Unionville’s Preston Konrad makes more than good on TLC show

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‘Style By Jury’ shows women how to find the best version of themselves

By Kelly Hockenberry, Columnist, The Times

UTKellyColumn copySo, it turns out that I am not the only fashion “expert” around these parts. Native Unionville resident Preston Konrad, host of TLC’s new show “Style by Jury,” has a little bit of street cred.

I mean, that is if you think being the Style Director for American Eagle and the co-host of a nationally televised program that airs Friday nights at 9:30/8:30c on TLC counts.

I’m a lawyer in addition to being a fashionista…so, who better to grill this guy about the veracity of a show called “Style by Jury?”

On Friday morning, I got the chance to speak with Preston from his apartment in NYC. We both agreed that in terms of idyllic places to grow up, a town like Unionville is top of the list. In fact, Preston looks forward to visiting his parents on their horse farm whenever he needs a break from the hustle and bustle of Manhattan. He described how the simple pleasure of driving around, stopping for a coffee at Talula’s or dashing into Walmart for a few supplies is a welcome change from his life in the city.

He graduated from Unionville High School in 2002 and his bio from there is as flawless as his headshot. Recruited by Ralph Lauren out of college (what?), Global Director of Brand Design for the British luxury brand, Belstaff (Google it. I d-i-e for everything) and now at American Eagle (as I type in my fav $30 pair of stretch, distressed skinnies), his career path has been nothing short of spectacular. The call to screen test for “Style By Jury” was the icing on an already fantastic cake.

Preston describes the show as a happy and inspirational one aimed to guide women into transforming into the best version of themselves. If it’s true that you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression, and most of us make it in as little as seven seconds, getting it right is important. Preston and I talked in depth about how so many women feel overwhelmed or are scared to try new things as they age.

Style By JuryCase in point, Lady Bret is the subject of the episode that I watched. Her fashion cringe factor was pretty much off the charts (see the “before” picture above, top right). I found myself wincing for her children’s sake as she sashayed into the room to be evaluated by jurors located behind a two-way mirror. As Lady Bret describes her style with co-star host Louise Roe (we’ll discuss my obsession with her in a minute), Preston remains behind the sound proof wall with the sequestered jury. There, guided by questions from Preston, jurors freely discuss their gut reactions based solely on appearance.

The perceptions were harsh and critical, to say the least. But, revealing the comments is a necessary evil to effectuate the motivation to make some major changes.

I asked Preston if he believes that age should be reflected in a person’s fashion choices. We chatted about how amazing Christie Brinkley looks at age sixty-one. She was interviewed recently and wore a tailored blazer and shorts, which is trendy, but made it appropriate by wearing tights underneath. Love the resurgence of the crop top but don’t want to feel like a teeny-bopper? Pair it with a high waisted trouser that barely shows any midsection flesh at all.

Knowing your body is key to having the confidence to pull off these styles, according to Preston.

If you put forth some effort into your appearance, it shows. “Four Out the Door” when it comes to makeup is the perfect example. So often, women use the excuse that they don’t have time to bother with applying a long list of products in the morning. But, a dab of concealer, mascara and a swipe of blush and lipgloss gets you out the door and looking polished every time. Preston also advises spending more time in a fitting room. Although it may feel like a scary place, getting the proper fit is critical to a successful wardrobe; you MUST try things on.

Once the subject of the show is updated with new clothes, hair and makeup, a brand new jury is ushered in to make their first impression judgments. The result? Overwhelmingly positive remarks. Lady Bret was transformed! See the above “after” photo, bottom right.

Once we finished discussing how much I loved the show and all of the amazing tips and tricks that come along with it, I peppered Preston with questions that my girlfriends had texted me when they found out I was conducting this interview:

● What is co-host Louise Roe really like? I tried to get the scoop that Louise has pimples or terribly frizzy hair or goes through assistants like crazy…but, no. Apparently, she is as nice as she is stunningly gorgeous. Rats.

● Since we have been buried by snow and ravaged by sub-zero temps, what can we look forward to for Spring? Preston says that lace and crochet are having a moment along with a bright, coral colored lip a la Emma Stone’s Oscar look.

● What wardrobe items should be allocated a little extra cash? Invest in a good handbag and shoes rather than spending tons of money on denim.

As we were wrapping up, I mentioned how much I loved Preston’s blog, Wingtip Jungle (check it out here: http://prestonkonrad.com/) Apparently, what started out as a fun, little side project, was noticed by GQ (ummm, hello!) which led to many successful collaborations. Midas touch, I tell ya. It’s impressive.

To celebrate “Style By Jury”, Preston threw a viewing party with forty of his best friends at Justin Timberlake’s BBQ restaurant in Hell’s Kitchen called Southern Hospitality. To commemorate getting this sweet interview, I bought myself a little bauble.

I think Preston would approve.

Don’t miss “Style By Jury” every Friday at 9:30am EST. Click here for a preview: https://discovery.app.box.com/s/00ggwvum29f54x445jpfuit3b4dimyyd

Happy Weekend!

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