Introducing Hardie Cobbs: Founder of A Year in Style

There’s lots of chatter about “aging gracefully” but no one is working harder at helping us do it than Hardie Cobbs.

I (Jo) met Hardie 10 years ago when she and her husband Charles, a college friend, relocated to Seattle. Hardie is a force of nature who loves to connect and entertain. One of my first interactions with Hardie was at her beautiful home, on the occasion of her 50th birthday.  She’d lived in Seattle for about 5 minutes and already had a full house of friends and the BEST hors d’oeuvre waiting for us at her front door.  I wanted to hate her immediately, but needed to get the recipe first! (Here is the recipe – you are welcome!  Take a ruffle potato chip, top it with a piece of smoked salmon, a dollop of creme fraiche, and finish it with a sprig of dill.  Make MANY because they go quickly. You can’t beat a hors d’oeuvre based on a ruffle potato chip!)

Hardie launched her business, A Year in Style (AYIS), in 2020. She is on a MISSION to broaden the conversation around aging by celebrating style at every stage of life through the language of style. AYIS/Hardie is many things!

  • She is a one-on-one fashion coach to women ‘of a certain age’ who want to find and embrace their style.
  • Her website contains monthly tips on Personal Style, Interiors, Lifestyle, and Beauty. It also features Blogs on Finding Your Style, a Marketplace for shopping her finds, and information on her 1-on-1 coaching.
  • I love her Instagram – @ayearinstyle – which has inspirational style tips.
  • She also offers custom shopping/lifestyle trips to Paris, and
  • She is about to launch a new women’s Inner Circle membership community as well!

I sat down with Hardie over lunch (no Ruffles this time…) and got the scoop on what she’s up to and how she thinks about women, aging, and style.

What prompted you to start A Year In Style?

Several years ago, when I went into surgical menopause, I noticed the overwhelming signs of aging rapidly appearing. I knew I didn’t want to just give up, but also knew I didn’t want to go all out fighting aging either. I wanted to be in a relationship with aging. To embrace it and do it well.

I looked for help, but all I could find were fancy stylists concerned with dressing me in a ‘look’. I wanted more. I wanted to know how I could age as best I could BOTH on the inside as well as the outside. Since I couldn’t find what I was looking for, I became the solution to the problem.  I found the Style Coaching Institute in London and off I went. I’ve never looked back.

What is your goal with AYIS?

Helping women feel confident about aging and about how they present themselves is the most poignant way for me to support women in this time of life. I want to reach more women.  I believe in what I do.  It works, and I want to get that message out and build a community.  My clients want to be around other people who want to age the same way.  They don’t want to fight it.  I want to build community and spread the word, with more of us working to change the narrative.

This also has a ripple effect.  If we show up and age well, the younger generation won’t look at aging as terrible!

Tell me about your 1-on-1 Style Coaching:

The STYLE IDENTITY PROGRAM is a 6-week transformational one-on-one process that takes you from your never-ending style rut to a confident and inspired way of living.

We start with the inner – how are you showing up and does it align with how you want to live? We explore your authentic personal story and how to bring that into your look to be the authentic you.

We do a body analysis to uncover your unique body geometry and characteristics and learn how to dress your body.  We’ll look at colors and contrasts that reflect your own unique style identity. If using color is scary, we can start small with a scarf and work from there. And we will do a wardrobe edit!  By the time I’m in your closet, you’ve learned a lot and have already started to edit.

After 6 weeks, I give you a comprehensive manual outlining your style, shapes, cuts, colors, patterns, etc. and I leave you with a guide to create outfits as well as a clear definition of your style identity to help guide future purchases.

How do you approach clients?

My approach with my clients is to AGE GRACEFULLY, with intention and style. I believe that we can age gracefully and with intention by making time for ourselves each day, staying connected with ourselves, knowing what we are trying to express, knowing how to dress our body shape and lines, and knowing what colors work in harmony with our coloring. Who doesn’t want that?!

How do you approach getting dressed?

You have to be aware of how you are feeling. When faced with a closet full of clothes, it’s not about ‘how do I want to look’ … it’s about ‘how do I want to FEEL’. When you feel good, you have confidence and you look the way you want to look. I’ve learned that clothes are there to help you. Use clothes for how you want to feel. 

Tell us about your “work” trips to Paris??

Everyone knows that I love Paris! I’ve built up a community of people in Paris that I love to work with so it just came naturally that I started taking clients there. I’m taking several women again this October.  Every client wants something different and no one client has the same experience which is why these 1:1 excursions are so sought after.

Some don’t want to shop, they want to be there with someone who knows the city and can show them around.  Others are there to shop and I know where to go to curate a scent or have shoes custom-made.  I can work with any kind of budget – it doesn’t have to be expensive.  It’s just the experience of being there – it could be lunches out, long walks, dinners at night, a jazz concert, etc.  Everyone wants to be in a city with someone who knows it. We’ve walked around Montmartre learning about history and just looking.  I love taking clients to Clignancourt – it’s a hard place to go if you don’t know it.  In the end, my extensive Parisien experience cuts out the trial and error.

What is your perfect day in Paris?

My perfect day in Paris is to walk, walk, walk.  I like to go to the opposite side of town and just start walking and whatever happens happens.  When I get back to where I’m staying, I have a glass of champagne and some ruffle potato chips.

Right of Left Bank?

Left, but . . . .

Tell us about your Paris handbook.

Over the years I have seen a Parisian guidebook or two, and they are usually unorganized, overwhelming lists of places without much insight or thought. I only recommend places I’ve tried myself that have made it to the top of my list. This way you will not get overwhelmed with 432 shiny new things to try. Link here for Hardie’s Paris handbook!

I hear you have a new program up your sleeve? 

I’m just launching the Inner Circle program. It is membership in a vibrant community of women 50+ who are focused on living confidently in their second act. We will discuss style, aging, interiors, beauty, wellness, women’s issues, and more. It will include 2 calls a month with me and access to guest speakers who will talk about aging, skin care, styling, and much much more!  I’m so excited to get this going.

 How has working on AYIS changed you:

AYIS has given me a sense of purpose that I didn’t have outside of my family.  What I’m doing is making a difference in women’s lives. I feel so honored that my clients feel safe with me, that they can tell me things, and that I can give to them in this way.

Hardie’s FabList of Style Tips:

  1.   Be confident in being you
  2.   Develop your unique personal style
  3.   Know how to dress your body shape
  4.   Know what colors make you look radiant
  5.   Treat all people kindly
  6.   Create an inviting and interesting home
  7.   Let your interiors tell your story
  8.   Stay curious and always be learning
  9.   Write letters to your loved ones on your signature stationary, often. (Sugar Paper)
  10. Learn how to be a wonderful conversationalist.

What was Hardie wearing and what are her latest buys?

When I showed up for lunch at Hardie’s she was wearing the following.  She hadn’t slept well the night before so she said she dressed to feel good!

Pants by Nili Lotan.

Sweatshirt by Rachel Covey.

House Clogs:  Madewell.

Latest Buys:

To connect with Hardie, send her an email at hardie.cobbs@ayearinstyle.com and follow her on Instagram at @ayearinstyle.


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