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XO, Elisa

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Saturday, January 24, 2009

Sharing the fabulous: Interview with Jean Vouté Pratt, of Style Observer


I'm like a shy guy: pretty girls make me nervous. Maybe because often they will look you up and down (what Becky Bloomwood refers to as the "Manhattan once-over") and on a low-self-esteem day, it's all I can do not to hit the ground running. Jean Vouté Pratt, the fabulous woman behind the popular fashion blog Style Observer, is nothing like that. She is as nice and friendly as she is gorgeous – translation: very.

I had the chance to meet Jean and her lovely husband for coffee, and when I asked her if I could interview her for my blog, she gracefully accepted. (My reply? A very professional "Yay!") If you know and love Style Observer (and why wouldn't you?) you'll love this, so get reading!

Hi Jean!

I'm really excited to have you on my blog, so before I start babbling, let's get right down to it:

Mother of two, happily married, but also business woman and renown fashion expert. You are an inspiration! How do you do it all?


Since I work from home now, it's easier to manage my time. I can work into the night if I have to. I make it clear to myself and anyone else that my boys come FIRST. So, I work around their needs – which sometimes means I'm up until 2 A.M.



I have been a fan of Style Observer since I first found it, last year. You never seem to miss a beat! Like the recent "Splurge vs. Steal" post, a really fitting topic in the current economic climate. These days people are more careful what they spend their money on. What do you think are the things one should splurge on, and get the best available? Is it the shoes? Handbags? The perfect pair of jeans? Special occasion clothing?

Everyone is feeling it [recession] right now! So, we're all looking to save money. I don't think many people are splurging on big items right now. If you want to invest in items right now, it should be the classics: handbags, shoes, trench coat... pieces that you will use for years.


I love the most recent posts where you show how to dress for your body shape! We all want to highlight our best features and... well, hide our flaws a bit :-) I have enjoyed the "universal" tips a lot too, like when you showed us how the perfect pair of black pants can get you out of a "what to wear?" conundrum. Are there other "key" pieces you think every woman should own?

Absolutely! Every woman should own: a crisp white shirt, a pair of black pumps, a black skirt, a festive top - in a color that suits them, a pair of well constructed jeans, a great white tee, a trench coat, a pair of brown boots, a tote bag, and a clutch. These are your "go to" pieces that will never let you down.


I noticed you included pieces from the Anya Hindmarch for Target line in some of your posts. What do you think of the partnerships between designers and popular store chains? Target's Go Designers, Vera Wang for Kohls and so on. Do you own any items from these collections?

Yes, I have an Anya Hindmarch shoulder bag and clutch form Target. I love when designers partner-up. I want their designs at reasonable prices, just like the next girl. I have no problem carrying a Target bag to fashion week, as long as it's chic and good looking. Anya Hindmarch did a phenomenal job with her design for Target – it translated really well! I'm usually really hopeful when I hear a designer is doing a collection for Target or H&M etc – BUT I'm usually disappointed with what comes out. Except for Anya.



You seem to enjoy casual clothing as much as dressing up. What is your favorite item in your closet?

I love to dress up sometimes, but I need to be able to hang around with my boys most of the time. Casual clothes are a huge part of my life . I have a pair of motorcycle boots that I have had for almost 15 years, and they are perfect! They are my everyday boots that I can wear into the city or running around with my kids.


You and your blog work as inspiration for many women out there. Who is your inspiration?

My parents! They grew up in the Bronx together, and worked their "bottoms" off to build a great marriage, family, and business. It's truly an American Dream story. I've learned such different things from each of them that I use in business everyday. My Mom taught me to trust my "gut" instincts, and my father taught me to "never give up". They both taught me that family comes first- no matter what. I always refer back to that.


You recently answered a reader's question about how to update her "business casual" style. This reader had no problem defining her style, but I know plenty of people who are still struggling to find their own. Can you offer some tips?

What do you like? When you see other girls' styles, what catches your eye and why? What do you feel comfortable in? What impression do you want the world to get when they see you? A good tip would be to try on, try on, try on, and play a little with looks. Take someone you really trust with you to a store and ask what looks good etc. Cut out pictures of looks that you like and pin them on your closet wall.


Your posts on Style Observer are really helpful and insightful. Do you offer personal stylist services?

I'm about to start offering some services. A closet consultation, where I will help the girls go through what they have and pull outfits together. Also, I will be available to go on shopping trips for advice on looks etc. I'll probably try to figure out a way to do a Skype call for girls who are not in the NY area. Style Observer is about to expand offering more to the readers. Stay tuned for that!


Thank you Jean, for all the fantastic tips! Thank you also for fitting this chat into your busy life.

Thanks Elisa, I had fun answering your questions!


Jean blogs about fashion on Style Observer, where she breaks down current trends and helps readers put fashion and real life together. If you have a style question for Jean that you'd like addressed on her blog, e-mail her at Questions@StyleObserver.com





3 comments:

Keely said...

Awesome interview. It's sad that I only have like, 3 things on that go-to list.

I'm really very fashionable and put-together, in my head.

Jean V. Pratt said...

Keely - I'm not sure anyone has ALL the 'go to' pieces! You're doing well with 3 - no worries!

Amanda W said...

Thanks so much for posting this, Elisa. You did a great job. Style Observer is justsocool. Love it.

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