The key to choosing the right outfits that work for your style is to pick something that flatters your body type, is comfortable, and fits the occasion – keep reading for more of LaKeisha Pickens’ advice on finding – and ROCKING! – your personal style!
Kortney Hinton Images: How long have you been a personal stylist?
LaKeisha Pickens: On a professional level about 3, 4 years. Just when someone said they needed my assistance. It’s kind of one of those things where I don’t want people to look at me like “Oh my gosh, she’s about to rip me apart!” It’s more so me being a shopping buddy, I’m just here to really reinforce probably what you already know and pick some pieces that going to make you look your best and come out of your box.
KHI: How would you describe a shopping experience with you as a personal shopper?
LP: First of all we want to set the mode. What are we going in here to do? What’s our mission? Do we wanna revamp our wardrobe or is it just going to be [a specific look for a specific event]? Having that agenda set so that we know what pieces we are going to pull, you may not like some of them – and that’s ok – but in those items you may not like, you never know what you may end up liking. You may not have picked one of those items had you been by yourself.
KHI: So it’s a matter of being open-minded?
LP: Right. It’s an open-minded experience – you can’t go in there closed up in box or say, “I’m not going to try this on and I’m not doing that” because if you do that it’s like you might not find your perfect piece.
KHI: I understand you also “closet shop” – what does that mean and what’s that experience like?
LP: Everyone knows that woman who has everything in her closet and she’s just like, “I don’t have anything to wear!” Closet shopping is simply going through your closet and taking out your pieces – maybe it’s something that you haven’t worn in 5 years. Taking that piece out, revamping it with something new that you have and giving it a whole new look. Or simply going into your closet and deciding what you don’t need anymore. So we take that out and start all over again.
KHI: Is there an in-between where you can do a bit of both?
LP: Of course! You may have those older items that are just classic. And those are the items where you can always add to. I myself have stuff in my closet that are probably 10+ years old – and I won’t let them go because I know that I’ll be able to keep carrying them on out. My key rule is any piece that you haven’t worn at least twice in a year, it’s time to get rid of that piece.
KHI: What is your favorite go-to piece?
LP: I’m really laid back so I’ll throw on a pair of jeans any day! Because with the right pair of jeans, if you get the right fit and comfortability, you can do anything with them. Whether you want to dress them up or whether you want to dress them down – it’s all in how you piece it together. Jeans and a statement necklace is me all day because I could throw on a pair of jeans, some Chucks and a t-shirt and get me a bad necklace and I’m good.
KHI: What would you consider a statement necklace?
LP: Anything that’s like a bold, chunky piece is a statement. Because it’s the type of piece that will catch somebody’s eye when you walk by.
KHI: When is a good time to either let your clothes speak for themselves or add in a statement piece to do the talking?
LP: Like what I have on now, I like the play on patterns and I have pearls on. But it kind of goes with my shirt because you have the circles which picks up here in my necklace. So the outfit is standing out but [the necklace] enhances it.
A lot of women don’t like the chunky pieces, so a statement for them may be totally different from what my statement would be. So it’s their comfortability and how far they’re willing to step outside of the box. It may be something that’s a single strand and the boldness to them is the color and how many strands are on the necklace if it’s layered as opposed to chunky.
KHI: What piece would you suggest every woman (and man) have in his or her closet?
LP: I think every man and woman should have a nice tailored blazer. That’s another one of those pieces where you could really go either way with it. If you want to do a bold color, you can. I like this one because of how it’s cut, it’s not like your typical blazer with the lapels flipped over, it’s has more of a cut neckline and it would flatter any body type. Whether you have a big bust or if you’re petite it’s going to fall on you nicely. Versus a blazer with the lapel on it you have to be cautious of it because if you do have a big bust you don’t want to create more volume.
If you buy a black blazer, usually the fabric is going to carry you through – you can buy a black skirt and chances are it’s going to flow right on in with whatever you’re picking. A black blazer is a must.
KHI: What are some pieces that you cannot live without?
LP: From a jewelry standpoint, I have a gold, chunky chain necklace that I’ll put on with anything just because it’s one of those pieces that’ll just go with anything. In the wintertime, I have a blue, comfy sweater that’s real structured. It’s got a nice color, not too much design on it, and it’s something I could throw on if I’m going to church paired with a pencil skirt and a pair of pumps. If I’m just out running errands, throw it on with some leggings since it’s long enough I don’t really have to worry about it [showing anything]. Or if I just want to chill at the house and watch a movie, I could do that. In the summertime, any classy graphic t-shirt would be something I know I always go for.
KHI: What would be a classic item that flatters anybody, no matter their style?
LP: The little black dress. Because it’s another versatile piece that flatters any body type, you just need to know what cut to get.
KHI: What do you mean by that, “the right cut”?
LP: Like if you’re petite and you don’t really have curves something like this [see picture below] would be perfect, the peplum style, because it’s gonna create your curves for you. If you look at it, [the flare] creates a hip. It gives you your curves through this piece of fabric. Rather if you are more curvy and don’t want to show all of your curves, a sheath dress would be perfect because it’s going to fall on you [correctly, and it’s going to be very flattering, very feminine. Even a maxi dress – anybody can wear that. Depending on what kind of fabric you get, it’s not going to hug you (unless you want it to).
I said before that a petite woman could wear the peplum, but a curvy woman could too and it still be very flattering.
KHI: What does the peplum do for a curvy woman?
LP: The peplum enhances a curvy woman’s curves and give her more of that hour-glass shape because it’s going to form into the curves she already has. If you get a nice tailored little black dress, it doesn’t necessarily have to have a peplum for it to still be flattering.
KHI: What is a piece that you see too much of and (for whatever reason) you’re ready to see it go?
LP: Sorry ladies! But I am sick of the overalls. I hated when they came out….
KHI: Why, what’s wrong with the overalls?!
LP: I think it’s… I just don’t like for a mature woman, it downplays that. That’s just my personal opinion. Another thing I don’t want to see anymore of is the button-ups – when you see a lady who has the gaps [in between the buttons because the shirt is too tight]. It’s ok to go up a size! I guarantee you no one is going to care what size it is because it’s going to look so nice on you.
KHI: How would you define your style?
LP: My style is very indescribable, because nobody could really look at me and know what I would buy. You just never know…it depends on how I feel.
KHI: So you decide by what makes you feel good?
LP: Or just how I’m feeling, [my mood]. If I feel like, “I’m just going to be comfortable today,” you might see me throw on a pair of Nike’s, a pair of joggers, a cute graphic t-shirt, and a little jacket. Or if I want to be a little more dressy, you’ll see me with a pair of booties on, a pair of jeans, nice top (whether is a silky top or button up), something that’s flow-y or chiffon.
KHI: So your style is eclectic.
LP: Yeah! You can’t just look in my closet and find only one type of style. It’s really well-rounded, eclectic.
KHI: How would suggest someone else finding their style? Especially, if they’re getting ready for a photo shoot and maybe they, too, have an eclectic style but they still want to encompass their personality through their wardrobe choices.
LP: First off, you want to go with something you feel comfortable in. Of course you know with a photo shoot you’re going to be moving a lot, so it’s important to be comfortable. Another thing if you’re trying to find your style, is knowing what flatters you the most and what makes you feel good. What is it that makes you say, “I know this is it” and makes you feel confident?
KHI: Anything else you’d like to add?
LP: I think the main thing is when it’s your style, let it be you. Discover your inner self and let your inner self be portrayed on the outside. That’s the best thing. You can tell a lot about someone just by looking at them. Let your inner you shine!
Whew! Thanks LaKeisha for all of your advice on dressing, looking, and feeling our best no matter the situation! To find out more about LaKeisha or book her services, contact her through Facebook.