You Don’t Want A Capsule Wardrobe, You Want A Cohesive Wardrobe Says TikTok Stylist Carla Nelson

Have you ever wondered why a certain hairstyle or silhouette falls flat on you? Maybe you have a knack for finding what looks good, or maybe it’s taken you years of trial and error. Either way, there’s one thing you need in order to look your best: an honest opinion.

By Evie Solheim3 min read
Carla Nelson permission granted to Evie as part of interview

In a world that tells women that they should wear anything they want, sometimes you just want to cut through the “Yas queen!” and “You go girl” Instagram comments to find what actually works for you.

Personal stylist Carla Nelson has gained a large following on TikTok by offering just that: honesty. Carla is a Florida-based personal stylist (learn more about her business A Creative Cliché here) who has amassed more than 65,000 followers on TikTok with her brutally honest videos about picking styles that “like you back.” In her videos, Carla reviews celebrity looks to explain what works and what doesn’t, details how she helps her clients transform, and explains that wanting to look good isn’t frivolous – it’s a key part of your confidence and success.

Carla broke down her style tips for women in their 20s and beyond in an exclusive interview with Evie. Here’s what we learned:

Tip 1: Forget the Capsule Wardrobe Craze

If you spend any time on Pinterest, you’re bound to be bombarded with posts about capsule wardrobes – a minimalist way to dress that involves limiting yourself to just a few tops, bottoms, and jackets that can mix and match. Sounds like a great idea, right?

Most of her clients who initially request a capsule wardrobe are actually looking for a cohesive wardrobe, Carla explains to Evie. Capsule wardrobes can seem like a way to take the thought out of getting dressed, but this method is not realistic for the average American woman.

“The capsule wardrobe feels easier. It’s fewer clothes. You can’t mess it up. No matter how you combine the tops and bottoms, it’ll work,” Carla says. “Unfortunately, for most people, that does not fit their style. They want variety. They want to show their personality.”

“They are looking for solutions, and a capsule wardrobe sounds like one,” she says.

So what solutions does Carla offer instead? That depends on the client, but anyone who absorbs her style tips below can learn how to create a cohesive wardrobe. 

Tip 2: Know Your Body Type

Knowing your body type is your secret weapon to creating great outfits. No, your body type has nothing to do with your clothing size or weight – it’s all about your underlying frame. Carla works with clients to help them figure out if they’re an apple, pear, inverted triangle, hourglass, or rectangle. 

“You really need to learn what your body type is so you can know what are you trying to accentuate and what are you trying to soften or balance out?” Carla says.

There’s no disappointment quite like ordering something online only to try it on and realize it looks nothing like the photos. A lot of that boils down to the differences between body types – the girl wearing the dress in the photo may have a completely different body type than you do. So take a break from online (or in-store) shopping until you have figured out your body type. After that, your goal is to use clothing to create proportionality, symmetry, or even drama – it’s up to you!

Tip 3: Branch Out When You’re Clothes Shopping

It’s easy to get comfortable at one or two of your favorite stores, where you know your size and what to expect. But if you really want to bump up your style, don’t put all your eggs in one basket.

“I think the best way to actually have a strong sense of style is to pick pieces from lots of different places,” Carla says.

Not all clothing brands are created equal, however. Many brands push cheap, unstructured clothing because it’s better for their bottom line, and shoppers don’t know any better.

“[These clothes] lack any real shape, but they’ll fit everyone because they are so loose and open and boxy. But they really will only flatter a small selection of people,” Carla explains. “They’re making it because, again, it will fit everyone, because many people don’t know their body type and how to dress it accordingly.”

Tip 4: Find Your Style Inspiration Online

There are so many amazing women sharing their style online. Use that to your advantage and implement some of what you see in your own life. Right now, Carla has her eye on Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Lori Harvey, and, of course, Sofia Richie – who just generated major it-girl buzz at her recent wedding.

But of course, beware of trends for the sake of trends – social media can make it hard to play the long game with your style.

“Don’t go for a trend just because it’s a trend or because it’s easy,” Carla says. “How is it going to make you feel every day? Do you feel like you look a notch up, or do you look at yourself and go something feels off?”

If you’re looking for ladies to give you inspiration, check out Evie lists like 11 Gen Z Fashion Influencers You Should Know and The Best Influencers To Follow Based On Your Body Type.

Tip 5: Find a Hairstylist You Trust

Hair transformations can be extremely powerful, but it’s important to pick a style and color that truly suits you, Carla says. An important part of upgrading your hair is finding a hairstylist you trust – someone who can help you take your face shape, coloring, and lifestyle into account when you want to make a change. It can be harder than you think – even celebrities like Selena Gomez and Kim Kardashian get it wrong sometimes!

“Knowing your go-to, almost magic hairstyle will bump you up really easily,” Carla says. “You’re not having to feel like you always have to cake on makeup or overcompensate because your hair is drawing people in, and it’s really flattering your features.”

Closing Thoughts

Life is too short to dread getting dressed. Carla says she has loved hearing from women (and men) who watch her videos and decide to take charge of how they look. 

“My favorite thing is when people are like, ‘Hey, I’ve applied some of the things you said last time, and it worked.’ That feels really really good knowing that people are not just watching and favoriting. They’re also applying something. Something is working,” she says.

She’s going to keep bringing the unvarnished truth on TikTok. “I’m being absolutely honest,” Carla says. “There’s something there that people appreciate and I think is refreshing to them.”

For now, she just wants to encourage her followers to find joy in getting dressed. “We all have to get dressed every single day – there’s no way around that – so you should definitely enjoy a part of it. Whether you enjoy the shopping part or not, that’s up to you. There are ways around that,” Carla says. “But you should enjoy something, whether it’s ‘I love to have a great hat’ or ‘My sense of style is I love to experiment with color.’ There should be something in your style where you start to enjoy it.”

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