by: Lina Agabani Puch //
A fashion consulting session exclusively for CP readers with the multi-talented Paris based stylist Sabrina Thomas-Nelson.
“I have nothing to wear!”
Every year as the summer season rolls around, we all experience that inevitable moment where we stand in front of our closets and contemplate which outfits to recycle this year. You might also feel compelled to scroll through yet another fashion blogger’s Instagram feed in search of the latest trends and, of course, which of us hasn’t resentfully evaluated just how summer-ready our bodies are?
Well, straight from Paris, the fashion capital, I’m here to alleviate some of that summertime pressure. After speaking with entrepreneur, stylist and fashion and luxury consultant, Sabrina Thomas-Nelson, I’ve ascertained that summer fashion doesn’t have to be so taxing this year, not on our wallets, nor on our self-esteem. In fact, this fashion connoisseur, with 15 years of experience under her belt, says there are ways to make this entire experience not just fun, but time efficient as well.
Stop scrolling start looking…
Having worked a lot on social studies, S.Thomas-Nelson finds that she’s very much influenced by none other than the streets! Basically, what people are wearing, as well as street style blogs from New York, to Tokyo, to Seoul, to Berlin. Her best advice is to not limit ourselves to online or paper content, but to also take note while out and about because it’s important to see clothes and trends in movement.
‘I would be walking past a girl sporting a certain look and I would think, that might suit me as well, she’s kind of like me, we have the same hips, the same chest size. The streets really are the best source of inspiration. One can’t blindly follow trends, it’s essential to take your morphology into account in order to pick the pieces which complement your figure, while keeping an open mind to new looks. The same applies when it comes to colours. You can pick the same colour, but in the tone which goes best with your skin. This is a big part of what I do in image consulting,’ she explained.
A word to the wise…
According to S.Thomas-Nelson, who earned a Masters at the renowned ESMOD France, an international fashion design and business school, anyone today can become a fashion blogger even without a background in fashion. This, she says, is due to the development of social networks, especially those picture heavy ones like Instagram and Pinterest, with the infamous #OOTD posts – Outfit of The Day. In her professional opinion, however, it’s important to not just focus on what a certain celebrity wears or what a certain brand puts out. A good fashion blog, she says, requires a great deal of research, an active work ethic and, of course, strong writing skills.
S.Thomas-Nelson, who earned an MBA at CNAM Paris and California State University specializing in fashion management, teaches contemporary fashion, fashion marketing, and consults professional projects in schools and universities. ‘I work with many fashion schools and study the profiles of the younger generations over the years. Many can put together great ensembles, but when asked to give references, whether on designers, fashion trends or history, I’ve seen a big void and no solid base,’ she said.
Put your comfort first
S.Thomas-Nelson is also inspired by fashion shows and trends put out by consulting agencies, many with which she works closely and which she says, create trends by studying what is called ‘l’air du temps’ – the current trends and perspectives, from politics and sensationalized news stories, to the weather, to sociology! She also works as a retail trainer for big brands where she’s in charge of teaching sales teams to better receive customers and meet their expectations.
‘Fashion is a lot of the time inspired by the youth, who today prioritize comfort. They want to simultaneously be fashionable and comfortable. After a long day of class or work, maybe one wants to get a drink with friends, or sit on the grass, so fashion is regaining its youthfulness from which we’re witnessing this need for comfort. Even those who want to be chic and wear couture can do so while being very comfortable, which wasn’t exactly the case before. Today, even in business settings, we’re seeing more and more of an American style, Californian comfort attire,’ she said.
What to look out for this summer
There are, as everyone knows, summer basics, just like with any other season, but with every season, some trends stick around, and others are reborn. So, without further ado, here are Sabrina Thomas-Nelson’s top picks for summer 2018:
1. A splash of colour
‘What’s hot this summer is colour. That much is obvious. Men and women alike are seeking colour. We saw lots of nude and beige last season, but this summer we’re looking at colours which pop with a 70s kind of spirit. From red, to violet, to yellow, to green, to orange, but mostly pink, even a pastel pink, or a baby pink, and we can find it on all different pieces.’
2. Flower Power
‘We’re looking at a lot of flower prints with a more bohemian spirit, and a romantic look for this season. Flowers on jackets and pants, flowers on embroidery, multiple flowers, big flowers, mini flowers, tropical flowers, we’re finding a lot of it.’
3. High Waist Shorts
‘Obviously it’s summertime, it’s hot outside, it’s sunny, maybe we’re off to the beach, so our legs are on display. We’re going for high waist light fabric shorts with belts, striped, as well as in denim. Speaking of denim, other than shorts, there’s also denim jackets.’
4. Flowy Pants
‘As for pants, we’re looking at flowy pants, mid-calf, showing off the shoes.’
‘As for shoes, we’re looking at sneakers. All brands have put out their ‘it’ trainers for the season, even luxury brands from Vuitton to Chloé have been influenced by street wear. More and more, we’re associating trainers with both classic and casual silhouettes, not that platforms have completely gone away. Platforms remain etched in the 70s spirit and it’s important to remember that fashion is but an eternal reenactment.’
6. Plastic and metallic fabrics
‘You’ll also notice in many stores today the transparent plastic fabric in heels, boots, and in trench coats. It’s not very breathable but in light doses it works. While last year we saw a lot of glitter, this year we’re seeing more metallic fabrics as well, on skirts, jackets, in silver, in gold.’
‘We’re looking at espadrilles, loafers, straw weaved tote bags, and big hats which are very useful to protect one from the sun.’
‘Rather than the Andalusian shoulder baring style, we’re looking at asymmetry making a comeback this season.’
9. Fanny Packs
‘There’s the Gucci fanny packs, but fanny packs in general are a big hit this summer. We’re also wearing them asymmetrically over the shoulder across the body.’
‘Onesies, from pants onesies, to shorts onesies, even overalls.’
Three looks, all occasions
Sabrina Thomas-Nelson has also put together three full summer looks; a Morning/Midday look, an After Work/Evening look, and a Soirée/Party look, exclusively for CP Magazine.
Summer jacket with floral print, shawl collar, pockets and gold zippers. Tank top with lace straps. Skinny blue Jeans. Red leather fanny pack with 3 pockets and grain finishing. Gold wedge sandals. Gold necklace with multicolored pendants.
After Work/Evening Look
Black cape jacket. Lace double lined top. Yellow suit trousers with belt. Heels with back strap and semi-plastic material. Smooth finishing leather clutch. Gold cuff bracelet with lace effect. Fine gold hoop earrings
Crop Top with short sleeves and embroidered with pearls. Long front-draped metallic skirt.
Bi-material metal and fabric thick heel sandals. Leather clutch with a perforated finishing.
Oversized gold earrings. Black cuff bracelet with gold zip.
All Photos by Anastasia Shershneva
More about Sabrina
Back in 2010, Sabrina Thomas-Nelson was featured in a list of 50 Women by Tentation magazine credited with shaking up France. In 2009, she created a new concept in France called Galerie THOMAS-NELSON based in central Paris. It functioned like an art gallery but for young fashion designers to put together displays – clothes, bags, jewelry – for varying durations. The project was open to the public and professionals alike – buyers, stylists, journalists, etc. and was quite a success, even taking home an award for entrepreneurship and innovation organized by the French Ministry of Youth and Sports. Today she’s working with a dynamic team to put together an updated version of the concept, more adapted to the demands of the new markets in the fashion and luxury world, with a focus on media and services – she estimates a 2019 opening.
She also continues to work with several French and international brands and agencies in numerous domains, from communication, to artistic direction, to marketing, to image and retail coaching, and is looking into possibly pursuing a doctorate degree. Sabrina Thomas-Nelson is a working mother of two based in Paris and can be reached via email at email@example.com
Anastasia Shershneva is a Paris based freelance photographer currently finishing up her Master’s degree in International Commerce and Management. You can find more of her work on Instagram @a.shrshnv
Lina Agabani Puch is a Paris based freelance journalist and you can also find her on Instagram @lina.agabani.puch