Saturday, February 28, 2009

Diabolina Styled Me And I Liked It
A Sable Crow Squawks

In the last month that I've been trying my hand at professional styling, I've had a bit of success. All of my clients have been women, all have been strangers, all have said they were satisfied.

But today I had my biggest styling challenge yet. Not only was the client a friend, he was one of my best friends, one of my oldest friends. And he is one of the most fashionable people I know. Oh and did you catch that HE is a BOY??? Gulp.

I think I did a good job. Gave him something to think about, helped him. Shift his perspective, be a little more daring, lighten up and have more fun.

Here's his take on the fashion lessons learned.


I find that difficult times - when even the Oracle of Omaha admits to having the worst year of his investing career - are the best chance to take stock (pun intended). It's a chance to acknowledge that we each have limits.

And even the best have help. I mean, Tiger Woods probably has a coach right? If I followed sports, I’d probably know. Or that tennis guy with the hot-guy hair and the abs? Warren Buffett has Charlie Munger. Ben Affleck has Matt Damon. Marc Jacobs arms.

But I digress.

On Saturday, I had a special engagement planned with Diabolina—for years my fashion muse. I had asked her several weeks ago to help me with my wardrobe. Casual, I confessed to her, is Sable Crow’s Achilles’ heel.

I hate my casual wardrobe. I can never decide what to wear so that I don’t look 10 years older, or like I’m trying to look 10 years younger. Both are bad.

Now, I’m a pretty confident guy when it comes to clothes. I know my way around Emporio Armani. I sometimes go looking for things a season before they arrive.

I speak bespoke and I can tell a point collar from a spread collar and superfine wool from a cashmere blend. I can spot a well tailored suit from 50 paces. But I stumble when I have to be A) out of a suit, or B) casual. God forbid it’s both.

And—let’s face it—this is LA. Most of our lives are lived in a combination of A and B.


Terrified by the prospect of being fashion-humbled, I treated myself to a needful thing that my little sockets have been fixated on for three years! A lamp from Blackman Cruz, which is to goth home furnishings as Chanel is to Diabolina. I had just enough time to get the lamp situated before Diabolina arrived, and the show began.

Now, I’ve been urging her to consult for OTHERS for some time, smugly confident that I wouldn’t need her services in a million years. What do I have to learn? I would ask myself in the mirror in the mornings.

But in the evenings, when the inevitable dinners would arrive and I would look blankly at my closet, quite a different Sable Crow greeted me in the mirror. You have nothing to wear, he’d say. And if you wear another jeans and t-shirt combo in dark colors, I’m never going to forgive you. He would be positively abusive on weekends.

So ask for help, Mr. Crow.

Headed into the day, Diabolina had said in her planning email: I’d like to see you in more color. Bah! I thought.

When my mom asked about my weekend plans, I shared this detail with her. Diabolina is helping me with my wardrobe, I said. She wants more color.

To this my mom replied: Thank God. Tell her she has her work cut out for her.

Thanks, Mom.

We began by trimming my wardrobe, getting rid of pieces that didn’t work or that used to work but that didn’t fit anymore with who I am. It was funny, really; I’ve prided myself in having a wardrobe beyond reproach. But like a bank looking through its assets lately, I found all kinds of reasons for reproach, recrimination, and blame.

It was sartorial sub-prime. Old t-shirts. Coats that were too big. Dated Hugo Boss dress shirts. Armani pants that didn’t fit anymore (!). And what remained was an ocean of gray and black and navy. My comfort zone.

Diabolina was unfazed. This is so interesting, she said. It just goes to show that anybod y could use a little refining. You need to accessorize with some color.

I looked at her skeptically. She was undaunted. Show me what you have, she said.

We spent a good deal of time “shopping my own closet.” This concept fascinated me. It was a little like watching a chef rummage around your kitchen to make a FABULOUS meal you never would have come up with on your own. She paired patterned dress shirts with jeans, unleashed what little brown I had in my wardrobe, and encouraged me—like a good mentor—to try it myself.

Now you go ahead and pick an outfit, she said casually, lounging in a chair nearby. I was terrified. I grabbed pattern, then color, then denim, and showed them to her like a little boy showing a girl a frog.

Perfect. She said. And poof! This frog was a prince again. Let’s go shopping.

A word on shopping. I have my store. That’s all I need. Jean Bean asked me once what designer I would wear if I could only wear one for the rest of my life. Easy, said I. I already only wear one. Armani. And he rarely does color.

Besides, I had it in my head that I wasn’t allowed to wear color. I didn’t have permission.

Now, c’mon, you say. This sounds a little self-helpy. Permission? Really, Sable Crow?


We tell ourselves all kinds of things every day. Most of us do it when we’re getting dressed, on some level. Mostly, I tell myself: Don’t wear that, you’ll look too…too. Tone it down. Drape it in black. Sober it up. You can’t wear color.

Yes you can, said Diabolina. And we had so much fun. It was silly, end-of-the-economic-world fun. I even got complimented by the salespeople at the stores we visited.

It’s her influence, I’d say, pointing. Oh, said one. You brought your stylist! I looked around. A stylist? I thought. Really?

But somewhere in all the color, there was another permission to be had: permission to have a little fun, to expand my horizons, and to see myself through a different lens.

As the evening descended on us, and with visions of color in my mind, I remembered what I loved about fashion. It’s a chance to reinvent, if just a little, how the world sees us. And better—how we see ourselves.

Sable Crow
Another Satisfied Client ;)

To set up your own personal styling consultation, email or click here to take My Super Sweet Fashion Assessment now.


Amanda Franchard. said...

Adore Sable Crow's outfit!!!

Sable Crow said...

Ahh! I had so much fun! I can't wait for round two.

These are tough times, but this was so much fun.

...Like personal training for my image.

Sable Crow

PS. I wore the outfit with the patterned shirt, jeans and boots to the office yesterday! And I even added a colored scarf!

WeezerMonkey said...

I love it! You! Him! Color! Yay!

Jean said...


Casual is tough for me too. I only get compliments when I'm dressed up.

HazelnutPhotography said...

I LOOOVE it! We could all use some Diabolina in our lives :-)

Penelope said...

I like how the sales person called you out. You ARE a stylist. Hope this is the first of many more boys to come.

p.s., You look great, SC. The colors make you shine!

♥ fashion chalet said...

How fun!!! I love Styling! =]
anddd- thank you, darling!

How have you been, by the way?? :]


Lynn said...

Faboo! Way to go D for bringing color to a friend's life and to SC for embracing the opportunity.

Anonymous said...


What specific colors would you like to see yourself wear more of? I like the lavender. Also think you would look good in a rich red.

Mr. D

Sable Crow said...

Mr. D writes to me!!

Bozo the Clown over seeing a post from you!

Today I'm wearning a pink shirt and pink tie (Armani, thank god, which must be why the pink has a little gray in it) with a green sweater over it.

A little Mr. Rogers, but I thought I'd try it. I think it would've looked better to be conservative, then pop with the green.

This color thing is new.

I love lavender. I love green. I love rich, royal red (blue red, not orange red).

I love your suggestions.


Sable Crow said...

And thank you Penelope!

amber said...

fun! love the pops of color and the fancy button-downs with jeans. very cool!


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