Name: Chantal Boyajian
Living In: Los Angeles
9-to-5 Title: Founder & CEO of Boyajian Trend Gallery and Stylist
Describe your style and your go to work outfits:
Having always worked in more creative roles and agencies, I have never had to dress 100% corporate. I held positions where I was managing clients, so some days I would dress more formal, and when I wouldn’t have meetings, I would dress down, but still appropriate for the office. I used to work in advertising and film, so my ‘work wardrobe’ scaled from very casual looks - ‘I’m going to be on set all day/night so I must be comfortable’ to going for client presentations/meetings, ‘I need to suit up’. I really enjoyed this as no two days were the same. Now I have entered a whole new world with starting my own business. Not so glamorous on a day to day basis. As with many people in the position of running start ups, I am wearing many hats. What I wear each day depends on what my day entails. I love that I’m in a position to be doing what I love, and feel very lucky to do so, as well as being able to dress how I want.
Living in LA, with the sunshine, means I get to wear what I love the most - skirts and dresses. With my shape, I love to wear pieces that are more A-line and fitted at the waist. With whatever look I’m wearing, I’ll definitely complete it by accessorizing with statement jewelry and a stylish bag or clutch. As for colors, depends on my mood and where I’m going, I love to wear neutrals as much as I love to wear prints and florals.
Who do you follow for workwear inspiration?
I wouldn’t say I really follow a particular person for workwear inspiration, though I do pull inspiration from many sources. What dictates what I will wear is usually my mood. I can preplan a look for the next day, and wake up and decide I don’t want to wear that at all. If I have to be somewhere in the morning and won’t have time to try on various looks, I’ll put together a couple of looks the night before just in case. Also the location will influence my look. Now with the Instagram age, I will shamelessly admit I dress a lot of times keeping in mind I will want to post pictures on social media. With that said, I would say Instagram is where I get most of my visual inspiration and ideas for what to wear or how to wear certain pieces.
With my background as a stylist as well, which I maintained throughout my career in my free time, I have tried a lot of different looks, and over the years have come to know what styles and shapes I like to wear, so I tend to stick with those.
Any tricks you have for getting ready quicker in the AM?
Putting on a fun tune as your alarm instead of a traditional alarm sound! Haha. The past couple of years, I’ve grown more to like to take my time in the mornings, so I’ll typically set my alarm as early as possible to give me at least 45 minutes to an hour to drink my coffee, read the news, and ease in to the day. If I rush and panic from the second I wake up, it throws me off for the whole day. Planning ahead what you’re going to wear definitely helps. As I am prone to changing my mind, I’ll prepare a couple of options for what to wear, just in case. I’ll also get my hair ready the night before, and usually braid it before I sleep, so it will have a nice wave to it in the morning and it’s ready to go.
Where do you shop for workwear items?
My go to, when I was living in Qatar, was Mango and Zara, though Mango isn’t available here. Being more curvy, not every shop caters to my shape and I love the fit of the clothes in Zara. I’ve also been a fan of H&M for a lot of basics for several years. I have found great print pieces here too, perfect for mixing and matching. When it comes to clothes, I like to go to the shops and take my time trying on pieces. When I have the time again I’ll be looking for more go-to’s. If I had the money, I would be doing some damage in Dolce & Gabbana!
What are the big no-nos for your work environment?
Flip flops. Unless you work on a beach! I don’t mind sandals, but again, it depends where you work. I think in general, people should dress appropriately, but this statement can be interpreted in many different ways. There’s a time and a place to dress certain ways, perhaps this is reflected from where I’ve grown up most of my life too, so I may be a bit more conservative in some respects. But I like to keep in mind when dressing where I’ll be, and who I’ll be meeting with. My rule is, as long as you’re comfortable in what you’re wearing and feeling good, that’s all that matters. And if you work somewhere with dress rules, adhere to them, but add your own little style elements, whether it’s with a piece of jewelry, or mixing a print shirt with your suit (for example) to brighten it up, or a splash of color with your shoes.
Chantal's Hair Tip
"I use a hair straightener to curl my hair, holding it from the top and turning to iron round as I gently pull downwards. To avoid reapplying heat to my hair everyday, I’ll braid my hair at night and remove in the morning for a more natural look."
How do you dress on the weekend and what are your favorite activities?
Weekends are always different for me. I love to hike and do various exercises, so of course, gym gear for these occasions. Otherwise, I love to be out in the day time, brunches, coffees, I’ll either be wearing a summer dress, a skirt or shorts paired with a cute top. As for footwear, I stick with wedges or sandals mostly. If I’m out in the evenings, for dinner or drinks, I’ll change to heels and a clutch. Day or night though, I’m always with jewelry!! I don’t feel like my look is complete without it. I’ll have at least one bold, statement accessory, and then add my little accents with smaller pieces.
What does it mean to have it all for you?
To have it all would be to be happy in life, doing what I love for a living, inspiring others, and traveling around the world.
Have you read anything good lately?
I love to read, the last book I completed was some months ago, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. This really was a motivational book, probably one of the most influential books I’ve read, for me personally at least, which can be applied to all aspects of life. Definitely recommend it. I’m currently re-reading The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari by one of my favorite authors, Robin Sharma.
Your career advice?
Do what you love. I know everyone says this, but it’s true.
*However* at the beginning of your career, I would say do not miss out on any opportunities given to you. After studying Fashion several years ago at university in England, I thought this will be the only career path I will take. After starting off designing, I was lucky to be given an opportunity at a magazine, in a role I had never imagined for myself, which entailed handling existing clients and seeking new ones. This lead me on a completely different path, and though I didn’t know where this would take me, I took it. Fast forward several years, I eventually gained an opportunity to work at an advertising agency which taught me so much, and from here I moved in to film production. Each and every role I’ve had taught me so much, whether it’s marketing, client management, budgeting, software skills, teamwork, the list goes on. I have taken these valuable skills, for all of which I’m thankful for, as this led me to fulfill my wish to start my own business. Now, I’m onto my next adventure career-wise. It’s a lot of work, but I wouldn’t change it at all. All the sacrifices we make will pay off one day. I always knew it wouldn’t be a walk in the park (unless you’re taking photo’s for Instagram), and I kept waiting ‘until I’m ready’, but honestly, you’re never 100% ready, you just have to go for it. There can always be a reason to not take risks, but then where’s the fun in that!? There’s always room to learn and to grow, no matter what position you’re in. You never know enough. I for sure am learning more and more on a daily basis, and excited for what the future will bring.
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