“I think in the last several years, honestly, I’ve grown up,” celebrity stylist and fashion personality Rachel Zoe says. “I feel like this is sort of the Rachel 2.0 version. It’s phase two [of my life].”
Zoe has come a long way since her days of screaming “I die” and “Bananas!” and feuding with former assistants Brad Goreski and Taylor Jacobson on her namesake Bravo reality series The Rachel Zoe Project. Off the air for almost a year now, Zoe’s life has taken a more personal turn, focusing attention on her budding clothing line, special projects and collaborations like the blow dry salon, Dream Dry, and, of course, her two sons.
“I’m so text-book,” she tells The Daily Beast. “Not to be cliché, but I really am. I think that there’s no way to avoid your life changing with children. I went from living for my job, myself, and my husband—and the decisions I made were based on my career and family. But when you’re a mother, your biggest priority is obviously your children.”
These differences have inspired Zoe to pen a second book, Living in Style: Inspiration and Advice for Everyday Glamour (Grand Central Publishing, March 2014). It’s about being a mom who deals with diaper duty, and being a businesswoman who attends corporate meetings, all the while maintaining a seamlessly glamorous look, and approach, to life.
“It’s not that my job is not still incredibly important,” Zoe explains. “It’s just that I have to approach it differently. I used to burn the candle at both ends and go to every event and every dinner and this and that, and now if I go out one or two nights a week, that’s a lot. And if I go to sleep past 10 o’clock, that’s late. It’s a completely different life. But I still think [about] how to approach getting dressed—if anything, now I do it quicker,” says the woman whose signature look consists of sky-high wedges, oversized sunglasses, and tons of accessories.
“It’s really for everyone. And I think it’s really just about how to lead a life filled with glamour everyday without a lot of effort.”
She’s not only faster, but she’s more comfortable and practical with her ensembles, too. “I don’t wear things that are sharp anymore if I’m going to be with my children all day,” she says. “Jewelry that has spikes or arrows or points and jackets that are covered in zippers and grommets and more spikes. And I wear a ton of black, much more than I ever have.”
Zoe breaks her book down into a myriad of chapters, from “Fashion is My Everything”—where she catalogues crashing the Marc Jacobs show at early age, playing dress-up with her friends after school (she would style them, of course), and her first gig as an assistant at the now defunct teen glossy, YM—to “Getting Gorgeous,” with tips on hair and beauty maintenance for everything from everyday looks to red carpet glam.
“This is everything from how to get dressed and look cute in five minutes,” Zoe says of the book, “to how to decorate your home, set a table, have a super-casual dinner party, and just really how to be glamorous, without having to be a famous, rich, VIP, fabulous, ‘It’ person. It’s really for everyone. And I think it’s really just about how to lead a life filled with glamour everyday without a lot of effort.”
Sure, Zoe's reality may not completely accessible to the average American reader. It's dream-like and aspirational. But then again, isn't that why her reality show was such a hit? Aren't we all looking for an escape?
While Zoe may not be hanging around her home in baggy sweats, her book is fun and aesthetically-pleasing, and does consist of (albeit slightly obvious) tips that can be adapted to any lifestyle, regardless of time and budget. (Think swapping hard party invitations for evites, or cooking when hosting instead of having things catered.)
"She’s a modern woman who listens to the needs of modern women,” designer Diane von Furstenberg writes in the book's introduction. And, like any other modern-day lady, Zoe has a side hidden from the public eye. “I’m a really good cook and a really good baker," she says. “I’m like really savvy in the kitchen. I’m very domestic in certain ways and I think that shocks people.
"And I’m really silly," she continues. "I’m really self-deprecating; I take a lot of humor in life and with myself. I’m weirdly simple in terms of what makes me happy, meaning my happiest moments are sitting in my backyard eating take-out with Rodger and my boys. I think people always think happiness is like a private plane to Stadt. And not that that wouldn’t make me happy," she laughs, "but not if I didn’t have my boys with me”