Patti Tracey was born in New York City and raised in Farmingdale, on Long Island. It was the best of both worlds, she says: She walked to school and took field trips to Manhattan museums, which spawned her love of art. Tracey earned a B.A. in business and English at UNCC, a J.D. from Wake Forest, and is also a CPA. She works as a self-employed mediator/arbitrator. She is married to Chris Hudson and has two sons, Drew and McKenzie. Tracey serves on the board of the Mint Museum of Craft + Design, and is a past president of Women Executives. She and her husband have private pilot licenses.
Q. Can you describe your style?
A. Tailored and classic and sophisticated. I like to wear clean lines.
Q. What colors do you prefer?
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A. I love color, but I don’t wear a lot of bright colors because they don’t look good on me. I’m from New York and I love black. When is black not appropriate? I love that whole winter white look, and also a pretty, soft green.
Q. What’s the first piece of clothing you remember wearing?
A. I was flower girl in my mother’s cousin’s wedding, and I had an emerald green silk dress and I had a white muff. It was a winter wedding and I was 5.
Q. How does your sense of style help you do your job?
A. Being a lawyer it helps me appear to be competent and approachable, but have some level of authority. Being a mediator I am a third-party facilitator, and I want the participants to be comfortable with me, so I wear clothing that is approachable and friendly, but nothing too strict or too flashy.
Q. Tell me some of the designers in your closet.
A. Rag & Bone, Ralph Lauren. For pants, I am tall and have really long legs, so I like Theory and Vince and Incotex.
Q. Where do you shop?
A. I always go to Sloan and Step. I like Coral on East Boulevard; I got a really nice Issa knit from London there. I like Capitol for a splurge. I love Neiman Marcus, TRC for women, and Nordstrom is good, too. I also get some things from W by Worth. But I’m a bargain-hunter. I wait for a store that I like to have a sale, and see what they’ve got.
Q. What purse are you carrying?
A. It’s a Rebecca Minkoff. It can be a cross-body or a clutch. It has good storage, and it’s white with black trim.
Q. What odd things are in your purse?
A. A tape measure and a small pocketknife.
Q. Are you loyal to any products?
A. I’m loyal to my hairdresser. Her name is Cindy Spease Moore at New Creations uptown. She’s been my stylist for 30 years. I use sunflower oil after showering. It absorbs quickly, leaves no residue and does not clog pores.
Q. What scent do you wear?
A. I wear two. Old-school, I have Bill Blass, which I’ve had since I was a teenager. For dressier things I like 24 Faubourg by Hermes.
Q. Where do you buy evening bags?
A. Mary Norton owns a store called Moo Roo in Charleston, and I got a few bags from her. I have a basket-like one that was my mother-in-law’s from the 1960s. It’s a fun vintage look for the summer.
Q. What’s the last thing you bought?
A. I bought this fabulous dress at Capitol which is a Chloe: It’s tasseled silk, in dark gold.
Q. Where do you buy your jewelry?
A. Sloan. Our Place has some fabulous jewelry. I bought some things at Red Sky Gallery, and The Mint Museum Shop has great art jewelry. I tend to dress more conservatively so I like big bangles, and fun earrings because that can really change your look from day to evening.
Q. Do you like particular brands of shoes?
A. I like Stuart Weitzman because they fit me well. I really miss Bob Ellis. I have some Joan & David Shoes. I love boots. I’m thrilled that they are back in style.
Q. What’s your first choice in flowers?
A. I really love tulips.
Q. Tell me a few artists whose work you admire.
A. Romare Bearden is one of my favorite artists. I love Matisse. I love glass art, I have a Dale Chihuly. I also like glass artist William Morris, and North Carolina glass artist John Kuhn. I love and collect North Carolina pottery. I like Ben Owen’s work, and also Michael Sherrill from Bat Cave.
Q. Do you have any fashion role models?
A. I really like a menswear look, with a tailored jacket and pants, and brogue shoes, like Katharine Hepburn wore in the ’40s. Grace Kelly always looked elegant. Gwyneth Paltrow looked fabulous at the Academy Awards.
Q. Do you have a pet peeve?
A. Bad posture.
Q. What was your biggest splurge?
A. I bought a gown at Capitol by Andrew Gn for the opening of the Mint Museum. It is one shoulder, and the fabric drapes into pleats, and it’s a medium gray color with a rhinestone banding around the waist.
Q. Your best bargain?
A. A black leather jacket that I got at Sloan that was 90 percent off retail.
Q. Do you have a prized possession?
A. My Sandra Enterline necklace that is made of oxidized sterling. My husband bought it for me from the Mint Museum auction.
Q. Where do you find inspiration?
A. In nature, in art and music, my family. From my children, who are wonderful people.