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How to Shop for Fall Trends Like a Celebrity Stylist

Hot tips for shopping of-the-moment pieces with personal style (and a budget) in mind.

How To Shop Like
tara swennen
Ashley Combs

Welcome to our How to Shop Like series, where we spotlight personalities within the fashion industry and take a deeper look at how they shop—think all the best insider tips and tricks. This week we're chatting with the inimitable stylist Tara Swennen about how to incorporate fall trends into your wardrobe.

If you don't know the name Tara Swennen, you've more than likely been privy to her influence. After assisting Rachel Zoe and Andrea Lieberman, the L.A.-based stylist built her esteemed reputation working with Kristen Stewart, Allison Janney, Lana Condor, and more. Needless to say, the woman knows how to dress a star. So we were thrilled to uncover how a top stylist approaches seasonal trends. Hint: It's OK not to try each and every one. Continue to discover her tips for how (and how not) to incorporate this fall's trends into your wardrobe.

Shop Tara's Current Picks:

Balloon Sleeve Cardigan

Scotch & Soda

Stretch Eco-leather Button-front Dress

Philosophy di Lorenzo Serafini

Fall Trends She's Excited For:

Delicate Fabrics Inspired by the Roaring Twenties
Leopard Print
Quilted Puffer Jackets
Sweater Vests
Lavender and Lilac
Faux Leather
Playful Prints (Especially in Accessories)

How do you approach trends? How can you tell if something fits in with your personal style?

"The most important rule I apply when it comes to trends is making sure the trend is right for you and your body type! I take inspiration from my surroundings, blogs, street style, fashion runways, and magazines. Don't be afraid of changing up your style, but make sure to stay true to who you are by relying on your go-to basics in your wardrobe! Don't simply break the bank on trendy pieces that may only last a season or two or that don't feel authentic to your personal style."

What are some fall trends you're excited about? Which ones do you think have staying power and will last longer than a season?

"I love that lavender, lilac, and pastel tones are in for fall! It's an unusual and whimsical trend for the end of the year, so I'm excited to work with them in unique ways! Having worn them decades ago, I also love that sweater vests are making a comeback. However, I do think this is a trend that might possibly fade out by next spring."

tara swennen

Photo: Courtesy of Jil Sander

tara swennen

Photo: Greg Kessler

tara swennen

Photo: Casper Sejerson

For those working from home, what are some either comfortable or Zoom-friendly trends to try out?

"Accessories and fun prints are the easiest (and most fun) ways to amp up one's Zoom fashion for fall. Experiment by mixing and matching fun prints and bold colors this fall or piling on accessories that you might not normally wear! Add a headband, a statement necklace, or throw on a small neck scarf for a little bit of drama!"

What sort of purchase is worth the splurge this season? Favorite places/brands to do so with?

"This season I would invest in a flap bag. They are classic investment pieces that work well at any age! My favorite is the quilted CHANEL flap bag, which is available at one of my favorite resale sites, Rebag. I recommend taking advantage of sites like Rebag and The RealReal, which offer Affirm at checkout so you can invest in timeless pieces without paying all at once. Spreading out the cost of purchases over time eases my mind and frees up money for necessities I need to cover now!"

What's a rough guide for the breakdown in an ideal closet?

"A 70/30 ratio is the sweet spot! Seventy percent of your wardrobe should be your basics, and within that, 25 percent should be your everyday capsule collection—in other words, your go-to classics that you know will make you feel your best on any occasion! The last 30 percent can be small splurges on trendier pieces that may come and go from season to season."

tara swennen

Photo: Courtesy of Tara Swennen

Do you ever hit a limit with trends? What should shoppers be mindful of here?

"The best advice I can give is simply to know what works well for you! For instance, you will almost never find me in skinny jeans because they simply don't work on my frame! Figure out what trends work well with or can amplify pieces you already have in your repertoire, and when in doubt, skip it. If it's something fun you want to give a quick whirl, don't invest a ton, and know that you always have the option to resell it on a resale platform so you have a little cash on hand for your next trend splurge!"

Should shoppers be mindful of shopping in-season versus out of season if they are looking for discounts?

"Shoppers should be mindful of the two biggest yearly sales and when they happen. The first tends to be mid-summer or Labor Day weekend, and the second sale season is around Thanksgiving or in between Christmas and the new year. These are times when retailers need to get rid of their merchandise to make way for new pieces, so those are the best times to find great deals! However, of course, you can always find clearance rates on older or out-of-season pieces throughout the year."

Any other shopping tips concerning trends to share?

"These days, in such uncertain times, it's wise to spend your money sensibly and on pieces you purely love or cannot do without. Invest in trendy pieces that you really see yourself wearing into the foreseeable future. That being said, many of us have been in a rut for months, so if a little therapy is what it takes, by all means, have fun and run with it!"

Top photo: Casper Sejerson (left), Courtesy of Tara Swennen (top), Graham Nation (bottom), Courtesy of Jil Sander (right)

Want more stories like this?

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