She Wrote the Book

Celeb stylist Micaela Erlanger on the art and empowerment of accessorizing.

She Wrote the Book

Celebrity stylist Micaela Erlanger wrote the book on accessorizing, literally. With her just-released tome, “How to Accessorize: A Perfect Finish to Every Outfit,” the Parsons grad and fashion powerhouse — best known for her work with super-chic stars including Lupita Nyong’o, Meryl Streep, and Diane Kruger — pens 126 pages of practical advice for uncomplicating the art of dressing (and accessorizing) well. From how to tie a scarf to where to pin your brooch, Erlanger’s all about making red carpet-worthy style approachable for the woman who may not have a glam squad at her beck and call, but still deserves to look and feel beautiful.

Our founder, fellow author Monica Botkier, caught up with Hollywood Reporter’s hottest stylist at her Flatiron studio to talk empowering through accessorizing, the challenges of being an entrepreneur, and how freakin’ intense it is to write a book (hint: veryyyyyy).

Tell me your origin story  — how did you get started as a stylist?

I was a student at Parsons and began interning with Annabel Tollman. I didn’t even know that a career like this existed! Annabel was an amazing talent and taught me so much.

What is the best part of your job? 

The variety and creativity of each project I take on. Everyday is different than the next. There is so much diversity in what I do. Whether it’s a red carpet, an editorial or advertising campaign, I get to work with remarkable people all around the world. It’s always an adventure.

What is your greatest challenge?

I am a true entrepreneur and face the everyday challenges of running a successful business. I like to step back and be creative, to give myself time with inspiration. I do a tremendous amount of research constantly, even before producing the looks for a particular job or red carpet event. I’m a total workaholic, but I make sure to make time for myself through the process.

What do you like to do outside of work?

I’m a live and breathe work kind of girl! I like to surround myself with what I find visually stimulating, like the arts. I am very involved in the Whitney Museum. In fact, I am on the Executive Contemporaries Committee at the Whitney. I’ve always been heavily involved in the arts, going back to my days at Parsons. I like to give back, so I lecture and speak, which allows me to share my story with students. Knowledge is power and I want to pass it on.

Sometimes you can catch me at the park with my dog and boyfriend. I love the beach, I meditate every morning and exercise daily. I need balance in this crazy line of work.

What’s a typical morning like for you?

I'm an early bird! I have clients all around the world in different time zones, so I have to be ready for anything. Typically, I drink a large glass of lemon water and avoid caffeine, unless it’s absolutely necessary. I then do a 10-15 minute meditation before walking my dog. After I get back home I will read some news and check emails. I workout with a trainer most mornings, either at home or in the park. At around 8:00AM I have a call with my business director before getting to my studio for our morning meeting.

Congrats on your book! So exciting. I know first hand what a feat that is to accomplish. Tell us about it, please.

It was a true labor of love. I wanted to create a natural extension of the service I provide for my VIP clients, and give women the knowledge and tools to polish their looks as if they had their own stylist. I want to give women confidence through my experience, and this book is so empowering in that way.  I am known for my use of color and accessories. My work definitely has my stamp on it yet is so representative of my individual clients. Tying a look together based on someone’s personal style is the key. Styling is so much more than putting together outfits. It’s about empowerment and confidence, and I wanted to share my knowledge with everyone else in the world.

What’s next?

Building a brand that supports the idea that individual style is the pillar of empowerment and confidence for every woman out there.

Any fashion emergencies?

I have so many things going on at once, I always want to be prepared. I have the ultimate styling kit and it goes with me wherever in the world I happen to be. Inside, there is every wardrobe solution known to man! The goal is to be able to prevent or solve anything. It’s my Mary Poppins bag of tricks.

What Botkier pieces would you style for the summer according to your new book? 

Love the Cooper crossbody in sky and the colorful Grecia statement sandal! I think with something like that, you let your feet do the talking! As covered in my book "How to Accessorize" there are three different ways in which you can get dressed.

  1. Base your outfit around an accessory
  2. Incorporate accessories as a punctuation
  3. Everyday Accessorizing 

In this case, I would say this would be the second option which is all about punctuating your look with key accessories! You add a colorful shoe and a fabulous bag that play off each other, whether that is in color, print or texture. In this case, I decided to incorporate the color, highlighting the stripe pattern in the shoe and choosing a bag that coordinates but isn't too matchy. Both pieces are perfect for any summer soiree!