Your Style - Vivien Williams

Vivien Williams. (Joe Ahlquist / jahlquist@postbulletin.com)

Vivien Williams says hers is a story as simple and wonderful as this: She moved to the Rochester area for love.

As Williams happily tells it, she met her husband in New York City on a blind date set up by her sister, Amy, who had an ulterior motive to get her to leave the city and move to Rochester. It worked.

Williams' now-husband, Dave Midthun, and Amy were colleagues at the time.

"They were just starting on staff as docs at Mayo," she said. "She (Amy) wanted to introduce us, so he flew to New York and met me. We were married a couple years later.”

Today, Williams says, she maintains an obsession with coastal Maine, but now considers Rochester home — and adores it.

A former KTTC-TV anchor (and now currently filling that role temporarily), Williams is part of the Mayo Clinic News Network, where, she says, she "is honored to be able to tell stories of incredible hope, courage and innovation that happen inside the doors of the best hospital in the world.”

Williams is the co-host of NBC’s lifestyle show "Health and Happiness with Mayo Clinic." You can see it on Hulu or NBC.com.

Please introduce us to your style.

I think my style could be classified as classic cosmopolitan during the week and outdoor casual on the weekends.

Origins?

I’ve lived in several places, from big cities to small towns, so I’ve chosen clothes that can go anywhere. 

Sources of inspiration?

I grew up in Pennsylvania and my mother was always the best dressed in town. While I’ll never have her impeccable style, she’s been a great role model.

How has your style changed with your life?

Style sometimes changes out of necessity. When my kids were little, I wore fewer dry-clean-only clothes, that’s for sure!

How does your style coordinate with your interests? 

I love the outdoors, animals, cooking and traveling to meeting new people from different cultures. I also love fabric, so I like to have pieces that tells stories of the places I’ve gone and people I’ve met. I also wear clothes while I’m not working that I can get dirty and that allow me to move while doing stuff outside.

What do you hope your style says about you? 

I hope my style at work communicates professionalism and approachability.

What do you wear when working and then in other settings?

At work, I wear classic pieces — blazers, slacks, skirts, dresses. In other settings, I’m a lot more casual — jeans, flannels, yoga pants.

What are the most essential components in your wardrobe?

My essentials are black pants, travel blazer, a crisp white shirt, well-fitting jeans, yoga pants, a flannel and a fleece.

What should every well-dressed woman have in her wardrobe?

I would recommend a little black dress, pearls, dark pants, a tailored shirt and an over-sized cozy flannel shirt or tunic for weekend lounging.

Your favorite accessories.

Rings left to me by my grandmother. They are simple and elegant — just like she was.

Do you have an especially priceless sentimental piece?

An antique gold locket pin I wore on my wedding day. Inside is a picture of my dad. He died before I got married. Amy gave me the locket so he could still walk me down the aisle.

Anything surprising in your wardrobe?

Very groovy tie-dyed T-shirts.

Things your family or friends joke about?

Oh dear. Yes. I raise chickens — for eggs and show — and I have an outfit my family calls the ‘chicken lady outfit.’ It’s not pretty, but I wear it when I tend to the chickens. The get-up is super-old jeans, a ratty T-shirt, an even rattier denim shirt and a very old, oversized parka and old boots. If it’s really cold, I’ll also pull on a tattered stocking hat. Yikes!

Favorite colors to wear and not-so?

Blue, black, white, pink, red, gray. I look terrible in orange!

Preferred season in terms of clothing?

Fall — sweater weather is the best.

Has your style become Minnesotan?

Now that I live in Minnesota, I love warm socks! And I sometimes choose practicality over fashion — thus the chicken lady outfit. I wear more layers and have a coat that’s like a big sleeping bag.

Is Rochester’s style changing?

Rochester is becoming wonderfully diverse. I love that people are wearing clothes from cultures all over the world.

Parting thoughts?

Dress for yourself, not anybody else. If you like and feel good in what you’re wearing, you’ll be happier and feel better!!

Anne Murphy is a Rochester freelance writer who has been a professional journalist for more than 30 years. Do you know somebody who’s got special style? Send nominations to life@postbulletin.com or call Jeff Pieters at 507-285-7748.

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