Fashion Tips with Stylist, Varnessa Bails

Meet Varnessa Bails, owner of Posh and Luxe Fashion Boutique, personal stylist, and the woman behind the Pray Then Slay brand. She's been featured in Today's Purpose Woman magazine and has styled the likes of executives who's names you may know. Varnessa is a very accomplished woman whom I not only have the pleasure of interviewing, but also know personally. 


I met Varnessa in the latter part of 2016 and if there's one thing that I can say about her is that she has style. Period. Her followers, including myself, anticipate her Sunday afternoon posts where she showcases her outfit of the day (OOTD) with the tagline, "Do all things with Love & Style.💗" Outside of fashion, she's a wife, ministry leader, bomb cook, and she and her husband have become a tribe to their very cute and funny four-year-old nephew. Needless to say, I was excited when she accepted my invitation to be featured on the blog. I got to chat with Varnessa and get a few style tips to share with you all. Check it out!

FO: Varnessa, tell me how long you’ve been working in the fashion industry?
VARNESSA: ​I started out in the fashion industry in 2000 when I was 16 years old. I worked for the most popular retail chain in my area. I was exposed to so many different brands, the music industry and how it relates to fashion, and I was even promoted to being a buyer. It was through that journey that my love for fashion expanded. Throughout college and various career opportunities outside of college I continued to pursue my dream in fashion. Whether it was helping people on their design team, to being a visual merchandiser for large retail chains, to eventually walking into my own path of being a wardrobe stylist and, now, boutique owner, in all I have been in the fashion industry for 17 years. (OMG! My age is starting to show!)

F: Who are some of your favorite fashion influencers, stylists, or brands that you follow?
V: Favorite fashion influencers & stylists? Hmm. My top picks would be Rachel Zoe, June Ambrose, J. Bolin, Lauren Messiah, and Tracee Ellis Ross (she is big on styling herself and I LOVE it). I follow so many brands that it’s actually hard to narrow it down to any brands in specific. Many known brands and even up and coming brands have unique pieces that catch my eye. BUT... where I tend to shop at often is Zara. I love the randomness of their prints. They have amazing quality and for the price, you can’t beat what they bring to the table.

F: What inspires your style?
V: I am inspired to be different. I am inspired by those that look to me as a “fashion expert.” It helps me think outside the box and to see beyond the garment on the hanger. I am inspired to make an impression that people will recognize me for my style. So, I dive into magazines and play with unique looks that I come across. I learn from other stylists and I just push myself sometimes. I am not really inspired by trends (although I may purchase something that is in season), but I mainly focus on individuality and what I like. Does this speak to my personality?

F: What are the key elements to creating a complete and stylish look?
V: ​Being minimalistic. Being stylish does not demand a ton of bling. I like to build simple looks-- solids first and then layer by adding prints, textures and minimal accessories. The goal is to look stylish and sometimes too much of something is loud and people can’t figure you out.

F: We’re beginning to see the late summer and fall sewing patterns come out from the major pattern companies. What summer and fall fashion trends should we be aware of when considering outfits to make or even buy?
V: I believe this year’s trends will definitely be bold. Textures, patterns and prints. Plaid may make it’s way into our fall trends. Big shoulders on jackets (I’ve been on a hunt for them myself), Victorian collars, to name a few.

F: What colors and/or fabrics should we integrate into our outfits for this summer and fall?
V: I tend to rely on the Pantone Fashion color guide to give me insight into the next season. I’m seeing a lot of warmth on the palette this year for the fall like warm reds, soft orange hues and with deeper shades of blue, yet bold colors in the summer like Fuchsia, bold blues and bright greens.

F: What are those staple pieces that we should be adding to our wardrobes?
V: I am huge on staples! Every client consultation I have, my goal is to examine your closet for staple pieces. They’re the most functional pieces you can have in your closet. A blazer, little black dress (LBD), knee length skirt, white button down cotton shirt, cardigan for layering, black and or nude heels and flats, a solid black structured bag, one dark and medium wash of denim, and a pair of solid flat front trousers. Of course as we’re constantly changing, I would even say to incorporate a few soft blend solid tees to layer beneath your blazer on those days where you want to be casually chic. All staples should be black, unless otherwise noted. They should be of good quality and versatile to be able to be worn in all seasons.

F: Tell me about your brands – Pray then Slay and Posh and Luxe Fashion. How did these come about?
V: Pray Then Slay was an idea to take the most commonly used word, “slay,” and somehow incorporate my faith. I am huge on empowering women (men too), and I love that God can use my love for fashion to create other avenues. It went viral in 24 hours and then God began to use me to develop a movement for Pray Then Slay. 

Posh & Luxe Fashion was a long awaited passion. Since 18, I knew I would one day own my own store. I just loved fashion so much. I was trained and promoted to be a buyer, I worked in various retail industries (urban, high-end, modern) and I love the versatility of fashion. As a wardrobe stylist, many people are constantly asking where I style my pieces from, so I felt this season was the perfect opportunity to begin to launch a boutique that carries versatile fashion pieces. Plus, affiliate marketing doesn’t produce a big enough return (lol).

F: How can my readers connect with you? 
Instagram: @varnessabails
Facebook: Varnessa W. Bails
Website: www.VarnessaBails.com (will relaunch in a few weeks)
Pray then Slay: www.PrayThenSlay.com

I decided to pick up my very own Pray then Slay shirt from Varnessa's shop. I paired it with a DIY Midi skirt, which is a variation of my DIY Regal Maxi Skirt inspired by MimiG. I used a royal blue shantung fabric that I purchased through Amazon. I wouldn't recommend the seller, but Fabric.com has a similar and likely better quality option (link below). You can get cash back from your Fabric.com purchases through Ebates, so definitely sign up! Lastly, I added a little touch to the bow with a broach from our wedding dinner menus.




Be sure to get your Pray then Slay shirt and follow Varnessa on her social media outlets. I promise, you won't be disappointed. 

Create the Look:

Skirt - Previous Blog
Shoes (similar) - http://amzn.to/2t2OLKB



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