LILLIAN CHARLES

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WHAT I'D WANT TO KNOW BEFORE HIRING A STYLIST...

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Where do you shop?
What inspires you?
What’s your go to for _____?

Other than interviews, I’ve never done a full on “Get to Know Lillian” from a very personal level. After a week of shopping with my Mom (for her and myself) and a best friend of mine (her and myself) I started to think to myself, I’d want to know how, where, why before beginning a very special relationship with a clothing-mentor. So, here are a few questions I’d want answers to if I were hiring a Stylist…

How did you get started as a Stylist?

I see the journey I’ve taken to reach my position in 2019 as an extremely Spiritual experience. From a young age I have known that I wanted to help women, coach women, cheer for women.

In undergrad at an all women’s institution, Agnes Scott College, I double majored in Women’s Studies and French. Health, wellness, mental health and movement have been a major part of my life for… probably ever! So I secured Atlanta-based internships in Public Health departments at Emory University and then Care International during my junior year in college. It became evident to me that I needed more in-person contact than a career in public health would offer so I began completing nursing pre-requisites in my senior year and post-graduation. Given my passion for women, the “plan” (haha!) was to become a Midwife. I apprenticed with a midwife at Grady for nine months, volunteered at a clinic downtown for nearly two years and went on a medical mission trip to Rwanda.

In my heart, I knew something was missing.

Service? yes.
Personal connections? yes.
Wellness initiatives? yes.
Experiencing change with women on journeys of their own? yes.

Creating? No.
Exploration? Missing.
Igniting growth and change? Nope.

The opportunity to see women rapidly change their mindsets — about their bodies, their lifestyles, even their budgets! simply did not exist in the field I’d found myself in. I was working odd jobs while taking classes prior to applying to nursing school (I never did apply) when I found Stella & Dot, a trunk-show style accessories company. It was July, 2011. With every trunk show that I offered, I felt my calling grow louder. Standing around a table with women, hearing the struggle they felt getting dressed, how lost they felt in their wardrobes, that they really had a hard time even picking out a pair of hoops, I realized — these women lack confidence and clarity. And somehow, I naturally had answers to their questions and responses to their concerns. Like I said, it’s been a Spiritual experience. Soon, I was carrying around a portfolio of services alongside images of the kind of work I was capable of doing for clients (look books, before and after photos of closets, reviews.) It was the year after Instagram was born and I was determined to use social media to showcase my work, too.

I’d always reserved the word “creative” for painters or crafty people, which I am neither. But through Styling, I started to recognize myself as the creative that had been with me all along. I’d spent my whole pre-adult life dressing my family full of aunts and girl cousins, grandmother, mom and sister. Every family photo shoot, every holiday party. I’d Styled myself, my friends, the girls on halls of my dorm buildings. In making the decision to veer away from midwifery, I started to remember my little girl Self in a whole new light.

 
Thislittle rabbit who lights up my life every single day with her sparking personality. She is smart, innovative, generous, creative, hilarious, beautiful and always has my back!!! I love you, Lillian, to infinity and beyond!!!❤️❤️❤️NOTE: she has ALWAYS, ALWAYS loved lipstick!!!!

Thislittle rabbit who lights up my life every single day with her sparking personality. She is smart, innovative, generous, creative, hilarious, beautiful and always has my back!!! I love you, Lillian, to infinity and beyond!!!❤️❤️❤️NOTE: she has ALWAYS, ALWAYS loved lipstick!!!!

 

Still, I can see her perfectly: meticulously packing her clothes for summer camp, thumbing through her mama’s purchases from Saks — a suede pair of kitten heels, a bright pink leather jacket, a sleeveless mesh top with tiny bows. As early as ten or eleven, all I wanted was a Shopping trip to Charleston, SC with my mom. I’d change my clothes multiple times a day and when it came to playing outside, I was in the grass with my Barbies and their packable wardrobes. Icing on the cake: I have literally worn bright lipstick from the time I could hold a tube of it on my own.

The way I see shapes, colors, textures and put them together
… the creative in me was always there.

It had simply never occurred to me that this passion for Style and Self-expression could develop into a career. I began visualizing a life where I could help women come Home to their bodies, learn to love themselves more deeply and wear beautiful clothes that suited them perfectly. I envisioned speaking to audiences of women. I sat on the floor of my Decatur, GA apartment, eyes closed and saw myself walking out of shopping centers with my arms full of bags and beaming clients at my side. And that’s what began happening shortly after these vivid visions. The more women I offered Style Therapy services to, the more I convinced I became, I was created to do this.

Where do you buy YOUR clothes?

Like most of the women that I work with, comfort is key. I am on my feet about as much as a waitress or retail worker so, from the ground up, I choose pieces that allow me to move, bend, stretch, kneel and strut!

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My major splurge items are shoes, jewelry and handbags. This is the case for many if not all Stylists! Never trust a Stylist who wears designer EVERYTHING. She’s not shopping smart if that’s the case.

Almost everything that I wear can transition from sneakers + studs + leather backpack to heels + a bigger piece of jewelry and a killer clutch. I do this regularly when I am on the road all day.

Nine times out of ten, I am in VINCE SNEAKERS — I have an embarrassing collection and yes, I do recommend that you try them and become an addict yourself. Stuart Weitzman is my drug of choice for boots and booties in the fall. For non-designer high-high heels (for an event or something), I do like Vince Camuto, Marc Fisher or Jeffrey Campbell.

My jeans are almost all Madewell but I’ve loved the fit of the few pairs of Good American denim that I’ve acquired. My wardrobe is littered with jackets, cardigans, cashmere turtle necks, dresses, v-neck tees and more by lululemon — I am an ambassador to the brand. I mix high-low price points all the time — Gucci belt + ZARA dress? Of course. Diane Von Furstenberg skirt + feminist tee shirt from Etsy? Definitely. I’ve got an assortment of blazers from all over and I love my Spanx leggings and bras.

If I were growing money on the trees that skim my porch, I’d pull the cash leaves off to buy everything at Intermix, Gucci and Saks. Alice & Olivia inspires me, Helmet Lang understands me and I will own a Johnny Was kimono one day. Needless to say, where other people have travel bucket lists, I have a clothing bucket list a mile long.

What inspires you?

love. connection. authenticity. the Female Divine.
my mother. my grandmother. my fearless aunts.
women daring to be their best Selves.
women who do not wait on others but follow their hearts.

What is your go-to date night outfit?