Lady Project Woman of Style // Alex Hartley

Alex Hartley and I have a few things in common besides loving great personal style and perfect tailoring. We both appreciate a watch with timeless character; the clearance rack at Marshalls; a perfectly fitting oxford shirt; and understand the impact of a good pop of color. Of course featuring her on the blog as the next Woman of Style was imminent!

What does style mean to you?

Style to me means portraying my own and unique self identity. In a world that still judges us instantly and places us into constrained social boxes, I use my style to show that you can be blissfully happy and unique at the same time. It has taken me a while to find my own personal freedom through style, but I enjoyed both the journey and my current location. I am sure my style will continue to evolve as I do as a human, and I'm excited to see where it goes, as long as it keeps making me smile.

Do you have a style muse? Who and why?

My style muse is basically anything 1910-1940. People tend to liken my style to "The Great Gatsby:" The playful colors, collar-pinned dress shirts, wing tip dress shoes, suspenders, bowties, and three piece suits. I love all of it. I love to mix and match, and always add something playful in my outfits.

Do you have a daily uniform?

At this point, people just know Alex wears bowties everyday and suspenders a lot to go with them. I recently started wearing my stud diamond earrings again, which I have not worn in years, and everyone is making comments that I look different and they can't figure out why. I let them sweat and struggle and stare, and when I stop laughing, I point out the earrings. It's been a funny few days for me. People always tend to notice when I change things up because I stay so constant in my dress and apparel at work.

Accessories you can't live without...

I cannot live without a belt. I have worn a belt since I started wearing pants as a child, and have never been without one. I also carry my phone on a belt clip (because I'm the COOLEST) and wouldn't have a place to clip it on if I wasn't wearing a belt. I also always wear a watch. On the rare chance I forget a watch, it bothers me all day. My mother once told me that wearing a watch is a testament to how much you care about your appearance, because you do not need one anymore to tell time due to phones, but it tells people you care about how you represent yourself and took the extra time to put one on. That always stuck with me, so even if I'm wearing a T-Shirt, I'm also wearing a watch.

Where do you like to shop?

I call Marshalls my second home. I am constantly checking the clearance section of every Marshalls around Providence. I also shop at Macy's and Zara a decent amount (clearance areas only! lol). Zara is new for me, but they have a lot of slim-fit pieces, which look well tailored and fit me well. I am very lucky when shopping in the "men's" section. I wear the men's small slim-fit, so I tend to find a lot of clothes on sale that are my size!

What are you splurging on this spring season?

I am currently in the market for new springtime and summer light colored suits. The light grays, beige's, and possibly even a white suit. I have not bought a new three piece suit in a few years, so I've been telling myself this is the summer to restock with new ones and donate the old ones!

As a teacher, what is the one lesson you hope that your students take away from you?

No matter what courses I am teaching and what the curriculum is, the greatest lesson I want them to take away is that "in order to work with other people effectively, you need to truly know and accept yourself first." I teach two courses on Customer Service and a Project Management course, but the takeaway is the same. No matter our place of employment, job title, or place on the socially constructed hierarchy, we need to be able to connect with other humans. For me, educating my students on social constructions and perceptions of today, institutionalized oppression, and how to navigate marketing your unique self in today's job market will carry them further than just being able to recite facts and theories from my courses. It took me a while to learn to navigate and market my own identity within our current job market, and if I can make my students' journey into the professional world slightly easier, then I have done my job as their Instructor. Education needs to happen both inside and outside of the classroom, and I hope that is what they are taking away from my courses and their time with me.

Alex graduated from Brown University in 2010 with a BA in Egyptology. She was convinced as a child that she was going to be the next Indiana Jones. Ironically, she does not enjoy sand in-between her toes. She received her MS from Syracuse University in 2012 in Higher and Postsecondary Education. From 2012-2015 she worked at a college north of Boston in the Residence Life department and guest lectured in different academic departments at that college and neighboring institutions.  She joined Year Up Providence in August 2015 as a full time Academic Instructor teaching in the Business Operations track. She loves her job every day and the amazing students she gets to work for! You can follow her on Instagram @preppydapperbutch.

Photography: Brittanny Taylor

If you know someone with style chops, and who is doing pretty awesome things, and ought to be featured on the Lady Project blog, I want to hear from you! Please email  Olivia@olivia-rodrigues.com.