Jeannie Mai is here to help you look your best on Valentine’s day — and on every other day of the year.Celeb stylist Jeannie Mai wields her decisive, wardrobe-improving eye as host of the Style Network’s Emmy-nominated No. 1 show, How Do I Look? In between her revamping fashion catastrophes — and just in time for Valentine’s Day — American Way caught up with Mai and persuaded her to share some of her moxie-enhancing expertise to make Feb. 14 just a little sweeter for the ladies out there.
American Way: Tell us more about your love of fashion and style.
JEANNIE MAI: Style is a learned quality I can’t live without. While every other little girl raced to buy trendy Jordache jeans or the same My Little Pony T-shirts, my mother taught me how to glitz up and personalize everything I owned! I didn’t even know I was considered stylish until I noticed kids looking forward to seeing what I was wearing. Fashion, on the other hand, is something I’ve grown to appreciate. It’s breathtaking to see what fabrics can be imported and how creative designers can get with their inspirations. Fashion is what you can buy, but style is what you have.
AW: What is your favorite Valentine’s Day memory?
JM: Each year, my husband and I start Valentine’s Day with a hike up Runyon Canyon, here in L.A. Then we take turns listing all the little things we love (and don’t always love) about each other. I discovered that he loves when I eat fried foods with him. But I also learned that my piles of unpaired shoes at the door drive him nuts.
AW: What are the best and worst Valentine’s gifts you’ve ever received?
JM: The best gift was in fourth grade. A boy gave me a bag of Now and Laters and removed all the banana ones because he had noticed I tossed those in class. The worst gift came from a celebrity, who will remain unnamed. He brought me four copies of his album and a DVD about his life for us to watch.
AW: What are three items that every woman should have in her closet?
JM: 1) A lookbook: Create your own by tearing [pages] out of a magazine and printing pictures of anything you consider stylish. 2) A fitted, short trench jacket. It can make so many outfits. Wear it with stockings and heels, leggings and booties, a miniskirt and boots, or even jeans. 3) Double-stick tape. This is a woman’s safety net. No one ever wants a slip, plus it allows you to layer and place tops [for] a clean, smooth finish.