Rosana of DC Style Factory joined the Stylebook team as a regular contributor and partner just a few weeks ago, but already she has provided quality content and has been a source of inspiration to us all. I decided it might serve our readers to get to know her a little better, so we sat down for a chat. I asked her questions about what she does, why she does it and what that means for all of you. Here’s what I took away from the conversation.
Me (The Stylebook Editor): I feel like the word “stylist” doesn’t always mean to same thing from stylist to stylist. What does it mean to you? What do you do?
Rosana: I remember when my assistant started working for me, one of the first things she told me was “This is not what I expected it to be like to work for a stylist!” People often think that being a wardrobe stylist is either a.) glamorous and filled with gorgeous clothing or b.) a cute little job that doesn’t have much substance. Although my business is about shopping, beautiful clothing, shoes and accessories, what people don’t realize is that style and fashion are a conduit to what we really want to give our clients — a feeling. What we provide to our clients is the oh-my-gosh-I-feel-amazing feeling. We give you the tools and know-how to get there. It sends a certain message when you look and feel your best, which can really change the course of your career, life, etc. I have seen it time and time again over the last seven years.
Me: Who do you usually work with?
Rosana: We work with men and women in the DC area. Most of our regular clients are professionals who need a polished look to convey a certain level of authority in their daily lives. We also meet people during transitional points in their lives — just had a baby, career change, weight loss, weight gain, recovery from illness, retirement and more. Sometimes it’s also just getting stuck in a style rut and needing a little help getting unstuck. We bridge the gap during those transitions, and help our clients press the “reset” button.
Me: So, what’s the process? What do you actually do with your clients? Has your process changed over the years?
Rosana: The wardrobe makeover process goes like this: Closet Audit, Shopping, Creating Outfits, Lookbook. We have many clients who go through the entire process, but you can also pick and choose the service you need. We really try to make the process work for our clients in terms of time, budget and style needs. The services are much more efficient and refined now — and we keep adding value for our clients. When we meet you for any services, we are strategic and give you the most bang for your buck. For example, your closet audit would be two-three hours. We bag and donate what no longer works (and send you a tax receipt!); we talk about body type, silhouette, lifestyle; we make notes on gaps in your wardrobe; we organize your closet in a way that makes it easier for you to create outfits on your own, and you receive a DC Style Factory Style Memo following the appointment so you have a style roadmap moving forward.
Me: How did you come to personal styling? What’s your background?
Rosana: I was a journalist, writer and editor for years. I left to open a boutique in Dupont Circle. I owned the boutique for a number of years. The part I loved the most was developing relationships with our regular clients, knowing what worked for them and being able to dress them for their lives. My husband jokes that my years as boutique owner were equivalent to me receiving my degree from FIT. When I sold my share of the boutique it was a really sad time. I wasn’t sure what was next. Then Stacy London happened. I had just started styling a few clients who had been customers at my boutique, plus some close friends and family. I had a friend who recommended me to Stacy for her new Style For Hire company launching in DC. I met her, trained with her and then was selected to be part of her network of stylists. She has even personally referred me business — no bigger compliment! Soon afterward, my company started to really take off. I have since added another stylist and support staff. I also train other aspiring stylists, give style talks to local businesses and groups, provide expert style advice on local television news shows, produce style workshops and host style events at local retailers. We continue to grow, and I am giddy over the possibilities!
Me: Did you like style and fashion as a kid?
Rosana: Yes! In high school and college, I didn’t have a lot of money to spend on clothing, but I remember saving up to buy my Benetton sweaters at the annual sale. I would also repurpose my Dad’s tweed blazers into my own look with pegged jeans and lace-up ankle boots. I was shopping my parents’ closets back then! Little did I know that skill would pay off years later!
Me: Have you ever had a client dislike what you put together for them?
Rosana: Yes! I would argue that it is part of the process. I always tell my clients, I can put something together for you that works in terms of color, silhouette, accessories, etc. BUT, it has to feel authentic to you. I may love it, but I will always ask you how it feels to YOU. I will always push the boundaries a little in terms of what my client thinks he/she can wear–I am a stylist!–but I always respect my client’s comfort zone and personal style. It’s what makes the process fun and valuable.
Me: The one thing every woman needs in her wardrobe?
Rosana: Midrise dark jeans (8-inch rise). Pick your poison: skinny, straight, trouser. A dark denim that can be dressed up and down is a wardrobe essential.
Me: The one thing no woman should have in her wardrobe?
Rosana: Culottes. People will disagree, but oy. And those elastic waist, stretchy black polyester palazzo pants. You know what I am talking about.
Me: As someone who owns not one, but four pairs of culottes–I must amicably disagree! What’s your favorite part of your job?
Rosana: The transformative aspect of what I do is my favorite part. Just showing people possibilities they had never considered is exciting. Whether it is giving them an entirely new, organized closet filled with clothing that fits them and their lifestyle, or introducing them to a new silhouette they thought they couldn’t pull off, or taking what they already own (Shop Your Closet) and showing them a variety of other ways to wear them that they never considered. We are our clients’ style cheerleaders!
Me: What fashion regrets do you have?
Rosana: None. Not my overalls, baggy, saggy jeans or even scrunchies. They all tell a story–some really hysterical stories. I was just watching High Fidelity with my husband the other night and was kind of speechless over John Cusack’s oversize leather jackets, blousy button downs and saggy jeans. So bad! But boy, did it bring back some amazing memories.
Rosana is founder and chief stylist of DC Style Factory. When she is working, her clients think she is stylish. When she’s not working, her family thinks she’d be much more comfortable in sweatpants.