DISCOVERING YOUR SIGNATURE STYLE
If you have been following us for a while, you know we believe your home should be a reflection of your wardrobe, an extension and expression of your personal style. Since we emphasize this in our work and gain so much of our design inspiration from our fashion and style icons, we thought it would be fun to bring in wardrobe stylist, Kiri Morken, for a little Q + A about how to establish your signature style and build your wardrobe around it.
Q. Tell us about you ... what do you do, what is your background, and what you love about fashion and personal style?
A. Currently I am a wardrobe stylist for the TV show Daily Blast Live, a nationally televised live entertainment and trending news program. I am also a personal stylist and shopper, and was previously a stylist at A Line Boutique in Denver. Evolving into this role has been quite the journey! I grew up in New York City and have always been passionate about fashion and style. I have many childhood memories standing awestruck in front of the Bergdorf Goodman and Tiffany window displays on 5th Avenue in NYC. I actually have a degree in nursing and a background in public health research, but eventually returned to my original passion in the fashion industry. I was drawn to women’s retail with hopes of eventually becoming a wardrobe stylist for catalog shoots at Anthropologie’s home office. While working at Urban Outfitters as a coordinator for the women’s design team, I confirmed my love for style curation, which ultimately led me to my current position as a wardrobe stylist.
I believe that dressing someone is an intimate experience, and it’s such an honor when people invite me into their closets. I truly love helping my clients align their wardrobe with their lifestyle. I think good style should be accessible to anyone who wants it!
Q. How does dressing well affect your lifestyle and your mood?
A. What you wear can contribute to how you interact with your environment and how you experience your day. Feeling great in your clothes can help you feel and be more in line with who you are. Our clothes are the one thing that touches our body every single day. We are in an intimate relationship with what we wear.
Q. How do you help people discover their signature style?
A. Uncovering your own personal style can sometimes take a lot of question asking and introspection. Be patient with the process of discovering what works for you! I work with clients to create moodboards using both images and words in the process of distilling their style. Some of the prompts I include are How do you want to feel? What type of style are you drawn to? What moves you? What colors do you like? How do you want your wardrobe to feel? I see this moodboard as a new lens with which to view your wardrobe. It can help guide what to keep and what to add. Sometimes we have to clean the lens, reconsider if it's still a good fit, and even fine tune the lens to fit us better. Our sense of who we are and our style evolve and shift, so it makes sense that our lens would as well.
Q. How do people figure out what looks best on them?
A. Get together with a non-judgmental, curious, fun and trusted friend or stylist and try things on. If I'm at a client's home, I ask them to pick out a few of their favorite pieces, put them on, and then we discuss how each piece works for them and what they love about it. I ask clients what parts of their body they want to highlight and what they would rather not have in the spotlight and use that information to help guide what pieces I recommend for them. As a stylist, it’s my responsibility to learn someone's body and teach them to make choices that will help them feel amazing in their clothes.
Q. Do you believe dressing is an "experience"? If so, how can people design their closets to maximize the joy in getting dressed each day?
A. I do believe that dressing is an experience, and ultimately it is an experiment. Through trying clothing on we discover what we like, what we don't like, what we feel great in, what pieces, fabrics, colors, and silhouettes we like and what would like to stay away from. Some days getting dressed can be leisurely, other days you have five minutes to figure out what you are wearing and it’s simply an act of utility. Personally, I find choosing my outfit the night before or at least considering my options (usually based on the weather, my activity, and my mood) helpful in maximizing my enjoyment and reducing the tension and stress of getting dressed. The next day I might wake up and find that nothing I picked earlier feels right, and that's where the experiment part comes along. Additionally, perhaps experiment with pairing your dressing time with a simple practice that is mood-lifting for you. I am a lover of sensual experiences, so give me a lusciously scented candle, a lovely arrangement of flowers, and great music!
Q. What is your philosophy about quality and quantity?
A. Overall, I believe in quality over quantity. The questions that guide my approach to curating a wardrobe are: Do you love it? Does it fit you? Do you look/feel great in it? Does it fill a gap in your wardrobe? Does it fit into your lifestyle? Growing up in New York City, my mom and aunts regularly took me to the Metropolitan Museum of Art to visit their Costume Gallery exhibits, which made experiencing the incredible style and history-making fashion consumable. I didn't grow up with a lot of money to allocate to my clothing budget, but I never thought "good style isn't for me" simply because I couldn't always afford the exact pieces that I wanted. I loved (and still do) working creatively within the limits of what I owned, finding vintage treasures, shopping consignment stores, and budgeting so that I could buy certain pieces that truly captivated me but were more of a financial investment. I advise clients to assess their priorities - if they want a specific piece that isn't financially accessible at that time, I recommend they make a plan to set aside money for the piece or find an alternative that is within their budget, but that won't be a toss away a piece in a few months. Additionally, buying quality doesn't automatically mean spending a ton of money.
I learned about "good, better, best" while working as a stylist at A Line. You should only own pieces you love and pieces that you feel and look great in. Period. I don't want a client who is looking for blouses to go home in a blouse that only looks "ok" on her. Even if she has tried on every blouse in the store, I advise her to wait until she finds “great”. I don’t think anyone should live their life in clothes that are just "ok", when you can wear clothes that enhance your body and look fantastic on you. The sheer amount of clothing that women have access to can make it quite easy to “collect” clothing instead of establishing a wardrobe that reflects who you are. Finding the right pieces can require patience - I don’t ever leave a store with a piece that is just “so-so” and I don’t think anyone else should either.
I encourage my clients to be intentional. Having a robust wardrobe doesn't mean you are compromising quality, and alternatively, having a sparse wardrobe doesn't mean you need to add more.
Q. What is your philosophy about trends?
A. Trends serve multiple purposes so I enjoy exploring how they can be used with my clients. First and foremost, if you don't like the trend, then it's not for you. I fully ascribe to buying what I love, and I rarely have buyer’s remorse. Retail marketing can make it feel like there are 52 seasons a year to shop for instead of just 4, so I encourage clients to use the 5 questions to guide their shopping and closet exploration (Do you love it? Does it fit you? Do you look/feel great in it? Does it fill a gap in your wardrobe? Does it fit into your lifestyle?), especially when it comes to trends. Some clients want to dip their toe in a trend to see how it might work for them. Others want to dive in head first. For example, this summer you will be seeing primary colors with pops of neon. Is your aesthetic more timeless and classic? Perhaps explore a tailored pant with a side stripe in a primary color you love or a platform oxford shoe that incorporates neon. Do you like playing around with trends and have an aesthetically versatile wardrobe? Think about how a trend can pair nicely with a few other pieces you own. Bring some of your favorite tops with you to the store when you are considering buying that neon mini-skirt or kelly green pants.
Q. Any other thoughts related to establishing your personal style?
A. Offer yourself the gift of judgement free exploration when it comes to developing your wardrobe and establishing your style. If you don’t love it, don’t buy it. If you already own something but you don’t love it, don’t wear it. When purchasing new pieces, pause when you see something that speaks to you before the “I can’t wear that! I’m too old/young/out of shape/muscular/short/tall etc.” reflexive comments come out. Perhaps a specific piece isn’t for your body or lifestyle, but there are elements that you can incorporate into your wardrobe that do work for you.
You can follow Kiri on Instagram @kiri_morken and her wardrobe styling @dailyblastlive