January's featured sponsor is Tailor and Stylist, a pretty shop full of vintage inspired and glamorous pieces to add a bit of drama and feminine flair to your wardrobe. I recently styled their boyfriend sweater, and actually Rebecca and Tieka also styled that same sweater in the past month as well! I thought it was fun that we all styled the exact same piece, but wore it in completely different ways. If I can finally stop wearing dirty old work clothes and working on the house, I'm gonna style up their mermaid maxi skirt, which just came in the mail. Such an elegant silhouette, but such a comfy, casual fabric!
I asked Grace & Jon, the founders of Tailor & Stylist, a few questions about style, their jobs as a stylist and tailor, and what inspired them to make a career in fashion!
Delightfully Tacky: True to your shop's name, it's run by a Tailor and a Stylist! Was the fashion industry something that brought you and your husband together?
Grace: We actually met on a white, sandy beach in Hawaii! It was pure fate.
Jon: Grace was in Honolulu on a job, and I was on vacation. For me, it was love at first sight. For Grace, well, I think she fell in love with me when I patched her favorite worn out shirt with a heart on the sleeve. Yes, ladies, I swept her off her feet with my thimble and sewing needle.
DT: So, Grace, you're the "Stylist" in T&S. What's your favorite thing about styling looks?
Grace: Styling is like magic and art mixed together. Many models come on set like a tall, ugly duckling, but then are transformed into swans by the time the camera snaps. I love maximizing someone's looks and confidence through powerful clothing and a strong vision. Many models in real life look nothing like their photos, where a crew of makeup, hair, and fashion stylists work together to create a beautiful photograph. It's really like magic!
DT: What have been some of your favorite styling jobs in the past? What would you love to style in the future?
Grace: My favorite styling job was for a photography book, where we shot models and 50+ classic cars, which I just loved because I'm an old soul. The entire shoot was done in a week, guerrilla style (no permits), which definitely added to the adrenalin factor too! Another fave styling job was for a major healthcare ad campaign because I got to style the sweetest 80 year old men and ladies.
I would love to style real women in the future (lookbook idea lightbulb going off!). Being in the industry for so long, it's easy to be lulled into the false reality that all women are perpetually 20 years old, 5'8" and size 2. It's easy to make models look beautiful, but what I'd love to do is help real women find what makes them look best and gives them more confidence in their step. That's actually a major reason I founded Tailor and Stylist.
DT: What are your wardrobe staples?
Grace: I love my custom made white collared shirts. I blame Jon for this bad habit. I throw one on, and it looks great with any bottom, be it our Mermaid Maxi Skirt a la Carolina Herrera style or distressed jeans and a worn in leather jacket. Oversized vintage sunglasses and pearls are staples too. As for shoes, I only have loafers or 4"+ stilettos. I clearly need to break out of the dichotomy that is my shoe collection.
Jon: Lip balm. And that's only because Grace is constantly asking for it, so I've carried one in my pocket since I met her. I also have a sewing kit at home and in the car because you never know when just a few of the right stitches can make or break a piece of clothing.
DT: Grace, you've said that your mother and grandmother had a huge influence on your interest and passion for style. What is a favorite fashion-related memory from your childhood.
Grace: My grandmother had rooms upon rooms of haute couture clothing. Walking into a room was like going into a forest of ruffled silk, beading, and fur - but it smelled like roses and moth balls. I would roam through the rooms every time I visited her house, trying on jewelry and dresses. But one day, there was something in one of the rooms, and I could feel its eyes staring at my back. And it was a freaking fox! Its head was still part of her mink stole! It was this day that I realized her fur collection came from animals, and that I knew I would be totally and completely against fur for the rest of my life.
DT: Quite a few of us in the northern hemisphere are in the grips of winter right now. What are your favorite styling tricks for keeping warm without sacrificing personal style?
Grace: I was born and raised in LA, so to me, 55 degrees is freezing.
Jon: I grew up back east in the snow belt, so I know what it's like to scrape ice off your windshield at 7 am. My tip is to invest in really stylish wool hats because so much body heat escapes from your head. And invest in a special coat that you can layer underneath. The Glam Slam Jacket we carried for fall/winter was a perfect example. I guess that's why it is completely sold out, but the designer will be creating a similar one for Fall of 2013 in an array of colors, including hunter green!
DT: Jon, what sparked your interest in becoming a tailor?
Jon: My grandfather owned a chain of fine shoe stores, and growing up, I would watch him get dressed for work in awe. He had wool and tweed hats, monogrammed suspenders, starched custom shirts with cuff links, and the most well shined shoes I've ever seen. He was a natty cat, and my respect and admiration of him inspired me to be a bespoke suit designer and tailor.
DT: From the perspective of a tailor, do you have any fashion advice?
Jon: It is absolutely critical to dress for your own body and shape. Don't be tempted into the latest trends if it does not look flattering on your body shape. It's so imperative to understand what looks good on your unique figure. I'm seriously elated to see that the skinny jean trend is waning because too many men and women were not putting their best assets forward (or behind, rather), so to speak.
DT: What tailoring faux pas do you most often see?
Jon: I designed shirts for many male TV newscasters in LA, and they all had one problem: their shirts were stained inside the collar with bronzer makeup! That's not a tailoring faux pas, but I couldn't believe how many men wore bronzer in LA!
On a tailoring note, you would be surprised how many men actually have sloped, uneven shoulders, which make a suit look sloppy. Some bespoke designers don't adjust the cut of the suit for the asymmetrical shoulders, so even though a client spends $2000 for a suit, it still looks off the rack, or worse, like a teenage boy wearing his father's suit for prom.
Jon: I designed the collar on the shirts for Pat Riley, the longtime coach of the Lakers and now of the Miami Heat. It looked amazing on his neck and framed his face perfectly on TV, even when they were losing.
I also designed suits for lots of bodyguards. They needed room in the chest for their Kevlar suits and guns, and I had to tailor the jackets just right so that the iron underneath wouldn't show.
DT: What was the spark that ignited the idea to create Tailor & Stylist?
Grace: It's easy for celebrities and models to look amazing when you are pulling wardrobe pieces that cost hundreds and thousands of dollars. But what about us real working girls?! I wanted to bring the high style I was pulling for photo shoots (but couldn't afford myself because, seriously, who has $550 to spend on a t-shirt?) to real women, on real budgets. And from all that I had learned about making people look good for the camera, I also wanted to launch a boutique where everything is flattering to a woman's beautiful figure.
Jon: On a similar note, it is easy making men look fantastic when they can afford custom suits on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills. But Grace and I really wanted to bring the style of Rodeo Drive (especially of nostalgic decades past) to the budgets of Main Street. Plus, I really love my wife and her ideas :)
DT: Any exciting plans for T&S in the future?
We are starting to plan an exclusive T&S designed line that encompasses fine tailoring, flattering cuts, and nostalgic styling - and it will be made right here in Los Angeles to support our local economy.
Thanks Grace & Jon! Check out their lookbook below, and you can also find them on Facebook, Pinterest, & Twitter.