CLOSET CRUSH: Josephine Hauser
June 30, 2022
by Whitley Adkins • photographs by Amy Kolo
Born and raised in Charlotte, Josephine Hauser — known to her social-media followers as The Style Hostess — has always loved clothes. “I was a litigation paralegal before children, but I had worked in retail before that,” including at a Lilly Pulitzer signature store in Raleigh while in graduate school at Meredith College, says the mother of three. “My work in the legal field was a lot of long hours, so once I had a child, I decided to focus on being a mom. People had suggested the blogging world to me. I thought, ‘I’m not an author. I make all the grammatical mistakes.’” Once Instagram came along, she started a blog in 2014, sharing food and style tips. “I was creating outfits for myself and others and helping others pack for their trips. Then I became a travel agent, so that’s how the name The Style Hostess came to be.” Follow her on Instagram @thestylehostess.
Comments have been edited for length and clarity.
When was your love of fashion born?
Very young. I don’t remember the exact age — when I could walk, maybe? I would be at my grandmother’s house — I would go upstairs and try on her clothes and all the accessories. When she would have her Christmas party with “500 of her closest friends,” I would try on all the coats, especially the furs, purses and hats of all the guests.
Describe your personal style.
I would definitely say feminine. I don’t buy trendy pieces per se, but I will buy certain pieces that are on trend. I will never try to pull off something that will not work on my body. The older I get, I realize I don’t want to wear things just because other people are wearing them or if it won’t make me feel my best … I’m either really dressed down or I’m dressed up. I’m either in a dress or in my sweats or joggers. I don’t have middle ground.
Do you have any style icons?
Princess Diana, Audrey Hepburn and, more recently, Blake Lively.
Do you have an outfit recipe?
Zero, and I’m very last minute about it, too. I used to plan out what I was going to wear, and then I would not feel like wearing that, so now I don’t bother to plan it out ahead of time. … You don’t have to spend a lot of money on fashion. For me, I hold onto a small amount of clothes for a long time. I like to swap it out. I like new things. I spend more money on accessories I will pass down to my daughter.
Where do you like to shop?
Zara, Shopbop, Nordstrom, and I like to shop locally. I have quite a few of Renata (Gasparian’s) pieces — I love her stuff. Some Anthropologie, Free People.
Do you have any favorite items?
I have one pair of pink flare-leg pants I got at H&M in Amsterdam. I have a Bronx and Banco white dress. I am on the cabinet of Lung Force, a division of the American Lung Association. I wear simple white or black dresses to these events — I feel pretty wearing it. I have a navy boucle coat from Montaldo’s that belonged to my grandmother and a clutch from the 1970s that belonged to my mom
Tell us how your closet came to be.
When we built our house a couple of years ago, I knew I needed a decent-sized space but not too huge, because our house isn’t enormous. I like to buy clothes. I like to buy accessories. I like to shop, and I needed something to hold all of that. In our old house, I had stuff in our closet, clothes in the guest room and other closets, so my things were all over the place.
Describe the design of the closet.
It’s largely the work of interior designer Cameron Jones. We talked a lot, and he started following my Instagram once we started working together. The shoe carousel was his idea. My kids try to get in it and hide behind it. They give me a heart attack — I guess if they can get in, they can get out. He looked at all of my stuff, my clothes, how much I had. I knew I wanted an island in the middle. That was basically it, and he ran with it.
How do you organize the space?
I like to organize by color: the floral dresses, then black and white dresses, then the darker stuff if I am feeling a little moodier. In the winter, the darker florals come to the front, and the lighter florals go to the back. My sister helped with the shelves. She has an eye for design that I feel like I don’t have. I can do it in my house and my bar area, but in my closet, it has to be very functional. I don’t want to be looking around for my things. SP
True to her Instagram handle, @thestylehostess, Josephine loves to entertain. One of her favorite cocktails is the Coconut Mojito. She shares her recipe here.
2 limes, sliced into 4 wedges each
3-4 mint leaves, torn in half
1/2 tsp. agave
1 1/2 oz. Bacardi Limon
1 1/2 oz. Malibu Coconut Rum
1 tbsp. coconut milk
Squeeze each of the lime wedges into a glass. Add the mint leaves and agave. Muddle these ingredients together. Stir in the rums and the coconut milk. Fill glass with crushed ice. Add club soda to taste.
THIS OR THAT
Skirt or dress: Dress
Neutral or color: Color
Patterns or solids: Patterns
Favorite pattern: Floral
Statement necklace or everyday item: Statement necklace
Supermarket attire or work attire: Neither. I’ve never gotten into athleisure, or leggings. So, a night at a nice restaurant or brunch with the girls attire.
Boots or stilettos: Boots
Joggers or dress? 50/50, but I’m a little more dress
Spring or winter: I would actually say fall.
Featured image: Josephine wears Karen Mabon pajamas and slippers by Laines London.