Wardrobe Styling Isn’t Just For Celebrities Anymore

Tracy Ellen, March 10, 2009

Remember that feeling of having nothing to wear, and then going to the mall to buy a new outfit, then when you come home you find a cluttered closet?

Chicago’s own celebrity stylist Christine Matsunaga styles celebrities for red carpet events and parties. Christine also works with anyone who is in need of wardrobe styling and for anyone who wants to recycle their clothes, also known as re-styling their wardrobe.

Luckily, I was able to interview the stylist herself to get the inside scoop.

Tracy Ellen: What five items do women need in their wardrobe?
Christine Matsunaga: One important thing is to have a good pair of jeans; I can’t really say what type of cut because everybody’s different. I would suggest finding a pair of jeans that flatter the part of your body in your lower half that you want to show, and hide the part of your body that is your least favorite. The second important thing would actually be a set; a good suit because whether or not you work at an industry that requires a suit, there will be a time when you’ll need it and you want to have tailored too. The third important thing is another set, which is the classic white button down, same with the suit and have it fitted as well. With anything in your wardrobe, it is good to have your clothes fitted. When you buy something really cheap and have it tailored to your body, it could look designer. The fourth important thing is a great skirt. Something classic like a pencil shirt, something that will stay in style and flatter your body really well. The last important thing is your favorite coat; just a really great coat that you could wear with everything. When I work with clients I tend to have them avoid the black and white because it’s something people could do on their own, and I get so much color that recently, I found out that I didn’t have a black coat in my closet. I was thinking, ‘how could I not have a black coat?’ So that’s definitely something you need to have, a good black coat.

What are your favorite vintage stores?
I love second hand stores, but there are so many stores that I go to so it’s really hard to say. Vintage wise, I find that although vintage stores have great pieces they tend to be overpriced, so I’m a big Goodwill, Salvation Army rack hunter. I really like the stuff you can find there. The only thing I find with thrift shopping is that you need to put aside a lot of time, like you have to go through each rack and really look through the stuff. Another store that I like is Crossroads Trading Company because they’re really great with finding designer pieces and being able to give it to you for the fraction of its price, because it has already been gently worn.

Who is your biggest inspiration, fashion wise?
Designer wise, my favorite designer is Nanette Laporte for women because she really knows how to flatter a woman’s body type. I know that she doesn’t design for busty women, which could be tough for women who are busty but I just love her cuts, her styles, and her line is just really feminine, and she really knows how to show off a woman’s body without having to show to much skin, too much cleavage, so she really keeps it classy.

Describe your personal style.
My style tends to change with the seasons but always seems to include a vintage piece or a number of vintage pieces. It’s really hard to say; maybe a mix of modern trend with vintage is how I’d put it.

What is the biggest mistake women make when shopping or getting dressed?
The biggest mistake that I found with women is making a purchase for something just because it’s cheap. I think that when people go shopping, if you find something that you like you really need to think about how much is this piece, even if it’s forty dollars, think about how many hours did I have to work to buy this forty dollar piece or is this worth two or fours hours of work; and come to think of it, you are really spending money on clothes. So, basically, the biggest mistake people make is that they buy things that don’t look fabulous on them, and I think that people only need to make purchases on things that make them say, “OMG! I’m going to wear this forever!” So, basically, I think impulse buys and multiple purchases of certain items just because they’re all on sale, is the worst purchase you can make.

What was your big break in styling?
My big break was my first client, Keiko Agena from the “Gilmore Girls”. I got her ready for red carpet events, and premiere parties.

What is your favorite city and why?
I would now say it’s Chicago. It used to be all about Los Angeles, but now I have to say it’s Chicago because it’s filled with great food and surprisingly, it’s filled with a lot of great fashion as well. A lot of people don’t think Chicago much of a fashion city, but from living here I actually found, to my surprise, that it is and it’s definitely developing, too.

Christine’s work can be viewed online at: