Few people can understand the hard work, dedication, and attention to detail it takes to be a celebrity stylist. Though it seems all glitz and glam, it is both challenging and rewarding work. It requires the humility to fade behind the scenes and let your client shine (literally in this case). And it requires a deep sensitivity in learning how to translate what someone sees and feels about themselves into clothing; not always an easy or straightforward task.
The uninitiated often think that a celebrity stylist imposes their own personal style on someone else. Actually, it’s about listening to what they hear, see, and feel from their client. And, translating it into clothing they can live in that speaks to the appropriateness of the occasion. Certainly, it is hard work but it is the most rewarding work when a client feels as good as they look.
Enter, Elizabeth Stewart, a woman, and stylist to the stars. This powerhouse celebrity stylist spent twelve years working in the style department of the New York Times Magazine, and additionally, she also spent a decade at W Magazine and Women’s Wear Daily. Elizabeth is a celebrity stylist to some incredible female storytellers. Many of her Hollywood clients are tackling groundbreaking roles that are powerfully impacting the way women are viewed in our society.
Actresses like Jessica Chastain, Gal Gadot, Cate Blanchett, Viola Davis, and Julia Roberts (who’s Elizabeth’s doppelganger!) to name a few, call on Elizabeth to help them find looks for every red carpet, photocall, and press event they attend. When not traveling, fitting clients, or pulling looks, she partners with brands like H&M, Amazon, and PLV to collaborate on her fashion projects. A quick scroll through Elizabeth’s Instagram reveals her impressive repertoire of work. And, a small glimpse into the life of this hard-working mom of two teenagers.
In this interview, Elizabeth shares with us what it means to excel in your craft while serving others well.
The Storied Life: We recently came across the shoot that you styled for the C3 Collection. A limited-edition collaboration between the CFDA and Lexus Fashion, which showcased the work of five designers who are creating a more sustainable future in fashion. As a celebrity stylist and industry insider, can you share with our readers your perspective on the future of sustainable fashion?
Elizabeth Stewart: I’m trying to support being eco-conscious and wearing things again. This is why I wanted to be part of the C3 showcase and rid ourselves of the ridiculous notion that some clothing items can’t be worn twice. All clothes are filling landfills, and people need to realize that. I partnered with one of my clients to style her in a gown she had previously worn on a red carpet to prove a point. That, it’s not against the rules to wear beautiful clothes twice and that a garment can last a lifetime.
TSL: We know high-low styling is a hallmark of your personal style philosophy. Any recommendations on where our readers can find affordable and high-end sustainable pieces?
ES: It is a lot easier to find affordable sustainable pieces than you might imagine. Walmart, who I’ve been a partner with since the launch of their four new private brand apparel lines—Time and Tru for women, Terra & Sky for plus, George for men and Wonder Nation for kids—is one retailer who you might not have thought of. Time and Tru uses Repreve in all of its denim pieces. For instance, this one, which is all at affordable price points. On the high-end, I’ve found sustainable pieces like great faux leather bags from Stella McCartney.
TSL: Winters can get pretty bitter for some of us. There is a temptation to give into wearing darker colors for lack of trying. What is the best way to add pops of color to a dark winter wardrobe?
ES: Stylists LOVE a pop of color. And, there is no better time to do that than during the dark winter months. The best part is that pops of color can be simple! One of my favorite ways to brighten up an otherwise black wardrobe is with a colorful blouse or a bold lip. A top like the Time and Tru shiny top in a vibrant red or even this leopard print dress is a great option that will flatter anyone.
TSL: Speaking of color, as a celebrity stylist you work with a diverse range of skin tones in your client base. From the deep richness of Viola Davis’s skin to Gal Gadot’s olive complexion to the porcelain-skinned Jessica Chastain. If you want to rock fun, bright colors like yellow this season, how do you find the best shade for your complexion?
ES: The key to wearing bright colors is all about knowing what works well with your complexion and hair. I’ve been fortunate to work with a variety of clients over the years and learn a few things. For example, if you have a darker complexion and dark hair, you can rock bright colors. And, red hair is amazing with bright colors, as well! If you don’t want to wear bright colored clothes, you can accessorize your outfit with a bold bag. Try this mustard yellow tote or these plaid flats from Time and Tru.
Deep/Dark: You are the most versatile. You can wear most shades of yellow, think soft pastels, mustards, gold, and neon are all great options!
Tan/Olive: Wear any yellow that is vibrant and bright, for instance, to help bring the under-glow out from your skin. Similarly, you can pull off gold, canary or citron yellow.
Light/Fair: Deep mustards and other dark yellows like mustard or saffron will complement your skin tone the best. Also, you can try pastels and light yellows, most importantly, add an interesting touch. Like statement jewelry or a smoky eye so that the color doesn’t wash you out!
TSL: Let’s talk about dressing for our body type. As you know, all shapes are great; it’s how you rock what you got. What advice or tips can you give our audience on how to dress for their body type. As well, how to dress throughout the changing seasons?
ES: My clients are all different sizes, and I always suggest highlighting their favorite features as a way to best dress for their body type. Showing off what you like best about yourself will make you feel more comfortable and confident in any occasion. For some plus size women, it’s all about showing their waist. And, for others, it’s showing their legs or covering their arms or tummy. I also look to brands that I know carry stylish options in all sizes to make this easy. Walmart has always made a point of offering plus-size options. However, there are new brands that have more stylish options than ever before. Time and Tru offers inclusive sizes XS to XXXL, and Terra and Sky, their plus brand, offers extended sizing from 14W to 30W. Both brands have compatible styles and color palettes. This allows you to mix and match if you are plus-size in one area of your body and not in another. This makes it easy to find ways to flatter the areas that you like best.
TSL: Last winter, you released your line of shoes called Stand Tall. In discussing the line, you mention that the purpose of the line is helping women “feel confident, strong and empowered by what they’re wearing. And, fashion is an incredibly empowering tool for women to protect, enhance, embolden and even convey a message. Currently, we are in a new cultural moment, for instance, where women are raising their voices. Women are taking up space as change-makers and thought-leaders in our global society, above all. Do you see any connections between how the cultural zeitgeist is positively affecting our personal style? And, that may impact how we feel about dressing each day?
ES: I’ve had the opportunity to work with inspiring clients as they were working so hard to balance careers and families, even before the #MeToo movement. When the Golden Globes took place earlier this year, I was lucky enough to dress clients on the carpet supporting Time’s Up and #MeToo. It has been incredible to be a part of and support those movements. Now, I think we are seeing more women dress each day celebrating their confidence and strength and that’s something incredibly empowering.
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Photo/Video Credit: Getty Images, InStyle, Vanity Fair, US Weekly, and The Hollywood Reporter
This interview was first published at Verily Magazine and has been republished with permission.