Spontaneity doesn't come easy for me when it comes to deciding what to wear for the coming day ahead. From the moment I was able to dress myself I have been crafting my daily wardrobe the evening before. I have, painfully at times, learned that if I don’t consider my attire before the day arrives … well lets just say a little film plays out “War of the Wardrobe” where the main character is antagonized by her inner conflict and aggression. ‘She’ faces aggravation, lack of confidence, and indecision… and at the end of the film she is always late.
Today was one of “those” days, I had one of those indecisive moments…I put on the clothing I had considered, took one look in the mirror and screamed to my internal self “Oh, No You Didn’t!” So for the next 10-15 minutes I went through the agony of changing from one outfit to the next tossing clothes on every inch of the floor… At these times in my life I wish I had the guidance of my good friend Jessica Barrios. Her style is forever fiercely fashionable and she always knows exactly what to wear. So I guess that's why she has made quite the career for herself…
Based in the New York Metro area, Jessica Barrios is the founder and president of Solo Image Consulting. Continually in high demand Jessica’s knowledge and expertise began early and I’m positive her time spent around the family business (a bridal salon) had a fervent hand in developing her creative eye. Jessica has worked as a costume designer and wardrobe stylist for many years, in varying genera’s. As the resident stylist for the famed trumpeter Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, Jessica has worked with high profile celebrities and her designs have been featured on stage as well as a few reputable periodicals.
I had a moment to speak with Jessica and investigate more specifically what she offers as a stylist and consultant.
Can you give the readers some in depth insight as what an image consultant does?
An image consultant works with a client to define style elements that are essential to their daily life, their work schedule, business activities and social calendar. There is a time and place for everything but it's important to always dress for the occasion. For example, an outfit that you may decide to wear to a club will not be the smartest choice for a job interview. It still surprises me that not everyone understands that concept.
Think of me as that special friend that will spend hours with you finding the right looks for any occasion. I will give you my honest opinion and not be pushy about making purchases as a sales person might. I don't work on a commission.
When a client comes to you for help what can they expect?
They can expect one-on-one specialized treatment. The first thing I ask is what their needs are and why they are coming to an image consultant. It's different for everyone. Some people just need help parting with clothing in their closet that no longer suits them. Others need a total overhaul because of a new job or because they've been wearing the same clothes since 1985!
What is your favorite aspect of the job as a wardrobe stylist?
I absolutely love helping people and making them feel good about themselves. The greatest feeling is when a client looks in the mirror and loves what they see ESPECIALLY if they weren't inclined at first to trust my suggestions.
I know that you have had the opportunity to work with some pretty established people, is there an experience that you’d like to share of who has been your favorite?
I work with high profile celebrities but I also work with regular folks. Sometimes it will be a bachelor Wall Street type that doesn't know how to transition from business to weekend wear. Other times it's new moms that need help finding new styles to flatter their new bodies. I don't have favorites but I love it when anyone that comes to me has an open mind about trying something new, even if they end up not liking it. It's OK to try it AND THEN decide.
What is the biggest thing that influences your work?
Everything influences my work, my family, my friends, my clients, my peers, my neighborhood, my dog, my yoga instructor. NEW YORK CITY inspires me though. I love the passion and energy that stimulates all the dreamers and shakers here. It seems as though everyone is on a mission to accomplish so much with their lives. That's very powerful AND exciting! I love it!
Can you share a little about your new endeavors in accessories?
Oh yes, my accessories. I have been making accessories since I was in 1st grade. I would sell them in the schoolyard during recess! It's been ever evolving. In college I made leather jewelry, then I started up Solo Tu Accessories with these beautiful hand-embroidered silk scarves. A couple years ago, I got into wire wrap jewelry. This year, it's men's accessories such as ties, bow ties, pocket squares and suspenders. I LOVE menswear!
As an accessorizing diva I look forward to checking out more of Jessica's design influence. And Jessica when you make it back to Cali. I think I need some help ;o)
"Design is conceived when an inherent need to be creative manifests itself into physical or visual form."