Confessions of a Celeb Stylist: Leslie Fremar Shares the Single Best Accessory to Have In Your Arsenal

05/14/2013 at 05:32 PM ET

Julianne Moore dressesStephen Lovekin/Filmmagic; Jamie McCarthy/Getty

Meet Leslie Fremar. She’s Hollywood’s top stylist (literally — The Hollywood Reporter just said so!) with clients from Julianne Moore to Reese Witherspoon. And now she’s bringing her considerable talents to our site to share behind-the-scenes scoop, styling tips and much more. For her latest, she explains how to translate Moore’s unbelievable, completely custom Met Gala look into an experience you can actually incorporate into your own wardrobe — no stylist needed.

After reading last week’s post, with Balenciaga staffers flying in from Paris and custom emerald cuffs being created just for one night, you’re probably thinking, “How could this possibly relate to my life or me getting ready for an event?”

The process is one that has been done for many years and it works. You start with an idea, or something that you love, an inspiration — and then you go look for something that’s not the exact same, but has the same feeling. For example: say you saw something extremely romantic and you can relate to that image and it reflects your personality and your style. Keep that image in mind when you’re shopping.

Also, when picking a dress be sure to pick something that fits your body type. If you have broad shoulders and have smaller hips I would suggest wearing something really fitted. If you have larger hips and are smaller on top, maybe find something that has a more defined waist, with a skirt that has more volume. These are little tricks that work to create illusions. I love magic!

RELATED: Read more from Leslie Fremar here!


Once you find the dress that has the feeling you were looking for, try to factor into the price the idea that this dress will need to be tailored. If your budget is $150, maybe look for a dress that’s $100, knowing that you’re going to have to spend $50 on altering the dress. The reason I say this is because when you buy a dress in a store, it has been produced based off one body type and that body type might not be yours. When you look at a woman in a magazine, or a picture online, just remember that her clothes have been fit to her proportions and that’s why:

A) it’s extremely flattering
B) it fits her perfectly
C) it might look better than it did if she just bought it and wore it from the store herself.

A lot of the stores where you would buy evening clothes probably offer a tailoring service, or if they don’t they could probably recommend one for you. Finding a good tailor is important because sometimes what you see in the mirror is not what other people see. It’s nice to have someone else’s opinion that you trust for them to say, “Hem should be shorter or longer, or it’s pulling in the wrong place.” If you don’t have that, I would suggest shopping with a friend who will give you honest advice. What you see is not always the truth, surprisingly!

Now that you have the dress, you should go home and see if you have accessories that match the look before impulsively buying them. If you have accessories at home, great. If not, decide what type of shoe and bag you would need for the look. I think accessories don’t have to be expensive because you can always choose something that’s simple; it doesn’t have to be a statement piece. You should invest in the statement piece and hold back on the pieces that aren’t really going to stand out.

When I create an outfit I always choose one part of the look that is going to draw attention and the rest I leave in the background. The best accessory to have at home is a fake pair of diamond studs, because you can find really amazing ones and no one will ever know that they are not real. They work and look beautiful with everything; that is one of my secret tricks!

Next, I would play around with how you would want to wear your hair and makeup. Start from the beginning with your inspiration: Look through magazines, old pictures, old movies, etc. Once you come up with a concept for hair and makeup try it out. Maybe you’re going to a hairdresser, maybe you’re doing it at home — just try doing it before the event. If you’re going to a hairdresser the day of the event, bring a reference photo.

Then pick a lip color. I usually suggest either wear a strong eye or lip, but never wear both at the same time. If you want to wear a fun lip color for spring, try out a few colors you have at home with the dress, and ask for friends’ opinions. Think it through, so you don’t have to stress about it the night you’re getting ready to go out. This way you can save a lot of time and headache.

The day has come and you have nothing to worry about. It is all there in place and you are ready to go.

Just remember: You’re not always going to get it right. Don’t be hard on yourself. Looking back on Julianne’s MET look there are probably some things that I would change, but we felt good about it in the moment and we went for it (the theme was PUNK after all!). That’s all that matters. Remember to take some risks and have fun. Clothes are meant to be fun!

Tell us: Do you already own Fremar’s must-have accessory? Do you tend to plan your big night looks ahead of time?

Leslie Fremar headshotPaul Maffi

Psst: Want to get even more from Leslie? Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

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