Style Inspiration & Influence

Style Inspiration & Influence

My very very 1st fashion memory is of my Nana letting me wear her giant rainbow jeweled clip on costume earrings to....Sunday school. I was maybe 5 years old and I recall all the reactions at the time that I interpreted as compliments, duh.  She recently gave me these earrings and I will treasure them forever. 

large jewel earrings

And so it began.

My mom made me "cool" in the 3rd grade by taking me to Walmart and buying me every piece of lime green (trend color of the moment) clothing that fit me.  Mind you I was a pretty thick/pudgy kid and this was not my best color.

Before that I had mostly ranch clothes.  Ranch clothes are the outfits I would ruin and have a hell of a time doing it!  No garment besides maybe Carhartt overalls was a match for the amount of fun, dogs and dirt at the ranch I grew up on.

ranch life childhood memories

I thought I was hot sh*t. That's the point of fashion.  It makes you feel good. 

Next the Spice Girls happened.  You better believe that I had a pair of obnoxious patent leather platform sandals in the 4th grade.  I still remember clogging around school, probably far from graceful, but those shoes made me sooooo happy.

By 7th grade I'd been designing and obsessing over making things.  Gwen Stefani was and still is one of my idols at this point, especially for her very relatable style.  I made a pair of black pants with slits up the sides to my underwear and fastened safety pins all the way down.  I got sent home from school for them "breaking dress code". That never stopped me from wearing them though, I would just avoid the yard duty when I did or tie my sweater around my waist until they walked away.  I loved those pants.  In fact I'd prob still be wearing them if my friends dog didn't chew the crotch out when we were in the hot tub one night.

My mom taught me to sew but my skills were less than perfect and I didn't enjoy it at this point. I also didn't really enjoy shopping for dresses.  So for my big 8th grade dance guess who was commissioned/begged to sew the dress I designed? My good old mom.  Thanks mom.  This continued to be the trend even as I found it more fun just to design the dresses and not actually GO to the dances.  

High school was a blur of experimenting by painting my clothes with nail polish, wearing things to fit in, wearing things not to fit in, and gaining the very best fashion influence a girl could ever want.  I'm talking about my best friend Lisa.  She wore her clothes however she damn well pleased, cut up, twisted, for 3 days in a row, she's the COOLEST!  She inspires my style so much to this day that I'm creating a whole section on my blog of lessons, convos, tips, and tricks I've learned from her. 

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Onto fashion school I went where I had the privilege of designing and making a dress for the Vivienne Westwood exhibit at the SfMOMA.  I was highly inspired by the iconic designers provocative ways.

I had a nice punk rock stint after this where there was a ton of street style influence.  I think this is where I officially threw the "less is more" concept out the door.  More belts, more chains, more boots, more eyeliner, more beer.  

When I got a job working at Betsey Johnson my "more" aesthetic thrived through layered accessories, towering heels and crinoline skirts.  It was such a fun, feminine, and creative environment.  Betsey herself even made a few stops to the downtown SF store I worked at.  She sipped champagne, did the splits, took pics and complimented me on my lipstick (swoon).  I had a real culture shock after working there for 6 years when the stores closed for good. I was jobless with all the sequins, party dresses, high heels, and printed lycra a girl could ever dream of.

Betsey Johnson

Enter the dark days of sweatpants and slop.  I distinctly remember Lisa coming over and telling me "this needs to stop, like now!"   She was right.

So I bought a Harley, some pants and a pair of overalls and spent the next year bar hopping with my Dad. 

motorcycle riding with my dad

I rode my motorcycle to a show one night and long story short married the singer.

With a wedding and then a pregnancy under my belt I had discovered the world of fitness and added a lot of lycra back into my closet.  This time inspired by performance, practicality, and comfort.  All those were new concepts to me.

Nowadays, I am the sum of all these experiences.  I still love big earrings, bright colors, high heels, safety pins, cat eye, a great lip, jeans, and athleisure.  Overalls will also always have a place in my life.  This post started out much more surface with a list of people as influencers some incidents as inspiration and a lot more talk about actual items.  Ultimately though a reflection of my life was more natural.


In college we had to come up with a design mantra, I still remember mine and it still holds true.

"Maintaining the belief that regret is useless, I live to own the time, manipulate the future and embellish the past.  The life I live fuels my creativity for the clothes I wear. "




  • Alex Suliven

    We’re so proud of you!
    Alex Laura and Harlee

  • Rebecca

    I love your posts, Kaelyn! Getting to know you better, and now, really wanting one of your bathing suits!!💕

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