303 Style Profile is an ongoing series highlighting unique locals and they’re incredible style and stories. Go here to see past profiles.
Local accessories designer and owner of Love Dazed, Sara Brinson, has a story as unique as her style. She takes inspiration from different decades and mixes them together with vintage and sustainable pieces, to create a sense of style all her own. Read on to see how you can try on some of her style tips, why she likes to go full glam at any chance she can and her current style inspiration.
303 Magazine: Tell me more about yourself — where are you from and how did you get to this point in your career?
Sara Brinson: I was born and raised in Asheville, an eclectic little city in western North Carolina. Our house was actually on the outskirts of town, in “Brinsonland,” as I like to call it. It was a bit more rural then, but my family still nests in the same cozy log house tucked away at the end of an old dirt road — its equal parts pretty and peaceful.
Back in the day, Brinsonland was a small, functioning small family farm. There was never a shortage of vegetables growing in the garden and we always had some combination of cows, goats and chickens. But even though I grew up knowing how to get my hands dirty, I always did so in style. My very first item of clothing that I couldn’t live without was a pair of white cowboy boots with tassels all over them. To this day, tassels still hold the key to my heart.
As soon as I turned 18, I moved to Charlotte where I started to play in the fashion industry and fell in love with live music. Next, I traveled on to Charleston, South Carolina for family, food and the ocean. Charleston is where I danced every night, learned about soul connections, fueled my fire for vintage and accepted that fashion would be my life. Eventually, I made my way to Colorado for the music and the mountains and learned I couldn’t live without nature, yoga, or without love for myself. Most importantly, I learned there will always be a place for me in the creative world, that I was welcome there.
Professionally, and literally, I have worn a lot of hats, trying everything on for size as I searched for that Cinderella fit. Becoming a modern-day Martha Stewart was the goal for as long as I can remember, but fashion has always been what came naturally to me. Like a true artist, I will never be defined by just one medium, but my deep-rooted desire to decorate things and a knack for connection is precisely what led me to where I am today.
303: How would you describe your personal style?
SB: My personal style — what day are we talking? Hippie, retro, rocker chic. Is that thing? It is now and it’s totally mine. My street style is what it would look like if Steven Tyler and Stevie Nicks had a love child. I’ll never say no to a reason to go full glam.
303: What inspires you?
SB: Absolutely everything inspires me. My wheels are always turning, but I’d have to say nature, people and music inspire me most. The colors in nature and the way things are constantly changing. The feelings I get when I listen to music and the impulsive urges to do multiple wardrobe changes to match the track. And people — everyone is so unique and interesting which is forever exciting.
303: What is your stay-at-home style lately?
SB: For the first several weeks of quarantine, I was lucky if I had pants on before noon. My stay at home style lately has been a lot of robes, rocker tees and witchy/ballet-inspired looks. Heavy on the earrings and heavy on the lipstick.
303: What time period most reflects your personal style?
SB: I love that you ask what time period most influences my style because that’s where I get so much of my inspiration from. I’d be lying if I said anything other than the ‘70s first — I’m a flower child through and through. Though, I still pull influences from all decades: I like the Art Deco vibes of the ‘20s, the patterns and colors from the ‘60s and I can’t say no to some ‘90s grunge on a moody day.
303: Who are a few designers that inspire you? Who are your fashion icons?
SB: To be honest, I’ve never been one to follow designers or fashion trends. I am a fan of people and artists who have a “look.” If you could simply see a silhouette and name the person — Janis Joplin, Stevie Nicks, Dolly Parton, Jimi Hendrix and Brigitte Bardot. I’m also a huge fan of Florence Welch and all of those flowy fabrics [she wears].
Locally, Denver designer Mecla, the visionary behind Shop Mecla has been a breath of fresh air. She tells a beautiful story through her pieces, she has a deep passion for sustainability and her energy is magnetic. Most significantly, last year I had the pleasure of meeting Michele Corty, founder and designer of Rue De Seine. There was a type of magic in her aura and I was moved by her demeanor and her entire collection. I’m a fan of processes and she has a heavy hand in every single step of her gown making, from designing the patterns, to constructing the shapes. I was extremely impressed by her accomplishments and moved by her fashion art.
303: What about Denver inspires you?
SB: Without pause, I can say the music and the views inspire me most. I was drawn to Denver because of Red Rocks and the beauty that it brings to my life hasn’t let me down yet. I also can’t say anything about Denver without mentioning the creative community. There is a type of energy that exists and it has been a really beautiful thing to become a part of.
303: Tell me about the journey to create Love Dazed. Why did you start the company?
SB: Love Dazed has been in my heart and soul for almost 10 years. There were a few things I knew for certain: I needed to work for myself, I needed to make a difference and I needed to do it with style.
I’ve always known I’m a storyteller and at its core, Love Dazed is a fashion book of love. I like to believe that I’m a very intentional person and I believe everything we do is an opportunity to tell a story. What better way to do this than through what we wear? It felt natural to begin with something simple that made a big statement.
Over the last year and a half or so, I dove headfirst into a journey of self-healing. Much of what I’ve learned along the way fueled my business. Personally, I realized I had created a lot of bad habits surrounding my anxiety. In breaking down these patterns, I began to feel more vulnerable. I realized wardrobe can be a really beneficial tool in the way we carry ourselves in social settings. To a certain degree, we can control how we present ourselves. Our attire can serve as armor or an invitation depending on our mood. We have a different type of glow when we wear something we are proud of.
Not only do [Love Dazed’s] rainbow-shaped earrings make a statement of love, but they have also been infused with mantras, wishes and “spells” that have brought me comfort throughout many emotional experiences. While I am sharing a piece of wearable art that I have made, I’m also sharing a piece of my heart in each pair.
303: How would you describe Denver style?
SB: Rustic, rugged and “boho-ish”, with a bit of western flare. Denver feels relaxed, yet transitional, while still having its fun, little eclectic pockets. I also see some really good vintage happening.
303: What is your favorite article of clothing that you own?
SB: Currently, my favorite item of clothing is a pair of romantic, rose-colored glasses. I think we can all agree that a pink lens comes in extra handy viewing the world right now. A close second is a pair of dijon-colored pants a friend gifted to me many moons ago. They are wide enough to pass as a skirt, but feel like pajamas. They pair well with band tees or I can rock them with a bodysuit and dress them up with accessories.
303: Where are your favorite places to shop?
SB: In Denver, my “go-to’s” are Midnight Rambler, La Lovely Vintage as well as Judith & Joe. I’m a huge fan of vintage and Rizzo’s always has amazing finds. I love being able to go to a store and trust where the clothing came from. Fashion sustainability has become a passion of mine and I’ve had a lot of fun investing in forever pieces. Shop Mecla is hands down my favorite sustainable line in Denver.
Through my interest in sustainability, I was introduced to custom. What better way to tell your fashion story than through a one-of-a-kind, made-for-you accessory. I love all of the bags by Jay Davis. She even made me a custom fringe fanny and named it “The Brinson”. Winter Ash is also an amazing local designer and has some really sweet, funky jackets. My favorite way of traditional shopping is stumbling into fun little boutiques during my travels. When I find something in a serendipitous way like that, it sparks a sweet memory each time I wear it.
303: What is your favorite styling tip you’d like to share with readers?
SB: If I could give one styling tip and one styling tip only, it would be to wear what makes you feel good. When you feel good, you look good, and THAT is style.