Getting to know ~ Lou Heller
Lou Heller is a Christchurch-based fashion stylist, fashion writer and educator on all things style. We always enjoy working with her when she visits us with clients and we are constantly inspired by her relatable Instagram posts and stories where she shares her style advice and tips. We recently caught up with Lou to find out a bit more about her and to talk about all things fashion.
How did your career start and has the journey been like to get you where you are today?
Long story, but from very young age, I knew there was something that I could feel about how clothing made me feel.. I was very creative at school.. wanted to be an architect, but became a florist. School was not a strong point, and I guess being made to feel that needing a strong maths background my choices were limited. ALWAYS was helping friends put outfits together. I moved to CHCH to study interior design 22 years ago, then went back to floristry. Had kids, had own florist called bloom where I did a lot of large scale weddings and events. I always still loved working in the wardrobe. Eventually owned an online store called Mrs Smith Loves with a friend importing beautiful overseas brands, then I moved onto being a buyer/stylist for someone. But I couldn’t shake this feeling of knowing how much I loved showing people how to make outfits, what to buy, and to purge the bad, to allow in the new. I wanted to make change, show people how to stop wasting money, and their time.. I started showing my own wardrobe multiple ways on Instagram, and talking to people how to take their power, and it’s grown, and flourished so much since in two years.
Describe a typical day in your life as a stylist.
Wake at 6, coffee with emails, any missed one, or catch up. A work out for hour, whether it’s pilates, a run/walk/bike. Back to shower generally, sort kids if they are with me their week. Work either with clients or meetings. Generally everyday I will have some form of Zoom, or one on one client.
Back to home, either menial jobs, but somedays I wish I had more hours in my day. I normally make dinner, then sit and work again… rinse repeat…
Some weeks are different if I travel.. Lots of shopping, or wardrobes to visit.
If you were magically given 3 more hours per day, what would you do with them?
OMG… hahaha.. I just said that.
I would love to know how to have some more fun in my days… I am working a lot, and have been through some things in the last two years that have shown me that life is too short, so I would love to find an extra hour to have balance, an extra two for my kids.
What was the best piece of business advice you were given when you were starting off?
Hmmmm.. I wasn’t.. I have gone purely on gut instinct. A lot told me this would just be a small hobby, or they said “you’re really good at that, you should do it”
Tell us about your new project you've been working on?
So I have written style Modules.. it’s super exciting!! It’s taken nearly two years to complete as I work a lot, I’ve had to do when I’m not working/travelling, being Mum or doing my training that I have been doing for 3 years. I can’t say too much right now, but it’s about to launch as we’ve had to put back as not quite ready yet. Needs finessing, but it’s a tool that will help as many as possible. I want to help as many as I can, including round the world with this.. I don’t think there is anything like it.
What are you watching/reading/listening to?
I listen to a lot of podcasts. Deepak Chopra, Sarah Prout, anything that speaks to where I’m at. I meditate daily, do breathwork, and this stuff allows me to stop as my life and work is very giving, so this gives back to me. Don’t get a lot of time to watch telly, but at the moment I have just series 3 of Sex Education.. possibly one of the most heartfelt, funny, brilliantly written, well casted things I’ve seen on Netflix. Also watching now Physical on Apple TV with Rose Byrne which is so good! I’m a muso, and the soundtrack on both these is great! I also watched over lockdown “ Fantastic Funghi” about mushrooms. Was amazing!!!
How would you describe your personal style?
Chameleon.. I love not fitting in, and just doing and wearing whatever I “feel” I want to depending on my day, mood, style.
What’s your number one styling tip?
Start with your look with an intending “feeling” and dress for that. Each day will bring a different feeling depending on what you have on.
What do you love most about your job?
Helping people discover themselves, and of course all the amazing people I meet on the daily!!
Who are some of your go-to designers for styling and your own personal wardrobe?
Hmmm I would say Isabel Marant, ACNE, Workshop, MAX, Witchery, Ulla Johnson, AJE, Ganni, Zimmermann, Frankie Shop, citizens of humanity. I love looking overseas and stores for inspiration. I love ALOT on Net-a-porter, but my card doesn’t.
What's your philosophy on the high low-mix? What are some of your go-to approachable brands?The philosophy is to only buy what your looking for, don’t just “buy it because it’s cheap” or buy to fix a problem of “I’m going out, I need a .. dress… top… you get my drift. Pay attention to fabrics, fit and only buy if you feel great in it. Much like ANY other price bracket. Don’t fall into self thought traps of “I’ll buy because it’s cheap, a label, or on sale” . I see so often too expensive things fall apart. Zara, Witchery, MAX, Ruby are great priced point labels.
What is the process with helping someone with their style?
A lot of time spent allowing them to question themselves, and where they are at in the wardrobe. We spend time going through everything in the wardrobe basically piece by piece. This allows us to work out how to move forward together.
What would be the ultimate shoe capsule wardrobe?
An ankle boot (flat). An ankle boot but with heel, elongates the legs. A heel or pump. A fine sneaker you can dress up. A street sneaker. A strappy day sandal. A mule for day dressed up looks. A cool flat.
What are some of your favourite styles in the current range at Head over Heels?
How do you incorporate accessories when styling an outfit?
I never overthink it, and always level up a basic look simply such as a tee with a chunky necklace or earrings, bags, whatever. But also buy when you see them, and you don’t have to spend a fortune. I rotate mine a lot as own a fair bit. A good piece won’t date.
What’s your most treasured item in your wardrobe?
Great question, and very hard to answer. I came back to this question multiple times… I would say a vast majority of my wardrobe is a treasured item.. I love my wardrobe and the pieces in it, as it helps me dress so easily for my days. I’ve brought well, and invested well or not because of my eye to do so, which I guess why ia m good at my role. I fricken love style, and it’s not just about the clothes. It encompasses everything. One that comes to mind is a stunning Zimmermann top I own, it’s a silk shoulderless bodice in a stunning duck egg blue green.
My style icon is:
Olivia Palermo, Victoria Beckham without a doubt, so so many to be honest. Christine Centenera, Bianca Jagger, Kate Moss, Princess Di… So many..