ELLA: Name, age, provenance.

KATE: Kate Wallace, 42, Saint John.

ELLA: Describe your style.

KATE: Preppy-with-a-slight-edge meet pants-eschewing-freelancer-with-a-lumberjack-penchant.

E: Who are your style icons?

K: Zadie Smith. We’re the same age, and I’m in awe of her funky and yet elegant style, never mind her writing. I like the eclecticism of Diane Kruger’s look. And it’s always fun to see what shenanigans ole Chloe Sevigny gets up to.

E: What’s the best fashion advice you ever got?

K: I think it was Coco Chanel who said to remove one accessory before leaving the house. I like that pared-down thinking. And my mother once told me to pack underwear and a bathing suit in my carry-on when travelling south. If your luggage is misplaced, all is not lost. Good tip, mom!

E: What was your biggest fashion disaster?

K: Growing up in the ’70s and ’80s, and coming of age in the ’90s provided so many rich opportunities for sartorial missteps. But an image – literally a school portrait – from Grade 5, of a complicated yellow button-down shirt, red skinny tie, and asymmetrical skater ’do rises to the top of the inglorious heap.

E: What kind of shopper are you?

K: Inconsistent. I will spend no more than $3 on a sweater or not less than $300. I will shop every other day or not at all for months. I love Frenchy’s with a passion that should probably be reserved for immediate family members. So many amazing finds over the years, and you can take risks because it’s so cheap. But I love quality, and boutiques, and sometimes you want that standout piece that’s perfectly new, not just new-to-you.

E: Desert island clothing piece? What can’t you live without?

K: Jeans that fit like a glove. I could probably fashion a coconut or seashell bra top, but I need my denim!

E: What trends make you want to scream?

K: Are formal shorts still a thing?

E: Favourite blogs, movies, TV shows, books for fashion and design?

K: Gucci has a series of ads I’ve been noticing that mix up really interesting looking people of diverse ages, ethnicities and vibes. There’s one with a geriatric dandy in a green suit and orthopaedic shoes alongside an androgynous kid in short pants. Somehow it works.

E: If you could give your younger self one bit of advice, what would it be?

K: Just because something is in style, doesn’t mean it looks good on you. If it doesn’t feel good, it’ probably doesn’t look good, either.

Photo Credit: Nienke Izurieta