For 2013, rather than focusing on boring and overwhelming self-improvement goals, I’ve adopted a small step style plan for paring all the stuff in my closets down to the key essentials I can’t live without.
On the list:
Belts that made the cut [from top]: black patent Fratelli Rossetti, brown perforated Prada, Oliver Green Navajo, Oliver Green “Sylvie”, Brown snakeskin H-clasp, orange B.E. & D. nailhead
home decor, clothing, accessories
, skincare and makeup. Less IS more. I started the process with my accessories closet. The least daunting sub-category was BELTS, so I started there.
How many belts do I really use? Clearly not as many as there were hanging in my armoire. Out went the super wide black leather and silver belt I’d intended to wear with my wool sweater coats and never did. Also out, flimsy ribbon belts with too thin D rings that poked me in the stomach and worse, didn’t effectively hold up my jeans.
I’m down to two colorful printed Oliver Green D-ring belts, a brown perforated brown leather Prada, a brown snakeskin H-belt, a black patent Fratelli Rosseti, and a skinny Cartier-like BE&D orange leather belt.
I had the good fortune to meet Sandra Oles, Oliver Green’s designer and spend time with her. Meeting the artist behind a brand makes the experience of wearing their creations that much more meaningful.
circa 1955: Mrs F C Winston Guest (1920 – 2003) (aka CZ )at her ocean-front estate, Villa Artemis, Palm Beach. (Photo by Slim Aarons/Getty Images)
Sandra Oles and I met at the Renaissance Beauty Beauty Aesthetics and Cosmetics. A group of women oohing and aahing caught my attention. They were exclaiming over a bunch of belts I’d glimpsed hanging in the shop and clustered around the designer.
Sandra clearly knows all about creating “a look”. She has the cool and confident bearing of a young C.Z. Guest. Like Guest, Oles made the best-dressed list in her milieu.
Oliver Green Classic 2 inch wide black and white chain print “Paige” D ring belt
The following week, we met for coffee. I couldn’t stop inspecting her outfit; her oversized jeans had been altered three times to hang just so. With them, she wore a graphic tee shirt over a waffle thermal shirt, an Oliver Green belt and a pair of light brown suede desert boots. I had the sudden urge to own a pair of those boots.
Over coffee, Sandra explained, “I have always had a good eye for fashion, being voted best dressed each year in high school. I kept a calendar of what I wore each day for 30 days, and was careful to not repeat the combination of clothing. My obsession with clothing hit around 7 years of age.”
While most 10 year-olds her age were reading Mad Magazine and The Archies comic books, Sandra was reading Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar. She painted her boots in school to make them unique, and always loved forward looks that hadn’t yet caught on. Her free time was spent giving the neighborhood kids style makeovers and selling clothing and candy in the “store” in her basement. “The Disco Spot,” was the go-to neighborhood place where kids could listen to the music of the moment and where Sandra also taught people how to dance.
- Top: Oliver Green “Payton” D-ring belt, worn equestrian style
When Sandra created the Oliver Green label, she had a specific goal: to provide a great quality fabric belt, that stayed tight, but more importantly added a look and that was functional, cool, and diverse.
The belts combine the classic D-ring closure with impeccable quality [hand stitching] and uniquely colorful prints. They also lay flat, don’t pucker in the back and keep your pants up as well as a leather belt.
It’s not surprising that Oliver Green has a multi-generational appeal. Clients range from 5 years olds to the 80 something year old matriarch of The New York Times. Many clients have over 10 Oliver Green belts in their personal collections. The horsey set on the equestrian circuit have embraced the brand and it’s a sure thing that the belts will be big hit on golf courses around the country in a very short time.
Oliver Green “Delia” D-ring belt – my new favorite
I’m now among the addicted and enjoy the comments the belts have inspired. So far, a doorman in the Garment Center, a Midtown Manhattan receptionist, my personal trainer, a corporate language client, and my teen age daughter’s friends have given my Oliver Green belts a thumbs up.
The belts are just the beginning of Sandra Oles’ branding effort though. She has some exciting ideas I can’t wait to see go into development. When they do, they will surely make their way into my pared-down essential core wardrobe.
Shopping Information for Oliver Green Belts
For special orders, call 203-832-2533
*Sandra shares some of her style savvy when you shop her website. Each belt has its own cool girl name [Roxie, Paige, Ella, Sammie] and a styling tip: “Great with: Navy Blue, White, Pink, Light Blue, Brown, Khaki” – all good branding!
- Vivian Kelly -
ENDNOTES – COMING SOON -
*Look for a post in the coming weeks about Melissa Caruso Calafell, and Renaissance Beauty Aesthetics and Cosmetics in Wilton, CT.