The Style Files: Ann Mashburn

Ann Mashburn1


Ann Mashburn  and her husband, Sid founded their super chic, eponymous stores in Atlanta in 2007 after moving from New York where they’d each had illustrious careers in fashion– he, designing for Ralph Lauren and J. Crew, and she, as an editor at Vogue and Glamour. As you would imagine, they are quite the stylish duo and have impeccable taste– a combination of innate style and training at some of the most hallowed halls in fashion.  I have been a fan since photos of their chic Atlanta store first surfaced around the blogosphere years and years ago. I was thrilled when Ann and Sid opened their second outpost in Houston, which exudes style in every corner and is one of my go-to places to shop in the city. The space is inspiring, the timeless clothes are exactly my style, and the staff is so warm and helpful. The Houston store features whitewashed brick and steel case windows and doors, and seagrass carpeting layered with colorful rugs throughout; a Saarinen Tulip Table, whimsical chandelier, stunning Chinoiserie panels, Parsons-style shelves, and pops of pink on the Ann Mashburn side; blue-grey fixtures, brass accents, a ping pong table, and taxidermy on the Sid Mashburn side.

The Mashburns have an amazing aesthetic which permeates everything they touch, so it should come as no surprise that since opening in Houston just under two years ago, they have recently expanded to Dallas and Washington, D.C. with an expansion to the West Coast coming later this year! I finally had the pleasure of meeting Ann a couple of months ago when we attended a luncheon here in Houston. She not only exudes style, but is so warm and gracious. She instantly made me feel like an old friend with her kind nature and engaging conversation. I have a lot of respect for Ann, not only because she inspires me so much in terms regard to her style, but because she has built such an amazing brand and business in under ten years. If you haven’t shopped in her stores or don’t live near one, you can always shop on her beautifully curated website. Enjoy!


Paloma Contreras: How would you describe your style?

Ann Mashburn: My own. I get asked this all the time and I never know what to say. Tomboy, classic, uniform. 95% luxurious basics/5% unique, skewing-towards-costumey vintage pieces or special finds.


{The Original Ann Mashburn Store in Atlanta}

PC: Has living in Atlanta influenced your aesthetic in any way?

AM: For fashion I think it has – we have grown our business since moving to Atlanta, so my fashion life cycle has gone from NY fashion editor dressing (minimal, lots of black) stay-at-home mom suburban chic carpool clothes (button-fly 501s and Saint James) to more of a grown-up business owner who gets dressed for work every day. The weather has had an influence too… It is amazing to be able to wear open-toed shoes almost all year long.


{Ann in her Atlanta Office}

PC: What does your home say about you?

AM: My home is full of my history… a little story of our life. Sid and I have moved around quite a bit and it is so comforting to see the same couch that I nursed a baby on in a past home, now with a teenager asleep on it in a new house. We have a Platner table that our oldest learned to walk around and it’s still in our living room today. And there’s a lot of pieces like that that we bought together as a young, broke couple who were trying to figure out their taste… now it all looks a little more pulled-together, but still has the feel of our first apartment together in NY. Our styles haven’t really changed.

ann mashburn sofa ahl

{Ann’s Iconic Pink Sofa}

PC: Where do you turn for inspiration?

AM: It sounds cliché – but we travel so much for work that I can’t help but be influenced by all the stuff I see on those trips. I have to say, instagram is kind of a game changer for this too since you don’t have to actually go anywhere… though I kind of feel like I am cheating.


PC: Who are your personal style icons?

AM: The fashion editors I worked with when I was Polly Mellen’s assistant at Vogue in the 80s. Many of them are in that great book the Editor’s Eye. Polly of course, Jade Hobson, Carlyne Cerf de Dudzeele… all older women who had such confidence and looked more interesting and cool than conventionally beautiful. And as a result their fashion choices made them look more like themselves. The clothes were enhancers – not distracters! I loved that – it was a real education…


PC: What is your guilty pleasure?

AM: Fritos out of the little snack packs I still put in my youngest daughter’s lunch. I have been known to eat 3 bags in a row.


{The Ann Mashburn Store in Houston}

PC: What trait do you most admire in a person?

AM: Attentiveness/curiosity… knowing when and how to listen well. You can just feel it across the table: a nod, a look, a certain gesture or change of posture.


{Ann Mashburn Atlanta}

PC: Who has been your greatest professional influence?

AM: I have mentioned her already, and bring her up constantly, but Polly Mellen, my first boss at VOGUE. She was 62 at the time, and I think I learned more in those 18 months than in my entire 23 years up to that point. Lots of fire drills and dramatic situations and crises and tears and hard work, but also a killer introduction to incredible artists (Irving Penn, Richard Avedon.. Steven Meisel, Arthur Elgort…) and to hard work and dedication. Really, more than I could have learned anywhere else. She was a complete pro and passionate about what she did, almost to a fault, but in a way I still so admire.


{Polly Mellen}

PC: What is your idea of living “la dolce vita”?

AM: Loving my loves well and appreciating what I have.

Mashburn Girls DSC_0715

{Sid and Ann’s Daughters}

PC: What can we look forward to next from you?

AM: Los Angeles! We are opening a tiny men’s store there – hopefully late summer/early fall. I adore LA – my brother went to UCLA and I have a long history with it… we can’t wait.

sid mashburn dallas

{The Sid Mashburn Store in Dallas}



Go-To Outfit: ankle boots that are a cowboy-chelsea hybrid, blue cropped jeans and men’s-style shirt from my line. I usually throw a blazer over it.

Style Mantra: chic and comfortable – I have to be able to run in it if need be.

Scent: Annick Goutal Eau de Bonpoint (reminds me of my children and now it reminds them of me…)

Piece of Jewelry: Sid just gave me the most special beautiful, red lacquered cowrie shell Aurelie Bidermann necklace… I look down at it every fifteen minutes. It is unusual and fancy and delicate.

Color I Never Tire Of:  sky blue– my favorite shirt color

Flower: peony

Indispensable Design Element: white paint

Dream Project:  isolated weekend house in the country.. like a super-bare-bones A-frame cabin… Sid and I have been dreaming about this since we met and it’s still in my head.

Fabric/Textile: toile de jouy – used sparingly for me – but I adore loads of it, especially when it’s mixed, in France.

Hostess Gift: books.. ideally, but I am always in a hurry so it usually ends up just being a bottle of wine!

Meal: grilled bratwurst with sauerkraut.

Drink: Aperol (the color is fantastic)

Way to Unwind after a Long Day at Work: always a hot bath at end of evening… but only after feeding people… there are usually at least a few girls around, and I actually really love making dinner.


3 Things I Love About Atlanta: 1. All the green & nature in the middle of the city – piedmont park is a dream and a half … 2. The airport is the best of the best – we do a LOT of travel 3. The weather – spring begins in February!

Weekend Destination:  just our pool in the backyard.

Hotel: Hotel Ritz in Madrid

City: Rome

Museum: Prado in Madrid, but the current exhibit at the Renwick in DC is one of my favorite temporary exhibits I’ve ever seen. Amazing.

Artist: Louise Bourgeois

Song that Always Puts Me in a Great Mood: nearly anything Sid spins. We almost always have music going at home and it is like having a private dj.

Prized Possession: my engagement ring

Risk Worth Taking: opening our business in 2007.

Greatest Extravagance: room service… I ALWAYS feel guilty.

Go-To Color Palette: Navy blue. I struggle with color on my line because I could wear navy every day but color sells!

Movie Set Design: North by Northwest. I dream of that big modern house.

I can never have too many… daughters.

Paloma Signature

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  1. I can so relate to her whole style & mantra. We could be kindred souls 🙂 Only I have all boys, well men now 🙂

  2. Wow, THANK YOU, Paloma, for this great post! I find this lovely woman so cool in every way! I especially appreciate her love of toile wallpaper; I wallpapered my guest room entirely in Ralph Lauren’s toile wallpaper… finest DIY project to date. People thought it would be too busy, but it is everyone’s favorite room and always get’s lots of oohs and aahs from our house guests. I could barely afford the paper, so I hung it myself to save money. Hint to those IDY folks who can’t afford both the paper and the labor, busy patterns are easy to hang yourself.
    BTW, I completely relate to her guilt about room service. My husband and I cashed in our Marriott points to stay at the Ritz in New Orlean’s this past week. Honestly, I couldn’t bring myself to order more than coffee in that fabulous hotel…..crazy, huh? Thanks again….

  3. Ann seems so lovely. I love her clothes and have had people in NYC follow me down the street to ask me where I got my dress when wearing her clothes! That never ever happens with anything else, women ask because they want to get what I have on and this happens all the time when wearing her clothes.

    To make Ann feel better please let her know that this happens most often when wearing her Navy! I wish they would make my favorite shirtwaist dress again, because I bought 2 and would buy more. She created the perfect shirtwaist dress! I also get stopped in my gingham sleeveless dress and my Navy skirts. If there was an Ann Mashburn in NYC I would never want to go anywhere else! (Except maybe CH Carolina Herrera)

    I think of Ann Mashburn as an American Carolina: Classic, gracious, and committed to helping everyone look their best.