Some of you may have seen the Virginian-Pilot article about my friend, Sandy Dumont, who died August 14. She wrote a column called “Your Image” for Tidewater Women on and off over the past 15 years. Recently, Sandy had been suffering from a mysterious auto-immune illness that eventually led to her death. I am still in shock about her passing and will miss her smile and her friendship.
When death comes suddenly, you wish you turn back the clock and spend more time with the person who died. During Sandy’s illness, I saw her only once or twice and wish now I’d been a better friend to her, especially during the difficult periods of her illness. We had lunch together when she was experiencing a brief reprieve. Even though Sandy was frail, she still maintained her sense of style and elegance.
Sandy reached out to me soon after I started publishing Tidewater Women, offering to write about image, specifically how the colors we choose to wear can make a huge difference in how others view us and how we view ourselves. I participated in one of her image workshops and discovered that the natural beige, tan, and sage colors I gravitated toward made me look washed out. Pastels do the same, Sandy said. She showed me how bold jewel tones—royal blue, emerald green, and cherry red—made my skin glow and gave me a confidence boost. She encouraged me to wear brightly colored lipstick, something I’d never done before.
People remarked immediately on my appearance. In fact, right after Sandy’s workshop, I went to my son’s school to pick him up, and someone said to me simply, “You look great.” The only change I’d made was putting on lipstick. Sandy really knew her stuff.
As many of you know, I am no fashionista, but it was easy to follow Sandy’s advice. Today when I go shopping for new clothes, I seek out the colors Sandy recommended. I will always hear her voice in my head when I choose my outfits, and I am grateful for all she did to help me become a better person.
Sandy knew that when you look better, you feel better about yourself. And when you feel better about yourself, your confidence surges and you can achieve more as a result. Sandy showed countless people how dressing better can change your life. Here are a few more of her timeless tips:
• 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 make you look drab.
• Don’t be afraid of bold colors like royal blue, emerald green, red, and fuchsia.
Making a positive impact on those around us is a goal we should strive for in life. Sandy set an example for us all by lifting others up. Now that she’s gone, we can continue in her footsteps by lifting others up in her memory. How? There are myriad ways: by doing a kind deed, by cheering up a friend who’s down, by offering to run an errand for someone who’s not feeling well, by being positive even in the face of adversity.
Sandy’s spirit lives on.