Malia Anderson has about 100 handbags and more than 200 lipsticks.
It sounds like a lot, but Anderson has her reasons behind her vast collections.
“I have an obsession with lipstick,” she said. “[My] handbag collection is made up of milestones in my business, so each one is a reward for something I’ve accomplished.”
Her business, Style by Malia, started in 2009 as a blog where she wrote funny commentary on celebrities’ dresses on red carpets. In 2011, Style by Malia became a brick-and-mortar reality. It has since become one of San Francisco’s largest and most reputable personal styling services.
“I make sure all my clients feel and look their very best every time they leave out the front door,” she said. “That’s the philosophy for my business.”
Raised in San Francisco, Anderson discovered her love for fashion at an early age. Her grandmother and aunt were her main inspirations, saying they were very fashionable women. The dolls she used to dress and redress as a child also pushed her to pursue a career in fashion, which she ended up doing by getting a degree in fashion merchandising.
“I love that [fashion] can showcase your personality, and it’s the way you show yourself to the world,” she said. “I love that you can be having a bad day, and then you change your clothes and it changes your whole perspective.”
Anderson, who has been in the industry for almost 20 years and is far more than well versed in fashion, had a few tips for those who are not:
- Start with the basics. Start with pieces that are the simplest, like black pants and a sweater.
- Get a great, basic black dress and a great coat. From there, you can add personality.
Spring is around the corner, so for those fashion newbies who are not sure what to wear, Anderson suggests floral. She said there is going to be an inundation of a sophisticated, grown-up floral as well as more boldness and color. She predicted a move away from safety clothes (i.e., a little black dress) to riskier pieces, like a hot pink dress.
By having her own business, she has come to realize the best part about fashion is seeing how everyone interprets it. She can give three people the exact same dress and each person will wear it differently and have their own twist on it.
“I love that about clothes,” she said. “I love that it isn’t cookie-cutter, that it isn’t the same.”