Iris, The Ageless


Nothing makes a woman look old

as trying desperately 

to look young.




How do you get 750,000 Instagram followers without owning an email account? Iris Apfel explains that it’s really quite simple: have a devoted fan who knows how.

At 96, Iris makes no secret of her age, stays relevant to the times modeling for ads in fashion magazines, saying, “Young people today need direction. They have to learn to be themselves, to develop a sense of curiosity, and not to live vicariously through characters with no personality on social media.”

Like Iris, I believe that we owe it to our fellow (wo)men to dress better and look as pleasant as possible. None of this sweat pants and athleisure stuff! Let us feast our eyes on beauty and make the effort to look our best. She puts it succinctly, “If you want to lounge around, then don’t go out.” I can’t agree more! But before you think we sound like style tyrants, consider the democracy in her wisdom:

Express your individuality, don’t be a fashion victim and allow brands with their marketing power dictate your style sense. To make this world a better place, be as self-respecting and interesting as you can be. Cultivate potential from your own interests and talents by trial and error. Find out who you are, what works best for you and what to avoid. Nothing takes the place of experience.

Look out for her book Iris Apfel; Accidental Icon this March on Amazon and at Bergdorf Goodman NYC.

Click on “Leave a Comment” (top left) to share whom you want to be when you grow up.




Photos by Franco Vogt




Give the women you love the most unique gift

of elegant and timeless portraits

with  a Powerful Goddess Gift Certificate

for a two hour photo shoot of up to three people:

Buy Now Button with Credit Cards

© Sharon Birke

Managing Member, DoubleSmart LLC

201 697 1947

Glamour Portraits of the Goddess in Every Woman




New Year, New York!


There’s no room

for amateurs in New York,

even in crossing streets.

George Segal




A most grand welcome to your exciting 2018, My Sweets–How thrilling to imagine the  brave adventures and fun people you’ll meet simply crossing over to the other side of the street!

So proud to feature this Powerful Goddess who truly embodies the great courage behind the New York anthem, “If I can make it there, I’ll make it anywhere!” Having left the comforts of home to move to this far away continent and be with the man she adored, she’s had to keep stepping forward after Prince Charming turned out to have too much baggage for anyone to bear. A finance whiz with fabulous charm, graceful curves, and a natural magnet for fun, her 2018 definitely looks better than bright.

What’s her secret, you ask? Style wise, it’s not terribly hidden since she wears it with elegant nonchalance in her portraits here. She attributes her divine posture to corsets and swears they always make her feel hugged, protected, and even strengthened in low moments. Her shopping advice: Be careful with cheap corsets sold on Amazon and on Corset Story. They aren’t comfortable, dig in the skin and don’t give a good curve. They can turn you away from using corsets at all. Better wait for discounts on Timeless Trends (see resource list below)!

Choosing The Best Corset


Why suffer in the 21st century?  Choose comfort first in corset style and see which works best for you:

  • Over bust – can be worn as an elegant top (as seen on the Powerful Goddess here)
  • Under bust – sits under the bra line, can be worn over clothing as a wide belt
  • Long Line – for the longer torso length
  • Short style – for the short torso
  • Rubber or Latex compression cinchers – good for working out

There are so many beautiful choices in fabric and design to fit your mood from sweet ruffles and bows to taunting leather and buckles.


To discover your best size, note the following measurements pulling the tape measure taut, but not tight:

  • Your waist just above your belly button. Determine where your waist naturally bends to match the bend of the corset.  Choose a corset size larger than your waist so you can breathe, eat as you wish and wear a shirt or dress underneath for styling options.
  • Your upper hip if you like long corsets
  • Your torso circumference under your bust line
  • If you like the over the bust corset, measure your bust at the fullest part

The right corset length depends on your torso length, not your full body height.  In the end, it’s a matter of personal comfort and choice.

Breaking in your Corset

  • Lay the corset out flat and gently open the laces until fully extended
  • Put your corset on by closing the front busk, starting in the middle and then working your way up and down the length of it
  • Position the corset so it sits on your torso comfortably
  • Now pull the laces until the corset is snug, not tight, and create your best shape

Your corset will slowly adapt to your body and you will be able to wear it as long as you choose. Just have fun with it!

For your convenience, these are the best corset shops online:

  • Orchard Corset  Offers a great selection of steel-boned corsets for both the beginner and the experienced waist trainer
  • Timeless Trends  Their corsets are made with high-quality steel busks, spiral steel stays, and boning with a lifetime guarantee.  Check out their men’s collection.
  • Hips and Curves   Plus size corsets from Southern California
  • Meschantes Corsetry  Their website has an easy to shop photo layout
  • Isabella Corsetry  Special order and in-stock Victorian, Edwardian and bridal items in velvet, brocade, silk, and lace fabrics
  • What Katie Did  The worlds’ leading brand of Vintage Lingerie, 6 Strap Garter Belts, Corselettes and Girdles, Steel Boned Corsets and Fully Fashioned Stockings.
  • Dark Garden  The best in custom & off-the-rack corsets, dresses & wedding gowns
  • Vollers  Classically designed & handmade in the UK since 1899. The finest range of luxury corset tops, black corsets and fashion corsets online.
  • Fairy Gothmother  Another British company   

Click on “Leave a Comment” (top left) to share your best hopes for the year ahead!












Give the women you love the most unique gift

of elegant and timeless portraits

with  a Powerful Goddess Gift Certificate

for a two hour photo shoot of up to three people:

Buy Now Button with Credit Cards

© Sharon Birke

Managing Member, DoubleSmart LLC

201 697 1947

Glamour Portraits of the Goddess in Every Woman


Earth Friendly Fashion

I’m just trying

to change the world

one sequin at a time.

Lady Gaga

Earth Day treats for the fashion conscious includes Elizabeth Cline’s book Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion


… and these clothing brands that strive to raise the bar on the matter of making style kind to the earth:

H&M Conscious  H&M’s affordable options to those who want eco-friendly fashion without breaking the bank or compromising on style.
Litke Behind the minimalist design, eccentric tailoring and unique touches of Catherine Litke’s self-titled line are quality organic fabrics, handmade details and a business model that puts local manufacturing high on its priority list.
Amour Vert Leading the eco-style industry with its French casual chic, incredibly conscientious style, “With Every Stitch a Purpose” motto, made-in-the-USA manufacturing, non-toxic dyes, sustainable fibers, innovative fabrics and zero-waste design philosophy. And who else plants a tree for every t-shirt they sell?
Study NY The female version of Tim Gunn, Tara St James creates minimalist style with contemporary flair using eco-conscious practices, including zero-waste, environmentally friendly fibers and local production.
Zero + Maria Cornejo Using ecological and sustainable materials and techniques when possible (with everything from fabric made from recycled cassette tapes to llama wool), Maria Cornejo creates timeless, modern designs that have been worn by the likes of Michelle Obama and Tilda Swinton.
Reformation Every list of green clothing brands must  include Reformation, the manufacturer of super chic products in an environmentally friendly sewing factory, then ships off their garments made of sustainable fabrics and vintage garments in 100% recycled packaging.
Click on “Leave a Comment” (above left) to add your Earth Day fashion tips here. Photos on this page are from Google Images.


Give the women you love the most unique gift

of elegant and timeless portraits

with  a Powerful Goddess portrait session Gift Certificate:

Buy Now Button with Credit Cards

Sharon Birke

201 697 1947

Glamour Portraits of the Goddess in Every Woman

Myth Masque

If one is lucky,

a solitary fantasy can totally transform

one million realities.

Maya Angelou



Erin Layne, the glamorous organizer of the Myth Masque

LA Myth Masque Erin Layne by Sharon Birke

Just got back from an incredible weekend in LA catching up with family and friends, reflecting on our life journeys, leaving me shaking my head in amazement as we recounted stories of improbable synchronicity that had blessed us in dire straits.

After watching The Great Gatsby movie on Saturday night, I felt like I stepped straight into a more fantastic version of a Gatsby party when I chanced upon the 2nd annual Myth Masquerade Ball.  I thought I was headed for The Edison club downtown, but my curiosity drew me to the church behind it with purple lights and loud music streaming through the windows. A queue of people in fancy whimsical dress at the gate and a horse carriage ride circling the block roped me in even further.

“Is this party open to the public?” I inquired. A fairy godfather appeared with a spare ticket to sell–then he gave me a mask, too, in case the party police required one. How lucky can a Goddess get?!

Myth Masque was my dream come true of a party, an enchanting mix of high fashion and high fantasy.  I was thrilled to be swept into a sea of elaborate gowns, headdresses and costumes, each more ornate than the next from space age to renaissance to fairy tale.  Polling those with the most fantastic ensembles, many were proud to say they had created their own outfit. It was a glorious celebration of divine imagination–for where would civilization be without this?  Thank you to all who made that unforgettable evening happen, a most richly satisfying visual dessert that had me smiling all night and long after.

Click on “Leave a Comment” to share how you’ve embraced the impossible–like I did using my iPhone for very low light photography here.


LA-Myth-Masque-Top-Hat-Sharon Birke

A ship sails the bejeweled high seas


Alice in Bellydance Land


Gotta Facebook!



Even this mermaid had to take a break from posing by her clamshell to post updates


On stage


The truly Bella Electric Strings Trio

photo copy 13

And a full moon added to the magic, too!

LA-Myth-Masque-Sharon Birke

© Sharon Birke

201 697 1947

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Glamour Portraits of the Goddess in Every Wife & Mother


120 Years of Vogue

I don’t believe in fashion.

I believe in costume.

Life is too short to be same person every day.

Stephanie Perkins, Lola and the Boy Next Door

Here’s a fashion editorial style shoot inspired by Vogue, known for arresting images that make eyes stop and hearts thrill to desires.   The book commemorating its 120th anniversary, “The Editor’s Eye,” is a tribute to eight remarkable women who determined the faces that became icons of various eras and the direction of fashion’s forward movement through their reign as Vogue editors.  These women have turned quirky performers like Barbra Streisand and Cher into style stars, the waifish Twiggy as a celebrity, Patti Hansen into the golden goddess next door.  They created the rise of supermodels Cindy, Naomi, Linda, Christy, marrying art and imagination on glossy pages with productions resembling the scale and ambition of films in recent years.

The challenges of bringing together a variety of talents and personalities are all worth magical moments of collaboration that produce unforgettable images transcending generations.

Click on “Leave a Comment” (above left) to share your favorite iconic Vogue photo(s).

© Sharon Birke

201 697 1947

Photography for the Goddess in Every Wife & Mother


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