Style Diary: Corporate Styling
When I received the call to style a team of architects heading out to the West Coast to present a proposal for a project, I was excited and ready to put my styling skills to work! I had worked with Quinn Evans a couple of times already, partnering with photographer extraordinaire, E. Brady Robinson, for professional portraits.
My first step, to learn as much as I could about what they envisioned and exactly what they would be doing. My job as a personal stylist involves more than picking out clothes and saying, “Here! Wear this! It’s fab!” I’m a careful listener, observer, and problem solver in my responsibility to give the client what they want.
One thing I learned was this was a second go-around to land a job out West and they were pulling out all the stops. Last time they wore typical DC conservative suit attire and found their competitors in business casual, polished but comfortable clothes and they wanted to follow suit (pun intended!). So the stakes were high and I was going to be a part of the equation to make their goal of landing a project happen. Add to that we were facing a time crunch issue. Their trip was just around the corner and I had a little less than a week to complete the task.
Determined to turn the pressure into an opportunity to give our client that extra edge for their task at hand, I began gathering information from each architect - I needed sizing (ASAP), where they typically shop, what they like and what they don’t like. But getting that information was not easy. Some of the team was on vacation, some were just really busy and took a couple days to get the information to me, which theoretically could have cut into my time to get them ready, but I decided to make good use of the delay and started doing a little research on my own.
I looked up pictures of each individual architect, made some notes based on my experience as a personal stylist and “people reader,” as to what they might like. The group leader sent me information on their competition, and the group of decision makers that would be interviewing them. All of this information gathering was key as I began to visualize looks in my mind while waiting for sizing. The clock was ticking.
Finally, all the information was in, and I took to the task of pulling looks — two per person. That’s a lot of clothes when you are dressing a 5-member team! The shopping part of my job is one that I absolutely love because it allows my creative side to roam free, but that’s only one factor in the equation. I had a budget of $400 per person, I had direction from each individual on what they liked, I also had the challenge of figuring out plan “B” if sizing wasn’t available for the look I had in mind. Add to that the challenge of keeping everyone’s items and receipts organized and carefully tracked so that everything was accounted for. I had my hands full!
By the end of the day, I had a car full of items, from shoes, clothing, accessories, I had everyone covered and went home to prep for the fitting.
A few hours later with outfits organized, labeled and stored in individual garment bags, car loaded with rolling rack, steamer and clothes, and help from our amazing intern, Tory, I was prepared for the fitting the next day. But, as with most styling assignments, there are bumps in the road. My job as a personal stylist is to make the process as seamless as possible for the client.
The first two architects headed in to try on their options. The pressure was on. I brought two options per person plus a couple extra options just in case. A quick prayer to the style gods and I pulled out the first look. There were questions, like “Could I get this in a different color, what about a different shirt, I’m not sure I like this shoe.” As the challenges came flying, I remained calm offering possible solutions and other options. The crew clearly wanting every aspect of their upcoming venture to be as perfect as we did. Recognizing that moment really opened the door for dialogue. Flexibility and open mindedness was key for all of us. I ended up pulling items from other garment bags, mixing and matching until everyone was happy.
Mountains faced, challenges conquered, outfits perfected. I was grateful for another successful venture and for the smiles, laughs and lessons through it all.
To work with Lenà, email [email protected].