Is it too much?

Carole Radziwell“What I wear on New Year’s Eve is what I’ll wear to work,” Ranjana Khan, the former model and jewelry designer, recently told W Magazine. Ranjana was born in Mumbai, India. She is married to high-end designer Naeem Khan. You may have glimpsed the elegant Khan on Bravo’s The Real Housewives of New York, demonstrating face yoga with her friend, new cast member, Carole Radziwell.
 
“Sometimes I’m so overdressed for work, in a full-on beaded skirt and things in my hair. But my people are used to it,” Khan went on to say. “Coco Chanel said when you’re going out, take one thing off. I add one thing on.” 
 
I sighed with pleasure when I read that.
 
All too often, I hear young, pretty women asking, "Is this too much?" as they dab on tiny amounts of lip gloss or contemplate wearing a pretty summer dress. But, when I consider pop culture, I can understand why they are confused.
 
If you haven’t been raised around a fashion maven, it can be hard to distinguish what is pretty, fashionable, and glamorous from what is tacky, trashy, and over the top. When iconic Vogue editor Diana Vreeland said, “too much good taste can be boring,” movie stars went without their underpants and posed in miniskirts for the paparazzi. And we did not have popular TV shows about fist-swing Bad Girls and Teen Moms. No one had dreamed up The Kardashians.
 
Today there are lots of mixed signals. The same women who worry about not looking “natural” if they colour their hair instead highlight it until it is fried. They shop in the junior department because they are afraid of looking old. They don’t see that that slightly too-small, too-short, and too-young dresses intended for teen-agers are aging. Yet, they are afraid to embrace glamour.
 
Glamour can be scary because it declares that you that care, that you try, and that you have confidence.
 
Glamour isn’t always about sequins, jewels, or exotic perfume. Some of most stylish and confident women I see every day are in my exercise class. These women look fabulous with clean shiny hair and healthy bodies. After class the women transform themselves with blow-dryers, flat irons, makeup, fragrance, and distinctive jewelry. The change is subtle, and individual styles are distinctive. It's a marvelous celebration of femininity.
 
Like Ranjana Khan, the ladies I’m talking about have their own style. They have learned to use fashion to enhance, not conceal, their assets.
 
Very few women are perfect. The trick is to show yourself to your best advantage.
 
Ranjana Khan is a tall woman with a body toned by yoga. She has the height for the elaborate clothes she fancies. She also keeps her hair and makeup clean and simple to show off her classic features.
 
Her tiny friend, Carole Radziwell is also stylish but in a very different way. Princess Carole Radziwell is the widow of Anthony Radziwell, the son of Lee and Prince Stanislaw Radziwell. Carole Radziwell plays up her waiflike tininess with funky vintage fashion. The look is reminiscent of the uber-slim Olsen twins. Or, she wears elegant tailored sheaths to show off her svelte figure.
 
Both women have a distinctive style. Ranjana Khan’s look is sophisticated, international, and eclectic. Carole Radziwell has a very downtown New York look with a vintage flare. In one episode of the RHNY, she wore a vintage dress by Ozzie Clark, an iconic 1960s British designer coveted by fashion cognoscenti.
 
The thing they share is that they dare to be themselves. Bravo host Andy Cohen recently, complimented Carole Radziwell for wearing the same dress twice on his show. She said she thought it looked really pretty and so “why not” That attitude is modern, smart, and inspirational.
 
Emulate ladies of style and dare to declare you care.
 
Whatever your size, work out regularly; your body will be toned and skin will glow.
 
Take care of your skin. Fashionable women are soignee and have impeccable grooming. So mask and moisturize your face. Try face yoga or my favourite, cosmetic acupuncture. Treat yourself to a good facial once in a while. Deep condition your hair regularly. It makes a difference. Colour your hair if you need to, and don’t over highlight; it looks cheap.
 
Don’t be afraid to wear some makeup. Find a look that works for you. Laura Mercier has excellent artists, if you want a natural look. Try Chanel or Dior for glamour. Or, look for an independent artist for a mix of brands. Many top artists do not like to teach, so you may have to observe and get a list. MAC is excellent for lessons and trends. Wear mascara, BB cream, blush, and lip gloss, if you want to look natural but not blah! Get your eyebrows shaped professionally; it can change your face. Look for someone who plucks or threads, and avoid wax; it is aging and imprecise.
 
Shop with a personal shopper at a good department store, if you need help developing a look. They will respect your budget and they can really help you hone a look.
 
Darlings, stop asking ‘is it too much?’ and go for it. Embrace glamour. Don’t be afraid to shine.
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