What You Wear Brings You Into Character

Anna, in her stunning dress

When Anna first appeared on stage in that exquisite black lace fitted gown, I was mesmerized. She looked stunning but it was so much more – Anna commanded the theater. Every character she portrayed was so real, so believable.  By the end of Anna’s concert performance, I knew, I knew, that I needed to ask her about the dress. What the dress meant to Anna and the role that it played in her music and her singing. We sat down and I had my chance to hear from Anna …

About Dresses in General …

I have always loved wearing dresses. I was a tomboy, but I still loved wearing dresses – dresses with a baseball hat! Jeans actually gave me a skin rash. Today, I find dresses to be very freeing. They allow me to stand tall and watch my posture. I will never forget the first dress I wore to perform; I was a senior in high school. It was a red satin gown, v-neck, with a rectangular jewel at the neck. I loved it so much that I kept it (it still lives in my closet at home, even though I can no longer wear it!).

About The Dress …

I wanted something I could wear for this concert. There are certain protocols regarding dressing when performing as a soloist with an orchestra or choir: your dress needs to be floor length and cover your shoulders. I wanted something that I would wear often. I was in the city and decided to check out Macy’s. The dress was the last one I tried on and the best price from the sale rack! The minute I tried it on, it was perfect: the fit, the length (no hemming needed!), the style, and I couldn’t beat the price – everything was just right. I was able to check everything on my list! The black lace overlay on a neutral bodice was elegant but simple and I really loved the interesting back detail (which is important for the performances when I am conducting and my back is to the audience). The dress was so perfect that I didn’t need heels, and the only accessory I wore were large earrings. Continue reading

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The Verdict Is In: School Uniforms Raise Self Esteem

Dr. Karen Rezach

Dr. Karen Rezach, Director of The Middle School and The Ethics Institute at Kent Place School

Having just celebrated the last day of summer marking the beginning of fall, my thoughts turn to the start of the school year and everything that means to parents and their children. Back-to-school shopping for clothes can be especially trying for teens and their parents.Three years ago I interviewed Dr. Karen Rezach, Director of the Middle School and The Ethics Institute at Kent Place School and we talked about the value of wearing school uniforms. I realize that our conversation is as relevant today as it was then. Much has changed in three years – the sons I reference are now 20 and 17! – but what hasn’t changed is the pressure that teens feel and how wearing uniforms can be a release from that pressure. I went into the TFIO archives to bring back this important conversation with Dr. Rezach … for you …

My two sons go to public schools; one is in 8th grade, the other is a senior in high school. They don’t wear school uniforms and I have been curious about what life would be like for them if they did. Especially for my younger son who is in his early teens and at an impressionable and vulnerable age. I spoke with Dr. Karen Rezach, Director of the Middle School and The Ethics Institute at Kent Place School, an all-girls school from Kindergarten through the 12th Grade. We talked about the role of uniforms and why they are so important for the self-image of the students of Kent Place School. Dr. Rezach also helped me to see why this is not just about clothing and the choices our children make. It goes much deeper. She is a formidable woman and I must confess that I was a bit nervous before our conversation but the minute we started talking, I knew that I had come to the right person:

MKG: Kent Place School has adopted a “uniforms with choice,” platform from Kindergarten through the 8th grade. How does that differ from a basic uniform?

Dr. Rezach: It’s a question of Kent Place School’s mission. Traditional uniforms were not in line with the mission of Kent Place to develop independent leaders. We chose to offer choice for our students; in the color of the tops and in the different styles of skirts and pants – offering the students a degree of self-expression as well as maintaining a sensitivity to all body types.

MKG: Why do you think wearing uniforms is so important, especially for girls and younger teens?

Dr. Rezach: There is so much pressure on young people today, everything is “Like Me” on Facebook. What kids are wearing becomes a big issue; they are often judged and made fun of. In addition, there is a broad-range of economic backgrounds among our student community which may affect clothing choices. And wearing uniforms creates a mindset for students and a seriousness of purpose to their academic study: They know they are in school and they are here to learn. For all of these reasons, wearing uniforms is a valuable aspect to their life at school. Continue reading

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High school girls represent

Leaders of the Fashion Club and the Diversity Club: from left, Linden, Denver, Anisa and Ashley

Co-Presidents of the Fashion Club: Linden, Denver, and Ashley, and the Diversity Council,  Anisa (missing: Shayla, Diversity Council)

As you know, I am the mother of teenage boys. I wouldn’t trade that for anything, but there are times when I really miss having important conversations with young women. That is why writing Turning Fashion Inside Out continues to bring me so much joy. Today was one of those days, and I was honored to join a meeting with a group of spirited and thoughtful high school women of Kent Place School. The meeting was a combined effort of the Fashion Club and the Diversity Council and the topic was diversity (or lack thereof) in the fashion industry.

The leaders first identified startling facts and then they opened the floor for discussion, feedback and conversation. The facts are these: that even though white people represent only 16% of the global population, white people dominate the runway at 94.6%. There is a very small representation of women of color on the runway, including black, Asian and Latina models. Continue reading

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The verdict is in: School uniforms raise teen self-esteem

Dr. Karen Rezach, Director of

Dr. Karen Rezach, Director of The Middle School and The Ethics Institute at Kent Place School

My two sons go to public schools; one is in 8th grade, the other is a senior in high school. They don’t wear school uniforms and I have been curious about what life would be like for them if they did. Especially for my younger son who is in his early teens and at an impressionable and vulnerable age. I spoke with Dr. Karen Rezach, Director of the Middle School and The Ethics Institute at Kent Place School, an all-girls school from Kindergarten through the 12th Grade. We talked about the role of uniforms and why they are so important for the self-image of the students of Kent Place School. Dr. Rezach also helped me to see why this is not just about clothing and the choices our children make. It goes much deeper. She is a formidable woman and I must confess that I was a bit nervous before our conversation but the minute we started talking, I knew that I had come to the right person.

Here is my conversation with Dr. Rezach:

MKG: Kent Place School has adopted a “uniforms with choice,” platform from Kindergarten through the 8th grade. How does that differ from a basic uniform?

Dr. Rezach: It’s a question of Kent Place School’s mission. Traditional uniforms were not in line with the mission of Kent Place to develop independent leaders. Continue reading

Your thoughts?

I love comments. Feel free to share yours