Newport Beach, Here is Your Fashion Intervention

Newport was ranked the 29th worst-dressed city in the U.S.

It hurts like a papercut soaking in lemon juice.

But, I have to admit, by men's fashion magazine GQ has some merit.

It doesn't apply to me, of course, and there are plenty of locals with wonderful fashion sense. But as I make my rounds in Newport and the rest of Orange County, I see a lot of fashion problems. So let's call the GQ ranking rock bottom and take an honest look at ourselves (and by "ourselves" I mean "yourselves").

Allow me to facilitate your fashion intervention. Remember, we need to talk about the bad before we can change for the better.

First, let's talk about the guys.

Yes, you Mr. Ed Hardy who still wears the Affliction t-shirts, dirty jeans and too much pomade. Still sporting the Gordon Gecko slicked-back Wall Street look? Um, no. I'd also like to point out Mr. Hawaiian button-down shirt man whose hero is Charlie from Two-and-a-Half Men. I also hope Mr. Flip Flops with Jeans can hear me, along with Tank Top Man who lives at the gym with way-too-hairy arm pits.

But we can't place all the blame on the boys. Listen up ladies.

It's no secret Newport Beach is known for the over-enhanced bunnies who live here too. Girls in their 30s look like they're 50 because of all the crap injected into their faces. The brightly colored, ill-fitting boob tops and rhinestone encrusted everything is enough to make me want to put you in fashion rehab. My hairdresser even said he's sick and tired of doing the same color blond on his clients.

But there's hope. Trust me. I've been there. Here is the story of my transformation.

I grew up in Newport Beach. Back then, I dressed like a circus clown turned prostitute, all at the ripe age of twelve (I love you, too, Britney!). We wore neon Maui and Sons swim trunks to school, and t-shirts from the Balboa Beach Company. Then Esprit and Guess blew up at the local Nordstroms and it was all downhill from there.  I moved to Beverly Hills to go to high school. I still dressed like a member of Ace of Base, but thank goodness "I saw the sign" and got my first job at a high-end Rodeo Drive boutique.

That job was my salvation.

The clothes cost thousands of dollars. But with a hefty discount, I was looking like Gwyneth Paltrow in no time. Seriously, it changed my life. I put down the US Weekly and picked up Vogue. I was so into fashion I ended up graduating from FIDM with a degree in fabulousness and a minor in tres chic. At at  , I discovered Stella McCartney, my favorite designer. A little ouchy-ouch for the wallet, but her style is like a sip of Perrier-Jouet (the expensive one, in the hand-painted flower bottle).

Finding my fashion identity has been a great gift. And I want you to receive that gift as well.

For the Guys

  • Throw away all your skull t-shirts and graffiti-tattoo t-shirts (don't give them to goodwill, that will just keep the dead trend spreading). Ed Hardy should have been put to sleep a long time ago, keeping him alive on your back is keeping us on the worst dressed list. 
  • Take trips to England, New York and Paris. Not that these guys are the best dressers, but they do have a sense of style and direction that men lack in Newport. Fashion is huge in these cities and the locals take it very seriously. 
  • Take a girl (not one that is on this list) or your gay best friend with you shopping. You need to have another brutally honest opinion besides your own and those of your buddies who dress just like you. 
  • Read GQ magazine and other men's fashion magazines to get trend ideas. Even local magazines like Riviera and Locale. The great thing about Newport Beach is that we do have a great beach-casual style, but most guys just don't execute it right. 
  • Less is more. You can lose the gold chains, keep the surfer tees, lose the one-size-too-small black button down (date-night) shirt and keep the woven fedora, (yes, we girls have accepted you look cute in some hats, very Jude Law, just don't sleep with the nanny). 
  • No trucker hats. Yes, I know you boys think Ashton Kutcher is so cool, but even he doesn't wear them anymore. 
  • We get that you guys keep your shirts tucked out. The plaid button down shirts gets us girls reminiscent about Dawson's Creek, but make sure it's clean and ironed so as not to look like Sloppy Joe. 
  • Quick Fix: Quit watching Jersey Shore and getting crazy ideas. 

For the Gals

  • Stop with the surgery and botox. You look perfect just the way you are. Beautiful. The botox only makes you look more fake, plastic and old. If your boobs are bigger than watermelons, please move to Vegas, I hear they have great strip clubs there. 
  • Read Vogue magazine, stalk the style websites, peruse the racks at Neimans, and if you can afford it ask a stylist to help you with getting looks put together. Amaree's on PCH also has beautiful clothes, but if you can't swing it, go to Forever 21 or H&M who knock off big designers. You can get a complete designer look for less than $100. I also love runwayrundown.com which pairs shots from the runways at Fashion Week with the more affordable alter-ego outfit. 
  • Animal prints are not to be worn 24/7 and should be carefully worn, they do bite. Choose a softer print, like a pale snow leopard and pair it with something solid as not to overwhelm your body. Zebra prints should become endangered as it is never okay.  
  • Mini skirts are for a certain age group and it starts with two and even then let's let down the hem an inch or two. Same with too short frayed denim shorts. Cut up t-shirts that look like a child's art project gone array should be kept in hiding, forever. 
  • Dresses are cute for the summer, but not too tight to keep you from breathing. Choose a one-shoulder dress that is more flowy. Spandex, unless one percent in jeans or workout clothes, should be outlawed. 
  • Bras are so pretty, I have a ton of them, but save the show for the bedroom. Bras sticking out of dresses and on the sides of tank tops will push us up to No. 25 on the GQ list. Especially animal prints. Otherwise go with nude or black to match your outfit just in case of a peek-a-boo. 
  • Quick Fix: Stop shopping at Bebe.

Your sexiest asset is a personal sense of style. It doesn't have to be like anyone else, but it helps to have cohesiveness in your closet. Know your body and have confidence in everything you wear.  Orange County was once known for its casual beach chic and slowly turned into Jersey Shore. Snookie should not be a fashion icon. There's no need to be overly flashy and sparkly with your outfits, let your personality sparkle and your sophisticated-yet-casual O.C. look will be all the more striking.


Marie Case July 18, 2011 at 06:26 PM
I love, love, love this article Tiffany ... you are so right on! Did you say that tank tops should be outlawed for men of any age??? I have a piece I wrote a while back titled 'notes from a middle aged fashionista' that I'd love to share with you. Send your contact info via FB ... Best, Marie C


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