Whether it be the Golden Globes or a glossy high-end fashion shoot, model-turned-stylist Sara Acevedo shares what it’s really like behind the scenes:
“As a celebrity stylist, I am always asked what goes on behind closed doors- how people should put looks together and what they should wear.
Many people wonder why celebrities look so stunning on the red carpet and often ponder their own wardrobe shortcomings. Prior to becoming a stylist, I myself wondered the same thing.
Truth be told, it’s a lot of curating. Just one look takes so much time and effort behind the scenes, it’s something that women never take into consideration when admiring (or comparing their own efforts) to the final product. What people rarely see is just how much work goes into each look. It is hours and hours of work, by a whole glam team, and the majority of the time is spent just on the outfit.
For years, I have dressed celebrities for red carpet events and not once have I ever seen an exception to this- it’s always the same. Although you may not have a stylist working for you, here is a breakdown of the steps I always use to help my clients look their best, whether on the red carpet or in everyday life. It’s the steps I share with my girlfriends when they want advice and now for The Chosen Club too, it’s my foolproof guide.
STEP 1: MAKE A LIST
Making a list of the events you are attending and the very basic items you want to shop for provides a foundation and ensures you don’t get distracted by all the bright shiny things that come your way. This year in particular, there were a lot of celebrities needing black gowns – as pretty as those floor length red numbers are they just won’t make the cut.
You need clarity. I always make a list of what I need for each client prior to starting a new job.
STEP 2: CREATE A MOODBOARD
How many times have you gone shopping only to get exhausted in the first few hours, then realizing after you have arrived home that you did not get any of the things you needed?
One of the reasons you become successful as a stylist is not just the choices you make but also your ability to organize and plan (not so sexy but oh-so important).
Planning one’s wardrobe is the primary omission most people make when shopping for themselves. They do not plan their looks and end up with a closet full of random clothes that have no connection to each other, or won’t match when put together.
Taking the time to research in advance what style you want to achieve this season eliminates time wasted in a clothing store, trying to figure out which piece goes with what. Look at photos from previous looks you wore and determine why you like those looks, and if you want to change your style, look at celebrities that have the same body type or style you like and you will find the common thread.
By creating a mood board, you are able to ensure that your style direction is clear which helps guarantee a cohesive wardrobe where all of your pieces work well together. This along with your list gives you clear guidelines when hitting the stores or shopping online. I like to use www.pinterest.com for all of my mood boards (a snapshot of them above. Insider’s tip: use app on your phone and refer to it while shopping.
STEP 3. PULL, TRY ON & REPEAT!
One of the things people don’t realize is how many options celebrities try on before making a decision. Yes, even the ones who are size zero and have access to every designer sample under the sun.
You have to be willing to try things on and realize that the “standard” in sizing and fit varies widely- so never take it personally when you suddenly increase in a certain style, it’s ok. I’ve seen it happen to everyone.
While in fittings, I never allow the client to spend too much time mulling over one look, we try on everything we have quickly and then make a decision at the end. Otherwise you spend all your time considering one item instead of focusing on the real objective.
When you find the one, you usually just know it! This is where I have found online shopping to be really helpful. If you know what you’re looking for, buying samples online is simple and allows you to try things on with the pieces you already have. Websites like www.shopstyle.com are amazing because you can search for specific items and avoid having to scroll through multiple web sites.
Step 4. TAKE PHOTOS
During fittings, I always take photos of every potential look the client and I are interested in as it provides objectivity. With a photo, you are able to study the fit, color, and style without going cross-eyed starring at yourself in the mirror. It helps you to stand back and ask, “Does this really look good?”
I always do this with clients once we have finished trying everything on. How an outfit looks in a photo is more make-or-break now than ever before.
Step 5. MAKE THE DECISION
I always say: you have to pause before swiping your card.
After I have gone over all of the photos with the client and considered our objective, only then do we make a decision.
Looking through the photos, I suggest which outfit looks best based on how it photographs and how happy the client looks in it. That’s a big component too, if they feel uncomfortable and restrained, often it will show up in how they turn up on the red carpet on the night.
It’s also important to consider the impact a look will make, based on the event they are attending and how it relates to their overall image. If I am helping a client with a new wardrobe, we always consider their wardrobe style and how each piece builds on the next- it should be a reflection of your essence as a woman.
Always ensure you are wearing appropriate undergarments. Improper undergarments can change the way clothes lay on the body as well as alter the way you look in photographs.
Also, never underestimate the power of a good tailor. As mentioned above, sizing and fit varies widely and most people, celebrities included, do not find pieces that fit just right without proper alterations. Using a tailor to perfect fit is the best way to ensure your outfit is on point.”