When I was growing up, my grandmother Pearl told me, “a woman should always have a red blazer in her closet so she can wow them no matter what.” My grandmother was tall with an elegant silhouette, her hair was platinum white and she loved to sparkle and spark up a bit of controversy. She wore necklaces, oversize rings and gold bangles both fake and real and she smelled of Happy, the late Nineties classic perfume by Clinique. Pearl, whom I called Mommom, was my style mentor for all the years we had together.
When I was eight, she sent me a floor-length, white muslin dress with an enormous blue satin bow in the back to wear for my solo violin performance. I was an awful violinist and instead of playing, I turned my back to the audience, boldly showed off my draped satin bow and literally screeched out a few lines. And the audience loved me, my blue bow and the fact that I was finished!
Mommom didn’t just send beautiful things though. As I grew up, she allowed me the freedom to choose what I wanted, within the confines of her good taste. One Christmas, when I told her I wanted bell bottoms instead of a dress in a black toile print with a sheer overlay and velvet waistband, she took it back and sent me money instead. When I asked her for tube tops, she drew the line though and told me no. Today, when I think of that dress I cringe for wanting to wear it now. And when I think of my ten-year old self saved from a falling-down tube top, I bless her!
My first career was in corporate sales and it was great, but it didn’t stick because I wanted to be outside or shopping. So in 2007, I founded The First Look Image Consulting and Personal Styling. By then, Mommom had moved to assisted living, or what she liked to call the old folks home, and I started to shop for her. She used to say, can you believe it Kerry, I’m ninety! Now it was my turn and I sent her a white jacquard blazer with high, rounded lapels, black patent leather flats and a smart, red handbag. She said she was only going downstairs to chat but we both knew she had to have sparkle no matter what. Mommom has passed on now but left me with her dazzling spirit, a few excellent hand-me-downs from her own closet and her words in my ear, “you take care of you now Kerry.”
Art, design, personal style, sparkle and joy – not to mention the basics of color theory, the importance of a polished first impression, the ability of the mind to further one’s success through en-clothed cognition and a love for learning all things style related – that’s what Mommom left me and what I’ve built The First Look Image upon.
If you’d like to look at my LinkedIn profile, you’ll also find that Mommom and my Mom taught me work hard in all aspects of my life. My experience also includes a BA and MA in English Literature, Varsity athletic experience for Rutgers Women’s Crew, a successful career in corporate sales, certifications in color, theory, image and makeup from FIT in NYC and the AICI. I am a Past President of the AICI NY Tri-State Chapter, I’ve developed new concepts and training content for W.Y.E. and I’m active member of the women’s networking group Ellevate. Clients include GE, IBM, KPMG, J&J, Mizuho Americas, Sanofi, DCH Auto Group and Ipreo.