Updated: Oct 10, 2019
Recently I had the pleasure of attending a round table discussion attended by REAL women with REAL bodies and REAL problems with their clothes. The discussion was lead by stylist Suze Solari, a personal stylist and author of numerous style guides. We played a fun game of "stump the stylist" wherein each woman brought a lesser-loved item clothing to the stylist to get her input on how to wear the item and what to pair it with. Our stylist, Suze had a solution for almost every item brought to the discussion (with a few exceptions that I will mention below.) I asked Suze a few follow up questions after the discussion to find out more about how she helps women achieve their own version of the perfect wardrobe.
Q.) You are such a knowledgeable stylist with so many fantastic tips and tricks! How long have you been doing this and where did you accumulate all this good info!?
A.) I have a background in interior design, corporate space planning & retail Interiors. Also, I'm an artist, I used to draw and paint, and make jewelry. I just love to create, and I always followed fashion, so making fabulous, clever outfits is just pure FUN for me. My twenty five plus years in the design industry creating color pallets, allows me to cleverly combine pattern, texture and color to maximize the wardrobe. I am always absorbing information, and inspired by fashion magazines, blogs, art, architecture, and travel. I have just celebrated my 10th year in business, so I've been at it for a while!
Q.) Recently on a podcast, you mentioned your thoughts on the biggest fashion faux pas? Could you share those with us?
A.) I believe that clothes have power for self expression, and are an integral part of our personal branding. The way you dress affects the way you present yourself and contributes to the results you get.
When you FEEL CONFIDENT you show up more in every moment, that radiates out into the world, and you make a great impression. If you wear items that reflect this branding, like a certain bright color pallet, etc., and it makes you feel happy, by all means, wear it! However, your clothes and accessories should fit your body shape, proportionally. Quality garments and tailoring is key to achieving this. When something doesn't fit, if it's too small, too big, scratches you, etc., you wont feel that confidence and joy.
Q.) You have a great book out called "The Curvy Girl's Style Handbook" without giving too much away... How do you go about styling for a person's body shape rather then their personality? Or are both important?
A.) Both are important, as I mentioned about personal brand earlier. When it comes to body shape, and more specifically, body type, an anthropomorphic measure - once you know what that is, and that it is determined by your DNA, you can best look for clothing that flatters and enhances your shape, instead of hiding. In the book, I discuss a styling principle I call the ‘B’ for put a belt on it, and the ‘V’ for victory, (at the neckline) to help women with curves enhance their curvy shape with an hourglass silhouette.
Q.) You do a fantastic job helping women work with the existing items in their closet...finding ways to wear items that don't get any use. Under what circumstances would you tell someone that it is time to get rid of/ donate an item?
A.) I have a '5 Rules for Removal’ system that help clients remove from their wardrobe what no longer serves them:
- doesn’t fit your current size or body shape
- not representing your upgraded style aesthetic
- needs repair beyond reason, worn out or pilled
- it’s a duplicate, among many
- holds a negative emotion
In addition, I use a staging strategy for taking out what doesn’t fit, (only keep if one size off either way) and could be worn after a weight change, is to put those items into ancillary storage. I also remind them that someone else could get use out of this piece if donated, and it feels good to help others.
Chicago Gals! Visit this link if you are interested in attending one of Suze's Style Sessions!