Just as William Strunk's "Elements of Style" is the time-tested bible for writers hoping to master language's complex commandments, a new Milwaukee company of the same name is also a style guide. But rather than help you compose with perfect grammar, this one will aid you in impeccable outfit ensemble.
Beauty might be in the eye of the beholder, but let's face it; some things are just wrong.
It's OK, Jordan Dechambre-Childers is here to help. Her recently launched Elements of Style is a personal shopping and wardrobe consultation service that not only polices fashion crimes, but also teaches the skills to avoid them in the future.
A skilled stylist, Dechambre-Childers works with two major client types: the misguided dresser and the natural fashionista with no time to shop. Her services begin with a consultation to determine need -- one killer outfit for a special night out? A seasonal refresher? A complete closet overhaul? -- and personal style. The client answers a basic lifestyle survey that poses a critical fashion question: Which celebrity dresses well?
"It's amazing how much choosing Jennifer Aniston's look over Maggie Gyllenhaal's says about you," says Dechambre-Childers, who has worked as a magazine fashion editor for four years, is a fashion blogger for OnMilwaukee.com and is a co-chair of Symphony Style, Milwaukee's couture fashion show.
When the interview is done, she hits the stores with your best interests, and budget, in mind, able to execute panache with as much cash as you're willing to allot.
"I've always been interested in fashion and entertainment and thought that I'd move out to L.A. and be an actress or something," says the Door County gal. "I never pictured myself moving to Milwaukee, but I did ... and I realized that you don't have to go to New York or L.A. to feel fashionable or be part of a scene. You can do it here, and you can do it at any price point."
She utilizes Milwaukee's wealth of locally-owned boutiques -- Aala Reed and Lela are among her favorites - and knows how to get the best bang for her buck. Several shops are offering price breaks like 10 or 15 percent off for Dechambre-Childers when she shopping for her clients or clients shopping with her. She says she's working out deals with a few local designers as well.
"People think you have to have a lot of money to pull off a look that's fashion forward, but you don't." Consignment is a good route, and, if you have the patience, the ever-changing racks at Goodwill can offer one-of-a-kind pieces -- a tactic employed by local fashion stylist Bjorn Nasett.
In addition to personal shopping, Elements of Style can help find the perfect gift for those tough recipients and works with brides-to-be on wedding attire coordination.
Dechambre-Childers modeled Elements of Style after similar successful businesses in New York, Chicago and L.A. and says she's thrilled to tutor Milwaukeeans on making informed fashion choices with flair.
"When people are more educated about their bodies, what a difference it can make to their wardrobe and their self esteem," she says. "When they feel better about the way they look, they feel better about themselves."
OnMilwaukee.com staff writer Julie Lawrence grew up in Wauwatosa and has lived her whole life in the Milwaukee area.
As any “word nerd” can attest, you never know when inspiration will strike, so from a very early age Julie has rarely been seen sans pen and little notebook. At the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee it seemed only natural that she major in journalism. When OnMilwaukee.com offered her an avenue to combine her writing and the city she knows and loves in late 2004, she knew it was meant to be. Around the office, she answers to a plethora of nicknames, including “Lar,” (short for “Larry,” which is short for “Lawrence”) as well as the mysteriously-sourced “Bill Murray.”