Tuesday, March 6, 2012

How to be your own Wardrobe Stylist...

Well, I wanted to do a little write up on a subject that comes up a lot and I felt I needed to explain it a bit more. Its the subject of Wardrobe Styling, which yes, I do for a handful of my shoots. I think when pertaining to fashion or clothing related shoots, a good stylist or being savy about picking clothes is extremely important. I mean, aside from the feel of a shoot, usually the clothes indicate the viewer of a certain theme.

I would say I have been doing my own styling from the very beginning both from my own choosing and also from the lack of stylists who want to work/collaborate. Its true.. finding a stylist, a good one at least, is like finding a pot of gold. Building relationships with stylists is very important unless you are someone willing to do it on your own. I find that doing my own styling helps me understand another facet of the fashion industry - not only being a photographer.

Heres the deal..

If you are someone, like me, who is not looking for a permanent career as a stylist but is a photographer who wants to style, I would consider buying vintage. Many stylists have built an extensive relationship with stores/boutiques/designers so they can borrow or some buy clothing off stores and return them later but that's a bit more complicated. Unless you want to seek boutiques and designers that can lend you their wardrobe on your own, i would consider buying second hand.

Where to buy

I often head to places like Goodwill, Local Thrift Stores, Vintage Shops, Salvation Army and even my own closet. You are also welcome to ask the model if they own anything in particular that you need. I know quite a bit of people are in tune with the idea of thrifting and others dont feel up to it. However in this case, the clothing is more than likely used a few times and will not be worn by you if you are concerned with the hygiene. It is also important to point out that the clothing can be washed. There are countless options in thrift stores and vintage shops its nearly endless. If you are shooting something that is decade themed, its the perfect place to hit. You will find dresses, blouses, bottoms and accessories that are 60s,70s,80s and 90s and even modern things.

Where to look

If you choose to look in thrift stores, the places i usually look in are the dresses , blouses, skirts and shorts sections. Every place is different and for me Goodwill has the best organization format where they actually sort the items in their own little sections like sweaters, knits, blouses, long blouses, skirts, shorts, dresses etc. Another great area to look in are the "Designer" clothing in the Goodwill which has more great options but it is also a little bit pricier. They have things such as old designer dresses, fur coats, trench coats, leathers skirts, leather jackets and bomber jackets.

How to pair things

Before i do anything, i like to envision overall the look of the shoot as well as the theme. I think of colors, textures, patterns that I want to use. I also like to narrow it down to what bottoms i need to get. The crucial part of styling for me is bottoms, whether the shoot will stick to dresses and flowy bottoms or incorporate shorts and jeans. I might be weird about it but I don't like to mix a flowy dress look then tight skinny jeans look, it doesn't feel cohesive to me unless they are both just as casual. I pair things in terms of patterns and color, if the shoot calls for pastels i stick to pastels and very light colors. If the shoot is more fun, i stick with bold patterns and florals. If the shoot is sophisticated i use jewel tones.

Color/Pattern Mixing

I think having a cohesive color palette for a shoot is always the best and easiest way to start. If you dont narrow it down to atleast a handful of colors, it can become a bit more complicated. I love to pick out a few colors I am really loving for the shoot and find things in stores that can go perfect with it. For a recent shoot I did i chose mint greens, corals, light florals, and light pinks. For another shoot i narrowed it down to whites, blacks, deep wines and dark reds. For colorful shoots it can be easy to go overboard and colorblock too much, so therefore I mix bright colors with some lights. Another thing to point out is that delicate fabrics will always look great alongside other delicate fabrics even if the colors don't match. For example sheer and light fabrics with lace, bows or cute collars will always look great even if they aren't necessarily color coordinated. I guess thats the fun part of it. Mixing jean material and furs is another great option because they go great alongside sheers and other patterns.

What to do with the clothing

I own my own online vintage store, so its somewhat easier to dispose of the clothing once I am done with them. However, it is great to have an extensive wardrobe if you plan to shoot in the future and specially if you shoot a lot. It is simple to go back and pair the clothing with newer options and keeping the styling fresh. Usually i like to grab a few new things if it is a brand new shoot but most of the time I have something bought and just do the pairing. I spread out a few color options that jump at me and look like they match and just pair tops with bottoms. Once you style a bunch of shoots its going to become a lot easier and even - well, fun.

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