Thank you to Arianna of The Last Word for interviewing me on her blog!
Here is the interview:
You are based here in the Windy City. Are there any style hardships you face not being located in fashion capitals?
TC: I believe that there are some incredibly dressed women in Chicago and that many of the boutiques/department stores offer a great selection of merchandise; fashion is not a part of every day life for many Chicagoans [which] is not true of cities like New York with top showrooms, the garment district, along with some of the best retail spaces in the country, many of which are Flagship Stores.NYC encourages [flare] every time you walk down the street. LA is not far behind and is filled with celebrities who require full time stylists. Though not yet a fashion mecca in the way New York or LA is, I think Chicago has made great strides in the last few years and is catching up to the coasts.
A lot of styling is glamorous on TV hob nobbing with Designers and showrooms. What are the parts of styling that you wish were projected more in the fashion world?
TC: I think the audience needs to recognize that what they are watching and seeing on television is not reality. Most women do not look like TV stars and cannot afford the high end designer clothing being used in shows like Gossip Girl. However, I think a good portion of the styling done for television is amazing and should be used for women of all ages to get ideas on certain styles, trends and how to put them together.
When you begin styling or organizing what is more important to you: making the trends fit the body type or starting at the body type and incorporating trends?
TC: My client, and their personality, style and body, are definitely the most important to me. I pride myself on thinking about my client and figuring out the color and cut that makes them feel the most comfortable and beautiful. I make every client look modern, but trends are not particularly important to me. I believe some trends are great, some trends are cheesy, and no trend looks good on everyone. I truly believe the best clothes are ageless and timeless.
When rehabbing your closets what are key things on your agenda?
TC: The first, and most important step, is to evaluate a client’s closet and weed out all of the things that are completely out of style and dated. If any of these items can be salvaged by a tailor that option is discussed. Next, I put together looks and help the client learn to manipulate their current clothing. Finally, I make suggestions of what needs to be added to the wardrobe to update or complete the wardrobe. You would be surprised by the gems I find in the back of my client’s closet!
Are there certain body types that you wish were more present in the fashion world? (My favorite question!)
TC: Fashion is a means to make people – all people – feel and look beautiful. I wish that the fashion world would pay more attention to all of its customers – not just the prototypical “model body.” Plus, I think the coolest thing about fashion is to be unique and express yourself through the clothing. I have no desire to look like a pack of waifs!
Do you feel certain body types are easier to dress or do you look for designs based on clientele needs?
TC: I definitely base my clothing selection and styling on the individual client and their needs. That is the only way to do it! Your client has to feel confident and comfortable. I would be lying if I did not admit that certain body types are easier to dress than others. When I have to get things made and bring tailors in, the process definitely becomes more complicated and expensive. However, I find dressing a more challenging figure to be the most rewarding. When I make people look and feel great there is nothing more satisfying.
Everyone has their closet staples. What are yours?
TC: My #1 closet staple is definitely a cardigan. They provide warmth, arm coverage and most importantly allow me to wear s/l dresses and tops year round. I am also a boot girl. I love to pair boots with my dresses, skinny jeans and leggings.
Where do you begin styling? Do you start with accessories or wardrobe?
There is nothing worse than having different parts of the outfit compete with each other [We agree!]
. I always have my clients show me the most critical piece to their outfit and work around
it. If that piece is a dress, I showcase the dress and accessorize accordingly. On the other hand, if it is an avant-garde shoe or bag we put together an outfit based around that piece. For instance, a printed or beaded dress needs a simple shoe and bag. A colorful bag or shoe needs to befriend simple clothing.
What is the most paramount moment of your styling career?
TC: There have been many amazing moments throughout my career. Probably the most important one came when I was the full time buyer for Marissa Collections. The store owner, who is to this day my mentor, allowed me to go to Paris by myself. This meant that I was completely responsible for the store and it’s merchandise. When I realized my eye and talent had been fully recognized, I knew I was on my way. That experience is what has given me the drive and confidence to foundTracy Clifford Style.
How would you categorize yourself? (Curvy vs “not Curvy”) – The best part of the interview!
TC: I would not categorize myself. I am unique and prefer to be that way. You will never see me modeling in a showroom or walking down a runway, but I accentuate my physical assets and express my personality through my love of fashion. I don’t believe fashion is about waify models strutting down the runway. It is about passion, style an self expression.