My Style: Lily Kwong

Portrait of American model Lily Kwong

Photo: BFAnyc.com — Courtesy of Lily Kwong

The three essential things a woman should know about style are…

Style is about energy — it's not about what you're wearing, it's how you wear it. The devil's in the details. Don't overthink it.

Please describe your style in three words.

NYC via California.

What is the biggest mistake one can make when getting dressed?

More is not always more — go overboard and as my stylist friend, Rushka Bergman, warns: "You can look like a Christmas tree!"

Do you believe in role models?

Absolutely. I'm blessed to have many in my life.

What are your favourite fabrics?

Cashmere, silk organza, and denim.

Are there any style combinations that you object to?

My papa used to tell me 'don't show your price tag'. You cannot be sexy without any mystery — no mini skirt + crop top, it's one or the other.

Lily Kwong Cait iPhone case

Which city has the best-dressed women?

Paris, the city of light.

Would you say that you are conservative or bold?

Getting bolder.

What are the rules in the way you dress?

Don't chase trends — I don't want to look back a couple years from now and wonder, "what was I thinking?"

Name one garment/accessory that you can never have enough of?

Cell phone cases! I have designed a line of luxury tech accessories (LK Collection) and now compulsively change my cases to match my outfit. We are inseparable from our phones these days — why shouldn't they be a part of a look? My recent favourite is named after my cousin, Cait — the printed leather and 18k gold 'bracelet' really adds something special to a simple outfit.

A woman should always…

Stand tall. Confidence transforms an outfit.

Who taught you what you know about style?

My cousin, Joseph Altuzarra. Living with him when he was launching his company was a better education than any design school could have possibly offered me.

How do you select your clothing every morning?

Check the weather and then go from there. ;)

What is your biggest regret?

That I didn't study more languages growing up. Now that I travel all around the world for work, it's something I think about often. Communication can unlock a city for an explorer!

We will never see you wearing...

Velvet. When I was a tomboy growing up, for special occasions my mother used to force me into black velvet overalls (hey, it was the 90s!) as a compromise for refusing to wear a dress. I hated those overalls, and still associate velvet with absolute misery.

Which new designers do you follow and why?

I really like Tome. I love that they're able to create comfortable, super-sexy clothes.

What is the first thing you notice on a woman?

Her smile or lack thereof.

What are the most treasured items in your wardrobe?

My great grandmother's jade ring, a vintage Alaia leather skirt, and a rare Pierre Cardin printed dress from the 60s.

The one image that defined your approach to style...

I remember buying this remarkable picture of Lauren Bacall at a flea market when I was 18 and had first moved to NYC. The photo was cropped at her shoulders — but she oozed style. I realised immediately it's all in the eyes, the attitude.

Lily Kwong Jean iPhone case

Which designer never fails to impress you?

Miuccia Prada, the fashion intellectual. Her work is so smart.

One article of clothing that a woman needs to pay close attention to is…

Her trousers. If they're not properly tailored it completely changes your body shape.

Is comfort an enemy of style?

Absolutely not. I grew up in the land of hippies — in the Bay Area, comfort is king.

Who would you like to recommend for My Style?

Laura Jones, my favourite stylist and best friend.

The best words of advice you have ever heard?

“Everything in moderation, including moderation”.

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