get inspired

jenna lyons

I recently read an interview where one of the questions to the interviewee was “Who inspires you?”.  And I started to think about how I’d answer that question if asked, especially in the context of my career.  I gave it much thought because I like to believe that one day someone WILL be interviewing me and asking that same question.  So in playing this whole scenario out in my head, I came up with my answer which includes four women whom I find dynamic, powerful and inspiring.  Women whose footsteps I would be honored to follow in.

Jenna Lyons  (President/Executive Creative Director at J.Crew): There is a magic at J.Crew unmatched by any other retailer, and I believe the largest part of their success is attributed to Jenna Lyons.  I don’t distinguish myself as a member of the J.Crew cult, however I do qualify the company as the Harvard of mass market brands.  I’ve worked for many major corporate fashion companies and one of the biggest struggles is placing someone in a high-level, powerful, executive seat who equally keeps the creative AND business strategy in mind.  In order to be an effective fashion organization, a leader must drive both simultaneously.  Jenna is a perfect blend – innovative, artistic and creative, while also paying attention to the consumer experience.  She is cutthroat, but creative.  She is strong and steady, yet a visionary.  She has worked her way up from the bottom, and landed her role because of talent, not politics which makes her that much more of an informed leader.  She’s walked the walk.  I value Jenna’s dedication to art, and vision, while understanding the bottom line.  She is the epitome of retail genius in my book.

Mary Alice Stephenson  (fashion & beauty expert; Founder of Glam4Good)Mary Alice Stephenson grew up in the fashion industry, working for powerful publications like, Vogue, Allure, Marie Claire and Harper’s Bazaar.  She is a contributing editor at Seventeen magazine, styles some of the biggest celebrity names in Hollywood and regularly advises women as an expert in fashion and beauty.  But none of that is why she inspires me.  Mary Alice Stephenson is the founder of an organization called, Glam4Good, which “gives life-changing makeovers, dramatic giveaways and transformative fashion adventures to everyday hero’s and people in need.”  Every week that goes by, she is somewhere new, giving back to help empower women to be their best selves.  Through the vehicle of fashion, she uses her expertise for a good cause.  She also serves as the National Fashion Ambassador for the Make-A-Wish foundation.  Mary Alice has done something which I hope to mirror in my career, taking strengths and passions and turning them into purpose!

Leandra Medine  (Founder of fashion blog, The Man Repeller; Author) Oh, Leandra.  I first learned of Leandra Medine aka The Man Repeller when I began Your Soul Style.  I was completely enamored (and inspired) by her style – a bit edgy, mixing high and low, menswear inspired but sexy.  I dug it.  But as I learned more about her, my fondness went deeper and became more meaningful.  Leandra is a feminist, she is a brilliant writer, she is funny as fu*k, she has a strong point of view and most importantly she owns who she is.  No one will stand in her way of risk taking and showing up in original, unique ensembles.  I watched a segment with her on Style.com recently where she said, “I want to walk into a room, and feel like I will not run into anyone that has thought to do what I did”.  She couldn’t have said it better then me.  I feel exactly the same, always looking for ways to stand out and define myself as an individual, but don’t always follow through with making the same controversial fashion choices.  Leandra is creative, she is smart, she does what she wants.  She doesn’t follow rules, she is inventive and she could not give a damn what anyone has to say about it.  I strive to be as bold as she is.

My Mama  (Founder of The Connecting Hand) I never knew my mom as a non-working person.  She worked most of my life and was always an equal financial contributor to the family.  From one career to the next, she busted her ass and was able to achieve greatness because of hard work and dedication.  Beginning as a teacher, moving to the financial industry and eventually launching her own successful business in geriatric management, my mom is the epitome of following your dreams and reaching them.  No one could get in the way of her journey towards success.  She was unstoppable.  As a budding entrepreneur myself, I realize now how hard it is to create a viable and thriving business.  She made it look so seamless.  My mom taught me at a very young age that you need to “Find something you love.  And then find a way to make money doing it”.  I like the order of those two sentences most.  The words have never left my mind and I hope to follow in her path of great success.

So who is your inspiration?  What drives you?  Who is your guiding light?  How would you answer that question if interviewed?  Would love to hear your answers in the comment section!

Have a think….and a happy weekend.  xx jenny

photo via fast company

the boyfriend 2.0

Rag & Bone

I posted this photo on instagram last week, wearing new Rag & Bone jeans which I captioned, “will likely never leave my body”.  Because it’s not a secret that finding jeans you love is no small feat.  It’s every woman’s life long shopping mission to find the perfect, never-take-off-my-body pair, and it could take months, albeit years to actually locate them.  Ya know, the ones where you can wear with heels and flats, during the day and night, that are equal parts comfortable and sexy, and which you never have to wash because they always keep their shape?  Um, yeah – this is what my denim dreams are made of.  My typical daily dose of denim is an oversized boyfriend pair, the popular silhouette that exploded last year.  Lately though, I’ve been coveting ones with the same relaxed boyfriend-y sensibility, but with more sexiness.  Still slouchy and definitely not “skinny”, but a straighter, more legit masculine cut.  I also wanted full length instead of the typical boyfriend ankle.

Enter the Dre – Armitage by Rag & Bone.  As I slid them up my body in the dressing room, I immediately knew that me and this pair of denim had a long-term relationship ahead of us.  Not only were they exactly the fit I’ve been searching for, but they hugged my legs in all the right places, didn’t squeeze my waist, were still sexy, comfortable, and the wash was on point.  Worth every dime, this is one of those instances like we’ve discussed about investment pieces.  I’m not saying every single pair of jeans you own should be expensive.  But for the PERFECT PAIR, the sky’s the limit.  You can’t put a price on pants you’ll live in.  Literally.

The Dre comes in a variety of washes including white.  Pop on over to Rag & Bone and give them a go.  I promise you won’t be disappointed.

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 photos via svetlana blasucci

YSS + Warby Parker

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We are lucky to live in a time where brands are becoming more socially responsible than ever.  It wasn’t always this way, and the future looks bright for consciousness!  I try and make it a priority to invest in companies that facilitate  “give back” programs and work towards making global impact.  It’s not just about having the coolest top or trendiest shoes.  It’s about understanding the culture behind companies who make them.  Recently I was in the market for new eyeglasses and decided to pop into Warby Parker.  There had to be something magical behind these super stylish, hip and affordable frames which has created such the buzz around this fairly new, emerging brand.  And what I discovered was that it’s true – there is something epic going on.

Did you know that for every pair of Warby Parker frames you purchase, someone in need receives a pair for free?  That’s right!  Warby Parker partners with non-profit organization, VisionSpring on a “Buy a Pair, Give a Pair” mission because they believe every person has the right to see!  How’s that for vision?  Over 500,000 pairs have been distributed worldwide.  Did you also know that every pair of Warby Parker frames are $95, including the prescription (sunnies are $150)?  Most high-end eyewear is distributed by a third party company with licensing rights.  These companies mark up prices 2-3x despite the actual costs associated with production.  In the end you are paying for a designer label, that’s it!  Warby Parker is able to cut out the middle man since they are independently owned, producing original frames and offering them to consumers for a fraction of the price.  Their eyewear is made on the same machines as ones that cost $500!  How’s that for customer consciousness?  And wait, there is more!  Did you know that, “Warby Parker is one of the only carbon-neutral eye-wear brands in the world”?  This means that they “actively work to reduce the environmental impact by mapping out our greenhouse gas emissions – from frame production to shipping to warehousing to office work – and purchasing carbon offsets accordingly.”

The cherry on top of all of this behind the scenes amazing-ness is that Warby Parker’s frames are super stylish too!  Not only will you be investing in a company that gives back, treats their customers right and is diligent about the impact of their global footprint.  You will walk away with glasses that have tons of SOUL and a helluva lot of STYLE!  I feel good about spending my money knowing that a percentage of it will be used towards making positive changes in the world!  I scooped up not one, but two pairs – the Owen (shown in these photos) and Baxter.  But, endless choices left me trying on close to every pair (in every color!) for over an hour.  Thanks to the impeccable service, I finally landed on my picks and made it to the register.

Check out Warby’s new Summer 2014 eyeglasses and sunglasses line, which have me begging to go back.  I’ve got my eyes (pun intended) on the Cliff.  If today’s not your day, Warby Parker is always developing new seasonal assortments which are fresh and current.  Per usual, keeping things innovative with the VISION to look ahead.

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 photos via candy kennedy

 

 

livin’ the dream

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No matter how big or small your home is, it’s essential to create a space you love, are proud of and feel inspired by.  We plan on living in New York City forever, so apartment dwelling in small spaces is the inevitable. Unless of course one of us wins the mega millions, in which case we will buy a townhouse in the west village.  Until then, I plan on making any size home my dream home.  Bigger is not always better, and more isn’t always “more”.  Our apartment is my favorite place on earth because it’s filled with treasures we’ve collected from our travels around the world, full of photos with people that make our lives rich and encompasses moments and experiences that makes us, us.  These are reasons why it is my dream home.  I’ve recently been thinking about our next space and how I’d like to design it.  Perhaps boho meets modern meets beachy meets nature.  There has gotta be a balance in there somewhere, right?  In the meantime, I’ll keep pinteresting photos like these which will inspire me when the time comes to create anew!  These homeowners nailed it, for sure. More after the jump…

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yss is growing up!

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I’ve been dreaming up this day for a long, long while and am super excited that it’s finally arrived!  Beginning with an inspiration board close to six months ago, I’ve been working with a most talented designer Aileen and her stellar programmer Scott at redesigning this site.  The objective was to create a presence that best represented Your Soul Style: authentic, soulful, stylish, and inspiring!  I cannot thank Aileen enough for helping me bring this vision to life.  There were times when she most certainly thought I had a bad case of O.C.D and/or was completely bananas, but she was beyond professional, patient and inspiring through every step of this process.  And Scott was easy to work with, guiding me through updates and always available when I couldn’t figure out how to manage some of the technical levers!  A great, big thank you to you both for helping me make this happen (and being so gracious after the countless e-mails I sent)!  That said, after months of collaboration and fine tuning, I welcome you to the new Your Soul Style!

Your Soul Style began as a passion project, a platform to jump off from and raise awareness to the cross-section between style and mindfulness.  I’ve always been clear about the direction of this initiative, but after a year and a half of refining, I’ve found the sweet spot.  It couldn’t be a more appropriate time to shed the old skin and begin anew – Your Soul Style is growing up!  Just like we evolve, so does this project and I can guarantee that it will always continue to do so.  We will discuss fashion, style tips, lifestyle, travel, emotional health and wellness, while always returning to the foundation that feeling your best lies in being true to yourself.  Head on over to the about page to learn a bit more!

I can’t wait to continue on this journey with all of you!  And I hope the new and improved Your Soul Style will make the experience that much more enjoyable!  The site will function the same way it always has, with a few updated bells and whistles.  Current subscribers will continue to receive posts directly in their inbox, and if you haven’t signed up yet, you can add your information directly on the home page. Yeah!  Poke around, check it out and let me know what you think!

Thank you so much from the bottom of my heart for all of your support.  Your Soul Style is about community, it’s about relatability, it’s about inspiration, it’s about empowering each other to be our authentic selves and embrace our own uniqueness.  It’s about life, it’s about love!  It’s about style from the inside out!  I look forward to spreading this message as far as I can take it and exploring the endless possibilities of what we can accomplish together!

With tons of love, soul and style,

xx jenny

photo via candy kennedy