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An exclusive interview with Nicky Hilton: A city gal with timeless fashion tips

The front cover of "365 Style"
Andrew Eccles

I’m super excited about Nicky Hilton’s new book 365 Style that's coming out on September 2, just in time for NY Fashion Week. In the book, Nicky shares her style inspirations, fashion tips and tricks, as well as her love of mixing and matching different trends. She also reveals her 3-6-5 rule formula for creating a signature style:

  • Consider the 3 main aspects of your lifestyle (i.e. work, nights out, weekends)
  • Choose 6 staple items of clothing
  • Identify 5 essential accessories

I recently had the opportunity to speak with Nicky about her book and get some great tips from her. Check out the exclusive interview below:

Why do you feel the 3-6-5 rule formula is so effective? It’s by method. It’s just an easy way to simplify your closet and sort of merchandise it like a store- have your garment rack with your accessories and your shoes, and be able to see everything. A lot of people’s clothes get lost. They fall off hangers- to the back of the closet. So to be able to see everything- what you’re working with- really helps people get dressed.

You came up with the whole 3-6-5 idea through speaking with your friends about their fashion. How did that conversation come about? We were talking about what we were wearing that evening. Everyone was like, I have no idea what to wear. I have this dress, but I have so many different bag choices and jewelry. It was just this method we came up with to simplify your closet. And I’m very into numbers.

How long did it take you to write the book? I sort of feel like I've been preparing my whole life to write this book. But actually sitting down and writing, about two years.

Do you have any go-to tips for NY Fashion Week? What are your essentials? I always like a larger handbag. Not too big- but when the oversized clutch trend came into play, I was thrilled because I like to carry a lot of stuff with me. I have my iPhone. I have my Blackberry. I always have a small notepad for ideas, a pen, mints, candy…I carry a lot. I’m also loving that backpacks are in style because that just gives you so much more room to throw stuff in. I love shorts- silk, leather, embellished, and it’s so nice that Fashion Week is in September when it’s still warm!

Do you feel when you go between NY and LA that you change your fashion sense and style as you travel? Yes, I definitely go back to my California roots [when I’m there]. One thing I notice is that my luggage is not overweight because there are no coats, no boots. And I usually have one suitcase. If I’m traveling elsewhere, it’s definitely more than one. In California, it’s sandals, light sundresses, cutoff shorts- very light stuff.

In terms of your book, what’s the most important aspect or chapter that you hope people take out of it? To help them get dressed easier for occasions. [There’s] a whole chapter on the black list: 5 items that are forbidden to ever enter storage. That’s a black dress- very conservative, not too short, showing no cleavage that can be used to wear to anything from a job interview, to a funeral, to a date. Every girl should have that in her closet always, front and center. A black ballet flat- classic, never goes out of style. A black pump- not too round, not too pointy. A pair of black boots. And a black blazer- just a classic, tailored fit. Those are five items that every girl, of all ages, needs.

Do you ever tell your friends what things to throw out because they’re out of style? We definitely give each other advice and sometimes trade clothes or say that’s got to go or keep that, you might wear it down the road.

What are the top fashion essentials that you recommend taking with you when you travel? I always recommend packing a lot of neutral pieces that you can interchange and pieces that mix and match, go from day to night. Bring a few fun accessories that don’t take up much room and they completely transform an outfit: jewelry, a handbag, a big wide belt that you could pair a tunic with or a dress with. So accessories play a big role.

What’s next for you after the book? Are there projects you’re starting to work on? Yes, definitely in the fashion space, working on designing. I started doing handbags when I was 16. Designing is something I've always enjoyed so I’m excited to be doing that again.

Nicky's fashion advice is certainly valuable. 365 Style is now available for presale at www.nickyhilton.com. Be sure to check it out!