Tips From a J.Crew Personal Stylist

I’ve had the opportunity to get to know a woman who was a Personal Stylist at J.Crew in New York.  Her name is Marina Dobreva and she is AMAZING.  One of the best I’ve seen.  (See some of her fashion philosophies here.) Have you guys ever used one of those in-house stylists?  I usually have just ignored those services, but one day I got some help from Marina and realized that it really was a great resource.  And then later, Marina actually taught a class I organized for a group of women in Brooklyn … so fun!

Here are some of the helpful fashion tips that Marina taught in that class….

  • How to Add a Scarf – Buy off the street 1 of 27
    Buy cheap scarves from street vendors or on Canal St. It's an easy and cheap way to add variety and layers to your outfits.
  • How to Add a Scarf – Taper the Ends 2 of 27
    Almost all scarves are rectangular. So...BEFORE wrapping around your neck, hold it up by the corner so the ends are tapered, pull the end section tight and then wrap around your neck. This way the ends that hang will end up being tapered instead of short, squared and bulky.
  • How to Add a Scarf – Loop Once 3 of 27
    See the tapered ends hanging nicely?
  • How to Add a Scarf – Borrow from the Boys 4 of 27
    Borrow scarves from your husband.
  • How to Roll a Sleeve 5 of 27
    Most people tuck the cuff of the sleeve in and roll that up, but the cuff is a fun detail on the the cuff and bring it up to the elbow... THEN roll the remaining part of the sleeve up to the elbow. This way the cuff is always showing.
  • How to Roll a Sleeve 6 of 27
    Rolled sleeves loosen up an outfit and make it less sterile. Marina says sleeves rolled to the elbow look the best!
  • How to Roll a Sleeve 7 of 27
    Rolling the sleeve the regular way doesn't stay.... but Marina's way will help the roll to stay in place.
  • How to Roll a Sleeve 8 of 27
    She says outfits always look better when they're slightly messy!
  • Roll Sleeve w/ a Cardigan 9 of 27
    Also, you can add a cardigan or a blazer and do the same kind of sleeve roll. Just push the cardigan or blazer to your elbow first, then roll the sleeve of the shirt underneath.
  • The Man Sweater 10 of 27
    Borrow a cardigan with a masculine shape. Makes outfits look less overdone, less stuffy.
  • Black or Nude Shoes? 11 of 27
    Nude shoes are more versatile and you can wear with any outfit! In the winter, they look great with black, charcoal or other dark tights, as well.
  • Black or Nude Shoes? 12 of 27
    Nude shoes elongate your legs! (Who doesn't want that? 🙂
  • Add an Oversized Belt 13 of 27
    Borrow belts from the boys. Find any vintage men's belts from Good Will. It will balance an otherwise feminine outfit. The larger the belt, the smaller it will make you look!
  • Add an Oversized Belt 14 of 27
    Marina says she never looks for belt sizes anymore...she just grabs the longest one she can find. It gives you options for tucking it in, looping it around each other, etc.
  • The Half Tuck 15 of 27
    Half tucked shirts help outfits to feel a little less overdone...
  • Double Belts 16 of 27
    Take two skinny belts in different colors and first latch them to each other....
  • Double Belts 17 of 27
    ...then wrap the super long belt around your waist twice.
  • Double Belts 18 of 27
    It's an easy way to pull a new look together from your closet.
  • Add a Grosgrain Belt 19 of 27
    These are an easy, fun way to add a pop of color. There are no sizes to worry about and they're a great investment, especially if you have a lot of neutral clothes in your wardrobe.
  • Tied Belts 20 of 27
    Take a piece of ribbon you've got laying around or a fabric belt and make a little tie. Super easy option.
  • Add Some Long Necklaces 21 of 27
    The longer the necklace, the taller you will look. It elongates your outfit. Add multiple necklaces for a layered look.
  • Tie Ribbon to Necklaces 22 of 27
    In case you have a bunch of short necklaces, tie ribbon to them to make them a longer necklace. The ribbon can add color and texture to your outfit.
  • How to Roll a Messy Cuff 23 of 27
    Make your denim a little edgier by rolling it up.
  • How to Roll a Messy Cuff 24 of 27
    Then...take the outside edge and roll it once more.
  • How to Roll a Messy Cuff 25 of 27
  • How to Roll a Messy Cuff 26 of 27
    ta da!
  • THANKS, MARINA!! 27 of 27
    The End.

P.S.  Marina just left J.Crew to start her own styling business in New York.  She LOVES to help people with putting outfits together … she works with all budgets and even loves to work with clothes people already have.  She’d love to work with you.  She can be reached at

All photos by Shiloh Donkin.


Article Posted 5 years Ago

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