Story by Rachel Schwartzmann – Photos by Greer Gattuso for The Style Line
“The lack of pressure and the ‘do whatever you want
to’ mentality is one thing I really like about New Orleans,” Juley Le of Upperlyne & Co. relayed in our interview below. “Aside from Mardi Gras, (seriously the best kind of fashion week) people take risks but don’t take fashion too seriously!” A dynamic, cultural and truly authentic city, New Orleans has been on our radar for quite some time and today’s Neighborhood Story will prove why. A creative jack of all trades, Juley has her hand in many projects which run the gamut from blogging, consulting and even running her own shop Montrose. Her endeavors prove that there is indeed a growing creative community within the city, though amidst the beauty she also contends that this creative innovation needs to extend to the many challenges the city faces. “There is just too much potential and people who’ve poured their hearts into this city at risk. I spent a great deal of my career working in education as well as businesses, so I’ve seen the bad and the good,” Juley shared in our conversation below, “I truly believe there needs to be more creative thinking and thoughtful strategy applied to all of the above to develop a city where we can all afford to thrive. That said, I hope to circle my experience back and cultivate this conversation somehow in the future.”
With a thorough understanding and speaking more to these ideas, we asked Juley to show us a few small businesses in New Orleans that she frequents and believes to be city staples. If you’ve been following us from the beginning, you’re well aware of our commitment to fostering and championing the stories of small businesses all around the world – so coupling this with Juley’s thoughtful curation today we’re excited to explore New Orleans through Juley’s lens. In our full interview below, Juley shares more on her personal and professional background, her experiences in New Orleans and as well her thoughts on how she’d like to see the city grow and evolve. You’ll also enjoy exclusive snapshots from our afternoon at each of Juley’s chosen locations captured by Greer Gattuso for The Style Line.
*THIS STORY WAS ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN FEBRUARY 2016 AND REFLECTS UPDATED CHANGES TO THE LAYOUT
Hello! My name is Juley, and I’m the founder of Upperlyne & Co.,
part lifestyle blog, part creative business development firm, as well as the co-founder and creative director of the lifestyle brand Montrose Shop. I’m a self-proclaimed American Francophile. That’s equal parts obsessed with being American as I am enamored by the French lifestyle. I enjoy living a simple life in New Orleans: wandering the lively streets, taking the streetcar everywhere, indulging in baguettes with butter, pursuing markets, spending time with my handsome long-term boyfriend and our two puppies (a Boston Terrier and a Pitt-Frenchie mix!), and experimenting while hoping I don’t mess anything up in the kitchen! My biggest life mantra is building a dream life from the bottom-up sans shortcuts, with integrity, kindness, and grit.
How would you characterize the New Orleans style scene and how has it shaped your approach to personal style?
I don’t think there’s a blanket statement for New Orleans style. How people dress largely depends on where they hang out, who their friends are, or where they grew up. You might see preppy seersucker prints uptown, cool urban wear downtown, or hipster looks in the Bywater. People dress according to who and what they identify with. The lack of pressure and the ‘do whatever you want to’ mentality is one thing I really like about New Orleans. Aside from Mardi Gras, (seriously the best kind of fashion week) people take risks but don’t take fashion too seriously! Because the style in New Orleans varies so much, I’ve definitely been inspired to wear what I want, how I want to, and for my lifestyle! It’s fun to be able to dress up for social events but not have to worry about wearing sweats while I’m grocery shopping.
What is one thing you’d like to see evolve in New Orleans as a city? Do you feel you have a certain responsibility to your city and how do you hope to get more involved with the community?
There’s been incredible growth in real estate, new businesses, some education, and even a few potholes. But, if you’ve seen on the news lately: we’re in the worst financial crisis of our state’s history and our crime rate is out of hand. Politics in education, the police force, influential businesses, and the city needs to get cleaned up and be accountable. There is just too much potential and people who’ve poured their hearts into this city at risk. I spent a great deal of my career working in education as well as businesses, so I’ve seen the bad and the good. I truly believe there needs to be more creative thinking and thoughtful strategy applied to all of the above to develop a city where we can all afford to thrive. That said, I hope to circle my experience back and cultivate this conversation somehow in the future.
Shop Juley’s Look: Burberry lace trench (on loan), Lou & Grey scarf, Burberry blouse (on loan), Zara jeans, Ferragamo Vara flats
[CLICK EACH THUMBNAIL IN THESE GALLERIES TO EXPAND IMAGE]
ADDRESS: 3141 Ponce De Leon St #1, New Orleans, LA 70119
“1000 Figs is a charming restaurant serving fresh, Mediterranean food in the most New York-ish corner of Mid-City. I thought the affordable falafel platters and fresh, homemade flatbread were everything I could want in a Mediterranean restaurant but I was wrong. They introduced me to the magic this is toum, a whipped garlic sauce, that has me licking my plate clean. And, their mission is to grow 1,000 fig trees in New Orleans. How charming is that?”
What is one question you wish people asked you more often?
My boyfriend and I play what we call ‘the humble game’ where we state things we aren’t good at. He would ask, “what aren’t you good at?” I’d reply, “I’m terrible at listening or I wish I could not f*** up poached eggs.” I wish people would ask each other this more! Sometimes we get so caught up with trying to impress others that I think it’s refreshing to own our shortcomings.
For first time New Orleans visitors, what is one thing you hope they takeaway from their experience?
If you’re visiting New Orleans for the first time, don’t stay in one spot for too long. Try to get a little bit of each neighborhood because they each have their own unique personality. And, while you can get good food pretty much everywhere, experiment with Southern dishes as well as the new restaurants.
In your opinion what is the most underrated neighborhood in New Orleans and how do you see it changing?
Mid-city is likely the most underrated neighborhood but the quality of life is ideal. It’s mostly residential but is an ear shot to parks, the lake, and Bayou St. John. They also have great restaurants, including 1000 Figs, and a peaceful pace of living.
Address: 600 Poland Ave, New Orleans, LA 70117
“Bacchanal is a local gem in the up and coming Bywater neighborhood that is most lively on Sunday evenings before everyone jumps back into the work week. Grab a bottle of wine and some cheese when you enter then head straight to the large courtyard to find a seat! There, you’ll get to relax with live music and can even enjoy dinner from their kitchen.”
How would you characterize the collective personal style of New Orleans dwellers and what is one thing you’d like to see change?
It’s developing! I would love to see more brands open up shop here so we could have more variety.
Address: 101 Burgundy St New Orleans, LA 70112
“I’ve said it time and time again: Royal Street is a wonder. Live musicians, galleries, history, culture. You’ve got to spend a weekday morning here, coffee-in-hand, strolling with your significant other. It’s the best free activity in the city if you’re a cheap, lazy traveler like me.”
Walk us through your ideal New Orleans day from start to finish.
My idea day is a simple one that Josh and I do almost every weekend. We wake up bright and early to walk the pups. Then, take the streetcar where we ogle at the beautiful Garden District homes as we head downtown. Grab a coffee from Spitfire Coffee and then roam aimlessly around the French Quarter, where live musicians and art galleries are abundant. There’s usually a pit stop for a croissant and then lunch at Camellia Grill. Finally, we head back uptown and stop by our neighborhood market to make groceries (that’s what we say down south!) for dinner. Finally, indulge in a glass of wine with dinner and clock in some couch and TV time!
What other cities can you see yourself living and why?
I always said there are three cities I would want to live and grow old in: New Orleans, Montreal, and Paris (or any other French city TBH). The reason? Because they each have charm, history, and plenty of baguettes.
The Style Line was built on the premise of discovery, exploration, and transit. With this in mind, if what is your “the style line” in your wardrobe?
My Style Line since the inception of my blog in 2008 has always been about applying a classic, casual, cool approach to both living and style. These three elements balance all that I aspire to feel and makes dressing (and living) both approachable and aspirational for me. And, I hope for others as well!
Address: 809 Royal St, New Orleans, LA 70116
“Krewe Du Optic’s flagship store is the new retail game changer in New Orleans. Nestled in charming Royal Street, the concept is a minimalist and coffee lover’s dream. Just past the retail area, you can pick up fresh Illy coffee from Merchant and just hang out.”
How has living in this particular city taught you to celebrate personal style?
Ask anyone who visits and they’ll surely tell you New Orleans is kind of a rebel compared to other big cities. The city marches to the beat of its own drum. New Orleans has taught me to cultivate that little rebel inside of me.