For a woman who planned to be an orthodontist in Ohio, the journey to becoming a fashion blogger, social media influencer and NBA wife in Memphis was utterly unexpected. After earning a biology degree and leaving the only state she’d ever called home, Mary Peluso dove headfirst into a brand new world when she moved in with her boyfriend Michael in a city she barely knew. Now nearly a decade later — and now Mary Conley — she has translated her passion for style and love of community into a role as a fashion writer, stylist and brand ambassador, on top of being the mom of two little boys and the wife of a Memphis sports icon. She applied her middle name LeReve, French for “the dream,” to title her blog Living LeReve, which perfectly encapsulates the beauty and joy of her most dreamlike moments as well as the relatable true tales of everyday life. Meet this week’s much-followed FACE of Memphis, Mary Conley!
Where were you born and what was your upbringing like?
I’m from Kettering, Ohio, outside of Dayton. My parents still live in the house that I was born to. We had a great neighborhood, but what I came to realize is that it’s not normal to not move. My husband has moved around a ton, so he’s like, “Your best friend that you’ve known since you were two — what are the chances that you’re still best friends with her and your parents are still next door?”
How did your interest in fashion begin?
When I look back, in high school I used to set out all my outfits for the week, and I would never wear the same thing twice. I would wear the same individual piece, but never the same outfit. It was the most fun challenge for me to do that. In college, I made sure never to wear sweats to class, no matter how early it was, because I wanted my professors to respect me, and I wanted to be approachable and be taken seriously, so I always made sure that my outfits were put together.
What do you feel makes the Memphis fashion and style scene different from other cities’ scenes?
I think everything goes here. I think there’s so much personality here in Memphis, and it’s all-accepting. You can’t feel silly in anything.
What draws you to the more narrative style of blogging versus the rapid-fire social media approach?
It’s just so much more in tune with who I am. I can post a cute picture, but then I can go write about how I felt in that outfit and how I put it together, to maybe something I was going through earlier that day or week. I can post a great picture of me and my boys laughing and smiling, but then I can go write in detail about how they’re keeping me up all night and I’m lost and need advice. Not everyone wants to take the time to read the narrative part of it, but those who do are the ones who come up in public and stop me and say, “We love what you share,” which means a lot. It’s a great little community that I now have.
What is the story you want to tell with your style choices?
I want to come off as approachable and responsible. Those have always been my two big things. You want to be taken seriously. You never know when an opportunity is going to come up.
Your family has had an atypical NBA experience, having been in one city for 10 years. What are the ways that you feel most connected to the Memphis community?
My connections have grown so much while I’ve been here. When I first moved here, the Grizzlies helped me get connected with Le Bonheur to start my volunteer experience. We do a lot with the Salvation Army, and my husband is involved with Methodist Comprehensive Sickle Cell Center through his Bowl ‘n Bash event. I got to know Methodist quite well, so last year I joined the Methodist Healthcare Foundation board. I’ve enjoyed spreading my wings and getting to dig into that side of the Memphis community. I’ve only been doing that a year, but I know there’s more to come.
I’m also on the Memphis Fashion Week board. Every year I’ve had a different role. One year I styled the runway, and that was another completely different aspect of the styling industry that I got to learn. Now I’m more involved in the influencer aspect of it. Just to be involved in that community, I’ve learned a lot.
You still spend a lot of time in Columbus, especially over the off-season. What’s it like raising your family between two hometowns?
They are two hometowns, I’m glad you said that. I grew up in Ohio, so that was always my home, but I’ve lived here so long, and we’re here for more of the year that this is my home now, also. We have two families — we have our blood family, and we have our friend family. I love living in both cities, and we’re so fortunate to be in Memphis and have the opportunity to live here for Michael’s whole career.
Where are your favorite places to take visitors to Memphis?
It depends on who we’re taking. With kids, we’ll go to Shelby Farms. That park is so cool, just to walk around the woods. They love to go to the Bass Pro Shop. In the past, I’ve always loved to take people to Graceland. It’s such a neat place, to think that this is where Elvis was, and always a Grizzlies game. I would find the best patio for drinks and dinner. When my girlfriends visited last year, I took them to The Kitchen at Shelby Farms. I love the patio and food, and the view is beautiful. I am really interested in trying The Gray Canary.
What are the fall fashion trends or essentials that you’re excited about?
I’ve bought a couple new things for fall. Dusters, the long jackets — I’ve bought a handful of those that are more silks, kind of pajama-style. Kitten heels are everywhere right now. Plaid’s always in, but now plaid pants are back, so you can be a little bolder in your fabric choices and prints. Animal print is huge also, not only a leopard accent but jackets, dresses and denim in zebra, python, cheetah and more. I’m also seeing Western vibes brought in to outfits, like large belts and cowboy-inspired boots.
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What is your best advice?
Men are from Mars and women are from Venus. That’s gotten me so far because men and women really do just think differently. When you bring kids into the mix — I do things one way, and he does them another. And I kind of wonder in my head, Why did he do it that way?, but it doesn’t matter, because that’s what he thought was best, and we’re all trying our hardest. I now give that advice to all of my friends.
What are three things you can’t live without?
Decaf coffee, ChapStick and my huggy pillow.
Thank you for sharing with us, Mary, and thank you to Mary Kate Steele for these stunning photos!
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