We spent a day hanging out with stylist and View From The Topp blogger Kate Brien in her hometown of Venice, California, and discovered that, yep, she’s got a pretty sweet vantage point.
First, a bird’s-eye look at her beautifully composed blog: How did Kate settle on her signature waist-down view? “I have never felt totally comfortable posting pictures of myself on the Internet,” she says, “but I wanted to get my fashion perspective out there in a personal but also universal way.” Hence, a fresh take on an #OOTD shot, from the perspective of the wearer (smartly sidestepping the need for hair and makeup). Her interest in fashion certainly seems to be part of her DNA: “In the third grade I was obsessed with the ’60s and only wore bell-bottoms or hot pants with go-go boots. I had a Spice Girls phase in fifth grade—platforms, mini skirts, you name it. Then there was that period when I would only dress like a boy…I was a ’90s baby though, so I definitely wore my fair share of floral dresses, Dr. Martens and denim.” Currently, she’s careful to avoid wearing her favorite pair of destroyed denim jeans too frequently, but as far as her enviably unfussy style goes, “nothing is overly planned out.” The mesmerizing continuity of her compositions can make View From The Topp seem as much an art project as a style guide—and, indeed, Kate takes a holistic approach to putting together her daily look. She even considers her potential backdrop before getting dressed: “If I know that I am going to a restaurant with an amazing tiled floor or a friend’s house that has a great carpet, I may think about coordinating colors or patterns when getting ready.” If there’s no field trip on deck, she pulls a selection from her stash of interesting textiles, some of which she dyes by hand. She produces her blog and manages her styling gigs out of the sunroom in the light-filled home she shares with her boyfriend, artist David Kitz. “A lot of his work deals with color and composition and we are constantly throwing ideas off of one another,” she says. “It’s really special to live in a place where creative energy is always flowing.” Adding to the flow is the couple’s growing art collection, including pieces by Brendan Lynch, Michelle Grabner and John Riepenhoff. Another worthy source of inspiration? Racks and racks of shoes, including Brien’s favorite climate-friendly sandals by Isabel Marant, Soludos and Birkenstock. Kate is currently dreaming up a site redesign and has plans to open up a clothing store (following her sister Carly, a cofounder of Pressed Juicery, into the retail sphere). To keep her perspective fresh, Kate has taken David’s advice to “always be a beginner at something” by taking pottery classes and practicing daily meditation. “I think that it’s important to work outside of your comfort zone sometimes—it stirs up creativity and thought,” she says. Needless to say, she’ll always have her own unique point of view.