Art Show and Fundraiser to celebrate Women's History Month by Aisha Claire

Good people, good hearts, and beautiful art! Perfectly Claire Personal Image is a proud sponsor and coordinator for this event alongside Fillmore Real Estate Bed-Stuy for a month long art show to raise money for Brownstoners of Bedford-Stuyvesant, Inc., a civic organization in Brooklyn, NY focused on education, economic development, housing and community activism. Also in celebration of Women’s History Month, Fillmore Real Estate Bed-Stuy transformed its office into an art gallery for the first time since its opening for the event. Each artist was asked to select one work that best represents women. Nine of the pieces have sold with two weeks to go until the show's closing, with a third of the proceeds going to Brownstoners. The opening reception was a beautiful event. Great people gathered for a good cause, with delicious food and wine provided by Peaches Kitchen & Bar and Bed-Vyne Wine & Spirits. The photos below are from our opening reception. If you missed, please attend the closing on March 31st! And please subscribe to hear about future events.

Curator: Fedrecia Hartley of Zion Gallery

Artists: Joseph Bell Bey, Ramona Candy, Mary Chang, Dr. Olivia Cousins, Robert Daniels, Mona Doon, Joseph Grant, Diane Grazette-Collins, Jimmy James Greene, Fedrecia Hartley, Dr. Pamela Jones, Corey Lightfoot, Karl McIntosh, Cheryle E. Williams

Sponsors: Fillmore Real Estate, Perfectly Claire Personal Image, Bed-Vyne Wine & Spirits, Peaches Kitchen & Bar, 500 Men Making a Difference, BMST Group, Short Sale Direct

Aisha Claire at Apploi's New Year, Best You Success Fair 2016 by Aisha Claire

Aisha Claire talks career dress and personal style with job seekers.

Recently I volunteered to run a day of workshops on career dress for Apploi's New Year, Best You Success Fair 2016 at Brooklyn Borough Hall. The Apploi app is a newly crafted experience for companies and hiring managers that helps people to find and apply for jobs in the retail, hospitality, service, and support industries. With features like audio and video responses when text alone may not show off your best you, this is a wonderful evolution in on line job candidate applications.

Apploi brought together industry experts for their first ever success fair of seminars, coaching, and a workplace-centric fashion show to kick off the New Year. The fair featured resume review and interview tips, pre-interview relaxation techniques, financial planning and budgeting, a tie tutorial station, professional makeup lessons, and of course the “Dress For The Best” workshops which I was asked to run. The participants passed through 20 minute sessions throughout the day, and received packets I created to show women how to dress for their particular body types and for men to see the details of proper suit fit versus common mistakes, the names of different shoe and boot styles, and a basic diagram of how to tie a tie.

 

Job seekers received the prep they need to tackle the application and interview process with acuity and grace. And Apploi capped the day with a giveaway of professional clothing collected during a clothing drive. It was a wonderful day and I was immensely thrilled to see so many faces light up when they felt the information they were receiving from me was valuable.

 

Immense thanks to Apploi for having me! These photographs of the day are courtesy of Apploi. Enjoy.

 

 

Sway Through the Crowd to an Empty Space - David Bowie by Aisha Claire

On a short walk home from dinner a few nights ago I thought about David Bowie. I pondered that inexplicable gravitas he possessed that made all of us reach towards him with this feeling that his being was accessible – but how it was something we could never actually touch or hold. I thought about this thing that made him who he was and how it somehow managed to reach all of us with the same intensity and grab. It happened to me at 10 the first time I heard Modern Love. At that age, my older cousin Gwendolyn (the same cousin who waited in line for who knows how long for tickets to a Prince concert for my 12th birthday) told me who he was. I remember that she said she loved this singer with two different colored eyes who wore amazing costumes. This is my artsy, kindred cousin who has spent her life designing clothes, doing interiors and window displays, and being a milliner. She grew up in Queens, somehow hung out with Eddie Murphy's party crew in New Jersey in the 80's and still roller skates. She only likes good stuff. ‘Putting me on’ to David Bowie is something for which I’ve been ever grateful.

When I was 10 it was not the era of smartphones and Google so I discovered him visually through music videos beginning with the singles from Let’s Dance. Mind you, there were 22 albums before this one but I opened his book at this chapter. Modern Love told me who I was. I knew I loved this sound, this energy. With hip hop making a huge surge in the mid 80’s, I had “swayed through the crowd to an empty space”. I was the black girl in Prospect Heights who rode my skateboard through Park Slope and Fort Greene as a teen in the late 80’s, and was a house head. But a few years earlier at 10, 11 and 12 I was a Friday Night Videos addict and loved pop as much as the new hip hop that I blasted from a boom box up and down my block. I was in many ways “not like the others” (remember Sesame Street?). David Bowie told me it was ok.

As many Bowie fans my age, he was there through our teens, twenties and thirties. We swooned when he hit the screen in films and tingled when we heard his songs. When I was a singer in the late 90’s, I sang with a band that played CBGB's 313 Gallery on Bowery Street regularly. After leaving the stage one night, one of the band members told me that David Bowie and Iman had popped through to see our set. They were friends with one of our musicians. I almost fainted at the thought that they’d watched me on stage. When Pinterest came about, my profile got a healthy dose of David Bowie on boards I created like "Classic is as Classic Does", "Shine Like You Mean It", and "Committed to the Zone". As a former model, I am transfixed when I see a subject absolutely destroy a lens with their energy. I love when a model knows how to not just look beautiful, but to BE beauty. That was David Bowie. With musicians like him, it's also a deeper swirl of persona and sex. And the clothes he wore were never just placed upon his shoulders. They became infused with his own soul. And the soul of the designers fused with him. He lived as the ultimate individual, happily and openly bisexual and without borders to delineate any of his creative expanse. We all seek our lane of comfortability. Swaying through the crowd until I finally found an empty space where I could stretch and dance my own dance is why I do what I do. I like to help people settle into their sweet spot in their dress and in their lives. The right niche is something I value and that I have influences like Bowie to thank for the compass that helped me find it.

Here is my collection and tribute to David Bowie, the artist and the muse, inspiration and reflection, redemption and committed character.

5 Tips to Look Slim and Stunning (Even) in Winter Gear: Easy Breezy by Aisha Claire

The change in the air is really here. And the drop in temperature means more steps and more energy to layer up. Preparation and organization are the only way through the winter workweeks and events with ease. Here are my five tips for the most flattering looks that will also keep you warm and get you out the door in a flash.

1.     Thin underlayers. Brands like Hot Chillys do a great job of keeping you slim while keeping you warm. Their flattened seams and body hugging fabric don’t add on inches. And they use anti-odor treatment on the fabric. Layers underneath that keep you warm but wick away moisture are key. I love 2xist for this also. And then sometimes, just a basic cashmere tank is just the piece you need to insulate your core under a button down.

2.     Invest in cashmere and wool. Polar fleece and down do the job but bulky is not sexy. Cashmere and cashmere blend coats, sweaters, dresses, pants, tees, tanks, and leggings are super warm without the extra padding. What's more perfect than a sleek dress and coat that can keep you as warm as 3-4 layers? Layering these fabrics on top also allows you to wear just a down vest sometimes, which is especially great for free movement, like jumping in and out of a car. And I hope you have on hand some staple wool blend suits and separates for those freezing commutes to the office. I love cashmere blend accessories too. For the gentleman, I’m a big fan of blacksocks.com’s cashmere/silk socks for suit days. They offer a “sockscription” as well if he always needs these. For casual boots, go Smartwool. Sites like Gilt.com are great for inexpensive cashmere hats and scarves for everyone.  I have amassed a collection of cashmere lined leather gloves from sample sales over the years. I found long Portolano gloves similar to the ones pictured below and this style goes beautifully with capes and 3/4 sleeve coats, particularly fur or fur trimmed. Portolano has great yearly sample sales. If you see the cashmere lined ones reduced, snatch them up! While you’re at it, buy silk lined ones for fall. 

Crêpe Wool Tailored Coat by Burberry

Crêpe Wool Tailored Coat by Burberry

 3.     Replace staple pieces that no longer make you feel your brightest. That sweater you used to love suddenly feels dated. The joy is gone from those boots from last winter. Many of us may have seen or were people in tees a week ago in some parts of the country. But now, the current climate transition is an opportunity for upgrade. So when you purge lackluster clothes that carry old energy and are wasting space in your closet, replace them only with things you feel amazing in. Get those tops, cardigans, and zip up hoodies (yes, in cashmere) in your best colors and patterns. Add colorful or patterned accessories to your grey, black, brown, and navy outerwear when you can. Find body conscious down coats and jackets with pulled in waists and interesting collars to slip on over work clothes or when you want to wear relatively little underneath. Moncler is a sixty year old company named after a mountain village in France. Can’t argue with that or their duvet neuf. Go for it. Look for light weight, “featherlight”, or “ultralight” down from brands like Cole Haan, Canada Goose, Hunter, or Land’s End for quality and warmth. Don’t skimp on spending money now to have down feathers sticking out of your outer shell or a smelly jacket later. Invest wisely. The red Land's End coat featured here comes in Plus, Tall, and Petite sizes. Click and hover to see product details. If on mobile, clockwise: Cole Haan, Land's End, Burberry, Canada Goose. 

 

4.     Make sure cold weather gear is categorized and accessible. You need those layers folded in stacks on shelves or in drawers where you can grab them. You also need those summer pieces away somewhere, but not where they're too hard to reach for island getaway packing. Plan for what you wish for!

5.     Take your vitamins! Iron or B-12 deficiencies can make you feel cold. With proper levels, you won’t need as much clothing.

What are some of your favorite winter brands or tricks to stay warm? Hot toddies? Favorite hot chocolate spots? Do let us know in the comments below!

Sharing is caring,

Aisha Claire

 

The Valiant Shopper by Aisha Claire

For one of my Grandmothers, the weekly Saturday routine as I was growing up was thrift and outlet shopping. She picked up things that were so inexpensive that she HAD to buy them because "someone" could use it. Then, she would send boxes to family "down south" regularly. I can only imagine how many cousins in North Carolina enjoyed her finds. 

The beauty in these trips for me was that I learned discernment in fabrics, seaming, fit, feel, wear, and value. I grew up with weekly shopping as a sport! So now I know exactly how to get more than I pay for. When my Grandmother, aunts and older female cousins all gathered in our huge living room after a shopping day, it was a show and see game of "Guess how much I paid for this?!" With our spoils draped across my Grandmother's piano bench and French provincial furniture, we would ooh and gasp when the answer was almost always 75%-90% off retail. 

Now I enjoy my work for Perfectly Claire. Shopping is what I love to do. It's a highly nurtured talent that I now get to share with my clients, many of whom readily confess that they hate the process. I don't mind finding that one piece within the racks that works for the occasion, is in the right size, and on sale to boot. Every score is a rush for me. I live for it.

The dress in these photos is a Tadashi Shoji pale rose gold sequined cocktail dress purchased the day before a 40th Birthday/Engagement party at Nordstrom Rack for 75% off. The shoes were also 60% off at DSW, plus I got a $40 coupon good until January as a reward for the shoe purchase. I did it all within 1 block and it took about two hours to look, try 12 dresses, scan the dressy and clearance areas for the shoes, try on two pairs, and pay at each store. Mind you I even tried on a few dresses just to have. I picked up 2 for $75 total, one of which was 100% angora, beautifully knit and a perfectly flattering grey. Had I stuck to just looking for the event dress, I would have been even faster. But the deals and the perfect look for the event was well worth the two hours.

I also enjoy my investment pieces just as much. I couldn’t live without staples like a cashmere Burberry coat and Frye riding boots in the winter. I must also have cashmere sweaters in every color. And then we allllways need those impactful accessories and quality pieces that are simply must haves. So for these things I will pay full price. Our wardrobes should always be a mix.

This is why I do what I do. People light up when they feel great. And when they look their best, they feel their best. I love helping people get clear on what really works to make them look amazing and the science of WHY. It is my pleasure to serve you.

 

Smiles,

Aisha Claire

It's the Candy Shop Sip & Shop Event by Aisha Claire

Perfectly Claire began with organizational development clients in late 2013 and grew to also offer personal development services through image transformation and empowerment. In a recent changeover the company has become solely focused on personal development, and are undergoing a full brand redesign. We are in Phase I: Beauty + Brains. 

Ladies stopped by for a drink and some face time with Aisha Claire at the Candy Shop boutique Sip & Shop in celebration of our Phase I site makeover. Scheduled as a meet & greet from 4-8pm, the evening turned into a soiree until 11pm! Over those hours, Aisha Claire was able to engage with the stream of shoppers, learning more about the unique challenges that many have in shopping for their body type and giving helpful advice. 

Wine flowed in abundance and the room was filled with beautiful hearts and mutually empowering spirits. It was a truly special evening at the Candy Shop.