The Savvy Sage of Sewing Stimulation

Suzy Menkes

I’m not sure a lot of folks have heard of her.  But she’s very powerful and really infectious.  I sometimes forget she’s out there with all the Annas, Graces, Corines, and Andrés.  But she’s a delight.

Don’t you just feel erudite after listening to that accent – you have to get about 2:24 into the vid to get where Suzy starts.  But you get a sense of not only how plugged-in she is to the fashion world, but why she’s so powerful and savvy.

But here’s something else about this gal:

Sitting next to the skeletal Wintour, Menkes looks like a regularly shaped gal – and she’s a fashion editor.

I love this!

And furthermore, the Brits get  away with this a lot more than the rest of the world – hurrah for them!  At least it keeps the rest of us more aware of real shapes.

But let’s get to some really fundamental basics.  Being a fashion design report and doyenne of the styles and trends of the day, what does a person like a fashion designer have to wear?  She has to wear the latest styles.  But what happens if they are all created for toothpicks?  Doesn’t bother Ms. Menkes… here we go….

So let’s look at why this works…First she’s got on a loose top, which works here, and this is why….she’s contained around the hip stomach area, although you know she’s not thin here, she’s fitted. She’s also got 3/4 sleeve length which goes a long way toward making her not so overpowered by the top. The pants are fitted and hang straight and do not splay or tilt funny. BTW the creases in the pants don’t bother me cause they just tell me these are real linen or cotton.




This is pure genius. Here she’s wearing a coat with a full collar and full scarf around the top – a lot of stuff going on, but look at her arms – where’s all the mess of fabric that is supposed to be there with a coat like this – it’s not there. Why? This coat is really a vest – and she’s got on a long sleeve sweater/jacket thing to cover her arms. How ingenious is this. IOW, she’s taken the bulk out of the sleeve by not wearing one.This is one cagey and smart solution to all that mess under the arm and inner sleeve that comes from having to buy the larger size to cover the bust or stomach or both.  This idea would be killer good-looking in a boiled wool, and a snap to do.


This is just nothing but smart. Ms. Menkes knows her colors well, and knows what she looks good in and knows what not to wear. Here she’s in two of her best colors – a jeweled blue and deep magenta to work both colors beautifully. Statement necklace & bangle bracelets work too. The sleeve length is not 3/4, but it’s very nicely tapered to keep the top from looking too overpowering. She looks very chic and in and fashionable and is not the size of a toothpick!

 Isn’t this fun!!!  Let’s do some more!

OMG – this is just plain fantastic and she’s hit all the red buttons just right – let’s list ’em:

  1. 3/4 sleeve length – check
  2. soft flat collar – check
  3. contained shorter jacket at just the right length – check
  4. classic necklace & earrings – not too overpowering for this classic look – check
  5. bracelet – not too much, not too little – check

Result: A fabulous portrait look, which is I’m sure what she was after here.

BTW, her make-up is perfect here too.

OK – in this one she was either so incredibly lucky or else she was so savvy that she was thinking ahead. Ms. Menkes wears a lot of blue, and she should – it’s a great color for her – but what’s so striking about this photo is that the background works beautifully with her outfit. Ms. Menkes stands out not because she’s out of place, but because she is so directly in opposite (blue & orange are opposites on the color wheel) that she must have planned this….kudos on this outfit.
Here she is again in that same blue outfit…3/4 sleeve length with the knit or tapered longer sleeve showing through – a great look for her. This keeps everything on top (which is where most of her thickness is), to a minimum and keeps her from looking top heavy. She’s also sleeked down from the hip down, and that also helps her look good. She keeps a lot of V-necks but she puts a shell type garment under it, but the V-neck also helps the line of her outfits….it starts wide at the shoulders and comes thinner down toward the waist, giving the line of direction of the neckline a slimmer look. V-necks are hard to wear, but not the way Ms. Menkes wears them with the jewel/cardigan-neck under the V-neck.


Finally one of my fav designers (this looks like a Katranzou, but not verified, so don’t know for sure). Again, shorter sleeve length – you can tell by the folds in the sleeve that she’s pushed it up, which is swell, but she’s rolled up the sleeve cuffs so that beautiful  lining/contrast shows. She’s also wearing a simple garment under not to take away from the coat The coat folds flatly against her shoulders away from her neck, and although it’s open (this is what causes the coat not to be too full below the arms), it looks good here cause the dark center gives her length.

OK – so the reason I wanted to go all through all of this is to show you how smart and savvy you can look and you do not have to be the size of a toothpick or an over-sized toothpick or a toothpick of any kind.  This is what I love so much about the sewing we do.  Actually I can show you how to do better than Ms. Menkes – who is a verified fashionista…..which means….you can be a verified fashionista too!!!




PS – I’m not saying anything about the hair – chalk it up to English eccentricity!  But you know what – it works for her!

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