Q&A with Kate Brennan of Dress Your Guests
Kate Brennan is a Mama to Isabella and Summer. She pursued her love of fashion by entering the world of retail upon graduating from college. Kate’s foundation was built as a buyer at Ralph Lauren where she learned how to mix the expected with the unexpected. Realizing that there was an opportunity to share her learnings and her passion with others she began Dress Your Guests. DYG has evolved as a lifestyle blog which merges southern hospitality with NYC chic. She has continued her passion for inspiring others by becoming a fitness instructor and she continues to pursue her goal everyday to inspire people to look good and feel good both inside and out.
The love. There is nothing like holding a little hand and hearing a little voice say I love you mommy. It melts my heart every single time. I also love how this role in my life has strengthened my relationship with my husband. We are two type A NYers who have been softened by these sweet little babies.
Motherhood has made me vulnerable. I am a perfectionist at heart and motherhood has forced me to expose my flaws. A perfect example, on our way to school one morning I had my cool mom outfit on and everyone was dressed and ready to go and we were on time! I go to pick summer up and put her in her carseat and guess what happened?! The poor little thing had a diaper blowout all over herself and me! So instead of being the together cool mom which I had hoped I would be, I am often the hot mess mom who seems like she is hanging on by a thread.
Isabella, will be three on Halloween. She is the sweetest, kindest little girl who has a silly side. When she turned two she wasn’t really talking and the advice we were given by her pediatrician was, “play with her as if you were a child”. What happened? She started talking and we stopped being so uptight. She has forced us to slow down and enjoy life. Summer is only three months but we can already tell she is particular and will have an opinion. She is filled with energy just like her sister, (we have another non-sleeper on our hands), but she again seems to have a kind heart and a sweet demeanor.
I breastfed with Isabella for 6 months and I am still breastfeeding with Summer. Thank god for BURU because they realize that your clothes can be both functional and chic! I still don’t feel comfortable feeding Summer in public so I often pump and give her a bottle. When I’m at home though I’m constantly thinking okay what kind of access will this shirt give me? And with the help of BURU I have lots of great options!
Yes my #momstyle has changed! 90% of my wardrobe was dry clean only prior to becoming a mom. From my past life as a buyer at Ralph Lauren I wore luxurious and delicate fabrics like suede and lace. Now if it can’t be washed I won’t wear it. My love of layering has disappeared as I’m often hot and sweaty. My #momstyle or my momiform is a simple formula. A jumpsuit, a bold lip and brightly colored sunnies.
Marianne jumpsuit - nightfall
Hmm I have so many! A pair of leggings by Spanx. I had no idea Spanx made leggings but they are wonderful and make you look thin! A tailored blazer because they can be easily dressed up or down. Veronica Beard makes a great style that has interchangeable dickies that can be swapped out for a totally different look. Boyfriend jeans because let’s be honest are skinny jeans really comfortable? No. A jumpsuit that can transition from day to night. An LBD, one that can make you feel sexy even on your worst day. And finally, a lip color that brightens up your face. I try and put on lipstick everyday, a trait I learned from my mother.
Dress Your Guests began as a platform that allowed hosts of a party to register their event and share the dress code with their guests. After many failed attempts at getting the website technology correct we started blogging. The blog is a true testament to when life gives you lemons you make lemonade. The blog has since evolved as a lifestyle destination merging the hospitality of the south with a northern approach to fashion. Stay tuned DYG is undergoing a makeover!
Start saying no. I took on every single project I could when I was pregnant in fear of missing out on an opportunity. After having Summer I realized I wanted to be more present for my family so I had to start saying no to some projects. It allowed me to focus on the projects that really felt right. As a result we have had our best month to date! I’m still working on the juggling part but the one thing that I have found that has helped me is to start my day with a workout. I don’t answer an email or respond to a text until I have worked out because I know I’m not in the right place. When I work out it allows me to be calm and rational and make smart business decisions.
I live in Charlotte, North Carolina but my heart is still in NYC :) I’m sorry I’m going to say it. I am slightly disappointed by the food scene here so it has forced me to learn to cook. When I travel to NYC it is often a treat to eat out. For Italian I love Sette Mezzo and for an elegant steak dinner we love Porterhouse.
On a good day I workout at 5:30 am and answer emails after class. I get myself ready along with the girls. Isabella puts on makeup while I do mine. I’m usually eating a smoothie and drinking a coffee on my way to take Isabella to school. I work from 10-1pm and then head to pick Isabella up from school. I know I could be ten times more productive if I didn’t pick her up from school and stayed in the “work zone” but the best part of my day is when she runs out of the schoolyard screaming mommy and throws her arms around my neck. Afternoon naptime is a chance for conference calls and wrapping up blog posts. Happy hour often starts at 4pm in our house as I have a glass of wine to help me prepare for the evening rush. I walk our dog with our girls every single day around 5pm. People in our neighborhood think I’m nuts but I miss our daily NYC strolls so instead I stroll around Charlotte with a glass of wine in my hand (actually in a plastic cup with a top on it) a dog and two little girls. Dinner is usually made in the crockpot if I’m having a good day otherwise we order in. The hours between 6-8 are a tornado of toys, food, wine, lots of it, and bath bubbles. I try to post on instagram before bed and set up the next round of instagrams for the following day in my phone. My husband and I are trying to find the “us” time but it really only happens when we are not with the kids. So bi-weekly dinner dates are on the calendar and I look forward to this opportunity to get dressed up and enjoy his company.
It means to love and to nurture. My mother was a stay at home mom and she was an incredible mother. She cooked, cleaned and centered her day around us. I grew up thinking this is what mothers did. But when I decided to continue working after having both of our girls I realized I needed to redefine my vision of being a mother and being motherly. So for me, I try to love them by being present when I am with my them and make our moments together special. I put extra effort into the time that we do spend together. As for being nurturing there are never enough hugs and kisses to go around. However, I do want to raise girls who are strong so I try and find a balance between being soft and tough
I want a big family! My husband and I are both from families of four and I would love to have the same for us. 2 down - 2 to go!
Bedtime Story: whatever Isabella picks because she prefers to “read” to me
Lullaby: Hmm I have avoided this because my voice is awful
Vacation Spot: Montauk or the BVIs
Restaurant: In Charlotte, BLT and In NYC if I had to pick just one,
Children’s Brands: Kissy Kissy for babies. Ralph Lauren for special events because they make mini versions of the women’s line. Carters for everyday because they grow so quickly and get so dirty and I can’t justify spending that much money on items that essentially become disposable.
It gets easier and so much better and oh yes with some hard work you will get your body back (with the exception of your boobs).