Bianca Alexander in the Snow at Sundance

Bianca Alexander on Feel-Good Style in The Snowy Season
Huffington Post STYLE
by Zoe Helene

Emmy Award winner Bianca Alexander shares her expert advice on how to dress stylishly and sustainably

Emmy Award winner Bianca Alexander, Esq., Host of Conscious Living TV, yoga instructor and producer of the T.H.R.E.A.D.S. and Vert Couture Eco-Fashion Shows across the country, caught up with Zoe Helene to share tips on versatile clothing brands, authentic personal colors, and the winter season's happening sustainable design.

Zoe Helene: Color is important to you.

Bianca Alexander: It’s everything! As a TV personality, I’m chameleon by nature which helps me thrive in a constantly changing creative landscape. My work requires a versatile wardrobe that can take me from yoga mat to TV studio to front row at Fashion Week. .When I first started hosting in Hollywood I got my colors done by Jennifer Butler (, who helped me select the tones, textures, and shapes that best reflect my natural essence. Staying true to my authentic self helps me shine whether I’m on camera or out in the streets.

How do you manage to remain stylish and earth-friendly after the cold weather sets in?

Let it snow! Despite lower temperatures, my winter fun and fitness regime requires me to embrace the elements and enjoy the great outdoors. This is actually one of my favorite fashion seasons, given the vast range of textures and layering options.

If you had to pick one street-savvy urban staple for the winter season, what would it be?

Tough choice, but I’d have to say this timeless velvet Alicia jacket in Bittersweet, by vegan activist and designer Leanne Mai-Ly Hilgart of VAUTE COUTURE Alicia Pea in Bittersweet. I met her during a cold winter in Chicago and can report first hand that her weather-resistant statement coats will keep you warm and toasty against the elements. Outside of my vintage collection, they’re the most fashionable coats I’ve ever worn!

That's a great coat. What about when you want to change it up?

I would add a colorful scarf by BRIGHTLY TWISTED Modal Coral Scarf by a cool Detroit-based company helping to bring the Motor City back to life by employing American artisans. They tie-dye each piece by hand and take custom requests for special color combinations. Keeping my neck warm makes such a difference, especially when the wind chill factor is high. This scarf is so versatile I can wear it in any season, which makes it a great traveling companion.

Any other ideas for making it yours?

Pinning on an eye-catching brooch is an easy way to add color, sparkle, and personal meaning. I have a Native American lineage on both sides of the family, and this VINTAGE Swarovski Crystal Dragonfly Brooch represents my ‘play’ medicine. Amongst other things, Dragonfly as totem is master of transformation and shatterer of illusions. So me, right? Vintage is also eco-friendly of course.

I love dragonflies too. Any more jewelry ideas?

Pairing different pendants to create bold color statements is also a fun and easy way to create visual interest. These bold graphic orange and purple recycled glass MODERN ORGANIC DESIGN Recycled Glass Pendants are one-of-a-kind.

How about another cold weather color splash?

Cozy ears are essential when braving the elements, so I’ll keep these faux fur KATE SPADE NEW YORK Plum Carriage House Earmuffs handy—the plum is so on trend with today’s psychedelic pop. Could it match any better with the Brightly Twisted scarf? I think not. They have other fun color choices too, like the Grey Chinchilla, which compliments my neutrals.

Which brands best embody your yoga practice and personal style?

I believe true beauty comes from the inside out, so daily yoga and meditation help me stay grounded, creative and compassionate—key skills for a conscious tv host. When it comes to active wear, why sacrifice form for function when you can have it all? Here are two great choices from two different brands I’ve come to depend on. The first is the tribal fusion PRANA Leyla Top in Bougainvillea Ikat. The pattern empowers my inner guru: so global village. Best of all, Prana is a leading eco-friendly brand for yoginis like me who enjoy intense, invigorating colors with structure they can trust in Warrior 2 or Headstand.

Shining Shakti is another excellent, woman-owned brand that creates stylish yoga wear from sustainable textiles. These organic cotton SHINING SHAKTI Crushworthy Yoga Pants make me want to hang out just a few seconds longer in Tree Pose. The Prana top is also fabulous, but please don’t wear it with the Shining Shakti pants(!) In both cases I’d pair the brightly-colored statement piece with a simply-toned top or bottom that picks up one of the colors in the mix, whatever I feel drawn to at that moment. Om.

It is very important to keep your body warm after working up a sweat.

During the winter season indoor yoga is really the only option, so be prepared to come in from the cold, warm up, work up a sweat, then go back out into the cold again. This PATAGONIA Women's Downtown Loft Jacket in New Adobe has great color and shape, and is such a luscious way to cover up after a great yoga session. Plus, it’s extra warm for winter power sporting too.

Where do you go when the scene calls for show-stopper eco-glam that’s suitable for colder weather?

‘Tis the season to be stunning, and these days my favorite designer is David Peck of CrOp. I met him in NY and see him as one of the next big things in fashion—and not just eco-fashion. His high-concept garments are well-constructed in the USA with certified organic, fair trade and natural fabrics. This Jessica Rabbit-esque DAVID PECK Curvy Goddess Gown is my go-to for both green carpet and holiday soirees this season. The rich color and low cut back help me stand out from a sea of LBDs on the green carpet and the deep backless v-cut gives me a chance to flash some skin and flex my yoga muscles without freezing! I really appreciate that David thought to create something that’s sultry and sexy but also has enough coverage to keep a woman warm. This would make a great Valentine’s Day dress too, and we all know February can be brutal in New York.

You'll need an evening bag.

Little clutches are all the rage right now, and I am crazy about this 100% cruelty and sweat shop free GUNAS Scarlett Wristlet. The gold hardware is a nice compliment to my exotic color palette—and EVERYTHING in my wardrobe. The rusty red on the outside works perfectly with David’s gown and when you open the bag there’s a brilliant flash of scarlet lining—saucy! I tend to gravitate towards accessories that are a little rock and roll.

And earrings, yes?

Usually, I love large statement jewelry, but this outfit has so much going already that something small but striking like these AMANDA LI HOPE Signature Ruby XX Earrings provide a nice finish. They are made from ethically sourced metals and rubies. They’re edgy and rich, work well with the wristlet, and complete the look.

Looking good! Shoes?

For shoes, I’m feeling these vegan OLSEN HAUS Spirit Heels They have a wintery texture in a dramatic color with a splash of orange for extra flavor. Like me, founder Elizabeth Olsen is a strong animal rights advocate, with a great eye for design. She has cute dressy booties too in case you have to navigate some slush before your big entrance.

While we're on the subject of footwear... winter wouldn’t be much fun without cool boots.

A must! For a fashion heel, no doubt I’ll be rocking these CRI DE COEUR Ditta Tassel Vegan Snake Platform Booties. They have lots of great boots but with 2013 being the lucky Year of the Snake—know what I’m saying? And no snakes were harmed in the making of these boots. Cri de Coeur means ‘cry from the heart.’ They make lots of on-trend accessories that look just like leather but aren’t—so no animals have to lose their lives.

What about for navigating slush and snow?

For flats, I have a pair of these TIMBERLAND Earthkeepers Apley Tall Waterproof Boot and get so many compliments on them. Timberland does wonderful environmental work and these boots are totally waterproof, super warm and best of all, walkable in both my city and country/Ashram adventures. They’re not vegan, but they are made with sturdy eco-friendly materials and dyes so I hope to wear them for life. Though I’m slowly moving away from wearing any leather at all, when I do I strive to channel my inner Cherokee and honor the animal Spirits they came from, with gratitude for helping to keep me warm.

You mentioned getting out and enjoying the Great Outdoors. You work and travel with your husband, like I do, and he taught you how to ‘shred’ (which I admit to knowing next to nothing about). What’s the story?

Thanks to my husband and partner Michael, I'm a big shredder. Before meeting him in LA ten years ago, I never skied much, but I loved to dance salsa. After we met, he turned me on to the green lifestyle—including eco-friendly snowboarding--and I taught him how to dance. Though it was tough to pick up initially, I haven’t missed a season since. My snowboard of choice: the ARBOR The Roots Collection Abacus Snowboard. They are stunning snowboards with cool graphic treatment on the logo in my red on the bottom and a mirror pattern of natural wood grains on the top. These boards are works of art designed by artists who the company doesn’t just credit, they proactively support. They have all sorts of eco-conscious features like reclaimed and sustainably sourced wood, bamboo sidewalls, and recycled steel for the edges. They care about the environment because they’re out there enjoying it and they don’t want to see it ruined for the next generation.

So you’ve had a great day shredding and you’re lounging back at the eco-lodge…. what to wear?

I am crazy about Indigenous Designs. It’s a fair trade brand that designs garments using low-impact dyed organic cotton and fine merino wool. They partner with indigenous women artisans who live in remote areas of the Peruvian Andes. Before Indigenous, these women had little access to work, but now they are paid a fair, living wage creating clothing they can be proud of using techniques that have been passed down for generations. I picked up their INDIGENOUS Branch Poncho in orange early this season and it’s the perfect piece for tossing over yoga clothes or to take the chill out when hanging out by the fire pit après ski. I pair it with jeans for a relaxed look, or boots and leggings to go dressy and even wrap it around my neck like a scarf whenever I need the extra warmth.

What about a nice, roomy travel tote?

That's easy. This GUNAS Melrose Tote in Burnt Orange is vegan perfection. The lines are great, it’s roomy, and the bright color just makes me feel happy. Plus, the gold accents go with my color palette--and EVERYTHING in my wardrobe.

Any special eco-retreat treats to go with it?

This ORG BY VIO Awajún Beaded Pendant matches the hoodie and in power colors of red and black, will help you invoke your inner Kali goddess energy. I love how it comes to rest right on the heart chakra. This is a new line worth checking out by Violeta Villacorta, who also works with indigenous artisans in the Peruvian Amazon to support rainforest conservation and cultural preservation. Traditionally, this seed brings good luck, abundance, and balance, so it could be a great accessory to wear on New Year’s.

And a secondary bag of for dining and small stuff? A trendy clutch, maybe?

This rich LAYLA NEW YORK Mina Ikat Agate Clutch in Samarkand Reflection is one of a kind, created in NYC by designer Evelyn Espinal and handwoven by artisans in Uzbekistan. A mesmerizing balance of modern simplicity and timeless tribal chic—what a find!

Where do you find all those chic sustainable wood accessories?

Wood comes in an incredibly diverse spectrum of warm colors and rich textures, and like black for many people, brown is my go-to neutral. The deep red band on this MISTURA Kamera Red Pui Ebony Watch goes with my Kali color scheme so I get the best of both worlds. When it comes to wood, salvaged and sustainable sourcing is critical. The wooden watches by Mistura are super-modern and made from reclaimed and renewable wood resources. They’re great for sporty days, and I’m so impressed with the craftsmanship. These are my personal favorite watches for every day wear, look nice with my dressier looks. I wear wooden shades too, by IWOOD and I love them so much!

December 2012