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How I Shop: Meredith Marks

<p>Photo: Gizelle Hernandez/Bravo via Getty Images</p>

Photo: Gizelle Hernandez/Bravo via Getty Images

We all buy clothes, but no two people shop the same. It can be a social experience, and a deeply personal one; at times, it can be impulsive and entertaining, at others, purpose-driven, a chore. Where do you shop? When do you shop? How do you decide what you need, how much to spend and what's "you"? These are some of the questions we're putting to prominent figures in our column "How I Shop."

When Andy Cohen first pitched "The Real Housewives" to Bravo back in 2005, the concept was inspired by the allure of opulence and a fascination with the unattainable. Meredith Marks, a lawyer-turned-real estate developer-turned jewelry designer, has made a name for herself in that universe for embodying that sense of glamour and luxury — not because of pretentiousness or grandiosity, but because of her knack for great style, her eye for design and, of course, her ability to keep her composure and "disengage" during the most drama-filled moments on "The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City."

"I have a very similar style to my mother — she's pretty monochromatic, doesn't do a lot of patterns, very clean," Marks tells Fashionista. "Her go-to was always Armani."

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Marks' preference for sleek silhouettes and classic tailoring translates into her "Housewives" wardrobe: She's become known for her love of blazers, specifically, even refusing to cycle them out of her wardrobe on a tropical vacation to Bermuda.

"We know I love a good suit — probably my oldest article of clothing I own is my first Chanel blazer," she says. "I couldn't tell you the exact year it was from, but we're going way, way back in the '80s. It's yellow, and I put it on once a year. I love it. I mean, it's crazy, because we're talking about something 40 years old."

Marks' penchant for the finer things in life actually didn't start with clothing. When she was a child, she'd play in her great-grandmother's jewelry box — an experience so formative, it would later inspire her to start an eponymous brand of fine jewelry.

"I went through a period in the '80s, in my teens, where I wore a lot of big costume pieces and it was super fun — other than that, I've pretty much stuck to fine," Marks says. "My mother would wear these Marina B colored gemstone earrings when I was growing up. You could change the drops, so one day they could be amethyst and the next they could be black onyx and give a totally different look. I thought they were the coolest thing I had ever seen."

Ahead, Marks shares more beloved memories of '80s fashion, her iconic crystal face mask, why she thinks Audrey Hepburn would be dressing "exactly like me" if she were still alive and much more.

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"My style really depends on what I have going on. Anywhere from a cute tracksuit to a top with pants to a suit would be my normal day-to-day. I will usually opt for pants, but occasionally, if I have a charity luncheon or something like that, I'll wear a dress.

"I really love denim. My favorite pair is a wide-leg style from Donna Ida, a British brand we carry in my Park City store. They're kind of falling apart now, but they're amazing. In London, she's called the 'Jean Queen.' Every time I wear them, I get comments or DMs asking, 'Whose jeans are those?' Everybody loves them.

Meredith Marks at "The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City" season four reunion.<p>Photo: Clifton Prescod/Bravo via Getty Images</p>
Meredith Marks at "The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City" season four reunion.

Photo: Clifton Prescod/Bravo via Getty Images

"One of my style icons is Audrey Hepburn. Everything about her inspires me. She, to me, is just the most iconic human being ever. Her style is clean, conservative, not anything too crazy — just like my mother. I definitely tend to go a little more wild than Audrey and my mother, for sure, but they're both my inspiration. I also feel like things are a little less conservative today. I feel like, if Audrey Hepburn were my age now, she'd be dressing exactly like me.

"We're given very mild directives for 'The Real Housewives' reunions. This season, the theme was sort of tropical. I don't really dress tropical, even on vacation. So, my long Givenchy red dress was my take on the theme. I also don't like to do a short dress at the reunion, because it's cold and you have to cross and uncross your legs. We don't want any issues with that."

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"One of my favorite fashion moments on the show is the crystal face mask I did, because it was kind of a shock to everybody. Aside from that, probably the pink party dress in season one. Both of those pieces are from Christian Cowan — so, thanks, Christian! Good job. I might need to get a hold of the piece that went rogue at his Paris fashion show last year, that fur ball. Sometimes you've got to suffer for fashion."

"My go-to suit brand changes from season to season. Last year, it was Courrèges. The year before was probably [Alexander] McQueen. Before that, Balmain. I don't know what my favorite is right now... I think I need to go shopping. I can't think of an answer — that means some retail therapy is needed very quickly!

"I definitely tend to shop in spurts, whether online or in person. If it's in person, it's usually because I'm traveling. There really isn't a lot of shopping here in Utah. I shop a lot in France and Italy. I used to shop quite a bit in Hong Kong, but I haven't been back there since the pandemic. Hopefully, I can go back soon. I'm working on that.

<p>Photo: Elyse Jankowski/Getty Images</p>

Photo: Elyse Jankowski/Getty Images

"When I shop online, I know I'm returning half of it because it isn't going to look good on me or look like what I think it will look like. I rarely make returns if I buy something in person.

"I'm all over Net-a-Porter. Other times, I'm all over The Webster or Fwrd. Every season, I feel like they have a different vibe. Some years, I feel like they nail it for me, and other times I feel like they don't. I guess they change buyers, too, and that's probably part of it. I don't shop as much in traditional department stores — I still venture into Saks here and there, and occasionally a Neiman's, but a lot less. I like more of the smaller stores. I get really overwhelmed in the big stores.

"My store is really my go-to at home. I do very, very little shopping in Park City. We're a ski resort, so other than my store, there are really only three other boutiques on Main Street in Salt Lake. It's really shocking how little there is in Utah.

"A brand we carry that I think is really fun is Boys Lie. We've been selling a lot of that lately, and it's just kind of fun and cute — I like its empowering messaging. I also have a section in my store called 'Meredith's Closet,' which is mostly things that I feel like I can't wear again because I wore them on the show.

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"My favorite piece I've been wearing recently has to be my new Emblem earrings by Meredith Marks — shocker. If we're talking about clothing, there's a Rick Owens cashmere and down jacket that I've been really loving.

"My first Chanel handbag was a really big deal. I remember it was $1,000, and that was really expensive back then. It didn't have the traditional woven chain — it had a very unique chain that they only did for a year or two, that I've never seen again. I wish I still had it. Believe it or not, I gave it away at some point. I definitely wore it to death, which is probably why I gave it away.

"I definitely have my eye on some more Brooks Marks pants. There are also a lot of very cool Alaïa long dresses that I think are very chic. And I'm really into Ferragamo right now — they've done some really great stuff lately, so maybe my next retail therapy session will be at Ferragamo."

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