Major thrill in my life: Meeting Stacy London! While my interview with Stacy was quick, it was also fabulous. You have to understand, I looked forward to watching What Not to Wear at lunchtime when I first started staying home with my newborn baby 11 years ago. Stacy’s wit and style advice on the show led to a turning point for me. It was during those lunchtime episodes that I really started to realize I had a choice in what I wore, even if I wasn’t living in a big city, working outside the home, or working in fashion. I realized how important it was to my self-esteem, my confidence, to look my best each day while I cared for my family.
I wasn’t living as my truest self at the time. I was very frumpy. Pictures I recently saw of myself from when I was dating my husband confirm that. I am embarrassed! You see, I was very busy working full time, commuting to college and taking a full school load. I was in the kineseology program studying to be a physical education specialist. I wore workout clothes and tennis shoes most days and scrubs at work. I got very little sleep. I wore little, if any makeup, and was simply a mess. My hair was always brassy due to going to the wrong stylists for color.
After I began teaching as a PE teacher, my style and look had to be practical for a job on the field (literally, my classroom was the school yard field!). Shorts, tees, sweatpants, tennis shoes, visors, hair pulled back….you get the picture. The biggest improvement I made in my appearance during those years was to finally get my brows shaped. I remember a co-worker telling me how different and beautiful I looked but she couldn’t pin-point the change. I knew it was the brows, I just wish I would have realized what a difference it would make years earlier!
After I had a miscarriage, my 3rd year into teaching, I did something a little crazy…I signed up for expensive modeling classes. I thought if I wasn’t going to have a child right now, I better do what I’ve always wanted to do…model and sky dive, so I did both. The modeling classes were fun and I learned a few things but led nowhere because I didn’t assert myself (I now wish I had!). The agencies were so intimidating and my modeling coach told me that I was “too tan” due to my work outside. He also told me to dye my hair red so I’d be less typical “California girl”. ugh.
While I knew the time and financial commitment I spent on the classes was a burden to my husband and step-daughter, I also knew I needed that time for myself, to develop style and a personal beauty routine. I knew I wanted more than a “rush out the door” look that I had been wearing for the past 8 years. I started shopping for myself, allowing myself fitted, fun clothes that weren’t always the most practical choices. I started wearing heels! I took time for monthly facials and hunted for a better hair stylist.
About a year later, I got pregnant with my son. I wasn’t completely a “frumpy mom” at that point but my style was (and is) still evolving. Soon I was a full time, stay-at-home mom and my love for What Not to Wear began.
I realize now that it was during that lunchtime ritual that the seed for A Mom in Red High Heels was planted. While I loved makeup, clothes and pouring over fashion magazines since my pre-teen years, Stacy London affected my life with her work on What Not to Wear in a very big way. Meeting her in person was a dream come true!
I had but a few minutes to ask Stacy some style questions to pass on to you:
TG (me): Season’s must-haves?
SL: Fall 2012 is the season of texture. You can do all monochrome and mixed tweed with fur for a fantastic looking outfit! As far as color, teal, burgundy and mustard are more refined and mature than the cobalt, red and yellows we began the season with. These colors are muted and deep. Trends are guidelines and you need to decide what works for you. Pick and choose and find what suites you so you can stay visually and culturally relevant.
TG: What are the top boot styles for Fall 2012?
SL: There are three:
- To the Knee: flat, almost riding boot style with lace up fronts. Be very careful if you are shorter than 5’4″ or carry the weight in your bottom half because unless you have long legs, this is a tough look to pull off.
- Ankle Boots are back and BIG
- Cowboy-inspired: top stitching, suede and a stacked heel. It’s a heel that gives you height but is very comfortable to wear with a lot of stability. (We discussed how a stacked heel is a great style for busy moms to wear…style and stability!)
TG: What’s coming up for Westfield Style and Style for Hire (sfh)
SL: Westfield and Style for Hire are working on a continuing partnership. We’d love to bring you this (the Westfield Style Event and sfh services at Westfield Malls) kind of service on a constant basis. We want you to think of a stylist as a facilitator who can get you where you want to go. You may know your body type, style preferences and what stores you like to shop but you may want to use the service to help you find the one piece to buy rather than buying five others you don’t need. The service can help you invest and strategize your money well. Style for Hire shops the mall for you, we are not tied to one store or location.
TG: I love that sfh is not all about the name brands. Many of us are not in a position to buy brand names, even on sale. Style for Hire uses pieces from all price points.
SL: Absolutely, style should never be about the brand. It should be about the fit, whether it works for your age, your body, your lifestyle…whatever it is!
TG: How does someone become a sfh stylist?
SL: We hold interactive seminars in New York and we put people through real life situations. We have faux clients and closets and attendees have to work through various situations. Based on how stylists do, we determine if they are invited to Style for Hire network. We are really trying to make the requirements rigorous because there are no requirements for being a stylist and everyone says they are one. We are trying to create a standard by which to judge what a stylist can do for you.
Stacy and I chatted a bit more about her cat of 15 years then took a picture together. What is she like in person? The same as she is on TV. Personable, fun and talks fast! She is adorable. Completely adorable!
Although our time together was short, it meant a lot to me to meet Stacy. Her style advice works for every woman, is practical and can be applied even by the frumpiest of women (speaking from experience!). Get involved with Westfield and Style for Hire by starting with Stacy’s Style Manual (available free online) and learn more about the Westfield Style program on Westfield .com.
Stacy also has a new book out called The Truth About Style. In The Truth About Style, London shares her own often painful history and her philosophy of the healing power of personal style—illustrating it with a series of detailed “start-overs” with eight real women, demonstrating how personal style helps them overcome the emotional obstacles we all face. For anyone who has ever despaired of finding the right clothes, or even taking an objective assessment in a full-length mirror, The Truth About Style will be an inspiring, liberating, and often very funny guide to finding the expression of your truest self.