Saks 5th Avenue—If you need help ask…

for Carolyn Gobert!
My daughter Tamara was looking for the perfect dress to wear for her wedding ceremony. She looked online for days and pinpointed several that she wanted to go see at Saks. And they were having a sale! Though I design clothing, it must be said I don’t do a lot of department store shopping or R&D.
So, we arrive at Saks and are awed by the beautiful fabrics and cuts of these fine garments. We must have looked clueless for a nice woman approached us and asked if she could help. She was unassuming and gracious; we felt at ease at once. After describing the task at hand we toured the different layers of collections, meanwhile Carolyn is grabbing things off the rack for sampling.
She housed us in a nice fitting room and we proceeded to “sample” the different styles and lengths of party dresses.
She provided Spanx, heels and all the necessary accouterments to create a finished look. She informed Tamara that she could have her make-up done the day of, could get dressed there, the whole kit and caboodle. She saw the whole picture, which is more that we did at the time.
We left feeling confidant and treated like queens. Though we ended up not using the services or purchasing from Saks for the event, we did give Carolyn a great review, because she went out of her way to be generous, kind and had wonderful vision and taste. I say: kudos to her and also to Saks for valuing that kind of service.

Covering Pearl


I wanted to talk about my dress form. I got her from a woman named Pearl. She was from the Phillipines and did some sewing for me back in the 80s. She was a feisty woman who knew how to put me in my place! She had an extra dress form and gave it to me. It was a size 16 and a lovely old girl. It was about my size, which is good because I always like to make things my size! Size 16 then is about a 14 now.

Anyway, Pearl and I went our separate ways and after awhile when I went back to try to find her I was told she had passed away. I felt very sad that I had not been able to tell her how much her being there had meant to me. I decided to name the dress form Pearl and I think of her every time I use her.

But Pearl had become tattered and as I use her for documenting my clothing I decided to recover her. I painted some cotton muslin a soft grey, which turned out slightly mottled. Though I would have preferred an even surface, I thought in a way that it was more interesting and would create a suitable background for the clothing. It was satisfying to take her apart and drape the pattern from her, hand stitch the back seam up tight, nail in the top and all the nails to secure the waistband. She turned out very well indeed! I think Pearl would be thrilled at the fresh new form that was one of her gifts to me…


Doing a special order for a larger-than-me client, I decided to research actual size charts. To find one I could use to standardize my own sizing. The first site I looked at seemed to be a standard from the 50s: size 8–bust 34 ½ , waist-26 ½ , hips- 37, versus the more modern chart: size 8 to 10 — bust- 35-36, waist- 27-29 and hips- 38-39.
All this might seem very technical, but when you go to a store the variety of fit is extreme. From J Jill to J Crew, there is a big difference in sizes and it can make a person crazy. No wonder we have issues with our perception of our size. The powers that be are playing with us and realizing that buying power rests on the ideas that “I can still fit into a size 8”! Have we grown that much as a society?
Or do we like to fool ourselves into a false sense of being slim? Like I do every morning when I get on the scale after having done my morning duties, bare naked and am feeling slender! (Not)! So different from the doctors office…
Anyway, I guess by this time we have come to understand the difference between designers and which ones work for us. But the idea of the contrast was really reinforced from checking out the size charts…

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