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.

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!

Shoes Take the Spotlight in 2017

 

Let's go dancing!
Let’s go dancing!

Our grandmothers would be aghast seeing today’s shoes! If you have ever gone through old pictures and broken out in gales of laughter seeing the styles from the flapper era and before, you can understand why. Long gone are the days when anyone in the “grandma” category wore only a lace-up oxford with a sturdy 2” heel. Times have changed and women have become passionate about their shoes!

Combat Boot
Combat Boot

When my daughter was about 20 she used her last dime to buy a pair of black pumps with uniquely designed high heels – a very fashion forward concept at that time. When she called me to tell me that her car had been stolen, she was far more upset that the shoes were in the back seat than the loss of her car! Fortunately, the car was retrieved a few days later and more importantly, the shoes remained safely in the back seat.

Ready for a long walk?
Ready for a long walk?

Manolo, Louboutin, and Jimmy Choo lead the way to awaken client’s lust for new, off the charts designs, accompanied by matching price tags. By 2017, there are dozens of designers joining the trio.

This needs just the right dress.
This needs just the right dress.

This is great news for retailers. Clothing manufacturers have struggled for several years to make a profit but the popularity of designer purses helped fill the gap. Shoes have now replaced purses as the favorite added accessory. I appreciate many of these artful creations on other people but I still don’t get combat boots! If having one or more pair of these designs on your bucket list, go for it.Extreme business Just remember that you need to be able to wear them (how could they be comfortable?) and whatever you wear with them, must be subtle and allow the shoe to take center stage!

 

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.

 

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.

Spotlight on the Young, Fashionable First Lady to Be

Jackie Kennedy in her classic sculpted styles with pill box hat.
Jackie Kennedy in her classic sculpted styles with pill box hat.

When Jackie Kennedy became First Lady, fashionistas couldn’t get enough of what she was wearing.  She was only 31 when she became First Lady but she had an amazing sense of style for a woman of any age, let alone someone as young as she.   Of course she grew up in “blue blood” society but her sense of style was extraordinary.
Jackie’s skeletal figure was complemented by garments tailored as a pieces of sculpture; the perfect choice for her shape. Of course she was beautiful and poised, always presenting the ideal image for the First Lady. When President Kennedy traveled to France, she introduced him to the audience with her perfect French.  She had the crowd in the palm of her hand.

Classic and Tailored
Classic and Tailored

Our First Ladies have each had their own style and have played an important role in supporting their husbands but there is something special about a beautiful, young leader in the spotlight. The British love their queen but Kate and Will capture the majority of press.

Now we have another young – age 46 – and beautiful First Lady elect. Having been a model, Melania Trump understands which styles look best on her curved hourglass figure. And, just as Jackie Kennedy, it has not been her custom to shop at Target or Walmart. Melania’s wedding dress is reported to have cost $200,000!  Born in Slovenia, Melania  speaks six languages fluently. She follows Louisa Adams (1825-1829) as the second First Lady to be born outside the United States.

Worn during the campaign.
Worn during the campaign.

Now we will be waiting to see what Melania chooses for her inauguration dress. Michelle Obama chose unknown designers for her inaugural gown and other gowns, helping to launch their careers.   Based on her role in the campaign, I would anticipate that Melania will not seek to be in the spotlight but the spotlight will undoubtedly seek to be on her!

Let’s Talk Proportion!

 

Tote.
Tote.

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.

Duffle.
Duffle.

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.

 

As Seen on the Runways

 

405New York, Paris and Milan fashion weeks have given us a peek into what designers want us to wear in  spring of 2017.  Fortunately, we don’t have to wait until spring to update our fall/winter wardrobes.  Stores already have some of the future trends for you to buy this fall.  This week we have chosen some of these new trends that you may want to add to your fall/winter wardrobe .

As usual, the runways were filled with designs that push the limit.

Gucci lead other labels as the trendsetter. This bold style by Gucci reminds me of playing dress-up as a little girl.  For a little girl of 4 or 5, more is always better!  Need I mention the sunglasses? This pink plaid jacket could be a nice wardrobe addition but will be best on the lady with enough presence and scale to carry the large scale of the plaid and the jacket collar.  Plaid is always sporty – the larger the plaid, the more sporty while a small plaid is more refined. A blouse collar is best when it mirrors the shape of the jacket collar.   Otherwise, the lines conflict with each other.

Wide-legged, high waisted trousers.
Wide-legged, high waisted trousers.

Trousers with a high waist and wide legs are in stores now. It gives a refreshing break from the skinny jeans and will be excellent for a triangle build. Cropped pants and wide legs will not be as flattering if you do not have long legs. Straight trousers will give you a visually longer leg line.

Do you remember the exaggerated shoulders from the ‘80’s? They’re back!  Just look at the Gucci plaid jacket.

Have some fun with a jumpsuit.
Have some fun with a jumpsuit.

Stores are presenting a wide selection of jumpsuits for fall. You will have many choices for evening but there are some very attractive styles for daytime. Jumpsuits are quick and easy but fit can be tricky. Not only do you have the usual challenges with fitting through the hips, rise, and waist but you also need to consider fit through the back and bust as well as not being long or short waisted. Some alterations can be done but they might get costly.

Check out the stores for your favorite new trend to update your wardrobe.  Be sure to choose the one that looks fabulous on you!

Images from Saks.