Megan LaRussa has been our style expert here at Birmingham magazine since May 2010, and we can’t imagine producing an issue, fashion-related event, or style blog without her. She began as a regular columnist but quickly moved into something of a style director, overseeing not only her monthly department, but regular fashion features, fashion shows, video posts, and advice columns as well. We’ve relied on her to style photoshoots and even outfit staff members for speaking engagements. Her unique ability to push trends while remaining down-to-earth and accessible to local readers makes her a true gem of a contributor. She understands our reader perfectly and encourages them to try new things while not abandoning their personal style and preferences, or pricing them out of their budget. She also does a fantastic job of choosing pieces from local boutiques, national department stores, and even vintage shops. She’s always so positive and open to ideas–we absolutely love working with her.
Julie Keitheditor in chief for birmingham magazine
Whenever I need styling for any of my projects, be it photography or video related, I always call Megan. With her knack for capturing the vision and her amazing eye for style, Megan always adds so much to my shoots and makes them look amazing. Not only is she great with style and always up with trends in fashion, but also with matching styles to specific people and integrating the looks into the shoots with our models. I am constantly impressed with her professional approach, thorough preparation and the amazing quality of her work.
I’ve been working with Megan on creating an effortlessly stylish life for myself since the fall of 2010. I made the decison to begin this process because I was in a rut with my style. My every day attire was simple, predictable, and boring. My outward appearance was not how I wanted to portray myself to others. Through this continued process, I have learned a lot about myself including the right clothing, accessories, make up, and hair for me, and even how to take a compliment! I have gained so much confidence. Megan makes you feel comfortable in every way, and you can work with her at your own pace and budget. My advice to anyone who wants to begin this process is just that– it’s a process and your transition is not going to happen over night. So if you are ready for a new you I encourage you to call Megan for your own effortlessly stylish life!
Laurastyle coaching client
During the Christmas holidays I received an email from Southern Femme and read it aloud to my husband: “Do you have a closet full of clothes and nothing to wear? Do you think losing 5 pounds would make all the difference in the world about how clothes fit? Do you have a desire to be more stylish but don’t know where to start?” I answered yes to all the questions, and with Jay’s encouragement sent Megan an email requesting a consultation. I felt a bit embarrassed telling her that even though I was a professional investment consultant and managed millions of dollars, I was intimidated by retail sales folk and really wanted a more up-to-date, professional look. She kindly replied that while she couldn’t manage millions, she sure could shop. We met for coffee and I shared my goals, the most significant of which were to look less like a soccer mom and more stylish for work. She told me what a self confidence boost new clothes and time spent on me would be, but I could not have imagined the journey we would take over the next seven months. I cleaned out my closet before Megan came to help clean out my closet because I was embarrassed by the unworn clothes that were still there. I thought I had done a pretty good job, but four hours and 10 bags of donations for the YWCA later, I had to sit down and have a glass of wine. The experience of touching each item and answering questions like, “What do you like about this? When do you wear it? How long have you had it?” was a ride on an emotional rollercoaster. Megan had me try things on and assessed what styles fit. She understood I was a former preppy and then agreed to talk in a week or so about outfits and shopping. I was given a multipage list of work outfits including tops, bottoms, shoes, accessories. She asked about favorite stores and my budget, we came up with our hit list, and Megan went to four stores and pulled sizes and outfits for me to try. Just the act of being able to walk in a store and start trying things on was terrific. I was pushed way outside my fashion comfort zone, but in a good way, and Megan was there every step of the way (she was doing the pushing, after all!). With bags full of clothes, I went home and tried everything on for my fashionista sister-in-law and daughter. Their oohs and aahs were priceless. There were many more emails from Megan, magazine photos exchanged, shopping trips to be made, and wardrobe lookbooks to create and maintain. In the process I fell in love again with shopping, lost 10 pounds, had hair and makeup makeovers and, as Megan promised initially, a newfound confidence.
Melaniestyle coaching client
I absolutely loved all the time I spent with Megan! I took so much from each coaching session, and gained more confidence in my style and overall look. Megan showed me how to put outfits together with clothes I already had in my closet. Who would have thought I had some really cool pairings already? Then, I loved going shopping to find the pieces I was missing to complete my “looks.” I had a blast trying on clothes for the first time, and I enjoyed mixing and matching to make new outfits. Megan really helped me get rid of the clothes that desperately needed to go…which was hard for me! But I am SO glad I got rid of them– my closet is only filled with things I will REALLY wear, and that is comforting! The whole experience was one I will never forget– I now love clothes, shopping, etc, and more importantly, am able to hold my head up high and strut my stuff in my new outfits all over town!
Alie B.style coaching client
I recently had to shop for a dress for my grandson’s wedding. I am petite and 70 years old, so I wanted a dress that would look good and be age appropriate for me and the wedding. It is so difficult for me to find dressy clothes in petite sizes. I had been looking for a couple of weeks with no success and getting quite discouraged, so I asked Megan to help me. She came up with a plan for places we would go to shop. After trying on a couple of pieces, she knew exactly what style dress would work for me and best of all she could envision a dress after alterations which in my case was important. She was aware of the color that would look good on me with my gray hair and even helped with accessories. In addition to my dress for the wedding she found a beautiful coral dress that I wore to the rehearsal dinner. I have to say, I also learned a lot about fashion and how to buy pieces that can be interchanged. Megan knows how to build a wardrobe, not just buy clothes. Shopping with Megan was the perfect prelude to a grand occasion and I was so pleased with my outfits. I could look in the mirror and feel confident in what I was wearing and as my role as the grandmother of the groom.
Annestyle coaching client
Megan has always had a great sense of style. The wonderful thing is that she is able to identify what great style works for others! Before we hit the stores, Megan first went through my closet. Although there were a few things that needed to go, she assessed what pieces I do have that are classic, showed me how to wear what I love by updating them with belts, jackets, etc…. and determined some key pieces I could use to fill in the rest and have a “current look”! We also talked about what new clothes I would like for some upcoming events, and for the season. Once shopping, Megan was able to quickly hone in on the things I wanted. She found the “perfect dress” for me for an upcoming wedding, and she picked out some stylish basics for the season. It was so much fun—like shopping with a good friend that will tell you honestly how you look, but a friend with lots of fashion savvy too!
Lynnstyle coaching client
When I turned 50 and was on the cusp of beginning a new teaching job, I knew I needed some coaching with my “look.” I was dealing with the typical body image issues many of us face as we shift through life’s stages. I decided to ask Megan for some help.
I was nervous when Megan, drove up to Chattanooga, TN to help me purge my closet. I did not need to feel such trepidation! She was honest and knowledgeable, but kind in her assessment of my wardrobe; plus, it felt great to let go of so many old clothes! We determined what I needed to update and round out my closet, and Megan left with a list for pre-shopping. I drove to Birmingham for our shopping day a few weeks later. Megan made it so easy! Within a few hours, we were done! As I tried on clothes, Megan coached me on the best styles for my body shape, hem lengths, shoe choice, etc… The experience with Megan gave me more confidence in understanding my style and body shape. A week later she emailed me a “look book” of all the pieces I purchased and how to wear each for different occasions.
It is a year later now, and I still find myself using my “look book” to put together an outfit. The clothes I bought remain stylish and make me feel confident. I think of my time with Megan, and the purchases I made, as an investment in me! Megan’s coaching helped me not only in revamping my wardrobe, but she helped me move into a new career and a new decade of life understanding myself with more compassion and confidence.
Spring has sprung in Alabama, so it’s time to get out the flip flops.
Statements like the above are why I need a stylist. I’m no longer a spring chicken and, as Mama always said, “Women of a certain age need to try harder. Otherwise, we’ll look like we need to try harder.
Enter Megan LaRussa of Southern Femme. When I started receiving her e-mails, I wasn’t sure her services were something I would enjoy. But the more I read her newsletters and watched her videos, the more I began to think that maybe this was someone who could help me. She talked knowledgeably and cheerfully about the subject that had mystified me all my life. Even if it turned out I was a hopeless case, just talking with this young fashion maven would be a fun adventure.
Let’s just say I’m style challenged. That’s why I think flip flops when the weather turns warm. I don’t mean cute little sandals with rosettes on top. I’m talking rubber thongs in every color of the rainbow, the kind that go “flip-flop” when you walk and usually rub their color off on your not-yet-summer-ready heels.
So I e-mailed Megan and asked her if she could help me. “Oh, most definitely,” she said. Bless her heart.
We met at a barbeque joint near our home at the farm so she would not have to navigate the winding country roads to our home without cell phone coverage. It’s easy to get lost out there, and if you go around the bend, well let’s just say you’ve gone too far.
Megan was delightful – so full of enthusiasm and energy. And, of course, she looked like a fashion plate. But she was so young! She graduated high school with my youngest son, for Pete’s sake! What could this oh-so-young woman know about how to dress me?
As it turned out, she knew plenty. Style is style, no matter what your age. That was the first thing she taught me about living the stylish life. This girl may not have experienced as much of life as I had, but she had certainly lived the life she had lived with style.
First, she asked me to fill out a survey about my lifestyle, my feelings about clothes, and why I had engaged her services in the first place. I probably told her more than she wanted to know about that, and I was afraid I might have scared her off with my neediness. But not Megan – she was a woman up to the challenge.
Next, we went through my closet, garment by garment, she asking me questions like “Where did you buy that?” and, probably more to the point in my case, “Why did you buy that?” During the process, I found things I didn’t even remember buying. Megan was kind, but firm, as she had me discard item after item from my closet.
When we were through, I felt cleansed. I stood in front of my closet, admiring the empty spaces and wiggling my clothes on their hangers, just to hear them rattle against each other, something that had not occurred in my closet in decades. It was music to my ears.
The next day, Megan sent me a look book of outfits, in which she detailed what items of clothing to wear together, along with what shoes to wear with them. She even included jewelry, explaining how to layer necklaces and stack bracelets for the funky, artsy look that she deftly understood I had longed for all my fashion challenged life.
I now had outfits to wear to meetings, to cocktail events, to church, and on date nights with my husband. I would even look good knocking around the farm. I couldn’t wait for an event to come up so I could go confidently to my closet and select an outfit that I knew would look good on me. I cannot begin to tell you how much stress that has removed from the simple act of getting dressed in the morning. For the fashion challenged, you see, life can be hard.
Megan’s expertise extended to skin and hair as well. She recommended specialists in my areas of interest. She introduced me to an excellent seamstress for alterations. She taught how to shop for things that would look good on my body type, and how to care for my new wardrobe. She even shopped with me, and she brought me style magazines and articles about how to remain fashionably current.
I can’t begin to tell you all the ways Megan has helped me along the road to becoming a southern femme. And, yes, she travels to help clients all the time.
The other day, my husband and I were busily hanging pictures and moving furniture around in our new home. Out of the blue, he said, “You’re looking younger.” Since time neither stands still nor reverses for anyone, I can only think that my new style is working.
Megan has taken me from being an eyesore to being a sight for sore eyes. I no longer dread approaching my closet each morning, and when I leave the house, I feel confident I’m looking as good as I can look.
Move over, America’s Next Top Model, here I come!
From: “A Sight for Sore Eyes”, denisehays.com
Megan has been so wonderful with Annelise! She came to our home and cleared out her closet, took her shopping at budget-friendly stores, made a list of appropriate outfits pieces for various functions (school, dates, performances, etc.). Annelise has been looking AMAZING every day, and she has received many compliments at school on how stylish she has become! From time-to-time (e.g., this morning), Annelise will come out in an outfit she has put together herself, based on the style lessons she has learned from Megan, and she looks great each and every time! Last week, I was in Target’s clothing department and overheard a girl from Annelise’s school tell her mother, “Annelise has some jeans like these.” The jeans resembled some really neat-o leopard-pattern jeans from Macy’s that Megan picked out for her. Pretty cool, that Annelise’s name is being dropped in association with style!
To sum it all up: The day after the shopping spree, Annelise got dressed in one of her brand new outfits, and she started jumping up and down like a little girl and squealed, “I love how I look!” You can imagine what that did for my heart!!!
Without a doubt, Megan has been an answer to a prayer! This is so much more than Annelise looking good to others. This is about her accepting herself and believing she is as beautiful as God made her to be!
TERRY Mother of Annelise, a style coaching client
I was at a loss to what was missing-the clothes were fitting right and the styles up to date however something was still not right. Megan was able to pinpoint the one thing I was missing– color!!! Finally the puzzle came together Megan is like enlisting a trusted friend to give you honest feedback.
I have always been one who simply purchases what she likes and wears it never really thinking that it was “right” for me…then in comes Megan, the magician!!!
Not only did she understand where I was coming from, but she knew exactly what I needed, what looked good on me and gave me the confidence to “think out of the box”. Megan has the patience of Job especially dealing with people like me; someone who is afraid to try something new whether it be color or style. I am a conservative dresser and Megan showed me how I can have fun with just adding a few updated pieces to what I already had in my closet. We spent time going through my closet, donating pieces that we not complimentary to my shape or age. I tended to work items ill-fitting and not contemporary enough…I was really dressing like an old lady! I always thought “trendy” meant wearing things too young for me and therefore I avoided it…BUT, in came MEGAN THE MAGICIAN!!!
Megan truly understands her clients and what they need…she even printed out clothing combinations for me!! Including accessories!!
What more can I say? Megan is a talented lady who has a flair with helping others…what a blessing she is…sharing with others what she loves most…fashion!!
If you’d like to join these stylish women, and become one of these success stories visit the Stylist Programs page. There you can view the various packages Megan offers and book an appointment today.