Figuring out what to wear

I've always been a big fan of TLC's What Not To Wear, and have always thought it would be cool to go through that experience.  I wouldn't want to go through the embarrassment of having the ordeal seen on TV though.

Earlier this year, Stacy London went on tour promoting her new venture, "Style for Hire" which went live in April.  Stacy hand-selected and trained  personal stylists from across the country who are available to help people with their fashion.  Washington D.C. was a pilot area and last summer, my friend, Laura, hired Lisa, a stylist from Stacy's group (for an hourly rate set by Lisa). Laura opted for Lisa to help her streamline and "shop her closet."   Lisa helped Laura decide what to get rid of, what to keep, and what she needed to shop for.  Laura later set up a second appointment and this time Lisa pulled together outfits (about 30 all together), photographed them all, and then sent Laura a link to the photos with descriptions.  Each of the outfits also had notes like, "you can swap out these shoes for the black flats" or "you can also wear the red blazer with this." (Laura was impressed that Lisa pulled together something like 10 outfits in five minutes.) 

So, jump ahead to the spring and Laura told me and my sister that they were having a Stacy London "Style Tour" at Westfield Montgomery Mall.  The three of us went down to check it out.  In the center of the mall was the Style Lounge which consisted of a HUGE "closet" full of clothes and accessories from various stores throughout the mall, plus several make-up stations.  You could get a 15-minute makeup makeover, and/or a 15-minute session with a fashion stylist, where they would pick recommendations from the closet based on your particular goals, shape, size, and preferences--all for FREE.  We weren't expecting to be at the mall very long, so we just did the makeup.  It was cool, and we looked fabulous.  Later, my sister and I made appointments for the following weekend to meet with Lisa back at the mall to get some styling tips. 

This was the best part:  after some shopping and mulling around, the three of us sat down to have tea/coffee.  We were right behind where Stacy London was meeting with people.  (If you had $100 worth of receipts from the day, you got to meet with and have your photo taken with Stacy.)  As the event was ending, she exited the fashion area and was standing five feet in front of us.  Laura called out her name and said, "Stacy, Lisa is great!  And we love your work!"  Stacy turned around and waved and said, "Oh, that's so good to hear.  You three look good!"  And then off she went!

Made our day.

As it turns out, the Style Lounge is becoming a permanent fixture at Westfield Montgomery.   Once again, you'll be able meet with a stylist to get some free fashion tips.  They have a new feature now called "Ask a Stylist," where you can email a photo of an outfit you're considering buying and ask their opinion, and get an instant response.  The Style Lounge will
be open on Saturdays from 12pm – 5pm and Sundays from 12pm – 4pm. The "Ask A Stylist" service will be available during all mall hours (Monday-Saturday from 10am-9pm, Sunday from 11am-6pm).

When Debbie and I went back the following weekend to meet with Lisa, she asked us some basic questions about our goals (mine was for casual, but nice work wear--I can wear jeans to work; while my sister's was for work clothes that she can also carry over into the evening).  Lisa went through that enormous closet and picked out a few styles for each of us.  An assistant took notes and later sent us personalized emails that included the items Lisa had selected for us. Some of the items were out of my price range, but the point was seeing what style of clothing would work.  You can always find something similar in shape, size and color and at a cheaper price.   Here are the pieces Lisa pulled for me:

It's a very cool experience that I recommend to anyone.  This Style Lounge is opening in Bethesda, Maryland, and guess what?  I'm doing it again this Sunday.  Stay tuned!