How Hailey Baldwin’s Stylist Helped Her Find Her Look
Ten years ago, Rachel Zoe conquered the red carpet with her signature bohemian glam and #instastyle didn’t exist. Now with Instagram as the red carpet, there’s someone shaping the future of filter-friendly fashion and her name is Maeve Reilly.
We chatted with Hailey Baldwin’s go-to stylist about how she got her big break, the tips and trade for aspiring stylists, and why so many girls (including Kylie Jenner) go to her for their killer looks.
You have a very sexy bombshell meets sporty sense of style. How did you develop your sense of style and who are your style icons?
My personal style has changed a lot over the years – for better or worse. I am definitely influenced by who I am working with actually. As I near 30, I have made it a personal choice to get in the best physical shape I can. So of course I am happy to show off the hard work. Over time, you also start to realize the best silhouettes for your shape and how to accentuate –so of course some trial and error. Carine Roitfeld, Rihanna, and I look to street style to come up with new ideas I haven’t seen or outfits I want to recreate. Bill Cunningham said it best: “The best fashion show is on the street, always has been and always will be.”
Fashion styling is becoming a huge part of the fashion and entertainment industries, where so many celebrities depend on a stylist to shape their look. When did you realize that it was an important gig?
I think it’s my job to help my clients talents shine. What you wear represents your mood and what you are trying to convey to you audience. With music, the song usually influences the direction of the wardrobe when promoting a single. For someone like Hailey, it is just about how she is feeling that day whether it be in heels and a glamorous outfit or a cute sweat suit with sneakers.
I realized it years ago as an assistant and watching my boss’s process with their clients and seeing it translate on stage and into the press. With my own clients, aside from the notoriety that comes with it on my end, which is the last thing I care about–it’s the blood, sweat, and tears that can go into a big performance or red carpet. Watching our vision come to life and hearing how good they felt, how perfect the wardrobe was, and the fans feedback after. Thats what’s important to me, getting to be a part of moments like Janelle’s Prince Tribute at the BET Awards and hugging my client when they come off that stage and realizing that’s what its all about. She felt good, she felt like she honored her friend, we represented him the way he would have wanted her to, and all of a sudden you just forget about the two months of work and how little you slept or the tears you shed making it happen.That’s why I do my job. Those moments are worth more then anything.
How did you become a stylist?
When I was 17, my dad forced me to get a summer job. I interned on a TV show he was producing before I entered as an undergrad at FIT. I didn’t even know what a stylist was! I loved it from the very first day and stayed on the show for two years. I eventually transitioned into celebrity styling as an assistant and did that for almost five more years. It was a lot of hard work and slaving away for other people, but it’s the best way to learn. I always encourage up and coming stylists to intern and assist as long as possible– most won’t and never make it long term–but that’s how any stylist has done it.
The majority of your clientele are female models (e.g. Hailey Baldwin) and musicians (e.g. Madison Beer and Janelle Monae). When you dress these women, how have you helped them develop their style? What made them hire you?
Janelle hired me because at the time I was mainly dressing men. So, she was confident in my ability to do tailor suiting and knowing how to put menswear looks together. Over the course of the three and a half years we have been together, her look has evolved and changed basically through trusting one another and letting things happen organically. Moving into this next chapter of her career as an actress and two critically acclaimed movies coming out, I think people will start to see a different side of her and I’m so honored to be apart of the journey.
Hailey always had awesome style, but she just needed someone to hone in on it and help her elevate and get her access to brands. It’s my responsibility to maintain relationships with designers for my clients and they love Hailey. I always call her my Barbie doll. She can pull off anything. She has an awesome mix of sexy tomboy. She actually found me on Instagram and hired me based off my personal style and not wanting to use the same stylists as all her friends, I really didn’t have any clients that fit her vibe at the time, so it was a real honor.
As a stylist, you are also responsible for creating and pushing trends. Considering that the trend cycle goes faster than a refresh button on Instagram, how do you keep up with the pressure?
I don’t fall victim to trends, however, I of course want the newest and hottest stuff for my girls and constantly stay on Vogue Runway, trolling Instagram for new brands, and spending a ton of time in stores and showrooms. I pull almost every single piece of clothing myself. I guess I am a micromanager like that, but I need to see and feel the clothes myself. I definitely feel the pressure to find brands that other girls aren’t wearing so mine can be the first and I think we have done an incredible job of that with Hailey.
So many college-age girls are on a tight budget and don’t have the means to spend on high-end designer gear, but they want to dress like Hailey. What advice do you have for girls who want to look good on a budget?
I think investing in a few key pieces like jackets and shoes is worth it, but mixing in items from places like ASOS, Urban Outfitters, Revolve, Topshop, and Zara. But if you have the energy for it, places like the Rose Bowl Flea Market or vintage stores are always fun! My favorite trick is to troll eBay for items you may not be able to afford, but can find exact or similar for a lot less than the stores.
Lastly, what tips and trades have you learned from working with your clients?
Building trust and communicating with each other is always the most important to us. Without trust, there is nothing.
And my rule of thumb is always to have more than enough options and to always have back ups even when you think they know exactly what they are going to wear– you never know what emergencies can happen last minute. And my tailor is my secret weapon.