Styleblazers Series

Sonoma Valley Style ~ The Rich Life in Wine Country

Living in the heart of scenic wine country may sound like a lovely fantasy, but it’s everyday life for Adrienne Shubin. Adrienne hails from Sonoma County, California, where she writes the 40+ fashion and lifestyle blog, The Rich Life in Wine Country.

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Meet Adrienne Shubin from The Rich Life on a Budget

Whether sporting jeans or a cute dress, this 6’2″ beauty always looks fabulous in a signature style that reflects Northern California: modern, casual, and natural with a touch of boho.

Read on to get to know Adrienne and to see what makes 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 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. Still, none of those professions held my attention for long.

I started blogging once my stepkids were driving themselves around, and I found 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 Mine 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 four years ago. I liked her blog, and even though we have never met, I felt a connection to her. While emailing back and forth about our lives and blogginconnectedtwitht, 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; that 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!

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Adrienne’s chic, casual style is perfect for wine tasting or city strolling.

Deb: Travel is 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 I 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 the world’s best food, excellent wines, 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. Suppose I lived somewhere with many days of cold; there are huge factors in how to 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 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.

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Adrienne wears her latest favorite accessories: a long necklace with a sweater.

Deb: You make great use of your accessories, from hats to bags to jewelry. What is your most frequently worn addition of the moment, and how do you incorporate it into various 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 Mine. Jill and I hope that Deborah, you will join us again. I love featuring you. 

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Adrienne’s long locks fit her perfection in her 40s.

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 on the f,ence about having long hair after 40?

Adrienne: I have always had very thick hair that proliferates. Although my hair is not as thick or pungent as when I was young, it’s still wide enough to wear long.

Long hair is a personal choice, and it’s 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 to leave my hair alone and let it do its thing. And I only get my hair cut three times a year.

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One of Adrienne’s three basic wardrobe essentials: is a great handbag such as her Louis Vuitton.

Deb: What bare 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

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Jeans and casual tops make up a large portion of Adrienne’s wardrobe.

Deb: What is something your readers don’t know about you or wouldn’t be able to figure out from reading your blog?

Adrienne: Many people assume I have a huge closet full of beautiful clothes and that I shop frequently. I wouldn’t say I like to go shopping – though I enjoy shopping online and have many clothes. I have a tiny closet that I share with my husband. But for full disclosure, I take up 65% of our closet, and I store oversized 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 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.

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Adrienne’s leather leggings and embellisher pop against a vibrant red door.

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 changes. I will 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. Type 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 constantly 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. 

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3 thoughts on “Sonoma Valley Style ~ The Rich Life in Wine Country

  1. I love her style. It is very sporty/feminine and reminds me very much of Jennifer Aniston’s style, which I also adore.

  2. I agree with Adrienne on many of her assertions. Her photos are adorable. At 62, I have stopped chasing fads and coloring my shoulder length hair (dark brown with gray highlights). You can go natural with your hair and still look beautiful as long as it is healthy. I mix basics (jeans, tees, good leathers,quality jewelry, classic sweaters) with a seasonal piece or two. Unlike Adrienne, I love to scour the resale shops for treasures to add pop to my wardrobe at affordable prices. I always buy dressy outfits resale – never full price and always designer labels. You don’t have to spend a fortune to be beautifully turned out.

    1. I have never been a fad chaser, either. Not as a teen or through 30s even. I have always liked what I like and that has mostly been blazers, jeans, t-shirts, boots and funky jewelry. I figure I will be wearing that for the majority of my life in whatever mutations those come in over the years.

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