In honor of The Oprah Winfrey Show’s 25th and final season, the Style Guyde has decided to reveal a detailed list of some of my “Favorite Things.” As the Fashion Director of Instinct and the writer of this monthly column, I am constantly receiving freebies and new products to try from publicists around the globe who are itching to get their clients some exposure. I love trying new things—and (I swear that) I’m totally open-minded—but, after 17 years in the fashion business, I’m very opinionated (have you noticed?) and I know what I like (and what I don’t like). Featured below—in no particular order—are 10 things that I can’t live without.
Kiehl’s Cream With Silk Groom
One of my oldest friends in New York (a model agent for Brooklyn Decker and Naomi Campbell) first introduced me to Kiehl’s Cream With Silk Groom about 16 years ago (we were on our way to our “local”—the Boiler Room in the East Village), and I haven’t used another styling product in my hair since (other than when I test products for Instinct’s Annual Grooming Awards). I’m sure it comes as no surprise that I am very particular about my hair (aren’t we all?), and this product gives me just the right amount of shine, plus it doesn’t make my hair stiff or crusty like gels tend to do.
Kiehl’s Cream With Silk Groom is $18 at http://www.kiehls.com
Dior Hydra Life Pro-Youth Comfort Creme
When I first started using a “serious” moisturizer (as opposed to something that I just happened to find in the medicine cabinet at home), I went straight to the Chanel counter at the local mall. But when Chanel’s beauty products underwent a major overhaul (they completely changed everything in an attempt to snare a younger demographic), I switched to Dior. And I’ve never looked back. The first thing that a friend—whom I just recently reconnected with on Facebook (after 10 years)—said to me was, “Needless to say, your Dior skincare is treating you well.” (Ironically, he’s currently working for Chanel again after several years at other brands.) I like a moisturizer that keeps my skin soft, smells great and feels “rich” (I want the most out of every single dollar that I dish out for it)—and Dior Hydra Life Pro-Youth Comfort Creme does all those things (and more!).
Dior Hydra Life Pro-Youth Comfort Creme is $56 at http://www.dior.com
Levi’s Matchstick Jeans
I have eight pairs of Levi’s Matchstick jeans (in various shades of blue, plus one pair in white)—they’re the only jeans that I’ll wear. Matchsticks are the perfect cut for my long (I’m 6’3”), skinny legs—a nice low-rise with a straight slim (but not too slim) leg. They are also part of Levi’s Water
Levi’s Matchstick Jeans are $98 at http://www.levi.com
Diptyque Baies “Noire” Candle
One of my favorite scents in the whole world is Baies by Diptyque. It’s a totally intoxicating blend of blackcurrant leaves and Bulgarian rose. It comes housed in a chic, black-tinted, mouth-blown glass vessel that hides that annoying black soot the wick produces. It also makes the best host/hostess gift—I mean, you can never have enough scented candles. (I always keep some extras on hand in case I ever need one in a pinch.)
Diptyque Baies “Noire” Candle is $80 at http://www.diptyqueparis.com
Bottega Veneta Shoes
If I’m not wearing flip flops (in the summer) or my vintage (i.e. “old”) Dries Van Noten boots (in the fall and winter), I am wearing Bottega Veneta shoes. I have more pairs than I care to admit—including sage green woven leather sandals and chocolate brown suede Chelsea boots—but my favorites are the wing tips (of which I have two pairs—one in black and another in a very dark purple—both with handcrafted stitch detailing). Bottega Veneta shoes are made to last—and last—plus I have a great cobbler that keeps them looking good season after season (even after being subjected to the mean streets of New York City). Added bonus: Bottega Veneta’s Creative Dirtector, Tomas Maier, is super hot.
Bottega Veneta “York” wing tips (shown above) are $850 at http://www.bottegaveneta.com
The custom built-in bookshelves in my new apartment on Lower Fifth Avenue are completely lined with biographies and autobiographies about/from beautiful (and wealthy) women—including Audrey Hepburn, Lady Annabel Goldsmith and Slim Keith. I just love a “true” story—as long as it’s glamorous, exciting and takes place on multiple continents. I am currently reading Wait For Me! by Deborah Mitford (also known as the Dowager Duchess of Devonshire). She is the last of the (in)famous Mitford sisters. Her sister, Nancy, wrote The Pursuit of Love and Love in a Cold Climate, in which the patriarch of the family (based on their father) was affectionately referred to as “Fa”. Fa is what my daughter is going to call me (when she learns to talk).
Wait For Me! by Deborah Mitford is $28 at http://www.amazon.com
Pantene Pro-V Classic Care 2-in-1 Shampoo + Conditioner
I’m pretty sure the first time I bought Pantene Pro-V Classic Care 2-in-1 Shampoo + Conditioner was when I was in college and didn’t have any money to buy a fancier shampoo plus a separate conditioner. Since then I have grown to love not only the convenience of using just one product but also how great it makes my hair look, feel and smell. Gentle enough to use everyday, Pantene Pro-V Classic Care 2-in-1 Shampoo + Conditioner will forever have a home on my shower caddy—it’s a great product at an amazing price.
Pantene Pro-V Classic Care 2-in-1 Shampoo + Conditioner is $4.19 at http://www.pgestore.com
Long before my daughter was born, we got our first station wagon—the Volvo XC70. We needed a car to get us from Manhattan to our country house in Litchfield County, Connecticut. I knew that I wanted a Volvo (I thought they were very “Connecticut”) and it needed to be all-wheel drive (our driveway alone is up a hill, not to mention the countless hills—and valleys—we encounter on our weekly journey up there)—but I didn’t want a SUV. I call our XC70 “The Tank” since it seems virtually indestructible and it has never let us down through the snow, sleet or rain of New England’s extreme seasons. Plus, for the past year now, our daughter’s car seat fits perfectly in the back.
Volvo's XC70 starts at $38,000—for more information visit http://www.volvocars.com
I have never met anyone who doesn’t look great in a pair of Ray-Ban Aviator sunglasses—they are the epitome of cool. Ray-Ban Aviators first became popular when General Douglas MacArthur was photographed wearing them during World War II. You might have fond memories of Tom Cruise and Val Kilmer sporting them in Top Gun, but my obsession began when I saw Ron Galella’s (now iconic) paparazzi shot of Robert Redford in a mirrored pair (Google “Robert Redford Ron Galella” to see what I mean). Their timeless appeal will always endure.
Ray-Ban Aviators are $139 at http://www.ray-ban.com
I love absolutely everything about Capri—it is the chicest place on Earth and hasn’t changed a bit since the Jet Set ‘60s when Jackie O walked the cobblestone streets arm-and-arm with Valentino. That’s me at the very top of this column posing in front of the island’s famous Faraglioni (you probably recognize it from David Gandy’s ad for Dolce & Gabbana’s Light Blue fragrance). A few (there are way too many to mention all of them) of my other favorite spots include: the Hotel La Scalinatella, da Paolino restaurant, lunching/bathing at La Fontelina, and people-watching at a front-row table at Bar Tiberio in La Piazzetta (but only after the last boat of daytrippers has left the island). If you’ve never been, you MUST go!
For more information visit http://www.capri.com
Since the Style Guyde has no shame, I will even (tastefully) reveal that my favorite pair of underwear is the Contour Pouch Brief from 2(x)ist’s Cotton Essential collection (and yes, they are the essential foundation of my wardrobe). Doesn’t Christopher Leabu look great in his tighty whities above? I actually prefer them in black—and since I couldn’t give everyone a car like Oprah did, I asked the very kind people at 2(x)ist if they would be so generous as to donate a few pairs (10 to be exact) for us to giveaway.
E-mail us at
with “2(x)ist” in the subject line and tell us in 100 words or less about a few of your “Favorite Things.” The first 10 entries (with a valid e-mail, home address and telephone number) will win a pair of 2(x)ist Cotton Essential Contour Pouch Briefs—which retail for $12. Please be sure to specify which size you prefer—small, medium, large or x-large. Only one entry/winner per household, please.
Go to http://www.2xist.com to check out more from one of the Style Guyde’s favorite brands.