Welcome to The Tastemaker Strategy, hopefully we’ll be seeing a lot of each other. Before we dive into the thick of things, I thought it would be appropriate if I told you a little bit about myself. What better way to do that than to start with the subject at hand; fashion.
(You can also skip this post and check out the abbreviated version here)
I remember the exact series of events that generated my interest in the world of fashion. I was 13 and up until that age I wanted to make a career of becoming an artist. I had been saying I wanted to be one from my earliest memories, but either the unstable reality of being an artist started to resonate, or the world of fashion was so awe-inspiring, that I made a decision that I wanted to be apart of it. Or maybe both.
I started watching Project Runway when Bravo had a marathon and binged watched it the entire day. Ever since then I’ve been hooked (though they nearly lost me as a viewer when Gretchen won season 8). Right about the same time The Devil Wears Prada came out in theaters, and that pretty much sealed my fate. That movie can only make a person feel one of two ways; make one want to run screaming from a career in fashion, or make one want to dive into the fashion realm even more. It is the juxtaposition of glamour, creativity; and fast-paced, committed hard work, that drew me. It’s almost an oxymoron.
The Devil Wears Prada has remained one of my favorite movies since, and has turned me into a fashion documentary and book junkie. And with each documentary or book, I fall more and more in love with the world of fashion. It is probably the artist in me, mixed with the determination of not living on a struggling-artist salary.
Why I Decided to Write a Blog
When I came of age to get a job, working in clothing retail at my favorite store seemed like the logical choice. I adored it. The clothing, the people, the discount, an 18 year old’s dream. Since then I have worked for multiple retailing companies, between salesperson, management, and visual merchandising. With each new company, a different part of me emerged. The bohemian college student, the professional department store salesperson, the quirky little boutique manager, and so on.
I was also an impulse buyer, falling in love with a piece of clothing for the color, pattern, or because it was the latest trend. Because of this strategy, dressing five days a week for work was strenuous; my closest was a conglomerate of passing fads and ideas. I would buy a piece then have to go out and buy another piece just to create a single outfit. I was on a never-ending search to find pieces to complete an outfit, essentially left with a series of unfinished projects. Fashion wasn’t fun anymore, it became a tedious task to get dressed or make heads or tails of what my wardrobe needed. I soon started fantasizing about a mix and match, Garanimals-like, wardrobe, where I could practically pick out an outfit blind folded and still look good.
However, a major change would lead me to leaving this idea of a mix and match wardrobe on the table for about a year. I made an upward move in my career at a new company, I still worked in clothing retail, but this company was unlike any other company I had worked for. This company had uniforms. I adjusted to the lifestyle change eventually, luckily I was able to wear jeans to work, and I actually had to wear sneakers; imagine, comfortable shoes to work!
It became easy, I could get dressed in five minutes, and I even started wearing less make-up (sometimes none as all) and doing my hair less (a messy bun became my MO. So much so, that co-workers couldn’t recognize me with my hair down). So, here I was, the fashion-loving girl, wearing a baggy uniform shirt (that was poorly ventilated), sneakers, and maybe some mascara and a raggidy top-knot.
I thought that I actually enjoyed the change; I could get ready in ten minutes compared to my old routine of an hour and a half. Little did I realize, I lost all joy in fashion. Loosing sight of fashion was like loosing a part of myself. I became doubtful as to whether I could get back in the swing of things, that part of myself back, when I was approached about a position at a new company. This company happened to be my all-time favorite clothing company, I loved everything about its aesthetic.
Despite my doubts, I interviewed for the position and made the switch to my dream clothing company when I was offered the job. It was definitely a transition; I went from wearing the same uniform five days a week to having to create impeccable outfits five days a week. This was when I reintroduced myself to the idea of a mix and match wardrobe, and I began to think about and buy clothes differently–for the better.
Here, I will share all the lessons I’ve learned from my own experience, to finding my own style, to dressing clients, as well as surprisingly useful style tips I’ve gained from visual merchandising. I hope you find them as useful as I have. But by no means take these suggestions as “rules,” after all, rules placed on fashion beg to be broken.