Learning Karen Munnis’ style story.
We’d like for you to meet London-based stylist, Karen Munnis. She’s a fashion stylist and the founder of the ‘Americana’ curated vintage shop, Bowie & Singer.
Born in Vancouver, Karen Munnis began her fashion career at British Vogue and Glamour magazine, before moving into costume design as a designer for film and TV. Today, the stylist/designer/founder has styled numerous magazines, fashion campaigns, music videos and commercials, all the while sourcing pre-loved pieces from around the United States and Canada for Bowie & Singer. With new collections coming out each season, we strongly suggest you keep an eye on the store’s Instagram page for a new curated collection coming out in the fall, as well as a chance to shop IRL at a London pop-up coming soon.
How do you start your day off?
Lockdowns have changed my morning routine. I will often work out or I might go to the park; I have a trainer who I have been working with, or I will go on a long walk. I always get a coffee. I start my day with caffeine and a bit of fresh air.
What’s going on in the background when you are getting ready?
My Spotify. If I’m really busy, it will be a yoga or mediation playlist, but I often listen to Discover Weekly.
Do you have a formula for how you put together an outfit?
My formula changes depending on what the work is. I try not to think about what I’m wearing when I’m working, so it’s often a uniform. It could be a t-shirt, jeans, great jacket, and in London because you’re always walking, a comfortable shoe, whether it’s a boot or a sandal. I think often times I leave the house in the day and won’t come back until evening, so a shoe that will take me through 12 hours. There is a sort of practicality in how I dress.
You never live home without…
My phone, my keys, my lip balm.
What are your closet essentials?
A great jean, a great boot, great t-shirt, and a great bra and underwear should be splurged on if they make you feel comfortable. I tend to buy a lot of vintage jackets and coats. A good cashmere sweater – something light to layer in. And a boot or a trainer. I’ve been wearing Converse for a long time; I’m loyal to Chucks. I also love Miista boots. Jewelry – I tend to wear things that are sentimental, whether it’s a family heirloom or not.
You always splurge on, and you always save on…
Splurge: I think you should splurge on shoes, coats and outer wear.
Save: I think you never know where you can find something great. Even when you’re buying second hand or vintage, you might find something great in the markets, just being open-minded and seeing what your eye is drawn to.
I tend to save more on summer pieces, and spend on investment pieces.
What is your biggest fashion regret?
I don’t really have a fashion regret. I permed my bangs when I was in grade 5 and I do regret that. I regretted it when I did it – I tried to wash it out when I did it and it fried my fringe.
What is one piece of clothing you wish you could steal from your 16 year old self?
I was quite preppy as a teenager and I had quite a lot of Benetton and Club Monaco pieces that I would like to go back and investigate. I think we all wore Club Monaco at some point, so I would like to go back and see what those looked like.
What inspires your style most?
I approach dressing as “who do you want to be” and “how are you feeling”. It’s about play and exploration. For me, living in London is exciting because there is always something new and exciting on the street. I don’t think there is one person or icon in that way, but my friends and colleagues inspire me. I think it’s just being out with your eyes open, and living in a big city. London is never short on inspiration, no matter where you look.
Your #1 style tip is…
Get a tailor. I do some personal styling, and before we start shopping, we look at what they have in their closet and what they bought, what they’re not wearing, what they should get rid of. Often times the things that we love that we don’t wear, is because it’s not fitting right. There might be something you can rework to make better or the fit isn’t there, so you take the waist in, etc. Having a tailor allows you to bring new life into something, whether that’s changing a dress into a top or changing the hem on a trouser.
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