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What to Wear to Work When You’re a Makeup Artist

Makeup artists, hair and wardrobe stylists, and to some degree photographers, creative directors, producers and other crew members are in a tricky position: When you’re readying someone else for the public eye, it’s not necessarily your time to shine. But still… When you’re in the business of aesthetics and design, you’re expected to be an expert at looking good. For example, let’s say it’s your job to beautify Christina Aguilera before she performs during the Super Bowl. Yeah, that happened. And Venice Beach-based celebrity makeup artist Fiona Stiles managed to pull it off with effortless style.

Wearing: Helmut Lang top, NYDJ pants, Rachel Zoe sandals
Image courtesy Andrew Stiles

We asked this natural beauty, total pro and mom-of-one to tell us all about being California cool amongst the coolest of the cool in this installment of our brand-new interview series designed to inspire and inform that daily conundrum, What to wear to work?

Born and raised: Born in San Francisco, raised in Northern California

Occupation: Celebrity makeup artist (clients include Jessica Alba, Jennifer Garner, Nicole Richie, Nikki Reed and Elizabeth Banks) and founder of Reed Clarke, a curated beauty retail site.

Okay, but how would you describe what you do? I make pretty people pretty.

Early training: I worked with Pat McGrath for a few years in the mid-nineties. It was a remarkable experience. She is a true genius and I loved watching the purity of her ideas translated into makeup looks. She has changed the way beauty is perceived.

Please brag about the really cool people you’ve worked with over the years: Halle Berry, Christina Aguilera, David Bowie and Madonna to name a few.

Wearing: Genetic denim, Madewell sandals
Image courtesy Andrew Stiles

Describe your personal style: I’m pretty easygoing. I have to say that since I moved out to LA, my style has definitely become more casual. I almost never wear heels any more and I don’t dress up quite the same way. Because my job is really physical and messy, I try to look cute but not too fussy. Ultimately it’s about freedom of movement and if I can’t do my job because I’m wearing a skirt and boots, then that’s a hindrance.

Describe your approach to “dressing professionally”: I tend to wear a lot of Helmut Lang. Their clothes are really cool and effortless but still look really pulled together, which I love. I also find them quite timeless and can wear them season after season. I also love a vintage dress. Mostly sheath dresses or more of a shapeless, unstructured kind of dress. That way I can still hustle around, putting moisturizer on legs or move around on location, stepping over wires and equipment. Sets are cluttered spaces!

For me, my uniform is a pair of jeans, pants or leggings, a cute shirt, a pair of sandals and a cardigan. If I’m warm and cozy up top then I am a happy girl.

Best compliment you’ve received on something you’ve worn to work: One time when I was doing Nicole Richie’s makeup, I was wearing a dress that I had bought in Cambodia. She told me that she loved my dress. That was very satisfying! Nicole is a total fashion icon and a very cool and chic dresser. It was a compliment that stuck with me, for sure!

The perfect day on set would include catered lunch from: Kitchen Mouse. They are amazing caterers in LA. Most of the food they make is vegan and it is incredibly delicious. Even the most steadfast carnivores love their food.

Wearing: Helmut Lang pants, Balenciaga shoes
Image courtesy Andrew Stiles

The perfect post-set/post-job cocktails, dinner or happy hour experience would be: Well, if I have the time I like to swing by Moon Juice on Rose Avenue in Venice and grab a pressed juice before work (they also have a handful of great skincare products). Or Gjusta on Sunset and Hampton for an amazing egg sandwich. Seriously, it’s the best egg sandwich you’ve ever had—smoked kale, hot sauce, organic eggs, housemade English muffins. After work I usually rush home to my family, but if I’m going out to meet people for dinner, I love Petty Cash tacos on Beverly (great margaritas and kale and cauliflower nachos) or Gracias Madre, a vegan Mexican place on Melrose that has just incredible food.

Follow: Fiona Stiles’ Blog | Fiona Stiles on Instagram

Shop: Outfit ideas

—Laura Cassidy