For Elissa Benzie, a breezy kaftan and sleek leggings are the perfect transition pieces for fall
Brand Personality “Elissa The Mom” for Rare.Us
NEIGHBORHOOD: Ansley Park
What is your favorite thing about what you’re wearing right now?
The colors! I usually never wear bright colors, but I currently love anything with orange. I’m trying to branch out of my fashion comfort zone.
Where did you get the pieces you put together?
I ordered this from Etsy for a “kaftan party” but it didn’t arrive in time. I figured I would never wear it, but here I am… My leggings are from Forever 21 and the sandals are from DSW.
Are you an outfit planner or do you dress by how you feel?
One hundred percent by how I feel, which is generally tired, as I have two small kids. I rock a lot of athleisure wear. I’m lucky to be able to dress down when I go into the office. On shoot days I wear things like t-shirts and jeans. Super-casual is my brand!
Who are your style icons?
I love older women who have bold style. Iris Apfel has always been a favorite of mine. I love the idea of a uniform, so to speak, and she makes hers interesting with bold accessories. I’m trying to find my uniform. Maybe it’ll be colorful kaftans with leggings…
Where do you find fashion inspiration in Atlanta?
Since the people that I’m hanging out with are wearing athleisure 24/7 and pushing strollers, I stay hip by people -watching at in-town festivals or on the BeltLine. It’s like ‘Oh, so this is what we are wearing now?’
Do you consider yourself a trendsetter? Why or why not?
No. I am not a trendsetter at all. I just like to be a sheep and stay in the middle of the pack. I like to be on trend, though, so I’ll go on Pinterest to see what’s in for the moment and try to copy it.
Less or More?
Less. Always less. Describe a fashion moment you’re having right now. I’m having a cap sleeved t-shirt moment. I tie them up in the back and I layer them over a tank top and throw on some jeans. Done. Cute, casual, but most importantly, comfortable.
What’s the worst outfit you ever wore? How long ago?
A really dramatic, dark-navy velvet dress that I paired with peep-toe heels and hose. It was a short dress that also had a cap-sleeve, bolero type jacket. It was like a weird, tiny coat. It was much too dressy for a junior in high school to wear and I knew when I crossed the threshold of the front doors that I had made a terrible mistake.
What was the most outlandish thing you experimented with fashion-wise?
Bell bottoms, but it was before people were ready to accept bell bottoms again. Any time I had a before the trend moment it scared me to death because I got attention, and I never wanted attention. So I think that transformed my style into being simple, because typically a simple outfit won’t get you a lot of attention.
What item of clothing can you not get rid of?
I’m like a snake; I have to slough off my stuff continuously to feel a sense of renewal. I don’t like too much clutter, but there is a t-shirt from a photojournalism seminar that I attended years ago. It’s made of really terrible material that feels like sandpaper. I never wear it but I just can’t let go of it.
STORY: Sarah Blackman
PHOTO: Nathan Bolster