Catherine Ansel – Men & Women of Style

September 19, 2017 | Tampa Magazine | Fashion,People

Founder of Couture USA

Neighborhood: Westchase

How would you describe your personal style?

I have always maintained a love affair with classic chic, which pretty much sums up my personal style. I tend to favor classic and simple pieces that endure multiple seasons, like a basic black top or a crisp, white button-up shirt, but I carefully select fashion pieces with edgy details, such as interesting necklines or dramatic sleeves, or add layers of accessories to jazz up basic pieces.

Go-to brand:

When it comes to accessories, I have a soft spot for Chanel and Hermès, powerhouse fashion brands that are known for their unparalleled craftsmanship. Because I am usually in a pair of polished pants and a classic top, I invest in quality brands like Theory and Vince when it comes to these fashion staples.

Go-to store:

The perk of running your own upscale designer resale business is that you don’t have to go anywhere else to shop! There’s a certain thrill in opening the mail or a box sent by a client and seeing what surprise it may hold inside. On several occasions, I would find a lovely couture treasure that I couldn’t resist and had to buy for myself. Outside Couture USA, I love to shop in local boutiques while traveling. I take advantage of shopping while on vacation because, on most days, I rarely have time to shop.

I’d never be caught dead wearing:

A very girly, pastel-colored sundress. While I’ve seen so many women look good in it, anything that is overly feminine is not my style. I feel most confident and comfortable when I am wearing classic black or neutral color. If there’s one thing I never compromise, it’s my personal style because I’m a firm believer that fashion should empower a woman to feel more confident.

Biggest style icon:

Of the many style icons today, I am most inspired by former Tom Ford muse and Vogue Paris editor-in-chief Carine Roitfeld. To me, she embodies the unique style of the French woman — effortless yet unafraid to take little risks when it comes to making a fashion statement. I admire her courage to embrace individuality, as evident by her signature mussed-up hair and smoky eyes, in a time when overly put-together is the biggest fashion trend there is.

Five items in your wardrobe you couldn’t do without:

This is a tough question as I’m very driven by my current mood and mindset when creating a wardrobe! Among all my favorites though, I will likely pick these top five fashion pieces: black Chanel tweed jacket, black Chanel Classic Jumbo Flap bag, Cartier men’s Roadster watch, Rachel Zoe giraffe-print coat and a very rare, vintage Chanel long medallion necklace.

When did you become interested in fashion?

Born and raised in France, the fashion capital of the world, I was privileged to grow up surrounded by fashion. Early on, I’ve learned and embraced the French woman’s mentality on fashion: quality over quantity. For the French woman, all you’ll ever truly need are the classic pieces. These influences have sparked my love of designer couture fashion and, to this day, I continue to embrace quality and timelessness in my fashion choices.

Fashion addiction:

It’s a toss-up between handbags and jewelry. I love both equally, so it’s impossible to choose one. A big reason why I’ve developed a deep love for handbags and jewelry is because running a designer resale business means I am constantly surrounded by beautiful designer pieces. In particular, when it comes to jewelry, I love to add volume and drama by layering long necklaces or stacking up cuffs, bracelets and rings.

Biggest fashion regret:

Because I often stick to the classic pieces and rarely take bold fashion risks, I have very few fashion regrets. But if there’s one that comes top of mind, it probably was when I wore a sparkly, gold evening dress for a New Year’s party in New York. It was a stunning dress on its own, but I felt so uncomfortable in it as I generally don’t wear anything too glitzy. I consider this as one of my fashion faux pas moments because there is nothing worse than wearing a dress that doesn’t speak your style and, in the process, strips you of feeling empowered and confident.

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