Talkin’ Texas Style with Jen Munoz
Introducing… Jen Munoz, MSL’s new Regional Style contributor from Texas! She’ll be dishing regularly on the latest trends, must-haves and fashionable topics, all from a Lone Star State perspective.
As a mom to twin boys (and two dogs) Jen has come to the realization that she’ll never reach “master builder” status and that’s okay. She’s also given up on most people’s standard of “safety.” However, Jen does have exceptional communication skills (especially negotiating and persuading), she stays calm in the face of pretty much anything, and is always prepared for life’s next “experience.”
Jen, her husband Zach, twins Cole and Jaxon (age 6) and their pups.
Living in Dallas, where shopping (along with football: think Friday Night Lights meets Sex in the City) is a sport, Jen’s West Coast roots shine through in her laid-back approach to life. Her “so what if I look like I just came from the beach?” attitude is expressed in her carefree, yet polished, style.
For the past 20 years, Jen has worked in the fashion and media industry (but don’t try to guess her age). In fact, recently one of her boys’ friends asked if they had electricity when she was little. (Ok, she’s not THAT old.). In addition to being a mom, Jen currently works in PR, as the owner of The Press Retriever. She has a stellar history of creating win-win partnerships for clients, appearing regularly on TV as a fashion and lifestyle expert, and works as a stylist, gift-giving expert and event producer extraordinaire. Jen has worked with the likes of Christian Louboutin, Manolo Blahnik, Oscar de le Renta, Clinton Kelly, Tommy Hilfiger, The Fashion Guy, Queen Latifah and Beyoncé, to name a few.
In her spare time, Jen can be found at The Bar (Method, that is) and supporting many worthwhile causes. She and her boys host a monthly “Philanthropy Friday” where they invite their classmates to join them in giving back and helping others. She also loves writing notes to friends around the globe. In Jen’s words, “There’s just nothing like discovering a handwritten note amidst a pile of junk mail – I mean c’mon, amirite?” She’s excited to be part of the MSL team and bring y’all fashion happenings from Dallas, where contrary to popular belief, nobody actually wears cowboy boots and hats.
MSL: Top three go-to items in your closet?
Most days: tees and jeans with great accessories, especially shoes. One of my favorite quotes is “Never underestimate the power of a good pair of shoes.” – Cinderella and it’s so true! Depending on where I’m headed – from school drop-off to client meetings – my approach to dressing is usually carefree, yet polished, and accessories play an important role. Plus with the heat, I try to keep it simple to stay cool and comfortable, while still looking professional.
MSL: Favorite source of style inspiration?
InStyle is definitely a monthly staple, and I love scanning key fashion blogs. Local, independent boutiques and accessory designers also inspire me. There are so many talented people out there creating amazing products. I could get lost on Etsy and Houzz for days.
MSL: How would you describe “Texas” style?
Varied. With a state as large as most countries, it really runs the gamut. Every state has its share of ‘brand ambassadors’ who sport only designer duds, but I think most people here really mix it up with both high- and low-end pieces. Style also really varies depending the area. Dallas has a different vibe than say Austin, Houston or San Antonio. And, even within each city, it can vary depending on your neighborhood. Lakewood has a different look than University Park, Southlake, Plano or McKinney. Needless to say, we’re not all donning cowboy boots and hats, and not everything is bigger and flashier in Texas, especially not our hair.
MSL: How has living in Texas influenced your personal style?
I’ve moved around a lot, and with each location it hasn’t changed much, as I’ll always be a West Coast girl at heart. I’d like to think my style has evolved though as I get older. When you have dogs and kids, your style has to adjust accordingly, so you can be prepared for any occasion. In Texas, I’ve had to ready myself for those drastic changes in temperature! And I’m not talking weather, I just mean from outside to inside. The air conditioning – boy, it can be a killer! I’m freezing just thinking about it. Brrr… Layering is key, and I probably spend more time considering accessory options than in the past because true layering (outside of the indoor/outdoor issue) is only an option a few months out of the year. So, jewelry, scarves, handbags and shoes are an easy way to highlight your personality.
Photo Credit: Kristy Harrod Portraits
MSL: What top trends are happening in the Lone Star State for fall?
Color: green. Accessory: the clutch. And of course with our weather: the year-round bootie. It’s perfect with dresses and skinnies or tights once the weather cools down.
MSL: What are you adding to your closet this season?
I always try to add an updated pair of jeans and boots or a unique shoe for fall. This year, rag & bone’s skinny jean with zipper-detail hit the spot. Frye always has boots to die for and there are some really great animal print shoes for fall. It’s easy to take key essentials and add a pop of color or an unexpected print to make your look more playful. Adding great layering pieces that can easily take me from carpool to meetings to the gym on crazy busy days is also a must. Love my Lululemon leggings – no one needs to know they’re workout attire! Easy: Add on a tee, a sweater, some boots and head out for the day – you’re pretty much ready for anything. Then, when I hit the gym later I can just remove the sweater, change my shoes and I’m good to go! I love essential pieces that are fashionable and functional.
MSL: Key piece of style advice for other moms?
Don’t try too hard. Heels to the playground? No thank you. Make-up at the gym? Pass. Don’t overthink it. It’s fashion – it’s supposed to be a fun way to express yourself. Don’t be afraid to try new things, be original, playful. And, please don’t be too hard on yourself – if you’re comfortable in your skin you’ll look and feel great! After all ladies, confidence is your best accessory – never leave home without it!
Photo Credit: Kristy Harrod Portraits