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Meet the Muse: Chanel and Maria, Founder's of Dear Society a Modern & Vintage Apparel Shop

Nominated by Vogue as one of the 77 Small Businesses to Support Across America and 14 Small Businesses to Shop in the Midwest, Dear Society has curated the perfect collection of timeless modern staples and dreamy vintage pieces that you'll want to wear over and over again. Whether you're looking for a chic outfit for a night out or a comfortable yet stylish ensemble for a casual day, Dear Society has something for everyone.

We chatted with the founders, Maria Casteel and Chanel Jezek, to learn more about their story, styling tips, capsule wardrobe staples, and more!

*Shop Minori at Dear Society!

Tell us about Dear Society! What brought the two of you together and inspired you to open your store?

Maria: Chanel and I met when we were both doing pop-ups at a vintage shop in Kansas City called Bella Patina. At that time, I was selling vintage clothing and home goods and Chanel was selling modern clothing and accessories. We kept being drawn to each other and quickly realized we had a similar aesthetic and a similar dream to open a brick and mortar. We were inspired to open Dear Society because we felt there was something crucial missing from the shopping scene in Kansas City and we needed to create it. We wanted to create a cohesive & fashion forward modern and vintage boutique in which everyone feels welcome and we think we’ve accomplished that!

We like to think of Minori as a capsule collection for your makeup bag; what are a few timeless staples you love for a capsule wardrobe?

Chanel: I would say that my closet is very much a capsule wardrobe. I keep only things that I love, that make me feel good, and that I continue to grab for throughout the season. My go to timeless staples are our Le Bon Shoppe cotton tees, a great fitting, slightly oversized blazer, a black slip dress, and my black everyday trousers from St. Agni. 

Maria: A few of my must-haves are a crisp white button up, a perfect fitting pair of jeans, a plain white tee, a great pair of heels, a go-to little black dress, gold hoop earrings and black trousers. I could go on!

What advice or tips would you give someone who wants to improve their personal style?

Chanel: My advice for anyone wanting to improve their personal style is to go look for inspiration to see what catches your eye. Once you find what inspires and moves you, you can start looking for those pieces. Start a mood board and browse through street style images or runway shows, and see what the people on the streets of different parts of the world are wearing. Personal style doesn't have to fit in a box and can change like our food or music preferences do. Allow yourself to experiment and have fun. Take notice of what pieces and styles make you feel good. 

Maria: First and foremost, I think it's important to discover what one's personal style is! I think a lot of people aren't sure what they actually like and need to discover that. One way I suggest to help you find your style is by looking through the latest runways (I love the vogue runway app for this). See what silhouettes, colors and shapes stick out to you. Don't ever let yourself believe, "I can't pull that off." Fashion is all about confidence! As you find your style, figure out what your staple pieces are and get those first. When you have those staples in place, build in the more fun pieces that make you smile and come alive. Play and have fun with clothes and don't be afraid to try on a lot of things. You might be surprised by what you find looks good on you. Lastly, I think that mixing modern and vintage is always the most interesting and best way to dress.

Who inspires you when it comes to fashion/beauty?

Chanel: I find inspiration in so many different places and through so many different people. The women who inspire me most in the fashion/beauty industry are the ones that are authentically themselves and who feel confident in their own skin. It's an energy about someone you can just feel. It can be someone you walk past on the street or see in a coffee shop who just radiates from the inside, out. It's everyday people who make you want to radiate that same way.

Maria: Vivian Hoorn inspires me to be more confident in my body and wear things that show my curves. Desert Vintage and Persephone Vintage inspire my vintage heart with their immaculate finds. I love following Beaufille, Jonathan Simkhai, Jacquemus, A.W.A.K.E Mode and so many other modern designers. Nature and travel also constantly inspire me. For beauty, I feel very inspired by the concepts and practices of Wellknown. The owner Amanda is helping me to embrace aging gracefully without fear.

Do you have any dream vintage items on your wishlist?

Chanel: I have a handful of vintage items I have saved on my eBay account that I dream of often. This gorgeous 90s Chanel black silk asymmetrical maxi skirt, an insane sheepskin and suede two-tone jacket from Donna Karan, and this gorgeous pink mohair knit halter top with crystals sewn into the hem and neckline from Fendi. 

Maria: I would be overjoyed to find a vintage Issey Miyake high neck pleated top. Finding a vintage YSL wool trench coat would be a dream too!

What is your favorite Minori product?

Chanel: My favorite Minori product is the Lip Gloss. I keep the shade Blossom in my purse in a little make-up pouch and apply whenever I feel like I need a tinted gloss refresh! I love how silky and hydrating it feels on my lips without feeling sticky.

Maria: I love the vegan Lip Gloss in Blossom! It gives my lips the perfect natural glisten with the perfect subtle touch of color.

When do you feel the most confidence?

Chanel: I feel the most confident when I am taking care of myself. Taking care of myself means listening to my body, feeding myself good nutrients, staying on top of my skincare routine and tuning into my creativity! 

Maria: I feel most confident when I feel freedom to create with no boundaries

What’s your favorite way to practice self-care lately?

    Chanel: Lately my favorite self care routine is turning on some music or an inspiring podcast, lighting a candle and treating myself to a spa session. It's usually a long, hot shower, then a face mask, followed by my skincare routine. Then it's tuning into my thoughts and ideas and writing them in a journal. 

    Maria: I've found that the best way to care for myself is by giving myself enough time in the morning to light a candle, read something nourishing and write out my thoughts and feelings. This sets a peaceful tone that carries throughout the day.



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