Writing craft presents 1001 challenges for me--there are structural issues to consider, character development, emotions and subtext... But, you know, I chose the writing profession because I like that kind of thing. The public persona side of the industry is a whole 'nother Monopoly game. And every time I need to deal with stuff like clothing, accessories and hairstyles, I cringe because I know I'm making huge fashion mistakes that no copy editor can fix with her red pencil.
So, I was equal parts excited and fearful when my local RWA chapter had Nancy Plummer as our guest on Monday night. Nancy is the program chair for the fashion design department at the International Academy of Design & Technology in Chicago. She's a member of the Apparel Industry Board, the Chicago Fashion Foundation and the Association of Image Consultants International (AICI) where she serves as Chicago chapter president. She's also the author of Your Personal Style (2009, Fairchild Books/Conde Nast Publications). She owns her own business in the city, Fine Threads, Inc., specializes in wardrobe planning and, beyond all that, she's really nice!! (Huge kudos to Pamala , btw, for reeling Nancy in and organizing the event for us! :)
Nancy shared with us a number of terrific ideas for understanding how our differing body shapes need to be addressed with the right types of fabric and clothing lengths. She passed out a questionnaire with excellent things to ask ourselves about our sense of style (i.e. "What traits do my favorite clothes possess?"--in my case, the answer was Spandex). And she even showed us how to measure the proportions of our bodies based upon our head length. (Fascinating fact = our total body length, if in ideal proportion--which mine is definitely not--should be 8 head lengths from the top of our head to our stocking feet...) Most people, Nancy told us, don't have perfect proportions. Some of us are long-waisted, some of us are short-legged, etc., and that's all part of the reason why we need to learn little tricks for lengthening and trimming, and so on, where necessary.
And I have to tell you, this was one very helpful program for many of us. For those of you out in the Blogosphere who have no problem buying clothes that fit your body type, match your coloring and suit your personal style, you might not need the advice of an "image consultant." Me? I was the super-lucky member of the group whose name was drawn to win a copy of Nancy's book, and I more than suspect it was because the fashion gods--er, goddesses--were looking down on me, saying, "Do you see those ugly sweats she's wearing? And the hideous color contrast of her hair with those fabrics? This chick SO needs some help. Let's give her a reference guide--like, right now."
FYI, Nancy's got a Tip of the Month email thingy anyone can sign up for on the Contact page of her website. Oh!! AND she told me that some '80s fashions are coming back! (I was really relieved to hear this since I still have in my closet a number of applicable pieces...although, um, perhaps I shouldn't admit that... :-)
On another note altogether, a Cherry friend (Hi, Becke!) pointed me toward this post on "Confident or Delusional" authors by Chicago thriller writer J.A. Konrath. Some readers agree strongly. Others disagree just as much. Regardless, I found it to be a really thought-provoking piece.
And with that--since I was up until 2am with the copy edits--I'm going to take a nap!