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What the Team Behind Catbird Wears to Work

See what the team behind NYC's biggest jewelry boutique wears to work.

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Catbird—the NYC-based boutique, e-tailer, and jewelry brand—has a reputation for forging accessory trends and uncovering independent designers that are on the cusp of exploding. One could also argue they've single-handedly perfected the art of ring stacking. Below, see what the team wears to work on a typical day.


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Rony Vardi, Founder and Co-Creative Director, is wearing a Mayle shirt, J.Crew pants, Converse sneakers, and Catbird jewelry.

Pick one: silver or gold?
Gold. All colors of it.

What's the most sentimental piece of jewelry you own?
A Catbird Memory Ring from the first batch we made in 2008, and a Bittersweets' Memento Mori ring that says "death leaves us homesick" with my fathers initials on it.

What's the best reason you've ever heard for a jewelry splurge?
I really love when people treat themselves for no real reason. Everyone deserves a prize, sometimes just for getting through the day.

With accessories, when is less more?
I'm fickle and alternate through phases where I love to pile rings on, and then I'll go for a while where I whittle it down to just my wedding rings and one Threadbare.

After stacking, what's going to be the next major jewelry trend?
I really, truly don't follow trends. For me, stacking isn't a trend, but rather a way to personalize the way you wear your jewelry. Heavy or light, tall or short stacks, mixed metals or uniform—do whatever you want, for as long as you want!

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What are your beauty essentials?
Mascara! It's my #1 essential. I'm not brand loyal and mix drugstore brands with super luxe brands. I recently fell in love with eyebrow pencils. Also SPF—every day, year round. I'm 45 and prone to freckles. Not the cute kind.

What's your typical work uniform?
Jeans, clogs, and a cashmere sweater is pretty much what I wear every day in the winter. Replace the sweater with a tee shirt and you have my fall, spring, and summer uniform. I definitely keep it simple.

Who's your personal style icon, and why?
I really admire Sofia Coppola's effortless style. Generally anyone who looks like they aren't trying too hard is my style icon.


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Leigh Plessner, General Manager and Co-Creative Director, is wearing an H&M dress, thrifted boots, and vintage and Catbird jewelry.

What's the best reason you've ever heard for a jewelry splurge?
Years ago, a girl came into the store to buy a special piece of jewelry to commemorate the big, beautiful life of her miniature pet owl. Her family rescued it when it was found abandoned, and her mother had smuggled it to New York from Brazil in a sock.

With accessories, when is less more? Less belts, for me at least. I don't care for belts.

What's the most sentimental piece of jewelry you own?
My engagement ring. It came into my life into a very special way, and it taught me a lesson about letting go.

After stacking, what's going to be the next major jewelry trend?
Fully adorned ears, full of tiny elfin diamonds and shapes that hug the lobe. And a tangle of barely-there necklaces.

Pick one: silver or gold?
Gold!

What Catbird piece do you consider to be a must-have?
The
Threadbare ring. It looks beautiful on its own, or tucked in a stack, and at $44 for solid gold, a better buy is hard to find.

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What item of clothing makes you feel the most like yourself?
A nightgown paired with ballet flats and a coffee.

What are your beauty essentials?
Dr. Thayer's Rose Toner, Heritage Products Rosewater & Glycerin spray, Ghost Rose solid perfume (I do really love rose), Isa's Lilac Rouge, Belmacz Halo Balm, mascara, black eyeliner, and an eyelash curler.

Who's your personal style icon, and why?
Teepee, my long-haired Chihuahua. She's got the most enviable, au naturale, tumbled-out-of-bed look.


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Anna Mikkelsen, E-Commerce Manager, is wearing an ASOS dress, a Nasty Gal jacket, a vintage hat, Minnetonka moccasins, and Catbird jewelry.

After stacking, what's going to be the next major jewelry trend?
Diamonds, everywhere.

What item of clothing makes you feel the most like yourself?
My glasses. I feel like no one recognizes me without them.

Pick one: silver or gold?
Gold, gold, a thousand times gold.

What's the best reason you've ever heard for a jewelry splurge?A breakup. One time, a customer bought herself a new diamond ring to celebrate her divorce, "before the ink dried." I purchased my Tiny Corsage bracelet after a gnarly breakup this summer.

What's the most sentimental piece of jewelry you own?
An heirloom diamond cocktail ring passed down to me from my great auntie, brought out only on special occasions.

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What Catbird piece do you consider to be a must-have?
Chained to My Heart studs and a Threadbare ring.

With accessories, when is less more?
Always. Our small pieces encourage a lot of conversation.

What are your beauty essentials?
I love Goe Oil—it's absolutely a must-have for winter skin.

Who's your personal style icon, and why?
Dolly Parton. Denim-on-denim and big-hair dreams.

What's your typical work uniform?
Denim and loafers.


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Ashley Clinton, Merchandising & Inventory Manager, is wearing a Frankie Clinton shirt, a vintage jacket, American Eagle jeans, Vans sneakers, and Catbird and vintage jewelry.

What's the most sentimental piece of jewelry you own?
A bracelet that has my grandfather's ashes in it. He was my best bud and it was the most unusual and thoughtful gift I've ever received.

What's the best reason you've ever heard for a jewelry splurge?
Tax returns, duh.

What Catbird piece do you consider to be a must-have?
The Tomboy Ring in yellow gold. I think it's a good way to fill up some space without making things too busy. Plus, if you wear it 24/7 like I do, it looks pretty awesome after being a little worn in.

With accessories, when is less more?
Anything that clips onto your belt that isn't a bowie knife. But, if you mean jewelry, then you're definitely asking the wrong person—in my world more is perfect.

What are your beauty essentials?
Egyptian Magic for everything under the sun. I put it on after I wash my face and I'll also use it to remove eyeliner or waterproof mascara. And this $8 matte Revlon lipstick that I get a lot of compliments on, 006 Really Red.

After stacking, what's going to be the next major jewelry trend?
Yeesh, I have no idea. Chokers, I guess. People are missing the '90s something awful these days.

ashley-catbird-2

Who's your personal style icon, and why?
The entire cast of The Lost Boys, but mainly Tim Cappello. They just have so many lovely accessories.

What item of clothing makes you feel the most like yourself?
White Vans for an 80% chance of rain and a black leather jacket during a heat wave. Basically, I'm never prepared, so my typical uniform is anything that makes me think "Damn, I really should've checked the weather this morning." Also, a leather motorcycle jacket my mother gave me. It was hers when she was in her early 20s. It's
crazy beat up with holes in all of the pockets, but it fits me so perfectly that I can't bear to part with it.


samantha-catbird

Samantha Niedospial, Merchandising and Inventory Manager, is wearing BDG jeans, Deena & Ozzy sandals, a Forever21 shirt, and Catbird jewelry.

Who's your personal style icon, and why?
I'm inspired by Katherine Hepburn's 1940s tomboy style. She has a classic look that can be styled up or down, depending on the mood. Her style is the perfect mix for me, with her feminine physique coming through her masculine attire.

What's the most sentimental piece of jewelry you own?
All of my grandmother's jewelry. Most of it is costume jewelry, but having it handed down for generations makes it sentimental.

What's the best reason you've ever heard for a jewelry splurge?
It's my cat's birthday.

What Catbird piece do you consider to be a must-have?
The tomboy is a piece that is a must-have. I wear my gold tomboy almost every day, and It fits in with any style and jewelry.

What are your beauty essentials?
Mascara and tinted lip balm.

samantha-catbird-2

What item of clothing makes you feel the most like yourself?
Jeans and a T-shirt. I've always battled between a tomboy and a girly style, but comfort always wins.

With accessories, when is less more?
Sometimes having a few highlighted pieces is all that you need. With chunky jewelry and shoes it helps to have less.


Catherine-Cieslewicz-catbird

Catherine Cieslewicz, Senior Graphic Designer, is wearing a Meg jumpsuit, Loeffler Randall boots, and Catbird jewelry.

What's the best reason you've ever heard for a jewelry splurge?
Winter's finally over! Treat yo'self.

What's the most sentimental piece of jewelry you own?
A few years ago my mother gifted me a stunning opal ring that she'd worn for years. She's always loved opals and has a small collection of special opal jewelry— some purchased around the world, other pieces passed down from her mother. This ring was purchased on a trip to Ireland and is a piece she wore often. My mother, sister, and I all have different heirloom opals from her collection, and it's special to me that we all currently wear and enjoy them. I'd like to continue this tradition of passing down a piece that I love.

Pick one: silver or gold?
Gold (rose gold!)

After stacking, what's going to be the next major jewelry trend?
I'm most excited about ear climbers. They're a simple way to create a different look on your lobe, especially if you don't have multiple piercings. There's also a wonderful variety of styles coming out; I'd like to have a minimal bar of gold adorning my ear.

catherine-catbird-2

What are your beauty essentials?
Sunblock every day! Herbivore Botanicals Orchid facial oil, Clinique tinted moisturizer, and Bite or Rituelle de Fille lipstick.

What Catbird piece do you consider to be a must-have?
The Ballerina collar and earrings—simple, minimal, structured gold. The geometry of these pieces lend the perfect balance of strong and solid yet delicate and graceful.

What item of clothing makes you feel the most like yourself?
A jumpsuit! (I actually own six.) Really, any piece that's well-tailored, made of good material, has the right proportions, and isn't too feminine or too masculine.

What's your typical work uniform?
Black ankle boots, dark jeans, muted color/pink-something on top, a Chiyome bag, and a bike helmet! And obviously, Catbird jewelry. I feel like something is seriously missing if I'm not wearing at least a few Threadbares and a pair of Catbird earrings.


dan-catbird

Dan Stenson, Business Manager, is wearing a Feltraiger shirt, J.Crew pants, John Fluevog shoes, and a TRIWA watch.

Pick one: silver or gold?
This is so situation-dependent and it's like picking your favorite baby, but the answer is gold.

After stacking, what's going to be the next major jewelry trend?
Mood rings? I'm new here.

What's the most sentimental piece of jewelry you own?
My wedding band. In addition to being a daily reminder of my amazing wife, the inside is engraved E.L.M. to W.A.G. 1-29-44. Two strangers to me since I bought the ring in an antique/vintage jewelry store, but I've always been curious about the life this ring lived before it got to me.

What's your typical work uniform?
Either these Fluevog boots or Bison Bean Boots, black pants, and a collared shirt with the sleeves up (I have sharp elbows).

What item of clothing makes you feel the most like yourself?
I have a black T-shirt with the phrase "Where Is Brooklyn?" (taken from the cover of a 1969 Don Cherry Blue Note record) that I bought in 2004, and have worn approximately 50,000 times since. Even though it's just barely holding on as a shirt, I still bring it with me any time I travel, since I feel absolutely comfortable in it.

dan-catbird-2

What Catbird piece do you consider to be a must-have?
The Threadbare ring: it couldn't be more minimal, making it at once intimate to the wearer and fundamental to a collection.

Who's your personal style icon, and why?
Joakim Noah, for rocking a bun before—and after—it was cool.


catbird-4

Charlotte Russel, Wholesale Manager and jeweler (left), is wearing a Reformation dress and Dr. Martens shoes. Maureen Peabody, photographer and jeweler (right), is wearing a Forever 21 shirt, J Brand jeans, thrifted boots, and Catbird jewelry.

What's the most sentimental piece of jewelry you own?

Charlotte: A shell necklace my grandmother made for my mother when they were living on Oahu.

Maureen: A white gold and garnet ring of my grandmother's. My mother tells me that anytime she dressed up she would wear it, and I think of her whenever I put it on.

What's the best reason you've ever heard for a jewelry splurge?

Catherine: I think if you see a unique gift that's perfect for someone, it's always a reason to splurge.

Maureen: After my friend's divorce, she paid to get her engagement ring resized for her middle finger. A sense of humor is necessary in all contexts.

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