“I love my job” is the first thing Therese McDonough said to us. And for a fashion fanatic, it’s a good one: Therese is a costume supervisor for television and a personal stylist with plenty of red carpet styling experience. She currently works on TV Land’s Hot in Cleveland, making sure, as she puts it, that all elements come together before the cameras roll.
Here’s how Therese brings all elements together for her chic, laid-back, L.A.-influenced style.
What’s your daytime work style?
My look is casual professional with a fun flair. Since I don’t do the same thing every day, I adjust my wardrobe accordingly. On Monday, I go to a production meeting then out shopping. I’ll wear dark skinny jeans tucked into boots or with wedges or flats, and a simple tee. I add a fitted blazer and throw on a scarf or a bold piece of jewelry to make it my own. I always wear a man’s oversize watch (I have one in silver and one in gold).
The day we do fittings, I’m on my feet all day. I’ll wear comfortable boyfriend jeans, a tee and cardigan, and sneakers or ballet flats. In fall or winter, I might wear a dress and cardigan with tights and motorcycle boots.
On show night, we shoot in front of an audience and have to wear black, so it’s the day I get most dressed up. I’ll wear black pants and heels or black skinny jeans tucked into high-heeled boots. I always wear a black jacket or wrap of some sort because it gets cold on stage.
How do you take your look from office to evening?
Los Angeles is generally a casual town, so a lot of my daytime looks can translate into evening easily. I always have a heel, clutch, cuff, and sparkle. I swap my flat boots for high-heeled booties and change my T-shirt to a colorful camisole or more feminine top. I trade my big daytime handbag for a clutch and pop the cuff on my wrist and a little sparkle in my ear—and go.
What’s your weekend style?
I love to play with clothes and rework pieces in my closet. I lean toward boho chic. I like to wear long, flowy dresses with chunky, earth jewelry and wedges or flat, strappy sandals; cutoff denim shorts with ethnic-print tops, cozy cardigans, and vintage accessories; short dresses with high boots; and cuffed jeans with slouchy sweaters, simple studs, and ballet flats.
What’s your best piece of personal style advice?
If you have any clothes that you don’t love, debate about, feel self-conscious in—get rid of them. Don’t buy anything you don’t love, even if it’s on sale for $5. If you don’t feel good about what you are wearing, you won’t bring your best self forward.
Many people think you have to have a lot of money to look good, but that is not true. I shop at all levels. If I love it, I buy it. Some of my favorite items are from stores like Target. I actually think it’s more fun to create a look on a shoestring budget.
We are in a very fun time for fashion. There are no specific rules to adhere to. Explore, be creative, and express yourself. But ultimately, if you can, always have a good pair of shoes and a nice handbag.
See our stylist's picks on the next page.
Therese works in a highly creative job that allows for some flexibility in what she wears. Her job requirements also vary from day to day and her needs change accordingly. We decided to focus on a couple of different looks for Therese to show how she makes her sartorial choices.
Mondays mean production meetings followed by shopping for the Hot in Cleveland wardrobe department.
1. Blazer with Sharp Details
Simple black, navy or gray blazers are great to have in any wardrobe, but consider adding pieces with interesting details. The contrasting trim on this one schoolboy blazer really makes it pop.
J. Crew “Schoolboy Blazer In Tipped Wool”; $268.00; available at jcrew.com.
2. Striped Long-Sleeved Tee
Solid tops are perfectly fine for wearing under blazers but don’t be afraid to branch out. This horizontal striped top is versatile without being boring.
Madewell Structured Striped Pullover; $49.50; available at madewell.com.
4.The Go Everywhere Boot
If you’re looking for a boot that you’ll wear again and again, you might consider this short checklist: (1) a boot that’s tan or light brown in color (2) classic flourishes – like this crisscrossed ankle strap with polished gold hardware and (3) a heel that’s under two inches so that you can wear it all day long.
J. Crew “Parker Boots”; $358.00; available at jcrew.com.
5.The Pendant Statement Necklace
When it comes to jewelry, it’s great to have a long pendant necklace (or two or three) in the rotation. It’s often just the thing you need to finish off a look built around a blazer. This one makes a statement without overwhelming.
Alexis Bittar Mod Long Circle Pendant Necklace; $205; available at stylebop.com.
6.The Man’s Oversized Watch
This is one of Therese’s everyday essentials and there is a reason this look is so popular right now. There is a subtle sex appeal about a chunky watch that looks like you borrowed it from your boyfriend on a feminine wrist. It’s all about the contrast.
Michael Kors Oversized Watch; $275.00; available at shopbop.com.
Show nights for Therese are less casual and the dress code is black. Because it has a tendency to get cold on set, a jacket or wrap is definitely in order for Therese.
7.Double Breasted Blazer
Blazers, blazers and more blazers. Blazers get worn at work again and again. They seem to be on everyone’s list, no matter what the dress code. But all blazers don’t have to look alike! A double-breasted blazer like this one is a great option to have in the mix.
Zara Double Breasted Blazer; $119.00; available at zara.com.
8.The Bargain Finds
Therese is smart in that she shops at all price points. There are items that are definitely worth the splurge but there’s something so satisfying about a great bargain find. We love this H&M tee (Did you know you can shop H&M online now?) and Mango pant. These pieces are stylish but they won’t break the bank.
Tee: H&M Oversized Top; $9.95; available at hm.com.
Pant: Mango “Crepe Suit Trousers”; $49.99; available at mango.com.
9.The Gold Pendant
We showed you a different pendant for Therese’s first look. This is a simpler take on the long necklace. This particular necklace is a celebrity favorite for a reason. It’s the kind of piece that seems to go with almost everything. It’s sure to be in heavy rotation in your own wardrobe.
Stella & Dot “Rebel Pendant Necklace”; $79.00; available at stelladot.com.
10.The Architectural Black Heel
We are all about the heel with something extra. The sculptural detailing adds interest without being flashy.
Enzo Angiolini “Caswell Pump”; $119.95; available at nordstrom.com.
Dawn Cassidy is a fashion writer, personal stylist, and previously author of the blog Enterloop. She currently is expanding her Personal Styling services and plays host to intimate events in the NYC market. She is a graduate of Fashion Institute of Technology.