Amy Appleton Dreyer is a firm believer in doing what makes you happy. As a model for local talent agency Voices &, the Kansas City native, 35, combines her lifelong loves of fashion and travel, venturing to favorite destinations like South America and Australia and collecting oneof-a-kind fashion pieces for inspiration. In addition to striking a pose, Dreyer is a mother to 2-year-old fashionista-intraining Stella, stepmother of three teens, a perfecter of the effortless look, an avid blogger, Instagrammer (@stepsofstyle), and Etsy and eBay aficionado. When it comes to her own closet, Dreyer’s philosophy is “less is more" — a belief also reflected in the contents of her minimalistic and modern boutique-style closet. Once a playroom, the newly renovated space conveys a vibe described by Dreyer as “a little bit industrial, a little midcentury, a little Mexican.” For its decor, she drew inspiration from L.A. stores and local haunts, such as the women’s clothing and design studio Finefolk. As she gears up for spring, Dreyer gave 435 Magazine a glimpse into her chic fashion lair on Ward Parkway near the Plaza, complete with handmade clothing racks made of pipe, brass midcentury Sputnik chandeliers from Etsy, an Urban Mining wood sofa and gold wire cut-out chair, glass display boxes and antler horns for showcasing jewelry, and a cowhide rug.
Describe your fashion style.
I would say “simple and effortless” describe my style best (although it certainly doesn't always feel effortless). I could also be described as “bohemian” or “modern.” I tend to shy away from bold prints and bright colors, usually choosing black, white and earthier tones. I am constantly inspired — from Australia, where designers are always so cutting-edge with their modern, clean lines and silhouettes, to Parisian street style. After spending a bit of time in the Yucatan, I'm currently craving anything that embodies that luxurious yet carefree vibe.
Favorite style icons past or present?
Obviously the big names: Kate Moss, Jane Birkin, Caroline de Maigret and newer faces such as Jeanne Damas. But the past few years I've been much more inspired by fashion bloggers like Lucy Williams, Camille Charriere, Lainy Hedaya, Amanda Shadforth and the everinspiring Elin Kling. They bring something to the table that is much more accessible than magazines or celebrity icons.
What fashion labels do you prefer?
My favorites are Isabel Marant, Ulla Johnson, Mes Demoiselles, The Reformation, Raquel Allegra, A.P.C., Anine Bing, Acne Studios, Cecilie Copenhagen and SIR The Label, among a million others. When looking for something affordable, my go-to brands are Everlane for basics and Zara for something fun and trendy that may not last more than one season.
What is your go-to casual look?
Depending on the weather, it's either vintage Levi's cut-offs paired with anything, or distressed black jeans, a chunky knit or T-shirt, and black ankle boots.
What is your favorite dress-up look?
I love a leather skirt and simple blouse or a blazer with skinny jeans. If the occasion calls for cocktail attire, then a super short dress with long sleeves and sky-high heels. You can't show everything. It's either legs or a plunging neckline. Never both at the same time.
What is your favorite to-die for accessory?
Simple, gold, delicate jewelry — as much as you want to pile on. My white Hermès Collier de Chien cuff is a personal favorite, and I never forget my wedding rings.
What fashion item should every stylish woman own?
I could say a little black dress or timeless handbag, but really what every woman should own is something that they can throw on in a pinch and walk out the door feeling like a million bucks. It could be your fave T-shirt, perfectly distressed denim or a pair of sunglasses.
What fashion item should every stylish man own?
Well-fitted clothing is of utmost importance for men. Or have a really great tailor. Also, a nice watch or a great pair of frames can really add that finishing touch.
Do you have a signature scent?
I don't typically wear perfume, but for a special night out I love a quick spritz of Musc Ravageur by Frederic Malle.
Best fashion source in KC?
The vast majority of my wardrobe comes from online shopping or travels, but when I do venture out in KC, I head to Finefolk, Baldwin or Standard Style and Anaphora.
What fashion item would you lust for if money were no object?
Handbags. Hands down. I would love to be able to walk into Barneys or Wendy Nichol in NYC and pick out as many as I could carry out, maybe pick up a few Balmain dresses too.
Best fashion find ever?
During my travels to Italy, I found a shop called La Bottega di Brunella in Positano. It’s full of gorgeous fabrics made into effortless Italian resort wear. My most recent treasures have been found at Coqui Coqui in Tulum, Mexico. I fell in love with a brand called Hacienda Montaecristo. Their target audience is the "stylishly free-spirited traveler," and I would buy the entire store of gauzy sets and kaftans if I could. Most sentimental piece in your closet? My dad had a massive hat collection, which I really cherish.
Best fashion advice?
I love to mix high- and low-end items, but if I have one great piece of advice it would be to buy one nice item instead of five lower-end items. Especially shoes; an expensive pair of shoes makes anything look better. Also shop on eBay — especially for trendy things that go out of style.
Best fashion in movies or TV?
Clueless, Sex and the City, The Great Gatsby (old and new versions)
What is a fashion faux pas?
Not dressing for your body type, overaccessorizing and shoulder cut-outs. Unless, of course, Isabel Marant adds them to her fall collection and then I'll be forced to reconsider. She executes everything impeccably!
Best way to add instant polish?
A great haircut and manicured nails