This month's Sunday Girl wears many hats - figuratively and literally. Fashion Director, artist, writer, stylist, and above all wife and new mom, Kerry Pieri celebrates the daily balance of being a mother and businesswoman, with style and grace. Her genuine passion and happiness encourages us to do what we love, and love what we do.
On your career…
How did you get your start at Harper’s Bazaar?
I had been the editorial director of a fashion website called StyleCaster for nearly two years when I got a call about the job at BAZAAR.com. Two weeks later, I started my dream job and I haven’t looked back.
What is a day in the life of a Digital Fashion Director like?
It’s a mix of writing articles, booking videos, brainstorming with our team, attending market appointments, scrolling Instagram for new brands and inspiration and checking out celebrity looks on the wires.
You oversee a few recurring features for Harper’s Bazaar. Which is your favorite?
I’m loving our Wardrobe MVP series. I ask a chic, inspiring woman to pick her most valuable article of clothing in her wardrobe right now and show us how she would wear it for three different occasions. Instagram has become such a place for one-off great looks that it feels refreshing to see an item that someone with style loves enough to wear over and over again.
Did “Instagram Fame” come with the digital territory of working for a high profile magazine?
I don’t know if I’m quite Insta-famous! I started at BAZAAR.com right when Instagram was becoming an app of interest, so it’s impossible to separate the two. I hope that people correlate me with a website I’m so proud to be a part of, but my feed is very much about me and my personal style.
Do you feel the need to keep your personal brand separate from your work place, or do the two seem to naturally collide?
I think that it’s important to have a personal brand now that is yours, and I think that employers, especially in the fashion space, appreciate that. I love where I work and I’m proud of what I create there, so sharing my team’s stories on my personal feed makes perfect sense to me.
What do you love most about what you do?
I love that BAZAAR.com has a voice that is about supporting women and we’re not afraid to take on difficult subjects. I love being able to give a platform to new and up-and-coming designers. And I love that even in this tumultuous time we’re living in, hopefully we can let a little light in and bring some more beauty into the world.
You have worked with a lot of high profile clients. Any favorite stories or horror stories you can share?
No real horror stories thankfully! Styling celebrities is just like styling any other women with insecurities and perceived flaws, I just try to put them in something they feel beautiful in so that a positive energy reflects in the final photos. As my mom always says, when you feel good, you look good.
What do you love most about the digital space within the fashion industry?
We aren’t beholden to one medium, in a day we conduct an interview, create a fully produced video, a fun gif, a beautiful photo, and then, in reality, they can all live in one amazing article. Also, unlike magazines, we have endless space to create, so there are almost no limits. We have room to include new designers and more people doing interesting work and projects—from fashion to art and philanthropic initiatives.
If you didn’t work in fashion, what would you do?
Who knows! Maybe interior design or start my own brand?
You play different roles – Stylist, Creative Director, Fashion Director - depending on the shoots that you’re working on. Do you have a preference in the role you play?
I really don’t. Sometimes spending a day writing can feel really inspiring, but I also love creating images. The recent Lili Reinhart shoot we did where I transformed her into Grace Kelly was so fun and I loved collaborating with our on-staff photo and video teams. She looked so much like her.
The best piece of career advice you’ve received or would give?
It’s so hard to give advice because everyone has a different path, but I would say to play to your strengths, find what you’re good at and try to make it your career. I’ve held jobs that went against my natural inclinations and it made every day feel trying, whereas once I started doing what I love to do, even before coming to BAZAAR, work felt more like an interesting challenge than a job.
How would you describe your style?
I’d say I gravitate towards simple pieces with something interesting or cool about them. I like a mix of feminine and masculine and I need everything to feel tactically great.
What style are you most coveting to beat the summer heat while heading into fall dressing?
I love a good transition piece! I think a beautiful white cotton blouse is perfect for now and later.
With the launch of our Fall Collection and rebrand, Joie is now a full lifestyle brand to take you from season to season. What is your favorite season to dress for and why?
Although summer is my favorite season, Fall is my favorite to dress for because I love to layer and I love a good jacket.
Any pro-tips you can share for fall dressing?
Investing in a great suit can take you miles - worn together you’ll never look smarter or more put-together, and separately you have a fantastic trouser to wear with a simple tee or blouse and a great jacket to wear with jeans, a dress, a skirt…
Are there any fall trends currently on your radar?
I’m into the ‘80s vibe, I think a little bit of a strong shoulder on a top or jacket is so cool.
Who do you look to for fashion inspiration?
I’ve been very into looking at vintage Liz Tilberis era ‘90s BAZAARs.
What is your fashion mantra?
Only buy things you really, really love. No compromises!
Style tips for taking your look from weekday to weekend?
I am staunchly opposed to having one wardrobe for work and one for real life, if you buy things you love they shouldn’t be relegated to just one place. Although I am aware that sometimes a girl might need a great maillot or flirty mini dress for weekends at the beach only!
On NYC and home…
You grew up in Buffalo – was the move to NYC something you always knew you’d do or was it part of a business decision?
When I was 22, after graduating from college in Baltimore, it just seemed like all of my interests, from art to fashion, existed in New York, so I moved and let fate take over.
You recently moved from Manhattan to Brooklyn – how has that transition been?
Harder than I thought! I definitely feel a little like I moved to a different city, but Brooklyn has its strong suits and I still go to Manhattan for work all week, so I like to think it’s the best of both worlds—with a longer commute.
What do you love most about living in Brooklyn Heights?
Taking my baby girl Lila on family walks on the Promenade and to Brooklyn Bridge Park is amazing, she loves to look at all the people, the water, the flowers, the trees. Plus my best friend since high school lives there with her family, too, so that’s fun!
Anything you miss about living in Manhattan?
The convenience of being able to walk to a ton of restaurants, shopping, parks and museums from my apartment in the Flat Iron District.
You have a love for interior design - do you have any favorite and/or meaningful pieces in your home?
I like to feel like we’re starting a collection, I love a brown leather Bellini chair that is simple but very cool, and I really love Lila’s crib from Restoration Hardware because it’s so pretty and because it converts into a bed we can have it for a long time.
In addition to your many talents in the fashion industry, you are also an artist in your free time. How did you get into creating art?
I’ve always loved art, I was a double major in Journalism and Fine Art in college. I did photography back then, but having a creative outlet has always been an important part of my life. It’s always a work in progress but it’s more about the process anyway!
What are your favorite types of pieces to create?
Right now I like making abstract nudes in acrylic ink, it’s so interesting to try to learn how to draw the human body proportionally correct but in my own unique style.
Favorite neighborhood spots?
The Promenade, Colonie is a great restaurant, Jack the Horse is also so good, I like Swallow coffee shop and I love a good book store so I’m excited there’s a Barnes and Noble nearby.
Best places to shop in NYC?
I am honestly such an online shopper but I still like a Bergdorf stop off when I can and I love, love The Apartment by The Line.
If you didn’t live in NYC, where would you go?
A question for the ages. I do love where I grew up, so maybe you’d find me in Buffalo. Or somewhere in Europe, if I can learn French or Italian first.
Best kept NY secret?
I don’t think it’s a secret, but The Frick is my favorite place in NYC.
How do you balance being a mother and a businesswoman?
I have a husband who makes everything easier, so that helps every facet of my life. But I try to be mindful wherever I am, being efficient and focused at work while I’m there and being fully with Lila while I’m home and she’s awake.
Lila is about to be one! What is the best part of motherhood thus far?
Everything, it’s the most fun I’ve ever had, she makes me laugh and smile all day. Just being with her is the best part.
Is there anything you weren’t prepared for in the first year?
Hah, I was prepared for almost nothing! I didn’t know how hard having a newborn could be, I didn’t know you could love anyone this much, I didn’t know how long I wouldn’t sleep for or what a journey breastfeeding would be…
How did you meet your husband?
We met in college at the end of my junior year at a late night party—a place dreams are made of!
How has life changed for the two of you post-baby?
I think it’s brought us closer. We’re pretty much equally obsessed with her.
How do you make time for the two of you a priority?
We could be better about this! But babies go to bed early so we try to have time at night to hang on the couch, eat some Van Leeuwen ice cream and catch up. We also spend so much more time talking now on our long walks with Lila and our little family weekends away and we even managed our first family vacation to the Caribbean this past spring.
If you could give Lila one piece of advice to live her life by, what would it be?
Love first. If you make decisions based on love, you can’t go too wrong.
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