The key to dressing for success is knowing who you really are, top stylists and fashion experts agreed at TheWrap’s annual Power Women Summit in Beverly Hills on Tuesday.
Celebrity stylist Candice Lambert, Phlur creator, founder and creative director Chriselle Lim, executive stylist and The Clothing Therapist founder Dana Asher-Levine, stylist and Lalaluxe founder Nicole Pollard Bayme and Wyeth creator, founder and creative director Jacey Duprie shared their expertise during the “Elevate Your Success: Dressing with Purpose” panel presented by South Coast Plaza, the exclusive retail sponsor of the Power Women Summit.
The panel agreed the first step to understand who you are at this moment in your life and career.
“The first thing I do with any executive or whether it’s a royal family, head of state, or soccer mom is [ask], ‘Who are you today?’” Pollard Bayme said. “Not the person you were when you got married 15 years ago, but ‘Who am I actually today? What clothes fit me today? What’s my identity and my essence?’ We’re all vessels like holding this essence. And it’s really figuring out who that is.”
“Fashion is emotional,” Lambert agreed. “It’s not really about what other people think. It’s about how YOU feel.”
It’s a process that may take months or even years to refine. Lim, who is 38, admitted it took her 35 years to figure out who she really is.
One tip is to identify an adjective you really want to embody.
“For me, the strongest emotion for me is to feel confident and powerful,” Lim explained. “[For] some people, it might be feeling ‘feminine’ and ‘beautiful’ or ‘sexy,’ whatever that is, I think really figuring out what adjective makes you feel good.”
As beautiful as clothes may look on a rack or online, how they look on your body is even more important.
“We’re all different, and clothes are made in a few sizes,” explained Pollard Bayme. “So it’s really important to work with a tailor that you love. And my clients, I’m tailoring underwear and pajamas. Now you don’t have to go to these extremes. But the way your clothes fit and how you wear them, it’s how people perceive you. And it really does open doors when things fit you properly.”
As for specific pieces to invest in when building your wardrobe, the panel agreed on building with basics first.
“I think that you need minimal things,” advised Lambert. “A blazer, a white t-shirt, great pair black boots. Start off small and minimal, nothing crazy, nothing fancy. And grow from there and build it put in color. See what you like on you.”
“I always say invest in the things that look and feel really good on you. The classics and the basics: the blazers, the jeans, the slacks, the trousers, the white tea, the white blouse, and then, you know, if you have a budget, like every season, maybe you explore different fun things to add to your wardrobe,” echoed Lim.
Don’t forget quality accessories, the panelists advised.
“I’ll go with my mother’s advice. She always said pay for your feet. So I always pay for my feet,” Lambert said.
“Shoes and bags,” agreed Asher Levine. “It doesn’t matter what size you are; You change your size, but if you always have great shoes and a bag and they go on forever. So you can be any place in your life and the shoes in the bag will still be there.”
Styling services like those at South Coast Plaza can help identify those key pieces. But no matter how great a piece is, the key is feeling great wearing it.
“The right outfit you don’t need to work out for, you don’t need to get plastic surgery, you don’t need to lose 15 pounds, you don’t need to do any of that,” summarized Pollard Bayme. “When you put on an outfit that truly embodies who you are, you’re going to be able to walk into the world and feel great exactly as you are. And I think that’s the empowerment in styling.”
Check out the full “Elevate Your Success: Dressing with Purpose” panel above.
For all of TheWrap’s Power Women Summit 2023 coverage, click here.