As for his own personal style, there's less of a crystallizing, singular moment and more of a gradual evolution. He confesses, “gotta be real honest here, my personal style developed slowly over time. As I promote my own charitable work now, I have had to turn that work more inward to benefit me, too. Wearing what I feel accentuates my vibration for the day is paramount.” Try and check that often.”
As an example, he points to when he was styling Stevie Wonder. “Stevie Wonder's bodyguard escorted him to the bathroom and when they came out, they walked away from us and into a sea of photographers with flashbulbs going off. As we caught up to them, I jump behind the reporters to make sure Stevie's glasses weren't smudged and that his outfit was pulled together. His fly was down.”
With grooming he wisely emphasizes hydrating skin care. Russell elaborates, “I've been on the east coast more since 2011 and my skin is constantly craving moisture. Much more critical of moisturizing products now, surprised at the sham products that are out there, still. I seem to linger in the bathtub more these days. That only makes my skin that much drier.”
After years as a celebrity stylist, he's using his wardrobe skills to give back. He describes the moment the concept of the Giving Closet came to him, “I’ve seen what a confidence booster a pair of shoes or new handbag can be for actors, but what would that do for a single mom outside of the Hollywood arena? Someone that was selfless, who had not purchased something new in years for themselves? Someone that had struggled and knew about perseverance? A single mom going back to work? A cancer survivor whose body had changed and she is too upside down in medical bills to even think about new clothes? What if I popped into a stranger’s life and gave them this royal wardrobe treatment normally reserved for the elite? It's that simple thought that would change the course of my life. To date, I have surprised 16 women all over the United States. This journey fills my soul up too now much to ever even think of stopping. Someone has gotta prove that fashion does have a heart.”
Finally I asked him what tips he'd give men trying to improve their look. His advice: “Always knock out the classics first. That blazer, the crisp white button up, colors that accentuate you across the board. Once those bases are covered, then the harder work begins. Find unique pieces of jewelry, one-of-a-kind shoes that only you will be spotted in. Bridge that gap between Brooks Brothers and edgier off the beaten track designers that have just begun their craft.”
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Sam Russell is a native Austinite, gone bi-coastal. He works as celebrity stylist, editorial, TV and red carpet wardrobe consultant for celebrities including Jon Hamm, Stevie Wonder, Colin Farrell and TV creator Chuck Lorre. Inspired by Oprah Winfrey and her Next Chapter announcement, Sam decided in 2011 to start the next phase of his personal journey by bringing a passion project to the foreground: His traveling mission is to surprise deserving women all over the U.S. with $10,000 worth of work and personal attire through his organization, Giving Closet.