Friday, November 15, 2013

Let me ensure you have…

A Stress-Free Festive Season
Doesn’t it seem that every year you vow you’ll start your holiday shopping early so you can relax and enjoy the holiday season? But that never happens does it? If you allow me, I can help you cross off everybody and everything on your shopping list long before the holidays. 

I can offer many ideas for your family, friends, clients and business partners. Even for those very picky people on your list!  Whether you are thinking of accessories, cosmetics, perfumes, high fashion, fun and casual fashion, books or gift certificates, I can help you find that perfect gift! All will be beautifully wrapped too.
And don't forget, the wonderful gift of an Image Consultation with me! It is a gift that has a long lasting effect!
Did you know that there are five fewer shopping days this season?

Friday, November 8, 2013


If you think French women go barelegged, think again. Yes, they do in summer, but not when the weather dictates the need to cover up and keep warm.

Can you imagine that during Paris’ recent Fashion Week, a ‘pop-up’ service was created to rescue women whose stockings had last minute runs! Of course this always happens at the most crucial times: just before an important meeting or hot date. And then doesn’t it seem as if your delicate ultra sheer hosiery plotted against you to ruin your day?

But someone got smart during that last Paris Fashion week ...The Hosiery Savior. Throughout that week, a gentleman on a Vespa toured Paris to rescue ladies in distress. This service was free as it was an advertisement for Cambetta and Alexis Mabille.

So much for Parisian women go barelegged!

Sunday, September 15, 2013


Be Unique: Be Yourself!

I notice that when I meet new people and when they find out my line of work...they panic. They become intimidated, I can see concern on their face. They check out their clothing and often apologize for what they're wearing. Why are people so insecure?  I do not work 24/7, I work when people hire me.Oscar Wilde said: “Be yourself, everyone else is taken." I would say: “Love yourself, everyone else is taken”.In order to be yourself, you have to take risks and accept that you are not perfect. First of all, to have an unique style and personality is important and attractive. Diversity is a lot more exhilarating than conformism, which is awfully boring.What if you were just yourself?

Create your own image:
  • Find a level of consistency that suits YOU. Be consistent in you daily routine for better results i.e. skin care, makeup, grooming.
  • Do not follow a trend simply because it’s in style.
  • Learn what fits you. Know you body proportions, your best features and how to enhance them.
  • Others are not interested in ‘déjà vu’, be creative.
  • Do things differently, we all have a different personality and a different lifestyle, your clothes should reflect just that.
  • Your image is your first form of communication.

Fashion designers who have created a unique look for themselves: Karl Lagerfeld, Giorgio Armani and Ralph Lauren do not follow the fashion trends. Can we consider them as models of elegance? Yes indeed.To follow the crowd may be ok for most people, but if you want to be respected and listened to, follow your ideals, be yourself.

“Be a first rate version of yourself, not a second rate version of someone else” – Judy Garland.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Giorgio Armani's lead stylist in san francisco!

Style Training With Giorgio Armani's

Lead Trainer Andre Perulli.
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Michele Benza

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July 2013 - Michele Benza, Andrea Perulli

What A Treat!

Mr. Andrea Perulli, Giorgio Armani's lead stylist, was in San Francisco last week. I am honored to have been selected (I was the only independent stylist to be invited) to attend Mr. Perulli's training.

It was simple pleasure to see Mr. Perulli styles the models using Giorgio Armani and Emporio Armani fall collection.

Thank you Andrea!
Giorgio Armani Fall 2013 RTW

He Calls His Show "Garçonne".

Almost a romantic androgyny collection. Decidedly avant-garde!

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Tuesday, July 16, 2013



To learn more about Image Consulting, contact Michele Benza at 415-302-9366 or email michele@mbenza.com

Friday, June 14, 2013

Fashion Snobisim

Can you socially identify a woman only on the bag she carries? In a certain era we could, now with all of the imitation designer fashions around it is impossible to say who is who and who wears what.

And the wrist-watch? The watch too,  was once a sign of a certain standing. But the symbol of a watch is now gone for so many. For generations, the watch was 'the' gift from father to son and sometimes the watch was given down from one generation to the other, but now the watch has barely any meaning of standard.

Shoes too were a way to make a statement.  Especially, the ones with the red sole. As an aside--I can’t help but wonder who invented stilettos? It was surely not a woman!  Have you recently walked in this contraption? Not only the ankles are miss-treated and suffer hard, but also the foot position is at a 45-degree angle, which is absolutely unnatural.

We have to walk on our tiptoes to avoid grids, grass, pebbles, sand or our high skinny heels go into deep.  Deep sofas and armchairs are our enemies too, from which we have to get up with grace without loosing our balance. In short, stilettos are instruments of torture!

And who makes us wear them? Men of course. They are so happy to see us walk in those stilts under the pretence that it gives us a lovely leg. Do you think men’s pleasure is to see us suffer? But vengeance is already on its way with the new generation. Look how young women dress these days in jeans, loose tees and sneakers and clogs!

All of this is to say, please, don’t be a slave, nor a snob to fashion. Know your body and what flatters it, and keep in mind the current styles and trends, but do not be beholden to them when they don’t work for you.  Fashion is flexible.
A Bientôt,


Tuesday, May 14, 2013

The Pencil Skirt

Very soon the pencil skirt may well dethrone the miniskirt in women’s hearts and wardrobes.  Today we see them at every fashion show, and on every catwalk.  Don’t worry, unlike most new fashions, it’s easier to wear a pencil skirt than you could possibly imagine!

Some say they are uncomfortable, too sexy for everyday use, and even impractical. They say they are hard to wear, whether you are taking the subway or dropping the kids off at school. Some even accused the pencil skirt of being flattering only on mannequins with long legs!

However, the rising sales and success that the pencil skirt has won in the fashion world is truly remarkable.  This success has encouraged women to dare to wear this feminine attire.

Indeed, it can be difficult to walk in these skirts, but that is a thing of the past; designers have recently optimized their practicality.  First they added creases on the sides so as not to hinder the process of walking (Max Mara).  Then, to increase the range of motion, some designers added stretchy fabrics and mesh knit jersey.  This significantly increases their comfort, making them much easier to wear while performing day-to-day tasks.

The pencil skirt, which arrived in stores this spring, is already a huge success.  Coupled with a cardigan or a plain well cut tee, et voila! a great form of "power dressing."

In the late 1940s, the first pencil skirt was a response to a fashion necessity for the working woman, a beautiful dress without using too much fabric. Today its original function, to dress women in office attire, is still relevant.

"Commercially, it is a piece that works very well… It attracts mostly powerful women, even beyond 60 years of age,” says Carole Bénazet, of the Multi Female Department in Toulouse.

The pencil skirt is now an essential part of a woman’s wardrobe although it does require some confidence to wear, the full acceptance of one's femininity and one's power of seduction.

So what am I saying: all women should have at least one! Its cut flatters no matter what morphology!

A Bientôt,


PS--Have you seen my newly-redesigned website (http://michelebenza.com/) ? I'd love to have your feedback. Please reply if you have comments or suggestions.
Pencil skirts rule the runways this season.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

New Website

I've re-launched MicheleBenza.com with a new look and feel.  What do you think?  I always appreciate your suggestions.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

How to Dress For a Baseball Game

In California, where the seasons are not so obvious, nothing reminds me more that spring has arrived than San Francisco’s Giants‘ baseball!
Being Belgian, baseball was completely foreign to me until a couple of years ago when my son Greg patiently explained the entire game to me. Now I ‘m a diehard fan!  With that in mind, one question plagues me every spring...what do I wear to the ballgame? 
As much as I agree that it is vital to support your team by wearing their colors, and no matter how much I love the Giants, I simply cannot see myself wearing a jersey or baseball hat. Instead, I see the baseball game as an opportunity to wear wonderful colors and outfits we would not normally wear. 
For me that means mostly wearing bright orange, which is a blessing and a curse. Orange can be fun and festive plus it is a good color for me, but if you wear only orange and black you run the risk that you will look like a pumpkin. 
For me, going to the baseball game is outside my comfort zone.  I want to have fun, but – like always – I need to look my best!  I wear orange accessories like belt, scarf, ring, bracelet, watch, shoelaces, socks, and if the Giants go to the final again I may be as crazy as wearing orange eyelashes!
Outdoor stadiums can be challenging as far as what to wear to stay comfortable. There is no outdoor stadium more weather challenged than our magnificent AT&T ballpark...sun, fog and wind can all be present during that one game.  So remember, layers are your best friends.

A Bientôt,

PS--I've compiled a trend report of great spring trends to watch out for. See below for some great trends from ModeWalk.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Choosing the Shoe

Do shoes make you crazy? Are higher heels better, or is it all about comfort for you?  It comes as no surprise that many women question their shoe choice.  Too sexy?  Too cozy? Sometimes we’re walking a fine line (or a fine heel, as the case may be).  Sigmund Freud described women’s shoes as power symbols, and it’s fair to assume that he wasn’t talking about foot-warming fuzzy boots kind of power.  He was talking about woman power.
A classic, comfortable style

How do you determine if your shoe is too casual, too sexy, or just right?  How do you balance femininity versus comfort?

Consider the conditions
You've got to consider a few things before you choose your shoes. What are you wearing? (Many women choose the shoes first, and work the outfit around them) Take a look at the calendar. What do you need to be able to accomplish?  Do you have a long walk across a parking garage or a dash for a train?  Can you count on a brief walk and valet parking, a night at the ballet with minimal walking?  Is there any danger of walking on ice?
Use your planned activities to set the tone, and then choose your shoes.

Here are some rules for choosing shoes
  • Respect your feet. They need to last longer than today’s trends.  If can safely wear the treacherous sky-high stilettos, do so with care, and only where it is safe to walk in them. Also remember that shoes are intended to be protection for your feet, not their ultimate demise.  
  • Wear quality-made, supportive shoes, whatever the fashion, and only if they can be worn safely.
  • Remember, you must highlight the ends of your personal image—the eye naturally follows up and down; hence coiffed hair, and tidy, well-chosen shoes are critical to a polished image.
  • The higher the heel, the sexier it is intended to be.  Likewise, the less foot coverage there is, the sexier the shoe.  Consider if the intended sex appeal of the shoe is appropriate to the occasion.
  • Remember too, the ultimate physical effect of high heels. Heels behave like a pedestal. Higher heels make us change our posture.  Our altered posture pushes our chests out farther, our ‘derriere’ appears firmer, and our legs longer. It doesn’t necessarily take a flashy shoe to create the desired effect. 

A Bientôt,

A sexy shoe by Louboutin  

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Invitation: Trunk Show on March 13

PS--If March 13 doesn't work for you--watch for our encore show on March 27th.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Valentine's Day, Time For A New Fragrance.

A unique perfume can be part of our identity and having a unique identity is the foundation from which beauty starts.  Unfortunately, this also makes us hesitant to try new things.  We all want to preserve our unique character.  For some of us, it’s nice to be able to change our fragrance with every season.  Others, like me, are faithful to the scents they have worn for years.  These scents come to represent who we are.

Fragrance is expressed once in contact with the skin and the final scent will be different from woman to woman.  A few drops of perfume should be applied inside the wrists, elbow, hairline, and the hollow of the neck.  Over the course of the day the fragrance will reveal its presence depending on your movements and the time of day.  Always remember that it’s important to make sure your fragrance is not overwhelming.

Every September, designers present their newest fragrances in time for the holidays.  As I mentioned early, there is nothing wrong with sticking with your current perfumes, but since there are so many new fragrances each year, it’s always fun to explore.

Here is an assortment of fragrances that got my attention.  Before reading each description, think to yourself: what scents fit me?  Will it be a sensuous, light, and delicious fragrance with hints of spring?  Or do you think that a bold fragrance will highlight your personality better?

"La Vie Est Belle" by Lancôme

The noses:  Anne Flipo, Olivier Polge and Dominique Ropion, three of the most well-known French perfumers. “La Vie Est Belle” is designed from the finest ingredients: Iris, Absolu de Jasmin, Patchouli, and Orange Flower.

"Coco Noir" Chanel

Last fall Chanel unveiled its new fragrance developed by nose Jacques Polge, "Coco Noir.”  The notes are reminiscent of grapefruit, bergamot from Calabria, essence of rose, absolu, jasmine, narcissus and geranium leaf.

"Mademoiselle Ricci" Nina Ricci

Designed by master perfumer Alberto Morillas, this deliciously floral and woody musk is my favorite of last year’s novelties. This fragrance is romantic and modern.  Not only is the fragrance something to behold, but the bottle itself it is a work of art.  The perfume comes in an elegant, powdered pink bottle with a beautiful metallic ribbon for a cap.

"Manifesto" by Yves Saint Laurent

Developed by noses Loc Dong and Anne Flipo, this fragrance is built around jasmine. Floral notes of this plant are complemented by extracts of white petals, lily of the valley, and cassis. The bottle is also luxurious.  It is embellished with a golden cap and is carved to mimic feminine curves.

"Catch me ..." Cacharel

The new fragrance from Cacharel ... ‘Catch me’ revolves around the orange blossom. Designed by Dominique Ropion, the fragrance reveals a mischievous and playful femininity. This is a bold and delicious perfume.  The bottle reflects an object of desire. ‘Catch me’ is multifaceted, generous and elegant.

"Fame" by Lady Gaga

Conceived by master perfumer Richard Herpin, in partnership with Honorine Blanc and Nathalie Lorson, the fragrance is built around the Belladonna which is accompanied by incense, notes of honey fondant, saffron, and apricot nectar, as well as extracts of tiger orchid and jasmine sambac.  Uniquely, 'Fame' is a black perfume that sprays clear and becomes invisible once airborne. Upon its release it became the fastest selling perfume of all time, selling 6 million bottles in its first week.

Dolce and Gabanna, ‘The One’

Modern and light, this multifaceted fragrance can be romantic, sensual or festive.  It’s made with bergamot and is accompanied by mandarin, lychee and peach. ‘The One’ plays the card of seduction with its rectangular bottle and golden cap.

I personally am very conservative about perfumes.  I rarely change fragrances.  So I usually wear Mitsouko from Guerlain.  My other favorite is La Cologne du Parfumeur also from Guerlain.

Which perfume do you think defines you?

Monday, February 4, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day!

An image consultation makes a great gift!

A Valentine's Gift From Me To You! 

From now until February 13, 2013 –
Anyone who wants to update their look can buy a
four-hour package for $500 (regular price $600).

This package can be redeemed as an in-person or webcast consultation.

No limit as to how many you
can buy.

To order: Email Michele@mbenza.com

or call 415-956-3025

Offer expires on 2/13/2013 11:59 pm.

Cash, personal checks, visa and MasterCard accepted.


A gift that will last a lifetime. 

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

See My Recommendations at ModeWalk.com

First time buyers get 10% discount with code MICHELEBENZA

Dear Readers,
I've begun posting deals and key style elements at ModeWalk.com.

You can find my special recommendations here. If you are new to Modewalk, contact me for a discount code.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Your 2013 New Year Resolutions: Change Your Habits

Stop saying things like “I have nothing to wear,” “I’m starting a fitness program,” “I’m going to learn a new language” or - like me – “I’m going to start tango lessons.”  Don’t say it… just do it!

January is the month for new beginnings!  So, let's be honest… how long do we stick to our resolutions, a few days, or at the very most, a few weeks?
Think on this: How many resolutions did you make? Many people make the mistake of making too many resolutions.  The best way to accomplish your goals is to keep your resolutions to a minimum.  Remember, just one goal is difficult enough.

Here’s another question, is your resolution an achievable goal rather than just a resolution?  It is important to be honest with yourself and set a goal that is realistic, measurable and attainable.  It should excite you so that you are motivated enough to follow through and have fun at the same time!

How would it make you feel if you succeeded in improving your image? What if you learned to enhance your best features and disguise your flaws? What if you learned to shop more efficiently? What if you learned how to maintain your ideal posture?   If you improve your image all the people around you will be happy to see that you are taking good care of yourself. 

As your personal image coach, I have put together a list of attainable resolutions you might consider:

#1 - Pledge to keep your pounds as close as possible to your ideal weight, and to always eat healthy.

#2 – Pledge to wear only clothes that fit your body perfectly. Not to look at the size number, nor the designer’s name. Fit first.  If necessary, have them professionally altered.

#3 - Pledge not to buy on impulse, but to shop with focus, and within your budget.

#4 - Pledge to regularly clean out your wardrobe and remove all the toxic elements from your closet.

#5 -Pledge to honor your clothes and accessories by keeping them clean, in good repair, and stored properly.

#6 - Pledge to buy only the best quality items you can afford.

#7 - Pledge to take excellent care of your skin using a cleanser, a toner and a moisturizer twice a day… religiously.

#8 - Pledge to be consistent in your appearance, to look your best every day, for yourself and for others as well.
#9 – Pledge to be proud of who you are.

#10 - Pledge to improve your posture, walk tall, and engage your abs.

#11 - Pledge to call me the minute you start to let go of your resolutions.

The best way to stay on course is to monitor yourself frequently.  If necessary print your goals and tape them to your bathroom mirror.

Remember, you honor yourself and those you love by feeling good and always looking your best.  A good appearance is not a magical gift, or pure luck, everyone has the ability to look great.  It just needs to be cultivated by you and with a little help from me!

Happy 2013!

A Bientôt,


Image courtesy of Idea Go / FreeDigitalPhotos.net