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Elegant, high profile style fit for a President's wife

Monday, March 18, 2013

With the swearing-in of T&T’s fifth president taking place today, the T&T Guardian met with local fashion designer Heather Jones to talk “First Lady” style. 


As the wife of president-elect Anthony Carmona, Reema Harrysingh-Carmona will have a busy schedule. The president and his wife are the joint patrons of the Scholarship Competition of Talented Teenagers and the T&T Orchid Society. Additionally, the president’s wife is patron to nearly 22 organisations, and will be required to attend and officiate at numerous ceremonies and functions as well as present speeches occasionally. 


Women in such high-profile positions also function as style icons, such as US First Lady Michelle Obama, and as champions of the country’s designers. 


During the interview, Jones spoke about current trends and the characteristics of style for a President’s wife. “I think a first lady should be elegant. She should not be sexy, but sensuous. Even though she’s the President’s wife, she’s a woman and can show some of her sensuality through her style,” said Jones. 


“We always look up to our first ladies and our princesses and queens for style. I always have and still do. Somebody must set the stage and trend.” 


Jones has styled and dressed many “stately” women including former culture minister Joan Yuille-Williams, US congresswoman Sheila Lee Jackson and mother-daughter politicians Dr Una Clarke and Yvette Clarke. 


“I believe that looking good means dressing appropriately to the occasion and for your body type. It also means dressing appropriately for your position in life. I would never give a first lady a miniskirt or something too high above the knee.” 


Jones also had another very important style rule for the incoming President’s wife: “She should support our local designers to express true Caribbean style.” 


Unlike Obama, who’s given many up-and-coming designers a break, Jones said Mrs Carmona should patronise designers who have experience. “She doesn’t want a test run. She wants designs that are tried and true.” 


What’s in Style
Heather Jones says sheer fabrics, bright colours, lace, and 60s-style dressses are currently trending. A president’s wife could make a statement by using the trends to modernise standards. For instance, the customary two-piece suit worn to church or could be spiced up if it was made in a bright colour like pink or yellow rather than black or blue. The same method could be applied to formal evening attire. For a cocktail party, a 60s-style dress with a lace overlay can be used to create a light and youthful look, added Jones. 


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