Story by Tova Gelfond | Photography by Jimmy Johnston
I'm ushered into a large living room at the the Chrisley's new residence, and Todd's there to greet me. The entrance and gathering alcoves of the Suwanee, Ga., estate is immaculately outfitted with the family's signature clean-cut, yet expensive aesthetic. It's entrancing and luxurious, but Todd says he's not quite finished with it yet (I wonder, how could it get any better?).
I'm here to interview the entire Chrisley family on a topic we all care a ton about: love. But more specifically, what they love about fashion.
It has become a topic of increasing interest to those around me as the family's show, "Chrisley Knows Best" has gained staggering popularity, raking in an impressive 7 million viewers by season 2. Already picked up for a third, it's apparent this family will continue to charm and delight throughout homes nationwide via USA Network for years to come. Some call them the new Kardashians, and they would be right. Though a more grounded breed of Kardashian. See: "class not ass."
And so I'm here, at their opulent yet cozy residence, to discover what makes them tick. In the living room, the family members are soon lined up on the couch like the Von Trapp family singers. But instead of breaking into song, it breaks into something else entirely: a real family moment.
Lindsie, Savannah, Chase and Grayson sit adjacent to Julie, and Todd presides over all. And the questions begin. We talk fashion like it's going out of style; and everyone has an opinion. Lindsie, as the eldest daughter, has taken to dressing herself without family intervention; Savannah has gone through a rocker fashion phase that Todd's not altogether happy about; Chase loves his dad's wardrobe so much he's often caught stealing designer wares from Todd's closet and Grayson's just happy when he's comfortable.
To no surprise, Todd has a masterfully articulated opinion about everyone's style, and even if his kids momentarily disagree, everyone admits in the end that he's right.
After talking style icons (Chase's icon is his Dad!), and favorite designers — Tom Ford and Gucci for the men, Alice + Olivia for the girls and YSL for Julie — the conversation turns to value. And here's where we get down to a deeper core. This family has the luxury of buying and wearing products that cost a small fortune, and yet, these kids aren't really spoiled. How is that even possible?
"I teach my children the value of the things they are given," Todd says with a stern smile. "Sometimes they don't learn it without a difficult lesson, but they will learn."
Savannah tries not to laugh. "Yeah, my dad is always teaching me to earn the things that I have ... and it's work sometimes."
"And how to take care of these things," Julie chimes in. "It's important they know to respect the things that are given to them because they are really fortunate."
Todd nods. Chase nods. Grayson smiles.
As we continue down this road, I see that they are so grounded, so fiercely unattached to materialism while living in the limelight. Call it good parenting, or a lesson in morals and values, but the Chrisleys have managed to distance themselves from a systemic outbreak of greed and consumerist principles so rampant in the reality TV realm.
Todd may be known as the "Patriarch of Perfection" but in the end it's never about a dollar sign or label. It's about teaching his children to present themselves like the sophisticated individuals he hopes they can become. And somehow, his children listen.Without effort or intention, what started out as a conversation about the things they love, turned into a reflection of what they love about each other.
So this Valentine's Day, I'm taking a cue from the Chrisleys. Today shouldn't be about dinner reservations to the "it" restaurant in town, or a turquoise blue box with a hefty price tag attached. It's about teaching each other that the value lies inside what we present to the world. The beautiful craziness that is family and friends. Style might be how you live your life. But in the end, it's about life.
Just ask Todd.