Words by Loureen Murphy
Daisy Tinsley Barnett’s story begins like an archetypal tale. A curious girl opens a magic book that transports her into an enchanted world.
The real-life setting lies off Alpine Road in 1970s Menlo Park, where Daisy ran barefoot and free, one of three hippie children. Music played at all hours. Images emerged from Mom’s in-house darkroom. Dad crafted with wood and designed activities for a “very project-oriented” Daisy. Their daily kaleidoscope could include spontaneous kid-acted dramas before dinner. Even so, “visual learner, very social” Daisy still got restless.
Enter Encyclopedia Britannica, “a last resort” antidote for boredom. On the day Daisy turned to “Costume,” her life changed forever. Across six glossy pages, grand ladies and gentlemen paraded in rich brocades, bedecked in sashes, cuffs and ruffled collars. The splendor of clothing burst off the pages. “It took my breath away,” recalls the personal stylist and founder of The Daisy Edit. “It was a turning point for me.”
Eyes transformed, the five-year-old no longer saw apparel as utilitarian—she wanted pretty things. And to her delight, Grandma supplied. The new Daisy modeled her pivot in taste for a family outing—a party dress, knee socks and hair bow—to find they were going camping.
So Daisy changed her clothes but not her mind. “I loved fashion,” she says. Enamored by fabrics, ribbons and buttons, Daisy couldn’t shake the fear that her fascination smacked of materialism and frivolous living. So she kept it quiet. Teenage Daisy sewed for herself and sought ways to save money to buy her own clothes. She found herself “constantly poring over magazines and creating collages and mood boards.”
Then, to counter her “loosey-goosey” upbringing, Daisy aimed for a “practical, project-oriented and focused” future. After graduating from Boston University and getting married, she moved to Southern California, where she poured her intuition and energy into video production and marketing. While she “enabled people to do their best work,” Daisy craved a more direct creative outlet.
After returning to the Peninsula, the outlet came bundled as a baby girl. “She was my muse,” says Daisy, who designed and sold an array of cozy infant dresses. With the local success of the Daisy Tea line, a decision loomed—go big or go back to the office. The office won.
Her path back paved the serendipitous way forward. While at Apple, Daisy admired Senior VP (former Burberry CEO) Angela Ahrendts’ genuine interest in people and the way she “embraced her femininity.” Style-fire reignited, Daisy thought, “Maybe there’s something I can do in fashion.” A few years later, amidst the pandemic, Daisy stepped away from her career as LinkedIn’s director of media production to consider her options. How could she optimize her marketing savvy, love of fashion and passion for projects?
Daisy’s Tips: Finding Your Signature Style + Be authentic. Know your “uniform,” your go-to look—whether jeans and a button-down, a monochrome palette or trousers and tee shirt. Embrace what reflects you and feels comfortable. + Elevate your look with current, quality versions of key items. Look for good craftsmanship over a designer label. + Add in pops of personal style with current and seasonal jackets, belts, shoes and accessories.
As that percolated, wayfarer Daisy helped a hurried friend pack for travel. Envisioning the taller woman in some of her own outfits, Daisy gathered a capsule of ensembles and useful items. Later, the friend called it the kindest, most helpful thing anyone had ever done for her. “How did you know that blue dress would look so good on me?” Daisy’s friend told her. “I never would have picked that for myself.”
Flash! “That’s when I realized I could help people.” Many “lost their way over the course of the pandemic,” Daisy explains, and after long months in sweats, they can’t imagine themselves in their former attire. Confidence drains as style identity atrophies. She discovered that what she feared frivolous proved foundational. The future founder sat down, made a business plan and launched The Daisy Edit.
Change-seeking clients now include referrals from satisfied customers, those who find her online and escapees from online wardrobe subscriptions. Many live on the Peninsula, others across the country. Daisy, smiling, calls her ability to get new acquaintances and clothe all body types with equal panache her superpower.
How does she work? After a free consultation, Daisy helps clients choose a service—anything from a one-time special-event styling to a complete wardrobe makeover with two in-closet sessions. Then, each client takes Daisy’s Style 360 Quiz “to uncover their authentic personal style.”
That means no pigeon-holing. The down-to-earth fashionista is a living fusion of elements herself—corporate and creative, Swedish and Jewish. On her crisp white bookshelves, a pair of child-sized Swedish clogs sit not far from a volume entitled Chanel. Daisy herself varies her own mode of dress depending on whimsy. She may rock ‘80s prep one day and California casual another.
“How we appear affects our mood,” Daisy observes. With a yen to lift spirits in a dopamine-deprived world, Daisy remains committed to “developing a system to help people dress and feel joyful.” Shining reviews and clients’ mirrors reflect her success.
Daisy’s Tips: Dopamine Dressing Wearing certain items of clothing or outfits because they elicit a feeling of joy and release dopamine is the idea behind dopamine dressing. That can mean bright colors, patterns and textures that put a smile on your face. Consider creating your version of dopamine dressing, or simply your version of dressing to feel good. Start with color, then consider joyful patterns and whimsical details. Be authentic. Dress for YOU, not for others.