Friday, September 24, 2010

An Age-Old Conundrum

A couple of weeks ago, as I tarted myself up for a night on the town, I discovered an old tube of lipstick in the back of a vanity drawer. Ruby Red Rush, it was called. I couldn’t remember the last time I’d rushed for ruby-red lips, but I thought, ‘what the heck, let’s give it a shot’. Once applied, I gave myself a good long look in the mirror, and realized something: I looked like my drag (the thundrous whirring noise you hear is him spinning in his grave at the very notion).

I realized that evening, as I wiped Miss Ruby Red from my lips, that I’ve reached the age in which I can’t pull off just any old thing. I once loved sporting the reddest red of lips, but alas, thanks to the fine lines Mother Nature keeps imbedding around my smile, I can no longer sport a loud mouth (this refers only to lipsticks and glosses, by the way…I’ll still spout off when I shouldn’t , most likely).

That, in addition to September’s focus on the new fashions, got me thinking about age-appropriateness. It does exist. It does not, however, mean that those of us who’ve reached a certain age must reach for the elastic waist-banded trousers and blue hair rinses. It merely means we must become cognizant of what we can and cannot get away with anymore.

Makeup: Go lighter with lipsticks, and pay very close attention to eye makeup. I, personally, prefer a dramatic eye, and thanks to Nova Lash eyelash extensions, the focus remains up, up, up rather than down, down, down, where years of sunbathing and heaven- knows- what -else have dragged the rest of my face toward the floor.

Hair: Bangs rule, and are much cheaper than Botox. A face-framing cut does wonders for a gal’s look and psyche.

Clothes: We get into trouble here. Just because we still have it in certain areas doesn’t necessarily mean we should flaunt it. No matter how tight your tummy is, it’s still no match against an ab-solutely toned belly of a 22-year-old. (And for you younger girls: please don’t flaunt anything less than a perfect stomach. Crop tops are really not that flattering on anyone). Long legs don’t give us license to wear the latest minis if we’re over the age of 25. If you’ve got the cleavage, go for it, but only if your skin is impeccably smooth.

Word to the wise: Form fitting is much more flattering than overly exposed skin – at any age.

The Venue: Keep in mind the importance of the setting. Those outrageous, dominatrix-inspired boots have their place. Visiting the folks back home is not that place. Cocktail attire does not consist of spandex. Flip-flops do not fall under the dress code of church.

Think about proportion and silhouette. I love the marriage between classy and funky, and with a little homework, we can all find the right look that’s not only flattering but exudes a youthful vitality. It’s all about confidence, baby. Find your look and rock it!

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

Friday, September 17, 2010

The World Keeps Turning...Or Not

Well, the world stopped turning today.

Of course, I don’t mean literally. After fifty-five years, the CBS soap, As the World Turns, came to an end.

Now, don’t get me wrong. Although I’ve enjoyed the show sporadically over the years, its demise didn’t knock me to my knees in grief they way last year’s cancellation of Guiding Light did. Guiding Light was family; As the World Turns merely friends you always enjoyed seeing on occasion.

My interest reignited when I learned a few months back of the show’s imminent departure from daytime. And I have to hand it to the powers that be: it ended on a far better note than that of my beloved Guiding Light. Not only were veteran cast members utilized in interesting and even surprising ways, the show brought back some old favorites (including a guest appearance by Julianne Moore, who got her start on ATWT). The tribute to Helen Wagner and her character, Nancy Hughes, brought tears to my eyes. The finale centered on the retirement of Dr. Bob Hughes, which I thought a nice touch.

Of course, now the big question is this: which soap will I jump to next? I can’t seem to wean myself from the genre, but I’ve no clue where I’ll get my daytime drama fix!

If Rick Springfield reprises his role of Dr. Noah Drake on General Hospital, I’ll definitely go there. Perhaps I’ll trek over to Genoa City for some Young and The Restless. They have Newmans there, so I’m sure I’ll feel right at home.

I fear, though, that soap operas may soon be a thing of the past, and that makes me sad. I spent my childhood watching ATWT and GL with my mother. During college, my friends and I arranged our class schedules so as not to miss one second of each show. As twenty-something singletons, no matter how late at night my sister and I would get in from doing heaven knows what, we’d always watch ‘our stories’ together before drifting off to sleep.

With that being said, thank you, As the World Turns, for always being there for me…even during those times I totally ignored you. Sorry for that - I will miss you!

Friday, September 10, 2010

What They're Doing Now

I learned a great deal from Trinny Woodall and Susannah Constantine, the originators of What Not to Wear, which aired a few years back on BBC. Through their show and in their books, I came to understand the importance of fit, proportion, and color. Although they presented concepts that I didn’t necessarily agree with (come on, we can wear black occasionally), and their technique with clients was a bit more aggressive than I thought necessary (must they grab every woman’s breasts whom they encounter?), they were usually dead-on in their assessments.

Naturally, I became intrigued when I heard about their new endeavor, What They Did Next, an Internet series ( that captures their comings and goings following their What Not to Wear triumphs. Confusion is the only way I can sum up how I felt upon viewing the first episode: Is this a documentary? Are they trying to be funny? Are they presenting caricatures of themselves? Baffled, I clicked on to watch episode two. The confusion morphed into sheer and utter disappointment. The two women who forged the way for fashion awareness come across as nothing more than two completely unaware, selfish, and ungrateful brats.

I understand now that they’re not portraying themselves. What I don’t understand is why they’re portraying such sad, desperate, and distasteful versions of the Trinny and Susannah I came to admire years ago. They’ve obviously stolen concepts from the absolutely fabulous Absolutely Fabulous, and the results are disastrous. (Let’s remember, Absolutely Fabulous is a work of fiction, and I’d be hard pressed to find anyone who could top the comic genius of Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley).

Trinny, with her newly inflated lips and not-so-subtle hair extensions, presents herself as an incredibly vain, overly pampered potty –mouth. Susannah’s constant drinking and chain-smoking have me longing to call an intervention. Where’s the fashion? Where’s the chic- factor? Where are their children while this nonsense is taking place? Both are mothers, but the setting of this show would lead us to believe that they’ve no one but each other and a small group of hangers-on (who, incidentally, don’t hang on too long).

Granted, I only watched two episodes, but one thing I do know about marketing and presentation is this: you’ve got to hook them early in order to win them over.

With that being said, I realize there is a great deal of what passes for entertainment these days that appeals to the lowest common denominator: mindless, negative fluff that does nothing to uplift or enlighten. I suppose Trinny and Susannah recognize this, and have jumped on the ‘do anything to get your face out there’ bandwagon.


But then I happened upon this excerpt from Tim Gunn’s new book, Gunn’s Golden Rules, and realized that there are those who work in the fashion industry who still have heart, character, and class. Trinny, Susannah, and the rest of us should take a cue from Mr. Gunn’s advice:

1. Take the high road – Tim recalls how he’s sometimes mistaken for Clinton Kelly from the American version of What Not To Wear. Rather than take offense at this faux pas, Tim graciously and kindly lets them know that he’s not Clinton. (I can’t imagine him cursing or throwing a fit the way Trinny and Susannah have done when they’re not recognized on What They Did Next.)

2.Be Nice – Tim tells how Fern Mallis, the genius behind New York Fashion Week, offered this bit of advice to designers during season two of Project Runway. Tim goes on to say, “There is absolutely never any reason to be a fire-breathing dragon”. (Trust me, a great deal of fire-breathing exists on What They Did Next. Heck, it existed when Trinny and Susannah hosted What Not to Wear)

3.Never Underestimate Karma – Tim describes how he feels as if casual politeness has become extinct (I’m with you, Mr. Gunn). Bad behavior will always be punished in some form. (Hmmm…perhaps that’s why Trinny and Susannah are no longer working with BBC…)

I can breathe a little easier knowing that individuals such as Tim Gunn are out there in the fashion industry, doing their best to mentor others without aggression and snobbery. It’s fantastic witnessing designers Austin Scarlett and Santino Rice make dreams come true for small town women in their show On the Road with Austin and Santino. The wonderful Clinton Kelly can point out a fashion mishap humorously without making a gal feel bad about herself. His counterpart, Stacey London, swings from brash to teary-eyed at the sight of a woman who finally gets a sense of herself, fashion-wise.

So, I suppose today’s lesson is this, boys and girls: class reigns supreme, if we allow it to. Self-loathing and over-the-top self-parody might result in undesired consequences. Gratitude for past success and hope for the future carries us into the realms of greater success.

And no one can out-fab Patsy Stone and Edina Monsoon, so why even bother?

Beth Newman
Image Consultant/Life Coach/Author
Newman Image

Friday, September 3, 2010

September's Good Buys

Dear friends, I cannot stress to you enough just how much I love the month of September. The lazy, hazy days of summer have disappeared, and now we look forward to reviewing, reenergizing, and revamping our look. Even if you’re still suffering sweltering heat (as am I here in Houston), it’s wise to store the warm-weather wardrobe and bring out the Autumn-inspired outfits that will carry you into the cooler months ahead.

And in order to ready oneself for the seasonal transition and ultimately the change, it’s now wise to buy:

Pocketbooks and wallets – a great fall or winter bag will carry you through an Indian summer, a prolonged fall, and the whole of winter until spring springs forth. You may carry it for some months, so choose carefully; now is the time for the indulgent bag you’ve been craving.

Party dresses – although you may not feel like it at the moment, it’s the best time to snag a couple of to-die-for dresses to see you through the holiday party season. Channel your inner-Audrey: keep it classic and elegant, and store it properly for use in years to come.

Winter separates – Again, high temperatures in your part of the world may tell you otherwise, but most likely the stores in your neighborhood are already stocked with winter wear. Trousers, skirts, sweaters, and long-sleeved tees await you. Take advantage of their presence now before they disappear.

For more information on the season’s best, I invite you to read Elegant – the little ‘zine dedicated to fabulous living – at

Here’s to falling beautifully into September!

Beth Newman
Image Consultant/Life Coach/Author
Newman Image
Look, feel, and LIVE your absolute best! Online consultations available!
Beth's book, 'Become a First Style Fashionista' now available through Amazon!