I’m always inspired by women who manage to turn a lifelong passion into a career. It’s really an accomplishment to be able to come up with an idea and then have the drive and determination to make your dream a reality.
Nora Minassian did just that when she created her stunning collection of women’s jackets.
Jacket Society was born out of Nora’s love of fashion and a need to fill a gap in the women’s apparel industry.
It’s only been a year but already Nora has a thriving business. I love seeing her model her unique designs on her popular blog. Nora always looks fabulous and there’s so much you can learn by studying her chic styling ideas. She’s got the look that many women 40+ are after. I recently chatted with Nora about her style and her success, and here’s what she had to say.
Deb: Nora, What inspired you to become a jacket designer?
Nora: I am a fashion designer by profession, I graduated from Otis College of Art and Design in 1988 and have worked in the fashion industry for many years, and I even had my own label called Nora Minas which was a full collection at some point.
This time around I wanted to do something smaller and more specialized. I decided to go with the jacket category for couple of reasons, first I love jackets, second there are not many companies that specialize in jackets and I think there is a gap in the market for great specialty jackets for women.
Deb: When you sit down to design a new jacket, what are some of the things you keep in mind?
Nora: First and foremost I think of my costumer, who is a professional woman with a busy life and family. The idea is to design great item jackets that any woman can throw on over jeans or black pants or skirt and run out the door. Jackets are a great piece to finish off your look and make your look more refined, put together and chic.
Deb: What’s your favorite jacket you’ve ever designed? Why?
Nora: It’s very hard to pick a favorite, as a designer every piece is a special piece you create. Personally I love blazers and I wear a lot of them so I am always drawn to them like our Madison or Haley jackets. But I have to say I love our new Monterey and Napa boucle Moto jackets. They are a great item piece for fall and I like that they are a different and unexpected way to do a Moto jacket.
Deb: Fashion trends tend to be recycled every few years. What is one trend you hope never returns?
Nora: I guess I can say that I have never been a big fan of the grunge look. I just don’t understand it or relate to it. It is a complete opposite of what I like in fashion which is a classic look with a modern edge.
Deb: How has your approach to fashion evolved/changed since becoming a forty-something?
Nora: As you get older your body changes and you have to change your look accordingly. This does not mean your sense of style has to change. I just think more about shapes that flatter my figure, rather than just covering a trend. There are certain pieces like miniskirts or short shorts that I won’t wear any more. But the core for my sense of style has not changed.
Do you have a signature look? For example, would a friend say “Oh, you know Nora. She’s the one who always wears____?
I think I have to finish that sentence with “jackets”. I have actually been told “I always wear great jackets”.
Deb: You always look great on your blog. Are there days you wake, look in your closet and are at a complete loss for what to wear or which pieces to put together? If so, how do you overcome it?
Nora: First of all thank you so much for that compliment. Currently I only do one personal styling story a week for the blog, so a lot of thought and work goes into each story. There are many days that I am at a loss as to what to wear. My “go to” solution is that I always try to add a third component to the outfit. It is usually a jacket or vest but it could be a scarf or jewelry, something to pull your whole look together and give you a finished and personalized look.
Deb: As a designer and a fashionista, what is one piece of fashion advice you would offer women over 40?
Nora: Know your body shape and what pieces and proportions flatter it. Proportions are so important in knowing how to put an outfit together to get the best results. If you have to work with a styling expert a couple of times to figure this out, it will be worth your while.
Deb: You live in LA where the seasons more or less blend together. How do you keep your outfits fresh and constantly evolving when the seasons don’t offer you much opportunity to do so?
Some of the components that change for me are:
Color palette, I tend to wear more fall like colors especially what’s trending for that season.
I wear mostly boots or booties instead of sandals.
I use a lot more scarves.
Deb: Nora, Thank you so much for stopping by to say hello to my Fabulous After 40 readers. Your jackets are stunning!
You’ll find Nora’s jacket collection and other looks modeled by Nora at her blog, Jacket Society. Be sure to check it out!
When I came across Nora's blog Jacket Society earlier this year, I saw a strong and beautiful woman in a feminine style with an edgy touch. And there is something unique about her looks:
Her jackets which Nora designs herself and sells in her online shop - hence the name Jacket Society!
Living in sunny California (I couldn't be more jealous about the weather!) Nora's style is versatile with feminine dresses, casual jeans or shorts or business looks and her fabulous jackets always perfectly complete her outfits.
Would you share some personal information? Where do you come from and live?
I am Armenian; I was born in Iran but moved to USA, specifically Los Angeles, when I was only thirteen. I finished high school here and went to Otis College of Art and Design to study fashion design and merchandising. Shortly after graduating with my Bachelors degree in fashion I got married and started working in the fashion industry as a designer. Few years later I had my son, but eventually me and his dad got divorced. Several years later I got married again to my current husband who is from England. My son just turned 18 and started University at USC in Los Angeles.
My Hobbies are listening to music; reading books, traveling, and interior décor. As far as sports I like yoga, Pilates, hiking and walking.
I have always had a passion for jackets. To me a lot of my personal style starts with choosing a jacket which will then set the mood for my outfit. With Jacket Society I do limited edition small cuts of novelty jackets that are only available on my web site. This makes them one of a kind and special, giving the customer an opportunity to buy something directly from me and not through a store. I also show my costumers how to wear them on my blog stories.
You show fabulous looks wearing your own designs on the blog. How would you describe your style? What makes an outfit truly yours?
My philosophy on spending money goes like this: I spend the most on bags and shoes, but I also don’t buy as many of them especially bags. These two items are very hard to pull off if they are cheap, so I would rather buy less but buy good quality. The next category that I am picky about is of course jackets. I know how jackets need to be made and I know a lot about quality of textiles and construction of jackets, so I usually splurge a little more on jackets when I find one that are really love. The other categories are a lot easier to manage with a lower budget. I have to say though, that I find it really fun to mix the expensive pieces with the cheaper items.
I usually start the morning with a cup of tea while I check my emails and post all my social media posts for the day. Then it's taking care of any customer service needs like shipping orders, etc. The afternoons are different, certain days I will concentrate on design tasks like looking at fabrics, trims and buttons, sketching and shopping stores for inspiration. Other days I will work on the blog, planning the next blog story, looking at other blog sites that inspire me and commenting on my blogger friend’s sites.
When and why did you start blogging?
It will be my one year blog anniversary mid September. I’ve always been complemented on my style and how I dress. I get stopped by strangers all the time, to see where I bought what I am wearing. I also did some personal styling as a freelance job for a while. After my last full time job I decided I wanted to start something of my own that was creative, so I decided to start a personal styling blog. But there are so many great personal styling blogs out there that I wanted to have a niche, so I decided to make my blog mainly about jackets and my passion for them. That’s why I came up with Jacket Society, a place where I can share my love of jackets and my jacket finds and how to wear them.
Do you go to trade fairs or Fashion Weeks?
Being a fashion designer who has worked in the fashion industry for many years, I’ve been to many trade fairs and fashion week events. I don’t do them as much as I used to but I have a feeling that with Jacket Society growing I will be doing more of them soon. Unfortunately I have never attended a blogger event and have not had a chance to meet a lot of bloggers in person, at least not yet but I am looking forward to finding some of these events in my area soon and meeting some fellow bloggers.
Do you prefer online shopping or do you love extensive shopping trips?
I actually do both. On line shopping has become such an easy way to shop, especially when you don’t have a lot of time. This is one of the main reasons I am selling my Jacket Society jackets on line only. But on the other hand I have always loved shopping in stores, even if it is for design inspiration and research so I still do a lot of that as well.
Do you have a fashion or style icon?
As a designer my all time fashion icon is Coco Chanel. But as far as current style icons, there are many, just to name a few: Carine Roitfeld, Emmanuelle Alt, Miroslava Duma, Olivia Palermo, Gwyneth Paltrow and Victoria Beckham.
Style Sessions With Stylelixir.com
Meet Our Head Stylist......
I’m thrilled for you to meet this week’s Head Stylist, Nora from Jacket Society! Nora has such classic style and as her blog name would suggest, a penchant for chic jackets…
My personal style is mixing the classical with the modern and edgy.
Which fashion trend are you currently loving?
Every fall I look forward to some faux fur trends, it could just be trim or a full faux fur jacket but I love the look with jeans or black pants and this year there are so many different colors and types of fur so I am looking forward to wearing and doing some kind of fur for Jacket Society.
What inspired you to start your blog?
I was always complimented for my style and asked where I got what I was wearing. I decided to finally write a blog about my own personal style but there are so many personal style blogs and I wanted to have a niche so I decide to do a personal style blog but emphasizing the importance of jackets which has always been my passion. Jackets usually set the tone of my outfit for the day so I decided to do Jacket Society.
Name three beauty products you couldn’t live without:
As you get older, it seems like you need more beauty products, but the minimum daily products that I need are a concealer ( I have dark circles under my eyes). I like YSL Touche Eclat radiant touch, its not too heavy and you can get it in any color that works for your skin. Second is Bobbi Brown skin Foundation, again in any color that works for you. And last but not least its Guerlain Bronzing powder. I use the terracotta color but I have brown skin so you have to see what works for you. Last two things I would need is eye liner and lipstick.
What is your best beauty trick?
My best beauty trick has always been a bit of blush and lipstick. Whenever I have absolutely no time to do anything else, I just put a little bit of blush on and some lipstick and its good enough to leave the house.
What is your favorite (or dream) vacation destination?
I love to travel and I have been to many countries so far but I would really love to go back to Italy and travel the coast and the beach areas. I am working on this for my next travel adventure so please keep your fingers crossed for me.
Tell us something not many people know about you?
Something that not many people know about me is that I am very sensitive. I usually come across as very strong and calm and tough but inside I am very sensitive and emotional… so watch out!
How To Wear A Jacket - An Interview With Nora From Jacket Society
How to wear a jacket – a style interview with Nora
Nora loves to wear jackets. So much so that she decided to design her own line. Almost every outfit of hers features a jacket and she has become a real expert on wearing them. I wanted to find out more about her love of jackets and how we can all wear them to great effect!
Can you tell a little bit more about yourself?
I am a fashion designer, stylist and now a style blogger who has worked in the fashion industry in Los Angeles for many years. I am also a mother to an eighteen year old son who is in his first year of university at USC. I am married to a wonderful English man who is not my son’s dad, this is my second marriage and we do not have any kids together.
As a point of reference which age group do you belong to or perhaps you are willing to share your age?
I’m in the 40+ category.
Can you tell us a bit more about your site Jacket Society and why you created it?
I started Jacket Society as a personal styling blog in September of 2013. The blog is about my own personal style emphasizing my love of jackets and how to wear them in different ways. Soon after that I decided to add a shopping web site to my blog to design and sell women’s jackets and blazers under the same name.
Why is the jacket such an important garment for you?
I have always had a passion for jackets. To me a lot of my personal style starts with choosing a jacket which will then set the mood for my outfit. With Jacket Society I do limited edition small cuts of novelty jackets that are only available on my web site. This makes them one of a kind and special, giving the customer an opportunity to buy something directly from me and not through a store. I also show my customers how to wear them on my blog stories.
What are the top selling points of a jacket? What does it do to a woman’s silhouette?
Jackets like any other piece of clothing need to be flattering for your body shape. It is really important for a woman to be aware of their shape and look for jackets or blazers that work best for them. Also what type of bottom you wear with the jacket is just as important; the proportions have to work in order to make the whole outfit look good.
What are your top tips for wearing a jacket? For example do you scrunch the sleeves or not?
My top tip for wearing any jacket would be to know what to wear it with to get the best visual effect. For example you want to wear oversized and loose jackets with slim fitting bottoms and fitted and shorter jackets can work better with looser bottoms. Proportion is everything in making an outfit look good. Scrunching your sleeves or pushing your collar up is great fun styling tip but the core look has to be right.
Can you give us some advice on how to wear jackets with dresses?
It all depends on the silhouette of the dress and the length of the jacket. Shorter jackets work better over maxi dresses and longer jackets or blazers look better over a shorter fitted dress. Its pretty much the same as when you are wearing them with sportswear. I always say opposites attract, shorter jackets over longer dresses and longer jackets over shorter dresses.
How would you describe your own style?
My personal style is mixing the classical with the modern and edgy. I like to find a middle ground where you can wear timeless classic looks but mix them with some edgy pieces to look more current and trendy.
What would you consider the most important components of your style?
I would say the most important components of having great style are:
Paying attention to fit and proportion of clothes for your body type;
Being current and up to date with the trends but not letting it dictate your whole look.
Where do you live and how does that influence your style?
I live in Glendale California which is 10 miles northeast of downtown Los Angeles. It’s a suburban family oriented city. The fashion influence would pretty much be the same as Los Angeles. Unfortunately we don’t have big season changes here in Los Angeles. So you end up wearing a lot of the same looks throughout the year. The overall vibe is more casual and laid back than New York but still fashionable.
Do you feel you have a signature style?
I like mixing the classical looks with something new and trendy to give the whole look an edge.
What inspires your outfit choices the most?
Since I am a fashion designer by profession, I look at a lot of magazines and on line fashion sites. I go to stores to research merchandise and I watch how women are dressing around us. All these things inspire me daily in my work and what I wear.
Do you take things like color profiling or body type into account when you dress.
I think both of those factors are very important for any woman to know about themselves and to dress accordingly. Color and the right proportions in an outfit can make a big difference in your look. I definitely pay attention to both when I am getting dressed.
Has your style changed at all after turning 40?
I don’t think my sense of style has changed. As you get older your body changes and you have to change your look accordingly but I don’t think you are changing your style necessarily. You have to think more about shapes that flatter your figure, rather than just covering a trend. There are certain pieces like miniskirts or short shorts that I won’t wear any more. I think this is different for each woman and you need to find what you feel comfortable with yourself so you can feel confident in what your are wearing.
Do you believe in dressing “age appropriately” and what does it mean to you?
Yes I do but “age appropriate” can mean different things for different women and that is ok. Like I mentioned, there are certain things like miniskirts or short shorts that I won’t wear. I think its whatever you feel comfortable with. If its your style and you feel good in it then why not?
Would you say that at this stage of your life you are now more or less interested in fashion, style and the way you look?
I don’t think it has changed. I have always been interested in fashion and style; you have to be if you are a fashion designer by profession. As I have gotten older, I feel more comfortable with my look and I know what I like and don’t like right away but that comes with experience.
Why is the way you look important to you?
I think most women if not all women care about what they look like. I think the way you dress says a lot about your personality and like it or not a lot of people judge you by first impressions. If you are comfortable with how you look, that shows through and makes you look more confident and happy.
Which of the outfits on your blog are personal favorites and why?
I only do a personal outfit or styling look once a week on the blog and each one is really thought out and planned so it’s hard to choose. But I get really excited when I am featuring one of my own “Jacket Society” jackets that I have designed. It feels really nice to get feedback on those looks because you created one of the pieces. I love hearing feedback from my clients about those jackets; it helps my design process for the future.
Do you follow trends? And if yes, which trends excite you at the moment?
Yes I definitely follow trends; again you have to if you are working in the fashion industry. The ones I am liking for fall 2014 are: Robe and wrap coats (I actually have a blog story on this trend this week on my blog), faux fur or shearling jackets or trims, tailored masculine suits, colorful coats especially in red or orange which is a trend color, and I love the return of the midi skirt, it’s such a classy length.
Do you have any fashion and style tips for women over 40?
I think its really important to know you body shape and what kind of proportions and pieces flatter your shape. If you have to work with a stylist, even for a couple of sessions to learn this, it will be worth it.
What are your plans for your blog/business and how do you see it develop over the coming years?
For the blog I am trying to find the additional topics to add to the blog content that would be interesting and informative for my readers. The first year I mostly did one story about personal styling a week, and in the last month I have added a second story about different fashion trends concerning jackets. Right now I am ok with the two stories a week. Because of the amount of time I need to dedicate to designing and manufacturing of “Jacket Society” jackets, it is difficult to do more. I am planning to grow the web site and the sales end of the “Jacket Society” jacket line by doing more shows and even possibly selling to some boutiques. I love doing both, but it is certainly a juggling act because both areas need a lot of attention in order to succeed.
Anything further you would like to add?
I am just really grateful to be doing what I love. I have always loved fashion, styling and designing. And now the blog has become an important part of my life as well. I love the interaction with other women, customers and fellow bloggers like yourself. Thank you so much for contacting me for this interview.