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Fearless Friday: Christine Matsunaga

While Chicago is not known as the fashion capital of our country, Christine Matsunaga is out to change that one household at a time. With a knack for color palettes and accessorizing, she is evolving our sartorial reputation closet edit by closet edit teaching us women to purge the old and shop smarter...perhaps even more designer. A motto I can get behind!

Christine is a natural at styling. From TV sets to Windy City CEO's, she's developed a close rapport with her fashionable client squad and for good reason...she's downright likable and her passion for fashion is infectious. I can't wait to show you the closet edit we did together but for now, meet my fierce friend, Christine...wife, mother of four, friend and killer #girlboss:

Tell us a little about tristinstyling and the mission of your brand. How did you come up with the idea and how hard was it to get started?

It all started with one outfit. When I was 19, my college roommate at the time, Keiko, got cast as a regular on a show called The Gilmore Girls. Keiko's need for perfect outfits began as her invites to 'hollywood' events started to roll in so I went from styling her once using pieces in my closet, to styling her for events and parties throughout the 7 years she worked on the show. Over time, my reputation started to spread through word of mouth as other friends started to book me for personal styling. Eventually, these friends referred me to my first clients. Fast forward to today, 18 years later, and work is still just as fun as it was when I was fresh in the game and styling was seen as just novelty. We aim to change the lives of our clients through teaching them how to identify their personal style

1. What was the moment you knew you wanted to be an entrepreneur let alone in the fashion industry?

My first paying client hired me to revamp her wardrobe for her newly changed body because she went from a size 12 to 2 and didn't 'know how to dress her new, smaller body. After our personal shopping and lookbook session, she invited me to fly to Vegas for the weekend to see Prince live with her staff (who she was treating the weekend to as their annual comapany party), followed by taking her shopping again the next day. With my responsibilities at my day job, I couldn't just go on a whim for the whole weekend but was able to work out just flying out for the day to take her shopping. After the trip, she booked me to add more pictures to her lookbook. Once everything was a wrap, she asked me what she owed so i just quoted her what I would make at my day job. She refused to pay what she thought was too low and quadrupulled my quoted rate (cue lightbulb turning on overhead with an OMG thought bubble right next to it). As she handed me the check she said, "One day you're going to be a big stylist and will forget all about me."

2. What one tristinstyling moment are you the most proud of and why?

It's hard to choose one because while every client is different, the scenarios of clients having 'aha' moments' and feelings of relief/gratitude have been consistent.

3. How would you describe a typical day? What's your morning to evening routine?

Being a mom of 4, my days on the weekdays usually start with a good workout & the morning rush (of getting the kids up and ready for my husband) to drop them off at school before he and I head to work. I designed my current work schedule so I can work with clients full time during school hours and perform stay-at-home mom duties from late afternoon to get homework, baths, and bedtimes done.

4.  How do you describe your personal aesthetic?

I’m funky but feminine and love to wear a lot of color or layers.

5. What individuals, tastemakers, celebrities, entrepreneurs, public figures inspire you?

My inspiration changes every couple months depending on the trends I see on the runway and in-stores at retail level.

6. If you weren't in the fashion industry...and could be anything else...what would it be?

I LOVE food so oddly, in the last couple years, after starting an instagram account, I've fallen into food styling as well.

7. It's creative time...what's on your Spotify? What inspires you?

Always Janet, but my mood can go from Christina, Britney, & Rhianna to Janis Joplin, Jimmy Hendrix, & Bob Dylan in a heartbeat!

8. Favorite restaurant on a Friday night + why?

Fireside is the go to for my husband and I because they have good drinks and tons of good food to choose from

9. Wine or classic cocktail?

Always love a good, sweet, fruity cocktail!

10. Favorite weekend getaway destination?

Still dreaming of when my husband will make em happen! We've been married 10 years but work and the kids keeps us busy with weekends that are ALWAYS booked.

11.  5 must-have apps that you need in your life to function?

The Weather Channel, Instagram, Yelp, Chicago Parking, Google Maps

Boring I know but seriously, all of the above are a total must for Chicagoans who drive everywhere and love to scope places and read reviews before trying a new business out like I do.

12. Bonus question - What's next for tristinstyling?

Right now it's just me and a team of 1-3 depending on the day. We are overdue for branching out and hiring more stylists to take on the jobs we have to turn away so hopefully in the next 5 years, more stylists on #teamtristinstyling!

Follow Christine on Instagram!