I’m almost convinced that Lindsay Albanese is a literal human ray of sunshine. She’s the kind of bubbly that is usually reserved for over-the-top TV characters; the kind of bubbly that you don’t trust when you come across it in real life because really, who is that bubbly?! Well, Lindsay is.
The professional style expert and recent Venice Beach transplant is also a dead ringer for Jennifer Aniston with her classic California looks: golden blonde hair, light eyes, sun-kissed skin. But where Aniston is a simple jeans-and-tee lady, Lindsay is an explosion of bright colors, sharp lines, and feminine frills.
She started out studying design at LA’s Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising–where she quickly realized that she was less of a designer and more of a stylist. From there, she went on to assist in styling Britney Spears’ “Toxic” music video and dress everyone in Hollywood, from Bella Thorne to Fran Drescher.
Within minutes of meeting Lindsay in her West Hollywood styling studio, though, it’s clear to me that she was not meant to stand in the shadow of her A-List clients. Her effervescent personality and larger-than-life look deserve the spotlight, and I’m not the only one who thinks so: Lindsay’s relatable-but-educational YouTube videos–sample title: “How To Go Bra-less!!!”–have garnered her millions of views and a dedicated fashion following in the past few years.
Her trajectory from wannabe designer at 18 to celebrity stylist stylist at 23 to style star in her own right at 36 might seem glamorous and fun and fabulous, but don’t let Lindsay’s super-sweet demeanor fool you: this girl grinds for every ounce of her success, and she’s not afraid to take a break from the bubbly to serve some realness when she needs to.
Want advice on how to carve out space for yourself in your industry (or how to land a job as Lindsay’s assistant)? Read on.
FAME: How would you describe your personal style?
Lindsay: My personal style is a consistent mix of feminine and masculine at the same time, always.
FAME: How did you get started styling?
Lindsay: I started styling way back when no one knew what a stylist was, before Rachel Zoe. I went to fashion design school, I thought I wanted to be a designer, and then I realized I would rather put together things from a variety of collections rather than create my own.
FAME: As a stylist, what are your greatest accomplishments?
Lindsay: I helped style all of the cast in the Britney Spears Toxic music video. At the point when she’s in the airplane and she spills coffee on the guy, I had to make that coffee stain. Her love interest, I styled him. Basically, all the supporting actors–I was only 23 years old, so that was MAJOR. That and traveling the world as a stylist are a few of the major moments of my career.
FAME: OK–real talk. Styling isn’t your typical 9-to-5 with a steady paycheck, and sometimes checks can take months to come in. How did you support yourself getting started?
Lindsay: You have to be prepared not to make money for a while, unless you’re one of the very, very, very few lucky ones. For me, I was a bartender–and then I had been fired from all of my bartending and waitressing jobs because whenever an opportunity would come up, if I got a styling opportunity, I would be like, Oh, I have to pick my grandma up! Or, Oh, my dog has to go to the emergency room. That’s the very true story of the reality–I had to make money, but I couldn’t have that job interfere with these opportunities that would come out of nowhere at a moment’s notice.
FAME: Being essentially “freelance,” how do you balance your money now? Do you have any tips or anecdotes of how you figured your shit out?
Lindsay:To be successful as a stylist, Plan B is not an option–that’s first and foremost. If you’re doing this just to see, just to try it, more times than not it’s not going to happen. You have to be all in. What comes with that is the ebb and flow…you have to make sure that you have enough money saved up to cover the foreseeable 3 months of bills and rent. I highly suggest to live at home for as long as you can. If you have cool parents, that is ideal. That’s what I did.
I went to college, moved back home, maybe I was 22? I didn’t move out until I was 25. I was living at home when I styled a Britney Spears music video, I was living at home when I was a stylist on Entertainment Tonight. I saved my money. My parents were cool though, too. I always say, seize that opportunity [to live at home].
FAME: What’s something about being a stylist that most people don’t know or wouldn’t assume?
Lindsay: It’s a grind. It’s not swiping credit cards all day and shopping in fabulous department stores all day. That’s not what it is. You’re constantly racing against the clock. The pressure is immense because you’re working with celebrities, you’re also working with their teams. The list goes on and on.
FAME: We custom-make every piece and are proud of our made-to-order, low-waste production methods. As a stylist, do you try to support brands that are either giving back or producing sustainably? How does sustainable living fit into your own life?
Lindsay: I love shopping vintage and second-hand. I’ve found some incredible gems that way. I also don’t throw away any old clothes, I donate everything to the LGBTQ center–and they’re getting some great stuff because as a stylist, you get a ton of cool things. But I can’t wear everything!
I also am quicker to support a brand if there is a social good cause behind it, rather than a mass-produced random ecommerce site that’s a bunch of fast fashion. It definitely draws my attention.
FAME: Deciding to go out on your own on-camera–how did you make that decision? Were you always somewhat of a performer, or were there hurdles you have to get over?
Lindsay: I thought I wanted to be a stylist forever, that’s what I was going to do. I’ve traveled the world being a stylist and having experiences–from the Cannes Film Festival to being locked in my celebrity client’s house because she had a panic attack–I’ve been through all of it. So after those experiences you think, like, What do I want to do? What’s my 3 year plan? For me, as a stylist, media reaches out to you and wants to get quotes from you because of your credibility as an established stylist. So I saw that as an opportunity to build my own brand and my own foundation that wasn’t reliant on the celebrities that I was styling. I’d already had enough experiences and accolades. That’s when I started my YouTube channel. In all honesty, I heard what these kids were making on YouTube and I was like, Are you f’ing kidding me? I’m doing that! Literally that’s what it is.
I actually have a crazy story. I was a regular contributor on The Today Show–I do fashion segments for them–and dealing with the leader in news is very intense. They have the highest standards, they make you do things, redo them, change the model, they’re hyper -sensitive because it’s a respected news show. I remember when I got done with my segment with Kathie Lee and Hoda, the producer came up to me and said, “That is one of the best fashion segments we’ve ever had on the show.”
I remember thinking, OMG, that’s such a massive compliment. She’s a hardass, she’s not giving away free compliments, she doesn’t need to. No one gives a shit, everyone’s busy. And beyond a producer saying that, I didn’t have any idea how [these segments] affected other people–Do they agree with what i’m saying? Did I have them confidence to try a new trend? So that’s when I was like, I need to start my YouTube channel so I can see how people are responding to what I’m putting out there.
FAME: Do you think it’s important for young stylists to focus on creating a personal brand?
Lindsay: Yes, absolutely, you have to. The competition is so incredibly competitive, you have the advantage if you have all of the appropriate things in order: your Instagram feed is curated, your website is up, your resume is at the ready. Those things will set you ahead of the person who’s lazy, who’s like, Oh I’m working on my site. I get so crazy with things like that. If you want to work in this business, you’ve got to step it up, girl!
FAME: Do you have an advice for girls looking to intern or assist? How do you choose your assistants?
Lindsay: Follow up is huge. I say this all the time: The follow up gets the fortune. People are busy. That story of, Oh I emailed her but I never heard back. OK–well you could’ve emailed her during a shoot, she’s busy, she’s got a zillion emails coming in. So follow up, follow up, follow up. Anybody who’s worked with me has followed up two or three times, and they catch me in that sweet spot when I’m on the couch and I’m catching up on emails, so that’s seriously number one.
Also, never, ever, ever, ever, ever be late. I’ve never been late, a client has never waited on me. I don’t want to hear about traffic–I’ve sat in parking lots my whole career because I’ve been early.
FAME: You say you cultivate “Relatability and Sophistication”–what does that mean to you in terms of style, and how did you land on that as your tagline?
Lyndsay: I think that’s who I am. I’m relatable, and my style is sophisticated–it’s not rock and roll, it’s not grunge, there’s a thread of sophistication in everything I wear. When building a brand, whatever the brand is, it has to be authentically you or it’s not gonna work.
FAME: Let’s talk social media. How does “Instagram Lindsay” relate to “real world Lindsay”? How much time goes into curating your feed and creating outfits?
Lindsay: Instagram is my magazine–it’s the editorial version of me. Instagram Stories is where you really get to know me.
As far as the work involved, this is the reality: None of us ever wanted to curate a damn photo feed on Instagram. We all have to do it, and it’s fucking hard. It was never my passion, but this is what’s happening, this is what’s important–you have to jump on the train of whatever’s happening in the moment or you’re gonna be left.
Because I’m not a photographer, I have to invest money into quality content. I hire a photographer twice a month and I do what I call a “ninja photo shoot,” where I wear eight outfits, we drive around the city, and change out of my car. It’s my least favorite thing I do in all of my business, but it’s essential. It’s mandatory.
P.S., I never wanted to be a model! All of a sudden we’re all models. I hate it, I hate it. Like, What damn pose am I gonna do right now? You just have to do it.
FAME: How did you grow your following on Instagram and YouTube–are there any pointers you can share?
Lindsay: Can you share some pointers? I’m looking for them too!
No, we’re all searching for the holy grail of followers that just come in like an avalanche. As far as tips, this is the thing: Consistency is everything. That’s it, that’s all you can do. For my YouTube channel, I uploaded on Saturday when I had 200 followers and I upload to this Saturday when I have 200,000. So that’ll tell you right there. No one was watching my videos then! I’m huge on consistency because in this world of inconsistency, that’s the only thing I can control and that gives me peace of mind.
FAME: You do a “Trends for Every Size” series. Can you talk a little bit about how you conceptualized that, and where the fashion world has room to grow in terms of inclusivity and diversity?
Lindsay: I think we’re on the road to more inclusiveness and diversity. My audience inspired me–they’re constantly asking for plus-size videos, and it only seemed right to throw me in the mix. It’s showing that just because you’re a size 18 doesn’t mean you can’t wear certain things. Stop thinking, Oh, that won’t work on my body. Stop judging clothes and start wearing them.
FAME: “Flattering” has almost become a dirty word in the body positive community. What are your thoughts on that, and has that come up in any of your “trend for every size” videos?
Lindsay:I think this hyper-sensitivity has happening–flattering is flattering, people! Here’s the thing: If it’s not flattering and you love it, wear it. That’s why I use the hashtag #loveitwearit.
I actually made a video about this called “How To Stop Dressing For Your Body Type.” I wore this hideous jacket that was not flattering on me–there are photos. I looked terrible! But I loved it. I love the jacket so much and I’ll wear it again.
FAME: Best style advice?
Lindsay: Comfort is everything. Don’t wear a trend just because it’s cool.
FAME: Best business advice?
Lindsay: Persistence and consistency–it’s the cornerstone of my success. That’s how I’ve gotten opportunities before other people. I’m quicker to respond and more thorough.
FAME: Power outfit?
Lindsay: Anything with tailoring and structure. That’s why I love this collection!
FAME: Why did you pick these particular Fame and Partners pieces?
Lindsay: They have everything on my checklist: tailoring, structure, that element of excitement that throws it off a little bit and makes it modern.