Bean Thiebaut is the creator of Small Town Threads a beautifully curated style blog that we've been fans of for ages. Her taste is impeccable which is one of the reasons we love it. But she also champions the cause for petite women, a size that tends to get ignored on the high-street, which made us super-fans!
We caught up with her to get a glimpse into her life with some quick-fire questions. The trouble was, Bean was so damn interesting the conversation went on much longer than 60 seconds! We don't think you'll be disappointed...
Why did you start the blog Small Town Threads?
When I moved out of London to the Salisbury, and then hit 40... I had a somewhat regrettable, mad 'mother of all culls' of my wardrobe;
This was then followed my a massive skinty-mc-glinty monetary period where we bought a house whilst I wasn't working... and for 7 years straight, I barely shopped and knackered my wardrobe out.
Totally fed up of myself, and just making do... I decided to document re-building my wardrobe, highlighting what the best petite buys are out there at any given time.
You champion women who are smaller, tell us about the challenges when shopping for a petite size?
When I was in my late 20s, most of my friends had graduated onto more 'grown up, womanly' shops whether it was Warehouse, Oasis, or Kew or Jigsaw... Mango and Zara had just opened up, though the scandi stores hadn't yet opened their doors in London... and yet, I was still shopping in Topshop because they did tiny sizes... and it wasn't cool.
Luckily, with Kate Moss launching a collection at Toppers... it was suddenly put back on the map for women my age, rather than being solely the domain of younger women...
For the most part, most Petite ranges offer 'functional' workwear, or even if they do offer non-workwear... it's very limited, and frankly dowdy... and dare I say it, generous 'oversized' vanity sized petite clothing.
The challenge is finding a good fit/cut, stylish everyday wear... in colours you like and want to wear.
Many petite range dresses are still short in length... because, if you're a short lady, how could you possibly wear a midi or a maxi length?
And besides which, can't you just buy from a regular length range and wear it longer?
But of course, the details: the waist; seams; arm-holes... from the regular range... aren't cut for petites.
Sometimes it works.
Things are improving.
But really, it's a case of biding your time and lots and lots and lots of research (aka trying stuff on!)
'Minimalist fashion mind vs. magpie heart,' tell us about this tension?
I wrangle with this struggle on a daily basis!
I love clean lines, simple designs and a neutral - darker colour palette.
But... a bit like good ol' Carrie Bradshaw having to wear Breton stripes in Paris or a hoodie when she was getting down in a cool NYC club with the youngsters, or a grown-up, slinky dress when out for dinner with Big... I think most women like to feel they are appropriately dressed for whatever their day holds: it's basically a bit like dressing up for a role.
And with that in mind, minimal fashion doesn't always cut it for me.
Suddenly I need a bit of bling or a splash of colour.
Though never too much!!
We love your style edits, how did you get such a good eye?
Why thank you!
I've mostly always taken inspiration from fashion imagery, particularly the 70s... and grew up watching Saturday Matinees on TV of the Golden Oldies with all the Hollywood Greats.
As Madge once sang "They had style, they had grace..." the devil was always in the detail: the cut, the right fabric for the style... it's about picking and choosing which bits you can carry off, or will work for your lifestyle.
My mum is also one of my inspirations: she used to sew matching tunic/trouser suits from Vogue patterns based on Chanel designs... I was obsessed with the pattern cover illustrations!
And mum would always chirp away to herself about figuring out whether to cut along the waft or the weft, the bias or straight or how to achieve a certain pintuck, how to tell if a fabric was real silk, or pre-shrunk etc... so you pick stuff up I Guess.
Mostly though... as a kid... I wanted to blend in and be the same as everyone else.
Instead, I had a childhood of handsewn pieces by mum which made me stick out like a sore thumb as although they were beautifully sewn and classic in style, they were never on trend!
Where there's yin, there's always yang.
And the silver lining is, you realise trends fade, but style is forever, right?
I'm not a massive lover of photos of myself, in particular, selfies.
Which is at odds with Instagramming.
But... it's a pre-digital camera, age thing. I think.
Anyway, I was bored of posting ONLY photo's of myself on Instagram and taking photo's of myself every.single.day. wasn't much fun.
I devised a way to get a day off, but still keeping a fashion flavour: on a Friday I'd post my shoes, then on a Saturday, I'd post the previous days outfit.
It took about 9 weeks of me sticking to this routine before a couple of friends joined in, then slowly, but surely, the whole thing snowballed into the massive weekly event that it is now.
I'm kinda proud that I didn't launch the hashtag per se, but that it happened organically.
I'm also chuffed to bits that people plan their Friday feet photo's a week in advance... and for that one post a week, for the most part, it's all about creativity... and the story.
Shoes with history.
It's not about new-new-new.
It's a bit of fun on the Gram again.
And Friday Feet is one of the loveliest little sub-communities on Instagram... all for the love of shoes.
Your fashion must have?
Boring, but true.
Favourite item in your wardrobe?
Aside from Jeans (& cords, & wide leg crops...)
My recent acquisition of a frilly Ganni dress & Vintage Pink Cowboy Boots, which were sent to me by the lovely people from Armstrong's Vintage, Edinburgh.
Worst fashion mistake?
But all so fun, and so right at the time!
I once had a pair of SUPER low-waisted Copperwheat Blundell "low riders" which sat dangerously low across the front and no doubt, my bony hip bones protruded over the top.
It was all that Alexander McQueen thing back then, and I thought I was the bees-knees in those trousers (which I still have by the way...)
A mistake they may have been, but they're a part of my fashion evolution.
Best preloved find?
Aside from the pink cowboy boots, a recent purchase of an Alexa Chung skirt/jacket Safari suit.
Be Kind. Always.
The Society on Netflix.
(it's sooooo bad, it's good!)
How do you relax?
Walking my pooch, my bearded-girl, my one and only... Sylvie the Miniature Schnauzer.
First and last gig?
A-ha, in Shepton Mallet, many, many moons ago.
And last Autumn, I saw Kacey Musgraves in my old hometown, Bristol.
Check-out Small Town Threads blog here.
And you can find Bean on Instagram @smalltownthreads