The Art of Style with Kendra Leonard
Posted on May 25 2020
“I am going to dress this city, if it is the last thing I do!”
– Kendra Leonard
Tell us a bit about your background
I have been in the fashion industry since I was 15, so with more than 25 years of experience, I am an expert in my field of study as it pertains to people and clothing. I worked with Banana Republic for 11 years and this was the foundation that led me to open a store of my own.
When and why did you found The Art of Style?
I probably would have never opened my first store if it weren't for my husband's premature death. He died on October 9th, 2009 after battling cancer for 17 months. After his death, I was passed over for a promotion at Banana Republic. I decided that while I loved what I did, life was too short and I couldn't do it there anymore. So, I wrote a business plan in two months, ran for the Woman Of The Year for the leukemia and lymphoma society and won the campaign. It was with this great sense of humility that I knew I was headed for greatness. I opened my first store in honor of my late husband in November, 2010. I opened my second store on November, 11, 2011 and published my first book, You Only Live Once on December, 12, 2012. I closed my first store in 2013 and relocated my other store to downtown Raleigh in 2016. Now, I am on the brink of publishing my second book, Mind.Body.Soul and opening up my kids and body store, just in time for our 10-year anniversary.
How would you describe your petite style?
My style varies based on my moods, what I'm doing, and who my audience is. I am 5' 2'', which is considered petite. However, I have a long torso, so I am only petite in the bottom half. Part of my experience in dressing people has a lot to do with proportions, which is why we offer alterations as a service. Teaching people how to dress for their body type is one aspect of what we do. We help people discover who they are through clothing, which is their self-expression to the outside world.
What do you like about the Nina maxi shirt dress by Short Supply?
I was excited about trying on the Nina maxi by Short Supply because of its timeless quality. It was a nice surprise that it fit my body proportions perfectly - and it had pockets! The shoulders had a slight puff to them to enhance femininity, and a perfect sleeve with a slit at the elbow to give the illusion of elongated arms. The button placement was perfect over the bust and hidden side zipper ensured that it fit securely. Besides the proportions being on point, the fact that no alterations were required for the length just made me feel like this dress was made for me. I have a feeling it will have the same effect on others. So, if you're interested, you can find one at the store on 21 W Hargett St in Raleigh, NC, or on our website.