Over a glass of Cristal champagne in Tenenbaum Jewelers’ salon, lifestyle guru/YouTube star/Instagram wonder/author Dominique Sachse and Tootsies colorful creative director/every girl’s BFF Fady Armanious sat down for a lively chat with PaperCity on the role of fashion in our daily lives. Sachse took the philosophical approach while Armanious delivered on the important nuts and bolts of fashion and personal style.
You can watch the full video here to see the stylish trio in action.
PaperCity: What is it that fashion says about us?
Fady: You give away your personality by what you are wearing. You give that vibe based on the idea of how you present yourself to the world, how you want to be perceived.
Dominique: And isn’t it a reminder too of how visually driven we are. We can’t negate the fact that visual is everything. And it’s not just how we see others and how we see the world but how we see ourselves . . . I’ve always told young people reaching out for advice, especially those who want to start off in business, preparation is everything and that involves being ready mentally for the job but also in how you present yourself because we are judged initially based on how we look and our appearance.
And that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to spend a lot of money. You just have to be aware of that and aware of the value of first impressions.
PC: What is the most important aspect of selecting an important piece of clothing?
Fady: Knowing your assets, knowing what you want to highlight. I think if you know your body and you’re like ‘OK, I have great shoulders or a great neck. I have a great chest. I have a great waist. I have great legs.’ Whatever it is, we’re gonna take that and make that the highlight of your look.
You need to be able to work with your body and have a fit that is customized to you. So knowing your body and knowing your assets is very important. When you discover what that is, you’re going to dress well and you feel comfortable because you are highlighting your best assets. At this point you are comfortable and you are going to be able to carry the outfit off.
Half of the battle is carrying the outfit especially when it comes to trends and it’s something over the top. You want it to be able to carry it.
PC: You mentioned having a fit customized. How important is this?
Fady: When you seen things on the runway, they’re on 6-foot models, who are a beautiful size zero but when it comes to reality we’re going to alter. In reality we wear these fashions from a size zero to a 16 or 20. Alterations are the key. That’s why in Tootsies we call it “the art of fashion.” For example, you would never wear a suit without altering the pants. It’s all about the fit.
Dominique: I am a huge believer in fine tuning and alterations. An inch taken in can mean a total difference in how an outfit will look. So that’s really important. Think about too bulky of a sleeve. I think a lot of people forget sleeve bulk and there’s a lot of fabric in the sleeve and sometimes even taking an inch in in the sleeve all the way down gives a longer, leaner arm to a jacket. You don’t feel like you’re in a man suit.
Fady: It’s the same thing in a dress or a skirt. When it’s too wide, sometimes you just narrow it at the bottom to give it a little bit of shape. It works to give that a silhouette versus just a wide straight look.
PC: What is your take on the ankle-length prairie girl look?
Dominique: Too many ruffles, too much stuff. I feel like I get lost in all of that. I’m more structured.
Fady: I just returned from New York Fashion Week and for next spring and resort it’s definitely a big switch to solid colors, a little more tailoring — the whole monochromatic look head to toe. Both chic and elegant versus that big, loose, cotton print dress that people kind of OD’d on and don’t want to see themselves in it anymore. Sure it’s great for Round Top, for hot summer days when you have to run around.
This look came right after the pandemic. People wanted the ease and wanted the slouch and the comfort. But everybody has made the shift to be able to find the next new thing, update and upgrade the wardrobe. Now everybody has made the shift to be able to find the next new thing, update and upgrade the wardrobe.
It’s the same thing for jewelry. I feel like there is a lot of newness in the hoops, like the oversized ones. From the shows, everything is massive again, really big earrings. Big chunky bracelets, big dramatic earrings. It’s good to be able to freshen up. To mix and match.
PC: So that’s a change in jewelry trends?
Fady: Jewelry really became very popular during the past two years when we Zoomed every day. Earrings and necklaces, that’s all you saw. People started thinking, ‘Oh, well I need to make sure I have good earrings and a necklace that shows. For the Zoom pictures, you can be in your pajamas and just have a great top and earrings.
Sometimes you just want an easy piece of jewelry, something to pick up. But again amazing investment pieces are great pieces that will stay in your jewelry box for so long. And you cherish and you pass it along.
Dominique: You can shop trends very easily and affordably. You can fit in some things. Layered gold necklaces are really, really in. You don’t have to spend a lot of money. Like Fady was saying, keep your main pieces. You will always have those.
They will stand the test of time, forever. Nothing goes out of style when it’s classic. With trends, there’s no reason to spend crazy money on that. So that’s always been my viewpoint, save on the trends and spend on the classics. So the classics to me are good jewelry, good handbags.
I think we should always hold onto something because you see how everything cycles back so hold on to your favorite big time piece or bracelet or whatever because it will come back it some form or fashion and instead of having to repurchase something you already have something vintage in its closet.
PC: It’s a fad with young girls today to have multiple ear piercings and wear multiple bracelets and necklaces, all of it on the miniature side. At what age should a woman transition out of that phase?
Fady: I don’t know. (He sighs.) I feel like it really becomes personal now especially the multiple earrings. It’s almost like based on your personality. Based on who you want to be and what makes you happy. I’ve seen it less and I think it was really big five to 10 years ago with all these tiny earrings and everybody wanted more and more. . . . Well, maybe it should stay there in the college world. (Laughter all around.)
Dominique: It’s a personal expression. And I think that sometimes that’s when you have to throw out all of those rules. I get those questions all the time, ‘At what point should I do this or that.’ And I say, ‘I don’t believe in shoulds.’
I think it is soley a personal interpretation mainly because we are all different. We all have different features. We all have different cultural backgrounds which will have an impact on what it is that we want to do, how we choose to express our beauty. It may mean longer hair for some cultures or shorter hair, or more jewelry or less.
I think you have to do in the end what speaks to you with certain elements of taste and style within that. I personally love that freedom of expression in people and seeing that individuality. That to me is when it gets interesting. It’s not uniform any more.
PC: Dominique, how has your fashion outlook changed now that you’ve moved on from the nightly news?
Dominique: It was actually an easy transition. It was just adding to the pieces that I have less of and getting rid of pieces that I had more of. In my old line of work I had the sheath dress, a straight fitting sheath dress in a hundred different colors. So now, I no longer have a need for that so I’ve gotten rid of those in my closet and I’ve incorporated more fun denim pieces, cropped denim.
Things to be able to wear fun shoes with or a rock ‘n roll T-shirt with a really cool blazer if I want to punch it at night. It’s been bringing it down a little bit to suit my lifestyle. It still means you are going to want those statement pieces in your wardrobe for special events.
PC: Fady, what’s happening in Houston fashion right now?
Fady: We have seen a big switch since March where people are going back to dressing up again, wearing heels and thinking like ‘Oh, that feels weird.’ But we’ve definitely seen, now that it’s fall, that people are ready for those amazing pieces that you feel good in. And be able to go to a luncheon and feel good again, and see people.
Cocktail is back. Fashion is indicative of the season that we are going into. Dressing is according to the fact that we are now in the fall season and will be attending events and we’re a little bit more jeweled and bedazzled.