Style Secret: Choose a Style Icon

sketch1488914234287 (1)2Maybe it’s my background of being an artist (a term I use loosely considering my number one patron is my mother) but I believe inspiration is key to creating anything worthwhile. This includes creating a spectacular wardrobe. One of the easiest way to gather inspiration for your wardrobe is to choose a style icon, or a combination of multiple. These icons could include celebrities, fashion bloggers, a family member, or the fabulous mature woman with snow-white pixie-cut hair, red lipstick, and a crisp, starched collar that you see every morning at Panera (true story). Choosing a style icon serves as a continuous source of inspiration, even if you choose someone who is no longer in the public eye, such as Marilyn Monroe, I continue to find pictures and films of hers that I hadn’t discovered before.

In a perfect world, your style icons may include people with similar body types, coloring, and lifestyle. In the real world, go crazy. Find people that really excite you, while at the same time, still seeing a part of yourself in their style. For example, one of my favorite personal style icons is Audrey Hepburn, I love her elegance, and clean but feminine lines of the 50’s, as well as her embrace of bold colors and silhouettes of the 60’s. I mean, c’mon, she was best friends with Dior. As you can imagine, I have no reason to walk around in a couture Dior gown, but I love the essence of her look, her persona. Those are the kinds of elements I try to incorporate in my personal style. Other icons of mine include, Olivia Palermo, Blair Eadie, and Jenna Lyons.

Imagery is so much more powerful than words, like, “I want to look chic,” or “stylish,” or “cute.” Okay, ready? Compare that former sentence to, “I want to look like Audrey Hepburn when she meets her dream bae on a tennis court in a full-length gown in the middle of the night. You know, fabulous but relatable.”  So that may have been oddly specific, nonetheless, having a particular person for example will have a similar effect. When you begin to fill your brain with inspirational images, it will automatically be drawn to like-aesthetics.

Creating a great wardrobe does not mean reinventing the wheel; you can take a cue from other stylish individuals, put what you’ve liked and learned in your magical mixing pot, and end up creating something uniquely you. Because we’re not about copy-catting here, we’re here to create something really special and personal to you. So, once you find your style icons, find a way to document them. You could add pictures of them in your favorite outfits to your Pinterest board, cut out pictures of them from magazines and paste them on an inspiration board, or it could just be as simple as a single photograph taped to your bedroom wall (but not like in a creepy, shrine-like way. Just keep them somewhere that will remind you of what you’re going for).

The key is to remain inspired, when I feel directionless I always have trouble figuring out what to where. But when I see one of my favorite pictures of my style icon or just a great outfit, suddenly getting dressed seems is exciting, like a creative process. My closet becomes a wonderland…Maybe a little dramatic until I get a walk-in closet. Point is, you have to know what you like before you can choose what you like. And who knows, maybe you’ll end up serving as inspiration to someone else along the way.


Staples and Seasonal Clothing: The Magic is in the Mix

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If you have read my “Finding & Defining Your Style” post, you’ve already had a glimpse of some of my style staples, and the new summer clothes I hope to add to my closet. I adore a neon red, as well as a bright, sunny yellow, and this season’s popular candy pinks are also on my shopping list. I know what you’re thinking: I’m probably a clown as my day job. Rest assured, this is not the case, and it is possible to embrace juvenile colors without looking like you’re color blind.

Along with these cheery colors I also love adding black, white, navy, nude, denim, leopard, and chambray to my wardrobe. So it’s important to get yourself some great staples, to wear with each other as well as with seasonal/bold/trendy pieces. Like a great pair of jeans, or a crisp white button down shirt, or timeless black heels. But another thing, just because an item of clothing is a staple to one person, does not mean it is a staple for another. So your staples might be completely different from mine, depending on your taste, lifestyle, age, build, and so on. And that’s perfectly okay, stick to your staples, or go out and figure what your staples are.

Staples are also season-less, so just because you love your heavy wool plaid pants, does not mean you should be wearing them to the office in the dead of summer. Conclusion: they are not a staple. Honestly, whenever I’m deciding whether a piece of clothing is appropriate to wear during a season, I always fall back on the weight of the material. Like, yes, a white button down is season-less, but not if it’s made out of linen (one of the most breathable fabrics–a stiff breeze will make you feel like you have nothing on).

But what’s really important, is to take risks and try things you wouldn’t normally try. I have been so pleasantly surprised by going outside my comfort zone, like learning that red pants paired with a blue pajama top with red piping and matching red shoes is not too much, and is in fact incredibly sharp. Or trying pattern on pattern, or color on color. Some of the chicest looking outfits are completely monochromatic or color blocked with bold colors. So I am going to pair my red mini skirt with a pale pink tee shirt, and create something that’s simple, comfortable, but exciting. I’ll also pair my black bell-sleeve top (I love it for the fall because it’s kind of “witchy”) with black flat espadrilles to make it relevant to the summer season. And with that being said, I’ll also wear a baby pink sweater in the winter, because there is nothing I love more than to wear spring-y colors during the dreary, chilly months.  So challenge your principles and preconceived notions of this color or style being “too summery” or “a clashing of colors.”

However, I do have some limits, like those furry pom pom key chains should be solely designated for fall/winter, sorry not sorry.


Is This “Dirty Word” a Do or a Don’t?

finished sandalsEven if you are only slightly obsessed with Anna Wintour and have a internet connection, you have probably seen that she considers the word “trend” a “dirty word.” Which seems like somewhat of a hypocritical statement; Anna Wintour being the Editor-in-Chief of a magazine that is practically the birthplace of trends. However, the queen of fashion (all hail Anna!) makes this statement because she believes fashion is about an individual’s character, not what’s “in” and that everyone should wear it.

I absolutely embrace this belief of individual style being the ultimate goal instead of owning the “newest” or “trendiest” clothes. But with that being said, you are bound to be wearing “trends” if you meant to or not. So, if you can’t escape trends (if you did you would have to buy new un-trendy clothes every month, which isn’t that just as bad a buying trendy clothes every month?), how do you pick what trends are right for you?

Trends are easy traps to fall into; they are new and exciting. It’s very simple to feel a “love at first sight” kind of moment with a trend, only to find a few months later seeing that trendy item again makes you say to yourself, “what was I thinking?!” The best way to avoid this, is to really get to know you. What you like, what you feel comfortable in, what you want to say to the world. When you have a better sense of yourself, it’s easy to tell if a “trendy” item is just a fading fad or will become a part of your signature style. You have to see yourself wearing it long after it’s trendy days are over, and not feel like a fool or outdated.

If you read my last post, I spoke about wanting to embrace the sunny yellow and pastel pink trend; because these are some of my favorite colors to see and wear. Since I already love these colors, I’ll continue to wear them. In the opposite case, such as the bohemian, “Coachella,” trend that’s been going strong for a few years now, I just can’t get into it. Trust me, I tried flowy tops and fringe-everything, and looked the part because that’s what was “in.” But I easily tire of these things instead of getting excited to wear them. Therefore, I am left with the I-have-nothing-to-wear dilemma.

So though there are countless of other colors and trends this upcoming season, these flowery shades are the ones that really speak to me. It’s important to pick and choose the trends that you like best/work best for you, if any at all! And if you can’t or don’t want to participate in a trend, that’s okay too (even preferable to the most influential tastemakers).


The First Step to Finding & Defining Your Style

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With summer fashion now in stores full swing, I have finally decided to start narrowing down what exactly I want my summer wardrobe to look like. I’m glad that I waited to see what stores were offering and what trends are…trending. It’s all apart of gathering inspiration, the first step to creating a style that’s irrepressibly you. i.e. the foundation to every great wardrobe.

Which brings me to addressing the importance of cultivating inspiration. When you do not have a clear vision of what you want your wardrobe to look like or how you want to present yourself to the world, it’s almost unavoidable to buy things on impulse, have a closet of miss-matched clothes, or be left with outfits that you feel don’t represent you. No wonder Pinterest was an explosion of popularity on the internet, it’s just about the easiest way to find and store inspiration. This would be my preferred method, but just because it works for me, doesn’t mean it’s the best for everyone. There are other great ways to cultivate inspiration, whether it’s Polyvore, books, movies, magazines, or the good, old-fashioned inspiration board, still the preferred choice by most designers and creatives. Whatever your jam, it’s important that you keep this source of inspiration easily accessible and reference often. Having this visual reference of what you’re interested in makes choosing clothes so much simpler, it’s easy to see if an item goes with the vibe or function your going for, or if it just doesn’t work with your wardrobe.

Last season I started testing choosing inspiration for my wardrobe instead of just buying on impulse; and by choosing inspiration beforehand, I was able to strategize how everything would work together and what wouldn’t work at all. For winter I chose festive tartans such as Stewart plaid and bright colors like candy apple red and sunny yellow (you can take a look at my inspiration board here). Though the Christmas-y plaids are purely seasonal, yellow and red remain as some of my favorite colors to wear, so you will definitely see them in my wardrobe throughout the year.

Yellow is also a popular color this summer, as well as pastel pinks. Along with an emphasis on yellow and pink, other elements I want to include in my summer wardrobe include gingham plaid, off-the-shoulder styles, distressed/paint splattered jeans, and to top it all off, a straw boater hat (the perfect walk-in-the-park-in-a-summer-dress hat–SO Édouard Manet!). Next, I will pick the perfect pieces to reflect my inspiration, strategize how they will all go together, and voila! A wardrobe that is fun, functional, and inspired. And of course, I will keep you updated on here along the way.

To take a further look into my inspiration, simply click on this link. You can even stay updated with everything that inspires me by following me on Pinterest (I assure you, there will be more to come).


Welcome, let’s get to know each other…



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.