with clothes from quality materials that were quality made…the wearer just no longer wanted them. Now, these stores are filled with inexpensive pieces that don’t sell for much less used as they do fresh off the rack.

People aren’t buying enough of these donated items and so, they are being shipped elsewhere—to fabric recycling mills and so on. Much of it is so low grade material that they can’t resell it to be manufactured into something else. The part that REALLY struck me was that the unsold used garments are cubed up and dropped off to countries in Africa. Apparently, the cube is cut open and out spill our donated tanks and pants. Fashion preferences in these African regions have become heightened, and therefore much of these garments are turned away. (That sort of shocked me. I feel embarassingly like an elitist clothes horse, but even the underprivelige peoples we picture wearing our Old Navy sweaters…don’t even want them!)


I started to feel super depressed while reading this book. Damnit. This is terrible. The world is going to melt and we’ll be floating in a sea of Forever 21 dresses! Give me some course of action to stop this, author!

Elizabeth L. Cline’s suggested plan is to stop buying cheap clothes. What an idea. Or maybe just stop buying so much of it.

Was I going to spend a lot on a white sweater needed for a Fred Halloween costume? No. But what about a woman’s pair of black pants? Or a man’s winter coat? These are things that you’ll have for a long time. So whatever your budget allows, seek the best. This means natural fabrics (not man made), think: wool instead of acetate.

* Here’s a list the author has compiled of designers who produce their lines in the U.S.



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David Beckham—in the nude, maybe

It’s almost Super Bowl time. While getting my car fixed today, I sat next to a man who gave great detail on the Super Bowl feast he was preparing—sounded delicious. I will actually be in Denver, hopefully avoiding the craaaazy Broncos fans. (Tina, I’m sorry.)

Below is a campaign H&M is running. Two Super Bowl commercials have been created. It’s up to the public to vote online for the one you want to air: #covered or #uncovered.

Let’s be honest, Beckham is not going to be full frontal, but the cleverness of this campaign made me, of course, watch both. What a cheeky way (no pun intended :)) to promote David Beckham’s underwear collection for H&M…and draw traffic to their site, and viewers on Super Bowl Sunday. (Well, at least a few that wouldn’t watch without the enticement of Becks unclothed!)

Watch both, you know you want to!

David Beckham running and zip lining in his underwear for H&M Super Bowl commercial

David Beckham H&M underwear collection Super Bowl Commercial Photo: h&m.com


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These colors ‘go’ together.

“I thought I’d look like a bruise,” said a client as I held up a new combo, she’d never thought to wear.

Hmm, yes, bruises are black and blue (until they turn that gnarly green/yellow color) but that’s irrelevant in terms of what colors ‘go’ together in your outfits.

I love black & tan, together. Wearing both, at the same time, must have been something a lot of mothers used to tell their daughters not to do, because I hear that misconception a lot. Black and brown do go together. Often times you’ll find that when you break “the rules” you appear more interesting than ever before. Interesting in a good way—not like, “Oh…interesting.”

A lesson I learned in school, while obtaining my Personal Stylist Certification:

Complimentary colors go together. Think: opposites attract. Or, for the sports fan, think: school colors. Many teams’ logos are complimentary colors.

U of M (blue & gold) or Christmas (red & green)

This also means you can use shades of these hues. So, if red & green ‘work’ so too do magenta and hunter green, or brick red and olive.

color wheel

color wheel

Make sense?

If yes, play around in your closet. It’ll give you something to do—to cure your cabin fever (as it’s literally 10 degrees outside).

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5 Tips on Choosing the Best Gifts + 2 Ideas

Are you having yourself a merry little Christmas?

In talking with friends, instead of total hysteria and stress, I’m hearing that people are actually enjoying this holiday season—relaxing and relishing in traditions.

At the moment, that’s what I’m doing. It snowed so much today that I’m pretty much on lock down, and I love it. These kinds of days are some of my favorites. It’s as if you have the ultimate excuse to chill out and no one expects much from you, because they are doing the same!

In between SVU re-runs, I’ve been on an online shopping bonanza. (Of course, trying to shop local when I can.) Mike brought to my attention a blurb in Men’s Journal that I really wanted to share…because I found it smart, useful and I do all of the gift giving pieces of advice listed, except for rule #1: Don’t Overthink It.

A quick excerpt from “Don’t Overthink It”

“Research shows that the old adage “It’s the thought that counts” is reliably true only for the person who gives a gift, not the one who receives it. University of Chicago behavioral scientist Nicholas Epley who published the findings, explains: “You know how long you stood in line to get those damn tickets and how hard you tried to pick the right seats—they don’t. Your thoughts aren’t transparent to the receiver. If you give me a mug, what I have to evaluate is the mug, not your thoughts.” The simple take away, Epley says, is to just get people something you know they want. Or use his tactic and get two gifts. “The giver does feel closer to a person whey they’ve put thought into a gift, ” Epley says, “so I give my wife one thing I think she might like and a backup that was number one on her wish list.”

The remaining 4 tips are a quick read. You can do so HERE.

And if you like this website, and know of someone that would like my styling services, see below! I’m offering holiday gift cards for men and women. So, be cool and Give the Gift of Style!

personal styling gift cards

Men's custom clothing, personal styling, casual and formal wear Detroit, Michigan


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