Yesterday we went inside the Venice Beach home of stylist Kate Brien, whom you may know from the blog View from the Topp. Kate is a friend of mine from way back, and she recently moved into the charming craftsman with her new husband, artist David Kitz. Because Kate has such great taste, and makes a living putting together beautiful outfits, I also asked her to style a few pieces from my Spring 2017 collection.
If there’s anything a California girl knows how to do, it’s layer. The weather here, especially by the beach, will swing from gray and cold to sunny and hot within a matter of hours so it’s important to dress in looks that are easy to modify on a whim. Kate does this in such a stylish way, relying on vintage denim, lightweight knits, vintage jackets, and an endless rotation of simple flats and sandals to complete her looks. I love her pared down, vintage-centric sense of style because it’s classic, personal, and the perfect mix of masculine and feminine. XXJKE
Rip & Tan: The last time we interviewed you for this series, you talked about the importance of a uniform. What’s your uniform these days?
Kate Brien: On most days I’m wearing vintage jeans with a t-shirt and sandals. When it’s chillier I’ll throw on a Jenni Kayne sweater coat or a cozy knit crewneck. To mix it up, I’ll wear the same outfit with a wide leg pant or overalls, or pair denim with a more intricate cotton top.
Rip & Tan: Why did you gravitate towards these specific JK pieces? How do they jive with your personal style?
KB: The deck shoes are a more interesting take on a classic style; I’m all about ease when dressing and these shoes slide on easily and work well with just about anything. I tend to wear a lot of earth tones and I love that the saddle suede color gives a bit of a pop while still staying in the world of neutrals.
I wear sandals almost every day, and I love the simplicity of the toe ring sandal. They are slim and flattering on the foot and could be worn with a pair of trousers to dress them up or with denim in the garden, like I’ve done here. I try to invest in pieces that are timeless, and I don’t think these sandals will ever go out of style.
Rip & Tan: Where would you wear these outfits? How do they fit into your lifestyle?
KB: I would wear these outfits to the farmer’s market or out to dinner in Venice, or even to work depending on the job. I love having a lot of pockets when I’m styling so the military jacket would be great for set.
Rip & Tan: Do you have any rules or advice on wearing heritage and/or utility staples in a modern way?
KB: Utility staples tend to have a masculine feel, so I like to add feminine accessories to these looks to soften things up a bit. A great pair of earrings, a silk scarf or sunglasses are a great way to do this without feeling fussy or over-styled.
Color is also a great way to add intrigue to an outfit. I love monochrome dressing, or dressing within a specific palate (neutrals, cool colors, warm colors, etc). It looks deliberate and stylish, even if you’re wearing simple staple pieces.
Rip & Tan: How would you modify these outfits when the weather warms up? Do you have any tricks or techniques you like to use when transitioning in between seasons?
KB: Living in Los Angeles, the weather doesn’t change too much throughout the seasons. I tend to wear sandals year round but add more layers up top during the colder months. Usually what I wear during the day in colder months, I might wear at night when it’s warmer out. I would swap a heavier crew neck sweater for a t-shirt or thin knit, or wear white jeans with the military jacket and sandals to lighten up the look.