1. Who is Dianne Harper Boyer?
I am one-half of the multi-generational blog “The Harper Girls”. My niece, Jen, and I created a fashion and beauty blog to highlight how the lessons of the past are just as important as the present and that you can look and feel beautiful at any age.
I feel that my style story started when I was a child. I remember my mom always making sure I was well dressed and will admit that Barbie played a big role in loving fashion. But it was when I started working (and finally had some money) that my style story evolved. I worked professionally in marketing and was fortunate to travel to lots of places and events where dressing appropriately was important. I had several opportunities to be on national television so I really had to plan out what I would be wearing. I wanted to look good both for the company I was working for and for myself.
I decided to pivot in my 40’s to focus on fashion and went to work at a small handbag company. I stayed there for 12 years, working on marketing, PR, and the favorite part of my job, learning about fashion trends.
But it’s my recent endeavor that I am most excited about – the blog. This is the compilation of all my years of studying and experimenting with fashion. At 60 years old, I am now writing about and researching fashion full time, and I couldn’t be happier.
2. How do you define fashion and or style?
I define fashion/style as personal self expression through clothes and accessories. It’s not just about wearing what’s trendy. It’s knowing how to take the trending styles that you love and making them your own. Knowing which trends to avoid, that don’t mesh with your personal style, is also a big part of it. I think style evolves with you. You may have a basic personal style, but it ebbs and flows with you throughout your life.
3. What influences your style? ie travel, work, movies, magazines, social media trends, celebrities, color, etc...
I am still a lover of print magazines. While most of the world has gone digital, I still love thumbing through a magazine and dog-earring the corners of the things I like. That said, I do have a daily ritual of searching the fashion stories in Apple News. Movies also provide inspiration for me. There’s a black and white shearling coat that Cameron Diaz wears in “The Holiday” that I die for every time I watch it. I am still searching to find one just like it.
4. How has your style evolved?
I think when I was younger, it was more important to me to be trendy and wear the latest styles, even if they weren’t the best look for me. Nowadays, I will look at a trend and decide if I like it and how best to wear it. Sometimes the hardest thing is to walk away from a trend that is very popular, but just doesn’t look good on you, especially if you think of yourself as a “fashionista”. But I’ve made peace with that!
5. What does your dream wardrobe consist of?
I have always wanted a Chanel suit. I was a little girl in the 1960’s, and I remember my mom (who I thought was a fashionista of her time) dressing in the styles of the times, like Jackie O. I became obsessed with the fashion on “Mad Men” because it brought me back to those same styles. (I feel the same way about “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”). What I would love about investing and owning a Chanel suit is that it is elegant and timeless. They look as beautiful today as they did when Jackie wore them.
6. If you were to give fashion advice to your younger self what would it be?
Being true to yourself will bring more confidence than wearing what’s “in”. Wearing something that’s a little too tight or a little too short just because it’s in style won’t project the image you want for yourself anyway. You’ll spend way too much time thinking “should I be wearing this?” than just enjoying yourself.
That’s one of the reasons on The Harper Girls blog we started a series entitled “How to Wear it At Any Age”, where we work on getting the thought that you can’t wear something out of your head. We take today’s trends and show how you can adopt them to any age or life stage you are in. At 34 and 60, we pretty much cover both ends of the spectrum and everything in between. We cover accessories and beauty categories as well as fashion. We want women to feel they can do and wear anything.
7. How important is it to be body positive and to appreciate the skin that you're in?
It’s so important but, for me, it can also be hard. I don’t know how many times I’ve said in my life “when I lose weight, I will wear this or that”. But what I’ve come to realize is that that time will probably never come. That’s not because I won’t lose those extra pounds, but because there’s always a chance you’ll find something else to pick on about yourself and hold yourself back. That’s how I reached the place of figuring out how to wear the things I love, with a few tweaks to make me feel comfortable and confident.
8. What do you love about jewelry? What is your absolute favorite is it earrings, necklaces, etc.
I begged my mother to get my ears pierced at 12 years old – and I don’t think a day has gone by without me wearing them, literally. My parents bought me a pair of sterling silver hoops when I got my ears pierced and I still have them. Earrings are definitely my favorite, I feel unfinished if I am not wearing them. Even if I go to the grocery store, the earrings are in. I have adopted hoops as my “signature accessory” and even wrote an entire blog post about it.
But I do love all jewelry – it is an important finishing piece. One of my favorite looks is wearing a monochromatic outfit (especially all white or all black) with a statement necklace to make the accessory the star of the outfit.
I used to hesitate to buy statement necklaces because I would say, “what would I wear that with?” and then be sorry later that I didn’t make the purchase. So I adopted the attitude of “buy it now, you’ll figure out how to wear it later.” I’ve added some beautiful pieces that way.
9. How do you incorporate accessories and jewelry into your daily looks?
I plan out all of my accessories, both my jewelry and handbags. Handbags are another important accessory for me, especially after working 12 years at a small handbag company. Handbags are a fashion statement to me, not just something to carry my stuff in. Luckily I am past the “matchy-matchy” part of my style journey, so I will now pick accessories that are a nice accent, not a perfect match.
10. What are your non-negotiables... What must you have / wear / do? and what are your, “I’m never ever doing or wearing that”?
I’ve mentioned earrings and it’s a real thing for me – I even wear them around the house. It’s the one thing that makes me feel finished, even if I am dressing very casual that day. I don’t always wear my rings around the house, but you’ll always see me in earrings.
For what I would never wear, for some reason I don’t like collared shirts. There’s nothing wrong with them and they look good on other people, just not on me. Every so often I will try one on, thinking this time it will be different, but I just can’t do it. For me, the collars get in the way of jackets and they are hard to accessorize. So I just gave up on trying to force them into my wardrobe. I have one cotton white collared shirt because it’s a classic, but that’s it!
11. Tell us why you choose fashion and style. So what we mean by that is, we don’t have to dress up, we don’t have to adorn ourselves with jewels and embellish with accessories, but we do, we choose to… why do you?
I can be a yoga pants wearing person, just like everyone else. But give me the chance to dress up and I am in my happy place. It may go back to the days when I watched my mom get ready to go out. I thought she was so glamorous, and I wanted to be just like her. She would let me try on her jewelry or give me a spritz of her perfume ,and I loved every minute of it.
It has evolved into a true hobby for me – reading and studying fashion and then turning it into something that I can wear from top to bottom. I even like to shop my own closet to find new and different ways to wear things I already own. But ultimately, the why is that it makes me feel good to create something that is a true expression of who I am. It’s one of the things that we can control about how we present ourselves to the world.
12. What’s your favorite fashion/style quote or mantra?
“Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take one thing off.” – Coco Chanel
This quote was a showstopper for me. It made me think about what I was wearing and if I was wearing too much. As I mentioned earlier, I grew up in the “matchy-matchy” era so there was a time where the bag matched the shoes, the necklace matched the earrings, etc. So this quote allowed me to relax a bit and operate more on a “less is more” basis.
13. How and where can people connect with you?
You can connect with us on our website, www.theharpergirls.com. When you’re there, make sure you sign up for our newsletter which offers exclusive content, not found on the blog. You can also find us on social media at:
Instagram: @_harpergirls (https://www.instagram.com/_harpergirls/)
Facebook: @theharpergirls (https://www.facebook.com/theharpergirls)
Pinterest: @TheHarperGirlsBlog (https://www.pinterest.com/TheHarperGirlsBlog/_created/)
Twitter: @_harpergirls (https://twitter.com/_harpergirls)
You're so inspiring, Dianne! Fashion can truly be timeless. Thank you for sharing that and letting us know more about your amazing career.