Tag Archives: hair

The B-Word

October 8, 2015 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

“I think you’re a pushy bitch.” That’s what a gallery owner once said to Courtney Kenny Porto when she attempted to get postcards printed for an upcoming exhibition. It was an instance that left the 24-year-old artist momentarily speechless, but dramatically underscored why she’s a feminist and why she often focuses on feminism in her drawings, paintings, and prints.

“I didn’t even identify myself as a feminist until recently,” comments Kenny Porto. “I was in a bubble. My mom raised me as empowered, and I felt I could do anything. She is a woman who doesn’t allow herself to be treated beneath what she deserves, and I have that same expectation.”

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As the artist has learned through instances such as the above, however, those expectations aren’t always met. “As I get older, I see things that don’t make sense, especially in terms of gender roles,” Kenny Porto observes. For that reason, she uses her art to examine feminism through myriad interpretations, including one of the most recognizable: the female figure. “I’m fascinated and drawn to the female form,” she says. “Aesthetically, I love the curves with the breasts and hips.”

Her works, though, are not straightforward representations of women’s bodies; they are explorations of deeper themes. Her Hair Series, for example, portrays women with long, flowing locks, ponytails, loose buns, and side ponytails. Kenny Porto based the works on a study that examined how women are perceived according to those styles—i.e. on hair alone. “In one style—the side ponytail—women are perceived as the most approachable,” she says. “The long straight hair was the least. And that’s the one men prefer.”

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In recent work, Kenny Porto has taken on a subject that most people—especially men—consider taboo: menstruation. She produced three large-scale works directly imprinted from a tampon, and while the images are abstract, the artist’s ability to create a dialogue is easily identifiable. “When I go to the grocery store, I still hide my tampons,” she says, “but what is a tampon? It’s a piece of cotton. A period is a natural part of being a woman. We should not be embarrassed by it. That’s the whole message—get over it.”

While Kenny Porto has gotten over her own embarrassment, she’s not about to let go of feminism.

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“People ask, ‘What’s the point of feminism today? You have voting rights, etc.’ But it’s a problem of cultural ideas and paradigms,” she emphasizes. “If a man sleeps around, he brags about it. If it’s a woman, she’s a whore. Feminism is about a mental attitude.”

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Mental attitude is exactly what Kenny Porto has. How did she handle the gallery owner who tried to use coarse language to intimidate her? She was a consummate professional and not the word to which the gallery owner attempted to reduce her.

“I shook hands,” she says, “and said we shouldn’t work together.”

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Oh Dear!

June 26, 2015 by

It’s summertime and I’m taking full advantage of the fact that my kids are preteens and sleeping in. Camp Mom is pretty laid back and the kids seem to appreciate it. Yesterday, I filled up 50 water balloons, declared my contribution to their summer fun, and went inside to read my book.

Max asks if we can go swimming. I tell him that I just need to finish one more thought and then we we’ll go. Two hours later, I finish the thought. Once we get to the pool, I see a bunch of familiar moms that I haven’t seen in a while.

I wave to the fellow gym moms. There was a half-hearted,  “Do I know you?” kind of reciprocation wave. That’s when I get a glimpse of myself in the window reflection. It’s not that I feel like I should get all dolled up to go to the pool, it’s that I look that awful.

My hair is a wirey mess. I have no make-up on and my current summer wardrobe is whatever I grab out of my laundry basket as I’m putting away the clean clothes, which happens to be full-length faded gym sweats in the middle of summer, a t-shirt, and my flip-flops from last year.

It’s evident that to these very put-together moms, I look a little bit homeless. And what’s the point in showering and washing my hair anyway if I’m going swimming? In short, think of that famous Nick Nolte mug shot from several years ago.

It hasn’t occurred to me until just now that I look like a mom begging for help.

I smile with pride because I’m living a dream: I’m a writer and mom. This is apparently what it looks like. I don’t have it all together, but I do indeed have it all. I mentally “high five” myself and play frisbee with the kids for a while.

When we leave the pool, I wave to the now-concerned moms. I’ve always been a low-maintenance kind of a gal, but right now I realize I’m a no-maintenance gal. I resolve to maybe give a slight bit of effort to my summer look. Camp Mommy takes on a new meaning.

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On a Lark

October 23, 2014 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

Between running errands, picking up the kids from school, grocery shopping and work, it’s difficult for a woman to find some time for herself. Thankfully, if you have an hour and you happen to be near 120th and Blondo, a good spur-of-the-moment pampering just got a lot easier.

Lark Blow Dry Studio is the first of its kind in Omaha and focuses on only one thing: Blowouts. “That concept is huge on the east and west coasts,” says Sara Slimp, Lark’s founder. “By only doing blowouts, it allows us a lot of flexibility for our clients. We’re here to do one thing and to do it well.”

A blowout, for those who don’t know, includes a wash, a blow-dry, and a style of your choice: anything from straight as a board to beach waves or curls. Keep in mind that blowouts aren’t just for feeling pampered. Lark caters to women who want a sleek style for dates, job interviews, business functions, and more.

Unlike many hair studio and spa owners around the Omaha metro, Slimp doesn’t have a background in cosmetology. Laughing, she confesses that she’s actually an accountant by trade. Prior to opening Lark, she had worked in corporate America. While she loved her time there, she was ready for something different.

Slimp says she has a bucket list of things she wishes to accomplish in her lifetime. After leaving her last job, the universe aligned with her decision to open a blow-dry studio. “It just kept happening,” Slimp says. “I found a location. I got a loan. All of a sudden I owned a blow dry studio.” Slimp adds that her background in accounting has been a huge asset for starting a new business.

The studio certainly is a welcoming space. The vibe lingers somewhere between funky and glamorous, yet casual. When you arrive, you’re even offered a tablet, allowing you to read magazines while you wait or as you get your hair done.

“Eventually they set it aside,” Sara mentions. “We don’t take time in our culture to just sit and be. Here, there’s not anyone pulling on you or demanding anything from you. And women need that.  The next time women come in they don’t even ask for a tablet.”

Be warned, ladies: If you’re seeking a cut and color in addition to your blow dry, you won’t find that at Lark. Blowouts, which are $40, are the salon’s only offering. Slimp says that keeping things simple gives her more flexibility when working with their clients. Appointments, even those made the day of a desired blow out, are easily bookable from your computer or phone. “When you’re a mom, self-care is so important,” Slimp says. “No matter where you’re at in life—a caregiver, a mom, a busy professional—taking an hour for yourself and getting your hair done makes you feel good.”

Tonsorial Traditions

September 1, 2014 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

The best place to start an experience at 18/8, a new men’s salon in Aksarben Village, is, perhaps, with the name itself, a reference to stainless steel—steel plus 18 percent chromium and 8 percent nickel.

“When it was transformed, stainless steel was better—it performed better, it looked better, it worked better,” says Omaha 18/8 owner Michael Wohlgemuth.

“That’s kind of the metaphor we use for 18/8. We want to transform the male to be better—to look better, to be better performing, to get better results in how they feel about themselves.”

It’s a metaphor for 18/8 itself, too, which, since its opening in May, is striving to transform the Omaha man’s professional grooming experience.

“We try to cater to men in a semi-private atmosphere where they get the opportunity to relax and enjoy the experience,” Wohlgemuth says. “Most barber shops and salons line up chairs or cubicles. We turn ours at angles and have walls between stations. In our salon, the highest number of people getting services at one time would be three, and they would be protected—they don’t have 10 or 12 other men staring at them.”

It’s a formula that’s proved popular in other locations. More than 20 18/8 salons have opened or are slated to open in California, Colorado, Georgia, Minnesota, Missouri, New Mexico, New York, and Texas.

Scott Griffith and Ron Love started the franchise in California. Wohlgemuth and his wife, Debbie, decided to bring 18/8 to Omaha (likely soon in more than one location beyond the existing one at 1920 S. 67th St.) because they felt the salon’s approach was a new one for the city.

Men can book services—including haircuts, hair and beard coloring, shaves, facials, manicures, scalp treatments, and waxing—online or via phone. They can walk into the salon, too, though clients with reservations receive priority. In any case, every visitor is greeted first by a DOFI—a Director of First Impressions—who confirms services to be received and leads guests to the first semi-private area of the bright, modern salon: a couple of sleek arm chairs flanked by a mini fridge and mounted flat-screen TV. The DOFI makes a note of clients’ preferred beverages for future visits, Debbie Wohlgemuth says, then escorts men to the back, where they can remove and hang their shirts and put on a robe. A stylist or barber will put on an additional cape when clients get to a chair.

“We don’t want hair anywhere on a man when he leaves,” Michael Wohlgemuth adds. “When he leaves, he can go right out on a date or to a wedding or back to work without having to worry about going home first.”

The salon’s team of stylists and barbers (barbers are able to provide a clean shave with a straight blade) are trained to tailor hairstyles to men’s individual heads, Michael Wohlgemuth says. They won’t simply snap on a guard and cut the hair around it, for example. Every client gets a hot towel upon arrival and a shampoo and conditioning before and after hair services.

“We think the experience is kind of a lost art, and we’re trying to revitalize it,” Michael Wohlgemuth says. “We think we’ve just taken the experience up a notch.”

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Melanie Smith

August 21, 2014 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

What do Lady Gaga’s posse, the cast of Wicked, and the Oscar-winning actress Ellen Burstyn have in common? Melanie Smith.

Smith cuts and styles a mean head of hair. And she wields a makeup brush with the bravado of a swashbuckling pirate. Any client who sits in a chair at her salon, The Cutting Room, can tell you as much.

But it’s Smith’s work beyond the chair that a creative spirit finds a second wind…and soars.

The stylist’s most recent after-hours gig as a (tongue twister alert!) wig-wrangler with Wicked had her juggling over 30 heads of hair—and the actors who wore them—in a dizzying series of dozens of costume changes all throughout that Broadway blockbuster’s Omaha run.

“It’s kind of ironic that I studied in southern California and did find at least a little bit of work out there,” Smith says, “but all of my important jobs came when I returned to Omaha.”

Jobs like taking the role of key hair stylist for Alexander Payne’s Nebraska (2013). Or working with Burstyn and others on the Country Club neighborhood set of Nik Fackler’s Lovely, Still (2008). Or eating dust on a gravel road in rural Sarpy County for the filming of Lady Gaga’s “You and I”
(2011) video.

“I don’t know if I would ever want to be on stage or in a film,” says Smith. “I’m pretty happy to be running around in the dark [in the wings of a theater] or being just off camera with all my gear. The crew is a link in the chain that makes these productions go. We’re creating art of our own, it’s just that we do it behind the scenes.”

And the Lady Gaga video shoot? The crew, Smith explains, was instructed to be on the lookout for crashers and all were advised to report anyone who looked “strange.”

“Think about that for a minute,” Smith chuckles. “Strange? It’s a Lady Gaga video shoot! Tons of professional artists everywhere you look. It was like strange central in the same way that any gathering of that many artists was going to mean some pretty interesting people-watching.”

Never one to rest when there are new creative outlets to explore, Smith has been passionately honing her skills in photography.

“I’m not allowed to talk about it yet in print,” she says of a cone of silence that was lifted just before this magazine went to press, “but my photography is about to be published in a magazine. Is that something you want to talk about?”

Depends. Which magazine?

“Rolling Stone.”

Yes, Melanie, we should talk. We should definitely talk.

Follow the artist at melanierosesmith.com.

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A Date Night In

January 31, 2014 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

Omaha Models: Bess Warming and Dan Lehmann

Hair and makeup: Kat Ferm, Creative Hair Design


Stylists: Shan Stavropoulos, Luvbird Boutique; 
Emma Headley, Scout Dry Goods & Trade

Special thanks to Back in the Day

 Luvbird Boutique
 2110 S 67th St., No. 120

 Scout Dry Goods & Trade 
5019 Underwood Ave.

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The invitation

“What are we doing for Valentine’s Day?” he asked.

She looked at him blankly, then laughed. “Pizza, TV, and sweatpants? You know, like last year?” It had been a long day. Her students were getting into basic algebra, and her kids were getting into everything.

“Tradition is important,” he admitted, “but what if we switched things up? Dinner, music, something nice?”

He was serious, she realized. “Well, okay, but the kids? We can’t ask your mom to watch them again. And how nice? I mean, we did just come up with a new budget.”

His smile was mysterious. Lofty. “Wear something fun. I’ve got this.”

The planning

It was Valentine’s Day, and she was staring into the depths of her closet. Fun? she thought. Well, she had a few new things from Luvbird Boutique that she hadn’t had a chance to wear yet. The plum fleece leggings would work with that crocheted tunic and the long camisole. The jeweled headband was a bit more whimsical than she was used to, but if she threw on that knotted pearl necklace from Scout Dry Goods & Trade along with their suede ankle boots

She nodded at herself in the mirror. Perfectly boho chic.

Her phone beeped. His text read: Meet me in the living room.

“What?” she whispered, but she couldn’t stop a grin. She didn’t exactly run downstairs.

He was sitting in front of the fireplace, surrounded by old vinyl and an antique, portable record player. With his denim jacket, flannel shirt, and black skinny jeans from Scout, he looked straight out of a 1960s ad. She was pleasantly surprised to see the leather cuff and black ankle boots. He had laughed when she’d given them to him. “Accessories are everything,” she’d replied.

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The music

He looked up and grinned. “I promised Mom we’d make her dinner next week. We’ll get the kids tomorrow morning.”

“Look who’s so proud of himself,” she said, kneeling next to him. She flipped over a record. “The Bee Gees?”

He took it from her and set it in the player. “FYI, every time you criticize my selection, you owe me a serenade before dinner.”

She raised her eyebrows. “I haven’t touched the guitar in years.”

“I haven’t played the piano since college. We’ll risk it.”

The love

Three 45s later, he asked, “You hungry?”

“What about those serenades? I seem to owe you six.”

He laughed. “You go change for dinner. I’ll cut it down to two.”

“Change? What is this, Downton Abbey?”

“I thought it could be fun to really pull out all the stops. I personally am going to wear a bow tie.” He smoothed an invisible mustache.

She cocked her head. “I see your bow tie, and I raise you high heels and a dress.”

That off-the-shoulder emerald dress from Luvbird would do, she thought as she raced back upstairs. With their blue teardrop necklace. And Scout had some great white lace tights the last time she went in. And those leather peep-toe pumps too.

She heard the soft strains of their tiny upright before she came back into the room. Hm. The shawl-neck sweater and dark-wash jeans from Scout fit him better than she remembered.

She tapped him on the shoulder. “Scoot over, college boy.”

He grinned and never stopped playing.

 

RAW Aesthetics

January 22, 2014 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

Other than a rather arid climate and the identical first four letters of their names, Australia and Austin, Tex., share little in common, but those are the places that cemented an artistic vision for Amber Keller.

“I had worked a couple graphic design jobs here [in Omaha] before I realized something was missing,” Keller says, “so I sold most of my belongings, threw my art supplies in the car, and hit the road, creating as much art as I could along the way.” It was when she unpacked her bags in Austin for a few months in 2011 that she discovered RAW: Natural Born Artists, an international nonprofit program that acts as an incubator for new and emerging artists. They described themselves, Keller recalls, as being “for artists, by artists.”

“I did my first RAW show in Austin,” says the woman who is now director of Omaha’s RAW affiliate. “I knew the model could succeed here because our city has such a strong arts community. There’s just an amazing amount of talent here.”

Before returning to Omaha, Keller further satisfied her wanderlust by paring down her already meager possessions to backpack through Australia, where she did a RAW show in 2012.

RAW held its first annual local RAWards Semi Finals in November at Sokol Auditorium. Three finalists in nine disciplines showed their work to vie for the honor of winning a shot to advance to nationals in Los Angeles. Artists competed in the categories of visual arts, photography, film, music, performance, fashion, accessories, makeup, and hair.

Amber Keller’s look is thanks to a few RAW:Omaha artists: Her dress is by Haus of Donna Faye, her earrings by Juan Mora-Amaral, makeup by Lyndee Marie, bodypaint by Alyssa Keller, and haircolor and style by Tammy Cox.

Amber Keller’s look is thanks to a few RAW:Omaha artists: Her dress is by Haus of Donna Faye, her earrings by Juan Mora-Amaral, makeup by Lyndee Marie, bodypaint by Alyssa Keller, and haircolor and style by Tammy Cox.

The L.A.-based RAW now operates in 60 American cities along with an increasing footprint in foreign countries. Omaha’s roster of 120 RAW artists ranges in age from 17 to near retirement age, and various artists displayed their work in a series of four showcases throughout 2012. There are no membership fees to become a RAW artist, but showcase participants are expected to sell tickets to the events so that RAW reaches the widest possible audience.

“RAW helps build an artistic community, but we do it as team,” Keller says. “The semi-final event was a competition, yes, but we’re still working together, not against each other. RAW helps foster collaborations between artists, and we support each other here in Omaha in a way that is kind of rare for a city our size.”

Tim Guthrie, a visual artist and experimental filmmaker who is a Creighton University professor of journalism, media, and computing, was one of three judges for the event. Joining Guthrie on the panel were Andrew Norman of the music-centric Hear Nebraska and Shane Bainbridge of design-focused The New BLK.

“It wasn’t that long ago that I didn’t know anything about RAW,” says Guthrie, “which is almost kind of appropriate in that it parallels the theme of what RAW does in terms of building visibility for artists. Omaha’s art scene is amazing, but it can be a little cliquish. It’s still a very friendly atmosphere, but there is a hint of ‘the haves’ and the ‘have-nots’ when it comes to being widely known. With a lot of dedication and hard work from these artists, it is my hope that RAW helps more of them into the category of ‘the haves.’”

RAW Artists 
Advancing to 
Nationals:

Film: Rob Kasel

Visual Art: Madeleine Thoma

Photography: Michelle Woitzel

Fashion: Haus of Donna Faye

Makeup: Lyndee Marie

Hair: Brogan

Accessories: Casey Jones

Performing Art: Flying Eagles Acrobalance Troupe

Music: Omaha Street Percussion

Work and videos by these and other RAW artists may be seen at 
rawartists.org.

Throwing Shade

August 16, 2013 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

“Everybody reads the same magazines and watches the same shows,” says Lindsay Duer-Robertson, a stylist at Matt Wayne Salon off of 49th and Dodge streets. “That ends ups with people looking a lot alike. Someone who sees that and wants to make a statement will try something different.”

That “statement” for you could be anything from a few blonde highlights to neon pink. But it’s perfectly okay if you don’t know yet where you land on that spectrum. Rebecca Forsyth, stylist at Bungalow/8, says that’s what consultation visits are for. And make sure to bring pictures of anything that’s caught your eye.

“I think there’s this myth that hairstylists don’t like photos,” Forsyth says. “A Pinterest board on a phone is super helpful.” Both Duer-Robertson and Forsyth agree with the oft-quoted hairstylists’ phrase: “My caramel is probably different than your caramel.”

Let’s say you’ve decided to go from brunette to hot pink. “You can do it in one visit, but that visit’s going to be six to eight hours long,” Duer-Robertson says. Best to have a goal in mind and break it up over a period of time. That’ll give your hair time to recover from the processing, which is pretty intense. The bleaching process has to break the melanin molecules in the hair and expose different pigments through several stages: brunette, red, red-orange, orange, yellow-orange, and finally a pale yellow. Only then is your hair ready to accept an unreal shade like ocean blue or pastel purple.

“I think there’s this myth that hairstylists don’t like photos.” – Rebecca Forsyth, stylist at Bungalow/8

“Be mindful, your hair will be really dry,” Duer-Robertson warns. She recommends a protein-based conditioner. “In that first week, put in a leave-in conditioner after every wash.” She personally touts the Damage Remedy and Dry Remedy lines from Aveda, especially the Color Conserve™ Daily Color Protect conditioner. “That’ll keep your color strong up to 30 days,” she says, though pastel shades still may not keep as long as a month.

Such conditioners are valuable, Duer-Robertson says, because the product seals hair cuticles down after being a little roughed up by a cleansing shampoo. Leave a conditioner on for at least 15 minutes (unless it’s a leave-in, of course), and then rinse it out with cool water to ensure the cuticle doesn’t reopen. Consider using a wide-tooth comb to lessen stress on your hair when it’s wet; once your hair is about 80 percent dry, feel free to take a brush to it for a blowout.

Forsyth says it’s the flatiron that’s the huge culprit for further damaging processed hair. The heat is higher and touches the hair for a longer period of time than a simple blow dryer. “If you can achieve a great look with a blow dryer and a brush, you’re in a great situation as far as damage,” Forsyth points out. “I love that more people are wearing their natural styles and textures.”

If you just can’t leave the hot tools alone, remember that the general rule is the less styling, the less shampooing, the better. “Try to find ways that you don’t have to mess with your hair as much,” Forsyth says. “For example, last night I curled my hair, so today I have the base for a really cool updo.” She personally shampoos only twice a week.

For high-maintenance color like neons, pastels, or reds, Forsyth agrees with Duer-Robertson that it’s essential to invest in good product. Some of her favorite products for maintaining perfect color are in Karasoft’s color protection line. “And anything with UV protection,” Forsyth adds. “We blame the shampoo and forget that we’re in the sun all the time. Bring back hats, not just for protecting our faces but also our hair.”

Review: Dry Shampoo

When I had my first baby last year, I quickly realized the luxury of spending 30 minutes blow-drying and styling my hair was a thing of the past, since getting in a daily shower was proving to be a struggle. So I went on the hunt for a dry shampoo that could cut down my morning routine. I tried a few different brands from the drugstore and salon, but many left a visible white powder on my dark hair or had a strange texture.

Finally, I found Big Sexy Hair Volumizing Dry Shampoo and now swear by this. My stylist is actually hooked, too! It soaks up the grease, plus it adds tons of volume and texture. The smell is strong at first, like hairspray, but doesn’t linger.

For best results, I first spray my roots with a bit of water and then a light spray of the product. A fast blow-dry and I’m good to go. I’m able to go two to three days between washes, which has helped keep my hair healthier than when I was washing it daily. It works great on post-gym hair, too. The size of the product may seem small for the price, but it lasts about two months when used three times a week.

Next time you’re in a hurry, give ‘dry’ a try. You just might get hooked as well.

Making Summer Fashion Decisions

June 20, 2013 by
Photography by Jim Scholz

The summer wardrobe of any and everyone over 60 is a definite challenge to coordinate.

I just tell it like it is: A body that’s older than 60, even slim and in the best shape, needs more camouflage than exposure. If you care about how you look to others, shorts and short skirts are of a previous life. I’ve never seen pretty knees on anyone over 60.

The length of capris is very personal. Find the length that looks best on you and have your capris hemmed there. When wearing capris, the shoes or sandals you wear with them are very important for making a style statement. Comfort matters, too, but you won’t be happy with your look if your summer footwear isn’t stylish. When wearing sandals, NO scaly skin and callouses allowed, and keep toenails polished to perfection!

Tank tops, halters, and tube tops are not necessarily of your past. You can still wear them but not alone. Under a cardigan sweater, a jacket, a stole, or a loose-fitting shirt, they can be fabulous! Use them to add a splash of color, print, or texture to monotone separates. Dark-colored ones can be very slimming. Sundresses…hmm. There are many cute ones that I love in fresh, young florals, but they are indeed for the young.

Blue denim can be dangerous at 60 or older. It has to be worn with an attitude, and it’s usually not the attitude that 60-and-overs have. Comfort jeans are only to be worn around the house. Denim jumpers date, age, and frump you. But black denim, white denim, and fashion-colored denim jeans and jackets are must-haves! Be sure, however, to buy a cut that flatters you. The cut is not about your age. It’s about your shape.

Summer clothes must look fresh. When you’re hot, whatever you’re wearing wrinkles. Press the wrinkles out of every piece you wear before you return it to the closet. If washing first is necessary, do it, but if a garment shows wear after washing, retire it. NEVER wash black cotton separates. They may say washable, but washing sucks the life and color out of them. Dry clean only! Linen is of its own world. Clients used to come to me saying, “I want you to design and make me linen clothes that don’t wrinkle.” Impossible. Linen wrinkles, regardless of how it’s designed, made, or treated. If you wear linen, you must accept wrinkles.

As for Summer 2013 colors, avoid pastels even if on-trend. They look fresh if you’re under 40 but give you a grandma look if you’re over 60. The colors best on you depend on their relationship to your hair and skin tones. To play it safe, wear black or white, together with orange, lime, or turquoise when you want to add some pop.

Accessories are what it’s all about. Use them to style and personalize your summer looks. Bold-colored beads on a loose linen shirt, a fringed stole over a tank top, or a studded belt hanging loose over a calf-length skirt can take your look from everyday/everybody to a unique and stylish you! Scarves are important but not by day when it’s hot. In the evening, they’re both useful and fashionable tossed over your shoulders to break the chill of the night and air conditioning. Summer purses should have a lighter look than the ones you carry through winter. Color, texture, and fabric should relate to the season and to what you’re wearing. If black is your color, choose a poplin, straw, or woven bag.

Summer hair and makeup should be easy care. A lipstick color change is often necessary, and if you wear foundation, a darker tone might be better. Always wear sunscreen!

Finally, swimwear, OMG, it creates a crisis for almost everyone, regardless of age. After 60, no bikinis except for home swims and tanning. There are plenty of flattering one- and two-piece swimsuits you’ll love, and many of them are shaped and color-blocked to slim you.

The season is short. Enjoy it with confidence knowing my advice will make the BEST of you!

I welcome your feedback and invite you to send questions to sixtyplus@omahapublications.com.

Mary Anne Vaccaro lives in Omaha. She designed and made couture clothing for an international clientele of professionals and socialites of all ages. She created ready-to-wear collections that were sold from her New York showroom, and she designed for the bridal industry. She designed for three Ak-Sar-Ben Coronation Balls and ran a fashion advertising business in five states for a number of years. Invisible Apron® is one of several products that she has designed and developed. She still designs for select clients and works as an image consultant, stylist, personal shopper, and speaker on the subjects of fashion, art, and style. For more information, visit maryannevaccaro.com or call 402-398-1234.