Stylist Master Class
Get to know Sofia Karvela—and learn her insider style tips
Cool. It's a word everyone chases, but few people can say they make a living from it. New York stylist Sofia Karvela, who got her start working on Sex and the City with Patricia Field, can. "I'm known for making a look edgier and cooler," says the Greek expat. "There's always a sense of ease in what I do."
We sat down with the mom of two to talk about her career, the 9-to-5 grind and why she wouldn't have it any other way. If you've ever set your sights on a job in fashion, this is one interview not to be missed.
Bonus: She works her magic on our new collection and shares her how-to styling intel to boot.
I love a monochromatic pantsuit, especially one with strong shoulders. My tip: Cinch the waist to create shape and, to bring out a cool '70s vibe, go for a pant that's a bit oversized.
How did you get into styling?
Well, I moved to New York from Athens to become a movie star—and I soon realized that I sucked. Plan B was styling. I had always liked fashion and had a pretty good eye. Then I met Patricia Field…
How did that happen?
My mom knew her. She's Greek, we're Greek and I had attended some of her parties. I asked if I could assist her and she said, "Absolutely not!" So I hustled. I told her I would do anything. She let me be her intern. I showed up and kept showing up and I would listen. After a while, I asked what else I could do for her. I didn't give up.
She sent me to work in her store, even though I didn't want to be a salesperson. But it was helpful, learning what people wanted and didn't want. Eventually, she asked me to help her on Sex and the City.
What do you love about what you do?
There's nothing glamorous about this job, but I utterly love every single chaotic, crazy, uncomfortable moment. Truly. When I see clothes, I just want to create. It doesn't have to be haute couture; it could be a thrift piece I found in the middle of the street. The beauty of styling comes in how a garment makes you feel, how you're able to tell a message through your outfit.
If sequins are out of your comfort zone, this is the way to go. Pair the jacket with a matte top and jeans, even sweatpants, for something more tomboyish. Let the jacket shine and keep the rest simple.
Layering is key when you want to transition a pretty evening top for day. The T-shirt tones it down and makes the look younger, too. And who doesn't want to look younger?
What advice do you have for people who want to become stylists?
You've got to really love it. Do it because you're obsessed and it gets you out of bed. Because the process can be painful.
You constantly doubt yourself. In New York, you're constantly compared—there's someone better, someone younger… You have to follow your own path. And oftentimes it's the path you don't expect. Stay committed. If you love it, you will find a way to make it happen. Magic happens.
Top 3 tips in the Sofia Karvela styling guide?
1. Make it effortless. Make sure you feel good in it.
2. Think about fit. Alter, tighten, cinch—make sure the clothes fall at the right place on your body. Recognize what you want to show off the most—legs, waist or chest—and work around that.
3. Don't fall into trends. Wear what's right for you. Even models don't walk around being models.
A great peplum jacket is feminine, flattering and gives you a waist. To spice things up, add a fun printed top, with matching pink tones, underneath.
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