With every campaign shoot, we get so many questions about the looks we pair with our shoes and accessories. Style is a huge part of what makes FRĒDA special, and it makes our day when you notice it in our visual identity. So, it begged a question of our own: Do you ever wonder who those outfits are so thoughtfully curated by?

Meet Megan Papay–our co-founder and in-house stylist extraordinaire. A former celebrity stylist at Calvin Klein (how cool!?), she’s the mastermind behind all our campaign styling and has a brilliant talent for storytelling through clothing. It’s truly her creative platform–or playground if you will–to dream up the visual identity of our collections from head to toe. We hope it serves as inspiration for your everyday style.

We feel so lucky every day to have her and thought it would be fun for you to get to know her better, too–through personal style, of course.


I moved to New York in 1998 and found an ad in the newspaper (WWD) for a job opening at Calvin Klein. The way it worked back then is they hired you as a receptionist for 3-6mo and then as they get to know you they place you where they think your skills lie. I sat in an all-white room, wearing all black, with one single callalily for 2 months (there was no internet back then so I truly just sat there) but luckily got pulled into HR to apply for the role of Celebrity Services Assistant in the Public Relations Department and I got the job.

In this role I assisted a brilliant woman named Lila Staab in dressing all of Calvin’s celebrity clientele; so things like red carpet, television appearances, press, editorial or IRL events. So much of my role was truly assisting the process. For example, I would prep for celebrity fittings by picking up the dress from the atelier down the street, dropping off and picking up the shoes from the cobbler (we did a lot of satin dye matching back then!) getting the handbag from the accessories department. There was so much behind-the-scenes work, which made it so thrilling to see the person walk the red carpet. My favorite look and red carpet moment was Gwyneth Paltrow’s black cashmere sweater set and metallic skirt at the 1999 Golden Globes. She defined effortlessly cool and to this day these are the words I think about when I think about my personal style.

In addition to assisting with these major moments, Lila was brave enough to allow me to do closet pulls in our Collection Closet. The Collection Closet was one full floor of all archived Calvin Klein pieces. I would spend hours down there putting looks together from different eras of Calvin Klein for press events or editorial shoots. I would work with stylists like Rachel Zoe (who was just starting) and send options for her clients to wear. This opportunity paired with my interest in storytelling through clothing (I majored in costume design for theatre) and is how I got started in styling. When I moved to SF, I was doing freelance styling work for a footwear company, which literally led me to Cristina and now FRĒDA.

Gwyneth Pawltrow Golden Globes 1999


Yes, so many. The 90s still have my heart when it comes to my personal style. I loved the high/low. We would wear white Calvin Klein Underwear tank tops with a ball gown skirt or the same white tank with CK jeans and pointed stilettos. A few years ago I found a dress from the SS99 runway show that I worked (I wore a black tuxedo and ran the elevator at Milk Studio) at a vintage shop in Sausalito and had to buy it to use in a FRĒDA shoot.

SS99 Calvin Kline


The runway dress in the ’90s and then shot for FRĒDA in 2017 with our SAL high-top sneaker. 

SS99 Calvin Klein

The grunge of the ‘90s, but love the high/low heels and denim.

Calvin Klein '99

This image from the SS99 runway feels so current to me now. Simple, but stunning materials and color paired with a ballet flat. This is definitely going on our mood board for SS24 styling!

Calvin Klein Runway Image '99


As far back as I remember, I can place outfits or pieces of clothing that I loved as a kid. So many of my memories include what I was wearing or what someone else was wearing. For example, I can hardly remember my grandmother’s face because she died when I was young, but I will never forget the stack of mismatched gold bangles she wore and how they were halfway up her arm. It was part of who she was and something I reflect upon when I think about the power of style and the impact it can have. Her accessories are such a visceral memory.

When I went to college I pretty quickly discovered the drama department at the University of Virginia and found a costume design professor who shared my love for fashion. She would give me books on couture and taught classes like the Psychology of Dress: how without words, a costume can tell a story about itself on stage. If you think about that, that’s powerful. Not only can clothes make you feel a certain way, but they are also a silent reflection of who you are. It’s undeniable that what you are wearing tells a story or gives some insight into who you are to the stranger who passes you on the street that day. Thinking about this may feel like a lot of pressure to put something cool together at all times, but it’s the exact opposite. If you get dressed with the mentality of “this makes me happy” that’s when curating your personal style and getting dressed is fun. It can simplify the process, liberate your mind, and make you feel amazing.


There was a long period between my college experience, my first job at Calvin Klein and starting FRĒDA where I would instinctually put outfits together. Getting dressed, or styling a shoot, is just second nature to me. I run Brand Marketing at FRĒDA, so as I continue to evolve into my role I have been more acute to define what style means to me and understand why I choose what I do. In addition to my past research of the Psychology of Dress for my degree, there are now studies on Enclothed Cognition which is the systematic influence that clothes have on the wearer's psychological state. It is a fact that getting dressed can change your mood. If you put on a suit you feel more powerful and smart. If you put in something casual and cozy you feel more comfortable and relaxed. A bold print for me gives me energy and makes me happy. Do you remember after the Pandemic how amazing it felt to get dressed in things besides sweats? The power of personal style is an incredible unlock to feeling great everyday. 


Getting dressed, or styling a shoot, is second nature to me. I am not saying that because I believe I have a talent or gift, I am saying that because the one thing I believe to be true is anyone can do it by sticking to this one simple rule; only purchase things that you are drawn to. For some unspeakable reason, they make you happy, they spark a memory, maybe you appreciate their craftsmanship or color. There’s something about the piece that speaks to your soul. I organize my closet by jackets, blazers, long-sleeved shirts, short-sleeved shirts, tanks, skirts, pants and then dresses. When I get dressed, I walk in and something will always pop out at me that day and that’s how I start my outfit. Then I scan the rest of the closet to put things together that are speaking to me that day. I am a huge fan of mixed prints, so I take a lot more liberties than most feel comfortable with maybe, but it’s a really fun way to get dressed and it allows me to build a closet full of investment pieces over time.

For FRĒDA shoots I do the same thing! It’s pretty fast and instinctual. Colors, textures, or prints that I love together. There’s an IG reel template going around right now about not getting dressed for men or women; it’s about getting dressed for yourself. This sentiment is everything. I can say with conviction that I literally love everything that I put on my body. I can love it for different reasons; a memory, a color, unique details or print, but I love it and for that, it makes me happy and it positively affects my mood every day. I am almost painfully introverted and my social anxiety is real, but fashion is my strongest defense. If I wear something interesting to me, I feel more relaxed. Maybe because if I am wearing something bold and a little offbeat people approach me differently? Is there permission to feel more comfortable and relaxed when someone’s unique self-expression is so outwardly bold? I find myself gravitating to people who also dress with a unique point of view and I have never left a conversation I didn’t enjoy when it started with me complimenting someone on something they are wearing.


It’s the outward reflection of things that move you. It’s showing people what you like and how you feel. This is so intimate. Personal style is so intimate. It’s so easy to be inspired by what everyone else is doing on Instagram. Personal style is the opposite of this. It’s the way you put something together that resonates with your unique personality and then how you share that with the world.


Soulful, effortless, instinctual and friendly.


There are a couple of content creators in Portugal that I have fun following. It’s clear that they dress for themselves and I LOVE that people are resonating with it. They are: @vicmontanari, @ritamontezuma, @caetanaba and @cazevedor.


We’re often asked about the pieces we use to style our campaign shoots. And I want to start by saying that it truly makes my day when you connect with the work we put into our world. The curation of FRĒDA shoot outfits is a creative platform for me. A place of inspiration. The space where I can dream without limits and pull pieces as I would for a magazine editorial.  We chose each item because it had a unique detail that made us happy and we liked how they looked together. A lot of the styles are from high-end brands, and while we would love to fill our closets with them, they are more often than not out of our reach financially (but a girl can dream!). For this reason, we don’t normally tag the brands because we would hate to discourage you as you curate your personal style.

With that said, we have the investment closet mentality and believe in building our wardrobes over time. Sometimes this means buying the expensive item because we know we love it more than anything. It’s a piece we will want to wear for years and pass down one day. There are also so many options to shop these higher price items second-hand like RealReal, Vestiere Collective or Rent the Runway. Sometimes it's a search, but that’s what makes it all the more fun when you find it. We encourage you to look within your own closets and ask yourself, "What about this piece makes me happy?" Then, liberate yourself and dress instinctually vs formulaically. It's fun, good for your well-being and it could be the conversation starter that makes a stranger a friend. To end, we hope you love getting dressed each morning and we are here for any tips to help you unlock your personal style.

Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published