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OUTFIT | Taking Chances

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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.

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Photos by:  Chaz Cruz

New York Fashion Week from My Lens

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Fashion Week is over.  Le’sigh.  

Balance + Creativity.  Those are my two words from Fashion Week, and if I had a third it would be freeeeeeeezing!

Creatively, what consistently inspires me with each Fashion Week I have attended is how committed designers are season after season to continue creating.  These sometimes less than 10 minute runway shows represent a culmination of upwards of a year of dreaming, planning, and executing. There is always a deadline. With the final bow from the designer after her September show, she knows that she has precisely 6 months until her next bow. There cannot be a moment wasted between bows.

And then there’s the aspect of balance.  As opposed to last February with Em when we ran ourselves completely ragged, my goal this February was to remain balanced in the chaos.

This meant me making choices and practicing saying no to some really fun things (Any FOMO’ers out there will sympathize with me on this).  

It meant choosing a night in as opposed to going out for a fancy dinner, church instead of a runway show, the ballet with friends and not a networking event, flats instead heels (some of the days), one on one coffee dates and not a late night swanky party.  It was good for me to tangibly walk out balance, and to be present with the idea that working hard is important, but we are so much more than what we do.  

I will say I dearly missed Miss Em this Fashion Week; it’s much more fun to go to things with a partner in crime.  Thankfully though God provided some wonderful buddies for me to run around with.

I walk away from the past week exhausted, yet inspired.  Inspired to keep creating + to keep striving for balance in my life.

Now onto my photo journal…I just have so much to show y’all

First off:  Alice + Olivia.  Hands down the most creative experience all week.  The Alice + Olivia presentation was comprised of 7 unique fairy tale experiences in the McKittrick Hotel where the infamous play Sleep No More is housed.  Not only were the clothes beautiful, you truly felt you were on this fairy tale journey through the mind + heart of Stacey Bendet.

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Like I said Fashion Week wasn’t all work, I got to run around the city with my sweet friend Lauren.  From coffees to Hillsong to late night Bingo at The Standard we had a blast together.  I’m so thankful for this girl.

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Then I got to meet + photograph this fellow Southern gal Anna, who is not only super sweet, but an uber talented stylist!

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I just can’t really talk about the Nautica Menswear Collection.  Oh em gee, those men were so incredibly handsome.  Oof.  That’s all I’m going to say about that.

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Mid-day coffee breaks at Saturday Surf were a must.

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My heels came straight off after the shows, and fit nicely in one of the slots in my fabulous camera bag.

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Night at the Ballet; it was inspiring + melted my soul.

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Y’all might not know this, but I was first introduced to fashion week, over 3 years ago.  I photographed in the pit for 12 seasons, and as crazy as it is I found myself missing it terribly this season.  Maybe next September I can find myself back in the grind!

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Mara Hoffman’s Collection was ethereal + bold.  Her mixtures of geometric + tribal-esque patterns were surprising and refreshing!

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Wall-o-instagram in Lincoln Center.  You could use their hashtag #mbfw + if you were so lucky + (if you had a gazillion followers) your picture would appear on the wall!

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Dear Monique Lhuillier,

You slay me.  Season after season after season.  You make style look so effortless and chic.  Your work embodies femininity and strength.  You inspire me.

Love,

Kat.

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This gold + creme dress was my favorite!

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Then sometimes you go to shows, and you feel like you’re herded cattle and have to wait outside in the 15 degree weather for 45 minutes.  #notglamorous #imsurprisedmyfeetstillfunctionbecausetheyweresocold….

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…only to be let inside + realize that your seat has been taken + this is your view of the show…

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BUT THEN…my whole day was worth it because I saw the legendary Bill Cunningham.

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And this leads me to my final show:  Nanette Lepore, which was an exquisite way to end my week.  (Not to mention I sat across from effortlessly chic and elegant Kelly Rutherford AKA Lilly VanDerWoodson)

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It pains me to say I cut out so many images…guys I shot so so much, but in not wanting to be redundant/bore you to death I tried to keep it down.

That being said, if you have made it to the end of this epicly long post, bless you.

Until September, I bid fashion week adieu!

XO,

Kat

NYFW: Photo Journal

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The past week has been a blur of fashion shows, high heels, brunches, meetings, hailing taxis, catching subways, new friends, old friends, Lincoln Center, parties, not so much sleep…well you know it’s been New York Fashion Week.

Em and I had such a wonderful time in February.  We both were exhausted by the end of it, but got to experience some beautiful moments, and met some of our biggest fashion inspirations (and we totally geeked out about it!)

It was such a different experience going without Em this time, but she had to hold down the fort in San Fran (someone’s gotta do it!), and it was also another thing entirely to be apart of NYFW as a NYC resident! 

My hope entering into the tornado that can be Fashion Week was to stay grounded, have meaningful conversations with new friends, and be inspired.  Finding stillness in the chaos is ever my quest!

I think my goal was accomplished.  Enjoy some of my favorite NYFW moments from the last week that I photographed!

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Below is blogger + Lolo mag editor Shannon.  My favorite part of being with her was grabbing drinks after Rebecca Minkoff, and talking about boys for well over an hour!

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Here’s what I wore to Rebecca Minkoff.  My staple Club Monaco White Blazer + Madewell Cobalt blue Dress.

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Saturday morning I got to hang out with amazing set designer Stacy Suvino in West Village (who styled the Darling Magazine Summer Cover).  This Oklahoma girl is extremely talented!

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Sunday was all about Trina:  the Trina Turk Spring 2014 collection.  This collection made me want to jump right over winter and just get back into spring.  The bright colors and light hearted feel to this collection was a breath of fresh air!

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They even did a live editorial shoot during the presentation!  So fun!

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After Trina Michelle, Jessie of Style + Pepper, Beth of BJones Style, and I went to the Reward Style Party on a rooftop.  Yep.  Rooftop party at Fashion Week:  Check.

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Monday Beth and I ran around town all day for different meetings!  First stop Jennifer at Pink Cloud Vintage.  Umm…I died when I saw this vintage Chanel purse.  I neeeeeeeeed.

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Beth tried on some rad dresses!

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Beth with Pink Cloud owner Jennifer who may be the cutest prego ever.

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Did I mention we went to the Coach offices, and got to go through the Coach Archives?  This was a preppy city girls’ dream (uummm…ya I’m talking about myself in third person).

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Monday ended with the Alice and Olivia Spring 2014 presentation.  This was by far my favorite collection this fall.  The attention to detail was so beautiful, and I just cannot get over the silhouettes, the mixed textures and patterns.  Ahhh…just so much yumminess!

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These three ladies together were my favorite grouping of looks.

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When I saw this bedazzled crop cardigan with boyfriend jeans all I could think of was how me this outfit was.  I mean honestly guys…I need it.

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The below mint leather pleated skirt + denim jacket look is my favorite outfit from this collection; it’s super wearable and totally ME!

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Oh ya… and then Dan Humphrey’s sister showed up (holla Gossip Girl fans…xoxo, Gossip Girl)

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Until February…goodbye Fashion Week.

XO,

Kat

A Refined Woman | Brynn Watkins

1. Who is Brynn Watkins, and, aside from Being Elliott, what are some other projects you’re involved with?

I am a woman who is always looking for the next thing. I am always looking forward to the next step, the next collaboration or the next styling job. I love making connections and meeting new people with interesting life stories so I can learn and gain knowledge from their experiences. I am driven to a fault. 

Projects are always coming at me from any which direction. Right now I am working on a summer styling shoot set in Montauk—think ”Mara Hoffman” esque.  

2. What is Being Elliott all about?

Being Elliott is all about helping women discover the whimsical fascinations of life through inspiring ideas, style tips and personal touches which create their special looks. I really want to make women smile at the end of the day.  If Being/Elliott can help do that, than I am ecstatic. 

3. Why did you start Being Elliott?

I needed a platform to share all my crazy creative energy! I love fashion and finding inspiration from other blogs and content out there and I thought..why not contribute to that inspiration myself? It is now my passion and escape.

4. Describe who you think your typical reader is (her style and attitude towards life)?

She is independent, bold , knows what she believes in and is willing to fight for it. She also knows you don’t have to spend “an arm and leg” to look like a total fox.  

I pray my reader always remembers to laugh at herself and to think of others before her own needs. I want to be her friend :) 

6. Share your Favorite designer and why.

Oh gosh…. what a tough question!

Right now, I am loving 3.1 Phillip Lim. His style of minimalism and elegant line is really hard not to fall in love with. I have yet to find a piece he has designed I can’t see eye to eye with. 3.1 Phillip Lim was meant to be in my closet.   His price tag is another issue :)

7. Share three products you are currently obsessing over and why.

-My Elize Cuff from Stendahl Jewelry is the perfect piece. I just slip it on my wrist and it takes my outfit to the next level. Love.

-My new scent from Goest Perfumes called "Dauphine". The subtle hints of rosebud and almond musk is an instant confidence booster. 

-My favorite new book and current read from my editor at LOLO Magazine, Lauren Scruggs’  Still Lolo.  This is an inspirational story about faith overcoming all obstacles. I can’t put it down! 

8. Advice for bloggers just starting out?

Be bold and develop your own unique voice.  Also, don’t be scared to reach out to brands and companies you love. Who knows what can happen. Try! Try! Try!

Reflections from The Refined Woman on NYFW

What we found though is that if you are kind, and if you work hard, amazing things can happen. There is no industry this doesn’t apply to—even fashion, as intimidating as it can seem.” -Em

We could not be more honored to be a guest Writer on Darling Magazine today!

Em shared some of her thoughts on NYFW and Darling shared some of their favorite images we shot during our snowy NYC trip.  Check out the feature HERE.

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OUTFIT : Pop of Red

One thing I loved seeing at New York Fashion Week was some incredible vibrant Reds on the runway. So this week to kick off a little runway to reality, Kat + I have two NYC outfits with a pop of red. 

While I would have loved to have a different jacket to share with you, the other reality for this California girl is that I just don’t have that many fun coats. It just doesn’t get cold enough to invest in them, so most of mine are the standard black or navy. After last week though and some of the coats I saw at the spring J Crew presentation I am rethinking things completely

Jeans : Levi’s 501 / Tee : American Apparel / Coat : Thrifted (similar) / Boots : Madewell / Watch : Michael Kors / Bracelet : J Crew (similar … I want this one!) / Lipstick : Chanel Rouge Allure

xo,

Em

Refined at Fashion Week: Day V

Our travails at Fall 2013 New York Fashion Week have come to an end for now, and I can honestly say this has been my most favorite Fashion Week experience.  Maybe it was because I was with my partner in Crime (Em), maybe it was that we got to attend shows of some of our favorite designers (Billy Reid, Trina Turk + JCrew), but I think a big part of it was all the new + old friends we got to meet and play with in the city!

We worked our little tails off, but we also played our little tails off as well.  I really do think NYC is the city that doesn’t sleep, or maybe it’s the city that I never sleep in…

Either way, enjoy our last Refined at Fashion Week post with some of our favorite Behind the Scenes and Street Style that we photographed!

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A little dance party after the Billy Reid Show last Friday night…

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Sweet Heather who let us stay with her in Union Square, and was our official photog after Billy Reid when we had our lil dance par-tay.

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Late night in Union Square after drinks at The Ace Hotel.  Nemo couldn’t keep us out!

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Bristish Blogger Ella Catliff looked poised + polished as usual!

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Did I run after the GQ Men so I could snap their pictures?  I don’t…maybe!?  I mean come on how handsome are they?  And I adore Justin Doss’ white denim in February (and his smile too).  

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Miss Alicia of Cheetah is the New Black

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Shea of Cheyenne Meets Chanel with Mateo her beau.

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Dallas Gal Courtney Kerr.  This is her Grandmother’s Fur Coat; it kinda took my breath away.  See more about her outfit on her blog HERE.

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Sweet friend Shannon Yoachum of Lolo Mag + Style by Lolly.  She’s another Texas lady that I just adore.  Check our more shots I grabbed of her on her blog HERE.

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In the midst of Nemo, Anna of In Honor of Design and I grabbed some photos in Union Square and a yummy coffee at Joe’s.  She might be one of the cutest southern gals I’ve met!

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Finally Miss Lauren Scruggs (a dear friend from Dallas) with Shannon Yoachum.  The Texas ladies were representing at NYFW this season!

Well friends, that’s all for New York Fashion Week this season; it was unbelievable, we loved every second of it, and feel so blessed to have gotten to meet such lovely people, go to fabulous shows, and prance around the city as The Refined Woman!

XOXO,

Kat + Em

Refined at Fashion Week: Day III

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There has never been a post this long in the history of The Refined Woman because there has never been a day so epic to recount.

Though I am a fan of the Hyperbole I promise I am not exaggerating when I say yesterday was the day that all the dreams our little hearts could hold were fulfilled. 

Lest you think I still exaggerate. Let me begin with some images. I keep looking at them to remind myself it was real. 

But first, what I wore. Because that’s important, right? Maybe not as much as all the aforementioned dreams being realized, but I am happy to say that after yesterday, all the money I spent (3x more than the pants themselves!) to have these thrifted leather pants tailored seems like it was worth it.

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Cardigan : JCrew / Blouse : Lush by Nordstrom / Leather Pants : Thrifted (similar) / Heels : Louboutin  / Camera Satchel : ONA

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From Kat : What is on my bucket list you may ask?  Among sky diving and being fluent in another language is attending a JCrew Presentation at New York Fashion Week.

When Em and I found out we had tickets to the Fall 2013 JCrew Presentation there may or may not have been squeals, tears, and a little dance party.  

(Spoiler alert : we screamed like girls.)

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Here’s a shot of THE JENNA HERSELF with Anna Wintour.  NBD. (REALLY BIG DEAL.)

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From Kat : What I love about JCrew is how each season they push the envelope with their mixture of patterns, textures, and colors with classic silhouettes; it’s why they’re able to appeal to the 18 year old hipster, the 30something business woman, and Anna Wintour.  You can’t beat class, and you cannot beat Jenna Lyons innovative mixture of all things new with all things timeless.

From me : That about sums it up. This collection rocked my world in every way possible. 

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(JCREW SHOW BONUS : The guys. ) Sorry to state the obvious here, but these gentleman I mean how good looking can you get?  Really?

From Em : I think Kat may have found a husband. I saw them making eyes.

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Now, while it would have been MORE THAN ENOUGH to just see Jenna Lyons in the flesh, we were able to say hello after the show and she was so gracious and lovely to us. We may have even handed her a business card and snapped her photograph before swooning. She kissed us and the cheek, complimented our outfits, and was super sweet.  

Truly, Jenna, you are THE Refined Woman. Thank you for inspiring women in fashion everywhere.image

WAIT.

That’s not all.

At the J Crew Presentation I was able to introduce myself to a woman who really inspired me to follow my passion for fashion blogging and photography… Garance Dore. I took a photo of her at the presentation (the lighting was just OK… but Kat took this one later on which I just adore. Go Kat!)

Garance, thank you for being so gracious in person. You do not know how much it meant to me.

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and THEN. (then!!)

I took a photo of the man, the legend, the Sartorialist himself. 

As I bent back to photograph him in my heels and ridiculous leather pants I almost ATE it on the concrete of Lincoln Center. I imagine that’s where this little smile came from…

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And then I died of embarrassment and I am pretty sure I ran away. I guess it’s a good to have some moments to keep us humble, am I right?

If you looked at and read this whole post, bless you. More good stuff to come tomorrow.

xo,

Em

Refined at Fashion Week : Day 1

This week in honor of New York Fashion Week Kat + I are excited to share with you the highlights of everything we have been up to, what we are wearing (see also : The Woes of Being a Southern California Girl in A Snowstorm) and what we have been seeing on + off the runway.

We feel so grateful to be here experiencing all of this and so looking forward to sharing our highlights with you.

Really, you get the best of the deal, dear friends, because you get all the fashion minus the freezing winds, snow + slush. 

Refined at Fashion Week : Day 1

I swear I looked at the forecast before I packed, but I think there’s only so much one California girl can do to really prepare herself for the reality of a snowstorm.

Coat : Thrifted (Similar) / Dress : Urban Outfitters / Tights : Uniqlo Heat tech / Riding Boots : J Crew  / Cobalt Tote : Coach /Headband : H&M (old, similar) / Sunglasses : Ray Ban

(You can pin some of my accessories from The Refined Woman on Pinterest!)

Marissa Web's new collection is so wearable! I love the tailored structure to her suits, skirts + coats.

The black + white accessories + inverted french manicure is the perfect compliment.

Some of my favorites from the Marissa Webb presentation:

The Monique Lhuillier runway show knocked my socks off. The way she innovates a gown season after season is such an inspiration to me. Every piece is fitted perfectly to be flattering for a woman’s shape. The texture and detailing was incredible.

Afterwards we made our way backstage + accompanied Krista Soriano as she was able to ask Monique a few words about the collection. See Krista’s piece on Elle.com for more!

xo,

Em

p.s. be sure to check out The Refined Woman on facebook  + instagram for more photos + behind the scenes!