Fashion Tips – Choosing Formal Wear Necklines

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 21,410
    Fashion Designer and Project Runway finalist Wendy Pepper explains figure analysis and evening wear choices.

    Wendy Pepper

    If you start in the heart of Washington DC and take the bridge over the Potomac River into Virginia, you're well on your way to Wendy Pepper's working studio. The gallery is the culmination of a life's dedication to the pursuit and practice of the age old craft of Haute Couture.

    Born in Dayton Ohio, Wendy returned with her family to the Washington DC area at an early age. Growing up in the nation's capital afforded Wendy the unique opportunity to absorb the myriad cultural influences that Washington DC alone could provide. After earning an Anthropology degree in college, Wendy decided that she was interested in the role of fashion in today's culture and, by extension, the role it played in a modern world of increasingly mass communication. She taught herself to sew and draft patterns, and subsequently sought out apprenticeships with specialists in the fibre arts fields.

    Wendy was part of the cast of the BRAVO series "Project Runway" and was chosen as a finalist and showed her collection in Bryant Park during New York Fashion Week in February 2005. Her Gallery is open by appointment (540-687-8272), and her line is available exclusively at "Santangelo and Sandridge" (540-687-4775), also in Middleburg.

    Wendy Pepper: Hi, my name is Wendy Pepper and I am happy to be here to talk to you about figure analysis and evening wear choices. We all have that experience of going into a department store and seeing a million dresses and not knowing exactly which one is right for us. So, I like to teach my clients, how to look for whats good for their figure and it helps them been informed customer and buy correctly and buy things that will last for many years to come.

    The first element that I want to talk about today is neckline and how that informs choices that you might make when you are out shopping. We are lucky to be joined by Marron who has lent her beautiful figure for us to analyze, thank you. We are going to take a look at the long elegant neck which in fact is an asset under any set of circumstances but she too must take into consideration certain things when she shops. So, I have put her in a dress that has a high neckline and has a lot of texture and what that does is it frames her neck and accentuates it's beauty without exposing it and making her look too bare up there, which can happen with people who have long neck. So, as you see she looks very very pretty in this soft blue ice color, it's perfect for her skin tone and it also frames her neck and her hair and she has angular features in her face and these satin and the way that it folds nicely complements those features. Now, also what this does has a beautiful plunging neckline and thats good for her bust line because it draws the two together.

    And now we are joined by Pasha, thank you so much for lending your figure to our exercise today, which is we are discussing different types of necklines and how that affects the type of dresses we buy. So with Pasha, I would probably recommend that she do a neckline more like this which is strapless with the little bit of detail in the center of the bust. It adds a little bit area of interest. I like the texture created by the gathers and I also like what it does. She has a shorter neck and so when she chooses things, she needs to open herself up and to really bring more space into this area. So, I have chosen this open neck here she could possibly have straps going off to the edge if she wanted to. Anything that draws attention out and improves the whole line to her shoulder and thats really how we analyze the neckline is, what is the best way to offset whatever issue you feel like you have. So, if you have a shorter neck we want to open this area up.

    Grace is what I would call more of a petite client and there are specific issues that I address when I work with somebody in that category and those are that I try to use details up around the neck to raise the eye to that part of the body because it tends to lengthen the whole line of the dress and in fact the impression of the height of the person. So, I have used diagonal lines in her neckline to point towards the middle and then to meet with a strap that goes around her neck. That little bit of detail around the neck tends to create the illusion of the dress being longer and in fact her torso therefore being taller. So, thank you Grace for joining us.

    In conclusion, we have three different types of necks that we have represented here. A long neck I like to use details around the neck that frame it and give it a sense of being accentuated by lots of different textures around the neck. For a shorter neck I like an open neckline and one that draws the eye away and gives depth and width to the shoulder line and for the petite client, I like small little details that length the torso.