Charity Lewis is no stranger to developing a sense of style; she did it first for herself. Today, the Dallas-based stylist helps others solidify their identities through style.
How has your own style evolved throughout the years?
My own style has evolved a lot. I was raised Pentecostal, so I was only allowed to wear dresses and skirts; my nickname in high school was Skirt just because that’s what I wore. But as I got into my high school years, my mom gave me a little more freedom to go shopping for myself. I’d try to find skirts and dresses that had different textures and prints. The girls of the same religion that went to high school with me would ask ‘Where’d you find that?’
When did you decide to become a stylist?
Celebrity stylist J. [Jason] Bolin is one of my mentors. He had a style boot camp in Dallas. My partner and I ended up winning the challenge and had the chance to shadow Jason.
How does a woman solidify her identity through style?
I think it’s all about being true to yourself. Once I learned to understand and embrace my differences, it helped me with my style. Don’t be afraid of who you are and what your differences are. Once you are comfortable in your own skin, you can do anything.
What are your favorite experiences in helping a client discover her fashion identity?
A lot of times people are in a box. People know themselves but don’t like it. I go to Concord Church and I styled the pastor’s wife for a fashion show. She said ‘I don’t know if I should show cleavage’ or ‘I don’t know if I should wear this because I’m a pastor’s wife.’ I said ‘Just because you’re a pastor’s wife doesn’t mean you can’t be modest and sexy. It doesn’t take away how you get dressed or how you express yourself as long as it still has some kind of classiness to it.’ I put her in a nice button-down, sleeveless dress that showed her ankles and had a little bit of cleavage. We put a blazer on and rolled up the sleeves and added a pop of color with her earrings. She did the fashion show and people told her she looked amazing.
Who would be your dream client to style?
My dream client would be Tamera Mowry. I recently got to meet her; she’s so sweet. I would love to work with her because in my head she’s my best friend. I think we would have an amazing time together. She’s a mom, she’s relatable and sometimes it’s hard coming back from being a mom and trying to get your body back. She’s just an amazing person and I love developing those kinds of relationships with my clients.
Which celebrity women do you think have the best style?
I love Monica. It’s not my style per say but I love how she rocks it. I also love Angela Bassett. She’s 60 years old and looks amazing in everything that she wears. Her stylist does an amazing job of making her always look glamorous even if it’s something simple. I recently started listening to [rap artist] Cardi B. I love how her style can be classy or can be edgy or all business.
What items should no wardrobe be without?
A white, collared button-up shirt, because they’re so versatile. A basic white T-shirt, a grey T-shirt, white penny shoes, a good pair of jeans. A nice blazer, a nice handbag, a nice scarf, a denim jacket, a neutral coat and a black skirt. Once you have the basics, you can be so versatile with different looks and save money using what you already have in your closet.
How often do you update your wardrobe?
These days, I find that since I became a stylist, more times now I’m styling other people and not so much myself. I’m also a full-time nurse, so three days out of the week, I’m in scrubs.
How do you find the time to fit all that in?
By the grace of God. People ask me that all the time like, ‘Is there a balance?’I don’t really think there’s such thing as balance, because [all the] time you’re doing something. I’m a wife, I’m a mom, so a lot of times I’m styling myself and my son…So just being very intentional.
So what are your go-to designers or boutiques?
Since my schedule is crazy—with work being a full-time job, and being a mom and wife—I like to go online. My go-to online is Asos because they have so much variety. When I’m online I can easily put outfits together. I also like Target because that’s kind of friendly to almost anybody. Dillard’s is one of my go-to department stores. If I’m shopping near Dallas, I like to go to NorthPark Mall and kind of browse around there…and [at] Nordstrom/Nordstrom Rack you can always find a good sale.
The holidays are upon us. How do you approach a big night out?
I look to the season. People like to wear red and green; it’s always fun for holiday parties. Metallics or sequins—in burgundy, mustard, silver and gold—or even just darker, bolder shades of red and green always work. Velvet is also great for the fall/winter season.
So when you’re going with something like the sequins or the metallic, how would you accessorize that? Do you go for more or less?
I think it depends on what you’re wearing. Let’s say you’re wearing a metallic suit, you can go for a rhinestone dangling sparkling earring [that hit the collar of the suit]. I wouldn’t say [add a] necklace, but keep the attention at the earrings…so that it’s not too much going on. And wear a spiffy jacket with the pants. I definitely say less is more though if it’s a sequin dress or something like that. It all depends on where it hits the neckline. You could do dangly but not too much sparkle. Simple hoops are [also] good.
Does your stylist work involve a lot of travel or do you have a chance to travel a lot?
I haven't done a lot of jobs out of town. I did do a job where I had a client who [was] nominated for three Daytime Emmy awards, so I styled her for the Emmys. I traveled to LA and got to work with a PR firm to pull stuff from the showroom for her. But most of my clients are local.
Talking about travel, what would be the best way to pack a wardrobe for traveling so you take what you want but have what you need?
I think it’s always about just being organized; so, if you know you’re planning on a trip, kind of have an itinerary…and have priorities. Take a cute pair of shoes that’ll be versatile with any look based on what you’ll be doing. Blazers or dresses for the town—but they need to be interchangeable. So, maybe you can wear this dress as a sundress during the day, and if you have an event, wear a cute blazer or jacket with it.