Mignon Gould was born a fashion spy.
Even as a kid, she was more Bergdorf Goodman than Barbie. Small wonder that she grew up to be a style birdwatcher — and a good one at that. Emma Stone, Kevin Hart, and Sofia Coppola are among the celebrities she's interviewed for her site, The Chic Spy. Gould also created Chic Spy Day to celebrate the style of on-screen spies which is now observed annually on October 5, the anniversary of the first screening of Dr. No.
What is your definition of chic?
I define it as having a sense of style that is polished and distinctive. It's not one certain style, but a look that is a finely curated aesthetic, cultivated by the wearer.
How would you describe your sense of style?
I believe everyone has a style profile. I've identified seven: the Classicist, the Minimalist, the Mademoiselle, the Contemporary, the Glamazon, the Bohemian, and the Rocker. My style falls in line most with the Classicist, but there is a little bit of all the style profiles in my wardrobe arsenal. I created a quiz so others can find out their style.
What are you wearing right now?
I’m wearing a Nordstrom ruffled top, Lane Bryant ‘Modernist’ blazer, Melissa McCarthy Seven7 crop jeans, and J.Crew ballet flats.
Where do you shop?
I like to shop around at different stores online and off, but I’m addicted to J.Crew flats and Sephora’s beauty selection.
What are your favorite local boutiques?
I love to shop boutiques for fun fashion fillers. Divaz Boutique in Tempe has some cool accessories – shoes, jewelry, and scarves. I’m also a fan of Black Cat Vintage, who has some amazing pieces. She has a beautiful silk scarf that an airline had made for the flight attendants circa '60s or '70s. But she’s not parting with it anytime soon!
What was the last piece you bought?
Three pairs of ballet-inspired, lace-up, pointed toe flats in red-orange, sky blue, and a navy blue from J.Crew.
What's the story behind this fun newspaper clutch?
When I first spotted the newspaper clutch at Kate Spade in San Francisco, I knew I had to add it to my wardrobe arsenal. Fictional spies are known for having a newspaper riddled with secret messages. This is my version – a faux newspaper clutch that carries all the essentials for my next style or entertainment mission.
What's one of the weirdest things in your closet?
A vintage copper clutch in the shape of an inflated envelope that was my mother's, and she recently gave it to me because of my love for quirky clutches. It's actually a solid copper clutch that is hinged and latches. Very interesting piece – I'm still not sure what to wear with it yet. I have this packed away, as it needs some love – polish and the hinges repaired. I totally love it – it is circa 1970s and I just have not gotten around to getting it restored to its splendor.
Who are your fashion inspirations?
My mother and my grandmother have amazing style and have inspired me tremendously. My favorite famous style icons are characters in film and television: Holly Golightly (Breakfast at Tiffany’s), Traci Chambers (Mahogany), and Blair Waldorf (Gossip Girl). Diana Ross stars in Mahogany and she actually designed the costumes – a little-known fact! I also love how songstress Adele stylishly dresses her curvy figure.
What is your earliest memory of fashion?
When other kids were reading Green Eggs and Ham, I was clipping images from my grandmother’s Bergdorf Goodman catalog and making mini magazines of my own.
What is a trend that you wish would stop?
Trends, period! I think people should sport their own unique look, based on what works for their style profile. Be you – if that’s boho chic great, if it’s rocker chick, that’s cool too.
What is one piece of advice you'd give to people in Phoenix about fashion?
The style culture in the Valley is very casual. I say go for it and dress up, at least once a month. Whether you’re going to a local museum or meeting friends for brunch – treat yourself to a chic look for the day.
What are five things that everyone should have in her closet?
1. A little black dress that can be dressed up or down with accessories.
2. Perfect fit jeans that are hemmed to your leg length.
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3. Fancy flats for dressier occasions when you want to be chic and comfortable.
4. A quirky clutch to sport on occasions when your phone, business cards, and lipstick are all you need.
5. A vintage fashion, accessory, or jewelry piece to accent your modern wardrobe.