My Style: Caroline Ventura

Portrait of jewelry designer Caroline Ventura

Photo: Jamie Beck — Courtesy of Caroline Ventura

The three essential things a woman should know about style are...

Lipstick is your best secret weapon. A good tailor is important to have. Your boyfriend (or husband or brother)’s t-shirts are neutral territory and perfectly acceptable to steal.

Please describe your style in three words.

Simple, boyish, comfortable.

What are your favourite fabrics?

Right now I am loving cashmere for warmth, chambray for comfortable layering, and leather to toughen it all up.

Are there any style combinations that you object to?

I really dislike certain colour combinations: mixing red and purple is my least favourite, unless you’re one of those ladies in the Red Hat Society.

Which city has the best-dressed women?

I’d love to say New York since I live here, but I think the women in London do it better. It’s effortless, but still cool, and they aren’t afraid of dressing like boys.

Would you say that you are conservative or bold?

I err on the conservative side when I dress; I don’t like big prints or loud patterns.

What are the rules in the way you dress?

I dress for myself first, for others second.

Celebrities and style...

Don’t often go hand in hand. It’s easy to look good when you have an amazing stylist.

Name one garment/accessory that you can never have enough of?

Men’s brogues.

A woman should always look like...

Her beautiful, confident self.

Who taught you what you know about style?

When I was born my mother brought me home from the hospital in an outfit she bought from Neiman Marcus. I was doomed from that day forward to have expensive taste but not always being able to afford it.

How do you select your clothing every morning?

Most mornings I am dressing to go to work, so I have a rotation of looks that allow me to get dirty and be comfortable. More often than not, I wake up and pull on the same pair of jeans that are on the floor that I wore the previous day. If I am going out later, I switch out my t-shirt for a men’s button down or an oversized sweater and blazer.

Do you have any shopping rituals?

When I lived in LA I would visit the giant flea market at the Rose Bowl almost every month. I really miss digging through the piles of clothes in that warm sunshine.

We will never see you wearing...

Uggs. Ugh.

Which new designers do you follow and why?

I love what Greg Armas from Assembly NY is doing right now. He understands a woman who wants to dress in a masculine way, but still wants to feel like a woman. I also really love the line Hope, out of Stockholm. Simple silhouettes, beautiful fabric, and really nice tailoring.

What is the biggest mistake one can make when getting dressed?

Not being comfortable or feeling like yourself when you put your clothes on.

What is the first thing you notice on a woman?

How much makeup she is or isn’t wearing.

What are the most treasured items in your wardrobe?

My engagement ring; I don’t often wear it, but it is the most beautiful thing I own. A vintage Clash t-shirt from 1984. The very first ear cuff I made for Jason Wu’s SS’12 collection.

The one image that defined your approach to style...

Patti Smith on the cover of her album, Horses. Perfect.

Which fashion house never fails to impress you?

I can never not pause in front of the window of a Céline store.

One article of clothing that a woman needs to pay close attention to is...

Her shoes. I hate seeing women kill their feet for the sake of looking good. I appreciate a good pair of heels, but they have to fit!

Is comfort an enemy of style?

Never. It’s so easy to grab clothing that is bold and daring and probably uncomfortable to wear, throw it on, and look 'stylish'. Looking cool while still being comfortable — to me, that’s style.

Who would you like to recommend for My Style?

My friend Jamie Beck has incredible style. She can mix masculine and feminine in a way that not a lot of women can do, and she always looks impeccable on the job. I think she’s a modern-day Grace Kelly meets Lauren Hutton.

The best words of advice you have ever heard?

You have to get into trouble to get out of it.

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