Alisa Neely is bold. She's beautiful. She exudes style and confidence. Without even trying, she captures the attention of any room she enters. Since the day we met her, over a decade ago now, when she was just launching her personal styling business, we've always been in awe of these qualities that she possesses. On top of that, her unique style -- her eye -- is spot on. She can make anyone look their absolute best and she does just that, day in and day out, with her long roster of clients, from professional styling engagements to the one-on-one personal styling she does for clients near and far. We interviewed Alisa to learn more about her business, her personal style, and much more. Our questions and her answers can be found below.
We shot the following looks of Alisa modeling our beautiful Fall 2020 collection featuring styles from Forte_Forte, Nili Lotan, Vanessa Bruno, and more, with photographer Melissa Mahoney at a magnificent home in Weston. Shop the looks below online by clicking on the links under each of the photos. Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions or requests.
Model and Styling: Alisa Neely of styleScout
Photographer: Melissa Mahoney
Makeup: Dani Wagner
Find Alisa on Instagram: @stylescout
Alisa: I wouldn't say I have a signature look, I dress according to my mood a lot of the time.Jewelry is another story though. You will always see me in my nameplate necklace. As a teenage girl who couldn't find her name on anything at Spencer's Gifts I relish the fact that I can wear my name where everyone can see it. I also have quite a few ear piercings, and I'm quite particular about how I style my ears. Another constant is a small 18k snake ring my parents brought me back from Italy in '87, loved it then and love it now.I go through cycles with my fragrance so I might wear one for a few years then decide to change but they all have a similar quality and almost always a spice and a vanilla note, I like my scent to make you want to lean in a bit closer.
Q: How and when did you start styling?
Alisa: I technically started my styling career back in 1997 in the photo studio at Filene's. Fast forward 10 years, two kids, one puppy and a divorce. In 2007 I launched my personal styling service, at that time personal styling was mostly reserved for celebrities but the tv show What Not To Wear had been on for a couple of seasons and I think people were just beginning to understand how helpful a personal stylist could be. I knew that in Boston most personal styling jobs were in luxury stores like Barneys, but I had two small children and I wanted something that was more flexible than what a retail job could offer; I also wanted to take the sales aspect out of it. I printed up some business cards and started introducing myself to all the best stores in the city. The rest as they say is history.
Q: Will you look for opportunities to dress up this season? If so, what kind of occasions and what are you most excited to find an opportunity to wear?
Alisa: Absolutely! I promise you that there is power in getting dressed. Clothing is more of an emotional extension of ourselves than people realize. Particularly in these times, getting dressed even if it's just to go to the grocery store brings a sense of normalcy in a time that is so far from normal.I have always dressed up for small things, dinner at a friends or a back to school night for my kids, I think it shows that the occasion is important to you and worth taking a little extra time on how you present yourself.
Alisa: My job is basically to guide my clients style so it represents their best self and to manage all aspects of their wardrobe. This includes but is not limited to culling your closet, shopping, creating looks, packing for trips, overseeing your tailoring and managing your returns. I also help with gift giving when requested. The job isn't for someone who just likes shopping, it's about enhancing the clients life with your hard work and expertise. I have my UPS guy on speed dial and some days my workout is lugging clothing around.To be successful at this job you need to be all in on the service aspect of it.
Q: For your personal styling clients, what does a relationship with you look like?
Alisa: A relationship with me as your stylist is very personal and my goal is always to form a connection with the client that isn't only based on the clothing because ultimately the relationship is about trust. Some clients use me very often because their lifestyle requires it and others may use me only a few times a year as needed. 90% of my clients I have been working with for years, and I have several clients from when I started out 13 years ago. It is such an incredible pleasure to have been able to witness their lives over the years.
Q: What do you love most about styling? Fashion?
Alisa: I love creating looks for clients that make them feel amazing and empowered out in the world. It's the combination for me. I love fashion. I think it's an incredible way to express yourself but more importantly I love forming these fantastic relationships with clients and getting to participate in the tiniest way, through their clothing in some of their most important life moments.I love when clients message me to tell me how many compliments they received on their outfit and how great they felt.That is always my goal to make them look and feel amazing so they can go out into the world and be the incredible people they are.
Alisa: It shouldn't feel like you tried, even if you did. We always want the vibe to be effortless chic . I also always suggest that clients think about cost per wear on items if it's something you envision yourself wearing often it's worth making the investment in that piece.
Q: Is there one fashion piece for fall that every woman should have in her closet?
Alisa: A great blazer. I stand by this and have converted more than a couple of clients to see the light. The right blazer polishes off any outfit and pulls together a look.
Q: What have been some highlights of your career?
Alisa: I have been awarded Boston Magazine's Best of Boston a few times which was a great honor, I've also received the honor of the Best Wardrobe Stylist /Ready to Wear from Boston Common Magazine. I have dressed clients for the Tony awards, Ted Talks, Book and Speaking Tours and the Sundance Film Festival where my client got a fantastic compliment on her outfit from none other than Robert Redford.
Q: Do you have any fashion rules — musts and/or must nots?
Alisa: I don't like rules and there are always exceptions to them so no, I don't make any blanket statements but there certainly are trends or styles that I might guide clients away from or towards.
Q: What do you get excited to wear this time of year as we head into cooler weather?
Alisa: Fall is my absolute favorite season for dressing. It's cool enough to put together a proper look but there's no snow to mess up your shoe situation. I have an obsession with outerwear so it's lucky for me that I live in Boston.
Alisa: I'd say my style is a mix. A little undone french chic with a lot of streetwear influence and a heap of that Italian underlying sexiness you see on the streets from Rome to Milano.
Alisa: There are three icons I'd say that I draw influence from Carine Roitfeld, Rihanna, and Kate Moss. I think what they all have in common that makes them so cool and iconic is the element of unexpected in the way they put an outfit together. I often like to have something in my own style that is unexpected like wearing PJ's to a cocktail event, track pants with a formal jacket and heels or a long velvet cape with jeans.
Q: Is there anything else that you want to share?
Alisa: Yes, I want to say that although I work for myself I consider all the incredible store owners and sales staff I work with around the city of Boston and elsewhere to be my partners, I couldn't give my clients the elite level of service that I do without them. They work incredibly hard, I know because I've been on that side of the business, it doesn't go unnoticed by me and I appreciate and value those relationships very much.I also want to mention the new limited access subscription service I am launching this fall. It is the ultimate in luxury styling and wardrobe management that incorporates a digital platform and in person services to bring clients the most effective and luxurious service possible. The service is so all encompassing that I have limited the amount of clients I can accept into the program but if you are able to get in it's incredible.