The Essential Closet: Interview with Stylist Brendan Cannon
Brendan Cannon is an award winning stylist, fashion editor, and creative director, with a dizzying list of celebrity clients. Hollywood fixtures such as Liza Minnelli, Diane Kruger, Angelina Jolie, Matt Damon, and Michael Jackson have relied on his expertise to achieve perfect style. He started the Cannon Media Group, a fashion and branding consulting company, and his work has been featured in Rolling Stone, Vogue, Vanity Fair, and W. and on the top TV channels. Basically, Cannon is a fashion authority. So, as 2015 rolls in we wanted to get his advice on how to start fresh, starting with our wardrobe.
What are guiding principals you use in your work to make sure you are making the right choices for your celebrity clients, and for yourself?
Instinct. It’s always about instinct. I never push anyone into anything they don’t want to wear. If they are not confident, they will not look confident.
Since confidence is the ultimate style, what are your tips for achieving it with your wardrobe?
Everybody has a different body and people need to realize that. Every trend is not right for every “body”. You should translate trends into what fits and looks best on you. The models in the magazines are all aspirational - don’t compare yourself to anyone and create your own style.
The most stylish people create trends and don’t follow them.
Why January and not Spring Cleaning?
January marks a new start and the chance to begin again. Most people do not have ample storage space in major cities and you have to fill your closet accordingly, and clear space every year. Every single time something new comes in, one piece must depart.
What are the 10 essential tips you’d give our community for de-cluttering on New Years Day?
- Breathing room. Clean out as much as possible to give your clothes room to breath and you room to see what each piece is.
- If it doesn’t fit, toss it.
- If it’s out of style look at it and be realistic - will it REALLY come back into fashion?
- Cedar hang ups to keep clothes fresh and keep the moths out. My favorite are from Cedar Green.
- Nostalgic Items: Aside from a wedding dress or a fab life event, please donate or toss it. You have photos that take up far less room. I just recently helped Cyndi Lauper prepare for her tour with Cher, and we cleaned out some vital closet space and moved many pieces that were extremely nostalgic into storage, then she can eventually decide which pieces she will auction to her fab charity, The True Colors Fund.
- If you have to second guess it, let it go.
- You do not need more than 5 pairs of jeans. Try them all on and only keep the best flattering and fitting ones.
- Say no to the UGGS and sweatpants. Not cute for the store or even for a quick errand, no! Not even for a second. Around the house yes, outside the house …….NO!
- Organize by color and by shirt, pant, skirt, jacket, suit and so on and so forth.
- Donate! Donate! Donate! Dress for Success, Housing works and GOODWILL are all good places to donate items in good condition. Plus you can get a tax beak, just be sure to ask for a donation form.
How do you choose the essential items in your wardrobe?
Everyone has a tendency to shop and buy what they already gravitate towards and is already within their wardrobe. Try and step outside your comfort zone, but not so far that you won’t ever wear it. Buy more high quality essentials that will last longer; and DEF stay away from quick impulse purchases, since those are the ones you end up not wearing.
Any essential items you feel everyone should have in their closets?
I always say invest in higher quality items that are classic with a contemporary edge. This way they will stay in style and in your closet for much longer. A great trench, great black slacks, a great suit, colorful and eclectic scarves, and bold jewelry are always great investments. Look for pieces that you are drawn to, as those will be the ones you wear the most. Trend pieces only last a season. The piece you spent hundreds on may soon be out of style.
What is your 2015 montra?
Meditate. Be Happy. Set cut off times for work, as it will still be there when you come back. Get some foliage for your place. Read. Go out in nature. Call a friend, texting is so impersonal. Surprise yourself and try something new and adventurous.
Your New Years resolution for the next year?
A few resolutions include not to work so much and take the time to enjoy everything else that I have been missing out on. Spend more time with my parents, my nieces and nephew and family. I also want to see more art and read more, and go to the beach and get into nature more. Play with my fab little Boston Terrier, Miss Sofie, who makes me laugh every moment she can.
Cannon’s Zady Picks for 2015
Mickey Mouse by Mickey Mouse - #rockstar
Large zip pouch by Tracey Tanner - tres chic
Kansas keychain by Marisa Hskll - J'adore
Nautical backpack by Stone and Clothe - backpacks are so boring but this one is so modern and chic.
Rain Jacket by Freeman- #obsessed
Oakprint dress by Won Hundred - I would get this for a celeb client, minimal and very chic.
Orange rope and leather collar from Found My Animal - @therealmisssofie approved.
Brendan Cannon grew up in New York City and was influenced at an early age by rock and fashion. He is an award winning celebrity stylist, fashion editor and creative director who has styled many of his favorite musicians including Annie Lennox, Cyndi Lauper, Jimmy Page and Shirley Manson. His wit, charisma and style has made him a trusted and sought-after stylist by Hollywood legends such as Liza Minnelli, Willem Dafoe, Dennis Hopper, and Glenn Close. Cannon has also worked with some today’s hottest celebrities, including Diane Kruger, Angelina Jolie, Matt Damon, Penn Badgley and Emily Blunt. He was the first stylist to get Barbara Walters into a pair of jeans for a photo shoot, and had the opportunity to dress Michael Jackson as the KING OF POP for MTV.