Style Story / BJ Topol

4 years ago by

When Pia and I first met BJ a few weeks ago for her Career interview, we both knew we needed more of her, both in our lives and on the site.

She looked like pure perfection in her blouse, skirt and mules—stylish and sophisticated, without feeling the least bit stuffy or uncomfortable. Learning that her daughters dressed her for our meeting made it even sweeter (her daughters also have great taste, I’ve gathered). So we were thrilled when she welcomed us back to shoot a style story with her.

It feels like universally, everyone has become so casual lately (as I write this in a pair of jeans and a sweater), it’s refreshing to meet someone who doesn’t get dressed up, but who takes the time to put an outfit together each day. As I start to reconsider my fall and winter wardrobe now that the weather is finally changing, I’m looking to women like BJ to inspire me to inject a little more oomph into my choices.

fashion style story bj atelier dore photo

fashion style story bj atelier dore photo

Red shirt, Derek Lam ; Trousers, Derek Lam ; Jewelry, Thayer Road Antiques

Describe your style in 3 words.
Minimal, functional, and classic – all with a twist.

What’s most important when it comes to style: comfort, beauty, or innovation?

Most valued thing in your closet?
Any family heirloom, especially my great grandmother’s silver purse that held her dance cards, coins, and blush. It’s engraved with her initials VBH and dated 1912.

Do you have a fashion muse?
My two teenage daughters.

fashion style story bj atelier dore photo

fashion style story bj atelier dore photo

fashion style story bj atelier dore photo

Sweater, Proenza Schouler ; Skirt, Proenza Schouler ; Boots, Derek Lam / Bag, 3.1 Phillip Lim

Are there things you don’t wear?
I’m really open minded and love that fashion is limitless. Having said this, I do end up wearing the same type of cuts and colors and styles over and over. There’s something comforting in the old stand by’s, the classics that always work.

How has living in New York shaped your approach to style?
I grew up on a lake in a tiny, outdoorsy town in Northern California, so during my 27 years living in NYC, I’ve evolved from Tahoe-kid to a true New Yorker. More than anything, it’s been inspiring to witness and soak up what I see around me every day – the incredibly creative, stylish and unique people in this amazing city. I’ve developed a passion for, and appreciation of, style – and at the same time – will always be rooted in my down-to-earth upbringing.

As an art advisor, do you find that there is an overlap of taste between the type or style of art you choose and the pieces you choose for your wardrobe?
This is such an interesting question – I would say that in my home, I love to combine old and new, antiques with modern furniture and contemporary art. To me, there is a beauty in the juxtaposition and the conversation between a carved, detailed or patinated surface and a simple line or smooth surface. With my wardrobe it’s similar in that I always mix antique jewelry with contemporary clothing.

fashion style story bj atelier dore photo

fashion style story bj atelier dore photo


White pump, Proenza Schouler

fashion style story bj atelier dore photo

You mentioned that a few of your favorite designers are Phillip Lim, Derek Lam, & Proenza Schouler. What is it about their designs that draws you to them?
I am crazy for beautiful clothes, but I also enjoy knowing the people who design them, their story and inspiration. I love these three brands so much – the clothes are incredibly chic, beautifully made and timeless with an edge. Also, I just love they way they make me feel and that I can be comfortable as a mom dropping off at school and confident meeting a client to preview the contemporary auctions. I am super loyal, so once I started frequenting the boutiques and met the designers, it was all over for me.

Can you tell us a little bit about your home and the art you’ve adorned the space with? What are your 3 favorite pieces and why?
We’ve lived in the same loft for 17 years. After looking at what seemed like hundreds of apartments, this space immediately spoke to us – it was a gut feeling combined with the high ceilings and open spaces – and it’s been an amazing home for our family. We had very little furniture and white walls for a long time. I’m a believer in less-is-more and the power of a few really special pieces. It would be impossible to chose a favorite work of art – I love every piece, each one has its own story, and represents a moment in our lives. Every piece of art is like a member of our family.



Style Story / BJ Topol

Shirt, 3.1 Phillip Lim ; Jeans, Stella McCartney ; Necklace, Thayer Road Antiques


Add yours
  • Oh my goodness, where to begin! The books, the grey sofa, the neon “Love” sign. It’s all disparate and yet complete. I could definitely learn a thing or two from her style. The real problem is execution, though! I think the key is to start small – baby steps :)

    I recently tried to spruce up my office, and made a little shopping cart with my “ideas.” Find them here:

  • Mmmm, such beautiful clothing (especially the skirt) and interior design!

    But what are the vertical lines on the large living room photo?

  • Hi Inga,
    They are from a piece of art that’s installed in the middle of the living room! xEmily

  • WOW

  • Adore everything about this lady’s home and style. More stories with clothes suitable for a professional workplace are always welcome!!

  • This is great thanks for sharing! I read her career interview few times and i was waiting for the follow up. The apartment is fabulous. I am very passionate about art. I started to collect artworks (instead of clothing!) for the past couple years and it changed my life. Her interview gave me the push to purchase my first established artist. A painting I was obsessed with but was more than I ever paid for…. Like she said it was uncomfortable but I have no regrets!
    PS: I love the tree !

  • Thank you for this piece! Her clothes and style are so inspiring!

  • This was a great piece! Thank you for taking the time to delve deeper with her- can you share the artists names that are featured in her apartment? I’m interested in all of the work.

  • Thank you, Emily! Still coming back to these images. It’s all just so perfect :-)

  • Gorgeous! Love this outfit.

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