While I’ve definitely NOT worn real clothes every day this summer, this weird time HAS made me rethink my wardrobe. Like many of y’all, I’ve felt the urge to clean out my closet, reorganize things, and create new outfits from the pieces I already own. Luckily, I’ve been able to delegate (angels singing) a lot of this to Carson Love, stylist extraordinaire and go-to fashion guru (@CarsonMLove). Carson’s amazing styling business, Styled by Carson Love, sees her do everything from closet purges and personal shopping to clothing donation and outfit selection for trips and vacations. She’s basically a jack of all trades with amazing hair and perfect ensembles. The best part? She’s offering a ton of virtual services these days, so you don’t have to live in Nashville to work with her. You can book directly through this link: https://www.glamhive.com/carsonlove.
Carson also graciously let us pick her brain for this Expert Q&A, in which we discuss fashion advice, trendspotting, thoughts on subscription services, and more. Thank you, Carson!
We’ve basically spent this year in yoga pants and sweats. Do you think clothing will trend toward looser cuts as a result? Or will fashion crave a return to more tailored silhouettes after months of loungewear?
One of my favorite things about fashion is the fact that it reflects social, economic, and even political happenings in our culture and throughout history. It can take a little time for these impacts to trickle up to designers and be reflected in ready-to-wear clothing (it’s actually called the “trickle up theory”…NERD MOMENT), so it’s hard to predict if we’ll actually see a trend of looser-fitting silhouettes. But it’s certainly a possibility! I do think that we will see a stronger presence of loungewear at the street style level, simply because it’s what consumers have been buying for the last several months.
What are some easy, inexpensive ways to shake up our wardrobes? Everyone’s craving a fresh start but people are also hesitant to spend a ton of money right now.
First, I want everyone to take some time to “shop” their own closets and see if there are pieces that are being underutilized. It’s incredible how many outfits we have sitting in our closets if we just rethink some of the things we already own (I saved an IG Live about this topic if anyone wants to dive deeper on that). Secondly, and I know this is kind of the expected answer, but take a look at your accessories. Things like hats, necklaces, headbands, etc. really are an afterthought for most people, and can be the inexpensive add-on to so many outfits you’re already wearing.
It’s so funny how accessories come and go. We all wore headbands in 2008 with Blair Waldorf, and are at it again with the Lele Sadoughi look. Gucci belts have become ubiquitous. What do you think is “the next big thing” with accessories? What has staying power and is worth the investment?
Just like trends in any other category of fashion, I think they exist to keep things fresh and exciting, but will always be coming and going. I always tell clients to participate in the trends that appeal to them, but don’t feel stressed about keeping up with them. There’s always another one around the corner! One recent trend in accessories that I personally like is the slouchy style clutch (originally by Bottega Veneta, but there’s tons of great dupes out there). Giving such a relaxed and casual style to something like a clutch, that’s typically pulled out for more formal occasions, feels really cool and effortless to me! I also like the flat chain, “python” style necklaces we’re seeing everywhere. They’re fun to layer and add a touch of an 80’s vibe.
Can you share some of your favorite “hidden gems” for shopping in Nashville, and any websites that might be a little more under the radar?
I hope this isn’t a hidden gem anymore: The Showroom Nashville. It’s a boutique that specializes in special occasion dresses and jumpsuits (they also have things like statement clutches, accessories, blazers, etc.) that you can buy OR RENT! They even have in-house temporary alterations. I say it’s like having a fairy godmother in real life! I’m also surprised when people haven’t heart of Flip. It’s a luxury consignment store where I take a lot of my client hauls after we finish a closet edit. It’s a great place to look for luxury handbags at a discount (I also love the websites Gilt and RealReal for that). Another one that I don’t think a lot of people know about is Ever Alice. It’s a beautiful boutique tucked away in Green Hills.
Lots of retailers, from Loft to Rebecca Taylor, are now offering clothing rentals a la Rent the Runway. Plus, we have a ton of subscription options like Stitch Fix and Fabletics. Do you recommend these services to clients?
I really love the concept of rental subscriptions. Not only is it a way to avoid closet clutter and try new things in your own wardrobe, but it’s also a much more sustainable way of “shopping.” That’s a pretty big deal considering the fashion industry is the second-largest polluter in the world. I personally have loved Rent the Runway’s “Unlimited” membership and have been using it myself and recommending it to clients for several years now. There’s a ton of different rental subscriptions out there, so it really depends on your individual needs and style. “Nuuly” is another newer one that I have personally used. It’s owned by URBN and offers a ton of brands (Anthropologie, Free People, Love Shack Fancy, and lots more).
What are your favorite organizations for clothing donations? What items do charities find most helpful to receive?
I always like to do my due diligence and call around to local charities before bringing them any loads, because if they’re not currently in need of women’s clothing at the time, it can be more of a burden to store it all. One organization that is pretty much in constant need of any and all clothing is Operation Stand Down. They supply resources and services to veterans and their families. You don’t even need an appointment to drop off! Here’s their website: https://www.osdtn.org/. I always check with clients first to see if they have a charity of choice or a group that they would like me to contact.
What is your typical process for working with a new client? I know you offer a lot of a la carte options vs. strict packages, which is great.
Every client is so unique and different, so I like to have the flexibility to totally customize the process for everyone. I also offer a free phone/Zoom chat or coffee meeting to answer any questions and map out the process for them.
Ideally, I do love to start with a closet edit because it gives me a chance to not only filter out what isn’t serving you, but also “take inventory” of all the usable pieces you already own. Throughout the closet edit, I take note of any holes that need to be filled, or pieces that are missing that I think you would use a lot. So, by the end of the edit, we’ll not only have a pile of things that need to leave, but also a really intentional list of things to shop for!
From there, any personal shopping that needs to be done is totally based on the client’s preference. Some people like to shop together in stores, some prefer that I shop and bring it over for them to try on at home, some prefer that I do online shopping, or a mix! Everyone is different when it comes to shopping, and we can do whatever is most convenient and enjoyable for you.
Once you have an arsenal of versatile clothing stocked in your closet, we can work on personal Lookbooks (which is my FAVORITE thing to do)! This is basically when I style outfits using everything in your closet (down to the shoes and jewelry) and snap pictures of each look. I then upload those photos to an album on your phone, so even if you’re traveling or don’t have WiFi, you can pull up the photos and know exactly what to wear. This is also a game changer when it comes to packing: we can make specific Lookbooks for different trips or occasions.
Really, at the end of the day, we do whatever needs to be done to accomplish the client’s individual goals. These are just the areas where I typically spend most of my time.
Can people hire you to work with them remotely?
Yes! Last year I finally streamlined my services into a virtual package, so that’s totally an option! I also just started using a really cool platform called Glamhive which makes it much easier to do virtual services. People can book directly through this link: https://www.glamhive.com/carsonlove.
Be honest, have you started collecting face masks to match all of your outfits? Or is that just us?
Okay, I’ve actually been using a lot of my fun bandanas and lightweight scarves as masks, just to have a more aesthetically-pleasing option!
Since I didn’t end up doing a “round-up” for the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale this year, Carson was kind enough to share her thoughts and picks on everything you need to know if you plan to shop the sale. Thank you once again Carson for helping us make life a little easier, by telling us all we need to know for the sale this year!
General Notes for the Sale:
– Have your shopping list in mind before you start shopping. Don’t let the sale dictate your choices. Focus on intentional shopping!
– Ask yourself: “Would I still buy this even if it wasn’t on sale?”
– Great time to evaluate your basics (like tees, tanks, sunglasses, pj’s, underwear, etc.). Do those need to be replaced?
– Nordstrom has an awesome return policy, so if you need to order something don’t be afraid to get multiple sizes!
1. Spanx Faux Leather Leggings: (Also offered in petites and plus this year, which is nice) A high quality legging has become a staple for most women over the last decade or so. This is a good example of something that is better to invest in rather than buying cheaper, cotton leggings that have to be replaced every year. Reminder: although these are not see-through like many cotton leggings, you still need to pair them with tops that cover your booty and front “area”!
2. Marc Fisher LTD Oshay Pointed Toe Bootie: I remember people going nuts for these last year. I love all the colors, including the snake- just depends if you’re needing a new neutral bootie or are ready to mix in some print. Marc Fisher has a reputation for being very comfortable.
3. Steve Madden Nadalie Pointed Toe Bootie: I know that cognac color will go flying. That kind of camel, cognac brown is such a great color to have in a shoe because it truly looks good with almost any other color- including black and navy!
4. Free People Afterglow Mock Neck Top: They do some variation of this sweater almost every year. It’s always so popular because it’s a great “paired with leggings sweater”- it’s long enough to cover everyones’ booty! It’s Free People so it will run huge- size down for sure
5. Alo High Waist Moto Leggings: My personal favorite for athletic leggings. Holds up really well overtime and is super high waisted (good for girls like me that have a flat booty that have to pull up their leggings every 5 seconds). Size down! The XL can fit up to a size 18!
6. Rails Ingrid Raw Hem Chambray Shirt: If you’re in the market for a new chambray shirt, Rails makes super drapey, soft button downs that lay really nicely.
7. Chelsea28 Leather Moto Jacket: A more tailored, clean lapel like this is much more flattering for most body types than the traditional, boxy moto style. I also love the fabric backing on the sleeves- makes it so much easier to move around in!(I remember trying this one on last year next to the Vince version, and I actually preferred the Chelsea28 even though it’s less expensive.)
8. Nordstrom Signature Cashmere Tunic Sweater and Nordstrom Signature Funnel Neck Cashmere Tunic Sweater: Cashmere is a great thing to grab on sale. Love the length of both of these- legging friendly!
9. Nordstrom Signature Cascade Collar Double Face & Wool Cashmere Coat: We’ve seen a big surge in the “robe” style overcoats versus a more traditional, structured peacoat and I love it. I also think this camel color is such a great alternative neutral to black
10. Vince Crop Legging: This is one of my go-tos for clients that need a skinny black pant and I honestly can’t believe it’s on the sale! It’s more of a pant than a legging and holds up really well over time. Fits super snug, so don’t be surprised if you need to size up
11. L’argence or Veronica Beard Blazers: Both of these designers make beautiful quality blazers, so it’s a great chance to grab them on sale if you’re in the market for a new blazer.
12. Stuart Weitzman Zuzanna Over the Knee Boot: Stuart Weitzman tweaks their classic OTK boot all the time and gives it a new name, but it’s basically the same style we know and love. When it comes to OTK boots, I like to opt for a chunkier block heel- it’s more comfortable and doesn’t come off as “Pretty Woman” as a stiletto heel.