Fashion Forward: Advice from Birmingham stylist Megan LaRussa Chenoweth

(Image by Clarence Barbour)

By: Taylor Pigman

“I always knew I wanted to work in fashion. I was known throughout college and high school as the fashion girl,” Birmingham stylist Megan LaRussa Chenoweth said.

Owner of Southern Femme, Chenoweth is a stylist who works on a personal level with her clients. She styles and writes the fashion section of the Birmingham Magazine and has a recurring fashion segment on Fox 6 every month.

“I love meeting new people, I love helping women feel their best and I love fashion. It’s combining all these things I love,” Chenoweth said.

From a young age, Chenoweth loved fashion. Shopping trips to Atlanta with her mom, working in retail at Saks Fifth Avenue and a summer spent studying fashion design at Parsons The New School for Design in New York City only made Chenoweth’s love of fashion grow stronger.

However, it was a family wedding, in which Chenoweth was asked to style the women in her family, that led her to where she is now.

“I took all of them shopping and everybody looked fabulous and I thought, ‘This is really fun,’” Chenoweth said. “It just kind of fell into my lap and I thought, ‘OK, this is my passion.’”

Being a stylist, Chenoweth is around fashion all day long. Over the years, she has found designers whose work she loves and whose collections draw her in. Chenoweth counts Marc Jacobs, Lela Rose, Rebecca Taylor and Céline among some of her favorite designers.

“I’ve always loved that Marc Jacobs was always about being unique and different,” said Chenoweth.

For day-to-day pieces, she loves Lela Rose and Rebecca Taylor for their feminine, yet edgy looks.

However, being a stylist, Chenoweth has also seen many fashion trends come and go. As for the one trend she has never liked? Culottes.

“I hated them the first time when I was in college, they were the gaucho culottes that everybody wore and they were like sweatpants and they’re just unflattering on everybody,” Chenoweth said.

So ladies, when choosing new pieces for the fall, Chenoweth’s advice would be to avoid the culottes and go for a great pair of dark wash jeans or cords.

Be sure to check out Megan’s website at www.southernfemme.com. You can also see her work in the current issue of Birmingham Magazine.

Megan’s top pieces for every woman’s wardrobe:

· Dark Wash Jeans: Find a style or fit that you love. Jeans are so easy to dress up or down. “Every woman needs a great pair of pure indigo dark wash jeans that flatters her silhouette,” Chenoweth said.

· Blazer or Cardigan: Whether you prefer a blazer or cardigan, either piece can easily pull an outfit together. “Whatever your style may be, just make sure they’re tailored to you.”

· Silk Blouse: Chenoweth suggests C. Wonder and Equipment for fun and polished pieces. “It’s something you could wear out, dress it up with heels, tucked into a pencil skirt with a cardigan. It’s something you can wear a million ways,” Chenoweth said.

· Nude Pumps: Nude pumps help elongate your legs. “Go for a color that matches your skin tone to give the illusion of longer legs,” Chenoweth said.

· Chic Flats or Sandals: For spring and summer choose a polished sandal or a polished, cute ballet flat or loafer for fall and winter. “I see so many women wearing a clog or a flip flop and it just ruins the whole outfit; it’s not polished at all,” Chenoweth said.

Do it yourself: envelope clutch

Check out this easy step-by-step process to make your own envelope clutch. If you have a tight budget but are in need of a new accessory, this is the project for you!

Items you will need:
-scissors
-wrapping paper
-clear contact paper
-button
-needle and thread
-optional: adhesive velcro

Materials

Step one:
Cut out a section of wrapping paper. The larger the section, the bigger your clutch, so cut according to your preference of size.

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Step two:
Cut your section of wrapping paper into a perfect square. This will help ensure the clutch is even when you fold it in later steps.

Step three:
Lay your square of paper on your flat surface. Precut a section of contact paper about an inch bigger than your wrapping paper piece. Begin to overlay the contact paper onto the wrapping paper (be mindful of the air bubbles that can pop-up during this step- keep a credit card handy to help smooth out any bubbles that do arise). Smooth out the paper as you continue to place the contact paper completely overtop the wrapping paper.

Contactpaper

Step four:
Flip the entire project over and place another layer of contact paper on top of existing sheets- keep smoothing out the bubbles.

Overlay

Step five:
Trim the excess contact paper on the edges of the wrapping paper, making sure to leave about a centimeter of contact paper on each side.

Step six:
Fold three corners of the project together to begin to form the envelope. Use small pieces of contact paper to help secure the folds.

Webfold

Step seven:
Fold the top corner down to create a flap for your clutch. You may need to trim the top part of the pocket of your envelope to make a more well-defined fold.

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Step eight:
Now it’s time to get creative! Add some embellishment with a bright button on the top flap. Sew the button with multiple cross stitches through the paper. Here’s where you can choose to attach velcro to the underside of your flap to help keep the envelope closed.

button

Step nine:
Time to show off your creation. This clutch is perfect for holding makeup, mints and money! The smooth surface of the contact paper prevents stains on the inside of your clutch. Smaller versions could be perfect for the inside of larger bags or preventing messes in bags during travel.

outfit

By Madison Miles

Birmingham street style: Week Five

This week I hit the streets of Homewood to see what style I could find closer to home. I happened upon four stylish women, all of whom were a delight to photograph. Check out their styles below: eclectic, gothic and a little in between.

Alyssa, age 20, UAB student

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Shirt: Urban Outfitters
Pants: Forever 21
Shoes: DSW

K: Describe your style in one word.
A: People call me gothic, I don’t know. I’d say gothic chic.

K: What’s your go-to item in your closet?
A: Boots and black pants.

K: What are three wardrobe  essentials you couldn’t live without?
A: Boots, black pants and black shirts.

 

Courtney, age 24, web developer for Church of the Highlands

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Shirt: Target
Scarf: Francesca’s
Jeans: Jessica Simpson
Shoes: Belk

K: What’s your favorite trend this season?
C: Anything mint colored.

K: What are three wardrobe essentials you couldn’t live without?
C: Skinny jeans, solid tanks, and either boots or flats depending on the season.

K: What’s your favorite store in Birmingham to shop in?
C: The Loft.

 

Lele, age 25, JH Ranch

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Shirt: Boutique in North Carolina
Jeans: Forever 21
Glasses: Ray Ban
Headband: Anthropologie

K: Describe your style in one word.
L: Eclectic.

K: What’s your go-to item in your closet?
L: A cotton dress.

K: What’s your favorite store in Birmingham to shop at?
L: Anthropologie

 

Kristen, age 32, JH Ranch

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Shirt: Gap
Blazer: Gap
Jeans: Citizen
Shoes: Steve Madden
Glasses: Target

Ka: Describe your style in one word.
Kr: Classic.

Ka: What’s your favorite trend this season?
Kr: Pastel jeans.

Ka: What is your go-to item in your closet?
Kr: Boyfriend denim button-up.

Photos by Katie Willis

Birmingham Street Style: Week Two

Coffee shops in Birmingham are the perfect place for people with different styles to spend their afternoon.  This week, I stumbled upon a trendy couple sipping on coffee and working on homework at Starbuck’s. Check out this stylish duo in denim.

And no, they did not mean to match their outfits.

Jordan Webb, 20, Student

Denim shirt is from Banana Republic

Pants and shoes are from J.Crew

Watch is from Fossil

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What is your favorite piece of clothing?

“I love my denim shirt because it goes with everything.”

 

Vaughn McCrary, 21, Student

Chambray shirt is from J.Crew

Khaki pants are from Brooks Brothers

MacAlister suede boots are from J.Crew

Tortoise shell clubmaster glasses are from Ernest Hemingway

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What is your favorite item of clothing?

“I don’t really have a favorite, but I guess I would also choose my denim shirt.”

Do you consider yourself trendy or hipster?

“I’m definitely not hipster and I wouldn’t call myself trendy either, but I wear I what I like. I’m probably considered main-stream.”

 

 

Laura Kathyrn shines at Birmingham Fashion Week

Leslie Pittman, owner and buyer of Crestline Village’s exclusive women’s boutique, Laura Kathryn, has been dressing the women of Birmingham for nearly five years.

Not only does Laura Kathryn carry unique items from designer labels, but it also features a variety of jewelry, shoes and handbags along with wardrobe consultations. Teens, college women and trendy ladies of Birmingham rely on Laura Kathryn to fill their closets with the latest and finest designs. 

As a unique staple of the Birmingham fashion community, Laura Kathryn was featured in Birmingham’s Fashion Week as a runway retailer. In the midst of preparation and execution of fashion week, Leslie shared some of her excitement and passion about the production.

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This was your second year being apart of Birmingham Fashion Week. How was this year different?

The production as a whole keeps getting better every year. For us, it’s totally different! We were much more organized. We had a better idea about what to expect and how to prepare. Also, I have the best people working with me. This is in no way a one-man show but an invaluable team.

What was the most thrilling aspect of your part in Birmingham Fashion Week?

We were ecstatic about Tibi, a designer from New York being here. I am flattered and honored that Tibi has joined and supported Laura Kathryn during this experience. It has been nothing short of amazing.

What was the biggest obstacle in being apart on Birmingham Fashion Week?

Honestly, there wasn’t one. There is a good bit of coordinating and details, but I love what I do and love the details so there was no obstacle.

What are some items that Laura Kathryn was excited about showing off at fashion week?

We did Bohemian inspired looks with a lot of staple jewelry. I love to get creative with it because I believe the way you dress expresses your confidence; it’s art. Our show reflected that. There were fifteen looks that started with black and white, went to pastel, then to bright and bold colors and ended in black and white.

What’s it like to be featured in the finale and wrap up such an exciting week of events?

Honestly, I am ecstatic. I haven’t slept in days. Kidding, but I am super excited. I loved our show and couldn’t wait to show it off.

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Photos by Stevi Sappenfield