Chatting Personal Style with Jeannie Mai
As host of How Do I Look? on the Style Network, it's no surprise that Jeannie Mai's got some serious fashion know-how. With a makeup background and a role on NBC's yet-to-premiere Fashion Star (look for it in March), we couldn't wait to pick her brain about style and beauty.
Real Beauty: We watched a few episodes of your show and you really see some crazy ensembles. What have those experiences taught you about fashion?
Jeannie Mai: Honestly, the most shocking thing is that no matter how we want to judge these women when they first come on the show, they all have the same thing in commoninsecurity. Sometimes it's displayed in attitude or fashion, whether wearing revealing clothes, or something really sloppy, but the point is that every women has insecurities. Their clothes are the symptoms, not the problem.
RB: You also see a bunch of examples of different displays of personal style, right?
JM: That's what makes fashion! Fashion is something you can buy, but personal style is something you have. Everyone has it, and there are no two people that are alike. I encourage women not to worry about putting the right thing together, but just to be confident in what you like. That's how trendsetters become what they've become. Honestly, what they put together is usually an accident. But they're confident about it!
RB: An accident?
JM: Like last spring's meshing of patterns, the polka dots with stripes? Somebody accidentally put that together and said, "I'm going to own it!" That's how trendsetters happen. When someone wears something old or vintage, it's because she didn't want to buy anything new and just raided her grandma or mom's closet.
RB: We saw you have pictures of yourself in different outfits posted on your blog. Do you think it's helpful for women to take pics to learn what works for them?
JM: Yes! I actually encourage women to treat themselves on their birthdays and swap out unhealthy cake for something they'll actually remember, like a photo shoot. I love them and think it's a shame only celebrities get to do them. You don't have to be in Hollywood, either. Craigslist it or look up local photographers and makeup artists. You get blessed with great pictures in the end.
RB: Definitely less calories than cake! What are some of your favorite trends that we can try without spending lots of money?
JM: Take a bit of anything you love, whether it's a western style shirt or a really romantic peasant blouse, and pair with a skinny jean or cool trouser. You'll look like you purposefully incorporated trendy items without having to buy anything new. I also love that women with a boyfriend or husband can take his button-up and wear it as a shirt-dress. Or grab his suspenders, but don't pull them up over your shoulders. Just let them lay to the side of your pants.
Oh, and flosses. Fake glasses. They're a fun way of wearing glasses whether you need a prescription or not. It changes your look immediately and there's something very sexy about it, like it's an unexpected business tease. I wore some on TV yesterday!
RB: You initially entered the business as a makeup artist. How do you think beauty and fashion connect?
JM: It can function just like another accessory. If women don't want to go shopping, I suggest making their makeup a little more playful, instead. Wearing what I like to call g'lips, or glitter lips, or lining their eyes with a bright color.
More Holiday Fashion from Real Beauty