Carol Dietz is creative–until recently she was the former Art Director at The New York Times–and has a strong sense of individuality. As I sat across from Carol at the Roman and Williams Guild Cafe last Saturday, there were moments when I was certain someone would ask for her autograph but then, New Yorkers are great about giving celebrities their privacy. While my photographs don’t reflect all of her doppelgänger expressions, much of the time she could pass for Diane Keaton.
So much so the store owner at one of our stops kept looking at Carol and asking, “Are you sure you’re not her?”
Carol and I spent most of the day together, and we had a blast! Carol is an original. Her style is polished, yet admittedly quirky—she sometimes hooks three gold charm bracelets together and wears them around her neck—and she’s smart, introspective and fun. Here’s some of our conversation about style:
CAROL: I’ve always had my own look, and it was vintage because when I was in art school, it was inexpensive. My mother once said to me, “Carol… Do you have any normal clothes?” I had gone from a simple shift to vintage. Back in the day, vintage clothes were 40’s and 50’s dresses. It wasn’t last year’s H&M. So that’s how my style started. I didn’t go to Macy’s, because I had all this great stuff from the secondhand store.
BRENDA: Where did you get the wonderful white poet’s blouse you’re wearing?
CAROL: It was given to me by a friend, and I flipped because it’s so fabulous. His wife had passed away, and he knew I liked white shirts. It’s old Banana Republic, probably from the 80’s. The bow around my neck was wrapped around a gift, then I topped it off with another little bow.
Underneath I’m wearing a vintage Laura Ashley dress. I love the skirt. I think it’s just fabulous. If it’s quirky, my dear friends think of me. They give me a beaded sweater that was their mom’s or earrings that were their mom’s.
BRENDA: And that wonderful coat? Where did you get that?
CAROL: A number of years ago from Anthropologie. And my boots are a splurge of a lifetime! I bought them last year in Paris.
BRENDA: Oh, my gosh! Those may be the most delicious boots I’ve ever seen.
CAROL: The flow of them is just so absolutely…
BRENDA: You’re a graphic designer, so I can see why you bought them. (Forgive me, but I was so busy drooling over her boots, I forgot to photograph them!! They’re black suede and leather, and the zipper wraps around the leg all the way to the top of the boots.)
CAROL: I wasn’t going to buy them. It was spur of the moment… in 30 seconds, but they’re so great! Perfectly handmade in Italy. I just tried them on and wound up wearing them out of the store.
BRENDA: And they have flat heels! What a brilliant purchase!
CAROL: I was in Paris my first day, and I thought this is it… Zoe Lee Shoes! I’d seen them online. They were $350, and they make me happy!
BRENDA: For that price, they’re a steal! And your purse?
CAROL: A gift from my ex-husband. I like hearts, I’m a real fan of the heart shape. This is a Moschino. He bought me this ten years ago, but it was so big, I didn’t carry it. Then last year when I went to Paris, I took it with me. People comment about it, and you have to be prepared to talk to people when you wear something… Even on the bus, yesterday, a 12-year-old girl said, “I like your bag!”
BRENDA: How would you describe your style?
CAROL: Free. Unplanned. Spontaneous.
BRENDA: I’m still playing with my style.
CAROL: Isn’t that fun?
BRENDA: I did a blog recently about style icons. What good is it to have a style icon if we don’t use them as a guide?
CAROL: Can you guess my style icon?
BRENDA: I’d say Diane Keaton. What you’re wearing is what I’d like to do. I said that in my blog, but I’m not sure I can pull off that look.
CAROL: Diane Keaton is aging perfectly.
BRENDA: She is. You could be her doeppelgänger.
CAROL: But is it being a copycat? Am I not being original, because it’s my look?
BRENDA: No! It’s you!
CAROL: It is me, and maybe she and I were going along the same path, because it’s not like there’s a Diane Keaton rack… It’s easy to pull off something once or twice, but to do it consistently… That’s the challenge. Fortunately for me, it happens. I don’t look for it. I couldn’t dress like Audrey Hepburn. She would be an unrealistic style icon for me, but I think we all need a style icon.
BRENDA: At a certain age we need to be true to ourselves.
CAROL: In this Instagram age so many of us are wearing cookie cutter clothes. Perhaps it’s because there’s safety in not poking your head up and being noticed.
BRENDA: But we did that in high school. It’s time to finally find ourselves, don’t you think?
Carol Dietz is an absolute delight, and I can’t wait to see her, again! FYI at the New York Times she worked with the late Bill Cunningham, photographer and eccentric chronicler of fashion, often seen walking or riding his bicycle through New York City, taking photographs of people whose fashion he found interesting. In another post I’ll share Carol’s memories of working with Bill on his “On the Street” and “Evening Hours” columns. I can only imagine what these two originals were like, together!
Brenda, you didn’t photograph her shoes ? You didn’t get a closeup of her bag? You’re fired. What an exciting addition to 1010. Can’t wait for the next installment. You always have so many good articles that entice me. Now if the editor would just get it together.
LOL! You’re so right, Sandra! I should fire myself. It’s not like I didn’t have an opportunity. We were having so much fun, talking, that it plumbwent out of my head! I’m happy you like the content on 1010ParkPlace! xoxox, Brenda
I am so excited that you spent time with Carol and interviewed her!!! I just adore her! Love her style and I love that she always appears to be enjoying life! Carol always has an interesting fabulous fashion mix and she clearly has fun with it. Yes, give us more Carol! Looking forward to reading about what it was like working with the delightful Bill Cunningham!
Carol is a total delight. I so enjoyed spending the day with her. If I lived in NYC, I know I’d see a lot more of her, so until next time… I’ll just have to wait. Thanks, Jill. xoxox, Brenda
I love Sandra’s comment! We’ll keep you, though. 😉
What a free-spirit Carol is! Great interview – I can’t wait to hear (and see) more.
Val, LOL! You and Sandra are funny! Good to know I still have a job… unpaid though it is. xoxox, Brenda
SHE IS HER OWN UNIQUE BEING!I Knew that from the MOMENT I STARTED FOLLOWING HER on INSTAGRAM!
Doesn’t she shop THRIFT STORES?I think she mentioned that on IG……………..
The BOOTS are TO DIE FOR from what I spied under her long skirt!FLAT HEEL BOOTS!!!!!!MY kinda shoe!
I hope you will share with us what she is going to do in retirement!
I look forward to MORE!
Elizabeth, I knew everyone would love Carol. As far as what she’s going to do in retirement…. We’ll see what she decides to do. In the interview, she talks about buying from the secondhand stores… since high school. Her mother asked if she had and “NORMAL CLOTHES?” LOL! xoxox, Brenda
I love everything about this post. Thank you for introducing us to Carol. I love that she has stayed true to her own style since high school. I think she and Diane Keaton are two peas in a pod. Hugs!
Thanks Katherine! It’s sometimes hard to stay true to ourselves. From an early age, Carol knew her style and since then, she’s only refined it and looks better and better. She’s definitely a fashion original with true style. No copycat! Hugs to you as well, sweet lady! xoxox, Brenda