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Travel to Seattle

 
 

My Seattle Stylist

25 May 2016

Words: Andrew Birbeck / Images: My Seattle Stylist

Career changes are what almost all of us dream about at some stage of our lives or another, but what terrifyingly few of us ever really push through. In that respect, Catherine Keers is a notable success. Not that her original career choice was a disappointment; far from it. Headhunted by Microsoft as a project manager for its European operations, she travelled extensively, but after a childhood spent moving around, it was this that made her poke her head above the parapet and question what was going on.

“As interesting as the job was, ultimately, the corporate life really wasn’t for me,” says Keers. But IT was still to play a role in her future, albeit a sideways one. Her husband also worked at Microsoft, and out of the blue was offered a move to Seattle, a city known for coffee, Nirvana and, yes, IT.

“On settling in, I noticed the city had very few good wardrobe stylists. I’d always been into fashion, or more accurately, style. I love clothes. It’s that simple. Then it dawned on me, it was a market that was a perfect fit. So I decided to jump in.”

A combination of being style-savvy and a wealth of business experience, specifically in the IT world, then came into play.

“I guess my look is a little different to the norm here,” says Keers. “More eclectic, edgy and European. It seems a lot of Seattleites were drawn to it. That’s one thing, but I needed to build a business first and foremost. A great website was number one, then I worked on social media and SEO to get to the top of the search engines. I used every social medium I could to get connected to the right people. Word of mouth was key, too. My first private clients spread the word and off it went from there. Great reviews and other clients followed. Then some well-known photographers approached me to do fashion shoots. It was a terrifying, yet incredibly exciting, learning curve.”

At present there are two sides to the business: personal styling and commercial photographic styling, and art direction. Realising the value of creating an all-encompassing brand, Keers is also currently working with a top local designer with a view to launching her own clothing range next year.

As Keers styles both men and women, it gives her something of a glimpse into the style psyche of both. “In general, men are fairly open to new ideas and defining how they want to look. Having said that, their options tend to be a lot more limited. Women are faced with endless choices, often dictated by celebrity and media trends. So for them, it’s usually a more complex decision-making process.”

Ultimately, it’s all about how you see yourself. “Fashion is trend-based,” says Keers. “Style is individual, your interpretation of what you like, what looks good on you and your vision of how you want to present yourself to the world. My advice is to stick to the basics then go from there. Make each piece work and be bold enough to spend the extra dollar. That way you’ll end with a wardrobe full of amazing things.”

myseattlestylist.com

LOCAL KNOWLEDGE

For stylish Seattle head to……
Baby And Co, Mario’s, Butch Blum, Turgeon-Raine, Totokaelo and the wonderful designer Kate Mensah.

The top hair salons in town are…
For women, Rory in Coupe Rokei, but book ahead, she’s always busy. You’ll look like you just stepped off a magazine cover. Men should see Dru at Chrome Salon, he’s ace.

For the coolest views make for…
Columbia Tower, Space Needle, Sunset At Aqua By El Gaucho restaurant, Seattle Ferris Wheel. On a sunny day, settle into a beach bar and watch the sunset shine on the city skyline from Alki beach.

For a taste of Seattle at its best eat at…
Il Bistro in Pike’s Market, Lola’s, the Pink Door (catch a trapeze show while you dine), The Walrus and the Carpenter, Toulouse Petit for a lively atmosphere.

The best advice I can give is…
Open as many windows as possible, see what flies through, then grab on to whatever excites you most.

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