Guest blogger Karen Nowowieski is the founder of “Work It!” — a home business that provides free style makeovers to service members transitioning out of the military. This former soldier and current Defense Department civilian has offered to share her fashion know-how with Family Matters readers through a series of guest blogs. In the coming months, she’ll cover everything from appropriate interview and work attire to what to wear on a date or girls’ night out.
Yes, Those Pants Make Your Butt Look Huge, But Why Listen to Me?
By Karen Nowowieski
Oct. 22, 2011
I’ve been going through some fashion blogs trying to get a feel for my new stint as a fashion blogger. I had a couple of questions about each blogger as I read through them — age, background, etc. – and decided to answer those questions about myself so you can get to know me.
First of all, I’m no “fashionista,” style maven or any other name the tragically hip give each other. I grew up in rural Vermont. Remember the “Newhart” show? Larry, Darryl and Darryl are pretty representative of the population where I grew up.
Vermont is not known for its thriving fashion industry, and I was surrounded by red flannel and work boots. Dressing up, say for a wedding, called for your very cleanest red flannel and lightly ripped denim jeans.
I grew up with two (that’s two) TV stations and all the country music you could stomach. My mother, sadly, has a limited fashion sense. She had never been heavy so had no idea how to dress her heavy daughter. To this day I shudder at the sight of elastic-waist pants. But, other than the fact I knew I didn’t like how I looked, I had no idea how to go about looking better. Enter “Vogue” magazine.
The glossy pages were so inviting to me as a 15-year-old. Through this magazine, I saw beautiful people, colors and clothes, and so started my love affair with both fashion and, oddly, magazines.
I tried it all — neon, grunge, big hair, big makeup, too short skirts and too long pants. If there’s a fashion mistake to be made, I’ve made it.
A beautiful woman at work has a great saying, “I don’t want to be loud AND wrong.” Picture me in a giant pink neon sweatshirt and one black glove and you can see what she’s getting at.
What I needed was one straight-talking friend to tell me I looked frightful (and too bright). Everyone needs a 100 percent honest friend to tell you how you look. That’s me. I’m just your average sarcastic working mom with two 12-year-olds, two dogs and a cat. I combine my New England practicality and critical fashion eye to tell people they could look better, and how to achieve that. There you have it: my fashion credentials.
Have a fashion question for Karen? Post your comments or questions on the Family Matters blog or email them to Elaine.firstname.lastname@example.org.