As much as I love some good red carpet style, let’s be real: I know that those stunning fashion moments all took a lot of work, pre-planning, and clever, clever styling tricks. As part of my gig here, I get the opportunity to talk to lots of the industry’s best stylists and I’m always too happy to poke and prod for info on how us regular, non-red-carpet-walking ladies can apply some of that genius to our own lives.
Make your own cleavage. I’ll just say it: watching the red carpet, I see the sort of amazing breast action I’d be clueless about recreating for myself. There’s not much of a challenge if you’re someone like Sofia Vergara, but for less-blessed women, celeb stylist Anita Patrickson told me it’s all about silicone cutlets that can be slipped into your bra.
Take things to a tailor! This is probably the tip I hear the most and it’s so easy to do (and honestly not that expensive). “Most red carpet looks you see require some form of alterations, even if it’s just a hem,” Jordan Johnson, a Rachel Zoe Studio and Air New Zealand celeb stylist confirmed. “A great tailor is absolutely my secret weapon,” fellow stylist Jill Lincoln added.
Push the envelope. If stars want to make a big style impression, their stylists will often lead them toward something that’s not so closely aligned with what they might typically wear. “‘Just this once. It will make an impact,'” Leslie Fremar, Reese Witherspoon’s stylist, said of convincing the actress to break her ban on wearing all-black.
Plan it out. Even though some celebs cop to waking up on the morning of an awards show and deciding which dress to wear, the rack of options they’ve got to rifle through still arrived there with a ton of consideration. “Her wardrobe is planned well in advance with regular meetings to discuss looks for the family’s public appearances,” a source said regarding Kim Kardashian’s must-discussed style. Thinking about your outfit beforehand (for big events or everyday) will help the getting-ready routine go quicker. I’ve learned my own lesson about preparing for a trip too: I always try outfits on before they go in the suitcase to avoid heartache and style regret when I’m away from home.
Skip the bra. When I asked Commando designer Kerry O’Brien about hero bras that stars wear on the red carpet, her answer surprised me. “We find that women actually tend to go braless and use nipple concealers for coverage,” she said, providing me with a handy how-to to try it at home.
Take pictures. Part of the process between celeb and stylist involves taking photos to see how the garment looks from various angles. Lupita Nyong’o’s stylist Micaela Erlanger has been with her since the beginning and said she’d tell real women to “take pictures of yourself in front, side, and back to see how things read.” Rachel Zoe stylist Jill seconded the opinion: “The camera can tell a different story than in person. Take pictures with flash, in daylight, from all angles.”
Stop sweat. Literally. The biggest wow-worthy moment for me was when Micaela revealed something I didn’t even know existed: sweat protectors. They rely on absorbent material to sop up sweat so pop them on while you’re finishing up makeup or traveling to your final destination and remove before you step out of your car.
Dress for the woman you want to be. More classic advice, but gosh, it’s good. June Ambrose revealed some of her craziest on-the-job moments, but also this nugget for getting dressed everyday: “See the person you want to be come; aspire to be your alter ego.”