Squinting our way through the bright Las Vegas sunshine, coffees in hand, Francesca Simmons sits down with me to discuss her recent style evolution. Francesca came to Zappos as a summer intern from Scripps College in Claremont, California. Almost two year later, Francesca is now a full-time employee, managing her own portfolio for the Clothing Content team. We take a seat near as much shade as we could find on the Zappos rooftop café.
Has your personal style changed much from when you first interned?
“Oh yes. Lately I’ve been focusing on classic, timeless pieces.”
She emphasizes pieces.
“Updating my wardrobe to express a more ‘adult’ look has been a creative challenge. Now that I’m out of college, I try not to buy impulsively anymore; if I’m missing a key piece in my wardrobe, I take the time to make sure that I’ll use it more than once before making a purchase.”
What are some of your favorite pieces?
She laughs, takes a sip of coffee, then replies, “This is going to sound totally weird, but green bottoms.”
We share a chuckle as she explains, “Green, for me, is a unique neutral that can also add a pop of color to my look. Plus, I can wear green bottoms pretty much all year. Chambray shirts are another favorite. They’re so easy to layer, dress up or dress down.”
Francesca always (genuinely always) shows up to work looking stylish. Even on her “I just do not care today” days, she looks fabulous, so I was dying to know, how she styles her ensembles.
She thought about my question for a second, and then explained, “No matter what I’m wearing, I try and include at least one uniquely textured piece, or a pop of color. Lately I’ve been incorporating sequins in unexpected looks, like daywear.”
Is there a specific source that you use for inspiration?
We’re now getting into the weird, ambiguous world of inspiration, and Francesca smiles at me once again, before blurting out, “Mindy Kaling! I really like how she plays with prints. It’s mind-boggling how she puts her outfits together, truly.”
After returning from our bunny trail of Mindy Kaling Googling, I remember Francesca’s Rebecca Minkoff bag sitting on our table.
“So where did you find this stunning bag?” I ask.
“That’s actually my tax bag!” she laughs, “If I happen to have a little money to throw around, like a tax refund, I like to invest in something I’ll use a lot, like a quality handbag. I spend very little on trendy items, but I don’t mind splurging for well made, classic pieces that stand the test of time.”
Francesca goes on to explain cost-per-wear, a personal policy that she tries to follow when shopping. “Preferably, the cost-per-wear I’m looking for is about $3. After all is said and done, I would like to see myself wear an item enough times that I average about $3 spent per day. That really paints a clear picture for me when I can’t decide whether or not to commit to a new purchase.”
The mid-day sun is beating down on us by the end of the interview, and as we walk back, across the rooftop café, I feel inspired to go home and pick apart my wardrobe. Maybe we don’t need to sink dollar after dollar into department stores…unique style and a smidge of creative thinking can take your look a long way without opening up your wallet.