The Reluctant Stylista

Confession: the reason I  wear some outfits once and never again is because that was actually a test drive. If you’ve known me long enough, you’re already familiar with my personal style. It can be really laidback or glam, but it’s like being an edgy sexy beach hippie rockstar diva. So on the rare occurrence that I dress really sweet and girly or preppy, it might have something to do with my little experiments, trying to see if a look will work.

Outfit: The Penthouse PH

Outfit: Lazada and Zalora PH

Top and skirt: The Penthouse PH / Sunnies: Zalora / Ring: Zoey / Shoes: Comfit / Bag: Lazada

Because most of my styling work is not actually to my personal taste (read: clothes I don’t wear), I often get asked about the process of procuring clothes when it comes to amassing a wardrobe specifically for styling purposes. How do I go about choosing it and what do I do with it after if I don’t use it for myself? People are familiar with pull outs–clothes that are borrowed from designers or brands, which work quite well when you are styling for a celebrity or doing editorials. But for commercial work where the advertising is reserved for just one brand and there is no room for crediting any other name, or there is no obvious beneficial association (marketing-wise), then a stylist relies on his or her own collection.

We call buying the clothes for a particular project “sourcing”. This is me coming home with shopping bags brimming with clothes that aren’t for myself–so yeah, if you think my job “shopping” is soooo fun, think again. I like to do the first day of sourcing going around the malls, comparing prices and quality. Since making the normal rounds is part of my work, I more or less have an idea what the stores have in stock so I don’t spend so much time walking around. I’m not particularly excited about nationwide mall sales where the crowd is just crazy, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy sales at Forever 21 and H&M (quality is better than department stores’ and same price or lower and there’s a huge variety of trendy styles to choose from).

What I do indulge in, though, if I find that I have enough time for sourcing, is online shopping. You see, I spend so much time driving on the road doing my pull-outs, shopping and sourcing. Then I have to worry about parking and the traffic. Compare that to the convenience of choosing clothes online and having them delivered to your doorstep within 2-3 days? It’s no contest. I shop at ZALORA when I need specific items that are trendy or chic, because I’m already familiar with the style and quality of the clothes. For example, if I need a leather skirt, it could take me forever to find a store carrying it. And when I do, it’s not the cut I’m looking for. It’s easier for me to browse online, especially for items that may be seasonal and not really that common in the local market–there’s a good chance that I’ll see it on ZALORA all-year round. I go crazy when they have major sales there, and my go-to brands here are Something Borrowed (where I buy a lot of my own clothes) and Zalora’s own label (which is pretty impressive). I just feel comfortable shopping online especially at ZALORA, offering free returns within 30 days–because for me, this means if I end up liking the item for myself, I can get it exchanged for my size or the color that I want without hassle.

Commercial styling

Some of the outfits I tested out before using the look for commecials. Clothes from Penshoppe, Cotton On and Something Borrowed.

If I don’t have the luxury of waiting for three days for my purchases to arrive, my last stop would be The Penthouse in Parañaque. This wonderful boutique houses different online and indie brands under its roof, so the selection is pretty good and amazingly affordable. It’s also very convenient because it’s in BF Homes, where I live (although they also opened a new branch in UP Town Center).

So what happens when the project is done? I shop for clothes that I can reuse, so this means a lot of basics, classic cuts and solid colors. Not all of them are, of course, because some shoots require specific looks that are quite detailed and very memorable (read: can’t use them again). If the client paid for the clothes, these are turned over to them. Otherwise, they stay in my collection; and by the powers of layering and styling, I make them into about 10 different looks. Others that I can’t reuse mostly end up in my Bloggers United stall at bargain prices (considering they’ve only been worn once). ^_-

Do some of these end up in my own closet? YES. I have to admit that sometimes I buy them for the express reason of being able to own them outside of my styling wardrobe. Or I end up in love with a look I styled that I buy (if it’s a pull out) or just transfer the outfit permanently to my own closet. And yes, even with menswear!

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