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Closet Envy: Crystal McCrary Anthony

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As an entertainment lawyer turned TV producer and on-air personality, Crystal McCrary Anthony has transitioned her classic contemporary style from what she calls boring and at times frightening, to a fab collection of ladylike dresses and winning everyday staples. She continues to evolve her look using many of the prized multi-purpose pieces she collected over the years. She thinks of a great outfit as a perfectly orchestrated jazz song, and from the looks of things, she's a master composer! Here's a peek into her melodic style and put-together panache. ESSENCE.com: How would you describe your style? CRYSTAL McCRARY ANTHONY: Contemporary, classic, womanly and colorful. My style has not always been classic, rather it has swung between boring during my days as a lawyer to "frightening synthetic purple" during my Prince period, circa 1999. ESSENCE.com: What one clothing item best represents you? McCRARY ANTHONY: I couldn't name just one -- I am too diverse, frenetic and constantly evolving. ESSENCE.com: Who are your style icons? McCRARY ANTHONY: My mother, my daughter, and all women who look effortlessly chic without stylists, publicists and endless resources. ESSENCE.com: How big is your closet? McCRARY ANTHONY: I don't have a "dream closet" nor have I ever had one, even when I lived in a large home. Now my clothes are scattered throughout my apartment, spread across several closets with no uniformity, wherever there's room. The manner in which I house my clothes is not what one would think of as a "style icon," but I do know how to pull out my favorite pieces when I need them. ESSENCE.com: Describe some of your all time favorite pieces? Why do you love them? McCRARY ANTHONY: My white Valentino cocktail dress with the plunging neckline and brass circle because it always drapes properly no matter what I've been eating. My steel blue wool Alexander McQueen suit with the removable fur collar because it's so well constructed and fits me like a glove and my Chado Ralph Rucci one-of-a-kind gown, because I wore it for my boyfriend's 50th birthday celebration, which was an unforgettable evening. ESSENCE.com: Who are your favorite designers and why? McCRARY ANTHONY: Tracey Reese because her clothes are feminine, whimsical, well-made and affordable. Chadwick Bell, a new and brilliant designer, because he is so damn original, yet he still pulls off being timeless and completely uncontrived. b michael because he so obviously respects women's bodies and makes them look incredibly elegant. And of course, Valentino. Everything about his designs are exquisite. ESSENCE.com: What do you wear on a usual day to work and then evening? Or does it differ? McCRARY ANTHONY: Since I mostly work for my own production company writing or producing or fund-raising for projects, so my work gear can really vary from jeans and a T-shirt to slacks and blouse to Valentino day dresses -- whatever the occasion requires. If I'm begging for money for one of my documentaries, I'll usually slip on a very lady-like belted dress with my hair in a bun.   ESSENCE.com: What will you never be caught dead in? McCRARY ANTHONY: I try to never say never about fashion. But I will probably never wear green leather pants again, lest I risk being called a giant bar of Zest once more. ESSENCE.com: What are some of your latest purchases? McCRARY ANTHONY: In this economy? I recently bought a turquoise bracelet and other than that, I've been shopping in my closets. ESSENCE.com: What are you dying to get your hands on? McCRARY ANTHONY: Vintage costume jewelry to accent what's already in my arsenal and a few pairs of outrageously priced sexy high heel shoes, when I can afford them again. ESSENCE.com: What style rules do you live by? McCRARY ANTHONY: Feel comfortable and confident in whatever you wear and no panty lines, ever. ESSENCE.com: What is your weakness...bags, shoes, jewelry? McCRARY ANTHONY: All of them, they're all irresistible. ESSENCE.com: What is the foolproof outfit that always makes you feel your best? McCRARY ANTHONY: My black Lanvin cocktail dress that can serve so many purposes. ESSENCE.com: How do you deal with the avalanche of trends? McCRARY ANTHONY: Over the last decade or so I have really tried to stay away from all fashion trends. I don't even have any of those wild platform criss-crossing shoes all the women are wearing. For the most part, I still wear my classic Italian shoes and occasional Jimmy Choos, which I suppose to some generations, would be considered trends as well. I suppose at the end of the day all fashion is essentially cyclical, just depends on what part of the cycle you're in and how that era is being defined. ESSENCE.com: Why do you love clothes and fashion? McCRARY ANTHONY: Because being cloaked in an artfully constructed gown ranks with hearing Wynton Marsalis play Miles Davis' "Kinda Blue" live, watching the sunset in Menemsha and eating Maison du Chocolat's dark almond while drinking Krug Rose. It doesn't get much better than that. ESSENCE.com: How important is fashion and style in your field? McCRARY ANTHONY: Not very important. Fashion and style won't determine success in my field. The creativity, execution and luck are what matters most. The rest, fashion included, is all gravy.
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