Backstage

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Grace Atwood

Throughout life, we have all been cautioned against and steered away from one of the biggest fashion no-nos to grace a hanger: stripes. However, Grace Atwood, founder of The Stripe, a highly stylized lifestyle blog that features goodies like designer DIY tutorials, seasonal must-haves and chic style ideas for every life moment, has taken the forever faux pas and transformed it into a wardrobe necessity. An upbringing in the seafood- and lighthouse-filled Cape Cod peninsula was a huge influence on Grace’s classic coastal style—she lives for blue and white stripes and embroidered dresses. And while the seaside town will always have a place in her heart—and her closet—living in New York City for the past decade has nudged her in an edgier direction. “I've been lucky enough to befriend some amazing designers and have access to some of the best shopping in the world,” said Grace. “I always try to wear something that's a little bit cool and different. My style is very simple and feminine, but I like to keep it interesting with my accessories.”

A self-admitted introvert with a goofy side, Grace is a hard-working content creator who cut her beauty- and fashion-industry teeth at many notable companies, including Procter & Gamble, Coty, Sally Hansen and most recently BaubleBar where she ran social media for several years. A little more than a year ago Grace left to pursue her own projects full time, which is where the next chapter in her career story begins. Grace fills us in on the last few years, which has been a perfect combination of glamorous fun, including the acquisition of a new pair of Jimmy Choo lace-up rope platforms and a two-week stay in the Greek Islands, and nose-to-the-grindstone hard work with an ultra-successful blog as the outcome.


What inspired you to start blogging and how did you come up with the name “The Stripe?”
I've always been obsessed with fashion and beauty and wanted a place to catalog the things I love. I was working at a job where I felt fairly stifled from a creative standpoint, so I started a blog and started writing. Originally it was called Stripes & Sequins, which are two of my favorite things, but in January 2015 I rebranded to The Stripe. I love stripes—always have, always will—so it felt like a natural choice.
 
Hundreds of blogs launch every day, what do you believe makes “The Stripe" unique?
That's hard to say—there are so many great blogs out there. Several readers have told me that they come to my site every day because it makes them feel like they are talking to a friend. I like to think that my voice is what keeps my site unique—and hopefully keeps my readers coming back for more.

What other blogs give you inspiration?
There are a lot, so I'll just tell you five of my favorites. They are all friends of mine. I love With Love From Kat. Kat lives in New York, has great style and is always going somewhere fun. Liz from Sequins and Stripes is adorable and has the cutest baby, Charlie. Her outfits are always great. Chassity Evans from Look Linger Love tracks down the cutest clothes, and she lives in Charleston so her outfit posts are usually set somewhere dreamy. Speaking of dreamy backdrops, Jess Kirby from Prosecco & Plaid lives by the ocean in Newport, Rhode Island, and her posts always transport me to an ocean state of mind. And last but not least, Annie Atkinson's blog, She's in the Glow. Her beauty stories are always well researched and on point and we share a lot of the same favorite products.

You are always visiting a new place. What is your favorite travel destination?
Visiting the Greek Islands for two weeks while in between jobs was the best vacation I’ve ever taken. I also really love Tulum, Mexico, and Charleston, South Carolina. Tulum is wonderfully relaxing, and I have made a great group of friends in Charleston—plus I’m obsessed with their restaurant scene.




Where will your next adventure take you?
I actually don't know! I spent most of July traveling and just got back from a whirlwind trip through Northwest France with Saint James. Right now I want to stay put for a little bit. That being said, there are a lot of travel destinations that are high on my list, including Cuba, Thailand, Cambodia, Croatia and Chile.

What are your essential travel products?
A small carry-on—I never check, even for a ten-day trip. When I get on the plane, I mist my face with an Odacité Facial Mist, and then apply Goop's Enriching Face Oil. Hydration is key. I always bring my laptop and my Fujifilm X-T10 camera. I keep all my cords, beauty products and essentials organized with pouches from LeSportsac. I'm also never without a Tide Stick (I'm such a klutz and always spill something), extra hair ties (I always lose them and have full-blown anxiety when I can't pull my hair up when I get hot), Burt's Bees Lip Balm, and a snack (right now I love Quest Bars). And, of course, travel-size Dry Texturizing Spray and Bright Blonde Shampoo and Conditioner for Beautiful Color.

How would you describe your design aesthetic?
Simple and streamlined—a great design should allow your content to really shine. My site is mostly black and white with pops of blush pink throughout. 

How do you feel your style has evolved since you started the blog?
It's gotten a lot more simple and pared down. I was 28 when I started my blog and now I'm almost 35. I'll still experiment with a trend or two—this year I got really into off-the-shoulder everything—but if I do, I keep everything else pretty minimal. I also wear a lot less jewelry and accessories. I look back at some old photos and think, "Wow! I was really wearing all of that!”




Fall and winter are right around the corner. How do you transition your beauty routine from warm to cold weather?
My skin is dry, especially when the cold weather hits. Thus, my skincare routine becomes a lot more focused on hydration in the fall and winter months. I'll switch from a gel cleanser to a creamy one, and I'll start using thicker moisturizers. I don't wear a lot of makeup, but I'll play with my eyes a bit more in the winter, or I’ll do a bold lip—one or the other, never both. For my hair, I get more blowouts as they last longer in winter.

What is your must-have beauty product and how do you use it?
I'm obsessed with SK-II's Facial Treatment Essence—it's the fountain of youth. The brand has such a cool story, and Pitera is an amazing ingredient. I pat it on every morning and night, between cleansing and moisturizing, and like to think it keeps me looking young.

When you’re not at DreamDry, what’s your go-to routine for achieving your perfect beachy waves?
Those beachy waves are almost always courtesy of my favorite DreamDry stylist, Jay Jackson, but when they're not, it's all about the BEACHWAVER. It's my favorite curling iron. You push a button and the wand automatically twirls either left or right, depending on your preference. Getting my waves to curl the proper direction was always something I struggled with until discovering this. I'll shower the night before and let my hair air dry. Then, in the morning, I’ll go over my naturally wavy hair with the BEACHWAVER. I'll add a little bit of Après Beach Wave and Shine Spray, Dry Texturizing Spray and Supershine Moisturizing Cream to the ends, and I'm good to go.




What tips would you give someone starting a blog?
Starting a blog is really hard right now as the market has become very oversaturated. I started nearly seven years ago, which blows my mind. Unless you are famous or incredibly well connected, you have to be doing something special and different from what is already out there. You need to have a unique angle and niche—your blog needs to be different and stand out, otherwise you are going to get lost in a sea of personal-style blogs filled with dresses under $100.

And don't go into it for the money because the money won't come for years. I blogged for more than two years before I made any money.
 
What is the best advice you have ever received?
Keep your head down and work hard. It was something Amy Jain, one of the BaubleBar co-founders, said to Daniella Yacobovsky, the other co-founder, while discussing their approach, and it stuck with me. There are so many startups and blogs that launch every day, and everyone wants a piece of it to get famous. There's also a lot of talk about networking and building a brand, and while all of that is important, at the end of the day, it's about hard work. I just want to build something really great and create a space where my readers walk away feeling a little happier, inspired and more knowledgeable than they did when they got there. I work hard to do that.

Who is your role model?
Gwyneth Paltrow. I love her commitment to health, wellness and clean living, and I also think she's done a great job parlaying her acting career into a business. Goop is really well done.

What is one fashion statement that will never go out of style?
Being yourself. At the end of the day you just have to own whatever it is you are wearing. Confidence and self expression are two things that will always be in, no matter what you are wearing.


 
What is your favorite Oribe product and how do you use it?
I have so many favorites, but I always go back to the Dry Texturizing Spray. It smells incredible. Jay Jackson tells me I smell like an "Orib-aby," which, if you ask me, is pretty much the best way a person can smell. I also really love the Bright Blonde collection, but I'm thinking of going darker for fall.

Trend under $100 that you are most excited to flaunt this fall?
I'm not a huge trends person, but maybe a matte, burgundy lipstick—I usually do bright red or clear gloss)—or an off-the-shoulder midi-dress.

Most luxurious possession you can’t live without?
My cat, Tyrion—yes, he is named after the Game of Thrones character. He's a fluffy Persian with a grumpy face. He's very luxurious...or at least he likes to think he is. I am lucky to have a lot of nice possessions, but I wouldn't say that I couldn't live without any of them.



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