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Appearance Matters

stein mart part deux

It is my extreme pleasure and with much excitement that I introduce you to a new and exciting addition to Fashion Friday’s. Today is the first day of many style updates for some lucky lady across blog land. There will be at least one makeover per month.

Appearance Matters, Inc


The first style update is by Darlene Real-Higginbotham with Appearance Matters, Inc. God blessed her with a love for people and a heart for their needs to be successful and accepted in their work and personal lives. Her business was created in 1983, first known as Real Design. Her Color and Wardrobe business was located in Vestavia Hills and she worked through the e’lan Casablance’s Modeling and Talent Agency where she was also a fashion class instructor.

Appearance Matters, Darlene Real-Higginbotham

Her next career advance came when she was invited by WBRC Channel 6 in Birmingham, AL to be the Fashion Strategist on the Tom York Morning Show. She worked with two hair stylist and a make-up artist that earned them a five year stint on the morning show.  Darlene explains,

“We performed weekly makeovers on the show from viewers writing in from all over Alabama. While on the show, I received an invitation to travel to Japan for sixteen days with dignitaries and business leaders from our state and the University of Alabama. Our group was named, The Alabama Japan Leadership Delegation. The point of the trip was to bring Japanese businesses to Alabama (example JVC).  My media experience continued for two years with channel 13, giving viewers practical advice and information on dressing.

My work with children, teens and adults on etiquette and manners began in the 90’s after training in Washington D.C. with the Etiquette Consultant to the World Trade Center. Today I coach clients, men, women and children to reach their goals through preparation, polish and presentation.”

The minute I met Darlene at a fashion show at The Club in Birmingham, I knew she was something special and that we would become friends. I’ve photographed and written about her shows several times, that you can find here:

The Style We Choose

The Latest and Greatest from Chicos

Our Ability to Accessorize

Skirting the Issue

Sporty Black and White

Stein Mart at The Club

We’ve had a few chats over coffee that have helped develop a long and lasting friendship. One of the sweetest things that stands out about Darlene is her relationship with our Lord.

“My relationship with our Almighty God began at eight years old sitting in Vacation Bible School.  God knew what was about to happen to me and called me to accept His love and embrace. I could not refuse His call and I praise Him for the call on my life daily.  Later that year my parents divorced.  My mother took me to live with my grandparents where unfortunate events occurred. To know that the Holy Spirit lives inside me has transformed me.  What I would have been, I know not.  What I know everyday, is that God gives me a deep love for people and He taught me how to love myself in spite of some personal failure. His love for me continually amazes me as He leads me into places I fear to go. I have a deep and abiding love for My Master and He continues to grow-me-up, correct my ways and lead me in the path He has for me.”

And I am so excited that He decided to place CoziNest in her path! With this introduction to Darlene, we have an example of what will be happening here on Fashion Friday’s with our style updates.

I purchased this dress for a bridal tea I was hosting and this is how it looked in the dressing room.

Dressing Room

And this is how it looked at the tea.

HostessesHaving buyer’s remorse once I saw these pictures, Darlene came to my rescue. It’s all about preparation, polish and presentation! With her advice, this is how I could have looked on the day of the tea.


  • The placement of the scarf actually slims my shoulders and draws the eye up toward my face.
  • Tying the scarf across the body creates an angle that helps camouflage problem areas.
  • Nude sandals with a more feminine line creates a bit of height and draws the attention back to my face.

Hair Style

  • Placing my hair behind one ear shows a white mother-of-pearl earring which elongates my face and picks up the white in the scarf.

See what a difference a chat with Darlene makes…

BeforeAfter Collage

Do you need help styling an outfit for an upcoming event? Or perhaps there’s a dress in your closet that you liked in the store, but you’re not so sure now? CoziNest will continue to focus on fashion for women over 50, and now with the help of many style consultants, women across the globe can have personal attention with the click of a button. Complete the questionnaire on the Fashion Friday tab at the top of the page and perhaps you will be the next style update here on CoziNest.

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