We first met Melissa Triber on the set of Katie’s shoot with Institute Magazine. After seeing the images that came out of that day (the styling was amazing), we couldn’t help but track Melissa down and force her to give us her deets. A Los Angeles based wardrobe stylist who claims she sort of stumbled into the profession, Melissa is as humble as she is talented – both reasons why we are obsessed with her. And while she may downplay her successes, we won’t. Subtlety was never our forte.
Triber has worked with well-known publications like LA Confidential and The Hollywood Reporter, brands as big as Disney and more celebrities than you can count (think Demi Lovato, Kendall & Kylie Jenner and Anna Kendrick, to name drop a few). Needless to say, she’s killing it. Read on to get some style tips from a pro, and you just might pick up some life tips from someone who clearly knows how to lead a good one.
TKC: How did get your start in styling?
MT: I was actually asked to help on set for Paper Magazine a little over 4 1/2 years ago, and I had no idea what ‘being a stylist’ even entailed. I had just moved to LA to study trend forecasting at FIDM and I figured it wouldn’t hurt to expand my work experience in the fashion industry. After the first shoot, I started to assist more frequently, eventually working as a key stylist when needed. I then was approached by publicists and agents because they liked my work from the magazine. From there I began expanding my experience in other editorial and red carpet appearances and slowly moved into campaign work.
TKC: Would you consider one moment your ‘big break?’
MT: In short answer, no. I associate the term ‘big break’ with reaching a comfort level and I never want to feel comfortable with my accomplishments as it would welcome the possibility of slowing down. There are always new jobs to book and creative opportunities to be had, and the last thing I want is to hold myself back from moving forward. Also, my idea of a ‘big break’ is forever evolving as I continue to develop and reach new personal goals.
TKC: What do you find to be the most exciting part of what you do?
MT: Creating. Inspiring. Pushing boundaries. Positively influencing the way someone feels about themselves.
TKC: How would you describe your own personal style?
MT: Oh I’m all over the board, but that’s what I love about fashion. You start as a blank canvas every day and are capable of dressing however you want in order to reflect how you feel. My style tends to fluctuate between beach grunge and street wear with pops of unexpected femininity.
TKC: Day to day, what are you wearing? Do you have a sort of work uniform?
MT: My schedule tends to be a little crazy, so I like to focus on comfort. I’m almost always wearing either all black or all white with at least one item frayed or distressed. I gravitate towards day dresses, band tees or tanks and rolled skinny jeans with ankle boots.
TKC: Does your personal style influence your work at all?
MT: Absolutely. When I mentioned creating as one of my favorite parts of styling, it’s because I’m drawn towards pairing the unconventional together. The more unexpected a look might be, the more apt I am to put someone in it. With that being said, balance is extremely important. For example, I currently have on ripped black skinny jeans, but I paired them with a black structured peplum tank to balance the masculinity of the distressed denim and ankle boots. I take pride in doing the same for jobs. For one of Katie’s looks in Institute Magazine this month, I put her in a white suit with only a black bandage bra underneath and pointed toe heels.
TKC: Is there a particular designer or look that you tend to favor?
MT: In regards to styling, it always depends on the project. My favorite jobs are the youth-centric street wear shoots driven by trends, but I rarely get the chance to work on those. My personal style is quite tomboy, so I tend to favor Rag & Bone, The Kooples, Theory and Helmut Lang. I’ve been really into sportswear as of late, so I’ve been incorporating some athletic pieces into my daily attire as well. My mesh “Ghetto” jersey and high-waisted a-line leather skirt have been my go-to recently.
TKC: On the flipside, are there any trends that you absolutely loathe?
MT: Not that I can think of. As long as people can rock a look with confidence, I say wear it and wear it well.
TKC: On a day off in LA, where can we find you and what are you wearing?
MT: When I actually have a day off, I make sure to get out of the city. I love taking day trips with friends to places we’ve never been; I love to hike, cliff jump and explore. If I do stay in town and I’m not at the beach, I’m probably at a summer concert, outdoor movie or perusing a local event/art exhibit. I love to shop the Melrose Farmers Market and I’m exceptional at brunching. The Hart and The Hunter is my favorite spot! You’d probably find me in my favorite Doors black muscle tank and frayed shortalls with ankle boots and a plaid tied around my waist.
TKC: Cocktails, wine or beer? What are you sippin?
MT: Depends on the occasion. I’m mostly into wine, but you can bet the first thing I buy at a baseball game is the largest beer possible.
TKC: What advice would you give 22 year old Melissa?
MT: Don’t underestimate yourself. Be humble. Never stop learning. Embrace everything with an open mind and positive attitude. Follow your intuition.