Pam Dickson is enjoying her annual July vacation, and her column “Out and About” will return Aug. 10. In the interim, enjoy excerpts from “Lipstick Digest,” by Kingwood resident and popular Tribune blogger Diane Blanco. Magazine fun My new “Marie Claire” recently arrived, which was a lovely distraction. Dakota Fanning, who’s now 16, is on the cover looking just stunning. There’s a story inside about her and how she got started in the acting business. Not unlike Taylor Swift, she knew what she wanted to do. Her parents and grandparents were great athletes and had plans for her to follow them, beginning with tennis. One day, after playing, she told her mother she didn’t want to play tennis anymore because she got too hot. Acting is obviously way cooler! Denim is hot again, but you really aren’t surprised are you? It’s official, if you don’t have some suede, camel, fur trim, and animal prints, you could be missing the fashion boat. There are some great looks in the August issue and many for under $100. Denim is going to be big again, and that’s certainly no surprise, but the good news is that no matter what leg or wash you prefer, they are all in this season. There is even a tuxedo jean, complete with stripe down the legs. I am guessing you save those for the prom. What is a brand? We all have one. It is what comes into other people’s mind when they think of us. Think of “Godiva.” For me, it conjures up images of dark, rich, yummy chocolate. What about Ferrari? Fast, expensive sports car. Crest? Fights cavities, dentist approved. If you don’t know what your brand is, ask your family and friends. They all know. Are you confident, flighty, dependable, conservative, indecisive, bohemian, inventive, creative, or a trendsetter? Here’s the big question: is that the brand you want to project? And why does it matter? Our brand is a reflection of not just how we look or how we dress, but also how we act. And the most successful people in both their personal and professional lives are consistent in their brand. No matter how intelligent and efficient a person is, if their physical appearance is sloppy, that message supersedes what lies beneath the surface, at least for first impressions. And many times all we have is one opportunity to create a positive impression. A woman who dresses like her teenage daughter will have great difficulty being taken seriously in any situation. A business man who has a nice suit, but wears scuffed up shoes that need to be polished or replaced is sending a message that details don’t matter. If your wardrobe says “stuck in the ‘80s,” how up-to-date can you be in other areas? Knowing your own brand and tweaking it to project exactly how you want to be known can lead to greater success in both your personal and professional life. Which is why fashion, good grooming, and caring for your body both inside and outside, matter. Finding our own unique style I was flipping through a fashion magazine when some of the wild runway fashions featured brought to mind the whole idea of style. We all know who has it and who doesn’t, so it is easy to identify. Yet so many women have difficulty finding their own style, because today there are too many choices. I love watching “What Not to Wear” and seeing a woman totally transformed by simply changing her wardrobe. Oh, the hair and makeup artist certainly make a difference, but the clothes are the key. You can almost see her confidence rising as she learns that, yes, she can wear a fitted dress or there are jeans that compliment her body. Fashion icons have all discovered what looks great on their bodies and they may wear variations, but they are always true to their style. Think of Audrey Hepburn and Jackie Kennedy. What comes to mind for me is classic, yet never boring. Can you imagine Hepburn with long hair or Jackie Kennedy with a pixie cut? Chico’s has lots of great basic pieces for women of all sizes, except you little zeros and negative numbers. Their ongoing sale is terrific. I bought great denim leggings with an animal style print called Chocolate Chip Wash that I love for $29.99, regularly $79. Their statement necklaces are fantastic and most are around $50. Buy one and get the second for half-off. Same deal on Spanx. Sunglasses and readers are 50 percent off. A number of the items on the sale racks are great for fall. I am lusting over a platinum-colored crop jacket with a wide collar in the fall collection, $118, but I can wait! Have a wonderful day! Diane Read more of Diane Blanco’s blog “Lipstick Digest” at http://lipstickdigest.com/blog/

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