Preppy style reminiscent of Annie Hall

By Zoe Walker

Viva talks to Grace Pearson about her classic, preppy approach to style.

Grace Pearson. Photo / Babiche Martens
Grace Pearson. Photo / Babiche Martens

Yves Saint Laurent and Helmut Newton appreciated the power and unexpected sex appeal of a woman in a suit, popularising the look in the late 1960s. Think of Bianca Jagger's white suits, or later, Diane Keaton in Annie Hall, Patti Smith, and our favourite female modern-day wearer of suits, Tilda Swinton. Grace Pearson loves the suiting-as-sportswear approach of Jacqueline Kennedy, a personal style icon who reflects her own preppy aesthetic. Pearson works at Crane Brothers - tailors who traditionally focus on menswear but also create bespoke suits for women. Outside work, she's likely to be sporting a bow tie of her own making, or a classic Ralph Lauren sweater, which she owns in a rainbow of colours. She tells us more about her style.

In a suit, I feel powerful.

My favourite besuited woman is Jacqueline Kennedy. I love that she gave suiting a softer edge, and recontextualised the concept of suiting and sportswear. She's a personal style icon.

When buying a suit, my advice is quality over everything. Buy once and buy it well.

Away from work, you'll find me wearing bold colour, clean shapes and preppy overtones. At the moment I'm inspired by pastels and soft finishing juxtaposed with typically masculine features like bow ties, I make these myself to get the perfect finish to my look.

I've always been inspired by fashion and style but was totally enthralled when I saw the documentary Valentino: The Last Emperor. Witnessing the sheer drama, beauty and grace of his work gave me the drive to pursue a fashion career.

The designer I respect most is Ralph Lauren. I love the idea behind the brand of that fresh, clean all-American lifestyle. The preppy yet deceptively complex approach to his designs and his philanthropic leanings. It's a great example of brand-building at its best, and most of all his clothes are wearable and unique.

The most treasured item in my wardrobe is a Doris de Pont cropped floral blazer. I love the structure and modern feel of it.

My favourite item of clothing is my cable knit Ralph Lauren sweaters. I own a rainbow of hues. Definitely a wardrobe basic for any prepster.

The most recent addition to my wardrobe is my new grey Crane Brothers suit, finished with pink lining. Owning and wearing a custom Crane Brothers suit is such a luxury.

What I love most about winter dressing is the fact that Auckland isn't too chilly so you can actually have fun with it. Layering floaty dresses with something more tailored isn't going to mean you're freezing. Oh and of course wearing my collection of blazers.

My favourite winter trends are Brown leathers and cremes, paired with fresh denim and full knits. A kind of classic take on equestrian.

My greatest style inspiration is Unabashedlyprep.com is one of my go to blogs for everything prep.

My approach to beauty is looking after yourself. Too many people take good health for granted, being healthy is all you need in order to project your most beautiful self.

My latest discovery in food, beauty, fashion or wine is Harney and Son's "Paris" flavoured tea. My new obsession.

A few of my favourite stylish places are a late night bite at Moo Chow Chow or Cocoro, picking up tea from Farro Fresh, and the Salvation Kitchen cafe.

- NZ Herald

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