Style DNA: Catching Up With Nini Nguyen

Every city has its local style stars, but personal stylist and fashion designer Nini Nguyen has catapulted onto the international stageā€¦

Amy Adams
January 06, 2014

In this year alone, she was named Vanity Fair’s Best-Dressed Challenge User’s Choice winner, featured in the September pages of Harper’s Bazaar Vietnam edition and landed Rihanna as a client. Her blog,, allows fans worldwide to salivate over her personal look book while shopping her eponymous limited-edition tunics with leather sleeves and flowing, jewel-toned blouses. But, at the end of the day, it’s her signature look — a mix of vintage treasures, up-to-the-minute luxury labels and, say, an American Apparel crisscross bra — that makes her the subject of choice for style-hungry street photographers wherever she travels

The art of styling. It starts with a closet edit. I always ask my clients, “Are you ready for this?” I’m never going to insist that a woman wear something she isn’t comfortable in, but it’s my job to suggest things she wouldn’t normally try.

Always in my handbag. Hermès notebook, Avène Lip Balm, Tom Ford lipstick in Sable Smoke, MAC lipstick in Media, hand sanitizer and my iPhone.

Classic in my closet. Louis Vuitton Epi leather clutch that I bought with my first paycheck.

Newest wardrobe addition. Vintage faux-fur zebra-print hooded bomber jacket from Dolly Python.

Words to live by. There’s no point buying a $400 T-shirt when there’s a perfectly fine $37 version at Zara.

Keys to layering successfully. It’s all about proportion and fit.

Nip and tuck. I’ll bring a tailor to my clients’ homes. It’s critical when it comes to updating vintage pieces.

Not my thing. I have clients who own 60 pair of jeans. I think I have three … and I just don’t wear them.

Define sexy. It’s all about attitude … not boobs. Showing skin isn’t sexy. Feeling comfortable is sexy.

Signature piece. N ring from Sue Gragg.

Must reads. For blogs, it’s; for magazines, French Vogue and Dansk.

On winning Vanity Fairs Best-Dressed Challenge User’s Choice competition. I was shocked and happy at the same time. I didn’t expect to win the competition at all. The most beautiful things come when you least expect them! 

Celebrity style crush. Sarah Jessica Parker. I love her confidence and love that she mixes vintage into her wardrobe.

Fave Spring 2014 trend. Sporty suiting and blush-toned colors.

Spring collections I love. Balenciaga, Acne, Haider Ackermann, Céline.

Best buy. An Hermès scarf. You’ll wear it forever.

Latest obsession. Nail art!

Signature fragrance. Carnal Flower by Frédéric Malle.

Favorite way to unwind in Dallas. Go to the Perot Museum, walk around Klyde Warren Park, shop in Highland Park Village and have dinner at Javier’s.

Most admired fashion designer. I love Rick Owens. I love his out-of-the-box thinking with his designs — they’re cutting-edge, timeless and all wearable. When in doubt, I wear Rick.

Favorite places to shop. Paris flea markets; in Dallas, Dolly Python vintage, Forty Five Ten, and V.O.D. Boutique; Resurrection in NY; Rick Owens, Colette in Paris; and Dover Street Market in London.

Favorite local restaurants. Sushi Robata Dallas, Tei Tei Robata Bar and Toulouse.

Can’t-live-without beauty products. Aveeno Stress Relief Moisturizing Lotion, Kiehl’s Calendula Herbal Extract Toner, Himalaya Botanique Neem & Turmeric Face Wash, Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage Concealer, L’Oréal Sublime Bronze Self Tanning Gelée, Dior Nail Lacquer.

Five articles of clothing every woman should own. Leather leggings, a classic well-made ivory fitted dress, a boyfriend blazer that also can be worn as a dress, a fabulous printed scarf that can be worn year-round, and a lightweight camel coat.

If I were a shoe … I’d be anything in an exotic skin.