I met Marilyn Burns in the 1980s. She called me to make a personal style appointment. When I arrived at her home in Sausalito, she greeted me wearing a red and black check lumber shirt and Birkenstocks. We are both New Yorkers and a close friendship began that continues to this day. She also continues to be a client and over the years her style has evolved. When we began working together her hair was auburn and we selected textures and warmer colors that were a compliment. Now her hair is cropped short and silver and her colors are more subtle.
I’m most comfortable in soft, loosely constructed casual clothing. I strive for quiet elegance. I’d like to feel when I walk out the door, whether I’m in sweats for a morning walk or gathering vegetables from my garden, that I’m truly within myself. My clothes help with that.
Marilyn was in a serious relationship, and just starting her math education company and becoming a popular speaker. Her serious relationship resulted in a wonderful marriage. Her company became very successful and was purchased by Scholastic. She is a highly sought after speaker and respected author in her world of math education.
“I was never interested in clothes as a child,” says Marilyn. “I was happiest in dungarees and only wore other clothing like skirts and dresses when I absolutely had to for school and special events. My mother and sister were both more interested in clothing and tried to entice me, but it didn’t work.
“Before Gwen and I started working together, I was somewhere between being unaware or disinterested in what I wore but still with a feeling of dissatisfaction. Others knew how to ‘put themselves together,’ but I didn’t and was aware that I didn’t. Being in this new relationship caused me to pay more attention to how I was presenting myself.
“My experience of our working together has been wonderful from the day we started. Gwen gave me the courage to look at myself in new ways and for that I’m extremely grateful. I think that having a personal style consultant is a way to learn about yourself in ways you can’t easily do alone. At least, that’s been my experience. I recommend it for any woman. Even if a woman has a sense of style, it’s good to be stretched in one’s perspective. It has been a wonderful education.”
Among the adventures in style that Marilyn and I have enjoyed over the years is creating her collection of fabulous accessories. She understood early on that accessories add that finishing touch for your clothes and create more ways to wear them. Living in more than one location has allowed her to utilize much of the same clothing with a change of accessories.
“I’m most comfortable in soft, loosely constructed casual clothing. I strive for quiet elegance. I’d like to feel when I walk out the door, whether I’m in sweats for a morning walk or gathering vegetables from my garden, that I’m truly within myself. My clothes help with that. For shoes, I’m all about comfort first, without compromising style. As for accessories, I don’t feel dressed unless I have at least a pair of earrings on and usually a necklace. I have my favorites. I love scarves both for their warmth and their look.”
Part of the journey to an ageless style is paying attention to the details. Updating your hairstyle and makeup is crucial, as is acknowledging the changes in the body. Following fads and styles in order to look ‘with it’ calls for a serious conversation with a full-length mirror.
The glow of real style is also an inside job, emanating from the sense of self- esteem, gratitude, and an ongoing curiosity and joy in life. As you embrace the wisdom your life experience has provided and release what no longer serves your growth, you are on the path to ageless style.