Best Dressed 2013

DISCLAIMER: The information in this article was fact checked and accurate at press time, but 417 Magazine cannot guarantee its accuracy indefinitely.

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Age: 25
Occupation: Business affairs manager, Springfield Ballet
Signature item: My Stella & Dot tan cheetah print scarf. It is sassy yet understated and can spice up any neutral outfit—accessories are key! Plus, I love to travel, and add-ons like scarves keep packing light.

417 Magazine: What do you think is the worst fashion faux pas?
Caitlin Kissee: Not wearing enough clothing. Remember which adjective came first when Coco Chanel said: “A girl should be two things: classy and fabulous.”

417: Where do you find fashion inspiration?
C.K.: I think it’s in my blood... my first word was shoe! I’m always looking for fashion inspiration. When I walk into a store, the first things I’m looking at are how the mannequins are dressed and how the employees are styled. I love fashion blogs and people watching in places like airports around the world.

417: If you could only wear one brand/designer for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?
C.K.: Probably Kate Spade. It’s like she’s designing for me. I love every classic feminine detail; I could wear bows and pearls forever!

417: What is your favorite fashion trend right now?
C.K.: Maybe it’s because I didn’t really get to live through the ‘80s, but I am loving colored denim. My closet is organized by color anyway, so I love walking in and seeing such fun denim from red to lime to cobalt blue lined up for my choosing!

417: Finish this sentence: "I wouldn’t be caught dead wearing..."
C.K.: A frown... at least I try really hard not to. Not only is it the most unattractive accessory, but it does nothing for the people you encounter. True joy and a genuine smile are the most beautiful fashion accessories.

417: Who are your fashion role models?
C.K.: I love the feminine and classic styles of Audrey Hepburn, Kate Middleton and Paige Collins on "Royal Pains" but, honestly, I pay more attention to fashion around me every day than on any celebrity.

417: What’s a fashion trend you wish would go away?
C.K.: No trends really bother me. If I don’t like it, I don’t wear it. Trends are just that, they will come and go in about a 30-year cycle. Invest in statement pieces, and you can’t go wrong.

417: What three words define your style?
C.K.: “Dress for success.” My mom used to say this to me all the time, and it’s stuck with me ever since. Whether you’re considering what to wear for an interview or a big presentation, or just thinking about what to throw on and go grocery shopping in, it’s always good advice. In college, I would always dress up on test days, as opposed to wearing sweats... it just put me in a better mindset!

417: What’s your favorite outfit/article of clothing you’ve ever worn?
C.K.: Probably my cheetah print, floral-embroidered cowboy boots. They were a Valentine’s Day gift from my husband who knows the key to my heart is a chic pair of shoes!

417: What are your favorite places to shop for clothes in 417-land?
C.K.: I love local boutiques! Shopping should be an experience, and the customer service when the owner knows your name can’t be duplicated. I’m a frequent visitor at Harem & Company, MODERN Society, STAXX and The Red Poppy Boutique.

417: What are your favorite places to shop that are not in 417-land?
C.K.: As a St. Louis native, my shopping habit developed in the shoe department of Nordstrom—I could literally sit amongst the shoes for hours! Even now, every trip up I-44 includes some retail therapy. I also love outlet shopping, which luckily can be done in 417-land, but the J.Crew outlet at the Lake of the Ozarks is one of my favorites. The majority of my accessories come from Stella & Dot, a revolutionary company run by incredible women.

417: What is the most embarrassing thing you’ve ever worn?
C.K.: I look at pictures of myself in the early ‘90s and wonder what I was thinking with the neon fanny pack and puff-painted shirts! But hey, I’m sure they were in style then, right? And there’s no one to blame but myself; I’ve been dressing myself since before I could walk!

417: What’s the most you’ve ever spent on a must-have piece of clothing? What was it, and where did you get it?
C.K.: I always look at price per wear. If you’re investing in a classic black dress or a quality pair of pumps, you don’t want them to fall apart after a few wears. When it comes to closet staples, I’m willing to splurge a bit. Also, I’m willing to spend a couple hundred dollars on premium denim... there is a difference (try it)! I’ve even converted my frugal husband. Nothing beats the fit and stretch of a high-quality pair of jeans!

417: What’s the best bargain you’ve ever found? How much did it cost, and where did you find it?
C.K.: For me, it’s never about how much you spend, and always about how much you save! In the last year, I’ve gotten really into shopping flash sale sites like Rue La La and Haute Look to find designer deals at their lowest prices. I snagged a Kate Spade trench coat I’d been eyeing for 75 percent off! It always pays to wait for something to go on sale!

417: Do you ever shop at thrift stores? If so, what do you look for there?
C.K.: No, I don’t have the patience to look through racks and racks for the shot at finding something good. The mess and chaos stresses me out!

417: How long does it take you to get ready to go out/go to work?
C.K.: One hour. I’m like clockwork. Unless I can’t decide what to wear, then, all bets are off!

See the Best Dressed winners walk the runway at 417’s Fashionation March 12 at the Gillioz Theatre.

Check out our Best Dressed Winners from 2012 and 2011.

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