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How This Stylist Built a Booming Career in the Bay Area

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Photos by Aubrie Pick

Stylists in Los Angeles are nearly as common as actors. You can't not meet one at a party. But in San Francisco, they're less common—and the ones you do meet are often working for cheap (or free) to build their portfolio for when they relocate down to L.A. But Bay Area stylist Annemarie Guy has proven that a successful stylist career can be built in Northern California, if you're persistent, know how to hustle, and are willing to wear multiple hats. We met up with Annemarie at her gorgeous home in Orinda for a photo shoot and a chat. Her prop stylist skills are evident throughout her house, which is full of perfectly-placed unique pieces. And as you can see her personal style I.Q. is totally off the charts.

Take us back to the beginning. How did you start on your path to becoming a stylist?

I worked on on feature length movie in the U.K. and didn't like the hours. We worked months on end. Then I was a fashion editor at a magazine and I loved the fact that photo shoots are over fast and it was a quick turnaround. I have friends who still work on movies and they love it because it's a concentrated three months of work. But that's too much for me and not enough fashion.

When I moved to the U.S. I started working at Wasteland in San Francisco. I moved to LA and was the head buyer at Wasteland LA. I had a bit of a vintage fashion background working at a costume retal place in London.

That was my springboard to going back to my vintage roots.Through that job I met a stylist who needed an assistant, and I started to build up my profoliio. Then I got an agent and moved back to Northern California.

Why did you come back to SF?

My family is up here and also at that time I was dating soemone up here. I think there's a lot of business up here, it's just very different. Down there, you could throw a stone and hit someone in the industry. Here you have to network your way around and find your niche. It's harder up here as a stylist to rent things. Down there there's the rental contract at most stores. Here you have to explain what you're doing—stores here are just not set up for that. Half the time they don't know what you're talking about.

But there's a lot of work, a lot of advertising work. A lot of the tech stuff stays local. A huge part of my business is tech advertizing. Microsoft is in Seattle but they shoot here a lot. There's also Verizon and HP. I shoot all the Proactive commercials and for Cindy Crawford's makeup line. I also do a lot of car commercials.

How is styling in SF different from LA?

In SF, stylists generally do both clothing and props. In LA, they don't (they do one or the other). A lot of jobs here will expect you to do both.

What are your favorite places to shop in San Francisco?

Torso Vintages—they edit everything so it's not like going rummaging through a vintage store—it's the best of the best. For interiors, Alameda Flea. You can find amazing bargains.

How did you decide to buy your home in Orinda?

I loved living in LA and I wanted and indoor and outdoor feeling. I also had two kids who were going into elementary school and Orinda has good weather and an excellent school system. It took a year to find it but I knew when I walked in this was it. The architecture is killer.

You have so many great pieces of art in your house, do yo have a favorite?

My favorite piece of art is on the mantlepiece by James Budd Dixon, I'll never part with it.

What do you love most about the house in general?

My closet... I love clothes. I love waking up in the morning and figuring out what's my mood. I see it like a palette and choose pieces according to how I feel that day. I'm such a chamelion, sometimes I feel like high fashion, other times I feel like a hippie.

How would you describe your style?

Ecclectic. I have ranged from vintage to high fashion Barneys designer stuff to hippie boho chic—a lot of diffferent styles. I think it helps as a stylist because a big part of styling is adapting to whoever's taste you're styling for. One day it's for the Miss Willie Brown Band, the next day it's the owners of Benefit Cosmetics who have a totally different look. So being versatile has been really helpful.