Elissa Prola is a perfect blend of sophistication and California dreaming with her bold red lips and tousled hair. A sign of her creative free spirit and her taste for the finer things in life, like fashion. Based in Santa Barbara, Elissa is a full time stylist, teaching and women to wear things clothes that empower them.
TAPERED: What’s the best part of your job as a stylist?
ELISSA: The moment where one of my clients feels 100% like herself. These is a moment where we capture her essence and she comes alive. It’s truly remarkable and such a fun thing to experience! I always say that your clothes should make you want to do a little happy dance. And when we achieve that, we’ve succeeded.
T: What’s the first step in creating the closet of your dreams?
E: Knowing what makes you feel most like yourself. Think about the things you wear that make you come alive. From there you can build a closet that is a reflection of you—the real you. So many times women go from trend to trend without really thinking about what THEY love and what feels best on THEIR body. So step one is definitely dreaming and thinking about what you love and then building your ideal closet from there.
T: On a similar note, do you have any specific suggestions for a first go-to garment investment?
E: A good printed dress (or romper!). We’re rolling into summer, and I am really all about versatility. Throw on a bomber jacket for a cooler night, wear it as a beach cover up, or pair it with a blazer for something work-appropriate. Layers have the power to transform an outfit, and by starting with good pieces (a versatile dress), you set yourself up for strong outfit creation.
T: What shopping tips do you have for people on a budget?
E: Invest in quality. It’s counter intuitive because you usually spend more money upfront, but how many times have you given away something that has fallen apart or hasn’t washed well? Buy second hand!! But again, buy quality second hand.
T: Can you share with us a few of your favorite conscious brands?
E: There are some really good ones! I LOVE Heidi Merrick. Her pieces are elegant, beautiful and wear really well. She cares about the production process so much, which makes it’s easy to invest in her pieces.
I also love Lacausa (another LA brand). Lacausa takes ethical fashion a step further by partnering with different charitable organizations to bring awareness. They have really well constructed basics as well as airy, california-cool dresses.
And finally, I LOVE Faithfull the Brand. Everything is handmade in Bali. When talking ethical fashion I think it’s important to categorize a bit. I love an U.S. made brand, but fair working conditions and ethical production practices can happen abroad as well. Faithfull the Brand is wonderful for flowy statement pieces. Think polished, comfortable travel gal.
T: What’s the most helpful thing you have learned in helping others develop their style?
E: Don’t be afraid to stand out! I do an exercise with my clients where we talk through some of their favorite styles throughout history—Some women are drawn to different time periods. You can always find a way to incorporate styles you truly love into your wardrobe.
T: How would you describe your personal style?
E: That’s such a hard question! Effortlessly classy with a touch of boho bright. I love classic pieces, but I gravitate towards color and comfort. I want everything I buy to be wearable and aspirational.
T: If you had to wear the same outfit every day for a month, what would it be and why?
E: I would wear a graphic tee and a full skirt with a statement necklace. It’s such a versatile outfit! You can dress it up, dress it down—and my gosh, can a good skirt be comfortable *sigh* Plus, this gal’s gotta have room to eat!
T: Do you have a process for getting dressed in the morning and for picking out your outfits?
E: For me, it’s so much about feeling. What will help me be the best version of myself that day? Sometimes it means dressing up, sporting a red lip and jamming. Other times it’s a pair of girlfriend jeans and tee. I’m a big fan of only keeping things that you are completely obsessed so getting dressed is easier in the morning. When you limit your closet to only hold things you love, the process of getting dressed in the morning is SO much easier.
T: What’s the biggest goal you’ve set for 2017?
E: Up until this year, I have been working with super high end clients, creating their wardrobes—which i’m obsessed with. But 2017 is the year to bring what I know to more women through online style courses—so that’s the big goal this year. Another big goal this year to start SPEAKING at live events. I love connecting with women and I’m excited to do it more from the stage!
T: Can you describe your what your ideal day would look like?
E: Wake up, pilates, beach walk, coffee with a friend, hike/sail and a big dinner with friends. I’m pretty simple at my core: I love nature, beauty, good food and relationships—any combination of those makes my life full.
T: Do you have any secret hobbies you enjoy doing in your freetime?
E: I grew up sailing! I still try to get on a boat at least once a month. I’m also an avid hiker! I have a standing hiking date with my best girlfriends—it’s our healthier alternative to going out for drinks (which we do as well).
T: Favorite cocktail?
E: Another hard question! I live in Santa Barbara and my favorite restaurant, the Lark makes THE BEST PALOMA: Think tequila, grapefruit and jalapeno. Ugh. It’s the best.
Images courtesy of: Graham Burwell
Learn more about Elissa and her services at Styled by E
Also, be sure to subscribe because she will be with us again in a few weeks to share her trade secrets for creating your personal style.