Fashion Secrets from Celebrity Stylists: Christina Pacelli

Meet the woman behind Laverne Cox's fashionable year on the red carpet.

(Source: Matthew White)

Ask anyone about Orange is the New Black star Laverne Cox and they'll tell you she has had a breakout year. She has walked nearly every red carpet in style, boasting fearless looks conceived by her stylist, Christina Pacelli.

Based in New York City and raised on the West Coast, Pacelli started out as a publicity professional but soon parlayed her love for fashion and her skill at managing media into a full-time styling career. We caught up with Pacelli to discover a few of her styling secrets.

What is your go-to or no-fail outfit and why?
"I gravitate toward mixing elements that bring a strong feminine edge to a tomboy look and vice versa. Those elements can be subtle such as adding a short pair of frilly socks to five-inch pumps with an oversized jacket on top, to something more visually dominant like a wide-brimmed fedora, military boots, oxfords, oversized retro glasses, a transparent lace top or a draped skirt."

Stella McCartney Stretch Cady Top, $1,390, at; Chicwish Faux Leather Belter Midi Skirt in Olive, $40, at; Saint Laurent Suede Tribute Platform Sandals, $945, at Nordstrom; J.W. Anderson Wool-Blend Drill Trench Coat, $1,832, at; Ecote Kate Black Fedora, $103, at; Chanel Lambskin Medium Boy Bag, $4,200, at Chanel; Stella McCartney Cat-Eye Acetate Sunglasses, $190, at Saks Fifth Avenue
Stella McCartney Stretch Cady Top, $1,390, at stellamccartney.comChicwish Faux Leather Belter Midi Skirt in Olive, $40, at chicwish.comSaint Laurent Suede Tribute Platform Sandals, $945, at NordstromJ.W. Anderson Wool-Blend Drill Trench Coat, $1,832, at matchesfashion.comEcote Kate Black Fedora, $103, at westlaboutique.comChanel Lambskin Medium Boy Bag, $4,200, at ChanelStella McCartney Cat-Eye Acetate Sunglasses, $190, at Saks Fifth Avenue

Which new runway trends do you love?
"Graphic Couture—interesting geometric lines, punchy color and Bauhaus designs should be in style every season. The eye is naturally drawn to them." 

Dior Couture, Schiaparelli Couture, Valentino Couture
(Source: ImaxTree)

"Also, yellow is one of my favorite colors and I especially love the soft tone designers have been using in Spring 2015 couture collections."

Dany Atrache, Elie Saab, Zuhair Murad
(Source: ImaxTree)

"Lastly, a lot of my personal inspiration is drawn from the 1970s so any traces of fashion from the decade—suedes, fringe, bell bottoms and funky prints—make me joyful that they're back." 

Fendi, Gucci, Louis Vuitton
(Source: ImaxTree)

What closet staples should women buy in multiples and why? What closet staples do you as a stylist, and a woman, buy over and over again?
"You can never have too many leather jackets in different trims and cuts. Also, I love A-line skirts, spiked heels and platforms in different shades and heights. I also like to alternate handbags daily and enjoy having a lot of options. I love adding a pop of color to a neutral or understated look with a colorful or textured handbag or clutch.

In my job I've found other closet staples to include: strapless black camisoles—allowing you to wear transparent or even cutoff tops in a chic, tasteful and subtle way—sleeveless tees, denim in the essential cuts—flare, skinny, boyfriend—and denim jackets and vests. Also, a little black or red dress. As a stylist, the details are really in the underpinnings! They will change how you seamlessly wear your wardrobe—Spanx, Commando panties, Nippies and Yummie Tummie products are essentials for my clients."

What is the best piece of style advice you have ever received and why? How has it applied to your career?
"The late Oscar de la Renta said, 'Fashion is about dressing according to what’s fashionable. Style is more about being yourself.' Style is as personal as it comes; it may thrill you, you may be indifferent to it or any degree in between. Also, hearing the phrase, 'I can't pull that off,' confuses me as a stylist. If you are drawn to a certain style, garment, treatment or color, my advice is, it's worth going for. Ultimately, style is an expression and lighthearted art form."

Which celebrity look that you have styled are you most proud of and why?
"Laverne Cox and I love to create visual stories with accessories and jewelry, and her 2015 SAG Awards jewelry was no exception. She wore Forevermark diamonds which I love for their modern, sleek and timeless aesthetic. They make a statement where appropriate while also being perfectly understated in other designs. For that red carpet, she wore a stunning pair of circular diamond earrings I’ll never forget and a gorgeous stack of art deco bracelets."

Fashion Secrets from Celebrity Stylists: Christina Pacelli
(Source: Getty)

I'm the former Style Editor of, I love helping women feel their best through great style. I'm a self-professed beauty addict. Follow me: Google