You Look Great!

Sandra Minnes
Sandra Minnes

You look great!  As I was leaving the doctor’s office following my annual exam, I was startled to hear him make that enthusiastic comment!   When I got home, I told my husband and he responded with, “You DO look great!” Now this is the man who notices if I have changed a shade of lipstick, have done something different with my eye makeup, or doesn’t hesitate to tell me my skin is looking a little dry. A couple of days later, he remarked that my skin was really looking good. (I might mention that this is the skin of a grandmother with college-age grandchildren.) With this great feedback, I had to share with you the new skin care I have been using for several months.

Marine Collagen
Marine Collagen

I have super sensitive skin that runs a little dry so it is always a challenge to keep it moist without being so rich that it causes breaking out. Over the years, chemicals contained in many of the well-known commercial products have prompted trips to the dermatologist to alleviate itching, rash, and great discomfort. When my friend Sandy Minnes shared in a business meeting that she is now representing a completely organic skin care line out of Canada, I wanted to know more. I have been using the products for about 6 months resulting in the compliments that I shared.

Bloom Day Cream
Bloom Day Cream

These products are made by hand from natural ingredients and contain no water or preservatives. You simply spray a little water on your face (I use rose water which is inexpensive and available at Sprouts or Whole Foods) add a small dab of Marine Collagen at night or Bloom for day and massage it into my skin. I have just added the Exquisite Eye Cream at night resulting in reduced puffiness under my eyes.

To learn more about this unique line of products, go to SanSkinCare.com. The good news is that their pricing compares to many of the moderately priced name brands.

Exquisite Eye Cream
Exquisite Eye Cream

Sandy can be reached at sandy@sanskicare.com or 404-379-3741. I find it easiest to send her a text and she will return the call shortly.

Step Into the New Year With Pantone’s Soft Colors

 

 

0400088630593_ASTL_247x329Welcome to Pantone’s 2016 color selection! What is surprising, they chose not one, but two colors of the year. You have no doubt seen Rose Quartz and Serenity on Facebook. Recent years have featured rich, strong colors such as Tangerine Tango, Emerald, Radiant Orchid and Marcela but this year is different. Rose Quartz is a beautiful pastel pink reminiscent  a true rose quartz color. Serenity is a pastel blue. My husband and I walk in the evenings – our favorite time to enjoy the sunset. On a recent walk I was struck by the beauty of the sky perfectly painted in Rose Quartz and Serenity. What a perfect ad for Pantone’s 2016 colors!

Pantone’s color experts no doubt understand the psychological effect colors have on us.

Soft pink with flair.
Soft pink with flair.

Pastel colors are soothing and calming. When you think of how our busy lives are inundated with technology to “help” us while actually making our lives more stressful, it is not surprising that we need to retreat into more soothing colors. Color takes energy to wear. When we are under great stress, it is only natural to seek colors requiring little energy.

Pink can work as a neutral.
Pink can work as a neutral.

Not only does technology make our lives more stressful, world events add to our stress levels. Watching the daily news offers little that is calming or reassuring. In the past I often chose to wear red on dreary days to counteract tone of the day. However, in today’s world, a softer shade can strike the right balance of giving a psychological boost while having a calming effect.

Rose Quartz and Serenity will be versatile colors that offer great mileage to your wardrobe.

Soft blue - classic and versatile.
Soft blue – classic and versatile.

If you have warm coloring, select a coral pink to complement your peach-toned skin. Blue is a wonderful neutral that is becoming for most cool and warm-toned skin. You can also complement blue shades with a variety of other colors and accessories. Neutrals in taupe, gray, pewter, silver and black will all be great shoe colors for both blue and pink. I would avoid black unless you have dark hair.

Add some interest with print. Then top it off with a jacket or sweater.
Add some interest with print. Then top it off with a jacket or sweater.

Another advantage to these pastels, they are not as memorable as bright colors. Tangerine Tango will make a statement so that everyone remembers the last time you wore it. These softer colors will look great but not remind others that you just wore that outfit, especially if you change accessories to achieve different looks.

The world may be filled with stress but you can create a tranquil cocoon by surrounding yourself with soft, tranquil colors.

Oh Red! What would the world be like without you?

Rug design w/red.  Ottoman Empire , Anatolia circa 1700
Rug design w/red. Ottoman Empire , Anatolia circa 1700

Santa Fe, New Mexico is now presenting an exhibit at their Museum of International Folk Art titled “The Red That Colored the World.”   This color is from a most unexpected source: the cochineal bug which was harvested from prickly pear cactus by the Aztecs and ground up with its eggs into a powder that can be used to produce pale pinks, vivid reds, deep burgundies and regal purples.

Classic Burberry red.
Classic Burberry red.

The exhibit traces the use of this unusual dye from as early as 600 to 1000 where it was used for body painting and on bold pottery designs up through present day. In the 1520’s Spanish invaders discovered the unusual pigment in the Mexico City marketplace and introduced it to Europe. Pigment from the inauspicious cochineal replaced other European sources of red dye and it became the second most important Spanish import after silver.

Popular red stripe.
Popular red stripe.

This red pigment soon became a favorite of famous painters to depict flesh tones, fabric and flowers. El Greco used it in his painting of Christ, “El Salvador” (1608-1614) and Rubens, Rembrandt and Van Gogh used the cochineal reds.

The costly pigment was used primarily by royalty, the clergy for exclusive liturgical vestments and the

For a sexy look!
For a sexy look!

wealthy. Spain, introduced the color to Japan where it was met with great enthusiasm. From there, newer, less expensive methods of producing the pigment have made it widely available but Mexico and Peru both continue to use the traditional method of production for those wishing to use the natural product.  

Fall's top accent color.
Fall’s top accent color.

This exhibit is only in Santa Fe through September 16 but check it out on the internet to get a better sense of this amazing history.

Shades of red are prominently featured in fall collections.   Find your shade and enjoy!

Images from Saks.

Favorite Shopping Destination Letting You Down?

J. Crew
J. Crew

Most of us have a favorite place to shop. It is familiar. We know our way around. Most importantly, we know that what they offer will augment our present wardrobe with a new color or style but it will look like it belongs.   Then, something changes! When you shop, you discover “head-scratching styling, poor garment construction and fabric quality, and inconsistent sizing” to quote an article in the WSJ about J. Crew.E2417_KL2620_m

Women have had such brand loyalty with J. Crew that it has become exclusively where many shop. Michelle Obama catapulted the company into the headlines early in her tenure as First Lady. The clothes were classic and versatile without costing your entire paycheck.

J. Crew.
J. Crew.

They fit the needs for women in a more dressed down office environment. They were ideal for most women’s leisure activities.   Women who do not live near a town with a J. Crew store, rely on on-line catalogues knowing which size to order and assurance of the quality they will receive.

But lately, something has changed.   Ladies lamented that the sizing is no longer consistent resulting in the need to make frequent exchanges or to order the same item in different sizes in order to be sure one fits. One mail-order customer stated that she is simply buying less to avoid a huge charge on her credit card by ordering multiple sizes. Another customer lamented that more recent purchases do not hold up well, required repairs after being worn just a couple of times. Some customers are choosing to shop for their favorites on E-Bay or resale shops and avoiding new merchandise in the stores. Dissatisfied customers have resulted in the need to offer ongoing sales, prompting many to avoid full price and just wait until the next sale is offered.

Milly
Milly

Obviously this is a cause of alarm for the company but it may be an opportunity for those loyal customers.

ABS
ABS

We all like familiar. We don’t like surprises, especially when they are negative ones. In recent shopping excursions with clients, I have discovered new brands and great values.   Many newer brands offer fresh, creative styles and still have affordable prices. If your favorite brand has ”sameness” from season to season, maybe it is time to venture into the unknown. Wouldn’t it be fun to add some creativity to your style? No one is insulted by sincere compliments from friends or co-workers. Once you know which styles work with your body and your personality and you know your color palette, you can step outside the box with confidence! That’s turning lemons into lemonade!

 

 

All Whites Are Not Created Equal

 Classic Carolina Herrera with a pop of color

Classic Carolina Herrera with a pop of color

I love sales – especially final, 70% off sales! Saks is one of my favorite store because they have quality clothes that range from new designers to those who are very well known and very expensive. The best part is that their sales are fantastic. I had been shopping with a client a couple of weeks ago but had not had the opportunity to go back and look at anything for myself. Prompted by an email with news of an additional markdown, I made time to visit the store! One thing that I noticed this season is the predominance of white. It reminds me of Carolina Herrera, a noted New York designer who always has an elegant, feminine collection. She is a beautiful lady with a classic persona. Edgy would never be a term used to describe her or her collections.

More ivory -- adorable!
More ivory — adorable!

However, her signature mode of personal dress is a beautiful white blouse with a skirt or slacks. A long taffeta skirt with an elegant white blouse could easily be her choice for attending an evening event while selecting a classic white blouse to top off her traditional skirt or slacks for day wear. If you are thinking that this is the time to stock up on white because,  How could you possibly go wrong with white? here are some cautions. All whites are not created equal! There are icy whites, warm whites, creamy whites, ivory, ecru and the list goes on and on.

Punch it out with red!
Punch it out with red!

The first consideration is to match the white shade of your teeth and the whites of your eyes. Your best shade of white will be to pick a tone that complements both your teeth and the whites of your eyes. Many people may discover that the whites of their eyes are not truly white or their teeth are more a creamy white than an icy white. A very white shade will magnify the difference of your teeth or eyes and not be as flattering.

Black and white punch.
Black and white punch.

This morning I was at a business breakfast and found that the man and two women in front of me in the breakfast line were all wearing a combination of black and white. Each expressed his/her personality in a different way and looked so right. Had they switched their choices around, it would have been all wrong. That’s the power of knowing your style. I find that an icy white is difficult for many people to wear well. It may resemble the uniforms nurses wore years ago.

Same blouse - pop of color
Same blouse – pop of color

It can look clinical and sterile. White is a wonderful fresh, cool color for summer but may need a splash of color to add the punch you need. I found two white dresses that I really liked. One was more of an ivory color, mainly lace but it projected a dressier look thus was not as versatile. The other was a pure white and a great design for business but did not fit as well. The other factor is that my teeth are much more ivory than sparkling white. I chose the lace knowing I would still have many occasions to wear it, it fit like a glove, and the ivory was my best white.

Warm white for this blonde.
Warm white for this blonde.

Let’s not forget that the 70% off price made it a superb buy even if I didn’t have quite as many options in times that I could wear it. I encourage you to take time to discover which is “your” white.   It is a great basic for your wardrobe but will look best when you discover which shade is best for you and if you need a pop of color.

Discovering Your Body Style

 

 

Classic, professional
Classic, professional

Yesterday in preparation for an in depth image consultation with a client, I reviewed the personal style guide that we customize for each client. In reviewing the material, I was struck with the beautiful way Carla Mathis, of Body Beautiful expressed how you discover your Body Signature.

Dramatic,  fun, personal intensity
Dramatic, fun

“Your body has a unique signature-–a collection of design elements that are exclusively yours. During this life affirming consultation you will learn how to use color and style to support your inherent Body Signature and to effectively communicate who you are through what you wear.

Soft, cool, elegant
Soft, cool, elegant

We view you as a work of art. You will learn to see yourself from the artist’s perspective. The color and texture of your skin, hair, and eyes—the shapes, proportion, and scale seen in your face and body features all combine to create your unique Body Signature. As you gain understanding and increase your skill in selecting clothes that support and enhance how you are designed, you become an artist with the ability to create a variety of effects that express your unique beauty and individual style for every mood and occasion.

Creative, casual elegance
Creative, upscale casual

Understanding your Body Signature is a process. Just as one cannot learn a language in a weekend seminar, one cannot learn the entire language of personal design in a few short hours. This guide, along with your Personal Stylist, will assist you in this life long process of discovery.”

 

Carla Mathis, Body Beautiful Institute

Carla is one of the leading Image Consultant/Trainers in the world

Images from Saks

Spring in Atlanta: Find Your “Flower” Image

 

Sunshine and warm weather! What a welcome pleasure after months of cold and gray. The flowers have been waiting to erupt. Each day brings an explosion of new color and beauty.

Do you have a favorite flower? Most of us do. What is even more interesting, that favorite tells more about who you are deep down inside – your personal style. Not only has this realization brought me to a greater appreciation of how varied the many different flowers are but of the components that make each one different. Let’s take a closer look.

Traditional Tulips
Traditional Tulips

Traditional: This is the conservative individual. They are often described as being practical and dependable – no surprises here. Don’t tulips typify this type? Tulips are predictable, standing straight with uniform flowers. We welcome tulips each spring as they lend their beauty to flower beds throughout the neighborhoods.

Elegant Roses
Elegant Roses

Elegant: Refinement and stately image, cultured and simplicity can describe this style. What better flower than a rose to represent the elegant persona? These lovely blossoms are typified by their refinement, elegance and grace.

Romantic Cherry Blossoms
Romantic Cherry Blossoms

Romantic: The profusion of delicate pink, lacy flowers of the cherry blossom beautifully represents a romantic image. Gentleness, feminine, supportive and innocent are used to describe a romantic personality. The soft, feminine color and delicate cherry blossoms exude “romantic”.

Alluring Fuchsia
Alluring Fuchsia

Alluring: The alluring persona is sexy, glamorous and sensuous. What could be more suggestive of the Alluring style than a fuchsia? Even the shape of this beautiful flower suggests curvy and sensual. Magenta is often used in costuming to represent the femme fatal.

Creative color and shape
Creative color and shape

Creative: Think original, artistic and unconventional for this type. I could not find the name of this amazing flower that defied convention. Combining yellow and magenta is an unusual color combination but the incredible flower within a flower image shape is even more surprising. Truly creative!

Dramatic: What could be more dramatic an image than a Bird

Dramatic Bird in Paradise
Dramatic Bird in Paradise

of Paradise flower.   There is nothing subtle about this tropical flower nor is there anything subtle about a dramatic personality. Striking sophistication, powerful and bold describe both the flower and the dramatic woman.

Sporty Sunflowers
Sporty Sunflowers

Sporty: Friendly, casual, all-American style are portrayed by a field of sunflowers on a beautiful sunny day. Couldn’t have said it better!

 

Image descriptions are taken from Alyce Parsons’ book Style Source.

Common Shopping Mistakes

 

Do think these colors are good for me?
Do think these colors are good for me?

 Do you have clothes hanging in your closet that you never wear? Many with tags still attached?  Why is it that the item looked so perfect in the store yet is so wrong when you get it home? Of course, these are the pieces that you found on final mark-down and can’t return.

Most mistakes are made from impulse buying.   Being seduced by a sale is probably the biggest contributor to unworn items in your closet.   A deep discounted price often negates all that good judgment you are noted for having.

Color: If you don’t know which colors are your most becoming, you are vulnerable to choosing those that do not flatter you. Just because that lime green looked adorable on the mannequin, doesn’t mean it will work for you.

Are these supposed to button?
Are these supposed to button?

Fit: I have seen garments hanging in closets a full size too large or too small purchased with the idea that it could be altered. Changing one full size is probably more of a remaking of the dress than an alteration. It may cost more than the purchase of the dress. Buying a size too small with the “I’m going to lose weight” idea is setting yourself up for disappointment. Rarely does this serve as an incentive to achieve your weight loss goal. Then, again, most garments will need some alterations to really fit well. This cost needs to be factored into the purchase price and you will want to have an alterations person assess whether it can be altered to fit you properly before making the purchase.

Is  this really for me?
Is this really for me?

Style: You want to choose styles that flatter your body shape. If you are a rectangle and do not have a defined waist, you will not want to choose something that is designed to accentuate a small waist. Different styles are appropriate for different settings. If you work in a conservative environment, you will need to choose styles and color combinations that are office appropriate – that is your office.

This may be a little much for the law office.
This may be a little much for the law office.

Nothing to wear it with: This is probably the biggest purchasing mistake I see. The garment may fit well and be a flattering color but if you have nothing to wear it with, it will require purchasing other items to make a whole look. One might wonder if you really saved money on the purchase.

The safest way to shop sales is to have gone through your closet and determined what pieces you have and where you need some new items to complete or update those things you love.   Know your colors and the styles that work for you and your lifestyle. Your shopping trip(s) may not result in as many purchases, but they will all be winners!

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!

x700
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.

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!