Archive by Author


29 Oct

I’m back in the swing of things with a shiny new outfit!  Please check out my new blog through my website,

With this facelift comes a new way of seeing blog updates, you must visit The Returnist through www.courtneyrust.comNOTE:  You will no longer be able to view updates through this URL,

I’m burning up with new topics I want to share starting this week.  Please keep checking back through the image below!

New WEBSITE and BLOG in the works!

20 Aug

It has been very exciting over in my neck of the woods.  I’ve been absent from returning to The Returnist the past 2 months due to a complete life overhaul.  I moved to another apartment, I renovated that apartment, and now I’m onto doing a complete online overhaul of my website and blog (on top of my normal crazy styling machine workload.  Screw summer tan lines!).  I say, why pencil dive when you can CANNONBAAAALLL?!!!  Hence, I’m currently cannonballing and not blogging, but I promise to be back in full force once everything is up and running.

Stay cool in the summer heat. 



Chicago Magazine July Cover

20 Jun

The Trump Tower Terrace never looked so good thanks to the invite by Chicago Magazine to shoot their July cover.  That night I had one of those deep, overwhelming love patters for the city of Chicago.  It’s a really beautiful place when you’re not chattering your teeth to get out of the cold.  On top of that, apparently there’s more than 165 things to do?!!

Photographer: Jeff Sciortino

Hair and Make Up: Cindy Shute

Wardrobe: Me, Courtney Rust

Digital Tech: Nathaniel Smith

Assistants: Grant Hogdeon

Producer: Amanda Gray

A HUGE thank you to Bloomingdales for graciously allowing me to borrow wardrobe for our hero models (group around main table)!  Jewelry was provided by T0pshop.

Philadelphia Cream Cheese Advertisement with Con Poulos

18 Jun

This simple advertisement is a good example of how much work goes into each and every image.  Most people would look at this and think that there were maybe 4 people in the room: the photographer, assistant, boy and dad.  In short, it took an army: 2 food stylists, prop stylist and prop stylist assistant, wardrobe stylist (yours truly), a whole bunch of photo assistants, and of course, New York based photographer Con Poulos.  There were also three little boys on deck in case one of them had a melt down, and sure enough, the #1 choice for the little boy did.  The lesson to be learned is that it often takes a small army to get it right the first time around.

Awesome blog full of Father’s Day gift ideas.

13 Jun

I feel like this blog was made for Patrick (Christian Bale) in American Psycho.  If you really care about your raised type on your business card and your medicine cabinet looks like a museum display, you’ll especially enjoy this blog, Uncrate,  full of the “sweetest” men’s gear out there.  If you’re stumped on what to get your dad, I also recommend you give it a gander.  Click on the image below to direct you to being a better metrosexual.

Advil Campaign with Martin Schoeller

6 Jun

It’s not everyday you get the opportunity to work with a photographer as admired as Martin Schoeller.  When I got the initial phone call saying I was being considered to work with him, I jumped up and down.  Then, when I got the phone call saying that he wanted to work with me, I did a celebratory sprint in my apartment, which was more like a shuttle run do to its tiny size.  Martin Schoeller?!  Martin Schoeller!!! If you’re not familiar with his work, here’s a little sampling.

And the controversial Time cover:

Here’s the Advil advertisement I did the wardrobe styling on.  I’m sure you’re asking yourself, “But there’s no wardrobe?”  Not true my friends.  Behind that hint of a cardigan, blur of a necklace and hip mom glasses, there was a full rack of different tops for the mom, AND the kid’s hands, as well as a table of glasses and accessories. Here’s the thing, you never know where the crop is going to be and how much you will see, and I rather die than let Mr. Schoeller down.  It doesn’t look like much, but that doesn’t bring down my excitement.  A big THANK YOU to everyone who let me be in the same room as him.

Why aren’t kids working?

5 Jun

Maybe it’s just the teenagers I know, but I’ve noticed that there has been a serious decline in high schoolers that have part time jobs, or even college kids for that matter.  No one works anymore.  They’re just supported by their parents who think that their kids need that spare time to focus on their schooling.  I can’t speak for every industry out there, but I know in my world that the people who are booked all of the time are the hardest working, not necessarily the most talented.  What I mean by this is that you’re not going to get anywhere with your amazing talent if you don’t bust your ass on set and have a bunch of people recognize that.  The only way you become an ass buster is by having a bunch of jobs that sucked so badly that they drive you to want to get the most out of every opportunity.  The result is that nothing is taken for granted, and you kill yourself to not have to work at a gas station again (actually, my favorite high school job).  I became a full time freelancer at the spry age of 22, but that was only possible because my parents had me scoop ice cream at 13 in between field hockey games, which continued onto about 15 other part time jobs that made my clothes smell like pizza by the time I graduated high school.  Now that I’m older, I think my dad was a smart man when he told me, “You’ll never appreciate money unless you’ve been poor and you’ll never appreciate your job unless you’ve worked at your rock bottom.”  He created both of those things for me, which I didn’t understand at the time, but I truly value today.  I’m also appreciative of the fact my ice cream scooping arm is still much stronger than my left.  Thanks Dad….   Kids, go to work.

Am I missing something?

4 Jun

For the past year I’ve fallen into a big dark work hole and haven’t had time to think about anything except for the current project that I was working on (which has been AMAZING!).  The past week is the first time in memory were I had a big project cancel and I was able to sit down without any distractions and ask myself, “Am I missing something?”

As a freelancer, the easiest part of the job is working on projects/being on set.  You have someone telling you where to be and what you need to do.  The toughest part is figuring out how to use your spare time as effectively as possible.  It seems like how hard you work during the ladder is just as important, if not more, than the former.  The second I stop working, I feel an overwhelming pressure to figure out my next step.  That’s the killer.  It creates a lot of sleepless nights.  The internet, which was your best friend becomes your enemy because you can’t help but drive yourself insane researching what else is going on out there.  Unlike a photographer, what I can’t do is go out on my own and build my portfolio.

For wardrobe and prop stylists and HMU artists, their portfolios are comprised a little differently.  To some extent, we’re only as good as the people who hire us.  What I mean by this, is that I can dress a set that I think my mom would be proud of, but if the photographer is an average shooter, the model falls flat, the hair & makeup is terrible, then the image is useless to me.  My work is only as good as the people I’m working with.  This is why it takes a hell of a long time to build a portfolio that you’d want to write home about.  Even at that, once you have images you like, there’s the next question, “Is this how I want to present myself?”  Which is followed by, “Does my work represent what I want to be doing?”  That’s where I’m at now and that’s where it has become pretty clear to  me that I need to revamp my website and this blog.  It’s a daunting task, one that may not be completely necessary seeing how most crew members beyond the photographer don’t put a ton of effort into their web presence because 80% of our work comes from referrals, but god damn it, it may help me sleep.  I want to look pretty on the inter web because I’m damn proud of what I’ve done since I’ve started this steam roller 10 years ago.  Here I come.

Tina Fey’s analysis of a photo shoot.

22 May

I recently read Tina Fey’s Bossypants when I was on vacation, and couldn’t stop laughing.  The part that hit home was her recap of what it’s like to be photographed.  Usually when you’re shooting someone of celebrity status (even the T Mobile girl who likes to wear pink), you’re ordered to cherish their every movement, not let them lift finger, and make little to no eye contact while doing so, which becomes pretty awkward being the person that dresses the talent.  I can smooth out your undies underneath your khakis, but I can’t make eye contact?  Hmmmm.  I like Fey’s recap because it puts the other side into perspective.  Here are a couple of my favorite quotes:

“It’s usually in some cool space called White or Smash House or Jinx Studios.  Sometimes it’s at an amazing hotel.  Wherever it is, it’s nicer than where you had your wedding.  You take a freight elevator up to a beautiful loft where there is a coffee bar at which everything is free.  Free, I say!”


“When you inevitably can’t fit into a garment, the stylist’s assistant will be sent in to help you.  The stylist’s assistant will be a chic twenty-year-old Asian girl named Esther or Agnes or Lot’s Wife.”


“If you’re like me, you probably take ten to twelve seconds a day to put on some eyeliner and mascara.  Maybe you throw in five seconds of eye shadow if it’s New Year’s Eve.  The makeup artist at your photo shoot will work methodically on your eyelids with a series of tickly little brushes for a hundred minutes.  It’s soothing, actually, because you must sit still and you absolutely can’t do anything else.  She will do this thing before she lines your lips where she puts her finger on your top lip and rolls it back ever so gently.  When she is done, you look like you have lips!  Not crazy overdrawn grandma lips like you would do, but God-given lips!”


“At some point in the morning, one of the stylists or publicists or fecalists will declare that the free coffee is “not working for me,” and some intern is sent out to get other coffee.  Or bubble tea.  Or gum, Advil, Red Bull, and egg white omelets that are destined to be forgotten about and left on the windowsill.”


“The photographer will ask you what kind of music you want to play during the shoot.  Remember that whatever you choose will be blasted through the loft and heard by an entire crew of people who are all so cool tat the Board of Ed. officially closed school.  Just murmur, “Hip-hop,” or make up the name of a hipster-sounding band and hen act superior when they’ve never heard of it.  “Do you guys have any Asphalt of Pinking?” [disappointed] Really? [shrug] Whatever you want, then.'”


“After about seventeen minutes of shooting, they call lunch.  The catered lunch makes you feel like you’re finally the person you always wanted to be.  Vegetable tartlets.  Arugula salad with figs, quinoa, fish that is somehow more flavorful and delicious than a Wendy’s hamburger.  Miniature lemon meringue pies.  Hibiscus iced tea.  You fantasize about how wonderful your life would be if you had this food delivered every day.  Oh, the energy you would have!  Your stools would be museum quality.  You could finally impress the fecalist that is on set.”


“At this point someone from your real job or home life will call to check in.  Pretend you’re exhausted and that this whole photo shoot thing is a big inconvenience.  Say you’ll be done by six and that you’ll be sure to get home in time to help organize the basement storage unit.  Then hang up!  Do not let those people kill your buzz!”

Luol Deng – Nike, “How will you make it count?”

11 May

I realize my timing of this post may not be the best.  Therefore, I would like to start by saying that I wish the tables had turned in a more favorable direction for the Bulls in this post season, and I’m sorry for their loss due to the team’s injuries.  After turning off the game, it inspired me to find the Nike commercial I wardrobe styled of Luol Deng last December because I hadn’t seen it yet.  Um, yeah… it’s amazing.  I’m so excited to have been part of the massive crew that made this happen.

If my mom told me driving home from my fourth session of basketball camp in the summer of 1993 that I would someday dress a Bulls player for a Nike commercial, I would have never taken down my Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen posters I got from the book fair.  At the time, I was pretty sure that I would someday be surrounded by fellow players that could dunk, but it would be from my basketball merits, not from my ability to source an ungodly amount of Nike merchandise in less than 24 hours.  Either way, this commercial makes me smile ear to ear.  It fulfills a dream.  It’s a different dream that includes a lint roller, but still… I’m honored to be able to stand next to such an amazing athlete under any circumstance.  Go. Team. Wardrobe.

Wardrobe Stylist – Courtney Rust