Suzanne Dekyvere is a friend and colleague from Melbourne, Australia. She flew to Sonoma in June to be part of the retreat I’d planned for members of the Monthly Marketing Bundle program, a program I developed to help support other image consultants. Whether it’s live or on social media, I always enjoy her joy filled outfits. (See her Instagram feed: @airofdistinction.)
I cornered her one morning when we were waiting for our coffee drinks in St. Helena and asked her to tell me about her outfit. It was so harmonious in an active, playful, feminine way. She told me it was simply about wearing neutrals and layering. I told her she had some ‘splaining to do!
Layering with light pieces
First of all we talked about layering. She said, “People get scared of layering. The trick is to layer without adding bulk. Keep all the layers light, airy, and flowy.”
Her tunic is a sleeveless one piece long top with a split. Suzanne says, “Without the split it would have the potential to make me look frumpy but the split elongates. The color is light taupe and is a neutral in my wardrobe. As I wear a lot of color, it is an easy piece to throw over anything to change the look.”
Her pants are made from a fine fabric. They have a nice flow and are straight and narrow. She pointed out the neutral colors of her pant. It’s the same light vanilla/taupe as in her tunic and the blue repeats her eye color. Her jean jacket is soft blue and embellished with great ribbons and trim. Her hat is in the same blue as her jacket and pant. Her shoes and her tote are both soft white shades in smooth leather.
Suzanne has layered two necklaces together. One necklace matches the earrings. The other is a plaited leather with white feathers. I loved the solid geometric shapes in the necklace and earrings. Because there’s a lot of activity in the print of her pants and her jean jacket, it gives a place for the eye to rest.
She bought both necklaces while on vacations. She says, “I tend to buy accessories when I travel. They are my mementos of wonderful places and fun holidays. The tan color is flattering on me as it picks up my hair color. I see the necklaces as being complimentary but not matchy-matchy.”
So she convinced me: It’s a simple outfit of neutrals! Although she’s got embellishment in her jacket and she’s mixing two prints – stripes in the hat and an Indian print in the pant – there’s still a lot of quiet in her outfit. Sublime meets joy.
“What’s your style?”
I asked Suzanne how she would describe her style. She’s gotten a few suggestions from outside sources. One source labeled her style Eclectic Dramatic. Another used the words Glamorous, Creative.
When I asked her to search her soul and tell me what she thought, she said, “Dramatic, Creative, Authentic. When you ask what connects to my soul I’d quote Lynn Dell: ‘Dress everyday for the theatre of your life.’ When I first read that quote I almost squealed out loud, ‘It’s me!’ I’d say I wear what makes my heart sing, what makes me happy. I love the creativity of putting together ensembles. I never worry about what others think of my style. That’s their issue, not mine. Having said that I am mindful and respectful of unspoken dress codes and aim to meet my client’s visual expectation. For example, when I am in the corporate world as I often am, I do my version of corporate dress.
Every evening I plan my outfit for tomorrow with the thought “What do I want to have achieved at the end of tomorrow and how can I dress to best help that?” Sometimes I will plan an outfit around a pair of shoes; other times around a piece of jewelry; others around something that tugs at my heart strings.
When I look at this outfit and take in Suzanne’s radiance, I think of her style as Understated Goddess. She is such a well-rounded person. She has exuberance, wisdom, compassion, and generosity. I can see her holding the world in her arms and guiding us all to a better place. I hope she inspires you like she inspires me!
Suzanne’s website is An Air of Distinction.