Media and Style Icon
Written and styled by Tracy James
Photography by Chuck St. John
You may recognize this month’s Style Icon from her two decades in broadcast journalism, most recently as the host of NBC-13’s Daytime Alabama. A year ago, Wendy Garner stepped away to start her own company, Wendy Garner Media & Marketing. She has always loved telling other people’s stories, and this is a continuation of that theme: helping small businesses identify their stories and then telling them in creative, compelling ways. In addition to public relations and marketing, Garner is producing videos for the web and conducting media training, including crisis media training. With her calm, positive demeanor, Garner seems perfectly suited for the job.
Even when asked to describe her personal style, she deems it, “Relaxed elegance, with an emphasis on relaxed.” That said, you will never see this businesswoman and busy mom looking sloppy. Wardrobe choices are dictated by her surroundings, which range from a client meeting to a date night with her husband to the ballpark with her sons. No matter the venue, Garner always manages to look “put together,” that simple yet flattering descriptor so many men and women seek. As a fitting side note, Garner says that one of her style pet peeves is people wearing sweats on an airplane. “I still like to think of flying as an event that’s worth looking presentable for,” she says.
For the last 20 years, Garner has had unique style training. “Television teaches you to be polished,” she explains, noting, “although sometimes that was tough as a reporter in various weather conditions. I have ruined some shoes in my time!” She cites the ever-polished Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis (who probably never ruined any shoes) as a style maven she admires. “She was and still is a picture of grace and strength as well as impeccable style,” Garner says.
While Garner may have been concerned about trends in younger years—Madonna bracelets, legwarmers, big hair, and all—she now finds herself more drawn to classic pieces that endure. She may pick up a staple piece that is a seasonal trend, but she doesn’t feel pressure to reinvent her wardrobe every three months. Shopping destinations include Gus Mayer, Altar’d State, and Lily Rain, a relatively new retailer at the Summit next to Lilly Pulitzer, a nostalgic favorite for Garner, who grew up in Palm Beach County. “I remember my mother introducing me to the ‘hidden Lillys’ when I was a little girl. The vintage photographs in the dressing rooms bring back great memories,” she says.
Today, Garner’s favorite things style-wise are items made by creative friends, like Leigh Ann Higdon of Old Clutch and Lucy Farmer of Lucy’s Inspired. “I’m not into designer labels,” she notes. “I am surrounded by some incredibly talented friends, and I love wearing their pieces.” And in turn, Garner has made her style truly personal.