October 02, 2009

Sherrie Says...(Flashionista asks Sherrie a few questions)

Sherrie Head shot

FL: Can style be developed and improved upon?  It's one thing to have a makeover from an expert like you, but what tools does one need to take away from a makeover session in order to make the right choices on one's own?

SM: The interest has to be there. My suggestions (below) are critical. I also suggest in both my books to go to stores you can't afford-treat them as museums-to study fabrics, construction, and design in general.

Observe makeover sessions with a good expert (and I emphasize "good" because the advice givers are many).  Study what they pick out, the resources (stores, internet sites, designers) they use, how the items they select work on your body, and with your personality and lifestyle.


What are your winter wardrobe staples?

  • Polartec zip tops by RL.
  • Cashmere turtlenecks or crewnecks, I have all the neutrals in various weights from TSE or J.Crew.
  • Navy jeans from Adriano Goldschmid, Martin and Osa, or J. Crew.
  • I love equestrian jodhpurs or fashion versions of them and have many (including men's).
  • Large pashmina shawls.
  • A down jacket from Tod's, Montcler or J. Crew.
  • A long or very short wool scarf around the neck (especially with my crew neck sweaters).
  • A variety of short and knee high sporty black boots (Hunter, Tod's, Prada).
  • A mid size black patent Tod's bag with lots of zippered compartments.
  • A man's size silver Rolex.
  • Multi seasonal ultra lightweight and packable Goyard tote bags.
What items instantly date us?
  • Our choices in accessories like rimless eyeglasses (men can, women shouldn't), dainty watches, stiffly conservative bags, and "comfort" shoes.
  • Chico's, J Jill and Coldwater Creek" shop here with caution or risk looking frumpy!
  • Holiday themed clothing.
  • Cutesy over-embellished clothes or jewelry.
What items instantly update us?
  • Plastic, contemporary style, neutral colored glasses.
  • Sporty masculine watches.
  • Appropriate items like cashmere sweaters from J. Crew.
  • A great fitting quality white blouse.
  • J. Crew navy boot cut jeans.
  • Black Knee high patent boots.
  • Black patent everyday mid size to large bag.
  • Black pencil skirt.
  • Black ballerina flats.
  • Beige, black, and gray cashmere cardigans.

FL: Some people seem to have an innate sense of style in everything (dress, home, etc.) while some, even though they work at it, don't come off as being stylish.  Then there are those that just plain don't care.   Do you think style is a talent that some have naturally?

SM: Yes, having great style is a talent like being able to draw well.  But your parents (or other important family influences) friends, and geographical environs can make or break you sometimes.

I describe in my books how curiosity, self propelled observation, and interest all contribute to your personal style. Your choices of magazines, movies, travel, architecture, photography and really looking at people around you can make a huge difference.

Those that simply don't care, usually look it. They may well be the majority of the world's population.

FL: Can you name some current style mavens of our generation?
  • Lauren Hutton
  • Rickey Lauren
  • Martha Stewart
  • Anna Wintour
  • India Hicks, and Chloe Sevigny (younger generation-but really talented!)
  • ...and listen to my advice-I guarantee it!
FL: How does one go about critiquing one's own style with the idea of refining or improving it?

SM: Begin adopting the skills nourished by curiosity and observation. Books on style and make-up like, Forever Cool, and Steal This Style, were written to offer
inspiring information to those who may not be able to hire me or someone else to style them. The models in my books are real people with very diverse lives and needs.  So almost any individual can find themselves represented within their pages.

Always look at high-end examples of style.  In New York, for instance walk from  57th St. to 86th St. on Madison Ave. and if you're able, visit places like London, Paris, Spain, and Italy. L
uxury magazines are good sources too, but beware, they are not always perfect.

FL: What items are on your Fall 09 must-have list?

SM: Knee (or just over the knee) high boots, black opaque tights, leggings, silver chain necklace/bracelet...or mixed with gold; and perhaps a preppy "shrunken" blazer.

FL: Any last words of 'Style Wisdom?"

SM: Certainly there's room for all sorts of styles from purist and minimalist to eccentric and ethnic. My only caveat is that they be done well.

The important thing to remember (and many would defiantly disagree with me) is that there is such a thing as "bad taste."  It's no fun to look at, it abounds like no time before in history, and it stems from lack of exposure --and real interest.


Sherrie Mathieson Style Consultant

See Sherrie on The Early Show

Forever cool
Steal style

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