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A sophisticated life.
Back in the day this meant a life that was aspirational, somewhat unattainable, cultured, and privileged. Today, it means much of the same, an inspired and collected life, curated and intentional, though I’d argue, is much more attainable than ever before.
The movers and makers of our generation have opened the doors to this inclusivity of chic. Artists are sharing their work with the masses on virtual galleries like Etsy and Instagram, and art directors are showcasing their collections with us through blogs and portfolios. Influencers from all corners of the world are sharing their lives through photos and stories, allowing us to see with our own eyes what an artful and cultured existence looks like. Where it was once delegated to only the select few, the art of sophistication is now available to virtually anyone to practice, emulate, and embody.
Sophistication is a lifestyle.
To be chic, one cannot simply begin buying art and dressing Parisian. It’s not that simple. Sophistication is not a personality trait or an Instagram filter, but a cultivated lifestyle, a journey towards intentionality and passion. It’s so much more than just a persona of beauty and status. To us, the art of being chic is confidence, an artist whose work is herself, whose mind is open to the world, and whose heart is set on living both the length and width of her life. She is well-read, articulate, and intentional, elegant, artful, and poised, decisive, mindful, and kind. She dresses with intent, choosing items that are true to her essence, and her essence alone. She lives in a space curated with items of personal value and feeds her body, mind, and soul with healthy food and deep conversation. Her sophistication is not defined by a brand or title, but by her passion for herself within a world of others.
We have been inspired by this influx of sophistication and have spent the last season studying what it means to be chic. We dove deep into the lifestyle in each our own ways and have resurfaced with a guide just for you on the art of being chic! Included in this guide are interviews with a trio of women who practice artful intentionality, women whose stories showcase the diversity in sophistication. You’ll read about natural beauty in an entirely new way and be inspired by effortless fashion that sustains and celebrates. We created this guide to inspire you to become your best self, as well as to showcase those who are already practicing and perfecting the art.
One morning in mid-June, we sat down with Madelynn Furlong, a Minneapolis-based, world-traveling, fashion icon who embodies, at the very least, the persona of chic. We stepped into her downtown apartment and quickly learned that she doesn’t just look the part - she is the part, sophisticated in nearly every sense of the word. She’s got that “je ne sais quoi” and easy confidence that is both inspiring and mysterious, a perfect combination in our study of chic.
what about beauty?
Madelynn’s skincare and makeup routines are as equally intentional as her choices in fashion, especially when she travels. She focuses cleansing and purifying the skin with gentle cleansers, moisturizers, and masks, and lots of water. Makeup is minimal, a brief routine that consists of filling in the eyebrows, concealing what needs to be concealed, and leaving the rest to Mother Nature.
Being chic can manifest in many different ways, and on that humid Tuesday in Minneapolis, we checked the box on sophisticated style. Madelynn Furlong is one version of chic and sophisticated that is easily visible, particularly in the sense of fashion, but also in the way she carries herself. She is an example of incredible confidence and curation, a lifetime of intent and interest in both art and style that has made her who she is, and that is inspirational.
An art director slash fashion blogger by trade, Madelynn takes curation seriously, a trait that has brought her around the world and up the ladder as one of the industry’s top style influencers. Fashion is what she’s perhaps best known for, specifically with her blog Wide Eyed Legless that showcases her effortless, everyday style and turns northern, midwestern fashion on its head. In her own words, her style is “paired back” and “minimal,” with breezy ruffles, vintage finds, and a neutral palette filling her closet, standing out in their simplicity and cohesion: everything feels perfect in its place.
Her style is rooted, and it’s that natural knack for creating an elegant aesthetic that has taken her all over the world for Fashion Week. From New York to Paris to London, she’s invited because of her influence, but attends because of her love for the art of fashion. It’s not about getting her photo taken or being seen, and that’s what makes Madelynn so cool, so chic. She’s genuinely interested in herself and what she does.
“There’s a lot of bloggers who will change their outfits 3-4 times a day! I think that’s crazy. No, thank you. I’ll do maybe one change a day, like max, because I just, honestly, I don’t really care. I just want to feel comfortable and feel like myself… For me it’s about attending the shows and gathering that inspiration. I think that’s a really great experience.”
Other than Paris and the general Fashion Week circuit, Madelynn traveled to Bali and Thailand this year for a blend of work and play. We followed along on her journey virtually thanks to social media, in awe and envy of the effortless beauty she seemed to maintain throughout her vacation. When sitting down with her, we asked her for advice on how to maintain personal style and routine while flying thousands of miles away from our closets and comfort.
“For me, it starts with having your foundation… your pieces,” she said about her travel wardrobe. “It’s about confidence, and when it comes down to it, it’s about having those pieces and knowing how to style them and match them and feeling inspired by where you are going.” She explains that she plans each outfit well before the plane takes off, having done research on the destination in order to decide what will be most comfortable and most her in each potential scenario. It’s practical advice for a seemingly obtuse question.