Living in the heart of scenic wine country may sound like a lovely fantasy, but for Adrienne Shubin it’s everyday life. Adrienne hails from Sonoma County, California where she writes the 40+ fashion and lifestyle blog, The Rich Life in Wine Country.
Whether she’s sporting jeans or a cute dress, this 6’2″ beauty always looks fabulous in a signature style that reflects Northern California itself: modern, casual, natural with a touch of boho.
Read on to get to know Adrienne and to see what make her a Fabulous After 40 Styleblazer.
Deb: What is your professional background and where did you get the inspiration to start The Rich Life on a Budget?
Adrienne: After earning a degree in English with an emphasis in writing from the University of San Francisco in the early 1990s, I landed a position at a personnel agency in San Francisco’s Financial District. I went from an assistant to eventually having my own recruiting business in seven years.
When I became engaged to my husband, who lived over an hour away from the city, I knew I would have to find a new career. After moving to Sonoma County to be with him, I worked for a winery, was a substitute teacher, became a personal trainer and exercise instructor and even went to law school but none of those professions held my attention for long.
I started blogging once my stepkids were driving themselves around, and I found I had more free time. Blogging became my favorite hobby. I took to it quickly, and it became a passion. Blogging is the best thing that ever happened to me creatively and professionally.
Deb: You have been co-spearheading How I Wear My for 3+ years. How did you develop the concept of this monthly feature and what style tips have you picked up from the photos that have been submitted?
Adrienne: Jill of Everything Just So and I connected over four years ago. I simply liked her blog, and even though we have never met, I felt a connection to her. One day, while emailing back and forth about our lives and blogging, we discovered that we bought the same Missoni for Target cardigan.
One of us, not sure who thought it would be fun to do a post on the same day, wearing the same cardigan. We enjoyed it so much; we decided to do it again and invite other bloggers and readers to join us. That was November 2011. It’s hard to believe it’s had such staying power!
Deb: Travel is obviously a passion. What’s your favorite destination and why?
Adrienne: Paris will always have my heart, but I don’t always have the time or the budget to visit as often as like. So I would have to say my favorite destination these days is right in my backyard, literally! The California Wine Country has so much to offer. We have some of the world’s best food, the greatest wines, the most beautiful hotels and incredible sightseeing. I love exploring all the wonderful regions and towns in Wine Country, just miles away from my home.
Deb: How does where you live in California’s wine country (lifestyle, climate, etc.) affect your daily style and your choice of clothing?
Adrienne: Lifestyle and climate are both huge factors in the way I dress. If I lived somewhere with many days of cold temperatures, I know I would have a closet full of wool coats, tall boots, cozy sweaters and warm scarves because I love them so much. But I don’t, so instead I limit my cold weather clothing purchases. I buy lightweight sweaters, jackets, and pants. I mostly wear sandals, sneakers, t-shirts, shorts and lots of jeans most of the year. My life is quite casual and so is my personality! I don’t even own a pair of pantyhose.
Deb: You make great use of your accessories from hats to bags to jewelry. What is your most frequently worn accessory of the moment and how to do you incorporate it into a variety of different types of outfits?
Adrienne: I do love my accessories! Lately, I have been wearing long necklaces with sweaters. They make an unremarkable outfit look much more modern and stylish. It just so happens that Long Necklaces are the theme for next month’s How I Wear My. Jill and I hope that, Deborah, you will join us again. I love featuring you.
Deb: You have gorgeous long locks. Many women over 40 feel compelled to cut their long hair due to many factors such as thinning, lifestyle, etc. What advice can you offer women who are on the fence about having long hair after 40?
Adrienne: I have always had very thick hair that grows quickly. Although my hair is not as thick or as strong as it was when I was young, it’s still thick enough to wear it long.
Long hair is a personal choice, and it’s definitely not for every woman over 40. You have to take good care of long locks. I try to wash my hair every three days – dry shampoo is my hair’s best friend – and if I can, I let my hair dry naturally. I no longer color my roots and only get highlights every three or four months. I try just to leave my hair alone and let it do its thing. And I only get my hair cut three times a year.
Deb: What three basics should every woman have in her wardrobe?
Adrienne: 1 – quality black leather or faux leather jacket
2 – great pair of jeans
3 – one high-end handbag, the best she can afford
Deb: What is something your readers don’t know about you or wouldn’t be able to figure out from reading your blog?
Adrienne: Lots of people assume I have a huge closet full of beautiful clothes and that I shop frequently. The truth is I don’t like to go shopping – though I do enjoy shopping online– and I don’t have very many clothes. I have a tiny closet that I share with my husband. But for the purpose of full disclosure, I take up 65% of our closet, and I store big coats and formal dresses in the office closet.
Deb: What would you be doing if you weren’t blogging full-time?
Adrienne: Just thinking about a life without blogging makes me anxious and a little sad. I suppose I would write a novel or short stories, volunteer with the elderly or the SPCA and work part-time at a winery. I’m sure I would exercise a lot more and keep our house more orderly if I didn’t blog full-time.
Deb: How do you see your style evolving as you age?
Adrienne: As I age, I care less and less about what’s “in.” In some respects, that worries me. Am I losing my fashion mojo? Will I be dressing the same way for the next decade and no longer evolving my style? I hope not. What I think is happening is, at 47, I finally know what I like and what I don’t, what looks good on me and what doesn’t, and how I want to represent myself to the world.
I will never be a true “fashionista”, and I will not be one to take radical fashion chances. What I will do is represent women over 40 who care about their style and want to look modern, but don’t want to come off as though they are trying too hard. Style in one’s 40s and beyond is complicated. There’s a fine line between looking like you’ve given up and looking like you’re desperately latching onto your younger self. I don’t want to do either and am always refining my style.
Deb: Thanks Adrienne, It’s been lovely getting to know you.
To see more of Adrienne’s California Wine Country Style visit her blog: The Rich Life in Wine Country.