My Style: Mary Kate Steinmiller

Portrait of Mary Kate Steinmiller of Teen Vogue

Photo: Leslie Kirchhoff — Courtesy of Mary Kate Steinmiller

Are there any style combinations that you object to?

No, I'm a big advocate of personal style. I think as long as it's truly organic and real, people should dress how they like. The minute you make a rule or objection to something you limit yourself. For the longest time I was pants-phobic, hated pants, couldn't wear them, and I made sure everyone knew. The minute I stepped away from dresses and skirts and embraced pants, I found new favourites that I loved to wear like black leather leggings and white skinny jeans. I do however object to sloppiness and carelessness. Dressing well doesn't mean spending a lot of money or dressing up, but everyone should look presentable.

Please describe your style in three words.

Girl meets street.

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

Trying too hard. We all do it sometimes; it's difficult not to. But the most flawless people look effortless and organic.

Do you believe in role models?

I believe in being inspired by others and learning from others.

What are your favourite fabrics?

I absolutely love leather, lace, brocade, and cashmere. High-quality lace, always in white, and buttery leather, always in black, metallic brocades in all colours and black, white and grey cashmere.

Which city has the best-dressed women?

Every city has beautifully dressed women, it's inspiring. I think New York, Paris and London just have a higher percentage of them.

What are the rules in the way you dress?

I don't really have any rules, I really just want to feel confident. I love a mix of high and low.

Celebrities and style...

When it's personal and real it's really inspiring. When it's at the hand of a stylist, I applaud the stylist.

Would you say that you are conservative or bold?

I am pretty conservative, but not modest. I wear what makes me feel confident and comfortable, and I'm not opposed to showing skin, as long as you follow the rule that when one part is exposed the others are covered. I absolutely love a very short dress with long sleeves.

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

Plain white crew neck tees.

A woman should always look like...

She is happy.

Who taught you what you know about style?

My peers in the industry have taught me what I know about style. Whether it is working with talented editors and stylists and learning styling tricks and the magic of an editor's eye, or just observing the everyday dress of my friends, and their shopping habits, I have learned a lot by observing.

How do you select your clothing every morning?

The weather is a big factor, but otherwise it is whatever feels right for that particular day's schedule. A day of market appointments requires a different look than a meeting with your Editor-in-Chief. I want to feel confident.

What is your biggest regret?

Live and learn; there are bigger things to worry about than fashion mistakes...besides, those photos of style mishaps are always good for a laugh.

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

Be yourself. Don't rely on fast fashion. Invest in quality.

Do you have any shopping rituals?

My mom taught me that if you find something you love you should walk away, if you are still thinking about it an hour later (ok, she said a day later, but let’s be real, the best things don't stick around!) then you should return and buy it. If you've forgotten about it, it wasn't meant to be.

We will never see you wearing...

Never say never, but I'm really not into the wedge sneaker.

Which new designers do you follow and why?

Trademark — two young girls with a brilliant eye, quality at an accessible price point and a very real fashion sense. Their optimistic attitudes make me want them to succeed, but the clothes sell themselves.

Who is the most stylish person you have ever seen?

Twins Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen count as one, and they are always flawless.

What is the first thing you notice on a woman?

I often look at accessories first, the handbag, the shoes, the jewellery. I think it's very indicative of personal style.

What are the most treasured items in your wardrobe?

Bags and shoes get beat up so easily with time and wear. For me, I treasure my jewellery. I have a variety of personal jewellery items that I wear every single day that mean the world to me (stacked eternity band rings, dodo charm bracelets, Cartier love cord bracelet, Scosha bracelets, tiny diamond Maria Tash earrings and a Pavé diamond cross). Most are gifts from my mother and father and are very special.

Which fashion house never fails to impress you?

Too many to list, everyone has an "off" season but I always love Miu Miu, Céline, Chloé and Michael Kors.

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

The perfect dress. It doesn't have to be the "little black dress", but every girl should have a stellar dress that she can always count on and in which she feels like a knockout.

Is comfort an enemy of style?

I think it's unfair to say women must suffer for fashion; there are many ways to be comfortable and stylish. Besides, comfort lends itself to confidence and nothing makes a woman look more beautiful than that.

Who would you like to recommend for My Style?

Céline Kaplan, president of Céline Kaplan PR, a friend and peer in the industry for many years, she always inspires me. Our personal style is very different but no one rocks the most exciting piece from a collection like Céline. She's pure fashion energy.

The best words of advice you have ever heard?

Amy Astley once told me "let your light shine". It applies to many things and is something I always keep in mind.

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