With warm-weather fashions popping up in shops, the question of what to wear springs eternal for women everywhere. In this year's Fashion Issue, (201) catches up with two personal stylists, one from the hometown, the other from Tinseltown, who share their thoughts on style, shopping and life in the fashion lane. On the local stage is Franklin Lakes resident Catherine Glaser, personal stylist, consultant and blogger whose "joy of dressing" mantra has women from Bergen and beyond embracing her user-friendly advice on style and shopping. And Wayne Scot Lukas, a Bergenfield native and celebrated uber-stylist, tells of his star-studded experiences with some of Hollywood's glamour girls, his thoughts on what not to wear and how to add a bit of Red Carpet "wow" power to your wardrobe.
Many women would probably admit that their closet can be a dark and lonely place. Hanger after hanger of shirts that are too small, pants that are too big and jackets that should have gone out with the '80s are crammed into a space of fashion hodge-podge that screams, "This is what not to wear."
Not to worry, says Catherine Glaser, celebrated style consultant and blogger. With an understanding of what makes you tick, you can create a personal style that will fit and flatter you from top to bottom.
"You have to really get to know yourself," says Glaser, a 20-year veteran in the fashion biz who last year won the prestigious Harper's Bazaar personal style contest for her creative twists on classic fashions. "If you can embrace your body architecture, lifestyle, interests, budget and stage in life, then you can avoid being swept up in the whirlwind of fashion and trends that can result sometimes in costly and time-consuming mistakes."
It is constant motion for this Franklin Lakes wife and mother of two teenage boys. Glaser juggles her day in clockwork precision, imparting her own special brand of user-friendly fashion guidance in style consultations with her private clients, at in-store appearances and through daily postings on her sourceofstyleblog.com, which allows her to share her personal taste and style points with a global and interactive audience.
Clothes should make a woman feel comfortable and confident, Glazer says. "Know your style DNA," she says, "and stick to it. With a new-found sense of style will come the joy of dressing."
What advice do you give a client when helping to create her personal style?
"It is simply knowing who you are, where you come from and where you are going. Once you have built a solid foundation that fits and flatters your figure, then you can confidently expand your choices. It is critical to keep an honest and mindful eye on our style – making those subtle but necessary shifts in the wardrobe that keep us appropriate and respectable. Trends should be sprinkled in to keep closets current. Personal style does not have to be expensive. It is not what you wear but how you wear it that keeps style fresh and evolving. And make friends with a really good seamstress!"
What is your philosophy on shopping?
"I like to refer to shopping as 'building a collection.' I can't stress enough the importance of being in command of knowing what you have and buying only what you need. Prioritize the list; be strategic with the purchase. Know your style DNA and let it be your guide. And remember, accessories are really a girl's best friend."
Name five favorite items in your closet.
"I like to refer to these items as part of my signature look. They are my favorite things that I always go to whatever the trend or season.
• Safari and trench jackets: I love the versatility of this style, which is steeped in tradition.
• Sailor stripes: I have tons – shirts, dresses, etc. – in every style for all seasons. I love the horizontal lines. They work well on my petite frame. They make me happy.
• Animal prints: Love the geometric pattern. Always on trend, forever chic and timeless.
• Gold chunky bracelets: I love to mix and stack them high.
• The bag: A vintage black lizard top-handle structured handbag with gold grommets. I love the contrast of the lady-like proportion with the hardware that gives it that perfect touch of 'edgy.' Plus it was my mom's."
What 'inspires' you in the fashion world?
"I am intrigued by everything – art, film, travel architecture, etc. I love viewing street style. Seeing how people interpret fashion and trends and express it is fascinating. And, of course, designer fashion shows are always exhilarating."
Name three items that every woman should have despite individual style.
"One: a simple black dress in a transitional fabric that fits and flatters, and that can be dressed up or down with accessories. Two: a trench coat with a zip-out lining. It will keep you dry, warm, chic and covered no matter the season. Three: a nude pump. A neutral pump elongates the leg and disappears. It works with most everything and can be worn all year."
What are some goals for 2012?
"My top goal is to reach as many women as I can, whether in person or through my blog, sourceofstyleblog.com, and help and inspire them to create and refine their own personal style. Style is my business, and I love exploring all the venues in getting my message across. I hope that my blog becomes a go-to resource for many. I really strive to create something that is informative, inspirational and yet easy to understand. I plan on expanding and building a subscriber base, and I look forward to the challenge of sharing my personal style perspectives and points of view with an interactive audience."
Catherine Glaser will host "Spring Into Style," on March 29 at Indian Trail Club in Franklin Lakes. For more information and tickets, contact Catherine at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wayne Scot Lukas's life has all the chapters for a truly great read. The beginning: a boy from Bergenfield who, despite all odds in small-town America, explores his love of everything fashion. The middle: Hard work, determination and a little of in-the-right-place-at-the-right-time propel him to the ranks of celebrated stylists to Hollywood's A-list. Name the star, he's made her shine.
As the former co-host on the groundbreaking cable makeover series What Not to Wear, he offered his own brand of fashion dos and don'ts, delighting viewers with his winning style. "I hated the snarky, mean character of the first season," Lukas says. "I just couldn't get on board with being downright mean."
All that under his belt, plus a successful launch of his techno-cotton clothing line, Lukastyle, on HSN; on SHOPNBC; a featured exhibit of his costume designs, "Rock Style," at the Metropolitan Museum of Art; and numerous appearances in the fashion industry's top publications, including Elle, BAZAAR, People and Vogue.
Just recently, he ventured into the retail business and started consulting and booking style appointments for real women at On Point, a clothing boutique, art gallery and style studio all dressed as one, where women of all shapes and sizes come for some of his retail therapy. "On Point has amazing energy," Lukas says of the Point Pleasant Beach shop. "People just come and really talk from their hearts."
When not on Rodeo Drive or the red carpet, the star stylist who makes his home in Spring Lake can be found riding his horse or cruising to the beach in his Jeep, top down and tunes cranked up. Of his affinity for all things Jersey, Lukas says, "I have been around the world thousands of times and I always end up right back here."
How do you define your personal style?
"My personal style is different for work and play. I am a surfer at heart, a Jersey boy through and through, and I love the ocean and beach. I am the guy with the long hair riding a cool bike on the boardwalk wearing board shorts and flip-flops. When not at the beach, I will be usually wearing Ralph Lauren. I am 6 feet 4 inches, and his is the only collection that fits my frame. If I am on TV or at a fashion event, I am usually in a cashmere turtleneck and a well-fit cashmere suit jacket, jeans and great boots. I like rugged, real clothes as well as great classic pieces."
What are some items that are your personal must-haves?
• Rugged boots that look great and hip
• Well-fit jeans
• Triple-ply cashmere blankets
• My necklace of gold and silver charms from my travels and from friends and family who have passed away. I wear it every day
• An arsenal of the best winter jackets. I'll do anything for a great down jacket.
What five items should every woman have in her closet?
• A well-fit, slim pencil skirt in a dark color with stretch
• A slim-fit, white shirt with a crisp collar and cuffs with stretch
• A great-fitting jean with stretch that will cross over from day to night
• A simple, black, tailored dress with stretch
• A good mirror and an honest friend
HOW CAN A WOMAN INFUSE A LITTLE BIT OF HOLLYWOOD GLAM INTO HER WARDROBE?
Be a star in your own life. Dress always for what I call "class coffee," whether it's "bus line" or the "car line." This is what hip ladies in the suburbs call it when they choose something stylish instead of sloppy in case they get "seen" when running to the local coffee shop, picking up the kids at school in the bus line or car line, or just walking the dog. They try to look great, even if it is just a well-fit jogging pant and jacket. Take care of hair and nails. We don't see any celebs running around with roots! Make sure your clothes fit well and choose lower necklines and stylish earrings or to have the focus brought up to your face. A great "on trend" bag or shoe can take a simple outfit from nothing to on trend as you grab and go. You don't need designer accessories that break the bank, just "on trend" in the shape, color or size. Watch what you see your favorite celebrities wearing, including shoes, bags or jewels. They were probably styled by a ten-thousand-dollar stylist. Mimic these looks at half the cost at discount shops or on trend boutiques. Free styling realized!
Through the years you have styled a veritable who's who of the Hollywood A-list, from Meryl Streep to Cindy Crawford. Who are your favorite celebrity clients?
• "Lauren Hutton taught me about street style, introduced me to all the top people in the industry and took me under her wing. I practically lived with her for three years. She was my New York mom with compassion."
• Tina Turner showed me that I didn't know as much as I thought I did regarding fashion. She had already worn EVERYTHING in her long career. I was a young upstart who was actually just star struck and insecure when I met her. It was Tina Turner in front of me. I finally was able to apologize for acting like a know-it-all and I learned with her help and guidance how to settle down and care for others.
• "Janet Jackson, who is my very good friend, taught me how to survive and to show up no matter what storms were blasting around you. She would say to me, "You are the mountain. No matter what happens on the mountain – storms, fires, ice – the mountain always stays the mountain." I watched her face huge adversity, from family and health issues to bad press over that infamous Super Bowl. She stayed the mountain."
• "Christie Brinkley taught me how to laugh at myself and to really love children. She is one of the best parents I know – her kids always come first."
You were the co-host of the groundbreaking fashion reality show What Not to Wear when it first aired on TLC. Talk about your experience.
"I loved the chance to show all of America what I knew about styling. I loved the 'before' and 'after.' I hated the snarky mean character of that first season. The producers really wanted us (Lukas and his co-host, Stacey London) to be as mean as Trinny and Susannah, who were in the British production. I had a hard time with that. In four weeks we had become the top ad-driven show on cable. We were beating out Trading Spaces which was the biggest hit on TLC at the time. I was also the only true working stylist on the show. I ful- filled my contract and left, so all the stories of "Where's Wayne?" and "Was he fired?" are not true. I was advised to leave the show because of money, because unlike other reality TV "stars," I had a fast-paced and very successful styling career that needed my attention. I had no real dreams of becoming TV star – you lose your anonymity. What I loved most about the experience is the connection with the fans of the show.
What ventures do you have planned for 2012?
I am very excited about my consulting at On Point, a combination of chic clothing and jewelry boutique, art gallery and a Wayne Scot Lukas styling office, located right on Bay Avenue in Point Pleasant Beach. We have the very best from my travels from around the world. If I find a dress for Christie Brinkley, I'll buy two or three and bring the extras to the shop. When I am in San Francisco, Paris or Italy and find some fabulous jewelry pieces or clothing, I bring them to the shop. Art in all media is unique and special, and my best friend and wonderful photographer Merle Allen's collection of photography is here. He passed away last year, and this store concept was his dream as much his as it is mine. I have personally edited, styled and set up the products in the shop. And the best part is that women can come now to me for personal styling either here in the shop or by Skype. People can shop the whole boutique online and also get in touch with me directly with styling questions through my website, onpointonpoint.com, or by contacting me at email@example.com. I am also planning a huge launch of my clothing line, Lukastyle, in possibly Israel and on QVC London. I really like women of all sizes a lot and figuring out their body issues together. We have clothes from sizes XS to 3X. I like showing people how to be the best they can be. I try to dress them from the inside out, loving themselves just as they are, first. When it all comes together, it is magic.