Jackie Rogers is waving goodbye to her makeup artist from the gate of her high-rise on Golden Gate Point. In her skinny jeans, flip-flops and a green button down, she looks much tinier than she usually appears when she’s in the spotlight, gripping her microphone and chit-chatting away on Red Carpet Sarasota.
Inside the elevator, Rogers realizes she’s forgotten her key fob and begins repeatedly swiping her finger, hoping the machine will recognize it. When it doesn’t, she pulls out her cell phone and calls for reinforcement.
“A little boy recently figured out how to swipe his finger and took the elevator up and down, stopping on every floor,” she says. “They must have disabled it.”
Seconds later, a friendly face appears, swipes his fob and sends the elevator on its way. It stops at Rogers’ floor, where her Chihuahua is barking and jumping around in the doorway.
“This is Rudy Rogers,” she says. “I also call him Schmoopie — he has 100 nicknames, and he does have a thing for blondes. I could have him in a room full of brunettes and he will go right to the blonde. C’mon Booboo, come sit down.”
Rogers grew up in her family’s supermarket business, Ricardo’s Market, in Scranton, Penn. She remembers being in a playpen right next to the register. To this day, somewhere in her condo, she keeps a photograph in which she’s sitting in a grocery bag that’s traveling down the conveyer belt.
“It started with my grandfather (Rocco Ricardo) in a fruit stand,” Rogers says. “He and his seven brothers sold produce down the neighborhoods off of a truck. They would bring all the little Italian ladies their fruits and vegetables for the week.”
Although her grandfather established the stand, Rogers’ parents, Salvatore and Bette Riccardo, started the full-service grocery store. After graduating from college, Rogers and her brother opened up a second location.
In 1997, Rogers moved to Philadelphia to take a job with Boar’s Head Provision Co. Although she was hired to work the Philly market, the owner of the company sent her to Florida to help open Boar’s Head locations at Publix grocery stores, and to work out of the corporate headquarters, located in Sarasota.
“I had one foot on the banana peel back to Pennsylvania, but then I fell in love with the city and decided to stay, and in 1999, met my husband, Angus. I know what you’re thinking, being in the meat business and marrying a guy named Angus … ”
The couple married in 2003 on Bob and Diane Roskamp’s farm, in Pennsylvania.
“The Roskamps live upstairs from us,” Rogers says. “One night they had a dinner party, and we told them we were getting married. Diane said, ‘Well, you’ll just have to get married on our farm.’ I kind of looked at her like ‘pigs and chickens?’”
It was more like English gardens, rolling hills and creeks. The farm was built in 1745 as a gristmill to feed the troops.
“It was an absolute fairytale wedding — like Martha Stewart on steroids,” Rogers says. “Angus got married in a kilt, and we had bagpipes.”
They also had wedding crashers: Two guests who pretended they couldn’t find their names were escorted to a table and made up a story about being Angus Rogers’ cousins.
“They’re in like every picture,” Rogers laughs.
One or two years later, Rogers tried selling real estate, but knew it wasn’t her passion. So she started going to luncheons and walking her Chihuahua seven times a day, and then, during a brainstorming session with her girlfriends, her path as an image consultant became clear.
“My mom and I were always in boutiques and every season we had a new wardrobe and new coats,” Rogers says. “I have my grandma’s vintage purses with little sachets and I love raiding my mother’s jewelry box. I’ve always had a knack and flair for clothes and things like that.”
She headed off to New York to take her certification courses and then founded “Style Matters” to teach clients how to shop for themselves by navigating trends and choosing styles cut for their bodies.
“Closets are a very personal thing,” Rogers says. “Whether it’s a mess and disorganized or a section that doesn’t fit, every time you’re in your closet, it says something to you.”
Rogers recalls one client who was buying gorgeous, beautifully-made fabrics, but when she put them on, they were clearly not meant for her.
“When we got in her closet, she told me her mom and grandmother were seamstresses,” Rogers says. “She was in love with the quality and detail in the workmanship. I gave her five questions to answer every time she went out shopping so that she didn’t make that mistake again.”
Rogers says men make the most interesting clients because they just want the help, not the journey to get there.
“They want to buy the clothes and be told what goes with what,” she says. “I took one guy, 40-ish, with these bright-blue eyes and athletic build to Banana Republic. We were going for the all-American style. I pulled out this baby-blue cashmere argyle sweater and he said he was absolutely not trying it on.”
But her client came from the manufacturing industry and was going into professional mode, working with accountants and attorneys, and he had little in his wardrobe that would do.
“That was his reason for searching me out,” Rogers says. “He finally put it on and started patting it, saying how nice it felt. Then I started getting messages saying, ‘My receptionist noticed my shoes’ and ‘I’m at Bonefish. This peach shirt is a chick magnet!’ That’s music to my ears because he’s out there and confident. That’s my joy, when the light bulb goes on … ”
At last, the Red Carpet Sarasota saga comes out. It dawned on Rogers a little more than a year ago that the experience she garnered producing video and photo shoots at Boar’s Head and her history in fashion styling for magazines could somehow be put to use.
Rogers was at Intermedia Productions telling Jim Flynn that she had to leave to go to another event. “I told him that I go to so many events, I should be filming them,” Rogers says. “We stood in his driveway for another 30 minutes talking about it. Our town is so charitable; I thought it was a good way to get the message of what charities are doing. The red-carpet experience is something that’s been going on in Hollywood since the ’20s, but I figured to bring it to our town, it’s something where people can have fun and kind of relive the night. Who we are and what we do is still evolving. Our first event was the Van Wezel Foundation Gala with Jerry Seinfeld. We were really just testing the waters. But I love getting people to see themselves all dressed up and fabulous. I figured, ‘Heck, I go to all these things. Let’s promote everybody’s cause.’”
5 Black Tie event rules
1. Make sure your dress isn’t tucked into your Spanx as you leave the ladies room.
2. Don’t overdo it at cocktail hour and wind up dancing on the table. It wouldn’t be ladylike or gentlemanly.
3. Don’t be a wallflower — get out and mingle, and introduce yourself to somebody new.
4. Don’t go overboard on the cologne or perfume.
5. Don’t be a close talker while consuming your hors d’oeuvres.
6. This just in from hubby Angus Rogers :
a. If you must adjust your undies, do it in the confines of the lavatory.
b. Don’t wear sneakers to a Black Tie event unless it’s the UnGala. Wait — that got canceled?