Style Testimony

"...always unpractical, ever-changing,

always inappropriate and no,

I don't own flats."

                                     -Christina Dee


Fashion has always been a part of my life. I was born with the creative gene; always concocting things with my bedazzler, scrapbooking, designing Barbie’s apparel and her home. I got the creativity from my mom, of course. From then til’ now, I found style a way to express my creativity. There was always new fabric combinations I wanted to try, new color palettes to coordinate and new ways to decorate my hair. Besides Barbies and the usual that spark most fashion lovers, I began my quest for style through Shirley Temple movies. I wanted to own her style badly, as a child, but made due with the dresses my grandmother made me. Although I had never a desire to pattern-make or sew, I always had a passion to style. Before wanting to be in the fashion industry, I wanted to be a cake decorator. My family friend’s wife had made me a Barbie cake one year for my birthday and I was entirely obsessed with the detailing on Barbie’s “outfit”. I went over to their home one day and I helped her make another; obsessing over what she wore. After realizing I couldn’t just make Barbie cakes, I turned to event/wedding planning after watching the movie, The Wedding Planner. I had been a party planner since I was 7, after arranging my first birthday sleepover. I loved every aspect of it; designing the invitation, choosing decorations, crafting up fun party games, choosing a “unique” cake (including “mud” cups, Jell-O cake, etc.), and designing a theme along with it. I was obsessed. I did one every year including a fashion-themed sleepover, complete with a fashion show, “pin the clothes on the models” (editorial cut-outs), etc. But down the road, into my teens, I started getting bored with event planning. Although I still planned some amazing parties including my sweet sixteen, fashion and style took over.

 

I got my first job at 15, working at a coffee shop. After feeling what a paycheck was like, shopping took over. I usually spent my entire paycheck, shopping at the only thing around; the mall. Yet, I always found a way, on a limited paycheck, to create very coordinated, diverse looks. From the beginning til’ now, I don’t and didn’t repeat outfits. I always found things to be diverse in nature, creating looks seamlessly. From there, I decided I should be a buyer. I loved the idea of picking out trends and dictating what consumers will like. One day, my aunt, a previous buyer, informed me it wasn’t like I thought. It was all about choosing buttons and thread, not just picking out bundles of clothing. It definitely deterred me from wanting to pursue that dream. Yet, to this day, I realize that really isn’t a bad thing. In fact, it’s more enticing to know that everything is selected by me.

 

After convincing my parents that I was destined to be in fashion, I pursued FIDM, the Fashion Institute for Design and Merchandising. After four years of working with my advisor, Aileen, I gave up on that, realizing that most people I knew who graduated from there, weren’t really doing anything with their degree. I decided after a few years of CC, I would pursue my dream, degreeless. After all, my knowledge was creativity, not science.

 

I moved to Los Angeles, became a manager for a trendy major retailer boutique and learned all about styling. The more I dabbled in it, the more I fell in love. Fashion was merely a background; it was about style. It was all about how you portray yourself. Although that company didn’t teach me my idea of styling; they taught me the importance of wearing a complete outfit. It’s what sets you apart from the rest, giving you a unique identity. How boring is jeans and a t-shirt? Why not add some vintage jewelry, a slouchy beanie, combat boots and a structured clutch? It’s about adding the key elements.

 

After leaving Los Angeles, I started my search to find my purpose; personal styling. I wanted to keep it more personal less commercial, like when I was styling for a major television show. I really liked working one on one with the client, finding out her needs and helping her build a better closet. While doing my wardrobe consulting, I also helped style an amateur clothing & accessories line. I used my styling expertise on her runway and fall lookbook. It helped me to work with another amateur, to see things eye-to-eye. Fortunately for me, I found a different venue to express my style. I started working for a French boutique as their store manager. It helps me to stay in retail, keeping me up to speed on all the latest in the industry, and learning more from a designers end since the owner is a designer herself. It helps me to work for her because I’m learning what works and what doesn’t, how to fit, how to alter, how to judge and how to be a real, true, retailer.

 

My style is ever-changing, ever-evolving caused by my surroundings, my personality, and my environment. The one thing that is ever-present in my style is my old-new combination. I’m a huge spender when it comes to vintage, don’t like to drop money at the usual places and find the best style in my closet, not in any store on any mannequin.