Arlene Goldstein travels the world as a sought-after fashion forecaster. But when asked to describe her own personal style, she hesitates to put a label on herself. (For the record, The O Report thinks of her as classic but always with a modern twist.)
Arlene spent 32 years in the fashion business including nine years as Vice President of Trend Merchandising and Fashion Direction for Belk before retiring in 2015. For about a week. A few days after returning back home to Birmingham, Alabama, she was approached by a fashion industry insider who wanted her expertise as a consultant for a large department store chain headquartered in Milwaukee.
So several times a year she does what she was so well-known for at Belk: She jumps on a jet and travels to London, Milan and Paris to see what people are wearing on the street and then shops in the local stores to discover the next big trends. Twice a year she travels to Milwaukee to present her report to apparel buyers and brand product managers.
In her world, she's already predicting what customers will want to wear in 2018. But here's what she says is on trend now for spring and summer: trench coats in fresh colors; Havana-inspired prints incorporating birds or lots of texture and embellishments including fringe and pom poms; off-the-shoulder silhouettes; and midi dresses. Looking ahead to fall, wide-leg pants and anything velvet will be in style.
From her new beach house in Florida overlooking the Gulf of Mexico, she answered The O Report's questions ranging from details about her favorite fashion label to the most-loved pieces in her wardrobe and her pet peeves.
Where is your favorite place to travel?
As a fashion forecaster, London is a must. It's a great place to observe the beat on the street - the "early adopters" who embrace the new season's style with unexpected twists. It's not just what they're wearing, it's WHAT they're wearing with WHAT.
What's your favorite hotel in the world?
The Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park in London - what service! And the King David Jerusalem - what history!
What are your favorite fashion labels?
Gucci is the fashion house to watch. Each piece has its own story to tell, and each is magnificent.
What's the biggest style mistake women make?
Following too many rules. And refusing to explore their rebellious/adventurous sides.
Anything you've worn and regretted?
A dress that - looking back - was way too revealing even though when I wore it I was in my 30s.
What would you like to bring back in style?
Never look back. I enjoy a few classic, timeless pieces that seem to outlast trends and then add a few "of the moment" trendy items.
What are some of your favorite pieces in your wardrobe?
An obscene number of beautiful belts that are gifts from my brother from his W. Kleinberg line of exotic leather goods manufactured in Atlanta. My other favorite accessories are a vintage faux cheetah coat I bought at Metrolina Flea Market my first week in Charlotte and black snakeskin DVF pumps that are so comfy and look great with almost anything.
Do you have a favorite uniform?
Black. Currently my uniform is black slim pants with a voluminous top and a statement sweater since the weather is still cool.
How do you stay in shape?
I stay busy, walk and try to avoid a lot of sugar and carbs.
How do you protect your skin from the sun?
I wear a broad spectrum sunscreen every day.
What are your must-have beauty products?
I love Laura Mercier Flawless Skin Infusion de Rose Nourishing Oil, Chanel Le Lift Firming Anti-Wrinkle Eye Cream, Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua foundation and Neutrogena Healthy Defense Daily Moisturizer Lotion SPF 50.
What are some of your favorite books?
I just finished the amazing biography of fashion icon Diana Vreeland and I've started Tom Brokaw's The Greatest Generation which brings me closer to memories of my parents, especially my dad who served our country in World War II.
Who's your favorite famous person you've met?
Oscar de la Renta. The famous person I wish I could meet is Iris Apfel. She's in her late 90s and is still going strong. She was first well-known in the textile industry and later became iconic in the fashion industry for her flamboyance and her inspiring way of dressing.
What's your favorite flower?
Having fresh flowers in the house makes me so happy. I love peonies, roses and alstroemeria because it lasts forever. I also love to get out in my yard with my clippers and pick camellias and greenery.
What's your favorite movie?
Do you have a motto or words that you live by?
Treat others the way you want to be treated.
How do you like to get your day started?
Watching the Today Show.
What's the best business advice you've ever received?
Manage up. Be yourself and put your two cents in, but always try to put your finger on what your boss's priorities are and what his or her management style is in order to be most effective.
What brings you joy?
Milton, my husband of 49 years. He still makes me laugh.
What do you love about this stage of your life?
The freedom to pick and choose how I spend my time.
What inspires you?
People who are open, inclusive and curious. And my three children. They are smart, talented caring and funny. Alison is a TV talk show host and motivational speaker; Stuart is vice president of a prominent New York advertising agency; and Amanda is an actress, standup comedienne and marketing expert.
Do you have a great organizational or timesaving tip that saves your sanity and helps make your life run more smoothly?
Making to-do lists.
What would others be surprised to know about you?
That I love to bake and that we have nine grandchildren. My grandchildren are my life's dessert.
What's your favorite host/hostess gift to bring to a party?
My homemade chocolate chip banana bread.
What was one of the defining moments of your life?
Becoming a mom. And going into the fashion industry in the 1980s.
Any pet peeves?
Women of any age group who put themselves down. I don't want to hear that. Especially as you mature, it's easy to get caught up in thinking you're not what you used to be, Getting older is just part of the process. Don't become hypersensitive. We should try to look modern, but do it our way. Celebrate the things that are beautiful about you.