An Interview With I-ELLA

The holiday of love is behind us, and if you didn't have a Valentine's this time around maybe this article will help! Matchmaker Samantha Daniels knows a lot about what it takes to find the perfect person for you (she’s helped 126 couples get married), and fashion has a lot to do with it! Check out what Samantha – also the author ofMatchbook: The Dairy of a Modern-Day Matchmaker and co-creator of the former TV series “Miss Match” – has to say about the secret to looking great and feeling great on your first date. 

I-ELLA: Tell us a little about your background and how you got into the matchmaking business:
Samantha:  I was a divorce attorney, and on the side, I was throwing parties for my single friends. Because I wanted to be a good hostess, at the parties, I would always introduce people to each other so that they would know each other and they would have more fun. And so, I found that I had a photographic memory for names and faces and I could remember that she was from Chicago and he was from Chicago and they both liked to play tennis, so I would bring them to meet each other just to be a good hostess. 

I-ELLA: What’s the secret to connecting? What’s the essence of it?
Samantha: What I do is I listen to people. I kind of get a sense of their energy, what they enjoy, what they don’t enjoy, what their life is like, and then I pick people for them that have sort of that same outlook, that same energy, who I really see clicking. It’s about laughing at the same jokes, finding the same things to be annoying, continually having that unspoken language between the two people. 

I-ELLA: How does fashion relate to what you do as a matchmaker?
Samantha: I think that when you’re dating, you really only get one chance to make a good first impression, so it’s really important what you’re wearing and, most importantly, that you feel good in what you’re wearing. Because if you don’t feel good in what you’re wearing, then even though it might be the trendiest, most fashionable thing, you’re there spending so much time wondering, “How do I look? Does it fit me? Do I look good? Does it work for me?” and you’re not really putting your best foot forward. So when I give fashion advice for people when they’re going out on dates, we talk about trends and what’s in and what’s hip, but at the same time we talk about what works for them and what they feel really comfortable and confident in, because that’s going to make them be the most flirtacious and the most beautiful to the guy.

I-ELLA: What kind of fashion advice, if any, do you give to your clients when they go on dates? Are there first-date fashion rules that ladies should follow?
Samantha: First of all,
you should always have that go-to outfit in your closet that you know you look really good in and that you’re comfortable in, because that way, if you’re having one of those days and you don’t know what to put on, you have that to grab and you know you can put it on and you look good. At the same time, you want to pick something that’s sexy, that you feel sexy in, but that’s not too over the top. 

I-ELLA: What are a few of your first date outfit picks?
Samantha: I like a woman to dress in a feminine way. I think she should wear color. So many men tell me that they’re not attracted to women who wear black, and a lot of women feel like they should wear black because they look good in it and it’s simple and it’s classic. But I can’t tell you how many men say, “I’m not attracted to women in black. They look like they’re going to a funeral.” Men a lot of times think women look older when they’re wearing black, so the advice that I give is always a color, pick a color in the rainbow. As we all know, loving fashion, there are all different shades of colors – fall, winter, spring, summer – so you need to pick colors that work for you, but I think that people look different when they’re wearing colors and it makes them pop and it makes them seem happier and brighter.

I-ELLA: How would you define your personal style?
Samantha: I’m very into ‘60s and ‘70s vintage clothing and handbags.  I have a very extensive handbag collection of ‘60s and ‘70s designer bags and whimsical fun bags. So a lot of times I’m looking to my handbags first, and then building clothing around that. I think that my style is a combination of ‘60s conservative with a little L.A. funkiness. I bring together a lot of different pieces, so I’ll go and find a great vintage coat and then I’ll have a vintage handbag, but then I’ll buy a modern pair of shoes or a great piece of jewelry and I mix it all together. I think my style is very eclectic, but I’m always picking things that I think look good on me and that are very unique. That’s why I really like the stuff that’s on I-ELLA because everything is one-of-a-kind.  

I-ELLA: Are there any designers or celebrities you look to for fashion advice or inspiration?
Samantha: I look to the fashion of the past. I don’t really look at any current designers right now because I like to be very unique. However, I love vintage Roberta DiCamerino and vintage Carlos Falchi handbags. I also love Courreges and Pauline Trigere vintage coats and clothing.

I-ELLA: How often do you edit your closet? Do you have any tips for our members?
Samantha: If there’s something that just doesn’t work for you anymore, then you have to get rid of it. However, we all go through cycles. We like it one day and we hate it the next. That's why it is always important to keep those classic pieces, because you never know when they will come back in style!

I-ELLA: What are your three rules to live by?
Samantha: You have to be willing to take risks. As an entrepreneur, I’ve learned that you have to go for what you want to go for, and even if there are naysayers around you – which there always are – if you feel passionate about something, then you have to go for it because that’s how you get what you want. 

You always have to be ready to take apples and make apple sauce. If you have a problem while you’re working, you can’t give up. You just have to spin it another way and just take the apples and make a different kind of sauce.

Be confident in yourself. A lot of times, people aren’t sure about what they’re trying to do and it’s easier to take the straight and narrow path as opposed to taking this convoluted, unusual path. But there’s so many rewards when you create something that someone else didn’t create.

I-ELLA: Any final dating or fashion advice?
Samantha: In order to start dating, you have to feel good about yourself. A lot of times, fashion helps women feel good about themselves. Pick out items that really enhance who you are as a person so that when you go out dating, you can put your best foot forward. 

Grew up in Philly and lived in L.A. for 4 years, has helped 126 couples get married (and buys herself a handbag every time a couple gets together!), also has a book out (Matchbook: The Diary of a Modern-Day Matchmaker), make fashion your friend!; also created a TV show (“Miss Match)

If you want more information on Samantha Daniels and her matchmaking service visit her website