“Who’s That Woman?” – Musings on Fashion for the Professional Woman

Carole Shashona's Healthy Life & Style

Helen Gurley Brown Gem Vignette

As a fashion stylist and artist, helping people look and feel their best is my profession. Most of my clients are women for whom looking great and feeling empowered is a high priority… and I mean high! Whether it is dressing a bride-to-be, a television anchor who needs to appear polished in front of the camera or a model, my business is their look and energy. My clients must look and feel energized always, at home or on the go. My personal interest to achieving Wellness thru the art of Feng Shui for fashion and accessories. I have taken this ancient art form, bridging spirit with a modern twist for an exciting career. The East has been a source of fascination and inspiration to designers, artist and decorators and nevermore than today. As a Grand Feng Shui Master, I have found that the popularity for tranquility in your home is an approach to living that communicates a merging of interior and exterior focus. Many people speak about visualization as a tool to enhance their lifestyle. I have found that reflecting is very different from mediation, yoga and even visualization. Although these practices help rest the mind, body and soul, visualization and daydreaming are very different than reflection. Reflection requires a strong focus on your past, propelling you to your future goals.

By taking a nod to the past will take you on a fearless, sacred, inward journey to evolve. It forces you to be present in your life. I feel that the time is now to be you. The new unique Empowered you! Gone are the days of corporate standard and when you open any magazine you will now see a new type of women emerging and climbing the corporate ladder to success. I wish to give a nod of recognition to Helen Gurley Brown as she was the face and pioneer to open the door to today’s magazines in earlier years, transforming the landscape from the past to the future. In the past, think of uniforms: you may have attended parochial schools or an Ivy League college. You may be a physician or dentist, a hygienist or stewardess. Perhaps you are a realtor, where wearing a blazer is a must. All these uniforms declared your professional image. It identified your work as well as your lifestyle. In the past, corporations did the same: The uniform was a brand to identify you as part of their corporate family. Once again, it is a visible energy to show you and the world that you are part of the club and belong. In the workforce, Helen Gurley Brown worked at eighteen different secretarial jobs between the ages of eighteen and twenty-five. From 1942 to 1945 she worked at Music Corporation of America, a Beverly Hills talent agency. In later years she would recall how secretaries were required to use the back stairs because the fancy lobby staircase was only for the use of clients and male executive of the company. When I met Ms. Brown, she expressed that women were more than identified as a label belonging to a company or a man. And as we have witnessed, in 1965, Brown was hired as editor in chief of a failing general interest magazine called Cosmopolitan. She revised the magazine’s cover image, creating a carefree, sexy Cosmo girl. “A million times a year I defend my covers,” Brown admitted. “I like skin, I like pretty. I don’t want to photograph the girl next door.” The magazine, like its editor, was filled with advice on how to move ahead in a career, meet men, lose weight, and be a good sexual partner. This was the very first beginning to lifting the veil and empowering the woman.

Today while sipping my delightful first cup of coffee, I now ponder and ask, why are politics and board room styles...boring? The professional dress from fashions that reflect the ‘80’s, visualize Hillary Clinton and the infamous “power suit,” masquerading the female as the professional male, the Junior Executive. Today’s corporate dressing is in a time warp and if you are trying to fit in you are standing in the shadow of you, the female. However, by utilizing good taste, a fashion sense and a professional edge, you may find your boss asking his or her corporate mate, “Who’s that Woman?” The formality of being the female professional requires care, preparation, posture and good attitude. Fashion is a visible connector- A very visible connector. I’ll state it once again: Fashion is a visible connector to yourself and to the world. For example, check out the morning and afternoon talk shows. The hosts and co-hosts are dressed to visually connect to their at-home viewers. Not people within a business environment. What we can gather is that “less structure and homey” is the fashion statement for these shows.

I think of the American corporate dress code and yawn. Now, I am not saying classic isn’t fabulous, it is and then some. I recently attended a luncheon for female executive in the film industry. I sat and listened to these seven beautiful enlightened women, thinking “Why are they all dressed so masculine? “Living in London, I often heard the Brits refer to women as “birds,” which made me think: In the boardroom are we women viewed as birds of prey from male associates? I think not. I think becoming or being part of the team requires charm, respect, knowledge and humility from both males and females. I believe I have learned from Helen Gurley Brown, as women we can display our plumage and beauty with personality and wisdom. There is great power in this simple concept, and a symbolic foundation for all of us to follow, and grow from. Now I believe in celebrating the woman you are and the woman you are becoming. Empowered.



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