published Monday, December 3rd, 2012

Festive reds demand attention

  • photo
    Leigh Ann Fryar wears a Jovani jersey cocktail dress with embellished illusion sleeves from Boutique Couture.
    Photo by Alyson Wright.
    enlarge photo

"When in doubt wear red."

— Fashion designer Bill Blass

"The true color of life is the color of the body, the color of the covered red, the implicit and not explicit red of the living heart and the pulses. It is the modest color of the unpublished blood."

— Poet Alice Meynell

"I love red so much that I almost want to paint everything red."

— Artist Alexander Calder

Caroline Chipley Johnson is a lady in red.

"It screams, 'Look at me!'" says Johnson, an employee of the City of Chattanooga.

Local fashionistas agree that, especially this time of year with all the parties, if you want to be noticed, wear red.

"It's a powerful color," says local artist/fashion designer Julie Whitehead Jones, owner of Julie Belle Designs. "An attention-getter."

Johnson says she wears red year-round, but it spikes during the holidays.

"It's festive, warm, eye-catching and flattering to my coloring -- fair skin, blonde hair, green eyes. I enjoy wearing black often as well. Red goes beautifully with it. Red dresses up easily."

From turning heads at parties to getting noticed at work, wearing red can have positive effects. A French study published recently in the Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Research found that waitresses wearing the color red can expect big tips from male patrons, according to a story at

"The researchers cited previous research that found red increases the physical and sexual attractiveness of women," the story says.

Veda Bucher, director of partnership marketing at Chattanooga Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, says red definitely is the predominant color of her season.

"It is so bright and stands out."

Her red holiday wardrobe ranges from a red and white skirt with matching blouse to a red/cranberry knit skirt and sweater set. She completes her lady-in-red look with red lipstick and nails.

"I usually wear red on Valentines Day, as well," she says. "I have a cardigan sweater with red hearts all over it."

Retired nurse Renee Thomas says she accessorizes her red dresses with silver, red or black shoes, depending on the occasion. She accentuates her colorful look with red nail polish and lipstick.

But it's not a color that anyone can just slap on and have it work, Jones says.

"You need to match your skin tone with certain reds," she says. "If you're tan, you can wear a more true red. Paler skin tones, like me, need a burgundy or more purplish red, along with make-up, otherwise I looked drained of color. I think almost anyone can do red as long as they select the right hue of red."

Until recently, red had been considered a taboo color of fashions for redheads. But according to London's Daily Mail newspaper, redheads should break the fashion commandment and feel free to wear red. However, ensure there is enough skin displayed to differentiate between the (red) hair and the (red) outfit, the newspaper notes.

"Take into account the tone of your hair and, for best results, don't match it exactly with your dress or top or it can look a little too much," the newspaper says.

about Karen Nazor Hill...

Feature writer Karen Nazor Hill covers fashion, design, home and gardening, pets, entertainment, human interest features and more. She also is an occasional news reporter and the Town Talk columnist. She previously worked for the Catholic newspaper Tennessee Register and was a reporter at the Chattanooga Free Press from 1985 to 1999, when the newspaper merged with the Chattanooga Times. She won a Society of Professional Journalists Golden Press third-place award in feature writing for ...

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