Style Icon: Kristie Stewart

Mom & Volunteer Coach for Girls on the Run

Written and styled by Tracy James   Photography by Chuck St. John

Kristie and her GOTR team. She wears Lululemon capris and "InStride" jacket, Newton shoe.

Like most moms of school age children, Kristie Stewart spends her life on the run, so joining ranks with a group called “Girls on the Run” seemed like a natural fit. Already an avid runner, Kristie loved the GOTR curriculum of empowering girls in the 3rd to 5th grades through a program that creatively integrates running, so co-founded the first Alabama chapter in February of 2011. The first three teams consisted of 33 girls total; since then, the program has grown exponentially to eleven teams around the Birmingham area with 155 girls participating in the 12-week fall and spring sessions. They come twice a week to a safe environment where they can talk about the challenges and experiences they face at their age. The mission of GOTR is to inspire girls to be joyful, healthy, and confident using a fun, experience-based program, educating and empowering girls at an early age in order to prevent the display of at-risk activities in the future. “The lessons teach the girls to define life on their own terms,” Kristie says.

Kristie admits that many of these lessons, especially those on self-image, are ones about which she needs to be reminded and emphasize to her own daughters, aged 5 and 7. “One of the lessons is on negative self-talk. You know, that voice inside you that says, ‘You’re not pretty enough or smart enough,’” she explains. The GOTR are taught to hold each other accountable on negative self-talk, and even to make a buzzer sound to get the perpetrator to stop and recognize the self-defeating behavior. “You can’t imagine how many times my co-coach and I buzz each other every week!” Kristie laughs.

Even in their choice of running attire, the girls’ personal styles are evident. While Kristie loves Lululemon for its stylish and comfortable gear, the girls wear a little of everything. “One of our girls wore Nike high top tennis shoes forever,” says Kristie. “They were so fun and so ‘her.’ I loved them, but finally had to say, ‘Anna, get some running shoes, girl, you can’t run 3.2 miles in high tops!’” That said, GOTR endeavors to teach that style and image is about being your own person and not about pretending to be someone or something one is not.

Kristie makes lunch for daughters Grace (5) and Clark (7), wearing an H&M tee, J.Crew pleated denim skirt and leopard scarf, Soca earring.

Kristie describes her personal style as “preppy chic,” thus it is not a surprise that Tory Burch is her favorite designer, and the woman herself, her style mentor. “I kind of have a little bit of an obsession,” Kristie confesses, pointing to the multitude of gold logo emblazoned items in her closet.

The infatuation really began with her realization that flats were a wardrobe must for the busy mom, because “marching around in 4-inch stilettos just isn’t happening for me.” And so evolved Kristie’s style, trading in worry about being “matchy” and trendy for a more classic and comfortable style. Other favorite brands include J.Crew, Karta, J.Brand and Hudson denim, and Sheridan French. The latter, a Texas designer fond of color and print, writes a blog called “The Southern Eclectic” which includes a “How I Wore It” section where fans attach pictures of themselves donning the goods. After Kristie submitted a photo, she was contacted by the designer, who subsequently flew Kristie and her daughter, Clark, to Fort Worth for a photo shoot to model the 2013 spring and resort line.

The shoot was a fun treat and confidence booster for Kristie, who will turn the big 4-0 in February. The older she gets, the more she realizes the importance of not losing sight of herself, and therefore doing things for herself, like her volunteer work with GOTR, which she credits with making her a better mother and wife. When one lives such a hectic lifestyle, even appreciating simple pleasures, like a signature fragrance, brings joy. Kristie’s is NYC Bond No. 9’s Saks Fifth Avenue for Her, a mix of gardenia, jasmine and tuberose. “It is heaven!” Kristie exclaims. “A few weeks ago, Jana Rome, owner of Shoefly in Homewood, was at my house and during mid-conversation she said, ‘What is that fantastic smell?’” While not a huge make-up wearer, Kristie did have two can’t-live-without make-up items. The first is Too Faced tinted Beauty Balm in Vanilla Glow, which “provides this light, dewy coverage that evens out my skin tone.” The second is Cle de Peau concealer in Ivory. “I can wake up with some mean dark circles and that concealer makes me look like I got 10 hours of sleep!”

Kristie & Sheridan French this summer in Ft. Worth at the designer's Spring/Resort 2013 photo shoot

As for what’s on the Christmas list? Kristie has a holiday/birthday combo in mind, “I would really love to spend my birthday milestone with my family in St. Barths or St. Thomas,” adding wistfully, “Can you make sure my husband gets a copy of this?”

Sold Demim Lab black jean and Aaron Ashe silk top, both from Stella Blu. Earring from Etc.; Necklace from Anthropologie. Michael Kors watch.

Part of Kristie's Tory Burch collection – uber popular "Reva" flats, named after the designer's mother.

Sorbet shades from Essie are a favorite, along with her signature fragrances from Bond No. 9 New York: Saks Fifth Avenue for Her (on right & purse size wand) and Astor Place (on left).

Bracelet made from an antique shoe buckle, bought for her by a friend at the Atlanta Market.

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