January 11, 2013

True Fashionista: Erin

I’ve been reading fashion and style blogs for many years. Blogs come and go, the personal style or purpose of blogs change, and it seems that my Google Reader and blogroll is updated on an almost monthly basis adding, and yes deleting blogs. But through it all, some of the same blogs remain. The blogger (and blog) may grow and her personal style change with life experiences, it’s remains awesome, engaging, and inspiring. That to me is the sign of a True Fashionista. When I think of such a blog and blogger, I immediately think of Erin at calivintage, and I am honored to have her be a part of my True Fashionista series.

I’m not a vintage buff, I don’t like any fashion that can be even slightly described as “twee” or “cute” and I haven’t ridden a bike in almost a decade but I love visiting calivintage, seeing Erin’s clear and defined personal style and reading a little about her life and thought behind the ensembles. I’m drawn to Erin’s blog because though she does wear a lot of vintage and ensembles that could easily be described as cute, it’s not costumey, it’s not twee, it’s just Erin. Erin has an amazing ability to mix vintage with modern and make it her own unique, updated aesthetic. In a recent post, she mentioned how she has come into her own in 2012 with her personal style, and I have really seen that. Not just with longer hair and flatter shoes, but ensembles that feel more connected to the person wearing them. It has been fun to see her personal sartorial growth.

Though Erin’s blog has become quite popular and because of it, Erin has had much publicity, she has kept a real and humble voice on the blog. While providing fabulous fashion eye candy on calivintage, Erin is also a blogger’s blogger – a woman who replies to emails and comments, gives credit when using images and content from others, helps promote local businesses (and bicycling!), and is very clear and honest about her sponsorships and collaborations. As fashion bloggers have become minor celebrities, it is refreshing to see one gain popularity but not lose herself in the process.

Erin inspires me wear what I like and not just what flatters my figure best, to try a glossy black cat-eye liner look in the middle of the day, to hit the thrift stores on a more regular basis, and to dust off the tandem bike my husband and I bought ourselves as a wedding gift. She also inspires me to stay true to my personality and style aesthetic and not change to appeal to the masses or sponsors. Since she inspires me, I thought she may too inspire you. As with every other True Fashionista, I asked Erin to answer the same five questions; here are her answers:

How would you describe your personal style?
I'm never very good at describing myself, but I do get a kick out of how other describe me. I was recently referred to geek/vintage/preppy, which I thought was quite apt. And I was also recently described as "one part cape cod vacation, one part Parisian gamine," which also had me quite tickled. I love good classic pieces, but I'm also very inspired by vintage, particularly from the 1960s. So even if I'm dressing very preppy one day, or very chic the next, there's always a bit of a quirky twist in my outfits.

Where did you get your passion for fashion?
I can give a lot of credit to my family for this one. Growing up, my family was on a very tight budget. My mother would take me to fancy department stores to look for inspiration, and then we'd turn around and search the racks at thrift stores, estate sales, and vintage boutiques in search of affordable alternatives. At the same time, my aunt was a huge film buff who introduced me to classic films from the ‘50s and ‘60s that really captivated my imagination. They really helped to foster my appreciation for the unique qualities of vintage clothing that has stuck with me my entire life.

Where do you find sartorial inspiration?
This will probably sound quite cliché, but I'm pretty heavily influenced by French film actresses and singers from the 1960s. I also watch Fashion Week quite closely, so I take tips from some of my favorite designers and try to find a balance between new and old. I try to keep away from "trends" in favor of asking myself how I'd like to present myself to others. I think it's important for me to express a certain sense of authenticity in how I dress.

What is the difference between fashion and style?
Fashion to me is more about concept and design, and style is about taking those pieces and making them your own.

Any advice for a woman who is starting to find her personal style?
I would say follow your instincts. If you pick out clothes that truly move you, then the pieces will start to fall together. Don't feel like you need to follow rules or copy a certain look, just pull the different elements that appeal to you and your style will start to emerge.

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The purpose of the Friday True Fashionista series is to show women who use clothing to express their personal style. Each woman has a different, unique look and opinion on clothing and fashion. These women inspire me in my clothing choices, and possibly their bold sartorial statements will inspire you. Stay tuned, there will be a featured True Fashionista every Friday for the next few weeks. And if you know of a True Fashionista in your life, tell us about her in the comments!

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