One of my most influential mentors was the late Marlene Tarbill of Sao Paulo, Brazil. I met Marlene in Boston while her American husband was working for a company that was building the now infamous road project that came to be known as The Big Dig.
She stood less than 5 feet tall but had a presence bigger than life. She loved to brag that she didn’t have to wear high heels to make her look taller. She packaged herself perfectly from her head to her toes every day of the week and she taught me so much about color and personal style that being with her was like a master class. We’d go shopping at Sak’s and Neiman’s “just to look”. Not to buy. She only rarely ‘bought’. But when she did it was because she had found the perfect color, silhouette, style, and fabric for her compact and curvaceous body. She would pay “whatever it costs” if it was right. And she would keep her clothes for a very long time. She once told me that she never packed a certain knit criss-cross top she owned in her regular luggage. Always in her carry-on. Because if she ever lost it she would be devestated.