Category Archives: icon

Oprah’s Finale Dress: On brand and On Point

Oprah has evolved into a style icon in her own right. She has found the perfect hairstyles and makeup to complement her features but more significantly understands how to dress to flatter her killer curves. If she has taught viewers anything about style is how to be comfortable in your own skin and look fabulous whether you’re an 8 (her smallest size) or a 16+. What I have always loved about Oprah is how she showcases her feminine sensibilities in understated ways and embraces color in its full glory. Who can rock yellow and hot orange better than Ms O? She wears every color under the sun and looks amazing.

For her show’s final episode, her complete look was a slam dunk. The well coiffed hair flipped up at the ends, the makeup to perfection (subtle smoky eye), her nude heels and THE dress. It was the perfect choice in my opinion. She chose a soft pink, silk dress from designer L’Wren Scott that was custom designed for her. Every detail from the chiffon belt off to the side, the wide scoop neckline, three quarter length sleeves, nipped in waist and just to the knee length, worked to enhance Oprah’s curvy figure. The fit–sublime. The effect–stunning!

The color choice was perfect. Pink as a color conveys softness, femininity, approachability, and warmth.  This was perfectly aligned with her core message in her final show-a show dedicated to her fans. She thanked them for their lessons and for letting her share in their journey’s but she also uplifted and inspired by using her own journey as an example. "There are no coincidences" she underscored. She shared that the past 25 years have been a divinely inspired master plan (led by God) that allowed her to use her stage as her platform.  She wanted her fans to takeaway simple  truths and the things she knows for sure from 25 years helping people live their best lives. Her look, her message, her persona were all aligned. I listened to every word.

 

Oprah, you are loved and your show will be missed.

 

Natalie Jobity, Elan Image Management, image consulting

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Elan Image Management, in Cinematique! Film Inspired Fashion sponsored by The Art Institute of Washington

I was delighted to participate in the Cinematique (film inspired fashion) gallery exhibit, presented by the Art Institute of Washington, created to help celebrate female film fashion icons by creating a contemporary look inspired by one of their iconic style scene stealers.  Stylists chose classic film icons like Audrey Hepburn in My Fair Lady to more recent stars like Angelina Jolie in Salt, providing a diverse and eclectic perspective of fashion in film.

All exhibits were displayed on dress forms with associated accessories and props with posters and profiles of the film and leading lady and a bio of the stylist/designer’s inspiration  prominently displayed on each wall. The presentation is superb and views like any museum class exhibit. I only wished there was more space to feature even more designs.

Natalie Portman/ Black Swan

As the most experienced professional stylist participating in the exhibit I created two looks:  The first from perhaps one of the most leading film fashion icons of all time, Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Audrey as  Holly is the epitome of classic elegance. I played with the idea of using the many black dresses she wears in the film as my muse. But instead of an LBD I wanted to do two pieces, a skirt and a top that gives the illusion of one piece. I also wanted to make it more dramatic while still keeping it sophisticated by playing with the idea of varying textures.

Audrey Hepburn/ Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Natalie Jobity, Elan Image Management

The top here is intricate, with a ribbed texture and a peplum like silhouette that upps the glam factor. The skirt is a pencil skirt with a fluted back and  I styled the outfit with the skirt worn reversed so there was more drama in the front . Again there is the play on texture, this time with an African lace fabric. The skirt is a collaborative creation by L~Shandi (a local designer who uses African lace as her signature) and I and the reversible skirt idea was birthed from dressing ‘Holly’ for this exhibit. This ensemble is a more modern silhouette that still pays homage to Holly’s style, while making her more obviously alluring. The texture adds creativity and drama to the look, in keeping with Holly’s character. The texture also reinterprets the pairing of black on black, but the look is still sleek and upscale. Accessories add panache and also remind us how much Holly loved her pearls.

One of my favorite exhibits was Foxy Brown in the movie by the same name. This outfit was styled by a faculty member and it is simply fabulous. Mod print in an empire waisted floor length jump suit is SO now and reflects perfectly the sensibilities of the Diva that was Foxy Brown. We all wanted to grab that jumpsuit off the mannequin!

Foxy Brown/Foxy Brown

Another stylist created a very girly/edgy version of Uma Thurma in Kill Bill. She chose to take creative license and styled a ballerina inspired dress (Tulle and all) with a belt with a real sword in a holster. So the ultimate in femme fatale—dangerously girly and completely unexpected. Dressed to kill is an understatement!

Uma Thurma/ Kill Bill

 

My second exhibit is inspired by one of my favorite movies of all time, The Sound  of Music with Julie Andrews as Maria. My inspiration for my ensemble is the heartwarming scene where Maria and the kids are out and about and she is teaching them to sing ‘Doe Ray Me’. She is shown wearing jumpers and full skirts of varying lengths in many of the outfits from this scene, and she is appropriately casual yet still so ladylike.

Julie Andrews / Sound of Music as styled by Elan Image Management

I wanted to update Maria and dress her in a casual, fun ensemble with the same sensibilities. My foundation garment is a pretty, polka dot, brown and white skirt with embroidery and eyelets at the hemline.  I paired the skirt with a fitted brown cotton/Lycra top and a white blouse, so the outfit had the feel of a jumper without being one. The blouse plays to the romantic sensibilities while the sleek top gives off a slightly alluring vibe—just enough, because after all, she is a former nun.  The straw hat and bag are well appointed to give her a polished, yet still effortlessly casual look. This is Maria, but a modern Maria, dancing and singing in the park with the kids, all girlish and coquettish…in 2011.

Natalie Jobity’s wall in Cinematique

The Cinematique gallery exhibit, presented by the Art Institute of Washington and organized by Tanisa Sharif, held its opening reception on Thursday April 21st showcasing the styling and design work of professionals, up and comers, faculty and students .  The small but very impressive exhibit will run through May 28th at Gallery 1820 at The Art Institute of Washington and is a must see for fashion and film lovers alike.

Natalie Jobity in front of Cinematique entrance

Natalie Jobity, Elan Image Management, professional image consultant

Developing your Unique Style–a Fashion Consultant’s Perspective

Style means knowing yourself and being who you are. It’s about being comfortable in your skin. Despite the occasion or the event the stylish woman seems to have that special charisma that commands attention. Confidence is the hallmark of having true style.

Fashion is a tool, a vessel even to express the innate sensibilities that distinguishes a true woman with style. Fashion is sporadic. Trends come and go and come again. There is little individualism in "fashion" –it is ultimately what is marketed to the consumer by designers, buyers and retailers. It is up to the individual to use fashion to showcase their signature style.

Coco Chanel is the perfect example of a woman who used "fashion" to create her own unique style and by her example, throngs of women followed. They could use her designs to project stronger more commanding and relaxed sensibilities that were unheard of before and by so doing express their own unique styles.

Clothes ultimately are just another layer of how we create and express ourselves which does not mean following trends. Style is what you put on that makes you feel beautiful, stunning and magnetic.

Style is not accidental. It’s comes from a deep awareness of who you are and the trappings you have consciously adopted to convey your persona to the world.
So if you want to get style, don’t look to fashion or designer brands—look within. To your innate preferences, tastes, and creativity.

The Image Diva, Elan Image Management, image consultants

Jennifer Anniston gets a sexy new look for Elle’s September cover

Ok folks I must admit it. I’m not a huge fan of Jennifer Aniston. Her acting is average at best. And honestly her roles are just different platforms for her to play ‘Rachel’. So never been too impressed with her movies which in truth, have not been the box office hits most will like them to be. And there’s her style. Its pretty basic–lots of black, jeans galore, a crisp white shirt, maybe a scarf nowadays, same hairstyle for years–straight blow out. Don’t get me wrong. It works. She always looks pulled together and effortlessly casual. And I can’t tell you how many of my clients consider her to be their fashion icon. But to me it’s just always been so predictable. Red Carpet–guess what Jen will be wearing? A simple classic black gown. Out and about and you’ll find her in a great fitting pair of jeans. Maybe a blazer, black of course. Predictable.

 

I like that Jen is down to earth, no frills and classic with her style, but I’ve always felt with her she was just playing it safe. I mean the same hair ALL the time? To me, it was just her ‘uniform’ and uniforms are boring.

 

So imagine my surprise to see a peek at her in the September cover of Elle, looking all…sultry and sexy. Yes, quite! Hair is curly and she instantly transforms into a sassier version of herself. Her makeup –a tad more than usual on the eyes (pretty!) and although she is rocking her signature black, its a leather BUSTIER! Wow! Jen has rarely flaunted her sexy /alluring side and she unquestionably has one of the best bods in the business.  On this cover and shoot she is flaunting it and I sure hope its the beginning of more surprises from her. Being close to 40 can bring that out in a woman–suddenly they realize ‘if not now when?’ and then they really start to rock it out. On the September Elle cover  I love her attitude and that mischievous twinkle in her eye. She is smokin’.

  

But that isn’t all! Check out these inside photos where she amps up the sexy quotient:

Yes we are seeing more of her breast than usual. Men the world over are going to swoon over this picture.

I want to high five her–for embracing her fabulousness and sexiness in a very tasteful way. You got it girl! Flaunt it.

The Image Diva, Elan Image Management

Elan Image Management on TV!

Even though it’s 6 weeks old I’ve finally uploaded my interview on ION Media Network’s Metro Magazine feature with host Tanya Dallas Lewis. I am very proud of this interview. The 20 minute segment highlights Elan Image Management’s mission and passion for empowering women: from the Mogul on the make to the Mom needing a remake.The interview shares my thoughts on the importance of image in influencing perceptions as we are constantly sending silent signals about ourselves based on our image. I share how I work with my clients, my target market and all the many services Elan Image Management offers. I loved talking about some of the women I see as great fashion influencers such as the First Lady, Michelle Obama who I do have a strong point of view about. So watch the video to hear about it!!

Thanks to Tanya and ION Media networks for giving me the opportunity to share with viewers what I do!

Video accessible here: www.elanimagemanagement.com/html/elan-at-work/metromagazine.shtml Enjoy and do send me your feedback!

The Image Diva, Elan Image Management, image consulting

 

 

Over 40 Red Carpet Stunners

My previous post showcased some of the best and worst fashions at the Met Institute Gala. But I don’t want you mistaken into thinking that looking fabulous  on the red carpet is only the domain of the 40 and under crowd. Not at all! As an image consultant, many of my clients are over 40 and all have the potential, latent or apparent to look amazing once armed with the tools. So many of my clients have had a complete 180 degree transformation after a 5 hour marathon consulting session –not just externally but internally as well. Because we all know it’s that inner confidence, poise, self assuredness and dare that truly makes a woman a knockout.

The more ‘seasoned’ women who graced the carpet of the Met Gala are proof positive. First Iman. If I’m not mistaken she is in her early 60’s and the woman does not look a day over 40. She is radiant, statuesque and downright gorgeous. Honestly it is my belief that age is just a number anyway, and I personally live by that principle. Iman is proof that rocking the carpet has everything to do with confidence, grace, inner and outer beauty and knowing what works for your body.  She ‘glows’ and by ANY standard is an image of beauty. Truly an inspiration.

The definitely over 60  and still iconic and beautiful Diane Von Furstenberg is another perfect example of this point. Here she is literally outshining Eva Longoria Parker (a stunner in her own right) by the ease and subtle magnetism she projects from her look. Her dress is simple yet elegant and perfect for her. She embodies feminine allure, no, she owns it.  Go Ms Diane!

There are more examples from the Met Gala, but let’s segue for a second back to the original point about 40+ woman looking fab. We have to look no further than the First Lady  to prove this point –whose style, by the way, is being refined and tweaked with every new appearance. At Tuesday’s Time 100 awards where she was a recipient she looks sublime. One of her best yet in my opinion. The sleek long black Azzedine Alaia  dress appropriately corseted to highlight her waist and the wide set spaghetti straps to anchor her strong shoulders and balance her hips—talk about a slam dunk? And the perfectly coiffed hair and impeccable makeup. My oh my. Mrs Obama continues to raise the bar.

 

The Image Diva, http://www.ElanImageManagement.com

Image Consulting, wardrobe plannning, personal shopper, Fashion Styling

Who is your Fashion Inspiration?

Dear Readers,

Fashion icons are icons for a reason. They inspire and encourage us to dare to make our own signature statements after their cues. Often when I am working with a client in an image consulting session to uncover their personal style, one of the questions I ask is if they have a fashion icon or someone whose style they admire. The answer is typically very revealing and helps the client crystallize who she aspires to be image wise. It’s a great question to ask yourself as you think about and try to define your own personal style.

Your fashion icon does not have to be a celebrity but certainly they come to mind more readily for most women. Your icon can be any woman whose style you admire, and would love to make yours. But to get you started, here are some celebrities who possess a signature style that is so distinctive, that they are all icons in their own right:

 

  • Audrey Hepburn. The queen of classic elegance and chic sophistication. Still the gold standard
  • Josephine Baker. A Diva ahead of her time who took fashion risks and bucked the system to make her indelible mark in fashion
  • Jessica Alba. Easy breezy, comfortable and understated. She always looks great but never goes over the top and has an amazing figure but prefers cuts that are less revealing
  • Sarah Jessica Parker. Very fashion forward and trendy. Likes to mix things up. Very creative in her ensemble combinations and very ‘girly’
  • Rihanna. Fresh, edgy and very fashion forward. Takes bold risks with her look that always pay off. Dares to be different
  •  Angelina Jolie. When she is in Mommy mode she sticks to neutrals and very clean flowing lines. When dressing up, she is typically in primary colors, simple silhouettes (typically long gowns) and always elegant (post Billy Bob)
  • Cher. Expect the unexpected. Very dramatic. Wants to be noticed. Very extreme
  •  Julia Roberts. Very classic. A lot of black gowns. Easy silhouettes. She looks amazing but you know she’s still comfortable
  • Jennifer Anniston. Effortless casual style—jeans and T’s with perhaps a scarf as an accent. Little  accessorizing and makeup with hair that is always picture perfect
  • Queen Latifah. A lady who embraces her body with such confidence that you do not care (or notice) what size she is. Always dresses appropriately for the occasion whether in a gown or more laid back in sporty separates
  • Marilyn Monroe. Allure, and coquettish sex appeal? Who did it better. Newcomer Scarlett Johansson is a close second
  • Beyonce. Bling and glamour all in one package. Beyonce’s style also epitomizes the woman who is not afraid of her curves and loves showing them off
  • Michelle Obama. Our latest icon. Conservatively classic with a touch of panache. Embraces color and loves clean silhouettes like the sheath dress. Poised and elegant

I think you get the drift. Each of these women embodies a style that is uniquely her own. What is yours?

Copyright: Natalie Jobity, Élan Image Management, image consulting. Author: Frumpy to Fabulous: Flaunting It. Your Ultimate Guide to Effortless Style

What Should Mrs Obama Wear to the Inauguration Festivities?

Dear Readers,

 

In just two days history will be made as the first African American, Barack Obama,  will be sworn in as the 44th President of the United States. The nation has been in  festive and celebration mode for days. With all the events to attend and balls and galas thart abound the Obama’s have been busy indeed. They are supposed to make an appearance (and dance) at 10 official balls on Tuesday. So what is a fashion iconic first lady to wear?? Designers worldwide have been sketching like crazy hoping she will select one of their designs. Will she? In two days we’ll all know what she wears. But I couldn’t help check out the options and choose my favorites for her.

 My absolute favorite design for a ball gown for her is this red stunner designed by Monique Lhuillier. Michelle Obama looks fab in red and this silhouette is fashion forward (one shoulders are very on trend now) and so in synch with her personal style sensibilities and her figure. This dress gets my top vote. Feminine, romantic, dramatic, figure flattering, Presidential, regal, stylish,  it has it all! Michelle if you want unforgettable, this dress is it.

For sheer drama this gray Christian Lacroix  gown is hot!  The design and construction of this dress is figure flattery at its best–the seaming at the waist and hem–very sexy. I even like the long gloves-it does not look promish or bridesmaid with this dress.  I also love the cape effect (lovin’ it in red or is that fuschia?) that she can take on and off depending on temps. And the body hugging silhouette will go against the grain of typical First lady inaugural looks. I’m all for that and Mrs O can rock it with her toned physique. Mrs O, if you wear this dress, every man will swoon that sets eyes on you.

 

 

I actually really like this Badgley Mischka gown. Its elegant and a bit more understated than the two above (except the fishtail hem does have a diva effect!) but a lovely choice for Michelle Obama. The bling in the seqined front is way cool and the plum color will act like a pretty neutral against her skin tone. For a ‘quieter’ presence, with panache, I like this dress. I would love to see her in a strapless gown as well to show off her strong shoulders! And it looks like it has a sexy back.

 

 For a more conservative look still, this Tuleh gown scores and is very close to the sheath silhouette Mrs Obama loves to wear. Understated color, design and silhouette, if Mrs Obama’s goal is to stay within the traditional First Lady inaugural looks, this dress nails it. And she will look tall and striking in it as well. Not a bad choice at all.

Of course Mrs O has many day time engagements to attend the next couple of days, most notably the swearing in on Tuesday which will be a highly documented media event. She has to nail her look for the swearing in which will be outdoors.

I love this deep blue cinched waisted coat design from Mr Lacroix (the face in the sketch is a dead ringer for Michelle) and I can already see her commanding this look. I love everything about it!! It will look great on TV, in person and she will have so much ‘Presence’ in an enseble like this yet still be a First Lady.  I say go for it Michelle! This will be a look for the style books.

The queen of feminine design, Ms Von Furstenberg designed this classic day look for Mrs O which I also think would be perfect for the swearing in. I love the burst of yellow (even in the height of winter) and its just so chic! Again she would be a knockout in this design–everything hee works for her figure and proportions and the occasion.

These are my pics for Mrs Obama. The world will find out what she chooses on Tuesday. I know we will all be staying tuned.

The Image Diva, Elan Image Management

Image Matters

Dear Readers,

Style, image, fashion may seem like supercilious topics but they are in fact important aspects of our culture, lifestyle and worldview. All the attention paid to Michelle Obama’s dress on election night was not just all fluff—her image now represents or reflects the image of women here and abroad. What the First Lady to be of the US chooses to wear and how she presents herself says as much about where we are as a nation as it does about her personal style sensibility! This image business is serious business. And because woman have more ways to express their unique signature style, they are under much more scrutiny than their male counterparts. Does anyone really comment on what President elect Obama is wearing? This is not so much sexism as it is realism.

Women are the style icons, the trend setters, the image makers because we have so much fodder to play with. Hair, makeup, accessories, dresses, suits, pants, skirts, blouses, shirts, all the colors of the rainbow, handbags, shoes-the list of choices are endless! And with those choices come responsibility. A responsibility to present oneself in the most favorable light and in a way that enhances one’s platform. And what greater platform can there be to make a symbolic image statement, than as First Lady? First ladies have an opportunity to effect change and to reflect change. First lady Jackie O is a case in point and is the most celebrated as a fashion icon.–the pearls, the pillbox hats (her unique signature), the hair, the sunglasses–she was the complete package. She was copied, admired and revered and her image played a huge role in her lasting legacy.

In a nutshell, image matters even when we aren’t conscious of its powerful messages. Look at how radically Sarah Palin was transformed in her short tenure as the Republican VP candidate– from her first public appearance in that awful tan and black skirt suit to her figure flattering black suit at the VP debates to that hot red suit with black boots out on the campaign trail. I think the campaign needed to invest the $150K they reported to have spent to rework her wardrobe and look. She even got new glasses. If anyone hasn’t already figured it out, Sarah Palin was much needed eye candy for the Republican ticket. We can debate till the cows come home about whether she had the smarts required for the job, but no one will contest the fact that she was one heck of a pretty lady and next to John McCain, her image trumped his every time.

Image matters to all of us, not merely those in the spotlight. I would be out of a career if people did not care about the way they look and their presentation. We live in a judgmental society that puts specific ideals of beauty on a pedestal and this absolutely impacts women more than it does men. Women need to care more about the way they look and the way they age because in this society we can be penalized for going against the grain and not keeping ‘our looks’ up.

Of course men must care too, but society is more forgiving of a man with graying or balding hair (he is distinguished, seasoned), or one who is unattractive by most standards (if he is competent, intelligent, funny). So there is a double standard, but at the end of the day, regardless of gender, if you look disheveled, un-groomed, haphazardly pulled together or like a ‘hot mess’, you’re in trouble. If your negative image speaks louder than the words you say, no one’s going to listen to you or respect you.

Take a look around at the people you admire and hold in high regard. Chances are you are drawn to them in no small measure due to the image they command which synchs up with their other strengths. That woman who commands attention when she walks into a room and when she speaks you cannot hear a pin drop? That is a woman in control of her image. Image matters. Whether you’re on Main street USA, Wall Street, 5th Avenue or in the White house, you better believe your image has power that can help or hinder your success.

© The Image Diva, Élan Image Management

 

Congratulations Barack Obama!

Dear Readers,

Whichever way you swung on the Presidential ballot, last night’s historic election was a nail biter until Barack Obama was elected the new President of the United States.  Historic on so many levels: the crowds, the record voters, the first black President of the US, a campaign where the people on both sides of the fence were passionate and caught up in a way we have not witnessed in decades. A true moment of pride for the US–where whether leaning Democratic or Republican, we all came out to support our respective candidates in droves and with such enthusiasm!

Seeing the crowds in Chicago’s Grant Park (all ages, colors and genders) and around the nation (and world!) watching  the results pour in was so inspiring. And then the final result–the cheers and tears, the songs and dances, the hugs and giddy celebration–the beautiful camraderie. My only regret is that I was not there too!. Many people’s hope in this great  nation has been enlivened. And yes President elect Obama  has his work cut out for him in the year ahead. But the feeling that finally, FINALLY, the wait was over, and that for most of us,  we could at least for a moment, breathe a collective sigh of relief  that the battle had been fought and won resoundingly by the ‘right’ man. A man who can inspire hope in a nation so hungry for a new vision, who has the character to engender trust among nations across the world, who can foster collaboration between Americans of all classes, races, religions and creeds and who is poised to make and be the change we so clearly need in this country now and in the world. An ambitious challenge to be sure, but if anyone can do it, it is President elect Obama.

Senator McCain supporters are certainly disappointed. And my heart goes out to them. But hopefully in time, and after the period of transition and adjustment,  they too can all rally with the rest of the country for a joint purpose and mission about where America needs to be headed, with President elect Obama as our leader.

In the next few months, what I know for sure is that change will surely come. And  I am excited by the prospect of what that means for me personally, and for my fellow Americans. Change is a true constant in life. Change means rebirth, renewal, reconfiguration, and most important possibilities! If we can all embrace that notion I am confident that this country can be headed in the right direction once again. In his acceptance speech last night, Barack Obama underscored that point: "It’s been a long time coming, but tonight, because of what we did on this day, in this election, at this defining moment, change has come to America."

Finally, it is with pride and great sentiment that I watched the new first family take the stage. A typical, traditional  American family in so many respects. The love, rapport, joy, humility, and pride on all their faces was so priceless. Moments like these are precious -history unfolding before our eyes and yet the composure and normalcy of their presence on stage was so reassuring and humbling. I’ll never forget it. .

Since this is a blog about image, I want to end with that–an image of President elect Obama and his family making their first appearance as ‘first family’. And doing so magnificently! (Loving Malia in that pretty red dress! We’ll get to Michelle’s in an upcoming post).

 

The Image Diva, Elan Image Management