Ever wished you could sit down with a classy lady and talk to her about her
wardrobe, how she found her style, and what her essentials for adding beauty to her life are? Now with Adornabelle’s new feature,”Interviews with Belles”, you can do just that!
Today I am very pleased to introduce you to a dear friend of Adornabelle’s and a real poem of a person, Mrs. Lanier Ivester. She has been so kind as to grace us with an interview about her personal style, beauty routine and lovely perspective on life. I know you will all enjoy this one…
What would you say your style journey has been like? Do you dress today the way you did a few years ago or imagined you would at this age? What’s changed?
When I was younger, I definitely dressed more ‘romantically’, if you will. There was a distinct Anne of Green Gables influence to the styles I chose, which happily coincided with what I consider to be Laura Ashley’s prettiest era. I wore a lot of linen sailor dresses and petticoats and straw boaters in those days. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve (naturally) gravitated towards a less-girlish look and the few items that remain in my closet from that earlier period are there for sentimental reasons only. I’ve really enjoyed adapting my tastes to the season of life in which I find myself. I wear a lot more jeans nowadays, for sheer practicality’s sake, but overall I’m much more ‘mid-century’ than ‘Megan Follows’. It’s been really fun to experiment with a sleeker look—shorter skirts, higher heels and simpler ensembles. And red—I mean red—lipstick! I never could manage to pull that off when I was younger, but I love it now.
Would you consider yourself to be “fashionable”?
Oh, goodness, no. I just wear whatever the heck I love. Most of the things currently trending would look ridiculous on me, anyway, (believe me, I tried them the first time around in the 80s and they didn’t work then) but I’ve never been one to care much for what is currently popular. Although, I do swoon over the new retro-prettiness creeping into women’s clothes these days.
How would you describe your style?
Simple and feminine. Grace Kelly is my style icon—I love the way that she always seemed to look so effortlessly comfortable yet exquisitely ladylike. She wore her femininity so well, and that was reflected in the look she epitomized. There’s really no one to compare to her in our day, except maybe Kate Middleton (who is the only celebrity on the planet that I care anything about), but I’ll always admire her for the way she made it look like such a privilege to be a woman. Nothing sultry or cheap about her.
I never wear anything that I don’t feel both feminine and comfortable in—even jeans. That is my cardinal rule. If I’m thinking about my clothes—I change.
What is your go-to outfit?
In summer? Cobalt knit sundress with self belt and adjustable straps, gladiator sandals, huge earrings and huge sunglasses with a straw tote. Maybe a gold bangle bracelet if I want to feel fancy.
Winter is harder. I love summer clothes and mourn putting them away at the end of the season! But I guess I’d say skinny jeans, suede heeled boots, and a fitted sweater. Huge earrings, a scarf and a leather hobo would probably be in order, as well.
I wear a lot more skirts in the winter, too, though in summer it’s sundresses eight days a week.
What is your favorite accessory?
My ridiculously oversized white sunglasses. But I only wear them in the summer. I also love this sky-blue silk scarf that one of my best friends brought me from England—specifically for a “Kelly Wrap.”
What is one thing you wish you could “pull off” but haven’t dared to wear?
Those ginormous, funky necklaces! I just can’t do it. My frame is too small to pull it off. In fact, I have to be pretty careful about jewelry in general. Big earrings, yes, but I have to chose between a bracelet and a smaller necklace—generally I can only manage one of the three.
What is your morning routine as far as face, skin and hair?
I always wash my face as soon as my feet hit the floor—it wakes me up! I’m currently enamored with the Tata Harper line of skincare, which consists of all organically grown botanicals, and being greeted with those gorgeous flowery essences first thing in the morning is a very happy way to start the day. I always finish with a few drops of healthy oils—either straight coconut or Tata’s supremely lovely Replenishing Nutrient Complex. I usually wash my hair at night, so in the morning I might fluff it up a bit with a big curling iron, or just with my fingers if I’ve curled it the day before. I don’t wear a lot of makeup, but I’ll usually do a light foundation, a dab of crème blush and mascara.
What do you do to stay healthy? Any tips?
I drink a lot of water! With lemon!! It’s very alkalizing and it keeps me from resorting to juices and sugary drinks. Also, I believe that a good probiotic is essential. We take a lot of vitamins around here, but only under a doctor’s direct supervision—I’ve learned the hard way that it’s all too easy to self-diagnose and create new problems by over-supplementing. So, in addition to a good fish oil and my probiotics, I take vitamins only for the specific deficiencies my doctor has identified. I will say, that with all the teasing my husband gives me about the morning vitamin load around here, I honestly can’t remember the last time either one of us was sick.
In addition, we’ve been on the “Paleo Diet” for the past several months (again, under our doctor’s supervision) and I’ve seen a marked improvement in my skin texture and energy levels. It’s hard to navigate around all the “nos” on that diet—but, as we’re always reminding each other, there are a lot of “yeses”—and we make a point of celebrating them! Like grass-fed beef and yummy local cheeses (in moderation) and crazy cauliflower recipes I never would have tried otherwise.
What is your favorite beauty product?
Other than Urban Decay mascara?
I would have to say the facial scrub I use at night: a fascinating concoction of salts, clays and spices that smells like Christmas and feels like a micro-dermabrasion. I just love it. (It’s called The Clean Dirt.) I actually look forward to washing my face at night, which sounds kind of pathetic. But it’s that amazing.
Oh, and one more: Coconut oil. It’s magic.
Do you ever wish you could change something about your body?
Oh, my ears. They are so big. And they turn red when I get embarrassed, which is dreadful.
Which of your own features do you really like?
Well, my dad told me once that I had a “patrician chin”, and, I confess, I’ve never been quite able to forget that. Years later, at a family reunion, I came to the realization that it was a family chin, and I was delighted—and unrepentantly relieved. I thought “family chins” only showed up in Lucy Maud Montgomery novels! But to see all of my dad’s sisters sporting such decidedly no-nonsense chins well into their nineties—all I can say is that it gave me hope for the future.
Have you ever struggled with putting your identity in clothes or appearances? How?
Oh, yes. I imagine that every woman has, to some degree or another. There’s a reason Paul cautions us to place more priority on inner motivations than “outward adornments.” We’re wired to want to make ourselves attractive—whatever “attractive” means to us individually. I sometimes have to limit myself from scouring favorite fashion websites—or laugh at myself for doing it, which usually works just as well—because I start feeling discontent with what’s already hanging in my closet. I can think way too much about making a good impression, which is inexorably tangled with appearance.
Any words of wisdom as far as beauty goes?
Take care of your skin!! Seriously. Nothing that comes out of a bottle can compare to a healthy complexion.
I love the words of Audrey Hepburn (another of my models, not only for style, but for general womanly loveliness):
“The beauty of a woman is not in the clothes she wears, the figure that she carries, or the way she combs her hair. The beauty of a woman is seen in her eyes, because that is the doorway to her heart, the place where love resides. True beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul. It’s the caring that she lovingly gives, the passion that she shows and the beauty of a woman only grows with passing years.”
Lanier Ivester is a recovering perfectionist, an erstwhile teacher of classical ballet and a devotee of Very Long Walks. She collect memories and Southern sayings and old books and cats and things for her hair that don’t do what they say they will do. Vintage clothing is one of her vices, as is a tendency to worry first and ask questions later. She is a writer, and owns a delightful used book store. Read her blog and shop her store at LaniersBooks.com