Most seven year old girls can be found dressing up dolls (or the dog, if they happen to have a furry family member), driving their mom crazy by wreaking havoc in the house or slathering several layers of make-up on the first unfortunate person they run into. But Amanda Ross – New York based fashion editor, celebrity stylist and creator of ARossGirl – wasn’t anything like her female peers. At the tender age of seven, Amanda was learning to edit her closet. Her fashion fate took a definitive turn when she and her twin sister started taking staggering shopping trips from their native Detroit to Saks and the rest of New York’s crème de la crème department stores with their mother twice a year. Mother-daughter shopping time was for Amanda what Central Saint Martins and weeks of Project Runway binging are for many other girls: a stairway to fashion emancipation. Always well-groomed and put together, hers was the kind of mother that never went unnoticed at parents’ evening, the kind of mother who upon entering a cabinet of curiosities ends up receiving more attention than the curiosities themselves.
But destined to become the youngest best-dressed lady in the States, there was more to come. Life also presented Amanda with the queen bee of glamorous stepmothers – “whose fashion was more playful and feminine than my mom’s,” stresses Amanda – plus two fabulously distinguished grandmothers. Now, if you were to picture a couple of grannies wrapped in an old floral pinafore, you couldn’t be further from the truth. These were the embodiment of elegant New York ladies, always out and about on the town and dressed to the nines.
“My dad’s mom knew what looked good on her and wore it all the time,” adds Amanda. “She owned around eighty pairs of pumps, pencil skirts, cashmere and silk blouses with no color that she mixed with David Webb necklaces. Her closet consisted only of those things.”
With such a top-class private fashion education, Amanda’s path was written in the stars. Not surprisingly, she went on to have a distinguished career in fashion, starting as assistant to fashion director Ann Kampmann, who had specifically requested another ‘Ross Girl’ (Amanda’s cousin Jane Ross had also worked for Ann at Vogue) at Self Magazine. She was then made fashion editor at Marie Claire and Harper’s Bazaar in New York. Later on, she became a stylist to Hollywood stars, known for her impeccable taste and flair for purple, luxurious hippie touches and big ethnic jewels, as well as a designer in her own right of jewelry and dresses.
“When people talk about beautiful or style, they want to know what I’m wearing or how I put that together – I think that comes down to a certain inner confidence or allure. Alluring women are people who have something that people want to buy or be a part of, but they can’t figure out what it is” asserts our favorite Upper East Side bohemian. “And what is that? It’s a kind of state of mind and a sense of well-being. How you put yourself together is just a part of it.” But what parts of Amanda’s closet make all her looks appear like they magically paired themselves together with a naturally exotic touch?
Straight from the horse’s mouth we heard that cashmere, white shirts and Amanda dresses from her clothing line are the items that literally crowd her closet’s foundations. She is also a woman of prints – the sort of woman we at La DoubleJ sing praises to – with a penchant for brocade and leopard, which results in a feral closet more crammed than certain African savannahs. Among her fiery prints dwelling in her closet are an APC coat, a Valentino cropped leopard sweater, a leopard Valentino handbag, a leopard fur vest and the Amanda dress in leopard, her latest collaboration with Soler. Amanda wouldn’t be the sharp-dressed bohemian queen that she is if there weren’t several kaftans blowing around in her dressing realm. She likes to wear her kaftan paired down and simple “just like Lee Radzwill in a 1976 Vogue issue” where the woman is portrayed in her Manhattan library wearing a cross around her neck.
Honestly, we have never looked forward to aging with books and books only, but now we may have reason to reconsider. When it comes to accessories, Amanda plays on home ground. A few years back, she created a jewelry line with India-based Gem Palace and London’s Gemfields, whose gold flower double dropped earrings is reserved a preferred spot in her jewelry box. One cannot say she doesn’t have her wardrobe game all figured out!
With a woman possessing this much style, it’s only natural that she has the best address book and access to the chicest of chic in the Upper East Side. What follows are her direct routes are her direct routes to oozing class and hanging out in New York’s smartest venues.
Sant Ambroeus — (two words that we take absolute delight in hearing again and again!) this branch of the famous Milanese restaurant was the first to open in New York and is rumored to be the fanciest in the world.
Address: 1000 Madison Avenue
Le Bilboquet — named by the New York Post the snobbiest restaurant in the world, this posh French bistrot would be a great fit among Patrick Bateman’s costly hangouts listed throughout the novel American Psycho. “I have been eating at Bilbo since 1989. I love it because it reminds me of the start of my life in NYC post university and it’s where I met my husband!
Address: 20 E 60th St
Ladurée — “They have the most divine rose latte. It’s pink!” says a considerably thrilled Amanda. “They’re always creating some new macaroon or cake. It’s a great place for hostess gifts and birthday cakes.”
Address: 864 Madison Avenue
Lady M — “Side street cafes are like the secrets of NYC. Environment as well as the cakes are a true delicacy.”
Address: 24 E 64th St
Bardith — Full to the brim with Chinese porcelain and antique English porcelain from the 18th-19th centuries, this antique shop is Amanda’s go-to spot for classical blue and white Greco-Roman plates and serving dishes.
Address: 135 1, 2 E 79th St
de Vera — “I go to de Vera for jewelry and objetes. It’s the chicest shop with the most interesting mix. The owner is a magician, a true genius. It’s like a cabinet of curiosity on steroids”. We’re hopping on the next flight to New York!
Address: 1 Crosby Street
Creel and Gow — “Best cabinet of curiosities on Upper East side. I love to buy decorative objetes for my houses. Everything from taxidermy to natural history to decor and jewelry.”
Address: 131 E 70th St
Zitomer — “They sell anything from hanky pankies, underwear and Folk socks to Curaprox colored toothbrushes and daily drugstore goods.” Where else could Amanda go for her sanitary and drugstore needs if not to this exquisitely upscale New York pharmacy?
Address: 969 Madison Ave
Moda Operandi — “Chic de la Chic. I’m a brick and mortar type girl. It is the best edit in town of RTW, jewelry and table top decor.”
Address: 24 E 64th St
Southampton — where you’re more likely to spot Miss Ross when business isn’t calling too loudly. She’ll stand out among flocks of wiped out New Yorkers as the lady with the most elegant posture (and jewelry).