Scent Décor: It’s a Thing

Scent plays a huge role in style. A woman’s fragrance is an extension of her look. Upscale hotels (like the Plaza Athenee in Paris) often boast a signature parfum that symbolizes the property’s luxury status. Even retailers (think Abercrombie and Fitch) use aroma to define their brand. This concept carries over to décor. A home is yet another style platform to personalize with scent.

My Chicago apartment embodies my eclectic style; a mix of contemporary and mid-century modern furniture punctuated with offbeat knickknacks culled from travels around the globe. Art is everywhere: photography, sculpture, graffiti paintings and zany African head dresses as wall hangings. And, drapery is treated as jewelry, each room’s piece de resistance. There is a lot going on but, somehow it all flows perfectly. Smell plays a role in my home. There is always a hint of French lavender (I tuck sachets everywhere) and fresh flowers to counteract the frigidity of winter. To channel my Miami upbringing, I saute orange and lemon peels for a whiff of tropical citrus.

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When Unstopables reached out and asked me to test drive their new scent décor, I signed on. My favorite? The in-wash scent booster. With two active daughters, the laundry baskets are always overflowing. This product (just add it to the wash at the beginning of the cycle) adds a subtle, pleasant fragrance to clothing. Though it won’t reduce the amount of laundry, it makes the experience more pleasurable!

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How to Layer for the Holidays

layering guide pics Amy Tara Koch with Darlene Hill

layering pic 2Perfectly layered bangles

 

The Holidays are all about drama, yes. But does that mean women need to run out and invest in a new wardrobe? Good Day Chicago’s style expert Amy Tara Koch says NO WAY! You can create a big style statement by mixing and matching what you already own (or filling in your accessory blanks with some new holiday baubles). Translation? Toss the matchy-matchy mindset and pair your accessories in unconventional ways to create texture, add contrast and introduce color.

 

LAYERING TIPS

    1. Mix vintage + new
    2. Pair opposites for high drama
    3. High/low is a recipe for high style. Think: H&M and Hermes!

 

    Watch video here!

    FOX 32 News Chicago

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    COOL MATERNITY JEAN ALERT!

    ITEM:  DL 1961 Angel Maternity Ankle Jean, $168

    Denim Brand DL 1961 is known for its ability to magically shape and lift a woman’s most stubborn body parts. How? The jeans are infused with “4 way stretch” denim featuring a blend of supremely high quality pro modal fibers, lycra and American cotton. These “high performance” jeans are comfortable and easy to dress up or down. Yes, they are expensive. But, flattering jean are a maternity must-have.

    And, since you very well may wear them 5 days out of 7, they are a solid investment.

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    Sheknows Expert Among Us

    I am excited to be a part of SheKnows new EXPERT AMONG US program. I am obsessed with scarves. So, it should come as no surprise that my first post (and accompanying video) is all about how to wear a scarf.

    READ FULL STORY

    amy tara koch sheknows

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    Discover Your Signature Style

    Grace Kelly, Marlene Dietrich, Brigitte Bardot, Joan Crawford and that mom at school pick up that ALWAYS looks cute all have a common bond: a signature style. Through their fashion choices, their personalities loom like a halo over their heads.
    .

    But, many women don’t necessarily have a “signature look.” If you have lived for years mystified by what happens on runways, red carpets and hyped paparazzi shots in gossip magazines, call upon your dormant SAT studying skills and study fashion divas of the twentieth century. Pregnancy is, in fact,  a golden opportunity to exit your comfort zone and bring your inner glamazon to life. Give a nod to the fashion icons of the twentieth century and use your belly as a VIP pass to the order of eternal divahood.  Go to Barnes & Noble and purchase Fashion Icons: Fashion Trends Throughout the Century, Star Style, Thje Marchesa Casati Portraits of a Museand Mistress of Modernism: The Life of Peggy Guggenheim, and start thumbing through. Eccentric? Yes. But, absolutely scintillating. Learn about silhouettes. Discover accessories. Investigate why muses perenniale- marvelous Marchesa de Casati, dynamic Diana Ross, chic socialite Babe Paley, 60s siren Edie Sedgewick, boho babe Talitha Getty and art deco diva Nancy Cunard-became style revolutionaries. These histrionic women dissed convention and used fashion to express themselves. Such bravado is evident in their outré fashion choices: gowns as daywear, turbans, shoulder sweeping earrings, extreme eye makeup, stacked-to-the-elbows bangle bracelets, cloaks fashioned of peacock feathers. Don’t feel pressured to swap your skinny jeans for an electric blue jumpsuit. Just get inspired. Then, take it down a notch to reality. In your free time, let your fingers do the walking right over to Netflix.  “Fashion moment” TV shows and films are a great way to research style and learn about silhouettes. Once the kid(s) are asleep, rent Mad MenThe Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Women, Mia Farrow in Rosemary’s Baby, Audrey Hepburn in Funny Face and Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Katherine Deneuve in Belle Du Jour, Mia Farrow in Great Gatsby, Marlene Dietrich inShanghai Express, Meryl Streep in The Devil Wears Prada and Joan Collins in Dynasty.
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    I am not suggesting that you go radical. Your task is to find a scintillating look which suits your personality and flatters your body type.  Upper East Side Lady Who Lunches? Downtown “it” Girl? Haute Hippie? Groovy Gal About Town? Be the girl with the Bakelite cuff bracelets and fabulous YSL scarves adorning every outfit. Wear Grandma’s lurex sweater sets to go to the supermarket. Layer vintage Betsey Johnson baby doll dresses with Byzantine beads and rhinestone crosses just because. The larger you feel, the more accessories required. Your Cinderella moment awaits!

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    HOW TO MORPH CATERPILLAR BROWS INTO THE (FACIAL) ACCESSORY DU JOUR

    Bushy, bad brows are on par with mom jeans: a facial frumpifier .

    I know firsthand the challenges of full, frontal facial hair. Born with brows that are Frieda Kahlo with a side of Eddie Munster, “full” was an understatement.  Some people always have breath mints stashed everywhere. I have tweezers. In the car, I peek in the vanity mirror to remove a gaggle of strays that have reared their wiry heads since breakfast. At work, while stroking my forehead in thought, I discover scary  pube-like patches that have bloomed between my brows. And, then there is the Martini Tweeze; a post cocktail depilation that never ends well. Such evenings I am tempted to call Dr. Drew to implore the addition of a tweezer category to his rehab show.

    The upside? Women gaze longingly at my full, well arched brows murmuring something about blessed DNA.   Thick brows are a massive pain in the ass. But, At long last–through hard core plucking and primping – i have transformed my God given caterpillar brows into something resembling professionally groomed models in VOGUE. My wayward thicket of facial hair had been tamed.

    Though the glossies have pronounced the thick Charlotte Gainsbourg-esque look au courant, we of the looming Unibrow, spend inordinate amounts of time plucking, trimming and praying that we don’t morph into Dr. Zaius of Planet of the Apes stature while we sleep at night.

    So, how to morph Dr. Zaius-esque caterpillar brows into coiffure du jour? I employ the three ‘P’s: patience, product and professional help as needed.

    To shellac wayward brows into well arched submission, slather on clear ULTA Brow gel

    To keep create two definitive brows from one, invest in REVLON True Precision Tweezer

    To maintain a groomed to-the-nines arch, use ANASTASIA brow stencils

    To repair bald spots after a Martini Tweeze, keep ANASTASIA Brow Enhancing Serum on hand

    Here’s what you need in your eyebrow arsenal:

    1. ULTA Brow Gel $6

    2. Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Stencils $20

    3. Alessandra Brow Pencil $15

    4. Revlon True Precision Tweezer $12.99

    5. Sally Hansen Beauty Tools, Perfect Arch Brow Set $7.99

    6. Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Enhancing Serum $36

    7. Anastasia Beverly Hills Beauty Express for Brows and Eyes $39.50

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    pluck you! The Inside Scoop on How to Morph Your Unibrow into the (Facial) Accessory Du Jour

    (as seen on the Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/amy-tara-koch/pluck-u-the-inside-scoop-_b_792481.html)

    Women always tell me how lucky I am. They gaze longingly at my full, well arched brows, waxing poetic about blessed DNA and the painful woes of the anorexic browed crowd. And I bask in their praise. At long last, my wayward thicket of facial hair had been tamed. I smile and nod my thanks whilst inwardly chortling that I, a mere beauty obsessed mortal, had — through hard core plucking and primping — transformed my God given caterpillar brows into something resembling the effortless chic projected from professionally groomed models in Vogue.

    The truth? Thick brows are a massive pain in the ass. Though the glossies have pronounced the thick Charlotte Gainsbourg-esque look au courant, we of the looming Unibrow, spend inordinate amounts of time plucking, trimming and praying that we don’t morph into Dr. Zaius of Planet of the Apes stature while we sleep at night.

    I am not a hairy gal. But, somehow, my eyebrows never received the genetic newsflash to cease growing at the 1/8 inch mark. Mine ascend upwards to mid forehead and have a wingspan that almost reaches my temples. Instead of the soft downy fuzz of most women, my brows seem to be infused with testosterone and fishing line; wiry descendants of my grandfather. Without vigilance, I become a scary hybrid of Brooke Shields, Eddie Munster and Frieda Kahlo.

    Some people always have breath mints stashed everywhere. I have tweezers. In the car, I peek in the vanity mirror to remove a gaggle of strays that have reared their wiry heads since breakfast. At work, while stroking my forehead in thought, I discover scary pube-like patches that have bloomed between my brows. And, then there is the Martini Tweeze; a post cocktail depilation that never ends well. Such evenings I am tempted to call Dr. Drew to implore the addition of a tweezer category to his rehab show.

    So, how to avoid a hirsute destiny? Similar to thick, kinky hair, we women of the dense brow require the three ‘P’s: patience, product and professional help as needed. Inspired by the spate of editorial touting the full brow, I will spill the beans on how to morph caterpillar brows into coiffure du jour.

    Here are the tools for your eyebrow arsenal:

    To shellac wayward brows into well arched submission, slather on clear Alessandra Brow gel, $15

    2010-12-06-brow_gelBBG1.jpg

    To keep create two definitive brows from one, invest in the Tweezerman Kit featuring brow Scissors and tweezer , $19.99

    2010-12-06-P173000_hero1.jpg

    To maintain a groomed to- the nines arch, use Colorscience brow stencils, $10

    To repair bald spots after a Martini Tweeze, keep Anastasia Brow Enhancing Serum on hand, $36
    2010-12-06-SBS2081321.jpg

    For more fashion and beauty tips, visit www.bumpitupstyle.com and follow “amy tara koch style expert” on facebook.

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    CAN ONE CHIC-IFY A BOO BOO? YES!

    Cynthia Rowley—she of the cutesy dresses and girls-just-wanna-have-fun state o’ mind—has put her stamp on the most sacred of mom paraphenalia: Band-Aids! Now, when you or your family gets cuts, scrapes, or if you gauge your flesh, you have instant style by slapping on CR’s bling-worthy plasters.

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    ‘TIS THE SPIRIT TO…SHOP!

    I am super excited to host a holiday event for VOGUE at BURBERRY next Tuesday in Chicago. The event will feature the latest and greatest from the brand and benefit Northwestern’s Prentice Hospital.

    AMY TARA KOCH & VOGUE MAGAZINE

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    J’ADORE CHRISTOPHER BAILEY & HIS BURBERRY PRORSUM ACCESSORIES!

    Add some fierce fabulosity to your look with BURBERRY studded bracelets.

    I am hosting a holiday soiree for Vogue at Burbery Dec 7 in Chicago and had the pleasure of shopping for MOI (versus everyone else on my list) for two hours. An accessories lover, I fell hard for the fantabulous studded bracelets and PLISSE leather bags. This, ladies, is what I call INVESTMENT PIECE

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