Classically chic

Styled by Style Hawk

Photographs by Lissa Gotwals

Creative direction by Jesma Reynolds

Spring is a time of renewal. Time to shed winter layers, simplify, and look forward. Walter asked six Raleigh women of uncommon style, presence, and accomplishment to allow us to photograph them in some of the season’s freshest looks. Raleigh stylists Helen Wallace and Alex Long  helped each woman choose clothes that suited her individual style – something they do regularly with their business, Style Hawk. Clothes, Wallace and Long say, have power. “Looking and feeling your best will give you an inner confidence,” they say. “Don’t take yourself too seriously. Be true to who you are and don’t be afraid to take risks.” Raleigh’s restored Merrimon-Wynne House served as the light-filled setting for our photo shoot, lending a timeless aura to photographs of individual beauty and classic chic.

032514_as_or-493Melissa Peden
Raleigh native Melissa Peden has been a groundbreaking force in the art world here for several decades. She is also the mother of three adult children, the grandmother of four, and the wife of artist Robert Irwin. An art gallery owner for many years and a pioneer of the open-door First Fridays that thrive today, she has also served on the boards of the North Carolina Museum of Art, the Contemporary Art Museum, and Raleigh Fine Arts Society, among others. She is currently on the NCMA’s Artists’ Link Team and on the capital campaign committee for N.C. State’s Gregg Museum.
Describing her own style, Peden says “At this point in life, I am simplifying, and not just in what I wear.” She says a friend describes her look as “classic with an edge.” Peden she says she liked “the elegance of the long skirt and the casual shirt” she wears here. “Elegance combined with casual, I like very much.” MiH white shirt, Beanie + Cecil, Wilmington; Isabel Marant skirt, Vermillion,Raleigh; Necklace + jewelry, Raleigh Denim and model’s own; Suede flats, Main & Taylor, Raleigh
032514_as_or-522Jodi Strenkowski
Jodi Strenkowski, 30, is the owner of the Merrimon-Wynne House. It was the site of our Style shoot and, since it opened in January, has been the location of many weddings, fundraisers and festivities. A native of Ontario, Strenkowski has called Raleigh home for 3 years.
“I loved that the outfit really felt like something that I would normally wear,” she says of her clothes here, “It was a mix of business and fun, and it felt like something that I could wear from a meeting to a night out…it made me feel happy and super comfortable.” Haute Hippie blazer, Gena Chandler Raleigh; Tank, T by Alexander Wang, Beanie + Cecil, Wilmington; ‘Haywood’ High-rise jeans, Raleigh Denim; Vans shoes, J.Crew Crabtree Valley Mall, Raleigh; Necklace, Quercus Studio, Raleigh

032514_as_or-46Carmen Felder
Carmen Felder, 26, is a dancer with the Carolina Ballet. Despite her obvious grace, she describes herself as “eclectic,” if not “an oddball.” That’s because her interests are so varied, ranging from reading for hours on end, to knitting, to cheering on the Carolina Hurricanes. She is also a fan of Olympic sports. “I am, in fact, one of those people who love curling,” she says.
As for style, Felder says she loved her clothes in this photo. “I felt sophisticated in the outfit,” she says. “The sweater reminded me a little of a vintage tennis game, and I loved how long and tall I felt in the pants. I would wear it again in an instant.” Rag & Bone Talia Sweater and MiH Marrakesh Flares, Beanie + Cecil, Wilmington

032514_as_or-215Shannon Wolf
Shannon Wolf, 40, is the co-owner, with her husband Jake, of the downtown restaurant Capital Club 16. She is also a freelance writer and TV producer who over the past 15 years has worked for networks including Oxygen, Discovery, VH1 and others. At the restaurant, she does “a lot of the behind the scenes things,” including events. She is also the mother of two children, ages 4 and 6.
“The outfit was definitely something I would wear on the regular. I love Raleigh Denim – a definite go-to of mine. The blouse is very pretty, classic mixed with lovely lace, and the hat perfect for a sunny day and picnics in the park.” Haute Hippie blouse, Gena Chandler Raleigh; ‘Surry’ Jeans, Raleigh Denim; Hat, Raleigh Denim; Jewelry and boots, model’s own

032514_as_or-279Eve Hobgood
Eve Hobgood, 36, is a photographer whose Petite Simone Photography business specializes in children and families. She is the mother of two children, ages 2 and 3, and a recent Raleigh resident after eight years in New York City.
“The Row dress that I wore was absolutely gorgeous,” she says. “It made me feel beautiful, it fit perfectly, and all I wanted to do was wear it home and never take it off! Hint hint to my man.” The Row dress, Vermillion, Raleigh; Brass cuff, Raleigh Denim; Earrings, model’s own

032514_as_or-155Ann Whitehurst
Ann Whitehurst, 36, is an associate creative director at a marketing agency, the mother of two children, ages 1 and 3, and a North Carolina native. She describes herself as an optimist, an artist, a writer, and a strategist. “I love watching my kids learn anything,” she says. She also loves “creating anything, and being outside – close to the ocean, and being in the mountains.” She says her personal style is “classic with a hint of the unexpected.”
“I love that fashion gives us the opportunity to be fearless, even if it’s in small ways,” she says. “That’s what I loved about the dress — it was so simple and flattering, but the midriff cutout gave it a little bohemian edge.” A.L.C dress, Beanie + Cecil, Wilmington; Feather cuff with diamonds, Quercus Studio Raleigh

Style Hawk’s Essentials for Spring

style piecestop row from left:
H&M  Long Jacket – Triangle Town Center, Crabtree Valley Mall, and
J.Crew Prima jersey pocket tank – Crabtree Valley Mall and
Calypso St. Barth tunic – Fleur North Hills, Raleigh
middle row from left:
J.Crew Vans – Crabtree Valley Mall and
Jane Pope Jewelry + Style Hawk collab. – Evil eye necklace with white diamond –,
Gap Espadrille sandals – Crabtree Valley Mall and other area locations, and
bottom row from left:
Madewell High riser skinny skinny jeans – Crabtree Valley Mall and
Madewell Flea market flares – Crabtree Valley Mall and


Style Hawk’s Alex Long and Helen Wallace