What”s under that dress?

Posted on June 30, 2010 by admin 

New York Fashion Week 2007 by Peter Duhon

We attended a large party this weekend where the guest list spanned the gamut in age and style of dress.  As an image consultant, it is always great fun to attend such a party as I get a fascinating peek into a wide cross section of Atlanta.  With temperatures soaring into the 90’s and intensified by the typical high humidity, it is no surprise that many ladies chose sundresses.   Along with sundresses, one could find dressy cocktail dresses, dressy casual and just simply casual.  It wasn’t until people started dancing that the need for  proper under garments became spotlighted.

One of the popular fabrics for summer is a knit or jersey.  These dresses come in different weights but all of them should come with a “caution” label.  One striking young lady wore a heavier jersey dress that fit her beautifully.  She was lovely until she started to dance.  Once on the dance floor, it was quite evident that she was only wearing a thong and the longer she danced; the jersey dress clung even tighter, making the lines of her thong more pronounced.   Jersey has a proclivity to affix itself to skin once the skin is a bit moist with perspiration.  On a recent outing to the symphony, I followed a young lady out after the concert that was also only wearing a thong.  The long, jersey dress she was wearing had adhered itself to her derriere and left nothing to the imagination.  I’m sure none of the ladies wearing a dress of this type have any idea that a dress that looks so attractive from the front could ultimately be such a disaster from the rear.  This is where some under garments would save the dress and the appearance.  A half-slip would help skim over whatever kind of panties the wearer chose and keep a nice, smooth line.  One trick that I use with a garment that shows a panty line is to wear panty hose with the feet cut off.  This allows for a bare sandal look while a providing a line-free undergarment.

Another undergarment error that I observed was a middle-aged lady with salt and pepper grey hair wearing a satin cocktail dress.  The dress was quite modest and appropriate for her build and her age but once on the dance floor, it clearly revealed that she was not wearing a bra.  It did not appear that the cut of the dress would prevent wearing a regular bra but if so, a strapless bra would have been appropriate.  Some very young women can get away without a bra for a while but the majority of women need a bra to keep “the girls” in place and help the dress fit correctly.

The third example of needing help with undergarments (or lack of) was a lady who appeared to be with her 20 something daughter and her boyfriend.  This lady had chosen a cocktail dress that revealed more of her bosom than it covered and had even had a bare area in the middle of the back.  She was much more exposed than her daughter and it seemed to me that she would have been much lovelier in a less revealing dress.  I have talked with many men who have stated that they find a suggestion of sexy far more alluring than revealing so much that nothing is left to the imagination.

Anyone looking for that great summer dress that will work for our hot, humid summers might want to be more thorough in checking out how it will sit, move with you on the dance floor and be perceived by others.  Even though it is not quite as cool as wearing minimal undergarments, taking precautions that you are properly covered can save you embarrassed once you hit the dance floor or spend time sitting.

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Play it again, Sam

Posted on June 22, 2010 by admin 

Did you ever wonder what happens to those outfits that you loved so much when you bought them but after time, they sit in the back of your closet?  Do they feel unloved, neglected and abandoned?   Here’s a way to give them new life and purpose.

I have just researched three resale shops in the Buckhead area and there are some fantastic options available.  Each one has a slightly different focus.  All resale shops I have visited have similar rules:  garments must be in good repair without stains and they should be no more than two years old.  I have found that some shops are more lenient on the age of a garment if it is a timeless design from a top designer.

Let’s take a tour.

B Chic is located at 3277A Roswell Road,  just north of the Roswell Road and West Paces Ferry intersection.  www.bchicatlanta.com  Nancy Scalera is the owner and is delightful.   It is a bright, cheerful shop packed with great clothes.  She has a variety of brands from Etcetera to Ferre.  There was an Anne Fontaine blouse with the tags still attached when I visited.   A wide selection of Jimmy Choo, Manolo Blahnik and other top designer shoes is available as well as handbags.  Again, some have never been used.

Backstreet Boutique, located at 3140 E. Shadowlawn Avenue, bills itself appropriately, as Buckhead’s Upscale Resale.  It is located just a block off Peachtree in a little house where each room is filled with Chanel, Armani and St. John jackets, skirts and pants and a few dresses.  There is one section for leather and a huge selection of jeans.  Owner, Joey McCraw also has a huge selection of top designer shoes and accessories.

Career Fashion Consignment takes a different approach.  Owner, Judi Gerhardt, who relocated to Atlanta from New Orleans.  After losing everything to Hurricane Katriana she had just reestablish and was hit by Gustav and Ike.  She decided to come to Atlanta for a new beginning.  In her shop, located at 45C Bennett Street in Buckhead she carries both men’s and women’s career clothing.  www.careerfashionconsignment.com Judi’s philosophy is to recycle and repurpose so the clients who take clothes to her shop will not expect top prices but will know that their gently worn clothing will be enjoyed by someone else.  You can find shoes such as Farragamo and accessories as well.  On a recent visit, she had just taken in a dozen or so pair of top brand men’s shoes, some never worn.  My husband regretted that they were not his size.

When you do your seasonal closet audits, this could be a great way for you to give a new life of purpose to those lonely clothes lurking in the back.  Or, you might decide you would like to search for something for yourself or your husband.  I have both consigned and purchased from consignment shops with great success.  My husband found several pair of virtually new  Zanella slacks last fall which have become his favorites and together they cost less than one pair new.

Have some fun and give these shops a visit.

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Love it or Hate it?

This is the dress that Michelle Obama chose for the dinner in honor of President Felipe Caldaron of Mexico recently.

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Mrs. Obama has a good sensing of clothes for daytime events.  She has an athletic build with an outdoor girl appearance so her simple sheaths with sweaters or tailored suits work very well.  I also admire her for selecting young up-coming designers.  Certainly, having the first lady wear your designs has helped catapult several of them out of obscurity into fame.

However, in my opinion, Mrs. Obama does not have a good sensing of which formal styles best complement her athletic appearance and she is often a fashion victim.  This dress ranks right up there at the top in fashion disasters.

One can’t really compare Mrs. Obama with other recent first ladies.  Laura Bush was always impeccably dressed; appropriate for every occasion.  She knows her own style and follows it well but the conservative, classic look never caused people to think, “Wow, she looks great!”   Hillary Clinton does not have an easy figure to dress and has absolutely no interest her clothing.  Both of these ladies fall into a more matronly category as well so it is a bit unfair to compare Michelle Obama with them. Jackie Kennedy Onassis was considerably  younger than Michelle Obama when she became first lady, yet she had such an incredible sense of what styles worked best for her coupled with wisdom of what appropriately carried the dignity of the position of First Lady.

I would love to see Michelle Obama work with a good image consultant who could guide her in choosing evening gowns that both work for her personal style and appropriately represent her position instead of looking like she is going to a costume party.

I’m sure some of you will agree and others disagree. Let me know your comments at Beryl@StyleWithAplomb.com

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Exploring Color, Prints and Faces

Posted on June 2, 2010 by admin 

I met Naomi Tickle about a year ago at a meeting here in Atlanta.  Naomi is known for her work in “personology”, the art of reading people’s faces.   On hearing me introduce myself as an image consultant, she came right over after the meeting and we had a delightful conversation.  She had studied under Suzanne Caygill who was the pioneer of matching color with an individual’s natural coloring and personality.  Suzanne’s work dates back to the 1940’s, some thirty years before Carol Jackson’s “Color Me Beautiful” was published.  I mentioned to Naomi that I would like to become more expert about the nuances of prints and she graciously invited me to visit her in Petaluma where she would share her knowledge with me.  I learned that Naomi worked as a color consultant for clients and taught Suzanne’s color concepts before she chose to devote her full energy to reading people’s faces.

What Naomi does works hand in hand with guiding a client to using colors that best compliment her/her total person.  I use diagnostics to help identify whom a client is deep down and we select the color palette coupling that information with the client’s natural skin, hair and eye colors.  Prints work the same way.  For example, a couple of nights ago I was watching a news show where a woman panelists was wearing a lime green jacket with white piping and a floral print blouse.  This panelist has bone structure which clearly defines her cheek and jaw, straight eyebrows and a straight, fairly thin mouth.  Her answers indicate that she is direct and businesslike.  Thus, nothing in her persona indicated roundness or the softness of flowers.  A print with straight lines and angles would have been much better.  The jacket style with piping was an excellent style but her skin tone is cool so the lime green drained the color from her face.

I spent an enlightening hour with Naomi and picked up a number of good concepts.  She has invited me back to spend more time which will also include more of Suzanne Caygill’s complex color theory.  I am already strategizing  how I can work out another trip to  the Bay area.

When I called my husband and our buddy, Dave, to pick me up, Naomi offered to do a mini face reading for each of them.  Joe has been exposed to her work as I have read her book at home but Dave was completely in the dark.  He volunteered to be first and she immediately said, “You enjoy music.”  “How did you know that?” Dave demanded.   Dave plays the piano beautifully and worked his way through college playing for Opryland.  As her analysis continued with complete accuracy,  he accused me of feeding her information about him.  Next it was Joe’s turn.  Her first comment was that he is very sensitive since he has extremely fine hair.  Bingo!  She also said he has a dry sense of humor.  Bingo, again!   Although we have been married twenty-four years, he still can throw me into peels of laughter with some unexpected, off the wall comment.  When she felt his jaw line and said, “Hmmm.  You’re stubborn.  You’re really stubborn.”  I burst out laughing.

This is all great fun but it serves an important purpose as well.  Naomi works with corporations in helping them assess which employees are best suited for different positions.  She does individual career counseling and helps couples with relationship issues.   You can imagine how beneficial it would be to understand that many things your spouse does simply reflects how he or she is wired.  If they are wired differently than you, they are going to respond differently to situations.  When Joe and I recognized that we are wired absolutely opposite from each other, it has helped us avoid a lot of confrontations and often prompts us each to look at things in a different way.

Naomi comes to Atlanta several times a year so if you are ever interested in hearing her speak, would like to invite her to speak to a group or just spend a bit of time with her, you can check her schedule at   Naomi Tickle naomitickl@aol.com.  She is a delightful lady with an amazing area of expertise.

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