Recently, we ducked behind the scenes for a quick conversation with each of the women starring in our new Find Your Perfect campaign. Tune in as we talk closets and careers, brunch spots and beauty secrets, and more.
Cyndie lives in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, with her husband-to-be, Ira, and two shy cats. What struck us most upon meeting her was the life she has very consciously created for herself. Sitting in her luminous apartment, we couldn’t help but notice how she has surrounded herself with the colors and objects, words and images that inspire her most. It was a powerful reminder for us to do the same—to be thoughtful about what we do and say so that our lives will reflect the ideas that make us happiest, the activities that leave us most fulfilled. Cyndie’s presence of mind and trueness to herself is contagious—read on to get inspired.
SS: Your apartment is filled with color—so that’s the first thing we want to ask you about. What does orange mean to you?
CS: I have a ton of orange. I think it exudes a certain confidence, and sometimes we need help with that. Sometimes, if I’m not feeling confident, I’ll put on orange lipstick or bright pink lipstick or carry a bright orange bag.
Did you paint your walls colorfully for the same reason?
Yes, I chose this color—it’s called lipstick (she indicates the vibrating red-meets-orange wall behind us). It’s inspiring to me. I do a lot of work in here; I do a lot of thinking in here; I meditate in here. Almost everything I do, I do in this room. This color is very much represented everywhere in my life. I feel like my dreams are in these colors.
Yellow is unusual for a bedroom.
Yes, it’s not feng shui. But there are no windows back there, so it’s like waking up to sunshine.
Do you have a favorite room in your apartment?
Yes, this one (with the lipstick-colored wall). This room is a merging of my style and my fiancé, Ira’s. He’s very into modern design, and I’m very into color and patterns and “stuff.” Together, the two styles have merged perfectly.
Do you have a favorite neighborhood spot?
Baba Cool is one we like. It’s a really small, woman-owned café that’s a five-minute walk from here.
If someone was dressing as you for Halloween, what would they wear?
We noticed your jewelry. Are there any pieces you wear every day?
Everything you see, I never take off. This bracelet was from my parents for my high school graduation. These were from when I was 18 or 19, my first internship with Liz Claiborne’s jewelry division—I’ve had these on for 20 years. This is a mantra band that my very first assistant sent me in the mail. It says “she believed she could so she did.”
This is from Ira. He had this made for me for Valentines’ Day—
And this is my engagement ring.
What kind of stone is that?
It is a Ceylon sapphire. It’s orange.
Of course it is. It’s really beautiful—did you design it?
No, it was perfect. It really only took about an hour and half [to pick it out]—this was the first one I looked at and tried on. You’re going to laugh, but we just got engaged last weekend and I haven’t wanted to take it off to get it sized. So I have this little rope tied around the band to make it fit.
That’s so cute. It would be sad to say goodbye to it.
And my fiancé knows I like to swear a lot—but always in a positive way, like “you can f**king do anything!” So on the inside it says, “you’re f**king magic.”
Amazing…Where do you like to shop for clothes?
J.Crew for blazers, because they do a lot of color. Madewell for denim tops, which I wear a lot. Housing Works and Decades (I go to the one in Salt Lake City) for vintage. And Gap is really good for basics.
What did you love to wear as a child?
Really—just like now?
Yeah. When I was like 4, I wore these little red cowboy boots and I would never take them off, and then I started wearing them again when I was 20, and I’m 38 now. I also wore Dr. Scholl’s sandals in pastel colors with my little corduroy bellbottoms. It was the late ’70s, early ’80s, so I guess that was the outfit of the day.
Do you have any saved eBay searches?
Mid-Century Modern furniture. Ira checks eBay every morning as soon as he wakes up.
My boyfriend does the same thing.
I’m like, dude, put the phone down already.
It’s like his morning paper.
I have my own saved search for Justin cowboy boots.
What are you reading or listening to right now?
The super-stylish mommy bloggers?
Yes, the mommy bloggers! I recently spoke at a conference for entrepreneurial women in Salt Lake City. While I was there, the women had this event called Why We Believe where they opened their doors to non-Mormons to help us understand. It was unbelievable—a great opportunity to learn about what they believe. I found that if you replace “God” or “Jesus Christ” with the word “universe,” I believe in that.
Do you remember your first meaningful fashion purchase?
Yes, it was a Coach bag. I actually worked for Coach for a long time. It was a black embossed leather doctor bag. I think it was $400. It was a big purchase.
Did you love it?
I loved it so much that I never wore it.
I know how that is.
I don’t do that anymore. Now I’m like, if you love it, you wear it. You burn those candles. You wear the nice underwear.
Do you have a signature scent?
I do, it’s Narciso Rodriguez, which I started wearing when I was 20, way before I knew I would work for the brand.
So you used to work in fashion?
I worked in fashion for almost my entire career. The last job I had was director of product development for Narciso Rodriguez. And it was 2 a.m., Spring 2013, Fashion Week. I looked around and people were really happy, and I was thinking: I don’t belong here. I don’t fit into this world. I don’t have the same values. I don’t believe in the same things. It was then that I officially resigned from fashion.
Now I’m a business coach for creative entrepreneurs and a professor at Parsons. I teach a class for design students called Managing Creative Projects & Teams. I coach them on how to work collaboratively, how to not take things personally, how to deal with fear.
Those are such great skills for creatives—and really tough life lessons.
Yeah, no one’s ever told them that at 20 years old, it’s normal to be afraid. That it’s not personal if someone critiques their work. They connect so much with their work that they need to hear that.
Speaking of life lessons, the idea behind eBay’s new fashion campaign is that everyone’s version of “perfect” is different. What do you think about that?
I think it’s a concept we could use more of. Women are told that there is one way to be perfect, that they have to look, dress, speak, behave a certain way, and they have to “act like a lady.” I think we need to hear more that we are perfect as we are, that we all have our own version of perfect, and it makes it no less than. So, I think it’s an important message.
Your thoughts are so clear, and you’re so articulate. We were watching you during filming. I was really impressed with your coolness under the pressure of all those people watching you—to just own it and take your time and think your thoughts.
Thank you for saying that. What we say is important; you can’t take it back once you’ve said it. It’s out in the universe floating around, for better or worse—like me saying f**k all the time.
Next up, we talk movies and Marant with Brother Vellies designer, Aurora James. Stay tuned.