Stylist Helps D.C. Women See Closets Anew
Forget designers and tall, lean models. This was a fashion show with a twist. Personal stylist Shelby Cheri of Shell B Cheri partnered with Ratliff Events and Lifestyle Experts for a rooftop, sunset fashion show highlighting 20 local D.C. women and the clothes they already own in their closets. This show wasn’t about trends, new designers or what’s new in the world of fashion. Instead, the show was all about helping women see their closets in new ways to maximize their wardrobe. It was about creating looks to fit each woman’s style, shape and budget.
You have a closet full of clothes and still nothing to wear
We’ve all been there: we have a sea of clothing before us in our closets and, yet, everyday we encounter the age-old dilemma of never having anything to wear. I, myself, probably have about 15 pairs of jeans, but only find myself regularly wearing one or two. I have those dresses that I only wear on those very specific and special occasions that come up maybe once or twice a year. There are the shirts and skirts that are always worn together as an outfit, never paired with anything else. The forgotten blouses, abandoned skirts, discarded jeans.
Essentially, most of us women have a closet 50 percent of which we never wear. Talk about a colossal waste of money and inefficient use of wardrobe! This is where a personal stylist like Cheri enters the story.
Style Evolutionized was Cheri’s attempt at showing women an economical way to renew their wardrobes. Instead of a designer fashion show promoting the unattainable, this fashion show was all about accessibility without sacrificing style from a stylist’s perspective. “A fashion show is typically a fantasy –- it is clothes we can’t usually afford worn by women with bodies we will never have. This fashion show is taking that fantasy and grounding it in reality,” Cheri says.
The founder of Ratliff Events and Lifestyle Experts, Kristus M. Ratliff, collaborated with Cheri to to empower and inform women. According to Ratliff, enough women have been invited to those “How to Lose 5 pounds in 10 days” events. She wanted to hold an event to uplift women. Thus came about Style Evolutionized.
The runway models represented the diverse women of D.C. — they were of all races, ages and sizes. Cheri hand-picked and styled each woman’s look from items from their preexisting closets. Each model walked twice, debuting a summer and fall outfit using the same articles of clothing. There were only two rules: (1) the clothes had to styled in a way that the models had never worn them before, and (2) the outfits had to be something the models would actually wear.
Cheri said she particularly enjoyed working with Jonelle (bottom right) because she stepped out of her comfort zone and truly embraced the experience of having a stylist. For instance, Jonelle said she typically wouldn’t pair two different prints together and was wearing a skirt shorter than she normally would be comfortable with. Cheri said that she loves pairing two different prints, especially black and whites, which is a huge trend right now. But for Jonelle, this was something she never would have thought to do. The best part for Cheri, however, was seeing Jonelle looking at herself in the mirror and seeing how amazing she looked in her own clothes.
Take your summer clothes into another season
It was quite a remarkable and enjoyable show. All the women looked like they felt absolutely gorgeous. They looked comfortable in their clothes and each of looked like they had an individual personality. At the end of the show, Cheri took a few of the models aside for a live styling demo to explain how she transformed their looks from summer to fall, while keeping the looks true to their owners.
Sally (second from the left) was a petite, doe-eyed beauty whose closet was full of gray and blue dresses. For the fall outfit, Cheri added an edge to Sally’s modest striped dress with long, layered necklaces. Sally’s summer look was double belted with ribbons for an unexpected touch, while while maintaining Sally’s demure style and sensibility.
Sasha (third from the right) wore a beautiful green, buttoned-up dress for her summer look. According to Cheri, an easy way to take this kind of dress into the cooler fall season is to open it up and use it as a coat instead of a dress. Add some leggings and a tank top, and you have a completely different look using the same dress.
Samara (second from the right) originally came out in a one-piece bathing suit and beautiful, long kimono. For the fall look, Cheri used the bathing suit as a top and paired it with a sleek and tailored skirt. It was an unexpected, sexy and stylish look. Lisa (far right) is seven-months pregnant. Her summer and fall looks included a yellow dress that she originally bought for Vegas. Cheri specifically wanted to showcase Lisa’s look to show how pregnant women can be modern and sexy by making creative use of their wardrobe. Pregnant women do not have to be relegated the maternity wear racks, but can get the most out of their wardrobe by rethinking old items in their closet.
I never thought I needed a personal stylist, but seeing how happy and confident these women were in their own clothes made me consider otherwise. I’m all about making the most of what I have, and I’ve already come up with new outfit ideas from the show. But what resonated with me most was something Samara said during her styling demo. She said that Cheri’s superpower was showing women how to express more of their personal story through style. We each have one. It’s worth wondering: what kind of story is your style is telling?
Liz Parker is a NOVA girl with a long love affair with Washington, D.C. A self-proclaimed Washingtonian, she spends her days and nights coffee shop hopping and wandering around the city. She’s fascinated with street-style fashion and has a soft spot for thrift and vintage shops.