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Introducing the WV Style Team

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The Sunday Gazette-Mail recently launched a new blog to feature up-to-date postings by its WV Style Team.

The team of four Charleston women began writing for the Sunday Gazette-Mail in March. Their mission is to provide news of fashion trends and tips, coverage of local fashion events and ideas for young professionals on having fun living in the area.

The team writes articles and takes photographs for the newspaper, tweets about all things they find interesting, posts on Facebook and now blogs at WVStyleTeam.com. Go there to see, for example, the dances performed at last week's "Dancing with the Stars" West Virginia Symphony Orchestra fundraiser, tips on hairstyles and makeup, lighting for a dinner party, peeks backstage at local fashion events and much more. The team's companion Twitter feed is twitter.com/wvstyleteam.

Style Team members share their opinions on various products that they may or may not agree on, much less their readers. "Discussion and insights from readers are appreciated and encouraged," notes the WV Style Team mission statement.

Here's the WV Style Team lineup:

JEN WOOD CUNNINGHAM, who's had a career in marketing and professional development, is an unapologetic fashionista -- if a sometimes frugal one who enjoys scouring consignment shops and yard sales. She describes her style as "a mix of 'Mad Men's' Joan Holloway and first lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis with a dash of razzle-dazzle from my days of competitive dance, which means I love classic looks, large-lensed sunglasses, sequins and big hair." Follow her on Twitter at @miss_sociable.

DENNISE SMITH, aka the Style Voyeur, is a Charleston lawyer who took a break from her legal career several years ago to follow her childhood dream of being a fashion designer. She attended the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Los Angeles and worked for St. John Knits, a luxury design company.

"Not a day goes by that I'm not thinking about fashion or my designs. Is there a medication for this," she writes on the blog. Her style? Eclectic and bohemian.

SARAH FRANCKE moved back to Charleston three years ago and has rediscovered her hometown to be a place overflowing with artists, galleries, boutiques and fun things to do and places to go.

"With my camera in tow, I love to capture happiness and all things exciting through a lens," she notes.

As for her favorite things, she says, "I especially love the old-timey appreciation for dressing up to travel, the French culture and how they incorporate silk scarves, all things Grace Kelly, and those looks that have perfectly balanced the cocktail of effortlessness and elegance."

Francke is a business development professional for a Charleston law firm and maintains a blog at SarahFrancke.com.

AUTUMN D.F. HOPKINS recently was hired by The Charleston Gazette as a part-time features writer. It's her latest incarnation, she said, having worked as a court reporter, yoga teacher, firefighter and substitute sign language interpreter in elementary school.

She's a homesteader, keeping honeybees, raising chickens, rescuing animals and skating on a roller derby team.

"I like to design and sew some of my own clothes, and I enjoy playing with new makeup, and I spend way too much time perusing fashion and DIY blogs," she said. She hopes to have a DIY post every Tuesday on WVStyleTeam.com.

In this week's Life section (click on links to go to the stories):

Sarah Francke describes the fun of boating on the Kanawha River.

Dennise Smith reveals how to fit a swimsuit to your body shape.

Jen Wood Cunningham advises tanning aficionados how not to get burned.

Autumn D.F. Hopkins offers a plucky how-to for styling eyebrows.

Reach Rosalie Earle at earle@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5115.


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