From the very beginning in 1987, it's always been about making women feel great about themselves.
For many years I played and worked with women 1 on 1 and in groups.
When we moved to Pagosa Springs, Colorado, I had a boutique for 13 years.
Women of all walks of life played together in that boutique.
The women called it "the transformation place where you fall in love with yourself".
One of the ways I played with women was to have them try on things that they normally wouldn't wear.
Often women would light up, start dancing around and then say:
"But that's not me! I never wear things like this."
So, I ask them to stand in front of the mirror again and describe what they see.
Then I ask them to put things on that they usually wear - and compare how they stand, behave, feel. Look at their eyes. Listen to their voices. Watch how the shoulders slump or straighten up....
This way they experienced physically - as well as mentally and emotionally - how the colors and textures of clothes and jewelry affect them. And how to select things that light them up and make them feel happy from deep inside.
The doorbell rang. I looked over. A woman, wearing a prim blue and white small checkered dress, a small straw hat with a matching fabric band, white lace socks and neutral colored Mary Janes, walked into the boutique.
Just about 5 feet in, she stopped, looked around, raised one eyebrow and with a stiff upper lip, she dismissively said in her British accent: "There isn't a single thing in here that I could possibly want."
I burst out laughing. "How wonderful. Come on in. Let's play."
A beautiful transformation story from my boutique life:
One day a woman came into the boutique. First time. She was looking for something new to wear for a special occasion. Nothing she tried passed her judgement. Everything made her "butt look fat".
Like so many women, she fixated on a certain part of her body: in this case her butt.
Her butt was perfectly normal. She had a great body. Well proportioned.
She insisted that her husband, who was waiting outside in their mobile home, thinks her butt is fat.
I wanted to see that , so I brought him in.
This is a tribute to Alison - the amazing, kind, supportive and joyful woman and dear friend behind my "Alison Top" - my best selling style for 28 years.
Alison peacefully left her body on July 1, 2022.
Her request was to celebrate life with joy.
Alison walked into my boutique in Colorado in 1995, with a local friend, who she was visiting. I was struck by her beautiful, sparkly blue eyes, her white curls and her Oxford English.
Having a hard time finding clothes in regular stores, that made her feel good, she asked me to make her some clothes, that are flattering for her body.
One of those pieces was the Alison style top. I have been making it for her ever since.
Alison was utterly delighted by "her" top becoming such a hit with soooo many women.
In the photo she is wearing one of the last "Alison style tops she got.
I am showing her against her favorite digital art from me.
Despite having endured horrific childhood traumas, due to the times and circumstances she was in, she only mentioned them once. VERY briefly. Last year when I asked if I could write about her.
At the end she said "forget about the heavy stuff. We need to live in joy and celebrate all the good and wonderful things that we experience every single day. Pass on the message to especially young people to enjoy life and do good.
Life is precious and passes fast."
Renee was a headhunter for huge corporations. She was based in New York at a time when everyone - male or female - wore high-end designer classic pinstripe or solid colored business suits in shades of grey, navy and in black.
You simply did not "wear anything outside the striped dark box".
If you were a woman you had to balance in high heels on top of it.
About 6 weeks after she had gotten some hand painted tops and a couple of really cool blue and purple drapey pants from me, she called me. Renee was so beyond excited.
This is her story:
Next up: Bettie - "First time I feel beautiful in my life".
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