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Fashion stylist Nini Nguyen took a similar approach to curating her home as she does to dressing her clients: It’s all about unique investment pieces, balancing sophistication with a little edge, and letting less be more. Nguyen made a name for herself by helping others discover and hone their personal style, but it’s her own individual wardrobe and impeccable Dallas home that we just can’t get enough of.
Nguyen started working in fashion when she was just a teen, working her way up from a job at a retail store to eventually venturing off to begin her own personal styling business in Dallas.
“I’m 35, so it's been, like, 20 years. I still cannot believe that's how long I have been in fashion, but I’ve always loved clothes since I was a very young age. I just love it. I don't look at it as work, because it’s just like a hobby,” she says. “Time goes by really fast when I get to play with clothes, when I get to dress clients, when I get to see new merchandise, when I get to see things on the runway–it just gives me all this happiness and energy.”
She explains that through word-of-mouth, she built a posh clientele in Dallas and beyond. Now, she even counts Rihanna as a fan and client. (The Bad Gal found Nini’s profile on Instagram several years ago and they’ve been working together ever since.)
Nini believes the key is to listen to her clients and make them feel as comfortable as possible while slowly but surely transforming their closet. “It takes a little time to get to know somebody’s style,” she says.
Luckily, Nguyen let us spend a little time getting to know her own style–and giving us some hot tips along the way.
How would you describe your style?
At this current moment, my style is super casual. Early in the morning, I just put on a pair of yoga leggings, a sports bra, and an oversized sweatshirt–that's kind of like my morning look. But if I'm going to work, then I like to wear a men's shirt, oversized jeans, or cargo pants, and a long sleeve or short sleeve t-shirt. I love menswear, so I incorporate a lot of that into my looks. I used to wear a lot of dresses. I don't wear many dresses anymore, because of my lifestyle now, but I still want to look fashionable, so I look for more classic pieces, and more menswear pieces to incorporate in my “mom life” casual wardrobe.
You always have the best accessories! What’s your advice for accessorizing?
I'm really into head scarves. You can really elevate a look just by putting on a headscarf. You can wear, like, a slouchy pair of jeans and you can wear a simple t-shirt, that will give you a look. If you add in a headscarf, it totally elevates your look to a different level. And then you add in a jacket, and it completely changes the look.
I like to keep my accessories a little bit minimal, but bold at the same time. Like a really big gold ring, or big gold earrings. I love gold. I feel like, if you want your face to pop, just wear gold.
I think one great thing about your style is that you have so many unique pieces. What do you look for when you’re shopping for statement pieces?
I always recommend to people and my clients, just buy less, but really invest in really good pieces. Buy a vintage Chanel blazer, or a vintage Christian Dior blazer–like a good piece that is almost one of a kind, that not many people have, something that’s special to you when you wear it. Instead of buying 10 new outfits, maybe just buy two new outfits that you can keep 20 years from now, that you can pass down to your kid.
Just imagine if you wear that jacket all the time or that dress all the time, it’s going to be worth their investment. Just don’t buy junk! I’m against buying junk.
How do you feel about shopping for trends, then?
I think, like, 20% of it is totally okay, because we all want to be ahead with fashion. We want to be trendy, of course, we want to be that. But, for trendy pieces, I wouldn't put a lot of money in it. For example, if Neon is really big this season, I would get, you know, one or two pieces of neon, so you can get satisfaction out of it, or wear it one or two times, but don't spend a fortune. Trends come and go.
What’s one piece you think every woman needs for fall?
I would say an oversized men's blazer dress. I think that's so chic, I feel like everybody can use that. I would recommend black. You can wear it as a blazer with a t-shirt and jeans, you can wear it as a dress with over the knee boots, you can wear it over your workout leggings with flip flops. I feel like that is like one item–it doesn't matter if it's fall, winter, whenever–that's one item that every woman should own in their closet.
Do you take a similar approach to your home as you do to fashion?
Yes, I would think so. I know what I want, but sometimes it can be very overwhelming for me to put it together. I don't really have an eye for that. So, thankfully I work with my interior designer James McInroe. I told him I want minimalist, but really bold. I don't want a bunch of stuff around, just like how I dress myself, I don't want a bunch of stuff on my body, but I want that timeless look. I'm all about clean lines, even when I'm dressing myself… It's the same thing with my house.
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