December was a busy month for Giordana Andretta. She celebrated a birthday (36), got engaged to be married, and set up the Giordana Cycling Pop-Up Shop in the former Colony Furniture building on Providence Road, which is open through Jan. 9. Giordana is a brand of Italian-made cycling clothing created by Gita Sporting Goods, a distribution company started by Andretta’s father, Giorgio, in 1971, to introduce North Americans to fine Italian cycling equipment. Andretta was born in Charlotte and earned degrees in business and Spanish from N.C. State.
Q. How has your Italian heritage influenced your style?
A. I find myself drawn to the big Italian designers, like Valentino, Cavalli, Dolce & Gabbana. Their designs pull from the Italian beauty of culture and food. My dad was born in Italy and still buys the majority of his clothing there.
Q. What’s something you remember from your childhood closet?
A. I loved color, so I had a lot of matching outfits. I had a Hornets set with teal and black striped pants and a purple turtleneck.
Q. Was there a piece of clothing your mom finally made you get rid of?
A. Definitely jelly shoes. My mom said, “If one more pair of those break, you are not getting more.” It was a terrible, terrible fashion trend.
Q. What does style mean to you?
A. Feeling comfortable and good, and being able to communicate your taste in art and music through your style. When you meet someone, style lets you know there is something going on with them besides their clothes; that they have a lot of other interests.
Q. When you shop for a cycling kit, what are your criteria?
A. Quality craftsmanship. High-end technical materials that will keep you cool and dry. Basically you don’t want to feel like you have clothing on when you are cycling. What you wear while cycling is a great way to show what team you are on. Here in Charlotte that means supporting someone who has cancer, or a business. It’s really like you are wearing your flag.
Q. What’s your current favorite cycling kit?
A. I love the Pesca, which is Italian for peach, and it looks like an Italian sunrise.
Q. How does your sense of style help you do your job?
A. Being interested in Italian and American designers helps you take the cycling brand and make sure it is current, not always sticking with black, red, white and blue. We bring in ombré color fades, and patterns. At the end of the day it’s just a Lycra pair of shorts, so we have to keep it fresh.
Q. What piece of clothing was a game changer for you?
A. When I got my Louis Vuitton clutch with the limited edition Takashi Murakami on it, I felt I had a real piece of designer-inspired art.
Q. Do you have a favorite designer?
A. I love exploring what is new out there. I like looking at small designers. I love to shop at Boem, Boris + Natasha, KK Bloom and Capitol.
Q. Does what you drive make a statement about you?
A. I drive a white BMW X3, and it is sporty and goes fast but is rugged enough that I can throw in two bicycles, and when we opened this store I put 10 Christmas trees in it. It looks stylish and fun, but when you need stuff done it can help you with that.
Q. What do you look for in shoes?
A. Right now I’m liking an urban look in shoes. I love high top sneakers, because I’m in the sports industry and I go to a lot of trade shows and events, so I’m looking for something with comfort and cool, edgy style.
Q. What have you found?
A. I love the Nike by J. Crew high tops, Superga sneakers, Jessica Simpson’s booties if you want to do a heel. Madewell makes great, comfortable heels. For all the rain we are having I have MOOV boots with shearling on the inside.
Q. Do you favor certain colors?
A. My best friend will always go with blacks and grays and neutrals, and we say if we go to a store together she will always choose black and I’ll choose the random color based on my mood.
Q. What’s a staple in your wardrobe?
A. My Spanx faux leather leggings. They go well with heels, with high tops, you really can’t go wrong. You can do a button-down chambray shirt, or a pretty silky top and go out on the town.
Q. I never splurge on …
A. Jewelry. I wait for it to be a gift.
Q. I always splurge on …
A. Handbags. One of my favorites is a Yves Saint Laurent by Tom Ford with the naturally shed animal horn handle that I love. I also have a small black quilted Chanel handbag.
Q. What hair products do you use?
A. The Living proof line. I find everything I try I like. For skincare I’ve been using Rodan + Fields religiously, and I get lots of compliments on my skin now. I use Makeup Forever from Sephora makeup products, and I love Benefit blushes.
Q. Do you wear a scent?
A. I love all the Juicy Couture scents. My mom got me hooked on those little rollers you can put in your purse.
Q. What’s an item you thought would never work for you but does?
A. Rompers. They are fun to accessorize. Wedges and heels look so good with them, even flats.
Q. Name three unusual things in your purse.
A. I always have Emergen-C packets for travelling, I have a cigarette case that I carry my business cards in from a fun designer in NY called Knowlita; it’s big enough to keep the edges of the cards crisp. And always some kind of food, from a tangerine to a PROBAR.
Q. Do you have any fashion quirks?
A. I keep things too long. I get too attached to things. I would like to be able to purge more often.
Q. Tell me about an essential accessory.
A. This year it will be the Emily Lay Planner. It’s sold out all over the country. My soon-to-be sister-in-law bought it for me for my birthday. She bought it at Home with Heart. It’s a daily planner, and there’s an app that comes with it.
Q. Do you treasure a particular watch?
A. My grandmother gave me her vintage Gucci watch. My grandfather bought it for her in the ’80s, and she doesn’t wear any jewelry, so she gave it to me.
Q. What’s your favorite comfort food meal?
A. Spaghetti. My mom makes some of the best spaghetti in the world, but when we want comfort food, we open a can of sauce and get the Parmesan cheese and eat on the couch.
Q. Do you collect anything?
A. My birthday is around Christmas so I have a great collection of Christmas decorations that have been gifts. And I have a really small collection of bobble heads.
Q. What’s a basic difference between the Italian and North American approach to style?
A. Italians are apt to buy fewer pieces of clothing, but everything is of a high quality, so they always look dressed up. Even the people who sweep the streets in Italy look like they could be going to a five-star restaurant.
Q. What advice can you give to women?
A. Stay independent, but not too independent. It’s good to partner with people in all aspects of your life.