No.008 // Style & the City27 Jul 2016


Calgary Herald | Style and the City – Interview with Amanda Hamilton


1. How would you define your personal style?

Always evolving and diverse, but rooted in the same values – I’ll almost always choose something classic, elegant  & timeless vs. something could be a fleeting trend. I find by the time a trend makes its way to you, it’s no longer singularly a reflection of your personal style because everyone else is wearing it. With that said, I do love items that evoke a response, inspire or even feel theatrical –pieces that make a head turn.

2. What is the most prized possession in your closet?

I purchased a black leather jacket by Kelly Wearstler about four years ago while on a trip in LA. I wear it every day, through every season. The more I wear it, the better it looks. It was the biggest investment I’ve made on a jacket and Kelly no longer makes clothing, so it feels like I have a special piece of history. She’s a rockstar Interior Designer who branched out to create her own lifestyle collection.

3. Do you have a favorite designer, brand name or label?

Not particularly – I’m not really brand loyal. Integrity of the fabric, construction of the tailoring and level of visual interest are most important. There are certainly “repeats” in my closet when it comes to basics, like Club Monaco which I have been shopping at for over 20 years. I’m into discovering indie brands before they make it big however I do love the vibe of designers like Helmut Lang, Chloe, YSL, Alexander Wang and Phillip Lim.

4. What is your favourite brand of jeans?

Digging R13’s right now. I’m not a huge fan of stretch and they feel like real denim and have an incredible worn wash that doesn’t feel contrived. I pick mine up at Primitive or Holts.

5. Would you say your closet is streamlined (organized?)

On any given day, you could walk into my closet and it would look like a bomb went off. I’m not particularly good at putting clothing away and there are usually a few “costume changes” before I leave the house. I train every morning before work so I’m often in a rush to repack my gym bag and get on the move. With that said, my closet is definitely streamlined – probably a quarter of what you would expect it to be!

6. How often do you purge your closet?

Every month or two. My grandmother, who loves to shop with me, used to say that if you buy something new, it should replace something old, worn or tired. This keeps your closet manageable and feeling fresh. You should be able to see almost everything you own so you don’t forget about pieces.

7. What is your rule when deciding whether to purge something?

My rule: It’s time to purge if a piece could be better enjoyed in a home other than my own. I’m reading a book right now by Marie Kondo about the Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing. She reminds me that a piece that no longer brings you joy will also no longer make you feel good when you wear it. While I’m not emotionally attached to my clothing and accept they are merely possessions, what I wear is an expression of my character and personality, which is worth honoring.

8. What is your greatest extravagance?

Traditionally I splurge and buy myself a pair of “investment” shoes for my birthday – the kind you keep for many seasons and that will never outdate. Last year I bought myself a pair of the Saint Laurent Jane Leather Ankle Strap Sandals with a screaming 4.5” heel. They are super delicate and feminine, and really should leave the box more often!

9. What coveted item is currently on you must have list?

I’m on a mission to find the perfect pair of round sunglasses. I wore a pair for a photo shoot I did in collaboration with local vintage & consignment curator, Fond Boutique. After trying on what feels like hundreds of frames, I’m debating between the Tom Form Joan or Juliet sunnies in pink, or pretty much anything by Karen Walker.

10. Are there any celebrities who style you admire?

I’ve always been a Sienna Miller fan for her innate sense of style and ability to blend vintage and designer brands seamlessly. She wears what she wants and does it well with a strong feminine edge.

The Olsen sisters and their oversized monochromatic menswear vibe has taught me that it’s entirely okay to ignore sale associates and buy things two or three sizes larger than what actually fits. Allowing some movement in your clothing provides flexibility when it comes time to layer or style something.

11. What is your favourite magazine?

For fashion, I love W because it feels more like a coffee table book than a magazine. I read a lot of books but when it comes to magazines, I just want to see big, bold, thoughtfully styled images.

12. Who do you follow on instagram?

Anyone who posts visual imagery that inspires me. If you post too many selfies, gross pictures of your feet or back to back baby photos within a fifteen minute period, I’m out. A funny caption with a healthy dose of self deprecation goes a long way.

13. Who do you follow on twitter?

People who can be cleaver with only 140 characters. Shakespeare sums it up: “Brevity is the soul of wit.”





14. Favourite APP?

Goodreads. It helps me track progress on the books I’m reading as well as add anything I want to add to my library.

15. Favourite TV show?

I don’t watch television and I don’t know how to turn it on. Seriously.

16. Is there a health and beauty product you can’t live without?

Lipgloss. I’m an addict – I’ll stop at a gas station for dusty pot of blistex if I’ve forgotten mine. I’ve worn “Fashion Scoop” by MAC for years and I’m currently crushing on their Crème d’Nude Cremesheen lipstick, which feels like lip gloss but makes it look like I actually tried.

17. Who is your hairstylist? (Salon)

For cuts & colour, Pearl at the Vanity Vault. I’ve been following her around for over the last ten years and we probably know way too much information about each other. For shoots or special events, I’ve been working with Courtney from the Vic Park Hedkandi – she’s has magic hands and uses her unicorn skills to curl, braid, twist & knot just the way I like it.

18. Do you have a signature scent?

Tobacco Vanille by Tom Ford. It’s typically a men’s scent but I really love it how it smells so I wear it for my own selfish enjoyment.

19. What are your favourite shops in Calgary?

I’m a big fan of Mariah located in Aspen Landing. It’s a family owned, family run business and they carry everything from designer basics from Vince and Current Elliot to wild patterned rompers from their newest (and my favorite) Belgium brand, Essentiel Antwerp. Outside of clothing, my favourite weekend stops are Recordland and Plant in Inglewood and Shelf Life Books in Vic Park. There is a new women’s store opening up in Mission in October called Fieldstudy and I’m pretty excited for it as addition to YYC.

20. Do you shop online?

Occasionally if the fit isn’t a concern, otherwise I tend to buy locally or when I’m travelling.

21. What are your favourite sites?

Amazon Prime. When I need something NOW, usually something weird that would be challenging to find local, that’s my go to site. They have everything and it literally shows up through a transporter to my front step before I’ve even left the site.

22. What are your favourite restaurants?

Pigenhole. I’m a big fan of small plates, snacks and wine so it’s totally my jam. I’m trying to convince the owner to open up for lunch but he may be concerned that I’ll turn it into my office – which is likely true.

23. Even more specifically – where do you for a date night or with couples?

UNA is a favourite and my husband and I like to go on Sundays. We know most of the service staff there so it always feels like home. If we are entertaining out of town friends or celebrating, we generally head to Model Milk or Anju (that crispy tofu….)

24. Where do you go for a casual or a business lunch?

For a casual lunch, I usually hit up Native Tongues or Our Daily Brett. For a business lunch, complete with Rose, I generally head to Suzette, or the Living Room – who I think has the best hidden gem of a patio in the city.

25. Where is your favourite brunch?

My kitchen! However if I feel like indulging, I’ve always loved breakfast at Vendome and if I feel like a classic, extra crispy bacon type of breakfast, The Beltliner.

26. If you are out on the town, is there a cocktail or wine bar you prefer to go to?

If I could route my favourite cocktail adventure, I would cozy in at Proof and after a few libations there, stop in to say hello to the crew over at Vine Arts for a taster of something weird and wonderful. The night would likely end at Model Citizen where the boys would have something crazy spinning (that I would Shazam for a Vinyl shop later) and Dave would bring us drinks with weird names we won’t remember.

27. What is your favourite cocktail?

A well balanced cocktail with egg whites – can’t get enough of that froth.

28. Brew or buy? What’s your coffee stop of choice? What do you order?

I don’t drink coffee. In fact, I think it smells like warm canned tuna. Even the peer pressure and torment of being ignored by my friends while they silently sip their coffee while travelling won’t change my mind. Drink of choice is a Chai Latte from either Analog or Starbucks.

29. Can you share a hidden lifestyle treasure in the city with us?

For food, The Himalayan. The owner Sanjay is amazing; just ask him to take care of you and he will.

For quite walks, the secret paths that weave through Lakeview Village. Play hookie and head to the Esker Foundation to enjoy wild art installations and media.

30. As far as personal style – do you have the same principles in your design style or is it totally different?

There are certainly similarities between my approach to my design style and personal sense of style, but they are actually quite different. We built our first house last summer and I relied on successful design details from my past work; however I surprised myself at how much I’ve embraced bold patterns, texture and colour in my home. My wardrobe is primarily neutral and quite classic and while the bones of my house are quite the same, it is finished with more of a bohemian vibe with goods from places like Morocco, Africa and Turkey. The goal with both my wardrobe and the spaces I design is to have elements that evoke inquiry, inspire or provide some theatrical relief.

31. What is something you’d like to do (in your work) that you haven’t done yet?

My big lofty goal would be to do a boutique hotel. I love the combination and complexity of the types of services and amenities that would need to be considered. There is also a combination of commercial, hospitality and residential inspired work all in one space I grew up doing puzzles of sailboats with my grandfather and Interior Design is like a puzzle to me. Moving around space until each piece makes sense. Space planning is one of my favourite phases of the design process and a hotel would provide the challenge I look for in my work. I’m starting a project this Fall which is multi-use and I’m really excited about getting my hands on the floor plans.

32. What (job) are you most proud of?

Each project we’ve worked on and every client we have come across have provided us with the opportunity to learn and become better designers. With that said, I’m pretty stoked on how Native Tongues turned out. Restaurants are a combination of interiors, food and service and you need all three to be successful – they’ve achieved this. It was also a highly collaborative project so everyone was invested in the outcome and felt like they had a part of the overall aesthetic.


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