The TEll// By Thrift & Tell
Welcome to THE TELL//BY THRIFT & TELL: a celebration of fashionable women who dress as smart as they shop.
This week’s guest on THE TELL// is Natalie Steen: the founder of The Nat Note. If you’re not yet familiar with The Nat Note, every week Natalie sends out a round up of her favorite online finds. What I love about Natalie’s curation is that is it fresh. In the age of Instagram, it seems even the most fun, new trend quickly becomes ubiquitous, but I always find something new in The Nat Note. As a fellow hunter, I also appreciate having someone do the hunting for me sometimes too (especially Etsy…which I still find daunting)! In her closet, Natalie lives the T&T principles through and through; she invests in quality pieces that she can hold onto, but never misses the opportunity to use a discount code while doing so. She is not afraid to mix highs and low, nor is she afraid of making a statement with a bold outfit. What I most admire about Natalie is that she is growing her brand, while working full time as a lawyer and mother. My kind of lady! It is such a pleasure to have such a smart, creative, and dynamic woman be part of the series and I hope you enjoy!
//Your style in 3 words: Authentic, inventive, well-executed
//Staple Outfit: My 9-to-5 uniform (in my cold office): a big scarf and/or Veronica Beard blazer, cigarette pants, loafers
//Style Icon(s): The LSD, Diana Ross, Moira Rose
//Your First Big Purchase: My first year at UPenn Law I used my student loan money to buy an Ashley Longshore painting – it was one of those act now, apologize later moments.
//Do You Still Have It? Yes! Never apologized.
//Best Fashion Advice You Ever Received: “I’m not buying you another dress when you have some hanging in your closet that still have tags.” – my Mother. In other words, before shopping for an occasion, look at what you have first – chances are you already own the perfect outfit.
//Types of clothing you invest in: Clothing I like to think my future grandchildren will thank me for buying and holding on to (i.e. Erdem & Carolina Herrera dresses).
//Types of clothing you save on: All types – most of what I buy is purchased on sale or using a discount code.
//Your greatest extravagance: My hair – being a fake blonde is not for the faint of heart. Also, I feel ridiculous whenever I use my Loto del Sur pillow spray (every night).
//Brands That Will Stand the Test of Time: The ones that already have. My vote goes to Charlotte Olympia – I hope the world never gets too serious for kitschy fashion.
//Favorite Places to Consign Your Own Closet: The Real Real
//Currently Collecting Dust in the Back of your Closet: I’m guilty of buying vintage dresses that resemble something out of a Slim Aarons book. I know their time to shine is coming (or rather, returning), I’m just waiting on the perfect occasion.
//Best investment you ever made in your style: Committing to the truth that nothing looks as good as it does after it comes back from the tailor.
//Style Choice From Your Past That Haunts You: I regret nothing. Except most everything I wore in high school.
//“It seemed like a good idea at the time” a.k.a Purchase you most regret: See above.
//Closet From Which You Would Like to Borrow: Giovanna Battaglia Engelbert (Bat Gio), Alice Naylor-Leyland, Kacey Musgraves
//Last Time You Splurged? A Johanna Ortiz dress I’ll be wearing to my sister’s wedding.
//Currently Saving Your Pennies For: This amazing Georgia Alice gold vinyl dress I want to wear for my 30th birthday – it looks like something Scarlett O’Hara would wear to Studio 54.
//A Deal for the History Books/Your T&T Personal Best: I recently scored a runway Oscar de la Renta embellished party dress with a waterfall train on eBay for an insane price. Just don’t ask me when or where I plan on wearing it.
//Trend you wish would go way? Camel toe boots: why?
//Advice to someone looking to define their own style: Don’t force it: whether it’s the trend, price tag, size or dress code. The way to look your best is to be confident and have fun within your comfort zone.
//You feel great. What are you wearing? A complimentary hotel bathrobe (to be clear, I’m on vacation – not wearing a stolen bathrobe).
//Occasions when you splurge: When it’s too good to pass up: get it now or it will haunt you later.
//Occasions when you save: Whenever I can. I try to follow the advice (warning) my husband gave me when we first got married: “think before you click.”
//Most prized possession: The pair of heels my great-grandmother left Cuba wearing – they serve as a personal reminder to always try and look my best, no matter the circumstances.
//Home Decor Style: My husband calls it “Alice in Wonderland” – it’s the same approach I take for styling myself: I start with something classic and layer on fun and colorful elements (Luke Edward Hall pillows, vintage ashtrays, Land of Belle ceramics, a Kelly O’Connor bejeweled wasp nest, etc.) until it’s the right amount of funky. I’m constantly inspired by the projects Bradley Agather Means, Cece Barfield Thompson and Bailey McCarthy are working on.
//Go-to for unique items, whether it be clothing, accessories, home or art: I’m a BIG Etsy fan. For special gifts, I love the bespoke shop at Anya Hindmarch.
//Your fashion motto: Don’t be like the rest of them, darling.
//Your life motto: Until I come up with something better, I’ll borrow from Kurt Vonnegut: “I urge you to please notice when you are happy, and exclaim or murmur or think at some point, ‘If this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is.’”
Fill in the blank:
//A woman should invest in- Good art: it’s fashion for your walls, with a better ROI. I find & learn about all my favorite artists through @_ig_art. //You’re never too old to— to pursue a side hustle – at least that’s what I’m telling myself. While I currently work full-time as a lawyer, I run The Nat Note on the side and am working on launching a children’s clothing line. //A woman can never have too many—many happy memories; if these are made while wearing something fabulous, then all the better. // True or False: More is More- True. //Fashion is- worth it. //Style is: originality.
//Music: My mother-in-law’s Pandora stations: Buena Vista Social Club Radio, 60s Oldies Radio, Pancho & Lefty Radio, Ferrante & Teicher Radio
//Print: I read “The 10 Point” from WSJ every morning – it makes me feel like I’ve done my homework before getting to the office.
//Food: A bean & cheese taco always hits the spot.
//Drink: Gin martini, dirty.
//Film: It’s almost time for White Christmas.
//TV: I’ve been watching a lot of Baby Einstein lately #newmom
Natalie Steen is a Cuban-American, Miami, Florida native living in Houston, Texas. She is a lawyer with a good creative bug and a bad online shopping habit, which together led to the creation of her first blog in 2017 - Up the Get Up.
She is also a new mom, which led to the evolution of the blog into The Nat Note. Think of it as a virtual note dropped in your inbox, sharing products that catch her eye each week. It’s her way of streamlining the content and commentary, while continuing to spread the good news: fun finds and good deals.
Her personal style covers a little bit of everything: She love bold prints, colors and embellishments as much as she loves classic stripes and versatile neutrals. She buys low whenever she can, but is guilty of indulging in the occasional treat-yourself splurge. Her closet is home to vintage and brand-new-with-tags alike. She has a passion for party wear and fun accessories, but appreciate and seek pieces that she can wear to her corporate job.
What are constant is her belief one should surround and don themselves with things they love and her penchant for scouring the internet for new products and brands that are worthwhile of a “proceed to purchase” button click. The Nat Note is her attempt to condense all the above into a newsletter that she hopes brings some joy, welcome distraction and buyer’s high to everyday life.
Photos used courtesy of Natalie Steen.