Courtney Rawls • Stylist

When I first met Courtney Rawls, we bumped into each other in Mohawk General Store. She had very short bleach blonde hair just like Etta James with the chicest vintage cashmere sweater on. To say the least, I was instantly magnetized to her. Once she spoke, her words rolled out with grace and complete connection from a soul-centered place. So, it’s not at all shocking that when you work with this Taurus stylist, it’s an inner job rooted in building your authentic confidence while connecting with your inner child, so that you project from a true place of self-realized fashion. Get out your notebooks and get ready to answer some deep questions while picking up some of the greatest tips I’ve ever encountered!  

INNER CHILD | In order to really feel cemented and integrate your style as an extension of your personal creative expression, go back to your childhood and think about a time when you approached everything with a sense of wonder and curiosity and the world was your never-ending playground. Remember what inspired you as a child - the colors, textures, music, bugs, other people, superheroes! Connecting with your inner child helps with any type of artistic endeavor and shopping is seriously, not different.

It's also helpful to think about what your mom/dad/community told you about sexuality or personal appearance. Take some time to dissect what you observed in women (and men!). How was style viewed in your community, and what were you taught that certain forms of dress say about women? Sometimes I even read the comments section on a Kim Kardashian’s Instagram post just to drive this point home. I always tell people that this is the most rewarding aspect of my work - dismantling familial and societal programming so that we can all step into our personal power.

IDENTIFY | Do you dress for comfort, or do you dress to make a statement? Or is it both? How much time would you like to allocate to getting dressed in the morning?

MINIMIZE | get rid of clutter and don't look back! Clean out your closet and get rid of unused pieces by using The Real Real (shout to my girl Sam who helped me shed my excess wardrobe weight after a serious breakup!!). Take it to Gift of Garb or Crossroads; etc. Make peace with your clothing - and those versions of yourself that you've outgrown. What's served you and now can be let go of, and what still has a place? Assess your wardrobe and the staples in it: does everything you own bring you soul sparking joy? If not, donate the remaining pieces to charity or sell them off.

ICONS | Pick a few stars with style that you identify with - mine are Ulyanna Sergenko, late 70s Diana Ross and Cher! What do you admire about their curated senses of style or feel that you couldn't pull off?

 BOLD | Determine the work horses of their wardrobe (basket bags, sequins, cashmere sweaters, their perfect vintage jean) and emulate them! Bring those standout pieces into your wardrobe and wear them religiously. I encourage a lot of my clients who are less stylistically inclined to stick to a uniform when starting out.

VINTAGE | BUY VINTAGE, and go in knowing what silhouettes look best on your frame! Instead of fast fashion, go to the Bearded Beagle, NCJW or the like and find pieces that are uniquely you. There's nothing better than being complimented on a one-of-a-kind piece. To me, vintage trumps Zara and Forever 21 (not that they don't serve a purpose) because you'll never see your one of a kind piece on someone else.

CORE | Have a core wardrobe of: jeans, business professional pieces (whatever that means now), summer dresses, a great black dress, and simple tees that you can wear until they're threadbare. I tend to wear lightweight silk dresses in summer with wraps that Protect my skin in the sun. Determine what makes you feel sexiest and invest heavily in the pieces that "up" your confidence quotient.

ADORNMENT | Jewelry and body adornment are beautiful accessories and means to express your creativity. If there's a talisman or body chain that you wear for a hint of sexiness, spiritual protection or individuality, wear those pieces daily and make putting them on a beautifying ceremony. I recently had the area between my nose and upper lip pierced by J. Colby Smith with a little golden tri-stud and I swear it helped aligned my chakras!!! Insert crying emoji face here...

ROUGE | Makeup isn't essential but what is essential is feeling good and confident in your skin. There's a great book called The Confidence Code by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman that talks about why even highly accomplished women feel less capable than men (when we're actually equally if not more capable), and what we can do to dismantle this conditioning. I Highly recommend this read even if you think you have confidence issues.

GOOD | What do you do to feel good daily? Dry brush, cook, meditate, dance, pray, workout, play with your dog, whatever it is, etc. These are all self-healing mechanisms that can take place before you walk out of your door. Celebrate all the things you do well and foster gratitude for where you are in this stage of the game. You'll become a magnet for more abundance and beauty and everyone who sees you will see your spirit.

PRIDE | No matter how you leave your home, and no matter what happened before you step out, take pride and ownership of yourself and wear your artistic expression with confidence. Clothes and accessories are (putting it simply) a projection of how you feel inside - the more comfortable and or polished you feel, the more radiant your aura. Can you tell that I'm a huge advocate for pretty on the inside first, pretty on the outside second? Surround yourself with friends, family and colleagues who embolden you to be your best self.

STATEMENT | Have a statement accessory of the season. My favorite at the moment are my silver disco ball Maison Margiela Tabis - I wear these shoes on the daily and let them do the talking before I even say a word. I feel that most of us could get away with only a few new pieces a season. I took a step back years ago to look at just how much I was consuming and vowed at that point to only buy things that are and make me feel incredibly special.

UNAPOLOGETIC | Like what YOU like even it doesn't make sense to anyone else; and maybe even especially if it doesn't make sense to anyone else. Always be unapologetic in your tastes and preferences.  

EXPAND | Stay curious and seeking cultural experiences that expand your worldview. A helpful tip for fashion, for sure, but also sage universal advice for living a well-rounded and interesting life. I'm really embracing some Southern black America and Native American (specifically Choctaw) beauty rituals lately that represent both sides of my genetic makeup. I lost my dad 2.5 years ago and this is one of the ways I keep his legacy alive in me by explore new parts of myself.

LAUGH | Laugh... Laugh a lot.

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