How to dress an Emerald or rectangular body type

Tuesday, August 11th, 2015

I received my styling training from a Seattle-based organization called The DRES System. The company’s founder, Margaret Spencer, believes that “everyone possesses their own unique beauty and authentic style”. It’s our job to bring out that beauty for the world to see.” I use DRES System’s body type designations because they promote the notion that each woman is as unique as a precious gemstone: Diamond (hourglass), Emerald (rectangular), Sapphire (triangle), and Ruby (inverted triangle).

Emeralds come in all sizes and are the most common figure type. Tune into any televised women’s track or soccer event and you will see your share of them in action. As most women age, they become Emeralds because their waists expand. Because Emeralds’ shoulders and hips are balanced and their arms and legs are usually well proportioned, creating an illusion of a smaller waist is the secret to dressing them. Maintaining the balance between the shoulders and hips and playing up the waist creates curves in all the right places. An Emerald’s best wardrobe companions are fit and flare dresses, peplums, open front jackets, and flare leg pants. Layering dark colors over light, strategic color placement at the waist, and wearing varying shades of one color palette also sculpt this body type. Boxy tops and formless shift dresses, on the other hand, produce the opposite effect.

Emeralds will surely sparkle in these outfits.

Rockin looks for rectangular body types

Badgley mischka dress
$250 –

Topshop white v neck shirt
$67 –

Uniqlo shirts top
$7.63 –

Vanessa Bruno long sleeve jacket
$270 –

MANGO long brown jacket
$185 –

Dolce&Gabbana brown dress pants
$355 –

Amanda Marcucci long beaded necklace
$345 –

Michael kors earrings

Jules Smith necklace

Greenville’s Pearls and Pumps fashion fundraiser

Thursday, October 16th, 2014

Last night the North Portico of the White House as well as the Vice President’s residence glowed pink in recognition of breast cancer awareness month. On Tuesday evening in Greenville, the TD Convention Center ballroom also lit up pink for Pearls and Pumps. Sponsored by Saint Francis Foundation, this pink carpet extravaganza honored all women diagnosed with breast cancer and raised money to support the work of Pearlie Harris Breast Health Center. In spite of unrelenting rain, a capacity crowd of 600 women showed up to partake of the evening’s stellar entertainment, which included a fashion show. Fifteen models who graced the runway symbolized the face of breast cancer. All survivors of the disease, these women represented a diversity of ages, shapes, sizes, and racial and ethnic backgrounds.

I had the privilege of being the stylist for the show, and delighted in pouring over the latest fall trends in abundant supply at Belk, the show’s retail sponsor. To present Belk’s fall fashions, I dressed the models in some of this season’s big trends, like oversized sweaters, sequined sweatshirts, 1960’s inspired shift dresses, and the colors blue and black and white.

Since I believe that clothes speak their own language, my primary goal was to select an outfit for each model that not only matched their personal style but captured their personality. Based on the time I spent with each amazing woman, I developed a strong impression of what clothes and accessories seemed right for them.

I loved the part I played in Pearls and Pumps from start to finish. Thank you to my fearless, fun, and spunky models. I also extend a heartfelt thank you to the stylists at Meghan Diez Hair Salon and Mary Kay makeup consultants who went to great lengths to make the models feel pampered and look gorgeous.

230,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer each year. Have you scheduled your mammogram this month and encouraged your mom, sister, or friend to do the same? Only fifteen days remain in October.

Greenville’s Summer Style

Sunday, June 17th, 2012

Between weddings and theatre performances, downtown Greenville buzzed with energy last night. With my lawn chair and bottled water in hand, I headed to the TD Bank Amphitheatre in Falls Park to watch “Much Ado About Nothing”. I arrived early to soak in the sights and engage in a little style research. As a personal wardrobe stylist, I think of the world as a runway, not a stage. Last night I had shorts on my mind, partly because I saw so many of them. There were cargos, bermudas, daisy dukes, and assorted gym shorts. To my surprise I didn’t see many rompers (exactly three), which are one piece short outfits. They come in a variety of styles and lengths. I like rompers for the same reason I like dresses and jumpsuits. They provide an instant outfit and present a pulled together image. They also remind me of something from a 1940’s pin up poster.  

Last night’s fashion award goes to one of my fellow theatre goers who wore a black zipper front, drawstring romper. She accessorized with a turquoise chunky necklace, cuff bracelet and a pair of Jackie O style sunglasses. Besides looking adorable, she smiled, ate heartily, and looked like she was having a grand time.

You can find rompers in most stores this summer. also has a decent selection of very stylish ones by BCBG. I particularly like the pale peach and blue print one shoulder number with a draped bodice featured below for $105. 

Will I shop for rompers for my clients next summer? Only the style gods know if they have fashion staying power. The character of Conrade in “Much Ado…” had this to say about the frivolousness of fashion. “I see that the fashion wears out more apparel than the man”. Alas, how we quickly purge those outdated styles from our closets long before they show signs of wear!


woman wearing black romper style outfit

“Much Ado About Rompers”



peach and blue floral short romper by BCBG

“Floral Print BCBGeneration Romper on















Pretty Mother of the Bride Dresses

Thursday, June 14th, 2012

Wedding bells don’t get any rest here in the Upstate throughout the summer months. Since several of my clients are in the midst of preparing for their children’s nuptials, I’ve been on the prowl for mother of the bride dresses. First of all, I’m bothered by the fact that mothers of the groom don’t have a dress named after them. Why the obvious snub? I created the all inclusive acronym MOBGD, which stands for mother-of-the-bride-and-groom-dresses. Maybe my terminology will catch on.

I developed a dislike for MOBGD during my time in retail sales. I worked in an enormous dress department with oodles of gorgeous gowns. Unfortunately most of them suited prom goers or generation Y folks. Any grandmother of the bride or groom would love the leftovers. I wanted to run and hide every time I heard a customer utter these dreaded words, “My daughter/son is getting married”. Inspired by  the Kubler-Ross grief model and Nora Ephron’s description of the six stages of email in her memoir, “I Remember Nothing”, I came up with the four stages of MOBGD shopping. These all too familiar angst ridden stages routinely played out this way:

Stage 1: Shock  Is this your entire MOBGD selection?

Stage 2: Denial  Where is your other MOBGD department?

Stage 3: Anger  Your store has some nerve. I wouldn’t be caught dead in any of these!

 Stage 4: Depression  Maybe I am old and frumpy.

Possible Stage 5 Outcome: That settles it. Let the kids elope.

What déjà vu I experienced when my client told me she wanted to look pretty and not frumpy on her wedding day. When I entered the dress department at the Haywood Mall Dillard’s a few days ago, I expected to see the same type of stodgy dress and jacket combos in shades of pewter or beige that lined the walls of the other department store.  Although I did see dresses that fit this description, thankfully they were tucked in a corner. I give Dillard’s buyers kudos for selecting an impressive array of youthful gowns for different personal styles and body types. I chose to highlight the following dresses (available on Dillard’s online) using this simple MOBGD barometer: I could see all of them on me.  

So, all you MOBGD huntresses keep the faith.  You will feel gorgeous on the big day and look radiant in the wedding album.  If you shop at the Haywood Mall Dillard’s, ask for Sabrina and Donna. Both sales associates were extremely helpful.

JS Collection One Shoulder Gown

Aidan Maddox Beaded Gown

Tadashi Ruched Metallic Gown 


 Elegant Mother of the Bride Dress

     Elegant mother of the bride dress















Pedal Power

Monday, April 9th, 2012

I visited Pedal Chic Boutique in downtown Greenville for the first time last week. As soon as I stepped into this bike emporium and women’s athletic apparel store, I felt energized.  It could have been the large bold orange accent wall or the display of luscious shiny metallic touring bikes that animated me. In any event, I knew immediately that Pedal Chic spoke my language.  As a wardrobe stylist and personal shopper, I pay close attention to color, fabric, cut and style. The selection of athletic and lifestyle wear at Petal Chic deserves gold stars in all four areas. Take for example the Pucci inspired bike dress in an olive, mint and tangerine geometric print.  The only accessory you need with this little traffic stopper is attitude.  I like versatile wardrobe pieces, and this one fits the bill. You can bike to your favorite restaurant in it for lunch with friends, or take it on a weekend beach getaway. Speaking of the beach, Petal Chic also sells bathing suits. I adored the two piece lavender suit with a bandeau top and briefs that have a short sarong skirt overlay. This suit offers both strategic coverage and distinctive style. Carmen Miranda would give this one a “thumbs up”!  

I learned all about Pedal Chic from the owner, Robin Bylenga.  Early on in our conversation, it became clear to me that Robin loves what she does. She is also on a mission to introduce women to the joys of cycling and keeping fit.  A serious athlete herself, Robin understands the enormous health benefits associated with regular fitness activities. She also knows exactly what women need to feel comfortable and confident on a bike. Robin sells so much more than bikes and biking apparel.  First and foremost, she provides customized service, a rare commodity these days. Robin outfits individuals with well fitting clothes and foundation pieces keeping these concepts in mind: functionality, figure flattery, age appropriateness, and personal style. She also offers safe riding instruction, bike maintenance classes, personalized biking tips, and social support.  Every Tuesday evening starting at 6:00pm, Pedal Chic sponsors a “spin and sip”. Women of all levels take to their bikes and explore the neighboring trails. Afterwards, they share conversation over a glass of wine.  Pedal Chic finds many creative ways like this one to keep you motivated.

Admit it; we all want to look and feel good when we work out. Should you dare wear a floral print bike jersey with a color coordinated helmet instead of basic black when you ride?  Of course you should; “Roadways are the New Runways”. Whether you just decided to take up cycling or you’re looking for fashion forward athletic apparel, head to Pedal Chic for one stop shopping. By all means, have fun when you hop onto your bike and celebrate your personal power in style.

Pedal Chic is located at 651 B South Main Street. For more information, contact the Boutique at 864-242-CHIC(2442) or visit their website


Pucci inspired geometric print bike dress


Pedal Chic's signature bike jersey


Pedal Chic's selection of stylish bike helmets


Take a spin in this shiny vanilla bike.

Four fabulous 2011 jewelry trends

Saturday, October 1st, 2011
All eyes are on jewelry this fall as this ultimate accessory shares center stage with the latest clothing fashions.  Jewelry animates the wearer and delights the beholder. It also possesses the power to instantaneously transform a somber outfit into a sensational one.  Holobi  DRES System has created jewelry and accessory guidelines for each of the four body types and face shapes: diamond, emerald, sapphire and ruby. The team of Holobi independent stylist consultants will train individuals how to incorporate fabulous fall jewelry trends like the following into their wardrobe:
·       Feather’s Unfurled:  Exotic plumes in the form of cascading earrings, choker necklaces and brooches are certain to add “glam” to jeans as well as a LBD.  A feathered pin strategically placed on a lapel or at the waist draws attention to those areas.  Feathers appeal to dramatic dressers who enjoy making a statement with their clothes and accessories as well as Ethnic style personalities who favor a bohemian look. 
·        Pendant Power: This 1970’s iconic necklace has morphed into a thoroughly modern style.  Pendants come in all sizes and shapes this season. Designs include delicate filigree leaves, bejeweled Byzantine crosses and glass and bead pendants. Ethnic fashion styles will take to pendants made of natural elements like stone, bone and wood. Antique brass and semi precious stone pendants, on the other hand, inspire the romantics at heart.  Sapphire body types, whose hips are larger than their bust and shoulders, look smashing in bold “statement” pendants that rest at mid chest and highlight the décolleté.  Ruby body types, the opposite of sapphires, can sport longer pendant necklaces, provided that they are small busted. Rubies have broader shoulders and/or a larger bust compared to their narrower hips and thighs.
·       Metal Magic: Brass, silver, hematite and antique gold standout as this season’s most sought after metals. A single strand silver or gold necklace projects timeless elegance for those who prefer a conservative sheath dress or tailored suiting. The multi strand mixed metal designs infuse a pair of jeans and a simple tee-shirt with an edgy vibe, especially those with twisted strands and interwoven beading.  What better way to showcase mixed metals than by wearing an eclectic assortment of bangles or a turquoise cocktail ring set in gold and silver. Assorted stacked bracelets and rings work well on ruby body types because they extend the hip line and showcase the legs. The beauty of mixed metals is that they complement both warm and cool skin tones.
·        Welcome Back Chokers:  One just might find a long forgotten choker somewhere in the recesses of a jewelry armoire. This season’s hot style runs the gamut from woven designs with feathers and beads to sleek hammered silver minimalist collars. Chokers bring attention to the face, hair and eyes. They also suit petite women better than many of the popular oversized chunky necklaces. Since chokers rest at the base of the neck, they coexist nicely with a variety of tops including those with shawl collars, turtlenecks, peplum jackets with notched collars and oxford style blouses.
Frank Sinatra once crooned about “baubles, bangles (and), bright shiny beads” and their power to delight. This season’s array of jewelry options offers women the opportunity to take their personal style to new heights and add extra brilliance to their image.  As the song goes, “sparkles, spangles, your heart will sing….wearin’ baubles, bangles and beads”.


The Wondrous One Piece Bathing Suit

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011
Debra Kerr wore a one piece in her legendary love scene with Burt Lancaster in “From Here to Eternity.” The vision of Bo Derek running along the beach in her flesh colored tank suit and braided cornrows in “10”, gave new meaning to the word “sexy”. One piece suits are forever fashionable because they exude sophistication, flatter any figure, and are as comfortable as second skin. Before you do swimwear shopping for your beach vacation, consider checking out these one-piece styles: (more…)