Inside Columbia
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Style Is Eternal

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photos by L.G. Patterson
photographed on location at the Sager | Braudis Gallery, 1025 E Walnut St.

“Fashion fades, style is eternal,” said Yves Saint-Laurent who may or may not have been paraphrasing the late, great, one and only design diva Coco Chanel.

David Goldman, the British photographer renowned for his male fashion editorial shoots for the likes of GQ and Esquire, defines style as “that alloy of taste and habit that is timeless and authentic.”

In Roots of Style: Weaving Together Life, Love, and Fashion, designer Isabel Toledo describes fashion as “ephemeral. It is the flavor of the day, and useful for refueling your style inspiration when you feel you’ve run out of gas,” whereas style “is an effective way to carve out your individuality…People with style dress in harmony with their inner, most authentic selves.”

Or as Psychology Today’s Editor-in-Chief Hara Estroff Marano succinctly puts it: “Fashion is the clothes. Style is the wearer.”

We asked a few of Columbia’s doers and movers known for charting their own paths — in education, medicine and research, arts and culture — to share their takes on personal style. We got a mix of light-hearted and thoughtful answers. Their collective anthem about the role of style is best summed up in these two perspectives: “Respect all our differences!” and  “…be true to who you are.”

We’ll let them tell you the rest in their own words…

KARA BRAUDIS, M.D.

Assistant Professor of Dermatology and Director of Dermatopathology
University of Missouri, Department of Dermatology

I sit at a microscope most of the time, so I like to be comfortable. My typical work attire is snappy casual and occasionally quirky, but I do like to get dressed up for occasions!

How would you describe your style? 
Classic and comfort-driven

Do you have any signature or trademark items?
The color chartreuse.

What is your go-to wardrobe item?
A comfortable dress — fewer decisions that I have to make in the morning. I love a dress with long or  sleeves. Come to think of it, I love any clothing item with  sleeves. I wash my hands very frequently at work, and I like not having to push my sleeves up.

How does what you wear reflect your personality?
In some ways, the things I look for in a well-made garment are similar to those things I value in life. I love some structure, but not too much.
Your favorite clothes (and relationships!) should be valued and taken care of so that they last. Don’t be afraid to try something new, but you may want to try it for a limited audience first. Respect other people’s unique styles…in fact, respect all our differences!

 

SCOTT BRAUDIS

Owner, Sager Braudis Gallery

How would you describe your style? 
lazy, middle aged, boy band

How does what you wear reflect your personality?
bad taste in music

Why do you enjoy fashion? 
fashion is art

Who are your fashion inspirations? 
joel sager

Any signature or trademark items?
right hand rubber band

What is your go-to wardrobe item? 
the classic white v neck t-shirt

Any favorite accessories?
some, but balance (D Cremer design Tel Aviv)

Do you collect anything?
art

Any “Whatever was I thinking?” items in your closet?
blue tuxedo

One thing you’ll never be caught wearing…ever?
frayed jorts

 

IRINA TEVZADZE

Artist, Designer, Professor of art, fashion, Stephens College School of Design

How would you describe your style?
I think it is multicultural in character, with an emphasis on simplicity and comfort, perhaps containing some unexpectedness, a little surprise….

How does what you wear reflect your personality?
I think it works both ways: who we are determines what we wear and what we wear reflects, but also defines, who we are. It is a circular relationship, I think.

Why do you enjoy fashion?
Fashion is an expression of the spirit of a given time and also a tool that helps people to be in harmony with the moment. But the main reason for me is that fashion projects one’s enthusiasm for life.

Who are your fashion inspirations?
I can never stop listing. My main inspirations come from people — people who make things and express themselves…from the worlds of art, choreography, cinema, music, theatre, ballet, architecture, landscape design and agriculture… Romeo Gigli [says], “A person’s beauty is solely interior – it’s a force, an energy, a balance you carry within.” So one’s fashion needs to be based on these criteria. All who meet these inspire me.

Do you have any signature or trademark……items?
Boots and shoes — Ann Demeulemeester, Dirk Bikkembergs, Alexander McQueen, Deisel; blazer — Ennio Capasa/Costume National; pants — Jean Paul Gaultier; Yves Saint Laurent and Moschino belts and scarves; sunglasses — MYKITA + Maison Margiela and Giorgio Armani, as well as several pieces by Georgian designers where I am from.

Go-to wardrobe item?
V- neck oversized sweaters and button down shirts. They make me feel at ease.

Tell us your favorites and why….
The right shoes make you walk “properly;” their shape and form define your movement and manner of walking. Bags and sunglasses I would position on an equal level Color for me is about placement next to the other color, more like story telling. Scents that combine almost unrecognizable hints of citrus with some touch of masculinity.

Do you collect anything?
Not of finished products, but I collect a variety of materials to “build” something out of them.

Any “Whatever was I thinking?” items in your closet?
I have some pieces that I have never worn still hanging in the closet waiting for my attention. Perhaps they belong to the “whatever was I thinking” category…who knows.

One thing you’ll never be caught wearing…ever?
Perhaps shoes that we call wedges

The Art of Fashion

Artist and fashion designer Irina Tevzadze uses traditional and digital media to inspire her works. A native of the country of Georgia, she has sold and exhibited works internationally and designed collections for high-profile European Fashion houses.

 

AMY MEYER

Curator  |  Director of Administration, Sager Braudis Gallery

I’ve recently decided to go back to school for my MFA in painting and drawing. I sometimes get asked why I wear no color when my paintings are very colorful. It’s hard to explain, but I find color to be very stimulating and emotional. I want to be a blank canvas to experience my day and emotions regardless of what I’m wearing. Sometimes I’ll dress up my outfit with jewelry from the gallery. That’s about as adventurous as I get.

How would you describe your style? 
Monochromatic Modern

How does what you wear reflect your personality?
As an introvert, I don’t like to draw attention to myself. Basic black, white and neutral tones allow me to blend in to the background.

Why do you enjoy fashion?
I prefer to keep it very simple. I’m the kind of person who will find the right pair of jeans, buy five pairs and wear them every day. Once I find an article of clothing that I like, I stick with it.

Who are your fashion inspirations?
Donna Karan and Matilda Kahl

Any signature or trademark…
…items? I recently purchased a handmade leather bag, customized with two front pockets, by Vermut Atelier, from Barcelona. I’d been looking for the perfect bag for years. I’m in love with it. I can’t imagine having any other bag, ever.
…accessories? Peg Fetter Jewelry, Warby Parker glasses (I do need them, but I choose them for the look) and occasionally a black hat
One thing you’ll never be caught wearing…ever?
Culottes

 

ADRIAN CLIFTON, PH.D.

President, Worley Street Roundtable Community partnership liaison, University of Missouri, College of Education

My passion for working with kids comes from a social justice perspective. If we immerse kids in multicultural education, inform them of the world’s inequalities, and guide them to be critical thinkers and problem solvers, we can grow our very own change agents!

How would you describe your style?
Sophisticated with a dash of hip-hop.

How does what you wear reflect your personality?
As a professor, I like to wear dresses and blazers. I also have a laid back, cool personality as well that is reflected in my chill, hip-hop look.

Who are your fashion or style inspirations?
My inspiration comes from fashion blogs and magazines. I like to check out what is in season and then go shopping to make the look my own. I love to shop at thrift stores and mix it up with pricier clothing.

Any signature or trademark…
…items? My black Michael Kors purse accessorized with a black and gold puffball! It’s fun to wear and the puffball is a great pop of color! …accessories? Earrings! It’s amazing what even putting in studs can do for your look! …shoes? Flats are a must. Being a mother and a professor walking across campus, I cannot walk around all day in heels! There are so many cute and comfortable flats that still keep you looking stylish and professional.
…colors? Bright colors for me are in. There is nothing like a pop of color. With my brown skin, reds, oranges and yellows look beautiful.
…scent? Lavender has been my go-to scent this season — great for soothing relaxation.

Do you collect anything?
It’s not style-related but I have to say that I collect books! I am a bookworm. Going to the library is like a piece of heaven for me!

Any “Whatever was I thinking?!” items in your closet?
A pair of black heels. They are so uncomfortable I cannot wear them anywhere! This is why I stick to flats!

 

KEVIN BROWN, PH.D.

Assistant Superintendent of Secondary Education, Columbia Public Schools

My family — two sons, Quinten and Jabari and wife of 21 years, LaTonya Brown — and I just moved from Madison, Wis. I am totally committed to education. Education is freedom. Education allows one to enjoy all of the wonderful things this resourceful country has to offer. Being educated has made it possible for me to become assistant superintendent of secondary education for such an innovative school district such as Columbia Public Schools.

How would you describe your style?
Improvisational: I never know exactly what I might wear. However, I buy most of my suiting from Banana Republic, Kenneth Cole, J. Crew and Ralph Lauren.

How does what you wear reflect your personality?
I tend to wear bright and exciting to plaid clothing. I would like to think that I am a fun guy, happy most times, and always in search of excitement. I don’t care for down time too much.

Who are your fashion inspirations?
People tend to enjoy what I wear. I do not look to match navy blue on navy blue, but instead to coordinate colors.

What is your go-to wardrobe item?
I wear suits 95% of the time. One can never go wrong with a nice Ludlow J. Crew or Banana Republic suit.

Any signature… 
…accessories?  Just keep it as simple as possible. Watch to wedding ring. Nothing more.
…shoes?  Magnanni, Too Boot New York, Cole Haan, Mezlan and Antonio Maurizio. I love the cut of their shoes and the craftsmanship.
….colors? crimson and white
…scents?  Ralph Lauren Blue, Ralph Lauren Polo Red, and Vintage Black by Kenneth Cole

 

CARRIE GARTNER

Executive Director, The Loop (Community Improvement District)

I always wanted to make a difference in my community, and between my love of cities and my skill set, this job is the perfect match for me. If we can revive and beautify an aging auto corridor, we’ll have accomplished something really meaningful for Columbia.

How would you describe your style?
Classic and kind of preppy

How does what you wear reflect your personality?
My days are pretty packed, so I try to wear something that will do double duty. I also bike to work or out to dinner when the weather cooperates, and it’s important to remember that you can be still fashionable while riding a bike.

Why do you enjoy fashion?
I find fashion a bit frustrating. Men can purchase the same shirt for years but women are forced to adjust to yearly trends. If there was an Amazon Dash button for my favorite white button-up, I’d be first in line.

Who are your fashion or style inspirations?
I spend a lot of time with the faculty and students at Stephens School of Design and they are all inspiring — and much more stylish than I will ever be.

Any signature or trademark…
…items? I have this fantastic orange briefcase. Between the color and the fact everyone knows it’s mine, I never leave it behind.
…accessories? I’m never without my Apple watch and my grandmother’s wedding ring.
…scents?  Orange blossoms.

Do you collect anything?  
Vintage purses. I find them at estate sales and on eBay.

Any “Whatever was I thinking?!” items in your closet?
Ankle boots: a good idea in the abstract, but they never seem to work for me.

One thing you’ll never be caught wearing…ever?
Boho

 

JOEL SAGER

Owner & Curator, Sager Braudis Gallery

My wife bought me this satchel years ago from the now defunct Mulholland Brothers. I literally go nowhere without it. I’m analog, so I still keep in it paper notes and my sketchbook, of course, along with other essentials. And my three sons know they can always find a pen and paper to draw and color with. I love it for its utilitarian purposes and also think it’s beautiful in an Old World way.

How would you describe your style?
Disheveled

How does what you wear reflect your personality?
As an artist, I always have paint on my jeans but need something more formal when slipping into gallerist mode, so I often just throw on a jacket. Combined with the fedora I always wear, it’s an easy way to go from artist bum to somewhat presentable.

Why do you enjoy fashion?
I’m not so sure I enjoy fashion so much as I do style and feel it is an art form. When style is done well it can be utilitarian, beautiful to look at, and a complete expression of individualism — just like painting or any other art form.

Who are your fashion inspirations?
The fictional love child of Steve McQueen and Alexa Chung

What is your go-to wardrobe item?
I have some leather boots that have lasted years and are indestructible. They’re comfortable; they’re tough; I wear them in all seasons, and they can be dressed up or down. They’re just perfect.

Any signature or trademark…
…items? Felt hat
…accessories? Tattoos, because it’s other artists’ artwork on one’s body
…scents? A dab of whiskey under the ear earlobe

Do you collect anything?
I have way too many handkerchiefs and love to keep them in a back pocket….They are extremely handy (pun intended) to have around for blubbering grooms or for when one of my three sons throws mud at my face. My favorite is made by Adinkra, Will Palmieri’s line, with the T.S Eliot quote: “We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.”

 

HANNAH REEVES

Director, Sager Braudis Gallery Artist, B & R Tiny Farm Shop home textiles

Since moving to the country in 2013, I’ve been thinking a lot about how to use what I can make and grow myself. Durable, beautiful household linens are a farmhouse staple for us, and I began designing home textiles about a year ago…I work on my farmhouse sun porch.

How would you describe your style? 
1956 Grace Kelly accidentally wanders into American Apparel

Why do you enjoy fashion? 
I appreciate good craftsmanship in a garment just as much as its style. I love items that are well made from interesting fabrics.

Fashion inspirations?
As a fiber artist, the feel and weave or knit of the fabric always appeals to me first.

What is your go-to wardrobe item?
Black suede ankle boots work with nearly everything. So do black skinny pants…

Any signature or trademark…
…items?   Well, 90% of my wardrobe is either gray or black.  Does that count?
…accessories? A gigantic, durable, leather purse …shoes? Nude wedges or those black ankle boots
…colors? Black and gray, which is just a tint of black

Do you collect anything?
Gray sweaters. Last count: 22

Any “Whatever was I thinking?!” items in your closet?
I bought a cropped bustier-style top at a fast-fashion place because it just struck me the right way. I never wore it, and I really can’t believe I bought it! It’s not even gray.

One thing you’ll never be caught wearing…ever?
All white. I have farm animals and little kids. I’d never even make it to the car.

 

DAVID WILSON

Co-Conspirator, True/False Film Fest  

Style can be an extension of your personality and worldview.  But fashion is just what you buy.  Never confuse the two.

How would you describe your style? 
Like a very well-organized thrift store

Why do you enjoy fashion? 
As a filmmaker and fest director, I definitely care about aesthetics, but I like for my personal aesthetic to be grounded in the practical and the functional.

How does what you wear reflect your personality?
I don’t believe that clothes make the man, but wearing the same orange hunting cap every day at a film festival definitely helps people remember who you are.

Fashion inspirations?
‘90s Prada, ‘90s punk, Issey Miyake, Ian MacKaye, Bill Cunningham

Any signature or trademark…
…Items? I wear a LOT of T/F gear. White belts. Orange scarves.
…accessories? A lavender Adinkra pocket square.
…shoes?  Chrome sneakers are the best I’ve found.

What is your go-to wardrobe item? 
A good hoodie.

Do you collect anything?
Handkerchiefs? Bow ties? Orphaned socks?

Any “Whatever was I thinking?”  items in your closet?
I once convinced myself that I could pull off a red leather suit jacket, bought at the old Arizona Trading Company. I could not.

One thing you’ll never be caught wearing…ever? 
Men’s sandals

 

ORVIL SAVERY, PHR

HR Generalist/Diversity Recruiter, Veterans United Home Loans Diversity Awareness Partnership (DAP) Advisory Board

Describe your style?
I ebb and flow between hipster and preppy but prefer to keep things true to my clean-cut style as it’s timeless. I give things a twist by paying attention to details (cuts, textures, patterns and accessories) and by adding bright, bold colors that go well with my skin tone and make a statement.

How does what you wear reflect your personality?
I believe that what we wear is a true reflection of the heart. I’m outgoing and love the people and the world around me. My personality is one of confidence and self-reliance and that is reflected in what I wear.

Why do you enjoy fashion?
Fashion is a way of expressing yourself depending on a situation. Style is a way of proclaiming to the world what you care about and, in some cases, what you value.

What is your go-to wardrobe item?
My favorite pair of boots. They’ve withstood the test of time and even my insistent appetite for late night dancing.

Do you have any signature or trademark…
..accessories? I love watches, because they seem to be a dying trend. Nothing says style more than a leather band Skagen.
…colors? White, green, pink, gray, orange: they flatter my skin tone.
…scents? I love Aquas like Polo Blue, but right now I’m loving Invictus by Paco Rabanne

Do you collect anything?
I collect cologne. I actually used to have a small store….I have 32 bottles of cologne if anyone wants to know what smells good.

One thing you’ll never be caught wearing…ever? 
Something that’s not my size

 

LORELI WILSON, CDP, SHRM-CP

Manager of Diversity & Inclusion Programs, Veterans United Home Loans

I’m passionate about my involvement in the community I was raised to support an inclusive community for everyone in Columbia. A tagline of VU’s diversity initiative is THIS IS ME. I walk into work as me, walk out as me, and live my life as me. My closet includes super hero shirts and TOMS, but when I want to flex my style muscles, I’ve got the ammo in my closet to rock it.

How would you describe your style?
Casual and versatile

How does what you wear reflect your personality?
To be true to who you are and to be able to express yourself is why I do what I do. I definitely practice what I preach.

Who are your fashion inspirations?
I get a lot of my inspiration from the people around me. I also look at Pinterest for new looks or different takes on elements I might already have in my closet.

Do you have any signature or trademark items?
My Kate Spade crossover bag

What is your go-to wardrobe item?
Black leggings — they go with everything! They can be styled up with a blouse and statement necklace, or go with a more casual look like a long knitted cardigan and boots.

Any favorite…
…accessories?  This season I’ve been really into hats—they instantly add style to any outfit!
…shoes? My classic black converse tennies
… colors? Earth tones, gold jewelry
…scents? Candy Kiss by Prada – it’s light, but just the right amount of sweet!

Any “Whatever was I thinking?” items in your closet?
To figure out who I was, I had to go through a lot of phases of who I wasn’t. That included dressing from head to toe in coordinating yellow and black Adidas, JNCO jeans, and wearing tops I wouldn’t even look twice at today. Most pictures have already been burned.

One thing you’ll never be caught wearing…ever?
Anything KU

 

JENI SOMMERFELD-SAGER

I’m currently at home with my youngest of three children (all boys). Previously, I worked at a lab at the university that studied the effects of a chemical called BPA on metabolism. Professionally, I’m interested in sustainability and community health. I love cooking, traveling and spending time in nature.

How would you describe your style? 
A combination of whimsical and basic

How does what you wear reflect your personality? 
I’m a no-fuss sort of person with a lot to juggle, so my style is typically minimal and easy.

Who are your fashion inspirations?
Alexa Chung, Bea Johnson, Rihanna

Do you have any signature or trademark items?
My red lipstick

Your go-to wardrobe item? 
Again, red lipstick, the quickest way to achieve some semblance of being “put together”

Go-to accessories?
Chunky jewelry for most impact with least items

Go-to shoes?
Van sneakers, Birkenstock sandals and duck boots. Go with everything, go everywhere (almost) and super comfortable

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