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Style and grace

PHOTO COURTESY OF MICHELE COHEN    Levittown resident Lauren Dougherty, who attended Moore College of Art and Design, currently works for Lilliana Vazquez, a fashion expert for television shows.

PHOTO COURTESY OF MICHELE COHEN
Levittown resident Lauren Dougherty, who attended Moore College of Art and Design, currently works for Lilliana Vazquez, a fashion expert for television shows.

By Megan Badger

Wire Managing Editor

If you ever watch morning talk shows, you’ve likely seen fashion experts telling viewers about the latest styles.

Next time you turn on the TV, you might see a familiar face.

Levittown resident Lauren Dougherty is making a name for herself as a stylist for some of the most popular talk shows on television.

“Right now I’m employed by Lilliana Vazquez. She is a fashion expert to television shows,” Dougherty told the Midweek Wire during a recent interview. “Right now we’re working on fashion segments for The Today Show and The Rachael Ray Show. Throughout whole year we’re usually with those shows, plus The Steve Harvey Show and Wendy Williams.”

Dougherty, who grew up in the Mayfair section of Northeast Philadelphia, was interested in art from a young age. Upon graduating from Saint Hubert’s Catholic School, she enrolled at Moore College of Art and Design, where she found her calling. It’s been full-time fashion ever since.

“I focused on their internship program there (at Moore) and really researched designers that I wanted to work with, and from there I continued with fashion,” she said. “As a student at Moore — I guess it was junior year — I put together a portfolio and reached out to some great designers, some who were established and others who were up and coming. I wrote to them and e-mailed them asking for interview.”

Dougherty then dove into the fashion world with internships at Rag & Bone and Badgley Mischka. She interned six days a week while also balancing schoolwork.

After graduating from Moore in 2008, her schedule slowed down a bit as she looked for a full-time fashion gig.

“It was depressing going from doing so much to doing nothing,” she said.

So, when an internship opportunity with Vazquez arose, she jumped at it. While she left Vazquez for a while to design for Twinkle by Wenlan and later for The Children’s Place, she returned last year to style with Vazquez full time.

“Styling is really fun and really lenient. Designing is more intense,” Dougherty said. “I’ve done [New York] Fashion Week and it’s crazy. You’re screaming at models and after the show buyers come in and you have to work another eight hours. I always say, everyone wants to go to fashion week but nobody wants to work it. That part of my life was interesting, but it wasn’t for me.”

When she’s not in New York appearing on TV fashion segments, she’s working hard in Vazquez’s Fishtown studio.

She and her husband, Tom, chose to settle down in Levittown, where she’s close enough to use New Jersey Transit trains to get to New York while also being a short drive from Philly.

“My job ranges, it’s different every day,” Dougherty said. “There are days that we’re in New York all day long with fittings, and segments where I have to be at certain shows. Other days I have to be at office planning segments. No day is the same.”

When she spoke with the Midweek Wire, she was preparing for an appearance on The Today Show to discuss trending styles. She has another Today Show appearance scheduled for May 14 to discuss “tricky trends.”

If she does get a day off — which isn’t often — she keeps busy with freelance styling projects. Her favorite part of the job, however, is transforming everyday people through wardrobe makeovers. Anyone interested in a style makeover can enlist Dougherty’s expertise for $250 a day.

“Every project is really different, but the best is when we do a makeover for a regular person who reaches out to us and wants to change his or her wardrobe, because they’re coming into it blindly,” Dougherty said. “We look at who they are, their lifestyle, their measurements and body type, and the reward is just having them be super happy with the outcome. We’ve never had anybody who was disappointed with his or her look.”

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