During our summer months, island breezes remind me of my native roots in South America, where beaches seem to make time stand still and sunsets linger. Natives on the beach, their glistening, golden bodies moving rhythmically to the beat of drums, created memories I will never forget. Their sun-kissed skin was hidden only by their handmade cover-ups known as sarongs. The luscious, colorful fabrics and intricate designs of their sarongs looked like art swaying in the wind. Though we may have strayed from our roots, Florida retains an ethnic flavor due to the mixture of beautiful people from different countries. Our residents introduce us to their customs and way of dressing. Floridians do not travel very far to enjoy their beaches, and it is no wonder the locals have adopted a laid-back attitude. “It’s five o’clock somewhere,” is the unofficial motto in a state where people work hard in order to play hard. We prize the mild temperatures and outdoor lifestyle, so sarongs are perfect for Florida life.
Boating communities, tourists on cruises, and weekend warriors spend much of their recreation time on the water. Swimming, surfing and other aquatic activities require a wardrobe consisting of a bathing suit and cover-up. Going from the water to a restaurant or grocery store is easy by draping and tying a sarong. If you can tie a knot, you can tie a sarong. Gone are the days of stopping by the house to change before your next event. A sarong makes it possible to transition easily from day to night. This large, rectangular piece of colorful fabric is handcrafted, resulting in a variety of patterns and styles. You may wear your sarong as a cover-up by wrapping it around your waist, as a bandeau dress by knotting it around your bust, or as a halter dress by wrapping it around your bust and tying it around your neck. Sarongs are not limited to Summer. Try using one as a scarf over a blazer for additional warmth during chilly nights, or as a shawl over a sleeveless dress in the evening.
The sarong is one of my favorite pieces to take on vacation. It is lightweight and folds neatly, saving valuable luggage space. Sarongs are a one-size-fits-all solution when you need a cover-up that is both functional and stylish. The sarong can take you from play to fine dining or dancing with the addition of the right jewelry and shoes. With so many patterns, colors and fabric choices, you become your own designer, making it easy to find one that matches your swimsuit.
FOR THE HOME
Island breezes do not have to end with Summer on the beach. You can enjoy the tropical feel year- round by using sarongs in your home decor. They can add color, texture and ethnic flavor to your surroundings.
For versatility, try using sarongs as window treatments, table runners, or throws. Sew them to make pillow covers. When having a dinner party, fold your sarong in thirds and place on the edge of your table, creating one long colorful place mat, or hang and tie on your gazebo for a colorful partition that is useful for blocking the sun and adding privacy. Draping, folding and simple sewing can turn your home into an island oasis to be enjoyed all year long.
The way we dress communicates volumes. Our choices say a lot about our style and how we feel. An all black outfit without a touch of color, jewelry, or any type of accessory may feel stuffy and dark, while the same outfit with turquoise jewelry or a purple scarf may feel very elegant and fashionable. Versatile colorful accessories can be used over and over again and can be worked into many seasons.
Winter is the perfect time for layering fashion pieces for warmth and style. When weather gets gloomy, cold or rainy, dressing in fun colors brightens anyone’s day. For a fashion boost, invest in a colorful wrap. Keep one in your car for those times when the restaurant or office is cooler than expected.
Spring is a season that inspires me to make room for summer or vacation clothes that are brighter in color and lighter in fabric. Temperatures are perfect for spending more time outdoors to enjoy emerging vegetation. Remember to keep a bright colored wrap or large scarf in the car for those chilly nights.
Summer means steamy days and nights make it ideal to vacation on the beach. Beach or resort wear gives you the opportunity to have fun and be creative. Colors should be bright – electric bright. It’s a great time to use our creative license and take chances.
Fall is my favorite time of year because colors become deeper and fabrics richer. Scarves are the most economical way to add a pop of color. A lightweight scarf worn under a business jacket adds color to a boring suit. Heavier scarves provide warmth on cool mornings or evenings out with friends.
Adding color to your wardrobe does not have to break the bank, focus on a few key pieces. A colorful hat punches up last year’s blazer. Bright colored boots can be worn with thick colorful tights under a sweater dress. A rap in an unexpected shade can be layered over a plain sweater or favorite jacket. Relax, get creative, and start to communicate with color. Those of us who love color know the power our favorite color can have on our mood, energy and confidence. When planning your outfit start with color first, it’s a guaranteed mood lifter.
Model: Sunny Mucha
If you think you are too old to become a model think again. Look around at all the advertisements and you cannot go one day without seeing seniors photographed as active and healthy with a thirst for life. Whether it’s the medical community, a builder advertising luxury condos, or a cruise line showing grandparents having the time of their lives, it’s no wonder that mature models are in demand.
To get ready for a successful new career as a model take good care of yourself. If you’re guilty of spending too much time in the sun, eating a poor diet, smoking or drinking it’s not too late to make changes. Get enough sleep, rest and try to avoid stress. Pay attention to posture, which is very important as you age. Avoid extreme diets. Also, develop a regular exercise routine that includes stretching. Consult a doctor before starting any exercise program.
In my book, Modeling at Any Age, I wrote about seniors and their role as models in our commercial market: “The media keeps us informed of new discoveries about what to eat and what to avoid. Exercise keeps us physically and mentally active. A strong faith and the love of family and friends have a positive effect on how long we live and how healthy we are during those years. The emphasis is not on looking young, but on being healthy and having a fit body, being the best you can be at any age…
Prudent advertisers know this and use healthy, attractive seniors to advertise to other seniors. Seniors relate to ads targeted at them, they want to see themselves represented. After all, an eighteen-year-old yacht pilot or some baby-faced kid posed in front of a mansion is not realistic. This is one of the largest growing groups in advertising, not just for denture creams or over-the-counter medications, but for more glamorous bookings selling cruises, new homes, art, investments and many beauty products. Why should skincare and cosmetics be limited to the young? Many seniors focus on better nutrition and on improving their looks, being more active and in better shape then some of that are decades their junior.”
Anti-aging products continue to pop up in the market because baby boomers refuse to age the way their parents did. Mature models are used in all aspects of modeling, especially commercial print. They are portrayed as attractive, healthy and affluent individuals who now have the time and means to pursue their dreams. So vast is the demand for the over-40 model that agencies such as Elite, Ford, Wilhelmina and other smaller agencies have divisions for older models.
Modeling at Any Age is a step-by-step, comprehensive, easy-to-read guide for modeling and how to flourish in the industry. For information on becoming a model or actress or to purchase my book please message me.
Concept and jewelry: Ro Martinez Rimes
When I think of couture, I think of wearable art that can instill a feeling or emotion. After introducing designer Valentino, Oprah said, “It’s like wearing art.”
Creative designers welcome each season by unveiling their collections on the runway or wearable art. Their new styles, colors and silhouettes inspire you to put together a career wardrobe that is both fashion-forward and appropriate for business – or any event that calls for conservative or professional dressing. This inspiration is easier to find than you think and can come from all around us but specially from the runway. Use of the same fabric, color or featured detail allows you to gain the flavor of the original couture piece in a way that is more appropriate for your lifestyle.
Couture refers to custom-made, designer clothing and is used as an abbreviation for haute couture. Haute couture is French for “high sewing.” It refers to made-to-order, high quality clothing, usually created from fine fabrics and with great attention to detail, by leading fashion houses. Haute couture is high fashion – expensive, exclusive and trend-setting. In France, haute couture has a stricter meaning. Only design houses that meet specific criteria are allowed by law to use the words haute couture on their labels.
A career wardrobe must be conservative but by no means boring. No longer confined to black, brown, or navy blue suits, women have more flexibility. What better way to attract attention then with color, texture and the shape of their fashions? Look to the runway for ideas. A well-fitting tailored red suit worn with a neutral colored blouse is now perfectly acceptable in the business world. Today’s woman can wear bright colors, shorter skirts, and lower neck lines that in years past would have been labeled as scandalous.
Jacka Saldana, our featured designer shared, “Today’s women are always on the go, leaving little time to spend on our appearance for work which has an effect on how we feel about ourselves and eventually our self esteem. Therefore, I took a gown and turned it into a Business Couture piece that works for most professional women. My Business Couture line will also include a full line of colored fabrics that are stylish with a professional look that will make any woman feel beautiful and empowered throughout the day.
Accessories play a very important part in making you feel polished. Having an edge in this competitive business world will help you land a lucrative job or boost your success if you are a business owner. One chunky piece such as a pin or necklace is better than a few very small ones to draw the eye up to your face holding your client’s attention longer. You can mix metals, textures, and styles for a unique look. Your grandmother’s vintage broach worn on a lapel can be paired with gold or silver hoop earrings. Wearing your business outfit for an evening event or date is as simple as transforming your look with an attention-getting headband, hairstyle or dramatic makeup.
Look at designers as the visionaries they are. From piles of fabric and notions, they visualize and create frenzy in the audience as a result of their designs. Couture dressing, recently thought of for brides only, is not a lost art. One-of-a-kind dressing is more affordable than you think, and well-fitting garments that you have a say in designing are just some of the reasons that you should consider. Some designs, such as clear vinyl pocket jeans exposed more of your bum than necessary, never became popular. Others, such as bell-bottoms, shirtdresses and Diane von Furstenberg’s iconic wrap dress, made history. Perhaps you will pick a trend to incorporate into your wardrobe that will be around for years to come. Until next time, be fashionable!
Model: Xiomara Velez
Fashion: Jacka Saldana of Jacka Designs
Hairpiece: Dolly Donshay
Makeup: Ro Martinez Rimes
It is not unusual for women to have hectic schedules and go from daycare to work, and then off to the grocery store and a dinner date all in the same day. Having a purse that can perform a variety of functions is a way of simplifying our daily routine. No one wants to carry a cute purse plus a tote bag for the items that do not fit, such as baby wipes, reading glasses or hand sanitizer. As business women, models, moms or students we must rely on our purses to hold everything we need throughout the day.
Ask any mom and she will tell you 24 hours is simply not enough to do the things she needs to accomplish in one day. Purses must double as diaper bags and do triple duty as overnight and laptop bags. A good structured bag with compartments is as important as quality. Moms need bags with pockets on the outside as well to keep track of their keys, cell phones or often used items.
As a businesswoman, I know the importance of being organized. My bag has to be large enough to carry my files, laptop or other electronics I may need to keep track of my meetings. Large is not the only criteria; the bag must also be padded to protect my electronics and have a comfortable adjustable strap for business trips. On my list of requirements is that the bag be attractive and not too heavy to carry.
Young people and the not-so-young who have returned to school need a purse or backpack that fills many roles and must be roomy enough to carry books, electronic equipment, pens and pencils, calculators and the list goes on. My son had a teacher who graded students on organization and she performed regular checks on the students’ bags. The more organized the student was, the better they fared in her class. The proper bag can help you stay organized if it has compartments that are easy to reach. Since students are rough on their bags, durability is one factor to consider.
Since I find myself traveling on a regular basis for both business and pleasure, I have tried many types of bags. I use a black diaper bag with interior and exterior compartments as my travel bag of choice. The bag makes finding my passport and reading glasses a snap. Before you make a purchase, considering everything that must go in your travel bag: wallet, passport, reading material, lightweight sweater, snack and more. Other bag options are a duffel bag, tote bag or backpack. Your travel bag does not have to match the rest of your luggage, have fun while keeping function foremost in your mind.
When going on a date, you may choose a bag that is stylish and more fashion forward than any other bag. This is the only time you do not need to worry about compartments and the size since you will carry just a few items like a lipstick, powder, cell phone and keys. You will also need your license, credit card and a few dollars for tipping the valet. Beaded purses lend themselves beautifully to these occasions and are my favorite.
Fashion means different things to different people. But one thing is for sure, a fashionista who loves a good bag will put an entire outfit together around her purse. What is of interest to them is that their purses have style, color and stand out. As a model, I know firsthand what is needed when booking a print job, runway or any other type of modeling job. I strive for beauty and function in a large bag.
Enjoy your quest for the perfect purse and if you cannot decide between one and the other; why not get both? Some of us collect shoes, others purses!
“Larger bags continue to serve as double duty. No longer do women need to carry a purse and an additional bag to hold our laptop or iPad they have become a fashionable trend in every color which allows us to go from work to a night out on the town. Because the heavier load we are housing in our bags, designers are creating a stitch that is stronger and attaching sturdier straps. We can honestly say that our electronics have become as important to us as our makeup bag.”
~ Sandra D, Fashion Stylist
While it looks easy to be a working model, the modeling field is very competitive and requires much hard work. A model must be multi-dimensional. He or she prepares for each booking or job by spending hours on grooming, wardrobe, traveling and more. Michelle Owens, stylist and owner of Wicked Threads said, “First impressions are so important. If you have a great outfit that looks professional and makes you feel confident, wear it! You want that confidence to shine through in any interview.”
TOP FIVE STRATEGIES
Natural beauty is a small part of one’s appearance; a model must also rely on current and stylish clothing. A good sense of style depends less on how much you spend and more on proper fit and how you coordinate and accessorize. Grooming is important because clients are unwilling to do business with someone who is unkempt. Simplifying your grooming routine will help you get out the door looking your best.
Crystal Lockinour, hair and makeup artist said; “With advanced products and tools, creating a beautiful look is easier than ever.”
Being late to an audition can cost the model the booking. An industry slogan– If you’re on time you’re late. Models are expected to arrive 15 minutes early to allow for signing in. Punctuality is essential and displays your reliability.
Having more knowledge means having an advantage. Research before an audition will help a model know the targeted audience, how to select the proper wardrobe, how to pronounce the name of the prospective client and how much energy is expected.
There are models that lie about their measurements (reducing them) and their height (adding inches) to impress an agent or a client. Once your credibility is questioned, regaining trust is very difficult. Honesty is always the best policy.
A true professional has the proper tools and demonstrates the above attributes. Models must have the right photos, training and a good talent agent. They utilize tools that also apply to many other industries: makeup, cell phone, computer, printer, luggage, proper clothing and reliable transportation.
Focusing on all of the fine details can seem overwhelming, but attention to these details aid in making that positive first impression, thus bringing in more business. A good reputation is worth its weight in gold. Other important business strategies are mentoring, organizational skills, communication, networking and having a good business plan.
Photo by http://www.angelamannphotography.com
Hair and Makeup by http://www.destinyandlight.com
Wardrobe and accessories by Megan Simons of http://www.pippapelure.com
For me art is creativity without restrictions, a necessary outlet. Art can inspire, bring joy to your surroundings and add color to your home and office. If you don’t think art has an influence on you, think again. Art hanging on hospital walls is meant to have a soothing and calming effect to help patients recuperate and reduce anxiety of those families in waiting rooms. Restaurants spend a great deal of money researching the colors that are proven to increase appetite. It’s no accident that many restaurants use red in their artwork and décor – a color known to increase appetite. Art, just like music, can actually change your mood. If you have a stressful day, sitting down with your favorite sound track in front of the right art can calm you down. Music therapy is used in the health care profession and is clinically proven to aid emotional and physical well-being as well as social functioning.
What does art have to do with fashion? Plenty! Picture art and fashion merging to create one-of-a-kind pieces. These pieces are considered wearable art, where function meets creativity. The way you dress says a lot about you. Are you an introvert, extrovert, artistic, casual, formal, or person who is fashion savvy? These things have less to do with income and more to do with style and the way you coordinate your outfit.
The Haute Couture pieces you see coming down the runway worn by tall, thin models during New York Fashion week, in Paris and other locations are meant to inspire and help produce the ready-to-wear versions you eventually see in department stores. After a major fashion show others are inspired by the style, silhouette or color of designer’s line. How can you use one-of-a-kind runway pieces to inspire you to create a more conservative version? One idea is to adapt the dress to create something for your body type and lifestyle. Creating a ready-to-wear version of artful costumes worn on the runway can be as simple as using the same color or as complicated as trying to create a pattern in the same silhouette, fabric and accessories.
When it comes to art there is no limit to what the imagination can dream up. From painted canvas to mixed media of glass, metal, fabric and recycled materials, artists use their talent to turn these otherwise basic materials into unique treasures. Some create sculptures from marble, metal, wood or clay. Designers create their own art using fabric, notions and accessories.
Designers are creative people who go for the wow factor. Most of us would not be able to wear their artistic vision. Instead we can wear our own adaptation or interpretation. Go out and be inspired by art, from beautiful paintings hanging up in art galleries to the dramatic garments on the runway. It’s about developing a style by taking bits and pieces and combining them in such a way that is fresh, and most of all, you!
HOW ART AND RUNWAY INSPIRES OTHERS
“My inspiration can come from different things. Colors and shapes that surround me play a big part of my inspiration. Lately I am working on combining different materials like marble, steel, glass, stainless and more. My pleasure comes from finding expression and characters and experiencing the sensitivity of the materials. When working with a client I provide them with a sketch and I am in constant communication with them before starting and during the creative process. I have a vision but when you are the artist (which takes years to develop) you know what you are doing to be able to create fantasy. My art is 80% to 90% me and the rest a clients input…” Mark DeWaele, Artist
“Art plays a big role in inspiring my own personal style. For example, when I see a piece of art I automatically envision an outfit that expresses my inner creativity. It could be the shape, color or texture of the artwork, but it always provides a theme for my outfit. Finally, when the whole look comes together I feel as if it forms a piece of art in itself.” Becca Seiler, Model, Hairdresser and Designer