Red Alert


Bill Blass once said: “WHEN IN DOUBT WEAR RED.”


And on Valentine’s Day we indeed see it everywhere.  But is it right for you?


YES.  Of course it is but not all red is for everyone…


When I do a color analysis for my clients I make sure they all get their best neutrals, both light colors and dark colors.  They know which metals are right for their skin tone. They know their “wow” colors and they know what RED is the right red for them.



Every woman can wear red but the spectrum is significant.




We have to start with your skin tone.  Are you warm or are you cool?


If you have warm skin are warm red is best for you.  If you are cool cool complected then it’s a cool red.  If you mix this up, I’m afraid to say it can suck the life out of you.  Yikes!  So how do you know? Take a look at the color wheel:



Do the colors on top look best on you or the colors on the bottom?


If you aren’t sure start by determining if you are warm or cool.  See the four models below.  Can you see how cool colors would look best on these two women and warm colors on the next two?




If you are cool you have pink or blue undertones. In general the colors in the lower half of the color wheel are best for you.  


Red is shown on the warm half of the color wheel.  By mixing red with pink, purple or blue you end up with a cooler shade of red. 


Once you know your right red, it is also a helpful tip when thinking about your rouge and lipstick colors.






If you are warm you have yellow undertones. In general the colors in the upper half of the color wheel are best for you.









Have fun with it!  Play around and experiment and let us know if red, fuchsia or burgundy is the right red for you. 


Learn Your Face Shape and Why it Matters

What's your face shape?

Is your face shape an oval, oblong, diamond, circle, square or heart?  Learn what your shape is and why it matters.

It’s all Greek, at least when it comes to the “classic” definition of beauty.

To look your best, you want to be symmetrical, proportionate and balanced.  Its that simple.  These are the ancient Greek elements used to create beautiful art, architecture, interior design and we see it time and time again in nature and in the human form.  These basic elements are the key to aesthetic beauty.  If you learn about your body you can learn to use these principles to look beautiful.  

What’s your face shape?

Look in the mirror, grab some lipstick and trace your face:  

  •  You have an oval shaped face if it’s length is equal to one and a half times its width.
  •  You have a circle shaped face if it’s round and its width is basically as long as its length.
  •  You have an oblong shaped face if it is significantly longer than it is wide.
  •  You have a square face if it is about as wide as it is long and your jawline is more angular than that of a round face.
  •  You have a heart shaped face if it is narrow at your jawline and wide at your cheekbones and forehead.
  •  You have a diamond shaped face if it is widest at the cheekbones, with a narrow forehead and jawline of approximately equal widths.

So, why does face shape matter?  

It helps you know what hairstyle, eyewear, necklines and accessories are most balanced, proportionate, symmetrical (read: beautiful), for you.

There is a general rule in art called repeating patterns or relatedness.  It is known that when we see a pattern or a color our subconscious mind is looking for that shape, pattern or color in other places.  Thus, things look the most harmonious if we repeat the shape of your face.  Check out the following table for advice based on your face shape: 




Which Necklines are Right for You?

Six Products to Save You From a Wardrobe Malfunction

I recently put together a wardrobe malfunction kit.

Bag-7707I call it an Essence of YOU® Wardrobe Emergency Kit. It has great, inexpensive products that can help you look your best and present your best image. No, I don’t sell the kit, I give it away. Sometimes at charity events, sometimes as a door prize.

A wardrobe malfunction can include an unraveled hem, a gaping neckline, a deodorant smudge, fuzz on your sweater, or a stain on your slacks.

Hollywood TapeSo, what’s in the Essence of YOU® Wardrobe Emergency Kit?



1) Have you ever had a gaping neckline that wouldn’t stay closed??? What about a hem that unraveled halfway through the day? This always seems to occur right before an important appointment, a job interview or presentation! That’s why I recommend Fashion Tape. It is double sided and sticks on fabric and has saved the day for many of my clients.


2) Okay, what about that zipper you just can’t get up on you own. I love, love, love this item by The Peach Company.


3) There was a time, back in my corporate days when I had a one-day business trip. I flew to New York and back the same day, I didn’t have a change of clothes with me. While on the plane I dribbled coffee all over my white skirt. I had no way to cover it up. For those unforeseen mishaps, I now carry Tide to Go with me.



Static Guard




4) What about those clothes with static electricity that cling to you at all the wrong places? Static Guard will save the day!



deodorant sheets


5) What about those white smudges from deodorant gone awry? A special sponge or sheet can wipe it away.



swater shaver



6) The best cashmere can leave fuzz balls on your sweater. They can ruin your look. A gentle once over with a sweater shaver will leave these items looking brand new.


Try out these products and let me know what fashion malfunction you were able to avoid.



What’s Your Your Image and Style IQ?

Does Your Image Pass the Test?

What's Your Style IQ?You have 10 seconds to make a first impression. How you dress and groom yourself speaks for you even without you saying a single word. It’s not just what you’re wearing but how your clothes fit you.

How do you score on this image and style test? Give yourself two points for every statement that you can say “yes” to.  This quiz applies to men and women so go for it!

  1. I know my personal brand, I always shop and dress with this in mind, I never wear clothes without thinking about what image they will project.
  2. I know about my body proportions and my body shape; I know what clothes look best on me.
  3. My clothes fit me very well. There is no pinching at the waist, my pant length is right where it needs to be, the cuffs of my jackets are just right.
  4. When people look at me they can tell right away that I’m someone who takes care of details. My shoes are polished, my purse or briefcase is of good quality, and my belt doesn’t show any hints of wear or change in waist size.
  5. My hair is more than cut, it’s styled by someone who knows how to make me look my best.
  6. My clothes are always clean and if a shirt or jacket needs pressing, it’s pressed. No one has to say to me, “Hey, did you know you have a stain on your shirt?”  I take care of my clothes. I always present myself in a respectful way.
  7. When I shake someone’s hand, I’m never self-conscious. I groom my fingernails and don’t have chipped polish.
  8. I know which colors make me look the best. My wardrobe consists of only clothes that help me reflect my best self. Colors that don’t flatter me left my wardrobe long ago.
  9. My tailor knows me by my first name. When I purchase clothes I visit my tailor right away because he knows exactly what to do to help me get the best fit. I take pride in knowing that I’m someone who walks out the door every day in clothes that fit well. I never look sloppy or disheveled.
  10. I don’t wear too much cologne or perfume, people are comfortable around me.
  • If you scored 18 to 20 points, read no further, you are most definitely conveying a strong, polished image that is making heads turn. I’m sure this will impact both your personal and professional success. Great job!
  • If you scored 12 to 16 points, you’ve got some understanding of how image works for you or against you in the workplace. With a few tweaks, you’ll be on top of your image game in no time.
  • If you scored 8 to 10 points, your image is not working in your favor. Don’t panic.  But if you want to project a winning image you might want to consider making some changes.  There are people who know how to do this and can help you along the way.
  • If you scored 0 to 6 points, hmmm, I recommend you stop everything and find some assistance.  Your personal image is your brand and your brand needs updating.

Thinking about yourself as a brand is a powerful concept and dressing this way is something you can do on any budget.  It all starts with knowing who you are and deciding what image you want to convey.  Getting to the point where you have a closet full of clothes that work for you takes time.  By shopping with a plan, spending the time to think about how you look now and where you want to take your personal image will pay off. It will leave you feeling empowered and you will exude self-confidence.


11 Spring Styles for 2015 You Might Already Have in Your Closet

W151_038The headlines are screaming about spring fashion. The stores are filled with the new spring styles. Have they gotten your attention yet?

I recommend starting each new season by educating yourself on the trends, then check out your closet for things you may have from a time past that you may be able to revitalize.

Next, make a list of things you can easily add to your wardrobe that will spruce up your look, provide you with a current, youthful image while staying within your budget. Being mindful of the trends, and of the clothes and accessories you already own will allow you to shop and dress with intention, saving you time, money and allowing you to look your personal best.

Here are some items that are trending now that you may already own:

1. Obi belt. This Asian inspired simple belt looks great wrapped around a fine-gauged cotton or silk dress. A great look to show off your waist.

2. Small bucket bag. If you held onto your smaller bags when the big bag trend came

3. Clutch. Clutch bags are great for nighttime outfits. Clutch bags that are leather and not too bedazzled are perfect for daytime outfits when you don’t need to carry so much with you on the scene, you may have some bags that are currently in style.

4. Fringed items. Ankle boots, booties, handbags, and clothing come with fringe benefits this spring season.

5. Small silk scarves for a neckline accent. Remember the small scarves that flight attendants wore around their necks in the ‘70s? That style is back and is perfect when worn with open necked shirts.

6. Mid-calf skirts. This length, ostensibly gone for good in the 1980s, is back.

7. Bohemian long skirts or dresses. Anything long and flowy is back in high fashion.

8. Peasant tops. Loose fitting tops are a great alternative to the cropped tops that are being shown this season. If you kept any loose-fitting peasant tops from years back, they’ll be perfect over flared pants.

9. Stripes.They aren’t for everyone but if you love them, pull them out and you will fit right in. Look for vertical stripes which will do wonders to elongate your frame.

10. Shirt dresses. This was a classic style that had a long shelf life before it was pulled. It’s back again and looking modern, not stuffy.

11. Denim skirts. Denim is fashion’s best friend this season. Fabric technology has advanced, however. If your denim skirt is as stiff as cardboard, you may enjoy the softer fabric choices that are available now.

A word of caution: be sure you know the fashion before you resurrect your clothes of yesteryear.

Know what image you wish to project and which styles are right for your body silhouette. Need help? Attend my Socialize with Style event February 21 at 11:00 AM. The topic: What’s In Style for Spring – and How to Know What Styles are Right for You. You should have received an invitation. If you haven’t, let me know.


Professional. Authentic. You. How to Discover Your Style for Success

Cyndy Porter Photography Image Consultant Professional BrandingCyndy Porter Style and Photography empowers professional women through personal branding, image and
fashion consultation.

Do you want more customers or a promotion? Do you want to attract like-minded people into your life? First impressions are formed in less than 30 seconds and your appearance significantly shapes that first impression.

The first and most important question: What do you want to convey? Creating a mission statement, a logo, a look and feel are among the first things a new business does as it puts it’s business plan together. I suggest you do the same. This will drive all other decisions you will make about your wardrobe.

In general, we know what not to wear. Too much leg and too much cleavage may get you undesired attention and impair your climb up the ranks. Dressing unkempt is equally an image killer. How you dress tells a story and it should be unique to you. It will set you apart from the crowd, and get you noticed in desirable ways.

Personal Stylist, Image Consultant and Photographer in Northern Virginia


Are you edgy, driven, confident and smart…  or, approachable, loyal, trustworthy and dedicated?

These are two different women and they should have different hairstyles, clothes and accessories. Will they still have a professional wardrobe? Definitely.

Be authentic.

For the moment, set aside preconceived ideas of what an executive, CPA, doctor, lawyer, banker, or business owner, should wear. Accept that you can also be feminine, bohemian, creative, edgy, genuine – however you may see yourself. Find four or five adjectives that define you. Now ask yourself if your clothes, accessories, make-up and hairstyle tell the story you wish to communicate? These adjectives should become your style words and they should be your key when shopping and dressing.


Transitioning Your Style: Summer to Fall Fashion Tips

W144_24Autumn is upon us! Do you find it difficult to know what to wear this time of year? It’s cool in the mornings and then the weather warms up or it rains unpredictably. What about colors as we move from summer into fall? At this time of the year, I hear plenty of questions about wearing white and pastel colors.

Do you want to know how to transition your style into the cooler months? Here are my best tips for this tricky time of the year:

Wearing white pants past labor day?

White pants don’t necessarily mean winter white. Of course, you can wear winter white but you can also wear white jeans. Make sure you still follow the rules for your personal style and color palette.

Most women look good in either crisp white, cream, or winter white. It goes without saying that lighter weight fabrics need to be put away until Spring, but those white jeans and slacks are accessible this fall and winter. And it isn’t just pants, white skirts work as well.

When can you wear boots?

Mid-calf boots or booties are okay any time of year. When it’s warmer, wear them bare legged with a dress or a skirt. This is a fun and youthful look. When it’s colder, you can tuck long pants into mid-calf boots or ankle booties and your whole body will feel warmer.

Lightweight jackets are a good choice any season.

When it’s colder, wear a cashmere sweater underneath it. The jacket can be the second layer. Add a pea coat or puffer as a third layer as it gets colder. When it’s warmer, a jacket is a perfect layer over a dress.  Or for business casual, it can be combined with a pencil skirt and pumps or boots.

32520202-53f7-4c5b-8306-280a7bc2e95cLightweight cashmere cardigans are super versatile.

When it’s colder, wear a long-sleeved silk or wool t-shirt under it. Add a heavier jacket when heading outdoors. When it’s warmer, you can wear it open and loose over a tank and pants. Or drape the lightweight cardigan over the straps of your summer dress.

Wear long tanks in your colors for all year round.

When it’s colder, wear a long tank under a cashmere crew neck sweater. The longer inside layer can be a color accent to your outfit, add more interest and if you are long waisted this is a great look to show your silhouette at it’s best. When it’s warmer, a long tank is a perfect layer for under sheer tunics or paired with a lightweight eyelet or lace jacket.

Scarves are one of the best accessories for year round use.

When it’s colder, it’s great to wrap it around your neck and bundle up under a coat, cape or poncho. It can also be a great accent piece if it’s in a patterned print or one of your “wow” colors. When it’s warmer, it’s a perfect wrap to throw over your shoulders in a chilly air conditioned space.

Sleeveless dresses don’t need to be packed away for cooler temperatures.

When it’s colder, layer a long sleeved thin cashmere T-shirt under the dress. Add tights and tall boots. When it’s warmer, wear a full slip to your desired modesty level. Dress it up or down with heeled or flat sandals.

Having a wardrobe that tells your unique story takes time and when you find great pieces it helps to think about all the ways you can wear them and use them for varying temperatures. These tips will help add style and versatility to your wardrobe.