{Fashion Find} SugieWogie

Not long ago, Shari Riehl took her young nieces to the Bahamas as a graduation present. She was having a blast until she had the thought, “Am I gonna have to put a bathing suit on?!” She went around to different shops, trying to find pieces that would look right but also jibe with the beach life. “I got a pair of bicycle shorts and a little skirt and I wore a tank top,” she says. “Somebody saw me and said, ‘That is really cute.’ That’s where the thoughts about my project really took off.”

Guided by the certainty that women need something they can wear right from the beach to dinner, Shari created the SugieWogie SwimDress. “You even may want to go dancing in it,” she says.

We chatted with Shari about her swimwear and her philosophy: “Why try to fit in when you’re born to stand out?” she says, quoting from the movie, What a Girl Wants. “I’ve always wanted to be my own unique self, and I think that’s so important for every woman. You can follow a trend, but put your own stamp on it.”

What inspired you to create the SugieWogie?
Most women love clothing, but they hate swimwear. When it comes to swimsuit season, they’re dreading putting their swimsuits on. I wanted to create something that women could look forward to wearing and buying.

What were you doing before starting SugieWogie?
I owned an interior decorating business, which I ran for the past twenty years. But I’ve had a love for fashion since I was a little girl.

Why hasn’t the fashion industry come out with something like this sooner?
Maybe because men were designing and they like to see more of a women’s body? I don’t know.

It’s amazing how the bikini has become “normal” swimwear. It’s no different than underwear! The SugieWogie seems to address that.
When I was younger I didn’t mind wearing my bikini. But as you grow older, your body changes, and you want to be a little more modest and not advertise your flaws.
A lot of women know that as soon as they put their swimsuit on, they’re going to feel very conscious of their bodies. And they’re grabbing a cover-up of some sort.

I thought, we need to find something that gives women confidence when they’re heading to the pool—that will make them feel elegant and classy.

How did you come up with the name?
It’s what my father called me since I was a little girl. I wanted a name that would reflect me and the garment. When you say it, it makes you smile—it’s not uptight. That’s how I am–creative confidence with a sense of humor.

We like the models on your site.
We used real women, from 20 to 50. We didn’t alter their bodies in any way. That’s another thing that’s important to me – using real people. I really loved the Dove ads. We need to use images of real people because it’s hard to achieve perfect. There is no perfect.

It’s funny how fashion used to be so modest. Then we went completely in the other direction – super exposed. Seems like you’re finding a middle ground.
Even the spring fashions coming out now are more ladylike. The retro look is in. This fits with that. But it’s updated.

And this has shapewear in it, so it does help shape your body. There’s such a big market for shapewear. And it won’t cling to every flaw.

What’s it like in the water?
It’s fine. It’s not performance swimwear—it’s elegant swimwear. This is something you’ll swim around in a little bit, then towel off and be absolutely fine and ready for the next thing. If you want performance, wear your Speedo.

Are you married?
I am.

What’s your husband’s name? Does he like the SugieWogie?
My husband Ben loves it. He’s the one who really encouraged me. He said, “Are you gonna just talk about this, or do it?”

{Makeovers} Meet Karen and Cathy, winners of the Beauty Bash makeover

Next weekend (Oct 1 & 2) at The Beauty Bash, FOFs will be stunned to see the total transformations of Cathy Furegno and Karen Hansen, last month’s makeover winners. Both will receive $3,500 transformations including new clothes, new makeup, new hair and a color consultation. Meet them, below.

Meet Cathy:

Why did you enter this contest?

I thought ‘why not?’  I am a bit on the shy side and never had much self-confidence. I felt if I won, this would be my 15 minutes of fame. I always dreamed of being a model.

How has your appearance changed since you turned fifty?
My weight is about the same, although I do have a tendency to fluctuate by about five-to-ten pounds (but don’t we all?) My face is a bit longer and I have ‘parenthesis’ but no wrinkles. My eyes also look tired at times. I have some gray hair but I dye it. I’ve always had baby fine hair.

Describe your self-image.
I am not ashamed of how I look, but I don’t spend much money on myself. I have 4 children and a husband and always felt guilty if I put myself first.

Describe your style.
It’s on the conservative side, although I admire flamboyant people because they are not afraid to wear what they want. I don’t spend much money on clothes.

Do you have a fashion icon?

Jacklyn Smith. Her taste is simple, yet she always looks wonderful. She was and is one of the most elegant women in the world.

What are you looking forward to most about your makeover?
Learning how to bring out the best in myself. I know I will enjoy all the attention. A dream come true!

Meet Karen:

Why did you enter this giveaway?
I’ve always wanted a makeover. I grew up in the straight hair, no makeup, jeans and t-shirt generation and have never been great at putting myself together. My kids always said I was ‘hair and makeup challenged.’

What do you wish you could change about your appearance?
I wish my thinning hair was nice and thick. I’d like to get rid of the wrinkles starting under my chin and neck. My biggest wish is weight loss.

How would you describe your personal style?

Confused. I love the preppy look, like the “hippie” look but also like my jeans-and-T-shirt days. It all depends on my mood and activities.

How do you want to look on your 60th birthday?
Younger — like 50 on my 60th. I feel 24, my body acts 80 and my birth certificate says 58.

What do you hope to get out of this makeover?
How to look my best. I want to learn how to accentuate my best features and how to play down my flaws.

{Fashion Flash}

This week it’s our turn to host Fashion Flash! We love being part of this amazing group of bloggers and look forward to reading their weekly fab fashion and beauty advice. Here’s a roundup of their best posts this week:

Tired of schlepping in jeans and a sweatshirt on your day off? The Glam Gals show you what to wear to look wow on the weekend.

Do shows such as the Learning Channel’s Big Sexy play into stereotypes of plus-size women or redefine standards? Jodell Raymond of the Black Cat Plus blog weighs in.

With a wave of people switching from highly chemical to more natural products, Fab Over Forty tells us how natural your beauty routine really is.

Deb of No-Nonsense Beauty Blog explores Zoom tooth whitening.

Looking for ways to get your significant other involved in your fitness journey? Is it a touchy subject? Female Fat Loss Over 40 Expert, Shawna K helps out.

Ugg Boots get a new look for Fall 2011. They are still as comfortable, but with a little more style. Check them out at Obsessed with Shoes.

What would you do to look younger?  Take the Menopause Makeover survey today, located in the right-hand column!

{Fashion Flash}

Fashion Flash time! This week, it’s hosted by Catherine Hogett of Obsessed With Shoes, a blog about– you guessed it — shoes! Check out her amazing shoe reviews and enjoy all the other links from our fab Fashion Flash friends.

{Style Expert} “My FOFall Fashion Finds”

We sent our FOF style experts on a fall shopping spree…okay, okay, we sent them on a fantasy shopping spree. They returned with their favorite finds of the season — a gamut of gorgeous garb that had us awe struck and, we’ll admit, in some cases a bit sticker-shocked. It’s fun to play pretend, but it’s even more fun to fill your fall wardrobe AND have $$ left over to buy those Beauty Bash tickets you’ve been coveting. That’s why we’ve included “swap and save” options for each collection.

Terry’s fall finds:
Camel coat by Malene Birger ($830)
Save: Camel double breasted coat from Dorothy Perkins ($110)

Hera silk shirt dress by Trina Turk ($318)
Save: Sondra print wrap dress by BCBG ($168)

Bette Davis bracelet by Erickson Beamon ($855)
Save: Crystal mosaic bracelet ($85) paired with snake chain bracelet ($58) from J.Crew

Nightingale Tote by Givenchy ($1,730)
Save: Rock the Bag leather tote by Juicy Couture ($225)

Terry Gibralter is the founder of Bespoke Custom Shopping Tours, carefully-crafted shopping “vacations” and a self-proclaimed, “fashion-obsessed” FOF.


Wendy’s fall finds:
Havsis knit top by Diane Von Furstenberg ($365)
Save: Poncho sweater from H&M ($19.95)

Classic collar henley shirt by Eileen Fisher ($188)
Save: Breezy blouse from Old Navy ($29.94)

Long skirt by Pauw ($160)
Save: Pleated maxi skirt from Yesstyle ($55)

Low wedge leather boot by Loeffler Randall ($695)
Save: Intyce leather boots by Steve Madden ($149)

Wendy Foster is head stylist and owner of the Wendy Foster boutiques in Santa Barbara, California.


Susan’s fall finds:
Layered sleeve dress by Rachel Roy ($398)
Save: Black 3/4 sleeve jersey dress by Majestic ($130)

Skinny trouser by Rag and Bone ($290)
Save: Hilary Trouser in Tropical Weight from Not Your Daughter’s Jeans ($120)

Messenger bag by Givenchy ($1,660)
Save: Brompton satchel from J.Crew ($278)

Faux croc leather underground jacket by Royal Underground ($395)
Save: Moc croc scuba jacket from Dress Barn ($49.99)

Susan Hersh is a Ford model and the host and executive producer of Meet The Experts.


Linda’s fall finds:
Slim leather pants by Daryl K ($895)
Save: Isaac leather legging by BB Dakota ($144)

Fur trim coat by Robert Rodriguez ($995)
*Robertrodriguez.com for stores
Save: Black tweed coat with faux fur from Collection Debenhams ($115)

Animal print pumps by Kate Spade ($350)
Save: Leopard print brushed suede shoes from Topshop ($100)

Klimpton chantilly lace shirt by THE ROW ($1,525)
Save: Storm lace belted blouse by Free People ($46.99)

Linda Cohen owns her own consulting business specializing in retail merchandising.


Diana’s fall finds:
Wild winter short poncho by Emilio Pucci ($1,150)
Save: Kimono Sleeve Sweater by Spiegel ($46.99)

Knit leggings by Akris ($895)
Save: Cable Knitted Leggings from Topshop ($45)

Hat with feathers by Trilby ($495)
Save: Floppy bow hat from Bakers ($32)

Lace gold cuff by Aurelie Biderman ($1,370)
Save: Yellow Stainless Steel Floral Filigree Cuff ($23.99)

Diana Tenes is a stylist, makeup artist and the author of 90% Off Every Day: A Pocket Guide to Shopping Second Hand.

{Giveaway} Ame and Lulu City Tote

FOF is giving away the “City Tote” by Ame and Lulu. To enter, answer this question in the comments below: What’s the most you’d spend on a handbag?

Thank you for entering. This contest is now closed.

“Every decade bags are getting bigger because we have more stuff to carry,” says handbag expert FOF Deborah Chase, author of Terms of Adornment, (See: the evolution of handbags slideshow). Deb’s prediction for the future of handbags? “They wont be as heavy! They’ll be made from lighter materials and feature less hardware.” If Deb’s prediction is correct — then, we may have found the handbag of the future. The “City Tote” by Ame and Lulu is roomy enough to fit a day’s necessities including a laptop, wallet and more, but has minimal hardware and is made of lightweight canvas. We like the preppy patterns a colors–perfect for an FOF lady who lunches, golfs, plays tennis…you get the idea.

The City Tote comes in four unique patterns — the winner can choose her favorite.

More details about the Ame and Lulu City Tote you could win:

  • $86 value
  • Made of a water-repellent canvas
  • Braided faux-leather straps
  • Interior pocket keeps all of your essentials conveniently at hand.
  • 17″L X 12.5″H x 5.5″D.
  • Comes in four different patterns.

Enter to win a a functional yet fashionable “City Tote” by Ame and Lulu. Comment below and answer: What’s the most you’d spend on a handbag?

(See all our past winners. See official rules. One winners is chosen at random from all those commenters who answer the question. Contest closes September 15, 2011.)

{History} History of Handbags

Your handbag is a harbinger. According to FOF Deborah Chase, author of Terms of Adornment (Harper Collins) and creator of the No Nonsense Beauty blog, handbag styles arise as a response to women’s changing role in society. “We love our bags for what they look like,” says Deborah. “But styles emerge and endure because there is a reason for them.” So, no, you’re not imagining that designers are putting out larger purses every year. “Every decade bags are getting bigger because we have more stuff to carry,” says Deborah. Take a look at the evolution of handbags from 1800 to modern day. My, have our handbags grown….

(Meet Deb at Beauty Bash, Oct. 1 and 2nd!)


{Fashion Flash}

Fashion Flash time! This week, it’s hosted by Kari of Fabulous Over Forty, a blog with practical yet fabulous insights on maintaining your beauty sans surgery. The brilliant blog is researched and written by FOF beauty blogger Kari Solyntjes. Check out her amazing advice and enjoy all the other links from our fab Fashion Flash friends.

{What Do You Think of This Look?} Zany Ladies

You’ve seen them before — zany FOFs donning uber-artsy duds and strutting the streets practically crying out to be photographed. Popular street style blogs such as Advanced Style and the New York Magazine Lookbook are quick to call these women “stylish,” But do you agree? Just because an FOF dresses zany, does that mean she’s stylish?

“I’m a walking collage. I bring art to the street, it has nothing to do with fashion,” says Sue Kreitzman, one such ‘zany lady’ who we met on at the Union Square Greenmarket in New York City, last week.

On Sue:
Necklace — Anna Tai
Bracelet — Old Earth Creates
Jacket — Sue found the fabric at a store near The Antiques Garage flea market, Lauren Shanley a well known fabric artist sewed it into a coat
Glasses — Eley Kishimoto

Image Sources: Advanced Style, New York Magazine Lookbook

{Poll} Which FOF celeb wedding dress would you wear?

For many FOFs, a second marriage or a late-in-life marriage is a chance to redefine tradition. Starting with . . . the dresses. Take a look at the outfits that each of these 5 FOF celebs donned on their big day and tell us: I do! or I don’t!

Was this her…something blue? The fifty-year-old “Hot in Cleveland” star rocked a turquoise dress for her New Year’s Day Malibu wedding to financial planner Tom Vitale. The dress was designed  by David Meister who had just two weeks to put it together. According to People magazine, it was “a nod to 1940s old Hollywood glamour with a plunging neckline and draped sleeves, the gown also offered a front leg slit for a dose of ‘modern sexy.'” Valerie paired it with strappy Jimmy Choo shoes. The wedding is Valerie’s second — she wore white at her first wedding to Eddie Van Halen, whom she divorced in 2007.

Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment.

In August of 2008, just two months after same-sex marriage became legal in California, Ellen DeGeneres and longtime love Portia de Rossi became lawfully wedded wives. Ellen was 50 and Portia was 35. The wedding was held at their $29 million Beverly Hills home. Portia chose a backless pink dress with a full skirt and Ellen chose white pants, a sheer white shirt and white vest. “I want to shout out to Zac Posen; he designed our outfits and they were absolutely gorgeous,” said Ellen on her talk show following the wedding. “You’ve chosen right if you’ve married in white. You’ll be forever blessed if you’re married in a vest. So I chose a vest.”

Ellen DeGeneres's White Trouser Suit by Zac Posen:

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When Marcia Cross’s Desperate Housewives character, Bree Van de Kamp, got married, she wore a dress by designer Reem Acra. It was then that Marcia knew she wanted Reem Acra to design the dress she would wear for her own wedding to stockbroker, Tom Mahoney. “It was just a beautiful dress and she [Reem Acra] was kind enough to… make me another one that’s sort of similar,” said Marcia. Marcia accessorized her white custom Reem Acra gown with a cathedral-length veil and Neil Lane platinum-and-diamond jewelry. The couple was married in San Gabriel, California, in 2006. She was 44 and he was 50. The couples first dance was to Etta James’s “At Last.” “You had to pick that one if you’re our age,” she joked.

Marcia Cross's Ivory Strapless Wedding Gown by Reem Acra:

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Everything seemed to go wrong for the 2005 wedding of Camilla Parker Bowles and Prince Charles. Was Camilla’s dress the only success? Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, was 57 when she married Charles in an elegant cream chiffon dress designed by her favorite designer, Anna Valentine. It was hemmed with appliqued disks from Switzerland and paired with an oyster-colored coat. The outfit was such a hit that Camilla reportedly wore it again two years later for the opening of the Welsh Assembly. There’s nothing wrong with a little royal recycling… is there?

Camilla Parker Bowles's Oyster Coat and Chiffon Dress by Anna Valentine:

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What did the woman who swore she’d never walk down the aisle… wear down the aisle? At their Nantucket beach wedding, Candace Bushnell donned a white Ralph Lauren cocktail dress and hubby Charles Askegard wore a white Prada suit. Both were barefoot. Candace once denounced marriage as a “male institution that leaves women alone and unhappy,” according to the New York Times, but the couple married just eight weeks after they met. Candace was 43 and Charles was 33. When the couple tied the knot on the Fourth of July, a wedding-goer proclaimed it “Lose-Your-Independence Day.”

Candace Bushnell's White Cocktail Dress by Ralph Lauren:

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Sources: People, New York Times, E! Online, People, About.com, The Daily Mail Online, People, StarPulse

Img Sources: Valerie- Period Media / Ellen- Celebrity Wedding Buzz, Urmy Celebrity / Marcia- Cool Spotters, People / Camila – Britannica Online Encyclopedia, Tres Sugar / Candace- New York Post, Jodi Hilton Photography