News Column

A magical sense of style

July 30, 2014

By Oliva Fortson, The Charlotte Observer

July 30--Alex Holleman's background as a lawyer coupled with her sense of style has made her a sought-after community volunteer, especially for the Mint Museum Auxiliary. Planning events that raise money for the museum is dear to her because visual art is one of her passions and her home is filled with works she's collected. She and her friend Jenn Lamarre were recently chosen as the new editors of The Scout Guide Charlotte because of their business acumen and style. They were also picked by the auxiliary to co-chair its annual Symposium fundraiser in spring 2015. They landed a major speaker: Aerin Lauder of the Lauder cosmetics empire, who has recently launched her own lifestyle brand. Along with expressing herself creatively through a mix of new and vintage, Holleman also makes necklaces that are popular with some of Charlotte's most fashionable women.

Q: Any favorite haunts?

A. Flea markets of all scopes and sizes, from Paris to Brooklyn to Palm Beach (via Atlanta several times a year). They are where I first began collecting vintage costume jewelry many years ago, and all the interesting/odd objects I've picked up over the years serve as inspiration for much of my own jewelry line. I love the hunt.

Q: What are your summer wardrobe staples?

A: Flat sandals! I need to be comfortable, and flats are a necessity for me. And I never leave the house without a hat these summer days.

Q: What are your must-have beauty products?

A: I love my Vapour lip gloss from Toccare -- it's mostly organic and I'm always in the mood for a little sheen that works beautifully from day to night. SuperGoop SPF 50 from Woo Cosmetics is my go-to sun protection for the face and hands (I keep telling myself that I'm prettiest when I'm pale).

Q: What's your favorite workout?

A: I'm doing this 7-minute workout app every day this summer (from the American College of Sports Medicine'sHealth & Medical Journal). I'm in training to join the fabulously fit at Hilliard Studio Method this fall.

Q: How would you describe your style?

A: Instinctive. I wear whatever feels right in the moment. I'm not one of those people who can plan their outfit well in advance because the result is likely to be flat, boring and unoriginal. I trust my sense of style and it usually comes together, for me anyway. I usually steer clear of trends, but I'm not that traditional either. I know what I like, what works on me, and I go with it.

Q: What are some of your favorite pieces in your wardrobe?

A: I'm fortunate -- my closet is filled with many great vintage frocks that I've collected over the years, some that I originally "borrowed" from my mother's closet, including a fabulous purple and gold lame Oscar de la Renta gown that makes me feel like Cleopatra. I have a trailblazing radiant red Zandra Rhodes caftan that I've worn to various events around town and which I've also used for a prop at an event I helped co-chair: that's versatility for you!

Q: Who's your biggest style influence?

A: My mother was a huge influence. She is confident in her style, and very put together and ladylike. I never saw her wear jeans or shorts. She always thought I could pull off great style too. She encouraged me to be original, something I impart on my own daughters.

Q: What's your favorite piece of furniture in your home?

A: My bed (before 9:30 p.m. on most weeknights).

Q: Is there anything you loved as a child that still influences you today?

A: I used to wear a lot of "Holly Hobbie" style prairie dresses as a child (sans the bonnet) -- a bit drabby yet somewhat charming all the same. "Boho chic" by today's standard. It wasn't as cool back then though.

Q: What's the biggest mistake people make when planning a fundraising event?

A: Unbridled procrastination.


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