Arts & Culture

Interview with Shannon April: Personal Stylist

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to pick people’s clothes for fun? Well, recently I interviewed a woman who I met through mutual friends and is now doing personal styling for my mother. Her name is Shannon April, and she specializes in styling for petite women — that is, women who are typically under 5’4″ or 5’3,” and are generally smaller and find that the regular store sizes don’t fit them very well. When I asked how she would describe herself, Shannon said she is very achievement driven, goal focused, self-motivated, creative, and energetic.

We called over zoom recently and I was able to ask her questions about her personal and work life.

Where did your brand name, April Styling, come from?  

So my middle name is April, and I wanted to use part of my name and I think April is very memorable. A lot of people will see that and call me April, even though my name is Shannon, but they will connect that with me and go “Oh that’s April.”

 

What is your first thought when you think of your own personal style?

I would say it’s eclectic. I don’t have one particular look that I love, I love all styles, and so it’s more of looking on Pinterest or Instagram for inspiration and knowing what can work for me. Influencers tend to wear what looks good on them, but those pieces don’t necessarily work for me. Because I’ve trained my eye to know what does look good for me, I can grab inspiration from anywhere, even in art and nature.

 

What item of clothing have you had the longest?

Probably a black coat from J. Crew. It’s very classic, I think I’ve had it since 2005. 

 

Wow! Do you have a favorite item of clothing or is it that coat?

That’s such a great question, I want to say a black knit jumpsuit because it’s so easy to put on.

 

Oh that sounds comfortable! Do you have a favorite clothing brand? 

I don’t have a favorite, but one of the places I tend to shop at is Target, that’s big on my list. I really love styles by Anthropologie. I love Nordstroms because it’s all in one. You can find pretty much anything you need there because it’s a department store. Oh, and Amazon, I buy things from Amazon. But when I shop online I always filter through a color palate, so I know what to avoid. Also, having your measurements is very helpful, knowing how long a top should be, knowing your inseam, knowing your waist and hips, that’s all very essential and will save you time because you can use those and check that those items will have more of a likelihood to fit you.

 

On your website you said you go into personal styling after you yourself revamped your style. Why personal styling specifically? Did you have a previous interest in clothing?  

I learned how to sew when I was eight, and loved making my own clothes. I also took some fashion design and merchandising classes in college. The Lord ended up taking me in a different direction though — I ended up teaching and my husband is a pastor. When my kids were younger, I had the opportunity to work as a virtual stylist for Stitch Fix, a fashion box subscription company, so I did that, and that’s how I got into the industry.

 

Are there any rules or guidelines that you use across the board for all of your clients that you could pass on as good general guidelines for people of any age? 

I would say the two most important things are that you dress for your current lifestyle and the best way to do that is to dress according to your colors, your silhouette, and your vertical proportions. Once you know how to dress your body well, you can shop at any store and know what to look for and create your own style without being a slave to the trends.

 

Oh yeah that totally makes sense! What is your favorite part of your job?

I think my favorite part is when I help women discover what works for them and pieces that they love and when they light up. They go from being frustrated that their clothes aren’t working for them or they aren’t able to find things that fit, to being able to put outfits together on their own and being confident that they have their own unique look.

 

How would you summarize how the styling process works? Like when you sit down with a lady, what is your method with her?

Yes, so I have a signature system that I have developed since I specifically work with petites.

First, we explore and create their personal style ID. Looking at their inherent patterns they have in their body, like color patterns, texture patterns, lines and then we also look at the styles they like to wear and their lifestyle needs. All that goes into creating their unique style ID. Then I create a personal color palette for them based on where they’re at with their hair color because as women get older that changes. Then I educate on their personal silhouette and proportions, so what types of tops, bottoms, dresses, and jackets work for them. We then go through their closet and discover what’s working, what things they actually love that could still work for them. Next, we talk through tailoring and what things might need to be tailored, and then I help them create what I call an iconic capsule — signature style pieces that helps them build the look that we honed in on in the style ID. Then we finish by doing a shopping session to help them find those items and I tell them how to put those outfits together. After all that, they can do the process on their own.

 

What is the most important thing for people to know about what you do?

I would say that learning how to dress in a way that is authentic and, you know, right for your personality and lifestyle and at a younger age can save you a lot. Most people will buy clothes and 3/5ths of it will end up in the trash within a year of buying it. I’m not even kidding, the average woman spends somewhere around $125,000 on clothes in her lifetime. If you just cut that by a third, think of how much money that would be. I always encourage people that although it’s a big investment, you will save a lot in the future. 

 

What is your favorite thing about the fashion industry or fashion as a whole?

Sure! I think my favorite thing is that it’s a way that people can creatively express who God made them to be. It’s an expression of their gifts and talents and you can use your apparel to help you be seen as the beautiful person that God made you to be. You can also use clothes to help you gain confidence as well as to show people how to interact with you.

2 Comments

  1. Elizabeth Nelson

    Great job!

  2. Great article! Very interesting!