Dallas-based celebrity stylist J. Bolin on why he loves hats

J Bolin (Photo Credit: Earl Gibson)
J Bolin (Photo credit: Earl Gibson)

J. Bolin has a gift for making women seamlessly gorgeous. We first met him when he produced Denim Magazine with classic cover shoots that were so flawless, you would never know that he didn’t have million-dollar budget to produce them. Now, 12 years in to honing his craft, he dresses the likes of Morris Chestnut, Yolanda Adams and Erica Campbell yet still shops, conducts fittings, posts 20 Instagram pictures per day and is constantly growing his brand. J. Bolin has a message that you can be a gentleman and a Christian in this business of fashion and styling and he seems to do it effortlessly.

Fun facts about J. Bolin:

• Took his family to Disneyland with his wife and son the day before the Stylist Suite.
• J. Bolin is pronounced jay-BOO-lihn from his stance as a Frenchman when he first began his career.
• @StylistJBolin boasts a following of over 100K loyal fans.

Where are you from?
I’m originally from Mississippi and reside in Dallas now. I’ve only been in Dallas since last July; this month makes a year for me. I’m originally from Mississippi. That’s where it all comes from, this Southern culture that you see and that you get out of my wardrobe.

Where do you find inspiration?
Mississippi is not the fashion capital by far, but I can definitely say that the influence of the culture there has opened up my brain to think bigger and really think outside of the box. Because I came from nothing so I had to make something out of nothing. So it just taught me to be super creative.

What are some of the challenges you face in your career?
There are definite challenges that I experience. I would say that the biggest one is being African American. Being in this industry and being an African American and a male. I work for predominately women and being able to have a more diverse platform can sometimes be a challenge. Being able to break through those walls and being trusted as an African American man is something that I’m prayerfully tearing down daily … I’m just building up my own personal brand and personal image and also showing the positive lifestyle of being a Christian man; a Southern man and a family man. It just opens up people’s minds to say “Hey, I can trust this man into my closet or to come into my personal space to dress me.”

Now you’ve reached this level in your career, what are some things that you just won’t do anymore? 
I would say, I don’t deal with people that don’t want to pay you the money that you ask. I love serving. I still rip and run the streets to get clothes for my clients, I still run around with garment bags, I still do what an “intern” would do or what an assistant would do or what a “successful stylist” would do. I take part in all of those things. But pay me. I don’t deal with people that don’t do business.

Describe your personal style.
I cannot live without hats. I absolutely love hats. When I started out maybe 12 years ago, when I was just getting into the market and I didn’t know anything about branding yourself; I ran into this guy that was a billionaire. He was speaking at a conference and I asked him, “What can I do to make myself known?” He said, “This look that you have today, why don’t you do this look every single day?” It was a hat and a blazer. And I started wearing that hat and blazer out everywhere that I went and that’s what people started knowing me for — my hats. Hats are so becoming and I just love them. We must know what looks good on us.

My day-to-day is being able to be effortless, chic and affordable. I believe in affordable. I believe in being frugal because I like to help other people who don’t have the means. I can’t have on a $8,000 watch and see my sister down the street who can’t afford to feed her children. I like effortless, if it looks good, it looks good. I shop at Wal-Mart and I shop at Neiman Marcus. I shop wherever I see something that I like.

darralynn hutson

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