Sunday, March 16, 2003
New York Confidence is the perfect accessory, according to model and fashion designer Emme. It fits all shapes and sizes and it can be worn at any age, for any occasion.
The hard part, though, is finding it.
Even on days when you wake up feeling like you can take on the world, it might not take much to push you off course; the culprit could be something as small as a pimple or a scuffed shoe.
No one else might notice such tiny blemishes, Emme says, but women often are uncomfortable in their own skin and one minor blip can send self-esteem plunging. And if the problem is a few extra pounds, many women just curl up in shapeless sweats and go into hibernation.
In Emme's new book, "Life's Little Emergencies: Everyday Rescue for Beauty, Fashion, Relationships, and Life" (St. Martin's Press), she and co-author Natasha Stoynoff offer ideas to deal with daily struggles -- including but not limited to the body-image issues that Emme frequently counsels on.
"Unfortunately we're not at that place yet where women are seen fully at their value without looking at their physical attributes," Emme says. "That means it's up to each individual to put her best foot forward. Use your assets, overcome your liabilities."
So, cover that pimple with toothpaste, tea-tree oil or unfiltered honey; rub the shoe with a piece of white bread or a drop of hand lotion; and muster up the resolve to adopt a healthier lifestyle that includes a variety of foods and enjoyable exercises. Most importantly, wear a good attitude, she says; it'll get you a lot further than a new pair of pricey shoes.
"A classic problem is that women do too much to themselves to make a statement," she says. "Too much makeup, too many accessories and wearing designer head to toe overshadows personality, which is what really counts."
That's easy for Emme to say: People magazine has twice selected her as one of the "50 Most Beautiful People;" she covers her plus-size frame in custom-made clothes from designer pals in addition to having her whole line to choose from; she has a face that invites compliments and conversation from strangers, and has friends such as makeup guru Bobbi Brown and model Cheryl Tiegs to swap beauty tips with.
But Emme, who attended Syracuse University on a full athletic scholarship before turning to journalism and later fashion, says success is within anyone's reach; it's a matter of practice and being practical.
No one is perfect and anyone who expects it is sure to be disappointed, the 39-year-old says, but those with aspirations to better themselves and have the drive to follow through eventually will be rewarded.
"Growing up, as a rower, as an athlete, you learn you can't win every game, but when you have that victory, it makes all the work and practice worth it."
Emme says while she is flattered by the letters she gets from women who seek her advice on finding clothes that flatter their full figures, she also is somewhat frustrated. These women have the power to make a difference at their local stores but they either don't know it or they're waiting to ride on someone else's coattails.
Her advice to "all the women who say there's not this for me or that for me": "Pick up your pen. Write to department stores and designers. They need to be pushed forward. Use your voice and say that you have money to spend!"