Hello fashionistas!

I want to start by thanking Patrick Armstrong for giving me this new monthly fashion column. I am so excited to have the opportunity to share my thoughts and philosophies about fashion with Middle Tennessee’s fashion-savvy GLBT community.

Each month, I hope to help readers better understand fashion and how to make it work best for you. I have had much success in my career as a wardrobe stylist, designer, and boutique owner, because I keep my approach to fashion simple: know the person before choosing the clothes.

My job is not to go out and pull a bunch of clothing off of a rack and hand it to an artist or customer to try on – that’s personal shopping. I need to understand the person and their body. Once I know his or her needs, I am able to use my creativity to produce an awesome finished product. It’s an art – like being a painter.

Building a complete wardrobe is the result of careful choices and good planning. I am a true believer in less-is-more. Once you have classic pieces that fit well – a blazer, the perfect tee, a properly-fitting pair of pants, etc. – you can add other things, like accessories. However, it all really comes down to having a solid foundation on which to build.

Next, you can look at adding some fun pieces. As it’s the changing of the seasons and people are looking to expand their wardrobes, too often I am asked, “What are the new trends for the season?”

Some trends are great to follow, such as a great bag or the newest interior design color, but when it comes to actually dressing your body, the most important thing to answer is “what is your own personal statement?”

Let’s take a look at a man’s dressed-up environment. For a “classic” look an elegant, black tuxedo will look fantastic after it’s professionally fitted, and it can always be spiced up by a colorful bow tie for a pop of color. A pair of waxed denim jeans can give a polished look, yet give a rocker’s edge, and can be dressed up with a three quarter-length frock coat and a great scarf.

A high profile business executive can take a modern silk and mohair suit and pair it with a unique tie or luxurious silk scarf, as well as add a blast of color with a custom-fit high collar dress shirt. And, for the more artistic man, wearing a riding pant with a ruffled shirt and vest will exude creativity, while maintaining a polished look.

In all, whether I’m dressing a person in haute-couture gowns or designing the perfect custom-made dinner jacket, I believe the best way to dress yourself or someone else includes two components: the right fit and what reflects your personality.

Ultimately, in order for a person to truly look good, one must wear clothing with confidence and not allow the clothing to wear the person.

Renee Layher is a stylist to the stars and owner of the menswear boutique, The Label, located at 2222 12th Ave. S. in Nashville. Store hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Personal styling is available. For private appointments, please call (615) 394-1541. For more information, please visit www.thelabelnashville.com or email info@thelabelnashville.com.

Photo courtesy of Red Bull

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Photo courtesy of Rumble Boxing Gulch Nashville

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For two years, there’s been nothing left for us travel junkies to do but sit at home and try to find new destinations that we will conquer once we defeat what appears to be the biggest villain of the 21st century. But once that happens, hold your bags tight because we will be up for some of the most interesting travel experiences. Take a look at some ideas for your post-COVID traveling plans:

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