Without help from a fashion stylist, "Spanx!" was my answer when Elaine of TorontoBeautyReviews.com asked what I'm going to wear for my L'Oréal Paris red-carpet beauty-reporter gig at TIFF. To be precise, the classicHigher Power High Waisted Power type, which gives me better waist shape than the new In Power Line Super Higher Power. But that's the extent of my expertise when it comes to some areas of my own closet. When your appreciation of fashion is "if I were skinny I would wear that" (which Lesa Hannah insisted I stop because it smacked of self-directed mean), it turns out dressing yourself appropriately for certain occasions is quite the tricky business.
So for a L'Oréal-Paris-red-carpet-beauty-correspondant-worthy wardrobe I turned to fashion stylist, editor and writer Vanessa Taylor (top) for help. I've worked with Vanessa as part of The Kit -- she styled our summer issue cover as well as the most recent featuring "Rookie Blue" star Enuka Okuma, and is our new Clothing Kit editor. I love her own sense of style, and figured she'd be able to push me out of my comfort zone. And because her personality is so warm and fun, I knew I'd be able to focus on and enjoy the project instead of obsessing over what I perceive as my figure failings.
what to wear on camera
The key to finding the right pieces for red-carpet reporting is understanding the difference between real-life clothes and clothes a camera is going to eye, whether for photos, video or television. Remember this fashion stylist tip the next time you know you're going to be photographed:
"On-camera clothes need to be tailored -- think defined silhouettes and strong colours. This applies to 98 per cent of the population," says Vanessa. "Real life clothes have a lot more wiggle room -- literally. Proportions aren't as important. Blousy tops, voluminous tunics and chunky sweaters are all amazing, but hard to pull off when seen through a camera."
Another key piece of fashion stylist advice? "It's okay to wear a jacket or sweater you can't quite do up," says Vanessa. In fact, she insists on it. Unless you're an always-buttoned-up type, you'll be dealing with shape-concealing extra fabric when your topper hangs open. Of course, the slender Smythe-jackets model in the above images is an exception.
why you might hire a fashion stylist
You might not think you'd ever have occasion to hire a fashion stylist -- I certainly never imagined I would. But when what you wear really counts, someone like Vanessa is invaluable, especially if you don't have lots of shopping time or a consuming interest in fashion. A good fashion stylist is plugged in to what's new, what's a trend (and what's just a fad), what's classic and where to find it at a range of price points. He or she also knows how to take your lifestyle, physique and wardrobe-occasion into account.
Thanks to Vanessa (and Spanx), instead of fretting about looking appropriate on the red carpet, I'll be completely focussed on other things (George Clooney, Ryan Gosling, John Hamm...). Remember to post your red-carpet beauty and grooming questions on the L'Oréal Paris Canada Facebook page!
Would you ever consider consulting a fashion stylist?