L.A. stylist to NBA stars wants looking good to feel good

This story is a part of Picture problem 6, “Power,” an exploration what sports activities fashion looks like within the Metropolis of Champions. See the complete package deal right here.

“While you dress, you gotta see your self,” L.A. stylist Courtney Mays says, recounting a time in her life when trying within the mirror wasn’t probably the most gratifying expertise.

The 38-year-old Cleveland native says what’s important when preparing is taking the time to do the small issues — these easy prospers that elevate her spirits when she catches a glimpse of herself within the mirror, whether or not it’s including layers of jewellery to her common work uniform of sweats, sneakers, T-shirts and blazers or making use of some mascara as an alternative of dashing out of the home.

She first began to grasp the great thing about style when she noticed her dad and mom’ sartorial rituals as they dressed for outings collectively. The care communicated by way of these particulars — her father shining his footwear and adorning himself with equipment, her mom’s knack for making any merchandise her personal, from night robes to remixing males’s tuxedos with a bustier and pumps — left an enduring impression on Mays.

The likelihood for storytelling, for asserting a way of self and rewriting public narratives with out saying a phrase, makes style a playground of alternative. This eager understanding paired with an emphasis on purchasers not solely trying good however feeling good shines by way of Mays’ styling course of. You are feeling it as she describes creating good atmosphere at fittings with candles and upbeat music in addition to within the viral style moments, comparable to seeing her shopper Phoenix Suns level guard Chris Paul sporting a customized varsity jacket highlighting all 107 historic Black faculties and universities in the course of the 2021 NBA All-Star recreation.

Right here Mays shares the style classes that modified her relationship to getting dressed.

You’re on a Saturday date evening in downtown L.A. What are you sporting?

I’m most likely sporting a swimsuit with a T-shirt and sneakers — and all my jewellery. Or perhaps a cool outsized sweater. These leather-based pants that I’ve been sporting again and again, my accomplice’s most likely sick of seeing them, and these cowboy boots I discovered at a random classic retailer. I wish to put on these boots till they principally have holes in them. I really like them a lot. On the finish of day, I’d most likely put on pajamas. So long as I’ve all my jewellery on, I really feel like I can go someplace.

Stylist and menswear designer Courtney Mays on the Normal Difficulty clothes manufacturing unit in Vernon sporting a Stetson hat, a classic sweatshirt and an Eloquii skirt. Jewellery worn for the picture shoot is from Spinelli Kilcollin, David Yurman and Edward Avedis; bracelets from Mejuri; necklaces are household heirlooms; and earrings from Maria Tash.

(Mariah Tauger / Los Angeles Instances)

Throughout your individual fashion journey, what’s an underrated style tip you realized was a recreation changer?

That is so humorous. [My partner] Candice and I had been simply speaking about this. We’ve what we name “the Vegas Concept.” Anytime you go on a women’ journey to Vegas, one of many first issues folks do is pack their sequins. I used to get so stressed by it pondering I didn’t have something that was Vegas-appropriate, however why can we try this to ourselves? I wouldn’t put on sequins on an everyday day, so why do I believe as a result of I’m going to Vegas I’ve to placed on sequins and 9-inch heels? Let me go to Vegas and be myself in my double-breasted swimsuit, and that’s my Vegas look. Present up as your most comfy and assured self in all of these areas — no matter that appears like for you.

What would your finest pal say about your fashion?

She’d most likely say I’m a tomboy who marches to her personal tune and she or he’d say one thing about my purple lipstick as a result of pre-COVID, I actually wouldn’t go wherever with out it. My mother at all times wears purple lipstick and purple nail polish. That’s part of who she is, and I began taking that on. That’s one thing I at all times pay homage to.

(Mariah Tauger / Los Angeles Instances)

What’s a style rule that’s frequent information throughout the trade that extra folks exterior of the trade ought to embrace?

I really feel like most stylists and designers point out the significance of a superb tailor, however I believe the typical particular person doesn’t put it to use. I noticed this man on the airport the opposite day who had on a three-piece swimsuit. If he had simply taken that swimsuit to the dry cleaners to make some small changes, he may’ve been so fly. Lots of people go to the shop, put the garments on their physique, and so they count on it to suit like the image. They overlook you simply want a bit nip and tuck right here and there to have it suit your physique the way in which it ought to really feel on you. Each garment is completely different. Each physique is completely different. Taking that further time to tailor your garments is so price it.

What’s the one merchandise in your closet you’ll be able to’t stay with out?

I’ve this white Margiela shirt, like a males’s basic white Ashford shirt outsized. I most likely want to determine how you can get one other one as a result of I put on it a lot. For therefore lengthy I used to be simply shopping for ASOS white button-ups as a result of they’d my measurement. So to see one thing that was a lot better high quality and it truly matches nicely, I want I’d purchased two or three of them. It was kinda expensive for a white button-up however it’s develop into my go-to when getting dressed. I was like, “Mother, you solely put on white shirts.” However now I completely perceive. It’s the basic go-to. You’ll be able to throw it over a tank. You’ll be able to put on it with denims. There are such a lot of methods to put on a white shirt. That’s the closet staple for certain.

Courtney Mays at the Standard Issue clothing factory.

Courtney Mays in a customized swimsuit, Calvin Klein sports activities Bra and a New Period hat.

(Mariah Tauger / Los Angeles Instances)

Stylist Courtney Mays at the Standard Issue clothing factory.

(Mariah Tauger / Los Angeles Instances)

When deciding on seems for the blokes, from tunnel walks to the purple carpet, what kind of bodily cues point out an outfit is a winner throughout a becoming?

It’s positively that one-foot-in-front-of-the-other sort of stance the place they’re checking themselves out within the mirror. It at all times goes again to the tailor. While you put one thing on and also you begin pinning it and altering the form into what it ought to appear to be, you begin to see them understand, “Oh, now I perceive that is going to be cool.” There’s a bit little bit of a, like, “OK, I see you second.” Additionally, in the event that they let me take a photograph, I do know they prefer it. We used to have one shopper who would actually stand within the mirror for a pair extra-long minutes. It will be hilarious. Even Anthony [Anderson] and I’ve this factor the place I’m like, now do your pose. I’ve to know you want this outfit. After they do their little GQ pose within the mirror, I do know I did a superb job.

You’re having a calming break day and doing one thing that brings you pleasure. What are you sporting and what are you doing?

Positively sporting menswear pajamas, which I really like. And I’m most likely residence cooking with Candice. We’ve discovered how you can make a very good puttanesca. My household’s from Louisiana so I’ll battle anybody on my gumbo or my shrimp étouffée. A whole lot of occasions we’ll eat whereas we’re cooking, so we’ll make hummus or pico de gallo to snack on. So long as there’s recent flowers, a superb pot of gumbo or one thing on the range, a superb playlist going and a glass of wine, I’m in a superb place.

Courtney Mays at the Standard Issue clothing factory.

Courtney Mays in an Eloquii boiler swimsuit and an Pimples Studios hat.

(Mariah Tauger / Los Angeles Instances)

Courtney Mays at the Standard Issue clothing factory.

(Mariah Tauger / Los Angeles Instances)

Or we just lately began going to the Hollywood Bowl so much. It’s one of the best ever. We’re occupied with getting a go as a result of we’ve been there 4 occasions previously six weeks. We’ve what we name our Hollywood Bowl outfits. I’ve this John Elliott males’s sweatsuit that I really like, after which we’ve these huge plaid Gucci ponchos that we received from someplace tremendous on sale. It will get kinda chilly at evening so it’s our cozy-but-kinda-still-chic look with our fight boots or sneakers — and these huge, calmly tinted sun shades. Candice stole a pair of mine, which I’ll by no means see once more. That’s our Hollywood Bowl uniform. Listening to stay music, having a superb glass of wine, all of the issues that mean you can escape into that second of readability and downtime is what I really like, and if there’s music, I’m there.

Courtney Mays at the Standard Issue clothing factory.

Courtney Mays in an Eloquii houndstooth jacket and pants, Saint Laurent turtleneck and Alexander McQueen footwear.

(Mariah Tauger / Los Angeles Instances)

Why resides in Los Angeles the proper match for this chapter of your life?

I moved to L.A. in 2012 after my commute from New York would go from two to 3 days to 2 to 3 weeks. After saying to anybody who would hear me that I might by no means transfer to L.A., I formally turned an L.A. woman! Finest resolution I made aside from the gap from my household. L.A. has been a metropolis of desires for me. I’ve been in a position to broaden my skilled profession in ways in which I by no means imagined. It’s additionally uncovered me to a life-style that, albeit cliché, has modified my relationship to meals, to train, to artwork and music, and to nature. I’m a bit, as I prefer to name it, “vegan adjoining.” I really like a superb Sunday morning bike experience on the seashore or all through my neighborhood. The Hollywood Bowl has develop into a favourite stomping floor and you’ll often discover me hanging out in a neighborhood gallery or museum. I studied artwork historical past in school, and L.A. has type of reignited my ardour for the humanities.


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