Stylist Spotlight: Jess Zaino

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If you are anything like us and were glued to the Style Network back when The Look for Less and Fashion Trance were in full rotation, then you totally know and love Jess Zaino.

Jess is that girl with the bubbling personality and the style to match. She was one of the stars of Style Network’s Modern Girls Guide to Life (great show, btw) and has appeared as the on-air stylist for Style Network’s ‘How Do I Look?’ and ‘The Look for Less’. If for some reason you haven’t seen the Style Network (shame on you), then perhaps you have seen Jess on HSN, the TV Guide Channel, on USA, or on VH-1’s Glam God (where Luke Storey first met Jess).

Point we are trying to make is that Jess Zaino is an awesome stylist. A stylist that is so awesome that the world gets to see her on television on a regular basis. We got a chance to interview Jess for our Stylist Spotlight to find out what she is up to today and to find out how she got started as a stylist. Check it …

School Of Style: What made you want to become a stylist?

Jess Zaino: To be honest, it happened organically. I had an early gift for trend forecasting (mix & match colored high top Converse in 5th grade), paired with an insatiable relationship with pop culture, Old Hollywood and of course, Long Island Mall culture and its clothing. For me, as a Stylist, one thing fatefully led to another.

SOS: How did you get your start as a stylist?

JZ: I was hosting a music television show in NYC and making my wardrobe, deconstructed tees, that sort of thing. Kelly Osbourne was a friend of a friend and requested a few shirts for a tour. A Stylist was Born!

SOS: How long have you been styling?

JZ: I met Kelly in 2001 which was when I consider properly “dressing a celebrity”. Other than that, I’ve always been styling, son.

SOS: How long did you work as an assistant?

JZ: I didn’t. I jumped right in.

SOS: Where do you find inspiration for your work?

JZ: Everywhere. The streets of New York City. The Red Carpets of Los Angeles. My sister. My cutie boyfriend. Glossy, girly fashion mags. Google images of old Hollywood: Sophia Loren, Elizabeth Taylor, photographs by Ellen Von Unwerth, Annie Leibovitz, music and pure Rolling Stones, Madonna, Gaga, Cee-Lo Green, Beach Boys, White Stripes rock n’ roll, high concept marketing ads for high brow brands like Louis Vuitton and Jimmy Choo, the Latina mamis at the bodega on my street corner, people watching the NYU teens leaving the Forever 21 in Union Square.

SOS: What was your most memorable experience as a stylist?

JZ: The fan mail from my television appearances and the girls on the street who would stop me to say my unique style allows them to be themselves.

SOS: What was your most disastrous experience as a stylist? 

JZ: I worked a charity fashion show with Jason Bateman hosting and Iman Chanel walking. The steamer broke before the show and I had to hairspray all of the looks to de-wrinkle the clothes

SOS: Who are some of the people/clients that you have worked with?

JZ: Kelly Osbourne, of course. Fergie, Ashley Tisdale, Ashlee Simpson, Adrian Grenier, Janice Dickinson, Giovanni Ribisi, Eva La Rue, Marla Maples.

SOS: What is your greatest accomplishment so far?

JZ: Persistence.

SOS: Do you have a signature style?

JZ: Yes! Street Chic. A Little Black Dress paired with Nike Dunks, hoop earrings and Chanel Rouge Red Lips.

SOS: What is your favorite piece in your closet right now?

JZ: My Prada Virgin Lamb Wool Black Dress. J’adore. And my Jessica Simpson Cobra Over-the-Knee Riding Boot.

SOS: What trends are you loving right now?

JZ: Animal print on everything, especially a warm pashmina for fall. A trench. A faux-fur vest. Over the knee riding boots. Neon nails. Oversized neutral bag. Leather.

SOS: Any trends that you are completely over?

JZ: Believe it or not … jeans.

SOS: Name your favorite shopping destinations?

JZ: Bal Harbour Mall in Miami, Robertson Blvd. in L.A., the Smith Haven Mall on Long Island, Ha. Barney’s, Saks, Tiffany, Nordstrom, Zara, Forever 21

SOS: What qualities do you look for in an assistant stylist or an intern?

JZ: Someone who can quickly pick up how I work and fill in the blanks without my direction. Someone who lends their own style to a job yet still keeps working order.

SOS: What are your worst assistant pet peeves?

JZ: Laziness. Lateness. Excuses.

SOS: What’s your best advice for someone looking to get into wardrobe styling?

JZ: Start out working at a Department Store to learn brands, trends, fits, fabrics, pricing, it’s in all in one education before the job starts.

SOS: Where can we see your work?

JZ: I’m on Jess-Zaino.com, Facebook, Twitter, and other than that you can Google me ; )

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