Eye Candy for Fashionistas

Presidential inaugurations are a bit like the Oscars in that it is an opportunity for those participants to show off their very best attire. Last Friday was exceptional considering the cast of ladies in the spotlight.

Left:  Melania Trump  Far right:  Karen Pence
Left: Melania Trump Far right: Karen Pence

Melania Trump, new First Lady, was a professional model before she married Donald Trump. What a training ground to learn what looks best on you and to know how to show off what you’re wearing to the best advantage!   Ivanka Trump is not only an accomplished businesswoman but she has her own shoe line and a business-wear for women clothing line. Donald Jr. is married to a former model and Eric’s wife is a business executive. Tiffany Trump, the youngest of the Trump women, chose a younger look that worked well for her.   All of these ladies created beautiful images of being appropriate for the occasion and looking fabulous.  Of course, they have the advantage of having attended many important events and a budget for doing it right.

Jackie's classic elegance style an Melania's
Jackie’s classic elegance style an Melania’s

Not since Jackie Kennedy, have we had a First Lady who captured the country with her elegance and superb sense of style. Melania worked with her designer in the creation of her ball gown for the inauguration. Jackie took ideas from European designers and worked with Oleg Cassini, an American designer, to create a similar look for her so there could be no criticism for not choosing an American designer.

First Lady Michelle Obama’s choice of the burgundy coat and dress ensemble was excellent. She set the president of choosing a little known designer. Melania followed suit with the choice of Herve Pierre to make the gown for her inauguration ball and other little-known designers for several of her other outfits. The sky blue cashmere dress and jacket, which she wore for the inauguration ceremony, was by Ralph Lauren. Lauren also designs for Hillary Clinton. We are getting a better sense of Melania’s style. She chose an elegant look, simple, yet with beautiful design details.  

Inaugural ballgown by Herve Pierre
Inaugural ballgown by Herve Pierre

Karen Pence’s black princess coat over a simple dress was perfect. The princess coat with a flaired skirt creates a nice waist definition while black boots complete a one-color look adding visual height. Her dress showing at the neck adds an interesting detail and draws your eye to her face.

I’m sure the next four years will provide a banquet for the senses as we watch this classy lady take her role as First Lady and have cameo appearances of other ladies in the family.

Be the First to Own This Unique Tote

 

Clearly a "K".
Let’s hear it for  “K”.

If you are looking for a fun, statement piece for spring, take a look at these Alphabet all-purpose totes. The versatile totes are a durable coated canvas construction, large enough to carry your laptop or serve as a beach bag. Each one comes with a matching zippered clutch. As you might imagine, it is a collection of 26 limited edition designs.

Crative "R".
Crative “R”.

London based designer, Mary Katrantzou, has been inspired by the works of favorite artists while other designs are just the result of her fertile imagination. The designs have also been expanded to T-shirts and sweaters .

Does this have a letter?
Does this have a letter?

Matches Fashion (www.matchesfashion.com) has just received these new totes for sale on their online site.

Matches jumped on the designer’s marketing idea. An approach that equals the creative design of the totes: they are planning a number of dinners in various cities whose guest list is chosen just by the guest’s last name. You guessed it. Guests will number 26!

Clearly a Z for Zebra.
Clearly a Z for Zebra.

I wonder if the guests will get their letter of the alphabet as a door prize? These totes are pricy but that would really make a statement!

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.

Do Your Feet Hurt?

images-5A new study from the UK has just concluded that more than half of women and one third of men have purchased shoes that do not fit properly. This is shocking considering that most of us buy several pairs a year and that so much of our comfort is tied to happy feet.

Surprisingly, people’s feet tend to get larger as they age. Most people have not had their feet measured since they were in grade school.   The article recommended annual measurements to check your foot size. Even if your feet do not grow larger, they often change in small ways that can cause shoes to fit improperly.

I remember as a child having an adult cousin who had only one source from which to order her size 9 AAAA.   Not only was the length unusually long for a lady at that time but the narrow width was very rare.   Today Nordstrom is taking note of demand for larger sizes while manufacturers such as Stuart Weitzman and Cole Haan are adding extended sizes to their inventory. Sadly, this does not address those ladies with very small feet who now have to find shoes in the children’s department. images-7I have a narrow foot and find most manufacturers who used to carry a nice selection of AA or AAA shoes, no longer offer them.   Marmi in Lenox Square still offers a good selection of widths and lengths that are reasonably priced.

Shopping on line is used more and more by busy people lacking time to search through store. Unfortunately, it often results in choices that would not be made if one had been in a store.

images-9Most specialists concerned with foot health agree that over a 2” heel can cause foot damage. The pointed toe tends to crowd toes and cause pain. Since a pointed toe helps create a longer, leaner leg line, I find the modified pointed toe most wearable unless you have a very wide foot.

A wedge gives a more solid foundation for the foot and offers better support. Sandals generally offer very little arch support. Nor do ballet slippers, especially those with really flexible soles.

My suggestion is to take the time to shop for your shoes, try them on and walk around the store for a bit. Most stores will allow you to return shoes that do not fit as long as you have tested them on carpet and they have no evidence of wear.images-6 Yes, this takes more time but how much better to have shoes that fit properly without causing permanent foot damage.

Happy feet last a lifetime.

What’s your personal image?

 

How many of us look at the beautiful, long, lean models and wish we looked just like them?

Embrace who you are.
Embrace who you are.

We tend to view ourselves through negative eyes. I’m too short or too tall, my hips are too wide, I don’t like my — you fill in the blank.

You can take comfort in this clip from professional model, Cameron Russell.

 

http://www.ted.com/talks/cameron_russell_looks_aren_t_everything_believe_me_i_m_a_model

 

Let’s look at who we are and embrace our unique image. Being neat and put together is something all of us can do.

Beautiful classic
Beautiful classic

Choose clothes that camouflage the points you wish were different and enhance those points that are your strength.

Having professional color analysis might be something you want to consider to find the colors that best complement your natural coloring.

Know your personal style and let it project the essence of who you are.

Wear clothing appropriate for the occasion.

If you are committed to making some changes, choose a coach to guide you and support you in those efforts.

Walk forth in confidence that you are the only “you” in existence. Make the most of  it!

Is it time to change your hair style?

 

Most of us don’t like to admit that we are getting older which must be why many ladies struggle with choosing the right look.  Of course, there is always the question of to gray or not to gray.   A previous article on that subject is available in the February 2012 archives .

Judie Dench
Judie Dench

It sometimes seems like we are walking a tightrope in choosing the right balance between maintaining a youthful look while still being age-appropriate.  There is no one-hair style that works for everyone so let’s look at some options.

Judie Dench wears her hair in a short crop.  This is no doubt a very easy style for her to maintain and works well with her symmetrical, fuller face.  Although her 80th birthday will be in December, one could not determine her age from looking at her.  The subtle natural-looking blond color also contributes to a younger look.  This style is not for everyone!

Cinema Society & Donna Karan Host A Screening Of "Happy Tears" -After PartyThe short bob for Ellen Barkin is a great look for straight fine hair.   She can wear bangs or, as in the picture, letting the bangs grow a bit longer and pulling them to the side.   Helen Mirren wears a similar style beautifully.  With a good cut, it only takes a few minutes to blow this hair dry and style it, add a little spray and look great all day.

I think Glenn Close appears younger and is more attractive with this short bob than she did ten or fifteen years ago wearing her hair shoulder length.  Glenn has a long, rectangular face.  The bangs help shorten the appearance of length and the little flip at the bottom adds width.    Now in her mid 60’s, this is an excellent look.

Glenn Close
Glenn Close

Blythe Danner’s short bob works perfectly with her natural curls.  What I especially like is that the style beautifully balances her triangular face, adding width through the chin and minimizing the width of her forehead.  At 71 she is at her most beautiful.

Long hair is generally not as flattering for more mature ladies.  Atlanta icon Jane Fonda is a good example.  She is much more attractive at this age with shorter hair than she would have been if she had continued to wear the long locks of her youth.   Adding a little more length to short hair will help soften facial lines.

Blythe Danner
Blythe Danner

If you are ready for a new look, use the internet to get ideas of what will work for your hair and for your face.  If you need a new set of professional eyes, don’t hesitate to visit a different hairdresser.   You, too can be your most beautiful as you mature!

Wear Your Crown Proudly

If a woman’s hair is her crowning beauty, why do so many women give it so little attention?

Uniform for many young women.
Uniform for many young women.

When we meet someone, either a friend or new acquaintance, our eye first goes to her hair.  Unfortunately, it seems that many women treat their hair as an inconvenience and give it the least attention.  Grocery stores are filled with young women wearing workout clothes; their long hair pulled back into a ponytail and pulled through the opening at the back of their baseball cap.  Long hair, properly groomed, is beautiful but it requires more care than shorter hair.

How do you choose a hairstyle that works for you and your lifestyle?

Soft style for soft features.
Soft style for soft features.

First I would suggest seeing a good hair stylist.  This can be a challenge.  Top stylists can be very expensive.   Well known stylists like Ted Gibson and Nick Arrojo of What Not to Wear fame, can cost $500 to $1000 for a cut, not to mention the trip to New York for the appointment.  That’s not an option for most of us.   However, for all of you who ever watched that program, I’m sure you agree that the haircut was the defining step in transforming women from “before” to “after”.

Good hairdressers understand your hair type and what will be the best cut for you.  They also are trained to look at your facial shape and features to determine how to style your hair. I have a client with beautiful long, softly curled hair.   It frames her rounded facial features and is truly her crowing beauty.  However, one time I met her at her hairdresser’s when she had impulsively asked to have her hair straightened, resembling Jennifer Aniston.  This straight line simply didn’t work with her soft features and diminished her beauty.

It is up to you to tell your hairdresser your time restraints and your level of expertise in working with your hair.  An expert hairdresser can then choose a style that works for your hair type, your facial structure and one that you can keep up on a daily basis.

Fitting for Meg's overall persona.
Fitting for Meg’s overall persona.

There are several ways you can find a good hairdresser.  First, when you see someone with a great hairstyle, that you think would work for you, ask her who does her hair.  Most women will be flattered that you asked and will gladly share the information.

Secondly, when you are researching a new hairdresser, look at the type of training they have had.  Some training schools stress styling while others focus on cuts.  I have very straight, fine hair requiring a superb cut, almost like a sculpture.  My questions always focus on cutting expertise.

If the hairdresser is a little over your budget but you really like the cut, have him or her do the initial cut and ask for a recommendation for someone in the salon who is less expensive but can replicate the cut.  Most high-end hairdressers recognize there are budget constraints and are happy to make referrals within the salon.  If they are offended by such a request, you probably don’t want to deal with their ego anyway.

Next week, we will discuss how more mature woman can choose the perfect style for a youthful and stylish appearance.

Cuddle Your Cashmere

imgresCashmere is not only luxurious, it is one of the best choices for keeping warm.   However, it requires a gentle hand.images

For those of us who love cashmere, those pesky little pills are problematic.  I have sweaters fifteen years old with no evidence of pills and others purchased last year, covered with them.  It doesn’t seem to have any relationship with the price, either.  The length of the fiber is the determining factor.   This is almost impossible to determine by examination when choosing which sweater to purchase.   One must wear a cashmere sweater a few times before pills become evident.  Areas of wear like under the arms, where a shoulder bag rests, and under the seatbelt are typically areas of pilling.

images-2Manufacturers are working to try to reduce pilling but once you buy the garment, there are some preventative measures you can take as well.  Wearing the garment more sparingly is at the top of the list.  Allowing at least 24 hours before wearing again allows the fibers to recover from stretching from the last wearing.

There are many different pill-removers are on the market.  Examples are:  The Sweater Stone, which resembles a bar of soap and claims that it will not damage the garment’s “halo”.  The Evercare Giant Fabric Shaver is a battery operated model, the D-Fuzz-It Sweater and Fabric Comb is small and easily portable.  The Gleener has three edges for different pill heights as well as a lint remover.   Amazon has a wide selection available but I would suggest trying them in person to determine which is your favorite.

Cashmere sweaters will last for years with proper care.

images-1Storage:  Sweaters should be folded to avoid becoming misshapen on hangers.  Clean them before storing as food stains, perfume or body oils will attract moths. Fold sleeves in the back and close zippers.  Store in a cool, dry place to avoid mildew.  Never store in plastic.  Use a container that breathes.

Cleaning:  Follow the instructions.  If the label says ‘Dry Clean Only’, there are probably components that cannot be washed.

when washing, turn the sweater inside out, use a mild soap and tepid water temperature.  Wash by hand, using a gentle squeezing motion or use the hand-wash cycle on your machine.  Dry flat on a towel away from direct sunlight.

It takes more effort but the years of cuddle and beauty your cashmere sweaters provide are worth it!

 

A Heart Overflowing With Thanks

A Heart Overflowing with Thanks

Thanksgiving week.  We have never had a traditional celebration for Thanksgiving so it’s always a bit of a surprise as how we will spend this special day.  This year more than ever.  When daughter, Cyndi, invited us to Nashville, we were looking forward to time with her and her husband.

Monday, after running errands, I burst into the house carrying some fairly heavy things and was greeted with a mild pain across my chest.  This was not that unusual as that same discomfort would sometimes occur while briskly walking uphill.  I have always just slowed down or stopped for a moment and the discomfort disappeared.  This time, I put down my burdens, breathed deeply but the pain did not go away.  I told my husband what was happening and lay down.  He remembered that my doctor had given me nitroglycerin as a precaution before we went to France.  We placed the pill under my tongue and the discomfort subsided but did not disappear.  We called the help nurse at Kaiser who talked us through various steps.  The pain diminished and finally disappeared but it was concerning as it had endured for a several minutes.  Very unusual.  When the nurse was assured that I was okay, she told me to have my husband drive me to Piedmont Hospital.  We dutifully obeyed.  After all, it was almost within walking distance.

At Piedmont, it seemed that everyone else in Atlanta had been told the same thing.  The waiting room was packed to overflowing.  Time dragged on, punctuated by one test, wait, another test, longer wait.   About midnight a fresh doctor arrived and advised me that I should have the heart catheterization procedure, to accurately  identify if there was blockage and to what degree.  He was very persuasive.  Finally, they found me a bed in ER and a couple of tests later, a real bed became available so I was officially admitted to the hospital about 1 AM.    With the holiday, it had been unknown how long I would have to wait for the test but amazingly, I was first on the schedule – 7 AM.    A great joy was the arrival of my son, Todd, who lives in Powder Springs and the surprise of Cyndi’s arrival from Nashville.   Great support for Joe as well.

Going into the catheterization, I was thinking I probably had some blockage and most likely would have a stent.  The test was surreal – I was on the table then suddenly, it was over.  But nothing had been done.  The test showed 80% – 90% blockage on all arteries!  Next step, by-pass surgery.

The next days were a blur or tests, visits from different medical personnel and wonderful, loving care from the excellent nursing staff.   When I think of how rude and hateful much of society has become, this was the antithesis.  Beauty comes in many colors and these care-givers exuded beauty from deep within.  Adorable Katie, whose spontaneous giggle lighted up the room.  Billie Jo, the young grandmother who climbed under a table to get something we needed when the room was too crowded.  You could see her zipping up and down the halls making things happen, yet, always focused on the patient.  Precious Mary, from Kenya, who instilled confidence just by her presence.

At no time did I feel any fear or concern, instead there was such a sense of peace as if being in a cocoon held by angels.  Prayers were felt – deeply.   How I treasure  loving friendships.  My precious family was my rock.  Dear friend Jay Austin was such a support.

Thanksgiving morning the doctor performed four by-passes.  He then hung around the recovery room with my family telling them how well the surgery had gone and that my body is totally healthy – it was just those pesky arteries that I had drawn the short straw in choosing which genes to inherit.

That night, when I was finally taken to my room, I noticed that Cyndi had written on the white-board where the nurses wrote their names and call numbers:

“Greatest Thanksgiving ever.”

Yes, it was.

 

 

 

A Month in Province

 

We arrived in Nice the end of September and began our sojourn on the Riviera.  Our little apartment in Le Cannet was about ten minutes out of Cannes toward the mountains.  Our window looked over the tile rooftops to the Mediterranean.  The apartment was located on an old street with small workshops and restaurants.  One shop made violins and other stringed instruments.   How charming is that?

I had the opportunity to conduct two workshops on discovering your unique design for about twenty ladies.  They were excited to discover which colors were most complementary for them and which styles were their best.  What a fun audience!

Time flew by, as we were involved in helping with a big event hosting some 20 business people from the US.  Trips to the airport and train station, lovely dinner at one of the most prestigious golf clubs and a luncheon at another beautiful location were only a part of activities.

We had the opportunity to visit three of our favorite ancient sites:  Eze, Mougins, and Saint Paul de Vence.   They are medieval walled villages located high up on the peak of a hill.  In Eze we lunched at the Eagle’s Nest, a small restaurant at the very top with little eating areas nestled between the rocks.

The phlebologue was a must visit for me.  These doctors treat spider veins easily and inexpensively.  I was able to get an appointment shortly before our departure!

The trip was ended with a visit with friends near Lucerne, Switzerland.  They have four-year-old twin boys.  One is very social like his mother and the other a more serious thinker like his father.   We arrived Halloween evening and the family was hosting a big party for their neighborhood after the children went trick or treating.  The more serious boy did not want to participate in the party but wanted to play chess with my husband, Joe!  The next morning, when the boys were asked what they liked most about Halloween, Louis replied,  “Trick or treating” while Henry said. “Playing chess with Joe.  But he ate my queen!”

What a great end to a wonderful trip!