This week’s style diary guest is Beth Shak, whose name is synonymous with shoes. The mother of three who lives in New York and is known for her frequent visits to the final table at the World Series of Poker has a collection of over 1,200 pairs of one-of-a-kind shoes; 700 of them Louboutins.
Her love for footwear initially started with her love of vintage fashion, having spent over 10 years in the couture clothing business. Now she is launching a signature line of poker chips, which will hit stores next February, and debuting her very own lines, Beth Shak & Beth Shak Couture. She reminds the world of what Marilyn Monroe used to say, “Give a girl the right pair of shoes and she can conquer the world!”
Sibylle Eschapasse: Describe your style? If a close friend were to describe your personality in three words, what would they be?
Beth Shak: I would say my style is classic with an edge. I love mixing random vintage or inexpensive finds with amazing classic forever pieces. My friends would say I’m unfiltered, adventurous, and compassionate.
Ms. Eschapasse: How did your style evolve since you were a teenager? What is the wildest thing you ever wore?
Ms. Shak: My style has evolved so many times over the years. You learn to not follow trends and to be secure in your own self.
I definitely went through the period of following whatever the fashion magazines dictated. The wildest thing I ever wore was a Roberto Cavalli dress because it’s really not me.
Ms. Eschapasse: How do you dress on workdays versus weekends?
Ms. Shak: I’m really casual during the week. I wear Adidas and leggings with oversized cashmere sweaters.
Ms. Eschapasse: What are three accessories you can’t live without, and what’s one item that makes you instantly more confident?
Ms. Shak: I can’t live with without my black 30 cm box Birkin, my high classic black Louboutin boots, and Chanel espadrilles. Honestly I don’t know how I stopped this list at three items!
Ms. Eschapasse: Who have been your greatest fashion influences? Who is your style icon?
Ms. Shak: My greatest fashion influence has been Grace Kelly. I loved her. I searched far and wide to acquire a Warhol of her.
Ms. Eschapasse: What does having style mean to you? In other words, please define style.
Ms. Shak: Style, to me, means making your own personal mark on who you are as an individual.
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. Shak: I’m most proud of my Elizabeth Taylor poker boots from her auction. It’s a piece of history to me.
I would pay a lot of money for handbags and shoes because they can make or break how an outfit looks. I would stop at a certain point on clothing. It’s far from timeless. If you put expensive heels and a bag on with an average dress, no one knows.
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. Shak: When I walk a red carpet I want to feel confident. The designers that can achieve that are Tom Ford, Stella McCartney, Dolce & Gabbana, Michael Kors, J Mendel, but I could go on and on.
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. Shak: I have opinions on how others dress. Sometimes it’s good and sometimes it isn’t. I think if people want to develop their own style they should start by taking small risks.
Favorite color: Lavender
Favorite perfume: x by Clive Christian
Favorite restaurant in NY: Mr. Chow
Favorite drink: Tito’s on the rocks
Favorite movie: “An Officer and a Gentleman“
Favorite book: “The Great Gatsby”
Favorite quote: “You can’t change crazy.”
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 Sibylle.Eschapasse@gmail.com