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Fashion calculus

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Looks Matter Author Doris Pooser in New Delhi
Looks Matter Author Doris Pooser in New Delhi

Image expert and author Doris Pooser reveals the style mantra to Nandini Nair

Fashion might be fickle, but style is eternal. Author Doris Pooser believes that style can be taught. Harper Collins Publishers and Always (In Style) recently celebrated the publication of “An Indian Woman’s Guide to Success — Perfecting Your Personal Image,” by Pooser.

Maths too

With her mother as a fashion designer and herself a maths major, the author integrates the two strains in her book. The book is a formula on how to look good. Arranged in brief bullets it works as an instruction manual. Even in danger of stating the obvious, it describes the right way to smile, to shake hands and greet. It suggests colours and cuts of clothes depending on skin tone and body shape. “There is a logic to how colour, shape and proportion fit on the body.”

Pooser, CEO and President of AIS International Inc, is an internationally recognised style and image expert. She is the author of best selling books on style. In the business for 25 years, she has reached thousands of people through her books, columns and television appearances. In the pre-Internet days, she started “Makeover by Mail”, where she would advise people on the correct getup after receiving their statistics and photographs.

This New Yorker first visited India 22 years ago. Impressed by its people and culture, she has since made numerous trips. She has encountered both sceptics and believers here. Some believe that we have our own style, and should be left alone. Others are of the opinion that we need to learn. She readily acknowledges that the style of Indian women is “very very different,” because of the prevalence of the traditional attire.

While admiring the beautiful fabric and weaves, she does believe, “With the integration of the West that style doesn’t come through. There is a disconnect.” There is a need to combine western style with Indian sensibility. With the increase in travel, the spread of globalisation, and the rise of India and China, the time is ripe for an international style code. Pooser has in fact already written a book on the Chinese woman’s guide to success. Its success spurred her to write the Indian woman’s guide.

Perfecting one’s personal image is crucial, she feels, because first impressions are formed within the first 30 seconds, 55 per cent is based on appearance, 38 per cent on voice and body language, and only 7 per cent on what one says. Pooser provides insight and instruction on how to perfect that first impression.

The style doctor doesn’t believe that style needs to be expensive.

“It isn’t about the price. It is about the shape, fit, colour and details,” she explains, “People who know their style can pull off an Armani skirt with a Wal-Mart T-shirt.” Having studied people in fashion over the years, Pooser believes that Lady Diana’s style was impeccable in her later years, whereas Hillary Clinton has often miscalculated.

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