In The Spotlight- Cari Smulyan of Bubby's Vintage
Some people just have great style. Every time you see them they look perfectly put together and perfectly effortless at the same time. Cari Smulyan is one of those people. Cari has an amazing eye for style and design. Looking for the perfect every day dress? Just ask Cari. She will email you ten options that are not only perfect, but perfect for you. On top of being a great stylist Cari also has an incredible vintage jewelry line, Bubby's Vintage. Whenever she is in NYC I selfishly host a trunk show for her so I can snap up some new goodies for myself.
Cari's styling tips have helped make my life much eaiser. Ever since working with her getting dressed is a much easier event for me. Thanks to Cari I have tons of photos on my phone and computer of go to outfits that I love and look great on me!
A little while ago Cari was kind enough to share her tips for staying stylish during the work week. Today I am putting her In The Spotlight as she answers all of my questions about style, her creative process with Bubby's Vintage, and her dream vacation. Enjoy!
1. How did you start Bubby's Vintage? Why vintage jewelry?
A couple of years ago I was having brunch with a friend on the Upper West Side of Manhattan and while we were waiting for our table we stumbled upon Green Flea, a flea market that happens every Sunday at 77th and Columbus Ave. The next Sunday I went back and found such amazing stuff. I was in heaven. When I showed my family and friends some of the amazing treasures I found and they asked if I would shop for them for the holidays. I decided to start a small website to direct family and friends to where they could buy cool and unique things I found. Within a few months what started out as a hobby had grown so much I had to start an ecommerce website. I quickly got bored just finding things. I started seeing how I could recreate the amazing things I found into modern fashion forward pieces while keep the beauty of it’s history.
Ever since I was little I have always been a lover of all things vintage. I find the journey of vintage jewelry amazing and love thinking about all the people whose life it has passed through. Also, contemporary costume (and most fine jewelry for that matter) can’t hold a candle to the craftsmanship of both fine and costume vintage jewelry, especially pieces before the1940’s.
2. Tell me a little bit about your process in creating a unique piece for Bubby's.
This is a tough one because it is like asking a painter how they start a painting, I don’t know the exact process, it just sort of happens. I spend a lot of my time at estate sales, and flea markets. I hunt through piles and cases of jewelry to find pieces that speak to me. I know I have found a piece I have to have when I look at it and I am flooded with ideas on how I am going to turn it into a new piece. There are also times when I will go to my markets with a specific mission in mind. For example, I want to make a bunch of long Art Deco dress clip necklaces so I look for that specific item. I also get a lot of inspiration from what I see people wearing on the street and what the latest fashion trends are. From that I start developing pieces that I think would accompany that fashion.
3. You are also a stylist. What is your process of working with clients like? What do you hope to help your clients achieve through working with you?
It all depends on the client, but usually I will ask a new client to fill out a questionnaire so I can get a feel for their current style, what they are looking for from me, and what they are hoping to achieve from our time together. I ask all of my clients to send me pictures of styles they love and want to incorporate into their wardrobe. In our first meeting I go through their closet and style the look they are trying to achieve from clothes they already own. I also create a list of items they are missing so the next time they go shopping they know what to look for. After we are finished I give them a list of examples where they can find the pieces they are missing at a price point they are comfortable with and pictures of what I have in mind for them. The reason I first style my clients from their own closet is because I believe that 90% of women and men buy things in the style they want to have or like, they just don’t know how to put it together. That’s where I come in.
4. What are the wardrobe essentials every woman should own?
- A pair of jeans that fits them beautifully and that they feel confident wearing.
- Little Black Dress
- Classic white button down shirt
- One black, one cream, one tan and one navy crew neck sweater
- Classic black blazer
- A white t-shirt
- One pair of black heals and one pair of nude heals they love and can walk in.
- Tall boots
- A statement necklace
- A simple and classic belt and a simple and classic brown belt.
5. What are your go to stores for clothing, both high and low.
Saks Fifth Avenue
6. When going through your closet what is the best method for deciding what to keep and what should go?
I have three areas in my closet; trend clothes, classic forever pieces or as I call them “my archive pieces”, and current basics. I think this is how everyone should look at his or her closet. There is the theory that if you haven’t worn something in six months or one year then you should toss it. That isn’t true for all clothes.
With your trend clothes (things that are currently hot and what everyone seems to be wearing) if you haven’t worn it in a year it needs to be tossed.
The same goes for your current basics. If you haven’t worn them in one year they need to be tossed. Also with current basics if you think you need a new version of the same thing then trust your gut, you probably do. Put it on your to do list.
With your classic forever pieces or “my archive pieces” hold on to them because they really never go out of style. While it may be two years before you wear them again they are still pieces that should be held onto.
Finally if you are on the fence about something put it in a bag in the back of your closet. If you go back and get it out to wear in the next few months then keep it. If you go back to that bag six months later and nothing has been touched in it you are ready to toss those things.
7. Are there any trends or looks you are loving right now?
I love all the leather I am seeing. Nothing makes me feel sexier then a pair of great black leather pants. I love that you can find them in both real and vegan leather and at all price points. Leather is great because you can dress it up or down. It looks great with a jean shirt or with a sequin top or jacket. Speaking of jackets I still love the waterfall collar trend. It looks great on everyone and is so sexy.
I also love all the color and bold prints we are seeing in pants.
8. Lastly, if you could go on a weekend getaway anywhere where would you go and what essentials would be in your suitcase?
Yikes, this is a tough one. There are so many places I want to go. I guess since winter is coming I would love to go to Jackson Hole Wyoming to go snowboarding for the weekend. My suitcase would have the following.
Free People Aztec sweater jacket
Long sleeve silk blouse
Crew neck sweater
Faux fur vest
Super cozy cowl neck pullover sweater
Tall Frye boots
American Apparel white v-neck t-shirt