Posts Tagged ‘style of the First Lady’

A Sense Of Theater In Your Dress

Model Dorian Leigh in an Adele Simpson suit. Year: 1950 Photographer: Gjon Mili

Model Dorian Leigh in an Adele Simpson suit. Year: 1950 Photographer: Gjon Mili

Adele Simpson was a notable American designer who created classic, wearable clothing for women and dressed political wives from Lady Bird Johnson, Pat Nixon, Betty Ford and Barbara Bush. I learned from Ervin Duggan, President of the Society of the Four Arts in Palm Beach and an elegant man who worked in the Johnson White House that, when he asked Ms. Simpson about clothing, she said it was important to have “a sense of theater” in your dress.

Ms. Simpson was not talking about theater in the sense of wearing sequins, glitter and a feathered head-dress. I imagine she meant theater in the sense of creating and projecting the essence of a character. Creating a public persona. Dressing a First Lady successfully meant she must be eye-catching and visually project a sense of First Lady-ness. She couldn’t, for instance, be seen exiting Air Force One with her head down wearing a rumpled beige suit.

Think about how you can add a sense of theater in your everyday dress. How can you better project the essence of You. (In my book Practical Glamour I have a chapter devoted to this, what I call finding your Personal Style Brand.)

This can mean something as small as tucking a white rose behind your ear or wearing red vintage sunglasses or your grandmother’s watch. Maybe it’s a collection of bright, plushy sneakers or swirl-print overcoats or stamped cufflinks or  sharply pressed bowling shirts. It can be color (you’re always in eye-catching jewel tones like plum and russet) or grooming (you’ve sported the same mass of brilliant curls since high school).

If “All the world’s a stage,” think about what you, the player, might want to say more clearly from your corner of it.