As a child, my idea of fashion was a pair of jeans, a T-shirt and sneakers. I rode a dirt bike, played football with my brother, water skied and rode horses. The last thing I ever thought about was what my next outfit was going to be.
All that changed however, when my cousin was visiting one summer and she introduced me to two fabulous shows called “Days of Our Lives” and “Young and the Restless.” As you can imagine, the young women I saw on these shows always looked so stylish and sophisticated. I was about 12 years old when something finally dawned on me. I have absolutely no fashion sense!
It really wasn’t until I met the fabulous character of Nicole Walker Kiriakis when I joined the cast of “Days of our Lives” that the whole fashion thing started to make sense. Not that I wanted to wear the types of outfits that she did (as they were a bit over the top at times, in true soap fashion), but that I wanted to -- and could have -- a style of my own.
Well ladies and gentleman, the best strategy I could come up with is to start with the accessories first. Who doesn’t love a great handbag, a pair of shoes, or a fabulous piece of Lowd Suga’ jewelry!
After my departure from “Days,” rather than sit idle between acting gigs, I decided to get creative and explore my new-found accessories knowledge by designing jewelry. That is when I joined forces with my friend and business partner Heidi Mages. Lowd Suga’ jewelry was born.
Now, the first thing I do when getting dressed is select my jewelry. Lowd Suga’ designs can take me from the supermarket to the red carpet, so no matter what the occasion, I know I have the perfect accessory! Trying to visualize a whole “look” can be overwhelming, so I have found that starting small can help you get your head in the right place and then the rest of the pieces just fit together.
Another key to fashion that I have learned over time, is that if you feel great in what you are wearing, then those around you will respond to your presence. Here are a few suggestions for coordinating your accessories into a look that is classy and chic:
1. All jewelry – pearls, gems, leather, gold or silver – looks great with a crisp, fitted white blouse.
2. Long chandelier style earrings or big hoops are a great date night piece of jewelry. Who can resist a touch of the exotic?
3. If you need to spice up your basic black outfit choose a piece of jewelry with color. Red always looks great with black.
4. If you want people to talk about you long after the party is over – chose a dress with a deep V (but not too deep that you look trashy!) and then wear a long necklace to frame your neckline.
Over time, I have discovered that I love to work with silks, hemp, leather and beads - the more rugged elements which we use in the Lowd Suga’ Men’s Gem’s and Suga’ Funk. The Lowd Suga’ Men’s collection is still rather new, and its evolution has given me great joy. Oftentimes, I will pick up Rolling Stone magazine to see what the rock stars are wearing as my designs tend to be a mix between Lenny Kravitz and The Red Hot Chili Peppers.
I personally think that men look amazing in jewelry. In fact, I designed two pieces for my husband, Kyle Lowder (Rick Forrester, “Bold and the Beautiful”), which he describes as “earthy and simple, yet really rock star trendy.” They both incorporate wrapped leather and have a rugged sophistication that I think works really well on men – especially those like Kyle who don’t usually wear a lot of jewelry and spend most of their time kicking around in jeans and a t-shirt.
I find inspiration for Lowd Suga’ in so many different places. I get an idea in my head then I sit in my office and make something that I would like to wear. When I’m done, I wear the piece out and see what the response is. I don’t even think twice about it. If I love it then someone else is bound to love it too, but you have to own it!
Discovering and developing your personal style is a doorway to recognizing your true self and expressing that to the world. Because Lowd Suga’ is committed to this belief, we donate a portion of our proceeds to Children Uniting Nations, a national mentoring program which aims to reach as many children in out-of-home care as possible. The kids involved in this program are all a bit lost in the world, and we hope that through our support of this organization, they will discover the strength inside themselves to find their way.
Style is about feeling positive and having confidence and that is the best advice I can give anyone for how to make your look unique. We’d like to think that everyone can find something in the Lowd Suga’ collection that speaks to their own personal style. The entire collection is available to view online at lowdsuga.com and if you don’t see the perfect thing for you, we’ll be happy to design a custom piece that will make you look and feel as beautiful as all those leading ladies you love to watch in the afternoons, just as my cousin and I did that summer long ago.