Raylene Appleby’s earliest style icon was her grandmother, Mary, who was a businesswoman. “She was beautiful,” Appleby says. “She had reddish-blonde hair. She was 5’8”, and she loved flare coats and high heels and big brooches.”
Appleby adored Mary, and she says: “She planted a seed. I would be 7 or 8 years old, and she would give me the bank deposit to walk up the street. She was teaching me to run my own business, and it never left me.”
Now, as she leads PJC Insurance, Appleby feels her fashion choices play a role in her success. “When a lady feels good in her clothes, it gives her energy, and it inspires her to be confident,” she says. “I want to go into that boardroom wearing something that will make me feel really good.”
Among the things that make Appleby feel good: unexpected combinations and exquisite craftsmanship. She chooses well-made separates, and she mixes colors and textures with a sure hand. You’ll often find her in tailored jackets and full skirts, which she accessorizes with bold jewelry and cool footwear, like her favorite, lug-sole boots.
The boots are just one element of military style, something Appleby loves for its clean lines—and family connection. Her husband, David, is a retired colonel in the U.S. Army and a Green Beret. When he retired, Appleby asked for some of his military patches and sewed them onto her jackets. Her grandmother’s vintage brooches have also found new life on Appleby’s jackets and sweaters.
These elements come together in chic, innovative looks that are unmistakably Appleby’s own. When people ask how they can emulate her eclectic style, she says: “You know what, you’ve probably got it in your closet! Go look around—and look around in your husband’s closet.”