Up, Close and Personal Style: Gianelle Veis

Gianelle Veis, Founder, TheOpportunista.com

Gianelle Veis, Founder, TheOpportunista.com

Opportunista Meet Minimalista

Gianelle Veis does not relax. Gianelle Veis expands. Whether she is expanding the reach and revenue of the Fortune 100 companies she consults or the network of Opportunistas who's entrepreneurial moxie inspire her blog, Gianelle Veis is a women who is not comfortable stagnant.

No wonder I like her style.

Gianelle founded TheOpportunista after years of career exploration and goal shattering left her feeling eerily unfulfilled. Despite an impressive roster of professional achievement and academic pedigree (Bachelor of Communication and Master of Communication Management from USC, MBA from UCLA Anderson School of Management) Gianelle was underwhelmed by her progress towards creating her own opportunities.

Ever fascinated by the female entrepreneurial spirit, Gianelle was hard pressed to find a platform that celebrated everyday women growing real businesses. Sure, the internet loves to applaud Sophia Amaruso's #GirlBossMoment but where was the story of Britt Deanda, a young working mom who, despite personal tragedy, launched High Vibe Living, an innovative wellbeing practice founded on spiritual principles? Where was the practical advice from an in-the-trenches entrepreneur on how to network like a superstar? Why was there no attention paid to the real life, hard hustling ladies who successfully pivot passion pursuits into income generators?

Gianelle realized she had answered her own question and soon after TheOpportunista.com was born. The site started as a resource for practical business advice and morphed into a community of supportive, likeminded women: In six short months Gianelle has managed to profile 40+ Opportunistas (myself included). But wait - there's more! Gianelle is currently working on an Opportunistas documentary series, podcast, networking events and informational products. 

What did I tell you? Gianelle Veis is all about expansion.

Except, however; when it comes to her closet. An aspiring Minimalista (high five!), this hustle loving Opportunistas shares insight into her personal style evolution.

Enjoy!


Up, Close and Personal Style: Gianelle Veis

Gianelle Veis in motion, in style - always

Gianelle Veis in motion, in style - always

JMB: Describe your personal style in three or four sentences.

Gianelle: Classic. Bohemian. Edgy. And here’s a fourth word to summarize: Eclectic.

But since we’re using sentences, it’s safe to say that my personal style is in my humble opinion – stylish – and given all those descriptors – diverse. I adapt my style to fit my:

  1. Environment – If I’m working my corporate job, bring on the blazer.
  2. Mood – If I’m feeling like a badass, bring on the leather.
  3. Message – If I want you to remember me, bring on the red power pumps! 
Gianelle Veis Founder of The Oppurtunista

JMB: How does your lifestyle influence your wardrobe?

Gianelle: My style reflects the diverse lifestyle I’m currently leading. Say what?! Let me break it down for ya. Because I work a demanding full-time job as a management consultant in Corporate America and recently launched The Opportunista – my media and education platform for women entrepreneurs – my lifestyle is hectic. I make things less crazy by streamlining my work wardrobe and wearing my “uniform” – a button-up shirt, blazer, and dark denim. (I currently work with media and entertainment clients, so I can get away with jeans. Game changer in Corporate America.)

While I used to spend a bunch of time planning my outfits, I now don’t even think twice about it. I’ve limited my options so that I can leave room in my brain to make other decisions at work and for my side hustle. I think I learned that from Steve Jobs – black turtlenecks were his jam so that he could focus on building the Apple empire.

Since I adhere to formulaic attire for my full-time gig, I go bananas on the weekends if I make time to go out. Leather, lace, hats, heels, jewels galore. It’s ALL going on. I mix, match, and have a blast. If I’m being honest (and I always am), I don’t mind drawing a little attention to myself if I’m making the effort! I spend a lot of quality time with my laptop, so when I’m out and about, my off-duty apparel is about experimenting, taking risks, and having a great time.

Gianelle Veis, founder of The Opportunista, contemplates her next move in comfortably chic striped dress

Gianelle Veis, founder of The Opportunista, contemplates her next move in comfortably chic striped dress

JMB: How has your style evolved from your 20s to your 30s and beyond?

Gianelle: While my 20s were about sacrificing comfort for a fabulous outfit, my 30s have been about committing to making a fabulous outfit more comfortable. I never ever wore flats to work as a 20-something, but now that I’m a 30-something, I can’t imagine life without them. At the same time, I’ve expanded my definition of “flats” to include fabulous oxfords, loafers, or other masculine-inspired kicks.

Now that I’m in my 30s, I’ve also become more comfortable in neutral attire. In my 20s, I used to think that a white button-up and jeans were – pardon me while I yaaawn – bor-ing. In my 30s, I rock that minimalist ensemble. My secret? It’s not what you wear, it’s how you wear it. Confidence, ladies. It’s all about the CONFIDENCE.

Gianelle Veis, flat out confident and comfortable

Gianelle Veis, flat out confident and comfortable

JMB: Do you have a closet organizational system?

Yes. Holy moly – YES. In a nutshell…dresses, tops, jackets/blazers, pants, and skirts are separated and arranged by color order (think the rainbow) and cut (e.g., sleeveless vs. sleeves, short vs. long). Looking for more specificity? Tops are broken out by color and cut – camisoles, sleeveless, short sleeves, long sleeves, and jackets/blazers. Handbags hang out with handbags, scarves with scarves, belts with belts, shoes with shoes. And all those accessories also have their own color, shape, and style system.

Gianelle Veis organizes work week micro-capsules on a rolling rack

Gianelle Veis organizes work week micro-capsules on a rolling rack

I also organize my outfits for the work week on a hanging rack next to my closet and even lay out matching jewelry on my dresser. I wake up early, so deciding on my outfits and accessories the night before helps me to get out the door as the sun rises.

I know it sounds like I developed some sort of algorithm to organize my closet, but it just works.

Gianelle Veis lays out outfit and accessories the night before to streamline her mornings

Gianelle Veis lays out outfit and accessories the night before to streamline her mornings

JMB: What are you wearing when you feel most like you?

Gianelle: Silk button-up, jeans, and pumps. Sure my style ranges like the keys on a piano, but at my core, I’m a classic kinda gal.

JMB: If you had to give away all of your wardrobe except for 5 items what would they be and why?

Gianelle: This question is good for someone like me who strives to own less and less with each passing day… Here goes it!

  1. J. Brand dark wash denim: These jeans were made for me.
  2. Everlane white sleeveless silk button-up: Classic – Stands on its own. Versatile – Pairs well with just about any jacket or blazer.
  3. Theory black blazer: I feel like a boss and badass in this blazer. Does that make me a badass boss? Or perhaps a bossy badass?
  4. Loeffler Randall neutral clutch: This is one of the few handbags I own. I care for it like a newborn puppy.
  5. Tieks black patent flats: These shoes epitomize “comfort is king.” They make you feel like you’re walking on air. I sometimes don’t want to take them off.
  6. I told you that I’m striving to own less, but that doesn’t mean I’m there just yet! Bear with me because I need this 6th item – my “Opportunista” dress. Mint is the signature color on my site. This dress makes me feel on brand. Plus, the laser cut gives it that unique WOW factor. I get compliments on it all the time. It’s a great conversation starter, not to mention makes for the perfect segue into my elevator pitch! #Shameless
Gianelle Veis, founder of The Opportunista, feeling like a badass boss in her Theory blazer

Gianelle Veis, founder of The Opportunista, feeling like a badass boss in her Theory blazer

JMB: Do you have a signature look or piece?

Gianelle: Catch me at my full-time job, and it’s a blazer in any color. My blazer collection ranges from black, blue, or gray to red, peach, or lilac.

Catch me at dinner in a posh LA restaurant (errr, it’s rare), and I’ll surprise you.

Gianelle Veis in signature mint dress, blazer and her fave Loeffler Randall clutch

Gianelle Veis in signature mint dress, blazer and her fave Loeffler Randall clutch

JMB: Any packing or organizational tips?

Gianelle: Pack as lightly as possible. It will serve you well, whatever the purpose and wherever the destination – from a business trip to the Midwest to a vacation in Rome. You need a lot less than you think.

As for organizing, the less stuff you have, the less you have to organize.

Can you tell that I’ve been working diligently to embrace my inner minimalist?


The best part about being an Opportunista is the ability to nominate another. Many thanks to Opportunista Adrian Granzella, Editor-in-Chief of online career source The Muse, for introducing me to Gianelle, my twin flame in passion pursuits and a sharply stylish Opportunista destined for even bigger things.

Do you know an entrepreneurial woman who creates her own opportunities to live her best life? Nominate your favorite Opportunista here.

If you enjoyed this Up, Close and Personal Style look into Gianelle's closet please show us some love and click the heart below.

xoxo

Jenn


Want to feel festive, chic and put together from Thanksgiving to New Years? I got you, girl. Tiny Closet Holiday Survival Guide | 11.17.16

Want to feel festive, chic and put together from Thanksgiving to New Years? I got you, girl. Tiny Closet Holiday Survival Guide | 11.17.16

Up, Close and Personal Style: Micha Goebig Phelps

Novelist and blogger Micha Goebig Phelps (AKA Olivia De Winter) describes her style as minimalism with a twist

Novelist and blogger Micha Goebig Phelps (AKA Olivia De Winter) describes her style as minimalism with a twist

 

Go Big or Go Home

Contrary to the obvious irony of her middle name, Micha Goebig Phelps is not a "Go Big or Go Home" kind of girl - at least not when it comes to inconspicuous consumption.

The novelist and blogger arrived to Seattle, WA from Germany in 2013 with only four suitcases and her laptop. As it often does, American assimilation set in quick and eighteen months later she managed to fill a "massive" walk in closet with more garments that she could ever use or wear.

"I was overburdened with clothes, and it didn't make me feel good," Micha Goebig Phelps recalls

"I was overburdened with clothes, and it didn't make me feel good," Micha Goebig Phelps recalls

To remedy her closet problem, Micha was drawn to the concept of capsule wardrobes but the idea of discarding most of her perfectly good (and recent) purchases didn't sit right either. 

Minimal lifestyle aspirations nonewithstanding, Micha Goebig Phelps very much lives up to her middle name when it comes to passion projects -- in 2013 she and a friend gave up alcohol for 365 days and chronicled the journey on www.thebettyfordaholics.com

"For a German, giving up alcohol is a very big deal," she explained. "But the level of clarity I achieved in the process changed my life forever. I am a much more conscious decision maker now." 

The New Year Resolution of the Year

Borrowing from that experience, Micha crafted a 2016 new year resolution that smirks in the face of your 5 lb. weight loss goal - she would embark on an epic #YearWithoutShopping and document her progress via social media under her pen name, Olivia de Winter.

Say what? Nothing? No toilet paper? No food? That doesn't even make sense.

These were my thoughts, too. But there are practical guidelines: #YearWithoutShopping allows for the purchase of groceries, medical and personal care items. She also allows herself experiences like travel and dining (she just returned from 10 days in Spain with nary a souvenir).

But everything else -- apparel, accessories, home goods, decorative items, books, magazines -- nope. Notta. Zilch.

"Surprisingly, it hasn't been very hard," Micha reports.

She does miss the ability to replace wardrobe staples. For instance, her favorite leather flip flips broke in January and she really wanted a new pair for her trip to Spain, but she made do with what she had. 

What doesn't Micha miss? Fashion magazines, which she sometimes acquires via her Buy Nothing Group (apparently buying nothing is a big thing in Seattle). 

"I received a copy of InStyle magazine and was immediately flooded with cravings. Now I scroll through Instagram and study stylish people for fashion inspiration." 

As she closes in on Day 274 of her #YearWithoutShopping Micha estimates she's saved around $500 a month this year. 

Something tells me she isn't going to blow it all on something silly in 2017.


Up, Close and Personal Style: Micha Goebig Phelps

Thanks in part to a collection of timeless statement coats, her mom's vintage clutch and a beloved pair of (thrifted!) Gucci pumps, Micha hasn't sacrificed a drop of personal style during her #YearWithoutShopping. 

Micha Goebig Phelps has a thing for statement coats

Micha Goebig Phelps has a thing for statement coats

JMB: Describe your personal style in three or four sentences.

Micha: I would call my style simple chic. The look I’m going for is a sophisticated, effortless minimalism with a twist. To make sure I don’t dress like everybody else, I always combine new and old, high-end and reasonable, purchased and inherited pieces. My favorites are usually vintage or made by young designers with small labels.

A tweed Rena Lange jacket with military details earns Micha complements from old people and hipsters alike

A tweed Rena Lange jacket with military details earns Micha complements from old people and hipsters alike

JMB: How does your lifestyle influence your wardrobe?

Micha: Place has a considerable impact: For instance, I don’t like outdoorsy garments or wearing anything on my head, but as I live in Seattle I own – and wear frequently - a hooded rain coat. It’s beige cashmere, though, because I couldn’t make myself wear actual outdoor wear. The frequency of my workouts also makes a difference: the more time I spend in gym clothes, the nicer I want to look the rest of the time.

After her fifth run in a week, Micha swaps out sweats for a pretty dress 

After her fifth run in a week, Micha swaps out sweats for a pretty dress 

JMB: How has your style evolved from your 20s to your 30s and beyond?

Micha: Nowadays, it’s pretty easy for me to say whether a trend is for me or not, without entering into unnecessary experiments. On top of that, I think I’ve become a little bolder. Knowing what I like and what suits me, I don’t care too much what others think. That wasn’t necessarily the case in my 20s.

Combining stripes and denim with green (instead of red) was Micha's fave summer look

Combining stripes and denim with green (instead of red) was Micha's fave summer look

JMB: Do you have a signature look or piece?

Micha: I have a couple of vintage two-tone shoes that I combine with just about anything I wear, and about 250 days out of the year I wear some kind of scarf.

Two toned shoes and scarves from a recent #sundaydressprep, a weekly micro capsule Micha pulls to streamline her mornings

Two toned shoes and scarves from a recent #sundaydressprep, a weekly micro capsule Micha pulls to streamline her mornings

JMB: Do you have a closet organizational system?

Micha: Of course! I’m slightly OCD, so all my clothes hangers must match. I prefer the slim, velvety type in black. I hang as many of my things as possible. Right now, only loungewear, jeans and layering shirts are stacked, everything else – including sweaters and t-shirts – is on hangers, sorted by type of garment and, within these categories, by color.

JMB: What are you wearing when you feel most like you?

Micha: Either a dress with a long cashmere cardigan and boots, or skinny jeans with a silk tee, blazer and heels. Those are my go-to’s.

micha accessorizes her Casual glam look with strappy sandals and a vintage clutch inherited from her mom

micha accessorizes her Casual glam look with strappy sandals and a vintage clutch inherited from her mom

JMB: If you had to give away all of your wardrobe except for 5 items what would they be and why?

Micha: That’s a tough one! All of these pieces are so versatile they go with pretty much everything and can be dressed up or down as needed.

  1. My black Armani statement coat with trumpet sleeves that makes me feel a little like Audrey Hepburn
  2. My super comfy black Hudson jeans

3. Definitely a knee-length LBD (don’t make me decide which!)

 a 20 year old h&M lbd + cognac gucci pumps (goodwill score!) + CLASSIC ACCESSORIES = endless chic 

 a 20 year old h&M lbd + cognac gucci pumps (goodwill score!) + CLASSIC ACCESSORIES = endless chic 

4. Cognac-colored Gucci heels

5. A Chanel-style tweed jacket from Zara

JMB: Any packing or organizational tips?

Micha: I am an over-packer by nature, so when I have everything I want to take along out on the bed I force myself to put half of it back in the closet. It scares me to take along so little, but it’s always enough. For the plane, my most important items (besides a good book) are a cashmere cardigan or pashmina, fuzzy socks and a sleeping mask.

Four day travel capsule Micha packed for a recent trip to Chicago

Four day travel capsule Micha packed for a recent trip to Chicago

Micha adores vintage luggage and uses it to store paperwork

Micha adores vintage luggage and uses it to store paperwork

You can track the remainder of Micha's #YearWithoutShopping here. Follow her adventures as a writer and German ex-pat in Seattle on her blog Breakfast at Starbucks (a daily expense my husband would very much prefer I eliminate).

More about Micha:

Originally from Frankfurt, Germany, Micha lives in Seattle, WA, with her husband Scott and their 21-year-old cat Leighla. She received her M.A. in literature, history and communications from the University of Munich, Germany. After teaching German and French at Northwest Missouri State University in Maryville, MO, for a few years she returned to Germany, where she founded her communications agency, wort5. She provides translation and editing services primarily for customers from the German automotive industry. Together with a colleague, she co-authored her first women’s fiction novel, ‘Mopskusse’, which was published in 2009 by Random House. Her second novel in German, ‘Wann Wenn Nicht Jetzt’, was self-published in September 2014. In the US, she has published several short stories in print and online magazines as well as in ‘Chicken Soup for the Soul’ under her pen name Olivia de Winter. 

If you enjoyed Micha's fresh perspective on minimalism, show us some love and click the little heart below.

xoxo

Jenn

Up, Close and Personal Style: Angie Goff

Angie Goff, MappCraft

A Morning In the Life of A Working Mommy

If your mornings are like mine, you're up at 7AM to tackle the weekday scramble. You swiftly shower, select outfit, style hair and apply makeup, forgoing eyeshadow (too fussy, no time).

You locate matching Batman socks for toddler, wrestle baby out of mismatched, outgrown jelly sandals and then dress both children from a pile of dubiously laundered clothes dumped in middle of playroom.

You feed family breakfast of locally sourced berries on top of GMO-laden frozen waffles as Angie Goff and the NBC4 Today news team report on traffic (it sucks), weather (93% humidity) and politics (#ICan't) in the background.

Just as soon as toddler is out of the door, baby spills congealed, day-old OJ (where did she even find that?) all over romper and kitchen floor. You are now forced to choose from lesser of two evils - double fruit fly population or arrive at work to note about tardiness stuck to office door. You change baby and leave juice. The fruit flies live to breed another day. 

It's 8:25AM

If you're Angie Goff your eyes open at 2:30AM, after five hours of sleep - max. You tip-toe out of bed, careful not to rouse your sleeping children, Adora (5) and Bob (3).

You shower and dress quietly in the dark, choosing one of several dresses laid on top of garment rack for the very reason of having to get dressed in the dark. You consider a bold statement necklace for outfit then forgo decision (too fussy, no time).

When dressing for work in the dark, NBC4 news anchor Angie Goff assures all options are vetted and within reach 

When dressing for work in the dark, NBC4 news anchor Angie Goff assures all options are vetted and within reach 

Next, you expertly apply make-up with HD appropriate coverage (complete with full set of lashes). You use dry shampoo to revive salon blowout you sprung for on Saturday afternoon (me time!). Valentino Rock Stud pumps in hand and Jack Rodgers flops on feet, you kiss foreheads of dreaming babies and head to car for your pre-dawn commute to Washington DC.

Monday - Friday you're on air by 4:30AM, on weekends cameras roll at 6 (sleep in!). Between segments you Facetime kids (Adora lost a tooth!), tweet several #BREAKING traffic alerts and share yesterday's Oh My Goff blog post (mental note: work tooth into poignant post about aging)...all while you Facebook LIVE from the news desk, engaging the hundreds of followers who tune in to catch a "behind-the-scenes" glimpse of the daily news cycle.

Broadcast ends. You refuel with extremely large iced coffee and decompress for a few minutes before beginning office work - researching, pitching, preparing show segments and following up on story leads for various newscasts (the news doesn't write itself). 

It's 8:25AM

Angie Goff on NBC's Early Today Show

Up, Close and Personal Style: Angie Goff

Whether your job is in an office or in the public eye, juggling motherhood and a full time career is a circus act. Recently I caught up with my friend and fellow GMU alumni, Angie Goff, to see what personal style looks like for this NBC4 journalist and anchor, NBC Early TODAY contributor, celebrated blogger, social media powerhouse and hands-on mommy of two.

Angie Goff on Personal Style

JMB: Describe your personal style in three or four sentences

Angie: My style depends where I am. At work I like to wear dresses with something a little extra. It could be mesh, weird sleeves, big skirts, big prints. I can always count on my girls Kate Spade and Karen Millen to come through. I'm also infatuated with Eva Mendes' collection at NY&Co. When I find someone who appreciates a woman's curves I'm all in. 

Angie Goff's on air style includes plenty of frocks by Kate Spade and Karen Millen

Angie Goff's on air style includes plenty of frocks by Kate Spade and Karen Millen

Off the clock, it's all about my sweatpant/drawstring collection. It ranges from my ode to JLo velour sweats to obnoxiously bright Lilly prints. In mom mode, comfy is the name of the game.

You want sweatpants? Angie Goff has sweatpants

You want sweatpants? Angie Goff has sweatpants

JMB: How does your lifestyle influence your wardrobe?

Angie: My days are packed and I honestly sleep 5 hours on a good night. My on-the-go lifestyle is reflected in what I wear in that fact that I'm a minimalist. I don't wear a lot of jewelry. I find I buy a lot of cool statement pieces but I rarely wear them. Honestly, I think getting up at 2:30 in the morning has something to do with it. I'm always so rushed. I've gotta be able to slip it all on within a couple minutes. Sometimes less is more- which means more time in this case.

"Pretty right? Never wear it." - Angie Goff on statement jewelry

"Pretty right? Never wear it." - Angie Goff on statement jewelry

JMB: How has your style evolved from your 20s to your 30s and beyond?

Angie: My shoe game has gotten weaker I must admit. I think after two pregnancies I just got use to wearing comfortable shoes. What a discovery that was!  As for the clothes, with age I've gained confidence. The biggest change I've seen is just not caring what others think. The other day I wore a sweatshirt with Barbie's face covering the entire front of it because my daughter liked it. Seeing her happy made me feel good. I think when you feel good- that's what people see.  I get it now.

Angie Goff's shoe game, ordered from strong to very strong 

Angie Goff's shoe game, ordered from strong to very strong 

JMB: Do you have a signature look or piece?

Angie: Did I mention my drawstring sweatpants? Other than that.. I'd have to say my flannel shirts. It may have to do with being a child of the 90's. I've always liked flannels and crystal Pepsi. Aren't they suppose to bring that back?

JMB: What are you wearing when you feel most like you? 

Angie: My ultimate outfit that makes me feel comfortably but not like a total frump: a cold shoulder sweatshirt, jeans and jack rogers.

"When you feel good, that's what people see" - Angie Goff on personal style

"When you feel good, that's what people see" - Angie Goff on personal style

JMB: Any packing or organizational tips?

Angie: My friend and DC anchor Andrea Roane taught me something years ago I'll never forget: Pick a palette. I choose one item I have to take. From there I choose two colors that will work with it and build the rest of my outfits within that palette. Having nearly size 10 feet I don't have room for lots of shoes so usually I'lll take one pair that works with everything along with some flats. 

JMB: If you had to give away all of  your wardrobe except for 5 items what would they be and why? 
Angie:

1. White super soft super and light Sweatshirt by Stem: It feels like you're swimming in heaven and I hate just the thought that I might be cold somewhere. 

2. J.Crew Toothpick Jeans: Flattering, universal and most importantly they have stretch.

3. Marled sweatpants: I can't live without them.

4. Hillcrest Elementary tee: I've had this shirt since field day in the 5th grade. How can I throw it away now? 

Angie Goff has a soft spot for the Hillcrest Elementary School Superstars

Angie Goff has a soft spot for the Hillcrest Elementary School Superstars

Ruby ring: From holding me to helping me with my homework as a child I use to stare at my mother's hands. I remember she had this beautiful ruby ring. My Korean grandfather had given it to her. When I got older she gave it to me. It is a treasure I hope to one day pass on to my daughter, Adora.

Angie Goff's most prized possession, an heirloom ruby ring passed down from her grandfather

Angie Goff's most prized possession, an heirloom ruby ring passed down from her grandfather

We wrap up our photo session in Angie's open concept playroom (laughing at the notion of using the space to dine) so Adora and Bob can show me their favorite toys. As they jump up and down, excited to entertain mommy's guest with gymnastic skills and special treasures, Angie deftly negotiates calm for a family photo in exchange for tomorrow's trip to Hersey Park. 

All in a day's work. 

Whether you're in sweatpants or a Pug mask, happiness looks good on you...

Whether you're in sweatpants or a Pug mask, happiness looks good on you...

Thank you Angie, for being a friend and an inspiration and allowing me into your Up, Close and Personal space. 

If you aren't already following Angie on social media (really, dude?) you can find her everywhere @OhMyGoff.

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Angie Goff shares Rent The Runway scores with Jenn Mapp Bressan of Mappcraft.com

Angie Goff shares Rent The Runway scores with Jenn Mapp Bressan of Mappcraft.com

If you enjoyed this profile of Angie Goff, please share it with your friends and click the little heart below. 

xoxo,

Jenn

Up, Close & Personal Style: Ada Polla

Like, always.

Like, always.

I met Ada Polla by chance in 2007 after we both attended "How to Build Your Beauty Brand," an aptly titled workshop during an industry trade show in Las Vegas. She approached me after the session, intrigued to meet the mouthy DC-based brand manager who monopolized the entire conversation. Ada introduced herself and I was immediately taken by her poise. We chatted and as fate would have it, we realized that we lived within a mile of each other in Arlington, Va. 

She's gotta werk, werk, werk, werk, werk.

She's gotta werk, werk, werk, werk, werk.

That chance meeting evolved into one of my most rewarding relationships.  Ada is a brilliant business woman, with laser focus and a tireless work ethic. She is generous with her network and relishes the oppurtunity to connect like minded people that she also happens to like. Ada is elegant and kind and an amazing listener. Truly, if you've been lucky enough to fall into her circle - you are lucky enough.

Ada means fairy dust in another language. 

Ada means fairy dust in another language. 

Ada's role as CEO of her family's Swiss-based skincare company Alchimie Forever, combined with living between NOLA and DC, places her on the road and in the air often.

Her Georgetown residence is high on style (a quintessentially European mix of ornate antiques and sleek modern accents) and cozy on closet space. All of this adds up to a personal style strategy I was eager to flush out. 

Up, Close & Personal Questions

JMB: Describe your personal style in three or four sentences.

AP: One of my life mottos is: “Always be overdressed” - I have notecards printed with this saying. In a few words, I would say classic, elegant, minimal, and black. About 60% of my closet overall is black, the rest is white, grey, blue, purple and fuchsia (I don’t do prints at all).

I love dresses because I don’t have to think about mixing and matching items. Yet I also love pants - for so many years I was a boot cut pant girl given my small waist and voluptuous hips and backside, but I have actually embraced capris in the last few years, and find that they suit my hour-glass shape more than expected.

A great blazer (and in this category I include a great jean jacket) will up the elegance of any outfit, so I have a few that I love and wear regularly. I love the black and white look - super elegant.

Heels, always. Red lips, always. 

Red lips or red soles. Preferably both.

Red lips or red soles. Preferably both.

JMB: How does your lifestyle influence your wardrobe?

AP: I run a skin care company and always need to look professional and put together. I don’t have kids so I don’t have toddlers to run after. I travel a ton. These are the highlights of my lifestyle that impact my wardrobe: not a lot of “casuals” other than jeans (mostly black!), no workout clothes other than when running or heading to Soulcycle, 4 inch heels, clothes that will work in a variety of climates (layers and blazers).

For a Swiss CEO who doesn't do casual, Ada loves herself some Tom Brady

For a Swiss CEO who doesn't do casual, Ada loves herself some Tom Brady

JMB: How has your style evolved from your 20s to your 30s and beyond?

AP: Truthfully - not a lot. I would say the biggest shifts have been capri pants (noted above) and one impactful closet-cleaning experience. In my late 20s, one of my younger sisters made me clean out my closet - as in try everything I owned on, and if it was thumbs down, the item went to Goodwill. Result: I don’t own any clothes that make me look frumpy. Even on bad days when I feel fat I still only have great-looking clothes to wear. That experiment forever changed how I buy and keep clothes.

I do a closet-cleaning twice a year and always keep that same philosophy in mind. My buying philosophy has remained consistent: quality over quantity, classics over trends. I also have to admit that I still wear some clothes that I had in college, and I even have one top and one dress from high school I still wear.

JMB: Do you have a signature look or piece?

AP: Red lips. Again, like a blazer, I find that red lips just up the elegance / classical look of any outfit, even jeans and a white t-shirt. Unless I am exercising or at the beach -- 4 inch heels, always. They make my legs look longer, make me feel like I can take on the world and anything that the day is going to throw at me. 

Hello, my pretties

Hello, my pretties

JMB: Do you have a closet organizational system?

AP: Yes! I am all about organization. First, I don’t switch out summer / winter clothing items. Everything I own is in two closets year-round (part of the benefit of not owning too much). I organize by item type (all dresses together, all pants together, etc).

Next, I organize by color (lots of black, as mentioned above), then I organize by season. For example: black winter dresses all together, next to black summer dresses, next to blue winter dresses, next to black winter pants - and so on.

Also, I am very particular about hangers. Having only one type of hanger really changes the look and organizational feel of my closet and I love it. I live by Huggable Hangers

JMB: What are you wearing when you feel most like you?

AP: I couldn’t decide between two outfits, so here they are, both summer looks since the weather has finally turned: 

1. Black Theory knit dress, boat neck, sleeveless; white cropped vintage Balenciaga blazer; black patent Jimmy Choo wedge sandals; red lipstick. 

2. White Donna Degnan capri pants; black Banana Republic t-shirt; black blazer; black Manolo BB heels; red lipstick. 

JMB: If you had to give away all of  your wardrobe except for 5 items what would they be and why?

1. My Celine clutch (white and black, removable gold chain) that my husband just got me for Christmas - I have never had a small clutch with a chain, which is so very convenient during an evening out (free hands, less to remember not to forget at the bar!)

Signature Celine

Signature Celine

2. My jean jacket - I love it, it goes with everything, and it fits perfectly. 

3. My Manolo BB pumps - I have two black pairs because I wear them most days. If I could, I would have these in every color. 

 

4. My current favorite black dress - round neck, sleeveless, hits below the knee. Super simple, but perfect for every occasion from work to date night to weekend. 

5. My white vintage Balenciaga blazer - I just bought this on a whim three weeks ago and I have worn it 5+ times since. 

JMB: Any packing or organizational tips?

AP: I travel 75% of my time, so I have packing down to a science. For a five day work trip I will pack two dresses and one pair of pants (all black, sometimes the pants are white); four tops (that way in total I have 6 outfits for 5 days); one blazer which works with both the dresses and the pants; two pairs of shoes; a pashmina always (even in summer; airplanes are cold); my Celine clutch for going out to dinners. 

Parting words for pretty faces: Wear your Alchimie Forever Sunscreen!

Parting words for pretty faces: Wear your Alchimie Forever Sunscreen!

Thank you lovely Ada. Can't wait for our traditional Cosmoprof cocktail in July.

xoxo, Jenn

P.S. If you love Ada's elegant style as much as I do, click that little heart below.