Lauren Messiah

How can we be stylish?

Personal stylist and School of the Arts alum Lauren Messiah (B.F.A.’03) helps us emerge from our long (sartorial) winter.

Do you ever just wonder about stuff? Something obvious? Frivolous? Completely esoteric? We do. In One Last Question, we ask an expert from the VCU community to help us learn a little more about anything. In this issue, we ask: How can we be stylish?

Spring always seems like a stylish time, and we’re tired of missing out. So, embracing our vanity, we enlisted the help of veteran professional personal stylist and School of the Arts graduate Lauren Messiah (B.F.A.’03).

“Style is self-expression,” says Messiah, author of “Style Therapy: 30 Days To Your Signature Style” and host of an eponymous 88,200-subscriber YouTube channel. “It’s a way for people to understand who you are and what you want.”

Messiah has more than a decade of style experience running Style Boss Academy, her online style school through which she coaches individuals, groups and businesses. Her work has been featured in Marie Claire, Vogue, Elle, The New York Times and then some, everywhere preaching the gospel of style. She gave us three tips.

Cast a vision. 

Messiah says once you start being intentional with your style, that’s when things begin moving in a positive direction. “I always ask my clients to create a vision for the life that they desire,” she says. “Think about your dream life and then open your eyes and look down at your clothes. Ask yourself, ‘Is that gonna take me where I wanna go?’”

Buy grown-up clothes.

Jettison your college tees and incorporate more structured pieces — a white button-up, a blazer, a nice pair of jeans. Staples are a good investment because they can be adapted for your personal aesthetic. “It’s not about playing dress-up as an adult,” Messiah says. “It’s about stepping into the energy of who you want to become.”

an illustration of a jacket and jeans

Do the seven-day selfie challenge. 

For one week, take full-body selfies of what you’re wearing, write down what you wore, how you felt about the outfit and how others might perceive it. By the end of the seven days, Messiah says, you’ll have a much better picture of the vibes you’re giving off. “The more we can be aware of the messages that we are sending out with our clothing, the better,” she says. “Everyone’s taking in that information on a subconscious level.”

an illustration of a camera