Thursday, March 13, 2003

Women: Accessorize your life with confidence

By Samantha Critchell
The Associated Press


Confidence is the perfect accessory, according to model and fashion designer Emme. It fits all shapes and sizes and it can be worn at any age, for any occasion.

The hard part is finding it.

Even on days when you wake up feeling like you can take on the world, it might not take much to push you off course; the culprit could be something as small as a pimple or a scuffed shoe.

No one else might notice such tiny blemishes, Emme says, but women are often uncomfortable in their own skin and one minor blip can send self-esteem plunging. If the problem is pounds, many women just curl up in shapeless sweats and go into hibernation.

In Emme's new book, Life's Little Emergencies: Everyday Rescue for Beauty, Fashion, Relationships, and Life (St. Martin's Press), she and co-author Natasha Stoynoff offer ideas to deal with daily struggles - including but not limited to the body-image issues that Emme counsels.

There are almost as many body types in the world as there are people, says full-figured model Emme, and for each of those shapes there are flattering clothes.
"I encourage diversity. I encourage talking about diversity. Could you imagine if all the flowers in the world were daisies?" she asks.
That said, the designer of the Emme Collection, host of television's Fashion Emergency and author of Life's Little Emergencies: Everyday Rescue for Beauty, Fashion, Relationships, and Life, offers a checklist of the garments every woman should have in her closet.
Emme says once you have the basic shopping list in hand, put your own spin on each piece depending on your style, whether that's urban, artsy, conservative, flirty or any other description you can come up with.
• Long pants.
• Short skirt (just above the knee).
• Long skirt (grazing the shin).
• Camisoles with adjustable straps for finer dressing and Lycra layering pieces.
• Shirt in a variety of lengths: cropped at the top of the abdomen, cropped below the belly button and a tunic.
• Cardigans - to be paired with camisoles.
• Sweaters of different textures and qualities.
• A couple of Little Black Dresses.
• A tan or black trench coat.
• A black or red sheath dress.
• A couple of knit dusters (short for petite women and long for tall).
• A great black shoulder bag.
• Comfortable, well-soled shoes.
• Shawls to dress up casual outfits on cool nights.
"Unfortunately we're not at that place yet where women are seen fully at their value without looking at their physical attributes," Emme says. "That means it's up to each individual to . . . use your assets, overcome liabilities."

So, cover that pimple with toothpaste, tea-tree oil or unfiltered honey; rub the shoe with a piece of white bread or a drop of hand lotion; and muster the resolve to adopt a healthier lifestyle that includes a variety of foods and enjoyable exercises. Most importantly, wear a good attitude, she says; it'll get you a lot further than a new pair of pricey shoes.

"A classic problem is that women do too much to themselves to make a statement," she says. "Too much makeup, too many accessories and wearing designer head to toe overshadows personality, which is what really counts."

That's easy for Emme to say: People magazine has twice selected her as one of the "50 Most Beautiful People;" she wears custom-made clothes from designer pals in addition to having her whole line to choose from; and has friends such as makeup guru Bobbi Brown and model Cheryl Tiegs to swap beauty tips with.

But Emme, who attended Syracuse University on a full athletic scholarship before turning to journalism and fashion, says success is within anyone's reach; it's a matter of practice and being practical.

No one is perfect and anyone who expects it will be disappointed, but those with aspirations to better themselves and have the drive to follow through will be rewarded.

"Growing up, as a rower, as an athlete, you learn you can't win every game, but when you have that victory, it makes all the work and practice worth it."

Emme says while she is flattered by the letters she gets from women who seek her advice, she also is somewhat frustrated. These women have the power to make a difference but they either don't know it or they're waiting to ride on someone else's coattails.

Her advice to "all the women who say there's not this for me or that for me": "Pick up your pen. Write to department stores and designers. They need to be pushed forward. Use your voice and say that you have money to spend!"

Dress up for proms with fun femininity
Why pink?
The right dress
Sno Core's headliner not crowd's favorite
KNIPPENBERG: Knip's eye view
Women: Accessorize your life with confidence
Choir boys bid auf Wiedersehen
With new season, Shakespeare Festival recaptures old spirit
Buildup of books on Iraq
Oscar insights
Top 10s
The Early Word
Get to it