I don’t know Carlene Ziegler, this month’s Facebook Group Member of the Month, very well.  She’s not one for posting new topic threads in the group but she is someone who is a supportive commenter with great advice and relatable experiences.  When others ask for outfit advice, she always offers something of value.

I love featuring members each month because it allows for the opportunity to learn something about a member I never knew before.  For example, Carlene’s mom invented the beehive hairstyle! How cool is that?  I’ll let her tell you about that, and more, in her interview below.

Name:  Carlene Ziegler

Location: Brookfield Wisconsin

Age: 64

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

A: I appreciate the sense of camaraderie and the support this group of women shares. We are of different ages, from different backgrounds, with different fashion senses, but everyone is positive and encouraging. They feel like friends.

Q: The biggest benefits you have received from being a Group member 

A: For me, the biggest benefit has been the confirmation that we all need to own our own look. The encouragement the members offer to each other to be confident and feel beautiful in your body and your spirit is extremely moving. The fashion tips are great, but it’s the “sisterhood” of it that shines through.

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

A: Welcome! Don’t be afraid, there are no expectations! I rarely posted when I first joined the group but felt like I got to know Kristol, Meg, and so many more lovely ladies. I believe that women need the support and encouragement of other women and that is very true of this group. Also, it’s not just about fashion. I appreciate the posts about self-care, goal-setting, etc. In fact, my favorite post last year was on creating comfort for yourself during the crisis.

Q: How would you describe your style? 

A: If I had to put a name on it, I guess I’d say “smart casual”. But, to me, style is self-expression—dressing In a way that makes me feel confident, and hopefully chic and elegant!

Q: How did you discover your style?  

A: Style discovery started early for me. My mom was very glamorous. She was a famous hairstylist (she invented the Beehive!!). She had closets full of beaded gowns and feather boas. As much as I admired her, I quickly realized that I didn’t share her fashion choices. I’ve always preferred simpler, tailored lines with a pop of color and great accessories. My look rarely changes; I’ve had basically the same hairstyle since college! Now I have a 9-year-old granddaughter who has announced her intention to become a fashion designer and I swear she is channeling my mom!
I had a long corporate career in finance which required a conservative wardrobe. I hated the rigidity of it so I always added color. Now I spend my days golfing, hanging out with horses and dogs, and living on a lake or a beach, so my wardrobe needs definitely changed but color has remained a constant.

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

A: My advice is to dress for confidence. Ask yourself which outfits make you feel good about yourself when you wear them. Take photos of looks that work for you. And, listen to Bridgette! Her advice is wise and very on-point! Oh, and a special piece of advice for not overpacking when traveling—watch the weather forecast, lay out outfits in advance, stick to one color story and then edit what you planned to bring by at least a third!

Q: What fashion issues are you currently struggling with? 

A: I did a major closet purge this Fall after realizing how few clothes I really need thanks to the pandemic shutdown. I got rid of a lot, especially office-wear. Now the struggle is that I (like everyone else) have nowhere to go to wear any of the pieces I kept and I love. Beyond that, I’m always on the lookout for shoes that can accommodate my annoying bunions.

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

A: You’ll probably laugh but I have come to love a good skort, on and off the golf course. They are more feminine than shorts, but still cool for summer, and they have handy pockets! Beyond that, the most versatile items are dark rinse denim jeans, high-quality v-neck t-shirts, and lightweight cardigans.

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

A: I was in the habit of buying outfits for a specific occasion, which I often never wore again. I try not to do that anymore. I now have high-quality basics that I can wear on repeat and change up with scarves and accessories.

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

A: I bought a couple of Hermès twilly scarves that were kind of a splurge, but on a “cost per wear” basis they’ve been real winners. They are the perfect focal point piece to brighten up an outfit and they double as face protection during COVID!

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

A: Denim jackets. I’ve tried numerous times and I just have to face it—I don’t feel comfortable in them. I know this puts me in a distinct minority but it is what it is. On the bright side, I have a couple of fantastic leather jackets that fill the same purpose in my wardrobe, so it’s all good!

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

A: Happy, confident, and hopefully a bit elegant.

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

A: I live in Wisconsin in the summer and Florida in the winter. I have very little need for a full winter wardrobe anymore. I started the process of paring it down last Fall but I still have work to do there. Also, I’m trying to develop two “core” wardrobes—one for each house, so I don’t have to lug things back and forth twice a year.

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

A: Fit is critical. I learned this from my aunt who was a seamstress. She always helped my mom show off her curves and accommodate her diminutive stature (she was only 5’2” but never looked short). My aunt’s big line was “Don’t hide your waist! Show off your assets.”
I am a cusp size 14/16 and while I’m not short, garments in my size are often way too long in the sleeves and length. It’s amazing what a good tailor can do. Again, it comes down to feeling confident in your clothes, and a correct fit goes a long way to getting you there.

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

A: 1) Mask
2) Shoes
3) Bra! I truly hate them.

Q: Favorite color(s) to wear 

A: Red. I’ve always loved red, but several years ago I attended a heart disease fundraiser that had a “wear red on Friday” theme. I wore red every Friday for years after that! I actually like all bright colors. They make me happy and add a pop to an outfit.

Q: Favorite stores to shop? 

A: I’m a big online shopper. My go-tos are Nordstrom, Saks, and Neiman Marcus. Brand-wise, I like Lafayette 148, St. John Knits, Ralph Lauren, Eileen Fisher, Jofit for golf, NYDJ and Kut from the Kloth for denim, and Lands End for basics.

Q: What makes you happiest? 

A: My family! My husband and I have three dogs, five kids, seven grandkids, and counting. I am happiest when we can all be together and I can’t wait for that to happen again.

Q: What inspires you? 

A: If you had asked who inspired me, I would definitely have said my mom. She was a fantastic role model for how to be a loving parent, a successful businesswoman, and an incredibly positive human being. In a broader sense, travel inspires me. I love to see new places, meet new people, try new experiences. I’ve tried to instill a love of travel in my kids and grandkids too.

Q: Use One Word to Describe Your Style

A: Confident

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