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“The St. Louis fashion scene is full of surprises. I think it’s underestimated but there’s room for a thriving fashion industry for ambitious fashion professionals. We have the talent, we just need the critical masses and the city is heading in that direction,” declares Debra Bass. A Las Vegas native who now calls St. Louis home, Bass admits, “I never wanted to be a fashion expert, but life happens.” For the past eight years, Bass has attended fashion week in New York City, a place where every thriving fashionista would die to go. “I don’t consider myself a fashion expert, I read a lot about it, I’m not shy about my opinions on fashion, but I guess I’m as much of an expert as the television personalities on ‘Fashion Police’ .”

And that she is.

Debra gave essential advice on building one a versatile and useful wardrobe.
“I’d always tell someone to invest in better basics. Some people think style is all about the loud, over-the-top pieces, but you can see the true style of people in their basics. Not everyone needs a blazer, but if you want a new sweater don’t buy three cheap ones you’ll throw away in a year, invest in one that you’ll want to wear for the next three years or more. The same goes for everything in your closet. Find the basic colors you wear often and don’t buy anything that won’t coordinate with at least three things you already own.” Advice to be tucked and stored away til shopping day arrives, Bass seriously advises investments in boots, a great bag or a striking winter coat. Staples you’ll wear and rotate for years. “If I’m spending money on something I don’t like it to be flashy, I want it to look

expensive- even if it’s not.” Invitations to the best fashion shows and parties, champagne on tap…. A fashion editor’s life may sound heavenly, but the journey to front-row Nirvana is no easy five step guide to entitlement. Words to all those who want to be the next Debra Bass? “Don’t be me, be the best you. Study. I meet lots of people who want to go into fashion, but they can’t name five fashion designers off the top of their heads or they don’t know a common designer name like Riccardo Tisci of Givenchy.”

When asked her favorite looks for upcoming spring and summer 2015, “I do like the color of the year prediction of marsala, a warm red wine, but I’m looking forward to less fitted jeans and summer dresses, any dress that doesn’t require the parka I’m wearing now,” Bass laughs. “I don’t have a favorite fashionista but if you’re on Instagram you have to follow these guys @iseeadifferentyou and @ ciprianaquann, they have fun with style. Don’t try too hard to be stylish, just be you.”

Follow Debra’s weekly video series called #STLStreetStyle and check out her blog, Deb’s Style File at stltoday.com/stylefile. She’ll be heading to fashion week in New York City in February.

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