Session with Bridgette Raes

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you’ve seen that I often link to articles written by style expert, Bridgette Raes. Bridgette is a New York City based personal stylist and blogger who writes frequently about creating a cohesive wardrobe, the power of color and accessories, and how to shop wisely.

I love Bridgette’s witty writing style and refreshing attitude toward fashion. While many other stylists focus predominantly on current trends and continuously shopping to keep up, Bridgette is far more pragmatic and realistic in her approach. I can see why many of her clients have been with her for years and rely on her helpful, no-nonsense advice

After being an admirer of Bridgette’s for several years, I finally took the plunge to hire her for virtual styling help. I had a Skype session with her last week and plan to have a follow-up session sometime next month.

Today’s post is the first in a series in which I’ll share my experience of working with Bridgette Raes to improve my personal style. I will start with the preliminary work I did prior to the session, which is the focus on today’s post. In a post later this week, I’ll write about the session itself and Bridgette’s recommendations for me. Future installments will focus on the ways in which I implement Bridgette’s advice, as well as my report from my second virtual styling session.

After being an admirer of Bridgette’s for several years, I finally took the plunge to hire her for virtual styling help. I had a Skype session with her last week and plan to have a follow-up session sometime next month.

Today’s post is the first in a series in which I’ll share my experience of working with Bridgette Raes to improve my personal style. I will start with the preliminary work I did prior to the session, which is the focus on today’s post. In a post later this week, I’ll write about the session itself and Bridgette’s recommendations for me. Future installments will focus on the ways in which I implement Bridgette’s advice, as well as my report from my second virtual styling session.

 

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Bridgette Raes

I’m excited to be introducing Bridgette Raes of Bridgette Raes Style Group as my Stylish Thoughts contributor today. Bridgette is based in Brooklyn New York, tieks review writes a style blog and is also the author of Style Rx: Dressing the Body You Have to Create the Body You Want

What is the secret to great style?

I think my secret to great style is that your clothing should be seen simply as a tool to support and enhance who you are tieks review. What makes clothing beautiful is the person who wears it tieks review, not the other way around. I think the goal with clothing is to use it to create a synergy between the inner and outer you, and to express on the outside what is within.

What is your current obsession?

My current obsession is Prima Donna bras. I will never wear any other bra brand again. They are amazing for all sizes but particularly good for larger busted women. It’s an expensive obsession but well worth it!

Who inspires you?

I’m a fan of the underdog. I am inspired by anyone who has overcome an obstacle and succeeded. I think most of us are dealt a few unfair hands in life, tieks review yet the ones who grow from those hard times or have learned something from the setbacks and have become even greater as a result are the most inspirational to me, tieks review for sure.

Do you have a signature piece or style?

I don’t wear black. This is probably the thing I’m most known for. I don’t own one pair of black shoes and with the exception of a few pairs of black leggings, don’t own any black clothes either. It’s not that I don’t like black, tieks review I just don’t think it deserves all the hoopla it gets and I find it to be very limiting and boring, tieks review vs. versatile and easy like most people think it is. I call women who rely too heavily on black blackcidents.

What’s your secret to making yourself stand out?

My secret is to never have my clothing overshadow who I am and to absolutely love the way I feel. The better I feel in what I am wearing, the more confident and outgoing I am. I want to be remembered for me, not what I wore.

Finish your look. Most women get dressed 75% of the way, meaning that they put on clothes and forget about accessorizing or doing things to their outfits that add flavor. I tend to call these types of flavorless outfits €chicken outfits’ because chicken needs spice and additional ingredients to be tasty. Chicken on its own is quite flavorless and boring. Clothing can be the same way if you don’t add flavor or additional components to make it tasty. The biggest thing I notice about women who don’t love the way they look is they don’t add flavor, tieks review personality or finishing touches to their outfits. Few people dress badly, but most walk around feeling like acceptably dressed nobodies. If these women only realized just how close they were to having an amazing outfit I think they’d feel more encouraged.

What’s the best piece of style wisdom you’ve ever received?

My mom said: €Don’t let an outfit enter the room 10 minutes before you do.€ Despite the fact that I am a so-called fashion and style expert and have been in fashion for 20 years, tieks review I believe that your clothing should enhance you. Although, admittedly, Helena Bonham Carter’s style just amuses me to no end, and lord knows her outfits enter a room days before she does.

Bridgette Raes Style Expert

I am not exactly sure where I came across the advice on how to create a “stylish adult baptism” in November of 2012, but I shared the link with my friend Bridgette Raes, who did a short essay on her very good blog (she even quoted me, which made it better). The tips were taken from Style Network’s show “Big Rich Texas”. I’m not sure the show exists any more (who would really care), and the video clip of the preparations for the event has been turned “private”.

Out of embarrassment, I hope.

There are still a lot of articles to read, but a coherent collection of still images isn’t readily available. Most of the writing on the subject ridicules the whole enterprise of turning baptism into an excuse to wear not one, but two, expensive white dresses, hire a caterer, and spend a boatload of money to produce an artificial “event” that is more about the relationship between a “godmother” and “god-daughter” than it is about God. And of course, to be “boobalicious.”

If anything resonates with my re-reading of Neil Postman’s Amusing Ourselves to Death, as an illustration that we’ve confused the sacred rituals of religion with the medium of telegenic entertainment, this was it.

In most Christian traditions , baptism is a sacred rite of initiation into the community of believers. It is elevated to the level of sacrament, in which a physical, material thing (in the case of baptism, water) is put to a spiritual use–in this instance, the dying with, and rising again, with Christ. Many Christian denominations call a sacrament an “outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace”. Most agree at least on two sacraments–baptism and holy communion. Some, such as Roman Catholics, have an additional five rituals of sacramental standing (confirmation, penance, marriage, ordination, extreme unction or last rites). A few Christian denominations, such as the Salvation Army and the Society of Friends, also known as Quakers, do not practice sacraments.

But most Christians agree that baptism has a central place in the Christian life. With the exception of those groups who do not practice sacraments, there is a consensus that Jesus himself received baptism and commanded his followers to administer it (although, interestingly, there is no evidence that the 12 disciples were themselves baptized, nor any evidence that Jesus administered baptism to any person during his earthly ministry).

When it is an adult who is professing faith, s/he has usually undergone a period of discernment which may take a year or more, including instruction in the faith and the implications of membership in the church. It is not something to be done ill-advisedly, or under the pressure from another person in your life (although frequently it does happen when a religiously mixed couple decide they both wish to be full members of one church).

Often, adult initiates (called catechumens) are welcomed into the church at the Great Vigil of Easter. In traditions such as the Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and Anglican churches, this is an ancient service celebrating the Resurrection of Christ, and it is a ritual of great symbolic power as well as visual and auditory drama and beauty–the culmination of the entire drama of the Passion of Christ that is Holy Week.

No Christian can treat baptism as a trivial matter. And the beauty and spectacle that often surrounds adult baptism (in the high liturgical churches, at least) marks it as the serious, yet simultaneously joyful, event that it is.

But it is not produced for the opportunity to make television. And even if the best skills in performing and visual art that a congregation can muster are employed, it is not about entertainment.

Most of the commentary about the Big Rich Texas baptism acknowledges the ridiculousness of the “event”, and to a lesser extent, implicitly questions the religious commitment of both the godmother and the baptismal candidate. It makes thinking people–both religious and non-religious–uncomfortable, even if they cannot fully express why.

I think part of it is that it confuses entertainment with what we are at least inculturated to understand as a holy mystery, even if we are not ourselves “true believers.” As Postman says, “By endowing things with magic, enchantment is the means through which we may gain access to sacredness. Entertainment is the means through which we distance ourselves from it.” (Amusing Ourselves to Death, p. 122)

There is something deep within us, I think, that rebels against such a crass use of sacred symbols–even if they are someone else’s sacred symbols–as junk television (even if, as Postman again claims, junk is the best thing television does). But we need, as he says, that “aura of mystery and symbolic otherworldliness” so that we do not lose the ability to “call for the state of mind required for a nontrivial religious experience.” (Amusing Ourselves to Death, p. 119)

And pretty dresses (even of the non-boobalicious kind), expensive cakes, and releasing doves into the air over your expensive swimming pool, just doesn’t do that.

 

Bridgette Raes

Bridgette Raes brings out the styles of celebrities, CEO’s and regular women everyday. She is the president of Bridgette Raes Style Group and author of the book Style Rx: Dressing the Body You Have to Create the Body You Want. Her witty, down-to-earth advice has made her a sought-after writer, spokesperson and style expert for countless media outlets worldwide.

Bridgette’s style expertise is regularly featured in People StyleWatch, Real Simple Magazine, The Boston Globe, StyleList.com, MSN.com, iVillage.com, and more. Her television appearances regularly include CNN, The Daily Buzz, Good Morning America and well as over 100 appearances on local networks from coast to coast.

In her 20 years in fashion, Bridgette has worked in every area of the industry. She worked in retail fashion while getting her design degree from the Fashion Institute of Technology and spent nearly a decade designing every type of clothing price point and product. In 2002, she decided that her expertise would be put to better use showing women how to wear clothing that brings out their own unique style, rather than simply designing it. It was this revelation that inspired her to start Bridgette Raes Style Group.

Bridgette Raes | Style Guide: The Truth About Men Who Wear Pantyhose

In a follow-up to her Friday radio broadcast, Bridgette Raes posted a great article on Men In Tights on her blogsite, “BRSG”. I will say, as to the double standard she refers to, I’ve often said that it actually betrays a certain residual bias against women that remains in our society even to this day–even among women themselves. Despite the ostensible equality with which women and men are viewed today, you have to ask yourself why there is such a noticeable difference between the way people view it when a member of one sex strays into the fashion territory of the other?

Bridgette noted that a woman can wear clothing ranging from the ultra feminine to jeans, t-shirts, boots and a short haircut and hardly anyone even takes note. Maybe she is even praised as being: strong, “a real go-getter”, or other positive adjectives. But if a man wears even one article of clothing that has typically been associated with women, not only do other men get worked up over it, but women may give him even more flack over it. His manhood might be called into question regardless of how strong and virile an example of masculinity he may otherwise be.

You have to ask yourself if this doesn’t reveal some sort of latent bias against the female? Is it because a woman who co-opts a certain fashion item from men is seen as elevating herself? (BTW, not too many of us are old enough to remember the days when women wearing pants was considered scandalous). If so, by contrast a man adopting anything with a feminine connotation is considered to be ‘lowering’ himself to the level of the less worthy sex and needs to be resisted so as to not betray his manhood.

Of course, when we try to come to terms with all of this, we hope we can be advanced enough in our view on the inherent dignity, and equality, of both men and women that we don’t behave this way. Some–many–men are wearing mantyhose for very legitimate reasons and knee jerk reactions against it have to be examined for what they really reveal about the people making them. Are they unknowingly acknowledging they don’t really view men and women as being equal in dignity? Let’s hope your blog and radio program can help us move beyond that toward true equality. Thank you, Bridgette.