Whether she's closing on a house she sold for clients, working out at the Jiu-Jitsu studio, or parenting her kids and dogs alongside extended family, Refined Edgy Mom on the Street Lori Strickland has a strong, sophisticated, hard-earned style, all her own.
I am a mom of three, with a 14-year-old, 11-year-old, and an 8-year-old. I am a Realtor with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Towne Realty. Our family owns a Custom Residential Building Company that Alan, my husband, runs with my in-laws; Strickland Homes. We live in Coastal Virginia and can’t imagine living anywhere else. Mack and Hazel, my 2 Chesapeake Bay Retrievers are together some of the great loves of my life.
Beyond my family and my work, I am passionate about training Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, serving on our kids' school board, (which is exhausting… you should call one of your school board members and thank them right now) and helping with an annual gala for Edmarc, a local children’s hospice.
Fun fact: My husband's parents and all three of his sisters and their families live literally next door to us, and we all love it. Seriously, I know it's weird, but it works for us.
Which three words best describe your style? Black, Refined, Edgy
What are your favorite places to shop? Banana Republic mostly. I like that they have dependable and flattering cuts and their sizing is pretty consistent. I know when I order it; it should fit. I’ve also been picking up some cute casual things from Target lately.
Who’s your favorite style icon? Probably Anna Wintour. The irony of this is that her number one fashion rule is to never wear head to toe black, and I violate that… often. But I admire that she found a style that works for her that is sophisticated and refined, and she does it over and over again. A dress with a bold print and a statement necklace works for her, and it makes her feel comfortable.
I like to watch Victoria Beckham and Diane Keaton as well. At this point in my life, I’m finding that style has much more to do with how you feel in the clothes than what you are actually wearing. For me, if I’m in black with an outfit that has some nice structure to it, I feel comfortable and powerful.
What article of clothing/accessory would you not want to live without? I LOVE rings. Statement rings and cocktail rings. In the winter, I also love a good broach. I put them on all my winter coats. I keep a fun collection… a palm tree, an octopus, butterfly, etc.
Which trend would you want to see make a comeback? I really love the style and fashion today. I love that people have more freedom than ever to express themselves through their wardrobe and the style of their home. Anything goes right now, and I love it.
What should NEVER make a comeback? Parachute pants and super high waisted acid-washed jeans.
What’s your best style advice? Find your style. Experiment with what makes you feel good in your clothes. It may not be trendy. Your style might be traditional, wacky, or professional, but once you’ve found it, you can get there with little effort. The payoff of feeling great in your clothes is confidence. That's what allows you to stop thinking about what people think and frees your mind up to do the important work around you.
What fashion/style did you love at the time, but now cringe when you see old photos? When I look back at old photos, I see someone who wasn’t comfortable in her own skin, much less her clothes. I actually wish I would have thought more about what I was wearing and how it made me feel earlier in life. Less following the crowd and more what made me feel confident.
What’s your best style secret? Find a good dermatologist that you love and trust. Though aging is part of our life, we don’t have to give ourselves over to it. A good dermatologist gives us tools to take care of our skin and face, so it looks and feels as good as it can, for as long as it can. I don’t naturally have great skin. Adult acne and aging are always trying to take over my face. Having great skin will NEVER go out of style.
Stilettos or flats? BOTH! Depending on the day and the activity. For work, I’ll usually wear heels. I try never to go above 3” because that’s the height that it starts to hurt my toes. If I’m running errands, or I’ll be on my feet all day, I’ll go with a flat. I also spend 50% of my life in sneakers or flip flops.
What’s your favorite way to spend time with your family? My absolute favorite way is to go somewhere we can take our dogs. Especially the beach or Lake Gaston. There's something about water, especially the ocean, that's grounding for me. In winter, we keep a puzzle on our dining room table. We find ourselves there just about every night. It’s refreshing that there's no screen involved and it's relaxing for our whole family. The dogs lay under the table with us.
What’s been your best family vacation? For sure, Costa Rica. Last year, we stayed in a little mountain town, Manuel Antonio, and a resort there that was perfect. I spent some time in Nicaragua as a teenager, and I knew traveling to Central America would be an adventure for all of us. It mixed my love of the beach with exposing the kids to a new culture and place. We also saw some of the most beautiful places in the world.
We zip-lined through the rain forest, white water-rafted, took a waterfall tour, and put our toes on some black sand beaches. The resort had a sloth sanctuary, and we all fell in love with them. It was also gratifying for me to speak Spanish again. I was relieved to find that I retained a lot of what I learned in high school.
What’s your go-to family dinner? Hamburgers (no bun)! I’ll meal prep and make like 20 hamburgers for us to heat and eat all week. They are exquisitely portioned little patties of protein. I’m still tinkering with what I eat and how it affects my body, but I’ve found that I feel best when I’m eating low carb, getting plenty of protein, and using intermittent fasting regularly.
What’s your favorite family restaurant? Peter Chang… family style Szechwan.
Best parenting advice: GIVE YOURSELF A BREAK. Moms of our generation are constantly running circles around our kids to make them comfortable. No one escapes this life without some bumps and bruises, especially through childhood. None of us are going to do this perfectly, and despite our best efforts, our kids will emerge from childhood with some wounds that we created. We’re not perfect; so why are we demanding perfection in our parenting?
I do not want my kids to experience trauma, but I do want them to have some adversity. It makes them stronger and gives them empathy. Part of the adversity they face is having me for a mom. In my imperfect way, I can not give them everything that they need and want. I can provide them a sense of belonging, and safety, and some perspective that hopefully, they will keep when things are tough.
Parenting true confession: I lost myself in parenting for the first 10 years of it. I spent a lot of time after that trying to figure out what the rest of my life was going to look like. There is nothing more important to me than our family, but I had to admit after some real soul searching that, our family could not be the only thing filling me up. That’s not an easy process by the way. When you have poured everything you have into raising littles, coming up for air can be alarming when you discover how little you know about yourself.
What’s your favorite show to binge-watch? My guiltiest pleasure is the whole Real Housewives franchise on Bravo. It is so bad but SO good. I’ll also re-watch The West Wing when I need something on in the background. Madam Secretary is an all-time favorite of mine.
If you could pick anyone to star as you in a movie based on your life, who would it be? Reese Witherspoon or Tea Leoni.
What’s your favorite beach read? I mostly listen to books with Audible. I drive all over for work, so listening is easy and fills the time. I’ll read almost any book where I can learn something. On a recommendation from a friend, I just started The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks. One of my all-time favorite books recommended to me by my Jiu-Jitsu instructor is The Gift of Fear by Gavin de Becker. In my opinion, a must-read for every woman.
What’s the best song to dance to when nobody’s watching? Anything by Lizzo! At this point in my life, people watching or not won’t keep me from dancing. All 3 kids and I love to dance.
If you could go shopping with anyone from history, living or deceased, who would it be? My best shopping buddy is my friend Erika. I don’t get to see her nearly enough. If Kristen Bell or Michelle Obama wanted to come with us, that would be great too.
What’s at the top of your travel bucket list? In the next few years, I plan on taking the kids to Europe. I want to give them some perspective about time, and what is really old, before I sent them out into the world.
What’s your favorite way to unwind at the end of a long day? The best way I have found to unwind is to involve my body in the process. Last year, I started training Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. A local Real Estate Attorney, who is also a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu holds Realtor Safety Seminars every other month or so. I attended one of these last year, and during the hands-on portion, someone put their hands around my neck and asked what I would do. I froze. I’ve always considered myself scrappy, but in this moment, I had no idea what to do. I wanted to learn as much as I could as quickly as I could about how to protect myself.
At the time, I didn’t know that my body was asking for connection. I started to appreciate my body in a way that I hadn’t since I gave birth to our first child. I felt strong, powerful and capable, and along the way, my body and mind started to trust one another in a way that I don’t ever remember them connecting in the past. Working together; the mind giving the body what it needs and vice versa without animosity. It was life-changing for me.
Then after Jiu-Jitsu, I also like a glass of rosé or prosecco from Scout and Cellar. Their wine is “clean” and they don’t ever add sugar to it.
We love how Lori has found her refined edgy style and clearly calls women to be comfortable embracing and defending who they are, imperfections included. Be sure to follow Lori on Instagram at @Loristricklandrealtor for your real estate and custom building dreams!