It’s not uncommon to get to know a Facebook Group member’s face by emoji only.  If they don’t post any outfit photos, and they use a cute emoji as their Facebook profile photo, there isn’t much more to go on.   This is not to say that this month’s Facebook Group Member of the Month, Andrea Tupay, didn’t grab my attention despite not knowing anything about her physical appearance.  She always added fantastic insight, asked meaningful questions, and offered advice to others from her own experience and wisdom.   

And then one day  Andrea posted a photo of herself in an outfit she was wearing and my eyes popped out of my head.   Suddenly, instead of looking at a cute cartoon, I got a glimpse of a strong, striking, woman who clearly possessed a solid sense of her own style and had the confidence to match.  “Who is this woman, and how can I learn more about her?” I wondered.

Well, this is exactly what this monthly feature is for, to better get to know and give space to the amazing women in this group who all have their own style experiences to share.  Let’s take some time to get to know Andrea better as February’s Facebook Group Member of the Month.

Name: Andrea Tupay

Location: Seattle, WA

Age: 60

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

A: I enjoy being part of a supportive group of women who exchange information regarding style with compassion, honesty, and even a dose of humor.

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

A:  I have been able to define and refine my personal style over the past several years. I have no desire to dress for a version of myself that no longer exists. I have greater clarity over the message I want to communicate to others via my personal style.

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

A: Take the plunge and join!! It’s so much fun. Even if I don’t post anything, I love checking in for the daily inspiration. This is an incredible group!!

Q: How would you describe your style? 

A: Sophisticated “badass” with tailored sportiness a la Katharine Hepburn.

Q: How did you discover your style?  

A: I discovered my personal style through a lot of trial and error. The error was the result of failing to trust my intuition, which is typically spot on when it comes to style. Reading the book Overdressed was an eye-opener and a catalyst for me to start shopping second-hand. Approximately 2/3 of my wardrobe is second hand and I am happier with my personal style now than I was 20 or 30 years ago.

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

A: Trust your own intuition and avoid slavishly following trends and the style of other women. Take ownership of your personal style. I certainly look at trends and the style of other women I admire, but I have to rework it so it’s authentic to me.

Q: What fashion issues are you currently struggling with? 

A: I will be retiring in less than 5 years. I am trying to figure out how to transition my work clothes into my eventual post-work life.

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

A: Leather and faux leather moto jackets. They work with casual and more dressy looks. Also, metallic footwear has never let me down. I love the bookending effect of gold or bronze footwear with my hair.

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

A:  I would inject more personality into my look. When I started my career in 1985, I followed John T. Molloy’s Dress for Success to the letter with skirt suits, skinny silk scarves, and button-down broadcloth shirts. I looked absolutely appropriate for work in a corporate environment but so matronly for a 24-year-old woman. I was so worried about fitting in at work but didn’t realize that my clothing was making me feel physically and emotionally uncomfortable.

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

A:  A printed duster coat that I wear in the spring and occasionally in the summer. The print looks like the joke wall from the 60s TV show Laugh-In, but I’ve had it for 15 years and it’s still going strong.

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

A: A navy-blue silk pantsuit. I looked like Ensign Tupay.

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

A: When I look my best, I am radiant, self-confident, and approachable.

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

A: My main goal is to continue to mindfully shop, as needed, second-hand through local consignment and thrift stores or through online platforms such Poshmark and The RealReal.

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

A: Tailoring is the key to making an inexpensive item look expensive. Never buy a coat or jacket that does not fit properly on your shoulders.

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

A: My shoes.

Q: Favorite color(s) to wear 

A: Orange, tomato red, gold, citron, lime green, ecru, and chocolate brown.

Q: Favorite stores to shop? 

A: Local consignment and thrift shops, Nordstrom, Macy’s, Athleta

Q: What makes you happiest? 

A: Playing tennis, biking, hiking, and kayaking with my husband, Frank. Also, perfecting my Spanish skills.

Q: What inspires you? 

A: Watching the ferry boats from my balcony as they sail from Seattle to Vashon Island. Sunrises over the Cascade and sunsets over the Olympics, Pacific Northwest Ballet, the music of Ella Fitzgerald, Pre-Colombian and African art.

Q: Use One Word to Describe Your Style

A: Unique

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