Justine Musk is: a famous author, prolific blogger, mother of 5, social activist, hot babe, has lived a life that most of us only read about, and we are beyond thrilled to have an exclusive interview with her! For those of you that don’t believe in women that are brilliant AND can dress in a way that is Wardrobe Wire worthy… THINK AGAIN!
1.Wardrobe Wire Girls like to dress in themes depending on our mood that day e.g. one day we may look “hippie chic” and the next “country club chic”. What term(s) would you use to best describe your everyday style?
I keep it simple: fitted lines and neutral colors. But I also like the bold, provocative detail: an off-the-shoulder neckline, a bit of metallic shine or animal print or flash of hot pink. Kate Moss was a big influence on me all through my twenties and early thirties. There’s also a quote I love – I think it was Karl Lagerfeld – who said he was “a little bit aristocrat, a little bit rock’n’roll”. I remember thinking that’s how I wanted to be.
2. Is there one designer, in particular, that season after season always finds a way to get in your closet?
Stella McCartney always seems to find her way in there. Although lately it’s been Alexander Wang.
3. You are a very active woman that must attend and dress for many different types of events. How would you say your style of dress differs from a book signing party to a fundraiser in Beverly Hills,CA.?
Style is the story of yourself and how you tell it to the world, and I think as you get older you get more confident about what your story is and how that translates to different contexts and situations. I did my first-ever book signing in jeans and a Rolling Stones vintage t-shirt, and people kept mistaking me for a bookstore employee. Which is when I learned that style is also performance. So I might wear leather boots that lace up over the knee or a dark purple shawl that I can keep throwing over my shoulder.
Fundraisers are more formal or business-casual. They taught me the importance of the little black dress: you can dress it up or dress it down, you can throw a blazer over it. I swear by the power of the little black dress. You can invest in one great dress and wear it a dozen different ways. It’s like a blank canvas.
4. Mothers often ask us how to still look “put together” and stylish while hauling kids around town. As a mother of 5, what advice or tips can you share with the moms out there on this subject?
Oh, god, it’s all about the uniform. I hate leaving the house and realizing I don’t feel good in what I’m wearing, but I also don’t want to spend time getting ready. So I figured out what works for me and wear variations of the same outfit. For me, it’s J brand lovestory jeans and fitted shells or tank tops and blazers or light leather jackets. I love scarves, bracelets, long necklaces. Or maybe a crazy cocktail ring. Throw it on and go. You don’t want to overthink it.
I also learned that it’s important to keep editing your wardrobe. You can only wear so many clothes. You don’t want 100 things cluttering up your space when you only wear 20 of them. I give a lot of things away. When your wardrobe is small, and everything goes with everything else, it’s just easier. You want to find the things you love, and wear them over and over, and they become your signature pieces.
5. We understand that you’re very active in environmental issues. What are some of your favorite eco-friendly brands and/or products that you MUST inform Wardrobe Wire readers about?
There’s a great website called Ecofabulous – www.ecofabulous.com -- that promotes “sexy sustainable style” and points you to a lot of the cool stuff. You can sign up for Zem’s List, which will email you a list of the latest finds. There’s an eco-conscious designer named Linda Loudermilk who is really luxe, edgy, interesting – I’m a big fan. As far as products go – I like Eccobella lip gloss, Mineralogie eyeliner, Oberon mineral-based eyeshadows. There are some awesome skincare products by John Masters Organics and Juice Beauty.
6. Being a mother, author, activist, and all around fabulous woman.... we have to imagine life is pretty hectic and stressful. What do you do to relax and maintain good mental and physical health?
Working out is a necessary part of my life. I’ve had three C-sections and I bounced back very quickly after each of them, which taught me this huge lesson: take care of your fitness and your fitness takes care of you.
I’ll steal some alone time when I need it, to put my thoughts in order and dream for the future.
And I love to rock out in my car.
7. You have traveled all over the world. What tips can you share with our readers on packing efficiently?
If it wrinkles badly, I won’t pack it. Roll your clothes – it saves space and doesn’t wrinkle as much. Pack clothes that complement each other and that you can layer for warmth and different looks. If I’m going somewhere where I can get away with wearing a lot of black, then that’s what I’ll pack, because it’s easier. I’m absent-minded and tend to lose or forget stuff, which means I pack very few accessories. Less is more. (Although sometimes, less is hard.)
8. Speaking of world travel, is there one place in the world that you identify with the most fashion/style wise?
I don’t know if there’s one place that I identify with – maybe London -- but there are places that had a big influence on me. I remember being in Paris and seeing women in trench coats, pencil skirts, and high-heeled pumps, or wearing a long cardigan with a miniskirt, and thinking, Wow. I started dressing a little differently after that. I also think that French women know how to age with sensuality and style; they don’t try to fake youth with makeup and plastic surgery, they celebrate the power and confidence and experience of the older woman.
And I love places like Ibiza or St Barts for that easy, breezy, bohemian beach style, the beaded or embroidered caftans and tunics, the jewelry.
And Vegas is fun, because you can get away with anything. Clothes you would never wear anywhere else, you can wear in Vegas.
9. It is very important to Wardrobe Wire to remind people of how fashion is being used for good causes. Many indigenous people sell their handmade designs in order to bring money into their villages. Are there any projects you can think of that is a good example of this?
Open Hand Designs comes to mind. They employ “unhireables” in India, people who otherwise wouldn’t be considered for work because of caste, religion, disability or disease, and give them good wages and safe working conditions. They partner with an organization called Not For Sale – www.notforsalecampaign.com -- and give ten percent of their profits to the fight against human trafficking.
There’s a line of handbags called NAEA, which launched at Barney’s – traditional handwoven hobo bags made by and in support of Ethiopian women.
I was also impressed with Rozae Nichols and her recent Ian line. She visited factories in China and the human suffering she saw there canceled out the beauty of the garments it produced. She uses local factories and nurtures local artisans. She also stresses how the success of sustainable clothing depends on great design first and foremost. If your competitors see you doing something great, something that’s working – and selling -- then they’ll jump on the bandwagon. So I want to support that.
10. If you could start a new trend or bring back a trend from the past, what would it be?
I love how Marlene Dietrich and Greta Garbo pulled off that glam, androgynous look. And I have a soft spot in my heart for the flapper aesthetic – the bobbed hair and dropped-waist dresses, that spirit of rebellion and liberation.
11. What beauty product can you not live without?
Sukicolor is awesome. A moisturizer, foundation and SPF all in one.
12. Before we have to depart with you, please share with us what you’re working on now and when we can get our hands on it!
I have a blog called Tribal Writer – www.tribalwriter.com -- where I explore what it means and how to be a soulful, savvy creative in the digital age.
And I’m working on a novel called THE DECADENTS, about a dancer in Los Angeles who gets involved with a wealthy powerful man who might have murdered her in a past life. It doesn’t have a release date yet, but I’ll let you know when it does!