Style Your Life Like a Fashion Insider

In this episode of Style Scouting, host Alia Ahmed-Yahia interviews former Barneys fashion director and author Amanda Brooks about her memoir, Always Pack a Party Dress.

Brooks is one of those people who's good at everything and looks great doing it. She’s smart, put together and cultured. In the podcast she effortlessly weaves art, fashion and photography together to showcase a creative and enviable life.

Amanda Brooks talks about style like a designer would. It’s about branding. Discovering your personal brand is a process, but an important one. In her home Brooks has a Pinterest-style wall of notes, magazine tear-outs, letters, art; anything that speaks to her, and that fits in with her brand. She lets that inspire her style.


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Brooks' book is about looking good wherever you are. She suggests packing around a "color story" when traveling: choosing a color palette (three colors plus neutrals), laying out clothing items within that palette and accessorizing to pull everything together.

What’s refreshing about Amanda Brooks is that while she puts off an air of effortless style, she is quick to point out that it takes work. I particularly like when she talks about looking good in photos. Models have to practice to look good in photos and the same holds true for us common folk. Practice makes perfect, but Brooks offers a tip for a natural looking photo smile. Smile your biggest smile then pull it back to a half smile in just your eyes. I’m not sure I can actually do that, but I’m going to definitely practice in the mirror like a crazy person.

Bonus info: Check out Amanda Brooks' "Top five top fives" over at Man Repeller. They have her make five top five lists; top five pieces of career advice, top five thing she packs when she comes to N.Y., top five English farm life essentials, top five beauty and hair products, and top five go-to airplane outfits.