WHAT SHE WORE:
Jacket: Target (similar here.)
Top: Calypso St. Barth
Trousers: Club Monaco
Bag: Gucci Bamboo Shopper Tote (here.)
If you live or work in Atlanta, you probably already know who she is. If you live or work in Atlanta and don't know Caren West, well, you haven't been paying attention. Allow me to introduce our next Stylish Atlantan, and one of the most vivacious personalities in the ATL. PR guru, President and co-founder of Caren West PR, stylish Atlantan, my boss and mentor, and all around fabulous HBIC, Caren is known for not only being the go-to PR gal in town but also for her fearless personal style and no nonsense approach to business. While it's almost impossible to pin down the woman behind one of the most well known PR machines in the south, I did manage to get her to sit still long enough answer some hard-hitting style questions for us. Check it out:
TFL: Describe your personal style:
CW: I have no idea what people see when they look at me, but I pretty much go for effortless. I’m not deliberate about what I wear; I just know what I like. I also love fashion that’s timeless and have no problem investing in pieces that will last a lifetime. I guess I am boho-chic meets rock n’ roll with a splash of classic and a touch of preppy. So…all over the place, right? I had a fashion editor of a newspaper tell me a billion years ago that he loved my style, because no matter what I wore, I owned it. Please note that at the time I was wearing a dirty black sweater that was too small, a skirt that was way too big and crazy shoes that didn’t match, because everything I owned was at the cleaners. So yeah, “owning it” it is my style.
TFL: Favorite fashion designer:
CW: Right now, I am loving Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen. They’re so smart and stylish, and I am obsessed with both The Row and Elizabeth and James. It’s clear they love what they do and have a firm grasp on their brands and the people who wear them, which has helped them build an impressive fashion empire. I am sure Uncle Jesse is very proud.
Oh…and if you don’t know who Prabal Gurung is, get ready.
TFL: What are some of your favorite brand(s)?
CW:: Gucci, Elizabeth and James, The Row, Burberry, Rag & Bone, Marc Jacobs, Jason Wu, Proenza Schouler, Stella McCartney, Isabel Marant, Prada, Balenciaga, Fallon, Nixon, Halston Heritage, Michael Kors, J.Crew, Club Monaco, Vince, Joie, and Jeffrey Campbell.
TFL: Favorite local brand?
CW: I don’t have a favorite local brand at the moment, but I do have local boutiques that I am so proud are in and/or born out of Atlanta. Grab your wallets and head to Jeffrey Atlanta | New York, Sandpiper (the mother of all amazing boutiques in the ATL), 310 Rosemont (my absolute fave), Meringue, WildFlag, Ann Mashburn, Sid Mashburn, Bill Hallman, Sole, and fab’rik.
TFL: Who is your style icon?
CW: I don’t really have one, but love women who “own” their style in a fabulous way. Think: Brigitte Bardot, Audrey Hepburn, Grace Kelly, Jackie Kennedy Onasis, Deborah Harry, Diane von Furstenburg, Sophia Loren, Victoria Beckham (I die), Gwen Stefani, Kate Middleton (obviously), Chloë Sevigny, Reese Witherspoon, Rachel Zoe, Kate Bosworth, and Nicole Richie.
TFL: Where do you get fashion inspiration?
CW: Hmm….I guess movies, magazines and television would be the most obvious answers. Honestly, most of the time I just come up with “fashion visions” that I want to see come to fruition. Some are good, some are bad. Some are really bad.
TFL: You feel best when wearing...
CW: An amazing bag and shoes. I am a big believer in mix and matching – Target with Gucci, for example - but when it comes to my handbags and shoes, I simply don’t play around. My bags and shoes are always a statement, well most of the time. See below.
Disclaimer: Due to a serious knee injury after Bone Lick BBQ’s owner/pit master Mike LaSage tried to teach me how to do the Pretzel (iconic dance move), I was forced to wear flats for a year. Worst time of my life. I still have problems wearing heels, but I do believe the higher the better. So there’s that.
TFL: How would you describe Atlanta style?
CW:It’s impossible to sum up, because each borough of Atlanta is so different. Overall, I think we’re lazy when it comes to fashion, because we’re just part of a casual society at the moment. There are definitely people here that shine when it comes to personal style, but I sincerely hope our fashion scene follows all our impressive culinary community has and continues to achieve. Atlanta is one of the greatest cities in the country; we should own it and lose the yoga pants.
TFL: What are some of your favorite places to hang out in Atlanta?
CW: It’s not a secret that I love our clients, so you can find me hanging out at Bone Lick BBQ, P’cheen, D.B.A. Barbecue, STK, Cucina Asellina, Cypress Street Pint and Plate, Edgewood Speakeasy, Diesel Filling Station, and The Albert.
Non-clients: Argosy, Vickery’s in Glenwood Park, Milltown Arms, and Elliott Street Deli & Pub.
I’m kind of a local haunt type of gal and love a good craft beer. I should probably say you can find me walking on the BeltLine or at FlyWheel, but that would just be a big ol’ lie.
TFL: Favorite shop in Atlanta?
CW: Toss up: 310 Rosemont, Sandpiper and Jeffrey.
TFL: Favorite place to visit/travel?
CW: Any place with sun, sand and the ocean. Oh, and New York, because it’s everything.
TFL: Alright, give us some style advice: