Fashion Stylist Sarah Clary is rē•Thinking the Personal Relationship with Wardrobes
Connect with your authentic self and adorn yourself accordingly.
Meet our new style contributor at rē•spin who will be sharing fashion tips with our community monthly. Stylist Sarah Clary grew up in Northern California — a place that she will be the first to tell you isn’t known for high fashion. But from a young age, she used clothes to express herself, challenging herself not to repeat looks twice and essentially developing skills for her future job as a stylist. She has since worked with brands like GAP Kids, Kule, Old Navy, Burberry, and J. Crew, and appeared in Jenna Lyons‘ Stylish with Jenna Lyons on HBO Max in 2020. But even with an impressive career and legacy in fashion, it will surprise you to know just how relatable her sartorial insights are — some of which you can glimpse in her fashion blog, Laundry Day. She turns to fashion to empower herself with her garments, and — like rē•spin’s style director, Lindsay Flores — teaches us to rē-think the way we sync our wardrobes to our spirits.
Fashion as Self-Expression
Clary didn’t have special connections to help her break into the industry; it arose naturally as she made charts to track her outfits and committed to never wearing the same thing twice. Once deeply insecure about her looks in her youth, she turned to clothing as a form of armor to suit her desired self-expression. “I learned that I could become the person I wanted to be with the items I chose to put on my body,” she says. “If one day I wanted to be a girly girl with a dress, so be it, but the next day, wear a head-to-toe tracksuit, great. I had no rules, I just played.” In order to rē-invent her wardrobe with a limited budget, she constantly sought ways to style her pieces in new ways, carefully examining each item, challenging herself to style them differently each and every time she reached for them. “I never knew what a stylist was, but I was training myself without even knowing it,” she explains.
Now, as a professional fashion stylist, Clary still relies on the hacks she developed as a young girl in her personal wardrobe in her work with clients. She acknowledges that she is just one of the many voices in the fashion space, and believes there is room for all voices in fashion. She encourages clients to indulge in the multiplicity of influences to find their signature looks. “[Always] rē•spin your own ideas about fashion, and how you fit within it,” she says.
rē•spin Your Relationship with Fashion
Clary understands personally what it is like to feel disempowered and unhappy in your wardrobe, which is why it matters to her to help clients rē•spin their fashion items into vehicles of self-empowerment. The right pieces are what she calls “mood shifters.” “If it is a ball gown that makes you feel good when you pick up your kids, please wear it,” she says. “If it is sweat pants that you have to live in, fine, let’s make sure you are fierce every time. Life is short, life is good, so dress accordingly.”
She also puts a mindful twist into the brands she shops personally. Even with a fashion insider’s access to the biggest names in the business, she uses her expert eye to scout out the up-and-coming indie fashion labels, proving that you can pave your own path to self-actualized fashion by being a trailblazer and following your own inner voice. Among them are Christine Alcalay, Royal Jelly Harlem, and the French Brand, Officine Générale.
Is an indie label with free-flowing silhouettes, earthy neutral shades, and sheer prints that are all gracefully grounded in their inspiration by women. Some of her favorite finds include willowy, wide-leg bottoms, and a pair of sheer, floral pants that she recommends pairing with nude biker shorts.
An African-inspired clothing and home line that is made entirely in NYC. “Their classic shapes and silhouettes paired with bold African inspired prints make their items both easily wearable and a powerful statement, unlike what you see every day on the streets,” Clary says. “I have long been a fan of their work and collaborations.” If you are a fan of bold, colorful prints, know that Clary struck sartorial gold with a statement-making suit.
“Meet the French brand that instantly makes me feel way cooler than I actually am,” she says. Think slouchy silhouettes and elevated textures, ranging from cashmere to printed Italian silk. Combining the inherent je ne sais quoi of the Parisian — whose fashion and beauty vibes exude nonchalant, effortless excellence —
Now you get started on Clary’s first fashion assignment for you — learning to dress to empower, according to your mood — by drawing inspiration (and maybe even a purchase?) from the hidden gems above. “I hope I showed you a few new brands to discover,” she says. “Happy Discovery!” Stay tuned for more insights from Clary next month on how to rē-think your relationship with accessories.