Personal stylist Fawn Cheng joined me recently to not only give us a sneak peek into what life is like as one of the most popular personal stylists in the country, but share the top trends for summer, the secret to looking great in a bikini and the one item you must purchase this season that will take you into fall!
Personal stylist Fawn Cheng. Image courtesy of Twitter.com/FawnCheng
Candace Rose: You style some of the biggest stars and socialites; can you tell us what goes into being a high profile stylist?
Fawn Cheng: "The most important thing is being fluent in myriad looks. Every client is different in terms of their personal taste, their bodies/their shape- the configuration of their natural physiological characteristics. But also their brand and understanding that about each client is first and foremost because as a stylist you want to be able to translate what brand has already been established into something that's fashionable and memorable, but also doesn't delude or distract the brand in any way."
Candace Rose: What is a typical day like when styling a client for an event?
Fawn Cheng: "Well typically a lot happens before the day of the actual event whether it's a red carpet event or a photo shoot or a video shoot. The team of stylists have generally met at least a few times or have had conversations to have a cohesive vision. A cohesive vision, again is critical to the concept of what the client wants to convey the message, whether the look is on the red carpet or behind a camera or in front of the camera. So the makeup artist, the hairstylist and the wardrobe stylist have typically gotten together. Sometimes the lead is the photographer, sometimes the lead is the stylist and she calls what the vision is going to be for the client. So for example if it's all out glamour or it's '40s glamour or maybe it's something short- above the knee, the lead stylist would take that vision and translate that to the hair person, to the makeup person.
On the day of the actual event it generally starts anywhere from at least four to five hours before the event starts, and it always starts with hair first, and then makeup, and then apparel is last. For a wardrobe and fashion stylist, all our work is done on the front end. The day of the event is generally the least stressful unless there's been a lot of time between the last fitting and the day of the event and the client has lost or gained a few pounds. But provided you've done the final fitting within 72 hours of the event, chances are that you're not going to need to worry about having to do any sewing last minute or nipping and tucking of the wardrobe. But generally on the day of the event with wardrobe it's when the fashion stylist can kind of go 'ah', and the makeup artists and the hairstylists are the ones that are kind of frantic making sure everything is pulled off in time."
Candace Rose: In terms of fashion trends for summer, you've mentioned that slim shorts are in this season. How can we incorporate them into our summer wardrobe?
Fawn Cheng: "Shorts are hot this season! What I love about shorts (this year in particular) is that they're kind of following the whole fashion trend. So color is where it's at in shorts, denim shorts and denim cutoffs are probably the biggest surprise that we've seen in seasons past. Right now cutoffs are so popular that really any age can wear them- I would say any age, even mid-forties. If you've got the gams, show them off in a pair of cutoffs. A slim fit is always going to be the most flattering on the body because generally we carry the most weight around our hips or our upper thighs or that's not an area where we want to add bulk for the typical woman, and so having a slim fit or a straight fit is going to allow you to use all the interesting fabrics and prints and textures that are popular right now. So for example- red shorts or an ochre yellow short or any one of the vibrant colors this season or lace shorts or a floral print or a graphic print- those are all very trendsetting items that are right now. But by using a slim fitting short you are not going to attract too much attention or bulk to the hip and thigh area.
So basically my message is with shorts is not only keep fashion in mind because fashion is fun right now when it comes to shorts, but also keep your body proportioned in mind as well. And if you can balance both, you'll have a great look."
3" Chino Shorts (in Neon Peach). Image courtesy of J.Crew
Linen Short in Safari Cat (in Rustic Brown). Image courtesy of J.Crew
Scalloped Eyelet Short (in Navy). Image courtesy of J.Crew.
Peplum is also a big trend for summer and would look fab paired with shorts!
She's Got Peplum Top in Navy. Screenshot courtesy of ModCloth
Candace Rose: What are some of your other favorite trends this summer?
Fawn Cheng: "Color is where it's at. It's almost passe now to not wear color- that's how hot color is right now. Brights are what I love, whether it's in the new pastels (I call them the new pastels) the sorbet colors that are like a pistachio or a yellow from a buttercream to a lemon zest, cobalt blue, fiery coral, tangerine- those are really great trendy colors right now."
Candace Rose: What are some of the hottest trends in shoes this season?
Fawn Cheng: "Shoes, like shorts are also following fashion trends. So, again color is where it's at and what's fascinating right now is that color-blocking has been out for several seasons now and people are really starting to get the hang of it and so it's a lot of fun, and we're seeing it now in handbags and shoes, as well. One of my favorite pairs of shoes is a color-blocked shoe from Yves Saint Laurent and it's a sky high heel with a platform and what I love about it is that platform is very popular right now, and platform is a great way to get height but also not compromise comfort too much. For example a stiletto heel while it looks wonderful and it has that sexy edge to it, a platform is great because it generally accompanies a wider, chunkier heel. And the platform because it offers a wider base for the front of your foot, it tends to be more comfortable. But doing it in a bright, bold color in a solid or in a color-blocked pattern is a really great trend right now. If you found a pair of shoes you would really be in the know."
Candace Rose: You mentioned color-blocking for handbags, but are there any other great handbag trends this summer?
Fawn Cheng: "The clutch is where it's at right now. Clutches are so popular and they just look great. Anything without the strap and just holding it in your hand- kind of tucking it underneath your arm between your arm and your body- that's a great look right now and doing one in an envelope style (if you can imagine the giant envelope) that would be the perfect 'it' bag to have this summer."
J.J. Winters Large Envelope Clutch in Orange Boa. Image courtesy of Revolve Clothing
Candace Rose: What's the key to incorporating jewelry into our look this season?
Fawn Cheng: "It's all about making a statement with jewelry right now, of course the statement necklace last season is still popular right now. But what I'm starting to see is statement rings and statement earrings, they're making their way into common fashion and I'm seeing a lot of looks right now. But the key with jewelry is if you are going to do a statement piece, do one but never more than two because then it's just overdone."
CC Skye Mercy Spike Bracelet. Image courtesy of Revolve Clothing
Candace Rose: Bathing suits and bikinis can be difficult to shop for. What advice do you have for women to make the experience a little easier on them?
Fawn Cheng: "Interesting little tidbit of information here- I have a client who is a fitness competitor and she gave me a little tip about fat reducing water weight by rubbing a little Preparation H into the area a couple of days before, and apparently it's common knowledge in the fitness industry before a fitness competition. They rub it on their upper thighs around the waist area – wherever it is that you tend to carry water weight and doing it a couple of days beforehand is the trick. So when you show up at the department store you can at least feel like you're looking good.
But I would say the top three tips are- one: know your body type. If you know your body type and you do a little bit of research, whether you're hourglass or you're rectangle or you tend to carry your weight in your hips or you have very broad shoulders, you can find out which suit is going to be most flattering for your body.
Number two: limit your options to those options. Don't get distracted by the wonderful colors and prints that are out there because there are wonderful prints out there. Stay with what's going to work for your body because it's just going to eliminate some of the hassle around having to work with a bikini or a one piece that isn't suited for your body type.
And then know your style profile. Think in advance- do I want a print? Do I want this flower? Do I like ruffles? What kind of look is it that I want to put together? Again, streamlining this will not only make your experience a lot more enjoyable, it's going to eliminate disappointment and it's also going to eliminate an impulse buy."
Candace Rose: Is there one key fashion or accessory piece that we should purchase that we'll be able to incorporate into our wardrobe for fall?
Fawn Cheng: "I am love, love, loving the crocheted sweater! The crocheted sweater for me is the versatile piece that is a must have right now. It looks fabulous with a pair of shorts and with a pair of maybe three inch platform shoes in a fabulous color or even a bright white; with a crocheted sweater that might go with a little bit off the shoulder in a nude or a neutral color with an open weave- that's going to be great for summer. But it's going to also going to be something that you can layer under (even over) once fall rolls around. You can layer it over a tank or a cami, but then when it starts getting cooler you can layer it over lightweight knits."
Cure Pullover. Image courtesy of US.AllSaints.com
Candace Rose: Do you have any additional tips or information you'd like to share?
Fawn Cheng: "In terms of incorporating jewelry into your summer look because it is all about statement pieces right now (yes, I am breaking one of the rules regarding a big necklace and earrings) an old rule of 'don't wear white after Labor Day' kind of thing is if you're wearing a big necklace, go low key on your earrings. Well, I am breaking that rule right now and I'm loving it, so I don't think it's wrong to do a big necklace and big earrings, you just have to choose it a little bit strategically so it's not overdone. But that's a rule that I'm breaking right now.
And another tip of information I'd like to share is give yourself ample permission to be fully fluent and fabulous. Personal style is really about experiencing and expressing yourself with joy and with passion- that's what makes it fun."
Candace Rose: Where can we go for more information?
Fawn was also kind enough to share her latest video from her new Youtube channel!