Like most everyone, I like to feel well-dressed without much fuss. I do most of my work on TV and find I get many more compliments about what I wore than on what I had to say. When I was young and looked so much better, I worked hard to sound a lot smarter than I was. Now that I'm smarter, I plow most of my energy into just trying to make myself look good.
Over the years I've developed a pretty good system for looking like a million bucks and I spend far less money doing it than people think. My secret is to approach my wardrobe from the feet up—not wasting my time or money along the way. To start with, I buy only neutral colored shoes in beige or light taupe. I own eight pairs in a variety of heel heights and toe shapes and they go well with every color except maybe a red sequined dress that I wouldn't buy anyway.
Neutral shoes come with the huge added advantage of making a woman's leg appear longer than it is, and every gal I know wants to have longer legs. A pair of high heeled sexy beige pumps always delivers! I buy two new pair of shoes each year, one in the spring and one in the fall, and the minute I get home with my new shoes I replace my most shop-worn pair with my new ones. That keeps my shoe selection to a nice manageable eight pairs—all interchangeable and an easy match for all my outfits. I wear them all year round, and when I travel I save a lot of space in my carry-on with just a pair of neutral heels and crème colored sandals thrown in.
Moving right up my leg with my little dressing system, I wear only white and crème colored skirts. I find a well cut straight skirt never goes out of style and I own six in different weights that change with the season and they all look good with my shoes.
IN LIVING COLOR
Wearing bright colors is very important to me, and the brighter the color the happier I feel. I satisfy my big thirst for color with vibrant jackets and tops that look good on TV, and I've used them as a personal trademark to brand myself and stand apart from the crowd. But the preferred color here in NYC where I live is definitely black, though sometimes burgundy when women are feeling really wild. And I don't wear black as I feel it adds 10 years to my already aging face—I've had two face lifts and I'm trying to milk the last one for as long as I can.
I buy one new jacket every spring and every fall and my absolute most favorite colors to buy are hot pink, bright orange, and lemon yellow, all colors hard to find here in NYC. But I've learned to work that scarcity to my advantage with my high speed department store shopping sprees designed to land a good jacket and save me a lot of time. And as most department stores have three floors of women's clothes, I've developed a simple method to scour all three floors in less than an hour flat, and here's how I do it.
I pop out the elevator on the highest floor and snake my way up and down, up and down each isle at breakneck speed scanning every rack for neon colors that scream out to me. I slip on any good prospect right there on the spot, use a nearby mirror to judge the fit and, if I like it, carry it down the escalator to the next floor and then the one after that, all the while smiling at salespeople and saying "No-thank-you-just-looking!" as I move without breaking stride. I try not to look at price tags until I've finished all three floors as I find knowing the price shades my judgment of what really looks best. So my jackets span the price range—from dirt cheap to fashion rip-off—but I choose each by how much I love it. On a good day I land a great new jacket and hang my trophy up in my color-coded closet.
That brings us up top to jewelry, the thing most women treasure most. Although I often admire beautiful jewelry on other well-dressed women, I've purposely not developed a taste for good jewelry because I'm too cheap to pay for it, so why bother? The well-intentioned birthday gifts my husband paid good money for way-back-when sit quietly in my drawer waiting to be discovered when I'm dead. Meanwhile, I'm wearing the same earrings going on nine years now—small brushed-gold hoops with a tiny pearl and yellow amethyst that dangle on the hoop; they have just enough color and sparkle to go with anything I might choose to put on my neck. I bought the earrings myself and wear them to bed as they're small enough not to dig into my neck.
I like wearing white pearl necklaces around my neck because they brighten the whites of my eyes and match my big white teeth. I splurged on one semi-precious triple strand of pearls with pink and yellow stones thrown in and it looks a little sophisticated with all my outfits. The necklace set me back more than $1,000 five years ago but I justify the purchase as only $200 dollars a year!—and that number keeps going down. The only other necklace I wear is my four-foot strand of oversized white glass pearls which I wrap and twist around my neck and wear most days because the clean white evenly-sized pearls look great on TV. The necklace is a real knockout and I get dozens of emails from fans each week asking where to buy it and how much it costs. As it turns out I found it in Chinatown a few years back paying a whopping $10 on the street. In hindsight I was crazy not to buy two because I'm deathly afraid of losing it when I travel, twice forgetting to take it out of the room safe after I checked out.
So there you have it. How to dress from the feet up, well under budget, and fool everybody into thinking you're rich!