Deep in the heart of Texas, there lives a lovely lady on a mission to bring back good manners and the art of proper etiquette. That lovely lady is none other than Diane Gottsman, the gorgeous beauty and brains behind The Protocol School of Texas. A nationally renowned etiquette expert, keynote speaker and author of ‘Pearls of Polish’, Diane seems to always be the picture of perfection and panache. Since we never leave a stylish stone unturned, we were dying to get to know more about the charming Ms. Gottsman! She was kind enough to share some of her chic secrets and we are ever so delighted that she did!
How do you describe your personal style? Conservative with a twist.
Style Icon(s): I tried to think outside of the box but at the sake of being boringly predictable: Jackie K.O., Audrey Hepburn, Grace Kelly and Coco Chanel. I also admire Katherine Hepburn for her bold decision to wear pant suits. It's really very hard to do better than the classics when it comes to style and grace.
Modern day style crush: I guess it would have to be Gwyneth Paltrow or Angelina Jolie - I think they are both beautifully classic in edgy ways.
Go to outfit: When I am working, I love to wear well-tailored pant suits with a great pair of shoes. When I am not working, I'm happiest wearing blue jeans and a soft "broken in" t-shirt. I wear an assortment of flats with my jeans but never tennis shoes. I'm not a tennis shoe girl unless I am working out.
Accessory you can't live without: My gold hoop earrings. Also, a multi pearl bracelet that is very near and dear to my heart. I wear both the hoops and pearl bracelet with everything from a dress to a faded pair of jeans.
Signature scent: Chanel Gardenia and Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche
Most coveted item in your wardrobe: A black Chanel skirt that I wear all the time, with everything from a dressy silk top to a cami and sweater. The cut and fabric are fabulous and the style is timeless. It was worth every penny I spent and it has paid for itself 10 times over by now. I am on the constant look out for a replacement because I know that someday it will wear out and I will miss it wildly. It's my "go to" basic.
Must have beauty/grooming essential: I shamelessly love Sisley lip conditioner and wear it day and night, under lipstick, over lipstick and on bare lips. I equally love A and D ointment that I used to use on my children's bottom after I would change their diaper. I found that it's great for chapped lips!
Best beauty/grooming advice: Don't go to bed wearing makeup. Ever, never.
You can never have too many: Sunglasses. (and shoes!)
Style "don't" pet peeve: Capri pants, especially at work. I can't help it, I just don't like them. And pajamas, worn anywhere but at home. PJ's don't belong in the classroom, the grocery store or the movie theatre.
Favorite style era: the 50's and 60's
Trend you could do without: I'm pretty flexible - I don't dislike much but excessive zippers and Capri pants - yes, I know I haves mentioned them already? (smile) I love skinny ankle jeans, just not black, semi wide legged Capri pants.
What will never go out of style: A good quality fabric "LBD", little black dress. In my opinion, it is a "must have" in a woman's wardrobe.
Currently obsessed with: Dark chocolate - I have it at home in assorted decorative containers and at my office in a lovely cut crystal bowl, sitting on my desk (easily accessible).
Favorite night out: I cherish a little quiet time with my family and also enjoy meeting my girlfriends for dinner for some bonding time.
Favorite city/ vacation destination: No question here. I love to get to Boston, Massachusetts and Maine as often as I can. I also love New York and Chicago. Outside of the US, I would choose Spain.
Never travel without: Hand sanitizer
Favorite quote: I have two:
"You can't build a reputation on what you are going to do." ~Henry Ford
"What you do speaks so loudly that I cannot hear what you say."~Ralph Waldo Emerson
Always searching for the perfect: Suit. I am obsessed with finding just the right suit, that doesn't look like all the rest of my suits, and it's harder than you would think!
Greatest extravagance hanging in your closet/wardrobe: A ridiculously expensive coat that I never wear - proof that impulse buys are seldom good choices.
Never leave home without: My insurance card…you just never know. Especially when you have kids.
Signature cocktail: I'm not much of an alcohol drinker but I do enjoy a very sweet, minty mojito or a margarita on occasion.
Go to gift: I am quite fond of giving small serving trays as hostess gifts or unusual serving utensils. They are always great conversation starters when your host uses them at a later date.
Currently reading: The Happiness Project, God Doesn't Blink and always somewhere close is The Giving Tree (I've loved that children's book for years and even after three kids, still can't read it through without crying!)
Ultimate luxury splurge: A pair of bright red YSL shoes that I don't get much use from but love to know they are in my closet for the times that I want to wear them.
Dream dinner guest: Mayo Angelou or Pablo Coelho
What inspires you: Beautiful words, beautiful music and beautiful life lessons (even when the lessons are painful)
Hobby/Pastime you could not live without: Travel - I travel with my job, I travel with my family, I travel with my friends. It recharges me to see different places, different terrain, different climate and different ways of life.
It wouldn't be my party without: Fritos - I can't help it, I love them!
Life would be grand if I could start every day with…a hot cup of coffee with lots of cream and sugar. (and I do!)
If I could bring back one thing it would be: My college years. I was terribly shy and missed out on so many great opportunities because I wouldn't step out of my comfort zone.
Stranded on a desert island, what 5 things could you not live without:
My kids, my husband, a grill to cook fish that we caught (my husband, not me!), sunscreen and toothbrush.
Why don't you… Do all of the things that you are afraid of doing. Why don't you dance as if you were a backup singer for Beyoncé, why don't you sing like you were the winner of American Idol, why don't you speak up, even if means someone may not agree with you, and why don't you do the things you think you never could do. You may just surprise yourself.