My Style: Gabi Lee, co-owner of the Sentimentalist

The local stylist is all Atlanta, all the time
Gabi Lee, co-owner of The Sentimentalist
Gabi has an eye for vintage: “I look for the caftan in the corner no one wants.”

Photograph by Ben Rollins

Gabi Lee’s Atlanta roots run deep: Her indie bridal shop, the Sentimentalist, sits on Westside land that was part of her family’s dairy farm in the 1870s. Lee, 30, founded the shop in 2013 with her mother, Krista, after working for Portland designer Elizabeth Dye. The shop stocks vintage and handmade gowns that buck bridal norms: capes, watercolor hues, and modern separates. “I think my style, and the style that we carry here, is equal parts comfort and costume,” she says. “Give me a bustier, or give me full-on caftan.”

Shopping small (or not at all)
Last year I went 365 days without purchasing any apparel for myself. I committed the year to learning to clean and mend the pieces I already have. I don’t buy clothing unless I literally know the hands that sewed it.

Vintage era
Currently, the late ’70s and early ’90s: wrap skirts, Danskin, leotards, jumpsuits, natural hair, clean makeup, Stevie Nicks, and Carole King.

Hype talk
I represent Atlanta head to toe. When I’m in New York or L.A., I literally carry Fossil & Hide and Amber Casciano [stylist at Melrose & McQueen] cards and pass them out when I’m asked about my pointy jewelry or red hair.

Local designer
Megan Huntz. I love the minimalism with modern lines and simple, neutral pattern play. To be here making your pieces in the city, employing people in my community, and I can buy my clothes from you? That’s the way it should be.

On fashion “rules”
The best thing you can possibly do for yourself is to wear the things you feel good in. You’d never tell a five-foot curvy girl to wear a tent dress, but guess what? I look good.

Passion projects
I’m on Liliana Bakhtiari’s campaign for Atlanta City Council, I’m with Bee Nguyen’s campaign for Georgia House District 89, and I work with Empowering Refugees to befriend and help support Syrian refugee families.

Mother-daughter style
We share a passion for detail and a love for old architecture, antique furniture, ballet, theatre. We have totally different aesthetics, but I won’t pick out an important outfit without her opinion.

Jennifer Behr earrings
Jennifer Behr earrings

Photograph by Ben Rollins

Gabi seeks out independent designers like Jennifer Behr, who paints these earrings by hand.

This article originally appeared in our October 2017 issue.