Life // Shifting Into A New Season

February 1, 2017

Every time I hear someone talk about making a “pivot” in their career, I can’t think of anything else but that scene from Friends when Chandler and Rachel are try to help Ross move a giant couch up the angled stairwell of their apartment building.

Something that seems nearly impossible at the moment, and yet so important that he will do anything he can just to make it work.

I’ve been lucky enough to make many strategic pivots throughout my last eight years as a creative entrepreneur, and while most of them have felt more like small edits or minor adjustments, the big one that I decided upon last Summer has brought about more than just a few panic-in-the-stairwell sort of moments.

Telling my family + friends and then slowly sharing with my pals on social media has been all I could stomach up until now, but the enormity of the new project continues to grow and it suddenly feels like everything else I’ve done seems to pale in comparison.

Guessing that’s why I’ve felt a bit shy to finally share the news with you here?

A blog post just feels so public and official! It reeks of the kind of commitment that comes when your couch is wedged between the 1st and 2nd floor, and you realize that you might have to sit down and take a nap before having enough strength to start wiggling it up the stairs again.

Thinking through the different stages of work throughout my career, I’m reminded that this blog is what started it all, nearly nine years ago.

As a matter of fact, this April will be the start of my tenth year of blogging (!) and it’s such a fun coincidence to have that also be the month that we launch the latest / largest / loveliest new member of the Style + Pepper family.

I can’t wait any longer, and so without further ado —  I’m pleased to introduce my upcoming project…

A line of thoughtfully designed and ethically made dresses called Season

Now that I can finally share why my blogging has been WAY quieter over the past year or so, it feels like a huge weight has been lifted off of my shoulders… To learn more about this dream come true, head over to the (still in-progress) website to learn more about what’s coming later this Spring, and keep reading below for a bit of back story about the brand.

When we moved back to the West Coast in 2015, I noticed that my outlook on the fashion and lifestyle industries began to change pretty drastically.

I had worked so hard to position myself as a digital-media-savvy style expert, but the hustle stopped paying off when we started putting down roots in our new soul city of Long Beach, California. In many ways, you were the ones who watched us fall in love with this place a few years ago, and I can honestly say that we’re still pretty smitten.

It’s such a joy to live in a community that values things like neighbors and sunshine more than your job title or dress size.

One of the most interesting things about experiencing this shift has been watching my personal style change while I acclimate to a different climate, a new pace of life, and a slowly shifting body.

The latter lets us get more personal here than I normally do, but if you’ll allow me to be frank (I know I know, you thought I was Jessie)… I’d love to share a bit of real-talk with you:

I have gained a considerable amount of weight for my frame since we left NYC, and the impact it has made on my closet is disheartening to someone who loves their clothes as much as I do. 

As a stylist, I’ve had the opportunity to craft a wardrobe filled with some amazing pieces, and many of them have even been generous gifts from the designers themselves. When you factor in the concept of how my whole career has been rooted in the concept of dressing yourself to express and experience the way you want to feel — it makes sense that these items have a more meaningful piece of my heart than “just another pair of leggings” to wear around the house (and don’t get me wrong – I really love those, too).

To get an idea of what this particular experience of “growth” has looked like for me, you might be interested to read this particularly honest story over on the new Season website.

It’s been incredibly cathartic to “journal through” these challenges, and my hope is that the final iteration of our dresses will make a difference in the lives of anyone who can relate to the very same thing.

So where does this leave us? Well, quite frankly — the commitment to Season came when I was crumpled on the floor of my room with a silk-blend straight-jacket stretched tight around my knees.

I had a total meltdown after learning that my favorite skirt would no longer pull up past my hips, and after brushing myself off and deciding to try on my entire wardrobe, I ended up ditching nearly 90% of the pieces that suddenly didn’t fit. I don’t want to downplay this part of the story because it was (and still is) SO emotional for me… Kind of embarrassing when I compare it to all of the turmoil going on in the world and our country, but this is just one of the many places that I am still learning to give myself some grace.

In a redemptive way, this entire process has made me so much more aware of my innate style preferences and my strong personality.

I love wearing beautiful and well-made things with a past or a story. Shopping second-hand is literally one of my favorite things to do, and nothing makes my heart race like finding a beautiful vintage dress in a perfectly flowy fit. (Thankful for a husband who totally understands this instead of letting himself get jealous of a garment.)

I also began to notice that most of my Closet All-stars were items that could be worn in a variety of different ways for many occasions… The perfect combination of form and function, that made them worthy of hanging on to for year after year.

Aside from the obviously important aesthetic design, I’ve always loved the chance to fill my hangers with things that are ethically and sustainably produced, whenever possible. This way of thinking (and spending) has made some serious waves in the industry lately (PLEASE watch The True Cost Movie on Netflix if you haven’t already!), and I first felt convicted about the world of fast fashion after reading and reviewing this fantastic book on the blog back in 2012.

So, as I started to see some of my own shopping values emerge, I noticed that it seemed difficult to find items that fit ALL the components of my growing list of criteria.

The one piece in my closet that came fairly close to the gold-standard is actually something I found myself wearing at LEAST weekly, and honestly sometimes even more often than that!

It was something that I haphazardly created after taking apart an old maxi-dress and turning it into something that was a bit more like one of the vintage caftans that I so unapologetically love. A snip of the sleeves here, a tie of the hem there and before long — I had affectionately come to think of this dress as a real-life friend in the form of a frankenstein-frock: The accidental and unofficial S+P uniform for whatever surprises life has thrown my way.

It has followed me from city to city as I learned how to layer for any climate, and has allowed me to experiment with my ever-changing and adventurous style. It has embraced the curves that appeared as my body began to heal, and lets me breath when my skinny jeans pinch in all the wrong places.

This dress has been miraculously pulled (wrinkle-free!) from the bottom of my beach bag, and worn with diamonds and stilettos to a black tie affair. It has acted as a scarf stand-in on several freezing cold plane-rides across the country, and emerges stink-free from our sweaty trips to the Summer Flea Market here in Long Beach.

Last summer, I casually mentioned to a friend that I could honestly wear this dress everyday for the rest of my life if I could also have access to my full wardrobe of supporting accessories and shoes.

It surprised even ME when I said this, but I meant every word… and it was during that very conversation when I decided it might be fun to try making a few more. 

So here we are with a brand new Season staring me right in the face.

As I mentioned in a Pepper Letter earlier this month, “Right from the start, this project has had me sparkling with possibilities and simultaneously scared out of my mind, but I can’t shake the hunch that it’s exactly what I’m meant to be doing at this time of my life.”

I know I said earlier that this is simply the dress of MY dreams, but in so many ways — I’m making it just for you… For both of us, really.

I have a feeling you’re going to LOVE IT, and I can’t wait for the chance to hear you say, “This is my Season!

XOXO – Jessie 

 

Ps. – I’m so excited to share more as we keep zipping along, and CANNOT WAIT for you to see photos of the finished product coming (hopefully) very soon!

Feeling a bit buried with logistics as we get ready for the start of our pre-sales in April, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t try wriggle my arms free for a virtual hug every now and again. ;) I’m finally embracing the chance to snap some stories over on instagram, and you can also come say HEY on twitter at our handle, @SeasonEveryday.

Last but not least: if you truly want to know when we’re ready to go, please sign up for the launch-list and I’ll be sharing all of our updates with the friends who join us over there!

Image by Christa Norman Photography

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4 Comments

  • Reply Courtney February 1, 2017 at 10:30 am

    Yay! Yay! Yay! So excited for you and this massive pivot! I love your story and the heart behind this beautiful new project. I can’t wait to see it!

    • Reply Jessie Artigue March 2, 2017 at 4:50 pm

      Thank you, Court! You are high on the list of first people to receive grainy text photos when the samples arrive!!!! :) XOXO

  • Reply Stephanie Lobdell February 1, 2017 at 10:35 am

    Thank you for sharing this story. I have always watched your work from afar, having gone to seminary with your hubby (who was always so kind to me when I was in way over my head.) Your honesty in your journey and your embrace of the changes of life touched my soul in a special way and I look forward to seeing your new work emerge!

    • Reply Jessie Artigue March 2, 2017 at 4:49 pm

      Oh Stephanie — Thank you so much for saying so! Feeling so encouraged by your note, and love to know that you’re following along! XO

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