Today we're kicking off a new series with celebrity stylist Anita Patrickson, a red carpet and editorial pro who has worked her magic on everyone from Emma Watson and Emmy Rossum, to Malin Ackerman and Alison Brie. In fact, Anita and I have known each other since 2006 when we were both working at Condé Nast. I've always been fascinated by the ins and outs of professional fashion styling, and Anita is going to be tackling some of my burning questions as well as providing some of her insider tips and tricks in a new column. First up, she's sharing the most common fashion mistakes she's seen people make over the years.
Mistake: Not dressing for your body type.
"This is the most important thing you can ever conquer in your ‘fashion life.' There is nothing more important and nothing that will help you more on your road to achieving fabulous style. Take a real honest look in the mirror and work out the parts of you that you want to accentuate, and those you want to play down, and dress accordingly. It's as simple as that. Also be sure to find the right size. Just because you can fit into a size 2 doesn’t mean you are one! You will look far slimmer wearing clothes that fit you than if you squeeze yourself into something that it too small (or drown yourself in something too big, for that matter!)"
Mistake: Not paying attention to proportions.
"Proportions are key when putting a look together. I like to think of it as a composition. Approach dressing like you would a room or a painting. Finding the balance is so important. Tight should be balanced with flowy. If you are showing a lot of leg, keep the top half covered. If your skirt is tight, have your top be a bit flowier. If something is really tight all the way down and is a body-con dress, you are going to want to balance that look by not showing a lot of skin" (i.e. topping the dress off with a flowy coat).
Mistake: Wearing too small of a bra.
"Wearing the wrong sized bra can actually make you look heavier and less toned than you are. A bra should be smooth and form-fitting, and give you shape with no unsightly lumps or bumps."
Mistake: Wearing clothing that doesn't fit properly (and not utilizing a tailor).
"Having a great tailor on speed dial is my greatest secret weapon. I cannot give my seamstress enough credit or praise. Truly, a hem here or extra dart there can be the difference between an okay outfit, and something that will stand out, go the distance, and become an iconic look that will be remembered for years to come."
Mistake: Blindly following trends.
"I say this time and time again: not every trend is for everyone. If a certain trend is not right for you, sit it out. Don’t buy into a trend if you can’t do it justice and own it. I really believe in having style rather than following trends, as cheesy as that sounds. The trends will fit in organically. Everything you buy in stores will lean towards a trend naturally without you over thinking it. Wear what flatters you and what you like and feels authentic to your personality."
Mistake: Not dressing properly for the occasion.
"Everyone has his or her own version of ‘cocktail.' Even ‘black tie’ has become a rather loose interpretation. As far as I am concerned, a dress code is about being respectful to the host of the event you are attending. I think it's important to participate and show your support by adhering to the dress code stipulated as best you can. But always feel free to explore your creative side as long as you make an effort!"
Mistake: Not knowing which colors flatter your skin tone.
"Nude and blush tones really need to be matched exactly to your skin. With so many variations, it's essential to find a tone that pulls out the best notes in your skin and leaves you looking healthy and vibrant rather than sallow and washed out. Generally speaking with colors, blondes look fabulous in bright hues that pop, whereas olive-skinned brunettes usually shine in richer jewel tones."
Mistake: Splurging on the wrong things
"Spend money on the basic staple items in your wardrobe - pieces and shoes that you will wear season after season. The trendy pieces that you may regret a few months later are not the items to blow your bucks on. Rightly or wrongly, I always make assumptions about people based on their shoes. I truly believe if you are going to spend money somewhere, shoes are the place to do it. If you have a killer outfit, and the shoes look cheap, it's going to detract."