Next-Level Tips From R29's Best Dressed

Photographed by Angelo D'Agostino.
It's hard to imagine this long, treacherous New York City winter will ever end, but what can we say? Our suffocated toes and matted hair are screaming for spring.
That's why when we got a chance to see the new Diane von Furstenberg spring collection, we couldn't help but go gaga. Aptly titled Oasis, the S/S '14 line features the stuff we want to wear right now: safari prints, breezy silhouettes, and bold patterns — all in an island-paradise color palette.
Now, to get into the spirit of spring (as if we needed help), we're talking to our very own style moguls — editor-in-chief Christene Barberich, style features editor Leeann Duggan, and art director Katelyn Kappel — about their own wardrobes. They dish on the new trends they're dying to wear and their favorite pieces from the latest DVF line. With perfectly transitional options like these, warmer temperatures can't come soon enough.
Advertisement
1 of 6
Photographed by Angelo D'Agostino.
Katelyn Kappel, art director

I'd describe my personal style as ______ meets ______.
"Minimal meets graphic."

As an art director here, where do you look for inspiration, both for work and your own style?
"Literally, everywhere. I follow so many sites, Tumblrs, and blogs that sometimes my RSS reader gives me anxiety. There's also a daunting stack of fashion magazines sitting on my coffee table every month that I chip away at on the weekends. Right now, I'm loving the blog DOMO-A for design inspiration. I like the site Trendland for a-little-bit-of-everything inspiration. For fashion inspiration, I love Jayne Min and her blog Stop It Right Now. But, mostly, I'm inspired by the real women I've worked with in the fashion industry or the styles I see on the streets of NYC."

How were you dressing a decade ago versus now?
"I was still going through an experimental phase 10 years ago. I think I was more concerned about chasing trends. As you get older, you start to trust your instincts and take a look at the pieces that never actually get pulled out of your closet. I've never been very girly girl, and my style reflects that. You won't find much floral, lace, and pink in my arsenal. I gravitate toward sharp silhouettes, graphic prints, and black and white."

So, what's your go-to uniform?
"Right now, in the midst of the never-ending polar vortex, I grab my ivory, boxy cropped sweater and my favorite black stretch skinnies. It's an easy, warm outfit that still feels on trend. I'm finishing almost every outfit lately with my new moto-style ankle rain boots. I pretty much trashed my leather Chelsea boots trying to take on this year's snow and slush. These rain boots are the perfect mix of function and style."
Advertisement
2 of 6
Photographed by Angelo D'Agostino.
It's safe to say that we're all a bit antsy for spring. What's the one trend you're dying to try once the weather warms up?
"I love the athleticism trend. It's sleek, minimal, and graphic. I'm really into anything made out of neoprene. The shape of the clothing is so unique and distinct. I didn't think I'd ever say this, but I'm also on board with crop tops. They've morphed from Britney Spears cute to Alexander Wang cool. That is a movement I can stand behind."

We love the mix of structures you have going on here. Tell us about this look!
"I love mixing classic, simple silhouettes with pieces that are a little edgier. This gray shift dress never goes out of style and is a great wardrobe staple. Layering the nylon jacket and black moto on top gave it a cool, sporty edge. Then, I added a graphic punch with the black-and-white striped sunglasses and socks."

Are you a suffer-for-fashion kind of woman or comfort at all costs?
"I think I strike a good balance between the two. I don't live in sweatpants and sneakers, but if I can't comfortably walk 10 blocks in an outfit, I'm probably not going to wear it regularly. Commuting and living in NYC helps you make those fashion decisions. Although, I do still have a few ‘special’ pieces in my closet that I just adore and will tolerate a little fashion pain for. There are a couple pairs of killer heels that I will bring to work in my bag and only put on once I'm inside the office."
Advertisement
3 of 6
Photographed by Angelo D'Agostino.
Christene Barberich, editor-in-chief

I'd describe my personal style as ______ meets ______.
"Minimalist meets maximalist."

The R29 team is always in awe of your masterfully mixed, flowing-but-structured outfits. If you had to break it down, what elements make up your signature look?
"A great coat, bag, and shoes — it's the basis of my wardrobe (and my joy!) — and everything else just follows suit."

A great coat like the leopard number you're wearing?
"The minute I saw this leopard coat, I knew I needed to put it on my body immediately! It's such a classic print, and I love the modern sculpted shape...it's the kind of coat that can upgrade an outfit in a snap. I love that!"

How were you dressing a decade ago versus now?
"I think the biggest thing that's changed is how I'm drawn to good, quality pieces. Years ago I was more inclined to wear lots of cheap-y pieces, but these days, less stuff that lasts longer is so much more my jam."
4 of 6
Photographed by Angelo D'Agostino.
What are some trends you recently tried for the first time and loved?
"I'm a big fan of navy and army green, palazzo pants, and embellished everything. Those things aren't just trends for me; they're permanent themes in my outfit-planning."

Do you tend to suffer for fashion, or do you put comfort above style?
"A little of both. I won't say I've never worn a pair of shoes that I'm pretty sure caused nerve damage in one of my toes or a corset bra that made it hard to take a deep breath. Definitely leaning on the side of comfort and utility is more likely how I prefer to dress."

The R29 team always says you have a sharp eye for new talent. What grabs you when you meet someone for the first time?
"Honestly, it's a sparkle in his/her eye. A kind of strength and magnetism that is palpable and just draws you in. It makes you curious to know more, and, really, how that can inspire a spectrum of great ideas and emotions through content. Those are the kinds of editors and writers our readers want to connect with every day...and so do I."

5 of 6
Photographed by Angelo D'Agostino.
Leeann Duggan, style features editor

I'd describe my personal style as ______ meets ______.
"Sixties coquette meets modern minimalist."

What's your go-to look — or your uniform — so you're out the door in five minutes?
"I have a favorite vintage, pleated skirt I probably wear way too often, but I can't help it — I've always had a thing for school-uniform-style dressing. Pair with a crisp white shirt, slouchy sweater, and Chelsea boots, and you're out the door and onto the important things. Like bodega coffee."

Before becoming an editor at R29, you were a fashion blogger, which got you noticed. What do you think it is about your style that readers gravitate toward?
"I was the most photo-shy fashion blogger ever! I rarely posted pics of myself, because I felt that territory was very done. I think it was my voice that readers responded to. At the time, not many people were writing about street style in a smart, funny (okay, sometimes kind of snarky) way. Or, teasing out the vintage influences in a collection by posting my favorite photographs from the '40s. (I used to work in a photography museum, and vintage photography is another huge passion of mine.) Or, writing politically about the parts of fashion that felt both desirable and inaccessible to me. I'm grateful every day for the time I put into that blog, because it led to a whole new career for me."

6 of 6
Photographed by Angelo D'Agostino.
How has your style evolved over the years?
"Ten years ago, I was very much in the postcollegiate-casual world — jeans, vintage '80s Windbreakers, SO many striped T-shirts, and old-school '70s kicks. These days, I think my style is a lot less sportswear-y and way more adult. I learned that most people, in most places you go, will be wearing jeans and T-shirts. So, nothing against those staples, but if you wear almost anything else, you're well on your way to standing out! A well-cut trouser or a supersoft sweater will go a long way toward making you feel a little more sophisticated.

"I'm also way less interested in fast fashion and trendy pieces. It's such a cliché, but as you get older, you really do want to invest in pieces that last and that you can rely on season after season. The first time I bought myself a cashmere sweater, I thought, 'I've made it!' And, a motorcycle jacket is such a wear-forever classic that elevates any old thing you throw it over."

The moto you've got on is doing the job quite well.
"Yes! I have been wanting a great motorcycle jacket forever — as soon as I laid eyes on this one by DVF, I knew it was the one. It's a wardrobe game changer, for real. It's got such amazing structure and heft, and it can serve as any look's focal point. You really don't need to think too hard about the rest of your outfit. It makes the simplest pieces so much cooler — it almost feels like cheating! So, I paired it with a basic black tank dress, towering heels, and a little cherry-red bag for contrast. It's a going-out outfit that's easy to put together, easy to wear, and just next level enough."

This polar vortex has been rough. Which spring trends will we see you in when the snow thaws?
"I already have my spring wardrobe planned out! There's going to be a whole lot of ballerina-style, full midi-skirts and painterly print tops — feminine and the opposite of the monochromatic looks I currently live in." Advertisement
Advertisement