Emily Petrick Shares a Slice of Her Bentonville, Arkansas Life

Emily Petrick in her home kitchen in Bentonville, AR
Photo: Robbie Caponetto; Hair & Makeup: Sarah Spoon; Wardrobe Styling: Hope Johnstone

Emily Petrick never planned to live in Arkansas. But once she learned she was pregnant, the Los Angeles native knew that she wanted a change of scenery for her growing family. "I assumed that moving out of Los Angeles meant heading to the Pacific Northwest or another big city like Atlanta, something a little more familiar," she recalls. But her husband had other ideas, applying for a teaching job at a school in Bentonville, population 50,000. "I thought, 'No way am I moving there,' " she says. But then they visited. "We got here and fell in love with it. There was good food, which was important for me because I'm a baker (@whiskandwittle). There was good coffee, and the museums are amazing. We got on the plane to go home, and I thought, 'We're moving to Arkansas,' " she says. A job offer for her husband—and the news that they were having twins—sealed the deal.

Now, more than two years later, Bentonville feels like home for these California transplants. "I've learned that I love living in a town this size," says Emily. "I know people everywhere I go. I like that there's so much for me to do with my kids and that everyone is so friendly. It's much easier to form relationships with people who are doing the same things that I'm doing." Here, the baking pro spills her best-kept secrets to finding a good pair of jeans, her tips for vintage shopping, and her favorite thing about the South's approach to food.

My Fashion Icons

"I find inspiration everywhere: from Instagram moms to magazines to my girlfriends and even my grandmother. That's what makes fashion so fun. You can take bits and pieces from all over and then play with them and make them your own. It's very personal."

The Linen Picnic Top in White, $48; everlane.com

Jeans, vintage.

The Harper Mule in English Saddle, $148; madewell.com

My Style Inspirations, Then and Now

"I was always a fan of classic movies when I was growing up, and a lot of my fashion sense was pulled from them. Audrey Hepburn and Katharine Hepburn were huge influences for me starting at a really early age, and that continues to be the case."

How Motherhood Shapes My Look

"I spend my days chasing twin toddlers around the playground and wiping up food spills. This means that a lot of my nicer pieces and dresses have fallen out of the regular rotation. 'Dry-clean only' just isn't going to fly! There are a lot more jeans and sneakers in the mix now than there used to be. I still have fun with it though. I love vintage T-shirts and jumpsuits. I also wear more scarves and bandannas to keep my hair out of my face—and away from sticky hands."

The Trick to a Good Pair of Jeans

"I used to work in high-end denim retail, so I love how it's built to last and be lived in and appreciate its history. There are a lot of brands doing well-made, vintage-inspired denim right now, which is really fun. Imogene + Willie in Nashville is an awesome company. As for shopping, the fit is everything. Buy snug, because all jeans stretch. Go for a sturdier pair that will last longer and hold its shape. I prefer 2% stretch or less. And if you find something you love, buy it in several washes or colors. Jeans that make you feel good and also feel good on you are priceless!"

A Personal Mantra

"Whenever I start feeling stressed, I ask myself, 'Is this a problem I can solve?' If it is, I get to work finding a solution. And if it's something that is clearly beyond my control, I try to let it go. Worrying certainly isn't going to get anyone anywhere, so I try not to make room for it. I'd rather save my energy for things that I can control. It sounds simple, but it's easier said than done."

Emily Petrick at Home in Bentonville, AR
Robbie Caponetto; Hair & Makeup: Sarah Spoon; Wardrobe Styling: Hope Johnstone

Fiore Maxi in Wing Print Paros Tan, $355; nataliemartincollection.com

Isla Slide Sandal in Bone, $88; nisolo.com

How I Approach Vintage Shopping

"I am super picky. I'm constantly looking and hunting, but it's not often that I actually add to my collection. I try to look for pieces that are made from natural fibers (cotton, wool, silk, linen, etc.), are in excellent condition, and make me happy. Fit is important, but most things can be tailored."

What I Appreciate Most About Southern Food Traditions

"People love their pie here. They like their sweets and their baked goods. I love that about Southerners. Something that's refreshing about being here versus Los Angeles is that there's no holding back when it comes to butter and sugar. Everything is over-the-top in the best way. All the food is cheesy and fried and covered in butter, and it's awesome."

Why the Kitchen Is My Happy Place

"It's such a typical answer, but I grew up baking with the women in my life, and the kitchen was a spot where we could come and spend time and make something together. Some of my best memories happened in there with them. I need to be creative, always. Baking is a really good way for me to do that."

A Favorite Quote

"One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well." —Virginia Woolf

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