Recently I found myself lugging around seventy five pounds of September fashion issues to comb through in my "spare time" for blogging inspiration. Distracted (as usual) I just wasn't feelin' it. Desperate, I began quizzing some stylish friends whenever and wherever I could pin them down. "What's your favorite fall outfit? What do you have your eye on?" or simply "Oooh...where did you get those boots?" They indulged my questions and were forgiving when they found me pawing around in their closets (awkward). Then it dawned on me. Why don't I just write about what they plan on wearing and buying this season?
These ladies all have a few things in common (besides me). They are generous, fun, accomplished, and have amazing style.
My takeaway? Nice denim, especially the skinnies, is a wardrobe staple. The classics are classic for a reason: they have staying power. I need to start borrowing clothes from my friends.
Who? Brooke Labriola.
Born and in raised in Bedford, NY, Brooke traveled extensively during her years in the fashion industry. Two years ago she moved back to the suburbs, not so much for a break, but to take on a new set of challenges: planning her wedding while overseeing marketing and event planning duties for some of the most sought after events in the region on behalf of Serendipity Magazine.
Where you'll find her: Running around Fairfield and Westchester counties promoting Serendipity Magazine and the upcoming 2013 Greenwich Wine & Food Festival presented by Serendipity (October 3-5).
Brooke is...one of the most well-connected people I've ever met. Kind and generous: she uses those networking skills to help bring people together. Finally, she has one of the most warm and infectious laughs I've ever heard. When deep in thought you might mistakenly think her aloof...just give it a minute and wait for that laugh.
Brooke's style is...classic: the personification of the "town & country" lifestyle. Her years in fashion have filled her closet with classic investment pieces (think Manolo Blahniks, structured leather bags and well-tailored dresses). She's always well put-together (even in denim and uggs), and poised.
Get Brooke's fall festival look: Purse, Clare Vivier (Tip: this very similar foldover clutch from the Gap is a great alternative!); Fur collar: Glamour Puss; Sweater, Intermix; Boots, Frye Melissa boot; Corduroys, Paige Verdugo mid-rise skinny jeans; Ballet flats, Chanel. Tip: Look for wallet friendly Chanel-inspired ballet flats like these by Softwalk.
Who: Elizabeth Donovan
Elizabeth hails from the large, spirited, Wilton, CT-based Donovan clan. We met years ago at our first job in Manhattan, Sports Illustrated For Kids. After a stint in publishing, Elizabeth moved over to finance and has been at it ever since.
Where you'll find her: If she's not working or at Soul Cycle, she's out and about near her Kips Bay apartment. LIke most young professionals in Manhattan, her apartment is 100% devoid of sustenance (I am still not convinced that she actually has a working kitchen) and she spends most of her free time trying new restaurants, and catching up with friends over a glass of wine. Lastly, thanks to years of dance school, she can Irish dance, do a flying jump split and say "thank God its Friday" in eight languages. Did I mention she's a lot of fun?
Elizabeth's style is...a melting pot. She's Connecticut prep with a laid back city edge. Its hard to explain and hard to replicate, but it works. It doesn't hurt that this Soul Cycle devotee is tall, thin and looks good in just about anything.
Get Elizabeth's city weekend look: Purse (it really is her mom's), by Chanel (or just try one on for size at Bag, Borrow or Steal); Bracelet: Elizabeth's favorite is an enamel bangle by Hermes (try this wallet-friendly option by Stella & Dot); Cardigan, J. Crew; Jeans, A.G Indigo stilt skinny; Boots: Cole Haan. Felted wool and leather trench coat, Burberry. Tip: This short, navy trench from Zara is a fun alternative!
Who: Kristen Jessop
I met Kristen when we were both young, single and living on Manhattan's Upper East Side. We had both just started our careers. Having spent most of her life in or around Manhattan (she was born and raised in nearby Garden City, LI) she hit the ground running and thankfully took me along for the ride. In 2006 Kristen stepped away from the corporate world to pursue her passion: education.
Where you'll find her: In the summer, on the golf course. Fall, winter & spring: out and about in Manhattan's Upper East Side where she lives with her husband, just a few blocks from the private, all-girls school where she teaches the second grade.
Kristen is...fun and boisterous. She comes from a large, close-knit family (three older brothers and 7 nieces and nephews) who all live nearby. Kristen is also adept at planning our (somewhat) regular girls-night-out. No easy task corralling eight to ten disparate and busy ladies located from Brooklyn to Connecticut.
Kristen's style is...Manhattan chic. Think lots of black with pops of color for contrast and elegant finishing touches. Like most professional women who live and work in Manhattan, Kristen has perfected her day-to-night look. She chooses pieces that go from work to cocktails to dinner with ease. Oh, and she has a closet full of accessories one could reasonably call drool-worthy. I know because I am reasonable and I have seen it and I have drooled.
Who? Susanne Armitage
Susanne has her hands full these days. She is the mom of two under two (one year and four days apart!) She is the younger sister and best friend of Elizabeth (profiled above) and possesses endless amounts of energy and positivity.
When she became a mother she surprised us all with her composure and a seemingly out-of-left-field killer maternal instinct. And yes, this sister-act can do TANDEM flying jump splits. All you have to do is ask.
Where you'll find her: Out and about in Westport or in Wilton for Friday night pizza with her family. Susanne lives right smack on the water but loves to venture out for a quick walk to nearby Burying Hill Beach for a change of scenery. Date night? A favorite spot is The Chelsea in Fairfield.
Susanne's style is...laid-back, coastal chic. This family of four spends a lot of time in and around the water and her husband races sailboats. She's a fan of nautical stripes, worn-in skinnies and slinky maxi-dresses. She's as comfortable in flip flops as she is in four-inch heels (lately its more of the former). Tall and lithe, she loses baby weight faster than I re-lose car keys and cell phones. Don't shoot the messenger.
Get Susanne's coastal-casual look: Jacket, Barbour; Sweater, J. Crew (on sale!); Wellies, Hunter (Tip: these Sperry Top-Sider rain boots in Pelican are just as cute at a fraction of the cost!) Jeans, Citizens of Humanity Avedon skinnies (Tip: Try Top-Shop and Gap for tons of affordable and stylish denim). Booties, Rag & Bone, Jewelry, Anna Beck.