Tuesday, March 31, 2015

The Term “Expert” Used too Freely

Fashionable-Fabulous and Dangerous Curves

Editor-in-Chief: Sonya LaRae

Senior Editor: Nile Harper

Article by: Sonya LaRae-Certified Image Consultant, Certified Lifestyle Coach, Fashion/Style Journalist

Photos & Video: NBC K5 Seattle Washington, Lapazimageing and Google.com

LaPazions, I’m a little fired up today because, one of my clients, that lives in the Seattle Washington area emailed me over the weekend with a clip from their local News day show “King5 New Day NW” where  they featured a local “Expert Stylist” Darcy Camden.  My client was a little confused via the segment and the education that I have given her regarding, dressing her particular figure.  I watched the segment and became just disgusted to see what this “Expert Stylist” placed these gorgeous plus models in to wear and bring as the trend for Plus-Spring Fashion Trends.  I don’t know if her (Darcy Camden) expertise is limited to just the average sized model/woman but, clearly she has no clue nor education regarding body-type and image for curvy fabulous divas.  I must let you see the segment prior to go any further:

Styling by: Darcy Camden

LaPazions, so many times we hear this term “Expert” thrown around much to often but, when you get to see the level of skill(s); you realize very quickly that someone has tagged themselves as such and may not have all the work and hours it takes to truly be and expert in the field.  Being an “Expert” you have to know body-analysis so, when you’re making selections for your models or clients you are dressing them to enhance not detract. LaPazions, I say this because, I think once you’ve gotten to the point where you’re becoming the voice, educator for thousands of viewers regarding fashion-it’s your obligation to make sure you are giving accurate and precise information, that will show ladies how to pull looks together that look stunning for their particular body-shape.  Let me say this: There was nothing wrong with the fashion trends that were highlighted in the segment, the true and real issue I had is that she didn’t style these ladies correctly according to their particular body-type to give a finished polished look to a great collection from sponsor Lane Bryant-that gave all of the clothing for the segment. I feel Ms. Camden, detracted from the brand and the models and for me this is just ridiculous. I want all of you to understand there are different levels of stylist-and not all stylist are trained in working with real body-types, they’re only accustomed to working in Editorials, which means, they only work with Designers and models for photo shoots so, they don’t have a real concept of body-image/shape for real women ergo Plus-size fabulous Divas.

This style segment is a mess from start to finish none of the ladies are dressed properly for their particular body-types, none of the models are wearing things that will elongate per the words of Stylist Darcy Camden.  I did reach out to her prior to publishing this article to get her feedback, I also pointed out exactly what I was speaking of and wanted to know how she felt the models looked via the playback?

Here is a copy of my exact emails between Ms. Camden and myself:

Hi Sonya, 

This is Darcy Camden in Seattle, I got your message about a recent segment I did for KING5 New Day NW on Plus Size adaptations of NYFW Spring Runway Trends. Thanks for watching all the way out in Philly! 

You asked me if I had watched the playback, and I haven’t watched it since we taped it and it aired a few weeks ago…is there something specifically that I can comment on for you?

I worked with Lane Bryant locally in Seattle to feature current trend items—the looks in the segment were a collaboration of my own picks (and tie-ins to some specific runway trends/looks we wanted to cover) and the staff’s favorite pieces for spring. 

Perhaps worth mentioning: I don’t use professional models in my segments, so all the gals are personal friends, viewers, or friends of the show who lend their time. It’s important to me that I feature real women in all my segments, #1 because I think it makes all style much more relatable, and #2 I like to make sure the looks we show are outfits that women would actually wear. It’s very important to me—in every segment that I do—that our guest models feel good and love their outfits before we present them on television. (And they did, they loved their outfits!)

I’m happy to provide further comments or answer specific questions if you have any or can share a little bit more about the article you’re writing. Thanks again!

Here is my reply to Ms. Camden:

Hello Darcy,

Thank you so much for getting back to me so promptly. Allow me to say first, I love that you chose to use regular ladies from your local viewing area because, as you stated it makes it more relatable.  Darcy, as you know, women period no matter what size, aren't trying to look heavier or none complimentary for their particular body-type or shape. This brings me to my point of why exactly I contacted you; I was rather surprised that you selected these particular looks and styles for these ladies particular body-types. You selected 4 very different body-types and shapes to highlight the fashion trends and must haves but, the issue, you didn't dress these women according to their particular body-type. Instead of them looking fashion forward and per your words exactly "long and lean" Unfortunately, the ladies looked totally the opposite, they ended up looking heavier and frumpy (and as you know being on camera adds 5-to-10lbs).

You did bring the hottest trends on the runway which are fabulous, but, you didn't compliment these ladies with the trend(s) for example:

1. Black and Blue Trend: This particular tend for plus-size women-has to be done almost like color blocking to take away from the heaviest area. Which in this case with your model she is and inverted triangle so, her weight is up top.  The model should have had a fabulous navy blouse that didn't bubble (which added weight to her mid-section and didn't allow her jacket to sit correctly) and instead of a pleated front  Capri-pant suit, she could have had a gorg midi-skirt/pencil skirt or flat front full length pant suit, that would have balanced her particular body-type.

Darcy, I'm upset to see yet again another "Stylist" not dressing plus-size women properly and complimentary to their particular body-types (shape), that would flatter and educate ladies on how to minimize certain issues but, still looking fashion forward and fresh.

I hoped you had the opportunity to watch the playback as to get your feedback in this matter, as well as, how you felt these ladies looked on camera. The article we're going to run is going to be addressing this very issue from this very point of view and we'd like your comment regarding your particular style choices for this segment during NBC's King5 News Day NW segment. 


Darcy, again I appreciate you replying to my email and I'm also looking forward to your reply.

This is the reply that Ms. Camden sent:

Hi Sonya,
Thank you for this interesting feedback. I do have some additional thoughts to share. May I please first ask about the details of your article--where/when is it running?

Needless to say once I emailed her again she had no reply what-so-ever and I held the article for another day to see if Ms. Camden would reply but, needless to say she hasn’t. My question is when are we going to stop excepting mediocrity as the standard of “Expert?” I know for myself as well as other well known Image Consultants and Stylist, where just appalled by this depiction of our business and our expertise.

I am admit in regards to truly knowing and understanding a person(s) body-type, especially a curvy divas figure. Rule 101: Never, no matter what size a female/male is, do you want to make them look heavier than what they are, nor do you want to bring attention to per say; the heaviest areas for their particular body-shape/type. In a nut shell I’m going to show you how quickly these style issues on this segment could have been corrected if this was “Expertly” styled:

TREND: BLACK & BLUE: The model that was featured in the segment her body-type: Inverted Triangle-This body-type carries most of there weight up-top and can have broad shoulders with a smaller lower half:Inverted TrangleMs. Camden placed this particular model in a bubble blouse, short waist jacket, Capri-pleated front pant suit. NO, NO, NO- I’m sorry this just isn’t going to look good on this particular body-type. Why?

1st: the bubble top is hitting the model in the mid-section and making her look heavier (fuller at the waist) –2nd: the jacket is hitting her at the point of her waist that needs to be elongated – 3rd: The pleated front pants are giving her like a pooch – 4th: The Capri-styled pants are cutting her off. Which is adding weight and making her look unbalanced.


You always want to take away from the heaviest part of the body so, with this particular body-type (inverted triangle) you want to draw the eyes downward. That being stated, she should have placed the model in a fabulous pair of full-length Navy pants or a gorgeous pencil skit and a beautiful free flowing black tank or blouse that would fall just below the natural waistband of the skirt, add a Navy jacket that also hits past the natural waistband and she would look polished and ready to go… She would have elongated this models particular body-type gave the eye a little trick on not taking in the heavier top half and pulled the eye downward.

This is styling 101-I’m sorry for saying this but, I cannot agree with so many individuals that have been featured lately on shows stating they are “EXPERTS.” We as people must stand-up let our voices be heard that we aren’t going to tolerate this type of thing to continue.

I cannot wait to hear all the feedback regarding this topic. Please repost, tweet, add it to your Facebook timeline to let your voice be heard that YOU WILL NOT EXCEPT this ANY LONGER! #areyouarealexpert

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