Fashion // June 16, 2014

As a personal stylist, clients often ask me what my budget is for updating my wardrobe. Honestly, not much. And I don’t shop for myself very often. Why? Because I have a closet full of clothes I love. I wear everything in my closet and am constantly clearing it out as I find pieces that have either lived a good life or just aren’t me anymore.

As you evolve as a person, so does your style. Your style is an outward reflection of your inner self. I usually buy pieces one at a time as I realize a need or a strong desire and I already have a few outfit ideas for the new piece. If you’re going on a shopping spree with a friend and impulsively buying new pieces, I guarantee you are wasting money on your wardrobe. How many items in your closet still have the price tags on? Why aren’t you wearing them? What is holding you back?

There are two possible scenarios:
1)    You were drawn to a piece for its color/print/style, but you just don’t know how to create an outfit around it. All you need are the right tools and an expert to guide you.
2)    You were forcing it to work because you were trying to fit a trend or a mold. It doesn’t fit quite right and/or the print/color are a bit off.

During a style session with a client, often some of my favorite finds and the most exciting new outfits are created with the pieces from scenario one. Figuring out what works is even more fun because it’s the first step for a client to evolve and define her style. She sees herself more clearly.
Now, how to stop wasting money on your wardrobe:

  • Assess The Situation. Ask yourself what do you have versus what is missing? This is the number one way U*styled helps clients – literally merchandising your closet so that it starts to feel like shopping in the best boutique each morning.
  • Create A Wardrobe you Love Action Plan (WYLAP). Create a list of items that would really maximize your wardrobe and allow for lots of fun mixing + matching. Prioritize that list. Identify designers and stores that will have great options for you in your price point.
  • Set A Budget. Rome wasn’t built in a day. Give yourself a monthly clothing allowance and start checking off your WYLAP list every month or every other month.
  • Stop Buying In Bulk. Aim for 3-5 new items with each shopping trip. Even with Boutique Box, we are mindful of the client’s budget and needs. To maximize value, we’ll go up to eight items or so, but that is with expert help. Pace yourself. You have a lifetime to build a wardrobe you love.

Have you already created a WYLAP? I would love to know what is next on your shopping list! Leave me a comment below.

Published in Fashion

Style // January 13, 2014

In dating, as in life, how you show up speaks volumes before you even get the chance to share how witty, smart and accomplished you are already.  So, you have to show up as the best version of you. How can your potential partner connect with you if you aren’t feeling like your most beautiful, confident self?

We may be talking dating and attraction and style here, but the first step for attracting your ideal guy is all about YOU. Your hopes, dreams, career ambitions, lifestyle wants, values, etc. You want a guy (or gal) who complements you, your goals and your lifestyle. Maybe they push you a bit outside of your comfort zone, but in a way that helps you grow.

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Style is not about frivolity. Great style means creating an outer presentation that reflects the inner you. So be clear on your values and WHO you are before you even start to incorporate the following hints and tips to put a little extra polish on your look.

Wear Color

Color influences your mood as well as how other people perceive you. How many times do you get complimented when you’re wearing your favorite hue?

People notice color. Especially in a sea of boring black and white.

Your favorite color actually speaks volumes about your personality. My website has a great, yet quick summary of the meaning of each shade.

Flattering Fit

This is the number one mistake women make. Either their clothes are too big or too tight. Neither is good. Usually, women who want to hide are wearing clothes that are too big so they don’t show their body. Well instead, you’re making yourself look bigger than you are! You want clothes to skim your body and show your shape. You shouldn’t have to tug at a dress to keep it in place, nor should it bunch up in a funny way because it’s too tight.

An easy go-to look if you want to cover a bit, but still look alluring? Skinny jeans + heels + flowing blouse + sexy accessories.

Now when I say flowing, I mean something that really flows. Not a potato sack. You should be able to see your waist and shape, but be forgiving.

Accentuate the Positive

If you’ve got a great bum, rock it by wearing blouses that hit at the hip bone. If you’ve got a great rack, flaunt it (tastefully)! If you’ve got strong legs or arms, show them off!

Dress to accentuate your assets. Every woman’s body is different and there is someone to love every body type. So stop trying to have the tiniest waist or the smallest thighs. Your body is perfect just as it is, to that perfect person. So, work it!

Wear skirts if your legs are your assets. If you’ve got killer curves, focus on fitted outfits that define your waist.


If you’ve got some rock n’ roll in you, let it rock. If you’re the girl who could spend a whole day reading, own your nerdy. If Saturday morning golf sounds perfect, then you may have a bit of prep in your style. Maybe you’ve got a blend of preppy-rock-nerd that is uniquely YOU.

The bottom line is that you can’t try to dress like anyone else. You can go outside of your comfort zone to grow to the next level in style, but do not go out of your comfort zone for the sake of a trend. You have to be you. Bring out the best version of yourself by wearing color, clothes that fit and adding a bit of personality to your style.

You can take these tips and apply them to dating, speaking on stage, showing up for work and in your everyday casual life.  Your personal style should translate across all of these different lifestyle needs. If you’re being true to you, your style can attract more than just love.

Published in Style
Monday, 25 November 2013 03:27

MW Behind The Scenes | Catherine Cassidy

Name: Catherine Cassidy
Occupation: CEO of U*styled
Location: Based in LA
Twitter handle: @catherinecassid
What is your favorite piece of clothing? Why?: My gray boots – they have been with me through thick and thin, and they instantly add style to any outfit.

Prior to launching U*styled in 2008, I worked as a merchandiser in the corporate office of a major contemporary label. It was my dream job! I landed it just a year out of college without the traditional background or degree in merchandising. I rationalized that a business degree from USC was just as valuable (if not more!) than a merchandising degree or experience. It turns out that I was right! I got the job because I had a lot of analytical experience and skills to complement my creative skills.

It’s this balance of creative + analytical that has helped me build a successful lifestyle business over the last five years. It’s what I loved about merchandising, and it’s what I love about having my own business.

I was only at that position for two and a half years, but because of the knowledge I gained, it was like dog years. I learned SO much in those years, and I have learned exponentially more in the years since founding U*styled. For all the good and the bad, I would not change anything.

Catherine pictured with Brittney Castro, shooting a video on budgeting for your upscale wardrobe

At U*styled, we work with professional women who want to build a wardrobe they love to support them in achieving their personal and professional goals. We give them the tools to step into their “style power,” get that promotion, land the new client and create a life they love. All easily and effortlessly.

As a CEO of a growing Fashion brand, I wanted to share what I’ve learned is paramount for success in life and style.

There is no such thing as Failure

There is only giving up. If something isn’t working, do the work to figure out why. Then, tweak it and enjoy the success. Sometimes it takes a number of tweaks, but that’s all to get you to exactly where you need to be and doing exactly what you need to do. In business, they call this a pivot. It happens all the time and leads to immense success.

Add Value

Whatever you are doing, your goal should be to add value. As an employee, a service provider, a CEO or even a volunteer. Don’t expect to just get handed a paycheck; you have to earn a paycheck. And if you’re in the right situation, the value you provide will always be recognized.

Just As You Are

Stop comparing yourself to your neighbor or competitor. They don’t matter. You do. There is enough of everything to go around, so focus on being the best version of you and doing the best job that you can. Everything will fall into place perfectly as long as you show up and do the work as YOU.

Add A Pop

Add some fun color and personality to your style. Black is boring. Even if it’s just a pop of color in your accessories, it immediately adds a bit of personality to your style. So you stand out. You get seen. Which means your work gets noticed, and you get promoted or hired. Don’t hide, shine.

If you want more career, life and style inspiration, head over to and sign up for our complimentary guide to Building a Wardrobe you Love. You’ll also get updates when new articles post or new Style Power interviews are coming up.

Get more MW Behind the Scenes!

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Published in Current

Business // July 15, 2013 

Can you define your personal brand?

If you had to think about it, you can’t.

Why does it matter?

In the words of business icon Warren Buffet: “Your premium brand had better [be] delivering something special or it’s not going to get the business.”

In the last five years the idea of a “personal brand” has become more important, even if you’re a corporate employee.  Perhaps especially if you’re a corporate employee! With the uncertainty in the economy, people realized that they couldn’t afford to skate through their workdays unnoticed if they wanted to keep their jobs, much less earn a promotion.

If you want to build your career and success, as any MADE woman does, you need to take the initiative, show up every day and look for ways to innovate and stand out.

You need to define your Personal Brand. The POWER of a brand lies in its ability to speak for you and before you.

As any marketing executive can tell you it takes a lot of work to create a brand. So sit down and take some time out to create your own, strong personal brand:

Personal Brand Element #1 – VALUE

Creating your personal brand starts with understanding the value you offer. What differentiates you? What makes you stand out from the competition or your co-workers? Brainstorm your unique skill sets as well as your unique attributes. Are you a good communicator? Do you stay cool under pressure (Emotional Intelligence is just as important as IQ)?

Personal Brand Element #2 – VISIBILITY

What kind of an impression do you want to leave with co-workers, colleagues, clients or managers? This means becoming recognized for something so that even others are talking about you. However, it starts with YOU showing up and stepping out to make yourself visible. Attend networking events, ask for introductions and also offer introductions. All while keeping in mind what it is you want to be known for as the go-to expert.

Personal Brand Element #3 – AUTHENTICITY

It’s personal for a reason. It’s all about YOU. If people sense that you’re being inauthentic, even if it’s with good intentions, they won’t trust you. This means that if you’re trying to be a certain way because that’s how you think you’re supposed to be, you’re inadvertently coming off as untrustworthy. OWN all of YOU.

Personal Brand Element #4 – IMAGE
As the uber-successful Tony Robbins shares, “Initially, style is more important than substance. If you don’t have the right style, you won’t get to share any of your substance.”

Your style and presentation is a visual representation of your brand. Communication is 55% visual. You are communicating who you are before you even get a chance to speak. Your favorite color to wear subconsciously tells people a bit about your values. Your accessories, hair, nails, shoes, etc. is evidence to your attention to detail. Your outfit hints at your personality.  Finally, your image must be appropriate to the audience without completely sacrificing who you are. For example, if it’s a suit culture, add color, accessories and heels to bring in your personality and brand.

Personal Brand Element #5 - CONSISTENCY

Whether you’re going for coffee or leading the meeting, your focus on your visual presentation should be the same. You don’t have to put a lot of effort into your ‘coffee casual’ look to still be polished, professional and confident if you happened to run into a potential client or colleague. The same is true with all written communication – whether on Facebook, in email or on LinkedIN, write with the intention of building your Personal Brand.

What is your Personal Brand? Tell us in the comments below!

Published in Business
Friday, 09 August 2013 03:38

Style | Should You Hire A Stylist?

Style // August 12, 2013

Having a personal stylist isn’t just for celebrities. Any woman who wants to improve her quality of life personally and professionally should try working with a stylist.

Why? Let’s break it down.

Learning how to dress your body type -- and knowing what’s appropriate for different settings -- will help you dress to impress at any event. This will give you the kind of confidence that turns heads and allow you to be more visible both personally and professionally.

Think about it: if you’re in line for coffee behind a hottie but you feel frumpy in your outfit, would you have the confidence to start a little small talk conversation? Not likely. And who knows where that conversation could potentially lead…

It’s you, only better. If you’re working with the right stylist, they will bring out your inner style;  tweaking what you’ve already got so that it’s still authentic, but much more polished and pulled together.

Why does it matter if you’re more polished and pulled together? Because you lead with your look. Communication is 55% physical and, when you meet someone, you’re making a first impression before you even have a chance to speak your brilliant thoughts. You better take advantage of that 55% and comb your hair, define your waist, add some mascara and shine your shoes!

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Need more convincing? You can actually save time and money when you work with a stylist. Of course, you have to invest in the service. But what you spend on the service saves you time getting ready every morning and makes shopping a more streamlined and fun experience.

If you have a little extra money to invest in yourself, having a stylist shop for you is a transformative experience. Items selected just for you and your personal style are brought to you in the comfort of your own home.

In the long run, you save thousands by working with a stylist since you’ll have clothes you love, that fit better and allow you to create new outfits. Compare this to the clothes you have still sitting in your closet with the price tags on them and it’s a bargain!

To get the most out of working with a stylist, you need to keep in mind that you’re making an investment in your sanity as much as in your style and career (and love life!). Book an appointment or a “style session” first to purge and take stock of your wardrobe. Since many women are overwhelmed by the information they get in the first session, opt for 3 or more sessions over the course of the year. This way, you’re updating your looks seasonally and further integrating all the tools your genius stylist is giving you. Under the tutelage of your stylist, you’ll soon be able to create killer outfits on your own.

The bottom line: once you work with a stylist, you’ll be able to open your closet each morning and decide exactly what you want to wear in five minutes instead of twenty. And you’ll always have something ready for that last-minute special event. If you have the resources, investing in a stylist will take your wardrobe -- and your personal brand -- to the next level. Plus, it’s FUN!

Published in Fashion

Style // July 15, 2013

I get it. You’re busy. You need your beauty sleep, so you hit snooze a few extra times before you jump out of bed to get ready for the day. Those few precious moments of sleep may seem like a luxury at first, but how do you really feel when you start your day that way? Getting ready as quickly as possible, throwing on some outfit that ‘works’ and grabbing coffee + a bagel to go? I’m betting it’s frazzled and rushed.

I’m now a business owner so luckily I can set my own schedule -- but that doesn’t mean my mornings are any less busy. Since I’ve created a morning routine for myself a year ago, I have more energy for everything I want to accomplish in a day and for serving those I want to help. I stick to the script and make sure I do the five thing below everyday to make sure I walk out the door feeling fabulous and focused.

Center yourself + Express Gratitude

Take anywhere from 5-20 minutes when you first wake up to be still. Even if it is while you’re lying in bed. Meditate by focusing on your breath or recite a mantra if you have trouble calming your mind. Just be.

This stillness will give you clarity throughout the day when you’re faced with problems that need quick solutions, it will give you calm while you’re stuck in traffic and it will give you energy to accomplish all of your goals for the day easily + effortlessly.

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Take another 5 minutes to express your gratitude, whether verbally, mentally or written. (I stole this one from Oprah.) Focus on what you have while being grateful for all that you are about to receive.

Fuel Your Body

Don’t skip breakfast. Eat a balance of protein + carbs (I prefer gluten free options so I’m not hungry a few hours later). Your brain and your body will thank you!

Add Color!

As a stylist, I’m a stickler for adding color to your outfit – even if it’s just with your nail polish! Color has meaning and the power to influence your mood as much as it influences how people perceive you. So, if you’re feeling especially blah (it happens at least once a month!), you must add color. If you have a big meeting, add color to boost your confidence as well as to impart a specific message on your audience.

Add Structure to Your Style

The number one mistake I see women make is wearing clothes that are too big when they think they are just covering their body. They're actually making themselves look bigger than they are (women of all sizes are guilty of this). If an outfit is looking too voluminous, add structure with a jacket, a belt or even a statement necklace.

Don’t Forget the Mascara!

The point of all of this is to FEEL amazing every day so you can take on the world! Add the final touch of polish to your presentation. I’m not advocating for a full face of makeup if that’s not what you’re into, but some eyeliner and mascara makes a world of difference. The eyes are the window to our soul, after all. You can have a bare-bones routine of powder, blush, under-eye concealer (a must for me, personally!), tight line eyeliner (the most natural looking) and some mascara done in no more than 5 minutes.

OK. Now that you’ve taken care of yourself, you’re ready to take on the world!

Feels amazing, right?

Published in Style

Style // May 6, 2013 

“As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

~ Marianne Williamson

Are you wondering how this quote relates to the power of color in your wardrobe? First, how you present yourself is how you ask the world to perceive you. Other’s perception of you, starts most intrinsically with your wardrobe and your confidence (often, they go hand in hand!).

Second, color influences mood and perception. Think about it. How do you feel when you wear all black? How do people respond to you? How about when you wear your favorite purple top? Your reaction is a lot stronger and you get so many more compliments, don’t you? We naturally gravitate to certain colors because we can instantly see and feel the difference as soon as we put it on. We see our complexion miraculously improve and our shoulders pull up a little straighter. Once you recognize this, make a mental note on how a color makes you feel (or, if you need to, write it down).

Incorporating color into your wardrobe and your brand image

Think about how much color you have in your wardrobe. Is there any one color that really dominates? Possibly two? Well, then you’ve already subconsciously chosen what I like to call your “Power Color” -- The color that brings out the best in you – your complexion, your personality and, thus, how others perceive you.

Color Cues

Since your image is your brand, take the following into consideration when preparing for a presentation, meeting or even just a hot date:

  • Choose one of your Power Colors (yes, you can have more than one) for how it makes you feel, look and be perceived. Incorporate it into your outfit to really make you ‘pop’ in front of an audience.
  • If you’re selling something (even if it’s just that you’re an expert), consider the meanings associated with different colors. Though, don’t wear a color for it’s specific meaning if it doesn’t make you look or feel great. When in doubt, wear blue. It’s the most universally flattering shade (and denotes trust and loyalty!).
  • Avoid black and white. They can be built into an outfit, but should not be the dominant colors – white especially. Black can be perceived as too harsh while white just washes you out, so it does nothing for your complexion. Caveat: if they are what you are trying to go for in mood (black – sophistication; white – pure, clean), then you’ll just have to make up for it with a bit of extra blush and lip color!
  • If you’re keeping your outfit simple with solid colors, you can have some fun with accessories, but use your good judgment. Accessories enhance an outfit, add a complementary color or add sparkle by your face. People should be paying attention to what you say, not distracted by something you’re wearing.

How people perceive you results from a combination of how the color makes you look and feel as well as how the color itself is perceived. So, you need to take all of these into consideration when identifying your power color as well. Remember this for when you’re shopping, needing a mood boost, and when you’re preparing for a presentation. Don’t hide behind black!

Are you ready to shine?

Published in Fashion