Not a week goes by that I don’t check in with my Facebook Group that I don’t see an outfit post asking for help from Kristol Smith. Taking advantage of the gracious and helpful spirit of the group, we have all watched Kristol’s style develop in incredible ways. This is not to say she was a fashion nightmare before becoming a member, of course. For me, it’s just really amazing to see the intention of creating the group realized through Kristol’s style evolution.

When I asked her if she would be interested in being this month’s Facebook Group Member of the Month, I knew she would have no problem getting some lovely photos to use. Even though I don’t know Kristol personally, I feel like I know about her through her style. And now I’d like for you to get to know her too. Let’s get better acquainted with Kristol’s through this post.

Name: Kristol Smith

Location: Jackson, Mississippi

Age: 49

Q: What do you like most about being a member of Bridgette’s Facebook Group? 

A: It is such a lovely group of supportive women that truly want to see the best for each other and in each other.

Q: What are the biggest benefits you have received from being a Group member 

A: One of the best benefits of being in the group is their gentle honesty. They let me know what works and what doesn’t in an outfit, and may even make suggestions for how to improve it. I have a spatial learning disability and sometimes it is challenging for me to see details/make connections visually when putting together an outfit. Getting the group’s thoughts on something can clarify choices, and makes me feel more comfortable in what I wear in the world.

Q: What would you tell women who haven’t joined the Group yet? 

A: When women support women, beautiful things happen. This group can up your fashion game, encourage more sustainable fashion choices, and act as a community space to connect during challenging times. Somedays I check in just to see what the crew is doing. They are always a fun group. Love these cool ladies!

Q: How would you describe your style?

A: I have a style?! LOL. My fantasy style is somewhere between Phoebe on Friends, and Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. In reality, I’m a lot less glamorous and more utilitarian. I work at a natural science museum in the south, so I go from working with children on the trails and handling reptiles, to later being on camera for media needs. So, my wardrobe has to be flexible, layered ( it’s bone-melting hot in the summer outside but chilly in the air conditioning), and with pockets. Comfy shoes are a must. And since I am Amazon tall, LONG pants are a blessing. I suppose if I had to describe it simply, maybe “casual chic”.

Q: How did you discover your personal style? 

A: Before Pinterest began, I kept a notebook of things I liked: recipes I wanted to try, organizational ideas, garden tips, and outfits. This is probably where my obsession with blazers began. Since I’ve always been on a budget, I try to stretch what I have in several ways. If I can’t make two or three outfits with a single item, then I don’t get it. It isn’t quite minimalist, but it is utilitarian. And if something has a purpose in the wardrobe, then I know I will wear it more and enjoy it.

Q: What advice do you have for others trying to find their own style? 

A: Never underestimate the power of trying clothes on. There are lots of things that I thought, “NEVER in a million years could I pull that off,” only to try it on and end up being pleasantly surprised. Maybe take a friend whose style you like with you on a planned shopping trip to make it more fun, and to get their opinion. And if you don’t have a friend available, post a picture of your would-be outfit to the group, and get their input.

If something makes you smile when you put it on, and you think you will really wear it, get it. Life is too short to have clothes that don’t give you joy.

Q: What fashion issues are you currently struggling with? 

A: I seem to always want something either really before it is in vogue, or really after it has had it’s moment. I guess this means I need to start attending Bridgette’s knitting club on-line, or taking up sewing to get my ideal item. 🙂

And as always, shoes. Comfy shoes that area pretty enough for business meetings but that I can walk on the trails comfortably with a gaggle of cub scouts behind me are a challenge. I have high arches and one foot is bigger than another, so finding a good shoe is like finding the holy grail!

Q: What are the most versatile items you have in your closet? 

A: My denim jacket is a favorite piece. Really, I can put that with almost anything and it finishes an outfit.

Another unexpected piece that I’ve grown to love is a polka dot blouse. Dressy, or casual, it has a lot to offer for variety.

Q: If you could go back and change a way you dressed in the past, what would you change? 

A: Embrace color earlier. Really, I love earthy neutrals, but an occasional bit of color can be so cheerful and can really perk up your attitude and how people respond to you.

Q: Is there a fashion purchase you made that you found more useful than you thought it would be? 

A: My red pants. Lord, I love those things. One of my favorite closet games to play is “how many outfits can I make” around one item. So far, six and counting for the red pants. And these are POWER red. I put these on when I need to kick ass in a business meeting. No one messes with almost 6-foot tall women in red pants.

Q: What about a fashion purchase that you thought would solve all your problems, but didn’t?  

A: I bought a very pretty blue flyaway cardigan, thinking that it would pull a few items in my wardrobe together, to make a complete outfit. However, it really didn’t work on me at all. The color was good, but the fit was so drapey, that I looked like I was melting. Even though it was a new-ish purchase, I decided to part with it. It wasn’t doing me any favors.

Q: How do you envision yourself when you look your best?  

A: When I look my best I’m wearing a smile and am just connecting to the moment.

Q: What are your biggest fashion goals for the year?  

A: Other than adding one or two items that I think would add value to my wardrobe, I want to focus on what I can do with what I have. So, playing in my closet…that’s a goal, right?

Q: What is the best fashion advice you ever received? 

A: “Throw that yellow shirt away”. I fell a little in love with a yellow shirt and was determined to add it to my wardrobe somehow. The group gently showed me that, although a pretty color, it wasn’t for me. Looking back on those photos, I’m very grateful for their help.

Q: The first thing you take off when you get home? 

A: Shoes and purse. I put those aside and pick up my cats and start to decompress.

Q: Favorite color(s) to wear

A: Do I have to pick one? I love it all.

Q: Favorite stores to shop? 

A: Ann Taylor Loft, Old Navy, TJ Maxx,., J Crew

Q: What makes you happiest? 

A: My husband.
Oh, you meant in fashion? Hmmm….unique pieces of jewelry make me happy. Most of my jewelry is made by someone I know or is an heirloom piece handed down by a family member. There is something so nice about having a unique piece of history, or a connection to someone you love.

Q: What inspires you? 

A: Nature. I admit I’m a sucker for florals shirts. And If I pick a graphic t-shirt or a unique piece of jewelry, I’ll pick flowers, bugs, or birds every time.