How to dress the part
LLNYC tracked down the top personal stylists in the city, who can transform your wardrobe and even your attitude
It is no accident that celebrities always look camera-ready when they are photographed on jaunts about town. In addition to being genetically blessed (not to mention surgically enhanced), almost every A-list star has a stylist or two on call who can expertly throw together a look for them that’s casually cool yet annoyingly fabulous.
But stylists are not just for movie stars, and in fact there are a number of them who specialize in helping regular, nonfamous folks who want to look their best but maybe aren’t totally sure how. With some help from our most fashionable friends, bold-face names from the gala circuit and fashion designers, we put together a list of some of the top stylists and styling services in the city, ones you can trust to make you look — and feel — like your best self.
“A good stylist can home in on what really works for you, helping to choose clothes that will make you feel confident,” said Meyer Dagmy, founder of the menswear brand Jomers. “They can help people develop a personal style rather than fall victim to trends.”
Our stylists can push you out of your comfort zone (no more black!) and recommend a tailor who can alter your clothes so they fit just so. They can also navigate styling more unusual pieces you already own so that they look more street style and less Halloween costume.
These stylists can push you out of your comfort zone
(no more black!) and recommend a tailor who can
alter your clothes so they fit just so.
“I trust their taste,” said the actress and socialite Erica Rivera, who recommended Camille Branda and Janet Francis on our list. “They put things together that I would never pick myself.”
Of course, not every stylish lady you see uses a stylist. “When I was told a few years ago that it would cost $3,000 a day to hire a particular stylist, I just laughed to myself,” said Jean Shafiroff, a philanthropist and socialite who is always photographed in stunning ensembles at galas around town. She does not use a stylist because “style is something you have or don’t have,” but concedes that “working with a stylist could be very helpful, especially for women who are short on time.”
So for anyone in a rush (or maybe just a little confused about where to start), we present the following personal stylists. Use them when you need to find a killer suit for your new job, the perfect Victorian lace gown for your wedding, or maybe just a nice pair of blue jeans that will make your butt look like an Instagram star’s.
Real beauty may start on the inside. But sometimes, it’s nice to look good on the outside, too.
The Box Office styling service
Typical clients: On-the-go types who don’t want to browse the store. “It can be pretty overwhelming for men to walk through a store,” says Nish de Gruiter, vice president at Suitsupply. The styling service will also launch for women in August.
Use it when: You have to go to L.A. tomorrow and didn’t have time to pack a bag. You can text your stylist, and he or she will have a box filled with all the clothes you need shipped to your destination overnight. They can even rush tailoring for you. Suitsupply keeps a file on you with your size and preferences (down to what color socks you prefer), so it’s easy for a stylist to send you what you need, whenever you need it. Through their app, you can FaceTime with a stylist who can give you advice on colors, fit and even how to tie a bow tie.
Aesthetic: “It’s all about the fit and construction with us,” de Gruiter says. “You can buy a $3,000 or $4,000 suit, but if it doesn’t fit well, it looks like crap.”
Price: Included with purchase
Celebrity clients: The “Million Dollar Listing” cast, J.R. Smith, Carmelo Anthony, “House of Cards” cast (excluding Kevin Spacey).
Typical clients: Prominent women who are great at their careers — and not so great at dressing. Occasionally, he also works with men who spot him in the street and ask him where he got his clothes. “I’m a walking billboard,” he says.
Use him when: You’re going through a big transition and need someone to look at you with new eyes. “My customers say, ‘Oh, I was told I can’t wear this color lipstick,’ and I’m like, ‘Have you tried it lately?’ I help change their narrative.”
Style rules: Have a tailor on speed dial. Trends come and go; know your body type and your personality and stick to what works.
Must-have staples: “I love white shirts, I love denim shirts. A denim shirt can go with a taffeta ball gown.”
Aesthetic: Eclectic. “I love Comme des Garçons; most of the time that’s what I’m wearing, mixed with a vintage piece.”
Favorite stores: Barneys and high-end consignment shops like Ina and Tokio 7.
Price: $150 an hour for a minimum of two hours, plus a free consultation.
Celebrity client: Marcus Samuelsson
Couture sales/styling consultant at Bergdorf Goodman
Use her when: You’re going to a celebration of some kind (wedding, red carpet gala, a 40th wedding anniversary at “Downton Abbey’s” Highclere Castle, which she did in September 2013).
Style rules: Branda believes in the ABCs of style: 1) accentuate, 2) balance, 3) camouflage.
Trends she loves: “Pattern on pattern. Florals never looked so good!”
Trends she hates: “Personally, I do not love ruffles, but for a feminine style, they are very complimentary” on other people.
Price: Included with purchase.
Celebrity clients: “Shhhhhh, that is our secret!”
Typical clients: Stay-at-home and working moms. Women who have their own style but don’t have time to shop and those who haven’t shopped in a long time.
Use her when: You don’t want to go to the store. Francis will order clothes online, have them shipped to you, and then will come over and help you sort through them to see what works.
Style rules: 70 percent of your wardrobe should be for yourself, and 30 percent should be for your husband. “Men just want things that are sexy; you can’t wear those items all day.” She recommends buying things that transition easily. “You can wear the same outfit during the day, and then just put on some heels, chandelier earrings and a nice little clutch and go out for the night.”
Aesthetic: A “clean, classic look with a little bit of fun. I love the mix of an amazing blazer with a t-shirt underneath. You don’t have to be fully designer.”
Favorite stores: Matches Fashion, Net-a-Porter, Farfetch
Price: Available upon request
Celebrity client: Erica Rivera
Nicola Harrison Ruiz
Personal shopper and founder of Harrison Style
Specialty: Menswear. She used to write about fashion for MR magazine, a publication for the menswear industry.
Typical clients: Professionals. She often helps people when they are going through a transition, such as a promotion, divorce or even a weight change.
Use her when: You need help knowing what to wear to work. “Men and women find ‘business casual’ very hard to pull off and do well without looking sloppy,” Ruiz says. “Technically they can wear jeans to work, and they want to achieve that relaxed look without looking like they’re teenagers.”
Favorite stores: Rothmans in Union Square for casual clothes and blazers, custom for suits. “It’s often just as affordable as off-the-rack.”
Price: $1,795 for the Sort, Shop & Style package, where she purges your closet, helps you shop for new clothes and puts together a look book. $4,950 for the Style 365 package, where she will help you design your wardrobe for the entire year.
Celebrity clients: Norman Reedus from “The Walking Dead,” Corey Stoll from “House of Cards.”
Jason Lyon and Bridgette Morphew
Stylists and co-owners of Morphew Concept
Typical clients: Vintage fiends and collectors
Use them when: You’re hunting down the perfect 1920s opera coat. Lyon and Morphew specialize in scouring the world to bring you one-of-a-kind vintage items that are in your size.
Style rules: When you’re buying vintage, keep in mind that body shapes and ideals have changed over the years. “That’s something people don’t seem to realize,” Lyon says. Dresses from the 1950s, for instance, were designed to be worn with corsets and are almost impossible to fit otherwise.
Trends: People are looking for ’90s vintage: Dolce & Gabbana, John Galliano, Versace and Jean Paul Gaultier. The sexier, glamorous cuts of those eras can be found in slip dresses and corset dresses.
Price: Included with purchase
Celebrity clients: Miley Cyrus, the Kardashians (Kim loves ’90s Vivienne Westwood corsets), Florence Welch, Naomi Campbell. Lyons has a theory about why celebrities love vintage so much: “There’s a thousand blogs and Instagrams of who wore it better; they don’t have to worry about that with vintage.”
Use her when: You’re looking to totally change your life. “It’s not just about wardrobe, it’s about the whole person.” Sanders can also recommend a decorator, therapist, cosmetic dentist, plastic surgeon, makeup artist and nutritionist. She even got a real estate license because so many people asked her to help them find a place to live.
Style rules: Throw out clothes you don’t wear. “It’s better to have 10 great things than a closet full of crap. Buy things that you love that are flattering on you.” Don’t be a slave to fashion. “I think when people try to be very fashionable, they end up getting lost in the clothing. It doesn’t suit who they really are.” Avoid black: “Black is my least favorite color; at a certain age, it’s not flattering anymore. It makes you look older. You go into a department store and everybody’s in black, why would you want to look like you’re in a uniform?”
Must-have items: A blazer, a classic Chanel bag, a trench coat, a good pair of blue jeans. Sanders finds little black dresses “too generic” and recommends finding a good basic dress that gives you a pop of color instead.
Favorite stores: Barneys and Saks. “I feel like I live in those stores.”
Price: $250 an hour, with a minimum of three hours
Celebrity clients: Chris Rock, Gwyneth Paltrow, Wanda Sykes, Jamie Foxx, Alexandra Wentworth, Jeff Goldblum, Jennifer Lopez
Typical clients: She works with a variety of clients, including those attending the Plaza’s Beaumont Etiquette school who need to change their wardrobes as much as their manners.
Use her when: You’re a working woman who loves fashion but is a little unsure of how to put it all together.
Style rules: Don’t waste money on expensive versions of clothes you could buy cheaper. “I don’t even care how much money you have, $10,000 for a pleated skirt is just silly.”
Must-have staples: A great blazer, belt and even a tuxedo (“I think every girl should own a navy as well as a black tuxedo.”). Pay as much attention to your undergarments as you do to what go on top of them. “Underpinnings are the foundation of your house.” It’s also important to have a few “kook pieces.” “Everybody needs a little flamboyant piece in their life, a little Liberace.”
Looks she hates: “I don’t believe in showing midriff anymore, I don’t care how old you are.” And too-tight clothes: “I think most people are one little inch away from fab.”
Favorite stores: Hirshleifers in Manhasset, N.Y. ; Bergdorf Goodman
Price: $200 an hour
Celebrity clients: Can’t say.