I’m excited to be introducing Bridgette Raes of Bridgette Raes Style Group as my Stylish Thoughts contributor today. Bridgette is based in Brooklyn New York, writes a style blog and is also the author of Style Rx: Dressing the Body You Have to Create the Body You Want
What is the secret to great style?
I think my secret to great style is that your clothing should be seen simply as a tool to support and enhance who you are. What makes clothing beautiful is the person who wears it, not the other way around. I think the goal with clothing is to use it to create a synergy between the inner and outer you, and to express on the outside what is within.
What is your current obsession?
My current obsession is Prima Donna bras. I will never wear any other bra brand again. They are amazing for all sizes but particularly good for larger busted women. It’s an expensive obsession but well worth it!
Who inspires you?
I’m a fan of the underdog. I am inspired by anyone who has overcome an obstacle and succeeded. I think most of us are dealt a few unfair hands in life, yet the ones who grow from those hard times or have learned something from the setbacks and have become even greater as a result are the most inspirational to me, for sure.
Do you have a signature piece or style?
I don’t wear black. This is probably the thing I’m most known for. I don’t own one pair of black shoes and with the exception of a few pairs of black leggings, don’t own any black clothes either. It’s not that I don’t like black, I just don’t think it deserves all the hoopla it gets and I find it to be very limiting and boring, vs. versatile and easy like most people think it is. I call women who rely too heavily on black blackcidents.
What’s your secret to making yourself stand out?
My secret is to never have my clothing overshadow who I am and to absolutely love the way I feel. The better I feel in what I am wearing, the more confident and outgoing I am. I want to be remembered for me, not what I wore.
The one piece of advice most women need but don’t get?
Finish your look. Most women get dressed 75% of the way, meaning that they put on clothes and forget about accessorizing or doing things to their outfits that add flavor. I tend to call these types of flavorless outfits ‘chicken outfits’ because chicken needs spice and additional ingredients to be tasty. Chicken on its own is quite flavorless and boring. Clothing can be the same way if you don’t add flavor or additional components to make it tasty. The biggest thing I notice about women who don’t love the way they look is they don’t add flavor, personality or finishing touches to their outfits. Few people dress badly, but most walk around feeling like acceptably dressed nobodies. If these women only realized just how close they were to having an amazing outfit I think they’d feel more encouraged.
What’s the best piece of style wisdom you’ve ever received?
My mom said: “Don’t let an outfit enter the room 10 minutes before you do.” Despite the fact that I am a so-called fashion and style expert and have been in fashion for 20 years, I believe that your clothing should enhance you. Although, admittedly, Helena Bonham Carter’s style just amuses me to no end, and lord knows her outfits enter a room days before she does.
What’s the worst current trend?
The fact that the 80’s and 90’s are back again. It’s not that I don’t like some of the trends from those eras resurfacing, it just makes me feel old.
What are your favourite websites
Given that I blog constantly, I spend a lot of time on Polyvore putting outfits together. However, I tend to spend more time on non-fashion sites, actually. After spending a day writing about, talking about, touching and styling fashion, I need a break! I like sites like Mashable.com because I am a total tech nerd, Gawker and Jezebel for inane amusement and the blog CatalogLiving.net always gives me a good belly laugh. As far as other fashion blogs are concerned, there are a few I really love and respect like yours, of course, Alreadypretty.com, WardrobeOxygen.com and YouLookFab.com,
How would you describe your personal style?
This is a really interesting question to ponder because I think when you have a command of fashion and style, like most fashion professionals do, personal style can change on a whim. It all depends on what I am doing, where I am going and the type of mood I am in. However, I am always a sucker for a good town and country look that has a modern twist added to it, good quality– I’m a Capricorn and I tend to be overly pragmatic and don’t care much for frivolity, and I tend to gravitate towards things that I wouldn’t be totally embarrassed wearing when I see myself in a photo ten years from now. I also love the way all the Hitchcock leading ladies were styled.
I love how Ms. Raes advises to “finish the outfit”….The photo is so telling….a look from hanging at home doing laundry to hanging with friends and out for coffee…I believe that a complete look add to your own personal style and confidence. Great post!
Thanks for your comment – it’s so easy to finish an outfit with just a few accessories and it makes such a difference
Hi Marybeth! Thanks for your comment, and thanks Imogen for featuring me in this series!
My pleasure Bridgette!
I’m a blackcident chicken 🙂
Hmm, should we call you blackened chicken? 😉
“Chicken on its own is quite flavorless and boring”
While I understand what Bridgette is saying, I’m now seized by a longing to introduce her to a proper organic chook. FULL of flavour!
Good point, but have you ever just boiled chicken in water and ate it? Blah. 🙂
Thanks so much Imogen for all the info on your site. This is my first time commenting but I have been visiting your site regularly. I found out I am an “8” type. high hip but hourglass type. That has helped me sooooooo much!
Bridgette I took some time to look at your blog and I love it! I can see I really need to invest in accessories. I am so bad at finishing an outfit. I really need help 🙂
I bought Bridgette’s book, Style Rx several years ago on a whim and have been a fan ever since. Her book has such practical information for all women, I have loaned out my copy to dozens of friends and refer to it quite regularly (in fact I don’t know which friend currently has it and I miss it terribly!). Thanks so social media I have gotten to know Bridgette better, and find she’s a stylish and lovely person inside and out. Thanks Imogen for the great piece on her!
My readers have mentioned that you blog is one of their favourites too – so check your inbox for an email from me.
Great read, but there is one thing I have to disagree with. Black is a no-no?! Exception is if you have deep bright and cool colouring (and you’re not too blond)… if you fall into this category, IE when it actually suits you, it is an extremely powerful, dramatic and elegant colour that I personally love and will wear until I grow too old for it.
Hi Susie, nothing is never a no-no. I just like people to be able to make informed choices, is all.
Oh wait…where did I say black is a no-no? I thought you mean black and white, which can be tough on a lot of people as a combination. Blondes can wear black, so can many people. I don’t like the color on me and choose not to wear it. If black is your thing enjoy it!
I tend to agree with Imogen on how black can never truly suit blondes:
see here: https://insideoutstyleblog.com/2013/03/whats-your-best-neutral-blonde-hair.html
(esp my comment below the blogpost)
On the basis of colouring, only those with bright, deep and cool colouring will really be able to wear pure black:
and yes black and white is even more problematic, as we need high contrast on top of someone having bright and cool colouring.
(as you very kindly demonstrate in this great post:
sorry if my comment came through a bit too forceful and rude.
Oh not at all Susie! Seems we are in agreement. In fact I wrote a whole blog post about black and white (similar in theory to my post you referred to) http://www.bridgetteraes.com/2013/03/06/blackandwhitefashiontrend/
I know that Imogen and I have similar training, which is why I respect her so much. I’m sure we’d probably agree on most style point.
That is a really great post with lots of very informative pictures.
I think another aspect of the black and white malarkey is that the trend black and white will only really suit those whose colouring is COOL and BRIGHT (and high contrast). Therefore someone with red hair, who is always warm, will never be able to wear black that well as black is not warm, but cool. Same goes for someone who has softer colouring, say someone has fair skin but dark hair (ie high contrast), they may even have cool colouring but if their colouring is more muted, black and white as that current trend would still seem to distract, as they need a less harsh colour combination to shine (say a charcoal and softer white combination! still high contrast but less bright).
Finally, contrast may even vary within one person depending on the time of year. Or perhaps I am just a strange case. I have light eyes (indeterminable really, but grey or blue or green depending on what I’m wearing or the light), brown hair and fair skin. During the summer if I have a bit of a tan and my hair also becomes lighter in the sun I am in between medium and high contrast, but during the winter my complexion is always more pale and my hair is also a darker shade of brown so I become high contrast. But I usually opt for high contrast these days as I don’t spend a lot of time in the sun even during the summer.