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The summer months are often packed with weddings.  You can guess that I love to see the beautiful bride in her wedding gown surrounded by her bridesmaids.  Yes, it usually happens that I end up analyzing the design and cut of the dresses, the color scheme of the flowers, the flavors of the refreshments–I just enjoy every element that goes into such a special occasion.  Recently, however, my gaze was cut short, stopped still.  My attention was grabbed, hijacked by a tattoo on the leg of a bridesmaid.  Viewer attention always goes to contrast, and the lines, shapes, colors and pattern of the tattoo contrasted greatly with the color and pattern of the bridesmaid’s dress.  There was no way the eye could travel back up to her face.  I’ve noticed time and time again that tattoos on the neck, arms, chest, back, and legs draw a lot of attention to themselves.  Now that’s likely the intent, but at the same time I’ll wager that most people do not think of a tattoo as a pattern that conflicts with other patterns in their clothes.       

Be it the bride or the bridesmaid, the tattoo wins out!

 

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By Judith Rasband, AICI CIM and Dani Slaugh, Conselle Affiliate

 

Color Grouped Closet

Color Grouped Closet

I’ll never forget the woman who called me from California asking me if I’d come there to make sense of her closet.  “You buy the plane ticket and I’d be delighted to come,” I told her.  She did and I went.  She had told me she had a lot of clothes. Well, that was an understatement.  I teach about a closet being a “small room.”  Well this closet was a big, big room!  There was some sense to the way her clothes were neatly hung according to color on racks all around the room, just not good sense.  The variety of reds didn’t go with one another.  The blues, greens, and purple fought a battle royal, and so on around the room.

 

In this arrangement, my client couldn’t figure out which clothes went with which, and no wonder.  All the reds together combined winter-weight wool gabardine with summer-weight eyelet.  Among the blues there was casual cotton corduroy mixed in with dressy silk satin.  Throughout the color groups there was assertive, weighty wool serge mixed in with approachable, lightweight cotton knits, romantic velvet, and sporty seersucker.  There were sexy sheers hung next to fleece, flannel, tapestry, and tweed.  Linen looked totally out of place next to dotted Swiss and suedecloth, not to mention hopsacking next to chiffon and crepe de chine.

 

It took me two full days to sort and coordinate the clothes into meaningful clusters and single outfits, all the while teaching my client that within any one cluster or outfit, the textures must work together. But what does that mean?  Most people don’t really know.  To work together means that to appear in harmony with one another, one texture must be dominant and all other textures must be subordinate. It means that the winter-weight wool gabardine overpowered and clashed with the summer-weight eyelet.  The two communicate opposite moods and feelings.  Corduroy and satin together communicate mixed messages.  Satin and seersucker together make absolutely no sense.

 

My client had been totally overwhelmed by the visual noise screaming loud and clear from all around the room, and no wonder.  Making sense of her closet meant sorting the style lines and shapes, colors, textures, and patterns into outfits that communicated one mood and message; into clusters that communicated one personal style type according to at-home, business, or evening occasions. To un-mix the fabric textures was the key to the initial sort.  This my client learned to see for herself, and what an experience in fashion styling it was!

 

Nygard Report for Duty
This cluster of clothes has a fascinating mix of all-season and summer-weight textures.

 

 

Read further for more points about personal clothing fabric selection and if you’d like the whole discussion of Fabric and Texture in Clothing Selection and Coordination strategies, order Conselle’s Wardrobe Strategy Book #6 Fabric and Texture at $27.97. 

 

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By Judith Rasband, AICI CIM and Dani Slaugh, Conselle Affiliate

taupe

Taupe is a very hard color to wear.  Not sure what color taupe is?  Well if you can’t decide if the color is gray or brown, it’s probably taupe, a soft grayed brown.  It’s a common personal body color, a muted wardrobe neutral, and tricky to work with.  But for clothes to harmonize with light, medium, or dark taupe-colored hair, the degree of cool grayness in the taupe clothes must be the same as in the hair or they will fight or clash with one another. Taupe colored clothes and hair must repeat or match perfectly.  This concept also applies to eye and skin coloration.  Beyond direct repetition of a personal body color, you can wear warmer or cooler versions of nearly all other hues.

  

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For personal color evaluation, Conselle works with a set of 300 personal colors in fabric tags for matching your clients’ personal body colors. To produce a full color fan, Conselle has a 1300 fabric tag set available. Call 801-224-1207 or email judith@conselle.com for more information.

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By Judith Rasband, AICI CIM and Dani Slaugh, Conselle Affiliate

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There are some image consultants and fashion stylists who will teach you that if you have a straight body, you can only wear clothes with straight lines; that if you have a curved body, you can only wear clothes with curved lines.

Not so! If individuals with a rounded body type buy into that advice and wear clothes designed predominantly with rounded lines, they will make the person appear even rounder than they actually are – not likely what they are trying to achieve. Incorporating more straight lines and more structured clothing will counter the round lines already present in their body and firm up the appearance of the figure with firmer fabrics.

The same can be said for people with thinner tubular body types – wearing clothes with some rounded lines will help take off the edge, so to speak, and soften their look.

Check out Conselle’s Fit & Fashion Clinic for more ideas on how the right clothes can enhance your figure.

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By Judith Rasband, AICI CIM and Dani Slaugh, Conselle Affiliate

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Recently I received another Spring fashion update put out by an image consultant which included photos of some of the outfits put together for a variety of clients. I was surprised — and disappointed. The clothes were classic, but the outfits were so plain and boring–solid color shirt and pants, solid color cardigan sweater and skirt, but that was it. There was no creativity, no finesse or pizzazz, nothing finished about the outfits. Anyone could have put these outfits together — no need to pay a professional for these ultra basic looks.
As image professionals, we need to offer something a bit out of the ordinary — something perfect for the client but something the client wouldn’t likely think of. When we hear the client say, “Oh-h-h, I’d never have thought of that,” we know we just earned our money.

Classics don’t need to look so conservative that they become boring. Include a perfect pattern in some of the outfits. Layer lightweight fabrics in an unusual way. Finish the outfits with unique or updated accessories, always with one dominant focal point in the outfit — remember Conselle’s Fashion Rule of ONE. Make sure your work delivers something out of the ordinary, an investment in perfect harmony with your client.

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By Judith Rasband, AICI CIM and Dani Slaugh, Conselle Affiliate

 

 

White Azalea

Dress from White Azalea

 

When contemplating a dress or skirt purchase, consider the width of the skirt in relation to its length. Attractiveness is a matter of achieving good balance and proportions. Generally straight skirts may be shorter to the knee and flared or fuller skirts may be longer from the knee. Flared skirts are generally flattering to most women. Short full or bouffant skirts worn by adult women “of a certain age,” tend to look childish, silly, and out of proportion, being too wide for their shorter length. The dress to the left begins to look more like a ballet tutu.

For a slimmer look, straight skirts in larger sizes can be tapered slightly, about a half to one inch on each side from waist to hem. Tightly gathered, straight-hanging dirndl skirts are most attractive hemmed below the calf to balance the width.

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By Judith Rasband, AICI CIM and Dani Slaugh, Conselle Affiliate

Hannah Kearney, Olympic Freestyle Skier

Hannah Kearney, Olympic Freestyle Skier

Have you seen the freestyle skiing in the Olympics?  It’s a rush!   Skiers appear to effortlessly hop through a rugged course pitted with large moguls, hit a jump where they perform some kind of super twisted flip, land it perfectly on a vertical incline and then do it all over again.  The gold medal is awarded to the skier who is both fast, aerodynamic and acrobatic.  The clock shows who is the fastest, and the panel of judges decides who is the most acrobatic and smooth on those land-mines they call bumps.  Mogul scoring is based on turns (50% of score), air (25% of score), and speed (25% of score).  With the turns counting as half of the overall score, they better be good!  What constitutes a good turn?  Knees close together and pointed downhill.  You better believe the athletes want the judge’s attention to be on their knees.  Mogul skiers understand something very important that many of us “don’t know that we know”.   Attention goes to contrast.  The light / dark contrast of Hannah Kearney’s knees, (above), will draw the attention of judges and spectators.

Bob Kraft - New England Patriots Chairman and CEO

Bob Kraft – New England Patriots Chairman and CEO

Mogul skiing is not the only time when light / dark contrast is strategically placed.  Consider your stereotypical CEO – dark jacket, white shirt, and tie.  Where is the contrast here?  In the image above, your eye is drawn to the contrast between the jacket, shirt collar and the brightly colored red tie, all working together to bring attention to Mr. Kraft’s face, for the point of better communication.   Yes, this CEO wants you to focus on what he has to say.  It seems that he has a panel of judges to impress as well.  How about you?

For more information on the language of clothes, visit www.Conselle.com or www.StyleByDani.com.

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By Judith Rasband, AICI CIM and Dani Slaugh, Conselle Affiliate

Tuesday, January 14, 2014, the Expressive Image Therapy Association was organized, creating the foundation for a new field of study, counseling, and treatment of many mental health disorders.  

Acting as the association’s first president is Judith Rasband, Kathryn Wolters as vice president,  and Dani Slaugh as secretary.  Charter members include Sarita Singh, Dawn Nieto, Rebecca S. Boles, Leslie Anne Jeanfreaw, Kathleen M. Doctor, Cristina C. Johnson, and Ann Johnson.

Expressive Image Therapy Association founding members from left; Dani Slaugh, Cristina Johnson, Kathleen Doctor, Dawn Nieto, Camilla, Rebacca Boles, Leslie Jeanfreaw, Sarita Singh, Judith Rasband, and Kathryn Wolters

Expressive Image Therapy Association founding members from left; Dani Slaugh, Cristina Johnson, Kathleen Doctor, Dawn Nieto, Camilla Owens, Rebecca Boles, Leslie Jeanfreaw, Sarita Singh, Judith Rasband, and Kathryn Wolters

What is Expressive Image Therapy?

Expressive image therapy is the use of the elements of image—dress, grooming, and body language—to facilitate non-image treatment goals.  It is a creative collaboration between the client and the therapist.  In essence, it is a clinical collaboration of art and science.  The role of image therapy within a multi-disciplinary treatment program is to complement and enhance the clinical work being done in individual, group, and family therapy; the role of the image therapist is to have a comprehensive understanding of individual treatment goals and progress in order to support this within the context of individual or group image therapy sessions.

Expressive image therapy is a mental health profession in which clients, guided by the image therapist, use clothing and accessories, grooming, and body language to:

  • explore their thinking and feelings as well as their behavior
  • develop increased self awareness
  • work out emotional conflicts
  • better manage behavior and possible addictions
  • increase self-esteem or sense of self worth
  • increase social skills
  • reduce anxiety
  • improve reality orientation

A major goal in image therapy is to improve or restore a client’s ability to function effectively and his or her sense of personal well-being.  Image therapy requires knowledge of visual design in dress and grooming including the reactive process.  It requires knowledge of human development, physiology and anatomy, psychological and sociological aspects of image, as well as psychological counseling theories and techniques.

Conselle is proud to be a supporter of this innovative approach to expressive therapy! For those who want to know more about this new professional field call 801-224-1207 or e-mail judith@conselle.com.

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Coldwater Creek ruana

Coldwater Creek ruana

By Judith Rasband, AICI CIM and Dani Slaugh, Conselle Affiliate

Looking for an accessory to add that finishing touch to your holiday look?  Try the classic ruana.

According to Wikipedia, “a ruana is a poncho-style outer garment typical of the Andes regions of Venezuela and Columbia, particularly in the Boyaca department and Antioquia.  According to Proexport, the official Colombian agency in charge of international tourism, foreign investment, and non-traditional exports, the word ruana comes from the Chibcha  meaning “Land of Blankets,”  used to refer to the woolen fabrics manufactured by the Muisca natives.”

For those of us who live outside of the Andes, a ruana is not only warm but wearable art.  This third layer piece will get you noticed!  Wear it for both formal and casual occasions over silk or cotton turtlenecks with flared skirts or well-fitted jeans.

A ruana is a free-flowing wrap with an open front, similar to a large scarf.  You can wear the ruana long in front and open like shawl, or throw one or both sides over your shoulder(s) for a more romantic or dramatic cape.  The key is to allow the fabric to completely cover your shoulders.

There are many options in stores, just right for holiday occasions or gift giving.  One size fits all and floats over the figure.  It’s fabric with function as well as beauty and elegance that is just plain fun to wear!

Apparently they are also fun to look at, because we just can’t get enough of them!  Here are a few more ruana looks….

Free People ruana

Free People

Peruvian Connection

Peruvian Connection

Coldwater Creek ruana

Coldwater Creek

Brooks Brothers

Brooks Brothers

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By Judith Rasband, AICI CIM and Dani Slaugh, Conselle Affiliate

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Are you a Black Friday shopper?  Do you already have your list of stores to hit?  As you may know, the Black Friday ads start coming out 2 weeks before Thanksgiving.  If you haven’t made your list yet, there is still time.  Since it looks like there will be no Talking Elmo or Cabbage Patch Doll to fight over, Black Friday shopping may be relatively tame this year.  You may have time to pick up a few of those clothing items on your list as well.  A little advice:

  1. Shop with a plan.  Core pieces first, matched or coordinated, worn together or as separates, working with add-on items updated a piece at a time.  Use Conselle’s Cluster Plansheets to guide your shopping options and inspire your wardrobe styling.  Rely on that periodic wardrobe evaluation.  Discard what doesn’t work and make a list of what you need.
  2. Shop with a purpose.  So many people discover a clothing need too late, then dash in and grab something, anything that’ll work for right now.  Over the long term, it amounts to closet clutter and makes you feel guilty.  Make it a habit to anticipate your clothing needs according to your calendar.  A periodic “impulse buy” makes sense when you take time to think it through.  Do you have something the item will go with?  Do you have someplace to really wear it?  Do you have some money available to cover the cost of this piece and the quality replacement you’ll soon have to purchase?  When you know what’s in your closet, love plus logic can make that impulse buy the perfect purchase you smile about for years to come.
  3. Shop with a dollar-amount in mind.  You’re looking for the best quality at the price you can afford.  Shop the quality stores and catalogs with clothing priced in harmony with your ability to pay.  Then pick the best piece on the rack.  Scout the higher priced, higher quality stores for sale items generally displayed toward the back of the store.  Or, like me and many others, plan to shop the outlets as well.  Sales will continue throughout January.  As you anticipate the New Year, start thinking about your coming clothing needs and planning your budget allowances for 2014.  It works!

If you’d like the whole discussion of Smart Shopping strategies, order Conselle’s wardrobe strategy book #12 Smart Shopping: Even on a Shoestring at $27.97.  Order through Conselle’s Store or call 801-224-1207. 

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