Whether it’s finding a flattering blouse fit or honing in on your personal style, it’s essential to go to a place with trained professionals who are dedicated to top-notch service and delivering quality goods. Today, we look to the experts at Oak Hall for advice regarding fit, style and shopping. Stylists Rebecca Thompson and Seth Miller, as well as master tailor Loretta Thompson, offer their recommendations for mastering your best look. Their wise words are worth remembering, for both male and female.
Select your size based on the largest part of your body.
The secret to style is well-fitting clothes and a reliable tailor. First, find a tailor you trust. It is likely they will make recommendations on fit and will have your best fit in mind. Second, give them something to work with. “If I have extra fabric, I can help you,” says master tailor Loretta Thompson, explaining the importance of selecting your clothing size based on the largest part of your body.
Men are known to size down, while women typically wear clothes that are too large to hide any imperfections they see in their body. If you try something on, and you don’t think it looks good, tweak this and tweak that based on your body type,” stylist Rebecca Thompson recommends. Despite the name, off-the-rack clothing is not always intended to be worn off the rack.
Comfort and fit are not mutually exclusive.
“An item can be well-fitted, and you can still be comfortable,” Seth reminds us. “You should wear the clothes; the clothes shouldn’t wear you.” He urges us to embrace the imperfections in fabric and avoid an attempt to look magazine-ready because the wrinkle-free photos set unrealistic expectations. Clothes are meant to be worn and enjoyed. Loretta suggests taking a garment home and wearing it before coming back alterations. “If the fit is uncomfortable, we will be right here to take care of you,” she assures us.
SB TIP: Basic alterations are complimentary at Oak Hall (unless the item is more than 30% off).
Build off the basics.
Basics are the backbone of your wardrobe, and timeless staples never go out of style. The basics act as a backdrop to trendy and colorful accessories. Versatile items will be worn time and time again, and help you establish your style (more on that below). There is no exact shopping list to guide you in building your wardrobe, but Rebecca assures us that you can’t go wrong with a good white blouse, well-fitting blazer, dark jeans and a neutral heel. The same goes for men — minus the heel. “If you have a basic outfit, you can add a pop of something great.”
Discover your style.
When assisting a shopper, Seth gleans as much information about the person as possible to help discover their style. “I want to know if you are wearing your suit on a plane. Do you hang your jacket up at work and rarely wear it? Who are you interacting with? How they wear a suit determines the fit and fabric,” he explains. “The more information you can give me, the better I can help you.” For a lawyer, Seth might suggest a simple style, but someone in the music industry might want something more fashion-forward, perhaps a coat and pant opposed to a suit.
Style is a reflection of you — what you do, where you go and how you want your clothes to look. Trust a trained eye to help you discover your personal style, then stick with what you know. “Once your salesperson knows you and understands your style, it is easier for her to suggest something,” Rebecca tells us. “It doesn’t mean you will like it or buy it, but sometimes you will love it.” The key is partnering with a stylist you can trust. “Stick with someone who will learn your taste and what works on your body, and you will save you time and money in the long run,” she adds.
Know style rules and how to break them.
Equip yourself with standard style knowledge. “Once you know the rules, you can understand why and how to break them,” Seth says. If you are looking for guidance and a quick briefing of what you need to know when it comes to style, Seth, Rebecca and Loretta are eager to lend advice. “There is a difference between fashion and style,” Loretta explains. “Once you have a customer who can distinguish the difference, it is easy to fit that person.”
Trends are the most common way to break the rules, and therefore the most dangerous. Seth suggests mixing and matching trendy items with older styles to create a curated outfit. “Don’t do trendy on top of trendy on top of trendy. Choose one trendy piece and tone it down,” he says.
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Shop with a plan.
Oak Hall always welcomes shoppers who are simply browsing, but having a plan in place is always a good idea. “Know what you need,” Rebecca suggests. “We can find something in the store that works for you or let you know when something you might like arrive.” If you wait until the last minute, things can get tricky, but planning ahead ensures time to find something perfect.
With wedding season coming, it’s important to plan ahead. “If you want us to make something special, come in today. Give us time to help you look nice,” urges Seth. He suggests a three-month heads up if you are looking for something custom. But of course, they have worked miracles and delivered the perfect suit, dress and outfit almost overnight.
Oak Hall is located at 4017 Hillsboro Pike #303, Nashville, TN 37215. Hours are Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. Learn more at (615) 454-6497 or visit them online HERE and follow them on Instagram HERE.
This article is sponsored by Oak Hall. Photography by Leila Grossman of Grannis Photography.