Published: August 01. 2012 2:00AM
Written by Stephanie Trotter
Photographed by Cindy Hosea
Bohemian. Urban. Preppy. Sporty. Classic.
The streets of Greenville are filled with as many clothing styles as BMWs. What you wear and how you wear it says a lot about you. Not only does clothing give off a vibe to those you meet, but also can alter the way you feel.
While trends come and go, not everyone can wear the latest cuts and colors. Let’s face it: Should a 45-year-old soccer mom bust a move down Augusta Road in the same chic frock the Olsen twins are rocking in NYC? Probably not. Creating a personal style that suits your age, personality, size and needs can be a challenge. So TALK hit the dressing room with some experts.
Pharmaceutical sales district manager
Motherhood can drag a wardrobe one of two ways: saggy sweats or eye-grabbing glam. New moms tend to cut corners in the closet, or really budget time to polish their appearance. Debbie Sturman suits up on the latter path.
“Having a child later in life made me see I wanted to appear younger,” she says. “All of my son’s friends have much younger moms. Mentally I feel younger than I am age-wise and I wanted to exude that.”
In addition, she’s spent much of her professional life in drab, dark suits and was ready for a change. “I looked like a man out of Jos. A. Bank,” she recalls. “You know? The bow tie and grim plaid suits that looked just like a man but were cut for a woman.”
So, well into middle age, Sturman adopted a new style and embraced color.
“I like a lot of colors and I mix and match a lot of them,” she explains. “I wear mostly skirts and dresses for work. For a casual look I wear bright-colored, skinny jeans.”
The size 0 dynamo has learned to grab her petite size when she sees it locally, but finds most success online.
“I shop at J. Crew, James Perse, Savvy, Muse on Augusta Road. I put more into clothing than shoes and accessories. I’m 5 feet 5 inches tall. My mom always told me to wear high heels because I’m short. But I don’t wear the really, really high heels. You can’t hide short.”
With customized jewelry made on St. Simons Island and a warm, out-going demeanor, Sturman’s refurbished style fits her sunny personality. “I blend whatever looks okay together. Most of my sales reps would probably describe me as hip.” Not bad, for a career-oriented, multi-tasking mom, who is eternally young and feminine at heart.
Charles Davis Jr.
Elementary school assistant principal
Above the sea of young bobbing heads, a smiling face in a crisp three-piece suit stands out.
“Don’t forget to do your homework tonight,” says Charles Davis, his sense of style well known and admired at Woodland Elementary, so much so that some students even don bowties and ask for his approval. “I had a fifth-grade teacher who was a very clean-cut dresser. That was my first encounter with a male teacher and I was impressed. Now that I’m working with children in the same setting. It’s stayed in my mind.”
Davis tweaked his style while attending Morris College, gravitating toward suits, flat-front pants, long sleeve shirts, neckties and bowties.
“I like Tommy Hilfiger with its tailored fit,” he says. “I think it relates to the professional. I like Jones New York because I’m a tall guy and a 40 long, and those brands are friendlier to 40 longs and just fit better. And I like Mezlan shoes.”
When school is out, Davis heads to larger cities to add to his wardrobe. Last year he spent spring break in Manhattan.
“Even though I like nice things, I like to bargain shop,” he confides with a smile. “It’s all about shopping when sales are available. I do pay a little more for shoes, because they last longer and I put taps on the bottom to keep the soles from wearing out.”
The educator is particularly excited that some older styles are returning.
“I’ve always been fascinated with the ’60s look,” he says. “It’s such a renaissance type of look; the men always had on dress slacks with a shirt and tie, fully dressed, even for school. I’m very intrigued by that.”
And his charges are too, as they learn to model the man dedicated to ushering them through childhood.
Dress like a pro!
Elizabeth Rouprich’s clients run the range of life at Visually Appealing Image Consulting on Woodruff Road. There’s the busy mom trying to reinvent herself, as well as the fast-tracking business professional hoping to stay on target. When spelunking in Greenville closets and stores, the professional stylist likes what she sees.
“I think Greenville is growing leaps and bounds as far as taking trends and bringing those into wardrobes to look updated,” she says. “There are a lot of great boutiques and small local stores. You can get great looks at great prices.”
For more information: www.visuallyappealingllc.com
1, 2, 3: Create your own style
1. Rather than buying a little bit of everything that can create confusion, narrow down and define your style. Sporty, romantic, dramatic, alluring, creative, elegant, traditional: What do you need for work and home? What makes you feel comfortable? Buy items that reinforce this image.
2. Invest in several well-made, key pieces of clothing. For women these will include a white blouse, a little black dress, a great-fitting pair of dark denim pants, a multi-use dress and proper undergarments. These will form the foundation of a wardrobe that everything else will compliment and work around.
3. Add specialty items to your wardrobe foundation to inject some zip. A great necklace, a colorful hat, a clutch. These additions can be trendy items that follow current fads. This is where you should feel free to step outside of your fashion box. Try something on you wouldn’t normally shop for.
6 tips to maximize your wardrobe
Mix and match: That same pink blouse and black pants don’t have go together all of the time. Try a patterned top instead, or brown pants. Empty your closet onto your bed and see what comes together. Do this when you have time to play and aren’t under the gun to get somewhere. Learning how to pair different items will bring new energy to your wardrobe without spending a dime.
Smart shopping: Make a list of what you need. If you’re on a budget, purchase unique items at a boutique and basic items at a department store. Sometimes you’ll actually save money by spending more on one big item. That extra-special handbag can last the entire season, rather than several average ones that will need to be switched out. The same can be said for jewelry. One or two high-statement pieces can create and enforce a signature style.
Smart-dressed man: It’s difficult to find edgy clothing for men in Greenville. If you’re a fashion-forward type of dresser, spend a day in Atlanta or Charlotte. When you see a great graphic tie or trendy shirt meeting your needs locally, march to the register with it and a credit card.
Fashion trap: Middle-aged women walk a fine-line between embracing a trend and embarrassing themselves with one. Add these items to your wardrobe sparingly. Even if you have great legs, pass on the micro-mini. Remember the adage; “If you wore it when you were a teen, you shouldn’t wear it again.” There are a few pieces of clothing you can reinvent, such as leggings. Just make sure your top falls well down your leg.
Body beware: Know your body type and buy accordingly. Stylized cuts and pleats fade in and out of fashion, and you might have to let a few pass by. Those who can pull off skinny jeans don’t always have the body-shape to pull off bell-bottoms — and vice-versa.
Honest Abe and Ann: A good friend or stylist can go a long way toward helping you look presentable. Have a go-to person who will honestly tell you that an outfit needs to stay on a hanger, not on you.
|With crisp, smart fashion, Charles Davis Jr. teaches children how to present themselves to earn respect and success.Cindy Hosea/Staff|