A Conversation with Melissa Magsaysay: Editorial Stylist

Magsaysay is a fashion and beauty writer who was most recently the style editor for the Los Angeles Times, a position she held for 5 years. Prior to the Los Angeles Times, she was the west coast fashion market editor at Women's Wear Daily for 3 years-producing and styling fashion stories for one of the industry's most informative and influential publications.

As a writer and fashion editor, Melissa is able to communicate trends and fashion advice visually and editorially through stories and on camera segments. Her stories are syndicated to mass appeal both nationally and globally. She also appears on Access Hollywood, Style Network’s “Style Star”, KTLA and NPR as a fashion expert and commentator on celebrity red carpet style.

Melissa’s book “City of Style: Exploring Los Angeles Fashion from Bohemian to Rock” will be released May 2012.

The book, which is published by Harper Collins, is a stunning visual ride through L.A.’s fashion past. It reveals Los Angeles’s far-reaching influence on the style evolution of the world at large—and showcases the brilliant, idiosyncratic individuals who have fueled its powerful transformations.

Tell us the story behind your favorite wardrobe item

Melissa: I have a lot of favorite wardrobe items and all of them have a story behind them, which is a big part of why they are favorites. My best pieces are things I picked up traveling, like my brown leather tasseled loafers that I got in Buenos Aires. I wear them all of the time. Like all beloved things picked up abroad, I wish I bought 2 or 3 pairs! I also love this Army green jacket that I bought in the little boys dept of H&M. I wear it ALL the time and always get compliments. It's got a shrunken fit, but with masculine details. Perfect.

What’s your most memorable ‘panic moment’?

Melissa: It was probably doing a shoot for WWD in the sand dunes near Pismo Beach with a cast of about 15 dancers. I had produced the whole shoot as well as doing the market work and styling and never had time to edit looks. About 30 minutes before we shot the first look, I realized I had been so busy doing everything else and coordinating all of the various parts of the shoot, there was no time to make looks for any one. I had to create things last minute on the the fly. Not ideal.

How did you recover from it gracefully?

Melissa: I don't know if I did! Producing and styling a shoot on location is a lot for any one person. But, I just remained calm and had each person come in one by one, focused in on them and the best look without getting frazzled. Of course, I was in a race against the light as well. You just have to hone in on the clothes and environment and do the best you can.

What is your favorite era for fashion?

Melissa: My favorite fashion era has to be the 60s. I love everything from the wasp waist dresses to the mod look. The tweeds, pastels, paisley...Also, it was the most interesting decade because the beginning of the 60s was so different from the end - politically, socially and sartorially. Fashion is a reflection of the time and culture in which it's happening and to me, that was most uniquely captured during the 1960s.

What was your big break?

Melissa: Working as a fashion editor for Women's Wear Daily

Whose closet would you most like to raid?

Melissa: Stylist Maryam Malakpour (SEE HER SIMPLY STYLIST INTERVIEW HERE) or Charlotte Gainsbourg.
Who are your favorite designers?

Melissa: Phillip Lim, Mulberry, Chloe, YSL, Proenza Schouler, J. Crew, Madewell

Thanks Melissa! To learn more about Melissa (and pre-order her book) - visit her site You can also TWEET her @missymagsaysay and also keep up with her via her Tumblr.