The Refined Woman

Scroll to Info & Navigation

OUTFIT | City Girl

image

Y’all spring in the city is M A G I C A L!  I simply am smitten, and my soul is melting.  Spring is the season of new life, of rebirth, and with my first experience of a true East Coast winter (#polarvortex) I see spring with whole new eyes.

There is so much gratitude in my heart for the sun, for walking out of the shaded side of the buildings into the sunlight; it’s a new day.  A new season filled with hope, longing, desire, and most importantly action.

My quiet dreams of winter are now compelled into action with the birth of Spring.

I feel like a new person friends, and we’re only a few weeks into this magnificent season!

I cannot wait to share more with you about the dreams + visions of my life that are  being activated with the coming of Spring.

Get ready folks.  I’m back.

XO,

Kat

image

image

image

Photos by:  Chaz Cruz

Great Investments: Pleated Dress featuring Jessie Artigue

image

Who says it has to be NEW to be an investment piece?  Jessie from Style + Pepper says certainly not!  We adore this vintage pleated dress + here is why it has become a wardrobe staple for her!
I knew that this little frock belonged in my closet the VERY moment I saw it staring up at me from the rack at one of my favorite shops in Nolita.  Vintage can sometimes be tricky to justify as a wardrobe investment (we’re often told that only the most classic pieces deserve our splurge-worthy cash), but when something feels like it just fits so perfectly with your personal style, I’m ALL about making it work.
 
In this case, I was drawn in by the design right away (Shimmery fabric in a soft blue shade!), then fell in love with the dress’s details (Accordion pleats and a playful cut!)… before I even knew anything about the backstory of the dress (A vintage gem from one of my favorite fashion houses!) I was already headed to the dressing room for a try, and the fit pretty much sealed the deal.
 
One of the best parts about knowing so surely that a vintage investment piece is meant to be yours?  It has already proven it’s ability to stand up to the test of time, and I like to imagine that these lovelies will continue their fruitful and storied careers by being a part of a more modern wardrobe - Fabulously helping us to feel like the most uniquely radiant versions of ourselves.
XO,

image

image

image

image

image

image

Photos by me…Kat Harris.

OUTFIT | Basic Black Blazer

The Basic Black Blazer ladies.  You think it’s just for the office…let me tell you it’s one of my daily-go-to items.  Invest, invest, invest ladies.  You will not regret this wardrobe staple!

Head on over to Verily Magazine today to see this full post + why we believe in Quality over Quantity + why my black blazer is my ultimate wardrobe staple!

Photos by:  Chaz Cruz

OUTFIT | Taking Chances

image

It is amazing how vulnerable two inches of exposed skin can feel.  

During Fashion Week in February I did something that I have not done in about 10 years:  I wore a crop top, and my belly button was exposed for the world to see.  To some of you this may not seem like a big deal, and to others this may seem over the top and immodest.  

To me; it felt vulnerable and powerful all at the same time, but you have to know the back story though to see where I’m coming from…

Growing up an athlete I was used to being in sports bras and biking shorts on the tennis court for the majority of my childhood and through college.  It felt normal to be in a barely there tennis skirt and a razorback dri-fit top.  Never in my life was I concerned about calories or my weight.  Then something happened my freshman year of college, and I got sucked into this downward spiral of counting calories and eating disorders for the remainder of my college experience.  It was exhausting, and at times overwhelming and I wasn’t sure if I would ever truly view myself as beautiful again.

Even though I was a Division I athlete, and worked out for 4+ hours a day I was extremely insecure my body.  I was becoming a woman, was a professional athlete, had gained a lot muscle and was struggling with weight for the first time in my life.  Continually I felt like if I just lost 15 pounds I would:  get a boyfriend, be happier, feel more comfortable in my skin, be enough…

Is anyone with me on this?

Over the years I have experienced such freedom, and have learned to not only embrace my body, but view myself as beautiful!  It was not overnight, but an uphill journey walked through with community and lots of prayer.  (For anything that really matters in our lives there is no quick fix).

Even moreso I found that getting to that magic number on the scale won’t make you happy.  You’ll always want something more, whether it’s getting to an even lower number on the scale, getting that promotion,  getting married, having a kid, buying a house.  We will never fully ARRIVE, and guess what?  That is more than ok.

And you know what else:  I will never be a size 2 again in my life, and that’s OK.  

For me, walking into the Alice + Olivia presentation in February with my mid drift showing was way more about what was happening on the inside of my heart than my outer appearance.  The “Kat” 10 years ago never would have done this at the size I’m at todaybut I like my size today and I want to be a voice to you, to young women, to the fashion world that says beauty is not a number.

I, Kat am beautiful because of who I am, not what I am, and because of that I am free to walk into a roomful of editors, bloggers, and models that are much smaller than me and stay grounded in my identity and beauty.

image

image

image

Photos by:  Chaz Cruz

(click the picture above to see where you can get each piece!)


Dressing for an interview can be quite tricky, and honestly depends on what industry and position you are seeking.  However, whether you’re applying for your first job out of college or are transitioning careers in your 40s there are a few principles that can be carried throughout.

Last week this article was featured on Verily Magazine, be sure to check out all 10 of my Rock Your Interview Tips at the full post HERE + leave us some love!

Here are My Top 5 Non-negotiables for getting ready for that interview ladies:

Modest is Hottest.  You are being hired for your brains, not your body.  Oftentimes what can be tricky is learning how to embrace your femininity while not being distracting in the workplace.  Practically this means, no plunging necklines and keep your skirt just at the knees.  JCrew has great button-up silk blouses that are feminine + work appropriate.  (Make sure to wear a cami underneath if need be).  Another way to keep it modest is to stay with a neutral color palette.  Bannana Republic + Ann Taylor Loft do a great job at this.  We love color, and bold patterns, yet we want you to be noticed and remembered at your interview for your intellect and aptitude, not merely a neon pencil skirt pink lipstick.  Remember ladies, context is everything!
Know the position inside and out, and dress the part.  There is such a difference between walking into a corporate interview versus a creative position in the fashion industry.  For a corporate position you can never go wrong with a classic grey or navy blue suit with a white button-down blouse underneath.  Stud earrings, a classic watch, and a string of pearls will complete your look.  As much as I adore red lipstick and it pains me to say this, this is not the appropriate occasion for this.  The last thing you want to be worried about at an interview is whether or not your lipstick is bleeding or on your teeth.  Remove anything that could be a distraction to you and your interviewer.
No jeans, capris, and definitely never shorts.  Even if the company environment is extremely casual don’t be presumptuous.  Remember:  dress for the job you want, not the job you have.  Also it’s always a good rule of thumb to be overdressed than underdressed.
Stay Tailored.  If wearing pants, make sure their tailored, but nothing to snug on the backside.  These wide-legged trousers are a great option.  They’re tailored, yet not distracting.  Remember you’re a woman and we want to celebrate that while at the same time calling forth dignity and respect not only in our actions but also in our wardrobe.
Watch the details.  If you have a string of interviews it’s definitely worth getting a close cut gel manicure with a pale pink or nude.  (Raggedy and dirty nails are a turn off for anyone).  If that’s not in the budget, trim and file your nails and go with a clear top coat.  Also, if your favorite black pumps are scuffed from wearing them so much, grab a leather marker at a shoe store to buff them up.  Wear a classic watch (this is the one I have + wear all the time!), and pearl or diamond stud earrings not only are a wardrobe staple, but they add a nice feminine touch to any outfit.   
And don’t forget ladies to BE YOU!  No one else in the world can do that better than you can!
XO,
Kat
(click the picture above to see where you can get each piece!)

Dressing for an interview can be quite tricky, and honestly depends on what industry and position you are seeking.  However, whether you’re applying for your first job out of college or are transitioning careers in your 40s there are a few principles that can be carried throughout.

Last week this article was featured on Verily Magazine, be sure to check out all 10 of my Rock Your Interview Tips at the full post HERE + leave us some love!

Here are My Top 5 Non-negotiables for getting ready for that interview ladies:

  1. Modest is Hottest.  You are being hired for your brains, not your body.  Oftentimes what can be tricky is learning how to embrace your femininity while not being distracting in the workplace.  Practically this means, no plunging necklines and keep your skirt just at the knees.  JCrew has great button-up silk blouses that are feminine + work appropriate.  (Make sure to wear a cami underneath if need be).  Another way to keep it modest is to stay with a neutral color palette.  Bannana Republic + Ann Taylor Loft do a great job at this.  We love color, and bold patterns, yet we want you to be noticed and remembered at your interview for your intellect and aptitude, not merely a neon pencil skirt pink lipstick.  Remember ladies, context is everything!
  2. Know the position inside and out, and dress the part.  There is such a difference between walking into a corporate interview versus a creative position in the fashion industry.  For a corporate position you can never go wrong with a classic grey or navy blue suit with a white button-down blouse underneath.  Stud earrings, a classic watch, and a string of pearls will complete your look.  As much as I adore red lipstick and it pains me to say this, this is not the appropriate occasion for this.  The last thing you want to be worried about at an interview is whether or not your lipstick is bleeding or on your teeth.  Remove anything that could be a distraction to you and your interviewer.
  3. No jeans, capris, and definitely never shorts.  Even if the company environment is extremely casual don’t be presumptuous.  Remember:  dress for the job you want, not the job you have.  Also it’s always a good rule of thumb to be overdressed than underdressed.
  4. Stay Tailored.  If wearing pants, make sure their tailored, but nothing to snug on the backside.  These wide-legged trousers are a great option.  They’re tailored, yet not distracting.  Remember you’re a woman and we want to celebrate that while at the same time calling forth dignity and respect not only in our actions but also in our wardrobe.
  5. Watch the details.  If you have a string of interviews it’s definitely worth getting a close cut gel manicure with a pale pink or nude.  (Raggedy and dirty nails are a turn off for anyone).  If that’s not in the budget, trim and file your nails and go with a clear top coat.  Also, if your favorite black pumps are scuffed from wearing them so much, grab a leather marker at a shoe store to buff them up.  Wear a classic watch (this is the one I have + wear all the time!), and pearl or diamond stud earrings not only are a wardrobe staple, but they add a nice feminine touch to any outfit.   

And don’t forget ladies to BE YOU!  No one else in the world can do that better than you can!

XO,

Kat

GREAT INVESTMENTS : Feat. Caitlin Flemming

image

Caitlin is the amazing designer eye and founder behind Sacramento Street - one of our favorite design inspiration spots on the interwebs. 

We love her timeless fashion sense too - which makes her the perfect choice for sharing one of her wardrobe staples + our next installment in our Great Investments Series - the perfect city boot. 

After photographing these beautiful and functional boots I was pretty much convinced I needed my own pair. 

image

Here’s what Caitlin has to say about her Great Investment:

When it comes to my wardrobe I’m constantly reminding myself that I need to purchase quality investment pieces that are timeless and classic. When Emily and Kat asked me to be part of this series I was totally in - I truly believe that it’s better to have quality clothing over quantity. I thought about a lot of pieces that I could feature, but the item that I kept going back to were my Isabel Marant Dicker booties. I can honestly say I don’t know what I would do without these beauties. They have gone on every trip with me for the past three or so years. I’m all about comfort and style -these provide both of those elements. I’ve walked miles upon miles in them while traveling, at trade shows and up the hills of San Francisco. Since I wear them so often I’m on my second pair and they are worth every penny. I’ve definitely got my cost per wear out of them a dozen times over.

So, if you’re looking for your next go-to pair of shoes, these babies are for you!

XO,

Caitlin

image

Sneak Peek at our Next Great Investment Post : with Erin from Apartment 34!

image

image

I sure do love my job, getting to hang out with women who inspire me like these two incredible entrepreneurs. Girl power. 

xo,

Em

BEAUTY is … Accepting Change

image

I recently had the amazing opportunity to do a maternity photo session with Elizabeth Messina, one of my all time favorite photographers. Her style is so timeless, beautiful and romantic, and she is one reason that I was inspired to switch my wedding + portrait work to film

Elizabeth’s maternity portraits are very intimate, and normally I think it would be hard for me to feel comfortable being so exposed. 

But I am learning that the true beauty of pregnancy is acceptance and appreciation for our bodies. Especially as women, who are so used to scrutinizing and obsessing over our bodies. Pregnancy is such an eye opening experience, and I have been truly in awe of what my body is capable of. 

Every time I feel my baby girl kick inside of me, I am reminded that our bodies are more than I ever imagined. Capable of new life, of strength and beauty that is on a whole new level. 

And so this experience of being photographed, of being exposed. It was different somehow. 

And also, this was the first time I did a photo session purely for ME. That may sound strange at first - but so often I’m photographed for the purpose of sharing it with others. These photos were an experience, and a documenting that is all my own. I wanted a record of the FEELING of being pregnant. Of expecting. Of dreaming and waiting and hoping and feeling a bit of fear. It’s all in these photos. 

And I am so grateful for that. 

xo,

Em

STYLED: Summer Lovin’

A while back I posted about our anniversary session with Tec Petaja … And even though it’s been a few months since we did these photos I appreciate them even more now that Aaron and I are getting ready to add another little one to our family. 

I’m also dreaming of summer. Warm weather. Wearing jean shorts again. And making our way back to Tomales Bay for oysters at The Marshall Store

Photos by Tec Petaja / Hair + Makeup by Skyla Arts 

Another post featuring my red jean shorts. Or chambray shirt

OUTFIT | Tailor Made

Y’all I am a changed woman; it was 48 degrees the past three days + it was glorious.  With the snow melted and the sun out this city truly comes alive!

Sunday afternoon my friend and I walked through Central Park for hours before walking to church; it was heavenly.  

Most of today I spent inside on my taxes (ugh…April is coming up fast friends!), but I made sure to leave time for a run at Prospect Park.  I was beginning to truly doubt my affections for this city over the past 2 months (a.k.a the Polar Vortex nightmare!), but the past few days reminded me how much beauty, energy, and life take place in New York.  

Now switching gears.  Today really belongs to the tale of conquering my most coveted Ralph Lauren Blazer.  Le’sigh.  I adore this blazer.

My friend purchased this same blazer probably about two years ago.  As soon as she took it out of the bag, my mouth was watering.  The gold buttons + the Ralph Lauren crest + not to mention it is navy blue (which is my black!).  I hunted this baby down for months with no luck, and then ONE DAY friends.

One day I hopped into TJMaxx to grab something random, and there hanging on the final sale rack for $60 was my blazer.  I may have squealed, and ran over to grab it, only to find that it was two sizes too big.  For an instant I wanted to cry,  but like most every investment piece in my closet it goes straight to the tailor so I figured I’d buy it and my tailor would work her magic.

I had her let out the sleeves 3/4 an in., tuck the sides, and bring in the shoulders a bit.  While having a good tailor can be a bit pricey (it actually cost more to get the blazer tailored than what I paid for it); it is well worth the investment.  Now have a classic blazer that will surpass the trends of the season, and last me for years.

Photos by: F.E Castleberry + I was honored to have him feature this outfit on his wonderful blog Unabashedly Prep (be sure + check it out!).

Ladies (and gentlemen) if you do not have a tailor, you must get one.  Here’s why:

  • I’m 5’10, have a 36 inch inseam (yes you read that correctly…my legs never end) + I have an athletic build.  Unless you are a true sample size (which lets face it, 95% of us aren’t), then the clothes that we buy simply were not created to fit our bodies.  (All ladies should let out a huge sigh of relief at this!)  We all have had those shopping experiences where we leave feeling discouraged that nothing fits quite right, and we feel like something is wrong with us!  (Don’t even get me started on jean shopping!).  However, take heart this is a normal experience when we take into consideration that all of our bodies are different + unless you’re going to put on a one-size-fits-all spandex body suit there’s no way clothes can fit all of our beautiful and unique body types.  We simply have to have the eyes to see which pieces are worth taking right on over to the tailor.
  • Always your investment pieces!  Your super trendy shirt that you bought for $20 or your mass produced denim skinny jeans that were $35 probably aren’t what you’ll be taking to the tailor.  However, that blazer that you want to wear to work, those trousers that you’ll wear for the next 5 years, your winter jacket…yes those are all pieces to take into your tailor to get that perfect fit. 
  • Think of your tailor as an investment.  Your tailor will take a blazer that you could wear for one or two seasons, and make it a blazer to last 20 seasons.   Here in the city I go to Sullivan’s in Manhattan + I went to the same tailor in Newport Beach on 17th st. for almost 4 years.

Happy Tuesday Friends + Cheers to finding your Tailor that is the perfect fit for you! (yes…that pun was actually intended!)

XO,

Kat

OUTFIT | Keep it Real Vegas

Once a year Vegas happens.  There’s an annual photographers conference called WPPI that I’ve been attending for 5 years now (even writing that I cannot believe that it’s been 5 years since I started pursuing photography).  WPPI is always a reminder of my journey into this crazy world + how grateful I am to be where I am.

It’s always a whirlwind of a week.  Think adult summer camp.  You’re seeing great friends from all over the US, playing major catch up, talking shop, going to the trade show, eating ridiculously yummy dinners, and doing lots + lots of dancing.

This is the second year in a row that I’ve worked the Kelly Moore Bag booth with some of my most favorite Southern Gals on the planet.  I’ve been shooting with Kelly Moore bags for about 4 years now + love them.  Literally each morning when the trade show started there would be a stampede of people running to our booth to buy a bag!  Kelly is an incredible photographer, creative, and business woman.  I consistently leave my time with her inspired.

On my last night in Vegas we went to a party at this darling boutique hotel called The Artisan.  This was sort of the culmination party of the week which we were so excited about!  However, by the time Tuesday night came I was exhausted + my feet were swollen from being on my feet all day for the past 3 days.  The last thing I wanted to do was put on a pair of heels!  

So guess what.  I didn’t.  #sorryimnotsorry

I love how versatile this blue Madewell Dress is.  I’ve worn it a gazillion times + paired it with my converses for the Justin + Jay-Z concert.  To not feel like a total scrub I added pearls + my collarless blazer + my friend Lindsey (who I’ve decided is my older sister I never had) did my hair + make-up.  Viola!

Kelly took these pics of me on our way out for the night as we were leaving our hotel; it was dark as all get out, but she managed to find some surprising light in a random hall of our hotel.

We danced the night away + stayed out until the wee hours of the morning.  Three hours of sleep + then I was off to the airport to catch my flight back to NYC.

Like I said Vegas is always a whirlwind.  Until next time Vegas…

All photos by:  Kelly Moore

Shop the look below:)