Recruit, Editing by Lauren Sprague
It is a Friday morning in March, and there is a quiet and intermittent snowfall outside. But Ruth and Neville are relaxing and laughing with cups of warm coffee on her cinammon-colored sofa while Beau, her Papillon puppy enjoys playful, gentle caresses from Neville. Everything about Ruth's home is lovely, warm, and artfully curated––it is an historic home, built in 1852, not long before our shared alma mater, Vassar College was founded. Her home is also where she meets individuals for her private practice as a Psychologist.
"It is more homelike," she says of bringing her patients to her home as opposed to an office, "You can drink coffee. Some people don't like [that]. Some people are business-like. Mostly, it's easier to open up here. I also do have more flexibility. If I need to see someone not at a working hour, it is so easy to do. If somebody needs to talk for any particular reason, or needs to reschedule for whatever reason, if I can accommodate that, it's very good."
Ruth has been a longtime Neville Wisdom client, and has even walked the Fall 2015 Fashion show. So, I ask her about how she first discovered Neville Wisdom. "I had been walking past Neville's store," she says,"and I love clothes. And I just loved [Neville's] styles. One night, one of the first Fridays, my cousin who was in the shoe business had given me crazy Dolce and Gabbana boots that she refused to wear that had been given to her when she was in the shoe business, and it fit. So I had these high, crazy boots and thought 'What could I wear it with?' and I went into Neville's to see. Maybe I can find something edgy in here to wear them with. And I did." She takes me to her walk-in closet, which is filled with colorful shoes, textured bags, and unique garments from all over the world. What's also beautiful is that she has a section of her closet with a rack filled with only Neville Wisdom garments.
Ruth infuses her vibrant and lively style with quintessential elegance. Her style inspirations have come from editorials like Vogue, Harper's Bazaar, andW as well as her French cousin, who she speaks fondly of. "There's something about French women––the way they dress, and carry themselves," she says, and there certainly is a je ne sais quois air to their perfect dress, and slightly undone hair. "It's one of my aspirations," she says, "to spend six months in Paris. I have to make it happen!" On this day, Ruth's hair is perfectly blow-dried but that doesn't keep her from her carefree, graceful movements as she makes her way through her living room and kitchen.
She embodies classic, tailored elegance in her Neville Wisdom Black Silk Matka Dress and Jacket, which she pairs with a subtle, but majestic golden horse brooch which was made by her grandfather. She pairs the latest Spring 2016 Neville Wisdom cornflower blue Cowl Neck Peplum dress with a whimsical golden fish brooch that has an aquamarine belly and tiny pearl in its mouth. Her jewelry pairings with Neville Wisdom garments are stunning, and her jewelry collection starts with a delicate pearl bracelet with a golden rose, which was given to her when she was thirteen years old.
"Warmth encompasses a beautiful
atmosphere and having connections with people
...and being open to new things...
Neville is so stylish, genuine, warm, and sincere."
"I started pretty much from scrap," she says of her house, "I had some paintings, china, and precious things, but very little furniture. I wanted to decorate the house somewhat in accordance with its age," she says and points out her beautiful fireplace flanked by mahogany columns, which is still in it's original state. I notice the French doors, which Ruth has put in herself. In fact, Ruth has decorated her whole house herself, filling the walls with paintings and the shelves with objects from her travels abroad to East Asia, Europe, Central America, and Africa, but also from local New England painters and consignment shops. She points out a painting of a tree with a variety of giant fruits too big for the tree, it is one of the many idyllic paintings she has from the Vassar Haiti Project. She describes a floral still life painting by her friend, "She is also a psychologist," and the skeletal and organic work of Becca Lowry, a New Haven-based artist who recently showcased her sculptures at the Giampietro Gallery.
Just when our conversation comes to a close, we begin speaking about her travels to Tanzania and Kenya, and Ruth recounts this epic story, "Out of the forest came herds and herds of elephants. It was unbelievable. There must have been at least 300 elephants," she says, "They go in families. When they saw people on the side of the road, they closed ranks around the babies. They came right up to our van, it was a little bit scary. And then, I heard the father elephant, making a horrible noise, honking and the guide got a little nervous. He started the car to back off but [the elephant] wasn't the slightest bit interested in us. The teenage elephant had gone across the road and left the group, and he went after him and started wacking him with his trunk. They're so smart, and clearly devoted to family. They're amazing."
She speaks of her own grandchildren, and their interactions on Facetime, "We didn't really talk about this," she says, "but I have two daughters. My older daughter is a professor of psychology––she teaches special education. The younger one works for a foundation that works with CEOs and college boards, and collectively works on developing projects to help college kids stay in STEM fields."
It is a week later, and Ruth brings her daughter, Sharon, to the Neville Wisdom Westville location to have her try on a few vintage Neville Wisdom pieces as well as our latest pre-spring pieces over glasses of a deep South African cabernet sauvignon. Ruth and Sharon are doubly recounting the crazy, hilarious stories of Ruth's date nights while Neville pins back a skirt on Sharon. It is over this laughter and warmth, that I understand a little more of the lifestyle Ruth spoke about in her home, "I love beauty, and I love beautiful things. I love warmth. And for me, warmth encompasses a beautiful atmosphere and having connections with people, and being open to new things. And Neville is so stylish, genuine, warm, and sincere."
Thank you Ruth, for bringing your warmth to Neville Wisdom. Readers, if you haven't already visited us, we hope to see you soon, just in time for that spring wardrobe renewal. Maybe, like Ruth, you'll even end up having a section of your own closet dedicated to Neville Wisdom pieces.