By Barbara Bennett, owner and publisher of For Kaua‘i

BarbaraOne thing I learned in my professional education at Chamberlain School of Retailing, Boston, Mass., fashion is adapted today from the past.

Our class in Fashion History remains very clear in my mind as we were carried through the periods in fashion from Egyptian history, 18th century and modern fashion to present times. That was in 1956 and 1957.

Chamberlain School had a young and impressionable student body from high school and college graduates who where choosing retail fashion merchandising as their choice for a career. We had the most interesting attendees. Debutantes from Canada and high school graduates from all over the United States.

My graduate degree opened doors for me in the retail fields in Boston, Michigan and Florida before I moved to Hawai‘i. Raising a family made it easy for me to work as a professional model all those years, and I had my own model agency in Sarasota, Florida. One of the many activities in my modeling career was to write a column for The Advertiser called “Ask Barbara.” This was way back in 1974.

Now, as owner and Publisher of For Kaua‘i, the November issue is dedicated to Fashion on Kaua‘i because the New York, Hawai‘i fashion markets explode this month with runway shows, 2016 designer lines and creative fashion styles that will dictate the retail markets all over the world and locally.

The following is an excerpt from“Ask Barbara,” a Q&A column about beauty, fashion and interior decoration published in the 1960s and 1970s in The Advertiser in Sarasota, Fla.

“FASHION – from a resident of Pine Ridge Court, Sarasota.


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Barbara Bennett

“Color in our lives as well as in our clothes is a highly personal experience. Most of us wear colors we love and colors that are becoming to us no matter what our age. The woman whose hair color is changing from the intermediate stage to a soft gray usually has only a slight change in her choice of colors. …

“Try different shades and by the trial and error method decide which are your best colors. If you find that pale pastels not only compliment you coloring but that you feel comfortable and relaxed in such colors, then by all means keep to those muted tones. Color and the way we use color reveals a very special part of our personality. This is what makes fashion not only interesting but fun to buy and wear.”

Yes, I got paid a little for this column but it supported my free-lance fashion career back in those days. I loved my classes at Chamberlain – history of color and color theory, architecture, furniture and so much more. The creative classes are what interested me. I was not a student of English, world history, and math.