Monday, June 28, 2010

Heavy Handed

Summer has officially dawned, and I think an attitude of ‘lightening up’ is in order, particularly when it comes to our handbags.

My darlings, if you’re still toting the black leather number you bought last November, I implore you to open your eyes and take a look at the wondrous warm-weather bags ripe for the picking:

Color is essential. Shades of blues, yellows, and even lovely summer-reds line boutique shelves, just dying for you to take them home.

Straw is also a viable option: I discovered the most deliciously elegant straw bag at Charming Charlie’s earlier this season (Yes, Charming Charlie’s – I’m not snob, when I find something fabulous and affordable, you can bet your sweet bippy I’ll grab it). This bag is, without a doubt, my ‘go-to’ favorite of the moment. It’s huge (which I need for lugging essentials like wallet, lipstick, magazines, candy bars, and such), chic (works well with my ‘taking care of business’ attire), and versatile (doubles as a shopping bag when they’ve run low at CVS).

Too often, we forget that the little things really do matter when it comes to our wardrobe. The bag, the shoes, the belt, the bracelet….although small details, really, they make a tremendous impact on our overall look.

Store away that lovely black bag for a while. It’s simply too heavy for summer’s light-and-easy looks. Time passes quickly, and very soon you’ll be able to haul it out once again.

Beth Newman
Image Consultant/Life Coach
Newman Image
Look, feel, and LIVE your absolute best!

online consultations available
my book, 'Become a First Style Fashionista' will be available through Amazon in August!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

My New Friend

I met the most fascinating woman this week.

Our introduction occurred in a clothing boutique. I struggled to determine her age (it’s impolite to ask, you know). Twenties, a very good thirty-ish…I couldn’t figure it out, and of course, it didn’t really matter. We began chatting, and I found myself totally in awe of her. She’s tall, with the most beautiful, unruly head of hair I’ve ever seen. Her deep, smoky voice rarely rises above a whisper. She revealed very little about herself. Originally from New England, she made her way to Texas last year because she felt ‘it would be best’. I don’t like to pry, but I confess I could not wait to hear her story, because I knew it would be absolutely delicious.

Randomly, she asked about my posture. I told her that standing up straight was merely a habit, and anyone could do it. “I want you to help me,” she said, “feel free to physically straighten me up anytime you see me slouching.” There’s no small talk with her; she gazes into your eyes intensely, asking questions, and really wanting to know things about you.

She has no car (not even a drivers’ license), and lives ‘with a few people’. “I like to work,” she said. “When I’m not working I’m at home. I have no family here. What else am I going to do?”

By this time, I’m bursting with intrigue. Her mysterious aura mesmerized me. I want to know everything I can about her!

“Have you read The Secret?” she asked. Of course, I have. “What about The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success?” I explained to her that Chopra’s little guide was the one that got me started on my journey toward enlightenment. “Me, too….yeah, me too….” She responded dreamily.

All I could gather from our first conversation was this: she’s smart – almost ‘scary smart’. She’s taking steps toward finding out ‘what it’s all about’ (her words). She’s been in some trouble that’s separated her from her family. She doesn’t party, because she’s ‘done with that scene.’

And here’s the kicker: she’s only 18-years-old.

She carries with her such presence, such mystique, and such confidence that I naturally assumed her to be older. She possesses that certain something that a few women spend a lifetime seeking. She’s not interested in figuratively purging herself as so many are. In a day in which anything goes, she’s guarded enough to keep others coming back for more – a breath of fresh air, to be sure.

We’ve talked every day this week. She asked me if I might serve as ‘a bit of a mother figure – nothing heavy’ for her, since her own mom is so far away. Having no children of my own, this is the sort of request that really gets you right where you live.

I’ve often heard about old souls, and I know I’ve met a few of them in my life, but none has fascinated me more than this young woman. A kinship between us already exists – one that I cannot explain. And I look so forward to seeing where this ride may lead.

Beth Newman
Image Consultant/Life Coach
Newman Image
Look, feel, and LIVE your absolute best!
Online consultations available!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Dress The Part!

I’ve often heard (and have always preached) that in order to get ahead in the workplace, one must dress for the job she wants, rather than for the job she currently holds. I think the same philosophy rings true for life, too: if we want to convey a certain something, and to get ahead personally, it’s vital that we dress the part.

As shallow as it may seem, my friends, society does judge us by the clothing on our backs. As Clinton Kelly from TLC’s What Not To Wear says, “How you dress tells the world how you expect to be treated.”

And honestly, don’t we feel better about ourselves when we’ve put forth a little effort? It’s a great little mind-trick. When you know you look fabulous, you’ll walk a little taller. You’re more willing to make eye contact with others. Heck, you might even smile at a stranger. Others will view you as confident, intelligent, and generally far more interesting than the Croc-wearing woman standing next to you in check-out line.

Now, I’m not saying we must don our Sunday best for mundane errand-running; I’m telling you, though, that an oversized t-shirt and baggy shorts simply won’t cut it.

With the onset of summer’s heat, I constantly hear, “It’s too hot to dress up”. Hogwash. Plenty of cute, casual, and comfortable clothes hang in shops right now, begging you to take them home and wear them!

I realize money might be a concern, and it really needn’t be. Get on the email list for affordable places such as New York & Company and Express – they’ll send you loads of coupons and are notorious for sales. Join the Black Book Club at White House Black Market and save 5% on each purchase (in addition to regular sales, coupons, and birthday bonuses). It’s a rare occasion in which I’ll pay full price for an item, so I certainly don’t expect you to do so. (Side note: a gal does not need a ton of clothing. Get a few separates for mixing and matching)

“But I just really don’t care what I look like, or what other people think of me.” I’ve heard this one before, and I can’t help but think that an underlying issue exists with this way of thinking. Why are you afraid of getting noticed?

Also, given the overload of information we’ve access to these days, there are those who still aren’t quite sure what suits them, wardrobe-wise. They don’t realize the power of color. They’ve no clue about the importance of fit and proportion. My advice is to find a role model and emulate her style. Be realistic, though: if you’re not built like Jennifer Aniston, chances are you won’t look as snazzy in some of the numbers she wears. Pick up a copy of Vogue, Marie Claire, or Lucky to discover the current, hot looks. Enlist the help of a trusted, honest friend. Take the plunge and hire someone to help you (I just happen to know of a fabulous woman whose job consists of the very thing we’re discussing……)

The point of it all is this: we must develop an awareness of the silent message we’re conveying to the world. In order to attract good friends, good times, and good vibes, we’ve got to dress the part!

Beth Newman
Image Consultant/Life Coach
Newman Image
Look, feel, and LIVE your absolute best!
online consultations available!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

A Little Information, Please

Please give me the minimum amount of information with the maximum amount of politeness.(Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis)

This statement provides me with yet one more reason to adore the late JBKO. In this age of information, one can literally become overwhelmed by it all. It doesn’t help, either, if you find yourself stuck with Chatty Cathys all day long.

Why do so many feel the need to purge themselves by talking incessantly about anything and everything? Do we owe it to “reality” TV, where so many people have license to say and do the most outrageous things? Do we owe it to cable news and the internet, where up-to-the-minute reporting prevails? Or is our society becoming so narcissistic that we naturally assume the rest of the world sits on the edge of its seat, waiting impatiently for our next word?

I enjoy good storytellers, provided that they’re actually telling a good story. I don’t enjoy rambling accounts of mundane activities. I don’t enjoy hearing private information that should only be discussed with one’s spouse/doctor/priest/therapist. I don’t enjoy someone telling me how fabulous he is – his actions should reveal it, not his words. I really don’t enjoy repeat offenders – those who tell the same tale over…and over….and over.

And please don’t get me started on those who walk through stores and other public places chatting on their cell phones. Take it to a more discrete location, and finish your conversation, please.

A mentor of mine kept a book on her desk entitled With Silence Comes Wisdom. She lived it, too, by working hard and not partaking in the typical water cooler conversations. She told us what we needed to know, and did so graciously.

My mentor never sat in another’s office for minutes on end, keeping them from their work. Before any conversation, she asked, “How are you?” and really listened to the response. She seemed genuinely more interested in hearing about other people. As a result, she got the best out of her employees.

That, in my opinion, exemplifies grace. It’s also great communication tactic. She accomplished extraordinary things with little verbal fanfare, much like the aforementioned JBKO.

With silence comes wisdom. So true.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Now That's Classy!

In every society, there are ‘human benchmarks’- certain individuals whose behavior becomes a model for everyone else – shining examples that others admire and emulate. We call these individuals ‘class acts’ – Dan Sullivan

Some devotees of etiquette and style turn their noses down at the word ‘classy’ – they feel it just isn’t, well, classy. I’ve always liked the word, though. As a little girl I equated ‘classy’ with overly-suntanned women wearing white swimsuits and gold necklaces who sipped Tab by the pool all day. They’d later change into lovely caftans and join some hunky, heavily- mustached gentlemen for a glass of Ruinite while listening to the Captain and Tennille’s Do That to Me One More Time on their hi-fis.

You’ll have to pardon my limited childhood scope. I grew up in a very small-town. No one wore white swimsuits, and almost everyone blew off steam with a cold can of Coors and Willie Nelson blaring from an 8-track.

As I got older and expanded my horizons, I realized that classy goes far beyond the message the 70’s television ads were trying to send to poor dumb kids like me: classy is a state of mind. It’s the way in which we treat one another. It’s the way in which we treat ourselves.

Waking up each morning with a big grin and the words thank you on the tip of our tongues – that’s classy.

Taking the time to put on a little lipstick and something that doesn’t make us look like we just got out of 7th grade PE – that’s classy.

Asking others about themselves and really listening to their answers – that’s classy.

Minding our manners and our language both in and out of the public eye – that’s classy.

Choosing to surround ourselves with positive influences – that’s classy.

Focusing on every good aspect of our lives, and choosing to ignore the crummy ones – that’s classy.

An excellent sense of humor – that’s classy.

Remaining true to who we really are without fear of judgment or repercussion – that’s classy.

Allowing The Captain and Tennille and Willie Nelson to share space on our IPod – that’s classy.

All we have to do, my friends, is raise the bar a little higher for ourselves.

Let’s uplift others while enjoying each day. Let’s be the kind of people whom others look forward to spending time with.

To those of you who truly strive for classiness each day, I raise my Tab and salute you.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Style Watch with Beth Newman: Summer Product Watch!

For additional episodes of Style Watch with Beth Newman, please visit

Monday, June 7, 2010

Summer Fashion Flubs Fixed!

With summer heat looming, many of us suffer from style melt-down. Yes, we must dress for the weather, but that does not mean we should throw our good fashion sense out the window. We owe it to ourselves to take the time to look our best – even when the temperatures soar.

Say no to ratty, ill-fitting T-shirts. Say yes to colorful wrap tops – they complement the silhouette more.

Say no to wearing spaghetti-strap camis as shirts (they are, essentially, underwear). Say yes to fitted tanks (which, by the way, look far more interesting when layered).

Say no to too-short shorts. Say yes to Bermudas. Anything that hits just above the knee is far more flattering, especially if you’re like me and your legs have seen better days! (Regarding shorts – if you’d never wear a particular length in a skirt – thigh-high, for example, don’t wear it in a pair of shorts)

Say maybe to Capri pants – they flatter so few people, really. Insure that yours fall just below the calf, which is the widest part of your lower leg. Say yes to lightweight trousers or, better yet, flirty, floaty skirts and dresses.

Say no to black during the day. Say yes to bright blues, corals, and greens – colors that complement the season. Black is very dramatic, and should be treated with far more respect than we’ve been treating it in recent years.

Say no to heavy fabrics. Say yes to light ones that breathe.

Say no to sky-high or chunky heels during the day. We need to lighten up this time of year. Say yes to ballet flats or elegant sandals. NOTE: sandals really are not appropriate for the office (a peep toe, though, is acceptable).

Say no to flip-flops, unless you’re at the beach. Say yes to…see above.

Say no to forgoing accessories. Say yes to bringing out your big, bold, best. Accessories really do make or break an outfit.

Other heat-beating hints:
In your handbag, place a style emergency kit – include moist towelettes, travel-size antiperspirant, a ponytail holder, and face blotting tissues.

Spray your tootsies with an aerosol antiperspirant, such as Suave, to keep your feet fresh during the day.

Wear a hat. Not only are you protecting your hair from the sun and shading your face, you’re also adding a bit more panache to your look.

And for you gentlemen out there, I invite you to check out our For The Boys section in June’s edition of Elegant – the little ‘zine dedicated to fabulous living – located at for your summer style tips.

Don’t let the heat zap your style – fight those fashion faux pas of the season!

Beth Newman
Image Consultant/Life Coach
Look, feel, and LIVE your absolute best!
Online consultations available!