J. Smith-Cameron, Ottessa Moshfegh, and Other Style Gurus Share the Rules They Live By

Portrait of Lynette Nylander by Sophie Fabbri.

To be stylish means a lot more than just wearing the right clothes. It means being adaptable to any number of environments, always prepared for a quick change of plans, and perennially curious about the world around you.

In CULTURED’s fall issue, a variety of stylish people shared the rules they live by, both when it comes to dressing up and navigating the world. Read some of their best nuggets of wisdom below, and check out their full profiles for more where that came from. 

Actor J. Smith-Cameron

"Never wear uncomfortable shoes. No matter how dazzling they are, you will look like a fool if you’re limping or stumbling. Once, Martha Raddatz had to hide my Manolo Blahniks behind the White House drapes while I padded around the Bidens’ Christmas party in flip-flops!"

Curator Kimberly Drew

"Always have a bag big enough to fit a protein bar. It’s actually such a New York thing."

Portrait of Ottessa Moshfegh by Hannah Tacher.

Novelist Ottessa Moshfegh

"Always place antique photographs of strangers around your home. Under the salt and pepper shakers. In the kitchen cabinet. Taped to the bathroom wall. Most people are dead. You are so lucky to be alive."

Publicist Gia Kuan

"Always listen before you speak. Easier said than done. You'd be surprised how many conversations go awry from lousy communication and speaking or acting in haste without observation."

Portrait of Helena Tejedor by Leon Prost.

Stylist Helena Tejedor

"Never post videos of concerts on Instagram, the sound is shit and the magic is lost. It’s like taking a picture of the moon."

Writer Rachel Tashjian 

"Always have a cocktail dress in taffeta or nylon (think windbreaker material!) or a wool and silk blend, in the crispest and most dangerous black you can find. You can ball it up like dirty laundry in your suitcase or closet and shake it out for emergencies and languorous events alike."

Portrait of Elena Mottola by Melissa de Araujo and courtesy of the stylist.

Stylist Elena Mottola

"Never restrict yourself to seeing the same people all the time. Anybody can be inspiring."

Editor Lynette Nylander

"Always believe in the power of poor taste! I don’t want anything too glitzy with no chaser. I consider myself a lover of the dichotomy of high and low. Vintage Saint Laurent dress to visit the dosa guy in Washington Square Park—perfect! Monkey Bar, then Drag Race reruns after—ideal! My new one: I dream of de Gournay wallpaper to frame the thrifted photo I got for no money."

Portrait of Jamian Juliano-Villani by Zoe Chait.

Artist Jamian Juliano-Villani

"Always spray tan two days before the event."

Editor Emmanuel Olunkwa

"Find your meditative states and live in them. If washing dishes, driving, or walking is a relaxing activity, make these activities mantras and routines. They guide you to new ideas."