WTF is Functional Fashion? It’s Fierce, That’s What!

There’s always been a debate about what’s more of a priority: form or function? And I’ve always been a sucker for form and beautiful aesthetics. I would choose form over function any day. I’m so glad I no longer have to make that choice! Neither do you! The Wardrobe Revolution has arrived and it’s all about Functional Fashion as designed by Nicole Frank. It’s Fabulous, Flexible, Fantastic … and it’s Fierce!

I believe in Evolution. I believe in Revolution…especially in the Evolution of Revolution … a Forever Fierce Revolution! It’s changing the paradigm and perception of women at Midlife & Beyond. Nicole Frank and her Wardrobe Evolution is taking the world of fashion by storm and changing the paradigm of how a woman can choose to put her wardrobe together while including verve and versatility!

The moment I clicked on the Nicole Frank website, I felt as if I had entered another dimension, a new world, and an alternate universe with a new direction in fashion – Functional Fashion! I didn’t waste a moment. I immediately whipped off an email to their PR team asking for an introduction. When it comes to discovering brands I’m passionate about, I tend to be a bit fierce in letting them know my passion and enthusiasm. I’m like a dog with a bone or a Fierce woman with an idea! I don’t let go! I had to see for myself if The Wardrobe Evolution was as amazing as it looked.

So what exactly is Functional Fashion? The concept is brilliant. It’s a refreshing, new way of looking at fashion. Its fashion innovation through the lens of the future. The line is sustainable, washable, and wickable. The Swiss-engineered fabric is high tech, odor free, and stain repellent. It incorporates a unique 4-way stretch into the mix that moves along with you. Nicole Frank is one of a kind. Her genius lies in the ability of each piece to magically morph into multiple looks. Everything is interchangeable. The jackets come with multiple options. Dickeys (remember Dickeys?) can be added to bring a different look and dimension. There’s a wide range of beautiful and intricate sleeve options to change things up in an instant. Pants evolve with a new zip on trim. Their accessories, including shoes and belts, can be transformed with distinctive decorative designs. Even outerwear can be reversed to change up the look and color scheme.

I could hardly wait to try out the line and take it for a personal test run. It was perfect timing as I was heading to NYC for a quick trip and a Gala event for a very special woman in my life, Loreen Arbus. Her event was dedicated to honoring a wide range of inspirational women who were busy making their own corner of the world more beautiful and empowered. Changing the world is my jam. It’s dear to my heart and it’s what gets me out of bed every morning. It’s also what inspired me to hop on a plane to spend about 18 hours traveling for a 48-hour stint in the Big Apple. I love to travel in style and this time I was relegated to a tiny carry on. I’m an over packer … a maximalist who’s always struggling with her inner minimalist! A carry on is a challenge for a fashion lover like me. What better way to travel light than with the Nicole jacket that can instantly morph into 3 different styles?!

My first night in NYC, I met up with a couple of my Fierce Sisters for dinner, Barbara Warren of The Perennial Project, and Meri Frischmanof The Pro-Age Woman. I’m pretty sure we spent the first 30 minutes of our conversation centered around the Nicole jacket. I slipped or “zipped” on the Miriam sleeve which is covered in the coolest, sparkly patches that can’t help but capture attention. Barbara was the Founder of the classic cashmere line, White & Warren, and understands beautiful fashion when she sees it. She was raving about the design and the ingenious concept of interchangeability. It’s easy for 3 Midlife women to be instantly sidetracked by gorgeous design! After a fun evening together, I retired to my hotel room for a well deserved night sleep. I woke up to a few messages from my Fierce Sisters requesting the link to the Nicole Frank site. That was only the beginning of spreading the Nicole Frank Wardrobe Evolution love around NYC!

The next day, I slipped into the high-waisted leopard print Cynthia pant. I was pleasantly surprised by the fit. It was as though it was tailored to perfection. That’s the idea. The fabric is super lightweight with a distinctively silky feel and the perfect amount of stretch that fits different body shapes and sizes. At 5’9”, I was surprised to find a pair of pants that not only fit but would also allow me to wear my favorite high heels. I was headed over to the offices at Fohr to see 3 of my favorite Fohr Boss Babes: Grace Murray, Emma Gonzalez, and Jill Netzel. I was so honored to be selected to represent the over 40 sector as part of The Fohr Freshman Class last November. I quickly found out the Cynthia pant instantly becomes the center of attention as each one of those gals wanted to know about the pants. It’s like a magnet for compliments. They work with a lot of major designers and national brands and hadn’t seen anything like this before. The leopard print was ideally aligned with my personal Fierce mission in The Forever Fierce Revolution. I’m sitting here waiting for the team at Nicole Frank to change the name to the “Fierce Pant.” (hint hint…wink wink!)

I left the Josie coat back in LA. Believe it or not, it was actually far warmer in NYC than it’s been in Southern Cal. We’ve been under a period of June gloom for a while. NYC was in the 80’s, while Redondo Beach was regularly in the 50’s to 60’s along with gusts of wind. I decided it was time to bring all the pieces together in a single photo shoot. I packed up the car and headed to one of my favorite locations in Palos Verdes, Malaga Cove. I brought along the Nicole Jacket, the Miriam Sleeve, the Cynthia pant, and the Josie Coat to show how easy it is to create multiple looks. I’ve found that I get stopped just about everywhere I go in the designs. They’re utterly distinctive. I have to admit they do make me smile. They’re not only functional. They’re fun. Whimsical. Sassy and Fierce! It’s clear they take the design process seriously but I’m sensing they have an awful lot of fun dreaming up the creative designs.

To begin, I decided to zip off the sleeves and show the Nicole jacket in the short sleeved version. It takes about two minutes to do. The design team has impeccably covered every single detail. Each sleeve has a tag on the inside that lets you know whether it’s the left or right arm of the jacket which makes the process super easy…pure genius! I paired the short sleeved jacket with the Cynthia pant and a simple white t-shirt underneath. You could easily change up the look with a camisole, tank top or another one of the sleeve designs found on the website or IG gallery. I brought along a pair of my favorite white boots by Raye. Any boot would do. You could also pair a strappy sandal or one with a fun platform. The Sunnies finished off the look and are from a few seasons ago by Zara. The earrings are from last season at Free People. The belt is a favorite of mine that I found at the end of the year sale at LF by Streets Ahead. This one is no longer available but I’ve linked some of my favorite shoes and accessories in the current season to mix and match with this look. And, of course, the Nicole Franksite is loaded with its own spectacular line of accessories.

It was time to change up the sleeve and I tend to be very attached to the Miriam sleeve. It’s my absolute favorite sleeve from the Nicole Frank website. The embroidered patches are covered in sequins and beads and display inspirational messages. I think you all know how much I’m driven by inspiration and this was right up my alley. Since the moment this jacket arrived, I’ve worn it at least a dozen times. The best part? I didn’t have to run to the dry cleaner! I could toss it right in the washing machine! I brought along the perfect, simple clutchfrom Tribe Alive from last season’s Box of Style and changed up the sunnies to a classic Aviator from RayBan. With a quick zip, zip, I changed to the Miriam sleeve that completely transformed the look. It’s the perfect jacket as it can be worn for a wide range of events, everything from corporate meetings to skinny jeans around town. Adding a fun belt not only ups the style quotient but enhances the waist. I’ve amassed quite a belt collection over the past few decades. I’m always on the lookout for a new one as it’s one of the easiest ways to add a dose of personal style.

The last look was centered around the Josie Coat. It’s made from the most sumptuous fabric that feels like the finest ultrasuede. Buttery soft, it’s completely reversible and lightweight. It’s made of “micro air filled suede” while also stain resistant, microbial resistant and water resistant. Another ideal travel piece. It can be worn with or without the reversible belt and it’s available in this beautiful Black and Burnt Olive combo. For a more conservative look, I would pair it with the black Alexis pant. I loved the contrast of the Cynthia pant for a little bit of Fierce fun! Once again, I couldn’t get through Malaga Cove Mall without being stopped and asked about the outfit. It’s a showstopper. I believe I peppered NYC with the name of Nicole Frank to share the line with everyone who stopped, stared and asked where I found these fabulous pieces.

I’m grateful to the team at Nicole Frank for responding so quickly to my request to test out their line. Yes, this is a sponsored post. I’m over the moon to partner with Nicole Frank. As you know if you’ve been following me for a while, I only align with brands I believe in and authentically use in my own life. Nicole Frank is a brand I believe in. Functional Fashion is Fierce. It’s good for the environment. It makes fashion easy and effortless. The designs are classic, timeless yet incorporate a healthy dose of sassy into the limitless accessories. It’s an ingenious line with a lot of genius and moxie behind it.


Source: Catherine Graco

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