“Style and fashion aren’t the same thing. After a while, you’re just buying clothes.”
So said Crystal Carson to me at this week’s gala opening of Nordstrom Vancouver, and she’s right of course. We here on the “Wet Coast” have a reputation for transitioning our yoga pants and rain coats into evening wear, because we dress practically and eschew luxury as being excessive. That’s about to change with the opening of Nordstrom’s stunning international flagship, as the access to fashion has just expanded exponentially as the city’s fashion scene is now coming of age. I dressed for the occasion by consulting with Helen Siwak of The Closet YVR, and learned the value of working with a stylist.
People assume that working with a stylist will set them back thousands of dollars in fees. That may be true, but working with a stylist can be cost-effective because you never have to worry about looking terrible, and that can’t be measured in currency. In this post, I’m going to tell you how I prepared for the gala.
It started with a pair of stunning mirrored black panel shoes from John Fluevog purchased at last year’s fundraiser for the Carousel Theatre for Young People. I knew these would work for a special occasion since they were a statement. With that in mind, I knew that the rest of my outfit could not overwhelm the shoes, and told Helen that I needed to dress in an elegant style that would fall somewhere between a cocktail party and a night at the opera. Sometimes putting together an outfit means working with a colour scheme and with what you have on hand, and only then getting a few pieces that work with the whole look in mind. When I received a stunning Alexander McQueen black-and-silver tie for my birthday this year, we knew that the rest of the outfit would fall into place. I tied the cravat with my favourite knot, the Cape Knot.
At the recent opening of The Closet YVR, I was given free rein to “play” with pieces and have fun putting together a look. When I fell in love with a silver-tinged vest and a light pinstriped Nehru jacket from John Varvatos at the store, the rest of the look started to come together. After experimenting with colour patterns, we decided on a neutral dark olive Prada shirt from Helen’s collection. Notice I said that “we” worked on the look, because the value of a stylist lies not in having them inflict their taste on you, but in knowing your personal style and cultivating a look that works for you. The only thing missing were the trousers, and having decided on a dark sheen finish, Helen recommended that I head out to the Zara end of summer sale and pick up a pair.
This is the secret of working with a stylist: the idea is to develop a look beyond pricing and labels, and creating a look that reflects your comfort level. I could have gone for a complete head-to-toe outfit from any high-end brand, but I knew that no matter the price tag, they couldn’t buy me peace of mind in what I wore. Nobody wants to show up at an event looking like their outfit is wearing them. I loved my outfit at the gala and received compliments from other designers and stylists, and even turned a few heads.
From a pair of shoes to a total look, working with a stylist is worth it. The Closet YVR offers complimentary styling services for new clients with their lead in-house stylist Dominique Hanke. She will work closely with you on style development within your budget – a great first step in your style journey.
Whether you choose a specialist boutique or a luxury retailer, remember that different inputs are valuable and ideas from different stylist sources can work well together. With so many other events like the VIFF (Vancouver International Film Festival), Vancouver Fashion Week, the Symphony, concerts, business functions and galas on the calendar, I’ll be working more closely with Helen in helping me further refine my style and cultivating my eye for fashion.
We’d like to thank Nordstrom PR Director John Bailey for the use of the VIP Lounge for this special edition of Knotwerk by Ritchie Po. Congratulations to Nordstrom on the opening of its international flagship store, we look forward to having you in our city for many years to come!
Knotwerk City Social signing off until the next event!
To view additional #BTS photographs by Helen Siwak of the Nordstrom Gala event – CLICK HERE