The Oscars – One More Opinion!


Barbra Streisand in 1969 sheer disaster
Barbra Streisand in 1969 sheer disaster.

The Oscars have been presented and the 2015 Academy Awards are history but the image of what the stars wore will remain in print and on the web for a long time. The hope of every designer is to dominate the media discussion with how talented and creative they are. Not what a disaster they created. Anyone remember Barbara Streisand’s see-through pant-suit over thirty years ago?

Most stars wear these memorable dresses only for the red carpet. Their stylists select something more wearable for the after party so they can dance and enjoy. If a star is presenting or performing, there might be a third dress for that function.

Jennifer Lopez
Jennifer Lopez

Jennifer Lopez garnered much attention in her Elie Saab gown with its enormous skirt and plunging neckline. J Lo is one of the few people who could wear this neutral flesh tone so well. Although a beautiful gown, it would not have been my choice for this talented star. My philosophy is to choose something that shows off your best features and camouflages the areas that are not your best. At 45 and the mother of twins, I would not expose J Lo’s décolleté so openly.   The dress also appeared difficult to “manage”. Jennifer is beautiful and has a great body to dress. Why not choose something more wearable that shows her off at her best?

Anna Kendrick - understated elegance.
Anna Kendrick – understated elegance.

I loved the simple elegance of Anna Kendrick’s Thankoon gown.  Rosamund Pike, in Givenchey, is another elegant, understated example as is Gwyneth Paltrow’s Ralph Russo understated drama.  Like many of the gowns, simplicity reigned.   Jewelry was kept to a minimum and hair kept simple. Each dress showcased the beauty it its wearer. These are examples of gowns we might actually be able to wear to a black tie event.

Rosamund Pike - true elegance.
Rosamund Pike – truly beautiful.

One of my absolute favorites was the Calvin Klein worn by Lupita Nyong’o. I love everything about it! White is spectacular against her dark skin and brings out the whites of her eyes and her white teeth.   The dress is suggestive but modest and the texture of the 3000 beads beautifully support her short curls. A definite home run!

Luipita Nyong’a – Perfect choice for this beauty.

Okay, back to reality!   We only have to look at Lady GaGa’s dress to see what can go terribly wrong! The dresses that enhanced one’s natural coloring, physical attributes and personality  all deserve awards. You are always your most beautiful when you are at your authentic best – never trying to look like someone else.

Is a Turtleneck the Answer?


Where's his neck?
Where’s his neck?

In response to the sub-zero Atlanta temperatures, I did what most everyone else is doing – pulled out the turtleneck. As I surveyed how I looked before going out the door, I was shocked to realized that a turtleneck sweater is no longer a good style for me. When did that happen? I have a long neck and had always thought that a turtleneck worked. But, as I took time to objectively assess my look, I realized that my jaw area is not as firm as it once was (commonly known as having jowls) and the collar of a turtleneck seems to exaggerate that fact.

Casually flattering.
Casually flattering.

Although many people choose a turtleneck to keep warm or to camouflage wrinkles, turtleneck sweaters are not particularly flattering for many people. We only need to look at a few examples to Notice how the neckline of the gentleman in the orange sweater appears not to have a neck.

Truly a "turtle" neck.Notice how different the man in the black sweater looks by having just a small opening at the neck. You can see his neck but this would still be flattering for someone who has a short neck, is noticeable overweight or has significant signs of aging. The opening is narrow enough to hide the flaws while offering warmth and a fashionable look.

This grey sweater looks warm and toasty but completely hides its wearer’s neck. The red sweater has a very similar neckline but what a visual difference! Its larger cowl neckline allows you to see the model’s neck and serves as a frame, to draw attention up to her face.

Warm and flattering.
Warm and flattering.
Let the collar be a frame.
Let the collar be a frame.

The magenta sweater with this buttoned opening also draws your attention to the wearer’s face. Notice how the collar frames the lower part of the face and opens up the neck area.

As you study these pictures, which do you find more esthetically pleasing? Which ones make the model look his or her best?

What is an Image Consultant?


Which colors are best for you - Warm or Cool?
Which colors are best for you – Warm or Cool?

When I tell someone that I am an image consultant, one of the most common questions I am asked is, “What’s that?” This should come as no surprise when you consider that our worldwide organization of Image Consultants had a membership of just over three hundred. Obviously, it is a specialized field! Let me help define Image Consultant versus Stylist.

Stylist: A Stylist is usually called on to help put together a specific look for an event. In the film industry, stylists are often used to create the right image for a specific character. Someone may consult a Stylist to help them in choosing a total look for a special event. Stylists may have some special training or they may just have a very good sense of how to put a look together.

Scarlett Johansson - Romantic Persona
Scarlett Johansson – Romantic Persona

Image Consultant: Services of an image consultant are much wider and more varied than those of a Stylist. Indeed, an image consultant can act as a Stylist but let’s look at the greater breadth of an Image Consultant.

My best explanation of what I do as an Image Consultant is a combination of science, art and psychology.   If you are wondering how that can be, let me explain.

First, I like to help clients discover which colors are most flattering for their natural coloring. But it is more complex than simply which colors best complement the client’s hair, eye and skin tones. Colors need to be complementary to the wearer’s personality. For example, a very shy, timid person might look beautiful in bright red but they would not be comfortable wearing something so bold.

Diane Von Furstenberg - designer or wrap dress Strong, Dramatic Image
Diane Von Furstenberg – designer or wrap dress
Strong, Dramatic Image

Secondly, I do some exercises to discover who a person is deep down. You can imagine that Scarlett Johansson, Diane Von Furstenberg, Nicole Kidman and Jennifer Aniston all project very different images. Each should choose clothing that portrays her authentic look.

Since we each have different shapes, an image consultant guides her client to how to choose the styles that are most becoming. 

Nicole Kidman - Elegant Persona.
Nicole Kidman – Elegant Persona.

Wrapping this all up, an image consultant helps her client choose a great wardrobe that works for her and for her lifestyle.

Now to further complicate your understanding of what an image consultant does, each one often chooses an area of specialty. I know one who loves helping clients with manners and etiquette. Another specializes in working with executives on how to move ahead in the corporate world.  And, let’s not leave out personal shopping and closet edits.

If you are thinking or working with an image consultant, I encourage you to compare web sites in order to find the person who specializes in the services that meet your needs. Each will have different training so that will help you evaluate who has the best credentials to guide you.

Jennifer Aniston - Natural Persona
Jennifer Aniston – Natural Persona

Whether you are considering using an image consultant or not, you now can confidently say, “Oh, I know exactly what that is!”

On second thought, what a great Valentine’s Day gift!

Your Perfume, Your Way



L'air Du Temps  by Nina Ricci
L’air Du Temps by Nina Ricci

Perfume is such a personal thing. It evokes emotions, reflects your mood, or conveys the image you want to project for a specific occasion.   Many ladies love to try the latest fragrance and don’t settle on a favorite. Others, choose “their” special scent and stay true to it for years. Another approach is to choose which fragrance best projects the image you desire for a specific occasion.

I just read an interesting interview with fragrance designer, Terry de Gunzburg, who worked for Yves Saint Laurent for fifteen years.  She is an advocate of choosing a fragrance to give you a certain presence in different settings.

La Panthre by Cartier
La Panthre by Cartier

For daytime, she suggests keeping it light and feminine with scents of irises and violets as a base.   Citrus scents convey a bold brightness and energy. Floral will temper this strong message.

Ms. Gunzberg chooses her “red lipstick scent” when she wants to impress – a fragrance that has notes of rich red rose, a touch of vanilla, amber, patchouli and jasmine. She believes that this creates an image of a beautiful, confident, brainy woman. She also has certain combinations of fragrances or when she is hosting an event, attending a charity ball or enjoying a romantic dinner.

Trèsor by Lancôme
Trèsor by Lancôme

I tend to favor one fragrance – perhaps a lighter scent in summer and stronger for winter but it had not occurred to me to select the fragrance for the occasion. No matter which is your style, we have a unique service here in Atlanta to make your very own fragrance. Susan Sexton has learned the French way of making fragrance from Galimard in Grasse in the South of France. All of her oils are from Galimard which was established in 1747. Susan guides you to make your own personalized, authentic French fragrance. Then you get to name it! If you want some help in creating your own “red lipstick fragrance” Susan can guide you. She keeps your formula for when you need to reorder, or you can go back and create a new one.

Diamonds by Emporio Armani
Diamonds by Emporio Armani

I made my first perfume with Susan about five years ago and have loved having my own fragrance.   This an ideal gift for Valentines Day or any other occasion. You can call Susan at Blend, 404-202-5503 to find out more.