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Style Hermosa: Dressing Up a Beach Wardrobe

Hermosa Beach stylist Jennifer Margolin offers fashion tips for creating chic yet comfortable outfits.

Hermosa Beach resident Jennifer Margolin has styled her way around Los Angeles since 2008, revamping the looks of locals as a personal wardrobe consultant, and leaving her mark on the pages of such magazines as LA2DAY and Style Sample Magazine.

Now the new mother of a baby girl offers fashion tips to the masses through her blog, Red Sole Diary, named after her beloved Christian Louboutin heels, which make up a large part of her 200-plus shoe collection. 

Margolin talked with Patch about how to refine a wardrobe for the fall and other fashion tips. 

Hermosa Beach Patch: Many residents are revamping their closets for the fall season. Where does styling for wardrobe refinement begin?

Jennifer Margolin: You need a basic wardrobe of about 10 to 15 items. These are the pieces that I encourage people to spend more money on than they normally would. If you have a great, basic wardrobe you'll use those pieces for years.

Once you have that, you can buy all the fun, trendy things that you don't have to spend too much money on. Mix and match these pieces to feel like your wardrobe is updated.

Patch: What's the best way to start creating this new wardrobe?

Margolin: Invest in core basic pieces like dark jeans, which look good on both men and women, and basic tops that can always be used. Look at magazines and find pictures of someone's style you like.

Create a pile of your favorite style pictures and lay them all out. Nine times out of 10 there will be three things that are the same in those pictures to help narrow down what it is you're looking for.

Patch: What are the biggest concerns you hear from clients concerning their wardrobes?

Margolin: A lot of new mothers come to me who once had an identity but don't know how to incorporate that lifestyle to the look they once had. Also, people who are in the corporate industry, who get stuck in a rut with what they can wear to a conservative work atmosphere and lose their identity.

I look at what fits their lifestyle and needs but incorporate the trends. I give my clients a voice so that their personality comes out even if they're in the working world.

Patch: Have you noticed wardrobe similarities among your private clients?

Margolin: Recently there's been a couple of clients that stick to the same colors, mainly due to weight issues just because they don't know what colors work with their body type and skin tone. They don't know how to incorporate that without it taking over the outfit.

I'm very conscious of what works for them. I don't put anyone in anything that will make them uncomfortable because if they're in a dressing room with me and are already not comfortable in the outfit, they're never going to wear it.

Patch: What would you advise people who doesn't feel comfortable about their size?

Margolin: I see a lot of clients that don't know what size they really are. One buys things too small, and another buys things too big when really she's a size smaller. It's not about the size so I tell them to just be comfortable taking different sizes. A size 8 is not the same in another brand, it will all be different based on the cut and the designer.

Don't be afraid to try new things but make sure you're comfortable. If you're not comfortable when you look in the mirror, don't even bother walking out because it's not going to translate. It's fine if you try someone's style and it doesn't work for your body type, but at least you tried.

Patch: How can Hermosans take their beach style to the next level?

Margolin: Hermosa Beach style is very relaxed. Beach culture is all about being comfortable in their bathing suits; they're not thinking about wearing designer caftans and sandals. You can still be chic on the beach with these tips: 

  • Invest in the basics: boyfriend jeans, basic t-shirt, some jewelry or a printed scarf and a nice pair of sparkly or gladiator sandals. The look is still simple, but will look like you made a little bit of an effort.
  • Printed tunics are a guaranteed classic way to go to look classy. It's great for Hermosa Beach because you are normally casual, but there are times when you need to be dressy. You can wear tunics to the beach with cute flip flops, or with skinny jeans and cute wedges, to dress it up, or flats if you're running around with a kid.
  • Always accessorize. Metallics are great neutrals, and not a lot of people realize that. You can wear a metallic belt to dress up a printed tunic, for example. Scarves are also perfect for the beach and adding an extra touch to a simple outfit. Gum Tree is a great place to start for ideas on how to accessorize. They have great fedoras and scarves and, of course, the best home decor pieces.
  • Because of the weather changes, people are still wearing sweaters a lot longer so it's nice to know how to layer properly so you don't look like a bag lady. The key to layering is to make sure that the first layer is fitted. Make sure it hugs your body and it's fine if you don't want to get all the way down to that layer but make sure the bottom layer is still more fitted than the one on top.
  • My beach chic uniform is usually either a long dress with sandals or wedges, or when I'm in my "mom mode" I'll wear skinny jeans and a loose fitting shirt. When I style an outfit I start with my shoes and go from there.

For more Hermosa Beach style, check out our photos of street fashion around town on Facebook. The photo album is updated weekly, so please "tag" familiar faces. 

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