"This may be paradoxical, but I'm always interested in a more-with-less approach. The people who have 16 pieces in their wardrobe and make it work? Or the woman who wears the same white blouse and the same cut of black trousers every day to work? I am humbled and fascinated by that." Mary Cashiola on her style inspiration.
Mary Cashiola, creator of Style Sessions, returns. This time as our special guest.
Mary began the blog in 2009 while a senior editor at The Memphis Flyer
, but in the years following has taken on several roles in Memphis, currently settling in as the managing editor of the Memphis Business Journal
while taking on the special role as mom with ease. Here she shares her ingenious take on managing work wear for the busy working woman.
Styling the Work Week
Professional, simple, and comfortable defines Mary’s take on work wear molded by her busy schedule and life as a mom to a young daughter (plus one on the way)
“I spend a lot of time editing articles for both our print and digital products. We produce both a morning and afternoon email with locally generated content five days a week, so we're providing our readers with a lot of information.
Because of the news cycle, I'm sort of at the mercy of whatever is going on at the moment. I probably eat lunch at my desk roughly two to three times a week and working late, while not a daily occurrence, is not unheard-of,” explains Mary.
“I also spend a fair amount of time in meetings, both with our reporters and people in various industries.”
When planning a wardrobe, Mary tries to maintain a simple palette with minimal pattern which allows her to mix and match items easily.
“I know that it's not the most exciting wardrobe, but I've tried to take lessons from the Steve Jobs of the world — those people who wear the same uniform each day — and apply them without having to wear exactly the same thing every day,” she says.
Her strategy for styling the work week?
Plan the outfits for the entire week and organize the pieces in your closet as complete outfits.
The technique is a “fairly simple concept” she admits, but it’s not often something one would think to do.
“Before my daughter was born, I never thought about having pieces sort of semi-permanently matched. (Then again, before my daughter was born, I guess I was never in the time crunch I am these days!) But I realized, with her clothes coming in matched sets, that it made sense to keep the separate pieces folded together so I could just pull out a packet and have an outfit.
"So, I started doing that with my clothes. I use the hangers that stores use to merchandise clothing (plastic ones with little hooks so you can hang one hanger off another) and have all the pieces of each outfit hanging together. That way, I can just reach in my closet and pull one out and everything I need is there, from the cami to the blouse to the sweater to the pants.
"From time to time, I rotate the outfits so that different pieces can go together, but that happens on the weekends and while the laundry is being put away, rarely in the mornings. And then that becomes the outfit for a while."
Classic Pencil Skirt / Patterned Blouse / Colorful Pumps / Stacks and stacks of Bangles
Full Leg Trousers / Dressy Sweater / Peep-toe Heels / Accent Jewelry / Layered Necklaces
Textured pants / Colorful Top / Black Flats / Drop Earrings
Textured Trousers / Cowl Neck Top / Layered Necklaces / Vintage Style Shades / *Baby Lucia*
Flare Leg Jeans / Embellished Collar Top / Tuxedo Jacket / High Heel Sandals / Pulled Back Hair
Mary's style changed with mother hood. "One other thing, it means being much more careful when picking out jewelry. We're not doing a lot of chandelier earrings at my house, even though I still love them, b/c I like having earlobes. And I've lost so many necklaces in the past two years, just because of the odd yank here or there. But the trade-off is definitely worth it.“
The Origin of Style Sessions
Mary began the Style Sessions blog as a way to continue the coverage of fashion all year round beyond the seasonal fashion spreads by showcasing real people and their style more frequently.
“When we first started the blog, the incredible Justin Fox Burks and I would literally go out and stop people on the street and ask them about their outfits and take their pictures. It turned out to be a lot of work — you really want to choose your venue carefully because people aren't always up for being photographed.” Mary recalls.
“But I met a lot of interesting people that way. I remember one woman, in particular, who was walking on the Main Street Mall one day and dressed head to toe in bubble-gum pink. Even her shoes. That takes a lot of dedication and a lot of coordination. Which is pretty amazing.“