Written by Robin Caldwell
Public relations professionals who have a personality, notable and/or celebrity clientele often pull double-duty as wardrobe stylists. Our training includes understanding the power of color, the importance of fabric and clothing fit, as well as a few tricks to camouflage trouble areas on the body. We need to know these things to empower clients and make them attractive to the public. We also oversee photo shoots, because most people will see a photo before they see the person.
My second act clients, women who are of a certain age, are some of my best and worst style clients. Why? Well, like you and me, they have decided what works best on them and what does not. Unlike you and me, they are in the public eye and they will be instantly judged by a critical public. We, however, will be our own worst critics. That said, let me share some power style tips guaranteed to make you look and feel every bit as fabulous as some of the celebrities and notables you admire.
- A lifted carriage is a youthful carriage. Don’t spend another dime on clothing until you invest on the best fitting and serving bras your money can buy. Begin with a power bra: one you have customized to your body type or one that you purchase after a professional fitting. Schedule a consultation with a lingerie professional at your favorite department or specialty store. You will want to have a variety of bras for different purposes. A great fitting bra will improve your posture and carriage. Black underwear is sexy but nude tones are not only sexier but they are also more utilitarian, and can be worn under anything with confidence. Thankfully, there are companies like Nubian Skin (for smaller sizes) and my favorite beingU (for all figures) that have nude tones in our hues.
- Cat eye eyeglass frames and statement frames make the face look lifted and more interesting. Both types conceal a multitude of sins on the face related to aging. Cat eyes provide an instant facelift. Statement frames (colorful, odd-shaped, textured, and large) make the face a work of art. Eyeglass frames serve as another accessory and that includes sunglass frames. Think Iris Apfel, and the late Ruby Dee.
- Develop a relationship with a seamstress or your store’s alterations specialist. Our mothers knew this tip well. Have your off the rack clothing custom fit to your body for the most flattering fit. There is no greater pain, to me, than to see a woman wearing an incredibly expensive ensemble and the sleeves are too long or it hangs in the wrong places or the trouser hem is dragging the ground. The most polished woman’s clothing is fit to her body.
- Visit a professional makeup artist to develop your signature look. Find that one person who beats faces for a living and not just at a department store. A seasoned makeup professional will help you choose your signature red, nude lip and look, and match your skin with the perfect (1) foundation formula and (2) foundation color. Ask them to teach you the perfect 5-minute face for you.
- Every superstar owns a man-tailored white shirt. That shirt will make you look younger, slimmer (if you have it fit to your figure), and incredibly wealthy. Why? It is simple. It is a simple wardrobe staple that can be worn with a skirt, trouser, pair of jeans, and a long maxi skirt. It can be worn as a tunic or a opened jacket over a dress. You can dress it up or down, you will never have to hunt for anything to wear at the last minute, and the white will bring light to your face.
- Take the time to have a wardrobe specialist at your favorite department store help you find the most flattering skirt and dress lengths. My thighs are affectionately known as (Muhammed) Ali and (Joe) Frazier, so you will never see me in a mini skirt or one that hits my knees. Nope. Now if you put me in a mid-calf length A-line or pencil skirt, I look 10-15 pounds slimmer, I feel sexier, and I walk like Tyra. Above all, it gives me the illusion of height.
- Take one day – not even a full one – to meet with hair stylists for consultations. Explore the perspectives of a variety of stylists. This is a fact-finding mission not a mission to replace the stylist you’ve had for years. Don’t take them photos of your dream hair, let them advise you. Take notes, ask to see client photos, and don’t be focused on what it costs. The reason for this exercise is for you to see the possibilities of change.
By the time you see someone on a red carpet or photographed in a magazine or online, they have had a team of expertise crafting an image. You can also craft an image for you. It is my most humble belief that a second act should be the best act ever. It should be an envied and imitable act that has everyone wondering who you are when you walk into a room.
Robin Caldwell is a veteran public relations counselor, concierge and practitioner. She has been self-employed from side hustle to business since 1998. She is the owner of The J Standard Media Group, LLC, and the creator of the PR concierge services Your PR Assistant and She Boom! Project. Robin has been interviewed by The Grindstone, BBC radio, Sirius XM, various public radio stations, USA Today’s NowU.com, and was one of the tech experts (the only African American) invited to launch the Huffington Post’s tech section. BlackEnterprise.com, Black Twitterati and Fast Company magazine’s Influencer Project cited her as a top social media influencer. Currently, she is an advisory panelist for AARP’s Life Reimagined project.
Image via StylePantry.com