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ON MARIANNE Olive dress by Lela Rose; earrings and cuff, stylist’s own.

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Women of Style

By Laura Hine and Marjie Killeen

Photography by Lucy Hewett | Styling by Annie Peck with Annie Frances Style Consulting

09.16.16

With the stunning new Writers Theatre as our backdrop, we introduce six gorgeous North Shore women, each with an individual style that is her personal and professional brand.

Marianne Murciano
Wilmette
Marianne Murciano and her husband, Bob Sirott, were hosts of a daily radio show on WGN. But when that gig ended, Murciano was ready for her next act. She had been wanting to do something that reflected the couple’s love of food and travel, and especially the foods of their families—some of their most popular social media posts and radio talks were banter about her Cuban and his Russian-Jewish heritage. “I’d post something on social media about my black bean recipe, and people would really respond with questions and comments,” she says. “So when I launched Suso’s Fork, it was to explore the foods we love.” Used to being in the public eye and photographed frequently for the site’s Instagram feed, Murciano’s style embraces color. “Jewel tones and color matter a lot—they’re eye candy to me,” she says. One of her favorite designers is Narciso Rodriguez; “his color and fit are outstanding.” Other brands she likes are Lela Rose and Milly, but her most important consideration is how a piece will look on camera. “If it photographs well, it will look great in person too,” she says. “And if you’re comfortable wearing it, then you look more confident and more together.” And now that the site is up and running, this stylish blogger has big plans for its future. “We’re looking forward to finding new partners for the site and really seeing where we can take it!” –LH

ON BRITTNEY Blue dress by Sandro; yellow sandals by Manolo Blahnik; bracelet by Hermès. ON KENDRA Black-and-white dress by Sandro; cutout strappy sandals by Alexandre Birman; ring by Julie Vos; cuff Magner’s own.

Kendra Thornton & Brittney Magner
Winnetka
This gorgeous duo are long-time friends, and coworkers at Royal Travel & Tours. Kendra Thornton grew up traveling the globe, as the daughter of the luxury travel business fouders. The exposure to extraordinary locales and diverse cultures has shaped both her career and her fashion sense. After years in travel marketing and public relations, the mother of three recently bought her parents’ business. Now, as president and owner of Royal Travel & Tours, she’s excited to develop the growing North Shore business. Along with running the company, Thornton frequently appears on national and local TV as a travel expert. For Thornton, who modeled in high school and college, being well dressed is about more than looking good. “I always feel better when I’m dressed up,” she says. ”I just feel like I’m more productive and professional, even when I’m not working.” She favors designers like Ralph Lauren, Sandro and Chicago designer Vika Brown for daytime work events, while embracing sexier looks from Missoni, Dolce & Gabbana and Versace for evening. Given her media presence, it’s not a surprise that her style icon is news anchor Diane Sawyer. When asked her favorite travel destination, Thornton replies, “It’s always Paris. I lived in Paris; I had a little apartment in the 15th, and I am as comfortable walking the streets there as I am in Chicago. I love everything about the language, about the culture and, of course, about the fashion.”

Brittney Magner entered the field of luxury travel over three years ago at Thornton’s suggestion. Since then, she has been delighted to find that her work as a travel consultant for Royal Travel & Tours is the perfect complement to her other passions—raising her four daughters, and her love of fashion. Magner describes herself as obsessed with style—she follows fashion blogs, devours women’s fashion magazines and looks for the latest trends on sites like Shopbop and Net-a-Porter. Mindful of being a good role model to her young daughters, she likes to keep her personal style classic, but she enjoys introducing an element of trendiness or edge—a look she describes as contemporary traditional. Magner often uses accessories to amp up an outfit, and she loves shopping for leather goods and jewelry when she travels, especially shoes. “Any pair of good shoes is going to make for a great outfit, so keep it simple,” she advises. Her favorite shoe designers are Christian Louboutin, Manolo Blahnik and Jimmy Choo, which she pairs with clothing from designers like Sandro, ALC and her favorite, Herve Leger. As far as travel goes, Magner says, “Italy is the place to be right now. I have about 14 North Shore families traveling there this year, especially to the Amalfi Coast.” But the next location on her bucket list is Dubai. “It is so chic and sexy and fun, and has a great vibe. The shopping is incredible.” –MK

Beth Rosen
Deerfield
Beth Rosen is a social media consultant who isn’t just a voice on Twitter or a presence on Instagram. This influencer is frequently in the public eye, and her style is an important part of her brand. From her local talk show, Chicagonista Live to her appearances at events ranging from the B@M Conference in Las Vegas to Women Driving Excellence at the Chicago Auto Show, Rosen needs to look on point—sometimes for multiple events in one day. “I love dresses because they’re so flexible,” Rosen says. “Usually for my events, I need to look hip and on trend but also professional.” She loves to add a nice wrap or leather jacket to change up a classic dress and either give it an edgier vibe or dressier look. Favorite go-to brands include Theory for staples, Ted Baker for dresses and Vince for pieces that can go from casual to dressy. She also believes in finding brands that fit and then buying multiple items. “I love the way Paige jeans fit me, so I have them in black, white, dark blue and a couple of trendier washes,” she says. When we move to talking about shoes, Rosen laughs because she’s definitely not a collector. “I have, like, four pairs of shoes that I wear constantly,” she says. But for this woman, who’s constantly on the move, you can bet those shoes will take her far. –LH

 

ON TERESA Cape by Du Jour; lace blouse by BCBGMAXAZRIA; pants by Fendi; red shoes by Giuseppe Zanotti; earrings by Tara Bacci at Cinnamon; cuff, stylist’s own.

Renata Merino Bregstone
Glencoe
Renata Merino Bregstone, CEO of Blazin’ Babes, represents her women’s networking organization well. She radiates energy, self-assurance and an avid interest in others. Bregstone, a University of Chicago Booth MBA, uses her background in brand development to help women further their careers. Part of her mission is to help women align their image with their professional goals. When women feel good about their bodies and clothing, says Bregstone, “it’s easier to network, it’s easier to interview and it’s easier to say, ‘This is what I stand for.’” Bregstone considers her own brand to be comprised of three attributes—she’s zealous, a fitness junkie and a brand innovator. All three aspects are clearly reflected in her dynamic style and sculpted physique. A Boston-area native, she still embraces the conservative private-school New England influences of her younger years, but moving to Chicago has added a more metropolitan vibe to her classic look. Bregstone honors her Hispanic heritage (her father was born in Mexico City) by embracing her curves and wearing figure-hugging pieces and pops of vibrant color. She sites Latina Jennifer Lopez as an influence. Another source of inspiration for Bregstone is the Claire Underwood character played by Robin Wright on the Netflix series House of Cards. “She’s conservative, but she wears pencil skirts and stilettos. I feel like she exudes confidence, and I just love that look,” she says. Confidence is a theme for Bregstone. She’s a fan of Chanel, Dior, Herve Leger and Diane von Furstenberg, and can’t resist a pair of high-end heels, but overall she chooses her clothes based on how they make her feel rather than any label or price point. “If it looks great on me, then I go for it.” –MK

Teresa Washington
Glencoe
When Teresa Washington and her husband moved their family from Cincinnati, Ohio, where she owned a successful fashion boutique, to Glencoe, she didn’t wait long to dive back into the fashion business. First came an online shop to which she added, over time, four distinct brands that she designs: (STMT) Statement, dresses and separates; Du Jour, capes, ponchos, coats and dusters; Blue Rose, resort; and 24k, an accessories line. “I design pieces that easily transition from desk to dinner,” she says. “I also get a lot of inspiration from my customers.” As she navigated the business, she saw the need to connect small boutiques with unique brands like hers, and in 2016, she opened Style Room 326 (annual membership $60). “It’s a members-only showroom in Roscoe Village that sells both wholesale and retail,” she says. The membership requirement means boutique owners aren’t competing with her for foot traffic, and the lovely showroom doubles as an event space for private style parties. For her personal look, Washington favors “timeless pieces with a bit of an edge that can be dressed up or down.” An example she gives is adding a leather jacket and statement necklace to denim and a simple shirt. She obviously wears her own brands, but also loves BCBGMAXAZRIA, Brian Atwood shoes and jewelry by Rebecca Minkoff.  –LH