Thursday, July 12, 2012

Does Stacy London Know What to Wear?

I was pursing the book selection at Salvation Army (of course after shopping the clothes!) when I spotted an aqua satin dress, on a cover of a book, that looked oh so familar. There she was, Stacy London, in Yigal Azrouel, exuding her signiture confidence next to  Clinton Kelly, for their 2005 book Dress Your Best.

I assisted London's stylist, Jessica Neff,  on several 2011 projects for London, but flipping through the pages of  this 7-year-old book, it was the same SL I watched smile on the Today Show, or strut on a Dr. Scholl's commercial; beautiful hair, beautiful body, and of course, beautiful clothing.
 I could see it was clearly jammed packed with valuable information, particularily regarding dressing for your body type (which was the focus of the book).
Anyone can see, London consistently dresses to kill on her show What Not to Wear, and I used to feel honored back in 2011 when I would hear her analyze a look out loud, or take a phone interview in my presence. I certainly consider her a style guru, who often leaves even me wondering, "How the hell does she know that?" I consider myself to have a good style intution, but SL's success lies in her awareness of her natural talent in dressing, and her ability to formulate easy to follow rules that make dressing for the rest of us possible and on point. But maybe she dumbed it down a bit too much for "the rest of us" with this book.
For example, she said, "Paring red and black can look matronly (very Raiza Gorbackev) but can look infinitely chic with a third color- a nuetral such as white, cream, or camel."pg 53. Great advice, but the look to go with it was a plain black skirt, a plain white shirt, and with it, a plain red jacket (to Stacy's defense, the jacket was leather, adding some interest). Such a shame, because there are infinite stylistic posssibilties with this great peice of insight! Such as adding multiple nuetral tones with red and black, and definitley using prints so its not so one dimensional.
To incorparate how effective prints can be on a red, black and nutetral pallette, I created my own look combining this additional SL'ism: "Don't be afraid to mix patterns like florals and animal prints, but dont let either over power your outfit. use them as you would use spices in your favorite dish-as accents and sparingly." pg 29. I like that she said it's ok to mix prints, but I think it is actually also ok for mixed prints to play a dominant, main course, not just pepper kind of role, especially if the prints are in nuterals. (An outfit "spiced" by print is a chic option too, however). To see my adaptation outfit of London's laws to dressing, keep scrolling.

<----------I thought this pump would be the first step in the right direction, considering it embodies both of the SL'isms: Use of print, and use of red, black, and nuetrals (in this case, white and beige). Leopard is a great choice because it goes with most other prints, try it with stripes (seen above) or polka dots. But do keep your mixing in the same color family, as seen with the clutch (below), top and heels. Houndstooth (seen on clutch) is a lot like leopard print- you can mix it with anything- but maybe the two prints achieve their ultimate coolness when combined together. Layer nuetrals, such as this striped long sleeve under a sleeveless shift dress (below). It creates a great neutral canvas for adding accents of color, (but consider this sophisticated pair up with other colors!). SL wrote about using print as a "spice", but try using a  color as a spice on a nuetral outfit, referred to above as 'accents', effectively done with a belt (below). Just err on the side of quality- a colored belt can look tacky and cheap if it resembles any form of plastic. And as always  the case, a contrast of materials, such as the leather in the skirt of this dress, adds visual interest.

An other SL'ism to think about: "It's fine to mix patterns as long as they aren't competing for attention." Stacy London, pg 139
Let's not forget Clinton Kelly, who partnered with London for this book. I spent some time on the What Not to Wear set, enough to learn this guy is stylish and hilarious. I love how Clint signed the title page of the book to the original owner: "Anne, if the other Stacy ever gets sick, you'll be the first one I call. Best, Clint." So glad Anne, whoever she is, donated this book to Salvation Army, because all in all, Stacy has a lot she can teach me.

Shoes: Giusseppe Zanotti Design
Turtleneck: Murphy & NYE
Belt: Hugo Boss
Clutch: Jil Sander
Dress: Raoul

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