The Refined Woman

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The Refined Man Is…Wild at Heart

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"Adventure is not outside man; it is within." —George Eliot

Frederick Castleberry is a Refined Man.  

He is an editorial photographer, designer, and curator of the acclaimed blog Unabashedly Prep.  His impeccable style and attention to detail in his work sets him apart from his cohorts.  

Much to my surprise when I moved to Brooklyn we ended up being neighbors, and let me tell you one thing about this guy:  I have never seen him quite come alive the way he does when he is about to take a risk, an adventure, or journey into the unknown.

Fred has become a dear friend and mentor, and I am so excited to have him contribute to The Refined Man.

XO,

Kat

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Boys are wild.

Dangerous.

Free.

Dreamers.

Explorers.

Fighters.

More creature than child, boys are untamed.

Every man was once a boy. To carry this adventurous spirit into manhood is of utmost importance. Sadly, today, that insatiable longing to explore is largely but a relic of childhood for many men. The adventurer is the child who survived. He is unapologetically wild at heart. He seeks adventure. Takes risks. Embraces spontaneity. In his book Wild at Heart, John Eldredge shrewdly notes, “Deep in his heart, every man longs for a battle to fight, an adventure to live, and a beauty to rescue.”

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How a man seeks his adventure is how he lives his purpose.

How he lives his purpose is how he pursues his woman

How he pursues his woman is how he loves his children.

How he loves his children is how he loves his neighbor.

How he loves his neighbor is how he loves his God.

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There are two types of men in this world: those who love what they do and those who don’t.  Those who have found something to fight for and those who haven’t. The former are men who go on to great achievements, lead extraordinary lives, and love deeply. They have explored the depths of their hearts, discovered their (present) purpose in this world, and pursue it with reckless abandon.

The latter are confused, timid, drifting aimlessly. They are lost boys—succumbing to a culture that would prefer we be docile, well behaved…good boys. How do we as men reconnect with that wildness? We must look within. What did you love to do as a child? What would you do right now even if you weren’t paid? What turns you on inside? Fight for that.

The refined man not only needs adventure, he seeks it. When was the last time you climbed a frozen waterfall? Slept under the stars? Or crossed an ocean? The passion for adventure is at the core of a man’s spirit. That feeling you get after watching Gladiator (probably my favorite movie of all time)—that’s your wild heart yearning for danger, risk, adventure. Get out there. There is no more dire place in our society today to parade this wild heart than in the pursuit of a woman. Women are designed to be pursued, wooed, to be caught up. No woman wakes up saying, “God, I hope I don’t get swept off my feet today!” They long to be swept up into an adventure. And you get one chance to make a first impression—and I’ve witnessed it squandered so often over a cup of coffee…or a drink.

Plan something outrageous and memorable, or fun, or active. Anything but a meeting that resembles a job interview. I like to know right out of the gate if I can laugh with a woman. Remember, if this girl is as amazing as you hope she is, she’s been on more first dates than Drew Barrymore—make this memorable for her (hint: women love surprises). Lead with a gripping opening to your story with her!

The refined woman creates the space for the wild at heart…spontaneity…and the unknown to invade. It is incredible what transpires within relationships when a man is given the freedom to be a man. To be unapologetically wild. What results is a beautiful encounter between the masculine and feminine.

Every man is an adventurer inside. But the choice to live one is his own.

-Frederick Castleberry

Photos by me:  Kat Harris

The Refined Man : Weekend Edition

The man and I are currently reveling in the winter season of a wedding photographer, and enjoying our last few months as just the two of us

While I wore stripes, the man wore cable knit (that he scored at Saturdays Surf NYC on our trip there a few months ago.)

We both ate our fair share of toast and coffee. In other words, it was heaven.

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xo,

Em

OUTFIT: Little White Dress

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The Little White Dress :

There just isn’t anything better for a HOT summer day. A white cotton sundress is the perfect blank canvas. 

I recently wore mine all week in Sea Island, Georgia - dressed down for the beach and dressed up with a blazer and heels for a nice meal out. 

Kat also just posted her LWD and what’s perfect is that we didn’t even plan to both put together an outfit for The Little White Dress this month- it just happened.

We are actually not the best planners so it always surprises me when things like this work out in our favor. 

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This tassel necklace is my newest favorite accessory. It works with EVERYTHING, and I love the length.

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hair + makeup : melissa hoffmann / photos : simply jessie

dress : jcrew (old) similar here

blazer : jcrew

necklace : jcrew

loafers : madewell (old) similar here

satchel : dooney + bourke

scarf : vintage 

watch : michael kors

xo,

Em

OUTFIT: That’s a Wrap

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A few weeks ago we talked about wardrobe staples.  The Little Black Dress was our topic of conversation.  Have you found yours yet?

Today I bring to your another wardrobe staple: The Wrap Dress.  I am a dress girl through and through, and here’s why:  they are so easy!  You slip a dress over your head, and you are instantly more put together.  People always ask me how I can photograph in a dress. My response:  it is so easy, I can move around in it, squat, bend.  Dresses are moveable and with ease knock up your dressiness a few notches.

In fact, last Saturday I was shooting a wedding in Dallas, TX., and I wore this dress the entire day shooting; it was fabulous!

A few things to note on wrap dresses:

  • Length:  notice mine is just about knee level.  That’s a good rule of thumb.  Any shorter, and it turns into a night out with the girls and not work appropriate.
  • The Wrap:  Make sure when you try on your wrap that you do a few twirls in it.  Make sure that wrap is going to stay closed.  To be safe with mine I safety pin the wrap midway down just in case a gust of wind comes through.
  • Quality vs. Quantity:  This wrap dress was definitely an investment piece, but our wardrobe staples should be.  I found it at the Kate Spade outlet on sale thankfully!  

Dress:  Kate Spade Here + Similar

Wedges:  Tory Burch + Similar 

Burberry Purse:  Vintage (Gift from my mother) Similar

OUTFIT : Popped Collars + Penny Loafers

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If you know me you know I love me some popped collars and prep, BUT you also know that I’m a bit of a hippie at heart (yes I actually do crave Kale Juice…I know it’s weird).

You can see my love for prep and bohemia all mixed together in this outfit: pearls, penny loafers, and popped collars.  My bohemia shines through with my glasses, denim on denim and yummy fur vest.

It was one of our last days in NYC, and I had a day full of shooting in Brooklyn.  This outfit is a bit more casual than I typically do for shoots, but hey it was Brooklyn…they can’t care. (#putabirdonit)

Glasses:  Warby Parker / Vest:  Thrift (similar) / Denim Shirt:  H&M / Belt + Jeans:  Madewell / Anchor Earrings:  Forever 21 (how could I resist really?)/ Shoes:  GH Bass (they’re killing it right now).

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

ELEMENTS: 31 Bits Giveaway

It’s our launch week of The Refined Woman, and we could not be more excited about this new journey with y’all!  

What better way to get through your Wednesday by getting in on our WEDNESDAY 31 BITS GIVEAWAY.

First off, if you are unfamiliar with 31 Bits.  Please check them out HERE.  31 Bits is an organization that hires women in Uganda to make these beautifully crafted paper beaded necklaces.   31 Bits has a wholistic approach to their business.  Not only do they employ women to rise above poverty but provide:  english lessons, finance training, community groups, and AIDs and Health clinics for the women.  

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                               Photo by:  The Refined Woman

We love 31 Bits, and want to get some in your hand ASAP!  Here’s how you win:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

XOXO,

Kat + Em

OUTFIT: Hunter Boots to the Rescue

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This outfit was clutch for the last wedding I photographed in San Francisco with Emily Scott.  Literally from the moment we drove up to the Bride’s house until we left the reception it was RAINING.  Not misting but pretty much pouring buckets, and need I remind you that it is winter?  My hunter boots were one of those purchases that I was not so sure about because of the price, but over and over again they have come through to shining victory for me!

Blazer:  Zara

Top:  Similar (Zara)

Skirt:  Anthropologie

Tights:  H&M

Infinity Scarf:  Handmade by a friend find one Similar

Boots:  Nordstrom’s

OUTFIT: Blazers + Chinos

Fall is my favorite time of the year for fashion.  I love browns, blues, greens, and warm colors and I can wear them all the time in the fall.  This outfit is not only a go-to for shooting, but even in my everyday life.  The chinos are a little casual, however I think my blazer and red lipstick makes it a little more fancy.  This look is clean, classic, and the 31 Bits necklace adds that boho flare so I feel as though I’m staying true to my brand all in all!

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Photo by:  Sarah Shreves

Blazer: Zara (this is my go-to place for blazers!); Top: Forever 21 (old); Pants: JCrew; Belt: No Rest for Bridget; Shoes: Tory Burch; Necklace: 31 Bits