For two decades, Patti Röckenwagner worked in corporate communications at companies like Paramount and Condé Nast. Such jobs required a muted wardrobe. But working in restaurants has allowed her to break away from the neutrals.
“I love color,” says Röckenwagner, 52, who co-owns the Röckenwagner Bakery Group and the retro steakhouse Dear John’s. “I spent 20 years in boardrooms where I wore the black, the navy, the gray, the beige.”
Her love of bold shades is something of a signature; her friend, actress Jamie Lee Curtis, referred the costume designer on Knives Out to Röckenwagner’s Instagram as inspiration for her character’s colorful wardrobe.
With her own wardrobe, Röckenwagner has embraced an evolutionary philosophy. “You can develop your style at every point in your life,” she says. “It’s actually really fun knowing yourself more, feeling comfortable in your skin, and knowing how you want to present. You know that way better in your fifties than you do in your twenties.”
I went gray six years ago. It was patchy—not a cool gray—so I started dyeing it. But my hair grew so fast, I was having to do it every few weeks. I thought, “I’m going through all this to look ‘natural’? I might as well do something fun.” So Sabrina Johnson [now at Vito Esposito Salon] helped me find the perfect shade of platinum. Bonus, I love how it looks with the roots growing in, so I only have to dye it every six weeks.
It’s Carolina Herrera, and I’ve had it for over a decade. It’s structured, but the leather is also really thin, so it’s not bulky. It moves really well.
Pretzel lapel pin
Pretzels are our signature item at the bakery, so my husband, Hans, and I will frequently wear some kind of a pretzel accessory, whether it’s a pin, a necklace, or a bag. I probably have 40 or 50 pretzel items.
Blouse and pants
They’re from a brand called Another Tomorrow. What I love about them is every piece has a QR code, and you can scan it and see where things are sourced from. But the clothes are also really beautiful. This top and trousers are such a rich color.
Just like everyone, I wanted an Hermès Birkin or Kelly. But we can’t afford a $10,000 bag, so Hans made me one. It’s a Kelly bag he carved out of beautiful walnut burl wood 20 years ago for our second anniversary. It’s got leather straps and a suede lining, and it’s actually very functional. If there’s an earthquake or the house is on fire, this is the one thing I would take from my closet.
They’re Gucci from a couple years ago. They have pink lips embroidered on the T-bar. You can wear anything with them, and they elevate it.
Orly Glowstick is the only color I wear. It’s kind of a neon yellow, like a tennis ball. It’s bright but also oddly neutral. And it just makes me happy, since I’m an avid tennis player.
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