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Five lessons from stylist Molly Hoeltke - GUEST BLOG

Buffalo stylist Molly Hoeltke has five lessons in fashion.

blog by Ben Kirst  • 

Molly Maureen Hoeltke is a commercial stylist and fashion designer. Her work is available at oncevintage.com. She is a regular contributor to Buffalo.com and has been profiled in Buffalo Spree and Auxiliary Magazine. As part of our ongoing series of guest blogs, Molly has been asked to write about personal style.

Five lessons in Fashion

Style: when People have it, they know it. Everyone around them knows it, too. It’s not arrogance, it’s confidence—and confidence is the best accessory.

Lesson One: The Color Green
Most of us understand what the color green looks like, but to every individual the same shade of the same color can look completely different due to the way your eye takes that information and translates it to your brain.

Think about style the same way. The same person can take the same outfit and wear it completely differently as a result of their personal interpretation. Start simple by breaking down your fabric preferences. Do you prefer cotton to viscose? Does silk always end up just hanging in your closet?  What are your color and pattern preferences? Do you love electric yellow and hate marigold? Do you hate watercolor floral but love ditsy floral? These are great jumping-off points for picking individual pieces. Bring this knowledge with you when you shop so that you don’t buy because you are drawn to one element by impulse. 

Lesson Two: Be the Art Director of Your Life
Channel a concept. That’s what I do as a designer and as a stylist. I always start with a clear concept to give my look direction.

Inspiration can come from anywhere. I draw color inspiration from simple things, like sidewalk chalk, or pattern inspiration from different geographical regions or time periods.

Have fun! Indulge your urges to channel your inner Stevie Nicks or Kate Moss—whoever you want to be for the day. Just don’t make it a costume, make it your own. Create something new and you might find that someone is channeling you when they get dressed.

Think of a signature styling move, whether it’s white lace or 25 bracelets. If you love it, indulge in it, and mix it in wherever you can to make your look always feel personal.

Lesson Three: Pulling It Off
Think about your lifestyle, personality and dreams. My lifestyle is one of a multi-tasker. I may need to be in five completely different situations in one day, so functionality is necessary, and so are looks that can translate.

I always dress for the occasions of the day. Looking appropriate is an absolute necessity of personal style because if you don’t feel comfortable, you do not look comfortable.

Molly Hoeltke

Lesson Four: Boundaries
People sometimes mistakenly misuse the word “comfort.” I do not mean that you should wear yoga pants or slippers all day. Comfort doesn’t mean skipping the heels or sexy dress—it simply means you need to function normally in your clothes.

Most of the time, this functionality is the result of a proper fit. At the other end of this spectrum, that means that tighter is not always better. Be a little bit serious when you are getting dressed. This isn’t high school. Too much skin is no longer hot. If you want to show some skin, that’s fine. You just have to choose: top or bottom, not both.

Lesson Five: Discernment
WIth the surge of independent designers, Internet retailers, independent fashion magazines and bloggers, there is no shortage of style opinions and options. Oh my! For example,consider the recent pastel and neon color block trend that is getting a ton of attention. I have to ask myself “what is the best way for me to make this trend my own?” I do not tend to go too ‘60s-style retro—more bohemian—so I took the trend and applied it to colored denim, platforms, and native patterns in a style I am calling “Colorful California Cool.” That has staying power for me, but if you are a retro color block girl now is your time!

This type of introspection should help you interpret the trend in a way that will continue to translate for you after the trend is over so that you’re not left with a bunch of “hype clothes.” Figure out what you’re drawn to and why, and your personal style will truly start to shine through.

Cover image and top image by Luke Copping. Portrait photo by Cheryl Gorski.

TAGGED: fashion, fashion lessons, guest blog, molly hoeltke, style tips

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  1. Mark Callen March 27, 2012 @ 3:48pm


    Great blog today!  Simple, straightforward, and actionable.  I look forward to working with you in the future.

    Mark Callen

    Mark Callen's avatar