Today I’m meeting Ann Thaden, author and illustrator of theclosetinterview.com. Follow Ann @theclosetinterview and @annthaden.
Hello, it’s Ann. It’s great to see you. Can I interview your closet? I thought you'd never ask!
What’s your favorite T-Shirt? Where and why did you buy it? The last one I got from New Orleans at this cool shop called Defend New Orleans. It has a dripping red mouth and fangs and drippy writing that says The Saint! I was visiting there during Halloween so it really summed up the mood of the trip.
Are you a sweater person or a sweatshirt person? Definitely sweatshirts! Can’t get enough, also obsessed with sweatshirt dresses. I have a black one from Chloe that I wear constantly.
What did you wear on your last date? It was my birthday and I wore a short, red wool mini dress by Rebecca Minkoff trimmed with black leather and zipper details. I had gold DVF heels and some vintage Givenchy tassel earrings. I was doing a jump for joy inside because three months post pregnancy it fits great! It felt tighter after dinner though!
How did the date go? What did you do? We went to our favorite restaurant, Vin Rouge. We ordered a bottle of the house Muscadet, Oysters au gratin, moules frites for me and steak tartar for my husband. My baby Dorothy didn’t eat anything and slept through the meal. She loves restaurants and is a great kid! We’ve saved a lot of money on babysitters because we can take her most places if we go out early.
What do you like to drink while getting ready for a night out? I love a crisp white wine, Dry Cava or Prosecco if someone is there to share it with me!
What music do you listen to while getting ready for a night out? Anything by Miguel, Raphael Saadique is great. I also love to go to Colette Paris’ website and stream their music because all the music is so good! Then I daydream that I’m browsing in Colette again!
Where was the last place you traveled to? Boston! My parents were really generous to donate me a 2001 Mercedes C240 with 153k miles on it. So I flew there to get the car and drove the car back. I had fun going to see UHOH by Frances Stark at the MFA and eating juicy hamburgers at the Bristol Lounge with a glass of wine and parmesan truffle fries while sitting by the window on a cute couch looking at the Boston Gardens! We also enjoyed some steam clams and lobsters at my parent’s house! I miss this so much because I can’t buy seafood like this where I live! It’s heaven! Wait is this a fashion interview or a food interview!?
What was the most important thing you packed? Some black Adidas tights and my Stan Smiths. My younger sister works for the Adidas corporation- invigorating my obsession with the brand! I bought one pair of tights in Copenhagen at Mads Norgaard. People were stopping me on the street there to ask where I had bought them- they were on American Vogue’s website but they had sold out online so I was happy to find them abroad! I like to pair them with a long black dolman sleeve top from Vince. Perfect travel wear for someone that is prone to spilling things!
What was the most non-essential thing you shouldn’t have packed but packed anyway? I did a good job packing this trip and didn’t even have to pack running shoes since my Mom and I are the same shoe size! I did pack some hardcover books though from the library rather than downloading them! I always try to save money on books (unless I buy fancy art/fashion books) by going to my public library. Right now I’m reading Marina Abramovic’s memoir and it’s amazing!
What rules if any did you have about getting dressed when you were young? We weren’t allowed to wear spaghetti straps or cutoff jeans shorts or jeans with holes in them. I still never wear any of those things now, though I used to change into spaghetti strap tanks in high school and middle school but I have one younger sister and one older sister who were in school with me at the same time (we were only a grade level or two apart) and they, both being more responsible and trustworthy at the time- report my dress code infractions to my mom! My high school allowed these clothing items at the time but my mom wanted us to dress more modestly.
What is the first item of clothing you bought with your own money? I remember buying a blue V-neck t shirt from the Diesel store on Newbury St. in Boston and feeling really cool about that. I was in middle school and wore it all the time with some postal work style wide leg navy pants with a blue stripe running down the side! I bought a more tailored version of these pants from Vince a few years ago!
What is the biggest splurge or investment piece you purchased? Last Christmas I went to Paris. I had just found out I was pregnant, so I was at the same time super excited but slightly bummed to be missing out on wine and certain foods! Christmas is a very magical time to be visiting Paris and it ended up being one of my favorite trips. My husband hadn’t been to Paris yet and there was so much I still hadn’t seen. I went to the Hermes store on George V. When I walked in it was very busy and the staff had gathered by the spiral staircase to sing Christmas carols! It was very sweet. I had my eye on a silver horse head bracelet. It wasn’t in the case but as luck would have it one was available in my size in the back room! I bought it on the spot (I had been saving up for it!) Then I met my husband for lunch at L’Avenue where I enjoyed some duck and the most exquisite mashed potatoes and some San Pellegrino. I loved watching the women going into the Dior Store and leaving with big bags! It was beautiful enough to sit outside.
Do you feel the investment has been worthwhile? So worth the splurge! I wear the bracelet every day and think about that magical day and everything we did on that trip! Now I can tell my daughter she went to the Eiffel Tower on Christmas Day because she was there when we did! But we will go back when she’s old enough to really enjoy it!
What is your favorite fashion bargain? How much do you wear it? I have good luck at H&M. I bought one of the beautiful Kenzo skirts but I love to pop in especially if I forgot something when I travel! I’m always going in there to buy a bikini because I forgot to pack one and then I can’t resist a good hotel pool or Jacuzzi!
Who was your style icon as a youngster? When I was very young, Punky Brewster. As I got older T Boz and Liv Tyler as in the Aerosmith music videos- but I wasn’t allowed to dress like that!
Who is one of your style icons now? Definitely Kelly Wearstler! I’m obsessed with her style, her talent, her boldness! Everything! I’d love to meet her in one of her creative spaces and see her in action!
What do you wear when you work out? Mostly Lululemon but I’m growing tired of it and using more Adidas thanks to my sister’s influence. Generally it’s yoga and running for me! I love running to go sightseeing in a new place. Beach running is my favorite though! It’s such a good workout and then you can jump into the water when you finish!
What do you wear to the grocery store? As crazy as it sounds I do dress up to go grocery shopping. People recognize me when I have a great outfit on. I love it when I see people on Sundays- coming in after church and they are still all dolled up. I actually love shopping and picking out all of my foods. It takes me along time because I’m really particular about produce olive oil, cheese and wine. I formulate recipes for the week as I go depending on how good/fresh things look.
What shoes do you wear when the weather is bad? I hate the rain. I usually wear an older pair of Stan Smiths so I still look cute. I should buy a proper pair of rain boots. I just bought my Mom a cute pair from Rag and Bone- maybe I should get a pair for myself!
What shoes do you wear when you want to show off? I have these neon orange Manolo Blahniks, pointed single sole pumps. They make my skin tone look amazing which I didn’t think neon would be that flattering! These are great at night time because they glow in the dark! They always make a big statement and they are comfortable too! I packed them on a Girl's Trip to San Juan Puerto Rico so they always remind me of that fun trip!
What do you wish you had in your closet but don’t have? I have been obsessing over a Leopard print Stella McCartney dress. It looked so amazing on! I tried it on at the Mall of America this fall while I perused dresses straight from the Gucci Runway! I walked out of Nordstrom with very practical and beautiful chain link Givenchy pointed black flats that I’m wearing as I type this! But I still keep dreaming about that dress . . . let me know if you see it on sale somewhere in a size IT 38!
What do you have in your closet that you should throw away but still haven't? Hmmm. This is a good question as I still have a pile of jeans I bought in college. They still fit and look great and are traditional silhouettes. I could probably stand to give some away but I also think it will be fun if my daughter Dorothy can wear them when she gets bigger. By that time they actually be vintage and cool!
What’s in your closet that you inherited from another person and still like to wear? My Mom gave me some great cowboy boots that she didn’t want because the heel was a bit high. They are insulated and very warm! My aunt gave me a cute charcoal shearling coat with a silver fox collar the last time I visited her in Baltimore. It’s a great piece to just throw on and go and lighter than my legit, 1970’s shearling coat.
What is the best piece of clothing or accessory that someone else bought for you? It’s hard to say- so many great pieces that I love! But I think some of the best things are jewelry hand me downs- my Mom surprised me with some clip on earrings from my grandmother’s collection. I also have a simple chain link necklace (costume piece) that she bought in Florence and I just feel good with it on knowing this is something she used to wear too. I miss her terribly! But she still visits me in my dreams.
What piece(s) of jewelry do you wear every day? All the women in Mom’s side of the family wore stacks of chunky silver jewelry- so I’ve adopted that look since I was a teenager. I have thick, almost horn shape silver bracelet my grandmother bought for me from a jewelry designer in Cambridge. I have a Jorge Jensen hook and eye bracelet my Dad bought for me in Hong Kong (he would take my sister and I there a few years later) a vintage Georg Jensen oval link bracelet I bought in Copenhagen and then the Hermes horse bracelet. I wear the heaviest piece on the left wrist, everything else stacked on the right. My engagement ring is an usual shape- like a lotus flower from Cartier. It seemed criminal to stack a wedding band underneath it so I bought another diamond ring from Shreve Crump & Lowe in Boston. Actually I sent my mom in to try it on and buy it for me. So she wore it first! But I trust her taste more than anyone so I was relieved she could help me with this errand and make sure I made the right selection. Both rings are white gold with diamonds.
Do you wear a fragrance? Not every day, but my signature fragrance is Terre d’Hermes. Technically it’s for men and when I’ve read Elle Décor and they’ve done profiles on Men and Chefs in particular I found out they wore this too! I was excited by this since I do a lot of recreational cooking and eating! I get lots of compliments when I wear it, even though I was worried it was too strong for me. But I love it and wear it well!
Thanks for letting me interview your closet Ann. I’m glad I got to know you better too. But before I go would you mind if I borrowed Your black Chloe scarf?