With a client roster that includes Scarlett Johansson, Liv Tyler, and our beloved Olsen twins), its a wonder that Tollman has the time to do anything else, let alone work on a television show (its currently in creative development) and consult with Panache lingerie. But this wickedly fun Brit makes one thing clear: She always has time for fashion.
Real Beauty: So, first of all, what is the street style trend you would love to fix right now?
Annabel Tollman: The number one bête noir is people thinking that everyone looks good in jeans. You see girls and think, 'You'd look so much better in a dress!' Sweatpants painted to look like denim are the end of civilization. It drives me mental.
RB: What basics would you recommend every woman have in her closet?
AT: You should always have a pencil skirt. I think knees are the ugliest part of anybody's anatomy, so I'd look for ones that hit at the knee or right below. In general, it's a really flattering go-to style. I also think everyone should have a nice, fitted sweater. An inexpensive, thin one is really the winter version of a tee-shirt.
RB: Are there any cuts that are better than others?
AT: I don't mind a scoop neck. If you do a v-neck, you need to get a lower 'V'. If it's too high it will make it look like your boobs look like they slipped. Thinner sweaters are better than thicker ones. I love fishermen sweaters, but if you have any sort of chest or shoulders, it'll look terrible.
The quickest way to change what your body looks like is to invest in a good bra. It can make you look ten pounds thinner. Just remember: If you've got bumps or lumps, it means it's too high on the backthe band is too large because it's sitting too high up on your back. Your bra is like the first step of creation: 'This is who I am today.' It gives you a lot of power! Personally, I feel very ugly when I have on sad underwear. It's like hairy legs or un-pedicured feet.
RB: What about your ideal weekend uniform?
AT: I love a knitted dress, whether it's tee-shirt material or long and knitted. Either way, it should be cut to the kneethat's what I wear on planes. I wear them over a slip. I actually sleep in the slip, so I just pull the dress on as soon as I get up. Add a pair of ballet flats and you're ready to run out and get the newspaper and a coffee.
RB: Any on-set styling tips real women can use?
AT: Try things on! You can't try your clothes on enough, honestly. If you have half an hour, try lots of different outfits on to see what works best. You'll also figure out if you need something tailored, what your basic outfit "recipes" are, and lean what looks good on your body. Dressing should be about slightly varying your core style rather than reinventing the wheel everyday.
With my clients we spend hours trying things on and taking pictures. Pour yourself a glass of wine, put a little Aretha Franklin on, and get a good floor-length mirror that's truthful, but friendly. I just replaced a bad mirror in my bathroom with a better one from Bed, Bath, and Beyond!
RB: How do you assess what makes a good mirror versus a bad mirror?
AT: Lean it against the wall and pull the bottom out. Youll be able to tell pretty quickly if the reflection is unflattering. You just don't need bad mirror negativity when trying things on! If something doesn't look good, don't make it about you. It's about the clothes. Personally, I have big wrists and ugly hands, so I don't let sleeves go to my wrist since that would show them off. Know your limitations and fix them.
RB: Any parting words of wisdom?
AT: You do need a lingerie wardrobe. Half of what I do as a stylist is finding the right underwear for certain outfits. In my office, we have a stash of camisoles, slips, shapewear, molded bras, strapless bras, etc. There's not just one solution for everything. Every time you buy a dress you need to work out what goes underneath it.
And my last piece of advice is practically my motto: Buy less but wear it well.