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Emily

(Don’t miss part 2 in this 3-part series)

Meet Emily.

Actually, you’ve already met Emily.

She’s my assistant for Coastal Fashion Week.

Emily is a junior in college studying strategic communication. She operates Emily Roderick Photography. She describes herself as an “amateur photographer.” I will argue semantics for a bit. Once money exchanges hands for services, one becomes a full-fledged professional. She’s quite handy with a Nikon.

Her style, on the other hand, doesn’t reflect the success of her newfound profession (cue the Stacy London-like voiceover here).

As part of my compensation package, I offered to style Emily for CFW as part of a new Fashion Under $50 series for my channel. Because money will be exchanged to hands other than my own, I’m technically still an amateur stylist. We all have to start somewhere.

This my first time styling someone other than myself. I’m aware that most of my outfit-of-the-day posts on Instagram are not translatable to the general public. It’s a form of artistic expression. Don’t worry, Emily won’t be a version of Mini Me. She’s quite relieved too.

The goal is to document her transition through video and photos. I’ll post a video to my channel. The extended style tutorial will appear on the blog. I’m all multi-media like that.

Emily and I met up at Boba Time, a new bubble tea place. They were kind enough to let me film in their store. Unfortunately, it was my first time shooting video on my new camera, and I made a rookie angle error.

Lesson learned.

The number one rule in styling (I assume, as this is my first time) is to make the person look like themselves but only better.

Emily doesn’t give me much to work with at all. She’s not into makeup, hair, or trends. She’s very low maintenance.

Emily works with the public. This public includes fashion show organizers, wedding attendees and planners, and boutique owners. She needs a chic style that allows her to sweat, to move, to crawl on the floor, and to bend. She needs to spend more time fussing over how other people look in photos rather than fussing over how she looks.

Criteria #1: Functional

Criteria #2: No Fuss

It’s good that she isn’t adorned with accessories. Statement pieces can get tangled up in equipment too easily. I know this all too well. Such is the fashion life.

So, here’s my process:

  • Stalk, I mean, view the person’s social media accounts to get a sense of how the person dresses in everyday situations from casual to formal. I’m friends with Emily on Facebook and Instagram. I also follow her on Pinterest, which is a big help.
  • Research style ideas through Pinterest and other fashion media. It’s impossible to replicate an exact outfit price by piece, especially with the price cap. I can discover inspiration as a jumping point.
  • Discuss with the client (or in this case, the volunteer) their preferences, likes, dislikes, and concerns. Emily, like many women, tend to embrace baggier styles. We discussed why this makes her small frame — yes, Em, your SMALL frame — even larger. I plan to remedy this. Don’t worry, no form-fitting bodycon dresses.
  • Decide on a style aesthetic. Rely on my strong powers of persuasion if all else fails.
  • Map out a strategy. Emily receives a discount at a boutique as compensation for her photography. We may hit up their clearance rack first.
  • Shop and hope the subject/client takes my advice. Remember the time Clinton walked out of the room spewing profanity over a difficult makeover on What Not to Wear. Yeah, let’s hope that doesn’t happen. I think Emily would cry if this happen. I would cry if this happened. Emily is a pretty agreeable, so I don’t think this scenario will happen.

I won’t throw out all of Em’s clothes. Or any of her clothes, for that matter.

Emily needs foundational pieces for her wardrobe that can transition easily from casual to professional. This saves money and closet space. Selectivity is key.

Criteria #3: Versatility

Criteria #4: Well-constructed

Makeover style aesthetic: Functional Minimalist Chic

Minimalism is great for people who don’t like a lot of pomp and circumstance in their wardrobe. Taking a cue from the art world, minimalist fashion is streamlined and architectural. It relies on a neutral color palette. It focuses on design, not pattern or embellishment. The chic comes in the cut and fit.

In part 2, I will post the shopping trip. In part 3, I’ll post the before-and-after shots, video link, and a step-by-step tutorial on why all the pieces work together.

Until then, here’s more info on Coastal Fashion Week.

CFW fliercfw flier 2