Category Archives: shop, shopping, stores

What to Wear: The Conundrum of Petites, Plus and Tall Sizes

According to a New York Times online article by Stephanie Clifford last month, "As doctors and public health officials encourage Americans to slim down, the fashion industry is embracing Americans as they are. Both mass-market stores like Forever 21 and Target and expensive designers like Elie Tahari are deciding the fattening of America is a big business opportunity, and are reinvigorating a market that had faltered during the recession."

Well that’s all well and good but they have got a long way to go! The average American woman is a size 14. Most clothing designers cater to what they feel is aspirational and  trendsetting. It’s all about illusion and fantasy and not much about reality at all. Most designers don’t think about what will sell when they put pencil to sketch pad–they are thinking about a collection that will get them great PR and that will put on a great "show". The problem is that the buyers who attend fashion shows "buy into" these sterotypes and the result is a lot of unrealistic fashion trends popping up in stores every season that flatter only a minority of women.

Couple this issue with the fact that plus size clothing is very expensive to manufacture for a variety of reasons so retailers shy away from them completely. With Petites and Talls, even though they are viable markets, there is apparently not enough money in them to make designers and stores take note. Many department stores shut down their petite departments and stand alone stores that used to cater to petites including Petite Sophisticates are out of business. There was a Tall Girls store in Virginia nd that too shut down even though I know many tall women who shopped there. So what are we to do, those among us who are non-standard (and increasingly becoming the majority)?

In my work as an image consultant I see women of all shapes and sizes and I see my role an empowering them to embrace and learn to dress and flatter their size as it is NOW. We can all look great in your clothing if we learn the tricks of figure flattering. Yes their are hard to fit statures/sizes–plus, petites AND talls.  I’m 6’1" and a healthy size 6 and because I am in the business of image, fashion and wardrobe I know what looks great on me and how to wear mass market clothing that looks like it was designed for my super long frame (with the help of a tailor often).

But just like there are plus sized petites, there are plus sized talls and these are the most challenging to address because the plus size market offerings are so limited. It would be wonderful if designers catered to ALL frames but they don’t. And everyone assumes tall women have it easy but whether thin or plus or in between we have the same challenges as petite women finding clothing, often harder because you NEVER see ‘talls’ in department stores.

All sizes and statures can be beautiful –we just need more options period! I hope other designers start to cater more to the plus size market in particular and that stores like J Crew, J Jill, Victoria’s Secret , Talbots and Eddie Bauer etc. continue to serve all sectors of the woman’s market. 

The Image Diva, Elan Image Management, image consulting

Advertisements

Élan Image Management is pleased to introduce the ‘New Year, New Gear’™ Teleseminar Image Coaching Program

Have you been dreaming of a new you for 2010? Have you made a commitment to invest in yourself this year and to create the space for real transformation? Are you tired of being stuck in a wardrobe rut? Do you long to learn how to shop smarter and actually have fun doing it? Do you want to step up your presence on the job and ‘walk the talk’ of a woman who is truly dressed for success?

The ‘New Year, New Gear’™ Teleseminar Image Coaching Program was specifically designed for women, as an ongoing image coaching program providing wardrobe consulting, style refinement, empowerment, fun, accountability and image transformation…all from the comfort of your home! Each month, for an entire year (or 6 months) you will receive; a private one-on one image coaching session, a complimentary invitation to a coaching teleseminar, weekly e-mail exercises, insider access to resources and affiliates, discounted admission to wardrobe bootcamps and other events sponsored by Élan Image Management and much more! Get ready for a year full of education, empowerment, fun, fabulousness and most important, transformation!

Program Benefits:

•    Image Transformation: the more engaged you are the greater the transformation
•    The secrets of dressing to impress
•    Affordable and clever ways to optimize your wardrobe
•    Support banishing the negative self talk that keep you from looking fabulous
•    Learn the techniques to creating a wardrobe full of clothing you absolutely love
•    Tips and tricks to dress age appropriately
•    Access to tools and resources to aid your image transformation
•    Learn how to shop smarter not harder and find joy in shopping
•    Help with purging your own closet so you can make room for your new, ‘smarter’ clothing choices
•    Insider access to experts in image, fashion, beauty and design
•    Help goal setting with respect to your image. What are you trying to achieve this year?
•    Step by step guidance to keep you looking stunning throughout the year
•    The ongoing guidance and coaching from wardrobe/style expert and certified image consultant, Natalie Jobity

The program also includes:
•    Free audio (MP3) of all coaching teleseminars
•    Plenty of opportunities for Q&A
•    A new you, for a minimal monthly investment!
•    And SO much more!!

For more details and to register visit the Teleseminar page

What are you waiting for? Get your image in gear this year by signing up for this transformational, empowering and fun coaching program! REGISTER NOW .

The Image Diva, Elan Image Management

Affordable winter clothing options for College Students

I got a question from a friend about what to buy for Winter for her college attending daughter who is in Iowa where Winters are cold and wet. Thought the questions were great for any Mom facing similar situations so will share her question and my response!

Question

Hi Natalie, I wanted to get a little advise from you about getting essentials for my daughter this fall/winter season. She has a few sweaters already, but needs to get boots and a couple coats and jackets. What do you recommend that she get that is practical but yet still stylish. I know that the girls like the tall boots, but I’ve been advised to get waterproof winter boots for her, especially for the cold, wet winters in Iowa. What about a couple cool outfits for hanging out, apart from the ones she’d use to go to classes in. I realize that winter clothing can be quite expensive too, so I’m looking for affordability.
I know you won’t steer me wrong!

The Image Diva Response

There are SO many boots to choose from this season!! Everything you can possibly want. She probably needs a waterproof pair but those come just under the knee too. They aren’t the cutest boots but they’re practical. Then you can get her a stylish option for when she’s more indoors–with a little heel and some jazz. For hanging out layering is great. Get her a few cardigans in varying lengths in fun colors to layer over fitted T’s or shirts. Banana Republic has some classic wrinkle free shirts in different colors–great for layering or stand alone. Pencil skirts are very in fashion–every girl should have one, and at her age, above the knee, maybe in corduroy. She can wear with black tights and her new cool boots.

For jackets, longer lengths are in style now like the classic blazer, but with the sleeves rolled and a more relaxed look overall. That would be great paired with jeans. Try Naturalizer for affordable boots and Banana Republic for good clothing at decent prices or New York and Company/  or Express. For more of a bargain you need to shop @ Marshalls or TJ Maxx. Burlington Coat Factory has great options for affordable coats in a variety of styles.

The Image Diva, Elan Image Management

DC Scout Keeps the City’s Fashionistas in the Know and Celebrates its 2-Year Anniversary

Last night I had the pleasure of attending the second anniversary celebration of DC Scout at Barney’s Co-op in Georgetown. I had the opportunity to chat with its founder Zoey Rawlins and Editor in Chief, Janet Bennett-Kelly just before the event kicked off. DC Scout, the weekly fashion/beauty/style newsletter offshoot of the Washington Post, is the definitive go to source for the city’s fashion conscious women. With over 50,000 subscribers and counting in just 2 years, it underscores the fact that women (especially the 35 and younger crowd) are hungry for information, tips, resources, the latest trends and beauty scores and insider happenings in the Nation’s capital, which is fast becoming a real fashion destination.  Professionally, as an image consultant and personal shopper, I rely on sources like the DC Scout to keep me abreast of new designers, stores and services that I can then recommend to my clients.

Tim Gunn was quoted last year on a recent visit to the city as saying that there is no fashion in DC. And as much as I love ‘the Gunn’ I think he hasn’t taken a close look lately at the changes amiss in his old stomping ground. Just judging from the hundreds of fans, subscribers and shoppers at the celebration last night of mostly women, one thing is very evident; there is a surge of fashion and fashion awareness right here in DC and it’s only going to get bigger and better. These women were not only well heeled (pun intended), but fashion savvy, creative and bold in their ensemble choices, edgy, chic and everything in between. And guess what? Not a whole lot of black in view. So refreshing, and just another sign that this new crop of DC women are trying to make their own very distinctive fashion statements. Loving it!

Information sources such as DC Scout play a critical role at this juncture in solidifying DC as a fashion destination and getting ‘word out’ about all things fabulous and fashion related in the city. The readers and subscribers depend on it. And even in today’s fiscally challenged economy, there is no shortage of events, sample sales, trunk shows, store openings (and closings), fashion shows and fashion fundraisers to report on. After all, women still want to look and feel good and attend events with like-minded women who share their passion for fashion. DC Scout is relevant, relatable and reliable as a go-to guide, grounded in its solid start from Shop DC, which Zoey founded because she saw a need for a destination guide for women visitors to the city. DC style enthusiasts are a ‘sticky and hot target’ that the Post could not afford to ignore, according to Zoey. So using the same formula that made Shop DC a success, Zoey was brought into the fold. Two years later, DC Scout has grown and evolved into a valuable augment to the Washington Post’s style editorials, targeting the savvy and often affluent fashion conscious DC metro area woman.

According to Janet Bennett-Kelly, the newsletter prides itself on appealing to all tastes and price points: from the Tar-get shoppers to the Barney’s Co-op designer bargain hunters. As Janet astutely noted, looking good is not just about spending a fortune on designer clothing but on being a savvy and informed shopper and knowing how to effectively mix ‘high and low’ fashion in your ensembles. I love the DC Scout embraces that notion and I second it!

I asked Janet and Zoey what was the next logical frontier for DC Scout. We had a lively discussion about new media, social networking and creating a communications vessel where sound bites and valuable information could be communicated to readers using the latest in social media technology, while continuing to capitalize on DC Scout’s strengths of timely, reliable and relevant fashion, beauty and style information. Hmmm..sounds like something very cool could be in the works soon.

I am confident that as communications and media channels expand and evolve, that in the capable stewardship of Zoey Rawlins and Janet Bennett-Kelly,  DC Scout will continue to keep us in the fashion loop and leave its mark on DC fashion and style.

 Happy two-year anniversary DC Scout!

The Image Diva, http://www.ElanImageManagement.com
DC style, DC Scout, Fashion, Shopping, Washington Post Style, Personal Shopper, Barneys Co-Op, Designers

 

Sale @ DVF.com

Readers,

Check out the sale items at http://www.dvf.com (and of course you know that stands for Diane Von Furstenburg!). Like the Peyton Wrap Dress in Black:a classic black wrap dress with short sleeves in a clean and crisp poplin. Perfect silhouette to create that hour glass figure. And for those days when you don’t need to even think about what to wear. Just add accessories and go! On sale for $262.

v\:* {behavior:url(#default#VML);}
o\:* {behavior:url(#default#VML);}
w\:* {behavior:url(#default#VML);}
.shape {behavior:url(#default#VML);}

Normal
0

false
false
false

EN-US
X-NONE
X-NONE

MicrosoftInternetExplorer4

/* Style Definitions */
table.MsoNormalTable
{mso-style-name:”Table Normal”;
mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0;
mso-tstyle-colband-size:0;
mso-style-noshow:yes;
mso-style-priority:99;
mso-style-qformat:yes;
mso-style-parent:””;
mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt;
mso-para-margin:0in;
mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt;
mso-pagination:widow-orphan;
font-size:11.0pt;
font-family:”Calibri”,”sans-serif”;
mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri;
mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;
mso-fareast-font-family:”Times New Roman”;
mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-fareast;
mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri;
mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;
mso-bidi-font-family:”Times New Roman”;
mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-bidi;}

D7564260p9?$thumb_x8$
This is also cute. The Alondra dress in navy and white chevron print with hip pockets:

v\:* {behavior:url(#default#VML);}
o\:* {behavior:url(#default#VML);}
w\:* {behavior:url(#default#VML);}
.shape {behavior:url(#default#VML);}

Normal
0

false
false
false

EN-US
X-NONE
X-NONE

MicrosoftInternetExplorer4

/* Style Definitions */
table.MsoNormalTable
{mso-style-name:”Table Normal”;
mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0;
mso-tstyle-colband-size:0;
mso-style-noshow:yes;
mso-style-priority:99;
mso-style-qformat:yes;
mso-style-parent:””;
mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt;
mso-para-margin:0in;
mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt;
mso-pagination:widow-orphan;
font-size:11.0pt;
font-family:”Calibri”,”sans-serif”;
mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri;
mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;
mso-fareast-font-family:”Times New Roman”;
mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-fareast;
mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri;
mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;
mso-bidi-font-family:”Times New Roman”;
mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-bidi;}

D7513515j9?$thumb_x8$

 Now $297

 

Grab the designer steals when they’re on sale!

The Image Diva, Elan Image Management

CJ Jeans by Cookie Johnson: Fit to Flatter Curves

Dear Readers,

Finding the perfect pair of jeans is a challenge for so many women. Which is why when I get an opportunity to ‘test drive’ a new design that sounds appealing I’m there.  So I was so thrilled to attend the launch of Cookie (Magic) Johnson’s launch of her new jean line: CJ at the Tyson’s Nordstrom’s last Saturday.

First the jeans. Because I am over 6ft tall, finding jeans with a 35+ inseam is virtually impossible. So I went with an interest to see how the jeans fit me to make the appropriate recommendations to my personal shopping clients but not thinking they’d be long enough for me! When I met Cookie and she asserted the length would be perfect I was definitely skeptical. So I picked out two pairs to try on—the skinny jeans (Joy) and the straight cut (Faith).

The skeptic had to do a double take. The Faith pair was not only the perfect length for Amazonian me, but the fit was unbelievable—like a glove. In a dark blue rinse with details befitting a designer brand: a rhinestone-embellished button closure; the Signature ‘CJ’ embroidery on the back pocket; the red silk lining on the inside pockets and the inside waistband with the word ‘Faith’ embroidered across the back.  I was exceptionally impressed.  And the ‘to die for’ fit (a 14” high rise in the back and a respectable 9.5 inch rise in the front) in a cotton/poly blend that felt so light and comfortable to wear. I was blown away. Here is the evidence front and back:

The next pair, the skinny ‘Joy’ jeans, was made out of a heavier fabric, with a slightly lower rise overall. It fit great too and looked amazing. But truth be told, I am not a low rise jean gal and that was a smidgen past my comfort point. But all the same attention to detail as the Faith was there.

Cookie was wearing her boyfriend style—‘Love’ and she looked awesome. Here is the pair on Nordstrom’s site:

There is also a bootcut stretch ‘Grace’ that comes in white for summer (yes!).

Models were on hand posing to show shoppers what they were in store for and women were excitedly trying on the jeans. My friend tried on 3 pairs but being a petite with an inverted triangle figure, the jeans did not do her justice. Which lead me to conclude that the jeans are really most flattering on taller women with ‘a bit of booty’. According to Cookie, the jeans are cut fuller in the thigh, rear and hip to accommodate women with curves, and have a much higher rise in the back to avoid panty peek a boo. All (except the boyfriend and cropped style) have that super long  35” inseam. For me, slam dunk!

Cookie herself is delightful. She is engaging, approachable and really down to earth. She humored me with my request for multiple photos and spent time to talk to me about her design aesthetic. 

I asked her about the design names, ‘Faith’, ‘Love’, ‘Grace’, ‘Joy’. And she smiled as she explained animatedly her spiritual core and how it was essential for her to convey a message rooted in a faith she so firmly believes in. She also pointed out that it was important for her to pay attention to the little details in the construction of the design and to ensure the jeans felt soft against the skin. Hence the silk lining on the waistband in her signature color, red.

Cookie also shared that her desire to design jeans was sparked by nothing more than not being able to find jeans to flatter her figure. When I asked if she had other designer aspirations, she shrugged nonchalantly and replied that she really isn’t trying to be a designer. She wanted to fill a need for herself and by so doing help other women too. If anything, she may branch out into slacks (for women with curves) but that is far as her designer ambitions go at this point.

The CJ jeans are currently being sold at Nordstrom department stores and will be on racks at Bloomingdales and Neiman Marcus in the fall. The launch is still brand new and you can see and feel the excitement of the budding designer all over. Cookie was smiling the whole time. I wish her every success!! And I’ll be back to buy my pair of Faith jeans very soon, now that I’ve test drived. Every girl needs a few pairs of perfect fitting jeans.

© The Image Diva, Élan Image Management

What’s New @ Elan Image Management?

Dear Readers,

Since I started blogging on tips, perspectives and advice on image, presence, wardrobe, branding  and fashion, I have been a fervent writer—until now that is.  I had an accident just over two months ago that fractured both my wrists leaving me virtually incapacitated for weeks. Typing was out of the question. I am still on the mend, doing physical therapy but I am going to recover fully!

It is tough for me not to be able to write—an activity I truly love—and to share with readers of my blog, columns and newsletter. But one of the lessons I believe I am supposed to learn from this experience is patience, in addition to taking time to ‘escape’ mentally and emotionally from my business so that I can recharge and blossom with new ideas. I had no choice but to STOP for three weeks. The e-mails piled up, the to-do lists got increasingly longer, but I had to give my wrists the time and rest to heal. And as I accepted my situation, and listened to my body, when it was ready, I slowly started getting back into the swing of things.

I learned other important lessons too. That good people truly care and want to help and see you succeed. And there is support all around, sometimes where you least expect it. My Mother provided support only a mother could and good friends (especially Maurice and Terri) were there for me in tangible, surprising ways. This was (and still is) a delightful epiphany.

In two and a half months a lot has still happened with Élan, in spite of the injury disruption. The company has been getting more local media attention, participated in a couple of events, given presentations to groups, performed wardrobe makeovers (go Karon!), shopped for clients and continues to service women individually with our many offerings —the heart and soul of why I do what I do.

In addition, I am gearing up for my own event on Sunday June 7th, ‘Tweak Your (she)ic tm’ Image and Beauty Lounge at Hotel George with a mission to empower women by making them feel and look good while raising funds for Suited For Change to support their many programs to help low income women get rehabilitated and back into the workforce. I’m working on the web page and promotions and I am excited to share all the deets with you soon. It is going to be a distinctive, hip and of course chic event.

I’m also going to be interviewed this week by Ion Media Networks for their Metro Magazine broadcast. This is a local emmy award winning public affairs program broadcast in Northern VA, MD and DC. I can’t wait to kick back with my girl Tanya and talk shop!

And I’m scheduled to do a Makeover video in the next couple of months. More to come!

I’m also on Twitter! Follow me @TheImageDiva.

Lot’s happening. And I am so blessed.

© Natalie Jobity, Élan Image Management

The Elan Blog is 3 Years Old!

Dear Readers,

 

I’ve been blogging about image, fashion, wardrobe, style and all things fabulous for THREE years! Hard to believe how fast time flies. April marks the 3 year anniversary of the Elan Blog and I wanted to take a quick trip down memory lane about some of the topics I’ve blogged about:

  • Fashion do’s and don’ts
  • New Trends
  • Celebrity Face-offs–who wore the same dress better and why
  • Fashion icons-Michelle Obama etc.
  • Defining your personal style
  • All about color and how to wear it well
  • Developing a brand YOU
  • Accessorizing
  • Embracing your body and figure
  • Wardrobe advice
  • Organizing your closet
  • Bargain shopping
  • Dressing for interviews
  • What’s hot
  • I’m lovin…
  • Where to shop for what
  • What’s your signature style
  • Celebrity fashion and commentary
  • Projecting an authentic image
  • Fashion designer spotlight
  • Professional Presence
  • Fashion events in the DC metro area
  • My Musings on style, fashion, and whatever happens to be on my mind..
  • And SO much more

I wish I could blog each day, truly, because I have no shortage of things I can talk about. But you know when I do blog, you are getting real content and advice and not ‘fluff’–there’s enough of that to go around. I invite you to browse the archives for real content on a host of topics under the image umbrella.

My blog had been hit hard by spammmers so now leaving a comment is not as simple as it used to be. I truly apologize but the spammers won that battle. To leave a comment you need to register with your e-mail address. I would love to hear from you, my readers, but know how annoying it is to register. I’ll continue to work on that.

I have been dying to get you PICTURES of the hottest Spring trends I’m digging and I promise by next week you’ll have more eye candy than my mere words. In the meantime, here’s a picture of me that is over 2 years old but still on trend-the accessories, cinched waist, poppy red tunic and skinny jeans (cropped out):

Until then, here’s to purposeful presence!

The Image Diva, Elan Image Management, your go to wardrobe consultant

My Interview on Personal Shopping with DC Service Business Examiner

One of the newest career paths in the service industry is that of the Personal Shopper.

Spring is here and women want to look their best; however, many of us are not great at choosing the most flattering outfits for ourselves. Others don’t have the time and could use some coaching and advice.

I recently had the pleasure of interviewing fashion stylist and personal shopper, extraordinaire, Natalie Jobity, owner of Élan Image Management LLC

In the interview, she shared what to look for when searching out a personal shopper and she summarized what one should expect.

As interviewed by Cathy Green 3/12/09

Q – What type of woman generally contacts you? Who is your general client?

My clients come in all shapes, sizes, backgrounds, ages, ethnicity and income brackets. I have a pretty diverse clientele. Right now I am shopping for a young professional who has her first corporate job and needs to dress to impress. I have shopped for women in their 40’s who just feel they’re stuck in a rut and want a new look. I have shopped for women who needed help finding a look for a special event. It really varies. But the key is that the woman recognizes that she needs help with her look/image and is ready for a change.

Q – Why do they hire you as their personal shopper, as opposed to doing their own shopping?

Many women hate shopping quite frankly. And the rest get overwhelmed by all the choices and don’t know where to begin and need a guide (me). Still others don’t understand how to buy clothes to flatter their body. And many can shop for separates, but don’t know how to pull those separates into an outfit when they get home, so the items end up sitting in their closets. Many women really have a challenge coordinating and mixing and matching their clothes.

Q – What types of things do you, as a professional personal (PS) shopper, do for your clients?

It varies. For instance, I can work with a client to purge and sort her clothes before we go shopping. This is a great service because I can help her able to get rid of all the clothing that no longer serves her or her lifestyle so she has the ‘room’ to make new purchases that are more in synch with who she is evolving to be.

On many days I do what I refer to as my in-depth consultations, where I take a woman through a process where I help her define and understand her unique signature style, her best colors, understand the clothing she should wear to flatter and enhance her figure and proportions and so much more. Those sessions typically take 5 hours and helps me get an in-depth understanding of the woman and her clothing/image needs.

When specifically shopping, I am thinking of a few things: what does she need? What critical items are missing from her closet? What does she need more of? What new silhouettes will better flatter her? What colors and prints will make her look fantastic that she is not currently wearing? What body issues do I need to take into account that impacts where I shop (for example if she is petite)? What is she trying to project with her new look and what new clothes best execute against that?

If she is shopping with me I have a list of priorities and I hold as many of her bags as I can. I work with the staff or personal shopper in the store to service her needs. I make sure she stays within her budget and only buy things that further her image goals. And I teach her as we go along—I want you to try this item because of X…that sort of thing. I take advantage of all the services the stores have to offer and add my expertise as her image consultant so that when we’re done, she’s excited, delighted and a whole new woman!

Q – Can just anyone become a personal shopper or is there any professional training or certification required?

I stumbled into this career about 5 years ago and the moment I discovered it I knew it was what I was meant to do. It combined so many of my passions: fashion, color, helping people do better, accessorizing, coaching and using my creative talents. Yes there is specific training to be certified as an image consultant which I highly recommend for anyone interested in being a powerhouse in this field.

Design schools are great but there is specific training you can get as an image consultant which teaches you topics not typically found in most design school programs—for example how to do a color analysis on a client so you know what colors make them pop. If you google ‘image consulting’ training you will find many good trainers in the field. A good place to start is the AICI (Association of Image Consultants International) which is the premiere certification and resource association of image consultants in the US and abroad.

I am certified by AICI and got training in NY. many people have the misconception that if they can shop for themselves, they can shop for anyone but that is not reality. You have to have a very thorough understanding of the different body types and proportions in a client and how to dress them to enhance and improve their look, fabrics, designers, color etc. And you get that knowledge through study and certification and certainly having an innate eye for what looks great on someone.

Q – What should the consumer look for when searching out a personal shopper?

Does the PS understand their needs and the image they are trying to achieve? Did the PS take the time to get to understand their unique style, preferences and lifestyle needs? Can they trust this PS to shop for them so they look their best? Is the PS dictating the way they should look or LISTENING to the client’s words and cues about what they really want and like? Is the PS conscious and respective about their budget for clothing? Did the PS give them options about where they will shop and how they will shop for the client? Do they have a good rapport with the personal shopper? Can the PS leverage any relationships with designers/boutiques? What clients does the PS serve?

Q – Is there any difference in what you as a business owner does, as opposed to the personal shoppers found in large department stores?

Absolutely. I work independently and can shop for my clients anywhere I choose, at any pricepoint. In addition, my clients can come from anywhere. A personal shopper in a store is stuck shopping in that store with its particular selections and its price point. If the client cannot find what they like at that store, that PS can’t add much value beyond that. Also they are dependent on store traffic primarily for their clientele. They also get a commission on the sales they make so this can bias the advice they give their in store client. I don’t have any loyalty to any particular store and can choose to shop online, in stores, boutiques, discount outlets—the sky is the limit. BUT, PS in stores are essentially free to that stores customers whereas my clients have to pay to hire me as their PS.

Q – What general advice would you offer to a woman who cannot yet afford to hire a personal shopper but who needs to bring her wardrobe up to date?

I would first recommend my in-depth consultation so that she learns for herself how to revamp her image based on her body, goals, lifestyle and preferences. That is the equivalent of teaching someone to fish as opposed to fishing for them. If that is still over her budget, then I would recommend they use a PS in a DEPT store whose selections they like. That is free advice and service and it’s a good place to start, albeit somewhat limited.

There are quick and easy ways to update a wardrobe on your own just by adding new colors, fashionable accessories, coordinating clothes a little differently and making a few alterations to clothes you already own. For example the cinched waist is very popular this season. A woman can buy a new belt and that belt can be the foundation for many new looks—whether she chooses to belt her dresses, cardigans, jackets or a combo (a cardigan worn belted over a dress!). And that is just one tip. Again just by spending 90 minutes with a client I can change her whole perception of how she views her personal style and image and give her key takeaways so when she shops on her own, she has direction.

————-

Natalie Jobity, an image consultant/personal shoppper and President of Élan Image Management LLC, coaches women on how to look their best by helping them discover, define and project their own unique signature style and an image that positions them for success. Visit her website and blog at http://www.ElanImageManagement.com

Recessionista Inaugural Gala Chic

Dear Readers,

Even in a recession we want to look fabulous. But on a budget! As women frantically finalize their ‘what to wear’ outfits for the inaugural festivities, I thought it would be a great time to give the last minute shopper a few ideas for a fabulous outfit  for less than the price of most inaugural tickets ($200-$500). I scoured the web  for evening dresses under $150 and surprisingly came up with a few winners—some even less than $100. Nordstrom’s online was a common spot for deals, so next time you’re looking for gala wear, definitely check it out. Disappointingly,  Bluefly.com the discount designer haven came up short (literally) with few gala worthy dresses in my price range but many mini dresses for less fancy affairs. 

Next I looked for necklaces and clutches under $50 (we must accessorize ladies!) and earrings under $25, with the intent of a complete outfit for about $250. Shoes I decided could be an area where you skimp—what lady does not own a pair of gala worthy shoes already in her closet? So assuming you’re already well-heeled for the occasion, I focused on the rest of your ensemble.

Without further ado, here are a few of my favorite under $150 dresses for galas and evening wear.

For the woman with more conservative tastes–Adrianna Papell gown @ Nordstrom

The same basic gown but spicier! Adrianna Papell gown @ Nordstrom

A great bias cut skirt gown with an interesting square neck and thick straps (so you can wear a bra) also available in Size 16 for fuller figured in  great color–JS Collections square neck @ Nordstrom

Love Labels? This designer gown won’t break your budget -ABS gown @ Bluefly.com

Want some drama? This chocolate brown sequined halter with train from Faviana might be all you need. Available @ edressme

So elegant–This is a lovely one shoulder, goddess inspired dress and perhaps my favorite. Comes in purple too but who can resist this teal blue? From Nordstrom’s

This simple strapless dress is figure flattering with the added ruching on the side. And in ed you’re sure to turn heads. Available @ Nordstrom’s.

Want to add a statement making necklace, earrings or clutch to these gowns  to complete your outfit? Check out my frugal picks below. (Points if you don’t need to buy new accessories).

Black and White choker style necklace @ Chicos

Antique faux gold necklace @ Arden B

Black fringe bag from Armani Exchange

Black tiered necklace @ White house/Black Market

A great silver tone necklace from Forever 21

Add some pop to basic black with this red sequined evening bag @ ebags.com

Pearls are always classic and chic. And this drop style gives it a twist. Available at White House/Black Market

 

With earrings like these who needs a necklace? These picks get two thumbs up for great style at steal prices (under $25!)

Laquered flower earrings @ Forever 21

Teardrop shaped carved earring in antique gold. Very cool and they look expensive @ Forever 21

Need I say more? I want these! Totally fab! Rhinestone drop earrings @  Arden B

 

Mix and match any of these selections with your chosen dress for a glamorous and stylish look for your inaugural ball. For shoes, black, silver, matte gold or pewter would match any of these dresses. Here’s looking at you, you chic and fabulous woman!

The Image Diva, Elan Image Management