Was This Designed for Another Body?

Yikes! This outfit is made for someone else’s body!

You have this great new outfit. Then you notice that it doesn’t look quite like it did in the dressing room!

Fit! It can make or break your image. In reality, few people can walk out of a store with a new garment and have the perfect fit. Each of our bodies is unique. None of us has the perfect proportions to match those used by a designer. Each brand of clothing uses its own design specs which explains why one brand will fit you beautifully and another will not even be wearable. You may have chosen a beautiful garment well styled for you but it doesn’t look great on you. It is probably fit. This is when you check with the alterations person and see if it can be adjusted to fit well and if the alteration are cost effective.

Some of the most common fit issues are:Too tight–Too loose in certain areas–Sleeves too long or short–Sleeves are too tight or too loose–Pants have pull lines, especially in the crotch area–Proportion is not flattering to your build.  Notice how much better the right image on the bottom  looks with some fine tuning.

This suit does not fit! The shoulders appear to be too wide and the sleeves are too short. Obviously, the skirt on the left is too tight. And we haven’t even seen the front!
This looks more like a bath robe than a dress. It is too    blousy and makes the wearer appear pounds heavier. I would suggest something more tailored to give her a stronger, trim looking vertical line.
These pants pull in the rear. The rise is too short. This cannot be altered to fit properly so take care in choosing jeans and trousers that fit your rise.

It’s Officially Fall!

With fall officially here, I am getting fashion magazines featuring new fall clothes that are arriving in the stores.  I was really disappointed to see Vogue flooding the pages with plaids in every iteration.  It
looked more like a magazine for lumberjacks to choose their wardrobes to transition into cooler weather!  The lumberjack look has a place–think hunting,  cutting trees and many hardy outdoor activities.  Fashion for every day is a bit of a stretch.

Plaids give an outdoor image.  The larger the plaid, the more masculine it looks.  Plaids work very well for the person with a square jaw when appropriately sized to your features but they are not flattering for rounded features.  Most of the garments that I noticed would have been appropriate for a Bohemian look but not serious daily wear.  I can’t imagine wearing these selections to work unless you work in a very casual setting.

There were a number of various sized check as well.  I mean like one often sees in an Italian restaurant in red.  Do you want to look like the tablecloth in a pizza restaurant?  Even if the check is black and white, it still reminds you of a tablecloth!  Carolina Herrera, known for her beautiful refined, feminine clothing, featured an evening dress in about a 1″ black and white check.  Wouldn’t you feel more appropriate at a picnic?

You will be happy to know that there are many other choices to help you choose the right look for you.  Wisely, the buyers for the stores chose more wearable pieces that do not represent the extreme choices of Vogue.  Lets here it for the buyers!

Images from Saks.

What’s in Your Wallet (oops!) Closet?


What’s in Your Wallet (Oops) Closet?
Most people wear only 20% of what is in their closets.  That is truly shocking.
Are you a 20%er?
My daughter called me a week ago very excited. She was going to a girlfriend’s and going shopping.  It was Sunday and most of her favorite resale shops were closed so I was a little puzzled.   Then she explained that she was going shopping AT her friend’s home in HER closet!  Her friend had accepted a new position across the country and was selling her large home.  One entire bedroom had been transformed into a closet, affording additional space for her other large closets.  She was inviting friends to come and help her eliminate hundreds of pieces of clothing.
But they were so cheap!

What a great adventure!  But then my image consultant ‘s heart took over and all I could think of was, “How could she possibly wear all those clothes?”  “Wouldn’t it just make your head explode to have hundreds of choices each day?”  How much money is wrapped up in items of clothing that might get worn once a year – or not at all?”

That is an extreme case but working in many of my client’s closets I find similarities. Many of my clients are avid shoppers.    Put the word SALE in front of that and you have catapulted the adventure from enjoying the fun
 shopping to a buying frenzy.
I was going to wear this where??
One of my clients had a huge closet full of clothes, many of which looked just like the next item.  She had found a certain looks that worked very well for her but the need for 15 similarly styled tops is questionable.  Another client had over 10 black wool skirts but she tended to wear more casual slacks to work, leaving these beautiful skirts hanging, unworn, in the back of her closet.
Then there is the client who just loves a sale without analyzing how the garment looks on her.  It may not be a good color or style for her, but it was such a bargain!  Unfortunately. This garment will usually hang in the closet with the tags still attached.
When we moved from a large home with custom walk-in closets, to our condo, I was confronted with having to scale back my clothing to fit two much smaller closets shared with my husband.  We recently installed closet organizers and I now have one of those closets to myself.  I realized that I don’t need lots of clothes.  I only need  well-chosen key basics and a wide variety of versatile accent pieces.  Each of these is in my color palette and coordinate with other pieces.  They reflect my individual style, fit perfectly, and will take me to any event from theatre, casual, important business meeting or other occasion.    The good news:  I never have to spend time in my closet wondering what to wear!

What’s Your Favorite Basic Color?

What’s Your Favorite Basic Color?
I received a call from a client last week asking for guidance in choosing the best color for shirt and tie for an important interview.  Since he works in the tech arena, the basic dress for work is jeans and a polo shirt.  However, even this casual environment expects candidates to up their game for an interview.  Since this is a question I frequently am asked, I thought I would share a few guidelines to help you choose your best look.
Black is the most frequently chosen basic color.  It is strong and powerful-the ideal color to convey an image of power–a great choice for a CEO leading an important meeting but not so good for an interview.   Black is a complex color that sends different messages.   We associate black with grief signaling withdrawal but that can also apply if one is under pressure to finish big project and simply doesn’t have the energy to wear colors.  Black is a good basic if you have very dark hair and/or dark skin but you will appear more approachable using a colored blouse or shirt.   Notice the models pictured above.  The burgundy blouse keeps a business look but brings lightness and softness toward her face.  The man has a more relaxed appearance with light slacks and blue shirt.  Blue is an excellent shirt color, flattering to most people regardless of whether they are cool or warm toned.
Gray is an excellent color for business.  The lighter the shade, the more casual it appears while a charcoal gray which has black added, becomes more powerful and formal.  Gray can be accented by most colors.  Since it is a combination of black and white, it projects compromise, especially in the lighter shades.  It is a wonderful choice to wear into a situation of conflict.  You appear to be ready to negotiate.

Brown has an earthy vibe and is a good choice for people with warm toned coloring.  The addition of black to the brown fabrics makes it more formal business.

Navy blue is my all-time favorite as a wardrobe base color.   Blue is the most universally liked color.  It has a psychological impact of success and spirituality.  We “shoot for the moon” and “reach for the stars” and God is in the heavens.  Navy is formed from blue and black together, giving it the positive attributes just mentioned while adding the power of black.   Thus, navy is a strong business image yet is approachable.  Most all colors complement navy.  Whether, pink, red, orange, yellow, lime green, light teal or lilac or raspberry, you will be able to wear many of your best colors with navy.
Oh, the client who needed some help in his interviewing attire.  He had two job offers, one being the job he really wanted!
Beryl Pleasants
Style With Aplomb

Does Everyone Really Need a Little Black Dress?

As long as I can remember, fashion articles have promoted the concept of the LBD being the most important item of clothing in your closet. I’m not totally in agreement but the concept definitely has merit.

My LBD is actually navy. Black is too harsh for my fair skin and blonde hair while navy blue is one of my best colors and is an excellent basic color for most anyone. If your hair is dark, black will probably work well for you. If black is not a great color for you, choose a neutral color that brings you many compliments and that will work coordinate with many other items in your wardrobe.

The ideal LBD is a simple design that flatters your figure and fits beautifully.  I have chosen an example with cap sleeves, making it a bit more appropriate for a business setting.  This dress could be worn without a jacket or sweater in the office for a less formal look.


Just keep in mind that your LBD should be one of your best basic colors. Then coordinate accent pieces with each other so they can be worn interchangeably. You now have a core wardrobe to take you anywhere with only 7 pieces. How easy is that?

Reflecting on Thanksgiving



img_1853After enjoying a quiet Thanksgiving last week, my husband and I decided to take advantage of the unseasonably beautiful weather and drive up to north Georgia to visit Gibbs Gardens. Our Sunday School class has taken several excursions there but we had never been able to go. What an amazing surprise!

Jim Gibbs, of Gibbs Landscape in Atlanta, built the Manor House where he lives in the midst of the 220-acre property and oversees the operation.   We arrived at the peak of the Japanese maple color. These beauties are located in the Japanese Gardens section that was so reminiscent of our fall visit to Kyoto many years ago. Mr. Gibbs plants 300 new maples each year to make sure there will always be new trees to maintain the beauty of the park.  img_1848 This feature of the park is the largest Japanese garden in the world — even larger than the Japanese gardens in San Francisco.   An exact copy of the Monet Bridge in Giverny is a beautiful focal point over one of the water features.

Each section of the park features blossoms typical for one season. Spring daffodils will begin blooming in March and extend through April 15. There are over 20 million daffodils (that’s Million with an “M”) with 100 varieties, blooming through this period.   I can hardly wait to see this display of spring beauty.

Reflection on the pond.
Reflection on the pond.

As we wandered through the paths, we were simply overwhelmed by the beauty of God’s creation. How fortunate we are to live in Atlanta where we have such an abundance of natural beauty! And, each season brings a new panorama for us to enjoy. It is a welcome time to pause and give thanks for those things for which we are grateful before jumping into the flurry of holiday shopping, parties and other activities.

Next week we will talk about what to wear for the holiday parties.

Let’s Talk Proportion!



Big is not always better! Over-sized purses have been the dominant style for the past several years. We’re talking BIG! Although it certainly is convenient to be able to throw your sneakers in your purse along with work that has to be taken home, and anything else that will fit. Of course, that adds to the weight you are carrying around resulting in trips to the chiropractor.

During the spring runway events, we saw designers abandoning the oversized handbags and shifting to smaller ones. I, for one, am delighted to see this shift. Handbags should be in proportion with the wearer. That one accessory can throw off your entire look. Imagine how a tiny little purse would be adorable for a petite five feet tall lady who wears a size 2. Then again, it would look absurd on a lady who was a size 16 and six feet tall.  Proportion is a key element to consider when choosing accessories or patterns.


Of course, size is but one of the many factors one needs to consider when choosing the perfect handbag. I like to carry one basic purse most of the time. For those of you who change out purses with different outfits, I congratulate you! When I try to do that, I nearly always discover that I have failed to transfer reading glasses, wallet, lipstick or one of the myriad items that I often need when out and about. Thus, a basic purse needs some forethought before taking the plunge to buy.

The tote is roomy and user-friendly. The down side is that everything settles at the bottom so retrieving car keys or lipstick in a hurry can be challenging. Most totes do not close at the top. These purses are easy pray for pickpockets. We were in Italy a few years ago, waiting in line for a tour bus when I saw a hand in my tote. I jumped and exclaimed, the man quickly moved away but it still gives me chills. Fortunately, I had zipped my wallet and travel documents inside interior pockets but this is not an experience I would want to repeat.

Versatile clutch.
Versatile clutch.

Clutch bags are great for evening or dressy occasions. It is difficult to juggle a plate of nibbles and a drink but there is room for necessities. I like the little clutch pictured with the handle. It appears to be a little larger and more versatile than many.

Classic shoulder bag.
Classic shoulder bag.

Shoulder bags give you the freedom of using both hands. I especially like the short shoulder bag because it can be kept close to the body giving better control and security.  I recently found a bag like this with a detachable longer strap to use as a cross-body or long shoulder strap. It is a good scale for me and the color will go with most of my wardrobe. I can easily access my cell phone and can get the majority of what I like to carry to fit. Is it perfect? No but if you ever find the perfect purse, let me know!


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.


Treasure Hunting out West


Cyndi - probably everything she is wearing is from resale!
Cyndi – probably everything she is
wearing is from resale!

We recently went to Las Vegas to visit my daughter, then on to Southern California. It was a wonderful trip but, of course, the highlight was time with daughter Cyndi. She took a position in Las Vegas about a year and half ago and this was our first visit. She has bought a home—very southwestern with desert type of back yard, big patio even a date, lime and pomegranate tree, each loaded with fruit. Of course, there is a pool.

Cyndi is a passionate resale shopper and since Mother’s Day and my birthday had recently passed, the agenda was to take Mom shopping.

Shopping resale is more like a treasure hunt so it takes a different mindset.

Take an inventory of what you have in your closet before shopping. You want to take an inventory every few months anyway but it is especially important before shopping. Note the incomplete items you have. You may have just retired a top but love the bottom that you wear with it. In resale shopping there will only be one of a kind. Items may have been altered so the fit might not be true for the size. The great delight in resale shopping is when you find that garment that you absolutely love, it fits and it is a tiny fraction of the original price. Cyndi just sent me a picture of a Dior skirt she found for $38. How cool is that?

We went to six different shops, each with its distinctly different personality. It seems each owner draws certain clients so each shop takes on a unique style of its own. In one shop I especially liked, I tried on a dozen different things, ending up with all the sales staff getting involved. What fun!

BCBGMaxAzria treasure
BCBGMaxAzria treasure

I ended up getting an adorable red jacket by BCBGMaxAzria.   Great color and so different from anything I own. I loved that it is beautifully made with functioning buttonholes on the sleeves! I happen to have a navy pencil skirt and light weight knit shell that will be perfect with the jacket. I can hardly wait for the weather to get a bit cooler so I can wear it! It had been priced at $70 but the owner gave us a 30% discount. The other piece I found was a Lulu Lemon warm-up jacket that was new with tags. It had just come in and was half price from the retail shop. Perfect for our daily walks in cool weather as well as wearing to yoga class when the weather gets cooler. I appreciated having it at the beach in Orange County where the cloud cover kept temperatures very cool. What a delightful birthday/Mothers’ Day!

Dior Sunglasses
Dior Sunglasses
Silk Tommy Bahama shirt
Silk Tommy Bahama shirt

Cyndi had to go back to work so we traveled to Southern California where we visited friends and then spent three days in Newport Beach. Again we visited two resale shops that we used to visit each summer when we had a time-share in Newport. Both shops carry men’s wear which turned up some great shirts for Joe and I got a light blue leather jacket and Dior sunglasses.

Resale shopping can be such fun! It’s all a matter of choosing only those garments that fit you, look great on you, and fill a need in your wardrobe.


You Can Be Beautiful, Even at 100!


Jane at the stable with the manager. Notice her boots!
Jane at the stable with Ross, stable manager. Yes, she rode and had her horse Nugget. Notice her boots!  She was 93.

My Aunt Jane passed away at 100. She was my favorite relative in the whole wide world and was like a mother to me. Jane was Daddy’s oldest sister; the only sibling who moved away from the Pacific Northwest. She chose San Francisco and later Palo Alto where she spent the rest of her life. I visited her when I was in high school and was in awe of how beautifully she dressed. Jane had made her clothes from the time she was young. By the time of my first visit, she was designing her own cloths, and taking them to her dressmaker in San Francisco to execute the construction—a practice she continued until she was 95 and had to stop driving.

Although I never knew Jane as a young woman, she was ageless. I never saw her without her hair done, wearing makeup, and being dressed attractively.   Even as she was in her 90’s, she often wore an attractive, colorful dressing-gown at home in her beautiful condominium. A broken hip ultimately confined her to bed but we continued our weekly phone conversations and I visited her every chance I got. Her hairdresser of many years now came to her home for her weekly hair appointment. My last visit was shortly after Jane had celebrated her 100th birthday. It was the first time I had seen her without having her hair colored:  snowy white and perfectly coiffed.   She was wearing a pink bed jacket, lipstick and even had her nails polished!

Becoming an image consultant was no doubt inspired by Jane. As we age, we may gain a few wrinkles and perhaps a few pounds but we become more beautiful as our wisdom from the years is manifested. It saddens me when I meet ladies who are more mature who deem themselves too old to bother looking their best. How many times I have heard comments like, “Oh, I’m too old to have my colors done” or some other iteration of that theme. Each age has its own special beauty. That is why I was so excited when a client recently contacted me and asked me to help her put together a core wardrobe using her color palette and her best styles. We met and discussed how using key pieces would provide a versatile wardrobe that could be interchanged giving variety while providing a polished look. We decided to work together in the fall to choose pieces for her fall/winter wardrobe. One of my suggestions was to select basics then add a jacket to provide a more polished look. I just saw a picture of her on Facebook from Easter where she was wearing slacks and a shell topped with a beautiful lime green jacket, perfectly complementing her warm coloring. She was beautiful! I can hardly wait to help her put together a functional core wardrobe that looks great on her and provides a wonderful wardrobe for her lifestyle!