Sibylle’s Style Diary: Julie Lerner Macklowe on Owning Your Style and Taking Risks

August 13, 2015 Updated: August 21, 2015

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.

Julie Lerner Macklowe ran a $250 million hedge fund, but left that in 2010 to focus on her own investments in startup fashion businesses and young designers. In 2008, Macklowe was named Vogue magazine’s It Girl. She lives in Manhattan with her husband and daughter.

Sibylle Eschapasse: Describe your style. 
Julie Lerner Macklowe: Eclectic chic.

Ms. Eschapasse: If a close friend were to describe your personality in three words, what would they be? 
Ms. Macklowe: A good time.

Ms. Eschapasse: How did your style evolve since you were a teenager?
Ms. Macklowe: The older I got, the less I cared about the opinions of others. I started taking more chances with my overall look—never wanting to blend in with the crowd. Style should always reflect our individual personalities. Now, in my (ahem) almost 40s, I embrace and encourage the different and unexpected. 

Ms. Eschapasse: What is the wildest thing you ever wore?
Ms. Macklowe: My birthday suit for an editorial spread in Vogue.

Ms. Eschapasse: How do you dress on workdays versus weekends? 
Ms. Macklowe: There’s very little variance between my workday and my weekend apparel. I guess you could say that I dress depending on the mood I wake up in—unless I’m going on air, and then I usually just opt for sophisticated subtlety.

Ms. Eschapasse: What are three accessories you can’t live without and what’s one item that makes you instantly more confident? 
Ms. Macklowe: My three must have accessories are jewelry, clutches, and Licorice (My dog). Oh and about that one item that instantly makes me more confident … Whiskey. Neat.

Ms. Eschapasse: Who have been your greatest fashion influences? Who is your style icon?
Ms. Macklowe: My grandmother Dolly has always been one of my biggest fashion influences. She loved taking me shopping!  I can still remember how excited I would be when she’d take me to Wet Seal and Contempo Casuals in my early teens. 

As for my style icon, it is without a doubt, Nan Kempner.  Her unbridled courage and fervor continues to be an inspiration to so many. She pushed fashion boundaries and lived by her own set of rules. She was unequivocally a pioneer in the world of women’s fashion.

Ms. Eschapasse: What does having style mean to you? In other words, please define style. 
Ms. Macklowe: To me style is a reflection of one’s character, it’s the relationship we have with ourselves. Style is the external expression of our internal personas. We wake up each day as a clean white canvas; clothing and accessories are the tools we use to paint our canvas.

Ms. Eschapasse: What is one purchase you’re most proud of? What would you pay a lot of money for?
Ms. Macklowe: I love my sneaker Louboutin heels that I recently purchased—my daughter Zoe asked me if she could have them when she is older—definitely not, the most comfortable sneaker I own!

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. Macklowe: It really depends on the event. Like most women, I want to feel glamorous and beautiful, especially at red carpet events. Whenever I’m dressing for an event I always avoid going for safe. For example, at this year’s MET gala I channeled the “Game of Thrones,” and between Zang Toi‘s interpretation of a modern chinoiserie flair and my grandiose, where-are-my-dragons wig, I think we kinda nailed it. 

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. Macklowe: I try to not judge others, not out loud anyway (kidding), but in all honesty; I believe that people should wear whatever makes them happy. I have only two words of advice for anyone looking to develop their own personal style: OWN IT!

Julie’s Favorites

Favorite color: Purple
Favorite perfume: 24 Faurbourg, By Hermès
Favorite restaurant in NY: The Mark Restaurant
Favorite drink: Laguvalin Scotch Single Malt, neat
Favorite movie: “Caddy Shack”
Favorite book: “The Prophet”
Favorite quote: “People will stare; make it worth their while.”—Harry Winston

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