How To Dress A Celebrity: Go Behind-The-Scenes With A Celebrity Menswear Stylist

Have you ever wondered what goes in to styling a client for a big event? I’m going to take you on the inside – from the moment I’m booked on a job to lint rolling the client’s outfit before they step onto the red carpet.

Monday, 11am:
I receive a call from a member of my client’s team that an outfit is needed for a big event they’re attending on Thursday. Crap, that’s only 72 hours.
We’ve got only one day to pull looks (outfits) from the designer’s showrooms (where their latest collections of clothing are held for magazine shoots and celebrities to use) before the fitting (when the client tries on the looks for the first time) takes place on Wednesday.

My team and I immediately get to work putting together a mood board.

billy reid, burberry prorsum, jil sander, gucci, fall 2012, runway collection

With all the great Fall pieces to choose from this season, I decide to steer away from the norm of a suit. It’s important that my clients always stand out from everyone while still ensuring the look is an honest representation of their personality. For this event, my team and I took inspiration from Paul Newman.

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Newman’s easy going style was an art form that all men should embody.

We decide a jacket with a strong collar layered over a sweater will be the foundation of the look. We come up with a bunch of possible combinations. Should we pair a grey cowl-neck sweater from Billy Reid with a leather jacket? Or how about a camel cowl neck layered over a button-down shirt and tie as seen on Burberry’s catwalk? Paired with a charcoal blazer? Perhaps Jil Sander’s classic black crewneck sweater and dress pants is effortless enough? A merlot sweater? After looking through designers’ lookbooks (a picture book of the season’s newest looks) for the right pieces, we race off to email and call showrooms to request the pieces. We’ve got only an hour before the NY showrooms close for the day.

Tuesday, 6am:
Between gulps of coffee, I’m calling New York showrooms, confirming the looks we requested the day before will be sent out in time to arrive at our office by noon tomorrow – just in time for the fitting with the client. My team and I then set about running around LA, securing (we call it “pulling”) clothes from designers who have their samples here in LA. It’s important to not entirely depend on samples coming from NY, in case some of the packages don’t arrive on time… or at all. Always, ALWAYS have a backup, especially if the packages are coming from NY. Too many variables can happen – bad weather, theft (this has happened a few times) and other acts of God.

Wednesday, Afternoon:
24 hours before Thursday’s event. The team and I gather all the looks – luckily, all the NY packages came on time (whew) – and load them into our cars to meet the client wherever they are – if they can’t meet at my office. Typically, the fitting can go one of two ways: One of the looks works perfectly without any fuss or the looks aren’t winners and I quickly rework the looks based on my intimate knowledge of the clothing and my client’s personal sense of style.

Once agreed, the clothes are pinned into place – this shows my tailor exactly where things need to be taken in, hemmed, etc. The outfit is then rushed to alterations. My tailor is used to my last minute requests. Everything is always urgent in this profession.

Tip: If you’ve ever wondered why stars looks so great on the red carpet, the biggest factor, aside from a few others, is having every piece of clothing altered to fit them. Whether off the runway or off the rack, clothes never fit perfectly. GET. THEM. ALTERED.

Thursday, Afternoon:
A few hours before the big event the finished pieces are picked up from the tailors and rushed to the client’s house. You’re probably thinking “Why do stylists need to be there when all the client has to do is put on the clothes and leave?” In a perfect world, that’s exactly how it’d be. But this isn’t a perfect world, so we’re there to ensure everything is absolutely perfect. In menswear, the smallest details are extremely important. The pants have to be cuffed at just the perfect length, the buckle of a belt positioned just right, the shirt tucked in just enough, I could go on for days…

With one roll of the lint brush, the look is complete and they’re on their way to walk the red carpet.

Definitely my favorite moment of the entire process is seeing pictures of that final look on the red carpet – it’s such a great feeling to see my clients look effortless, polished, and 100% true to themselves!