With inclusivity as the forefront of her business, stylist and blogger Nikki Steele has a unique business moto: Be like a pineapple. Stand tall. Wear a crown, and be sweet on the inside.
As owner of Nikki Steele Style, she strives to empower and ignite possibilities for her clients through fashion, one garment at a time. “Fashion is an expression of who you are, and that’s what art is,” she says. “When you look good, you feel good and do good, and your fashion and style speaks volumes before you even say any words.”
As a woman who has always loved shopping and sharing her retail finds, Steele embraced style as a way for her to connect to herself and others around her. Styling for friends and family from a young age, she quickly gained a passion for making others feel good in an approachable way.
“Before meeting with Nikki, I thought [stylists] just helped you shop/buy clothes, but I realized it’s much more than that,” Maple Grove’s Meredith Speier says. “A great stylist will help you get more out of your current wardrobe, find pieces to complement it, and really develop your own personal style. That’s huge! Not to sound overdramatic, but that could change someone’s life. The image we put out into the world could be even better by investing in a great stylist. While you can always buy new outfits, it’s also really nice to discover your style and new ways to incorporate things you already own, especially those pieces that you maybe don’t wear as often.”
For clients, Steele offers four styling packages, ranging from 30- or 45-minute in-person or virtual sessions to a customized-style package. She also offers group events and has held sessions at local retailers, including General Store of Minnetonka, Maple Grove’s Leela & Lavender and Winston & Co. Boutique, Medina.
To get started, clients fill out a style form to analyze their day-to-day lifestyle and fashion needs. Questions revolve around, for example, preferred brands and styles, amount typically spent on clothing items, lifestyle and style metrics, color and print preferences, physical attributes to highlight or conceal, accessory preferences and more. From the survey, Steele develops style plans and encourages clients to utilize what they own and itemizes to-purchase elements to round out a wardrobe. She strives to keep brand options open to clients, so that they are not too restricting in terms of price points.
“I look at my closet differently now and find so many ways to layer clothing and put outfits together,” Speier says. “It’s really liberating—when you think about it—to be able to fall in love with your own wardrobe again and refresh it all the time ... I own several [dresses] but didn’t wear them often because they seemed too formal. Nikki showed me how to style them in a casual, fun way, and I have worn them so much more often as a result …”
When Kristi Piehl, formerly of Plymouth, was planning her family’s photo, she needed assistance. “When our boys were little, it was easy to put them in matching outfits for family photos,” she says. “When we decided to have a photo taken for our 2019 Christmas card, it was more challenging because the boys are now teens. I wanted them to feel confident and comfortable while also coordinating. Nikki and I met, and she learned more about our family, so she could create a style board for each family member. It was so easy to look at the selections as a family and click on the links to purchase items.”
Joy Szarke of Plymouth also used Steele’s expertise to get her family photo-ready for its Christmas card (Steele created a Pinterest board with shopping links to each item.), but she also used her for a special event. “Nikki has a wonderful understanding of body types,” Szarke says. “She is the only stylist I have ever worked with who doesn’t attempt to get me into things I know won’t/don’t fit or flatter my athletic build.”
Perhaps, Steele’s most important mission is to encourage her clients to embrace who they are and what their unique beauty has to offer. Acknowledging all body types—apples, pears or bananas—Steele says that everyone should consider themselves to be a pineapple, standing tall with confidence. “The fashion industry has a reputation of being really exclusive, and my goal is to make it inclusive—to empower everybody to see their own personalities in style no matter their body type,” she says.
In an effort to reach even more clients, Steele hopes to expand her brand by opening a fashion and gift boutique in the area.
Steele worked with writer Ava Diaz, helping her rewrite her personal fashion story.
Originally tuning in for a half-hour virtual session with Steele, the allotted time quickly doubled, as she took great care in reviewing my style profile and building a rapport to glean a full sense of my personality and lifestyle.
After our initial discussion, Steele asked me to pull some of my favorite elements from my wardrobe, which needed fresh pairing ideas to allow for more versatile looks. Focusing on classic elements, such as a denim jacket, a navy blazer, tan Nike Air Force 1 sneakers, a white button-up blouse and a pair of high-waisted blue jeans, we culled at least three separate looks that can shift from day-to-night and work-to-play settings.
Making a point to reinvent what I already had, Steele also asked me about my favorite accessories, including earrings, necklaces, bracelets and headbands. Pulling out my most unique pieces, I wanted assistance in styling my favorite hexagonal acrylic green hoop earrings and golden-brown floral pendant earrings. Obsessed with the statement that these pieces made, she encouraged me to incorporate them into my day-to-day fashion to level up my appearance and add a spark of personality to my outfits.
Along with the items I had in my closet, Steele suggested the addition of a pair of medium-to-dark wash skinny jeans, platform sandals, neutral-toned t-shirts and a silk tank top. Mixing and matching new items with old elements, these suggestions gave my wardrobe a well-rounded revamp and inspired me to break out of my comfort zone.
If there is one thing that I will take away from this experience it was her reassuring nature toward outfit repetition. Emphasizing the importance of loving yourself and the clothing that represents you, Steele says that I should feel good in what I am wearing—regardless of how many times others see me wear it.
Nikki Steele Style