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How to Dress Like a Lady: Lessons from the Fashion Cantata from Kyoto

I'll be the first to admit that when faced with the choice between coffee and mascara, coffee has won the battle too many times! With kids to feed, lunches to pack, dishes to wash, and laundry to fold who feels like wearing sequins? Truthfully, on most days, I feel more like Cinderella before the ball. The sad reality is that for many of us the demands of our daily lives as women who "do it all" leave of us very little time to consider fashion and beauty. I am obliged to at least put on make up and earrings each day because my business card identifies me as an International Fashion Reporter and I wouldn't want to frighten/disappoint/amuse people with a completely unkept appearance (hence my morning makeup battle).

This weekend, however, I ventured out to Kyoto's Fashion Cantata, which helped my mascara begin to win the battle of my morning routine again! This riveting show, hosted in the cultural center of Japan, presented a thought-provoking, romantic, and moving picture of fashion as a powerful tool to impact the world in which we live and reminded me just how lovely it is to dress like a lady. Here's what I learned:

1. Be Pretty in Pink (and red)!

This gorgeous, embroidered ensemble made me fall in love with pink again. Whether you love it or hate it, no one can deny that pink is the color of femininity. The makeup (by Shiseido) is a great reminder that a red lip dresses up everything.

2. Dare to Wear What Makes You Feel Good.

Keita Maruyama, who designed the show's new Japan looks, demonstrated how the lady-like glamor of "Old Kyoto" is just as lovely today as it was 50 years ago. His designs boasted lace, florals, and sequins (everything I love). I had the opportunity to ask him how women could incorporate such glamorous looks into their every day lives. He said that while what women wear in everyday life is important, when they have the opportunity they should really dress up, not hold back, and wear things that make them feel really good. For example, if you love sequins, wear them! Don't feel that you will be overdressed. A fully sequined gown is completely appropriate for any black tie affair, especially in a dark shade like this lovely navy blue. If you really want to look like you know what you're doing add a bright accessory like this lush fuchsia stole.

3. Dress like a femme fatale!

Kinema, the theme of this year's show, examined fashion through the lens of the history of cinema in Kyoto. The models and actresses were depicted as strong and beautiful agents of change who push boundaries with their beauty and brains. This show called to the imagination the many tales of female ninjas who, disguised as beautiful geisha, were able to win battles against men who were caught off guard by their beauty and grace. Pinks, pastels, and florals disguised fearless warriors and sexiness was exuded with the lost art of a glance and a smile that left everything to the imagination. So try this - the next time you get dressed, pretend you work for an international crime fighting organization and you are on a secret mission. Would you wear your mom jeans? I didn't think so.

4. Go clubbing everyday (in your mind).

When I walked into this riveting show I was on sensory overload with the soulful soundtrack curated by celebrity DJ, Shuya Okino, who has appeared in 140 cities and 35 countries. He took me on a ride around the world with gospel, jazz, and latin beats that kept me on the edge of my seat and made me want to par-tay! This momma was on mom-break and ready to jam with my head nodding and my hips moving (the hips that I have anyway). Lesson learned! I can jam like this every time I get dressed. Play music that makes you feel like dancing when you get dressed and I guarantee your wardrobe will reflect it. This faux fur kitty screams "Gimme the Night" and is begging to go out to play, even if its just to lunch with your girlfriends! Why would I choose this look? Because faux fur is not just for the club. This look shows us how to dress like a fun lady! Meow!

5. Be breathtakingly unique.

This may sound crazy but I had to own that I am unique, breathtaking, and fascinating and so are you! I know it sounds crazy to say (or even to type) but it's true! Every woman has something that makes her special and unique. It could be her hair, or the color of her eyes, her smile, her height, or her curves. That means you too! YOU are a unique work of art with the power to turn heads. Wear something that makes you feel so good that you light up the room even if it's totally wild. It may not be something that anyone else would have chosen. In fact, that's what makes it special...that only you would have chosen it and only you would have made it look like you did.

The looks from Kyoto Fashion Cantata made me happy to be a woman! I'll be trying a few of these out so that I can dress like a lady this summer and I hope you will too! Send us your pictures on FB and IG and let us know how you feel trying out our tips.

P.S. This whimsical show lasted only one day, but if you are in Japan you can catch the looks at Kyoto Station where they will be on display until May 29. A photo exhibition will also be held until June 5. Visit their website, www.fashion-cantata.jp for more information. If you are outside of Japan, you can enjoy more photos and fashion tips on IG this week @chastitystemmons and @happyrobinshaw.

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Have an awesome week!

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Home, Life, and Style Educator

About Chastity

Speaker, TV Personality, Interior and Wardrobe Stylist, Chastity A. Stemmons, is an ordained minister with over 17 years of experience in nonprofit management, coaching, women's ministry, and youth and family services. Chastity assists women at all levels reach their highest potential and achieve their goals.