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One on One with Fashion Blogger Nicolette Mason

One on One with Fashion Blogger Nicolette Mason

by Suzette Banzo

With just a peek into Nicolette Mason’s blog, you immediately find yourself completely enchanted.

Nicolette’s unique perspective on fashion, familial treasures, delicacies, and playful offbeat pairings reveals a young woman with a strong artistic eye and a real heartfelt connection to the world she is exploring with style, intelligence, curiosity, honesty and humor. She has weaved her multidirectional interests into a cohesive eclectic lifestyle that celebrates art, wearing it well and living it with gusto. Now that’s talent!

Suzette: I read that you went to school to study design…which school did you attend?  How has your degree helped you with your blog? How does that insight differ from other bloggers?

Nicolette: I attended Parsons School of Design and was in the Design & Management program, where I got a great, well rounded education that prepared me for all different aspects of the design world. I can’t really say how it makes me different from other bloggers, but I have a sensitivity to visual narrative and cohesiveness when it comes to visual language, for instance, I want all my images to tell a story – and for that story to continue from one post to the next; the story being that of my lifestyle and growing up as a young-adult in New York City. I also started my career in brand strategy and brand design, working on everything from a company’s logos and visual identity to what their messaging would be like, so the entire process of branding is something that influences my own creative process – like in designing my actual blog layout and establishing the visual tone of my photos.

Suzette: How do you define your own personal style?

Nicolette: This is actually something I struggle with!! I always say my style is a bit bipolar or schizophrenic; one day I’ll want to wear super edgy, all black, heavy-metal duds, and the next I’ll be completely enamored by blush pinks and florals. In any case, it’s very “New York,” and more specifically maybe “Williamsburg, Brooklyn,” the artsy, hipster enclave of New York City, filled with cool, bohemian shops, restaurants, and art galleries.

There’s definitely a specific style associated with the neighborhood, and while I might not fit the archetype exactly, I do draw inspiration from my neighbors

Suzette: How do you decide what you are going to wear on any given day? Do you have some kind of style ritual?

Nicolette: I used to obsessively plan my outfits the night before, laying out every article of clothing and picking out accessories to match, but now my outfits are largely determined by what I’m doing in any given day- whether it be appropriately dressing for various clients, a fashion event, or a day when I’m shooting and on my feet walking around the city for 10 hours. On days when I’m rushing around the city, I decide on my outfit feet first – with flats, of course! I have to be comfortable, but still chic, and able to run up and down stairs to and from the subway. I’m pragmatic first and crazy fashion fiend next.

Suzette: Who area your style icons?

Nicolette: Oh, so many!! I’m infatuated by Lynn Yaegar. She has such an incredible approach to fashion and genuinely has signature styles of her own. I love Daphne Guinness, I love Alexa Chung, I love Beth Ditto. And of course, there are a handful of bloggers that inspire my style, constantly!

Suzette: Let’s talk a little bit about “investment dressing” and “High Low” dressing. Many fashion devotee’s  have become “budgetistas” and some write about the great stylish finds from Target, Faith 21, and H&M.  One thing you and I have in common is investment dressing.  In my opinion this is not about being pretentious, its about being a savvy shopper with long term goals for style.

Nicolette: I’ve always had a deep love for high fashion, but obviously it’s not economically practical (nor does it always work for my body shape) to buy high end/designer… But when the opportunity is there, I love to find great investment pieces or high-quality statement pieces.

Suzette: You are a very young woman; without prying into your financial situation, I want to politely ask you how you afford the investment pieces. Do you ask for them as gifts? Do you have a great job? Do you buy gently previously worn pieces?

Nicolette: I try to budget out my bigger investment pieces, and I buy for quality rather than quantity. I would rather have one great jacket than buy several that need to be thrown out at the end of the season. Some of my bigger ticket items I’ve gotten as gifts for birthdays, graduations, etc.  I’ve been very lucky and fortunate in that regard.

Suzette: Can you suggest ways that the average income woman can begin to buy investment pieces?

Nicolette: Yes – of course I can do that! For starters, do your research and know what’s out there! Once you’ve established that you “need” a piece (i.e., you’ve fallen in love and you cannot continuing living with out it), work out a budget/plan to make it feasible. Sites like shopstyle.com can also help you comparison shop. I’m also very savvy with seasonal sales and flash sale sites like Gilt Groupe. I’ve been on Gilt Groupe since it first launched. I honestly cannot remember where I heard about it! But there are tons of flash sale sites that deal with designer goods – Rue La La, Swirl, Beyond the Rack, The Outnet…

Suzette: What did you consider your first MUST HAVE ( I’m losing sleep until I posses this) investment piece?

Nicolette: (laughing) I received my Chanel 2.55 Classic as a graduation gift from my mother. It’s definitely a piece that I’m going to have for the rest of my life.

Suzette: I LOVE your mother!

Nicolette: I love my mother tooo!!! HA,HA,HA!  As for a piece I bought for myself, I’d have to say a blush pink Miu Miu bag that I bought in a post-Christmas sale at Saks. I got it for about 75% off of the original retail price, and even though I purchased it several years ago, it’s still in heavy rotation!

Suzette: Was your mom really into fashion too? Is she how you learned about investment dressing?

Nicolette: I would say my mom was a huge influence, yes. I grew up shopping at a lot of discount stores with her – like Marshalls, Target, etc. But she’d also take me to places like Loehmann’s and other designer discount stores where I was first introduced to “The Back Room” – the place where they kept all the deeply discounted designer pieces. I’d play hide-and-go-seek in between racks of gorgeous Armani suits and Moschino blouses when I was a child. At the time I absolutely hated being there, but it gave me a deep appreciation for texture, fabric, and beautiful design — and the prices competed with fast fashion!

Suzette: Were you a picky dresser as a child? Any favorite outfits that you remember?

Nicolette: YES, ridiculously so! But, the irony is that the pieces I’d argue over and hated wearing are now some of my favorites in childhood photos. One of my favorite pieces (now) is a black and white polka dot dress, that I remember refusing to wear on many occasions, but now I gravitate towards similar pieces! I also seem to not be able to let go of the ruffles and bows that were always a part of my childhood dress.

Suzette: Have you bought an “investment shoe”?

Nicolette: Oh yes…. shoes are a major weakness of mine. This season I indulged in a pair of all-over studded Miu Miu oxfords. I rarely buy designer pieces at full price, but it was literally love at first sight. I can’t even bring myself to disclose how much I spent on them, but so far I’m not regretting it! Other than that, the Barneys Warehouse Sale is my favorite place to scour designer shoes. I bought a pair of Lanvin runway heels for less than what H&M is charging for a pair of their Lanvin collaboration shoes! I think when you love designer fashion, and you’re a bigger girl, it’s easy to turn to shoes or handbags as your safe haven. They’re (almost) one size fits all.

Suzette: What are some designers who’s jewelry you see as a must have investment piece?

Nicolette: I’ve never really bought myself any high end jewelry.. I love costume jewelry, though. I have a Chanel Pearl Necklace (costume) that I love. It was also a gift.  I don’t want to talk too much about designer clothes, I know at times it can get alienating for some.

Suzette: I completely understand Nicolette, and I do recognize that we are in a recession and every dollar counts; however, I want to educate young women on investment shopping. Its not just about spending your hard earned money on trendy $16 items that you throw away after a couple of times wearing it. But, let’s switch gears.

Last month I read a paragraph on your blog that I really appreciated, and I’d like you to touch on it again for those PLUS readers that may have missed it.

Nicolette: What I’ve learned is never to pay attention to the size on a tag. I can use that as a starting point, but what I pay more attention to when I pick up a garment is the cut, the shape, and the fabric. I know my body and my clothing shapes very well, and even if a designer only makes up to a size 10, I know how to find the pieces that will work for my body. BUT that said, I will never buy that item that fits just for the sake of buying a designer piece! I know so many women who will pick up the one, say, Marc Jacobs’s piece that fits them – even though it might look awful on them. But if it’s truly something you love that will work with your wardrobe, why allow the tag to intimidate you?

And if, at the end of the day, it doesn’t fit, use it as a source of inspiration to find something similar to satisfy your craving/aesthetic needs.

Suzette: When you were a child…what did you want to be when you grew up?  What do you want to do in the future?

Nicolette: As a child I suffered from a similar struggle as I do now- being that I want to do EVERYTHING. I wanted to be an artist, a novelist, an actress… My mom always reminds me, though, that when I was about 12 years old I said I wanted Anna Wintour’s job; I guess being a contributing writer for Vogue Italia is getting close to realizing that dream!

Check out Nicolette’s website at nicolettemason.com