Stellar Style at Any Age
By Brady Sloane
Photography by Jennifer Nichols
Abilene has style, and so do its residents. This West Texas city has always had a wealth of stylish folks of all ages, men and women. Here we feature six locals sharing their personal style choices and favorite pieces they’ve acquired along the way.
Name: Kiki D’Aniell
Occupation: 5th grade teacher/ martial arts instructor
Abilenian for 18 years
Personal style: I would describe my personal style as colorful, timeless, and practical, with a hint of sass.
My friends say: My friends would say that my style is colorful and reflects my personality well.
Favorite places to shop: I get most of my clothes from boutiques I follow on Instagram such as Lush Fashion Lounge, Impressions Boutique, and Hazel & Olive Boutique. I also love to shop locally at Betty & June and our local TJ Maxx and Target.
Favorite item of clothing: One of my favorite articles of clothing is my racer-back black maxi dress because it is simple yet can be dressed up or down. I also wear my teal floral kimono cardigan quite frequently. It has bright flowers dispersed throughout and fringe on the bottom. I love to use it to dress up simple outfits.
What stands out to me: Honestly, I look for something that is cute but practical. In my profession as a school teacher, I am constantly facilitating science labs, hands on activities that involve sitting on the floor with my students, and playing football with them at recess. My clothes have to allow me to be active.
My closet is organized by item type and then by color, so when I shop I have to think about if I already have similar pieces in my closet.
Amount of thought put into wardrobe: Most of the time, I plan my outfits the night before. I’ll pair my outfits, shoes, and jewelry then switch out what I don’t like. Sometimes, that results in an entire outfit change. Yikes!
On my fall wish list: I definitely know that I will be on the lookout for more boots and oversized sweaters. Who doesn’t like to be comfortable?
My sources for trends: I think I somewhat follow trends because I follow so many boutiques on Instagram. For the most part though, I think I try to find pieces of clothing that really personify me and are timeless.
Something I would never wear: Not that I would never wear one, but I have never worn a romper.
It’s time to retire an item of clothing when: If I haven’t worn a piece of clothing in a few seasons, it’s normally time to pass it on.
Fashion cycle: I buy new articles quite frequently and donate after each season, typically at Goodwill.
Name: Anjani Cole
Occupation: Educator – High School Spanish II
Abilenian for 24 years
Personal style: Whimsical classic
Friends describe my style as: My closest friends Shannon Zachary and Esther Owen say, “Eclectic, classic elegance” and “Glamorous with a touch of spunk” respectively.
Favorite places to shop: I love to shop at Target because it’s inexpensive and, in all honesty, it offers versatile items from hats to shoes while offering different styles and trends within the store. I don’t spend a lot of money on clothing unless it is something really special, then I might spend too much.
Estates sales are where I find my most unique pieces. Many are from women’s sales where they traveled the world and collected items over their lifetime. I also enjoy locally-owned boutiques in different cities.
Favorite item of clothing: It’s hard to pick one. My favorites include a panama hat, a glass bubble necklace from MoMa, a soft black taffeta skirt with deep exterior pockets from a locally owned shop in Santa Fe and a silver cuff with a royal blue suede tie closure.
What stands out to me: Original design, then comfort.
Amount of thought put into wardrobe: Daily, very little. Vacation, too much.
On my fall wish list: Denim or suede culottes, a cognac colored leather jacket, and a Winter white felted wool coat.
My sources for trends: I see a lot of fun trends by people watching and enjoy reading Italian and French Magazines because I prefer a more European style.
Something I would never wear: Never say never.
How age defines style: It doesn’t. Creativity and confidence define style.
It’s time to retire an item of clothing when: If it doesn’t inspire me anymore and there is no sentimental value, then it may be time to go.
Fashion cycle: I have no particular schedule, it’s very erratic. I buy when I find something interesting. I donate when I have time to sort through clothing and it’s typically to Goodwill.
Name: Sue Morris McWilliams
Occupation: Wife, mother, grandmother, board member, volunteer
Off-and-on Abilenian from the age of six (and here since 2001)
Personal style: Classic with a touch of fun!
Favorite places to shop: Trunk shows, online, local boutiques, out of town shops and always the sale rack!! One of my current favorite spots is a garden center in Dallas – great tunics!
Favorite item of clothing: Probably a fur-lined raincoat that was a Christmas gift a few years ago. I also love good handbags and a Hermes belt.
What stands out to me: If it is something I immediately love and can see myself in.
Amount of thought put into wardrobe: I try to look nice, but I usually don’t overthink it. If you have some good basics, you can just grab and go.
On my fall wish list: I haven’t really seen much on the trends. Maybe some wider-legged trousers if I can figure out a jacket.
My sources for trends: I usually learn about them from magazines, my daughters and Neiman Marcus’ “The Book.”
Something I would never wear: Strapless – not a good look for me ever!
How age defines style: Comfort becomes more important, and you begin to understand the old saying,”if you wore it the last time it was popular, perhaps you shouldn’t this time.”
It’s time to retire an item of clothing when: When you are tired of it! Or, if it was a fashion mistake. If it is just taking up space in your closet, time to go! (I need to remember this!)
Fashion cycle: I usually buy about three or four times a year and fill in occasionally. I try to donate about three or four times a year also. I donate to Heavenly Rest’s Thrift House and Goodwill.
“I have the good fortune to have a wonderful brother in law who was director of men’s fashion for Neiman Marcus. He sees fashion with such a great eye and has pulled me out of my comfort zone more than once with great success.”
Name: Luke Hawk
Occupation: Tennis Teaching Pro
An Abilenian for most of his life, excluding a couple of stints traveling around the world.
Personal style: I would describe my style as somewhat paradoxical. It’s classic yet edgy. Rugged yet refined.
Favorite places to shop: I shop mostly at men’s specialty stores such as Stag Provisions, Lone Flag, and North Menswear. Most of these shops usually specialize in raw denim and old American work wear inspired clothing.
Favorite item of clothing: The biggest staple in my closet has to be my Rogue Territory SK 12.5 oz. raw denim jeans. Most people can’t justify spending the higher price, but I literally wear them 3-4 times a week and they just get better with age as the denim is made at one of the highest quality denim mills in the world.
What stands out to me: I first notice either a unique pattern or the texture of the clothing, then I look at the craftsmanship/how well the garment was made.
Amount of thought put into wardrobe: I would like to say not much at all, but I’m pretty sure all my friends and family would call me out on that.
On my fall wish list: I would have to say Saint Laurent’s Classic Wyatt Harness Boot in brown suede, Norman Russell’s Johnny Jean Jacket, and imogene + willie’s charlie rigid black jeans.
My sources for trends: I usually get some inspiration from traveling or thumbing through Instagram, but I try not to let any one thing influence me too much. At the end of the day you just have to be yourself.
Something I would never wear: I’m not a huge fan of scarves, but I’ve learned over the years to never say never.
How age defines style: I think you should be respectful to requested dress attire while attending certain events, but age or the “societal norm” should never dictate how you really want to dress.
It’s time to retire an item of clothing when…: If it’s not a “hell yes” anymore, then it has to go. I’m a big believer in keeping everything minimal so you can make more room for things you love.
Name: Christopher Sanchez
Occupation: Senior Media Consultant @Townsquare Media Abilene with 6 stations: KEYJ-ROCK 108, KEAN 105, MIX 92.5, KOOL 100.7, KYYW-Talk Radio 1470, KSLI 1280-AM
Drummer for: Dave Hobbs Band, Radio Recon, Renegade, Negative 263. Abilenian since 1993.
Personal style: Metal Head
My friends say about my style: “Hot Topic meets Hipster. He still hasn’t realized he’s in his 40’s yet.” – Frank Pain (KEYJ-ROCK108)
Favorite places to shop: Live Concerts. Band websites. Ebay. Garage Sales. Thrift Stores.
Favorite items of clothing: A pair of camo shorts I’ve had for over 10 years, a pair of blue jeans that have rock patches on them. If they rip, I just cover it up with a new patch, and any Black Sabbath, KISS, Deftone’s or Pantera shirt in my closet. Of all the pairs of Chuck Taylors (Converse) I own, the gray with black shoelaces are my faves.
What stands out to me: Color and design. I tend to stay away from anything generic and plain.
On my fall wish list: Don’t think I’ve ever had a wish list per say. I do look forward to hoodie weather. Classic metal head attire.
My sources for trends: I follow no trends. At least, I don’t think so. It’s hard to say. Imitation is in our nature.
Something I would never wear: Any style of polo shirt. Can’t and won’t do it. Makes me feel uptight and generic.
How age defines style: Age doesn’t define style. Style defines age. I’m a 42-year-old drummer with a great job, home, wife, two kids, and play in several bands. I believe you can stay young at heart and live a responsible family lifestyle.
It’s time to retire an item of clothing when: I’ve dried it one too many times or gained a few extra pounds.
Fashion cycle: I tend to buy a couple of new shirts per month. I like to hold onto my rock/metal shirts. When they’re no longer in use, I put them in boxes in storage hoping my son and daughter may want them when in their teens. They’ll inherit a gold mine of band and concert shirts.
Robert O. Briley
Occupation: Businessman – Retail & Commercial Real Estate Abilenian since 1956
Personal style: Traditional with a little flair: sport coats, suits, ties, cufflinks, Texas belt buckles and handkerchiefs.
My style philosophy: Dress up, not dress down!
Favorite places to shop: Robert Talbott, Hickey Freeman, Canali, Ralph Lauren, Tom James Clothiers, Dillard’s, Nordstrom’s, Rewards Belts & Buckles, and online.
Favorite item of clothing: Colorful ties.
What stands out to me: Stay true to your style, fabrics, colors and the way it fits.
Amount of thought put into wardrobe: My closet is prearranged by suits, sport coats, casual attire, and by color. Exact ties are with the exact suits or sport coats.
On my fall wish list: I have already purchased for fall. Since the styles have changed for men, I focused on slim fit suits, slacks and paisley ties.
My sources for trends: Visiting stores, browsing online, magazines and television.
How age defines style: Not much has changed for me. I wore sport coats, suits and ties in college & I wear sport coats, suits & ties today.
It’s time to retire an item of clothing when: I don’t wear it during the past 12 months. I prefer to donate to somebody that will put it to better use.
Fashion cycle: I purchase and donate clothing probably every six months and donate to First Baptist Social Ministries, Goodwill and Salvation Army.