Bluegrass THREADS is thrilled to feature the fabulous Donna Ison as a local style standout. The outrageous and hilarious editor of skirt! magazine was a treat to interview.
Tell us a bit about yourself…
I’m a recovering actor turned writer who has published two novels, The Miracle of Myrtle: Saint Gone Wild and Twenty Men in One Night (formerly Flirtini with Disaster). My next work, Bourbon Through It, a collection of outrageous essays, will be available next summer…if I get my shit together and write it. I still occasionally relapse and find myself onstage as one of The Sisters Provocateur whose mission is to prove that poetry doesn’t have to be pretentious, brainy doesn’t have to boring, and sexy doesn’t have to be skinny. I currently serve as the editor of skirt! magazine Lexington–it’s my “big girl” job. When not writing, I host all day champagne brunches; adore my husband, Frank; lounge at the lake with my turtle army; tap dance; argue politics & religion; hang out with my dogs Doc Grizzly and Rufus; and make sure the Bluegrass State keeps its bourbon up to par. To learn more, read my Bourbonista Blog where I reveal all the intimate details of my lush life in technicolor detail.
Describe your personal style…
Bohemian Badass with a bit of flapper flair thrown in for good measure.
Who are your style icons?
Women who define style on their own terms and find what works for them whether it is considered vogue at the time or not: Katherine Hepburn, Cher, Coco Chanel, and Pre-Ostentatious-Accent-Madonna.
What does “bluegrass style” mean to you?
In general, I think there is a casual elegance to bluegrass style. It is put together without being fussy. Upscale and understated, requiring a great effort to look like you didn’t try at all…pressed and put together. Because of my aversion to irons, dry cleaners, and uncomfortable shoes, traditional bluegrass style is something I will never achieve.
Any favorite local spots to shop?
Calypso is an amazing store. Of course, I love vintage, so Street Scene, Goodwill, and Pop’s. But, I mainly shop online.
Any other bluegrass hotspots we should check out?
Your friend’s closets. Plan a party…clothing swaps are a great way to save money and socialize simultaneously.
What are some style challenges that you face, and how do you deal with them?
I am curvy and 44, so what looks good on a tween model is not going to work on me.
How important is hair and make-up to your personal style?
As far as make-up, I have only one requirement: the perfect red lipstick. Some occasions just scream for scarlet smackers. Otherwise, I keep it pretty simple, although a good long-wearing mascara that gives volume and separates is also important. Nothing worse than looking like a tarantula died on your eyelid. As far as hair, I do a pixie cut in the summer which I grow out to a bob in the winter…wash…rinse…repeat.
Which are the accessories that you never go without?
A glass of bourbon, a notebook to write down random brilliance, and silver hoop earrings.
What is your must have for fall?
Every autumn, I get a new pair of cowboy boots. Whether I wear them with jeans, dresses,or nothing at all, a great pair of pointy-toed boots makes me feel sassy, sexy, and strong.
Animal print (especially reptile) is big for fall 2012—do or don’t?
Yes! Animal print is like a good dive bar, I’ve never met one I don’t love. But faux for me. No killing innocent alligators for the sake of posh pumps.
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