How to Develop a Look: Q&A with NY-based Stylist
While I love fashion and make-up, I would hardly call myself an expert. As I’ve progressed in my career and seen myself in videos, photoshoots, etc. I started to notice that when left to my own devices, often times what I wear in every day life doesn’t necessarily translate well on camera…or send the message I wanted to as an artist. Luckily, I reached out to a hip, trendy, NY-based stylist, (and friend from my college days) for help. Not only does Quinn Barker make sure I’m looking my best for shows, shoots, events, and brand partnerships, but she helped craft a look that fits my brand and allows me to feel and perform my best!
Quinn was kind enough to answer some questions for me regarding the style/fashion realm and whether you’re an indie artist, entrepreneur, influencer, or just want want a little help sprucing up your look, these tips can help you develop a style that’s unique to you!
SG: Where do I start if I want to build a wardrobe as a musician/artist?
QB: The best place to start if you want to build a wardrobe is in your closet. What do you have now that you love and find yourself wearing repeatedly? What is it about those pieces that keep you coming back to them? Maybe they’re all form-fitting or maybe you tend to wear a lot of denim or flowy dresses. After you’ve made a hit list, favorites that you wear a lot and feel good in, you need to look at the pieces that you don’t wear. Those jeans that were a fav but they don’t fit anymore? Donate them! Once you’ve made a sweep of your closet and donated things you don’t wear take a look at the holes. Maybe you donated all of your heels because they were uncomfortable, try a chunky heel or heeled bootie instead. Think like that with everything you got rid of and see how you can incorporate a different version that you’ll actually wear into your closet.
As far as staples go, you want to have least a good pair of denim, black pants, a nice pair of short boots, a sweater (a cardigan is great here because you can layer it with so many things) a few plain tees, and then a few things unique to you. Maybe it’s a neon sweatshirt, a floral top or some leather pants. Your personality should still come through even if you’ve just pared down.
SG: How important is it to have a “look?”
QB: This is a tough one. I think more important than having a look is knowing what works for you. Once you know what works for you, the look will start to generate itself. If you know that you love to move around (on stage, at work, anywhere) then wearing a mini skirt where you’re always tugging at it probably isn’t going to work. Same with being too hot or cold, if I’m always hot I probably don’t want to plan a look that is only impactful with a jacket on.
SG: What do you look for or get inspired by when crafting outfit ideas? How can we do the same in the day to day?
QB: All of my best and most creative outfits come when I feel like I truly have nothing to wear (trust me, it happens to all of us!) I get to be creative when I’m looking at 5 pieces that I’ve worn time and again and trying to reimagine them - I like the challenge! I'll wear my shirt buttoned all the way up with a red lip and a beanie which feels fresh and new, whereas if I wore it unbuttoned with a nude lip it would feel much more predictable. I also love to do a high-low vibe where I’ll pair heels with track paints or a plain or graphic tee with a preppy blazer. When it comes to fashion you might be surprised but opposites really do attract.
SG: How can I start building a quality wardrobe on a budget?
QB: I think the biggest thing to know about building a wardrobe is that you need to think of almost everything you purchase as an investment. Your money is valuable so you want to make sure that everything you purchase is a reflection of that value. What I mean by that is that you’re probably going to get more traction out of 2 quality staples than 6 different cheaper pieces. It's also going to look different depending on how big your initial budget is - if you have $100 to spend I'd tell you to focus on staples but if you have $400 to spend you can pepper in a few trendy pieces, too.
SG: What’s the best way to stay up on trends? That said, should I look to trends or stay true to what style works best for me?
QB: This is in a similar vein to having a look - just because something is trendy doesn’t mean that you have to incorporate it into your wardrobe. It’s good to be aware of what styles and designers are current and if something strikes you, see how you can mix it in! Instagram, Tumblr, and Pinterest are also great go-tos for inspiration too.
Make sure to follow Quinn on IG to see more of her inspired looks! If you have more questions, would like to enlist her help with your style needs, or are a designer/store that’s interested in sponsorship opportunities, shoot Quinn an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks so much for reading and happy styling!