Out of the Pumpkin Patch

Have you noticed how orange has moved from the pumpkin patch into the limelight?  I have been noticing how many women news presenters are wearing orange–not to mention the men’s orange ties.

images-5Orange in its saturated form is an “in-your-face” kind of color.   One color expert defines people who love orange as high energy, organized and capable. They love order, form and design–the “get the job done” kind of person.   So what’s not to like?

A bright, saturated orange will not complement someone with pink undertones in their skin. Instead of giving a healthy glow to the skin, it can create an unhealthy orange cast. One’s eye will tire of looking at the intensity of orange so, if you are front and center for a period of time, you may lose the attention of your audience.images-6

But, let’s don’t throw orange under the bus just yet. If you’ve got a little of that orange personality, there is a way you can add a splash into your closet for fall.   A key consideration is that you are noticed and then what you are wearing—not the other way around.

Notice how the photo with the navy jacket draws the eye to the face of this strawberry blonde model and the bright orange dress is not the focus. I like how the neutral shoes relate to her hair color, and help draw the eye back up to her face.

images-1If you are cool toned, choose a coral such as the jacket and jeans ensemble. This is a really fun combination for casual chic. It could be worn by a variety of ages and body shapes by just choosing a flattering jeans cut.

This zigzag print takes a lot of energy to wear but adding white has softened the coral shade of orange further. The “V” of the pattern works really well with the “V” shaped chin of this model. Her dark hair keeps your attention on her face. The color would overpower a low-contrast individual even if she had a high energy level.

The shift dress uses its black Peter Pan collar to bring attention to the face. This orange has been softened by adding black so the black collar and socks make perfectly good sense. A Peter Pan color is always very young and innocent looking, thus it rarely works for a mature person or in a business context.imgres-1

Although none of these examples will work in most business setting, I hope your creative juice are starting to flow with ideas of how you might add a touch of orange into your fall look. Just looking for a teaspoon of this vibrant color? A great new scarf or touch of orange in jewelry may be the perfect accent.


“Cool” lottes


Young and Smart
Young and Smart

Have you had a culotte experience? I have had several pair throughout the years but they are one of those fashions that are never really “in” but are often “out”. This fall they appear to be a featured style instead of just an afterthought some designer tossed into their collection. I have one of those: A beautiful navy wool culotte skirt. It will certainly be cycling back into my fall wardrobe to give updated variety.

Nautical and Sporty
Nautical and Sporty

Culottes need to be chosen carefully to fit your style and body. Although they come in many lengths, we generally think of them ranging from below the knee to just above the ankle. They are wide at the bottom, which can visually shorten and widen ones silhouette. This is not the ideal image for a petite frame.

Summer Cool
Summer Cool

I have selected several images to show some of the many 2014 choices.  My navy wool culottes are best worn with a pretty silk blouse or a jacket or sweater. Their vibe is more church, lunch, business meeting or workshop. However, if your style is sporty, the above nautical look would be perfect for barbecue, meeting friends for a drink, shopping, or of course boating.

I read one article where the writer told of feeling very chic in her print culottes paired with a white blouse, jacket and loafers for a dinner in London. She went on to describe other pairings, including dressy sandals and a racer-back top for a wedding. This black and white print in a silk fabric could be that “wear everywhere” piece.  By choosing different tops and shoes you get much more mileage out of that one pair of culottes than you

Classic and sporty
Classic and sporty

would from a dress.

Fun and Versatile
Fun and Versatile

Culottes do have several pluses. They are dressier than trousers but with all of the advantages of easy movement. Since they are usually fitted at the waist and flair out toward the bottom, the waist area appears slim while the flared legs provide a perfect camouflage for wide hips or thighs. This line also helps visually widen the hips of an inverted triangle build.

I have never seen such variety in culottes as appear in fall collections. I hope these images here will get your creative juices flowing and lead you to be adventurous enough to try some. You may find that perfect piece to give just the right update to your fall wardrobe. And this year, with culottes being a featured look, they probably won’t be “out” until after you are ready for a change!

Even Celebs don’t always get it right!

it is always interesting to see what celebrities wear to events.  One would think they would be the hallmark of fashion, especially if they are a designer.  Not so!  A recent article in the WSJ featured notables from different events around the globe wearing current fashion trends.  I picked a few to share with you, complete with my totally biased opinions.

imgres-3The first group features the boxy, cropped top.  In the green, fashion director Anya Ziourova wears an Issa design.  This dress will probably not flatter any wearer.  The  lines of this boxy top are too wide and do not relate to the skirt.  The extended sleeve lines add to the boxy look.  This top might work with a pair of slim black pants or, possibly, a pencil skirt.

Model Cristiane Buntin pulls of this all print dress beautifully.  An all-over print can easily dominate the wearer, but this one has a good balance of color and dark.  You see the wearer first.  The proportion of a longer skirt and short cropped top works very well showing her small waist.  Multi-colored shoes pick up the dress colors while the black handbag blends with the background of the print.  Beautifully done!

imgres-4In the second group, Martha Stewart’s black lace top accentuates her rectangle body shape.  Black is too harsh for her soft coloring.  Your eye sees the black boxy top and black shoes before ever seeing who is wearing it.  I would love to see this top in a softer muted shade and to be slightly longer.  Light neutral shoes would visually extend her leg line, maintaining proportion and drawing the eye back up to her face.

imgres-5This group of men are all rocking summer white trousers.  Nick Sullivan, editor of Esquire on th left and Prince Dimitri, jewelry designer on the right are both wearing the same jacket their way.  I love both looks, the one on the left being classic-sporty and more sporty-elegant on the right.  Probably no one at the party realized the jackets were the same.

Men have far fewer possible fashion pitfalls than women, making it much easier for them not to become a fashion victim.  That said, women are much more likely to seek help with color and styles so they can always look their best, no matter what occasion.   Let’s hear it for wise women!


Who’s your customer?


I am reading Rabbi Daniel Lapin’s latest book, Business Secrets from the Bible, and was so impressed with one of his illustrations that I decided to share it with you. Whether you are of the Judeo-Christian faith, another faith or none, I think the wisdom that Rabbi Lapin shares from his deep study of the Old Testament will resonate with everyone.

images-1After one of Rabbi Lapin’s speaking engagements at a Christian church in Dallas, a young single mother asked him to clarify a point he had made. He invited her to join him and his wife for coffee at their hotel. Rabbi Lapin had made the point that no matter what work we do, we need to take responsibility for and ownership of our customers.  If you work for someone else, that is your customer.

Over coffee, the Rabbi and his wife learned that the young woman worked for a grocery store for minimum wage in order to support her child. As he explained the principle, she began to understand that by taking care of her customers standing in line, she was taking care of her main customer, her employer who signed her pay- check.   This realization had a profound effect on the young woman.

Some six months later Rabbi Lapin was again speaking at that same church in Dallas. The young woman was again there and approached him after his talk. Over coffee, she recounted her amazing journey. By following Rabbi Lapin’s advice, she started viewing her customers in line differently. She began smiling and greeting each one as they came through her line instead of looking down at the scanner all of the time. She was treating them as she would want to be treated and she began truly enjoying her work. She was serving her primary customer, her employer, by serving his customers well.images-2

Soon customers were waiting to go through her line so that they could exchange a few words. One day a man who had been watching her asked her to meet with him after her shift was over. Thinking it was an unwanted advance she turned him down but he responded that he didn’t want to date her but wanted hire her! The man owned a large real estate company and explained to this young woman that he was looking for someone for the important role of being his receptionist. The receptionist is the first impression one has of his company and this man believed she was the perfect face for his business.

As you can imagine, the young woman was glowing. Instead of wearing a dress from Sears or Wall Mart, she now presented herself attractively with a high quality dress and accessories and beautifully done hair and make-up. This young woman exemplified how by serving the customers of her primary customer (her employer) she was helping him be successful which, in turn, made her successful.

Whether you are an employee, business owner or do charitable work, you have customers to serve.   Identify your customer(s) and serve them with joy.