Style

Beer, Hard Cider, Spring Dresses and a Little Foosball with Caitlin Braam | The Realest

Why should models have all the fun? Each month we’re finding a “real woman”—i.e., of any shape and size—and giving her the model treatment in The Realest. We bring the wardrobe, stylist, photographer and blog editor—she brings her anything-but-one-size-fits-all personality and style—and we all head out on location for an IRL photo shoot to showcase our monthly Dress Spotlight.

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This photo pretty much sums up our day with the lovely Caitlin Braam—a lot of laughing and having a good time around a brewery. But it wasn’t just some random brewery. Those industrial tanks behind Caitlin are an everyday sight for her, since she has to walk past them to get to her office at Two Beers Brewing Co. & Seattle Cider Company. For the past five years, this woman who defies convention has been developing the business and marketing plan for a successful Seattle brewery and cidery. And as of this week, she’s officially been promoted to be the president of both companies. Congrats, Caitlin!

But there’s much more to Caitlin than being an impeccable brand ambassador and consummate host to our crew for this photo shoot. This ex–TV reporter is a Foosball lover, mountain climber, DIY-er, flirty fit-and-flare dress lover and one of the most down-to-earth presidents on the planet. Read on for more about Caitlin and her style, some beautiful spring outfit inspiration and a couple recipes she loves for hard cider cocktails. Cheers!

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A day in the life: “Honestly, there is no ‘normal’ day, and that’s the way I like it. Depending on the day/the time of year, I may be traveling for the launch of a new state selling our products, pouring at a local beer or cider event or giving a tour at our tasting room, The Woods. There’s plenty of email and computer time thrown into the mix, but there’s never a day where I just sit at my desk.

“I thrive on diversity, and the chance to have people taste our products and learn more about our companies. It’s fun, and I think it’s rare to love your job as much as I do. As far as the ideal weekend, I’d spend half outdoors, hiking with my husband and dog, and the other half on a home renovation project. A pair of hiking boots one day, and a nail gun the other, and I’m set.”

Eliza J floral scuba shift dress | Topshop denim jacket | Jeffrey Campbell lace-up flat

FLIRTY PRINT

Chelsea28 pleat print fit and flare dress

_AA_3218-EditOn her style: “My style is challenging at the moment. Over the past 10 years, I have gone from being a TV reporter, to PR agency life, to corporate life, to freelance life, to president of a brewery and cidery. Every single job had different attire, which has left my closet in a bit of disarray. There’s such a mix, and while I have pieces I love, they don’t always find their way into my weekly (or monthly) rotation.

“Working in a production space now, it’s easy to fall into comfy jeans and T-shirts, but I love to dress it up with a great pair of flats, a blazer and some statement earrings. My new goal is to embrace the ‘less of better’ mentality. Invest in a handful of staple pieces I can mix and match, with some accessories and fun standout pieces for special occasions.”

Chelsea28 pleated fit & flare dress | Jeffrey Campbell cutout bootie | Vince leather jacket | Argento Vivo necklace | Spring Street interlocking bracelet

LITTLE WHITE DRESS

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_AA_3101What are your most beloved things in your closet?
I love my Frye boots. My dad, a hippie at heart, told me once that Frye boots were the best investment you could ever make. He owned a pair for years through college and beyond, and they stood the test of time and got better with age. I wear mine year-round, and they do get better and go with just about anything. Then there are my Madewell jeans, which I basically live in. They’re so comfortable and wear really well. If we’re talking accessories, I have a thing for Ray-Bans. A good pair of sunglasses goes such a long way, and their styles are so timeless.

What are you excited about for spring (trends, things to wear, things to do, anything)?
Spring brings a lot of excitement for me, both personally and professionally. Professionally, it means the beginning of beer and cider season! Festivals are aplenty, people are excited to try new things and we see more people flooding into the tasting room. Personally, it means the return of dresses, color and outdoor adventures. Flirty fit-and-flare dresses are my go-to, and a pop of color cuts the grey. Plus, they make getting ready so easy! This year, spring also means the start of training for my husband and I. We’re planning to hike Mount Rainier together in August. Wish us luck!

Eliza J fit & flare lace dress | Frye boots (Caitlin’s own)

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FIT & FLARE

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_AA_3145On what she does with cider: “Definitely make a cider cocktail. Our ciders are dry but flavorful, making them the perfect mixer. I’m a bourbon and whiskey girl, so here are two of my favorite recipes.”

For warmer days…
2 oz. Rachel’s Ginger Beer
1 oz. bourbon
2 oz. Seattle Cider Company Dry
Garnish with an apple slice

For rainy days…
4 oz. Seattle Cider Company Semi Sweet
2 oz. bourbon
1/2 oz. lemon juice
1/2 oz. simple syrup
A dash of cinnamon

Enjoy!

Eliza J fit and flare dress | kate spade crossbody bag | Ray-Ban Clubmaster sunglasses | Miu Miu slipper

RUFFLED A-LINE

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Chelsea28 ruffle dress | MARC BY MARC JACOBS coat | Jimmy Choo sandals | Rebecca Minkoff clutch | BaubleBar necklace

“I always tell people I knew almost nothing about craft beer when I moved to Seattle eight years ago, and it’s true! The craft brewing industry in Seattle is one of the most welcoming industries out there, so I encourage everyone to just dive in, ask questions and have some fun with it. Same goes for cider. They’re such exciting and growing industries right now and living in Seattle, we’re in the heart of it.”

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Images: Elizabeth Rudge | Styling: Tamala Ayres and Ashley Nielsen | Hair & Makeup: Jamyrlyn Mallory

Our thanks to Seattle Cider Company and Two Beers Brewing Co. for letting us invade their production space for the day. If you’re in the area, stop by The Woods for a tasting…and tell them Nordstrom sent you.

—Jeff Powell