Kim Naci’s LUSTY Adventure!

Kim Naci

Kim Naci

Meeting fashion therapist and stylist Kim Naci changed my life. She gave me (someone who has always loved what clothes can do for my sense of self) more confidence and understanding that I am worth the time and the effort to dress my best. Until I met Kim and had her clear out my closet and my mental cobwebs, I wasn’t treating myself the best that I could. It was her skill yes, but it was much more than that; it was Kim’s huge heart, warmth, and wit. I just wanted to hug her all the time! So last fall, when Kim told me that she was working on a secret television assignment, I knew it would be special. And it was. Kim has been working as the lead stylist on the TLC series with fashion expert, Stacy London: Love, Lust, or Run! (The show airs Friday nights at 9/8C). Yes, tune in tonight to see this heartwarming fashion ‘make-under’ experience. But in the meantime, here is Kim to tell us about the show from a bird’s-eye view …

MKG: How long have you known Stacy London?

KIM: Stacy and I met over 4 years ago during the launch of her {now defunct} agency Style For Hire. I was tapped by Stacy to execute a training workshop for the incoming stylists.

MKG: The moment you were told you would be the lead stylist of Stacy London’s new show, Love, Lust, or Run – what went through your mind?

KIM: Great question! Until then, my experience had been styling private clients and magazines, both digital and print. This was going to be my first foray into television which had been long-time goal. And what better way than to join my friend and colleague, Stacy London? Continue reading

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Stacy London is Back on TLC!

Stacy London returns to TLC: Photo Courtesy of

Stacy London returns to TLC — Photo: Stephanie Diani/Discovery

Does the world see you as you see yourself?” ~ Stacy London, Love, Lust, or Run!

I have missed seeing Stacy London on TLC. In 2013, Stacy’s show, What Not To Wear, ended its 10-year run. But tonight Stacy London is back on TLC with the series premiere, Love, Lust, or Run! The new series is still fashion-focused but it will be more of a fashion make under! Viewers will be introduced to women in need of a dress down of their over-the-top looks as Stacy asks them to strip everything away to reveal their true selves. I sense inspiration will follow these transformations.

And there is more good news! My friend and fashion stylist, Kim Naci, is working on the show, as the lead stylist behind the scenes. This is too good to be true.

Tune in tonight at 9pm to watch Stacy London and Kim Naci work their magic!

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Cindy’s style story …

Cindy and Stacy when they launched Style for Hire

Cindy and Stacy, launching Style for Hire

One remarkable day five years ago, Cindy McLaughlin and her friend, well-known stylist Stacy London, realized they had a great idea: to help regular people on regular budgets feel good about their clothes, their bodies and themselves. That was the day that Style for Hire, a network of top personal stylists handpicked by Stacy, was born. Cindy is not only the Co-founder of Style for Hire, but she is also its original client. I asked Cindy about her own style story …

MKG: Have you always been in the fashion industry?

CMI’ve been in the industry since 2000 – which, by now feels a bit like ‘always.’ Prior, I worked at a consulting firm doing banking technology research + consulting, and before that I was in the Peace Corps digging latrines and wells in Congo. Either of those jobs is as far as you can get from fashion, really.

MKG: Tell me where you were emotionally in 2008 when you called Stacy London to help you with your wardrobe?

CMI was schlubby. I was a restless stay-at-home mom of two young kids wishing I had something more intellectually fulfilling. I couldn’t muster the energy to apply for a job, though, because I didn’t fit into any one my work-appropriate clothes to wear for interviews (much less to the job if I got it.) One of the more inane reasons not to work, but if you’ve ever tried to navigate a day of shopping at Bloomingdale’s, exhausted and solo with a toddler and an infant, you’ll know what I mean.

MKG: What did you experience as you began to recapture yourself?

CM: Here’s what happened: Stacy took me shopping for a couple of hours. She made a bunch of clothing recommendations and they were spot on. Every single piece she helped me find was well within my (limited) budget and still lives in my closet 5 years later. And it was fun! I felt like I had a moment for myself that I hadn’t had in months. Then the result: I simply looked MUCH better. With that, I was inspired to make more incremental improvements. My posture improved, I bothered to brush my hair and put on a touch of makeup and I grew excited to get out there and be a part of the adult world again. That’s all the internal stuff, and then I started getting compliments from friends and family and noticed by strangers. It’s impossible not to feel more cheerful and open and even more powerful when people are smiling at you and telling you all day how great you are. Maybe years of psychotherapy could get you there too, but a couple of hours of intense retail therapy is more my speed.

MKG: Tell me about the moment when you and Stacy decided to start Style for Hire? What was your goal?

CM: We were having wine on my porch after the fact, talking about the unexpected psychological impact of feeling good about your style, and it hit us like a ton of bricks. The mission was – and remains – to help our clients look great, and save them time and money in the process. Of course, there’s only one Stacy and a whole world of clients, so we had to figure how to scale to include the best personal stylists in the country.

MKG: How is the company changing since you started?

CM: Nothing at all has changed about the mission; it’s still at the core of everything we do. Reading our client’s testimonials keeps us inspired and reminds us everyday that we’re still on the right track. Of course, some of the tactics have shifted over the years. We’re ramping up the frequency of our workshops (the vetting and training ground for all new stylists) to be able to extend the service to more people; we’re offering our stylists lots more in the way of ongoing information and training directly from Stacy and we’re helping to connect our stylists to each other. It’s exciting to watch our stylists become friends and bond as colleagues within a community rather than competitors. We’re always focusing on how technology can be used to help our stylists and clients interact more effectively.

MKG: Can you explain the role of a professional stylist? How do you select the stylists?

CM: A professional stylist earns a living by helping others build flexible, functional wardrobes. Generally speaking, this means the following:

1. Making sure the garments in the closet are all wearable, visible and clean/mended/tailored. Those that don’t work are sent to charity or consignment so that the client can milk the value of what s/he already owns.

2. Making sure that as many outfits as possible are made out of what’s already in the closet. This can save clients a tremendous amount of time and money as they look at old garments with fresh new eyes.

3. Making sure that any additions to the wardrobe make more outfits (so you’ll never have an ‘orphan’ garment that doesn’t go with anything else) and that money is invested wisely. All our stylists use ‘cost-per-wear’ as the metric for investment. It’s how a businessperson evaluates assets. It’s OK to spend more on something you’ll use everyday, but you’ll want to be careful for things that are only good for a few occasions/year or even a single wear (Bridesmaids – listen up!).

Stacy handpicks our stylists after a rigorous process in which we view their resume + portfolio, gather client testimonials, interview them 1:1, and spend two very intense days in a challenge-based workshop getting to know them. What’s great about the network is that our stylists help us find other top-tier stylists because they now trust that we’ve brought the best stylists out there. It’s a virtuous circle. We also take on newer stylists who have great talent but who lack experience, train them, and help mentor them through their career.

MKG: What is your favorite thing to hear from a client?

CM: I love variations on the phrases, ‘you’ve changed my life,’ and ‘I’m shocked at how powerful this was!’ I hear both all the time, I’ve felt them both myself, and I know them to be true. I get inspiring emails every day from clients – most recently a woman whose daughter got styled as part of a Make-a-Wish program. That reminded that what may on the surface to be a bit superfluous or indulgent can be incredibly deep and a source of great joy.

MKG: Finally, have your feelings about your personal style changed since starting Style for Hire? And … do you ever get a little closet touch-up from time to time?

CM: Yes on both counts! I see one of our stylists periodically and know a lot more about how to dress my own body. I’ve sat through a whole mess of Stacy’s workshops by now, so I know the theory of ‘science of styling’ cold. I also have more fun with fashion. I like to take more risks now and I’m more comfortable with my choices. Literally comfortable, too. This spring I love wearing sweatpants or leggings, a slouchy sweater and booties, as long as they’re flattering and kind of edgy. (It’s possible I’ll get a raised eyebrow from Stacy for this …).

 

 

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Kim: Portrait of a stylist …

Kim

Kim

Co-founders Stacy London and Cindy McLaughlin were lucky when they found Kim to join their network of professional stylists at Style for Hire*. Kim is warm, effervescent and incredibly knowledgeable in all aspects of the fashion industry. In other words, she is the quintessential fashion stylist, or “style therapist,” as Kim refers to herself. We met today and Kim shared her story with me: how she started her career in fashion, and what does it mean to be a stylist:

MKG: Kim, how old were you when you first became aware of fashion?

KIM: I must have been about six years old. My mother is, and always has been, glamorous. There is no one like my mother. She always loved wearing hats – big, statement hats: she could rival any Royal! She wore them with a dramatic flair; slightly tilted across the eye. The hat was part of the ensemble, no removing it. No second guessing the color, no tugging. And THAT’s style. Confidence in your look regardless of what labels you’re touting. Style means you wear your Payless as proudly as you wear your Prada. My mother was very brave in her fashion conviction and her courage inspired me …

As a Turk, I take full ownership of the Harem pant. Love it or hate it – it taught me about drape and proportion. No self respecting emperor would wear a tunic over a pant with such volume! My sister and I are only seventeen months apart and are very close. And while my sister took the lead in the beauty industry working as Ad Director of Vanity Fair, she is now the CEO of Glossybox. It seemed fitting that I would take the fashion route, covering our bases … Continue reading

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Spring dream

My white lace Valentino blazer

My white Valentino blazer

In the midst of more dreary winter weather ready to drag me down I found a moment to Spring dream! My new favorite stylist, Stacy London (co-host of TLC’s What Not to Wear, now in its 10th season!), revealed the spring style trends. Illuminating! So let’s talk! …

white and lace. Flirty and feminine, the combination of white and lace will be big. I have this one covered with my Valentino blazer (it’s white eyelet, actually) that I snatched at my local high-end consignment shop. Find a consignment shop for yourself, if you haven’t already! Go!

gladiator sandals and ankle-strap sandals. Watch for gladiator sandals, especially, with the designs reaching every length, even up to the knee! Continue reading

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Be a trail blazer!

Luxe Rachel Zoe chocolate suede jacket

“There is something about a well-fitted modern jacket that feels like armor. If it’s cut well, it adds a dose of cool to anything you wear it with and does the heavy lifting when it comes to creating a flattering shape.” ~ Stacy London – stylist, television personality, and author – from her new book, The Truth About Style

Do you own a blazer? Have you checked your closet recently? Blazers are so important for pulling a look together, and having a few well-fitting jackets, as Stacy London says, is necessary for feeling your best. I like the notion of a jacket as armor and I agree. Sometimes you want to say more rather than less. Sometimes you need the extra coverage; not just to complete a look, but to go deeper – to give you a sense of control and purpose when you need confidence. Sometimes, as your body ages, you simply need a little more structure and form, especially in the shoulders. And nothing, nothing gives a man or woman a sense of power and elegance like a blazer.

The expression ‘go to’ really fits when it comes to wearing a blazer. I have a few; a white and yellow for spring/summer, and my recent purchase – this Luxe Rachel Zoe chocolate-suede from her QVC collection. I chose it because of its good fit and interesting detail, including the puffed-sleeves (love!) and multiple zippers. And brown looks great with black, which makes it a classic for everything.

Take care of yourself and add your own protection with a proper jacket. Be a trail blazer!

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Stacy’s Truth …

QVC Presents "FFANY Shoes on Sale"

Stacy London
QVC Presents “FFANY Shoes on Sale” – fall 2012

Many of you know Stacy London as the co-host of the hit television show on TLC’s What Not to Wear. Did you also know that she has written a book called, The Truth About Style?

I picked it up today and by all accounts it looks to be honest and forthcoming, and in the spirit of helping nine women transform their lives, focuses on the person inside rather than simply ‘what to wear.’ I can’t wait to read Stacy’s book, because I agree that your style choices affect your self-esteem. You know I love that!

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