Get the Red Dress

When I was seventeen, I walked across the auditorium stage of Norview High School to perform a piano recital. I didn’t get off to good start. As I walked onto the stage, a boy behind the curtains hissed “Hey, where’d you get that haircut, Boney Maroney?”

I sat down to play, and even though it seemed like an hour, it was probably only a minute when I closed the piano lid and walked off the stage. I had blanked out completely because I didn’t want to be there. I hated the way I looked. My hair was a mess because my mother cut it. She also made the dress I wore, and it made me look even skinnier than I was. It was a drab slate blue, and my mood was equally drab.

After this humiliating experience, I was determined to change my image. I took all my hard-earned babysitting money and got a good haircut. I scoured the pages of Glamour magazine and discovered soft pink lipstick and blusher made me look better.  For graduation, my mother gave me her credit card, and I went shopping. My fairy godmother must have been sitting on my shoulder. When I looked at dresses in “safe” colors, she said, “No, look at the red dress.” I thought to myself, “That’s not for me. I’m too shy for red. It’s a color for my cheerleader sister.

“Get the red dress,” I heard again. I tried it on and was transformed. When I looked in the mirror, I knew I would never be a grey mouse ever again.

After graduation, I took all my courage and moved to Washington, D.C., and enrolled in a top-notch fashion school. After graduation, I became one of the top models in D.C.

Soon friends and neighbors asked for color and fashion advice, and I eventually became an image consultant to businesswomen, politicians, and everyday people. Many told me I had changed their lives. Some got promotions that had long eluded them. Some found the love of their life, while others gained newfound confidence.

The way you look and dress shouldn’t matter, but it does. The way you look announces the outcome others can expect from you. It also influences the person in the mirror when you leave the house each morning.

How can you improve your image? Here are a few things that can help and give immediate results.

• Maintain good posture. Sloping shoulders indicate a lack of confidence.

• Make certain your clothes fit well. Ill-fitting garments may cause you to be perceived as sloppy in general.

• Good hygiene is also important. Avoid greasy and unkempt hair.

• Avoid scuffed heels or toes, and heels that are run down.

• Avoid drab colors; they can make you look drab.

• Don’t be afraid of bold colors like royal blue, emerald green, and fuchsia. Even red. Trust me, colors can change your life!

The way you look and dress shouldn’t matter, but it does. We are all creatures of habit. My clients tell me they wear the same old colors. They confess that bold colors are scary, so they avoid them. If you’ve fallen into this bad habit, give royal blue a try. It’s a color that looks good on most people. I bet you’ll get compliments galore!

Sandy Dumont is a color and image consultant based in Norfolk. Contact her at 621-9555 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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