How can we start to rekindle our relationship to our clothing when it feels as if everything and everyone around us is telling us that we need the latest, trendiest pieces in our wardrobe?
How do we get clarity on our personal style when there are so many messages telling us what we “should” be wearing? How do we rediscover our own unique styling creativity when fashion has been equated with constant consumption of newness?
We need a fashion paradigm shift.
In this episode, Sam Weir — a professional stylist and the founder of one-on-one styling service Lotte is sharing:
- Why wearing what it’s in our closets is so important to the sustainable fashion movement,
- How we can find joy in our wardrobes and not make it feel like a sacrifice to shop less,
- Her advice for restyling what’s in our closets,
- What to do when nothing in our wardrobe feels like us any longer, and more.
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Read the Transcript From This Interview:
Hey everyone and welcome or welcome back to the show! Today we’re talking all about rewearing and restyling what is in our closets which is a huge and super important topic in slow fashion.
I’m going to be chatting with Sam, a New York City-based professional stylist who has had vast experience in celebrity, personal, and commercial styling. And, who is the founder of Lotte, a one-on-one online styling service that works with what you already own.
In this episode, Sam is sharing why wearing what it’s in our closets is so important to the sustainable fashion movement, how we can find joy in our wardrobes and not make it feel like a sacrifice to shop less, her advice for restyling what’s in our closets, and what to do when nothing in our wardrobe feels like us or that it fits our lifestyles anymore. And there’s a whole lot more that Sam will be sharing about style, styling, and just slowing down — as you will hear shortly.
As always the transcript is in the show notes over on consciouslifeandstyle.com.
Alright, now get your notepad, hit subscribe, and let’s get started with today’s conversation.
Sam is going to begin here with her background as a stylist and what led her to founding the styling service, Lotte.
I kind of grew up really obsessed with fashion like I’m sure many listeners had. I was unknowingly styling. When I was like 14, I grabbed my younger sister and would literally dress her up and take photos of her in my backyard. And like those photos still, to this day, some of the best I’ve ever made.
But I was always really attracted just quite naturally to clothing and not in a design way. A lot of people are like, Oh, you’re into fashion, are you a designer, never was that it was always the stories that clothing could tell.
The characters that I could start building with clothing. And that’s what drew me to styling in the first place. Because that’s really what it’s all about. It’s this medium of storytelling, just using clothing instead of film, etc.
So when I went to college, which was in New York City, I immediately started interning, I tried to actually start interning, when I was like 15. And they were, they were all like that’s illegal. We can’t have you here. I was very, very eager.
But I started interning, and then that quickly turned into assisting my freshman year, I started working with a celebrity stylist Kate Young.
I don’t know how I got that as my first position. But I was so lucky because the team was quite small. So it was her, her first assistant, and me. And that leaves so much room to learn, to listen, all I did was watch and take notes really, from someone I respect so much in this industry.
She has all the big clients like Selena Gomez, Margot Robbie, Sophie Turner, and to just watch styling done at that level where, you know, if we mess up, millions of people are watching our mess up.
So it really helped train me quite specifically in styling, but I was always interested in more of the creative side of styling, so with magazines and editorials.
So after that, I went on to work for Alex White, who was a really large stylist in the industry. She’s been doing this for decades at this point. A lot of the images that she made are probably on people’s mood boards or preferences, like she was really doing that.
And so to learn from a stylist who’s been in the industry for some time, you know, again, hardest thing I’ve ever done, the most I’ve ever worked in my entire life, but the training was there. I really got to watch on these large level sets for like Sephora campaigns, Tiffany and Co campaigns to more conceptual ideas like a Vogue Italia cover. So we were so creative, but we also did these like massive, massive jobs, which was like, again, training to the max. So I was like, okay, I have a better understanding.
And from there, I went into the publishing world at Document Journal. And that’s where I ended up being an editor. And that was very much so this creative side of fashion. A lot of the brands we work with, were up and coming like a lot of my job was finding the student designers before they even got big. So we were deep in the creative world, which was really exciting for me. It scratched an important itch of mine.
But then I moved on to a tech startup that was in fashion. And then COVID hit. So I lost my job. And I was actually in my parent’s house back in New Jersey, and had a lot of time to think. And that’s when Lotte was born.
I was thinking like, what’s the future of fashion? I’m Googling all of this thinking I’m gonna stumble upon a company that already exists or some piece of technology that I could get into. And then I read something that was like, there’s no fashion on a dead planet. And it stopped me cold, like it was the most obvious statement. But it really hit me at that time.
And I was like, why the future? This is the future. Like there will be no future if we aren’t involved in the climate and ecological crisis and that really got me, I was down the rabbit holes. I was doing all the research and really put myself through like a bit of schooling on my own using the internet.
And that’s when Lotte came to be that’s when I had this like space to even imagine something different imagining a way to use my skills that I just trained for the past seven years in, in a completely different light. Which is why I feel so grateful, honestly, to even, you know, be here and talking about it, it’s pretty exciting for me.
Yeah, that’s so interesting to hear about your path. And I had no idea you only started this recently because honestly, it looks so professional and so fleshed out. So that is really surprising..
Yeah, I really go in when I’m interested in something. And I’ve always been a passion and purpose-driven person, in general. So to me, there’s no bigger purpose than, you know, solving this, the number one issue we are all faced with.
So it was invigorating, it was a little bit depressing at first realizing the status of our world, but then it was like, let’s get to work. Let’s start. And so I was quite excited, and really, yeah, it’s a lot of work to get this together. But I’m super proud with, you know, what I’ve created thus far.
Yeah and let’s talk about your work. And, you know, what makes your styling services different from the “conventional” or typical fashion industry where styling is very much focused on shopping and a bunch of new clothes, like, what makes what you do different?
Yeah. So I see it like two ways, because in the industry styling is used to sell product. So whether that be the magazine that you work for, the shirt that the person’s wearing, etc, it’s usually a sale of goods. That’s in fashion industry world, but it hasn’t always been like that.
You know, the purpose of styling at the beginning, was just finding new creative ways to wear our clothing. Like if you go back and listen to interviews from editors in the 80s and 90s, a lot of what they were using in these magazine editorials was vintage. It was their personal collections.
Because they were building images that you would you’ve never seen before, you would never see that same piece anywhere else. The whole point was to use vintage and secondhand pieces because it’s more creative, and also looks better visually. But that’s my opinion on it.
It just wasn’t until advertising and brands got so much power, that now if you’re a stylist in fashion, you’re actually just they call it “full look”. So if you work for a publication, or you’re styling, your request for requests from a brand like Balenciaga, and you can only use one piece of the look that you request, you have to have the full look as seen on runway, also in your publication.
So there’s no creativity, you’re really just a logistics manager at that point. And that’s how I knew I didn’t want to be in that space, because it was one of the least creative jobs I’ve ever had, which was so, it was really upsetting. You know, I grew up dreaming about it and then you get there and you’re like, hmmm this is not what I thought it was going to be.
But on the other side more like outside of this, like more editorial industry, you hear styling, but a lot of times what people are really doing is being personal shoppers, and that’s not styling. And I think like from a consumer point of view, they get very confused on what styling even means. Because it’s always been tied to buying X, Y, and Z.
Where a lot of my work is just educating people like no, you’re a stylist. Like you wake up every morning and you put clothes on your body and you do that intentionally. You are styling in that moment. And it gives us a lot of power back to realize that, so with my service there’s no consumption involved at all.
I actually wanted to step away from that completely. That’s why I chose to do a service so I didn’t have to push a certain product on someone to meet a sales quota or whatever it might be.
My job is working literally for my clients. No retailers involved. And that gives us both a lot of power. So instead of asking you to go shopping, we are using what you already own.
Another thing that led me to Lotte was reading that 50% of the average wardrobe goes unworn and that really set off a light bulb in my head because I’m like, wow, I could do so much with 50% of the wardrobe! Like get me in there and I could style you 30 looks just off of that.
So it feels like you just went shopping you know you have all this newness, you’re very creative with me. We have new looks — it’s exciting. But we never leave your wardrobe. And to me, that’s where like, it’s really powerful people get to learn that there’s a lot there, there’s like gems in what you already own. It’s just marketing tries to tell us it’s not. They just want us to keep buying.
Really, I’m about slowing down, looking at what you already own, how can we maximize the use or wear of that certain piece? So that’s what’s really different about my services, we start there, we start in the wardrobe and we pretty much stay there. Like there’s actually so much in it that we can use, with the professional eye with a new eye, even. Like even just getting a fresh perspective on your stuff. It changes things.
So that’s how the approach is different. But I also would say us having like, or even discussing the planet, and our crisis that’s currently happening is also really different. Like, yes, I’m a styling service but I also care about a lot of other things. And I believe you should, too.
So having people and planet at the center of every single thing we do is, honestly, the only reason I’m doing this. Like it’s way too hard of work to not be doing it for a greater purpose. So that’s also a key for me is more, I call it spiritual — you can call it whatever you think it is.
But this side of like, the relationship to our stuff, why we’re so okay with throwing things out after wearing it two to three times, like why we think we should donate a t-shirt with holes in it. Like, I don’t know, this culture is so backwards. So it’s also using styling, as a vehicle to talk about our relationship with things.
Really, that’s why right when you land on our site, you see the word, rekindle. And I use that word really specifically. Rekindle our relationship with clothing. Because we’ve had a great relationship with clothing for most of the history of humankind.
It wasn’t until, you know, the industrial revolution that we started seeing this change and obviously, fast fashion, bumped that up, like you know, we never would have expected. But it’s really just getting back to slowing down, caring for our stuff, wearing our stuff. I always say care over consumption. That’s what Lotte is all about. And we just use styling to do that, really.
Yeah, absolutely. It’s such a central part of your services is helping your clients style what is in their closets. And you started speaking to this, but if you have anything else to share, you know, why is it so important to the sustainable fashion movement to wear what we have in our closets more?
Yeah, it sounds like so simple, and honestly a little stupid. But you would be surprised how a flip, like, you can see the switch flip in people’s heads when you’re like, you don’t need to buy anything to be sustainable. You just need to slow down. I actually encourage you not to buy anything.
Because brands have really dominated the sustainable fashion conversation. It’s like these big, big players that have the marketing budget that can put their messaging everywhere, they tell you to be sustainable, it means to buy this means to buy this top with this fabric or whatever it might be. But there’s always that consumption involved.
And that’s what like drove me insane when I started my research into finding I was looking for a place to work. And I was like, I don’t like any of this language. What are you saying buying when it’s our overconsumption and overproduction that’s the problem. Like who started this? Because it’s not correct.
And it’s usually like, with solutions we look outwards a lot of the time. We look at technology to save us, when really the solutions already exist.
People have been doing them for so long. We need to open our eyes, read different texts, look everywhere, and realize it’s all about reconnecting with our things and ourselves and each other.
Like the more we can slow down, the more we can just enjoy what we own, the more we can define want versus need, the better we can start cutting off these marketing and advertising cycles that force us to believe and be really insecure about ourselves and then sell us product to try to help that. It’s a lot like it’s really hard to fight something like that.
And that’s why I find Lotte to be just — if I can, I don’t know how many people I can touch with this message. But just like noting that you’re good, you have everything you need. Like I promise you your stuff is so beautiful. Don’t let these marketing campaigns tell you otherwise.
And that’s a lot of what I do in my sessions is when people are like, oh, I need to get rid of this. I heard it’s like, not a trend anymore or whatever it might be, and I’m like, no, no, we’re not doing that here. It’s like, first of all, stop, we don’t need to do that. Second of all, who’s telling you these things? Like, style is so personal, it’s another reason why my service is over Zoom or FaceTime, it’s completely one on one live, is because style is deeply personal. It’s connected to a lot of really emotional things.
People, I practically have therapy sessions with my clients, like, that’s really what’s going on, because it’s tied to so many different assets of ourselves.
You know a lot of the solutions for our climate crisis, ecological crisis is already existing within us. It’s just tapping back into that. It’s not about fabric innovation.
Because at the end of the day, those are great but if we still have a culture that’s down to throw out a piece of clothing after three wears, it doesn’t matter what it’s made out of. We’re still moving through this cycle.
So for me, I’m trying to get to the root of our problem. And that’s like our behavior, you know, and it’s not what our pieces are made of — it’s why we’re so disconnected from it, the land that made it, the people that made it. That’s what needs to really change. And we don’t hear a lot about that, because that doesn’t sell product.
Yeah, I love that. And the way that you talk about loving our closets, more wearing what’s in our closets more, it just sounds so lovely and wonderful.
And I feel like that language, the way that we talk about it is so important, because I feel like when you tell people okay, well, buying less is a key part of sustainability, they might feel like it’s a sacrifice, you know? Or like that they have to give up something. I feel like that misses the point a little bit, because as you said, it’s about this care and this connection.
So, I guess my question for you is: what advice do you have for all of us and how we can find more joy out of our existing wardrobe and restyling our wardrobe? And not feel like it’s a “sacrifice” to not shop?
Totally. Yeah, you know I’ve done it myself personally. So if I can do it, I promise all of you can do it. Because I was the girl shopping every weekend, you know, I worked in fashion. I’m obsessed with clothing. Like that’s something I genuinely love.
My friends could not have put on their like boards that I would be working in this side of the industry in like a few years. That was really foreign to me.
So I went through this process myself, and it’s really difficult. So I just want people to be kind to themselves. It’s not like, super strict. We’re all trying our best here. And honestly, you listening to this podcast is better than what a lot of other people are doing.
But I think the real key here like mentally that helped me shift is realizing that clothing is not just consumption. It’s not just consumable. You can do so many other things with clothing that express your identity that help you feel creative or whatever, whatever you love about fashion or clothing, you can do that outside of consumption.
We’re just so programmed and honestly, it’s not our fault. It’s how we grew up. That’s the only way we’ve learned to interact with clothing is through shopping. So we don’t know any better. This is what we grew up with and have always been taught.
But once you realize that there’s all these really fun places on the outskirts of fashion that you just got to like look a little — hopefully we don’t have to look that hard and in a few years we’ll be front and center… It’s so fun. I think it’s even better!
And that’s what I really want people to realize. And what I tried really hard to do with Lotte is not make it like a shaming, not make it oh, I have to start styling now instead of shopping. My service is better than shopping! We have more fun, we create better looks, you feel more powerful than you would feel after a shopping spree. And that to me is success. That’s what I want people to feel.
So for me, it’s just starting to play on the outskirts. Start mending your stuff, start upcycling, dye your shirt a different color, draw all over it, like swap with your friends’ style. Take two hours this weekend, instead of going shopping, open up your wardrobe, pick five pieces you haven’t worn in three months or a lot of people have stuff with tags on it still in their wardrobes and try to style it. Just put on some music, put on a TV show whatever it is and have fun.
I think people have this idea that sustainable fashion can’t be fun or it has to be like neutral colors in linen. And honestly, I had that idea before I stepped into this industry. You realize it’s literally not the case. That is super old. And one way of looking at it, there’s just a lot of I think there’s more creativity in the side of the industry than any other side of the industry.
And that’s what I discovered and what I keep trying to tell my friends, I’m like, it’s better over here, like, it’s more fun. You can do so much more when you’re not stuck in this consumption wheel. Let me tell you that.
So yeah, I think like it’s a mental shift first, realizing that shopping is the sacrifice, because honestly, it sucks. It’s not, it doesn’t really help any of us. It definitely doesn’t help our planet or the people who make the clothing. Realize that to start and then you have all these fun things on the outside, that you can still be creative with. You don’t not express your identity when you stop shopping all the time.
And also, there’s a lot of different ways to express ourselves besides our consumption habits. That’s something we all forget. And I forget too, like it’s not just about what I wear. I’m also a very dynamic person outside of that. So just again, it’s a mental thing, really. So like read a book go outside, it’ll start to fade away when you just stop.
And another tip I have to just like, kind of remove yourself from this hole of consumption is unfollow these people, unsubscribe to the email marketing, cut it off.
Like you don’t need to see that because it is very enticing when you do. I’m the type of person like if I walk into a store, I will probably find something I like and want to buy it. I just don’t do that. I cut it all out. I don’t even know what trends are going on. I don’t care. Like that’s the point. So that’s my other, other tip with that.
Yeah, right. I literally could not tell you what the trends are. And it is so freeing. It’s so nice to not be reliant on… on listening to what somebody else is telling you is right to wear, cool to wear.
It’s just like, just listen to yourself and like what you like and if you like wearing it, you know, it can be really simple style does not have to be as complicated as the fashion industry has led us to believe they may make us believe that we have to buy these new things this season to be relevant to be in style and it’s just exhausting honestly.
No exhausting is the right word. It’s also completely messed up. Because they prey on our, like, insecurities. But going back to style, which is why a lot of people follow me or even buy my sessions, luckily, my view of style is very eco-friendly. Because in my opinion, the best style is consistent. The best style has restrictions.
So like I appreciate a lot of different styles. I could be, you know, surfer girl, I could dress in all leather, black, I can do it all, I love clothing. But that’s just for me to admire. That’s not for me to buy. And that’s where we get it. We’re all like a little off.
If you look at the style icons and history, they wear the same stuff. They show up in their uniform. You know what to expect. And it feels very personal. It feels like it’s worn, it feels like they’ve had it for years. That’s style and that’s what my service works on.
I don’t do fashion anymore. Like, don’t come to me for capital F fashion with the trends and all of that. I don’t enjoy it visually, and I don’t enjoy what it does to our planet and our people. So that’s where I differ. And it’s also good because not only is it better for your style, what I talk about and do with Lotte it’s better for our planet, it actually lets us have a future.
So that’s another thing is like, I’m sorry, but there’s never been more clothing on this planet. And yet, everyone looks the same. I feel like I don’t see original style anymore. And that’s because the dominant fashion system is really taken over.
So again, sustainable fashion is not limiting. Watch your style is gonna get more creative. Your style will get more unique. Your style will feel like you, not like your copy and pasting trends. And that’s beautiful. You’ll feel that in your soul. Like that’s something when you wake up. You’re excited to get dressed now.
Yeah, absolutely. Now I’ve been documenting my outfits, like through Instagram stories. And I’ve seen how, although I’ve shopped less these past two years than ever before, I see how my style has gotten so much better.
I mean, it’s such a subjective term, but like to me, I love my style more. I’m learning how to style my clothes. Instead of just like buying this top to go with these pants. I’m learning how to make different combinations and all of this kind of stuff.
Which leads me to actually my next question for you, which is about your restyling service — I think you call it Renew.
And so I would love to like sort of walk through an example with that. So let’s say I had thrifted a skirt a while back and I’m not sure how to wear it. It’s been hanging in my closet unworn. You know, how would you help me restyle that piece?
Yeah, so I created a custom three-step process that every client moves through when they come into the program. And I modeled this off of all the experience I’ve had in the industry and working at the highest levels, because I want this service to be the best.
Like I want you to feel really incredible. I want you to feel how personal it is because getting back to my earlier point style is extremely personal. That’s why I chose not to make an app. That’s why I took more time building it and won’t be as large as I could. It’s because I don’t want to lose that personal aspect of it. I like talking face to face with clients.
You’re not going to tell me what you’re insecure about over a form, through some AI piece of tech. It’s not how it should be. It’s a very human experience. Even though we’re online, we’re essentially face to face.
So on that, the first part of our sessions, I just get connected with you. You like I asked you questions. What’s your favorite film? Where would you dream travel? Like, I ask you things completely outside of clothing. Because really, my job is to understand who you are as a person and how we reflect that in your clothing.
I could never recommend the look for you if I don’t understand who you are, what your needs are, how important comfortability is to you. Are you on your feet all day? Are you sitting on your computer? Do you like showing your back? Or do you have something that you’re just like, I’m not into it, I have this here.
It’s a very personal experience. So that’s what a lot of the first session is, is this connection part. I’m trying to understand your relationship with your clothing to start.
The next part of it is curate. So that’s where I move through your wardrobe, I get to see what you already own. I see what you have a lot of. I see what maybe there’s some holes there.
I ask people to bring three pieces of clothing that they feel represents them. And that tells me so much. Like people don’t realize how much I can learn from if you’re holding up a white t-shirt versus a crazy hot pink pattern top.
I know exactly your personality when I can see what pieces you bring. So we also work through your wardrobe. And that’s, because I’m trying to build your foundation. I talk about this my clients all the time. But you know, those like magazine listicles that are like the 10 things you need to be chic or have a chic wardrobe. I can’t stand those because my idea of chic or whatever I think is interesting or beautiful, is very different than yours.
Again, it’s personal. Those are super broad and they’re usually just trying to sell product. But there is validity in defining our foundational pieces. And that’s what happens in this section as well. It’s figuring out what you’re wearing every day, what you feel really comfortable in, what’s like a safety blanket to you.
And then the last also, the longest part of the session is when we actually start styling. And that’s where I asked people to choose, like you said, a skirt that you thrifted and maybe haven’t worn. You’ll show me that piece and we’ll start building looks using your foundation. Because a lot of the reason we don’t wear a piece of clothing is maybe it’s uncomfortable to us, it’s unfamiliar to us. Whatever there’s like some sort of blockage there that we define in our sessions.
But we also helped make you feel more comfortable by pairing it with your favorite t-shirt, by pairing it with something that you feel so good in that it helps balance out the newness of that other piece or whatever the reason why the other piece isn’t in a rotation for you.
So that’s when we actually build these looks. We build four looks specifically in this session using pieces either you never wear or I also give clients the opportunity: give me a piece that you wear all the time and I’ll style it differently.
Like sometimes a fresh eye, looking at your favorite blouse can put it in ways that you would never expect and we just unlocked like three outfit combinations. That’s beautiful, like we all love that.
So we moved through this session, we have these four looks. But early in my beta testing of it like with my first few clients, I would ask for feedback, obviously. And they were like, love this, but Sam, you gave me so much information. Like I didn’t know if I should take notes like that was just a little overwhelming. Because again, I speak about clothing in a very different way than what most people are used to.
So I decided afterwards, I created these customs, so every single client gets their own book. It’s like a digital portfolio that has all of my styling frameworks in there. Everything we discussed in the session, reference imagery, color palette, what to look for in fabrics, you name it, it’s in this like beautiful book that I designed.
And you get that afterwards and that people love that, they’re like, I look at this every week when I need that little jump of inspiration and I love that. That’s the whole point is making this like sustainable not just buying once the styling session and going back to shopping the next weekend, no this is an ongoing process.
So that’s how it works. Each session is obviously different. It’s again, everyone has a different relationship with clothing, like for sure. But we all move within this framework: getting to know you, getting to know your wardrobe, and then building off of that.
And giving you real looks that you can wear tomorrow, that feels like you, no shopping involved, like a lot of people are like, here’s what I think you should wear, go spend $3,000 on all these stuff like, that is so insane to me. I’m just like, here, looks already you have everything you need for it go out, enjoy. So that’s kind of the process we move through.
Yeah, yeah, that’s great. And I really love that tip of pairing, like an unfamiliar piece with something that you love.
And then your other styling service that you offer is for clients that feel like nothing in their closet really reflects them, you know, whether it ever did or just not in the current period in time.
So can you walk us through how you work with those clients? How that might differ a little bit like how you make people feel like their wardrobe is their own, even if it doesn’t feel like it right now?
Yeah, and this is actually a majority of what is bought, is this specific session that is called Expand.
People have very negative relationships with their style and also with their wardrobe. It’s usually like the enemy, it’s what is causing all these problems. It’s like ‘there’s nothing in my wardrobe’, like everyone has said that in their life. So a lot of it is mental shifts in this session.
People will buy the other one, they have a better understanding of their style, they are down to try to use their wardrobe. People in this session are not as friendly with their wardrobe. So it’s a lot of working through why.
It’s a lot of pulling out pieces. Oh, this is not in trend anymore. This is like so outdated, and stopping them from using that language and getting them to realize that’s actually not true whatsoever. And I love that, like stop, keep that. Let’s style it. And a lot of it’s like, I’ll prove it to you. I’m like, let’s use those pieces that you think are so so ugly and I’ll show you that I can make this a favorite of yours.
And just showing, I’m really happy to say I get emails like two weeks later that say, You know what, you’re so right, Sam. I think I’m not going to shop this year. And that is the coolest thing ever to hear from clients that were really obsessive with shopping and found a lot of like, joy in that consumption but then when it gets to their wardrobe, they’re not into it anymore to for them to say you know, you’re right, I just need to open my eyes a bit more is really exciting to me.
But a lot of it is someone’s usually in a transition whether that’d be like age or life, like oh my wardrobes filled with college pieces and I’m literally like a professional I can’t be wearing crop tops to work like things in that nature, which some and why this is called expand like you do need a few new pieces.
And I’m not like anti-shopping forever. You know, I do think there is really interesting creative and talented brands out there that we all should be supporting. Just not the big ones that the ones that are normal in size and really like do deserve our money.
So for me, it’s figuring out where their holes are, you know, maybe it’s a really great trouser that they don’t own yet as a working professional. And lucky enough I’m a professional scour of the web finding clothing. So I go through, and it’s usually secondhand. That’s where I always go. I think that’s the best way for any of us to shop if we’re going to, and find them, those pieces of quality.
That’s a key in all of this is things that will last, things that fit you really beautifully, things that are timeless in terms of your personal style. So just identifying that with them. Because a good trouser can take a crop top into a professional setting, if done right. And that’s where we need to see styling and where we need to like maybe add one piece because that can unlock 20 different outfits with it.
So it’s not I’m not saying like no ever shopping, although I can of am, but some people do need that one piece to bring them to this next space of their style. Like a bit elevated from what they already own. And that doesn’t mean we need to throw everything out. That means we thoughtfully slowly, very carefully add things in.
So that’s what it’s just really about retraining our minds, our souls… like I tell people, and also my book, I’m like, treat clothing as it is, which is a relationship. So set your standards high. Like we don’t let anyone get in a relationship with you. The same thing is with your clothing. Like do not bring in a piece that doesn’t feel good to you just because you saw it on someone, whatever it may be.
So it’s really training them in that way. I think a lot of it is you may not believe your wardrobe reflects you. But if done right, and with a professional eye and a new eye, you would be surprised what we can do in a wardrobe. And I say to people like your wardrobe has potential just let us show you. I know you’ve been told otherwise by marketing, by influencers, by this, and that.
Pause, like that’s my answer to everything. It’s like pause, slow it down. Let’s get in there. Let’s see what we have to work with. And then we can build from there.
Absolutely. I feel like a common problem people experience with their wardrobes is that they feel like when they look in their closets, it doesn’t feel cohesive, or consistent, and they’re unsure what their style is.
And I feel like in my very non-expert view, that some of it maybe comes from, you know, impulse purchases, but also from this like idea that we have to fit into this box of like, it’s minimalist, it’s classic, bold, feminine or whatever. And, our styles are more individualistic than that. I just am curious about you know, your perspective on that and how you help clients get more clarity on their style?
Clarity is a great word because it really helps us find that direction, but very expert view that is accurate, like we are muddled with trends. We are muddled with oh, I’m supposed to be x, y, and z style, they make up all these new names.
That is just marketing to sell us clothes is not to help us with our style whatsoever.
A big part of my job is figuring out what does your style… what parts of your identity do you show through your style? For me, I’m lazy and want to get dressed very fast because I talk about other people’s looks all the time that I can’t really be bothered with mine. So that’s one part of my style identity, is I want it to feel very relaxed. I want to feel quite casual. Low effort…low effort is my ideal world.
But I’m now on the other side, I grew up loving fashion. I am obsessed with a great tailored piece. I’m obsessed with like a beautiful blue. I have both sides of my style pop in and out. Sometimes I wear a cargo pant to go hiking. I wear that same cargo pant with a blazer to a meeting.
It’s finding like the two sides of your style and defining it is a big part of that Expand session offering that you were mentioning earlier. Realizing what your style touches. But in terms of the cohesiveness, I lay out a color palette for my clients. So you’ll have like, eight colors that you function within.
So for me, I like a fairly neutral palette, but then you’ll see me in blues, you’ll see me in a certain type of green. But I don’t wear red, I don’t wear pink, I’m not drawn to those colors. Orange, no. You don’t you won’t see that pop up in my wardrobe.
So when you define your color palette, everything goes together, I pair my blues with my browns really nicely. My greens with my blacks, like my greens in my blues, all can go together. So the first thing is like noticing what colors you are drawn to A, and what show up in your wardrobe. And trying to when you are shopping, or if you’re bringing new stuff in through a swap or whatever it may be, sticking in that realm will make your life so much easier when you’re actually trying to style and build looks.
I also talk to my clients about the textures that they enjoy. So whether it be like a lace, a silk, leather, whatever it might be, what are you drawn to visually, let’s define that. Don’t buy outside of it, if possible.
Of course, you’re gonna have those like one, I have like a hot pink tank top. But I love it. Like it’s still worn in my wardrobe, but it’s one of one. And that’s all like I don’t need any other pink in my wardrobe.
So just like noting what you’re drawn to, and writing it down. Like you’ll watch how you’ll see your style kind of formulate. It will give you that clarity. Knowing what fabrics, you’re drawn to, what proportions, which is huge, like how you like your clothing to fit.
Again, I’m talking about myself a lot, because it’s my example I can give, but like I love a trouser that is high waisted and wide or straight leg, usually in some sort of like secondhand wool piece, like but I don’t do a skinny. I my legs are too big, I can’t fit into that. So knowing what you like. I don’t do a crop top, I usually it’s something longer, those are your proportions.
So knowing how you want your clothing to fit gives you a lot of guidance, and creating boundaries, a lot of the time where work, we’re like all over the place, we feel like our style is all over the place. It’s because we’re getting into that, Ooh, I like this, let me try it. Ooh, I like that, let me try it. No create boundaries.
A lot of my clients are in the creative fields in whatever medium. And I was speaking to one that’s an artist. And she was comparing this conversation that artists have to have a lot of restraint in their work because they are in, you know, their realm; they create in their specific style. They can’t be copying every other artists’ style or taking inspiration from every single one of them. Because there’s they’re gonna look like a hodgepodge. Like, it’s gonna look messy. And the same thing applies to you.
It’s having these barriers, these restraints where you can admire you just shouldn’t buy. And again, that’s what we all need to kind of learn a bit more. And there’s no like, even though the word is like restraint or creating boundaries, they’re healthy. Like it’s not super aggressive, or like depressing, oh, I can’t wear any other.
It’s just a healthy boundary for everything: you, your style, your wallet, our planet, like we all do good with some boundaries in our life. The same applies to our clothing. So that’s how I would help.
And like, I’m gonna go, I can talk about this forever. But if you want to just do a quick Google search, if you have no idea what your style is, look up like street style. Just see what you’re into. Save the photos that you’re visually drawn to and you’ll start to see a pattern.
Maybe you’re really into denim, maybe not at all. Maybe you love a chunky knit and you see that come up. So maybe you’re more of a cozy person. You know, you start to see these patterns, and that’s where the style development comes from. But those would be my few tips there.
Yeah, yeah, that’s great. And I feel like that takes a big mindset shift. And I’m quite curious to hear from your perspective, based on your work with your clients thus far. What sorts of mindset shifts and maybe behavioral changes do you see happen with your clients after they work with you?
Yeah, I mean, it’s a large part of what I’m doing. I think, of course, creating tangible, everyday looks that, you know, my clients can wear is great and all. But I’m really after this cultural change, this mindset change. Shifting how they view themselves and clothing.
A lot of it is working through insecurities. Like every single one of us have them. Whether it be I think I should look like them, why don’t I look like them? I’m buying stuff for a certain weight. I’m not there yet. So it just sits there. So it’s like really sifting through again, therapy session. Like it’s sifting through a lot of the insecurities that we all have, and that show up in clothing.
So that’s the first part is honestly, being cool with yourself, like being okay with who you are, how you present to the world. And for a lot of that, like, you know, there’s a luxury in that being able to present ourselves in certain ways and be expressive.
Like a lot of the messages I send at the end to my clients afterwards is like, there’s no shirt, there’s no pant or whatever it may be, that can make your style as beautiful as your energy.
Like I have a few frameworks and one of them is like the elements of a look. And it’s like color proportions, textures, it’s very, like fashion-based things, but one of them is energy.
And I explain it, like you see, some people show up in a look that like shouldn’t make any sense or wearing like 20 colors. It’s like super wild. But for some reason you’re like, I love that. Like they really did that.
And that’s because it’s their energy, they don’t care what anyone else is thinking. They are so cool with themselves, that you can feel that through their clothing. And that gives us a lot of power and like armor against these, this marketing that comes at us when we’re like, why would I buy that? Why are you trying to tell me to buy that, like I have it all I know what I need.
That’s very powerful that equips my clients with, you know that, like I said, that armor that like shield for their life. Not just when they buy sessions with me. Like, knowing that that’s just marketing. Knowing that they’re using our insecurities. Like knowledge here is very much so powerful. So teaching my clients about that side of it is really helpful.
Also, like, telling them about the psychology behind materialism and how people who are more materialistic, they’re more likely to be on antidepressants. They have less friends. And a lot of people, like we really need to get out of this cultural obsession with things. Like it is eating us all alive, and talking my clients through that as well.
You will be like how do you weave that into discussions about looks, but I do. You get a session with me, you’re gonna hear all of this. So it’s also just like, we all feel better after someone tells us we look beautiful or someone just super nice and kind and I know style is really intimidating. It’s kind of scary having someone go through your wardrobe that you might not be proud of, or you’re kind of embarrassed about X, Y, and Z.
I approach this, and feel the utmost gratitude towards my clients for even letting me into this space. Like, I can’t tell you how much that means to me and how serious I take that like, trust, I really care. Like truly in my heart, I am here for them. And again, I don’t work for anyone else but you.
So I’m telling you the truth, I’m not telling you something to make you buy another top, so I can meet my quota. Like I’m telling you what’s best for you. So that, let’s just like trust form. And that’s why these mindset shifts and behavior changes happen.
Again, it’s also just like, knowing their stuff outside of shopping. That’s what one of my clients told me, she’s like, I just didn’t know I could do all this. I didn’t know my wardrobe had this potential. I didn’t know I don’t have to go shopping every weekend, which sounds like crazy for some of us, but the average American shops every three months, and I think people are, it’s even more so with fast fashion like that, that’s that needs to be updated.
Like they just don’t know; they’re not told anything different. So that’s why that mindset shifts and even a simple statement, like, treat your clothing as it is a relationship. That clicks something in their head. They’re like, ah, okay, so now when you approach shopping, you’re like, do I want this piece with me for four years?
Come on, people, you don’t want that fast fashion piece with you for four years! It’s super trendy, you’re not going to wear it again. And it stops that. It just it kind of interrupts that like thought process we have.
So those are a lot of changes. And just the way I speak honestly really helps. It’s more impactful than how I speak about clothing that’s not consumption-based or driven. A lot of people note that to me afterwards, which is really nice. But just, they feel proud of what they own after. And that’s really cool to me, that makes me feel like I did my job. That’s the best part.
Yeah, I love that. That is truly incredible. And so at the beginning, you mentioned cultural shift.
What sorts of cultural shifts do you think we need — particularly in the high consuming countries of the Global North? Like I want to acknowledge here that this isn’t the whole world that is the problem when it comes to overconsumption. You know, it’s a subset of the global population that is in this sort of hyper-consumption. But what sorts of cultural shifts do you think that we need to slow down fashion?
Yeah, I love that you mentioned who were speaking about, and like, put the disclaimer, in the beginning. It’s on my website, I specifically, while I’m speaking about when I say like you need to change. It’s those in high-income countries and those high-income individuals in the countries. That’s very important to note. So many people are under-consuming…
But cultural shifts, I mean, there’s like, too many to count. I think, but like if I was gonna sum it up somehow, I think it’s all about relationships. We need to form relationships with the land around us, everything around us, like a lot of us are completely disconnected.
So that’s one, is like this new forming relationships, like seeing, it’s this emotional, mental, spiritual shift that needs to happen in how we view our planet and the land around us and our animals, all of it needs to shift. So that’s one part of it.
But then it’s this rekindling of relationships with other people. Why are people cool with those who make our clothing not being paid a living wage? Why are we so ‘Oh, I don’t want this t-shirt with holes, but I’m going to donate it’. What makes you think they want your T-shirt with holes, like who gave you that attitude?
Because that’s not right. So it’s not just about you know, planet and that side of it. It’s also about people like we are not connected in any way, shape, or form. So that’s what I would sum it up to is just like relationships.
Planet, people, and then our things and that’s what I’m trying to do with styling is using what I know and what I was trained to do, which is styling, to help us rekindle our relationship with our stuff. And that starts with clothing. But best believe I look at everything differently now.
I look like you’re, it does not come into my life unless I thought about it. There’s just this level of thoughtfulness that just slowing down teaches us.
To me, that’s what needs to shift is our relationship, our thoughtfulness, that’s a word I use a lot in my work is like thoughtful, if we could all be a little bit more thoughtful, like imagine where we would be as a society, because it’s not here.
Yeah, yeah, I love that word, thoughtfulness, I think it’s such a beautiful way of putting it — just putting more thought into everything that we do and having a bit more consideration into our choices can be so powerful.
So Sam, thank you for being so generous with your time and sharing so much of your styling wisdom and insights. I feel like we could talk about this forever, but we are coming up on our hour here, so I want to give you an opportunity to share where listeners can find you, connect with you, and work with you before we wrap up.
Yeah, so you can go to our website, which is lottev1.com. So Lotte spelled L-O-T-T-E-V-1.com. We have all of our sessions there. You can also follow us on Instagram. So if you can’t buy a session, I still try to talk and give as much knowledge as I possibly can over that platform.
Also recently been blowing up on TikTok. I didn’t expect that but people really like it. So on Instagram, we’re @lotte.v1, on TikTok we’re @lotte.world. So if you want to hear me walk through outfits live, I go on there. But yeah, that’s where you find us.
Cool. And I will have all those links in the show notes for everyone to reference later. And then Sam, the last question that I have for you that I ask everyone that comes on the show is what would a better future for fashion look like to you?
First and foremost on the brand side, decreased production by 80%, please and thank you that’s starting off. Pay the people who make your clothing a living wage. That’s also top of my list. Safe working conditions. etc.
I would like to see it more local. We don’t need this globalized industry. We need to break it down and get smaller and more local, which will actually make a lot of the product that we consume more unique, more thoughtful, just more aware of what’s going on. I really want big business to go. I’m not gonna lie I feel quite intense about we just don’t need you in the industry.
I think there’s a lot of legislation that’s needed and policy work. One of the biggest industries, a billion-dollar industry that has no rules makes no sense to me. So we’re actually protesting in New York right now. That would be nice.
I would like there to be no advertising, if possible. I don’t know. This is like dream world. I’m gonna give you my dream world.
Yeah. And I think fashion kind of goes away and we just get back to style more. We get back to the localized systems, we move away from this dominant economic system and experience fashion outside of that style or clothing outside of that. That would be a dream.
And that’s why I’m working with my activist group Fashion Act Now to try to accomplish that and really de-grow this industry because it’s way too big and it’s way too unnecessary.
We gotta dream big. I’m all about radical imagination. And really, like it’s possible. I think that’s what I learned from all my research and all the books I’ve read from people who’ve been doing this for decades. It’s possible. We all just have to dream it and then get to work. So that’s what I’m after.
Aaand that is a wrap for this episode. I hope that you enjoyed this conversation with Sam. If you know someone who would also like this episode and learn something from this chat or resonate with it, definitely send it their way.
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So, I’ll catch you again here next Tuesday for another episode of the Conscious Style Podcast. Or on Saturday if you’re a newsletter subscriber.
In the meantime, if you’re looking for another episode similar to this one, you can check out episode 17: More Creativity, Less Consumption with Alyssa Beltempo.
Thanks so much for tuning in today, it means the world to me. Take care and I’ll see ya again soon!
About Sam Weir
Sam Weir is a New York City-based stylist with vast industry experience. She has worked in celebrity, editorial, personal, and commercial styling, trained with renowned stylists such as Kate Young, Alex White, and Sarah Richardson, and held a position as junior fashion editor at Document Journal.
In 2022, dreaming of a creative and climate-conscious solution for the styling industry, Sam launched Lotte.V1. Lotte.V1 is a one-on-one online styling service that employs styling as it was originally intended – to provide unique ways to wear our clothing. Not only does this lower consumption levels, it inspires a cultural shift in how we value clothing and the people and land that create them.