Style Profile: Kate Hogan, People Magazine Features Editor

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by Julia Cardi

In this installment of the Style Profiles, we chat with Kate Hogan, the New York-based Features Editor at People Magazine. I enter the Time & Life Building with the unshakeable awe that comes with knowing I’m in the presence of venerable greatness. Dressed in a black printed dress that brings the right amount of spring to the late-winter chill, Kate meets me just inside People’s glass doors with a warm smile.

Despite having a high-level position in publishing’s most cutthroat city and rubbed elbows with some major A-Listers, Kate’s responses come with a down-to-earth thoughtfulness that makes banter with her totally natural. Here, she weighs in on wearing sneakers to fashion previews, the merits of shopping basic, and getting the perfect Vine of Adam Levine.

Why don’t you start out by talking a little bit about what you do for People and how you got started here.

I’m the Features Editor here, so I do a lot of galleries and content around big events. Any awards shows, “Sexiest Man Alive”, “The World’s Most Beautiful” – I’m helping come up with the ideas, organizing everything, and then getting it all from the writing phase through to being live on the site. So a little writing, a little editing, a little photo research; things like that.

Can you walk us through what the typical day of a features editor looks like?

It varies a little bit depending on what we’re working on. Right now, we’re getting ready for the Academy of Country Music Awards, which are on April 6th. So we’ve been conceiving ideas for content – galleries that will get people excited and interested in country music stars. It’s been a lot of editing people and selecting photos that are going to go in the galleries, and keeping an eye on all of our country coverage.

We’re actually launching a country channel that week too – a whole new section of the site dedicated to country music – so we’re figuring out ways to promote that, as well as which content will go to ACM, and which will go to the channel.

[The channel] is more tech-based, because it will just pull in country music photos automatically, so it doesn’t require too much editorial work. My part is just seeding it with content.

Since you’ve been doing the features here at People, do you have a favorite story about meeting or interviewing anyone in particular; any experiences that really stand out?

All the experiences have been so amazing. I probably did the most interviews when I was doing the style stuff, because a lot of celebrities have a makeup line or a clothing line that they’re just dying to promote. They don’t want to talk about their love life, but they’re happy to talk about their lipstick or a new dress they’re launching. So I’ve gotten to talk to Kate Hudson and Jennifer Lopez and some other big names.

With features, the “Sexiest Man Alive” launch was fun. We were all here because Adam Levine was announced on The Voice that night, so I was in here and I had to take a Vine of his reaction on the show. I had to get it perfect and Tweet it, Facebook it, share it everywhere. Capture the perfect six seconds of Adam Levine, and then I was done.

Changing directions to fashion, I know you used to be on that side of things. Can you describe your personal style?

I’m pretty classic, I guess. I envy coworkers here who can pull together five pieces and a cool necklace, and make it work – I’m not necessarily that type. I really just love nice, timeless pieces and prints, as well as solid colors that you can mix and match. And a good pair of heels that you can walk around the city in without killing your feet.

I have noticed I’ve worn a lot of black since I moved to New York; I’m from the Midwest originally. Black is just so easy. You can do anything with it and always know you’re going to look chic; throw on a nice black dress and know you’ll look good in a meeting.

Do you have any style icons or influences; looks you wanted to emulate?

A lot of it is just about being easy. Most mornings I don’t wake up as early as I’d like to (chuckles). Growing up, my mom was pretty basic with her clothing. When we went shopping, it was more for me than for her; I could go to the mall for eight hours and be happy. My aunt is very much like that, so I’d follow her around a lot. She pairs interesting things together in a good way; I followed her lead a little bit. I think the mix of my mom being so low-maintenance and my aunt being more edgy made a good middle ground for me.

Are there any key pieces you’re excited to either pull out of the back of your closet or buy to transition into spring? Well, if it ever gets warmer. 

I love a good blazer. I have them in black, white, hot pink and one print that I can throw on with anything – jeans, black slacks, a dress – and instantly transform the outfit. And you can wear them in winter and spring, even summer on a cooler day. I have a ton of little shells to put on under them with whichever pants or skirt I’m wearing.

Along with that, what key pieces do you think every woman should have in her wardrobe?

Any kind of good dress you can wear to work and then go out to dinner in. Formfitting; not too revealing but also not too covered up. I have this great Banana Republic dress for occasions like that. It’s black with clean lines and cinches right at the waist. You can put on some blue heels with it to make it a little more fun.

I also have a few floral dresses I bought in the winter months that I’ve been saving for spring and summer. One that has this bold purple, pink and green pattern; another that’s cream with bright blue flowers that I’m so excited to finally wear with some nude heels or wedges! I’m a skirt girl, too, so for weekends, I have my stash of colorful circle skirts and easy, throw-on tanks and T-shirts that I’ll throw on for brunches and errand runs and, let’s be real, more shopping trips.

And a nice trench coat, because you can go out and leave your coat on and look chic.

Describe the perfect white t-shirt.

(Laughs) That’s hard. Not too tight – I don’t want to be too “sexy” in a white t-shirt. I like a little bit more than a crew neck. I have this J.Crew one I love that’s not even a scoop neck; it’s just a little bit more than a crew, and has a little pocket on the chest. Something that’s flattering to your chest too. Just well-fitting and soft especially. It’s such a bummer when they start to get a little sad or frayed.

Can you talk about a fashion faux pas you’ve had? Any huge embarrassments?

When I first got to New York, I was working for this magazine called WHERE that’s in hotels around the city. I got to do a little fashion, a little entertainment – a little bit of everything. I got invited to an Elie Tahari preview; I’d never been to a preview before. So I had no idea it wasn’t as fancy as a regular fashion show, but still nice. I had jeans on, and the heel had broken on my shoe that day, so I ended up having to put on my running shoes. So I showed up to this Elie Tahari preview at a gorgeous showroom in Bryant Park in jeans and sneakers. The instant I walked in, I realized how underdressed I was. I was so embarrassed. I was 23, it was my first fashion event, and I just got out of there as fast as I could. 

Lastly, Courtney told me you’re planning your wedding right now. Anything you want to dish on that?

It’s fun! It’s such a process because there are so many details you never would’ve thought about. Dress shopping was definitely one of the highlights. My mom came out from Chicago and we hit something like seven stores in two days. It’s a fun here in New York because there are so many different places you can go; such a range of designers and options. But you have to stop yourself after a while; I think most girls would agree that trying on beautiful dresses for hours at a time can get addicting! 

GET THE LOOK: Shop Kate’s essentials at Goldyn

Dress: Silk, Rachel Comey, $506

Dress: Silk, Rachel Comey, $506

Dress: Viscose/elastane, Helmut Lang, $530

Dress: Viscose/elastane, Helmut Lang, $530

Blazer: Polyamide/viscose/polyester/spandex, VPL, $312

Blazer: Polyamide/viscose/polyester, VPL, $312

Booties: Leather, Rachel Comey, $385

Booties: Leather, Rachel Comey, $385

T-shirt: Poly/cotton, Helmut Lang, $115

T-shirt: Poly/cotton, Helmut Lang, $115

Tank: Cotton, 6397, $125

Tank: Cotton, 6397, $125

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