What level of contrast do you have?

Have you ever worn something that looked great on your friend but it just doesn’t quite work on you? I think we all have experienced that. It might be the level of contrast.

Notice how this low contrast blonde is beautifully supported by this low contrast jacket and skirt.

Take a good look in the mirror. If you have light hair and fair skin with light colored eyes, you have low contrast.   However, if your hair is dark and you have dark eyes with light skin, your contrast level is high. Another consideration is your level of intensity.   Even though your coloring might be low intensity, you might be able to increase the color contrast without overpowering your natural presence.

Your contrast level dictates the level of contrast that will be most attractive for you. If you have low contrast, wearing something with high contrast can just be too much. One will see the garment coming before they realize it is you wearing it!

This model has medium contrast hair and the medium shade of pink is a perfect contrast for her.

Notice how attractive this blond model looks in the low contrast dress and jacket. It perfectly supports her soft coloring so that the entire image is seen. The model wearing the pink dress is medium low contrast. Her hair is medium-light but this medium shade of pink beautifully supports her natural presence.

This gray an black combination supports the model in color contrast while softening the contrast in support of her quieter presence.

Now look at the models wearing black. The model with black and gray appears to be more reserved so the black and gray work well with her natural color contrast. Notice the model wearing the black and white combination. Although we cannot see her entire face, her body language indicates that she is confident and has a strong presence. She beautifully carries off this black and white ensemble.   A black and white combination has the strongest color contrast.

Black checks make a strong statement but this gal appears to have attitude to match.

When you have determined your color contrast, here is an easy way to check to see if your color contrast is right for you. Look in the mirror when you put on something that you think might be too bright. Close your eyes for a moment and then reopen them. If the first thing you see is the color, it is too strong a contrast. Your eye should see you and the garment just as with these models.

Happy “blink testing”!


I like pink, Gamma! It’s my favite color!

Beautiful soft pink. Add a jacket for the office for a more professional look. Be careful the soft color doesn’t wash you out.

When my granddaughter, Juliet, was three or four, she and her older brother, Patrick were spending the day with me. Juliet somehow got on a kick about pink and proceeded to follow me all over the house repeating, “I like pink, Gamma. Pink is my favite color! Patick doesn’t like pink. He says it’s a gul’s color but I like pink!” She may have had an issue with pronouncing her “r’s” but she certainly knew her own mind.

Pink is a big focus color this spring so don’t limit yourself to just thinking of pastel pink. There is a shade of pink for most any color palette. Even if you are warm toned with a peach skin undertone, you can sneak in some pink with a little orange added making a coral tone.

Lovely for office and out to dinner afterward.

Adding a note of cheer to the spring palette, pink projects femininity and warm sensitivity. I have found that most men who enjoy wearing pink are more thoughtful than the macho guys who look on pink with disdain. This is the man who brings you flowers and remembers cards for special occasions. My husband enjoys wearing pink and it looks great on him.   Yes, he is the one who brings flowers and does thoughtful things.

Pink is flattering to most skin tones and serves as an excellent accent for both office and social. It can be worn with gray, navy, white, and black as a base color.   Certainly, one would not wear a light pink suit for an important business meeting but you could wear a beautiful blouse or scarf in pink as an accent.

The myriad shades of pink each send their own message. A soft pastel pink is feminine and youthful but lacks power, whereas a deep raspberry pink projects a more powerful image while still projecting femininity. A muted shade of pink has some gray mixed with it. It is subtle and is especially lovely worn by a more mature lady.

If you aren’t ready to fully embrace pink, try a scarf or some fun jewelry as an accent for something different. Enjoy!

P.S. Juliet is now a junior in college and still likes pink. Patrick is finishing his masters and wears pink shirts. Both of them can now pronounce their “r’s” !

Images from Saks.

Turn Up the Volume



It may be comfortable but is not flattring!
It may be comfortable but is not flattering!

If you are a little weary of skinny jeans and slim, tailored slacks, you will welcome the volume look. Designers, always searching for the “outside the box” look, not to mention designs to entice you to buy new clothes, have jumped on the volume bandwagon.

The volume look is tricky to wear and have it be flattering. Many people choose over-sized clothing to try to hide extra pounds or to be “comfortable”.  In truth, oversized clothes usually make you look sloppy and heavier than you are.

Let’s look at some examples of how to wear this look with aplomb!

Without one portion of the look fitting closely to the body, it visually adds pounds and looks unkempt. This full black skirt and loose white top is a perfect example. The full skirt would work with a fitted top and I would prefer it worn with heels to add height. This would be especially good for a triangle build.

Could make a fun statement for the right build.
Could make a fun statement for the right build.

The white shift dress would hide the lack of waist definition for a rectangle build. It will be best worn by a tall, slender person with long legs and a slender build. The splashes of color giving a vertical detail adds visual height. I would shorten the hem slightly to show more of those long legs.

Carolina Herrera designed this black and white jumpsuit. This is a bit of a departure from her traditionally refined creations. The wide stripes draw attention to width but the closely fit top helps with balance. This, too, would work nicely on someone with a small waist with wider hips.

Add some drama!
Add some drama!

There is no way you could make a quiet entrance with this dramatic black and white and you would have to have a strong personality to pull it off. Another thing I noticed, is that all the pants with this look appear to touch the floor. From a practical point of view, the bottom would get soiled in one wearing and would be impossible to clean. To wear them much shorter would ruin the look.

The volume look is not one of my favorites. It will be flattering for very few people but if you are one of them, have some fun with a new addition to your spring/summer look!

Images from Saks

Warm Up with Yak



Yaks at home in the Himalayas
Yaks at home in the Himalayas

With temperatures hovering around freezing in the daytime and dropping to the teens at night, my focus is keeping toasty warm. Who would have thought that the humble Yak could come to the rescue!

Yaks are natives of Tibet and are essential to the nomadic herdsmen. They are in between the size of a goat and a cow with all of the sure-footed ability of mountain goats. Their coats are designed to protect them from the bitter cold of the Himalayan winters making the discovery of using their soft wool under coat for clothing an ideal solution to keep people warm.

Yak blend by Vince (at Saks)
Yak blend by Vince (Saks)

Sportswear designer Kora has discovered yak wool is warmer than merino wool. It is more breathable, odor resistant, and transports water vapor most effectively—perfect for underwear and winter sports clothing.   Outdoor Retailers founder, Michael Klinwort, discovered the advantage of using Yak while on a winter excursion to the Himalayan region. He supports the local herdsmen in exchange for them providing him with wool.   Yak shed their wool each spring and the locals collect it to be used for clothing. Sounds perfect to me!

0400092038509-fir-84b9a6ecSeveral designers are using Yak wool in their sweater collections. Some use blends with cashmere or other wools. Yaks are dark in coloring so most of the garments you will find are darker. Some of the lighter colors are blended with other wools.

The only down side is that Yak is generally more expensive than woolen garments but then, so is cashmere!

What Are You Wearing to Those Holiday Parties?

Do You have the Perfect Dress for that special Holiday Party?


Beautiful LBD with some flair. The jeweled lace adds a touch of sparkle and lightness to balance the dressy velvet. This dress can take you to any dressy event and is flattering for most figures.
Beautiful LBD with some flair. The jeweled lace adds a touch of sparkle and lightness to balance the dressy velvet. This dress can take you to any dressy event and is flattering for most figures.

How would you like to have a dress that just says “YOU” and makes you look and feel fabulous? I have had the privilege of working with Atlanta designer, Joseph Plata, who provides just that. His collection offers some off-the-rack and many choices for custom.

For that glamour evening, this eggplant silk says it all! The dress in cut on the bias so it skims over the body creating a stunning elegant simplicity.
For that glamour evening, this eggplant silk says it all! The dress is cut on the bias so it skims over the body creating a stunning elegant simplicity.

If the dress is not in your size or you prefer a different color, he will make one just for you. How perfect is that? The great news is that his prices are affordable despite the fact that he uses excellent fabrics

This beautiful teal lace dress is flattering and truly elegant. Joseph just made this for a mother of the bride who had driven in from out of town to have a fitting. Perfect for theatre, party or wedding.
This beautiful teal lace dress is flattering and truly elegant. Joseph just made this for a mother of the bride who had driven in from out of town to have a fitting. Perfect for theatre, party or wedding.

from New York suppliers who also are suppliers for top designers. You will meet his small team of seamstresses and watch them turn out beautiful work.

What an adorable red dress to take you to most any occasion! Joseph's signature roses make this dress unique but keep the design simple enough that it can be work to dinner, or most any dressy daytime occasion or an evening party.
What an adorable red dress to take you to most any occasion! Joseph’s signature roses make this dress unique but keep the design simple enough that it can be worn to dinner, most any dressy daytime occasion or an evening party.

Last week we had an invitation to a party stating dressy casual or cocktail dress. The host is a friend but we knew almost no one in attendance. I decided to wear navy slim trousers and a dressy blouse that Joseph had made for me. When we arrived, I discovered that the choice struck exactly the right note. The trousers fit me beautifully and the blouse is truly unique, resulting in many compliments. We will all have many invitations so I wanted to share a sampling of some of Joseph’s creations.

You can reach Joseph at 404-404-351-4004.  His workshop is at 2025 Peachtree Road, Suite   B.  That is in the Darlington right across from Piedmont Hospital.  If you would like for me to meet you there to help with color and selection, just call and we can arrange a time.  There is no charge for this.


Key Pieces to Update Your Fall Wardrobe


Each season the big question is, “What pieces can I add to my wardrobe to fashionably step into the new season?”

I want to share some recent suggestions of Teri Agins, New York fashion Columnist.

Sculpted military jacket.
Sculpted military jacket.

Military Jackets: This is the season to add a fitted navy military jacket complete with brass buttons, braid and military details for the perfect update for your favor jeans. This jacket needs to be sculpted to your body but it will add a snappy upgrade for tailored slacks and other separates as well.

Bell Sleeves:

Bell-sleeves add drama.
Bell-sleeves add drama.

Tired of the traditional basic sheath dress? This simple addition will transform that sheath from basic to dramatic. You will find bell sleeves on not only dresses but sweaters and jackets. Let the bell sleeve add a note of drama when you make a sweeping hand gesture.

Pumpkin is back in the spotlight.
Pumpkin is back in the spotlight.

Pumpkin: This is not just for Halloween. If you have noted that a bright pumpkin color is cropping up more and more, it’s not your imagination. This bright color is once again on the popular list this fall. Orange is not an easy color to wear so choose wisely. If you have cool toned skin, orange will tend to turn your face into a pumpkin color. It can be beautiful on the person with warm toned skin. Consider trying other shades of orange such as peach, apricot, or coral to find the right complement for your coloring.

Boots with stacked heels:0400092826719_247x329 After years of stilettos, take a break with one of the many boot selections featuring sturdy stacked heels. These will be a more casual look so will work best pants or sporty outfit. Your feet will love you for it!

Choose one or two of these  suggestions and – Voila! –  you have a whole fresh look for the fall/winter.


Color Blocking on Steroids!


The wearer will need a strong presence and coloring.
The wearer will need a strong presence and coloring.

You probably have something with color blocking detail in your closet from past seasons.  This trend has gone the way of all popular trends but designers, always searching for something new, are now introducing “print blocking”.   Fashion rule has traditionally turned up its nose at mixing prints but this trend is defying those old “no-no’s” from your mother.   Men have been combining patterns for several years and executing it tastefully for the most part. For example, wearing a striped suit with a striped shirt in a much smaller scale and different color intensity, plain tie and a print pocket square. The new print-blocking in women’s wear moves far beyond this understated example. Designers are pairing multiple different patterns and colors together for more of a “Little House on the Prairie” look. In other words, you made it out of scraps of fabric being saved for a quilt.

You will need to be more of a creative dresser to pull off this look. Traditional, romantic, elegant or dramatic types will probably not find this a look that work for them. It might look like fun in the store but once home nestled in your closet with styles that really reflect your signature look, it will shout that it doesn’t belong!

Busy but prints inter-relate well.
Busy but prints relate well to create harmony in the pattern.

As fashion director Roopal Patel at Saks admitted, “It can be overwhelming. You’re drawing a lot of attention to yourself.” That said, neither is this one of those garments that you can wear over and over by changing accessories to create a different look. Everyone will remember when you last wore it!  These very busy multi-print garments need to be paired with neutral accessories, allowing relief to the eye from all the busy-ness.

The examples shown are more subtle than what one might find at Anthropology. The dress with the flaired skirt is a combination of only two patterns, well coordinated with each other. The skirt detail adds another point of interest so further pattern would have probably been too much.

Well coordinated prints with simple style.
Well coordinated prints with simple style.

The simple sheath uses more pattern detail for this very simple design. Neither dress needs jewelry. Both could be worn to the office and would be appropriate for a professional office setting. The patterned top by Etro is very busy. This might be better paired with neutral slacks or skirt. A bold personality and strong coloring is a must to pull this off.

Accessories jump into the print-blocking arena as well. This beautiful Ferragamo bag is a statement by itself. To choose something like this, it must be the whole focus. This is definitely not the “take everywhere” handbag many of us rely on. This bag will be beautiful with a solid, neutral outfit and neutral shoes allowing it to take center stage. That look will bring tons of compliments!

Let this dramatic purse be the main attraction.
Let this dramatic purse be the main attraction.

Pattern blocking doesn’t resonate with me as I find it too busy.   I do think the handbag is beautiful but personally would not make that kind of investment in an accessory that had such limited versatility.

You will be seeing more print blocking in stores.   If you love the look, pick the one you truly love and enjoy! This will probably not be a staple in your closet to enjoy for several seasons.

New York Fashion Week Launches Spring


Letterman Jackets. Back to school.
Letterman Jackets. Back to school.

It’s that time of year again! Designers through-out the globe are ready to show their visions of how we should look for the upcoming season. New York was last week then on to Milan and Paris.

New York was much more abuzz with social media than what models were wearing. It was all about creating excitement with sets and technology broadcasting the show out on Instagram . As you might imagine, the younger designers, seemed to shine the brightest in their execution of technology to promote their fresh, new designs.

There were many trends. It seemed each report that I reviewed, had a slightly different list. Since this show was just New York, there will no doubt be some differences and some consolidation what is truly going to be the new trend.

Sleeves and longer length. It's a home run!
Sleeves and longer length. It’s a home run!

Bomber Jackets or school letter jackets appear in the traditional styles to be worn casually with jeans or made of the same fabric as slacks for a more sophisticated casual look. If you are a sporty type, this could be a fun look to wear. If you are elegant, dramatic, or feminine, it probably won’t work.

0400089180233_247x329Off the Shoulder is popular with many designers. We have not seen this look for some time so it is fun and fresh.   The key will be to wear the right bra. A no-bra look only works at the beach so good support and no straps visible are key.

I noticed focus on two colors. Orange is back in the spotlight again, ranging from bright orange to a salmon. These are usually best worn if you have warm-toned coloring. Orange is also a very strong color, making it memorable. You won’t be choosing orange for your basic to wear frequently.   The other emerging color trend was described by one reporter as “murky”.     This dress in Bordeaux is a perfect example .

The new "murky" colors.
The new “murky” colors.

Good news for most everyone!   Sleeves are coming back.   How long has it been since you have seen sleeves on a dress? It is also the missing component in clothing that I hear the most complaints about. Some collections went to extremes with old- fashioned mutton-leg styles. Yes, this was even pre-Downton Abbey!   Other collections offered some very creative ways to cover part of the arm such as the off-shoulder and the charming little stylized cap sleeve of the orange dress.

Versatile, wear-ever skirt in longer length.
Versatile, wear-ever skirt in longer length.

The last new trend will be welcome to most everyone over 30. Longer skirts! It is exciting to think of choosing a new dress without having to strategize how to cover 6” of thigh and still look professional.   Since longer skirts can look dowdy, look at yourself in the mirror from all angles and take a selfie. If it doesn’t seem to be your ideal length, longer skirts can always be shortened. Sometimes just below the knee is a good length and sometimes longer. We each have our “sweet spot” for the skirt length that looks best so don’t think you have to take it as-is!  

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.

Horrors! I’m Dressed All Wrong for the Party!

Another office to party option.
Another office to party option.


My granddaughter just attended a holiday party where she and her boyfriend were not nearly as dressed up as their classmates! The fact that it was a fraternity party and guys are not known for being as precise on that sort of thing doesn’t help if you are a university sophomore and completely out of step with your peers!

How many times do we receive invitations with dress code like “casual” or “jacket required” or the newest one: “festive”. What in the world is festive”?

Another office to party option. Add a belt or significant necklace. Notice the interesting sleeves.
Another office to party option. Add a belt or significant necklace.  Sparkle required!
Notice the interesting sleeves.

Festive, by definition, should have some bling. Festive does not bring a little black dress to mind.   Your vision is more of fun, sparkle and color. Suppose you are going directly from the office. How about choosing black crepe slacks or ankle-length skirt?   Top it with a dressy blouse that is office-appropriate.

You can add some rich metallic shoes, change to a bright or metallic handbag, accent with some sparkly drop earrings, and Voila! You are Festive!

Maybe you want a more sophisticated look. How about pulling out your standby – the tux?

Classic tux.
Classic tux.

Add pizzazz by choosing statement shoes. Give this elegant look sparkle by adding a knockout pin. Bring in a pop of color with the evening bag. Sophisticated and festive.

Simple print. The design makes the statement.
Simple print. The design makes the statement.

Prints are usually not considered a look for evening but with the right print, you can pull it off. The dress should be the main focus with supporting accessories. This simple shift makes a great statement. All you need is a touch of color – maybe bright red evening sandals worn with a crystal decorated evening bag. Complete the look with drop earrings. Again, Festive without looking like you tried too hard.