Ashley North is a powerhouse. After moving to LA post-college with nothing more than a dream to work in fashion, Ashley has propelled her career into becoming one of the most sought-after celebrity stylists and men’s fashion experts in the industry. From Usher to Justin Bieber to Kevin Hart, Ashley has dressed some of the most celebrated A-list celebrities and there is no end to her rise in sight. Lucky for us, Samantha Gutstadt, actress, content creator, writer and LA member had the chance to sit down with Ashley in her beautiful office. Ashley shared everything from her no-fail mama outfits, to finding inspiration, to her ultimate “pinch me” moments. Read on to go behind the scenes…
Samantha (SG): Ashley, thank you so much for hanging out with us today, and talking with heymama and sharing your tips. Your office is so stylish and gorgeous!
Ashley North (AN): Thank you! It took a lot of work.
SG: You work with a lot of celebs, like Usher and Kevin Hart. Can you tell us a little about your career and those high points or “pinch-me” moments?
AN: There’s a lot of work that goes into it, but to be able to see a client that you dress out on the red carpet at the Oscars or The Grammys — it’s so rewarding! There have been a lot of moments that have been special to me. Working with Justin Bieber was a really exciting time because it was at the high-point of his career and it was non-stop. We had to do a lot of custom clothing for him which was really fun, so I got to put my designer hat on. Probably another one that was really special for me was Kevin Hart. I dressed him for the Golden Globes in 2015, and he got into the Best Dressed List for the tux I put him in.
Photo from The New York Times
SG: That’s an amazing “pinch me” moment! You have two kids so you totally get that crazy juggle that working moms have every morning. Do you have any tips that you can give us to streamline the morning routine and to make it really easy to get out the door looking pulled together?
AN: My one tip that I always tell people is I always put my outfit together the night before so that way you’re not struggling with “what am I going to wear?” and trying stuff on and figuring it out. If you get that done the night before, then that’s off your plate and then you can focus on getting the kids ready. Then you’re outfit is already set, you put it on, and you’re out the door.
SG: Do you also match accessories and shoes and how you want to wear your hair with that outfit the night before?
AN: I try to do everything night before.
SG: Do you have any “go-to” fall looks that we should wear to look put together but very cool as well?
AN: Yes! I’m a big fan of the jumpsuit. I love it because it’s something where you can look very chic and put-together, and it’s all one piece so it’s very simple. It’s not piecing different pieces together, and I think they’re super cool and cute. It’s a great alternative to wearing a dress. Another thing I love is two-piece sets because they can simplify the outfit. I love matching ones, but there are a lot of printed ones out now too, like floral ones which are really fun. And wearing a pant and a shirt in a matching print is very in right now. It’s super chic and you easily look really put-together.
SG: Those are some of my favorites too — just anything that simplifies.
AN: It’s all about simplifying when you’re a working mom. Take the hard part out.
SG: So many moms are running from drop-off and then running their own companies, and there are no longer set rules for what to wear in a meeting when you’re an entrepreneur. What kind of advice and guides can you give to project power and confidence while still feeling super feminine?
AN: What I like is pairing the masculine with the feminine. So you have that confidence and you’re strong, but still have your femininity. You can pair a nice black power suit with a silky shirt or one with jeweled buttons to provide some femininity.
SG: Having a clearly-defined personal style can make clothing choices easier. How do you go about establishing a signature style for your clients, and how do we do something similar for ourselves?
AN: The one thing I always do with my clients is to make sure that they stay true to who they are, and wearing what makes them comfortable. I always ask, “What is your favorite thing?” Whether it’s a favorite color, or are they a denim person, or do they prefer suits? Once you know that, you can take a trend and layer it on top. Another thing I think is important — I work with a lot of men, but even for women — is the fit of stuff. Even if you get something at an inexpensive store like Zara or H&M, I think it’s important to get it tailored so it fits you and makes you feel comfortable. If it fits you really well, you’re gonna kill it.
SG: That’s a great tip — to buy a trendy piece that’s not as expensive if you don’t want to spend so much money on a trend but get it tailored.
AN: Tailoring is so important — having a good tailor is KEY to having a good wardrobe — because when something fits you, it will look like a million bucks, even if you spend $30.
SG: Do you have any “must-haves” for Fall wardrobes for working moms?
AN: Yes, there are so many must-haves! One thing that is really in right now that I’m loving is kimono-style blazers and robes. Try something with a tie and kimono sleeves in a silk or a print, or maybe a bright color like a deep orange. They’re really hot for Fall, and I think they compliment people really well. You can throw it over a dress, you can wear it with jeans, slacks, whatever, and it’s automatically going to give your outfit a bit of oomph. I also think it’s important in the Fall to have a good leather piece, so whether it be a jacket or a leather skirt, I think it’s something important that you need going into fall to give your outfit a little kick. I’m also really into the sock booties right now — they’re so comfortable because your foot isn’t constricted into leather — the fabric gives you a little bit of give and makes it more comfortable.
SG: Those are some good must-haves for fall – I love kimonos. I love that look.
AN: I’m obsessed — I’ve literally bought three within the last month because I just want more.
SG: And you can throw it over anything.
AN: You can throw it over anything for work. Even if you have a pair of black slacks on and a white sweater or something, and you throw the kimono over it — it kind of just gives your outfit a pop and keeps you on trend because they’re very in right now.
SG: Shopping online is a time-saver — I think all moms can attest to that! Do you have any favorite sites that you like to shop at that you can suggest?
AN: I’m the queen of online shopping! Because I spend so much time in stores shopping for my clients, when it comes to myself, it’s the last thing I want to do is to be in a store. So, I’m a heavy online shopper! For mom stuff, I love Amazon. For clothing, I’m a big fan of ASOS — they have a lot of great pieces for a really good price. I’m a huge Zara fan — both in-store and online. Another big favorite is Revolve clothing. They have 2-day free shipping which is great, because if it’s something last minute and you need something, it will be there quickly.
SG: Jeans are a staple for every mom. What are some of your current favorite brands and some styles that we should be investing in this fall. Are there any you think are particularly flattering for all women, like a universal style?
AN: A few of my favorite jean styles right now are from a brand called Grlfrnd denim — I found them on Revolve. I’m a big fan of stretch in denim. As a mom, you have some pockets here and there that you need to keep under wraps, so I’m a big fan of stretch denim. I also love high-waisted denim because, again, I have two children and I’m not as tight in the stomach area as I used to be. And then another line that I really love is CURRENT ELLIOTT.
SG: What are a few staples that every successful working mom should have in their closet?
AN: There are so many! I think the one thing that is really important to have is a black blazer. You can put it over anything and it will automatically give you that kind of “put-together” work look. You could pair it with jeans and a t-shirt to instantly pull a look together and it’s like, “I’m here. I’m ready for business.” I think another important thing to have is a nice high-waisted trouser, whether it be wide-leg or more of a cigarette style and they go with everything. Also, for working moms, a really good flat shoe is key — whether it’s a loafer or a mule or a slipper style.
SG: Some of the stuff we see on models and celebrities doesn’t always work on us, or for us. What is a way we can find inspiration and make that work for us in a realistic way?
AN: One of my favorite places to go for inspiration is Pinterest. It’s really great, and as moms, we might look on there for baby ideas, nurseries, bedrooms, but actually there’s a lot of fashion on there, too. The one thing I love about Pinterest is that it’s really easy to search. You can put, “How to wear a black blazer,” or “The best jumpsuits for Fall,” and pictures will like scroll up. Or “How to dress if I’m top-heavy,” and pictures will just show up and it’s shoppable.
SG: What are some of your favorite places to find fashion inspiration? Are there any blogs or instagram accounts you follow?
AN: Instagram is great. I used to go to the magazine stand once a month and buy a stack of magazines, but now, you can just pull it up on your phone. There are so many really cool fashion bloggers that give you everyday looks for women. Who What Wear, is one of my favorites. I really love Song of Style because she’s super cute and I really like her fashion sense. Another girl I love is the Editor at InStyle, Kahlana Barfield Brown. She’s a mom but is super chic. She will give you those pieces that are drool-worthy like a pair of Céline pants she posted the other day and I thought, “I want those,” and then I went on my phone and they’re $2200 dollars! I’ll find the cheaper option. I also like to search hashtags and another one is @zara. Their styling is so good and their clothes are so affordable.
Be sure to check out the full video interview here:
Thanks, Ashley! Be sure to check out even more of her world as a stylist on Instagram!