Wardrobe Insider: Nic & Deb, Dressing The Woman

Craving a creative outlet alongside her corporate career, Nicole Mott formed Dressing The Woman with her good friend, Food Network and TLC TV Presenter, Debbie Wong. The duo’s fun and unique styling service guides women to uncover their authentic personal style employing the Kibbe method. Reflected in their own distinctive yet complementary styles, the system matches vibe and essence with aesthetic presentation. Here they share their earliest fashion memories, wardrobe goals and fashion advice from their family.

1) Describe your style in 3 words.

Nic: Feminine, classic, luxe.

Deb: Sporty, boho, cozy.

2) Earliest fashion memory?

Nic: I was just turning three years old, and my mom took me shopping to get a new dress for my birthday party. I remember very clearly this white chiffon dress, with tiny blue and pink Swiss dots and a Peter Pan collar. It was my very first memory of the feeling of a “strong preference!” and I knew we could not leave that store without that dress. There are photos from my birthday party wearing that dress and I am absolutely beaming. I think that was the first time I understood how what you wear can affect how you feel.

Deb: When I was 12, fitting into my mum’s Valentino jeans from the ’70s, and wearing them to school. They were flared, indigo denim, and had amber-coloured silk-lined pockets!

3) What’s the most precious item in your wardrobe?

Nic: For anyone that knows me, they know my signature gold jewellery is as much a part of me as my skin. My most treasured piece is my gold, Rolex watch handed down from my mother. I remember the trip we took to London in the ’80s when I was still a small girl, and the special trip we took to buy that watch for my mom while there. My parents were very good at commemorating moments with jewellery or other considered items. To me, that watch is a perfect embodiment of my personal style — but mostly it reminds me of my mom, who was and is my forever style icon.

Deb: My Alighieri gold, horoscope necklace from my husband.

4) What’s on your current fashion wishlist?

Nic: This season’s boxy Celine Jackets, and a Saint Laurent velvet blazer.

Deb: High-heeled, cowboy boots by Isabel Marant.

5) Favourite item in your wardrobe that you will keep forever?

Nic: My Burberry trench coats.

Deb: My little black Celine trio handbag from the Pheobe Philo days. A workhorse. Forever modern. Can’t live without it.

Celine Trio handbag

6) What is the best fashion advice you have received?

Nic: “Always ask: Are you wearing the outfit, or is it wearing you? Never let the outfit wear you.” — My sister.

Deb: “Just be natural.” — My dad.

7) Who are your style icons?

Nic: My mom. She always dressed for every moment in life — even if that meant just a trip to the grocery store. She and my dad always said we should dress with respect to the world because it shows how we respect ourselves. I also love Michelle Obama’s style — she is a perfect mix of grace, power, strength, and femininity.

Deb: Kate Moss, Carolyn Bessette Kennedy & JFK Jr., my husband Tim, Alexa Chung, Nili Lotan, Ralph Lauren, Tom Ford…

Carolyn Bessette Kennedy & JFK Jr.

8) A recent shopping find is:

Nic: Jumpsuits from Rivet Utility.

Deb: A long sleeve, plunging neckline, zebra print, mini dress from Rat & Boa.

9) If you could have anyone’s wardrobe whose would it be and why?

Nic: Serena Van Der Woodsen from Gossip Girl. I loved how her character mixed ultra glamorous with downtown cool, and always with that bit of sex appeal.

Deb: Mary Kate & Ashley Olsen (designers of The Row) for their unmatched taste. Timeless, yet ahead of the curve.

10) If a museum asked you to donate one item from your wardrobe that represented you what would it be?

Nic: A metallic, Aquazzura heel.

Deb: Gold hoop earrings.

11) What will we never find in your wardrobe?

Nic: Exaggerated oversized items. They can look so cool on the right people — but my vibe just does not match. I always need bit of tailoring or fitted-ness. I literally and figuratively lose myself if the proportions are too big.

Deb: A pencil skirt.

12) Who would be your dream collaborator and why?

Nic: DTW X Tom Ford. Tom Ford for Gucci in the late ’90s was a defining fashion moment to me. The way he envisioned and brought to life a woman who was so fierce, feminine, sexy, powerful and modern got my heart racing. I still remember watching Mariah Carey in the “Honey” video over and over again just to see her jump in to the water with those Tom Ford for Gucci heels!

Deb: Ralph Lauren for his ability combine utilitarianism with an aspirational lifestyle and fantasy. Check out his Spring Summer 2009 runway show. OMG. Bow down.

14) Favourite music to get event ready to.

Nic: ’90s R&B. Doo Wop by Lauren Hill; The Miseducation of Lauren Hill album is my favourite of all time. There were so many amazing women artists that really got that strong but feminine thing down during this time.

Deb: Depends on the event, but most likely classic soul from the 70s, or 90s new jack swing. Favourites include anything by Earth, Wind and Fire, Kool & the Gang, New Edition, Paula Abdul and En Vogue.

15) Top 3 accounts to follow on social media :

Nic: @nasa — I am a science nerd. The would have been my other path in life @yung_pueblo — a shot of daily grounding and always spot on @hkmehmeh — because at the end of the day, social media should be fun.

Deb: @watchingnewyork @thecatluminati @90sanxiety

16) Favourite fashion apps:

Nic: NET-A-PORTER. I absolutely love their end to end shopping experience here in Hong Kong.

Deb: I’m not on many apps, but I check out FARFETCH often.

17) Who would you invite to your dream fashion dinner:

Nic: Tom Ford, Ralph Lauren and Vera Wang along with Brené Brown, Madonna, Malala Yousafzai, Marcus Aurelius, Caitlin Jenner and my sister!

Deb: Tom Ford, Isabel Marant and Lee (Alexander) McQueen.

18) If you could go back in time, which fashion era would you choose and why.

Nic: The 1920s was such an age of opulence and revelry. It was the first time we saw women freed from the confines of constricting, stiff and layered garments, and dresses were literally made for dancing. 

Deb: The 1960s — when fashion first became youth oriented, when the world became ‘MOD’-dern and never looked back.

19) What is your go to outfit:

Nic: Denim, fierce heels, silk camisole, blazer, and all the gold jewellery piled on.

Deb: Relaxed denim, fitted T or tank, oversized blazer, heeled boot, large cashmere scarf, gold hoops.

20) Where was the last place you travelled to and what are the can’t miss shops?

Nic: I’m going to cheat a bit here — because my sister (not me) recently travelled to Capri and shopped for me at my favourite store there called Autori Capresi. They make the most exquisite tailored linen pieces for both men and women. The owners are so warm and lovely as well — definitely a must shop if you are ever in Capri.

Deb: Love New York for shopping: The RealReal store there is a standout.

Follow Nic & Deb @dressingthewoman