The Refined Woman

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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

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!

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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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

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!

The Battle to Be True

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(photo by Bess Friday)

I have started and re-started this post so many times. 

Last week I read two articles that cut me to the core and I knew right away I wanted to write a response of my own to the discussion’s started in  The Circus of Fashion and Blog is a Dirty Word

But I kept putting it off. Because there are so many different things on my mind as I have reflected on what it has meant for Kat + myself to start this blog and then jump right into our first fashion week. 

Fashion week did feel like a circus. All around Lincoln Center the parade of insanely dressed, pursed-lipped fashionista’s is disorienting. It’s an alternate universe and all I could do was marvel at how difficult it looked to walk in those shoes. 

On the flip side, Leandra hit my experience on the head. Lincoln Center is "a haven for aspiring bloggers who spend their fashion weeks ardently hustling through the fountains in the name of recognition."

As glamourous as Kat + I liked to make it look, it was not always so pretty. Just carrying around my DSLR 14 hours a day through the streets of NY and waiting in the standby lines made me want to cry. And I did cry some nights, for lack of sleep and sheer mental exhaustion. I can honestly say I have never spent a week hustling so hard. 

The temptation is to make everyone believe that we were just being whisked into these shows because they want The Refined Woman there, when in reality no one had any clue who we are.  

Something I’ve been thinking a lot about this week is the battle for authenticity. How to be authentic with this blog, in what we wear, how we wear it, what we say, who we are… 

I used to think that as long as we were true to our brand and only showed things we *would* purchase ourselves, that would be authentic enough. But what I want more than anything is actual transparency. Not just in what brands we show or products we feature, but in everything we do.

I’m not totally sure I know what that looks like. I’d like to find a way to show you guys everything without bumming you out or boring you with behind the scenes.

I want to be silly and crazy and imperfect while still showing you what I strive for, which is, to embody the poise of the Refined Woman. It’s not such an easy feat. 

I guess part of me wants to wrap this post up nicely, and tell you I’ve come to the conclusion on how The Refined Woman is going to do that. But I guess all I want to say is that it’s our goal to try. Our invitation to you is to call us out and help us move in that direction. This blog is for you, after all, and I don’t think we can do it without your feedback and help as we go along. 

xo,

Em

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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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