Image: Courtesy of Jen Ublasi
Jen Ublasi, a wardrobe stylist based out of Chicago after studying at The School of Style in New York City, thinks the way a person dresses is more than the clothes they wear. Ublasi knows what she is talking about: her resume includes publications such as 944 Magazine, Profile Magazine and The Art Institute of Chicago Magazine. She has dressed executives, bankers, travel bloggers and more. But the importance of fashion isn’t just about putting fabrics on our bodies, and Ublasi makes sure her clients are creating self-brands that align with their personality.
Ublasi talked with Echo regarding how fashion empowers people, the staple pieces for all of her clients and her favorite part of being a personal stylist.
What about fashion do you think empowers people?
I definitely think that style is an extension of your personality and it’s a way to portray what you want to say about yourself and create your self-brand. So being able to wear a great fitting a black blazer, or black power suit, you definitely feel empowered.
For me, the way you dress is more than the clothes you wear. The clothes you wear is an extension of your personality, so what you do for a living may determine what pieces you’re wearing that day; different parts of your lifestyle and where you’re at in your life. Different [income] brackets, or where you’re at in your career, but definitely what you wear is a way for people to know those things.
What are some staple pieces you require of your clients?
For both men and women, a great fitting black leather jacket is something updated, can be worn versatile; you can always throw another jacket on and feel badass. But that it’s a great staple piece to have. Another would be a black power suit. I have a lot of executives. For women, if you have a great-fitting black power suit, you’re going to feel empowered depending on if you’re going to an event or an interview, or looking to get a promotion.
For a guy, I always say a great custom suit. The colors can vary [depending on] the different industries these guys work in. For instance, a lot of my bankers will wear power suits and feel empowered. If you’re more into the fashion industry, a great slim, black suit is very powerful. Also, great fitting, premium denim jeans. I say premium [because] it’s different than your average “I go buy a pair of jeans from Target or the Gap.” I always want my clients to invest in one pair of premium denim jeans. There are specific denim designers that design jeans that are made to fit all sorts of body types. So whether you’re bigger in the thighs—these jeans are made to fit. When you put on a nice pair of comfortable jeans it gives you confidence and will empower you.
Do you think there are aspects of the fashion industry that are negative?
I think it might go along with what’s happening with social media. You see that somebody has a nicer wardrobe than you and it might make you feel insecure or somebody has more designer pieces, that could be a negative thing but I think that’s kind of the world we just live in. I don’t know if that’s particularly negative about fashion, but it’s just the world we live in right now.
[I was a part of a fashion organization] where we went into Chicago Public Schools and taught these kids how fashion empowers you, but we also showed them images of young girls that were dressing inappropriate for their age, and how it could be a more insecure personality and why they would be wearing little mini dresses, versus someone who was a bit more confident but was more covered up, but still had a cute skirt on or accessory.
What is your favorite part of your job?
Definitely helping individuals figure out their own personal style and watching them develop their style. It’s not an overnight process, it does take a little bit of time, but bringing out their own personal brand, and again breaking down their lifestyle and figuring out what they should be wearing for who they are, and watching who they are inside and expose that. It’s always been a positive process for me. I have not found, and knock on wood, much negativity toward it. Just really helping these people be able to define their personal brand.
Do you have a favorite person you’ve styled?
I’ll tell you my most recent project. She’s a blogger [under the handle] @eatravelrock, and she’s really rocker chic. She came in from LA and had a beauty segment on WZIU for Valentine’s Day segment. We got to have her rock a really red earring, and she hadn’t really worn red lipstick, and I had her wear red lipstick. So it was a cool transition and she enjoyed it.