By Yuwa Vosper
Not just the boutique owner of Style Unleashed, Michelle West also has an eclectic and trendy signature style. With her slender-toned frame and megawatt smile, West always seems to take strategic risks with her styling by pairing trendy items with classic garments. While preparing for her trunk show at Nail Finiti, a luxury nail salon in Baton Rouge, West took time to give readers advice on how to break the rules to find their own personal style.
Q: What inspires your personal style?
A: I get my inspiration from many places. It just depends on the day. Sometimes I’m wake up feeling like a flowerchild and choose a floral romper, and sometimes I feel like a rockstar, so I put on some leather leggings. I do keep up with the upcoming runway trends; but I don’t necessarily depend on them. I just let my imagination guide me, and never judge something while its still on the hanger.
Q: How do you infuse your style, or how does your style influence what you purchase for Style Unleashed?
A: My style has a very big influence on what I purchase for Style Unleashed. I would always receive compliments on my clothes and outfit combinations, which is why people would always say, “You should open a boutique.” Now, anytime I buy something, I ask myself two questions: 1. Would I wear that? 2. Would I pay this amount for that?
I like to keep it affordable while still delivering good quality. Also, we like to have something for women of all ages; so anything outside of my age range, I put myself in these customers’ shoes. Generally, my customers are purchasing from me because they like my style. This is why I like to base it off my own personal style, which is usually a little bit of everything. I will definitely continue to feature creative and unique merchandise while increasing my inventory and styles.
Q: What do you find yourself wearing the most or purchasing the most this fall?
A: This is definitely a tie between jumpsuits, cardigans, and leather! I know, one extreme to the next [laughing]. But again, I love to have a variety because I don’t know what I will wake up in the mood to wear. Leopard print and leather are two of the biggest trends this fall; so, I definitely stay on the hunt for some good leather and leopard pieces − not combined though [laughing].
Q: What style advice would you give readers on fall trends?
A: My style advice for readers this fall is leather, leopard, orange, and gray. Leather accents on items are fantastic like a leather trim or leather-front with cotton or chiffon back. It adds so much to one garment. Leopard accents are great; but an all over leopard dress or romper (like we have at Style Unleashed) is a definite bold piece. Add a simple shoe, clutch and a bangle, and boom! You have an outfit for the night. Additionally, orange and gray are both great for fall. The best thing about gray is that it is a neutral; therefore, it can be paired with anything.
My general fashion advice regardless of the season is to break the rules! The old fashion rules dictating don’t wear black and brown together, or don’t wear white after Labor Day −scratch that! Winter White is essential in every girl’s closet and can be worn year round. Breaking the ‘rules’ even more, there is nothing I love more than mixing colors like black, brown, or taupe [which many women are told not to wear because the colors are all within the same color spectrum and are not traditionally paired together].
Rules in fashion can be broken as long as they are done right and you’re confident in what you wear. With that said, confidence is one of the main factors in fashion. Own your personal style and have fun with it.