Interview by Charlie Ewing
As the seasons change, wardrobes tend to flex and change for the weather and feel of the season. To celebrate this, we’ve picked a few stylists to visit with about the current and upcoming trends.
Starting this part of our interview series, we’ve invited Marilynn Barber to speak with us. Marilynn works with clients to help dress for the job they want, not just the job they have.
Charlie: Thank you for taking the time to visit with us Marilynn, to start this off, what lead you from self-styling to professional styling?
Marilynn: I had been a home-sewer, went to fashion design training and was working in a corporate job. The women coming to work were dressing too casually, some in maxi dresses and flip flops or capris and Reeboks, for the business culture. I KNEW they were damaging their career opportunities dressing too casually to be taken seriously. I believed they simply didn’t understand and needed real, experienced help.
Charlie: This is a great lead-in for our second question, who is your perfect client?
Marilynn: My “perfect” client is a highly-motivated businesswoman who aspires to more opportunity for leadership and KNOWS her image opens or closes doors. Looking like the role truly IS half the battle!
Charlie: With that said, what is your go-to or favorite style?
Marilynn: Because of the clients and environment I style for, a structured, fitted jacket that is perfectly tailored amps up ANY outfit is one of my “go-tos”. Sleeves need to hang just below the knob on your wrist (for a corporate look) and the jacket should show waist shape. The Chanel box-shape doesn’t do it – especially if you have large boobs. It just makes you look larger. The fitted jacket actually makes you look slimmer and there are SO many ways to style the jacket beyond the basic conservative office look.
Charlie: Because fashion is very much a seasonal creature, for this season, what trend or trends are you loving?
Marilynn: For fun, polka dots never disappoint, keep them smaller so you can mix them with other prints. Feathers are always saucy, and hats! I love a fun hat plus it’s functional, we need to wear them every time we’re out in the sun, so make it your signature look! And sets! Sets in denim or otherwise make it easier, and faster to get dressed and styled!
Charlie: And for next season, what is a trend that you’re excited about seeing more of?
Marilynn: Bigger, bolder jackets! They’re a fresh silhouette we haven’t seen recently. Armani showed some great ones as did many others. Either as a matched suit or separate piece. If you want to make a bold statement, the jacket always does it. It’s your visual armor, ladies!
Charlie: You mentioned Armani, what other designers are “killing it”? Who is your favorite?
Marilynn: I’m so impressed with Claire Waight Keller for Givenchy. She’s an English designer who’s been working in the industry for over 20 years and just got “discovered”. She’s doing true couture with elegant silhouettes but mixing it up enough to look fresh – like tuxedo-style jackets with delicate, lacy skirts. I feel she’s inspiring true design elements like we studied in school.
Charlie: You’ve brought up the love of elegant silhouettes, and by proxy, boxy silhouettes. What trend or trends are you not feeling right now, why not?
Marilynn: The Vetements cultural appropriation of utility uniform pieces and other’s work.
It’s good for the marketing of your show, but show us a new idea you had! Isn’t that why we get into the business, to express new ideas?!
Charlie: I believe our local fashion scene is about collaboration. How does a client who is interested in working with you get in touch with you?
Marilynn: If you want to get in touch with me, just Google. I’m at firstname.lastname@example.org
www.marilynnbarber.com or on LinkedIn where I have a long collection of articles I’ve written. Or CALL me at 832.707.9339, seriously, if you have a question, call me. I’m also on IG @marilynnbarber where I try to illustrate business clothes.
Charlie: That’s the HOW to contact you, when should a client reach out to you?
Marilynn: When they get tired of walking the mall and realize I’m cheaper and faster to get the results they need. We can no longer go to ONE place to get a completely coordinated outfit. Because styling is what I do all-day, every-day, I can focus on what YOU need for your body and business culture to create your signature “brand” look.
Charlie: Marilynn, what has been your most memorable moment in your career so far?
Marilynn: I studied haute couture in Paris one summer and my group was allowed to be dressers for Rick Owens’ first show for fur house Revillon. I dressed model Stella Tennant. It was only two changes, but to be there in Paris, at a real show, where Pat McGrath was in the back doing make-up was SO COOL
Charlie: I believe that fashion is all about collaboration. What do you look for in a collaboration with either designers, models or photographers?
Marilynn: I want to have a fun, creative, no-drama event. We’re CREATING so it’s all good; let’s bring in all the ideas, build around them, and have a uplifting experience.
Charlie: What advice do you have for creatives?
Marilynn: Fashion is a worldwide, international business. Don’t limit yourself to what’s happening in your little world. You can see all the shows from around the world almost in real-time, so EDUCATE yourself and keep on top of what’s happening so it can enhance your creativity. Build on ideas, rather than repeat old ones. And if you haven’t studied the history of fashion, I encourage you to do it because all that we create riffs off what has been done before. Inspiration comes from history.
Charlie: Thank you so much for your time Marilynn, do you have any closing advice for fashion lovers?
Marilynn: You’re welcome! I always defer to 8-time Academy Award winning costumer Edith Head. “You can have anything you want in life if you DRESS for it.” You control how people relate and remember you. Who do you want to be today?
Marilynn Barber is a Houston-based stylist and Amazon #1 Bestselling author with her book “Dress Like You Mean Business”. Her style is based on helping women break the glass ceiling and set the preface for their executive presence.
She can be reached at http://www.marilynnbarber.com/
Charlie Ewing is one of the STRUT Houston Editors and Photographers, working with creatives and businesses to set paths to success.
To reach out in regards to being part of the STRUT interview series, contact us via email at https://strutitup.com/submissions/ !