When Ode opened its doors in August of 2010, Lauren Weinsier was one of the first beauties to walk through them. She was on a mission: to sartorially redefine and rediscover herself. Not to dress the girl she had been, but to highlight who she'd become: a mother, a woman, a force. Her energy, optimism, and "Why not? I'll try it!" attitude has made Mrs. Weinsier one of our ever-inspiring favorites. She approaches style the way she approaches life: with thought, care, intelligence, humor, a dash of practicality, and a good helping of fun. That's why when Lauren launched her must-read fashion blog, Style Mammal, we jumped at the chance to pick her brain (and her closet).
How did you get started on Style Mammal?
About a year after having my second child and realizing that nothing in my closet either fit or suited my current lifestyle, I met Kristin at Ode and had an epiphany: that I could find clothing that allowed me to nurse, babywear, run after kids, and feel amazing all at the same time. Inspired by that experience, I started reading everything I could get my hands on about style, color, silhouette, and design. I realized that there seemed to be a push-pull surrounding the idea of taking the time to care about what you wear: on one hand many people acknowledge that it can make you feel great; on the other hand it can be viewed as frivolous or anti-feminist. I strongly believe in dressing and adornment as a mode for self-care, self-expression, and playful fun - and I wanted to join and further the online conversation I saw happening from that perspective. I think we are all changing and evolving all the time – from our bodies to our interests, to our livelihoods and skills. Right now, I'm a style-beginner trying to tune into my own instincts about what feels and looks good, and incorporating style in my life in a way that is in balance with my other priorities. The blog is a journal of these experiences and my own musings about why I believe it's more than ok to "bother" with style. I am really enjoying writing it and collaborating with others at whatever point the blog is relevant to them – from discussing the intersection of feminism and societal pressure surrounding “looks,” to issues of environmental consciousness versus mass clothing production, to basic matters like finding the time to tend to one’s evolving style. Being part of the conversation is important to me and I’m curious to see where it goes next.
What is your dream project?
My most rewarding experiences have been ones where I have participated in creating opportunities for people to connect and pursue healthy goals together. My dream project would be one where I could work with women to help them explore and be empowered by their own instincts, skills, and strengths.
What's your favorite line from a movie, song, or book?
"You do not have to be good."
It's the first line from the Mary Oliver poem, "Wild Geese."
You’re building a robot. What does it do?
Sorts and puts away laundry, opens and closes the chicken coop, fixes old homes, eats mosquitoes, scares bears, and grows kale out of its head.
What's your go-to "happy" song?
Anything by Pink, or "All Will Be Well" by the Gabe Dixon Band
If you were a piece of clothing what would it be and what color/pattern?
Anything gifted or handed down that has a pattern on it - I love items with sentimental value and I love pattern mixing because it keeps things interesting!
What’s the best advice you’ve ever gotten?
Read the manual.
When was the last time you laughed so hard you cried?
Yesterday I heard a clatter and my husband came into our room carrying a large, broken picture frame. He held up a teeny thumbtack, and said, "I tried to straighten this frame on the wall, but it fell down and broke. I looked for a nail, but only found a tack. Um, did you … hang this huge frame with a thumb tack?" I replied, "Maybe?" And then we both giggled like maniacs. I'm laughing again just thinking about it.
Where do you find inspiration?
EVERYWHERE! I love finding interesting color combinations in nature: copper/blue, brown/green, orange/purple. I enjoy reading different types of blogs, magazines, newspapers, and books for ideas about proportions, style history and philosophy, politics, color theory, organization, mindfulness, decor, and so many things. It always surprises me when an abstract or seemingly unrelated tidbit I read about suddenly makes sense when I'm writing, parenting, exercising, sewing or composing an outfit.
Advice for mothers who are looking to redefine their style?
Try something new! Or I should say TRY ON something new - a new color, shape, or pattern. The hard part is quieting that old voice in your head telling you "that's not me," or "that wouldn't look good on me," and actually giving new styles a real chance by trying them on.
For more on Lauren's style musings be sure to check out Style Mammal.