Jalia Pettis, What Are You Wearing?

Meet Jalia Pettis.EXPAND
Meet Jalia Pettis.
Courtesy Romen Cole Photography

Leaving your perfectly good day job and moving across the country with three kids in tow is no easy task. But Jalia Pettis makes look easy.

That’s exactly what this single mom did five years ago to chase her makeup, hair, and wardrobe stylist dreams. Today, she's booked with a full schedule of brides, television and film shoots, fashion shows, and other gigs. And she was recently named among five North American Hairstyling Awards nominees for Makeup Artist of the Year.

"Regardless of the outcome, it's a huge honor to be associated," Pettis says. "I am excited about all the possibilities that may come from this."

She's Arizona's only makeup artist nominee and the first-ever black nominee.

"Probably the oldest, too,” Pettis jokes.

Wearing a high bun, little black dress, and high heels, she welcomed New Times into her Phoenix home for a chat about her personal style.

"For the photo only," she says of the heels. Her friend Sarah Parks, editor of Fashion Fit To You, would be pleased, she explains. Jalia serves as beauty editor for Park's style blog.

"I prefer flats," Jalia says, "but Sarah says I need to wear heels."

Jalia poses in a racerback body con dress with a black skirt and skinny black belt worn on top.EXPAND
Jalia poses in a racerback body con dress with a black skirt and skinny black belt worn on top.
Romen Cole

How would you describe your sense of style?
I am so easygoing when it comes to my style. I literally dress based on how I feel. I go back and forth between an oversized tank, jeans, and Chucks to a fitted racerback summer dress, it all depends.

Where do you shop?
I shop at H&M, Forever 21, Zara, and Nordstrom Rack. I also like to buy specific garments from independent designers who are still trying to make a name for themselves. It is great to support the small business owner who has great quality.

What are your favorite local boutiques?
City Royals in Old Town Scottsdale, which yes is a menswear store, but I can find some really great pieces for myself. I also look to a friend of mine who is a wardrobe stylist to pull and make suggestions for me from local boutiques.

What was the last piece you bought?
A spaghetti-strapped olive jumpsuit.

Pettis keeps a Diana Ross inspired silver sequin dress in her closet just for kicks.EXPAND
Pettis keeps a Diana Ross inspired silver sequin dress in her closet just for kicks.
Lara Piu

What's one of the weirdest things in your closet?
I have a silver sequin dress that I will never wear. It reminds me of Diana Ross back in her prime. So unless there is a costume party, it will stay on the hanger.

Who are your fashion inspirations?
I take my inspiration for fashion from color. I subscribe to Pantone so whenever they have their seasonal announcements I am all over it! As a professional makeup artist, most times I will do my makeup first and then build my look based upon that. If I pick up a great accessory that is the focal point of my attire, which is fun.

What are you wearing right now?
A black dress from Express and simple accessories. I pulled my hair up into a messy bun, and my makeup was a subdued eye with a vampy lip.

What is your earliest memory of fashion?
I may be dating myself, but I remember Madonna and Apollonia being trendsetters. I wanted to just mix things up, I was so much more carefree about fashion then. I feel like over the years I have toned it down a lot.

Hair, makeup, and wardrobe stylist Jalia Pettis works on site and from her home office.EXPAND
Hair, makeup, and wardrobe stylist Jalia Pettis works on site and from her home office.
Lara Piu

What is a trend that you wish would stop?
I don't want shoulder pads to come back, it makes me nervous but that is a trend that has popped back up this year on the runways. When it comes to makeup one trend I wish would stop is the overdone, unrealistic and heavily touched-up Instagram look.

What is one piece of advice you'd give to people in Phoenix about fashion?
Be comfortable in your own skin and your sense of style, whatever that may be. If you rock it with confidence when you walk into a room you will get everyone's attention no matter what it looks like.

What are five things that everyone should have in her closet?
A pair of brown flats, black pumps, a fitted dark jean, a white button down and summer dress. Those items can be dressed up or down, paired and can stand alone.


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