Style Icons

Four local fashion industry experts translate their tricks of the trade, trends and tips for our laid-back coastal lifestyle.

It may seem like a long walk from the catwalk to your bedroom closet, but fashion is not just for the rich and famous, and it’s no longer found only on the red carpets and runways of New York, Milan and Paris. The Emerald Coast is teeming with “citizens of style” — real life trendsetters and trailblazers who own their distinctive style and sense of self. We caught up with four of our favorites, who are by no means celebrities, but who do earn their living “in style,” so to speak. We talked with each of them about their take on the world of fashion, classic favorites they love and faux pas they despise … and just how to translate those tricks of the trade, trends and tips to our lives, here on the coast.

Dennis Reeves

Chase Yakaboski

Dennis Reeves’ high school job in a men’s clothing store properly suited him to open his very own business outfitting the most stylish men along the coast.

Founder/Owner, Dennis & Company, Fort Walton Beach

In the ’80s, ZZ Top crooned that “every girl is crazy for a sharp-dressed man” … and for nearly 30 years, Dennis Reeves, 47, has made a living of dressing sharp.

Reeves first learned his way around a collar and cuff in high school, while on the job at Don Alan’s Men’s Store, where he worked for 20 years. In 2007, Reeves stuffed all of his retail experience in his designer pockets and founded Dennis & Company, which, at the time, was an updated full-service men’s clothing store. (Today, Amy Reeves runs women’s apparel for Dennis & Company.) Dennis explains that by “full service,” he means that he covers all of the clothing needs men may have, from a picnic on the bayou to a formal wedding on the beach.

One of the things that makes Dennis & Company special is that the owner is working on the sales floor every day, bringing all of his experience to make all of his clients look great.

Emerald Coast Magazine:  What makes you a style icon?
Dennis reeves: I’ve been able to grow in this community. My customer base comes here for me, and I’ve been here on the Emerald Coast for 29 Christmases helping wives pick out something for their men.

EC: Do you grab and go, or do you think through an ensemble?
DR: I try to think out my own wardrobe. I have to look like I know what I’m doing, so I have to look like I’m put together. I always have a sport coat to demonstrate how it’s supposed to look. I always try to represent fashion. If you’ve got something with a little edge, people do notice.

EC: What does it mean to have a sense of style?
DR: It’s important that you have some leaders in fashion in your community. And these leaders have to expose their community to new fashion to keep it evolving. Fashion and what we put on is one of the most important things we do each day.

EC: What is fashion, to you?
DR: I could do something else, but I have a love and passion for this business. It’s more than a career, but I’ve invested my entire life in the fashion industry.

EC: How have you seen fashion evolve over nearly 30 years?
DR: The Emerald Coast was always casual, but when Casual Friday hit, there was a dip in demand for dress clothing. Still, there are a lot more options now.

EC: What are some classic fashion must-haves?
DR: It’s changing. Years ago I would have said, charcoal suit, navy blazer, blue and white dress shirt and a necktie. Now, you need a soft sport coat to put on with the “bad” pair of jeans. We’re going softer and more casual.

EC: What fashion faux pas do you most despise?
DR: Not matching your belt with your shoes.

EC: If you have to make a good impression, you will be sure to do … what?
DR: Try to dress appropriately. If the invitation says “black tie,” wear a tuxedo.

EC: If you could experience a fashion flash-back, what era would you want to exist in?
DR: 1988 to 1995 Tommy Hilfiger, for sure.

EC: What do you say to the notion that men don’t shop?
DR: That’s a myth.

EC: What is your suggestion for inspired coastal fashion?
DR: Here you don’t have to adhere to the seasonal rules, such as no white after Labor Day, and you can wear things longer into each season.

EC: What is your favorite fashion-forward tip?
DR: Don’t be afraid to wear some color.

Karin Zimmerman

Tim Skipper Photograhy

Artist/Boutique Owner, Atelier Alcaniz, Pensacola

For 25 years, Karin Zimmerman’s studio has been located on Alcaniz Street in the Historic District of downtown Pensacola. Zimmerman, who holds an MFA in painting and mixed media from Florida State University, named her studio “Atelier Alcaniz,” which translates in French to “art studio on Alcaniz Street.”

In 2011, with encouragement from a local friend who owns an international boutique, Karin began to add select unique women’s apparel, accessories and statement jewelry from her travels to her homeland of Germany and across Europe to her studio’s offerings.

Now Karin likes to say that her Pensacola shop has evolved into a special place “where art and fashion meet.”

Emerald Coast Magazine: What makes you a style icon?
Karin Zimmerman: I’ve found my experience in art and my art background has provided me a visual advantage for what I see and what I purchase, because I pay attention to detail and I have an eye for good design and overall aesthetics.

EC: What is fashion, to you?
KZ: It is an expression of you. A woman should feel good about herself and bring out her best, and clothing can do that. For me, personally, I prefer to have a little kick to things.

EC: What does it mean to have a sense of style?
KZ: It’s what works well for the person and their body. A lot of times someone likes something on a rack, but it may not go with their body shape. Personal style has to be developed.

EC: If you have to make a good impression, you will be sure to do … what?
KZ: Well, it depends on the situation. For a job interview or going out to a nightclub, you make a different statement. So the environment is important, and that dictates what you’ll wear.

EC: Do you have a favorite designer?
KZ: No, but I do go back to designers who demonstrate quality in their work.

EC: What inspires you?
KZ: As an artist, I take from nature, my surroundings and my environment. When you’re a painter, you deal with paint and color. The image is the starter, but the end result is often different. I have an MFA, but I often think, “I don’t know if this is going to work”; it’s a dialogue you carry on and in clothing. There are similarities reflected, and in my case, it’s just that someone else is making the clothes.

EC: If you could  experience a fashion flash-back, what era would you want to exist in?
KZ: I like the ’20s and the ’40s, just before the war. I like the hats and wide-legged pants and jackets. I’m not a straight-laced person, so a lot of clothing that is straight I can’t relate to. I want them to flow. It doesn’t matter if (it’s a) skirt or pant — it has to flow.

EC: How do art and fashion intersect, for you?
KZ: I think when people come in the store, here, they say, “Oh my gosh, this is so different from any boutique.” The paintings reflect colors and are not straightforward, either. They are full of colors, vibrancy and style.

EC: Do you have advice for balancing being classic and staying on trend?
KZ: It’s a gut instinct. We all have different personalities and different moods. It can be balanced by making a different statement with yourself. That’s a good thing about women — we should be able to do that and not have anyone stop us.

EC: What is your suggestion for inspired coastal fashion?
KZ: Here, we are climate oriented. Keep it airy, like the breeze on the beach — fresh and healthy looking. I like fun things. You feel good and you look good, and the clothes are fun.

EC: Share a favorite fashion-forward tip.
KZ: Just do what feels right for you. Get out on a limb. Express yourself.

Cayce Collins

Darris Hartman

Fashion designer, Destin

Cayce Collins has always been creative, and she began sewing around the age of 8. After the birth of her children, Cayce began designing and sewing full-time out of her home studio. About eight years ago, she was featured as a “mompreneur” on, and her line, CayceCol, went viral, which launched her name as a designer.

In 2016, Cayce was named a South Walton Fashion Week emerging designer finalist. Her love of the coastal climate, obsession with functionality and attention to detail led her to design a whimsical swimwear-and-resort line that she says is “made for sea-loving girls with sandy toes and salty hair.”





Emerald Coast Magazine: What do you say to women in terror of the swimsuit season?
Cayce Collins: I am a mom, and I have given birth to two children. I say embrace your body. Find something you’re comfortable in and enjoy the company of others.

EC: What is fashion, to you?
CC: It’s so personal. I have a business degree in marketing from Florida State University. I learned how to sell things to other people, so I feel, now, what I’m doing — fashion — it’s the complete opposite. I need to not pay attention to social norms and just feel it.

EC: What does it mean to have a sense of style?
CC: I think there is a lot of confidence, a little of bucking the system and making your own way (and), at the same time, incorporating familiar elements in a creative way.

EC: What are your classic fashion must-haves?
CC: A denim shirt. It can be dressed up, down, tied, worn open. I’m a big fan of bracelets; I always have an arm party going on. I have my staple bangles — they go with everything.

EC: Share a closet makeover must-do.
CC: I recently did this: I went through and chose everything that made me feel special and that I loved, and I try to wear those as often as possible. And I organize everything by color.

EC: What fashion faux pas do you most despise?
CC: I try to celebrate everyone’s individuality, but I’m getting closer to 40 now, and when I see ladies with leggings that are too tight or worn with a shirt that’s not long enough … Ladies I know you can do it: Put on that denim shirt.

EC: Do you have a signature accessory?
CC: Yes, I carry a fabric bag by Nena & Co. Proceeds help women in Guatemala. I love a garment or piece with a good cause behind it.

EC: If you have to make a good impression, you will be sure to do … what?
CC: Have nice posture, be covered up and be confident. It can outshine any kind of a bad outfit.

EC: Who is your favorite designer?
CC: Right now, Alice McCall. She’s like a polished Bohemian.

EC: What inspires you?
CC: I’m really inspired by music. My husband and I go to see a lot of live music, and I like to see Festival fashion.

EC: If you were a “look,” what look would you be?
CC: A gypsy-mermaid-mom!

EC: If you could experience a fashion flashback, what era would you want to exist in?
CC: I don’t dress this way, but I love the tailored, polished look of the late ’40s and ’50s. Everyone was so well-dressed when they left the house. They looked like they were going to meet the president. Now you get on an airplane and people are in pajamas.

EC: What’s hot for 2017?
CC: There’s been a dissension into ’90s fashion of late, but hopefully it won’t last long.

EC: What is your suggestion for inspired coastal fashion?
CC: From a swimwear stand point, people are going to be moving, so their clothing needs to be functionally fitting, so you can do your stand-up paddleboarding, surfing or swimming or even just walking on the beach.

EC: Share a favorite fashion-forward tip.
CC: I’m really into tucked-in shirts right now. You look polished, finished and pulled together.

Kim Brundage

Christine Mitchell Photography

Stylist, Destin/Miramar Beach/Santa Rosa Beach

Nearly 17 years ago, Texas native Kimberly Brundage and her husband, Chris, packed up their belongings and their first-born child and moved to Destin. Kimberly, who graduated from Ohio State University with a degree in fashion design and product development, partnered with her best friend to open the first of their two women’s boutiques in Destin Commons and The Village of Baytowne Wharf.

The successful duo handled every aspect of the business, from merchandising and events to shopping for the store at every market from New York to Los Angeles. Now, the wife, carpool expert and mother of two teenaged girls has chosen to channel her passion for fashion and her
23 years of experience into another successful business of her own: Style by Kimberly, which offers a variety of wardrobe services to clients at affordable prices.

Emerald Coast Magazine: How do your clients feel after a consult or closet makeover?
Kim Brundage: The biggest takeaway people have is a feeling of a weight lifted. I make it fun, and they are inspired again. … (I’m) taking (away) some of the scary rules and debunking these style myths.

EC: Are you a style icon?
KB: No, I think I’m an accidental stylist. I’ve had 23 years of really listening to women of all sizes and hearing them. So these are tips and tricks of the trade that I’ve learned, and (I’ve seen) what works and doesn’t work. We all get in ruts and need a fresh perspective.

EC: As a closet makeover expert, what is the most important must-do?
KB: Getting real with your clothes and letting go and getting rid of all the clutter in the closet. Why do we have eight white T-shirts? Get it down to two.

EC: What fashion faux pas do you most despise?
KB: Showing too much skin. It’s so unnecessary, and it’s not flattering and unfortunately, you see it in every age group. Right now the “cold shoulder” is in, and that’s a great area. It’s a way to be sexy but classy.

EC: If you have to make a good impression, you will be sure to do … what?
KB: Have nice shoes. Shoes can really make or break an outfit.

EC: What will you never part with?
KB: Cowboy boots. Maybe it’s the Texas in me, but I just can’t give those up. Whether they are in style or not, they are always in style for me.

EC: Do you have a favorite fashion color?
KB: Black. You just can’t go wrong. Black makes anything cool, and it’s a how-to guide to look expensive.

EC: Do you have a favorite designer?
KB: Diane von Furstenberg, and the reason why is because you can be curvy, and it’s OK. She brought back and introduced the “wrap dress,” and I haven’t met one person who can’t pull off that style.

EC: If you were a “look” what look would you be?
KB: I would not be a fruit! A lot of stylists tend to put people in categories of apples, bananas and pears, but that’s not what I am. I don’t want to be classified as one thing. I say, chuck all that out, because there are exceptions to everything.

EC: Do you have advice for balancing being classic and staying on trend?
KB: Jewelry. You can keep your classic wardrobe, and then you can introduce a trend with an accessory. It’s an inexpensive, easy way to be on-trend without investing a lot.

EC: Do you have a favorite fashion-forward tip?
KB: I think a lot of people are intimidated, but there are great ways to wear leather for all ages and be okay. You can “leather” here, in Florida, in small pieces.

EC: What is the most common fashion myth you encounter?
KB: The biggest myth to debunk is people thinking stylists are only for celebrities on the red carpet. Everyone can do it. I dress real people in real-life ways.

EC: What’s hot for 2017?
KB: You! Everyone’s different. We have so many designers and jewelry artists in our own backyard. Go to your local boutique and look at what they have.

Want to be a style icon?
Start by adding these boutiques and shops to your must-visit list.

  • Alys Shop, Alys Beach
  • Apricot Lane, Destin Commons/Destin
  • Destin Threads, Destin
  • Today’s Boutique, Destin
  • Dennis & Company, Fort Walton Beach
  • Nicole Paloma (Monet Monet), Grayton Beach
  • Barefoot Princess/Island Clothiers, The Village of Baytowne Wharf/Miramar Beach
  • The Dressing Room Boutique, The Market Shops/Miramar Beach
  • Sirens, The Market Shops/Miramar Beach
  • Teena Haven, Miramar Beach
  • Wren’s Village Boutique, The Market Shops/Miramar Beach
  • Coastal Casuals, Pier Park/Panama City
  • Déjà Vu, Seaside & Pier Park/Panama City
  • Liz and Jane Marketplace, Panama City Beach
  • Lizard Thicket, Pier Park/Panama City
  • Ophelia, Seacrest Beach/Seaside
  • Mercantile, Seaside
  • Willow, Seaside, Rosemary Beach, 30Avenue/Inlet Beach
  • Atelier Alcaniz,  Pensacola
  • Lee Tracy’s, Pensacola
  • Scout, Pensacola
Categories: Citizen of Style