I came across an interesting article in the New York Times today (you can view the article here) about the Brooklyn stylist Khalilah Williams-Webb who, among other things, is a personal stylist to Carmelo Anthony of the New York Knicks. I didn't learn enough about Ms. Williams-Webb's sense of style to comment one way or the other about her effectiveness as a personal stylist. But Mr. Anthony does look nice, if somewhat costumey (although that may have been in keeping with the event he was attending), in his pinstriped double-breasted suit with wide-brimmed fedora, cane, and scarf.
There were two passages in the article which stood out, in my mind. The first was this:
"Her responsibilities include ridding Anthony’s closet of oversize T-shirts and dated outfits. But she does far more than that.
Every few weeks, Williams-Webb meticulously selects outfits for Anthony, down to his socks, underwear, belt and shoes. She then places each outfit into a garment bag, with instructions for Anthony pinned to the bag. She sometimes arranges more than a dozen outfits at once."
Wonderful use of accessories.
This struck me as rather sad. On the one hand, Ms. Williams-Webb should be commended for introducing Mr. Anthony to what some refer to as "grown-man style." On the other hand, for me, one of the things that I enjoy about clothing is putting together an outfit, playing with colors, patterns, fabrics and textures, and matching a particular pair of shoes with a pair of socks or tie or pocketsquare. Where is the fun in having an entire outfit sent to you ready-to-wear?
What also struck me as odd is the extent to which the media attempts to portray these "blank slates" as stylish individuals. I use that term because what you have are famous people literally being dressed by someone else. Certainly, in this case, Mr. Anthony is being dressed by a fashionable or stylish professional.
But how does that make Mr. Anthony a style icon or even someone qualified to dispense clothing advice? As the article puts it, Ms. Williams-Webb "helped turn him into the kind of person who attends fashion shows and offers style tips in the British edition of GQ." But is he really? What's being described in this article is a grown man being dressed like a doll.
Mr. Timberlake before his recent sartorial conversion;
I'm still looking for an equally disastrous image of Cary Grant in his early years.
In any event - a word to the wise (or just to those with no access to a personal stylist): working with your wardrobe, matching patterns, mixing fabrics, and training your eye to work within certain color palettes can be enjoyable. In the end, it can only help to develop your own unique sense of style.