So not all of us can dress like we’ve just stepped out of Vogue or Marie Claire all the time. Sometimes we hit it, sometimes we just miss it. Just like me. There are times when I get compliments on my outfit. But there are also instances when I feel like I must have dressed up on crack before leaving for work.

But there’s nothing more terrible than being totally fashion clueless. I’m not talking about not being up-to-date with the latest trends here. It’s when a person doesn’t know how to dress right on certain occasions, or what dress is appropriate for her body shape and what truly reflects his personality.  Like I don’t think it is cool for a 50-year old Mom of four to run around donned in Goth attire and makeup. Do you?

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Fashion is dynamic. Rules and ideas change constantly. Of course there are also fixed rules that remain constant across fad phases. But generally, it evolves. From being merely functional to a means of self-expression or status symbol, the purpose of clothing has gone through many changes.

While I totally subscribe to the time-old axiom that real beauty comes from within our selves, external beauty also matters. Impressions are created on the way we look, on how we present ourselves, the way we act, speak and the clothing we wear.

Apart from makeup, clothes can also make or break you. It can leave a positive impression or cause a permanent damage to your image. This goes true especially during interviews. Most headhunters think it is better to come to an interview overdressed (in full corporate attire, I mean) than to be underdressed.

Wear the right makeup, accessories and clothing for the right occasion.

Wear the right makeup, accessories and clothing for the right time and occasion.

But it isn’t just in interviews or party or any special occasion that we have to be properly dressed. My personal rule when going out of the house is to wear something decent at the least.

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What Not to Wear

Good thing fashion experts abound in magazines, on the Internet and on TV. What Not To Wear is one example of this. Unlike other fashion police TV programs where so-called fashion pundits ambush you and drag your reluctant arse to the mall to buy new clothes from their sponsors for a certain affair, What Not To Wear would give you actual fashion advice that are practical, helpful and applicable to everyday life. Once you’ve been transformed into a modish woman under the amazing hands of style pundits Stacy London and Clinton Kelly, you become a butterfly for life (that is, if you follow their advice to heart). That’s because What Not To Wear digs deeper into the problem, determining the root cause and addressing your fashion dilemmas right at its source.

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Kim Avena, owner of Keestine Outlets poses with her fashion idol Stacy London

Stacy London reminds me of my friend Kim Avena who decided to take the fashion route. Kim and I were both Communication Arts students. I ended up in Public Relations and writing; she invaded the glamorous world of fashion.

Stylish and a trendsetter

Stylish and a trendsetter

I remember Kim as one of my best-dressed schoolmates in high school. She has the knack and innate sense of what’s hot and trendy even at an early age. This interest is what, perhaps, prodded her to pursue this type of career.

Even before she started Keestine Outlets, an online fashion store, she was already dressing up local celebrities. She used to own a boutique in Greenhills that sponsored the outfits of Pinoy Big Brother host Toni Gonzaga. Pinoy Big Brother is the local franchise of Endemol’s Big Brother.

Kim and Toni

One of her clients was singer-actress-host Toni Gonzaga.

When she went to the United States, Kim took this opportunity to chase her dream of becoming an ultimate fashion stylist with her fellow Filipinas as her clients. So she opened Keestine Outlets which offers affordable international luxury brands for her customers in the Philippines.

Keestine Outlets

Keestine Outlets

Despite being in the early stage of success, Kim remains to be that girl with simple dreams and joys. That includes meeting in person her ultimate idol Stacy London. To others this may sound shallow but it’s a BIG DEAL for Kim. For her, it’s like winning the lottery or something. If I would faint at a close encounter with Adam Levine or George Clooney, Kim almost did cartwheels when she gets to hug Stacy.

Stacy hugged Kim tight after she told her that she has been watching her in the Philippines and that her show with Clinton Kelly has great following. Stacy replied that Kim makes her proud.

Stacy hugged Kim tight after she told her that she has been watching her in the Philippines and that her show with Clinton Kelly has great following. Stacy replied that Kim makes her proud.

Kim and Stacy 1

Stacy mimicked Kim by screaming “LIFE CHANGING??!” at the camera. Kim admitted to her that this meeting would change her life forever and she thinks Stacy’s so modest not to take credit.

I’m so happy for you Kimmy! I know Stacy is not only your fashion icon but also your inspiration.

Stacy was the first to loudly greet Kim "HELLOOOO!!!"She even acknowledged Kim's tweets before that meeting.

Stacy was the first to loudly greet Kim “HELLOOOO!!!”
She even acknowledged Kim’s tweets before that meeting.

Kim shared to me that she looks up to Stacy and the entire StyleforHire team for learnings, which she intends to share with her kababayans (fellow Filipinas). 

Kim asked Stacy on what's the right shoes for petite ladies like her. Stacy saw that Kim had on Kate Spade's “Billow” peeptoes.  She advised that nstead of wearing pumps with a big bow detail, Kim could opt for pointed pumps without any accent that covers the skin or mid part of the foot to make her legs look longer. Stacy herself was wearing a Jean-Michel Cazabat Emma snakeskin pumps that day.

Kim asked Stacy on what’s the right shoes for petite ladies like her. Stacy saw that Kim had on Kate Spade’s “Billow” peep toes  She advised that instead of wearing pumps with a big bow detail, Kim could opt for pointed pumps without any accent that covers the skin or mid part of the foot to make her legs look longer. Stacy herself was wearing Jean-Michel Cazabat Emma snakeskin pumps that day.

Both Stacy and Style for Hire fashion director Kate Powell discussed with Kim the ideal length of skirt  for different height.  Stacy said knee-length skirts and dresses are appropriate at all times. In most cases, "The length of your skirt depends on how comfortable are you wearing it," she added.

Both Stacy and Style for Hire fashion director Kate Powell discussed with Kim the ideal length of skirt for different heights. Stacy said knee-length skirts and dresses are appropriate at all times. In most cases, “The length of your skirt depends on how comfortable you are wearing it,” she added.

I wouldn’t be surprised if someday she’ll join the ranks of Filipinas who have created waves not only in the US but the rest of the world. Women like Ms. Universe Runner Ups Janine Tugonon, Shamcey Supsup and Venus Raj, American Idol batch 11 finalist Jessica Sanchez, Monique Lhuillier and Josie Natori, among others.

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Look! Style for Hire retweeted Kim’s tweet about meeting Stacy.

However, Kim humbly countered that she still has a long way to go. “It’s still a very long shot. It will take a while before I finally reach my dreams,” she confessed. “But I promise to continuously hone my craft and sharpen my skills.”  

With Kim at the helm, Keestine Outlets won’t be your average online clothing store. It’s an online stylebook, fashion school and personal shopper rolled into one. Its mission is to serve as your personal stylist and shopping buddy who are always ready to give you fashion advice whether you are a brand-conscious client or shopaholic on a budget. Just subscribe to her page www.facebook.com/koutlets and send her a private message for prices and other queries.

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About Ira Martin

They say women marry men who look like their dad. Or at least, similar in attitude and values. My father is a (retired) professional banker who's very family-oriented. So is my husband.

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