Sunday, August 30, 2009

Product Watch!

Oftentimes, when working with clients, it goes much deeper than picking out clothes. They want to know about those fabulous, off-the-beaten-path sort of products that raise one’s style status. Newman’s Top Five are as follows:

1. Miss Oops Fabric Tape – great for securing a hem when time won’t allow us to sit and stitch. Also helps to keep those straps in place! (

2. Benefit's Brows A-Go-Go – a great brow is a true frame for the face. This little kit includes two shades of powder, wax, highlighting powder, and an under eye concealer. Available at Ulta.

3. Sally Hansen Airbrush Makeup for Legs – the perfect thing for bare legs that are less than perfect. Various shades for various skin tones, and it’s waterproof. You can find it at Walgreens.

4. Apple Cider Vinegar – a super product for hair. Shampoo, rinse, and then rinse again with a cup of ACV. Condition. Then, ready yourself for soft, luxurious hair!

5. Coconut Oil – Fabulous for all-over moisturizing! It also contains the good stuff our bodies need, so don’t be shy about taking a teaspoon-full a day.

With style, the little things do matter. There are so many little tricks we can use to keep us looking are best. When we look our best, we feel our best, so I encourage you to look out for those little things that can set you apart from the pack!
Beth Newman
Look, feel, and live your absolute best!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Graceful Gestures

A beautiful gesture is really a very rare thing – Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis

I fear our society has evolved into an extremely self-centered one. In these days of online networks and reality TV, everyone can claim celebrity. Oftentimes with celebrity comes an inflated ego, which can ultimately lead to forgetting everything Mama said about good manners.

Graciousness, perhaps, is becoming a thing of the past, and that’s truly a shame.

What many people don’t recognize is that exuding grace really sets us apart from the herd today. The gal who asks polite questions is far more interesting than the one who constantly runs her mouth, repeating the words me and I at lightning speed.

The winds may be changing, however; I’ve encountered several women recently who are tired of all the noise and rudeness, and want to know what they can do to make a difference, to perhaps go back to an era when wearing phrases across one’s backside was unacceptable.

They ask, so I offer two bits of advice:

1. Drop your ego at the door
It mustn’t always be about you, dear (and even if you feel it should, at least pretend that it’s not). Ask questions. Learn people’s names. Don’t prattle on incessantly (when the person you’re prattling on to becomes glassy-eyed, you know you’ve gone too far), and for heaven’s sakes, don’t make your conversation sound like a resume. If you’ve nothing pertinent or intelligent to add to the conversation, it’s far better to say nothing. No one will assume you’re an idiot; if anything, you’ll develop a bit of mystique. Remember that old saying about still waters……

2. Never, ever become an Interchangeable Woman (a phrase I snagged from writers Shelly Branch and Sue Callaway)
I’ve mused elegantly before about the IW. In case you’ve forgotten, she’s the gal who looks like every other gal these days: a trend-follower who perhaps has adopted the porno-chic look that so many have adopted these days. She might like to refer to herself as a diva. Some IW’s may even realize their outrageous behavior and assume others find it endearing. Trust me – they don’t.

Adopting a more graceful way of life isn’t that hard, really. It’s about enjoying life simply yet fully (so sorry to disappoint, but there is no ‘big bang’ that happens in life that will make one happy – one has to discover happiness on her own). It’s about following that old, clich├ęd, Golden Rule. It’s about treating ourselves, and others, with respect, and there's no greater gesture than that.

Beth Newman
Look, feel, and live your absolute best!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

80's Ladies

As a child (okay, teen verging on adult) of the 80’s, nothing delights me more than witnessing the retro-look that’s sweeping fashion these days. The neon, the strong shoulders, and all that layering take me back to those carefree days.

Many of us from that era may be tempted to re-embrace the 80’s look whole-heartedly. The general rule of thumb, though, of fashion is this: if one is old enough to have worn it back in the day, one should not attempt to wear it again now. Take heart, though, dear friends; there are several ways in which to incorporate a few of the new trends in order to keep us looking fresh and ‘with it’:

1. A bit of neon goes a long way. Pair your conservative look with a bright structured bag or neon scarf.

2. If you look closely, you’ll notice that the big-shouldered look of the day is slightly different from the one made famous by the gals of Dynasty. Today’s shoulder pads are more streamlined, with just a tiny swoop at the top.

3. Ruffles and leather are huge this upcoming season. Don them sparingly in order not to be mistaken for Adam Ant.

4. I’m a big fan of big hair – always have been. Today’s volume should come from the crown only. I love Bump-it’s – they’re perfect for achieving the right balance, provided your hair is not overly layered on top.

5. As far as makeup goes, I’m afraid we must keep it simple. That means no shimmer or colors that virtually glow in the dark. Consider, though, going a bit heavier with the eyeliner and mascara on the upper lids only. We’ve reached that stage in life when we must keep the focus up, up, up!

6. It’s okay for us to dabble in icon tee’s from time to time. My personal favorite is the Rick Springfield Success Hasn’t Spoiled Me Yet tee from his 1982 tour. Just make sure the tee is fitted and paired with dark denim jeans, a structured jacket, and a fab pair of heels.

Trying to embrace a trend completely after a certain age will, in fact, age a gal or make her appear as if she’s stuck in a time warp. If you saved your prom dress from 1988 and are considering wearing it out for cocktails, please think again. Pass that dress on to your daughter, and adopt a more subtle approach when tweaking your look for the season.

Beth Newman
Look, feel, and live your absolute best!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Living the Dream

Once upon a time, there lived a girl who always did exactly as she was told. Be good, eat your vegetables, don’t talk to strangers – she abided by them all. Her desperate desire to please didn’t disappear as she entered adulthood. If anything, it multiplied. Fear of conflict, fear of losing a job, fear of disappointing her friends and family kept her in a constant tizzy. Her painted-on smile and keen acting chops served her well. No one knew the degree of misery in which she lived.

Time, along with a couple of serious kicks to head, led this girl to what I refer to as a come to Jesus moment. She realized just how weary she’d become of it all. Her attempts to keep everyone happy weren’t worth it anymore because they simply did not work. Taken for granted too many times, she decided to call it a day.

She quit her corporate job to pursue her passion. She cut out negative people who had influenced her. Granted, she doesn’t make a lot of money and she spends many Friday nights alone, but she’s happy – and that’s a first for her. She finally came to understand that she had the power to create her own life.

Faith plays a huge role in her creation. When times get tough, she knows the Universe will supply everything she needs.

She doesn’t necessarily feel more enlightened than anyone else, but she can’t help but wonder about those folks who choose hatred (of job, family, life) over happiness…those who choose fear over faith…those who choose blah over beautiful.

Part of her life’s mission is to help others overcome the obstacles that keep them down. She doesn’t preach, though; if anything, she merely leads by example and offers advice only when it’s asked. She understands that living one’s dream is possible, if only given the chance.

Beth Newman
Look, feel, and live your absolute best!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Living Well

A huge difference exists between living and living well. Too often, people merely want to get through the day, work toward the weekend, and then start the cycle over again come Monday morning. They rely on fast-food for sustenance, television for entertainment, and a wardrobe consisting of black slacks and white shirt that they assume will carry them anywhere.

My friends, life is far too short not to live well.

Living well does not mean one has to have a lot of money. Living well does not mean one must live in a mansion. Living well does not mean that one must look a certain way. Some of the happiest people I’ve ever known didn’t have much to call their own, but they knew how to live well. They laughed. They enjoyed different types of art and music. They enjoyed the company of a variety of people. They gave of themselves…their time, their wisdom, and even a shoulder to cry on from time to time.

I find it a little sad when someone says, on a Monday morning, “Wow, I can’t wait for Friday afternoon!” I’m equally disheartened when Friday afternoon rolls around and someone cries out “TGIF!” It’s important to make the most of each day; to find excitement in what it may bring, and to be pleased that those past mistakes were in fact learning tools.

Look, feel, and live your absolute best – that’s the motto I use for my business and the one I live by each day. I feel that those concepts work together to create a meaningful, joyful life - a life that’s lived well. And don’t we all deserve a life that’s lived well?
Beth Newman
Look, feel, and live your absolute best!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Message Sent...Message Received

A well-tied tie is the first serious step in life – Oscar Wilde.

Given the nature of Oscar Wilde, we naturally assume he was joking. I don’t think he was. Wilde, quite the dandy, actually designed his wife’s clothes and lectured on aesthetics. He knew the power of clothing.

Our wardrobe selection reveals a tremendous amount about us. It sounds crazy, but it’s true. Yes, what’s on the inside really matters most, but too often people become turned off by what’s on the outside. Many of them won’t spend time in getting to know what lies beneath.

Sometimes, it takes just a bit of fine-tuning to send a powerful and positive message about ourselves:

Color – Bright hues will modernize the old standby classics. First Lady Michelle Obama does this quite well.

Age – certain fabrics and cuts fast-forward the clock (brocades and long, boxy-cuts are the greatest offenders).

Jackie or Tacky? – The former first lady easily got away with form-fitting fashion. Her secret? She wore clothes with discretion – nothing flashy or revealing. Her clothes fit, but were not skin-tight.

Winner or Sinner? -Outlandish fashions with designer labels in full view steal our style. Set yourself apart from the herd by keeping your clothing and accessories understated.

Hair-do or don’t? Cut and color are vital. A great-looking hairstyle is well worth the money, as is investing in quality makeup. Tweak both hair and makeup each season, but avoid the trends. If you know you can’t pull of a shimmery look (I certainly can’t, thanks to fine lines and enlarged pores) then don’t even try it.

Silhouette or Side-of-the-Barn? No matter your body type, it’s important that clothes fit properly. Anything loose and baggy with give us a portly appearance; anything skin-tight will do the same (especially if we’re a little on the thick side). If you’re clothing gives you a rectangular appearance, then it’s time for a change.

One final note: the ‘errand wear’ many of us sport these days also sends a message, and it’s not a positive one. The croc-sporting, baggy t-shirt, no-makeup look doesn’t do anyone any favors. We can be casual and chic at the same time.

It takes only three seconds for us to form an opinion about someone. Obviously, we won’t get to know someone in three seconds, so what’s the moral here? As humans, our initial impressions are based on the visual. We can reveal so much about ourselves through our fashion choices. Think about that the next time you reach for those crocs.

Beth Newman
Look, feel, and live your absolute best!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Inspired Style

Know first, who you are; and then adorn yourself accordingly – Epictetus

When it comes to establishing one’s style, I’ve discovered that most people simply don’t know where to begin. Daily, we’re bombarded with so many visuals – magazines, television, etc. – that it’s difficult to know the difference between what’s great and what’s garbage. Because our society tends to be a trend-obsessed one, we tend to buy just any old thing without considering whether or not it truly represents who we are.

Understanding who you are is the most important key to the content of your style. You can’t have style without inspiration. When I embark on a style journey with new clients, we do a little exercise designed to help them become attuned to things that inspire them. Using a corkboard and pushpins, I’ll ask my new client to cover it with anything that brings her or him joy: quotes, photos, colors, pictures of role models, fashion looks they love from magazines – anything that makes her or him smile. (This is actually a technique designer Isaac Mizrahi discusses in his book, How to Have Style)

This concept goes much deeper than fashion, and it changes as one’s moods do (that’s okay; our style is meant to grow over time). It encourages one to think in visual terms.

One client filled her board with fabulous stilettos, yet had nothing but flats in her closet.

Another client’s board was awash in vibrant reds, purples, and golds, yet she wore nothing but black and gray.

They each learned a lesson about themselves: their wardrobes were not a true reflection of who they really were.

I encourage you to follow Shakespeare’s line, To thine own self be true. That truth will set you free!

Beth Newman
Look, feel, and live your absolute best!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The Dating Game

My husband is a musician. Recently, at one of his shows, while he was rocking away on stage, a young man approached me to inquire about my status (quite flattering as I’m a good fifteen years older than he). Anyway, rather than walk away when I kindly informed him that I’m taken, he pulled up a seat and began lamenting the state of dating today.

“It’s so hard to find a nice girl these days,” he said.

“What do you look for in a girl?” I asked.

“I want someone who acts like a lady. I’m tired of all these girls who show up half-dressed and act like they’re porn stars or something.”

Pretty soon, his friends joined us, sharing the same thoughts.

“Sure, the girls who dress provocatively and come on strong get my attention, but only for a while. I’m over it already,” proclaimed one of them.

I’ve wondered just how long this porno-chic, diva-like trend would last. I’m no prude, but I’m quite appalled at the behavior I witness from many women of all ages. I realize the nightclub setting tends to lend itself to certain things, but so many gals these days leave very little to the imagination. Their manner of dress, the words they say, and the way in which they carry themselves is quite disheartening. Evidently, I’m not alone in the way I feel.

Later that evening, a dear friend of mine who’s in his mid-forties and still searching for someone special, concurred with what my new friends said earlier in the evening.

“One lady – that’s all I want. I guess they all must be taken.”

I’m sure they’re not all taken, and I’m sure there are some potential ladies out there who simply don’t know what to do. Ladies, let’s unite and bring back the elegance that’s missing. The men out there will appreciate it, I think.

Beth Newman
Look, feel, and live your absolute best!