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Schietroma ’05 has a real passion for fashion

Christina Schietroma ’05

Tired of wearing the same white shirts and dull ties under his suit jackets, Dave, 26, followed his girlfriend’s advice and called her Lehigh classmate, Christina Schietroma ’05.

Schietroma—owner of Chrissy’s Wardrobe Consultancy based in Pelham, N.Y.—works as a stylist in Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. The former biology major selects outfits for ordinary people, like Dave. But she also assists celebrity stylists. In the past, she has prepared Mariah Carey and Jadakiss for a 2006 New Year’s Eve concert in Times Square and Rachel McAdams for the 2005 movie premiere of Family Stone.

Schietroma inspected Dave’s closet and “defined his style,” she says. Then they went shopping. With her help, Dave bought a collection of brightly colored shirts and ties to match. After they were done, “he looked sharp and had more variety in his outfits,” she says.

Schietroma then organized his closet by color and style, taking pictures of each piece of clothing. She uploaded the pictures to an online software program that allows Dave to view his outfits before wearing them. The software program includes a calendar for Dave to record upcoming dates with his girlfriend. A few days before the event, Schietroma checks the calendar, scans his wardrobe, and selects a couple suitable choices.

With a fashion philosophy that “every body type is perfect, you just have to dress them differently,” Schietroma focuses on making her clients, men and women, comfortable in their clothing. “I tell my clients that if you’re comfortable, if you like it, if it makes you feel good, then wear it,” she says.

She wants her clients to feel and look good every day. “When you put on an outfit you look good in, you think, ‘I’m going to have a good day. I feel pretty, or I feel handsome.’ That’s what I strive for every time a client puts on an outfit,” she says.

Schietroma refuses to let seasonal fads dictate what she and her customers wear. “I never tell my client not to wear an outfit because it’s not in style. I tell them, if you like it, you wear it.” When fashion magazines called for the disposal of all prairie skirts, Schietroma refused. “I love prairie skirts,” she says. “There’s no way I’m going to stop wearing it because some magazine tells me it’s not in style any more.”

An emphasis on the classics

Rather than creating a wardrobe based on trends, Schietroma insures that her clients have a “complete wardrobe,” well-stocked with classic pieces that fit and never go out of style. She encourages her clients to invest in one well-tailored pair of black pants instead of buying five cheaper black pants that do not fit properly. Clients achieve a stylish edge to their wardrobe by buying less expensive trendy clothes.

“The perfect wardrobe is classic, it defies trends” she says. “Trends disappear, but the classic pieces never go out of style.”

When she is not remodeling a client’s closet, Schietroma may be dressing models for the market weeks of fashion designers, including Yves Saint Laurent and Sonia Rykiel. For market week, Schietroma prepares models who will display a designer’s line for potential buyers, like Saks Fifth Avenue, Nordstrom, and small upscale boutiques.

The atmosphere of market week was very different than that of the Mercedes Benz Fashion Week, where Schietroma helped dress models at several shows. The show’s fast pace created “intense” pressure backstage to change the models’ outfits in the few minutes they had between strolls down the runway.

“During Fashion Week, you work with one model per show, and she may have three to four looks depending on how many models the designer’s hire. After the show, it’s done,” she says. “However, during Market Week, the designers have four models, and buyers set appointment throughout the week. Because it’s an entire week, you really bond with those models.”

Off the runway, Schietroma has prepared models for print and television commercials and styled TV sets for Lands’ End.

Schietroma’s entered the styling world through a one-year associate degree at New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), which is considered “the MIT for the fashion industries,” according to FIT’s website. She learned the mechanics of the fashion business through her evening classes and became connected to the styling world by working as a freelance stylist during the day.

Although Schietroma learned about the fashion industry at FIT, she credits Lehigh for teaching her to succeed.

“Lehigh taught me how to be a savvy business entrepreneur as well as the discipline to succeed in this competitive field,” she says. “Lehigh gave me the confidence to do what I wanted.”

Her rates and services can be found on her Web site at www.chrissyswardrobe.com. She offers special packages to college students and recent graduates who are transitioning into the business world.

--Becky Straw

Posted on Wednesday, August 08, 2007

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