This week’s style diary guest is Carissa-Ann Santos, the co-founder and creative director of Love Grace Foods, a New York organic cold-pressed juices company. The young entrepreneur who spent 10 years in fashion prior to creating her own juicing company shares some personal insight on her style, from the simplicity of wearing yoga pants to dressing up and blending it all together.
Sibylle Eschapasse: Describe your style?
Carissa-Ann Santos: Funky hippie-chic.
Ms. Eschapasse: If a close friend were to describe your personality in three words, what would they be?
Ms. Santos: Sunshine. Love. Magnetic.
Ms. Eschapasse: How did your style evolve since you were a teenager? What is the wildest thing you ever wore?
Ms. Santos: I used to wear crazy stuff. Electric blue fishnets on my arms, striped leg warmers, purple sneakers, and a neon skirt. I just loved color and fun. So I wanted to exude that.
It was a perfect fit when I started working with Betsey. She had me in pink tulle from head to toe, plastic dresses, dresses made out of safety pins.
For me life looked like puffy dresses, onesies, or an outfit from the ’60s I scored at a “had-to-know-about” vintage shop. I always incorporated cool vintage cowboy boots to tie the look together.
I have to say my style has definitely evolved into having comfort and functionality be the first thing I consider. Now that I run Love Grace and I’m always on the go, I could be sampling juice one minute, in front of a camera the next, or running to a yoga class. Boots, yoga pants, and a Love Grace tank really has become my go-to.
Ms. Eschapasse: How do you dress on workdays versus weekends?
Ms. Santos: Being a juice girl, I’m most commonly found in my “Healthy” tank top, yoga pants, boots, and an oversized hippie duster sweater. If I’m feeling I need to have some fun and brighten things up, I’ll break out an old school ’70s inspired jumpsuit and heels. It’s funny when I walk into our juice headquarters where we manufacture all dressed up. It’s fun to see my two worlds collide in this way. At Love Grace, it’s hard to distinguish weekends from weekdays. They all blend together. I think that’s true for most business owners. When I’m home, I’m usually in those same wild neon yoga pants, big socks, and a fuzzy bear style zip-up.
Ms. Eschapasse: What are three accessories you can’t live without, and what’s one item that makes you instantly more confident?
Ms. Santos: My beaded necklace that is actual seeds from a tree. They are strung together by tribal women. I wear it wrapped around my wrist. It’s from a special trip I took to the jungle in Costa Rica. Also my chunky plastic glasses and my cowboy boots. I’d say all three give me superpowers.
Ms. Eschapasse: Who have been your greatest fashion influences? Who is your style icon?
Ms. Santos: Betsey Johnson.
Ms. Eschapasse: What does having style mean to you? In other words, please define style.
Ms. Santos: Complete self-expression and self-love. Knowing what lights you up, inspires you, and expressing that through what you wear, how you live, and how you are with other people.
Ms. Eschapasse: What is one purchase you’re most proud of? What would you pay a lot of money for, and what would you never pay much money for?
Ms. Santos: I bought a coat from Buffalo David Bitton when I was 18 and it is still my favorite purchase. It looks like “my grandma’s sofa,” most people say, an antique tapestry style with a soft brown faux fur collar and classic diamond buttons. FAVORITE!
In terms of spending, to me the gems are in the thrift stores, the vintage shops, the worn-in and mysterious pieces. No expensive designer piece in my opinion can capture the authenticity of a once-loved ring, bag, or T-shirt.
Ms. Eschapasse: When you go on the red carpet, how do you want your outfit to make you feel? Which designers can achieve that?
Ms. Santos: Classy, feminine, sleek, and stunning. John Galliano!
Ms. Eschapasse: What do you think of how others dress and what’s your advice to people who would like to develop their personal style?
Ms. Santos: Many times, I think others dress the way they think they are “supposed” to dress. My opinion is wear what you feel like. Dress up. Dress down. Wear something sweet from the ’50s. Wear something from yoga class. Wear what makes you feel the best and most expressed. We have the opportunity to share ourselves through clothes. I’d hate to look back at my life and see a timeline of wearing all black and gray because that was expected of me. When you give yourself permission to be, you give others permission to be. I also think dressing up on what you may think is just a “regular” day reminds you that every day is truly a special occasion.
Favorite color: Magenta
Favorite perfume: French lilac from Pacifica
Favorite restaurant in NY: Caravan of Dreams
Favorite drink: Cold cacao smoothies!
Favorite movie: “Mrs. Doubtfire” and “Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind”
Favorite book: “Brida” by Paulo Coelho and “The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz
Favorite quote: “I remind you that you shine with the purity of a thousand suns.”—Kuan Yin
Sibylle’s “Style Diary” is a column that explores style from the perspective of choices, and what that means for different people, with personal advice from some of the most stylish people in New York.
Sibylle Eschapasse is from Paris and now lives in Manhattan. She is a journalist and a contributing writer to various publications. Sibylle is also the author of a children’s book, “Argy Boy!: A New York Dog Tale.” She may be reached at [email protected]