Katie Dalebout

Katie Dalebout is a published author and host of the podcast and newsletter Let it Out which she created in 2013. Her guests have included Jessamyn Stanley, Andrew Bird, Stacy London, Moby, Josh Radnor, Emily Kinney and many more.

I was a long time podcast listener before ever meeting Katie in person, and especially appreciated her openness and vulnerability when discussing her recovery from an eating disorder. Katie and I first connected at our beloved West Village coffee shop Grounded (RIP) and immediately bonded over meditation, being an only child, and our shared love of Greta Gerwig (specifically Frances Ha) and Arthur. 

We caught up with her on a sunny afternoon in April at her gorgeous Los Angeles apartment. Photographs by Christina Stoever.

How would you describe your personal style, and how has it evolved?

I want to come up with those three words for my style, but I think a friend would do a better job assigning them to me than I’m going to do right now. But I’ll give it a whirl, or at least what I’m going for: 90s, 70s, classic, workwear, masculine, baskets. In 2017, I did a session with Lacy Phillips about manifestation advising, and the one thing I wanted to discuss with her was style! I admired her style so much, and she tried to help me pinpoint what it was about her and the other style expanders I had, which were very different from her. She noticed the throughline was masculine. I had been raised by a mom who loved dressing me in bright colors and pink dresses, and I loved that too but wanted something unique.

I went to high school in the early 2000s, aka the worst era of dressing (that is now back), but even then I loved the bohemian vibe of Mary-Kate Olsen and Sienna Miller in the 90s but felt like I wanted to update that and didn’t really know how to in my early 20s. So I ended up wearing a lot of trends. Lacy helped me see more structured, simple silhouettes and expanded my idea of what dressing meant. The other biggest influence on my style came when I moved here. Of course, the climate is different, but also the way I spent my time was different. While in NYC, I was out during the day; here, I change outfits multiple times. The weather goes from hot midday to cold at night, and I’m not walking as transportation, so I can wear heels and boots. So I now dress for each activity. I don’t believe in activewear, but I have outfits I wear hiking that my friends call regular clothes just worn in.

Do you see any connections between how you dress yourself and how you decorate your space?

Sure do, I’m a bit afraid of color in my space and wardrobe. Color feels like a commitment. Especially in a studio apartment, it feels like if I choose a color for, say, a big rug or couch, that’s all I’ll see since it’s just one room. So I’ve kept the colors of the space pretty neutral, but that’s boring, so I then incorporate color in the art I have and the textiles and parts that are more easily changeable. Similar to clothes, where my basics are neutral.

I also got new style expanders when I moved west. My friend Christine Nguyen was a huge influence on my style, especially the first year. I only had a carry-on suitcase then COVID began, so she let me borrow clothes and gave me her hand-me-downs. I love her style, from everything from home to design to clothes, so I would copy her outfits. Then, a few years later, I was able to evolve that and develop my own aesthetic by simply noticing what I liked and finding patterns. I became close friends with designer and founder of Ozma of California, Heidi Baker, and her simple, well-made raw silk pieces became a staple of my wardrobe. I began working at LoQ and meeting the designer and founder, Val, who has also influenced my style. And I began going to garage sales, flea markets, and vintage stores where I got the vintage basics like a good French workwear jacket, a military liner jacket, and military pants. And then I’d structure these classic, masculine pieces with something feminine and bright like The Series! And I think the intersection of those two is where my specific personality has landed. Lately, I’m finding inspiration in outfits from the dudes I have crushes on, meaning oversized jean jackets and baseball hats and oversized t-shirts and baggy pants. But you can’t take the girly girl out of me, so under it all is a flowy pink dress, a crop top, or an A-line skirt.

What is your relationship with sustainable fashion like?

Most of my favorite brands I invest in, like Ozma and yours, prioritize sustainability. I buy vintage or second-hand on Etsy or Depop most always. Yes, this is better for the environment, but honestly, it’s selfish too because I think wearing something new looks silly on everyone.

Wearing a fresh pair of sneakers always feels embarrassing to me, like the Converse need to be a little dirty, or I feel like I look silly. Honestly for most clothing items, that feels true to me. Older and worn-in clothes look cooler, so I can hit the ground running if I buy it used or vintage—someone else broke it in.

How did you come to start your podcast (Let it Out)?

I studied broadcast journalism in college; I thought I wanted to be a TV news reporter. Several of the prerequisites were radio classes. I loved studying the great radio interviewers like Terry Gross and Howard Stern. At the time, I didn’t know about podcasts; it was 2012. Simultaneously, I was very interested in, or honestly, I’ll say it, obsessed (orthorexic) with wellness. It was all I could think and talk about, so I started a blog about it. This was the peak era of the internet and blogging, so that took off a bit, and eventually, my boyfriend at the time helped me take the audience from the blog and start sharing a new format with them: the podcast. I knew people I wanted to interview, basically anyone I was following and wanted to get an hour of their time for free to ask them anything I wanted to know. The tech aspect overwhelmed me, like getting it to iTunes, recording, and editing—so I was extremely lucky that he was able to handle that part for me back then, or else I likely wouldn’t have done it. I did feel capable and excited to curate guests, cold email them, lead an interview, and market the episodes to an audience I built slowly. Eventually I figured out those parts of podcasting that were daunting to me and now teach a workshop on independent podcasting. 

What’s a favorite interview or conversation that’s stayed with you?

So many. I’ve done over 450 interviews, and the ones that stick out are usually the ones where I was underprepared, had low expectations, and just showed up really presently and listened to what the guest had to say. I allowed the conversation to meander wherever it wanted to go that day rather than the ones where I’m too tied to my notes and list of questions and I’m trying to make sure we get them all in. I love meeting new people for the first time and getting to have this time capsule of our first interaction. I also love having friends I know well and getting them to talk about things we never usually would because it’s being recorded and I’m in control of the conversation.

-The one with you! Although it was so long ago, I’m eager for us to record together again.
-My friend Melina was a fun casual one.
-This one with Kerrilynn Pamer from a few years ago. 
-Loved having writer Nada Alic on and talking for so long we had to break it into two. 
-Musician and neighbor of mine Sam Burton came over once last year and he was so smart and interesting that one became a favorite too.
-Similarly, our friend musician Cale Tyson who recommended I interview Sam, was also one of my favorite conversations about sobriety, social media, and perception.

Where is home for you? And what does "home" mean to you?

I’m from the midwest, a college town in the middle of Michigan called East Lansing. Now I live in LA, specifically Highland Park. 

I think home is LA and this neighborhood. I always wanted to live in NYC growing up. Every birthday, blowing out the candle I’d wish: to live in NYC someday. My uncle lived there, but other than that, my parents and aunts and uncles all lived where they grew up, so leaving felt like a challenge that not many people did. It took me many years, but as you know, because that’s where we met, I finally did move to NYC in my early/mid-twenties. It was such a rush, walking around, learning the subway, and just honestly being there. I was so proud and excited to change my address and type in that zip code.

LA, on the other hand, is a place I didn’t even consider. Growing up, the furthest west I’d been was Chicago, and I didn’t know anyone who lived here. I only visited two or three times before unexpectedly moving here at the onset of COVID. And now it’s been 4 years—nearly the amount of time I lived in NYC and Detroit. I don’t have many strong opinions or hopes or goals right now, but one I do have is to remain here. I think California is an incredible state I’ve yet to explore, and I’ve participated more in this city and neighborhood than in any of the other places I’ve lived. I love it here, and I can’t explain why, even other than all of the obvious parts, sunny every day, hikes, etc. But I just want to remain here.

Home to me is a place you can let out a big sigh, not have to be ‘on’ or available, and you can control your level of comfort and connection with the outside world. I recently interviewed Kerrilynn Pamer, and she talked about how she looks at her home as her best friend. I liked that; it should ideally be a place that’s supportive to you.

What do you love doing in your neighborhood?

I love walking around. Running into friends. Reading in public, going on hikes with friends, babysitting all the dogs, and sitting outside eating with friends or having picnics. Going to the movies.

What prompted you to start journaling?

I didn’t grow up keeping a diary. The summer after college, I’d been a fixture in the self-help section of my hometown’s bookstore, buying book after book to solve my problems. One day I ventured into the stationery area to buy a notebook with a gift card.

Between teaching yoga classes and looking for jobs, I'd write in it every day. On those pages, I was honest for the first time, maybe ever, and I had time to do it. I had become a skilled social chameleon, but in the journal, I was able to be fully honest, without attempting to be liked. Writing on blank pages helped more than any of the gurus in the self-help department had. So basically I stumbled into it, but it felt useful, so I continued.

Oddly, years later, I was back in that store for a book signing when they stocked the book I wrote in the self-help section. I had no idea how to help myself, much less others, but the topic of the book was journaling. It never claimed to change readers; it just encouraged writing to access emotions and intuition and to collect ideas. Although I found the practice useful, in the process of writing the book, I found studies proving the cognitive benefits of writing for emotional well-being.

Can you tell us a little about your creative process?

Making progress on any creative project for me is about finding focus within the chaos of everyday mundane busyness. This requires being gentle with myself to know that the process is often slow. 

I like to think of it as cyclical, which I realized during the pandemic when I led a workshop called Creative Underdogs, which I then renamed to be called In Process. I developed a positive feedback loop for how I saw the creative process and went through it together as a group. The lens I see creativity through is a four step process that I’m always in and connects to the four seasons: Space, Gather, Try, and Share. 

So usually I take a project I’m working on through a version of:

1. Clearing space: digitally, physically, and emotionally 

2. Gathering: taking in inspiration, experiences, relationships 

3. Trying: unpacking all we’ve gathered, sorting it, tossing it at the wall, seeing what sticks 

4. Sharing: closes the loop, allows for feedback, iteration, and connection. 

Then I repeat the loop with each new project. 

Okay, rapid fire:

Cafe order? Hot black coffee, but if I walk there which I usually do I want to drink it immediately so the dudes at my coffee shop know to put in a little bit of ice for me. My friend Captain calls this order: “The Climate Change”.

Cocktail order? Mezcal, lime, soda in a short glass : ) 

Would you rather host a dinner party or attend one? Both… but probably attend, but I get to pick the people, place, and menu… does that count? 

Last great book you read? Melissa Broder’s novel called: Death Valley 

Senior yearbook quote? I don’t remember, but I know it was for sure Vonnegut - either:

“Hello, babies. Welcome to Earth. It's hot in the summer and cold in the winter., It's round and wet and crowded. On the outside, babies, you've got a hundred years here. There's only one rule that I know of, babies - God damn it, you've got to be kind." - from God Bless You Mr. Rosewater or Pearls Before Swine.


“We are what we pretend to be so be careful who you pretend to be.”  - from Mother Night. 

They are two that I used to be really obsessed with, fuck it… still am.

Favorite quote from Frances Ha? As you know this is so tough, but the two I identify with the most are:

“I have trouble leaving places.” 


“I like things that look like mistakes.” 

Thank you so much for the interview and letting us get a glimpse into your space, Katie!

Check out her podcast here, and newsletter here
Buy her book: Let it Out: A Journey through Journaling
See more of what Katie's up to on her Instagram here.