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OUTFIT | My Very First Billy Reid

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There are many reasons why I love New York City from the uh-mazing fall that has just crept up on us all to the fact the I can order any type of food at all hours of the day and night to summer concerts in Central Park.  I love it all.

But…let’s be honest I totally love being in a city where designer sample sales are a normal occurrence.  A few months ago I was shooting an engagement session in Bowery, when mid-session I saw a sign for the Billy Reid sample sale that was ending later that afternoon.

I kept my calm, finished my shoot + sprinted to the sample sale.  Billy Reid has been one of my favorite designers for a few years now.  I love his southern roots, and eclectic take on timeless pieces.  Up until now though I have never owned anything from his collection.  

This Safari dress was calling my name and I knew it could be a wardrobe staple, but when I tried it on I felt sorta dumpy.  However, growing up my mother always had a wonderful Safari dress so I bit the bullet and walked out of Billy Reid with this dress.  I went home and tried it on with an old belt I had + viola!  It’s feminine, classic, and will last me for years.

I’m so glad I bought it!  It’s great for summer with wedges, but also a good transitional fall and winter piece that I can wear with booties or these riding boots!

It’s all about versatility ladies!

XO,

Kat

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Photos by:  Em

I’ve search high + low for this Billy Reid Safari dress online + can’t find it, but Ann Taylor has a similar one that I adore!  Use the code POWER40 + you can get 40% off!

Beauty is Confidence

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It’s hard to tell when I started to really notice how hard women were on themselves.  It definitely began when I was young, but didn’t become magnified until I was a teenager.  I would sit in the cafeteria listening to my friends talk about how fat their thighs were, or how weird their nose looked.  My family would tell me I was beautiful, but would still continually bash their own selves.  It was such a frequent conversation that I started to think about what I didn’t like about myself.  I would start to think, “Well, my eyebrows are really bushy and I should probably be thinner.  I wish I was better at ballet and I’m terrible in math.”  This is how it starts.  It’s contagious.  I would always look at the girls in school who were considered popular and pretty and try to decipher what made them beautiful.  I was never able to do it.  Until one day, I saw a gorgeous girl walking down the hall.  She was laughing and self assured.  She wasn’t worried about her body or her clothes.  “THIS is what I consider beautiful.” I thought. 

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She was confident.  She felt good about herself and it wasn’t about what other people thought.  That doesn’t mean people didn’t flock to her.  They absolutely did.  Everyone wanted to be around her because she exuded such poise and knew her self worth.  I started to realize that negativity could seep into your brain and destroy (and distort) your reality.  When you love yourself, other people see that, and want to be around it.  That it’s not cocky to think you are pretty.  It’s actually necessary to have acceptance and self-love.   This is not something that is taught in schools.  As much as young women need to hear it, it is so often engrained in us that we need to look, act and FEEL a certain way.  Look “perfect” but don’t “feel” it. I’m so fortunate that I realized this early on.  Over the next several years I watched people close to me berate their bodies, go on diet after diet, have diseases, work out to the point of obsession.  I saw how an innocent comment about someone’s appearance could turn into something much deeper. 

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Once I was in college I began to notice a new kind of insecurity.  I was a costume designer and spent my day in fittings, sketching and sewing away.  After years of working with actresses it became obvious how acutely aware actresses are that they are being judged and put on a display for all to see.   Most of my conversations started with “So I need you to cover my belly.”  Or “What do you think is the most flattering shape for my height?” My goal was to not only make these women feel good about themselves on stage, but to help them have the confidence boost they needed to feel secure and give an even better performance.  It became pretty apparent that when they felt good about what they were wearing, they gave a better performance.  It was the perfect example of inner beauty transforming outer beauty.

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My life’s path has made lots of turns and even led me to a career in bridal.  I absolutely adored working with women at such a happy time in their life.  Here they were, about to get married, most of them young and healthy, trying on gorgeous gowns.  And I was continually shocked at the negative way they spoke about themselves.  Berating is so accepted in our culture that most people don’t even flinch when someone says “This dress would look so much better if I lost 15 pounds.   My ass looks huge!”.  Could you imagine if someone else said that to you?  It would NOT be ok.   It shouldn’t be ok for anyone (including ourselves) to talk like that.  But appointment after appointment I noticed the common trend.  I’m too skinny.  My arms are big.  My boobs are saggy.  My hair looks awful today.  I’m so tall.  All I was seeing were gorgeous women one after another not able to see their beauty.  

That’s when I started my company Head Over Heels with Melanie.  I wanted to help women become confident in their own skin.   What started as a way to help women shed their insecurities has turned into my deepest passion and lifelong mission.  

I should tell you, this is not something that always comes easily to me either.  Especially since I’ve become a mother.  Everything is heightened for me now.  I see this gorgeous, innocent baby and I do not want her to ever doubt her beauty.  I don’t want her to grow up thinking it’s ok to not treat yourself with respect.  I know I can’t change society over night.  But I like to think Head Over Heels is a step in the right direction.  We mamas can start by working on loving ourselves.  I will of course be telling Zoe that she is beautiful all day, every day.  But if I am talking down to myself, that example speaks even louder.  So here I am, working on accepting myself, and teaching other women to do the same.  Not only for us, but for our sweet little babies as well.

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To me confidence comes from knowledge and acceptance.  If you are self-confident in your ability to put an outfit together you exude it in your being.  If you walk out of the house feeling great about your appearance, it can change your whole day.   Personal style can help us learn what we love about ourselves instead of feeling like we must dress like everyone else.   I want women to love themselves enough to show the world who they are without apologies.   To learn to accept their bodies, and the things they wouldn’t change even if they could.  That inner confidence is a gorgeous, gorgeous thing to share with the world.  It also just happens to be an extremely joyful way to live life.

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xo,

Melanie 

N | Y | F | W | Juan Carlos Obando SS//15

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Thursday afternoon’s Juan Carlos Obando show was my last NYFW show of the season.  Juan Carlos is a LA designer + his collection reflected a West Coast elegance by using flowy silk + chiffon fabrics.  It made me miss LA quite a bit.

Not only was the show beautiful, I had the pleasure of photographing backstage, pre-show + the runway, which if you don’t remember that’s how I first got in to the Fashion World 5 years ago.  These days I mostly attend the shows, but the best seat in the house is always front and center in that pit; it will always have a special place in my heart!

Enjoy the show!

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I sorta had a crush on this hairstylist.  I mean that Deep-V with that hat with those tats with that beard?  What a babe.

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Yes…this is what the pit looks like pre-show on the last day of Fashion Week….people are getting a little tired!

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The Public School NYC men have swag.  Major swag.  I just can’t.

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Does anyone know who these two cute ladies are?  There were so darling!

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This blue dress stopped me in my tracks.  Swoon.

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The End.  Bravo Juan Carlos Obando! I would like one of everything.  K thanks bye.

XO,

Kat

Photos by me:  Kat Harris

Fun at Lincoln Center | NYFW

[Outift Details below…Head to Toe JCrew--with my Ona Camera Bag]

You know how when Katniss goes to the Capital in the first Hunger Games, and everyone is dressed so weird + is trying so hard to look cool and be unique and blah blah blah?  

Ok…well that’s sort of how Lincoln Center during New York Fashion Week is.  It can be a lot of what I like to refer to as “pea-cocking”.  People walking around “pretending” to be on their cell phones answering an extremely important “email”, but really they’re secretly hoping that someone would please, please, puh-lllllease take their picture and feature it on Women’s Wear Daily.

My personal goal when I’m walking up to Lincoln Center to go to a show: DEAR JESUS, PLEASE DON’T FALL ON YOUR FACE IN YOUR 5-INCH HEELS THAT YOU CAN’T WALK IN”.

At the JCrew presentation a few days ago, a few of my friends and I just decided to have some fun with the whole Lincoln Center experience.  Life’s too short to take yourself seriously…even at New York Fashion Week…especially at NYFW.

XO,

Kat

Frederick a.k.a. such a HAM.

Then I found a super cute girl so I had to snap a “real” street style shot:)

Then this tall woman passed me, and I was like “Hey that looks like Karlie Kloss”.

My friends response:  No…that’s not Karlie Kloss.

Me:  YES IT IS….and the win for me…(because it was).  

Honestly though how darling is she?  Can’t you just see us being friends? (totally right?)  Her + Filmmaker Casey Neistat were making some sort of iPhone video…can’t wait to check that out.

Lot’s of selfie takin’ at Lincoln Center.  Amy Stone you’re probably the cutest.

More pictures… he’s jumpin’ for joy.

And one of the hardest working women at NYFW:  Sara Kerens ladies + gentlemen.  The cutest Southern Fashion Photographer taking NYC + the world by storm.  Get. To.  Know.  Her.

Unfortunately my JCrew Collection Skirt is sold out, but they have some other amazing options now.  This is my fave.  See more below!

The JCrew Presentation | A.K.A. My Fave Day at NYFW

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Do you remember Em + I’s first Fashion Week together a few years ago + how we met Jenna Lyons and it was sorta the best day of our lives?  (#kiddingnotkidding)

If you know anything about Em + me you know we love us some Jenna Lyons.  She is one of our style icons.  In the last decade she has completely turned JCrew into one of the most across the board wearable All American classic brands.  Jenna Lyons is JCrew.

As a photographer we also look up to Bill Cunningham.  He is the Father of Street Style.  You know you’re a photographer at Fashion Week when everyone is gawking over the celebrities + you’re gawking over the person taking the photo.  That was me at JCrew yesterday.  Everyone wants to be shot by Bill, and he’s this old little man just doing his thing, pushing people out of the way, doing his job.

So you can imagine the level of my excitement when Jenna pushes past the crowds and says “Bill let’s take a selfie”!  She pulls out her phone + they start taking some iPhone pics. 

Basically two of my biggest fashion + photography icons are in front of me taking pictures.  I grabbed the above picture, and it’s now one of my favorite pictures from any show I’ve attended/shot.

Anyways, the show was incredible; it made me so excited for Spring Summer 2015.  I want one of everything!

XO,

Kat

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These two boys were just darling.  They kept leaning over and telling secrets + when I asked them what they were talking about they just smiled at me.  (I can only assume they were talking about how much loved me right?)

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This lovely gem stole the show in my opinion.  She embodies the All-American girl + also my favorite type of clothing a.k.a. clothes comfy enough to be sweats, yet also extremely fashionable! 

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This was one of my favorite looks + something that I can see myself wearing Fall + Spring to be honest.

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But this gal’s outfit was my favorite.  I love a good army green + loved the mixture of different textures:  the pleated skirt with the army jacket.  I am so down for that.

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I’m just going to go ahead + put this out in the universe:  I think this guy has  a crush on me.  I mean look at those eyes (don’t try + tell me it’s his job to eye-flirt with me…I like to think he only gave those eyes to moí).

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Another favorite outfit.  I love how JCrew takes classic silhouettes and makes them so modern; it makes it easy to purchase a few pieces each season + build upon them.  (Like this classic pleated skirt)

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This lovely lady wins the award for Best EyeBrows #ammiright?

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And there is Miss Lyons just being her fierce, powerful self.

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At first I thought Bill was taking my photo, but he was really taking the photo of the lovely European model next to me:)

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You know I love a good white-on-white look.

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I found it interesting that for the most part the women’s looks were much more put together than the men’s looks.  I mean I love the above, but it seems like women are dressing more up + men are dressing more down these days…thoughts?

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Style influencer Nick Wooster above.

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For the men it was all about the bandana look around the neck; it reminded me of the 90s when my mom put scarves around our necks in elementary school.  I sorta loved it.

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And again…Miss Jenna Lyons for the win folks.  Bravo Jenna for another fabulous collection.

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All Photos by:  Kat Harris

Check out some of my favorite current JCrew Looks for the Fall below…

Beauty Is…LIMITLESS | A Very Refined Brunch

Photos Courtesy of Sara of Tutti delMonte

New York Fashion Week is in full swing!  Thus begins the whirlwind of endless fashion shows, cocktail parties, running around the city in too high of heels, and lots of inspiration!  

From the outside it can look completely glamorous, and  don’t get me wrong it is glamourous.  But there are other moments too, moments of loneliness walking into a show where you know no one and everyone is on their phones so busy with social media that real life connection is disregarded.  My insecurities can totallyflare up, comparison begins, and it can be a downward spiral from there.

Personally, after shooting and attending 14 seasons of Runway I have found that while it can be an amazing experience filled with fancy runway shows, parties, and fashion I can leave the week feeling exhausted and to be honest lonely.  

The interesting thing though, is that the more I share my personal experience, the more and more other women shared that they left Fashion Week feeling the same way.  It’s like we’re all walking around Fashion Week wishing we had a friend, and it is just going to take a few of us speaking up and saying “Hey…I’m lonely here…let’s be friends!”

There are so many powerhouse, feminine, authentic, dynamic women in this industry and in the world.  The reality is that none of us are competitors, we are teammates and with arms linked we have the power to really impact not only the fashion industry but culture as a whole.

It is my vision to create a space for a group of women in the Fashion Industry that have influence and hearts for investing into the whole woman.  My intent is to create a space and dialogue for authenticity, community, creativity, and dream up ways that we can encourage and inspire one another.

It is my belief that creativity begets creativity and free people free people, and this starts from the top.  If we as women and leaders in the fashion industry show others that depth and community and beauty can truly be lived out, then I believe we can blaze a trail for our culture + young women all over the world to do the same.

With this heart came A Very Refined Brunch.  A brunch hosted by The Refined Woman at the beginning of Fashion Week to do all of the above.  It was scary putting myself out there, and hosting my very first event at Fashion Week. 

What if no one comes?  What if I look silly?  What if others judge me?

Whenever we put ourselves out there to create something beautiful we will receive resistance, even if it comes from no one else but ourselves.  Putting aside my fears and insecurities (was NOT easy friends, but)  I moved forward with hosting this brunch, and it ended up being everything I could have hoped for and more. 

Women came who knew each other, and who didn’t know each other, and we all connected.  We talked about beauty, what we’re passionate about, how we want to change the fashion industry, culture, and the world.  There was laughter and tears.

And with honesty I can say that we all left that space feeling connected, and realizing none of us are alone.  

As women we are powerful.  Our voices matter, and there is endless possibilities when we join together and create.  A Very Refined Brunch is just the beginning.  

Beauty truly is limitless.

XO,

Kat

Thanks to some rad people we had some wonderful swag bags.  Thank you Jenna Kutcher, Esther Jean Designs, Conscious Magazine, Darling Magazine, + Ira Lippke Studios.

One of my photography mentors + inspirations, Ira Lippke, opened up his lovely studio to host our event.  How beautiful is his space?

What’s a brunch without a Mimosas Bar…with gold rimmed glasses?

Hilary of Dean Street Society sharing her heart on beauty!  I adore that gal!

Molly of Glitter + Rye did all the decor + florals!  She is like Pinterest in Real Life!

Ashley, the lovely lady above of Esther Jean Designs, made lovely hair pieces for each of the ladies!

Naturally Delicious catered our amazing brunch.  From Parfaits to Lavender Shortbread to mini coffee cakes; it was JUST PERFECT!

Molly of Glitter + Rye also created the Bouquet Bar so each lady could create her own floral arrangement to take with her!

And of course we had some fun over on Instagram!

Again thank you to the Amazing Sponsors:

Ira Lippke Studios | Jenna Kutcher | Conscious Magazine | Esther Jean

And to an amazing Community of Women that believed in me, supported me, ran errands for me + prayed for this event:  Dianna, Karlin, Francesca, Jenny, Cari, Lindsey Shea, Erica, Elizabeth, Jenn, My Mamma!

Monochromatic Monday | BURGUNDY

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Stadium Wool Coat | V-Neck Pleated Top | Lace Skirt | Patent Leather Heels | Sassy Flats | Clutch | Lipstick | Floral Sleeveless Top

New York Fashion Week is in full swing!  It’s such a tease as all the designers are showing whites + pastels for 2015!  However, I’m getting pretty excited for Fall in NYC; it’s pretty magical.  And I just love a good jewel tone…don’t you?

XO,

Kat

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Fashion Week Round-up Y’all

In honor of New York Fashion Week, we’ve gathered some lovely fall pieces from the designers we are dying to see this coming week!
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OUTFIT | Overalls for Fall

Some trends it takes me a season or two to get on board. Luckily, overalls are still hanging on and it took me that long to find the right pair. A lot of the newer overalls being sold are more slimming and flattering but if you know me you know I just want everything baggy and boyfriend-like. I think I probably own at least 6 different pairs of boyfriend jeans + jean shorts.

I found these vintage Lee overalls in Tokyo of all places. For some reason Asia has the best secondhand stores full of amazing American made brands from back in the day.  

Kat snapped these pics on our way to Pizza when she was in town a few weeks ago. I miss her already. 

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xo, Em

OUTIFT | Two Toned Pleated Skirt

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One of my favorite colors to wear is blue.  Whether it’s a classic denim, or a cobalt blue cami, there is something so radiant about this color.  

A few weeks ago one of my friends said that we wear colors that we’re naturally drawn to + that those colors say something about who we are on the inside.  At first I thought this was a little weird, but then he told me what it meant.

He said blue symbolizes truth, trust, loyalty, wisdom, confidence, intelligence, faith, and heaven.

Now that stopped me in my tracks, because it does speak to a lot of who I am and who I strive to be on the inside.  I think we are drawn to things in this world that envelope beauty, authenticity, and truth.

And maybe…just maybe that’s why I’m so drawn to blue.

Am I crazy?  Maybe, but that’s ok:)

XO,

Kat

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Also, full disclosure Em picked out this outfit for me when I was visiting her a few weeks ago!  I love when she plays dress-up with me!

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Photos by:  Em

OUTFIT:  This is an old cami, but JCrew has some great ones + this one imparticular is fab! |  Thank you TopShop for a great Pleated Skirt.

Shop more of the look below: