Power Dressing Par Excellence

My congratulations go out to actress Renee Zellweger on her most recent accolades and awards for her portrayal of the iconic Judy Garland. Also worthy of accolades is Zellweger’s personal style. The confidence she conveys through her style choices merits our consideration.

As seen in the February 24, 2020 issue of People magazine, Zellweger’s Oscar gown is a study in self-assurance. The sleek one-shoulder custom gown by Armani Prive in white brought attention to the woman wearing it, not to any fussiness in the details of design. Zellweger’s choice of a single chunky David Webb diamond and rock crystal ring worn on the index finger of her bare arm likewise was a confident and powerful choice.

Let’s face it, however. It is much easier to bring the wow factor to a wow event like the Academy Awards. The real test of power dressing is in circumstances where one cannot (or should not) be dressed like too much of a diva.

In this ensemble pictured in the February 10, 2020 issue of People, Zellweger shows us how it’s done. She is wearing red – the ultimate power color – in a head-to-toe pantsuit ensemble. The designer is not identified. Notice the lace detail at the flattering neckline of her blouse and the matching red shoes. Also note that Zellweger again wears a single chunky ring on an index finger, declaring this as a signature jewelry look. This is power dressing par excellence.

Style in the Age of Disposable Fashion

There’s something almost too easy about finding something to criticize about almost any particular look, whether it’s something we put together for ourselves or something put together by a professional for someone who is photographed for a living. Issues of fit are always major concerns. The color might be just a little off the wearer’s best hues, or the accessories aren’t as thoughtfully chosen as they might be.

It is with joy, then, that I propose to focus in 2020 on the stellar looks presented in the pages of the fashion magazines. At a time when social media makes so much of fashion whatever an influencer chooses (or, far too often, is paid) to wear, I suggest we look at the choices made by individuals who have a savvy sense not only of what is fashionable, but also of what is flattering to the wearer.

Flattering to the wearer does not come along all the time, by any means. Much fashion is pushed out to the public for their considerations. Fresh designs and new trends need time to imprint on the public. Some is inherently not flattering – and indeed, some fashion is purposely meant to make a statement that has nothing to do with making the wearer look good. Message fashions are an entirely valid choice.

To emulate a designer look on a budget is certainly an option. The cheap disposable fashion cranked out by some retailers serves a useful purpose in that manner, but these clothes are not the foundation of a stylish personal wardrobe.

With this background in mind, today I celebrate the fashions of Dior as modeled by actress Olivia Wilde in the February 2020 issue of InStyle magazine. The design of the jacket is complex but accentuates her every curve. The size of the hound’s-tooth print relates to the size of her features. Her retro hairstyle has volume and shape to match the volume and shape of the jacket. This is the photo of style so well done that it will never go out of style. Brava!

Find a Moment of Beauty

Every year I would wrap up my jewelry blog at TrulyJewelry.com with a montage of recently published photos of exquisite jewelry. This year I wish to bring the tradition here.

Think of these images as a gift to the visual senses, as seen in a collection of diamond earrings and ring adorning the very design of  the word “GIFT” on a page of the December 2019 – January 2020 issue of Harper’s Bazaar.

Consider the workmanship in gold, enamel and precious stones in a necklace from Bulgari pictured in the November 2019 issue of C California magazine.

Imagine the in-person visual impact of whole-ear diamonds that stretch from the cartilage all the way to the lobe from Cartier pictured in the November 25 – December 8, 2019 issue of New York magazine.

Revel with me in the color combinations of the ring designs from Pomellato pictured in the November 2019 issue of Town & Country.

And finally, marvel at the perfection of a ruby and diamond necklace from the high jewelry collection of Harry Winston pictured in the November 2019 issue of Elle Decor.

I have a pretty little magnet on my refrigerator with a suggestion I’d like to share as we head into the New Year, with all its promise:

Find a moment of beauty and linger there a while.

Softness Personified with Jewelry

Here’s an example of styling perfection that brilliantly uses jewelry to focus attention on the soft womanliness of the wearer.

The model in the Neiman Marcus ad has big round eyes, a small nose and ears, lush lips, and fair coloring – blonde hair and hazel eyes. She wears a cream-colored sweater of textured yarn that invites touch. Her look is soft, warm and approachable.

Further emphasizing the softness of the look is the beautiful pearl jewelry she wears, from design house Yvel. Fresh water pearls of luminescent peach and golden hues encircle her neck and wrist and dangle from her ears. The pearls are reminiscent of her pillowy lips and round features. The colors suit her perfectly.

There are designers creating all manner of fabulous jewelry at all price points. Choose for your jewelry wardrobe jewelry designs that draw attention to and highlight your best features.

The Making of a Memorable Look

The introduction of the fall/winter collections is, for many, the most exciting time of year from a fashion perspective. The heat waves of summer soon to be behind us, the prospect of dressing stylishly and comfortably in layers beckons.

Here’s one example of how to combine a number of the season’s trends flawlessly: boots, slacks, a slouchy textured sweater with a turtleneck, a cross-body bag, and stacks of bracelets. The visual look of the multiple bracelets echoes the folds of the pushed-up sleeves of the sweater. The look is comfortable, practical and wonderfully chic.

There is something reminiscent of Jackie Kennedy in this look, as she was known for wearing white slacks, and the model’s thick side-swept tresses are reminiscent of the former First Lady’s hairstyle.  This styling appears in the August 2012 issue of  Town & Country.

Wearing white pants tucked into knee-high boots requires slim calves. To adapt this look if you don’t have the long, slender legs of a model, wear slacks in a dark hue combined with flats or booties (the latter especially on-trend this season) in the same color as the slacks to give you the longest possible visual line.

Styling Perfection: Nuances of Color

Every so often I come across a photograph of a fashion styling that stops me in my tracks. Savannah Guthrie, NBC-TV’s Today‘s new anchor, looks phenomenal in this photograph published in People magazine, wearing a dress by David Meister and earrings by Kimberly McDonald, styled by Stacey Kalchman.

The color of the dress is perfection with Guthrie’s eyes, bringing out their arresting color. The vee of the neckline of her dress is an ideal depth, coming to Guthrie’s first balance point. The subtle weave of the dress repeats the nuances of color seen in Guthrie’s hair, the warm yellow being a near-complementary color to the blue hues.

And the earrings — if you ever wonder why I encourage my clients to seek the perfect pair of earrings, here is a demonstration of why. The colors of the earrings pick up the hues from Guthrie’s eyes as well as those in her hair. The shape of the earrings subtly reflects the vee neckline of the dress. The center stone is an eye-catching natural beauty, full of mystery and nuance. The earrings sit on her ear lobes in an appropriately professional style, bringing attention up to Guthrie’s face. And the diamonds surrounding the center stone add a touch of dazzle, the perfect accessory for a rising star.

Watch for opportunities to attend jewelry trunk shows, where you can see the full line of designs and colors from a designer. Try on different designs and observe what styles are most flattering to you. If you’re not sure where to start, engage the services of a professional image consultant to help you determine your best colors and to point out the nuances of design in your own person. It is those nuances that make you individually and beautifully you.