Even though I’m a born California girl, I have a special fondness for New England – the gorgeous scenery, the beautiful drives and B&Bs along the way, and especially the fashion. I love the preppy, New England style of dressing. To be honest, it’s a style that I’ve always found very difficult to do well – it’s easy to look too stuffy, or overdone, or simply contrived. I remember when I was living in Boston, there were tons of “preppy” looks all over the place, but very few that really stood out.
That’s why I love this week’s interview with Sarah Vickers so much. Sarah is classic new England – she has the pearls, the worn loafers, the classic sweaters – but wears them in a way that is still youthful and fun. She never looks like she is trying too hard to fit a certain type of mold, but instead looks incredibly stylish while remaining perfectly comfortable in her own skin and clothes. I hope you enjoy today’s interview with the beautiful Sarah! I’ve included some of my favorite photos of her throughout.
Who are you? What do you do, and where do you live?
My name is Sarah Vickers, and I’m from Rhode Island. I run a fashion accessories company called Kiel James Patrick with my boyfriend Kiel, and our business partner. Everything we do is geared towards living in the Ocean State. Our accessories line is very nautical! In the past couple of months we have grown so much that we recently set up a factory space to hire a few more hands so more time can be spent on designing new products. It has been so much fun turning it into the ideal place to work. On the side I have a blog called “Classy Girls Wear Pearls.” I started it as a fun hobby to channel my love of fashion and New England scenery outside of what I do for the brand.
I know you live in New England. What are some of your favorite local spots? Where are some other favorite places that you’ve visited throughout the world?
Rhode Island is the only place I’ve ever lived. There has never been any reason for me to leave! Everything in New England is a car ride away, which makes summer road trips amazing. I’m an hour and a half away from the Cape and three hours away from NYC. Newport is a great place to visit, but I love Jamestown, RI. It is just as beautiful, but a lot more laid back. You have a perfect view of all the sail boats docked in the Newport harbor without having to encounter all the tourists. There are a couple great spots to grab a drink and I love that you can go over the bridge and into Jamestown without encountering too much traffic.
Sarah in Town & Country
What are some of the most worn items in your closet?
I have a pair of camel pointy leather flats from J.Crew that are completely worn out but I can’t bear to part with them because they match with everything I wear and are extremely comfortable. Other items I tend to wear a lot are my vintage Coach Willis bag, and a Ralph Lauren button down with frayed cuffs, broken in just the way I like it.
What about your most treasured items, things that you’ve “splurged” on?
I love my Milly dress collection. The brand is the pefect combo of classic vintage appeal and modern fashion. I love the use of high-quailty fabrics, gorgeous patterns, and the fact that the majority of Milly dresses are US made. These dresses are the few things I splurge on without feeling guilty that I will likely only wear them a couple of times.
Who are your style icons?
Fashion ad models from the sixties. I love the way they dressed and especially how they wore their makeup.
What is misconception that people might have about preppy/New England style? Do you believe in any fashion no-nos if you want to dress in this way?
I would like to plead the fifth on this one!
Can you name a few fashion items that you own that people might be surprised that you do?
My wardrobe is fairly predictable. I own a few baseball caps for those summer days when my hair is losing the battle against humidity, and over the past decade I’ve collected about 40 vintage Lacoste polos sitting on the shelf of my closet. Admittedly this is probably not too surprising.
What % of items do you buy full price, vs. on sale?
I’m not the most savvy shopper when it comes to savings. About 85% of my wardrobe is full priced but my love for shopping at thrift stores balances it. Some of the items in my closet you will rarely find on sale such as a pair of Durbarry boots I purchased this winter. Other times my purchases are likely to go on sale but I buy them right away rather than risk the item selling out. Stores like J.Crew have great discounts on clearance items but they typically move inventory very fast.
Can you share some advice you’ve learned over the years about style/shopping/budgeting that you follow now?
Timeless quality staples are the best foundations to build a wardrobe, and most of the time they tend to get better with age. I will splurge on a great fitting oxford, or cashmere sweater that will serve me well year after year. A few key staples acquired each season can go a long way. I love buying pants and skirts in bold colors and toning down the look with a well worn oxford and statement necklace. I tend to buy sensible shoes that can look great with everything rather than the must haves that don’t exactly match with anything (those are the items I look for on sale). Purchase clothing you can see yourself wearing often, rather than items that will make it out of the house maybe once a season. There are so many looks you can get out of a basic item. It’s all about how you accessorize.
Finally – please share something surprising about yourself!
I’m addicted to reading young adult novels in my spare time. I’m currently reading the Fallen series by Lauren Kate which is one of my favorites. With my crazy schedule I love the fact that these books are a fast, light, entertaining read.
Isn’t Sarah beautiful? And the photos themselves are gorgeous. I really liked her advice on getting many looks out of basic items – it’s something that I am always trying to accomplish with my closet – buying things I’ll get lots of wear out of.
Thank you again to Sarah for this lovely interview, and for more of her, visit her blog here.