Fashion & Beauty

Favorite Fall Indulgences: Brenda Coffee, Founder/CEO of 1010ParkPlace

New Brenda Shot – Version 2

If you’re like us, you’re tired of seeing magazines that don’t reflect the women we see in the mirror: smart, accomplished, grown-up. 1010ParkPlace, founded by entrepreneur Brenda Coffee, is out to counter these kinds of misrepresentations with the understanding that a woman’s style continues to evolve as she does. The site is dedicated to “the best-educated, most powerful demographic in history: women over 45!” Its hashtag is a mantra we at Women’s Voices devotingly practice everyday: #WhereStyleIsAgeless. With her trademark honesty and an expanding roster of women bloggers from around the world, Brenda explores every aspect of women and their lives: She writes about women as role models, and how they’ve survived what life’s put in their path; what defines them and makes them grow; the difference between their needs and wants and how they see themselves in the context of not just their surroundings, but the world as a whole. This week, she shares with us all the decadent ways she indulges in the fall season.


Favorite Fall Must Haves: A pair of cognac colored leather pants I saw on Jaclyn Smith and a Valextra, B-Tracolli bag in black.

img-thingBlack Leather ‘B’ Crossbody Bag from Valextra.

Favorite Accessories: Every day, whether I’m at the gym or out to dinner, I wear a simple Paul Morelli diamond and gold bracelet I bought myself as a reward for something I accomplished. I’ve always been pretty tailored, but I’ve stepped outside my box, and am having more fun with fashion.

Favorite Designer: I’ve always worn Giorgio Armani, but in the past couple of years, my style has changed. I’m more casual and love a mix of high-low. Brunello Cucinelli’s pieces are chic comfort. This summer I went to a Rolling Stones concert and wore a pair of dark charcoal, Brunello Cucinelli silk pants; a long-sleeved, white sequined cotton t-shirt from Worth; a pair of white Keds, and a Mariquita Masterson, double strand gray pearl necklace with gray glass centerpiece set in silver. My girlfriends laughed, but it was the Rolling Stones! Have you seen the outfits Mick and Keith wear? LOL! I’ve gone to their concerts since I was twelve years old, so it was a pilgrimage for me.

UntitledGray Pearls, Double Strand Necklace from Mariquita Masterson

Favorite Boutique: I’m in New York every month. Each trip I discover a new boutique, so I don’t have a favorite. I don’t even remember the names: There’s a button store in the garment district; a Chinese tailor who’s making me a long, pale yellow silk Cheongsam blouse and a shop on the corner of Lexington and 65th that sells vintage Chanel and Art Deco jewelry.

Favorite Beauty Products: Derma-E all natural skin care cream I buy at Whole Foods, and a mixture of Bobbi Brown and Kevyn Aucoin makeup. If you want your eye makeup to stay put, Sephora carries a great primer from Urban Decay. It comes in a purple tube with a wicked silver top.

Favorite Hair Salon: Rita Hazan in New York. Rita and Juan Carlos Maciques have changed my look. I would follow them anywhere!

Favorite Stationery: Custom from Crane & Co.

Best Secret Tips: As part of my process of gearing down before I go to sleep, I read a chapter in the Bible and do one of Dr. Andrew Weil’s breathing techniques. Close your eyes; lay flat; body stretched out straight, with one hand over your lower abdomen, the other right above your belly button. Breathe in through your nose for a count of four; hold it for a count of seven, then exhale with your tongue placed behind your teeth for a count of eight. The object is to still the mind. I’ve been doing it so long, it only takes me a couple of cycles to achieve stillness.

Fall Travel Destinations: New York City and Houston. I’m planning a Paris “slumber party” with my girlfriends after the first of the year. I can also go on my own. Since my husband died, five years ago, I’ve gotten good at traveling by myself.

1200px-Paris_NightView over Paris, at dusk, from the Maine-Montparnasse tower. (Image via Wikimedia, Creative Commons License)

Favorite 2015 Discovery: If I were a drug addict, my drug of choice would be 70% or higher pure cacao chocolate. You’d find me reclining on a chaise, covered in a dragon red tapestry. An exotic-looking man would place decadent chocolates from Madagascar and South America in my outstretched hand. In between chocolate stupors, I’d reflect on how my life had come to this. Until I fall down that slippery slope, I’m working my way through every bar at Whole Foods. 80% or higher pure cacao is an acquired taste, but dynamite with a full-bodied cabernet. Right now, my favorite is 72% Cocoa Nibs by Jelina Chocolatier. If you want total decadence, go for Vosges 70% Black Salt Caramel Bar.

Favorite Holiday Destinations: Since my husband James died, my life has changed. I don’t take holiday or vacation trips. It’s all work-related travel, but I get to meet and interview such fabulous women for like Sherry Lansing. What an amazing woman!

Favorite Hotel: I lived at the Ocean Club on Paradise Island in the Bahamas on and off for two years. Even now, when I meditate, in my mind, I go to the Ocean Club. . . not the remodel, but the grand colonial manor from the 70s, the villa where I lived, and the terraced gardens. The Bee Gees and I played a lot of backgammon in the intimate little bar that’s no longer there.

Favorite Village: I lived an Indiana Jones life before there was an Indiana Jones. We spent a lot of time digging for Mayan artifacts, traveling on nothing more than a rough path through the Yucatan jungle. One little village had never seen outsiders. They treated us like honored guests, showing us where their ancestors appeased the gods by sacrificing village virgins and tossing them into the cenote. When we returned, this little ragtag band—with dented trumpets, french horns and a marching band drum, complete with neck strap—was standing in the courtyard of a centuries-old church. They started playing for us. When they stopped, they wanted me to play for them. They wanted me to turn on the pink boombox they’d seen in our car. When I pushed “play,” their faces lit up! It was the Bee Gees. The men nodded excitedly and began playing along to “Stayin’ Alive.” They were off-key and out-of-sync, but it was sweet and hysterical at the same time. So special.

Favorite Play: Back in the day, Richard Chamberlain as “Hamlet” at the Birmingham Repertory Theatre in England. He had such a commanding presence. He owned that part. Earlier this year I saw him in the New Group’s revival of David Rabe’s “Sticks and Bones,” and had the opportunity to tell him that.


Favorite Restaurant: For the last couple of months, I can’t stop thinking about the prosciutto, arugula and pine nut pizza from Numero 28 Pizzeria in the East Village in New York. That and a glass of dry white wine, and I’m a happy girl.

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  • Roz Warren November 20, 2015 at 9:28 am

    Her name is actually Brenda Coffee?? Coffee is a terrific surname. I like her already.

  • 1010ParkPlace November 20, 2015 at 8:31 am

    Thank you, ladies!
    I’m flattered you chose to include me. Like 1010 Park Place, Women’s Voices For Change is helping women over 40 navigate the roads as we move forward in this next phase of our lives. It’s great to find a sister organization that gives us things to think about from finances to fashion and more.

    Brenda Coffee