WASHINGTON - College students aren't necessarily known for their fashion prowess, but at least one 19-year-old prides himself on being far ahead of the curve.
Meet George Mickum, a freshman at the University of Delaware and personal stylist for the well-heeled up and down the East Coast. The budding entrepreneur got his start at 14 when he founded Georgeous, his luxury fashion consultancy.
"I was just fascinated with the beauty and intricacy of every aspect of fashion, from gloves to suits to evening gowns to beaded purses," he says.
Mickum has always been attracted to shiny things. His first love was jewelry, and for a time, he played with designing pieces made from pearls and rubies. The fashion merchandising major counted foreign dignitaries among his most loyal clients, he says.
This was all from the ages of 10 to 14.
From there, it was nothing but fittings and personal shopping for Mickum.
"I had a knack for it," he says. "I just started with friends, and friends of friends and my mother's friends."
Soon he graduated to ambassadors and other D.C. heavyweights, which turned out to be especially lucrative a few years ago when the euro was at its strongest. Buying things in Europe was close to double what it would cost in the U.S., so Mickum would often shop for clients here and send his purchases abroad.
Despite his age, the stylist never felt overwhelmed or judged.
"It's always been told to me that I look very mature for my age and that I never really acted my age. That was a big help. I never really mentioned my age to anyone," he says.
Over the years, Mickum's reputation has grown through word of mouth. He doesn't have a website and his online presence is nil. Even his Twitter account remains blank. All of this helps to add to the fashionista's mystique in the most exclusive corners of the region.
But not everyone can afford a personal shopper or stylist. For the rest of us little folk, Mickum has a few tips to help those on a budget look their best, and most expensive.
- Tailor everything. A perfectly fitted suit, for both men and women, can
make you look like someone who is meant to be taken seriously.
"I work very hard - endlessly because it's never-ending - to make sure that all of my female clients really have an air of chic femininity while also encompassing the masculine, powerful aspect of a suit," he says.
- A woman's best friend is accessories. Even in a city such as D.C. where dress
codes are strict and relatively conservative, throwing on a great set of bangles
or carrying a statement purse can transform even the stuffiest of office attire.
- During the hot months, men should not be afraid to play with different
fabrics. Black linen is a great alternative to the basic suit. Women can get away
with lightweight blouses in chiffon and silk.
- Patterns and colors can brighten any outfit. Don't be afraid to add a little flare - like a colorful blouse or a textured tie - even if you're just heading to the office. Also, mix and match tops and bottoms and try different color combinations.
If you're interested in Mickum's personal shopping or stylist services, he can be contacted through his personal email account.
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