Confessions of a fashion addict

The Unionville Times’ newest columnist has the answer to your style questions

By Kelly Hockenberry, Columnist,

Photo courtesy Beth Erisman, Kennett Square

My name is Kelly.

I am addicted to fashion. It’s somewhat of a problem.  I have an overwhelming urge to style those around me. I offer my opinions and tips to friends and family, regardless of whether or not they are interested. But, it’s not enough. I crave a larger audience.

This column is the answer. Each week, I will be able to voice my obsessive thoughts about the latest nail polish trend or whether anyone around Unionville would look normal wearing those fantastic Prada super thick wedge oxfords (the answer to that is “no,” fyi) But, I want to answer YOUR fashion questions, too. So, please write to me at!

I promise that I will NEVER include pictures in my column of local residents with a black bar covering their faces.

However, I cannot promise that I won’t stare at you at Starbucks and take feverish notes if I see you in “Pajama Jeans.” When I told my husband that I was going to do this column and that I would try to do it in the most positive light, he said “Kelly, you are nothing if not brutally honest when it comes to your fashion commentary…why try to be something you’re not?”  Ummm, touché.

However, in the spirit of my excitement over the prospect of this new feature, I am going to list MY Top 10 “Must haves” for the Fashionable Woman:

The PERFECT denim. Skinny jeans were all the rage and now the high-waisted flare is making a come-back. The bottom line? Choose a dark denim (because it’s slimming) in the cut and style that flatters your figure. You may need to try on 100 pairs before you find “the one”, but, it’s out there. They need to make you feel like a million bucks.

The tailored black blazer. This is such a must-have because it can be used in so many ways. It is perfect with a button down blouse & jeans, over a dress for work, or as a light jacket with a great scarf. Make sure that it is not boxy and that the sleeve length hits right at the middle of your hand when your arm is straight.

A signature. OK, this one is esoteric, I know! But, Gwen Stefani’s red lipstick, Snooki’s pouf, your Grandmother’s perfume…how do you want people to identify you?

An animal print accessory. A scarf, handbag, shirt….aaaah, just nothing in a Lycra pant, please.

A beautiful handbag. Spend money on a good quality leather bag. It doesn’t have to be a designer bag (although, it doesn’t hurt, I won’t lie). Scour the consignment shops, go to Marshalls or TJMaxx. A classic bag is an investment.  I just don’t understand the expensive fabric handbag. They look very childish, especially in the backpack style…they give me angina…and nobody wants that.

Great undereye concealer. OK, perhaps this one is becoming more important to me because I am knocking on the door of a very significant birthday…but, all the same, a stylish woman does NOT have dark circles. Nor does she have that tell-tale glow in the dark, too bright white undereye business going on. Invest in the best formulation that you can find! Hit those department store counters. Those ladies are DYING to help you. Trust me.

Short, well-manicured nails. I am not a fan of the artificial nail, but, I understand that some women have difficulty growing their own. However, the days of the “Falcon Crest inspired” long spiky talons are gone. They are scary. I love to experiment with different polish colors…but, the classic must-have is a beautiful sheer pink.

A good stud. Ha! Preferably a diamond or pearl. They don’t have to be real, just believable. Leave the 10 carat size bling to Alan Iverson. And, if your 10 carat diamond studs ARE real… take them off, sell them and give that money to charity. My public service announcement.

A fantastic coat. Let’s face it…we are cold for too many months here in Unionville, PA. We may as well have winter outerwear that makes us happy. Donate the long car coat (saw a woman in one the other day….I thought that they were an urban legend in 2011, but, I was wrong). The coat should NOT hit mid shin and have a shoulder pad. That is BAD.

A great watch. This is an accessory that most people wear every day. If you do, make it a good one. People see your watch. They judge you on your watch. Don’t blame me for saying it, it’s true. It’s been the subject of research.  Here’s my twisted, shopaholic logic: “price per wear”. You can justify spending more money on something that you wear every day…because the “price per wear” pays for itself. A weak argument, perhaps…but, it helps me sleep at night.

Well, there you have it! My Top 10! I am so looking forward to the opportunity to discuss fashion with all of you! You can “Read My Lip-Gloss” Every Sunday!!!

Woo hoo!

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  1. Angie Melasecca says:

    you amaze me Kell.

  2. Bridget says:

    Wow! Kelly that is a great article. I am finding more and more about you every day! Way to go! Keep the news coming!!! Congrats!

  3. Dawn says:

    Kelly- You go girl. Great article! Unionville’s own fashionista! Should have known A beautiful handbag would be in the top 10! Can’t wait till next week.

  4. Sara Kersey says:

    Hi Kelly,
    What a great column! I wish you much success in the weeks and months ahead!
    I’m not sure if you have kids, but my dilemma is about what to wear now and still be fashion forward, but practical and (dare I mention the “C” word) comfortable? My 8 month-old son, Jack, is amazing, but my wardrobe is not. I am also working which brings in a whole other problem. I have many mommy friends and they all look so put together and stylish. I feel frump-tastic. Any suggestions would be helpful!

    Thanks so much!

  5. Erin Haney says:

    Hi Kelly,

    I am one of Erin’s friends from high school and although I don’t live in Unionville (I am in Vermont) I enjoyed reading your new column. In Vermont fashion isn’t something a lot of people dedicate time to unless of course you were born a fashionista. I do, however, like learning more about fashion and often wish I was more fashionable. But, I’ve got my own style and its definitely not off the mark from your Top 10. Good luck with your column. If Erin posts it on Facebook again I’ll be sure to read.
    All the best Kelly,
    Erin De Vries (Haney)

  6. Andrea says:

    Kelly – FANTASTIC job on your first fab fashion tips article! You were “born this way” baby!! LOL…can’t wait til next Sunday 😉

  7. Beth Dietrich says:

    Kelly – I loved the first article. It was perfect. Keep em coming. I now realize I need to invest in a better under eye concealer. May hit the mall TODAY on this rainy day. Cheers to fashion!

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