Celebrity Stylist Jen Rade on What Not to Wear This Summer, and The Return of the Poncho

Spencer Cain
Photo via Jen Rade

Photo via Jen Rade

If the name Jen Rade sounds familiar to you, it’s because the in-demand celebrity stylist has been dressing A-listers for years—and her name often comes up as the woman responsible for Angelina Jolie‘s now-infamous leggy look at the 2012 Oscars. She also happens to be a fashion designer with her line Edge by Jen Rade available on QVC. She returns to QVC tonight at 7 p.m. EST to debut new items perfect for summer—so we couldn’t help picking her brain for the do’s and don’ts of summer dressing—as well as the stars she thinks consistently nail it when it comes to style. Read on for more with Jen Rade!

StyleCaster: When it comes to styling, what’s your overall philosophy?

Jen Rade: It’s really that everything can’t be something. That’s it. That’s what I say every day. If everything is a something, it all just becomes nothing. Your eyes won’t know where to look. If you’re wearing a beaded top and your purse has a pattern and you have something going on with your shoes and a bright colored nail polish on, it becomes way too much. You have to pick something to make that stand out. People forget that sometimes they’re the something. You kind of forget that you’re the thing that’s supposed to stand out, especially some of the celebrities I work it. Your face is the best accessory, your smile.

Are there any summer trends that you’re really sick of, like cut-off denim shorts?

I’m curious what trends that will carry over into the summer. We’ll definitely still see lace, which I like. I’m not super into neon personally. It’s hard to wear from a styling perspective. I’m a costume designer so I have to dress people from 5 [years old] to 75 and I think neon is hard to pull unless you’re 16. Well, I definitely have cut-off jean shorts—but I roll them up. There’s definitely a clean way to wear denim shorts, but yes, especially in New York you’ll see plenty of girls in those that look like they’re at Coachella but they’re not.

What do you hope people incorporate into their wardrobes this summer?

I always try to advise people to step outside their comfort zones a little bit and try new things. I’m not a big floral person, my brand is not Floral by Jen Rade. But I do think there’s some good options for people who are afraid of it who can try it on a smaller scale. There are lots of dresses and shorts. People need to step out their comfort zone and try a pattern that they would normally shy away from this summer. Everyone can wear everything, it’s just a matter of you how you do it. If you’re terrified of prints, try something on a simpler scale. If you only wear black, try to incorporate color in a small way with some great red shoes or clutch.

MORE: What Not to Wear: Tips on How to Dress Two Sizes Thinner

How do you suggest dressing for the office in the summer time?

You just have to stick to lightweight! Nothing fabric-wise that’s too thick. And focus on layering. Someone it feels like 175 degrees and then once you get to your office it’s freezing. You just have to be prepared!

Which celebrities do you think nail summer style?

Kate Moss! I’m sure everyone says Kate Moss because she has the ability to wear anything and make it look good. You look at her and it’s like, “I didn’t know a person could wear a trash bag and look like that—I want to wear one too!” Emma Stone is great too because she’s somewhat aspirational. She’s sort of all-American and seems to do a good job of mixing high and low. She never looks like she’s trying too hard. I love her stylist Petra Flannery, but she never looks styled—which is a huge compliment to the stylist! It’s very organic to who she is.

Tell us a little bit about Edge.

It’s like my personal style, but it has a bit of edge to it. I’d describe myself as classic with a bit of an edge. Everything’s so over the top these days that there are things you can only wear if you’re Rihanna—or they’re so plain. I wanted to make stuff that was cozy, super wearable, and that you can dress up and down. You can also layer them. Nothing is too over the top but it still incorporates trends. You don’t have to be 25 to wear it, you can be 55!

What are staple pieces for traveling over the summer?

My staple is my olive poncho from my collection! I went away recently and drove there in the poncho. Then, I went to the spa and was like, “I just want my poncho!” Later I went to dinner and tucked my poncho into some black pants. Three days later, I realized I literally wore it the whole time! I’m the type of person who wants to have so little to carry so I need that one thing. Always bring some type of loose poncho. Wear it to the beach over a bathing suit—or dress it up! Also bring an easy, knee-length dress—something that you can just belt or wear with flip flops or heels.

What are the best vintage pieces you’ve found?

I have some really beautiful vintage rings and necklaces, and also a Valentino gold embroidered sheer knee-length dress. I have a great 1980s vintage beaded dress. 1980s piece are great—you just have to take out the shoulder pads!

MORE ON STYLECASTER: Celebrity Stylist Jen Rade Picks Her Best and Worst Dressed Stars at the Oscars

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