Friday, April 29, 2011

Southern Rehearsal

I have been working as a personal stylist for eight years. I shop with people, I shop for them, I do wardrobe consulting, closet overhauls, and I've even been known to pack for my clients. I am currently styling a client for her wedding rehearsal dinner in rural Virginia at the end of May. This particular client presented a new challenge. I met this young woman once about five years ago and now I am styling her via Skype, emails with lots of photos, and some of my favorite online stores. I thought you might enjoy the process.

Her event is outdoors under a tent and fairly laid back. She wears cowboy boots a lot and wanted options that would allow her to wear her favorite pair to the rehearsal dinner. I asked her to send me a current photo of herself, and then answer these questions. 

Q. Who are the three celebrities whose style you admire most?
A. Rachel Bilson for her edginess. Katie Holmes because she has mastered the chic girl next door. And Taylor Swift for her country style.

Q. What do you feel are your best physical attributes?
A. My butt and my stomach.

Q. Any areas that you are less comfortable with? 
A. I am probably least comfortable with my legs. Though I am not at all
opposed to wearing a skirt or dress for the rehearsal dinner.

My client has beautiful bright blue eyes and medium brown hair. Her complexion is fair and she has a very slim silhouette. Next, I asked her to send me photos of her three favorite outfits and tell me why. This is the first outfit that my client sent to me:

"I like this dress because I love the way it fits. It hugs my body but it's not too tight." She wears this with her favorite pair of flat sandals. The second outfit she sent:

"I love wearing jeans and cowboy boots. And I like the shirt because I like puff sleeves and plaid." And, of course, don't forget her beloved chocolate brown Lucchese cowboy boots that may make an appearance at her rehearsal dinner.

The third outfit she sent me looked like this:

My client's dress had the addition of a flower pin (in the same color as the dress) and her shoes were a matte snakeskin. "I like the puffy sleeves, the color, and the flower of the dress. I like the shoes because I think they are understated and classy."

Style Analysis: Clearly my client has very feminine taste. Pink, puff sleeves, and form fitting silhouettes are part of her favorite outfits. She leans toward cute pieces that are subtly sexy and she is not afraid of prints. Judging by her answers to my celebrity question, she is somewhat conservative but not afraid to take fashion risks. I can see Taylor Swift's romantic country style and Katie Holmes' embodiment of simple classic style in all of her outfits. Rachel Bilson and her fearless approach to fashion is what my client aspires to. This is the short version of what came next.

I decided to email my client a handful of options via site links. She gave me her feedback in between each option so I was able to judge what she was feeling and adjust where I directed her. 

Option #1
This is the most casual look. It would look great with her cowboy boots (or a pretty espadrille) and has a definite sexy country feel. The eyelet and sweetheart neckline are cute and feminine, the silhouette is classic. The cut will highlight her small waist and flat stomach while the slightly flared skirt will give her thin body some nice curves. It has Taylor Swift written all over it. 

Option #2
This dress is feminine, romantic, and dramatic. The dark color will be unexpected in the southern sea of pastels, Lilly Pulitzer, and seersucker while playing off of her rich brown hair. My client's cowboy boots will also look great with it. It has a beautiful tiny floral print, and the belt could be tighter to accent her waist. Plus the lightweight fabric will outline her butt perfectly. I can see Rachel Bilson rocking this dress with a pair of motorcycle boots.

Option #3
The last look is fashionable and modern. The silhouette is casual and airy while the subtle sparkle makes it special. The color will remind people that she is the bride and the silk will show off her slim figure as she moves. (Plus, no one will notice the attribute that she is least comfortable with!) The billowy sleeves and floor length silhouette add a hint of drama and elegance. It's perfect for a casual evening in the spring. Katie Holmes (or any other girl next door) would certainly wear this on a special occasion.

So readers, which dress would you choose? Stay tuned and I will update you on her final choice! [Click on any of the dresses to purchase.]

Thursday, April 28, 2011

I Dare You.

I am always looking for a way to simplify my beauty routine. However, I'm not always successful.

Light Colored Nail Polishes- Chips and smudges are less noticeable. And if you don't have time to get to the nail salon the following week, new nail growth is also less noticeable. (As compared to my favorite red polishes.) Bonus: these light shades make your fingers look longer and more feminine.

Tinted Moisturizer- Not moisturizing enough. And the makeup part seems to melt off my face or change color by midday.
Lip/Cheek Stains- Yes, they stay on all day. But they are so messy and need to be applied so carefully that my routine ends up taking longer. (Though I do love Benetint when I have some extra get ready time.)

Enter hot pink lipsticks, my new Hit. They are not for everyone, but don't knock them before you try them. They were one of the biggest trends on the runways for Spring/Summer 2011 and worth a try in your everyday. Here's why:

- A bright shade can simplify your beauty regime because you don't need to wear much else on your face. You can skip blush, powder, bronzer, even foundation because these shades tend to look better on a glowing (vs. matte) moisturized face anyway. 

- A bright lipstick can be the perfect pick me up on a grey rainy day. 

- A bright lipstick draws attention away from your eyes on a day when it looks like you haven't slept in a week. 

- A bright lipstick exudes confidence, which is always a good thing!

- A bright lipstick can act as an accessory on an otherwise understated look. Skip the jewelry one day!

All you really need to pull off hot pink lipstick is some mascara and concealer. (Loose powder is optional.) Just make sure you pick the right shade for you. For this 'runway' to 'realway' look, I chose a hot pink with bluish undertones. It is bright, but not fluorescent like some of those pictured above. It looks more like this one that Fergie is wearing.

Going to try a bright shade and not in a rush? Here are some tips to make your bold color last longer.  Start by powdering your lips. This acts like a primer that the color will adhere to better than a naked lip. Then try a lip stain or line your entire lip to avoid the dark edge that happens when the lipstick begins to wear off the center of your lips. Run lipstick over your lips one time and dab your finger to blend the color for best results.

My new favorite? It's called Cosmic Raspberry by Bobbi Brown. It is long wear formula and it has SPF 12. Click on 'My Favorite Things' for all of my favorites and links to buy.

So readers, what do you think? Do you dare?

Treat everyday like you are on the runway.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Window to a Woman

I have a clear memory of the day I decided that style would be a part of my life. As a child model with two sisters and a beautiful fashionable mother (also a former model), you could argue it was a natural progression. However, while style surrounded me, I didn't recognize how personal it was until I turned nine years old.

A fond memory of my childhood was the year I was allowed to stay up an hour later than my siblings because I was the oldest. I would look forward to that treasured hour of alone time with my mom, and on occasion, with my babysitter Kendra. It was magic hour! I felt so grown up. Kendra was gorgeous and a model herself. Thick black hair and flawless skin. Even on an evening of babysitting for 3 children under the age of 10, she was chic. I wish my memory of her weekly outfits was better, but I DO remember her purse.

It was always made of a soft black leather. I loved its weight and would run to get it for her anytime she needed it. During magic hour I would cross my fingers that she would pull out the two fashion magazines she was always carrying and let me look at one. It was my first introduction to a glossy publication. I would stare at the pages of ELLE and absorb them like a sponge. (I would have climbed in the magazine had it been possible!) I would ask to try her lipstick and pretend to use her compact. Even at nine, Chanel felt glamourous. Kendra's was the only purse I saw the contents of, other than my mothers, and the style within it excited me. I couldn't wait to grow up and have a place for all of my own pretty things. Is that not one of the perks of being a woman?

If eyes are the window to the soul, I think handbags are the window to a woman. Here is mine:

It's no wonder that one of my favorite handbags is this soft black leather Marc Jacobs Striped Hudson bag from 2006. I have my own Chanel compact now, and yes, I carry ELLE everywhere (albeit on my IPad).

I've added some of my own style necessities:

1. L'Occitane Shea Butter Hand Cream-  Handling hangers all day long can dry out my already dry hands. This is the perfect remedy.

2. France Luxe Hair Stick in Caramel Horn- I'm not a ponytail girl, but I always carry one of these in my hair color for the perfect quick messy updo.

3. YSL Lipgloss- Why do they always discontinue your favorite color?

4. Christian Louboutin high heel shoe key ring- A gift with a pair of Louboutins from my fiance. I love the long leather cord that I can wear on my wrist when my hand are full.

5. CVS Hand Sanitizing Wipes- The wipes are neater than a bottle that can leak. And I am a neat freak with my stuff.

6. Moleskine Volant X-small Ruled Notebook- Great place to jot down my grocery list, a phone number, or whatever inspires me during the day. I have more Moleskines than I care to admit.

7. Nars Lipstick- My absolute favorite. I always have red, a pastel pink, and a rosy nude that I layer depending on my mood that day. I choose bright on grey days.

8. Prada Wallet- A Christmas gift from my mom five years ago. It still looks brand new and I love the zipper! She is the best.

9. Michael Kors Jet Set Case for IPad- The patent is great because I can wipe it down with a damp cloth if when it gets dirty (which it does in pretty much every coffee house I sit down in). It also has a stand that comes in handy when I am watching fashion shows.

10. Anya Hindmarch Makeup Case- More black with gold zippers, and cute labels "make-up" and "brushes" on the two pockets. All the space I need.

And don't forget the Retractable Sharpie (a must on stylist jobs), IPhone, Chanel compact (stylish enough when I need to powder my nose in public), IPad, business cards, Moisturizing Chapstik (I am addicted), and sunglasses of choice... Right now I'm digging these Caramel colored round 70's inspired Prada ones. As you may have guessed, black and gold always make me smile. They are so classic, elegant, and dramatic at the same time.

[Epi-pen and Benadryl- Unless you or one of your children have life threatening allergies, I will assume these are not in your handbag.]

(Click on the item name for link to buy!)

So there is your window to me. What about you? What do the contents of your handbag say about you and your personal style?

Treat everyday like you are on the runway.


Sorry I have been away. The holiday season and new year brought many surprises. I got engaged! I'm planning a wedding. My fiances computer broke and he had to edit his projects on mine and blogging from my IPad proved difficult. I have been a busy stylist. But no complaints. Happy to be back and inspired by spring after a brutal winter. Welcome back to you too. I hope you will keep reading.