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ALL PHOTOGRAPHS OF BRENDA COFFEE BY MICHAEL WARING
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A few years ago my friend, Lois Joy Johnson, founding editor and beauty and fashion director of MORE magazine and now editor of AARP’s Beauty & Style DigiMag app, asked me to be in her book, The Woman’s Wakeup: How to Shake Up Your Looks, Life, and Love After 50. I was flattered and excited. Over the years Lois has worked with every top magazine, fashion brand, photographer, model, makeup artist and hairstylist. She knows more about putting together an outfit than anyone I know.

Imagine my surprise when Lois sent me the finished book, and there were 11 photos of me, plus I’m featured on page one of Chapter One.

Before I went to New York City for the photoshoot, Lois told me to bring three or four changes of clothes I felt comfortable in and the jewelry I wore all the time. She didn’t want me to go out and buy anything new for the shoot. She wanted it to be a reflection of how I dressed and who I was.

Since my mother had been a model and a buyer in couture, clothes have always been part of my life—or should I say mother’s life. I think she was disappointed I wasn’t a clotheshorse. Most of the clothes in my closet are black workout pants and t-shirts, but I have a few investment pieces. Like Lois, mother was a wizard at mixing scarves and jackets with different skirts and pants.

When I look back over the years at women like Coco Chanel, Audrey Hepburn, Jacqueline Onassis, Diane Von Furstenberg, Anita Pallenberg and Ali McGraw, the clothes they wore then are the clothes we’re wearing now. That’s because they’re classic!

Classics are the antithesis of “fast fashion.” They’ll still be “in fashion” and look great 30 years from now.

My thanks to Michael Waring for letting me use some of the photos from Lois’s book. I knew I was in great hands with Michael because he’s photographed all of Lois’s other books, including  Makeup Wakeup, Revitalizing Your Look at Any Age she did with Sandy Linter.

The clothes I’m wearing are all classics, plus they’re investment pieces. Investing in a handful of great, timeless pieces isn’t as bad as you might think. Since my 20’s, I’ve followed mother’s advice and bought one really nice piece in the fall and one in the spring. Over time, you put together a great wardrobe, plus you know you’re paying for good fabrics and workmanship.

ALL PHOTOGRAPHS OF BRENDA COFFEE BY MICHAEL WARING

In this first photo I’m wearing all Carolina Herrera. It was the first time I splurged on a really good cashmere sweater. It was worth it because it never pills, it holds its shape, and years later, it still looks brand new. The navy trousers are so well made, and I’d never owned anything like Herrera’s fox sweater. I wear it with everything from jeans to something dressier.

Until a few years ago I didn’t own much jewelry except for my wedding ring, a watch and two pairs of earrings. Since then I’ve bought a few bold necklaces like this one by Marquita Masterson, a double strand of grey glass pearls with a dark grey, glass centerpiece set in sterling silver. Lois pulled it to one side so the dark grey glass wasn’t centered under my chin or at the back of my neck. That’s the genius of a great stylist.

My berry wool dress is Chanel, one of the few things I owned, at the time, that had color. Typically I’ve been drawn to neutrals like taupe, grey and cream and of course… blue jeans! My berry shoes are Prada and have gold kitten heels, which still doesn’t make them any more comfortable for my feet. My necklace is made from hand-rolled rose petals by women in India from Urban Zen in New York City. Yes, my legs really bend like that, and no, my hand is not deformed.

I’ve mentioned this before, but my friend, Vinetta Rosin at Neiman Marcus, talked me into these Escada Leather pants. I thought I might be too old to wear leather pants, but for the last four years, I’ve worn them more than anything in my closet… except gym clothes. My sweater is Rick Owens and is cut higher in the front than the back and has slits down both sides. It’s a bit avantguarde but classic at the same time. My necklace is Christian Dior and is articulated so it folds up smaller for storage. Perhaps it’s the Texas girl in me, but I love thin soled boots with a cowboy heel. These are from Saint Laurent.

Trendy clothes and fast fashion are fun, but for the most part, I’d rather pass on a season’s worth of cutout shoulders and the color dujour in favor of one classic piece I’ll have forever.

I’m just curious, how do you feel about fast fashion?

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If you think thongs are uncomfortable and unsanitary, remember bodysuits? They’re back in style and the ultimate wedgie from stem to stern. In my 20’s, I owned a couple of bodysuits, but the snaps were soooo uncomfortable.

What sadist put those… there?

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Last year I found a vintage bee pin at a flea market in Paris, then found another bee pin when I got home. They'd both be right at home with this Gucci bee purse! Photographs by Brenda Coffee.
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Neiman Marcus La Cantera, in San Antonio, always has the best fall trends fashion shows. This year the trends are “rocker chic,” featuring lots of denim, velvet, great metallics, layered necklaces, plaids, detailed embroidery, hosiery worn with dresses or peeking out of skinny jeans and the color red!

Don’t be afraid to mix them all. Put them together, and create your own style! Continue Reading

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From the UT Institute of Texan Cultures, 'The San Antonio Light' Collection
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I love this 1929 photograph of these Texas ladies who were probably not as old as they appear. The woman on the left looks like she isn’t wearing a bra or perhaps gravity—and nursing lots of babies—shifted everything south. The other thing that jumps out at me is their apparent lack of joy. They seem to be permanently annoyed, which makes me sad, but in many ways, their life was harder than ours. They also lived through World War I and the Great Depression, so that might account for some of their grim demeanor.

If I could go back in time and tell them I’m thinking about what to pack for my trip to Italy next month, they’d think I’d lost my mind. By 1929, Benito Mussolini had dismantled all semblance of Italian democracy and made himself dictator!

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The last time I bought a new pair of sunglasses was 1997, at the upscale Highland Park Village in Dallas. I remember picking up a roundish, Oliver Peoples, tortoise frame with clear glass. Using my best Marilyn Monroe imitation I put them on and turned to my mother and said, “Don’t you think these make me look smarter?”

In all seriousness mother replied, “No, I don’t.” While I knew something was wrong, I didn’t know dementia had already laid claim to mother’s brain. My attempt at humor had bombed.

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Brenda Ray Coffee, Mistress of Ceremonies, Fiesta's Cornyation @1995. Photos by Rob Beach
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Every year my hometown of San Antonio throws a mean party. Fiesta is a 10-day celebration attended by 3.5 million people from around the world. Fiesta first began in the late 1800’s to honor the heroes of the Alamo and the Battle of San Jacinto. The entire city practically shuts down. Daily there are private and public events—fueled by music, margaritas and fajitas—including a day parade, a night parade and one that floats on barges down the San Antonio River. One of the most popular events is Cornyation, a bawdy spoof of Fiesta’s “royalty” that includes King Antonio, a Queen and her Court, all chosen from old San Antonio families. Tickets for Cornyation’s three-day, four-show event—downtown at the historic, 856-seat Empire Theatre—sell out in a few hours… faster than any other Fiesta event.

For almost 10 years, I was Mistress of Ceremonies of Cornyation which meant I was onstage, with a microphone, the entire show. Some years I also wrote the script.

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It’s almost as though the hot summer fashions have turned the clock back to 1958. Think Sandra Dee movies like Gidget, the all American girl in crop tops and capri pants and A Summer Place, where Troy Donahue gets her “in trouble.” Sandra Dee movies were a bridge from the innocent good girls, to the good girls interested in sex who joined the ’60’s sexual revolution.


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Lauren Ezersky photographed for 1010ParkPlace by Noel Sutherland, styled by Mark Grischke
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This week I caught up with glamorous gal about NYC, Lauren Ezersky. Lauren’s in L’Oréal’s new classic Voluminous Mascara campaign on television, print and online. She appears with Diane Keaton, Deborah Harry, Julianne Moore, models Barbara Palvin, Soo Joo Park, transgender model, Hari Nef and a host of other cool ladies. Once again, L’Oréal hit a home run by featuring “fresh, creative, confident women who are iconic in their own right.”

In a press release L’Oréal said, “We are excited to bring together trailblazing individuals in celebration of the mascara women have loved for over 25 years… we want to encourage everyone to embrace their originality, take chances and make a statement.”

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In her makeup studio at Rita Hazan, 2015. Photo by Jennifer Denton.
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Over the years Sandy Linter’s watched the best photographers, supermodels and lighting people work. As one of the top makeup artists in the world, her job has been to make models camera ready gorgeous, but when she’s the one being photographed, Sandy knows how to strike a pose.

The first time we met I was in my early 20’s. Sandy looked like an angelic goddess. It’s a mental image I will always remember. Here are some of my favorite photographs of Sandy.

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My copy of Makeup Wakeup is never far from my makeup table.
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Sandy Linter’s book, Makeup Wakeup, Revitalizing Your Look at Any Age, written with Lois Joy Johnson, award-winning journalist and founding beauty editor of MORE Magazine, is a great Holiday gift for you and your girlfriends. This book should be on every woman over 45’s makeup table because it’s a step-by-step, written and photo tutorial about more than just makeup.

The stunning photographs, taken by photographer, Michael Waring, shows Sandy applying makeup to barefaced supermodels like 1010ParkPlace’s own, Kim Alexis, who is featured on the cover.

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