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CategoryAll posts under‘Body Types: Curvy‘

My Life as a Fashion Maven

I am a fashion maven. Not a stylist, not a consultant, but a maven. 

The definition of maven reads as follows: One who is experienced or knowledgable in a specific subject; an expert or a connoisseur. After years of being a fashion stylist, I realized that what I now did was much more than that. The goal of my current business is not just to dress people, but to teach them how to do it on their own through my expertise. I have gathered a ridiculous amount of information in my almost 15 years of running this business and nothing gives me more joy then sharing my absurd knowledge with the masses.

 amycloset

 

My career has seen many twists and turns. At this point I literally think I have seen and done it all. People always ask me how I got into this business, how I maintain my client list, so on and so forth. I decided it was time to tell the story, to answer all of the questions about this crazy career that I essentially decided to get into with no formal training or experience. When you are 23 and you decide you want to do something, you do it. You have no fear of failing and the unknown is everything, so how can it be scary? You have no stability in life yet so instability is your norm. That is the best way to start a business my friends, with no back-up plan so you have no choice but to succeed.

Firstly I had to decide who and what I was about. I thought I was going to be a photo shoot stylist. I had moved to Chicago after college in Boston with NO connections, but isn’t that what Google is for? I literally sat at my computer and looked up fashion stylists and asked for advice or opportunities. Chi-town peeps are good people so they actually responded to me. I was introduced to an agent who would go on to represent me for commercial work. This proved to be a great introduction, but let me be clear, in all my years of photo shoot styling it barely added up to paying my rent. It is grueling work that always seems to be “for your portfolio”. Unfortunately that does not feed me (my stomach or my shopping habit).

 

 

sketches

 

Although I literally made no money, the beauty of that connection is that my lovely agent went over to Harpo (that’s Oprah’s production company for those that live in a hole). Remember, I was in Chicago at the time where she was filming her show. I got an amazing call from my former agent one day asking if I wanted to come to Oprah’s studios and meet a senior producer about doing “behind the scenes makeovers”. Um, yes please. When I arrived, the producer asked if I worked with individuals and I said yes. I figured it was a little white lie since that didn’t seem too far out of my wheelhouse even though I had never officially done it before. And voila, my first personal client was born.

This was a whole new world to me. Now I didn’t have to rely on an agent to call me with a job, I could build my own business with personal clients. First up, branding. I had to create a logo for my business so I began to question who I wanted to target. I had to build a website (Ok, I hired someone to do it) and start marketing the hell out of myself. My original logo included the girl to the right who obviously was an image created in my likeness. I grew to hate this bitch. Why is she so damn perky?? Eventually I re-did my branding years later and switched to a more sophisticated fashion sketch. I am SO sophisticated yo.

My Life As a Stylist collage

 

Photo shoots were mostly a thing of the past, but I did enjoy doing them every now and then while I was building my business. They looked great on my site and showed off my more creative side since you can really get crazy when you are telling a “fashion story”. That gal on the top left is from one of my early shoots. WTF. Why did I wrap tulle around her waist and put a dirty white trench coat on her? Was this story about ugly dressing? Ah, live and learn. But hey, I got to style Kate Moss. Yup, that is definitely the one and only supermodel Kate Moss in the top right shot. Ok, I was actually the assistant on that shoot, but it was one of the most surreal moments of my life. She was nice as hell and running around naked because she doesn’t give a shit. She was super friendly and I still have a girl crush on her. The rest of the images are from one of many magazine spreads I did much later in my career. When you are in NYC you have access to everything fabulous so you can really go all out with the styling. As much as I love doing shoots, they really pay jack shit and the amount of work is cray. I am too old and too materialistic to work for donuts.

 

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One of my favorite thing to do is host fashion events. This one was at a Bloomingdales in Short Hills, NJ. As you can see, my face is on that poster. I am sure you can imagine this was highly entertaining for me. For this particular event I was literally just walking around assisting customers with styling possible purchases. Seriously, it was great! You get paid very well for them to basically use your name and image to promote an event. I have also hosted fashion shows at Macy’s before which is WAY more work. Showing up and smiling is one thing, putting together 20 looks for a runway show is an entirely different beast.

 

How I became a stylist 7

 

Over the years I have gone on television a bunch of times. Sometimes I am just commentating on trends or awards show style and other times I am pushing products that someone has paid me to do. I’ve got to be honest, there is good money in product pushing, but talking about bad fashion on a red carpet gives me a certain kind of high. I have also been on not one, but two reality shows. Seriously, I couldn’t make that up. The picture above is from a segment on Arise 360 I did with a fellow cast member from a show called Million Dollar Shoppers on Lifetime. It was crazy. Filming that show took years off my life. People think being on a television show is the most glamorous thing in the world, but I have never worked harder on anything in my life. You never stop working in production, the hours are insane. The glamour of it after the fact is definitely fun, but the journey to red carpet arrival is like climbing a mountain. A really big mountain.

 SassNStyleworkshop

 

In addition to hosting events, I also do Sass N Style workshops. This is the biggest one I ever did with 250 people in attendance. I had 2 models, a man and a woman, that I styled to showcase the concepts I was highlighting. I LOVE talking about style to large audiences, both men and women, of all different shapes, sizes, lifestyles and socio-economic backgrounds. Everyone gains something different from attending and leaves with a better sense of understanding their body and how to dress it. It truly is the best feeling when attendees reach out to me after the workshop to tell me how it has affected their confidence. It is the reason I do what I do, it is why I now call myself a maven!

 

Styling:reality show

As I mentioned, I do love the glamorous part of my job. I am mostly running around in the trenches, but on occasion, I do get to be in front of the camera or walk a red carpet. The picture on the left is from the first reality show I did with Tommy Hilfiger on CBS called “The Cut”. How funny do I look? That picture never looked like me, I am not a pouty kind of gal. It was my press shot that didn’t get much airtime since I was kicked off first. Oh yea, I lasted 5 days before I was sent to no-where New Jersey to rot away in a hotel. Note to readers: If you are on a competition reality show you are not allowed to go home when you get kicked off. You are sent to a far off place until filming is done. That is where all the crazy happens because you start to lose your mind and every 3 days another reality show loser shows up. That is a whole other very insane blog post…. The image to the right is a truly happy moment. I was all dolled up and on a very real red carpet for Million Dollar Shoppers in a fancy dress (that I returned the next day). No one ever actually owns the dresses they wear on the red carpet!

Fashion styling is hard work for the most part, you are lugging things, up long hours, killing yourself physically and smiling for your clients at the same time. With that said, imagining myself in a cubicle or doing a “regular job” seems insane. I realized early on in my career based life that I was going to live a life outside of the box, that my creativity was going to be the driving force behind my life. Don’t ever let society tell you what you can do, be the master of your own journey.

Date Night Looks

Planning an outfit for a big date can be torture.

So let me make this whole date night thing easy for you. The first important question is what number date is it? Are you meeting for the first time? Are you 5 dates in? Is your husband finally taking you on that date he promised you?? You want to look hot no matter what, but appropriate. The other big question is, where are you going? Are we talking dinner here or an evening of libations galore. Note to my readers: Too many libations make for bad date decisions. Just a personal note from my personal history:)

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The ensemble above is a great example of a perfect first date outfit. It is simple, stylish and sexy. You are showing off your figure without giving it all away. You want them to want more ladies! A skinny pair of jeans is always a perfect fit for meeting someone for the first time. Boys usually aren’t going to be dressed to the 9′s (until you fix them) so you don’t want to make them uncomfortable with your over the top fabulousness. Choose a heel height based on your date’s height. Usually you know this going in because the whole world now meets people on the internet and you learn how tall they are first. If you don’t know going in, pick a smaller heel or even a sexy flat if you are comfortable with it. Men rarely like having a first impression being you towering over them…..

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This can also pass for a first date look. It is slightly more casual because the top is so flowy, but I assure you that it is actually also low-cut. Again, you are showing off without SHOWING OFF. This outfit is great for something a little more low key or earlier in the day. If it is a daytime date you can always switch to a flat shoe and a bigger bag.

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This look is taking us into the evening most likely on a date past number one or two. You definitely now know the person you are meeting in this outfit. You are aware of their style and what looks appropriate next to them. Yes, you want to dress appropriately for the person that you are with. I know this might sound crazy, but you can’t show up all super edgy or crazy funky and they are looking like they are going to the yacht club. I am not suggesting that you shouldn’t be yourself, I am just saying that your style should encourage them to be their best without overshadowing them or looking mis-matched.

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This next date outfit says, “Take me out now husband, I am still your sexy-ass wife who needs to be courted no matter how long we have been together.” I always joke with my female client’s husbands that I am creating outfits for date night so they better start planning. This look is fun, playful and sophisticated. And did I mention sexy? Yup, bring the sexy back, your husband will appreciate it.

date night look

Here are some great items that can either be used all together to create a great first date look or individually. Your go-to pieces to own that are no fail in any situation with any date are always going to be skinny jeans, a cute neutral blouse, a sassy jacket, a clutch and a mid-height heeled shoe. You can mix and match these pieces with everything in your wardrobe to get that, “I just threw this together, but I am a sexy bitch” look. Obviously that is professional terminology for trapping a man with your fabulous style:)

clutchblouseskinny jeans, leather bomber, open toe booties

10 Items to Restyle a White T and Jeans

Who doesn’t want to look ultra cool in their white T and jeans?

It is the ultimate easy going, “I don’t care, I just threw this on”, cool girl look. So why do so many people just look like schlubs running to Walmart, sloppy, sad and unkept? Let me assist you ladies with this and have you looking like the super model I know you can be…. Even when you are stocking up on Charmin at Target.

 

 

The key to being absolutely fabulous in the most basic white T and jeans is to own the right items to restyle it over and over and over again. In this episode of Sass N Style I pulled 10 amazing foundation items from my fav, Lord & Taylor, to show you quick and easy ways to restyle your look. Let me be clear, these foundation items are all versions of things every woman should have in her closet. You might not own everything and it might not look exactly like the 10 items I chose, but you should find enough similarities that you can re-create a LOT of these looks. And if not, feel inspired to go to Lord & Taylor and pick yourself up a few fun and fabulous items that will go the styling distance.

white t and jeans 3

You can find almost all of these items at Lord & Taylor. They offer cute and moderately priced pieces that can spice up any wardrobe. The 10 items I chose represent basic categories that every woman should own. This video shows that you can pretty much restyle anything if you own the correct foundation pieces. Choosing a white T and jeans as the base for this tutorial was a request from a reader (thanks Amber!) who pondered how so many people look so cool so easily? It’s true, there are those that just can and those that struggle with what seems so simple once you see the final product. This episode of Sass N Style should allow you to find quick take-away tips that will have your look feeling refreshed, confident and fun. Remember, not every look is for every body or lifestyle, choose the ones that speak to you.

scarf, necklaceleather jacket, booties, bateau neck sweater

white t and jeans 2

I want your life to be easy, at least when you are getting dressed. I always say to my clients, “This is fashion, not brain surgery, it is meant to be fun!” Remember this when you want to punch a hole through the wall because you can’t seem to find the right outfit. If you build your fashion house properly, you can restyle your white T and jeans over and over and over and over and over….. You get the picture. Be the cool, easy going girl in the white T and jeans you always knew you could be.

ballet flatsbeaded bracelet, blazerpointed toe pumps, cardigan

The BEST Spring Shoes

Different shoes can change your look instantly.

I strongly promote owning a LOT of shoes. I am the first one to tell people they need to clean out their closet and only keep what they truly love, so LOVE all your shoes. It is an amazing game to put on a full outfit and continue to change out the shoes over and over creating completely different looks. Seriously, you can be going to brunch, out to dinner with friends or have a coffee meeting ALL wearing the same look, but changing out the shoes. It’s awesome.

 

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The shoes above are definitely one of my favorite pairs. I got them at least 5 years ago before it became super trendy to own studded loafers and the entire world started buying cheap versions of my amazing pair by Mauro Leone from Italy. I went all the way to Milan to grab these babies. Owning color shoes is a fun and necessary evil. People often shy away from super fun shoes because they “have nothing to wear them with”. Not true. The best way to style them is to keep the rest of your look fairly neutral. Make your shoes the pop piece and have them stand out (as they should).

amy shoes 2

 

High heels are the devil. There, I said it. I actually found out at a museum exhibit called “Killer Heels” that men invented this stupid concept. Now, let me also say that high heels are freakin’ hot and sometimes you have to succumb to the devil himself. Take this caged pair from Michael Kors as an example. I not only love how they look, but they are medium comfortable. Whoever says their heels are really cozy is lying.  You have to be true to yourself, if the shoe is not comfortable when you are trying it on, it is not magically going to “break in”. I don’t care how cute it is, you will never wear them. 

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Now this is a style I can really learn to love, slip on sneakers! I am all about the athleisure trend going on right now. My line of work requires me to not only be on my feet for hours at a time, but often times I am literally running. Wearing even a ballet flat can make me want to cry by the end of the day. Obviously you have to have a flexible career style to pull these off Monday through Friday, but everyone can love these bad boys on the weekend. Forget a basic sneaker, up the ante of your casual chic style by buying an amazing pair of dressy sneakers.

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Black and white everything is in and it isn’t a fad. I am obsessed with fun and interesting neutrals. Both of these shoe options can add a touch of fun to your look without competing with it. I am kind of aggravated that the Birkenstock style fad is still going on, but at least these Kate Spade’s are doing it a little justice. They are almost making it look cool:) Espadrilles are the biggest trend right now in spring and summer footwear. I am obsessed with this pattern because they are a stand-alone interesting shoe, but they can actually be styled with just about anything. Both of these options are not only stylish, but they are comfortable!!!!

Perfect Spring Shoe

So let’s build this shoe collection together. Because ladies, it IS a collection. You are not meant to buy everything all at one time, but you should definitely have the basics within each category. What are the basics and what are the categories you ask? Well let me tell you (I am so good at it). The basics include having a neutral (think metallic or nude), black and a color option within each category. For those that are not mathmaticians, this means 3 pairs per category. It gives you the maximum styling capability. Choosing to buy all 3 basics has to be realistic for your personal lifestyle. For example, I do not need LOTS of high heels because my life is more comfortable. Now for the categories to create the perfect spring shoe collection:

  • Flats, Loafers or Espadrilles
  • Cool Sneakers (No need to buy 3 of these unless your lifestyle calls for it)
  • High heels (Again, does your realistic life need 3 pairs?)
  • Sandals with Closure (This means that they buckle or zip in some fashion, they are NOT flip flops)
  • Flip Flop (You most likely do not need 3 pairs)

 

That should get you not only through spring, but well into summer. A collection is meant to take time, have patience and know that you will eventually find your perfect pair of shoes.

 

slip on sneaker, espadrilles, color block loafers, crisscross strap sandal, cut out heeled sandal

Your IT Bag

Your bag is like the cherry on top of the sundae of your outfit. Basically, it can make or break it.

I believe in owning a fabulous bag. It is, in my professional opinion, the most important element of any look (except possibly your winter coat). If you are one of the millions of people who DO NOT switch their bag everyday, then it is DEFINITELY the most important element. This means that you should not only absolutely love it, but it should be completely functional. Before choosing your IT bag, ask yourself what you use it for. Do you carry a laptop? Do you lug around file folders? Are you constantly carrying all of your children’s random things? Also, what type of strap works for you? Typically there are three options: Hands-free cross body style, over-the-shoulder and shorter straps that ONLY go over your forearm. Owning a bag that is specifically functional for your life will make you love your it even more.

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Another very important thing about choosing your IT bag is understanding cost per wear. Basically, how often are you going to wear it? If you never switch your bag out, spend more. If you use different bags everyday, spend less. No matter what the answer, it should still be quality. The bag in the picture above is the biggest splurge I have every made. It is a Christian Louboutin, but of course I got it on sale at Saks. Still, it is WAY more then I have ever spent on one item. And guess what, it is my best purchase ever. Why you ask? Because it is not only completely functional for my life, but it goes with everything I own and is totally my style.

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This bag was also a splurge, but I still got it on sale at Nordstrom Rack. It is Jimmy Choo and it is awesome. The camel color is one of my favorite neutrals because it goes with everything. It is a pretty simple style so it will be timeless. The truth is that expensive bags are truly just better. The wear and tear is WAY less then even middle priced bags going for anywhere from $250-$500. Choosing a price-point is very personal and I certainly understand that. Some of you reading this right now are saying, “That’s middle priced!!???!!!”, and the answer is yes. “Normal” bag prices can range from $30 all the way up to $5K. Prices go way beyond that, but that is the typical range.

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The bag above is from one of my favorite mid-range designers, Rebecca Minkoff. The best part is that you can find her at almost any discount designer store so I never pay full price. Are you recognizing a pattern yet? I strongly encourage you to ONLY buy a bag at a discount store like TJ Maxx, Nordstrom Rack and Off 5th. There is typically a fabulous selection and you can almost always get a good quality leather bag for half the price. I implore you not to buy fake leather, it looks fake! There is no need to spend full price on bags unless you are buying something like Chanel. You want the quality without the crazy price tag.

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As for nighttime, there are two types of bags that work for everything. The first is a larger leather clutch (or even smaller cross body style) for dinner or date night. You want something that is a little dressed up, but not some sparkly, crystal clutch. Using your daytime bag will lessen the look. It will instantly take something fabulous and drag it down to boring.

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The second style is for evening. Think small, sophisticated, sassy, classic and fabulous. I would stay away from leather. Satin is the usual option, but can end up looking a little tacky. Don’t buy the typical clutches in the “evening bag” section, it lessens your entire look into some cheap frock. There are so many fantastic options now for nighttime just like this sparkly, hard case option from Aldo. Plastic clutches are really in right now (I swear they are cooler then that sounds), but I think they are more of a fad so don’t invest too much. All I ask it that you keep it fun and modern. Be sure to make sure it actually fits your stuff and doesn’t just look cool. And, make sure it adds to your outfit, it should not be an after thought, it is part of your entire look!!

 

Your IT Bag

All of the styles above are great options based on what most ladies need in their wardrobe. Owning a basic black bucket bag is good for your every day bag, but beware, there are no pocket dividers in them. If you typically lose things in your bag, this might not be the best option for you. The bottom right luggage color bag is awesome because it has two handle options, over the shoulder AND cross body. There are a lot of designers doing this right now, yea! We should also not forget that having a stylish weekend getaway bag should be part of your repertoire. A great bag completes your outfit. Why would you put on something fabulous and then grab for the closest bag and ruin all that effort? You won’t (now:).

leather tote, evening clutchweekend bag, snakeskin clutchhobo bag