Wall Street Journal: Ace the School Reunion

Avoid Being Branded The Class Clown; Clothes That Work For Night, Day, Facebook, Too

From the Wall Street Journal, April 21, 2011

School reunion time is here and it is all too easy to slip back into a high-school state of mind. The desire to impress mixed with feelings of insecurity can serve up a bad emotional cocktail.

Like it or not, clothing is a visual gauge of who has soared and who has stumbled. Pulling together an outfit that sends the message you desire—cool confidence or affluence or even Look-At-Me-Now Revenge on The One Who Dumped You or The Mean Girls Who Made School a Daily Nightmare—has become more daunting. Many high school and college reunions now stretch from an evening of dinner and dancing into rigorously scheduled all-weekend affairs.

In general, it’s fine to fall back on the age-old trick of wearing black to look taller and slimmer, says image consultant Carol Davidson of New York City, but going all black can make a dull impression and rob the face of color. Try popping another hue into the look. “We put [a client] in a fitted black jacket and a black pant that had ease to them with a jewel-tone blouse,” says Ms. Davidson. “She felt great.”

And consider the audience. “If you’re an executive that works in a high-level creative firm in New York City and your reunion is back in the conservative Midwest, you may want to dial down what you’re used to wearing,” says Lloyd Boston, author of the 2010 book “The Style Checklist.”

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