Magazine

Meet Rosemary Vogt

In honour of International Women's Day, Grayes will be dedicating the month of March to celebrating women. We will be posting a series of interviews featuring inspiring Grayes women driving change.

Tell us about your career journey.

I grew up in a rural environment that espoused traditional female roles. I married young, had three children and supported my husband’s business endeavours. I embarked on a business endeavour of my own (a children’s clothing boutique) and volunteered in my children’s schools, church and the local library. A recurring theme in my life was interest in education, and I completed an undergraduate in education in 1999, followed by a Masters degree in 2011 and PhD focusing on leadership and administration in 2016. Along the way my marriage ended, connections to all my reference points were compromised or severed and I had only my internal drive to propel me forward toward my goals. Currently, when most of my age cohort has retired, or is retiring, I have embarked on a tenure track position at a university in my community where I teach social science courses centered on organizational leadership and organizational behaviors in a business school.

Tell us about your personal style and how it has evolved over your career.

I have always favored a pared down minimalist look long before it seemed to be fashionable to do so. At some points in my personal as well as professional career people make derogatory remarks about my penchant for simplicity in connection to my Mennonite family roots. Ironically, my mother’s style was much more chic than mine with a touch of artsy, yet she imposed a tailored look on me with dark pleated skirts, crisp white blouses and pleated school girl tunics. While I did not always appreciate her projections on me, they influenced the development of my personal style, including how I would dress in my professional life. I still dress much the same minimalistic way as I did when I started my career, although I generally feel more freedom in expressing that now. Not so long ago, a well meaning fashion stylist in my community informed me that the polished blazer look was passé and that I needed to modernize with multiple layers of pieces and accessories. Although I never followed her advice, I struggled with the image of self I was projecting through my choice of clothing and now feel vindicated that the minimalist look has gained momentum and that Grayes as a recent entrepreneurial upstart is championing that look.

What's the best style advice you've ever received? What's the most important piece of style advice you would offer young businesswomen?

During my early thirties I became involved with a modeling agency in Winnipeg, doing varies print and media advertising as well as completing a series of classes on hair, makeup, runway and fashion. During one of the workshops the instructor told us to peruse fashion magazines for looks or styles we liked and create a vision board to guide the development of our style. For years I had a style vision board in my walk in closet, but now I keep Pinterest boards. This is probably the best style advice I have ever received as it has played a key role in the formulation of my personal style.

The most important style advice that I would offer young businesswomen is to pay attention to their intuition for what feels right and what does not. True, sometimes we need a little push beyond our comfort level, but that push still needs to align with our personal selves in some fundamental way. You need to feel authentic in your clothes and when you feel authentic, you are much more likely to own it.

What items of clothing or ‘looks’ make you feel the most powerful and like your most authentic self?

I really like a well constructed blazer that pulls on easily and feels great. It makes me feel powerful and like my authentic self. There is no substitute for that.

What do you love most about the Grayes brand?

To list them in order of importance, I would place Canadian made, locally owned at the top of this list. I am all about supporting local; I choose businesses and services in my neighborhood or quadrant of the city. I am a prof in a school of business that encourages entrepreneurship, innovation and resilience in community. When I discovered Grayes, I decided to explore their product(s) to give them a chance because they are Canadian, and supporting fledgling Canadian entrepreneurial endeavors is important to me. Now that I have discovered a quality line of clothing, I want to support them as much as possible, because I want to play my part in fostering their success.

What's your favourite Grayes piece and why? 

I discovered Grayes a few months ago and have since purchased two Blazer Dresses, one in grey and another in black. These are go to pieces in my closet two to three times a week. I really enjoy the Blazer Dress because it is well made with quality fabric that feels polished and professional.

What is your philosophy when it comes to your wardrobe, and particularly your work wardrobe?

Less is more. I have always embraced the uniform method of dressing generally due to limited resources and penchant for quality clothing. Whether choosing pieces for my work wardrobe or personal wardrobe, I don’t want to spend a lot of time wondering about what to wear. I want go to pieces in my closet that I can reach for with minimal forethought, put on, look stylish and feel great.

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