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Women of Style

Andrea Mills, Chandler Rollins, Sarah Ryan and Jessie Sardina | September 9, 2016 | Feature Features National

True style is more than the ability to pull together a stunning ensemble at a moment's notice. It's also about exuding the confidence, charisma and sophistication to elevate any look. And these six power players have all of that in spades.
BEST FOOT FORWARD On Mandell: Dress by Josh Goot; necklace by Lana Jewelry; shoes by Sophia Webster.

Janet Mandell
When Janet Mandell’s father wanted to retire from the family’s manufacturing business, Mandell felt called to take the helm—but she wanted to switch the focus to something that could be high-fashion and also appeal to a niche market. Enter Mia Bossi, the line of luxurious and chic diaper bags she started in 2005, which counts celebrity moms like Kristin Cavallari and Halle Berry among its fans. Mandell didn’t stop there. “When you are passionate about something, you need more,” Mandell says. So now she showcases her bold style for a fleet of fashion-forward followers on her popular blog, Fashionaholic, and her social media channels. “My style is definitely over-the-top and sexy. I love colors and am very detail oriented,” she says, citing Anna Dello Russo, editor-at-large for Vogue Japan, as her style icon. “She is the epitome of who I want to be. She isn’t afraid to push the boundaries of fashion and does so with the utmost confidence.” Mandell employs a mix of high and low to achieve her signature look—wearing everything from Storets to Self-Portrait and Topshop to Tom Ford—and the mom of two keeps it comfortable with a steady rotation of gladiator sandals and flats (“heels are for photo shoots, date night or girls’ night out,” she adds with a laugh). And at the end of the day, she leaves no doubt about her best accessory: “If a woman is confident in what she is wearing, to me, that’s style.” –SR

Angela Brantley and Rhea Fernandez
There’s Yves and Pierre, and Valentino and Giancarlo. And then there’s Angela Brantley and Rhea Fernandez, founders of Chicago-based HERO/BLACK, a luxury streetwear brand with a masculine edge. In 2013, the sartorial creatives—who double as Factor Management models—met backstage at a local fashion show. A platonic courtship ensued from a mutual love of $4 T-shirts and Balenciaga, followed shortly thereafter by the launch of their own fashion company. Three years and two brands later and the pair is thicker than thieves—or, as Fernandez puts it, “We’re each other’s baby mamas—our way of saying we’re stuck together.” Still, their looks haven’t completely rubbed off on each other. “I tend to be a little more polished,” says Fernandez, who favors edgy pieces with structured cuts and hardware. Brantley, married to artist Hebru Brantley, prefers a carefree aesthetic like her style icons Erykah Badu and Rihanna. “I try to be more effortless, but it ends up looking deliberate regardless. I’ve always been the kid who looked a little rough around the edges,” she says. Both women agree that there simply is no new black—a belief that serves as the style motto for the pair’s burgeoning business. “We’ve done everything hand in hand, and we’re so grateful that we’ve had the other to share the load with,” says Brantley. Now, that’s what friendships are for. –CR


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