Karen Miller Talks Style Finds and Favorites in Delaware

Great Stuff volunteer Karen Miller's style picks have made an impact on Instagram.

How do you select the resale shop’s fashions for your videos?

Usually, before I pull items for a shoot, I have a theme. I’ve done a shoes-first theme, a beach theme and a weekend getaway. If we get some great pieces, I’ll do a “fabulous finds” theme. Often, I’m not really thinking of a person but a lifestyle and activity—Winterthur Point-to-Point, holidays, museum openings.

Describe your style:

I’d like to think it’s quiet luxury—probably just classic with a twist. I’m still evolving at 68! I have so much more confidence than in previous decades. …I didn’t grow up with much, but my paternal grandmother was a clotheshorse. My dad, a college professor with great taste and a beer budget, appreciated quality craftsmanship. He always looked for deals and found them in unexpected places. So, quality has been part of my style evolution.

How has volunteering at the Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition’s Great Stuff/Savvy Resale in Talleyville and working at White House Black Market influenced your style?

WHBM opened my eyes to try things I might not try otherwise and have a better understanding of what works with my body and how to help others with theirs. Great Stuff continues to get higher-end brands that I can now afford. Buying resale offers the opportunity to try something without the financial risk. If it doesn’t work, I re-donate—sort of like renting it.

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Photographed at the Delaware Art Museum.
Photographed at the Delaware Art Museum. Photo by Joe Del Tufo.

Cherished treasures:

A Bally Handbag that I bought in London—it’s classic and will never go out of style—my dad’s top hat and derby, my mom’s pearls and a funky patchy black jacket I purchased from Ladies Image at least 25 years ago.

Can’t get enough:

Leather jackets. At last count, I had about 10. And shoes, shoes and shoes.

Signature accessories:

Always earrings and usually a necklace or two, my Ebel two-tone watch and a bracelet or two. When wearing something simple, like all black or cream, I let my jewelry make the outfit. I love unusual and artisanal pieces.

Heavy on the metal:

Mostly gold—but both—and copper, rose gold, gunmetal, pearls, beads.

Best brands:

Eileen Fisher for basics—lasts seemingly forever. Banana Republic with the return to its style, roots and quality. Amanda Uprichard, Anne Fontaine (aspirational). For jewelry, Delaware’s own Olga Ganoudis. Shoes: Aquatalia, Vaneli, Paul Mayer, Jon Josef, Taos and Naot.

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I’m a sucker for quality shoes—leather uppers, linings and soles and hand stitching. Handbags: Michael Kors (workhorses), Marc Jacobs, Tiffany and Fred, and Persaman New York. I hate pretentious logos. I love finding apparel at high-end craft shows. There are so many emerging names online, including M.M.LaFleur.

Favorite fashion era:

I like living in the now, [but] I miss quality craftsmanship that doesn’t break the bank.

Style icons:

Coco Chanel, Audrey Hepburn, Amal Clooney, Diane Keaton, Iris Apfel. I currently follow a couple of bloggers, including Carla Rockmore (fun, unexpected) and Liv Judd, whose style I wish I could emulate if I were tall.

Shopping in the 302:

Obviously, WHBM and Great Stuff. Peter Kate offers a current experience. Whimsy Boutique has the cutest sweaters.

Fashion don’ts:

Cheap, fast fashion. Logomania. Knockoff branding. Too exposed and too tight clothing without the proper undergarments.

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Characteristics of a well-dressed person:

Someone who dresses with confidence regardless of body type and whose clothes fit just right—with the appropriate undergarments—and are the best quality attainable. Timeless and willing to be a bit cheeky and fun.

Cringeworthy pick from the past:

My red-and-white gingham prom dress.

If money were no object:

I’d have a personal stylist and a bespoke wardrobe.

The one that got away:

My gold charm bracelet that I sold when I was “financially embarrassed.”

Makeup must:

Laura Mercier makes my skin look better than it is. Her primer is spackle for my face. I supplement it with theBalm for concealer, highlighter and brow. I subscribe to a few beauty boxes and love to try new things. (Available at Houppette, Greenville.)

Mane attraction:

Cut and highlight refresh at Pagavé every five weeks. I was destined to have bad hair, so I don’t fuss too much and hope my other qualities make up for it.

Related: Stephanie Harnish Is All About Functional Fashion in Delaware

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