This week’s That Girl is Jasmine Webster of Dress Me, stylist, personal shopper and fashion blogger extraordinaire! You can always spot HK’s very own Ms J at the hottest events around town, looking immaculately dressed at all times of course.
We quiz Jasmine on her essential style dos and don’ts, get her tips for the coolest fashion finds around town and hear about her wackiest ever photo shoots – Tyra eat your heart out!
Fill us in on your background and where you grew up. How did you end up in HK?
I’m originally from New Zealand, where I went through all my schooling and ended up graduating from uni with a minor in Visual Arts and a Major in Fashion Apparel – the foundations of my life!
After a stint of freelancing as a fashion stylist while working two full-time jobs (I literally never slept!), I managed to save enough money to start travelling – my first stopover (on the way to London) being Hong Kong! That has now extended into a five-year stopover… I simply never left!
The skyscrapers, lights and the fact I could wear heels and dress to the nines (a nice change from flip-flops and boardies, the classic NZ look!)… I’m addicted to the fast-paced, big life/style/action destination that is HK!
Where do you live? How have you made your home your own?
I live with my fiancé in an old four-storied Chinese walk-up in Mid Levels. It’s a secret gem of a location that has become our personal little get-away from the sometimes-manic nature of HK. With such strong visual tastes, we have absolutely made it into a place of our own.
How would you describe your personal style? How does it evolve and change?
My personal fashion sense is a mix of classic notions and rock appeal. I live by the mantra “Fashion fades, but style is eternal” (Yves Saint Laurent – a classic quote!) and have a tendency to opt for timeless looks that transcend seasons. I prefer beautiful but simple cuts in clothing, fine natural fabrics, leather shoes and handbags, and express my inner creativity with sophisticated fashions. I’m admittedly not always the flashiest in the room, but indisputably always well-dressed!
Ohhhhh and the LBD (Little Black Dress) can be found EN MASSE in my wardrobe!
Plus what once was my everyday fearless inclusion of studs, leather, denim and rips as a teenager, is now instead worn as an extra touch – paying due to my former obsession with the rock chick, nonconformist look!
My fashion sense evolves and adapts to situations, lifestyle, surroundings and bank account, but always has elements that are essentially ME no matter the designer, colour or shape.
Where do you shop in Hong Kong? Any secret finds you can let us in on? Any up and coming designers we should be looking out for?
Due to being a personal shopper, I am literally hitting the shops, showrooms and designer sales ALL THE TIME! Retail therapy is an everyday occurrence! Which means I rarely go shopping for myself in the form of ‘shopping sprees’. I’ll pick things up here and there and have a tendency to buy because I know I’ll need it in the future. For example, just before the winter I bought an a-mazing white boyfriend blazer from the TST Initial outlet store on sale, knowing it was too hot to wear immediately, but that I would adore it once the cooler days came around, which they did!
My wardrobe is a pure investment – my choices in clothing comes with a strong scene of value and I often maintain a small wardrobe, but with many pieces that I can mix’n'match. I take the time to look for garments that I know will last.
I recently came across Barnett jewellery, which the rock star within me is lusting after for sure! Oh AND Mak Chuen Chi, Hong Kong’s absolute big HIT in terms of fashion design, is one to keep your eye on too!
What are your must-have beauty products? Where do you go for hair/nails/maintenance?
ii HAIR NAIL is where I treat myself to the luxuries of a cut and colour by Koren Marsden-Thomas (she’s fabulous!), and I often take my clients to Roy Pang there too.
As for keeping my hair in good condition – I simply allow my hair to dry naturally as often as I can! Keep away from the harsh heat of the hairdryer, straightening irons and heated rollers!
My nails are often looked after by 10/10 SPACE; my pet hate is chipped nail polish, so with being so hands-on all the time I opt for gel – and swear by it!
What is your favourite thing to do at the weekend?
Chill with my fiancé over a delicious late breakfast and a strong coffee. We have swapped our traditional newspapers for iPads and often catch up on the world, personal emails, celebrity gossip (actually that’s more me, not him!) and read books while people watching and ordering a second coffee, or glass of wine – depending on if we sit late into the afternoon!
My weekends usually consist of working too – my days are more 31 hour than 24 and my weeks merge from one into the other! But I do always start my weekend mornings in a relaxed manner.
What are your favourite restaurants and bars in Hong Kong?
Le Marron, The Pawn, Zuma… honestly where do I start, dinners out are one of my most fave things! And as for bars, I do have a tendency to hit Lily & Bloom, Café Gray Deluxe and Le Boudoir more often than most.
Where are your favourite travel destinations? What are your suitcase must-haves?
Every now and again, we escape to The Pavilions in Phuket for a lush get-a-way. As it’s a more romantic tropical trip, I make sure I pack more than enough swimsuits to soak the sun up in – my new metallic purple, 1950s high wasted bikini from Wanderlust will be with me on my next vacation for sure! As will my over-sized John Lennon-style Henry Holland sunnies.
I have some seriously divine silk and beaded kaftans from HK brand Kaprice that are the ultimate glam throw-overs made for resort lounging and some exotic little beaded and belled anklets I recently picked up from the night markets in Chiang Rai, Thailand.
And that’s my safety kit: A stunning swimsuit, sunnies, glam kaftans and exotic accessories!
What are your most hated fashion faux-pas, what would you never wear and what are your five fashion essentials everyone should have in their closet?
Most-hated fashion faux-pas: VPLs (visible panty lines – I DIE!)
I would never wear: Track pants!
My top five fashion essentials: An LBD. A bra that fits, boosts and supports and MATCHING knickers. A flattering pair of jeans (G Star Raw is my current fave!) A great pair of black boots, especially in the winter! And a signature accessory – whether that is your engagement ring, a pair of pearl studs, an ornate pendant or gold chain… anything that adds an obvious touch of YOU to your outfit!
Describe the average day of a stylist. Is it as glamorous as Rachel Zoe makes out?
It is just as glamorous as Rachel Zoe portrays – the designer clothing, the parties, the champagne, the celebrity personalities!
However, it is also as equally stressful as she demonstrates on her show. Do you ever see Rachel Zoe sleep, stop, day-dream – NO! And that’s exactly how it is with the entire industry. The job is hard but the perks are massive! It is absolutely a job for someone who has the energy levels of an Energizer Bunny and the organisation skills of a guru! You need to know a range of social niceties to use at the events and have the patience and delivery of a teacher to educate your clients in the ways of fashion.
As for how my days often play out – they are consumed by emailing, tweeting, blogging, showroom pick-ups and designer meetings! Plus, personal styling and brainstorming for adverts, editorials or catwalk shows… Coffee meetings with other industry creatives happen a couple times a day, as does viewing new collections, whether at showrooms or on-line. B U S Y!!!
How do you balance being a stylist/personal shopper and a blogger – whilst looking fabulous throughout?!
I balance my workflow in with the demands of the market. For example, sometimes I have a huge amount of requests from people needing to re-vamp their wardrobes and go shopping, whilst other times the focus is more on blogging, the changing seasonal trends or producing editorials. I find that not everything is in demand at once, it’s seasonally dictated.
One thing I do maintain to make sure I keep on top of it all is my diary! Every meeting, event and email-to-send gets plugged into my daily schedule on my iPhone so that I never forget anything and am never late! That way, I manage to fit it all in!
As for dressing stylishly and appropriately – my Muma used to always make me choose my clothing for the next day and get it ready before I went to bed at night. And it’s a routine I now live by! That way I’m never rushed, under-dressed, not accessorized or wearing the wrong underwear! Even if I’m rushing in the mornings, I ALWAYS know what outfit I will be wearing!
What are your top fashion blogs for us to follow (apart from your own of course)? How do you think the fashion blogging scene in HK compares with the rest of the world?
I run a group called the #HKFashionBloggers which currently has 51 Hong Kong based bloggers in it and I love them all! They each have wildly different POVs, attitudes, tastes and styles of writing even though they blog about the same thing: fashion. And I keep an eye on them ALL! You can see them all regularly mentioned on my own blog.
As for the scene here in Hong Kong – it’s evolving. It’s possibly a step behind in terms of the current social media movement, but it’s gaining speed and recognition globally. Bloggers here in Hong Kong are on par with the top bloggers from around the world – it’s simply the rest of Hong Kong that needs to acknowledge this!
What’s the wackiest editorial you’ve ever shot? Are they ever really as insane as Tyra’s on Next Top Model?
YES – shoots can get crazily creative! That’s what makes them SO fun!
I have worked on all sorts of locations from train-tracks to horseback to circus installations!
One of the most amazing was in an ancient Victorian house in New Zealand, decked out with luscious antique furniture and vintage fittings (divine setting!). I brought in two Doberman dogs as live props, who proved more challenging than the models when it came to posing, and had to be taken outside when they started to get ‘tired’ and moody – scary! But they were phenomenally stunning in the final prints… Vicious beauty for sure!
Are you born with style or can you fake it?
Hahaha, there’s no fashion training in the womb! If there was, I probably would never have come out!
Style is not something you’re born with, it’s something you learn. It’s simply made a little easier for those with an eye for detail or a love for apparel. Some people develop fabulous style while others attain a more debatable look. Ultimately it can be taught – and like anything else, there are rules and formulas and tricks-of-the trade!
If you could everyone just one piece of fashion advice, what would it be?
Ironing is the easiest way to maintain a sharp, clean look. Nothing shouts sloppy like a crease, unattended fold or a lazily worn crumpled shirt!
All photos in the That Girl article above were taken by the hugely-talented Sabrina Sikora of Sabrina Sikora Photography – get in touch with her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Check out the rest of our That Girls here!