Hamptons Style Decoded…

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Attention Beach Bums and Summer Goddesses. Summertime in the Hamptons!

Toes in the sand, laughter, bubbly, good friends and leaving the speed of the city far behind for those last lazy days of summer – count me in. The city was fantastic, but before you could say clam bake, I navigated horrendous traffic in the Queen’s Midtown tunnel on a Monday morning heading to the beach. And I thought I’d be slick and go against traffic. Fuggedaboutit!

The Hamptons offer an eclectic lifestyle. There’s the lush gardens and horse stables of East Hampton, preppy style of South Hampton, sailboats and sexy yachts of Sag Harbor and ocean surf world of Montauk. Think sprawling mansions, charity events, effortless beach style and, of course, preppy clothes including billowing prints and board shorts pink as hydrangea. If that sounds like a sweet existence with few vineyards, country clubs and, of course, some of the most desirable addresses on the East Coast….it is. Lest we not forget some of the world’s most beautiful beaches.

Weekends in the Hamptons are well, pure bliss. Eating delicious foods prepared by the help (not) shopping till you drop (not), celeb-spotting (not) and going out to restaurants and parties to run into people who are just all around better (not). No way a regular city slicker gal with a tight skirt and lack of game is snagging a table anywhere here sister. You either know people or not. End. Of. Story.

The legendary Stan Herman who has a home in South Hampton happens to be my ace in the hole. Husband’s grandfather introduced him to the home of his life on Big Fresh Pond Lake and for over 45 plus years they were neighbors. It was on that lake that friendships were formed and Stan met my husband Joe as young child, leaving an ever lasting impression on him. Did you know it was Stan Herman, President of the Board of Bryant Park at the time, who organized the first fashion shows at Bryant Park? Although he clearly has a long and distinguished career as a designer, he believes he will be remembered first and foremost for this event. Herman was also the winner of the Geoffrey Bean Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006.

Big Fresh Pond Lake has been left natural. A simple sand driveway leads to Stan’s front door with panoramic views of the lake. A ribbon of worn steps flutter down to the dock where native plants grow wild. There are no hedges to clip, lawns to mow or elaborate gardens. For Stan it seems to express a greater sense of individual choice; not keeping up with the Joneses or in this case the Blankfeins or Kardashion’s, choosing simple tranquility. The lake rewrites itself each day in the shifting reflections of water, trees and sky as Stan relaxes on his lounge chair, far removed from the demands of the fashion world.  Summers in the Hamptons would become the fabric of all their lives with the true gift being Stan Herman who, through his voice of today, is a very special connection to our past. Thank you Stan for your gracious hospitality.

After our visit I was off to stalk Main Street in a flowing Diane von Furstenberg dress and my favorite silver, chunky, rubber soled Sam Edelson sandals (they give me happy feet – I could walk from here to Vegas in those bad boys). You want to be traditional and chic, and anything but clichÃ. This Style Spy left all the black/funeral clothing at home, packing only clothes as white as a dove. A Donna Karen white wrap dress and vintage lace coat were perfect for a boating day with royal pup “Melchoir”, who gallantly walked by my side, as if posing for the paparazzi. Not his first day at the rodeo.

My first spotting was at Collette’s where the vibrant window display drew me in. After soaking up the sun (with hat and sunscreen) and catching a few waves, the last thing you want to do is stress about finding a perfect outfit for going out. Fashion Director Ann Skalaski can help you score a fantastic dress, handbag, shoes and just about anything else you need at this upscale Designer Consignment store. Her enthusiasm is infectious. This place is the ‘Bergdorf Goodman’ of consignment shops. Throw on a hip trench to brave any seaside chill for instant chic style. Her cover-ups can be tossed over a bathing suit or worn with heels for dinner and hey, we dig that. There’s a Collette’s Basement right door for even more discounted items.

Work out clothes were represented by Bandier. No lazy days of summer here ladies. Strong is definitely the new sexy and you can look hot while working out. A purple and orange swimsuit reminded me of something “Fiona” would have worn in a Bond film. And those work out pants. I die! Tenet has a very cool surfer-y vibe, but they carry the best designers. There’s also an Intermix, a Theory, and an Alice + Olivia, Chico and Michael Kors. Some Fashion Designer’s like Tamara Mellon have launched Hampton’s Pop-Up stores for a season. Shockingly, some shops I entered the salesperson never acknowledged my existence. I shant be mentioning you here, sorry.

Main Street was complete with Mom, Dad, their two children (clad in matching Lilly Pulitzer/or Ralph Lauren) all posing with the golden retriever. Totally East Coast Preppy. Of course, one does not have to follow the Hamptons unspoken dress code of looking like a nice crisp apple. Personally, I live by Lilly Pulitzer’s motto, “life is a party, dress like it.” Her signature shift dress is a staple in any prepster’s closet – polished, but never tries to hard. I’d layer a vintage find over the dress, chunky bracelets, a scarf and hat to make the look my own. And the purse? Well, it simply must be monogrammed or else…

Frankly, I miss the time when vintage and unique artisan shops ruled. Big name designers all have store fronts. Everything is designer now—not as low-key as it used to be. Long gone are the days when you can toss your favorite boyfriend jeans and a few tops into your bag and call it a day. Hair and nails must be perfect (though preps do not wear make-up, they always look flawless.) One must look as though they are dressed to have brunch at the club and Pink, well Pink is simply a must-have. Isn’t that why peeps leave the city, to get away from all that? Surely a vacation should be spent relaxing on the beach and recharging the batteries, not fussing over what you look like. “The Hamptons are usually filled with what I had hoped to leave behind in New York City,” Mario Batali once said. He gets it.

Many mistake preppy as a synonym for rich but the clothing is never ostentatious. Think Grace Kelly and Jackie O. Always classic. For me, I’m drawn to my Ray-Bans, one-of-a-kind vintage pieces with a few designer items tossed in. I didn’t try to fit in with the natives, yet dressed in my usual bohemian flair which seemed to gather a few compliments. Thankyouverymuch. The fun in fashion is that it allows us to be whoever we want.

Ah yes, The Hamptons have always been about finding the calm in the chaos of our lives. Warm weather plus a little tan equals the perfect opportunity to bust out the LWD (little white dress) and go full-on Diddy White Party with our ensembles. Me? I’ve got my style and I’m sticking to it – no navy and white nautical dress or looking like a Popped-Collar Tool for me. Shake things up! And for the record my fashion-crazed loving friends, summer isn’t just a season or a state of mind, it’s also a freaking place. If you have to ask where sorry, you can’t come to The Surf Lodge with us!

Frankly, while we’re on the subject, I’m with Stan’s philosphy. Perhaps I need to get out less and watch the ever-changing light on the lake.

Lip balm? Check.  Sunscreen? Check. Giant inflatable swan? Check.

Midnight skinny dip anyone?




  1. Ruth Yunker

    August 13, 2015 at 7:26 pm

    Fabulous photos, Sandie! I especially loved the chocolate poodle and you in white!
    The yummy shopping and the photos showing what I missed not being there in the Hamptons this summer…or ever in my whole life, being a California girl and not all that inclined to trek over there, gave me pause for thought. I may have to re-think my SoCal-centric stance!

    • thefoodstalker

      August 13, 2015 at 7:34 pm

      Ruth, the brown poodle so remind me of you. He was so regal and behaved like a Prince. Yes, perhaps The Hampton’s in Fall! Where Food, Fashion, Wineries and Nature Collide ~ xoxo

  2. sallycoles2013

    August 14, 2015 at 12:54 pm

    Enjoyed your whistle stop tour around The Hamptons! I’ve never been but do feel now I’ve had a taste of what it’s all about! It’s on my list of things to see and places to go! Thanks Food Stalker! :)

With an Italian background, she cites her Mother and grandmother ( Mamie ) as the major influence of her love for food.  Yes, homemade pasta hung from the clothesline in the kitchen and rolling 100 meat balls for a holiday dinner was the norm.  Raised in Pennsylvania. she spent time in Atlanta, Georgia and ultimately settled along the stunning coast of Laguna Beach, Ca. Self taught in everything, she learned to appreciate the amazing flavors, scents and uses for exotic herbs and spices and applies her knowledge to cooking today. Despite enjoying other creative endeavors like painting, photography and clothing design, she realized she would never love another career the way she loves all the stories surrounding food.  And it's capturing those stories that has not only become her greatest passion but a culinary drug worth passing around!  After all, food is a shared experience and no one better to share it with than the entire world. And thus the Food Stalker was born, utilizing all that passion and her fearlessness to capture even the most impossible stories. It's one thing to write about food, but far more exciting to actually capture it and all those stories that make every scent come to life.  And once she sets out, there's no stopping her, because no one follows that scent better than her---and no telling where she'll end up next.  

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