Whenever I’m out at an event or running an errand and spot someone in a stylish outfit, I always feel compelled to let them know. And that’s exactly what happened when I met Brooklyn, N.Y.-based stylist Naana Badu at a fashion presentation she was styling recently in Washington, D.C. She had on a super cute neutral tone flowy dress paired with a tailored blazer and some killer heels — oh, and her haircut was f-l-y!
After chatting it up with her, I thought she would be a great person to revive the Real Style series with. She’s worked with a variety of clients and has been featured on Essence.com for her distinct fashion sense.
Here’s a peek into her world — from how she got into the fashion industry to her favorite fall trends:
What made you pursue a career in fashion?
Since I was a child I wanted to be a fashion designer — or a gymnast because I loved Mary Lou Retton and Dominique Dawes. As I became a young adult, that interest morphed when I learned about styling and landed my first official project styling a photo shoot for a friend who’s a singer. I knew that I wanted to work in fashion, so I started applying for jobs as a buyer, merchandiser and assistant — anything that I felt I was remotely qualified for to get me in the door. Nothing panned out, but all the while I was building my client base by doing various styling projects on the side.
Eventually, I realized that I was already in fashion and pursuing the career that I loved by working as a stylist. I didn’t necessarily have to work for a company. I just needed to take [the styling jobs I was getting] more seriously and push them to the next level. So, I set my sights on starting my own business as a stylist and fashion consultant.
How did you get into styling?
My friends. They often asked me for tips on what to wear and how to accessorize their outfits. After awhile they said, “You should become a stylist.” I thought,”Can I do that?” I started researching the profession – what is a stylist, how do you become one, etc. I realized that I had a natural talent and an eye for putting pieces together. My work made people feel great about themselves and stand out in a crowd.
What’s your style philosophy?
Versatility is key. We have so many layers to our personalities. Let your style reflect all of you. Remember, “Style does not have to be complicated.”
Which fall fashion trend do you think every woman should try?
Funky tights! It’s an easy way to make an outfit interesting by adding color, print or texture.
Who’s your favorite celebrity style star?
Kerry Washington. The girl can dress. Whether it’s classic, playful, sophisticated or daring. She is always versatile and her confidence shines through, which makes her look impeccable.
If you could makeover a celebrity, who would it be and why?
Lauryn Hill. She’s had some difficult patches in her life, but her beauty is an undeniable constant. She takes risks with her wardrobe (some of which have worked). But I would love to craft looks that accentuate her best self on a more consistent basis, such as a mix of well-tailored pants to show off her lean frame, strapless dresses for a feminine touch, blouses in bold prints and hues, and striking signature pumps and booties.
I would definitely reference Solange Knowles for Lauryn as a style inspiration. Her use of colors and prints combined with structured pieces and classic silhouettes is exactly in line with Ms. Hill’s style motif.
Keep it stylish,