Totally Geek to Totally Chic

Recently featured in the San Francisco Chronicle as the go-to personal stylist for successful men and women in the public eye, Mary Gonsalves Kinney (www.mgkstyle.com) shares her thoughts with us today on Silicon Valley style.

The Cast of HBO’s Silicon Valley

Mike Judge was most definitely on to something with his hit HBO series, Silicon Valley, and not just because the cast nails every single techie stereotype known this side of the Mississippi. No, I’m here to recognize his wardrobing genius.

Vans, hoodie sweatshirts and the coding uniform of ill-fitting jeans and button ups run the gamut on this show, and it couldn’t be more accurate. What is exciting here is the possibility. Silicon Valley is arguably the funniest show on TV right now, with a huge viewership. What that means, and Mike Judge I hope you hear me here, Silicon Valley the show could literally transform the way the real Silicon Valley (the Slim Shady of technology) dresses.

As a celebrity stylist and one who has worked with a multitude of men and women in tech — some of which run companies that are among the top performing in the world — I can vouch that the issue of showing even the slightest interest in fashion or sporting, say, a skinny tie or a pocket square, can quickly put a male techie into a category of douche baggery. God forbid he wear some black skinny jeans and a shirt that actually fits him.

Drabby and Shabby: HBO’s Silicon Valley (l), a Conference at Twitter HQ (r)

Those that have taken direction seem to lead the charge in attitude because, let’s be honest, how you look is how you are perceived by the rest of the world. The tech industry is no longer a microcosm of coding — it is the future for every industry and is opening doors across the demographic spectrum.

The totally geek fashion philosophy is going to lose momentum, and in the words of Cindy Mancini (RIP) and her minions, will go from totally geek to totally chic.

Totally Chic: Twitter’s Jack Dorsey combines Techie Casual with Dior Homme

For women in tech, investing in designer pieces or wearing heels (especially ones with red soles) can devalue your professional stature in a male dominant industry. Khakis, flats and sweater sets are somehow okay, but a leather skirt and blouse with a smart jacket and heels would be suggesting you don’t care about your job. And why?

Can we all just agree that being feminine or wearing heels is just as bad ass if not more so then those hush puppies and matching sweater set. Chicness can equal smart, authoritative and powerful. Period.

Tech Women of Substance and Style: Pinterest’s Tracy Chou, Yahoo’s Marissa Mayer, Minted’s Mariam Naficy and One Kings Lane’s Alison Pincus, Peek’s Ruzwana Bashir

I guess what I’m getting at here is that this is an industry that needs a little creativity and a big push in the right fashion direction.

I’m not sure who will lead the charge and become the new IT (no pun intended) fashion girl/guy in tech, but I fully intend to help create her/him. Yahoo’sMarissa Mayer has held the best dressed title among the fashion crowd thus far because she is open to wearing couture for red carpet events, like the Met Gala. But she can’t be the only one!

Marissa, Kevin Systrom, Sean Parker — each of them show interest in fashion and could capture the attention of the world by subtle and yet intentional wardrobe choices that could literally free the rest of the tech world from this benign fashion standard. They could introduce the world to burgeoning designers that catch their eye, introduce them to their executive colleagues and change the fashion game as we know it. Imagine that — the technology industry could change more than just how we pay our bills or how we communicate with Aunt Zelda in Hoboken.

SV’s Fashion Future? Karl Lagerfeld and Instagram Founder Kevin Systrom

There’s got to be a handful of willing tech execs up for the challenge. You can do it –- we believe in you. Let’s change the fashion world together, shall we?

Oh and Mike Judge, call me, maybe we can fast track this movement together. Next season of Silicon Valley will go from a satire to a fashion drama. I like it.

Originally published for SF Luxe on September 2, 2015.

Go Ahead, Tie One On: The Amazing, Versatile, Timeless Scarf

Recently featured in the San Francisco Chronicle as the go-to personal stylist for successful men and women in the public eye, Mary Gonsalves Kinney (www.mgkstyle.com) has some tips for us on how to use a scarf to enliven an outfit on a summer day.

Summer weather can leave you bored and can create quite the fashion conundrum. I, for one, like to layer up, and dream longingly through the months of June, July and August of pre-Fall’s hautest collections. It’s like anticipating Santa Claus’ arrival on Christmas morning. Who doesn’t long to wear Saint Laurent’s colorful collection of suede fringed tall boots and Balenciaga’ssupple leather jackets? I mean, really?

If you live in a city that doesn’t allow for layering in June (I’m sorry), you can find yourself settling for Mrs. Roper caftans and Birkenstocks. As chic (insert sarcasm) as that sounds, do not relent. Please, there are options.

Scarves from Saint Laurent and Balenciaga

Lucky for me, I spend a fair share of my Summer in San Francisco. As the brilliant Mark Twain put it, “The coldest Winter I ever spent was a Summer in San Francisco.” Truer words were never spoken.

Perhaps this is why I find the scarf such a practically chic accessory. I mean, it’s main and arguably sole, purpose is to keep us warm through the colder months.

I must confess, however, my use of the scarf isn’t so practical most of the time. Being a stylist challenges me to use accessories in various ways. To set new standards and trends and to encourage my clients to make their wardrobe stretch, if you will. I try to find ways to make the scarf work in the Winter and the Summer, or, in the case of San Francisco, the Swinter.

Eva Mendes, Wearing a Scarf as Turban

I like to tie lighter, printed silk scarves around my head like a turban on bad hair days, or tie it in a perfect bow around my neck for some style vibrato.

Pretend you just “threw it on” in a frantic attempt to keep the chill away. Meanwhile, we’ll all look at you with admiration and a bit of style envy… “Why didn’t I think of that?”

Fei Fei Sun in a scarf that’s perfect for the San Francisco Swinter!

Try a heavy printed scarf wrapped like a blanket tight across your favorite blazer. When temperatures dip, as they’re known to do during SF’s June gloom, the scarf adds extra warmth and more importantly, varying texture and depth to an otherwise boring look.

Scarves from Temperley London and Dolce & Gabbana

Perhaps my favorite and most frequent usage, however, is wearing my cashmere pashminas as a belt. Replace the belt on that old black pencil skirt or cinch that Mrs. Roper caftan with it to create a waist. Suddenly, you went from fashion meek to totally chic. Feel free to do this in San Francisco or St. Barths. In fact, you can pretty much pick my clients out on the street because of this obsessive styling trick of mine. It is so different, so fashionable and will literally transform that Dolce & Gabbana dress you’ve worn to death.

Bringing old couture new life?! Why, yes please and thank you. I dare you to try it and wait for the compliments. “Oh this old thing… I just threw it on.” Exactly. Effortlessly chic. Go ahead, tie one on.

Originally published for SF Luxe on June 21, 2015.


Jazz, Pizzazz and Pizza! A Festive Party for Betty Lin and Suno

Betty Lin, one of San Francisco’s most popular boutiques, has a new location in Pacific Heights at 3625 Sacramento Street. Among those at its opening party was celebrity stylist Mary Gonsalves Kinney (www.mgkstyle.com), here to share her impressions from the festive event.

Exceptionally good looking valet drivers in white dinner jackets opened my door, as I approached the grand opening of Betty Lin’s new and improved boutique on Sacramento Street recently. A Casey’s Pizza truck was also there, parked conveniently in front so as to offer a bite or two upon entry just in case guests were hungry – I was.

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The Speakeasies Band played a bellowing, lively selection of jazz that kept the well-dressed, super chic crowd on their toes. Children were bouncing this way and that, as the event was advertised as a “kid friendly, come one, come all” soiree. All encompassing it was, offering a brightly colored, glow in the dark ping pong table, an LED corn hole toss and miniature golf stations among a sea of gourmet finger goods and champagne. There was something for everyone. Did I mention there was a pizza truck?

It seemed like all the cool kids got the memo, as I glanced across the room. A bevy of high fashion hipsters were gabbing about New York and Paris and, of course, Betty Lin, all while noshing on skinny crust pizza and bite-sized tacos. The demographic was diverse with women and men from all parts of the city. Uptown, downtown and everything in between, Betty Lin’s store opening was a beautiful sight for those of us who long for New York-worthy fashion events (Bravo, Allison Speer).

Fashion brand consultant Sonia Maria Edwards, uber hot Parisian jewelry ambassador Muriel Devoucoux, Vogue editor Emily Holt, food writer Katie Sweeney, and local artisans from Twiga tribal arts gallery were all in attendance making for a buzz-worthy event. We even got a group selfie to document such a fabulous fashion moment.

Suno founders Max Osterweis and Erin Beatty were lovely and approachable and took photos, kissed cheeks and encouraged guests to shop the collection that lined the shiny, new racks at the store.

Max’s mother (her name is Suno!) was in attendance and equally chic in her oversized, dark rimmed glasses. Everyone was intrigued by her and clamoring to meet the name behind the brand. She was polite, but made it clear that this was about Max and Erin. Max and Erin are down to earth, smart, progressive and exceptionally stylish. Their keen eye, their incredibly successful brand and their ability to figure out the complicated San Francisco market has made them an exceptional team.

Max, donning an olive green cargo jacket and a classic white t-shirt is a native San Franciscan who proudly owns his roots and proves it by ensuring his collection is available here in his hometown.

And Erin, styled to perfection in a black-and-white striped pencil skirt with floral details just had a baby boy, now five months old. Her energy was astounding and she was eager to talk about the future for Suno while also showing us photos of her darling newest addition. This duo is most definitely ready to take on the fashion world with a level of heart and soul that seems to be missing too often in the design world.

Betty wore a dress by Suno that was perfect on her. Long and belted and in the prettiest blue floral print, she was a vision of fashion possibilities.

It is so rare that an independent boutique opens up in San Francisco and does so well that time calls for expansion. Betty’s newest space is twice the size of her last space with a beautiful back garden area and a private in-store studio for photoshoot work. She has thought through every potential project as she prepares for continued growth with her store. With brands likeStella McCartney, Peter Pilotto, Roland Mouret, Raquel Allegra, EachXOther and, of course, Suno, the sky is the limit.

We look forward to seeing the possibilities that will undoubtedly unfold for Betty Lin. The future is so very bright. Bravo on a beautifully crafted store opening!

Visit Betty Lin at 3625 Sacramento Street, San Francisco.
415.345.8688 | 

riginally published for SF Luxe on May 26, 2015.