Secrets of a Successful Fashion Stylist: Troy Clinton

Lindsay Buchanan | 3/20/2014, 11:03 a.m. | Updated on 3/20/2014, 11:03 a.m.
“I have a little sister who I’ve been styling since she was young,” Clinton said. “My mother has always had ...
TC Styles

Dressing women has always come naturally for fashion stylist Troy Clinton.

“I have a little sister who I’ve been styling since she was young,” Clinton said. “My mother has always had an appreciation for what I do with fashion and styling.

A 20-year veteran of the fashion industry, Jensen started out in retail and worked his way up the proverbial fashion ladder. He credits his early jobs as a stylist at Bloomingdales, Barney’s New York, and Ann Taylor with cultivating his love for working in women’s fashion.

“That’s what set the groundwork for me starting my business in personal shopping, which lead me to what I do now,” said Clinton.

Now, Jensen fills his days styling his clients for video shoots, fashion shoots, and fashion shows.Clinton’s client roster reads like an Essence magazine cover; the stylist dresses everyone from R&B legends to reality TV stars. In the past, Jensen has also worked with stars like singer Brandy, “Real Housewife” Kenya Moore, and rapper David Banner.

“I’ve had the opportunity to start my career with someone I still work with: Cherrelle. She and I have been working together for nearly 10 years,” he said. “I’ve also had the chance to work with the group Blaque.”

Some of his male clients include L.A. Clippers power forward Glen “Big Baby” Davis and Jay Ellis of BET’s “The Game.”

Although he once considered dressing men as one of the most difficult parts of his job, Clinton says that now he sees a big change in the way men dress.

“In the beginning, a lot of guys were kind of reserved in their style, but more males are starting to be more fashion forward, especially in a city like Atlanta,” Clinton said. “In the last 5 years, I’ve seen [men] be more fashion forward, and more open to following trends. I attribute that to a lot of the athletes and actors.”

“It’s made a lot of my male clients more open to doing this, where maybe 10 years ago they were like ‘Nah man, that’s not me’.”

When it comes to dressing himself, Clinton seems to have it all figured out. He describes his personal style as “trendy,” young, and colorful.

He counts Sean Combs and Queen Latifah as two of his styling inspirations because they both pull off a variety of different looks for casual and formal occasions. His favorite designer is Tom Ford.

“I’m inspired by Tom Ford. I love Tom Ford, and the clothes he makes for men and women. He makes very sleek, beautiful clothes,” said Clinton.

“I am in my 40s, so I still want to make sure that as a 40-something year old, that I still look appropriate in my fashions, but still represent fashion. I’m always conscious of that,” he said.

Clinton has many irons in the fire at all times. Right now, he’s working hard to pitch a celebrity makeover reality show, working with clients on celebrity cover shoots, and diversifying his business.

“I’m eventually trying to get out to L.A.,” he said.

Until then, Clinton will continue to share his fashion knowledge down south. What’s his biggest fashion tip? Mix and match, and pay attention to details.

“You can throw some red bottom shoes on with a pair of H&M jeans. Throw that on with a Forever 21 top,” he said. “Fashion is to be played with. Invest some money in essential pieces. For women, that would be a handbag, some shoes, or some accessories.”

“If you’re going to spend that money, make sure [you buy] timeless classic pieces that you know 20 years from now you’ll still be able to throw it on,” he advised.

He also advises women to “invest in quality undergarments” in order to achieve a more polished look.

Most of all, Clinton wants you to know that you shouldn’t take fashion too seriously.

“All fashion rules are out the window now. It’s about just embracing it, and having fun, and doing things differently.”

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