Dr. Karin Smithson’s rousing resume combined with her classic and clean style makes her the quintessential southern woman. As a mother of three, and the voice of rhyme-and-reason to the large following of her blog, she finds a way to balance the basics all while making a statement. As a contributing editor for Southern Seasons Magazine and a passionate philanthropist, Dr. Karin sets a standard we should all try to achieve. Thanks for chatting, girl! x0x0
SOTS: How would you describe your style growing up?
K: Creative / Hand-me-down / Trendy.
Just like most other young girls, I was trying to figure out where to fit in and who I was. A faithful reader of Teen Magazine, I was drawn to the world of fashion trends, but we did not have the money for the name brands that were so huge in the 80’s. So I had to get creative.
Utilizing hand-me-downs, consignment finds, and the small handful of new items I got each year, I spent a lot of time embellishing items and planning outfits to match current styles. When I was finally able to work and buy my own clothes, I dressed “classy MTV.”
In college I hit the preppy + Laura Ashley phase – Polos, bows, pleats and pearls for miles.
SOTS: Thoughts on fashion in Atlanta
K: In Atlanta, you can have your own personal style and be accepted and admired for your own self-expression, which is wonderful. I think that we embrace the spectrum of fashion and culture here, and that is displayed in the broad range of styles that you will see if you sit at Lenox Mall and just watch people go by.
We have retail access to every fashion style here, from couture to classic to earthy, and there are wonderful pockets of town where trends look totally different than they do down the street. Styles in Buckhead look different than in Little Five Points … Virginia Highlands … Ansley Park … downtown … East Atlanta … and Brookhaven … which I love! That richness in diversity through fashion is a reflection of the beautiful people who call Atlanta home.
SOTS: Fav person to follow on twitter?
K: For motivation, @WomenOnTheFence. Erica Diamond is a strong woman who is real, inspiring and beautiful.
For entertainment, @HonestToddler. Brilliantly hilarious if you are a mother and have a dry sense of humor.
SOTS: Go-to item that you know works best for you?
K: Leggings & heeled boots. Having 3 small kids, I can throw them on, choose whether or not to belt my tunic, and head out the door feeling like I might look a little better than I did an hour ago in my yoga pants. I can still bend down and pick up the kids without having a button pop open, and wearing a heel always reminds me I am a woman.
SOTS: One word to describe your current fashion style
SOTS: One thing you would never be caught dead in
K: Anything pale pink – I look like I am about to puke up Pepto Bismol.
SOTS: If you could bring back one trend from your childhood what would it be and why?
K: Subtle shoulder pads (meaning, not “Dynasty” style). I have very narrow shoulders and curvy hips, so by giving my upper half just a bit of width, I feel so much more proportionately balanced … not to mention more powerful!
SOTS: Biggest fashion splurge
K: For my wedding to Joe in 2006, I bought two one-of-a-kind hand-beaded dresses: a Kenneth Pool gown for the ceremony and a Stephen Yearick sheath for the reception.
Back then, I had no idea how expensive children were going to be later (coulda spent that on private school!) or how much the market would crash (ouch!), and so I splurged big time. I got to feel like a princess … TWICE in one night.
And I can only hope my daughter will want to wear them when it is her turn.
SOTS: If you could be one celeb for the day who would it be and why?
K: Maya Angelou. Every time I hear her speak or read her writings, I yearn to be as brilliantly expressed and deeply insightful as she is. I would love to feel the peace that she has reached in her soul, and of course, I would love to be able to call up Oprah and get her to answer on the first ring.
SOTS: Go to drink
K: For wine with my hubby, I am loving St. Supery Sauvignon Blanc from Napa.
If I’m out with the girls, stilettos go well with Grey Goose L’Orange Vodka + soda + lime.
SOTS: Advice to those who want to be successful
K: Pick something that you are truly drawn to and that excites you when you see it in the window.
Don’t pursue other people’s dreams. Reach for the high places that are called to from deep inside of YOU.
Accept that making the biggest mark isn’t about fame or credit, but about the change that you make in your corner of the world.
Do the work, get the education, and the opportunities will come. Live up to your half of the bargain and remain open to unexpected windows opening in front of you.
Lean on a mentor. Then mentor others.
Look and listen. Watch those who have gone in front of you and respect the work that was done before you arrived.
Fashion-wise: Be appropriate to your environment.
SOTS: Favorite place to shop in Atlanta
K: Anthropologie for the romantic bohemian in me, and Fox’s for the spendthrift in me.
SOTS: One thing you will never get rid of in your closet and why
K: My Oma’s (German for ‘grandmother’) antique aquamarine ring. It is one of the only things that I have of hers, and since I believe that she guides me from Heaven, I wear it when I need her support and strength.
SOTS: Favorite Fashion Event in Atlanta
K: Women of Style & Substance Spring Luncheon and Fashion Show for CHOA.
This event is hosted by a dedicated, incredible group of women who always bring in a top international designer, put on a daring fashion show, and feature a family’s experience at CHOA. It is high style, mixed with deep meaning, amidst the most beautiful women in Atlanta.
And I am honored to speak this year about our experience with my son, Hoyte, which will be incredibly meaningful for me.
SOTS: One thing you think every girl (and maybe guy) should own
K: A pile of journals – some that have been filled in over the years and some waiting for your pen. Mine have been a huge part of my healing, and it is amazing to read and reflect on how far I’ve come. One day my grandchildren will get quite the surprise when they find them!
SOTS: Advice for those trying to be fashionable
K: Remember that although you might question yourself, you have a style that someone else admires – don’t shortchange who you naturally are. I spent years battling insecurity about what I saw others wearing vs. what I really wanted to wear to express myself, because they didn’t usually match.
As I have gotten older, I have embraced my expressive fashion voice, figured out what looks best on me, and gotten more comfortable in my own clothes … which are dominated by a lot of orange, embroidery, whimsy, and artistic touches. I do watch the fashion magazines and see what’s on trend, but I won’t dare wear something fashionable that looks wrong on me even if I love it on someone else.
Before walking out the door, I have trained myself to be cautious about over-doing it (“take one thing off,” as a wise grandmother would say), and then to look at myself from all angles (most people see you from the side) … and tell myself that I am reflecting to others a confidence in my creative style and a statement about who I am on the inside.
Cheers to raising the bar and setting the standard, Dolls! x0x0 JFK.