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WOMAN WE LOVE: DONNA CUNA-PITA
Donna Cuna-Pita was the epitome of the Cosmo Girl. She was Fashion Editor and then Summit Fashion Director for six titles for more than a decade (collectively); the woman walked the talk like it’s nobody’s business. Donna is smart, sassy and sexy---a triple threat in the magazine world if there ever was one; she is street smart and easygoing, which is probably why people open up so easily to her, just as how the Cosmo girl is portrayed to be: an older, wiser woman who knows who she is and what’s important in life. In Donna’s case, it’s caring for her family of four in a house that faith built, as she likes to say. It’s not just any house, too. Perched up on a hill, the (mostly metal and cement) modern yet sublimely cozy abode is as welcoming as a home can be to any first time visitor. There seems to be a perpetual draft of fresh air coming in and out of the open layout, almost lulling you to sleep at will. If you follow her on IG @donnacunapita, you’ll be familiar with the nooks and crannies of the living areas and her many plant babies that are flourishing in their respective corners. We were lucky enough to shoot there for this feature and enjoyed a morning of chatting about life, love and the changes our bodies were going through, while ogling at the bag choices on hand. Here’s what she had to say about life changes, wardrobe issues and why no woman should ever let go of making an effort to look her greatest.
How has your fashion aesthetic changed since moving to the suburbs?
My fashion aesthetic has changed quite dramatically. It's a lot more relaxed now. I used to dress up for work, parties, and events but now I mostly dress up for car pool, grocery runs, and weekend plant shopping. I've trimmed my closet down to items I really need and wear. I have a capsule wardrobe now where my mess-of-a-closet used to be. Sometimes I miss the ritual of getting all dolled-up for big events so I just go right ahead and put makeup on, fix my hair, wear a more-bongga-than-usual outfit and then go to the mall. Hahaha!
Fool proof ways to combat laziness in dressing up?
We all have our lazy days or days when we feel blah no matter what we do. For those days I rely on my go-to outfits that I've already got stored in my memory bank. My closet is also composed of mostly the same colors with just a few accent pieces thrown in. Having a general theme going on makes it much easier for everything to go together. Have three fool-proof outfits (work, day, night) you can fall back on when you're not in the mood to make much of an effort.
How does a fashionista survive life in the slow lane? You were so used to being on the go as a former editor/city dweller. What fuels your love for fashion nowadays?
I'll be honest, I was initially confused about how to address the outfit changes that go with moving homes and changing lifestyles. My days are much slower now and I mostly stay home to do writing assignments, save for a few events that I attend in the city once in a while. I thought I had to completely turn my back on who I was and how I used to do things. So there was a time when all I wore were shorts and summer dresses! But now I've realized that I really enjoy dressing up (sometimes), so when I feel the urge, I do it! Whether or not I'm meeting anyone or whether it's the norm where I'm going that day. I used to think I had to change completely, but now I've combined my past and present lives because I realized that that's part of who I am.
Define suburban chic in three words
Relaxed, honest, refreshing
What makes a good bag for you? How important is aesthetics vs function?
A good bag matches your lifestyle and your personal style. It should fulfill your daily needs for storage and ease of wear, but it should also seamlessly meld with your outfits. It should also be well-made! You need both style and function.
What’s your favorite Katre bag and why?
The Camden Market tote is my every day carry-all, match-everything bag. Mine is in a light gray shade and since my go-to colors are gray, white, and beige, it goes with almost everything I already have. It fits everything I need and more. I love that it's locally made and 100% leather. I really try as much as I can to buy local and support local artisans.
Some women fall into the "nag let go" levels. How does one fight that and rise above it (if she already has)? What's your ultimate advice for them?
I think that women "let go" of themselves or start looking "losyang" mainly for two reasons: exhaustion and/or confusion. My advice is to never give up the fight! Because let's be honest here, it will take effort NOT to reach for that loose, shapeless frock that's comfortable and easy to wear but also makes you look sloppy and tired. Take care of yourself. Don't forget who you are. Don't disappear into the tumble of life and its changes. Stylishly stand your ground and own the space and time you're granted with now. You're worth it.
DONNA'S FOOL-PROOF OOTDs FOR EVERY OCCASION
Donna paired a Katre bag for every errand and event she now goes to since moving to the ‘burbs. Here’s what she had to say about her choices and why it works so well with her new lifestyle.
For plant shopping: "The Bayswater for its compact size, various features, built-in wallet and cellphone slot makes looking through plants easy breezy and hands-free."
Carpooling duties: "The Camden Market holds everything I need when picking up my kids from school and doing errands in between. It’s roomy and made of buttery soft leather that feels so luxe."
Weekend bag: "The Bum Bag is the perfect out-of-town buddy with its compact size, hands free factor and stylish shape. It forces me to edit what I bring, taking only the essentials, so I can enjoy myself without worrying about losing anything since it’s securely attached to my body."
Brunch with the girls in the city: "The Mini Piccadilly is equal parts functional and stylish. I like that you have the option to carry it hand held or slung over your shoulder, too. It’s dressy enough for events and long lunches with the girlfriends."
Date night: "The Shirr in oat is the perfect size for a night out with the hubby, which usually consist of dinner and some cocktails. You can wear it a myriad of ways: across the body, the shorter strap around the shoulders or hand-held. My wardrobe is sixty percent white so this is shade is a great complement to achieve the monochromatic look."
INTERVIEW AND PHOTOS Anne Bella Arguelles