We visited writer and editor Alyssa Reeder (@alyssareeder) in her light-filled Williamsburg apartment and asked her to spill the beans on her simple, elegant sense of style.
I wore a school uniform for most of my life. A white or navy polo shirt with a plaid or navy skirt (or skort) until High School. I loved it. I learned to pay extra close attention to very small things that we were allowed to change: hair style, shoes, coats, and nail color. I still focus on those things. But when I got to New York, and was working in the publishing world surrounded by some really fashionable women who each had distinct sense of style –– I realized I am lazy when it comes to clothing –– but I know what I like and what I hate, and I don't feel a particular need to push myself to be any more adventurous when it comes to clothes. (Other things yes, but not clothes.) For example, I hate seeing someone who looks uncomfortable in their shoes. You'll never see me trying to walk in something I'm not meant to walk in. And I think knowing what you hate is much more important than knowing what you love. What I love changes too much.
My sister was really into vintage clothes growing up. We loved going through my mom and grandmother's closets. That always inspired me. And I think, for better or worse, made me my style really nostalgic. My grandma's mother was a seamstress and a dressmaker –– so growing up, they always had really amazing dresses and suits for us to play dress up with. One of my favorite coats I still wear today was from our dress up trunk –– a faux bear fur costume jacket that my mom wore in a school play in 6th grade.
I also like seeing movies for inspiration –– a few of my favorites for colors and clothes: The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (the dresses!), Reality Bites (that 90's does 70's does Gap situation makes me very happy), Pierrot Le Fou, People on Sunday...
I love clothes, but there are very few things I like less than shopping. I think social media actually makes shopping less horrible, because you can get a sense of how things look on human bodies (cool, stylish ones 3000 miles away, even) before purchasing them online. It's also a great way to get in touch with vintage stores that you'd otherwise have no idea existed.
Every season I do a great purge. For summer months, I pack away all of my winter clothes. When winter rolls around, I donate or sell anything I haven't worn in 6 months and start over. I used to be really sentimental about all my clothes, but now I'd rather own as little as possible.
I've always admired women who juggle a lot really effortlessly. One editor of mine taught me to really turn off when you turn off. I work remotely –– from the airplane, from a client's office, or from home, so I have to be pretty self-motivated...and I think a crucial part of that is knowing when to go to turn off, say no to plans, or go to sleep even. I really don't believe in spinning your wheels or working just to work.
Hang everything, get a steamer, don't put knits in the dryer (don't let your boyfriend put your knits in the dryer either), and if you live in New York –– make friends with a cobbler. Become best friends with a cobbler. The sidewalk salt in the winter kills my favorite boots every year.
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"I’ve read a little about consumer decision-making and the psychology of happiness and incorporated some findings in my everyday life... I mostly buy one item at a time to maximize the happiness I get out of purchases. There is research showing that happiness relies on the frequency, not the intensity, of the positive input you receive."