Every week Morgan Fitzgerald’s owner Nancy Pride writes an article for the local newspaper, The Eagle, called Simply Stylish.

Topics include fashion, cosmetics, gift giving, etiquette, social awareness, and sometimes, even a little humor.

Simply Stylish by Nancy Pride 

Spring 2020 Fashion Trends

Begin spring with fiery reds, or cool it down with pinks, grays, and classic blues.  Combine saffron with black, gray, or wear it solo.  Pull your faded denim from your closet and add wallpaper style print tops.   You’ll have a retro sense as you see crochet tops and even bottoms.  More conservative inclusions combine crochet panels and all monochromatic crochet over same color lining.   Use white with polka dots of any color including the classic black and white.  From tiny to gigantic, the dots make a statement.  All white crochet over white lining gives a fresh look.   If your looking for a new look in collars, this year makes a statement.  Large pointed collars or large soft waterfall collars top jackets and blazers.  I personally prefer the waterfall collars because they have more wardrobe life.  Look for contrasting collars to reinforce the trend.   Dressy attire focuses on long and multi-tiered layers.  Stick to soft flowy fabrics that cascade.  They are…

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Best Buys on Sale Items

We all like the hunt for great savings on sale items—especially this time of year.  Take a little care and thought to maximize your value.  Look for solid colors that are timeless that transcend seasons and trends, items that fit well, tops or bottoms that already match things in your wardrobe, and those trendy things that make your wardrobe look current, but don’t deplete your budget.   Basic neutral or solid colors become staples.  You simply can’t go wrong by buying another black pant, tank, blouse, or dress.  Check to be sure it is made from quality fabric, is well-constructed, and fits well.  Solid color apparel is more likely to mix and match what is already in your closet.  The value for each piece of clothing you purchase is the cost per wearing.  If you pay a hundred dollars for an item and you wear it three hundred times, you’ve only paid 33 cents per wearing.  However,…

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Merry Christmas to You and Thank You

It is such a privilege for me to be able to write a column each week and have so many of you tell me you read it (and get something out of it.)  It is also a privilege for me to live in such a caring community and have a business that so many of you support.  At this time of year when we gather with family and celebrate what means so much to us, I want to thank each of you who are like family to me.   Throughout the year I have shared your joy with the birth of children and grandchildren, shared your excitement as weddings approached, celebrated birthdays, worried when illness struck, and experienced your pain when you lost a loved one.  What other job could possibly be as fulfilling? Nothing makes me or my staff happier than to help someone look beautiful and confident because of finding the perfect outfit…

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Gifts for Couples

Couple gifts solve several problems: you can give fewer, but nicer gifts; the gifts can be less personal if you don’t know the recipients well, and there are fewer gifts to wrap.  But the question is…what makes a great couple gift? The gift should reflect what the two people like.   If one person drinks tea, the other drinks coffee, coffee is probably not a good idea.  However, if both drink coffee, a world of possibilities open.  Look for arabica coffee either in unflavored or flavored.  Add a cannister ($32) with a membrane to keep the coffee fresh. Want more?  Corksicle now offers insulated mugs ($24.95).  Make the gift as large or small as you choose.  Personalize the gift that so that it reflects both people.  Wooden cutting or cheese boards can have family names such as “The Prides,” or monograms cut into the boards.  If you choose glass cutting boards, choose a scene that is…

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Make Your Gift of a Gift Card Special

You might think a gift card is a lazy solution to a difficult question, “What do you give a person who has everything, or who is difficult to buy for?”  With planning, it could be the best, most satisfying gift you give.  Observe which stores she regularly shops?  Or does she love, love, love handbags, or scarves, or even kitchen utensils?  Find the best store that sells what she loves.   Take a trip to that store.  Look around and identify things she might like.  Jot down the prices with the tax to be sure your gift certificate covers an item she might like.  Take pictures of several things you think are possible gifts.  Print them and include with the gift card with a note, “I thought you might like one of these.”  It shows you really did think about what she would enjoy. Often store will have brochures with illustrated items that you could…

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Gifts for the Person Who Has Everything

I constantly look for gifts that solve the dilemma of giving to the person who seems to have everything.  Whether it brings giggles, solves problems, or is simply interesting, there are gifts that thrill without depleting the bank account.   My favorite this year is either the tumbler or stemmed glasses ($8 each) made of high-quality plastic.  From a distance you will swear it is cut crystal.  Dishwasher safe, BPA-free, and unbreakable, the glasses are great for wine around the pool or with use with children whom you want to experience a “formal” dinner.   Corkcicle insulated stemless wine with ATM logo ($27.95), tumblers ($32.95-$34.95) , or coffee mugs ($24.95) keep beverages just at the right temperatures.   If there is a need to eat while driving, select the Nibble & Dribble travel bib ($18).  Its coated finish provides quick clean up.  Attach the Velcro at the neck for easy use.  It can also be…

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How to Be Festive without Looking Like a Christmas Tree

Your choice of color, accessories, and pattern creates a holiday flair appropriate for any holiday activity.    Mix red and green and no one will question your holiday spirit.  Beware that choosing garments with red and green designs will limit use in March (and most months other than November and December).  Red transcends December into Valentine’s Day, and Healthy Heart events.  Of course, solid red or solid green are monochromatic looks that work well.  Monochromatic outfits are dressier than mixed colors.  You don’t have to limit yourself to just red and green.  Try a monochromatic jewel tone color such as royal blue, or a winter white accented with gold or silver.  Blues and whites suggest a wintery ice-cold feel associated with the holidays.   Accessories give an inexpensive opportunity to “dress for the holidays.”  Scarves can be solid colors, patterned, or whimsical.  (Think patterns of small cats wearing Santa Hats). Scarves work well for business…

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Here Are My Favorite Stocking Stuffers

Stocking stuffers add surprise to the holidays.  Select for fun, usefulness, or simply because you like them.  My top pick, an e-cloth eye glass cleaner ($3.99) cleans both glasses and phone screens.   E-cloths contain 3.1 million fibers per square inch that work like busy fingers to collect dirt and 99.4 percent of bacteria from the wiped surface.   If you encounter hairspray, simply spray with a small amount of water.   It is small and flat enough to add as a remembrance to a holiday card. Other e-cloths include cloths ($8-$15) for windows, baths, stainless steel, and even crystal.   Anyone male or female that suffers from dry hands, elbows, or feet will love Gloves in a Bottle ($7) shielding lotion.  This portable travel size provides a barrier between skin and drying elements.  It doesn’t wash off. It has to wear off, allowing skin to heal.     Make-up brushes return to former glory…

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Style Tips to Make You Look Fashionable and Fabulous

Part II Connection The brain makes sense of things by connecting to what it already knows or has experienced.  When you dress, your appearance should help the viewer’s brain connect the elements of color, pattern, and style.   If you decide to wear a yellow skirt and a red blouse, they don’t connect.  The viewer may not know why it is not pleasing, but the brain is searching to connect the two colors together.  Add an accessory that has both colors.  A scarf with yellow and red flowers could provide the link.  Seldom should a color accessory be by itself.  Wear a solid black outfit.  Add red shoes.  That is a striking look, but it needs another touch of red to complete it.  It could be a handbag, red framed glasses, a scarf, or jewelry.     Pattern, like color, needs connection.  The easiest is to pair similar pattern forms.  Stripes go with stripes or…

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Style Tips to Make You Look Fashionable and Fabulous

My mother taught first grade for most of her career.  Her mantra was that if a child learns the sounds of letters and the “rules” of phonics, any child can read.  I feel that way about certain simple tricks that allow a woman to look fashionable and fabulous.   If you wear a long skirt (mid-calf is the current trend), then the jacket should appear short.  The reason I say “appear” is that a longer, solid color tank or blouse could be worn beneath a short jacket if it is the same color as the skirt.  The shorter jacket in a different color gives the illusion of balance, while the matching top covers the hips and provides the elongating look.  Of course, just wearing a short blouse over a longer skirt is appropriate as well.   If a short skirt is worn, a long jacket will provide balance.  Balance your leg length and torso length.…

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What’s Has Happened to Fashion Fair Cosmetics?

In 1973 the company that owned Ebony, a magazine aimed at people of color, created a cosmetic line that provided skincare and makeup that suited the skin and skin tone for ladies of color.  No other major cosmetic companies provided the quality and depth of product line to meet their needs.    The company placed its products in department stores next to known brands such as Estee Lauder.  As the industry changed and multiple brands were being offered simultaneously in stores like Sephora, sales began to diminish.  About four years ago questions began popping up about whether Fashion Fair was going out of business.  The answer was that they were reorganizing.   Troubled consumers began buying multiples of their favorites and that created an even greater problem of supply.  Gradually, department stores nationwide began to reduce inventory.  This September a cosmetic industry news article indicated that the company would be put up for auction on…

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How Do You Clean Your Skin?

Every person should have her own cleansing regimen that fits the characteristics of her skin.  Determine if your skin is oily, dry, normal, or a combination.  Are there any skin conditions that need to be addressed such as rosacea, acne, or eczema?  Your goal should be to have a balanced skin PH, open pores that allow your natural oils to flow, and moisturized skin.  Talk to a skilled beauty advisor to determine which cleansing products best fit your skin type.   Cleanse your face morning and night.  Why cleanse in the morning?  Your body repairs itself while it sleeps.  That means it tries to get rid of toxins, and dead skin cells, pushing them to the surface of the skin.  If you don’t cleanse, you are wearing all the toxins and dead skin cells throughout the day.   Most people do not take the time to properly clean their skin.   Let the product do…

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Do You Have Dry, Cracked Heels?

If you do, you are not alone.  They can be painful as well as a health risk.  The main cause is dry skin.  Inexpensive, and simple treatments help significantly.  When we are young with moist skin, as we step on our heels, the fatty pads that cushion the heel bones squish out causing the skin to move with the expanded pad.  As we age and our skin is no longer moist and pliable, the fatty pad still squishes, but the skin has become dry and rigid.  Something has to give.  Add pressure from increased body weight and the skin splits, causing a fissure. Next, bacteria enter the fissure creating an infection.   The first step for combating cracked heels requires exfoliating the dry skin by using a foot scrub or pumice stone. Merle Norman’s Pink Grapefruit Sugar Scrub is relaxing as well as exfoliating.    This allows the moisturizer to penetrate to the new skin…

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Maroon and White, The Spirit of Aggieland

You’ll see maroon and white throughout the Bryan-College Station area—especially during the football season.  The colors known as “the Spirit of Aggieland,” connote far more than just school colors.  Maroon comes from the French word for chestnut, marronnier, a reddish-brown wood.  The color maroon symbolizes perseverance, strength, and passion—many of characteristics attributed to Texas A&M current and former students.  White stands for purity and integrity.  Texas A&M can boast that it has the largest student body in Texas, the second largest in the nation.  It is in the top ten schools for National merit scholars.  It had seven medal of honor awards recipients during WWII.  Famous former students include entertainers, businessmen, engineers, medical doctors and researchers, and a host of others, each successful in his or her own field.    It is no wonder we all get a little mushy at the sight of Maroon and White. In additional to the two primary Texas A&M…

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What’s Happening?

There is a lot going on at Morgan Fitzgerald’s so here is a brief synopsis through October.  Hone your bidding skills, choose your right mask, and play a fashion scavenger hunt.   This Saturday, September 28 at 2pm, our Brighton jewelry auction begins.  Clients place gently used Brighton jewelry up for auction.  Although no warranty accompanies the jewelry, the values are terrific.  Each group contains three pieces sold for a single price.  Be sure to call to reserve a seat.  You may view the pieces up for auction from Thursday until the time of sale.  Cosmetic masks provide intense treatment for specific skin needs.  If you are not currently using a mask, or you don’t know which is best for you, participate in our free mask event through the end of November. You can try all five of the masks to determine which is best for you.  Following your mask treatment, we will pamper you…

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Foundation Primer, a Gift for Makeup Wearers

If I asked you what wishes you want for your makeup, you might say for it to stay on longer, look smoother, have improved condition, and perhaps even appear tightened.  Primers do all those things and more.  They take very little time to apply, but give so many benefits.  Most of Merle Norman skin primers can be used on any skin type.  However, each offers specific benefits.  The basic skin primer smooths, provides optical diffusers to diminish the appearance of wrinkles and pore size, evens skin tone, and enhances truer foundation color.  Foundation Plus Primer offers the only primer with SPF.  If your foundation or moisturizer already has an SPF, the extra SPF does not provide an additional benefit.  However, this particular primer is known for its silky feel.  It extends wear and fills in lines and wrinkles, provides anti-aging ingredients such as vitamins A,C, and E, plus green tea, as well as a firming…

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Brighton Jewelry Auction

Gently Used Please Saturday, September 28, Morgan Fitzgerald’s will hold its annual Brighton Jewelry Auction at 2 p.m.  You may place items for auction or attend the auction, or both.  The money from the auction is returned to the person placing the items as credit for her use to buy new Brighton jewelry.   Anyone may place items for auction. However, there must be three pieces of gently used Brighton jewelry per entry—a necklace, bracelet, and earrings.  They do not have to match.  The pieces must not be tarnished, or significantly worn or broken.  Jewelry to be placed for auction can be brought to Morgan Fitzgerald’s from now until Wednesday, September 25.  You can place a minimum bid for the entry.  The bidding would start at that amount.  If you do not have a minimum bid requirement, the bidding starts at $5.   If entries are not sold, they are returned to the owner.  …

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What Is a Stylish Woman?

The Cambridge dictionary defines stylish as having a special quality that makes a person or thing seem different and attractive. Most would say Jackie Kennedy Onassis and Melania Trump should be called stylish women even though their styles are quite different.   A stylish woman includes current trends, but chooses them to fit her wardrobe, body shape, and style.  The garments fit well—not to tight or lose—not to short or long.  She spends extra time to find perfect fitting garments, or if her body requires, will spend a little money to have them altered.   Clothing facilitates her activities.  The stylish woman moves easily.  Shoes coordinate appropriately with apparel, but she never sacrifices function for style.  It’s better to have a kitten heel than a high heel that throws her off balance.  Her shoes are always cleaned and repaired.   She also dresses appropriately for the occasion.  Well fitting jeans and crisp white shirt carries…

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Are They Naughty or Nice?

Parabens, used from the 1950’s as a preservative in everything from shampoo to food, including cosmetics, has come under scrutiny since a 2004 study that analyzed breast tumors from twenty women. Eighteen of the twenty tumors contained parabens.  The study did not indicate that parabens caused or contributed to the tumors, only that they were present in the tumors.  Nor could the researchers identify where the parabens came from.  However, for those who have experienced cancer, the use of products containing parabens should be considered.   Parabens, according to the Harvard Heath Review, have a weak estrogenic effect.  “Although estrogen plays a role in breast cancer, there’s no evidence that people who use paraben-containing products face an increased risk.”  The FDA site concurs with that opinion.   So, the question is, “Are parabens naughty or nice?”  Parabens prevent bacteria and fungus from growing in products.   Both bacteria and fungus can cause health risks. However,…

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Skintelligent Eye Moisturizer

A few months ago, I wrote about new probiotic skin care products recentlyintroduced by cosmec firms. I was skeptical at first, but have been very pleasedwith customer and personal results. The products provide “good” skin bacteriathat help battle environmental stresses, acne, and other skin issues. Now, MerleNorman has introduced Skintelligent Eye Moisturizer to add to the Skintelligentline which currently includes a cleanser, moisturizer, and toner. It is a hydro-gel that provides supreme moisturization with the added benefit ofprobiotics that help your natural defenses. It reduces puffiness, and dark circleswhile improving elasticity. If is safe for contact lens wearers. It is free offragrance, alcohol, colorants, dyes, oil, and paraben. The packaging adds to its high-tech effectiveness. Its contoured metal tip coolsand massages as it applies the product. The messaging improves circulation andabsorption. Begin by placing a few dots below the eye. Gently blend across theeye area, using gentle strokes of the applicator. Work from the inner…

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Make-Up 2019 Fall Trends

September and most of October in Texas feels more like summer than a cool precursor to winter. Instead of pulling out sweaters and long-sleeved shirts, we change to fall colors. Make-up needs to reflect fashion on-trend style colors while establishing make-up trends as well. Plums and greens with soft neutrals help create a minimalist look. Generally, emphasis on the eyes decreases unless you are wearing apparel in on-the-edge neon colors. Reduce eyeliner width to the base of the lashes. Use soft neutrals to shape the eye, but blend, blend, blend, creating a no make-up look. Individually define lashes by holding the mascara wand like a pencil and stroking the individual lashes. If you are not using mascara primer, now is the time to start. Apply primer first, then stroke individual lashes with mascara. Concealer allows you to use less foundation. Apply to spots, dark circles, or blemishes. Next apply liquid foundation with a foundation brush…

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Fall 2019 Fashion Trends

What goes up, must come down. Designers give a unified mid-calf length to stylesthis fall. What goes down must go up. As the hemlines drop, necklines go up. Gone is the peek-a-boo shoulder, although an occasional one shoulder appears. Shades of purple reign supreme—from lavender to deep purple. Leopard over- powers zebra with tiny to enormous spots. There is even a little whimsy with unusual color added to the spots. Don’t care for the all over leopard look? Get the look by adding a small leopard pattern in your handbag. If you thought squared shoulders were gone forever, think again. They’re….. back. Look for squared, slightly larger shoulders that appear almost military inspired. Along with the military look comes belted waists and gold buttons. Add an emphasis on English-styled tweed in tiny houndstooth or larger windowpane. Suiting tried to gain strength last fall, but appears more frequently this season. Go monochromatic or mix blazers with…

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Is Betty Crocker At It Again?

No, something is baking, but it is not Betty. Cosmetic companies have found a new way to improve texture and versatility of its powdered products. They take creams or liquids and slowly bake them until they become solids, creating silky, smooth texture that blends better, producing a natural look. Most blushes, eye shadows, and powders are pressed to maintain their shape. The baked cosmetics, formed in the baking process, do not require as many fillers such as talc. Without the fillers, the products become more luminous with more pigment, allowing you to blend better without using as much product. In addition, the baked cosmetics can be applied either wet or dry. Most of the baked cosmetics have a slightly different look compared to pressed. Their domed shape allows the brush to pick up blended colors formed by the marbled “veins” within the product. Merle Norman has just introduced its two new baked products for fall.…

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Brighton Handbags, A True Investment

Brighton leather handbags, when registered at purchase, have a lifetime cleaning warranty. No other brand—even bags ten times that price— have such a generous warranty. Once a year, pay only the cost to ship the bag to Brighton. Brighton will clean the leather, the cloth inside, replace any parts (assuming they are still available), and then return at Brighton’s cost. Brighton offers this warranty because they believe in the quality of their product. Leather purchased from the fi nest tanneries rival that of bags ten times the prices of Brighton bags. Each style is individually designed with attention to extreme detail. Their designers are sent around the world to get inspiration. The Ferrara bag was inspired by the medallion church windows, the Africa Stories by designers traveling to Africa. The handbags are not only beautiful and stylish they are also functional. Outside pockets help you stash for easy access; inside pockets help organize and keep…

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Celebrate The Fourth With Gusto

On July 4, 1776 the Continental Congress formally adopted the Declaration of Independence. Even then, John Adams predicted that July 4 would be a celebration day for generations to come. We as Americans have much to celebrate. We have freedom. Os Guinness in his book Last Call for Liberty proposes a perplexing question. Is freedom the right to do what we want, or is it the right to do what we ought? At Texas A&M we see tremendous patriotism—love of country that impresses everyone who visits—love of country that puts country above personal safety—love of country that produces more CIA agents than any other university in the country. After 9-11, TAMU students organized a display of this community’s patriotism. Each level of those attending the A&M football game voluntarily wore red, white, or blue as designated by their seat level. Sale proceeds of shirts went to victims of 9-ll. It was just clothing, but what…

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