A Banana Republic Art Director On Blogging For 15+ Years, Mental Health + SF Hidden Gems

Back in 2012, many moons ago, we featured Kim Mitchell as a “Glitter Girl” when she was blogging about all things fashion and style. We’re excited to reintroduce her to you now where she is still blogging and still all about fashion, but now also running the show as an art director for Banana Republic. We caught up with Kim to see how life has changed over the past 8 years, her thoughts on the good ol’ days of blogging and how she has only had one cup of coffee in her entire life.

We’re so excited to have you back on GG! How has life changed for you since we last featured you in 2012?

There have been highs and lows, but the biggest thing that’s changed is my role at my day job. I’m now at Banana Republic, where I’m an art director. I manage a team and am basically in charge of how Banana Republic Factory looks from seasonal photo shoots to packaging and store signage to our social channels. Fashion and retail are ever-evolving and I love that challenge.

You’ve been blogging since 2004, which is amazing! How has your blog evolved over the past 16 years?

In the beginning, my blog was more fashion and San Francisco retail news, runway, and magazine reviews. It was never meant to be so personal. I started the blog as part of my graduate thesis, which was a fashion magazine for women of color. Then I started sharing more of my personal style, and that resonated with readers. I also featured many local shops and brands; the Bay Area has so many wonderful and creative business owners that I’m happy to spotlight. Now the blog is a mix of these two things. I don’t force myself to adhere to a specific schedule when it comes to the blog, but I try to put something on Instagram five to six times a week, whether it’s style, highlighting a sale or a behind-the-scenes from a photo shoot.

Are there any elements of the “golden days” of blogging, as we like to jokingly call them, that you miss in particular?

There aren’t as many fashion events in San Francisco as there used to be. I’d say on a given week, I’d be checking in with my fellow SF bloggers on coordinating where we were going, or where to get dinner or drinks after. Because there aren’t as many events, it’s more challenging to connect with fellow local bloggers.

What’s your approach to style?

I usually start with one piece when I’m getting dressed and build from there. I’m a firm believer in wearing what you want, no matter your age. The idea that you can’t wear something or can’t have long hair because you’re over 40 is preposterous. When you feel comfortable in your own skin and stop worrying what other people your age look like, your style will come into its own.

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Do you have a signature “uniform” or look?

In my last Glitter Guide shoot, I probably would have said a pair of heels was my signature, and while I still love a good heel, I’ve embraced sneakers, too. My signature is the mashup of masculine and feminine.

What items are currently on your fashion wish list?

Overall, I’m being more thoughtful about what I’m buying, and choosing quality over quantity. I consign or sell things a few times a year, and then look on sites like TheRealReal and Vestiaire Collective for older pieces from my favorite brands like Proenza Schouler and Céline.

You’re a fellow Bay Area resident, where are some of your favorite local places to shop and eat?

My favorite restaurants are Spruce, House of Prime Rib or Harris’ for a nice night out, or Fiorella, Ten-Ichi or Kuma Sushi + Sake. I also love doing weekend brunch at Curbside Cafe and Brenda’s French Soul Food. My favorite shops include Le Point, Hero Shop, McMullen, Ethos and Modern Citizen. Interestingly, they are all female-owned retailers.

How do you spend a day off of work?

I use days off to recharge, so it may be going to an exhibit at a museum, going to a movie or doing a hike with friends. I’m also big into doing urban walks around the city; it’s a good way to discover hidden gems, vistas and alleys.

What is always in your fridge?

Carrot sticks (one of my favorite snacks), arugula, chimichurri (I make my own and it makes a great sauce or marinade), eggs, smoked salmon.

When you feel comfortable in your own skin and stop worrying what other people your age look like, your style will come into its own.

What causes or movements are you really passionate about?

I’m really passionate about mental health. My late husband dealt with mental health issues, and luckily we were in a position to get him help, but it’s not a given for many people. Mental healthcare should be accessible for everyone. I’m also a supporter of Everytown for Gun Safety and Inneract Project, which empowers underrepresented youth through design and education.

How do you decompress after a rough day?

Because the blog and my day job involve a lot of computer time, if I’m having a tough day, I’ll unplug. There’s a park a few blocks from my apartment, so I’ll sit there and listen to some music.

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What does your morning routine look like?

I usually get up around 6:30 a.m., stretch and go on a 30-minute (three mile-ish) run. I’ve been running since high school, and after doing cross-country in college, running just stuck. I see it as not only a good way to stay in shape but as a form of therapy. After that, I stretch again, shower, usually check my email and try to figure out what I’m going to wear. I have to have breakfast every day, and then it’s off to work.

#1 spot on your travel destination wish list?

Tokyo!

What beauty products do you always repurchase?

Herbivore Botanicals Jasmine Green Tea Balancing Toner, Milk Hydro Grip Primer, Beauty Pie Super Retinol Night Renewal Moisturizer and Super Retinol Anti-Aging Hand Treatment and Milk Kush Mascara.

Shop Kim’s favorite beauty products:

 

What are your all-time favorite must-read books?

I love mythology, so I still have a well-worn copy of The Odyssey. I also like 1984, Becoming by Michelle Obama, Untamed by Glennon Doyle, Older, but Better, but Older by Caroline de Maigret and Rumi’s Little Book of Life.

Shop Kim’s favorite books:

 

Coffee or tea?

Tea, preferably a black or green one. I’ve only had coffee once in my life when I was 13, and I didn’t like it.

Who or what is inspiring you right now?

It’s been inspiring to see all the creativity coming out of people sheltering at home. Jamie Beck’s daily Isolation Creation is a favorite because she shows the process, the part that is the most fascinating to me. Krystal Bick has been doing cool fashion shoots using a tripod. I’m also continually inspired by Shiona Turini, the former fashion editor-turned-wardrobe stylist for HBO’s “Insecure.”

Favorite quote?

“Everything you need is already inside.” It’s a quote from Nike co-founder and Oregon track coach Bill Bowerman (and coach of Steve Prefontaine). It not only applies to athletics, but also life. You just need the belief in yourself.

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Author: Samantha Welker

Samantha Welker is the business manager at Glitter Guide. She has an Master's in Corporate Finance & Sustainability from Harvard Business School but prefers working in the creative industry. She also hosts a weekly business podcast for creative women called Pretty Okay Podcast. She loves spending time with her husband and her son, Rocky, in sunny San Diego. Follow along on Instagram