Marisa Gonzalez takes her time to understand the lifestyles of her clients while paying meticulous attention to detail, creating a completely cohesive wardrobe consisting of both practical and luxurious pieces. Upon meeting Marisa, her supermodel height and asymmetrical bob hairstyle perfectly punctuates her style. The blend of both what’s classic and currently trendy in her “ootd” is also unmistakably exquisite. She is both feminine and edgy, modern and vintage–compellingly all at the same time. She is for lack of a better word…”cool”. I’m immediately drawn to her style, but I’m even more excited to learn that she’s also a mom of two–just like me. And what’s more, we have a circle of friends that are all about women empowering women in business and in life.
Tell me about your company (or the company you work for).
I work for DC Style Factory, a personal styling and shopping for men and women in the DC area looking to add polish and individuality to their wardrobes. We believe style is for anyone who wants it, regardless of age, size or budget.
What inspired you to work for this company?
I love working with DC Style Factory and Chief Stylist Rosana Vollmerhausen because of the process and services the company provides to our clients. Our knowledge of fashion and styling is unparalleled and we show our clients that fashion and personal style is a way by which they can express who they are also can be a tool that supports them through transitions, the journey towards achieving their personal goals, success and happiness.
How did you get your start in styling?
I started a life and style blog in April 2014 and while I loved the doors blogging had opened for me, like meeting Rosana at her first Style Workshop, it was becoming something that I didn’t want to do as much as I had been doing. I have always wanted to be a fashion stylist and in 2015 I reached out to Rosana and asked if she offered one-on-one stylist training. And the rest is history.
Are you more of a closet editor or a builder or both? And how?
I’ll say both, but it’s not a 50/50 split…more like 80% builder, 20% editor. Laughs. The pieces that I have kept over the years are all staples and pieces that, for me anyway, will never go out of style. Once a year I do a closet purge and donate what I don’t keep.
Describe your style in 3 words.
Downtown, Tailored, Chameleon.
Who are your style “icons”?
I have so many! I told you I was a chameleon. (Laughs) My top icons are Sarah Jessica Parker, Audrey Hepburn, Gwen Stefani, Olivia Palermo, Rihanna and Solange.
What’s your trademark accessory?
I actually don’t have that many accessories, but I love bracelets and always wear my gold bangles from Thailand.
What’s one piece of clothing you’re buying this Spring to update your look?
My favorite Spring trend is Banker Stripes. I love menswear inspired trends!
If you had to only wear one designer head to toe for an entire month, who would it be?
Gucci, which is funny because that fashion house is not my usual go-to, but Alessandro Michele did an amazing job on his Spring 17 line.
What’s your first fashion memory?
Deborah Kerr in “The King and I”. I thought everything she wore in that movie was magic and that’s when I knew I liked clothing. But it grew into love when I watched Audrey in Sabrina. Even though it was in black and white, her character underwent a style transformation and also because Audrey could wear absolutely anything!!
What would you never wear?
Anything by Kanye West – it’s boring.
What’s your go-to daytime uniform?
My black Paige Step Hem jeans, black ASOS blazer, black ankle booties and a t-shirt or blouse. Guess I should have put Johnny Cash as a style icon. Laughs.
Go to evening look?
For evening I am much more of a style chameleon. I have these amazing camo sequin harem pants from 2012 that I love. I just can’t get enough of jumpsuits and going with ultra-feminine silhouettes. In my dream world, I would always wear Carolina Herrera or Oscar de la Renta. Their evening wear is beyond!
If you designed a clothing line, what would you name it and what would it consist of?
It would be called Harper which was my maternal grandmother’s maiden name and I would design ready to wear evening/formal wear for women ranging from sizes 0-24. I hate that there are extremely limited options for plus size women!
What is something you used to wear, but wouldn’t be caught dead in now?
Popcorn shirts! And ANYTHING from 2000 – 2010. Two-toned platform flip flops, Ed Hardy and tiered cotton mini skirts? CRINGE!
What is your definition of “feminine”?
Yes, body conscious silhouettes are still considered to be the most feminine by society’s standards, but I think a woman wearing menswear inspired pieces can be extremely feminine. Remember Evan Rachel Wood in her custom Altuzarra tuxedo? So feminine! I guess you could say I feel that pieces that are tailored well, fit you and your lifestyle perfectly make up my definition of “feminine”.
What is your definition of “edgy”?
Edgy is one of those fashion words that gets thrown around with reckless abandon. It’s usually accompanied by girls in leather, studded stilettos and dark lipsticks. To me edgy style means thinking ahead of the fashion curve and actually setting the trends.
What is your definition of “trendy”?
It simply means you’re following/wearing the latest trends. It’s not about style, it’s about being up-to-date with fashion and follow the crowd.
For those interested in styling and don’t know how to begin, what advice would you give them?
That at the end of the day, being a personal stylist really isn’t about fashion. It’s about listening to the client and knowing what works best for them, their silhouette and lifestyle. Working in retail is a wonderful way to learn about brands and honing your people skills. Also READ, READ, READ! Clients have endless questions, and you need to know the answers to those questions. The more you know, the more you can help your clients and market yourself.
What’s your approach when you first begin styling someone? Go thru their closet? Ask them a series of questions?
We always start with a consult. We ask a series of questions to get to know each client personally. We talk about body type, silhouette and lifestyle and show them mood boards to help define their style. Then we delve into their closets.
What are some of your go-to designers/stores/boutiques for styling people right now?
Nordstrom is my favorite department store since it houses so many different brands and price points. Take5 Boutique, Refine, Wrabyn and the Shoe Hive are a few of my favorite local boutiques. I’m just tipping the iceberg, but our go-to brands are Vince, Theory, Ted Baker, AG, Paige, Madewell, Karen Millen, Hobbs, Sam Edelman and Paul Green.
What’s the most fun part of your job?
I have been branching out into editorial styling, which is so fun for me and I love being able to pull the latest trends and styles for a shoot or collaboration.
Time management. I have 2 daughters – ages 10 and 6 – who are super busy. Between work and running around for them, it can be tricky trying to stay on schedule.
Are there certain types of looks that photograph better than others?
Solids, traditional patterns like plaid and vertical stripes, slim cut pieces, darker colors, v-neck and scoop necklines and classic silhouettes (helps from ever looking “dated”) look best in photographs.
Describe a typical day in your life from the moment you wake up til the moment you go to sleep.
Wake up at 6 am, quickly scroll through social media, get breakfast going for girls, get them to school by 7:30, go to 9round boxing gym and be done with workout by 8:30. I usually have a morning coffee meeting with a boutique or designer for an editorial collaboration and am done around 11. I take one client a day which is typically 3-4 hours. I pick up the girls from school and depending on the day take them to basketball, volleyball or piano. I make dinner and then have to do work for a client, schedule a pull for a shoot or work on a blog post. I try to go to bed by 11, but sleep isn’t really my friend right now. Laughs.
When you were a kid what did you want to be when you grew up?
An English Teacher.
Are there any types of clothes moms with “problem areas” should stear clear of?
Moms across the board say that their biggest “problem area” is their midsection, because they’ve had children. I wish it wasn’t considered a “problem” since it is so amazing we are able to carry another life! But for midsection “problems”, or any other lumps and bumps, wear thicker materials like a crepe silk or wool blend, choose pieces that skim, not cling to your body and stay away from low rise pants. Opt for a higher rise – they are much more comfortable!
What’s your pick for the best bag and shoes to wear for Spring 2017?
I love oversized bags this season. The Marni Shopper is my favorite. High heeled sandals with socks was all over the runway for Spring 17 and is currently my favorite shoe trend.
What’s your favorite look that you’ve styled to date?
Personal Styling-wise: My client was going to an event at Wolf Trap and I styled her in a tuxedo look with a Ted Baker Cape Blazer and Kate Spade Kick flares.
Editorial-wise: My Farm Flair shoot with Take5 Boutique, Shoe Hive and Sophie Blake.
Any celebrity that you’d love to have a chance to style?
Heidi Klum for Red Carpet and Jennifer Garner for everyday street style.
How do you use social media?
Instagram is my favorite social media platform. I use it to market and show what we do at work…not too many personal posts. I use Facebook for marketing and more family related posts.
What’s your favorite fashion or style book?
“The Truth About Style” by Stacy London and “The Fashion Book” by Phaidon.
What’s your philosophy on the “high-low mix”? Any go to “mid-price” brands?
I love high-low mixing! My philosophy is to choose wisely what you spend money on. Spend more on staple classics that will remain stylish for years and years to come. Spend less on the trendy pieces that you know you will cycle out next season. Some of my favorite mid-price brands are Everlane, Asos, Vince Camuto, Topman for men and Madewell.
How do you find inspiration?
My style depends on the day and my mood really. Like I mentioned before I have my go-to pieces, but I like to use my closet staples as wardrobe “blank slates”. I can go more classic one day, more urban funky the next.
How do you like to use color? Florals? Prints?
While my go-to color is black, I love colors! My favorite color is orange and prints–especially for going out/evening looks. I’m all about mixing prints. Just always be mindful of scale.
What would you never put a client in?
Slogan or Parody Shirts, Juicy Couture Velour Tracksuits, Lace-up bodysuits and Fur Slippers.
What do you think is the most important innovation of your lifetime thus far?
The cell phone. From the brick phone to what we can do on our phones now, it is so amazing! A close second are electric cars. Have you seen the Tesla SUV?! Insane!
What is your favorite client experience so far?
I really can’t pick one! I have clients send me photos of them in their outfits and send me text messages saying how happy they are with how they look and about their new found confidence. Seeing each client transform into the best version of themselves is what makes this job so worthwhile!
I absolutely LOVE your hair! Where do you go to get it cut?
I go to Sue Scott who is the owner of Wisp Salon in Alexandria Virginia. I have been going to her for 7 years now and she has taken my hair from mid-length to super long, to lob, to this undercut pixie. She is also a color specialist and a curly hair specialist too! She can do it all! If you mention “Clover Riot” to her, you’ll receive 10% off!
What are your favorite places to take family & friends when they’re visiting from out of town?
I like to take visitors around the whole city. We would visit the usual tourist sites like the National Mall, Downtown and DuPont Circle. And since I was born and raised here, I’d want them to see DC in a non-tourist way as well. We would walk around some of my favorite neighborhoods like H St, Shaw, 14th Street and U Street. Of course we would go to the Smithsonian Museums, especially Renwick Gallery. I would also have to take them to the National Arboretum because it’s far away from the mall and a hidden DC treasure. For food, it’s always Los Hermanos in Columbia Heights, Le Diplomate, Sister Thai in the Mosaic District and my favorite restaurant Ser in Arlington.