Issue 15

May 2019

Note from the editor, Lesley Jane Seymour

Spring Cleaning My Life

The other day it was finally time to go through the three closets of clothes I have upstairs and accept the fact that I no longer need dozens of designer handbags or suits or coats for my new life as an entrepreneur.

I’m no longer the size or shape I was when I was editor in chief of Marie Claire, where I was given a clothing allowance and expected to spend thousands of dollars a season on the latest trendy clothes so I could show up at the front row of the collections and be photographed. Or so I wouldn’t insult Calvin by showing up at his show — or at a lunch with him — wearing Armani.

I know, I know — you can now take out your smallest violin!

Now, most of my days are spent in jeans or shorts and a T-shirt. I no longer need my shelves of sky-high Louboutin heels. (I actually prefer flats.)

I called the RealReal, made an appointment, and forced myself to dig deep. Out went the gorgeous leather-and-tulle dress from the Bottega Veneta sample sale that I wore to some amazing party I can’t even recall. Goodbye to the lurex-flecked Chanel evening purse I carried all over Paris one season. Into the giant zip bags went plates from Bulgari (a gift) and cachepots from Tiffany (ditto). Out went the expensive bejeweled Prada evening coat I’d purchased in a rush during one trip to Milan. We had a big event that night and after I pulled the coat from the rack, my fashion editor stood behind me chanting “Buy it! Buy it!” And I did.

Back in the day, being an editor in chief of a high-fashion magazine was like being an extra on the set of  Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous. Few of us had the big bucks to compete with the real fashionistas, but our jobs required that we look like we did. While some of the dressing up was undoubtedly fun — what civilian gets to borrow $35,000 worth of jewels from Fred Leighton for a red carpet event? — keeping up with the “BIG” editors who had unlimited clothing allowances was impossible. Even in the world of outrageous fashion excess, there was a clear pecking order. I was far from the top.

Luckily Dana (the representative from the RealReal) had been an assistant for a big designer and knew me from those days. She understood the melancholy I felt when putting up for sale that beloved pair of gold brocade Chanel boots that had gotten a lowly copywriter respect — and acceptance — from the fashion editors at Vogue. “I know. Clothes have so many memories,” she said. “But you realize that it’s not your life now. And you’re going to feel so much lighter.”

As she slammed the trunk of her car, which now held 98 pieces of my former crazy life, I felt both sadness and relief. As I watched her drive off, I realized that I was now free to create my own much more purposeful life.

In this issue don’t miss:

*Kelly Jackson’s hilarious discussion with her deceased mother (“Happy Mother’s Day”)

*Deborah Burns’ meditation on the positive legacy of a self-involved mother (“Coming to Terms with My Narcissistic Mother”)

*Stylist Becky MacCurtain’s answers to the “Top 10 Questions a Stylist Gets from Women 40+”; she worked with me at More

*What to do if you’re diagnosed with osteopenia from Lori Kase

*Susan Purvis’ thoughtful attempt to save her marriage (“Search and Rescue at 30,000 Feet”)

*Dara Pettinelli’s “5 Tips for Buying Real Estate in a Down Market”: it might be the right time to downsize or help your child

*How to reinvent by picking up the threads from a childhood dream by Pamela Grayson (“Reinventing from a Childhood Dream”)

*The find: an amazing story about using technology that comes from healing traumatic war injuries hits the lab in “Hair Repair: New Solutions from the Lab”

*Traveling inside an artist’s studio with Monica Coyne.


Say what?

“One life is all we have and we live it as we believe in living it. But to sacrifice what you are and to live without belief, that is a fate more terrible than dying.”

— Joan of Arc

Hot flash!

One popular figure comes from a Strategy & Analysis from 2012, which suggested that the United States could increase the size of its economy by 5 percent if women’s labor force participation rose to match men’s.



Deborah Burns

Deborah Burns is a former women’s media chief innovation officer and brand leader turned industry consultant. Her venture, Skirting the Rules, helps brands, executives, and women reinvent; her memoir, Saturday’s Child, helps mothers and daughters do the same.

Susan Purvis

Susan Purvis is an explorer, educator and storyteller. She is the owner of Crested Butte Outdoors International, has taught wilderness medicine to everyone from the Secret Service to Sherpa guides in Nepal. Purvis and her search-and-rescue dog, Tasha, whom she trained to save lives on the most avalanche-prone slopes in Colorado, launched dozens of rescue missions and received Congressional Recognition for their role in avalanche search and rescue. Purvis’ work has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Smithsonian, the BBC, and on Discovery. She lives in Whitefish, Montana. Go Find is her first book and winner of the Nautilus award for Memoir, Large Publisher.

Pamela Weiler Grayson

Pam’s musical, Urban Momfare (composer/lyricist/co-book writer), won a Best Musical award at the New York International Fringe Festival, and was a Critics Pick from Time Out. Pam’s songs and plays have been performed and developed in New York City and regionally, and she’s a graduate of Brown University, Fordham Law School, and The BMI Musical Theatre Workshop. Visit her website here.