When I saw Stacy London at Trina Turk‘s NYC store last night for the launch of her new book The Truth About Style, I couldn’t resist telling her we had kind of met before—and in the very same place. The store, which I worked at during college, is frequently featured in the stylist’s hit series What Not To Wear, and I had a shift while they were filming. "You were trying on sunglasses between takes," I told her. "But you decided not to get them in the end."
"That’s so funny, because I own like, four pairs of Trina Turk sunglasses," she admitted to me. "I’m wondering when I came back and was like ‘Aw screw it!’"
After bonding over how good TT shades are (I have a few pairs myself because, as Stacy said: "It’s HARD to find a good sunglass and she makes great ones!") the topic turned to something Stacy’s even more passionate about than eyewear: personal style. Read on to see what the woman who tells people "what not to wear" wears herself, the biggest fashion mistake she sees and the her favorite trend of the moment.
Lucky: You spend all day offering style advice to other people, but have you ever had a "What Not to Wear moment" yourself?
Stacy: SO MANY. My entire life, pretty much from 9 to 30 was a What Not To Wear moment. It’s a funny thing, because I was styling for so long before I did What Not to Wear. But it’s a different thing to be behind the camera and style yourself to feel like you belong in fashion. And it’s really another to be on television. Those first couple seasons, I still didn’t understand the difference. I would see myself and be like "I didn’t want to look like that."
How is your style different off-screen?
I feel like when I’m not working, I’m a little edgier. But I’m always polished—classic with a twist is how I would describe my style. I’m not an uber fashionista, I’m not a Rachel Zoe. I certainly don’t look like Heidi Klum. But if you look at other women in unscripted television, who maybe are always in jeans and a sweater, I’m doing something middle ground.
On television, I always want to do one piece that’s relatable, so I try to wear something that’s like a mass brand—so you can see it, like it, go and get it. I’ll wear something high designer, so it feels like there’s something aspirational about the outfit. And maybe something wear a designer that you wouldn’t necessarily know. But in real life, I’m not thinking in those terms. It’s like, "What jeans are fitting today?" And "Where’s the biggest hoodie?" Which I admit to wearing…begrudgeingly. But a friend of mine just got me a hoodie that is so soft and so wonderful! He said to me, it’s like a "wearable hug." So I was like, "I’m going to have to rethink my position here." I’m mellowing out about fashion rules as I get older.
What rules are you still strict about?
The big thing is fit—if you have fit then you can get away with anything else. And you just never want to look like you’ve been hiding under a rock for 20 years. Style is such a means for joy in terms of self expression and it’s no fun if you don’t allow yourself to participate in that. It’s about finding your own way and that means starting with yourself as the standard rather than comparing yourself to…Gisele. Because frankly, it doesn’t matter how hard you wish or try, or how much energy you spend wanting to look like Gisele…it’s never going to happen. If Gisele is the standard, you’re NEVER going to measure up. But if you’re the standard, you measure up before you start.
Tell me about your biggest style pet peeve.
It’s one of two—the under-achieving or the over-achieving. Trying too hard or just opting out or both unacceptable to me. I think fashion deserves respect and a place in everyone’s life as much as quality time with your friends and family, good sleep, good food. It’s done habitually, like exercise. And it becomes easier and more enjoyable. And I feel like we have a country full of people who don’t always see it that way—it’s the first thing to go when shit hits the fan, whether in a money or emotional way. Or if you’re exhausted: "Who cares what I’m wearing, no one’s looking at me…" But it’s the easiest thing to pick back up! And that’s why I’m always frustrated that more people don’t use it as a tool.
I agree, I think if you dress up on a bad day, you’ll feel so much better.
Yes! I was a Pantene spokesperson for about three and half years and everyone was like shorthand to say, "You’re having a good hair day!" I had a kick in my step, I was more charming with my co-workers, I was flirtier with the guy I met in the elevator—that’s what having a good hair day is about! But everyday can be a good style day.
Okay, let’s play a little word association game—I’ll name something happening in fashion and you react. First up: Overalls.
No. Done. Never liked ‘em in the first place, sorry! I’m not a mullet girl period. I don’t like them on your head and I don’t like them on your crotch.
Toe shoes at Prada.
Interesting. I’m not hateful—I don’t know!
Over! Done! There will be backlash! I’m waiting for like, a chipped nail and a bad cuticle.
Over—but they’re not going away. First of all, they look good on people. They’re really helpful, especially for camouflaging a mid section, they’re classic with a twist, they were in the ’40s, the 80s. They are back now, they’ll come back again. I feel like I’m talking about peplum all the god damn time! And the minute I saw them in the spring collections I was like, "Not so fast London…"
What I’m MORE excited about is what I’m going to call The Fifty Shade of Grey influence in fashion. I’m wearing a body chain, and I’m obsessed with shackles, anything handcuff jewelry related…dominate me!
You can order a copy of Stacy’s new book The Truth About Style on Amazon.com.
More on Luckymag.com:
- Emerald Green Is Pantone’s 2013 Color of the Year
- 15 International Fashion Exhibitions to Visit on Your Winter Vacation
- 10 Comfortable(!!!) Statement Boots You Need to Own Now
- Five Alternatives to Going Commando
- Get Inspired: Lisa Turtle
Keep up with the Lucky team on Twitter: Follow @LuckyMagazine