Can We Really Have it All?

lauren messiah personal stylist

When Nissan and Glam asked me to write a post on the topic of “having it all” with inspiration from African American women go-getters, I jumped at the chance.

If you follow me on Facebook you may have seen my rant about these new “makeover shows” starring African American women which are basically a big old joke. There is a lot of content out there that, to me, perpetuates stereotypes and fails to inspire the next generation of black female leaders. That is why I find it refreshing to see women of color doing big things are inspiration all women.

From powerful black women dominating mainstream TV (How to Get Away with Murder, Scandal), to powerful African American stylists (June Ambrose), and super-talented interior designers (Cathy Hobbs) – I am even more inspired to “have it all.”

Cathy Hobbs Haute Havens video

What does having it all mean to me? It means living the life you were destined to live without worrying about seeking the approval of others. It means being on a mission and not letting anything or anyone stop you. For me this involves continuing to make my clients look and feel like their best selves through my Personal Styling business. It also means inspiring and educating the next generation of stylists at my fashion school, School of Style.

What does having it all mean to you?

My Haute Havens video

With its stylish looks and premium interior, the Nissan Altima is just as much as an individual as you are. Not fitting into one mold is what makes the Nissan Altima not only unique, but very exciting!

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Disclosure: Compensation was provided by Nissan via Mode Media. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Nissan.

Style Profile: Hilary Duff

hilary duff iconI’ll admit, Hilary Duff and her style have never really been on my radar. However yesterday while I was rotting my brain reading Buzzfeed, I ran across this post and realized Hilary Duff has got it going on in the style department!

Not only does Hilary have killer street style, she has a body that is much more relateable (to me at least) than many of the other street style stars. So far that I say, “you go, Hilary Duff!” She has the contemporary casual thing down to a science, proving you don’t have to be a stick figure to have style.

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HILARY DUFF STYLE enhanced-912-1418928036-1 HILARY DUFF STYLE

To score Hilary’s look, you only need a few things … boots that are made for walking, great jeans, a stylish jacket, a few statement accessories, and tee shirts. We can all master that, can we not?

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Intermix

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Scoop NYC

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What do you think of Hilary Duff’s style? If you have a favorite style icon let me know and I’ll feature them on LaurenMessiah.com

Building Your Business Casual Wardrobe

business casual looks

Oh the elusive and oh-so-confusing “business casual” dress code. It’s not quite business and it’s not quite casual. It’s a pretty flexible code of dressing that allows you to embrace more of your personal style. Flexible sounds good in theory but often flexibility breeds confusion. I’ve found that a lot of women (and men) often lean more into the casual side of the dress code and, in my opinion, that ain’t good!

Don’t feel bad because the business casual dress code is fairly difficult to master. My rule of thumb is when in doubt skew more business than casual (after all the word business does come first). How does that saying go? Dress for the job you want, not the one you have. Yeah. Do that.

Still confused? Fear not, I’ve got a shopping list that will help you build your business casual wardrobe.

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1. Chic black blazer

2. Classic cardigan

3. Trouser jeans

4. Dark wash skinny jeans

5. Silk blouses (printed, solid, and neutrals)

6. Pointy toe pumps

7. Stylish tote bag large enough to fit your laptop

8. A toned down statement piece of jewelry – think chunky pearls, gold tassel chain necklace, etc

9. Slim-fit black trousers

10. Neural cashmere sweaters

11. Pencil skirt

12. Stylish coat in camel or black

13. Shift or wrap dress

14. A watch (give your cell phone a break)

15. Cute classic flats

16. Silk scarf

17. Black belt

Am I missing anything? Feel free to drop your style tips in the comment section below.

5 No-Fail Looks If You Are Bigger on the Bottom

56th GRAMMY Awards - Show

If your body type is “bigger on the bottom” chances are you aren’t all that interested in rocking a bodysuit and tights like Queen B is illustrating above. I get it. Most of the women I style with this particular body type body type would rather conceal their assets to create a more balanced appearance.

This week’s “5 No-Fail Looks For Your Figure” post is for women who carry their weight in their lower half. Whether its your booty, hips, or thighs – I’ve got you covered with 5 outfits that will balance and slim you out.

1. Flared Skirts and Dresses

It may feel counter-intuitive add more fabric to an area that is already a little larger than you’d like BUT this styling trick actually does make you look smaller. The looser fabric will drape effortlessly over your curves instead of pulling tight across it, which will make you look larger. Go for something strapless to show off your shoulders and to draw the emphasis upwards or try a strong attention grabbing sleeve instead.

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2. Dark Bottoms

If you want De-emphasize your bottom half, then wearing darker colors on the bottom is the way to go. Avoid patterned pants and light colored pants, as they draw attention to your trouble area – save all that magic for your top half instead.

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3. Structured Shoulders

If you want to create a balanced body, think of the hourglass as your goal. If you are bigger on the bottom, you’ve already filled the bottom half of the hourglass. All you need to do is fill the top. A great way to do that is by adding volume up top with a structured shoulder. Look for jackets with a slight shoulder pad or some type of embellishment to draw the attention upwards.

look for bigger bottom 34. Printed Tops

If you are bigger on the bottom, your wardrobe should be filled with printed tops! Wear these with jeans, skirts, pants – and you have an easy go-to flattering outfit.

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5. Cropped Jackets

Don’t cover up your bottom half with a long jacket or blazer, instead go for something cropped. A cropped jacket draws the eye up and brings attention to your tiny little waist.

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How do you dress to best flatter your figure?

10 Ways to Wear adidas Sneakers

adidas shoes street style

When being comfortable is actually stylish – I am so on board. I have recently been embracing the classic sneaker trend and my feet are loving it. You know I am an adidas die hard so today’s ’10 Ways’ is devoted to the 3-stripes.

1. With Classic Neutrals

Pair a classic shoe with the most classic and timeless clothing on the block.

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2. With a Skirt

Let those sneakers shine without a pesky pair of pants getting in the way.

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3. Just Add Boyfriend Jeans

Ripped and baggy boyfriend jeans make for the ultimate weekend look.

adidas shoes street style4. Try a Trench

It might make you look as cool as this model off duty.

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5. Get Short-y

Shorts and tights are a classic fall/winter combo. Sub your typical pair of boots for a stylish pair of sneakers instead.

adidas shoes street style6. Suit Up

Love the concept of dressing down a conservative suit with a pair of sneakers.

 

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7. Bundle Up

Because adding a scarf makes you look totally chic. adidas shoes street style

8. All Black

Because black goes with everything

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9. With a Dress

Dresses need comfort too ya know!
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10. Clutch it Up

An evening wear staple meets a casual classic – I love it!

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How you wear your classic adidas?

7 Signs You Are In Need of a New Wardrobe

stylist lauren messiah

A style slump, it happens to the best of us. When we get busy with work, family, and just life in general … our style is often the first thing to go. For many of my clients these “slumps” can last for YEARS. I see it all the time. The big promotion comes or maybe it’s a new baby, and suddenly days turn into months and months turn into years. The time has gone by but the wardrobe remains the same. Then one day it hits them and something has to change. That’s where I come in to overhaul their style and in less than a week, they are a brand new version of themselves.

So how can you tell if you are in a style slump and in desperate need of a new wardrobe? I have found that if identify with these statements, then you probably need to give me a call.

1. You can’t remember the last time you went shopping

Whenever I clean out a client’s closet they are always shocked to find out how much I know about them. Just by looking at their wardrobe I can tell exactly when they stopped shopping for themselves. I can tell when you got the “big job” or how old your child is without even looking at them. That is how telling your closet can be. If you honestly can’t remember the last time you purchased a new piece of clothing, then it might be time for an upgrade.

2. You don’t feel like yourself in your clothing

People change (and so do you) and when your insides change, the outside usually changes along with it. If you are now the big boss at work but you are still wearing your clothes from back when you are a coffee fetcher, then you probably don’t feel like yourself in your wardrobe. Taking care of your outward appearance is just as important as all the inside work you’ve done to change your current state of affairs. Dress the part or, even better, dress for next role you’d like to play in life.

3. Those “I have nothing to wear” moments are happening a little too frequently

Even those women with a closet full of amazing clothes have “I have nothing to wear” moments. But if you are finding that you are having these moments more than the average bear – then Houston, we have a problem. Think about all of the time and energy you are wasting by having a certified meltdown every time you go to get dressed. Admit defeat, throw in the towel, and get yourself a new wardrobe. It’s totally worth the investment.

4.  Finding clothing that actually fits in your closet is a challenge

Another common problem that women face is not wearing clothing that fits! Weight gain happens but there is no reason to punish yourself by stuffing yourself into clothing that doesn’t fit OR even worse wearing that one outfit that fits over and over again. Dress the body that you have and if you lose the weight? That fantastic – get new clothes as a reward for your hard work or visit your tailor.

5. Your closet is quantity over quality

As a woman in her 30s who is still young at heart, I understand the temptation to get sucked into the fast fashion trap. Many women our age have closets that are spilling over with fast fashion purchases from the past 5 years. The problem is a.) we are too old for this $hit and b.) we are probably completely over all of these pieces. It’s time to invest in quality over quantity. So if you find that your closest is lacking quality, then it might be time for an upgrade.

6. Getting dressed is a chore

Do you dread getting dressed? If you do, I am so sorry because fashion is supposed to be fun! You should love getting dressed in the morning because fashion can be very empowering. When you look great, you feel great. So if getting dressed sucks then lets make a change and get some items that make you feel excited each and every morning.

7. People are making comments about your clothes – and they aren’t compliments

No one sets out to be mean by making comments about your clothing  (okay some horrible people do) but it does happen. Those little “jokes” are typically just helpful hints to get you to take a good hard look in the mirror. Read between the lines and try not to take it personal because your friends are simply trying to help make your outsides match your awesome insides.

How did you stack up? Do you identify with any of these statements? If so, give your wardrobe a facelift or better yet, let me do it for you.

3 Easy Steps to Improve Your Closet Situation

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A few things happen when the seasons change. For one, I start craving soups, stews, and chili … and perhaps a baked good or two. The second thing that happens is that I start craving a cozy new winter wardrobe – a much more dangerous craving if you ask me.

In all seriousness, the “changing of the closets” is a key step in the summer-to- fall transition. Cleaning out your closet can be frustrating but it can also be a fun, feel-good, and freeing experience. Plus how can you make room for the new without getting rid of the old?

Just follow my simple tips and add closet cleanse to your weekend to-do list.

1. Grab a Friend

I have found that cleaning out your closet is a much more successful (and fun) experience when you do it with a friend or a trained professional. Having another person acting as a second opinion/ voice of reason will help you part with those questionable items.

2. Sort It Out

Make space for five different piles: donate, trash, mend, consign, and store. I know, that’s a lot of piles but trust me, they are all necessary.

Donation pieces are in good condition and can be given to the charity of your choice or to your friends. Trash is just that, trash! Dirty, ripped, and stained pieces need to hit the circular file. Things that need to be altered need to be placed in a separate area and then taken immediately to the tailor. If you own fancier items then consigning is a great way to recoup some cash. And finally, if closet space is at a minimum, store your summer wardrobe.

Once your piles are set go through each garment one-by-one and start chucking.

3. Get Organized

Now that your closet/ bedroom looks like a total disaster (piles of clothes will be everywhere) it’s time to get organized. The easiest and most effective way to make your closet look more organized is by getting uniform hangers. Slimline Hangers will become your new best friend. Purchase them all in one color (black or tan) and toss out all other hangers.

Once everything is hung, merchandise your closet as if it were a store. This will make getting ready in the morning a whole lot easier. Display your accessories, shoes, and bags. I don’t know about you but if I can’t see it, I don’t wear it.

That wasn’t so bad now was it? Now sit back with a hot cup of tea, your laptop (for online shopping, of course) and admire your handiwork.

How to Add a Little Sparkle to Your Holiday Look

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While many people have a love/hate relationship with sequins, I have nothing but love of them. With all of the holiday parties that are sure to start filling up your social calendar, why not start preparing your wardrobe for the most wonderful time of the year.

A Full-On Sequin Dress

gold sequin dress

Hear me out, a sequin can dress can often sound like it will be a “bit much” but why not try wearing a belted blazer over it to tone it down? You can even wear a sequined dress with chic sneakers for a cool street style vibe.

Try a Cute Sequin Top

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Oh the versatility of a sequin top. Wear it with skinny jeans for a daytime affair or with a leather pencil skirt for something a bit fancier.

How About a Sequin Pencil Skirt

sequin mini skirt fashion week

What I wouldn’t do for a sequin pencil skirt. I am still on the hunt for mine but once you find yours, try pairing it with a cozy cashmere sweater and strappy sandals for an “I woke up like this” holiday look.

When All Else Fails … Sequin Accessories

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The easiest way to add a little sparkle to your holiday look is by adding sequin accessories. Think shoes, bags, belts, or even a hat (sequin beanie, anyone?) This gives you the sparkle without stealing the show from the rest of your outfit.

Want to know how to wear sequins all year long? Check out this video …

 

TOMS and Target Designs the Ultimate Holiday Gift


Yes, this is totally happening …lauren messiah yohji together sweater

Confession time, I am a total holiday nerd. Seriously, I geek out for ALL holidays but I get especially excited for Christmas. Trimming the tree, decorating the house, watching corny movies, baking, and all that jazz gets me pumped. Oh yeah and the presents. Yes I am 34 years old and I still get excited for presents.

Last week TOMs and Target got me into the holiday spirit a bit early by sending me a beautifully wrapped gift (this baby was stunning). I of course ripped it open. Like I’m waiting until Christmas … Inside? A two-headed sweater! Not gonna lie, I definitely had a WTF moment until I read the card.

toms together sweater

TOMS, a company known for giving, cooked up a fun campaign to promote their new line at Target. For every piece of TOMS for Target that is purchased, they will match that purchase with a blanket, a meal, or shoes to someone in need. How fantastic is that? A good cause and a goofy holiday sweater? I’m sold.

I recruited my dog Yohji and my assistant (she’s under the sweater holding up Yohji – her idea not mine!) for fun photo opp. Pretty sure this needs to be on a Christmas card. Also, I kinda want to wear this sweater all the time … in the privacy of my home.

TOMS for Target

Crazy sweater aside, I actually really like the collection. I purchased a few items for myself,  for friends, and for clients. I purchased the men’s striped tee shirt for myself. the cool zip pouch a receipt holder for my active styling jobs, and some of the awesome scarves for my clients.

TOMS for Target

Best part of all, these pieces are literally the gifts that keep on giving.

Do you plan on giving the gift of TOMS x Target to anyone on your list?

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Toms For Target: One-for-One. For All. Starting November 16th, for every Target+Toms limited edition gift you buy, we’re (Target) giving shoes, a blanket or meals to those in need. #TomsForTarget

Disclosure: Compensation was provided by Target via Mode Media. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Target.”

 

Client Makeover: On-Set Upgrade

This particular client makeover has been in the works for quite a while now. You see, this makeover started almost a year ago. My friend and client, Shannon was in need of a style upgrade. After months of almost doing it, we cleaned out her closet. Just when it was time for the shopping/styling portion of the makeover, she booked a movie.  In Budapest. Shannon was gone for 7 months and was returning to an empty closet. Needless to say the second she landed we got to work.

before bannerclient before picShannon is a smart, talented, kind, funny, and an all-around awesome individual. Problem was, her wardrobe didn’t reflect that – at all.

Not only was her wardrobe ill-fitting (she loved hiding behind baggy clothing), her style didn’t reflect the major #GirlBoss status she has at the work place.  closet cleanseIMG_7123When you work with me the first step in changing your style is getting rid of the old to make room for the new. Out of all of the closet cleanses that I’ve done, this one was probably the most, um, memorable.

Shannon is a self-proclaimed clothing swap junkie. Her and friends swap and trade clothing that no longer suits them instead of tossing it out. Good idea in theory but when your whole entire wardrobe is comprised of items that aren’t “you”,  it’s a problem.  You can see how thrilled I am with one of her swap pieces in the pic above. IMG_7122By the end of the cleanse Shannon was drowning in a pile of her clothes. Worth mentioning, I went back a few weeks later and got rid of MORE stuff!!

IMG_7124Another thing that had to go? Plastic hangers! Not only are the ugly but they take up far too much room in your closet. Opt for Slimline hangers instead.

inspirationshannon style 1While working with Shannon to develop her new style it was very important that she still felt like herself. That is something that I do with all of my clients. I am not here to put my personal style on other people. It is my job to create the best version of my client.

Shannon works as movie producer and spends a lot of her time working on set, which means pulled together. casual, and comfortable looks. In addition to that, she also regularly takes business meetings (business casual) and the occasional red carpet (great dresses).

shannon style 2Her main style icon is Jessica Alba but I also pulled inspiration from Christina Hendricks, Jessica Chastain, and Rachel Bilson.

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Our mission was to get the most clothing possible with our allotted budget. The one thing we didn’t want to do was skimp on the quality. I wanted to get Shannon out of garments from the juniors department, from Target, Forever 21, and H&M. Not that there is anything wrong with those places but as 30-something women, we gotta step up the quality. I  went to Nordstrom, Nordstrom Rack, Madewell, and J Crew – all perfect places to find quality garments for less.

the fitting banner client fitting with stylist lauren messiahNot to toot my own horn but the fitting was absolutely perfect! Our “yes” pile was HUGE and the “no” pile had only a handful of pieces.

client fitting with stylist lauren messiahShannon got a ton of clothes for all areas of her life – great casual looks, outfits for meetings, and we even found a great dress for a premiere or red carpet event.

client fitting with stylist lauren messiahI honestly couldn’t be happier about how it all went down.

after bannerclient makeover with stylist lauren messiah

The best part about my job is the after. Not the “after” during the fitting (how good is that pic of Shannon doign her best Zoolander tho!) but the “after” when the client is living her life.

The next day Shannon texted me with a pic of her wearing one of her new looks to a business meeting. Her confidence was through the roof and it really helped her out during that important business meeting. The day after, another pic of her happily  hanging out with family and friends during Thanksgiving in another one of her new looks.

It may seem like this is all “just clothes” but it’s really not. Changing your wardrobe can really help change your life!

Ready for your new look? Book a session with me in LA or virtually right here>