Art of Style

Here & Now: Closet Confidential

BY April 1, 2014


I don’t know about you, but the sunshine-induced euphoria that overtakes me on a regular basis here makes me feel I can have it all. Do it all. Be who I want to be. Work smarter so I can play harder and indulge my passions. If the smile on my face doesn’t tell the story, my shoe rack sure does. Trending down: sensible business pumps. Trending up: hiking boots, beach sandals and dancing shoes.

But if my shoes reveal something about me, wait till you see Delores Sorey’s. And the things you’ll find in Sandy Cotter’s closet, or Carlos Bicho’s, border on the scandalous. Don’t believe me? Take a tour for yourself.

Sandy: Wind in Her Hair and Bugs in Her Lip Gloss

From 9 to 5, she’s a well-known Naples hospitality marketing executive. For Sandy Cotter’s day job as membership director for LaPlaya Beach and Golf Club, the labels in her closet read like a respectable club roster itself: Kors, Lauren, St. John, Klein … you know the ones. But take another look and you’ll see what drives this social butterfly. Actually, she drives it. It’s 750 pounds of shiny red, white and blue metal and its name is Bourget.

Yep, Sandy Cotter is one head-turning, blond bombshell biker chick. Part Scarlett O’Hara and part Ann- Margaret (think C.C. & Company, in which the wild redhead is rescued by bad-boy biker Joe Namath as C.C. Ryder), Sandy sheds her sophisticated dress-for-success look every possible weekend and follows her passion. Whether it’s a morning ride to the quirky Stan’s Idle Hour in Goodland or a weekend ride down the Overseas Highway through the Keys, her favorite phrase is “wind through my hair and bugs in my lip gloss.”

There’s a look for every mood, Sandy says, as she shares a peek into her closet. Her favorite is the naughty-but-nice bad biker/Audrey Hepburn ingénue.

“Like any true southern belle, I know the power of pearls. For the sassy yet feminine biker-chic look, I start with a demure strand of pearls around my neck, then go dramatic with black pleather pants topped with a shiny silver tank top. Naturally, every fashion-conscious biker chick has at least one classic little black biker jacket in her wardrobe to go with her leather biker gloves, black boots and pearls.”

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Then there’s the born-to-be-wild she-leopard look. “A pair of print denim jeans is classy without being trashy. I might top mine with a black V-neck sweater, throw on a black leather-studded vest, and chic it up with gold fleur-de-lis accessories and leopard booties.”

“When I’m feeling it for over-the-top glam, I opt for my buttery soft red leather pants, black tank top with sleeveless gold-studded red bombshell biker vest, and lots of silver accessories. And, of course, red cowboy boots.”

Try it if you dare. Your helmet will keep the wind out of your face. And don’t forget the lip gloss.

Carlos: Purple Pantyhose and Lard for the Mustache

He speaks five languages, has worked for Homeland Security and has a U.S. military resume that includes Air Force duty and defense intelligence work. But the Portuguese-born Carlos Bicho is best known these days as His Excellency Colonel Vincente Folch y Juan, the last Spanish governor of West Florida. He’s happiest when he can slip back into the 18th century, take up his sword and stride pompously into a classroom. The audible collective gasp is music to his aristocratic ears. Sometimes he slips back another few centuries into the body armor, helmet and leggings of Don Juan Ponce de Leon, the first Spanish conquistador to arrive in Florida. Be careful of your tongue when you meet, because this man knows his Florida history. And nothing incenses this conquistador more than to hear it said that Ponce de Leon landed first in St. Augustine. “It is a fact,” he expounds in his early 1500s Spanish accent. “I never set foot on St. Augustine land. We landed right here in these waters you are calling the Charlotte Harbor.”

It’s not all fun and games being a conquistador. “You think I do not love my work?” he challenges, fire blazing in his black eyes. “You know what it takes to get into purple pantyhose and lard my mustache first thing in the morning?”

Well yes, kind of. Welcome to our world, Your Excellency.

For the next appearance of His Excellency Colonel Vincente Folch y Juan, visit or

Delores: When Cherries and Watermelons Just Won’t Do

She’s the First Lady of Naples, and her official datebook sometimes reads like the crazed calendar of Alice in Wonderland’s Queen of Hearts. While there hasn’t been a croquet party with hedgehogs as balls and flamingos as mallets (yet), it seems the presence of Delores Sorey, wife of Mayor John Sorey, has been required at just about everything else, from tea parties to Gatsby galas to formal balls. And a girl must be appropriately dressed, mustn’t she? Well, mustn’t she? Hizzoner the Mayor has even been heard to say, “Delores is always in costume.”

The most recent challenge was last month’s Prelude to a Park, which may go down as the year’s most creative gala. Since the city’s new legacy park will be all about openness and green spaces—minimal structures and no colorful playscapes—the gala committee, which Delores chaired, created a full moon evening totally under the stars. Not even a tent. In case anyone missed the implications of this, the invitation specified “Only spectacular flat shoes for the ladies.”

As we already know, Delores Sorey loves to play dress-up. And more than anything, she loves shoes.

“We wanted to evoke feelings of an old-time gathering,” she said, as the evening outdoors drew near. Like Judy Garland playing Esther in Meet Me in St. Louis, or maybe Scarlett O’Hara’s picnic in Gone With the Wind.

Whoa, what are the odds of Scarlett O’Hara coming up twice in one day’s conversation? Move over, Kentucky—there’s a bit of the Deep South here on the Gulfshore, too!

So, back to the shoe dilemma, and a trip to the shoe closet. White boots with fur trim? “No.” Watermelons and cherries? “Not feeling it.” The awesome New York yellow taxi flats? “Definitely not Naples.” Gold flats featuring the face and jewels of an Egyptian queen? “Not quite right either.” The palm tree flats might work, or perhaps the flamboyant pink and green botanical … but no. “Must go shopping.”

As you’re reading this, the outcome has already been revealed. One can only imagine how one tops a pair of New York yellow taxi flats, but one can bet she did.

For more about the legacy park, visit As for me, I’ve got the pearls. So I’m off to find a classic little black biker jacket.


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