Wardrobe stylist Cora Aversano’s confidence, poise and chicness is widely projected throughout her editorial and commercial fashion projects. As a participating stylist with Denver’s newest fashion magazine, NWA, and creator of Style by Cora, the energetic and determined begetter thrives on opportunity, connection and presentation. Inspired by her grandmother’s fashion sense and her personal love for heels, Aversano adopted the motto, “Life is too short to dress boring,” and she implements bold style into her collaborative projects as well as her personal style every day.
303 Magazine: Tell us about yourself and how you first got involved in the fashion industry.
Cora Aversano: I was born and raised in Denver, Colorado, with four older siblings and more pets than I can explain. We all grew up with family, faith and sports as a consistent focus. I chose to start playing soccer at 4 years old and played through college so my first moments in the fashion industry were not until I graduated. I think my main outfit of choice for too long was soccer sweats. When college finished, my first start in the fashion industry was actually as a model. I did a few shoots with some clothing brands then signed with Wilhelmina Denver. I didn’t last long though, once I saw and learned what a wardrobe stylist did, I was sold. It became my dream. I realized quickly it was going to take a big leap of faith to jump into this industry.
Instead of starting my career in Denver I actually decided to move to Los Angeles. I made my decision and gave myself a month to pack up and leave. Taking that move into account now, I knew no one but my 80-year-old great aunt that I lived with for the first couple months and I had no experience as a stylist, so it was a big risk to take. I had made a contact through the grapevine with a Wardrobe Stylist and pretty much contacted her till she gave me a shot. She was gracious enough to give me an internship since I truly did not know what I was doing. Luckily within a week of interning for her on a Netflix show, she hired me as an assistant. I wish I could tell you I took the opportunity and ran with it but in the end, I stepped away and took time off from styling. There was a mix of reasons that led to my decision but the main one was I was not ready for what I jumped into at the time. However, the amount I learned working with her I still hold onto till this day. It was truly an eye-opening experience.
I chose to leave Los Angeles and come back to my family in 2019. While in Denver, I started personal styling for a company called M.M.LaFleur which showed me how much more I wanted to keep pursuing my initial dream of being a Wardrobe Stylist. This is when I decided to go out on my own and work freelance. I had the amazing opportunity of working with WearPact and chose to officially launch Style by Cora in November of 2019. Networking was and still is my lifeline. After I started on my own, Style By Cora began to blow up and I had the chance to collaborate with people and grow my portfolio pretty quickly. I have been so fortunate to work with some of the most talented and lovely people in Denver. I have styled artist Chenay in her music video “Endlessly.” My dear friend and amazing photographer Stephanie Mikuls and I have been published in multiple magazines including Creators and Genzo. I am overjoyed to have worked with Sam J and the future launch of NWA Magazine. These opportunities and many more will always be pivotal moments in my career.
303: What or who enticed you to become a Wardrobe Stylist?
CA: Honestly, I look back and I would say my Grandma Nellie. Though I did not get into the fashion industry until later in life, she inspired me in ways that I still hold dear to my heart. She was the type of person who would be making her own jewelry and redoing items from the thrift store into fashionable pieces. She could turn anything into a good outfit and always looked classy. Growing up with her, I would go over to her house and play dress up, trying to make shirts out of scarves or a dress out of a shirt with like ten necklaces on. It was a dream when I got to visit her. She would always tell me “Never leave the house without lipstick and earrings on.” Somethings you just never forget.
303: Walk us through a day in the life of Wardrobe Stylist Cora Aversano.
CA: Well it can be a little all over the place. There are not many moments in days that are consistent, except drinking about four cups black coffee. I love my work so I focus a lot of my time around where and what I can create next. If I am not prepping for a photoshoot, I am usually planning one, creating mood boards, or meeting with people for future shoots. I think when you have high expectations for yourself mixed with big dreams, your mind is always thinking about it in one way or another.
303: In three words, describe the type of aesthetics and themes you gravitate towards most as a Wardrobe Stylist.
CA: Unique, Urban, Chic.
303: How would you describe your personal style?
CA: Mix of ’50s and ’60s with a modern twist.
303: How important are accessories when styling?
CA: Well they can make or break an outfit in my opinion. But it can be the perfect touch to complete a whole look.
303: Are there any current trends you gravitate towards for personal style or editorial projects?
CA: 100% oversized Victorian sleeves! I am obsessed! I do love a high waisted belted pant and blazer combo as well.
303: Your involvement with wardrobe styling for Denver projects and publications is immense and growing. Tell us your process for how you prepare for said photoshoots and projects.
CA: A massive amount of prep work is done behind the scenes, which most people do not expect. You have a photoshoot that lasts two hours, but I have been usually prepping for days. Now that it is also my staple to be overprepared rather than underprepared and to not have options. The most important part of the whole process is understanding and knowing what the client or person running the show wants. If they have a vision, honor it. I mostly work on editorial photoshoots, so it is usually a little out of the box, which I love. I like to find pieces that would catch your eye, but most people wouldn’t wear on a normal day.
I begin by figuring out the mood board, location, and models’ look and sizing. Then I go and shop or sometimes work with a specific designer or boutique. I like to see all the pieces together before going out again and trying to find the things that would complete the outfit, such as shoes or accessories. I learned this in LA, always make sure you have three times as many outfit options than are expected. Sometimes you get to meet with models before the shoot but if not, you have to see it on them at the photoshoot and if it doesn’t work, well you better have something else just as good as the first option. My favorite part is being on set and seeing the vision come into fruition. It is also the moment you get to be creative with pieces, making belts necklaces, using earrings as broaches, whatever your heart desires.
303: Where do you find inspiration for your work?
CA: All over, from old movies to place to people you see. Sometimes it is just a feeling or emotion you want to encompass.
303: Define fashion.
CA: To me fashion is a physical expression of who you are and your story. It can allow you to show aspects of yourself in an avenue of communication that is seen from just a glance.
303: Has your outlook on fashion and wardrobe styling changed this year? If so, how?
CA: Yes, I feel like this year should have changed everyone’s outlook. My hope is that it provides growth. This year has provided a time of self-reflection which in turn has allowed me to decide the impact I want to make in this industry and also what I want to convey through my styling.
303: On your Instagram you noted, “Life is too short to dress boring.” What would a boring outfit look like for you and how can you turn a boring outfit into an exciting and powerful representation of a person?
CA: To me, boring is more the act of giving up or not caring what you put on your body. I, for a fact, know I hold myself differently depending on what I am wearing. I take pride in it because it shows people who I am plus I love the creative side to it. Half the time it consumes my mind. When I put on an outfit, I think of three things: does it make me feel confident, does it portray the strong powerful woman I am, and lastly, does it represent my personal style. Find out what makes you feel like the best version of yourself.
303: Do you have any signature items you can’t leave the house without?
CA: I will never leave the house without earrings and heels. If I am wearing sneakers I just worked out or it was a bad day.
303: What is one tip you can give to 303 readers for their wardrobes?
CA: Define YOUR style. Go on Pinterest or look through magazines and find what you love, but also what you hate. Both are important. Once you can do that, it will change how you dress or put outfits together. Wear what you love and what makes you feel good. Don’t let others define your look.
Photos provided by Cora Aversano.