Cara HotzCara Hotz Style
The Cara Hotz approach to style isn’t fashion. This West Loop style consultant is schooling us in the philosophy of personal style and self-expression. Cara sees personal style as very fluid—running through you, not around you. Before the wardrobe rework, Cara wants to change the way you think about personal style, because living your own style is not only rewarding, but empowering. She counsels clients to find garments that resonate with their lifestyle, rather than succumb to trendy fast fashion. Based on your inspirations, your life responsibilities and your physical presence, Cara Hotz Style creates tools to develop and implement your own style across the spheres of your life. We could pick her brain for hours on her style insights and sartorial tricks that channel an even better version of ourselves. We dished with Cara on her current inspirations, the instinctive elegance of her grandmother and creating your own effortless style.
BEAUTY MUST-HAVES>> scent: CHANEL COCO MADEMOISELLE // moisturizer: AHAVA TIME TO SMOOTH // concealer: L’OREAL TRUEMATCH // face: SMASHBOX PHOTOFINISH FOUNDATION PRIMER // mascara: BENEFIT THEY’RE REAL! // lips: GUERLAIN KISS KISS #326 // nails: ESSIE LAQUERED UP // can’t live without: ANASTASIA BROW WIZ PENCIL
You work one-on-one with clients to find their true self—what’s inspiring YOU right now?
I’ve been diving into the work of Diana Vreeland. She’s so interesting. She was an expert at refining her own personal style, but she also contributed to the way others expressed their style by catching the stand-out thing about a person and then showing it off. She expanded the way people thought about what is worthy of note. She took her work seriously, and she had fun; I appreciate that so much. If there is no delight, why do it?
Other stylish icons?
Elaine Stritch (pictured, right): A straight-talking, sophisticated, and talented lady. She was so dedicated to her own thing that she didn’t wear pants. Just a uniform of long shirts, tights, and flats. As an octogenarian.
Stockard Channing: She projects seriousness and edge, with a patrician vibe.
Murphy Brown (Candace Bergen): I loved her popped collars.
Joyce Carpati (of the Advanced Style ladies): I love her classic, elegant style and also her sentiment that “To age is a privilege.”
When you were younger, who was your most stylish relative?
At my grandmother’s house, her chair was upholstered in a vibrant tree of life design, and it was her command center. Her living room was like a jewel box. On her cocktail table she kept a tiger cowrie shell, and now I keep one just like it at home. She had two antique tufted settees… two! Two sofas in one room was a game-changer to me at eight years old. She definitely influenced my interest in “the way” to do things, and how to bend or break the rules to be yourself.
So we’re seeing two sofas in one room in your future, eh?
I’ve always had a bit of “later in life lady” in me, always. I like to be polished, but not fussy. I definitely have classic leanings and a love of flair. I can see myself pushing my favorites more and more… red lips and nails, black satin low-heel evening slippers, and wool wrap capes. I see myself pushing the flair, but always refining. I always want to keep my eyes open for inspiration.
We love that your style philosophy goes beyond what you wear—where in Chicago speaks to your sense of style?
I always say that Club Lago (pictured, right) is like my “Cheers.” When I worked in River North, I lunched there a few times a week, and I still love being there. The Nardini Brothers can always be counted on for a hearty “Welcome in!”