Meet our style crush and Walk Tall Influencer, Lana Wilkinson. Celebrity stylist, fashion creative and mum, Lana solves our typical style conundrums for Winter and gives us an insight into working in the fashion industry.
What are you winter style essentials?
My winter style essentials include a knee length coat, white shirt, pant suit, a roll neck knit and a pair of black boots. Anything monochrome makes my list! This time of year, keeping your lips hydrated is a must, so I never leave the house without paw-paw cream.
What are the key trends this winter that you think are the easiest to incorporate into your wardrobe?
The Coat. My number one with the cooler nights now in full swing. The coat takes a slightly more fitted approach this season, with streamlined silhouettes, cleaner lines, and lengths that vary from mid-thigh to below the knee. Invest in a grey, black, camel or sky blue for a coat to ensure it doesn’t have an expiry date!
The Pant Suit. Having a major comeback thanks to the resurgence of 70s trends. Channel fashion icons of the time like Bianca Jagger or Farrah Fawcett for inspiration. Suits with high waisted wide-legged pants and broad shoulder blazers are great to highlight a small waist and also lengthen your body. You can show off your sexy side with a black tuxedo and crisp shirt, or for evening, a nice black bra peeping through will ensure you’re on trend this season. Just remember, your underwear should never be on display, so ensure your suit fits well or is cinched in with a waist belt. For those wanting to stay on fashion’s safe side, the variety of cuts, designs, colours and the mix of styles to suit all body types is what are most appealing about this trend. The best part is, you can style the blazer and pants separately with items you already have in your wardrobe.
The Flares. With the 70s well and truly back, its signature silhouette, the flare pants are a must-have for autumn/winter 2015. Boot cut trousers are flattering on most body types. The wider leg makes thighs look slimmer, so whilst it may seem like a bold choice, it’s actually quite safe – it just need to be styled correctly. 2015’s look is not about skin, so high-waisted flares are the only ones that cut it. The proportions make sense – a higher waist will make your legs look longer. Length of your flares is also important – ankle length is essential. No one looks good when their trousers are too long.
For those looking for the sleek approach, classic denim indigo shades or black crepe trousers with a jumper and shirt is always a good way to go. Also, don’t be afraid to inject winter white, silks or tweeds. This look is classic when paired with a crisp white shirt, grey marl knit or long line vest.
The Roll Neck Knit. An absolute wardrobe staple for the cooler months ahead. This autumn/winter is all about neutrals, so stick to beige browns, marl grey and winter whites. Layer your knits with pieces you already have in your wardrobe. Be on-trend by styling your relaxed knit over a white shirt with denim and an oversized coat. Or style your knit dress over fitted leather leggings or jeans for a more sophisticated approach.
The Over-the-Knee Boot. Whether you’re curvy, petite, or tall, the over-the-knee boot ensures you step up your footwear game. Paired with denim, an oversized knit or embrace your curves like Kim Kardashian, with figure-hugging separates.
How did you become a celebrity and fashion stylist?
I’d worked in brand, PR and retail marketing for seven years and it was co-workers and friends seeking style advice that got me into styling early on. In 2009, I started to do a lot of test shoots. I never assisted anyone as I’d previously managed the fashion campaigns for the companies I worked for. It was blood sweat and tears that got me to where I am today. I didn’t wait for opportunities to fall in my lap, I went after them. The hardest part, was doing it all whilst maintaining my full time professional marketing role.
With social media really taking off at the time, I was able to share the work I was doing with friends and my wider professional network. I built a blog on Tumblr, Lana Wilkinson Stylist in 2010, and I started publishing behind-the-scenes from photoshoots, shop the look posts, to build an audience. Soon, one thing led to another and people started to take notice. The turning point in my career, was when I styled Ruby Rose for Covet Magazine and the rest is history.
You’re a successful style influencer with an amazing career and client, what advice would you give to others interested in following your path?
Every day is different, which keeps it interesting and challenging. Be prepared to work hard and earn your stripes for little or no financial reward, especially in the beginning. Our industry is very small so in order to make your mark, being professional and having the right attitude is key. You need to have a thick skin and be prepared for a lot of no’s before someone will say yes. When they do start to say yes, it’s an amazing feeling. My job is not glamorous and isn’t about celebrities all the time, but is so much fun. It is hard work and long hours but if you’re prepared to push yourself, the rewards are great.
What has been your biggest highlight in your career so far?
This is hard one. I would say, working with fashion blogger Nicole Warne (aka Gary Pepper) as her official stylist in her role as the Style Ambassador for the 2014 Caulfield Cup Carnival. It was an amazing experience. She was someone I had admired from afar so to have the opportunity to work and get to know her, was very rewarding. Having her trust me completely in the choices I made and then to sit alongside her judging the Fashions on the Field, was a privilege.
A close second would have to be styling US reality star and fashion designer, Whitney Port for the 2015 Jeep Portsea Polo. Like many, I had been glued to TV shows The Hills and The City, so I had to pinch myself when I was asked to dress her.
Who are your style muses?
Sarah Jessica Parker, Rachel Zoe, Kendal Jenner, Victoria Beckham and Diane Kruger. From a designer perspective, Toni Maticevski and Dion Lee.
Your style in 3 words?
Clean, directional and sophisticated.
What’s your favourite style from the Wittner Winter 2015 Collection?
The Umika black lace -up points are my favourite. I’ve worn them over and over and styled them on a number of clients. From distressed denim to evening wear, their versatility is second to none.
What shoes will you be wearing this winter?
Boots, loafers and strappy points – they are my winter wardrobe staples.
There’s always that dilemma when choosing a winter heel on a cold night out! What advice can you give us?
Don’t be afraid to wear an open toe, just make sure it has a closed back and has heavy details like laces or a zip. Make sure you choose a heel that is appropriate for the event or place your going.
How do you juggle work life with home life? As a mother you seem to be doing it all!
Without the support of my husband, and my family, in particular my mum, I could not do the work I do. They are my greatest supporters. When you work for yourself, you can often feel like you’re only as good as your last job.
However with their constant encouragement as well as their assistance in caring for my beautiful daughter Ava when duty calls, I manage to maintain a great work/life balance.
Image credit: Liane Hurvitz, Getty Images, Geoff Measy & The Trend Spotter.