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A Stylist On The Most Important Fashion Lesson She's Ever Learned

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    We don't just appreciate an inspired ensemble. We want to know the whole making-of story behind it. But in Style Roots, we're going one better. In partnership with Nordstrom Rack, this series will deep-dive into the real sartorial evolutions of seven city dwellers who all came from very different starts. Be it a streetwear OG or newbie vintage collector, we'll examine how past and present cultural, social, and career influences mold one's unique style persona.

    Growing up, we became well versed in interpreting fashion cues from glossy teen magazines and our favorite girl bands, but sometimes the most valuable advice came from someone a little bit closer to home. For NYC stylist and Baton Rouge, Louisiana native Blaire Rabenhorst, her grandmother was the key player in her journey toward style discovery. "I was very lucky to inherit some of her fabulous, old '40s and '50s hats, handbags, and jackets,” she tells us. "That's where my whole passion for fashion started."

    Now, after eight years in the city and discovering her niche in the fashion industry, Rabenhorst's ever-evolving, eclectic style has continued to work to her advantage. And partially it's thanks to her incorporation of pieces inherited from her grandmother and her every-ensemble-is-an-opportunity attitude — which applies to everything from a backyard barbecue to a long day on set, for the record.

    Read on for more about how Rabenhorst's determination, southern upbringing, and her grandmother's key advice turned this small-town, vintage-loving girl into a success story in one of the most competitive style capitals in the world.

    Be sure to check out Nordstrom Rack's new store, opening October 6 at The Outlet Collection at Riverwalk in New Orleans. Get the details here.


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    Growing up in Louisiana...
    "In high school, I was always dressing up my friends and telling them what to wear and how to wear certain things in their closets. In Louisiana, there's not much shopping. I was always searching online to find cooler websites to order from. I definitely had to be crafty and creative when it came to mixing and matching vintage pieces with a few good finds from the mall."

    My grandmother's style influenced me because...
    "She was always dressed to the nines. She went to the salon every other day to get her hair done. She often sported matching suits and hats with a stylish handbag. Some things of hers that I wear often are a few striped tops, cool doctor bags, and coats. My grandmother had a very classic, Southern style. I feel I got a bit of that, but I am more eclectic."

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    The best style advice I've ever received is...
    "My grandmother always told me to be overdressed [rather] than underdressed. So, whenever I'm a little unsure about what the attire is for an event, I feel like I always overdress. If it's a barbecue, I'm not going to show up in workout clothes."

    When I followed my dreams to NYC...
    "I moved here in the summer of 2008, right after graduating college with a degree in fashion design and merchandising. Within weeks of arriving, I had internships lined up and a part-time job at a fashion PR firm. I just started networking and working as hard as I could from there."

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    My style philosophy now is...
    "Every day is different for me. I have a crazy closet combination. One day I'm in your classic boyfriend jeans, T-shirt, sneakers, and a red lip. The next day, I'm in a fringe kaftan wearing high platform heels and hoops. I definitely adore vintage clothing. That's where my [love] of fashion started — in embracing the stories, the fabrics, and how the clothing is made. Now that I live in New York, I know [with] my type of job, I have to wear things that are functional as well as stylish, so I like combining everyday staples with a special piece of flair."

    My southern roots are still strong...
    "At [my job] there's a lot of East Coast and West Coast people, as well as a few of us from the South. Everyone's just like, Y'all are another breed! Are you ever sad? Are you ever mad? [Clients] think we're just weird aliens that came in, so full of energy and excitement. But it's good — they feed off of that and say, We wanna work with Blaire or, We wanna work with so-and-so. I get it all the time."

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    The fashion industry has taught me...
    "I've been to major fashion events and I've worked with some people who maybe aren't the most inspiring or positive, and it's because they're so career-driven and focused. I've also gotten to work with those who have a genuine passion for this industry and their jobs. But I think what it comes down to is: Positivity is a choice, and if I come to the office every day with a smile on my face, others will feed off of that. Being a head stylist, I'm managing and producing photo shoots, so I have a whole team with me and there are some very long days. We're on our feet, there's a lot at stake, and we have to get a certain amount of shots in each day. It's my job to make sure everyone's happy, excited to work for the brand, and really having fun."

    The one piece of advice I always give my clients is...
    "Have fun and experiment with fashion."

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