Today I’m happy to present Ana to you. You may already be familiar with her since she is an active participant in our dressing challenges. Her clothing is always chic but also very comfortable and very well put together. It’s also important for Ana to buy clothes that are American made and sustainable, to support the local industry and the environment. Let’s find out more about her and her views on style!
Can you tell us a little bit more about yourself?
Well, I worked in advertising and graphic design for years before having children, but when my oldest was born I decided to stay at home. Then a few years after moving from Florida to Colorado in 2006, I realized that the kids were getting bigger – and they required less constant care. (They are now 17 and 14, hard to believe.) In 2010, my husband started up the The FearLess Cottage, a brand advocacy firm, and I joined him. We work on building awareness on issues close to our hearts, such as Al Gore’s Climate Reality, anti-GMO projects and sustainability issues. Through our work there we have learned the importance of shopping locally and manufacturing domestically.
As a point of reference which age group do you belong to or perhaps you are willing to share your age?
I happily turned 48 years old this year. And I feel that aging is a wonderful thing. Too many people fight it and worry about it, but what good does that do? Plus, I prefer the wisdom that comes with age.
Can you tell us a bit more about your blog Mrs American Made and why you created it?
My blog came about as a combination of several factors. First of all, I love clothing and accessories, and making outfits is one of my favorite pastimes. I had discovered these style blogs and started watching a few every day. Secondly, my husband and I have friends who recently opened an advertising agency here in Colorado called Made Movement, which is dedicated to supporting resurgence in American manufacturing. We invested in the business and took their mission to heart.
But wherever I shopped I found so much made overseas. It was incredibly eye-opening to start looking at tags on clothing. It turns out that only 2% of the clothing sold here is made here in the U.S. But back in 1960, 95% of clothing sold in the United States was made in the United States. There are many reasons I feel that shopping local is important, and sustainable/ethical production and climate change are some of them. So it all came together for me: I could start one of these style blogs and feature only American-made apparel so that women could realize that they, too, could shop for domestically produced clothing.
How would you describe your own style? What would you consider the most important components of your style?
Well, I think everyone’s style is constantly evolving, even if it’s just slightly. For more than a year now, I have had this blog which dictates that I dress in all American-made clothing, so that is my focus. But I still tend to gravitate towards a mix of classic and conservative, along with girly touches, and pops of color here and there. Oh, and I cannot resist a floral print.
Where do you live and how does that influence your style?
I live in Boulder, Colorado. Boulder is a very outdoorsy and athletic town – and you can still feel the spirit of the Wild West here. Lots of fleece, flannel and fringe. I would not consider this a very fashion-conscious city, but rather a town that often requires functional clothing. It is interesting to me to try to combine function with fashion and sometimes quite the challenge.
What inspires your outfit choices the most?
My outfit choices depend on a) the weather that day, b) what’s on my calendar and is it a work day? and c) new or thrifted items that I cannot wait to style.
Do you take things like color profiling or body type into account when you dress?
Oh, I definitely take body type into consideration now. I spent much of my young life wanting a different body type and dressing as if I had it, but it just never looked good. When I finally embraced the curves, it felt much better and looked better, too.
I do not consciously think about color profiling, but I do have favorite colors and they pop up more often than others in my wardrobe. I would venture to guess that those tones are the ones in my profile.
Has your style changed at all after turning 40?
I would say that my style has changed in my 40’s, mostly because I am much relaxed about the choices and much happier with my body. (Even though it is the same body.) As I mentioned above, I finally learned what looked good on my body type of a petite hourglass figure and I embraced that. Note: I belt almost everything now.
Do you believe in dressing ‘age appropriately’ and what does it mean to you?
I guess I would say that I believe in “age appropriate” dress to some degree. I have a 14-year old daughter and I can see how some of my looks would be too serious for her age. And conversely, I can also see how some of her playful pattern mixes and color choices would seem too young for me, especially being on the shorter side. But for the most part, I think you can make things work at any age. (Except for short short shorts.)
Would you say that at this stage of your life you are now more, or less interested in fashion, style and the way you look?
My interest in the way I dress is probably pretty much a constant throughout my life. Ever since I was a little girl I liked pretty dresses and cute outfits. I would say that my interest in the fashion world has varied, from being pretty interested to now watching trends and incorporating only those that could work for me and not stressing over those that do not.
Why is the way you look important to you?
I feel better when I look better. I have more confidence and more “get-up-and-go.”
Which of the outfits on your blog are personal favorites and why?
Below are a few of my favorite outfits from the blog –
This is one my most favorite photos because the dress is so timeless, feminine and pretty. And the outfit is so simple: just zip up and go.
I love this outfit, too. The dress is a simple and flattering shape with a decorative collar so no need for jewelry (even though I wore an extra necklace here) and here I toned down the “fanciness” with opaque tights and a dark blazer. Ready for work.
This is a favorite fancy cold weather look for the holidays here, with the pretty floral dress and long coat, but it has an extra thing that I love and that is something I made. I knitted the sparkly scarf for myself recently.
Here is an example of my classic style. I have worn this outfit many, many times. Denim is easy, and black and white are always in season. The trendy booties and skinny jeans make the outfit more contemporary and the pops of red keep it from being dull.
This is such a great outfit because I feel like I am wearing pajamas almost. The leggings and long t-shirt are easy knits and the structured wool blazer makes the look sharp enough for a casual day at work.
And here is an example of an outfit I wore up to the ranch. I love this outfit because it is good for the ranch and it looks cute at the same time – and it makes me happy because I am wearing a belt that my son hand-made.
Do you follow trends? And if yes, which trends excite you at the moment?
I try to keep up with trends, but I don’t incorporate any but a few. If they work for me. Right now I am really excited about next year’s Pantone color of the Year, “dazzling blue.” Excited to wear more long coats and pastels, too.
Do you have any fashion and style tips for women over 40?
My best tip is always the same: “Dress the body you have,” I heard stylist Stacy London say that one day on the TLC show, “What Not to Wear,” and it literally changed my life. Many days I will repeat those words to myself. So many people wait to lose those last five (or ten, fifteen, or whatever) pounds that they end up wasting time. Make yourself look as good as you can today, for today.
What are your plans for your blog and how do you see it develop over the coming years?
I am not sure what is next but I can say that I have seen the blog evolve. At first, I saw it as a place to showcase my daily #madeinUSA outfit, but that became difficult to do every single day. So many things must come together – a good outfit, a good weather day, a photographer, etc. so I felt the pressure of that to be too much. I have since cut back the number of outfit posts to three or so and I sprinkle in a “throwback Thursday” post or a relevant article link/post. I think now the blog is in a good place of varied but interesting content – and we’ll see where it goes from here.
Anything further you would like to add?
I would like to thank you, Sylvia, for inviting me to participate in this interview, and to also let you know how much I enjoy your blog. It is one I have followed since the early days and always there is interesting content and exciting challenges.
Thank you so much Ana for your insightful answers. Be sure to check out her blog Mrs American Made.