The story of Rachel Zoe is the story of a great balancing act. Her “own chic world,” as she puts it, is the stuff of fashion fantasy and domestic dream. Playing dress-up with Jennifer Lawrence? That’s just her 9-5. And not just with Dior and Lanvin confections, but with her own—the renowned stylist also doubles as a designer, her namesake line a Neiman’s and Nordstrom staple. Add to that her personal favorite role of “Mama Zoe”—to sons Skyler and Kaius—and you might wonder if the petite blonde, contrary to Anne-Marie Slaughter’s dictum does, in fact, have it all.
It’s an intuitive question, sure, but not one that Zoe cares to answer. In her newest title, Living in Style: Inspiration and Advice for Everyday Glamour, Zoe seeks to craft an image that’s relatable, she tells BAZAAR, calling in from her home in Los Angeles. From a guide to throwing an unforgettable dinner party to tips on traveling smart, the book showcases its author’s belief that “whether you’re a career girl, mother, grandmother, all three, you can live glamorously even without a lot of time to do it.”
Zoe herself is a testament to this mantra. While her afternoons revolve around Jennifer Garner’s next red carpet look, her mornings kick off with something more moms can relate to: a sandwich. “I started my day at 6 a.m. making Skyler’s lunch,” she says with a laugh. “How’s that for glamorous?” It’s true—the image does undercut any glossy notions of style. But that’s exactly the point. The misleading connotations of glamour, Zoe says, cause many women to write off the concept entirely. It’s a trend she hopes to set back for good.
“You don’t have to be obsessed with style to live in style,” she explains. “My number one mission is to show women that, even if all you have time for is a red lip, that’s all you need to feel confident in your day-to-day—which really is the most attractive thing of all.”
It follows then that Zoe’s book won’t necessarily indulge lavish whims. Those elements are there, of course: Zoe dissects the genius of a Halston gown in one chapter, and includes an insider’s guide to vintage jewelry in another. But she focuses her work more on the little lifestyle tweaks—the ones within reach—that go a long way. Take her advice on dinner parties, for instance: opting for candles instead of overhead lighting “always delivers a warm glow that makes everyone look like they returned from a weekend in Saint-Tropez.” Then there’s a more prophetic nod to making an occasion of even the small things—such as family dinners—as “it’s the simple rituals that you come to value the most in life.
The stylist admits that this brand of easy glamour hasn’t always been her M.O, making Living in Style not only a career feat, but a personal one as well. “I’ve grown up,” she says. “I felt like it was time to talk about it.” Zoe points to motherhood as the spark behind this shift, from an almost obsessively “frantic,” work-driven lifestyle to a more sensible and “practical” one. Of course, with a three-year-old and a three-month-old, a new worldview is to be expected. But in Living in Style, Zoe gives readers a more intimate look into just how much her chic world has changed—style included.
“I’ve definitely had to succumb to a uniform of sorts,” she says in a mock tone of shame. “Usually a dark pair of jeans, some kind of knit underneath a great jacket… It’s pretty much a bad decision to hold a child in your vintage designer jacket made of zippers and spikes.”
Make no mistake: Rachel Zoe adores haute couture just as much as ever. “It’s no secret I love me a sequin,” she recently reminded her nearly 1 million Instagram followers, the caption to a throwback photo of Zoe in a shimmering purple jumpsuit. You won’t catch Zoe trying to soften this side of herself (“It’s who I am!”), and Living in Style is no exception. Instead, she uses her book to expand upon it, portraying a new balancing act that can resonate with a wide readership.
Zoe is quick to interject, however, that even with two children and a fresh definition of glamour, some things never change. “No matter what, I will always, always be in my heels,” she states definitively. “At least five inches.”
How’s that for glamorous?
(Photo courtesy Justin Colt)