Brandi M. Jones
STYLE & THE CHURCH
"Brandi, I trust you! Do whatever you want!"
There are only three more powerful words that anyone can use and those would be "I LOVE YOU". But a powerful transformation can certainly inspire the sentiment!
@jackieplunkett + @dr_jason_plunkett
I've had the pleasure of styling both the Plunketts (mostly Jackie) on multiple occasions. So when Jackie text me and told me that she was ready to invest in and focus on developing her image and asked me if I was willing to lead the way, I was elated to do so. When she added that this time around I have her complete trust and to do whatever I want - I knew exactly how I would elevate and capture the essence of her and Jason.
The Plunketts‘ are successful entrepreneurs, both with corporate backgrounds; mentors, and influencers in their chosen fields. Jason is also the USA director of a nonprofit organization that focuses on ending human trafficking. I felt that was necessary to share as I had to keep that in mind when styling him. They're parents to four beautiful children, and they're also Christian AKA Team Jesus. And this is the cliff notes description of their lives people! 😅
This leads me right into "Style & The Church". Depending on how you were raised and from which generation reared you, how men and women "of God" should dress is a controversial topic. One that quite frankly, I'm exhausted by. There are many Chrisitan books on the topic that are written for and by women. I'm not sure if there are any for men so I'll leave out the speech about sexism and social identity.
However, like many social constructs of gender women are often chastised for accentuating their best assets and told to hide the physical attributes that God gave us. To do so suggests to the public that we are "godly women" and this will emulate the correct behavior of one. And most importantly (to many), invite correct behavior. Don't get me wrong, I do believe that leaving something to the imagination only heightens the intensity between man and woman. I also believe that the art of being sexy lies in the mystery of a woman. I also love patent leather catsuits and high-heeled boots. I've also known many conservative dressed hoes. *insert shrugged shoulder emoji*
I also believe that if a Christian woman shows off her legs, wears fitted clothing, a backless dress, or a v-cut top that's she's still "holy" and still "loves Jesus". And for the people on the fence: Yes, I'm a Christian. I also believe that one of the reasons many young ladies are turned off by the church is because they enter with the idea of being accepted as they are; will be received with care and grace to evolve, yet are inundated with chastisement [for how they look] masked as love before being given the chance to discover who Jesus is and whether or not they even want to follow Christ.
I've been pulled aside during a church service by a sister-in-Christ, gently, correcting me for a dress I wore while serving the Pastors one Sunday. And rightfully so - on that occasion. So, I don't discredit the act completely. Some pieces are better left in the closet for certain engagements. But to suggest that women who love God should bury their innate sex appeal makes my eyes roll. There's an art to dress just like there's an art to wine. Knowing and understanding the intersect of fashion & style and what applies when is what separates the novice and the connoisseur.
So, while it was important that I maintain each of their respected images, I also wanted to express their burgeoning love for fashion. Jackie leans towards tomboy vibes and loves a great pair of jeans with Jordans, and has never worn a dress nor skirt as short as the dress I styled her in for this shoot. Matter of fact, during the fitting she was a bit uncomfortable and concerned that she was showing too much skin - she'd never shown so much of her legs before. My response: "Balance is Key. When showing skin, there's a balance between what to show and how to show it." I'll explain more in a later post.
Jason is often seen rocking Jordans and bomber jackets and his idea of office attire is jeans with dress shoes. He truly dislikes suiting - until now. I know that I ranted quite a bit about women, style, and the church but there were also a few discussions as to whether I could style Jason in a way that accentuates his tattoos? Could I style him casually, shirtless, and if so, would it be received well amongst his circle? Would it be a disgrace to his position in "politics" and "religion"? Would it burn bridges?
Needless to say, I curated a vibe that allowed both their confidence and essence to shine through. I was also on a strict time frame (#pandemic) so I immediately went to work.
I created a mood board for each of them. A mood board is an excellent way to set the visual direction for any fashion project using existing images, adding text, and links. I also made sure to discuss each mood board in detail with Jackie prior to purchasing any items for the shoot.
As with any [power] couple, it was just as important that they complement one another knowing that each style would be strong on its own. I've included PDF files of each mood board below in case you're interested in checking them out!
*Images used in each mood board are not my own and were used for inspirational purposes only.
The day of the shoot (8.13.20) was certainly unusual - temperature checks, face masks, face shields, gloves - but I'm pleased with how the day panned out. We had an excellent team - my vision came together well! There are some things I would change in hindsight but I'm a perfectionist and am my toughest critic.
I also noticed that I still needed to shed some pregnancy pounds. The camera never lies people!! LOL! Needless to say, as I write this post I'm now at my goal weight (which I haven't been for the past few years actually) and am starting to feel like myself again!
Oh, and what did we decide to do about The Plunketts' wardrobe and styling for the shoot?! We focused on their identity rather than how others identify them. Now, check out some behind-the-scenes (BTS) and unedited footage below!
Wardrobe Stylist + Creative Director: https://www.thebrandijones.com/the-experience
Hair Stylist: https://www.seanfears.com/
"I have worked with Brandi on several different occasions and I have evolved in my fashion every single time. I remember the first time that I worked with her I was so used to dressing corporate that I didn’t really have anything to wear on the weekends. My hubby paid for a shopping spree date with Brandi and that was such an awesome experience. Brandi was trying to get me into print with some polka dot pants and I was so used to wearing solid colors that print was outside of my comfort zone. I eventually became comfortable and she elevated my look.
In the numerous times of working with Brandi, I found that it took me a year to two years to catch up with her vision and I realized she was always on point. So this time when I was ready to create my image and my branding for my business I totally trusted Brandi with where she was going for my look. This latest project was absolutely fire!!! Every piece was true to who I am but also to where I am going. Her being on set for the photoshoot was a NEED that I didn’t realize was necessary until the day of the shoot. Brandi is so attentive to every detail that when the proofs came I was not disappointed with my clothing being out of place, each look was put together and any adjustments needed for the look she was right there with a solution. Each photo looked crisp and sharp.
I am truly grateful for the experience of working with Brandi and I look forward to having her on my payroll very soon!!!" - Jacqueline Harris Plunkett
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