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Letter From the Editor

Style matters...and help is on the way.

     Yes, it is truly heady, the life of a style consultant in this ever-so-luxe community of ours. Cheryl Lampard of Style Matters International frequents the finest shops around in search of the coolest items for the area’s most elegantly turned-out residents. Gulfshore Life is thrilled to have her as our new contributing editor answering your fashion questions in “Shopportunities” (see p. 46), dispensing invaluable advice in her “Power Shopper” blog on gulfshorelife.com and alerting us to the hottest trends right now (see “Green Rocks” on p. 120).

     And sometimes this life gets, well, unusual. She told recently of a call from a client: “This very charming woman phoned to say that she needed a skirt with pockets that also allowed her to move freely and, oh yes, it had to coordinate with the color of her dog. So off I went to the poshest places, shopping with a picture of the dog in my hand. That was a first. It turns out she was escorting the dog in a dog show, requiring the pockets for treats and the fit for comfort in walking.” In a recent visit to our office, Cheryl shared how she got into this business in the first place and let us in on how she operates and the ways it can change the lives of her clients. Naturally, she left us with some tips to help us look our very best.

     London-born, Cheryl was already making her own dresses at six (with a little help from mom), knitted a lilac tie for her dad at seven (“Years later, he told me he could never wear it because the back piece was too long,” Cheryl says) and finished off a tailored suit for herself at 13. But she didn’t really get into the business until she was 30, after a long stint as personal assistant to the president of a multi-national corporation. She started a yarn store in Brighton. “Yarn was like the poor relation to fabric, and I loved the color and feel of it and felt we could get people excited about it.” Indeed, she did and after four years sold the store “for an offer I couldn’t refuse.”

     It was back to corporate life for a while, but Cheryl was spending her holidays here in Southwest Florida and kept meeting people on the plane to and fro who wanted to add some panache to their wardrobes. Ten years ago, Style Matters International came into being, and Cheryl moved to Naples in 2008.

     The business has been building nicely ever since. “I call myself an image and style consultant,” says Cheryl. “I find that Americans are more can-do about self development. The British don’t see it as an immediate benefit and think that high style is for celebrities and politicians. “I have a four-step process with clients. I must understand their personalities and lifestyles, then analyze the colors that would be best for them. Next is reviewing their closets for what does and doesn’t work for them. And then comes the shopping. I pre-shop and bring them 12 pieces or so, including a few surprises.” Cheryl recalls the touching story of a woman who had lost a lot of weight and couldn’t seem to dress for her new shape. With Cheryl’s help, she wore her new outfi ts to two job interviews and felt so confident she asked for an extra $10,000 in salary—and got it. “She felt I had changed her life,” Cheryl says.

     How does she dress herself? “I like a tailored look with quirky touches,” she says, “like adding a cuff or special button effect, something with an unexpected twist.”

     As for us … Cheryl warns about mistakes and suggests a couple of ways to be a style-setter. “Because of the heat,” she says, “people get too casual. Beachwear doesn’t play in professional settings. And don’t follow fashion and labels to the point where they don’t work for you. Look in the mirror and get the fit and proportion right. Wear what you feel good in, and you’ll give off confident vibes. And break the mold occasionally. Try a new color with a scarf or T-shirt or lipstick.”

     Thanks, Cheryl. Anyone up for the emerald green she’s touting in this issue? Hard not to like that gorgeous ring and the sensuous suede jacket. Check ’em out.

—David Sendler

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