We first (virtually) met Katie Armour a few years ago when she reached out to us out of the blue and honored us with the infinite pleasure of being a Plucky Pioneer featured on her beautiful, witty, fun, and original blog, The Neo-Traditionalist.  What struck us most about her was the immediately lovable mix of aspirational and approachable, the gal you felt could be your best friend who just happened to have immense talent and style beyond a wildest dream.  Fast forward a year or two, it came as no surprise that news hit that she was launching a wildly successful online wonder, Matchbook Magazine, with her equally talented and creative college bestie.  Having just celebrated the magazine's first birthday (fabulous work, ladies!) AND because we adore Katie to her fashionable core, we thought she'd be the perfect February Leading Lady...and we're betting you'll feel the same.  

So...we asked our fellow pixie-shorn pal to send us an inspiration board that might help us visualize her classic-with-a-twist style.  We loved the pops of pink amidst the simplicity of black and white, and her hints at romantic rhinestones shone through, too.  Katie also browsed our online archives to see if any specific styles from Elva's past sparked her fancy, so she sent a handful of those along as well.



Based on her initial visual guidance, we culled a collection of beads and vintages for her to see and consider for her custom necklace design...




and also put together some general layouts to demonstrate how they might be put into play.  Here are just a few of the ideas we sent along to Katie...and we waited anxiously to hear her thoughts.  




Not surprisingly for a gal who knows her style well and feels confident in her sartorial selections, she had an immediate reaction to the third design featuring a pair of vintage costume pearl and rhinestone pendant earrings.  She loved the overall layout, but hesitated to jump in with the tumbled black lava beads.  A traditionalist at heart (it IS an essential element in the name of her blog, after all) she decided to opt for a more polished look and feel where the beads were concerned, and we sourced some glossy black onyx to bedeck the vintage jewels on either side.  


Though we're certain she could wear lava (or even a brown bag!) and look glamorous and gorgeous, we're thrilled with how classically simple and elegant she is in her new necklace.  A twist on tradition that will make sparks fly, we think!  A giant thanks to Katie for reaching out to us those years ago...and for sticking around through both of our wild rides of late.  We are proud to know her and look forward to all of the fun ahead.  (And know the jewels will enjoy their new West-Coast home...though we are holding out for a South-bound road trip one of these days for a jeweled reunion!)



We were fortunate enough to snag Katie for a few questions...enjoy the interview below!

Emily Maynard/EM:  As we worked on this necklace together, "classic with a twist" seemed to be a theme that might apply to your overall personal style...where do you feel more comfortable taking fashion risks, and where do you feel it best to stick with the tried-and-true classics?

Katie Armour/KA:  I usually stick to very classic apparel and prefer to mix it up with accessories. I’m all about colorful ballet flats and statement necklaces!

EM: We went for basic statement black for our design...but if you incorporate color in your wardrobe, what are your favorite hues to wear?

KA: If I’m wearing color (not often) it’s usually shoes, a scarf, or jewelry. This spring I’m especially excited about pastels -- soft pinks, minty greens, pale blue. A dash of hot pink can be fun too.

EM: Living up the the Matchbook Magazine credo, where would you wear this necklace on a charmed-life adventure in your neck of the woods?

KA:  I’ll be wearing my necklace day and night! I can see it easily dressing up a casual daytime look (sailor stripes) or accessorizing a little black dress for dinner with my husband.

EM: Oh, to spend an afternoon in your world...is there a vintage shop to which you'd take us?  How 'bout a good bookstore?

KA: If you were to visit me here in the San Francisco bay I would take you on a little island tour of Alameda. There is a beach, neighborhoods full of charming, old victorian homes, some great restaurants, and fantastic antiquing. The antiques faire on the first Sunday of every month is a local claim to fame -- over 800 dealers bring their treasures!

EM: Are there any jewels on the Elva Fields site that tickle (ahem, strike!) your fancy these days? 

KA: I am in love with the coin shaped costume pearl earrings. So simple yet so chic! Also, the clustered pearl earrings are such a fun statement -- very traditional with a twist!





As we worked on this necklace together, "classic with a twist" seemed to be a theme that might apply to your overall personal style...where do you feel more comfortable taking fashion risks, and where do you feel it best to stick with the tried-and-true classics?


I usually stick to very classic apparel and prefer to mix it up with accessories. I’m all about colorful ballet flats and statement necklaces!


We went for basic statement black for our design...but if you incorporate color in your wardrobe, what are your favorite hues to wear?


If I’m wearing color (not often) it’s usually shoes, a scarf, or jewelry. This spring I’m especially excited about pastels -- soft pinks, minty greens, pale blue. A dash of hot pink can be fun too.


Living up the the Matchbook Magazine credo, where would you wear this necklace on a charmed-life adventure in your neck of the woods?


I’ll be wearing my necklace day and night! I can see it easily dressing up a casual daytime look (sailor stripes) or accessorizing a little black dress for dinner with my husband.


Oh, to spend an afternoon in your world...is there a vintage shop to which you'd take us?  How 'bout a good bookstore?


If you were to visit me here in the San Francisco bay I would take you on a little island tour of Alameda. There is a beach, neighborhoods full of charming, old victorian homes, some great restaurants, and fantastic antiquing. The antiques faire on the first Sunday of every month is a local claim to fame -- over 800 dealers bring their treasures!


Are there any jewels on the Elva Fields site that tickle (ahem, strike!) your fancy these days?  (feel free to pick 2-3 styles...either necklace or earrings...unfortunately you won't see the new stuff until it posts that day...so earrings might be our best bet...and you are welcome to choose available or archived items!)  


I am in love with the coin shaped costume pearl earrings. So simple yet so chic! Also, the clustered pearl earrings are such a fun statement -- very traditional with a twist!



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