The star stylist answers all (and we mean ALL) our questions

By Alex Apatoff
Updated April 20, 2016 09:26 PM

Anita Patrickson’s A-list client roster includes stars like Julianne Hough, Chrissy Teigen and Hilary Duff, which means that she’s constantly fielding questions about the best way to style clothes — and how to take care of them.

So when we got an hour with her at our office recently, we asked her every personal styling question we had, from the best way to wear a jacket over a dress (make sure it’s cropped at the natural waistline) to how to make sure we’re putting away our winter clothing properly (it all comes down to how you wash them before you store them). And since her advice was so good, we decided to break it all down for you in one place.

Anita Patrickson/Instagram

First up: There are a lot of slightly intimidating trends happening this spring. How can the average girl approach a celeb-loved style like, say, off-the-shoulder anything? “It’s such a great trend right now and really flattering on every body type,” says Patrickson, who is a spokeswoman for Woolite Darks. “Mistakes people can make with this trend is to disrupt the gorgeous, clean, sexy décolletage that makes it look so alluring. Adding jewelry is fine as long as it’s an earring — chunky or delicate — and if you really want to wear a necklace opt for a choker or a thin collar, leaving your sexy skin and collar bones free.”

Flats with dresses are huge. Is there a way to wear them “wrong?” “I love flats with everything! Chic and comfortable — finally! It’s all about playing with the lines. If you are wearing a slightly longer hemmed dress (midi and lower) choose a flat that shows off a little more of your ankle and doesn’t cut the leg too high up.”

Can anyone do backless dresses? “Backless pieces are so sexy and gorgeous … but I hate to say it, they just aren’t for everyone. If you are very busty, this might be one trend you have to sit out, unfortunately, unless the piece is incredibly structured in the front. Great options for giving a little more chest support or coverage are sticky bras (the foam and not the gel kind, as these are lighter and tend to stay in place a lot more easily than pasties).”

What about an “ear party” — how do you make it look cool and not contrived? “I love this trend and to pull it off, it’s really just about eye-balling your look. If it doesn’t look right, it probably isn’t. A general rule is to place the bigger earrings on the lobe and gradually get smaller and smaller as you go up the ear. Mismatched earrings if you just have one hole in each ear should stay within the same vein as far as the vibe of the earring goes … edgy with edgy, feminine with feminine, etc.”

What I really want to try is white sneakers, but I’m afraid I’ll look like a 12-year-old. “White sneakers are a huge trend right now especially as we head into the warmer months. Keep your sneaker simple and fresh — the less embellished the better, and an all-white option with a platform sole gets double trend points!”

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And while we had her, we wanted pro tips for switching up our cold-weather clothes for warm. (Sorry, Anita, but it’s not every day you get a top star stylist in to answer all your most pressing questions!)

How do celebs store their clothes to keep them looking nice? “Folding and packing knits rather than hanging them is key. Roll tees in a drawer separated by color. This keeps everything clean and neat and you can actually see what you have! Sort shoes by color, and keep your more expensive suede ones in their boxes and Polaroid a picture of them on the front so you know what’s what. It sounds like it takes a while, but it’s really easy, and these are the first to get damaged so they need a little extra protection.”

If you’ve got a pricey statement piece, how do you keep it looking nice? “A great wardrobe is really just a collection of basics and staples with trendy items being moved in seasonally. A gorgeous blazer or great pair of jeans should really last you at least 10 years when being taken care of properly and this really all begins with the wash. I sort my clothes into lights and darks and wash accordingly and really treat my laundry detergents as I would my beauty products — just as I have a day and a night cream, I have a light and a dark wash. Woolite Darks is hands down my preference to keep my dark wardrobe basics clean and vibrant.”

But I hate handwashing my clothes! “The trick is really to not make it a huge deal — build it into your life. Wake up, put the coffee on, throw your things in the wash bowl and let them soak. Do it as you go! It doesn’t have to be a job that takes an hour, you can do it in stages and just slot those stages into your everyday life.”

What about my leather or suede? “I think people are doing it wrong by not taking it a specialist. Especially when it comes to suede, spray it ahead of time because once it’s ruined it is very hard to get back. Suede is something you should manage correctly from the beginning.”

What’s your favorite tip?

— Alex Apatoff