Search Results for: label/True Fashionista

The True Fashionista Series Thus Far

The True Fashionista series has been one of the most fun projects I have ever done on Wardrobe Oxygen. It has been a thrill to share the women who inspire me on a daily basis, and it has been so great to hear how many of you have found new favorite blogs because of it.  I encourage you to check out the 33 stylish women I featured on the blog; click their image to view their individual profile and their answers to my True Fashionista questions.

As always, I learn so much from all of you. If you know of a woman who has inspiring personal style, let me know! You never know, she may be featured on the blog!

Follow Me | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram
 

True Fashionista: Year-end Recap

What started as a concept just for the month of September has become one of my favorite features on Wardrobe Oxygen. The True Fashionista series takes place every Friday and features a woman I know through the Internet or in real life who inspires me with her personal style.

While I have many more True Fashionistas scheduled to post, I didn’t want any of these fabulous women’s stories get lost in the holiday shuffle. Instead, I thought this would be a great time to revisit the amazing women who have shared their personal style and thoughts on fashion and style with us. Click on their image to revisit their profile:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I learn so much from you fellow readers – do let me know what bloggers inspire you, who you find to be unique, a True Fashionista. You never know, I very well may feature them in the near future!

Follow Me | Twitter | Facebook
Follow my blog with Bloglovin
 

True Fashionista: E

When publications ask me for an example of true DC style, I always mention E at District of Chic. Our lovely city is often blasted for having no style and being a sea of ill-fitting navy skirtsuits and white sneakers, but in fact we are a city who knows style and appreciates quality. E epitomizes DC style by mixing designer with Zara, flea market finds with tailored classics, simple elegance with touches of personality and whimsy. And for all of this, I consider E to be a True Fashionista.

I love looking to E’s blog for ideas on how to wear work clothes for weekends, or weekend clothes to the office. Her blog is a great resource for ideas on how to look chic yet be comfortable when traveling. She’s also a great example of a woman who purchases quality, not quantity and rewears items over and over, each new ensemble giving the garment a new life.

E has chosen to keep herself anonymous on the blog, and gives enough detail to understand her reasons for her outfits, but maintains her privacy. I had the pleasure of meeting E, and can attest to the fact that she is sweet and charming in person, and completely matches the persona on District of Chic.

At first glance, E’s personal style may seem a bit conservative and preppy, but as you dig into her pieces, her accessories, and her choices of styling there’s a rock star who emerges. Monkey fur, black leather, zipper details and band tee shirts keeps E’s office-appropriate wardrobe from looking too severe and anything but boring. I look to E for inspiration on how to dress in a tasteful and professional manner without sacrificing personal style. She really has the combination down pat, and proves that one can be stylish and about business, can have fun and still be appropriate, can be a rock star and still be tasteful.

As with every other True Fashionista, I asked E to answer the same five questions; here are her answers:

How would you describe your personal style?
Eclectic. Somewhat ADD.

Where did you get your passion for fashion?
It’s just always been something I’ve appreciated as far back as I can remember. I’m a visual person – I love interesting color combinations and beautiful shapes. I think fashion is something I’m naturally attracted to.

Where do you find sartorial inspiration?
Friends, family, magazines, blogs (duh!), people on the street – you name it!

What is the difference between fashion and style?
I tend to think of fashion as actual creations and style as the method in which those creations are worn.

Any advice for a woman who is starting to find her personal style?
Play! Don’t be afraid to branch out and wear stuff you wouldn’t normally wear.

***

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!

Follow Me | Twitter | Facebook
 

True Fashionista: Laura

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”
― Leonardo da Vinci

Simple isn’t easy. It’s easy to pile on the trends and hide behind flashy baubles and of-the-moment silhouettes. It takes skill to make simple pieces and ensembles look chic, polished, and covetable. I’ll admit, this is something I am working on, and I am always thrilled to find a blogger who masters simple style. When I found the blog Laura Wears I was hooked, and I was thrilled when Laura was willing to be part of my True Fashionista series.

Laura makes simple chic style look effortless. She wears the same pieces over and over without it being boring or wackadoodle (far too many blog posts out there claiming anyone can make a dress into a jumper or skirt or a shirt into a skirt). She dresses for her real life – you’ll see her in outerwear, career attire, formalwear, and everything in between.

I love that Laura’s wardrobe is a mix of high and low. Thrifted gems, pieces bought on travel, popular retailers like J. Crew and Banana Republic, as well as factory store scores. Laura will also let you know the age of a piece, be it something she bought a couple years ago or something she bought back in high school. It’s inspiring to see someone truly have a working wardrobe of staples that transcend the years and the trends.

For those who mention that my outfits aren’t relevant to you because you live in a place with a colder climate (or who want to see what style bloggers wear in the snow), I encourage you to check out Laura Wears, for Laura lives in Ottawa, Canada and often poses in parkas and boots with a snowy background.

Laura shows with her blog that you don’t need an overflowing wardrobe or every hot trend to look stylish and sophisticated. Simple can be elegant and quite chic. She reminds me that often less is more, be it choosing just one accessory or focusing more on fit than trend. I am glad she was willing to be part of my True Fashionista series; I asked her to answer the same five questions I ask of each participant:

How would you describe your personal style?
I would say my style is mostly preppy and classic. On occasion, I try to incorporate other trends, namely bohemian pieces. Each season I try to incorporate a few trendier pieces into my wardrobe (ie. I finally made myself a peplum top…).

Where did you get your passion for fashion?
From a young age, I always loved seeing people (men and women!) with beautifully put-together outfits. This probably had a huge impact on my love of fashion. Also, since I am not overly artistic in my everyday life, putting together and photographing my outfits quickly became an outlet for creative expression.

Where do you find sartorial inspiration?
Everywhere! Blogs, magazines, people on the street, Pinterest, etc. As crazy as it may sound, I also get a lot of inspiration from menswear blogs. I absolutely love the simplicity of men’s looks. The no-muss-no-fuss style really appeals to me

What is the difference between fashion and style?
Style is timeless. Fashion changes each season.

Any advice for a woman who is starting to find her personal style?

  1. Experiment, experiment, experiment!
  2. Seek out some help from the sales associates/personal stylists at your favorite stores. They normally have a wealth of knowledge and can help you pick out great pieces.
  3. Consider photographing outfits here and there… Taking photos for my blog has really helped me interpret what works for my body and what doesn’t (the mirror sometime lies!). On occasion, I’ll leave the house with an outfit I love, but when I see the photos of it, I have a what-was-I-thinking moment.

 

Follow Me | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram
 

True Fashionista: Sheila

I hate the idea of changing your style or love of fashion because you’ve hit some age milestone. It’s utterly ridiculous, we don’t lose our personalities at certain ages, why should our style disappear? As I get closer and closer to 40, I’ve been more and more inspired by women in the blogosphere who have amazing, inspiring personal style and show that age is but a number. One of those women is Sheila from the blog Ephemera, and that is why I asked her to be part of my True Fashionista series.

I’ve actually been a fan of Sheila for many years; I can’t recall how I found her blog but it has been on my reader a while and I continue to be inspired and excited by her outfits. Sheila rocks color, print, unique cuts and silhouettes. She is a thrifting queen and creates the most unusual pairings. Her personal life is infused into her outfits – a bit of steampunk, accessories with sentimental value, garments she has swapped with other bloggers. And speaking of which, Sheila is one who truly loves the community created with style blogging – she has made many friends, has met many of them, and even trades clothing with them.

Sheila is proof that you don’t need to spend a million bucks to look like a million bucks. She thrifts and cosigns, she keeps things for years and brings them back into rotation when they fit current trends or her current personal style. She isn’t hesitant to get rid of something that isn’t a wise choice (and I love how she asks the opinions of her readers), and is always adding new secondhand scores to update the wardrobe.

Sheila’s blog Ephemera makes me feel as though I’m hanging out in her bedroom with a glass of wine, watching her try on clothes in her closet. She shares multiple views of the clothing (as you can see from my collages I adore her reclining on the stairs pose), her reasoning behind the garments and ensembles, and a peek into her life and where she wore the outfits.

Sheila’s style is creative, unique, yet extremely wearable. She is proof that one can still have fun with fashion (and life!) and look polished when over 40. She’s fun, inspiring, intelligent, and has amazing personal style. As with every True Fashionista, I asked Sheila to answer the same five questions; her answers:

How would you describe your personal style?
Um…crazy lady chic? Classic with a twist? Eclectic? Eccentric? All those kind ways to say, “Sheila’s a little “out there” with her clothes.” I love colour, pattern, texture, shine – even better if it’s all in one item! I’m a bit of a crow that way. I don’t like to look like everyone else; I want to stand out, especially the older I get (I’m 45). I refuse to disappear into drabness in my middle age – I have more confidence now about my body and myself in general than I did 10/15/20+ years ago, and I make a statement with how I feel by how I wear my clothes. I’m a supporter of Patti’sVisible Mondays” at Not Dead Yet Style, because it’s helping women feel better about themselves, no matter what age they are!

Where did you get your passion for fashion?
I grew up surrounded by creativity – my mom is an artist, so I learned about colour very early in my life. I don’t remember ever not wanting to wear bright colours. My grandmother also dyed her hair bright red (I’m a blonde right now, but I’ve been a box-dye redhead for a good portion of my life) and wore bold jewelry, which was also inspiring. When I was 14, I met my great-aunt Ann – she must have been in her 60s, but she was wearing a flowered mini-skirt, hot pink heels, and a fitted top. Her black hair was scraped back and she had pink lipstick and bold make-up. I remember thinking, “I want to be her when I grow up!”

In my teens and experimenting with fashion, my mom gave me some excellent advice that I’ve never forgotten: “Never wear the same thing twice. Always keep them guessing.” She didn’t want me to get locked into a look/stereotyped and encouraged me to try on different personas through clothing. I looted clothing from her, from my dad, and shopped vintage and loved playing with people’s perception of who I was.

I struggled with my weight and my self-esteem in my twenties and thirties. It wasn’t until I lost 50 lbs 6-7 years ago that I finally felt like I was getting my life under control. I work hard to maintain my weight, and I am proud of my shape. I want to show it off!

Where do you find sartorial inspiration?
Oh, gosh, everywhere! Afraid to mix colours? Look at nature for inspiration: irises for blue and yellow, cherry trees in bloom for pink and burgundy and brown. I love seeing what other people wear, both in the blogoverse and in real life. I always notice what people are wearing, especially if they’ve put some thought into it and are pushing the creative envelope. I like to look at fashion magazines to see what’s coming, and then I either shop my closet (I have a large closet and a big wardrobe!) or keep an eye out for it in thrift stores and consignment stores.

What is the difference between fashion and style?
I think fashion is inspiration and style is perspiration – you have to work at style! You can be a slave to fashion and end up looking good, even great, but constantly chasing the next new thing – fashion is ever-changing, fleeting and ephemeral (which is where I got the name for my blog, by the way). Style is taking what you like and what suits your personality and body type and creating an expression of yourself. When I really feel like “me” in an outfit, I know that I’ve hit my personal style just right. Style is always experimenting and trying something new, even if it fails – you’ll never grow if you don’t at least try! Style also changes, sometimes due to time and aging, or a change in circumstance (my job allows me to be fairly creative in my sartorial choices), or just through one’s own personal growth, but it has a timeless quality that never looks stale or dated like trendy fashions eventually do.

Any advice for a woman who is starting to find her personal style?
Don’t be afraid to try something different; don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Embrace who you are – right now! – and wear what you love, and to hell with what other people think! Be yourself and enjoy your clothes!

***

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. And if you know of a True Fashionista in your life, tell us about her in the comments you never know she may end up being featured!

True Fashionista: Cynthia

I’m kinda glad that Google Reader is disappearing. I had been neglecting it for a long while and with the news, I decided to find a new subscription tool (Feedly, which has an awesome app and plug-in for Firefox) and with it, have been reading blogs more regularly. It reminded me that there’s a heck of a lot of awesome blogs I follow, bloggers who inspire me and consistently have fun and fabulous fashion. And one of those who I have reunited with thanks to Feedly is the awesome Cynthia of Simply Cyn.

If Cynthia looks familiar to you, you may remember her blog with the old name, Addicted2Etsy. While Cynthia is still a big fan of that site and features sellers and products from it regularly, her blog showcases her personal style, as well as peeks into her personal tastes and lifestyle. Her music mentions thrill me because I often learn about new artists that I too end up loving. Her hair is amazing and she regularly writes about how she cares for it. She does reviews of fashion and décor trends and beauty products without it being overkill and they always fit her clean, bright, fun and spirited aesthetic.

And Cynthia’s personal style? Just as stated above, it’s bright, fun, and spirited. She can pattern mix like the best, but always does it in a clean, thoughtful manner. You can see her personality and lifestyle through her clothing choices, be it a vintage Coach bag from Etsy, a band tee shirt, or a pair of sandals she picked up on a trip to Barcelona.

Cynthia can rock color and bold prints without it feeling costumey. She has a good eye for proportion, balancing voluminous blouses with skinny jeans and knowing the right hem length to flatter her figure. She shops at budget-friendly shops but looks like a million bucks with her creative styling and pairing. I love how her hair is constantly changing, switching up the look of re-worn pieces and giving a whole new effect to her personal style. And her smile – gosh it’s refreshing to see a big happy smile in a sea of duck lips and pouts!

Simply Cyn is a blog I always look forward to showing up in my reader; Cynthia is positive, creative, and inspiring. I was thrilled that she was willing to be part of my True Fashionista series. I asked Cynthia to answer the same five questions I ask of each True Fashionista; her answers:

How would you describe your personal style?
I think my personal style is about being chic but with a healthy dose of ease and comfort. There was a time I would try anything that was fashionable but I learned that I feel most beautiful and get the most positive response from people when I wear something that I am truly comfortable in. Being comfortable in your clothes and in your skin really comes across. It’s about confidence.

Where did you get your passion for fashion?
My mum was always a top notch dresser. I grew up in Cameroon, West Africa and my mum actually owned a tailoring shop. I would hang out there with the tailors and watch them work and watch my mum give out instructions. I think that’s where I started really liking clothes and patterns and different designs. It wasn’t however until later that I realized how that fashion is not shallow, at least it doesn’t have to be. It can really help on a crap day, the saying that when you look good, you feel good.

Where do you find sartorial inspiration?
A few years back it would have been mostly magazines, but now it’s definitely from other bloggers and living in NYC, its the ladies & gents on the street and on the train.

What is the difference between fashion and style?
Fashion is temporary, style is forever.

Any advice for a woman who is starting to find her personal style?
Experiment. Its harder in the beginning, but if you don’t try, you won’t figure it out. Grab something you wouldn’t normally wear, pair pieces you don’t think go together. Be adventurous. You might be surprised what you discover.

***

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. And if you know of a True Fashionista in your life, tell us about her in the comments you never know she may end up being featured!

Follow Me | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram
 

True Fashionista: Monique

Fashion doesn’t have to be complicated. While it’s fun to see the creative and outlandish fashions on many blogs, it’s equally inspiring to find someone who has mastered the art of simplicity. Someone who realizes that a whisper may be more powerful than a scream. An edited closet, good tailoring, knowing her shape and lifestyle and dressing for it is a talent, and one of the many talents of Monique, the woman behind the blog Tipa Tipa. Monique’s perfect, simple, and easy vintage style inspires me on a regular basis, and that is why I asked her to be part of my True Fashionista series.

Style doesn’t come from quantity, but quality. Quality doesn’t have to mean designer labels, cashmere and silk, or high pricetags. Quality is not only in the construction of a piece, but it’s value to your wardrobe and personal style. Monique masterfully mixes vintage, thrifted gems, gifts from friends, and pieces from wallet-friendly chain store. She knows that any piece right off the rack (be it in the mall or the neighborhood thrift shop) rarely fits well and understands the importance of a tailor. What makes her wardrobe so perfect is how it perfectly fits her. Proper tailoring can make a $5 thrift store find look like a million bucks. In fact, Monique admits that her tailor was one of the first to know that she was expecting. I look forward to seeing more of Monique’s maternity fashion.

Tipa Tipa isn’t just about Monique’s personal style. She has an awesome feature – Film Fridays, where she delves into movies she has recently seen, providing images, trailers, quotes, and her personal opinion. Monique also regularly features different artists she likes or recipes she and her husband Josh have whipped up. Monique’s personal style is clearly seen through these sorts of posts as well – elegant simplicity, focusing on the personal and the detail, again showing that a whisper can more powerful than a scream. Tipa Tipa is like a cool breeze – calming, refreshing, a reminder that there is beauty in the small things.

As with every other True Fashionista in this series, I asked Monique to answer the same five questions. Here are her answers:

How would you describe your personal style?
I would describe my personal style as vintage, urban, feminine with a sprinkle of preppy.

Where did you get your passion for fashion?
My passion for fashion, certainly comes from my mom and older sister. As a little girl, I remember every evening my mother would set out two outfits. She would ask me which one I thought was the better outfit. I would tell her my opinion and sometimes we’d mix and match the outfits to come up with one really good one. This evening ritual gave me a good sense of how to pair colors and decide what shoes are more flattering for a particular look. My sister who’s three years older than I am would take me thrifting in the West Village back in the 90’s when there were loads of great affordable thrift shops. She would pick up pieces that I would have certainly overlooked and then style them perfectly. She certainly nurtured the skill of finding treasures in heaps of second hand clothing.

Where do you find sartorial inspiration?
I live and work in Brooklyn, NYC. I am really inspired by the people around me. On the train or bike rides, I enjoy checking out how people put together their outfits.

What is the difference between fashion and style?
I see fashion as the umbrella that encompasses a variety of style.

Any advice for a woman who is starting to find her personal style?
The key to finding one’s personal style is to figure out the dress cut that’s most flattering for one’s body and the colors that best compliment one’s skin tone. It’s important to appreciate and love your body. It’s also great to have fun exploring and being open minded when it comes to figuring out what works best. Finding one’s personal style doesn’t mean spending a lot of money, but building a wardrobe of pieces that look and feel fabulous. 

***

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. And if you know of a True Fashionista in your life, tell us about her in the comments you never know she may end up being featured!

True Fashionista: Beverly

It’s so sad when a beloved blog stops posting. You may have never met the blogger, heck you may have never even commented but when the blog leaves you feel as though there’s a hole not just in your RSS reader, but also your life. Blogs just have that effect on some of us. So when a favorite blogger returns, it’s cause for celebration. And a blogger whose style is worth celebrating is in my mind a True Fashionista. This is why I asked Beverly of Beverly Like Hills to be part of my True Fashionista series.

I work in an office. I’m not 21 anymore. I have a daughter and my social life is more restaurants and wine in a friend’s living room than clubs and bars. Blogs that have fun yet realistic style for my life are sort of hard to find. Beverly from Beverly Like Hills isn’t 21 anymore either. She works full time, is a parent, has a life but a life I can relate to. All this, and she has amazing, inspiring every day style.

Excellent use of color? On-trend prints and silhouettes? Drool-worthy shoe collection? Awesome specs and awesome hair? Beverly has all this and more in her personal style. She shops from popular chain stores, incorporates hot trends without looking like a fashion victim, has polish and professionalism while having a sense of whimy and fun to each outfit. I think I’d wear almost every item in her closet and often see that we have similar pieces (or the same like the brown Banana Republic hobo in the first collage!).

Beverly rocks fabulous, wearable fashion. She’s not afraid to embrace a trend or modern silhouette. She proves that you can be chic, trendy, fabulous when over 40. She proves that age is but a number when it comes to fashion, and one shouldn’t feel the need to only shop certain stores, silhouettes, or trends because of what is on her driver’s license.

I’m thrilled to have Beverly back in the blogosphere, and thrilled she was willing to be part of my True Fashionista series. I asked Beverly the same five questions I ask of each woman in this series; her answers:

How would you describe your personal style?
I’m going to start off with “a classic cocktail: shaken with a splash of trend”, add a little “menswear gone girly”, and end with “mature on the edge”.

Where did you get your passion for fashion?
This may sound strange, but I think I was born with it, although it went unrecognized for years. My mom has shared with me stories of how picky/stubborn I was with regards to my clothing when I was a little girl. I also remember memorizing outfits of friends I saw at school or from movies I watched as a kid. I had no idea there was such a thing as “fashion” or “style” until I was well into high school. I just knew what I wanted to look like. It wasn’t until I started purchasing my own clothes that I discovered fashion magazines and catalogs. That opened a whole new world for me and basically validated my love of clothes and how I dressed.

Where do you find sartorial inspiration?
EVERYWHERE! I’m always looking: blogs, magazines, online lookbooks, pinterest, the mall, the street, Starbucks, school parking lot, TV, movies, etc. My eyes are always wandering. You never know when inspiration will strike.

What is the difference between fashion and style?
Well, that’s THE question, isn’t it?

I’ve read how others have answered this question and I agree with all of them. Fashion is what’s being offered and style is your personal interpretation of it.

Getting nerdy on you, fashion is a fixed point in time, as in, that was in fashion the Spring of ’92. However, style is timeless and never fixed. Just like your life, your style changes, evolves, adds pieces from the Spring of ’92, then keeps maturing.

Any advice for a woman who is starting to find her personal style?
Wear what makes you happy, cover your basics, and know what fits your body. Once you got that down, start experimenting and don’t stop. The more you do that, the braver you become. As we age, we have a tendency to tame our style of dressing. It should be the opposite. What you wear is it’s own language, so why not say, “Look at me! Look at what I’ve accomplished”? Believe me, people like me are looking at people like you and we are appreciating your efforts.

Follow Me | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram
 

True Fashionista: Erin

Sometimes you meet someone through blogging and wish you lived closer to them. You know that if miles didn’t separate the two of you, you’d be spending a lot of time together – maybe some shopping, maybe some drinking, and probably a lot of laughing. That’s how I feel about Erin from the blog Work With What You’ve Got. I’ve been reading her blog for many years and love her unique style, her sense of humor, her taste in music, and her relaxed confidence.

Erin proves that you don’t need to spend a lot of money to look fabulous. She mixes vintage, discount big box retailers, and higher end pieces with ease. She is totally aware of her personal style, and somehow can make a Target piece I myself own look super chic, funky, and cool. She is one of the few people I know who can truly rock lingerie and loungewear as street style, and she has a great eye for jewelry (she has her own line called Love Erin Designs).

Erin’s style inspires me to think outside the box. She does a great job of mixing tough rocker chic with softer feminine pieces, and can make pieces I would pass by in a thrift store look modern and fresh. She also makes me wish I never tossed any of my concert tee shirts from high school. Erin’s personal style exudes confidence, has that important hint of humor, and is completely Erin; when I thought of this True Fashionista series, I knew I had to include her.

Here’s Erin’s take on the same five questions I ask each True Fashionista.

How would you describe your personal style?
A little bit thrift, a little bit Bohemian a little bit rock and roll.
My favorite things are leather, silk and sterling silver.

Where did you get your passion for fashion?
I’m surrounded by artists. Some of them are musicians, some are painters, some stylists or photographers, but they have all found a way to express themselves. It inspires me to do the same. I have never been a rule breaker but I discovered a long time ago I get a thrill from bending (if not breaking!) the rules of fashion. I’m over 35, and I still wear my short shorts and leather ankle boots. I don’t care that over 35s “shouldn’t” wear short shorts or mini skirts. I feel happy, I feel free when I wear them, so I will wear them as long as they make me feel that way.

Where do you find sartorial inspiration?
My best girl, Stevie, the girls at live music shows and of course, the internet at large. I love Free People’s social media and I get my fix from their amazing instagram, tumblr and blog accounts. They are a very inspiring brand to me.

What is the difference between fashion and style?
Fashion is what we are told is hot right now. Style is how we wear it now and for years to come. Style is the “you” element to your look. Its the personality, the fun.

Any advice for a woman who is starting to find her personal style?
Stop saying “I could never get away with that”, and “I love it on you but it would look so dumb on me”. You want to wear it? Wear it! In the words of the sage and talented Wendy Brandes, Wear What you Want.

True Fashionista: Annette

I often hear conversations in the blogosphere that one cannot be a certain age and be a personal style blogger. What does a blogger do once she hits 35? As a personal style blogger who is closer to 40 than 30, I feel it’s even more important to showcase your personal style when you’re older. Women have plenty of resources for fashion when younger, be it magazines, TV shows, and yes blogs. But blogs – quality blogs with quality photos and quality style aren’t as easy to find when you’re over 40. So when I came across Annette’s relatively new blog, Lady of Style, I cheered hooray! I have been a subscriber for a few weeks and love seeing elegant yet wearable personal style by a woman with class and taste. I find Annette stylish and inspiring and was thrilled when she agreed to be part of my True Fashionista series.

Annette’s life motto is, “Style is a reflection of your attitude and your personality.” This is clear in how her personal style fits not just her figure, but her age, her lifestyle, and her passions for travel, fashion, and home décor. Her blog, Lady of Style is geared towards the mature woman, but as you can tell by me it can be inspiring to women of all ages, especially those who are looking for style that is appropriate for the workplace. Annette works for NATO and deals with high ranking officers and civilian guests on a regular basis, but doesn’t lose her style when at the office.

“Just because you have the freedom to wear anything you want and don’t need to care what others say, you should not ignore a sense of good taste.”
                – Annette, Lady of Style

 

Though Annette resides in Bavaria, Germany she wears brands (H&M, Zara, MANGO) and silhouettes that are relatively easy to find in the States. She admits that she does most of her shopping online since she lives in a small town, and swears by her seamstress for custom fits. Annette’s style is classic with a touch of current trends, sophisticated yet never dowdy. She has a base of neutral and classic shades that are complemented by bright colors and more trendy of accessories.

“Attractive, mature and self-confident woman certainly don’t need to cover up or wear conservative clothes in muted colours.”
                – Annette, Lady of Style

 

Annette not only shares her personal style, but also discusses the topic of style for women over 40 and how style and trends don’t have to stop with a certain birth date. She proves in each post that style is achievable at any age, and that you can have fun with fashion and trends. Her pleasant demeanor is clear in each post, and her blog voice is positive and just as elegant as her personal style. I asked Annette the same five questions I ask of each True Fashionista; her answers:

How would you describe your personal style?
A feminine, elegant style which friends and fellow bloggers tend to call “sophisticated”. Dresses are my favourite type of clothes and I wear them as often as I can!  Even when I was younger (I turned 50) I was never a casual girl and over the years my style more and more evolved. When I call it “ladylike” people always associate it with a beige cashmere twinset and a pearl necklace! But that’s not me – I love combining trends, youthful elements and colours with more elegant pieces. That’s my style!

Where did you get your passion for fashion?
I grew up on the countryside with not much inspiration when it comes to fashion and trends! Yet my passion started early by reading fashion magazines and putting together my outfit for the next school day the night before. I even made little drawings of my outfits 😉 Many years I worked for an international airline, travelled a lot and always have been fascinated by what we nowadays call “street style”! I love the natural elegance of Italian or French ladies, something I often miss here in Germany.

Where do you find sartorial inspiration?
I follow a lot of blogs, international magazines and naturally I am addicted to Pinterest 😉 My 18yr old daughter started her blog FashionFlirt in 2011 and I was involved in getting her started. It was Alena who introduced me to the blogosphere before I started Lady of Style – a fashion and style blog for mature women – in January 2013.

We share our passion for fashion, we go on shopping trips to London together, with her I watch livestreams of fashion shows and we even share clothes and accessories!

My style icon is Olivia Palermo. Even she is a lot younger, I love her ageless style.

What is the difference between fashion and style?
I wear a lot of high street fashion, whether it is MANGO, ZARA, H+M or Wallis – that is fashion. The way I combine a new dress with the right shoes, add a vintage necklace or an old handbag from my wardrobe and people say “you look so elegant!” – that is style.

Very often my readers can’t believe that a dress I am wearing actually was on sale for 15€ at H+M. It is not about designer pieces… ok, I wouldn’t refuse a Céline bag 😉 but it is about how you put your outfit together. I am far from being perfect but for me styling is quite easy.

Any advice for a woman who is starting to find her personal style?
Usually a woman knows the type of clothes she naturally feels comfortable with. That is a good start! It doesn’t help if you are an outdoors person and somebody tells you that you should wear a shift dress and high heels.

Go from your comfort zone and find accessories to enhance your current look. I always find
shoes most important as they can be the highlight of your outfit or completely kill it. Don’t pick accessories randomly, put some effort in creating a new look.

Go shopping with a friend and try out various themes like spring floral prints, pastel colours, try on a dress in a bright colour! Let her take photos, compare the looks and see what flatters you. If you are not sure it might take a while until you really know “that’s me and this is how I want to look!”

It is true, if you feel good, it shows.

***

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. And if you know of a True Fashionista in your life, tell us about her in the comments you never know she may end up being featured!

Follow Me | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram
 

True Fashionista: Jentine

Sometimes I look at blogs and wonder what in the world that woman does for a living that she can get away with such style. It’s funny, when I came across Jentine’s blog, My Edit I thought, hey someone who really loves fashion, has a good time with it, and makes it appropriate for some office environments! And then I realized… Jentine is a landscaper. When I found that out, it made me love Yen and the blog even more, and made me truly respect her sense of style. Jentine knows how to dress her frame, is the most skilled thriftier, and makes fashion fun and for that, I consider her a True Fashionista.

Yen (I feel I can use her nickname because she signs her emails to me like that, LOL) is gorgeous and has a great body, so it could be simple for her to throw on a mall chain frock and call it a day. But what makes her blog My Edit different is that you can really see the effort she puts into her personal style. She budgets, she thrifts, she fiddles, she plays with belts and gathering and turning pieces backwards to see if she gets a better effect. I think a lot of people just put clothes on and go without really looking at how they work with or against their body, it’s clear that Yen knows and understands her body and how her wardrobe works with it.

Jentine also wears what she enjoys and what makes her feel good. Be it a cape that her brother jokes about being a blanket, sequins during the day, or a toque to cover up a bad hair day.  She’ll often discuss what she thrifted that week and the thought process behind it, showing how there’s no random willy-nilly additions to her wardrobe, though many purchases are emotionally-based.

Not only does Jentine share her style on the blog, but she also uses it for good. She recently partnered with Musana Jewelry and designed a necklace. Musana Jewelry’s goal is, “To connect women around the world through a social business that employs, trains and empowers Ugandan women to break the cycle of poverty and secure greater prosperity for themselves, their families, and their communities.” Musana Jewelry is based in Lugazi, Uganda and employs local women to provide them with financial stability and education. All Musana’s supplies are locally sourced and the profits are all put back into the community.

Yen shows that you can achieve current trends, high fashion, and stick to your personal style and still shop on a budget.  She inspires me to give pieces in my wardrobe a new life with a belt, unexpected pairing, or even turn it backwards.  She also reminds me that it’s worth the time to pick the right pieces for your wardrobe and not just buy out of stress/frustration/boredom.  I was thrilled to have Yen be part of my True Fashionista series.  I asked her the same five questions answered by every woman in this series; here are her answers:

How would you describe your personal style?
Evolving. I would like to have some impossibly chic uniform that included a Rick Owens leather jacket and the perfectly beat up pair of biker boots but I would get bored. And I can’t afford Rick Owens.

I’m definitely partial to vintage dresses, sequins and brown leather anything but I love trying new looks and taking chances. One day I’ll wear a sharp red suit. The next day I’ll wear mustard cords and a hand knit blue sweater. That’s the best part of fashion, you get to change it up.

Where did you get your passion for fashion?
I’m not really sure. I mean my parents have always been into antique hunting at flea markets and garage sales so I certainly learned about pretty things from a young age. Though, on the other hand, my mom is the most down to earth, no fuss lady ever and I was raised in the same way. When I’m putting on make-up and agonizing over what to wear, we always chuckle over how different we really are. We do both cry over sad animal stories. That unites us.

I also know I spent much of my childhood staring at what people were wearing. And I wasn’t good at hiding my staring, so that made for some awkward moments…

Where do you find sartorial inspiration?
The usual; blogs and magazines. I am curbing my magazine addiction a bit; those glossy pages are addictive. I also try to be inspired by my own closet, there is plenty of crazy in there and it’s fun to play around. 

What is the difference between fashion and style?
I think ‘fashion’ is the umbrella term for the whole industry and whatever relates to it. Style is a more personal term, it’s how you make fashion work for yourself.

Any advice for a woman who is starting to find her personal style?
Just have fun.

I mean there is lots of important stuff to say about colour, fit, fabric and financial investment but that all comes second to enjoying your wardrobe.

I’ve been blogging for almost four years and I am still discovering my style. I think (I hope) I am better at editing and listening to my own style voice than I was four years ago, but my archives certainly have a fair share of bad outfits. I’ve made plenty of style mistakes. The only thing I consistently do right, is that I have fun getting dressed. 

I get that everyone has very different lives and that ‘having fun’ can mean completely different things. It’s fun for me to wear sequins to pick up Diet Coke and beef jerky from the grocery store. For my mom, it’s fun to wear a tiny mouse pin and a cat pin on the same lapel. A clever detail that often goes unnoticed but something she enjoys enough to text me a picture of. Sidenote- I’m talking about my mom a lot… 

It sounds a little simplistic but if you are trying to find your personal style, it makes sense to discover what you really like. Not everybody is going to like what you wear (trust me… if I had a nickel for every time someone carefully says ‘Um… I would never wear that but…’) and you are going to make mistakes but you might as well have fun.  :)

Follow Me | Twitter | Facebook
 

True Fashionista: Angie

There’s some people who like fashion, and there’s some who live and breathe it, understand it, research it, and share their passion and knowledge with others. Those folk who understand proportion, why Emerald is the hot color of the year, how that Forever 21 dress was made and what designer inspired the print and silhouette, the history behind the styles we all love. A person who knows and loves all this and has fabulous personal style? That’s the epitome of a True Fashionista, and that’s a great description for Angie Cox of YouLookFab.

I’ve been blogging for many years, and through that time I have encountered many bloggers who have inspired me. But Angie has been one who has inspired me since the first time I found YouLookFab and still today. Without her knowing, Angie has been a mentor to me as a blogger, reminding me to be true to what I believe and not the trends, that not every blog reader desires the same type of blog, and that in the words of Coco Chanel, fashion fades and only style remains the same.

I can remember when YouLookFab was a traditional blog; I came across it soon after I started my own blog and felt as though I met a virtual kindred spirit who read the same style books, liked the same retailers, had the same thoughts about fashion and style. When Angie started sharing her personal style, it was awesome to see a woman with a completely different figure, different personal style, different lifestyle, but translate our similar thoughts in such a clear manner. Yes, I visited the Internet Archive Wayback Machine to revisit older versions of YLF when writing this, and many of her posts I can remember as though I read them yesterday, and still are good advice in 2013.

When the blogosphere gets a bit too crazy and trendy and competitive, I look to Angie and YouLookFab to remind me that you can achieve success and still be authentic and connected to your readers. Over the years, Angie (and her fab husband Greg) have taken YLF from a basic WordPress blog to an entire community. Not just blog posts of Angie’s clothes and style advice, YLF has shopping resources and one of the most interactive and helpful forums I have found online. YLF readers can create their own blogs, they have very active threads where members can even link series of photos and links and request advice. The YLF newsletter is one I don’t delete before reading as it breaks down the posts of the week into topic and Angie summarizes the themes that connect the posts. I could go on, but I know many of you readers are YLF readers and members and could better explain the YLF community!

Angie is a True Fashionista because she knows her personal style so well, yet is able to assist others in finding their own distinct style. She can wear things I would never dream of but make them look clean, crisp, and easy. As her community has grown, she has stayed true to her vision about style and truly cares about her readers and community members. I was so excited when Angie agreed to be a part of the True Fashionista series, here are her answers to the same five questions I ask:

How would you describe your personal style?
I’ve just coined the descriptor “Urban Prince”. With very short hair, I am a Ladylike Prince – not a Princess :). Lots of Refinement. Lots of Inner Punk. Minimal. Modern Classic. Graphic. Crisp. Strict. My look is equal parts Boyish and Ladylike, with a little Romance and Preppy thrown into the mix. No jewelry. Low heels or flats. I sometimes wear distressed items but I’m not a Rugged Warrior. I am Polished even when I scrunch my sleeves, faux tuck oversized tops or wear Dr. Martens.

Where did you get your passion for fashion?
From home. I grew up with a very stylish Mum. I’m 42 and have been in the Rag Trade for twenty years, predominantly as a fashion buyer, but as a fashion stylist for the past seven years. Fashion and style is officially part of my soul.

Where do you find sartorial inspiration?
First and foremost, on the street. Nothing inspires my own style more than street style and blogs on street style. Also runway shows, retailers, and all the over 50 year olds on our forum

What is the difference between fashion and style?
Fashion is what you buy – style is *how* you wear the fashion that you buy. In other words, fashion inspires us, but style sets us apart. We are finally living in a fashion era that is accepting and encouraging of all sorts of outfit juxtapositions and silhouettes. That means that style plays a larger role than fashion ever has. Long may it last.

Any advice for a woman who is starting to find her personal style?
You’ll find helpful guidelines on how to get started all over the show. From books, blogs and other great resources. The point I want to drive home is that you must have fun on each leg of your style journey because that’s the only rule you aren’t allowed to break. I am also continuously asking my clients how they feel when they wear certain outfits because the happiness-factor is as important as its fit, colour and proportions. Sometimes it takes a while to pinpoint what it is about an outfit that makes us happy, but it’s worth pondering this question for future reference. After all, a big part of life is about reaching a state of happiness.

***

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. And if you know of a True Fashionista in your life, tell us about her in the comments you never know she may end up being featured!

True Fashionista: Katherine

February 2011, I attended my first blogger event. A few fashion and beauty bloggers in the DC area decided to get together for cocktails and brainstorming. From that happy hour, CapFABB was created. Also thanks to that happy hour, I got to know Katherine Martinez, blogger, business owner, designer, and True Fashionista.

Katherine always amazes me when I see her – she will take the item I will laugh at on the racks at the thrift store and see the beauty in it. She will rework it, accessorize it, pair it with unexpected pieces and bring out the garment’s beauty. She is able to take those Jessica McClintock granny dresses I wore in middle school and make them look badass with chunky shoes, studded accessories, and a DIY asymmetrical hem.

Katherine shares her incredible eye for style and vintage with Co-Creative Director Ashley Turchin at their shop La Petite Marmoset. They have a boutique here in DC, an Etsy shop, and have their pieces sold at some of the coolest shops in the DMV.

As soon as I thought of this True Fashionista series for the blog, I thought of Katherine. She knows herself, her style, and wears clothes, no matter how crazy or strange, without them wearing her. Not only is she creative, talented, and stylish, but she is one of the warmest and nicest people I have met in the DC fashion scene.  Her smile lights a room and she’s always a blast to spend time with.  I asked her the same five questions I will be asking of all True Fashionistas in this series, here are her answers:

How would you describe your personal style?
I would describe it as (it is now cliché to call this a cliché) eclectic– I like to mix vintage pieces with modern basics. I tend to gravitate towards things that are what I like to call “beautifully ugly”— that is, at first glance, your reaction might be, “Who ever thought it was a good idea to wear that thing?” Beaded, fringed, leather, sequined, and bright are always on my mental checklist when hunting for vintage.

Where did you get your passion for fashion?
My mom says that from the time I was little when we went shopping I knew exactly what I wanted, despite her efforts to put me in turtlenecks and jeans. My abuelita and other women on my dad’s side of the family all are creative and like to sew, so that helped grow my love for DIY fashion.

Where do you find sartorial inspiration?
All over the place! I follow many blogs and am always checking my favorite online stores to see what vintage pieces can translate to those looks— I also am inspired by old movies and ad campaigns. Musicals from the ‘40s and ‘50s are my favorites because the costumes were so over the top!

What is the difference between fashion and style?
I think fashion is something that is fleeting, changing by the minute (in today’s online world it seems like by the second), and something that, with enough money, anyone can purchase. I think money can’t buy style— style is more personal and depends on the individual. Style is what makes the same designer top look gaudy on one A-list celebrity but effortlessly chic on another.

Any advice for a woman who is starting to find her personal style?
Find pieces that work for your body— once you know what works, experiment away with colors, prints, and fabrics! Look for inspiration online, but put your own spin on it. I think the biggest mistake people make is getting discouraged when the latest trend doesn’t look good on them– having a solid foundation in knowing what basic pieces make you look and feel your best can allow you to seamlessly incorporate new elements :)

True Fashionista: Chastity

I get often receive emails and comments from women stating that fashion is unattainable because of their size. That I don’t get it because I have never been larger than a size 18. That they can’t relate to fashion blogs because they never feature fashionable plus-size women. That they can’t wear current trends because they don’t work with a larger or more curvy frame. And in an answer to those comments, I send them to Chastity’s blog, GarnerStyle.

Chastity Garner is plus-sized, and not in that typical catalog model way where she’s just a voluptuous size 10. Chastity has a pear shape, she’s larger than an 18 on the bottom, she has curves… and she knows how to rock all of them and have fun with current trends. Leather? Check. Leopard-print pencil skirt? Check. Exposed midriff? Yep… Chastity does it and does it well. And for this, I find Chastity inspiring and a True Fashionista.

“Be fearless. You only live once, why not look fabulous while doing it. If nothing else, don’t let size dictate your style.”
            – Chastity Garner, GarnerStyle

 

I know that fashion isn’t as easy for those who wear double digit sizes. Selection, fit, quality, and trend is lacking and you can’t just waltz into your neighborhood mall or boutique and find a fabulous ensemble. But Chastity and her informative blog GarnerStyle show that plus size fashion DOES exist and it’s worth the search. While Chastity features her own personal style in outfit posts, she also provides tips on how to shop for her look. Be it considering chain belts for statement-making necklaces or how to shop plus size vintage, Chastity has you covered. She also does extensive reviews on plus size brands and collections.

Chastity is more than her blog; she is also a stylist who does in-person and virtual image consulting and styling. She even has a new book, The Curvy Girl’s Guide to Style. From the book’s purchase page, The Curvy Girl’s Guide to Style is, “Literally a crash course on having fabulous style at any size, this book explores several areas of style that the average curvy girl struggles with.”

I was honored to have Chastity be featured on Wardrobe Oxygen – she is fun, fashionable, and utterly fabulous. She reminds me that fashion should be fun, not just about trying to make clothes flatter. The most flattering thing a woman can put on is confidence, and Chastity has plenty of that and wears it so well. As with every other True Fashionista, I asked Chastity the same five questions. Here’s her answers:

How would you describe your personal style?
I have always stuck to saying I have a classic sense of style. I may get crazy from time to time and I am unafraid to try new things, but at the end of the day I love my classic pieces. I feel like you can achieve any look with your classics.

Where did you get your passion for fashion?
My first memories of knowing how fashion can change the way you feel and look is when I was in Belk with my mom. There was a pair of peplum pants that I tried on, hot pink pants with a green peplum to be exact. I was eight years old. I knew then that clothes were magical. In those pants I felt like I could conquer the world. 

I have a few memories of things that I wore as a child that gave me that feeling, so I understood the power of fashion by the time I was four years old. Being a fat kid and teenager, I couldn’t express how I wanted to look because there weren’t a lot options out there for a girl over a certain size. Once the fashion started to change and plus size options began to flow it allowed me to unleash my inner stylish girl. I haven’t looked back since. 

So I guess to answer your question, I got my passion from something innately in me, the other part stems from being fashionably starved for so many years. 

Where do you find sartorial inspiration?
I find it everywhere. You may say I’m a little addicted to Pinterest. Lately I’ve been seeking inspiration from home décor. Color and print combinations will be showing up in my spring looks. 

What is the difference between fashion and style?
If you’re broke, can’t buy the latest this or that, but can still look fabulous, you have style. In my opinion, it’s a personality trait. It can’t be taken away from you. 

Fashion is what you see on the runways. It’s what we are given every season. It’s physical. It can be bought. You can’t buy style. 

Any advice for a woman who is starting to find her personal style?
Try different things. Being brave is the biggest part of developing your own personal style. I feel like a lot of women can’t achieve their style goals because they are too afraid to try new things. This generates out of fear of what other people will think. Who cares what other people think! If I cared about what others think, I’d be starving, cranky, and frumpy. I definitely wouldn’t be the girl that I am today. When you do that you really figure who you are as a person and what that girl looks like. Personal style is all about conveying to the world who you are. 

True Fashionista: Audi

Many readers contact me telling me that because of their job, they can’t dress to match their personal style. Many also tell me that once they hit 30, they don’t feel that they can show their personal style at work because it won’t be seen as professional or serious. When I get such emails, I often send these women a link to Audi’s blog, and that is a big reason (other than thinking she’s utterly fabulous and stylish) why I asked her to be part of my True Fashionista series.

Audi from the blog Fashion for Nerds is a scientist. She’s over 40. She isn’t one to fit in with the crowd. She loves to travel, loves living in San Francisco, and makes hats in her spare time. She has tattoos, and I am terribly jealous that she has been to Burning Man. She is able to have all this and be professional at work AND true to her personal style. She’s proof that you can be stylish and smart; a professional and a sartorial badass.

I have been reading Audi’s blog for many years and one thing that I love about her style is that while it is unique, it is never a costume. Audi can wear knee-high lace up boots, a harness, a scarf decorated with skulls and it looks polished and sophisticated. She understands not only herself, but her environment and knows how to merge the two.

A big part of why Audi’s style works so well is because she wears it with confidence. I often think of street style blogs – what the subjects may wear may not conventionally make sense, but their posture, their stance, and their visible confidence is the finishing touch that makes the look perfection. Audi carries herself with pride and confidence and it makes her fashions even the more fabulous.

Audi is the queen of the carefully edited closet. While she never shows the same exact outfit twice, you see the same pieces being used over and over, each time getting a new look. Pairing a biker vest with skinny cargos one day and a maxi skirt the other, you hardly realize it’s the same piece. Audi carefully purchases, be it a Helmut Lang dress, a Botiker bag, or an H&M top. And whether it’s ASOS or Alexander McQueen, those pieces get much wear over the years, having new lives as her personal style evolves.

I was so thrilled Audi was willing to be a True Fashionista for Wardrobe Oxygen; here are her responses to the same five questions I ask to each woman in this series.

How would you describe your personal style?
It can be all over the map, but the outfits I feel are really “me” are those that could be described as rocker professional, by which I mean that they look polished and tidy, but have plenty of rebellious elements such as skulls or leather, or that show my tattoos.

Where did you get your passion for fashion?
As a kid I used fashion as a means of creating a persona that I didn’t really possess; I was quite shy and reserved all though high school, and dressing in a bold way gave me an air of self confidence. By the time I hit my 20’s I had become genuinely confident, but my style only fully developed once I stopped working in the lab and was able to wear nice clothes to work without having to worry about being uncomfortable all day with my lab coat on over my outfit.

Where do you find sartorial inspiration?
Everywhere, really; other bloggers, people I see on the street, friends, coworkers, window displays, runway shows, magazines. Sometimes it’s just a color combination that I like, sometimes it’s an individual item that strikes a chord, and other times it’s an entire outfit.

What is the difference between fashion and style?
Fashion gives us the individual elements: the colors, shapes, patterns, textures, and genres that strike our collective fancy for a particular period of time. Style is how an individual puts those specific elements together.

Any advice for a woman who is starting to find her personal style?
I think the most important thing is to have an idea of what you want your wardrobe to say about you. If you want to come off as relaxed and approachable, then think of a few examples of people whose style appears that way to you, be it celebrities or people you know. Then start experimenting, understanding all the while that your style will morph over time as you find the garments that make you look and feel your best. The other thing to remember is that it’s one thing to admire a look on someone else, but it’s quite another to wear it yourself; before you buy a new item, ask yourself if you love it for you or if it’s better being loved from afar.

True Fashionista: Bianca

The other day I was chatting with my friend Alison and we were discussing menswear. While she can totally pull it off, I find it looks costumey on me and that I can’t carry it off with my curvy frame. And as soon as I said that, I thought of Bianca. Bianca isn’t built like Katherine Hepburn yet carries off the menswear look so beautifully and oh so effortlessly. She knows what she likes, has a defined style aesthetic, and that is why I consider Bianca a True Fashionista.

Bianca is the author of the blog Avant Blargh, where she shares her thoughts on fashion and photographs of her personal style. Self described as living, “in a world between gamine and grandma,” Bianca has a defined personal style of cropped trousers, blazers, a hint of the ‘80s, hint of Leisure World, splash of city life and a good dollop of vintage and thrifted finds. This unusual mishmash completely works, giving Bianca a look that is menswear with a feminine touch as well as a look that is completely unique and endearing.

While Avant Blargh is primarily photos, her bit of text adds depth to her ensembles, understanding where she came from in creating the look. She often references pop culture that influences her style, be it Woody Allen films, Family Ties, or the style of the eldest Huxtable daughter. She discusses how her personal style is evolving – how it’s becoming more granny-chic than avant garde, how she’s playing with silhouettes of jackets. It’s refreshing to read the honest mindset behind the ensembles on a fashion blog and to read how one analyzes her look.

Bianca is proof that you don’t need a ton of clothing or a bunch of new pieces to have a defined personal style. Be it a sweater she finds in her mom’s basement, thrifted shoes, or a new jacket from American Apparel, Bianca adds to her wardrobe with thought not just to the look, but how it works with her current closet as well as her budget. She doesn’t shop willy-nilly, and thinks about her personal style before adding to her collection. She keeps her look fun and fresh with personal touches such as her hair, glasses, and jewelry.

Bianca inspires me because she is so true to her personal style, she has a great look without spending an arm and a leg, and breaks all the rules and makes fashion work for her, not the other way around. As with every other True Fashionista I asked Bianca the same five questions; here are her answers.

How would you describe your personal style?
Oatmeal, no really. Something old fashioned but substantial. You can dress it up, or have it plain, but it all starts with the classics.

Where did you get your passion for fashion?
My mother works in the industry so I think it stemmed from there. That and my love for pop culture.

Where do you find sartorial inspiration?
Almost any movie with Diane Keaton, ’70s music, and the Huxtable sisters.

What is the difference between fashion and style?
Fashion is a way of doing things while style makes it your own. Fashion says color-blocking is hot, style says I’m going to color block bright yellow from a Paddington bear style raincoat to yellow Target tights!

Any advice for a woman who is starting to find her personal style?
Remember the joy of getting dressed when you were a child dressing yourself for the first time, nobody dictated to you how, you just did. Dress to make yourself feel happy whether or not it’s considered “trendy” at the end of the day, you have to make yourself happy.

***

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!

Follow Me | Twitter | Facebook
 

True Fashionista: Zoe

I was a pretty creative teen when it came to fashion and style. I wore sweaters as skirts, sewed some of my own clothes, embellished and drew on my denim, even pulled down one of my bedroom curtains to fashion it into a cummerbund for a school dance. I’m eternally grateful that my parents gave me the freedom to express myself sartorially; while it made for some awkward social moments at the mall (strangers can be so cruel) it helped me be strong, believe in myself, and take risks.

I’m always thrilled to come across a blog of a younger woman or teen who has a bold and clearly defined personal style. I know it’s not easy at that age to buck the norm, and I understand the passion and creativity and drive that goes behind such outfits. Some young bloggers you can see are still feeling things out and finding their way, and others you can clearly understand their message and can be in awe by their voice and maturity. When I came across Zoe Schlacter’s blog, Girl With The Flower, she stopped me in my tracks with her incredibly creative, unique, and inspiring personal style. I subscribed, I became a huge fan, and asked her to be part of my True Fashionista series.

Zoe has always been a fan of fashion, in fact her second post on her blog, Girl With the Flower is from December 2009 when she met Tim Gunn. It’s fun to scroll through her archives and see her personal style progression. Doing so you see that Zoe has always been a step ahead of the rest – her outfits in 2009 and 2010 look very much like what many personal style bloggers are wearing today, and I can bet that her current ensembles will be imitated in a couple years.

“In middle school, I went through an awkward insecure phase, like most middle-schoolers do. I wasn’t quite as daring then; it’s been a gradual progression up until now. I’m becoming more courageous with what I wear, and I’m more confident in myself.” (source)

 

Zoe doesn’t just put together creative outfits, but she is also an artist. She shares many of her photography concepts (like those googly eye images in her header), film projects, textiles she has designed, and handcrafted headpieces on her blog, and even has an Etsy store where she sells her unique headbands and other wearable art. She has been featured in Teen Vogue, Nashville Scene, the front page of Chictopia, and Metromix and I can bet that’s just the beginning of this fashionista’s deserved press.

I look forward to Zoe’s continued pushing of sartorial boundaries, and her inspiring mix of art and fashion. I was honored to have Zoe be a part of my True Fashionista series and asked her the same five questions I ask of each participant; her answers:

How would you describe your personal style? 
I cant really classify my style into one genre, but I like things that are colorful and patterned and shiny. I really love everything floral; I’m a big fan of flowers.

Where did you get your passion for fashion? 
I’ve always been really interested in visual art. My parents are creative people, and they’ve always been really supportive of my creative endeavors. I started getting into fashion when I was about ten or so, and I’ve gradually become more and more courageous in my fashion choices over the years. I got into fashion for the wrong reasons; when I first became conscious of my appearance, it was to fit in… to be like everyone else… to be beautiful to others. My passion for fashion has evolved into something more meaningful. Now, I dress for myself, and I wear things that make me happy. Additionally, my interests in visual art and fashion have coincided in recent years, and treat fashion like another form of art.

Where do you find sartorial inspiration? 
Recently, I’ve been interested in Japanese street style… everything “kawaii.” And I’ve been inspired by Frida Kahlo for a long time now. I admire her art, and I admire her ability to stand up for her unusual viewpoints.

What is the difference between fashion and style? 
Fashion is on runways; style is what’s in your closet.

Any advice for a woman who is starting to find her personal style? 
Don’t be afraid to try new things, and don’t be afraid to go with your gut instinct when making clothing decisions. If you want to develop a personal style truly your own, you need to stop caring what others think of you. You have to do it for yourself- not for other people.

***

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. And if you know of a True Fashionista in your life, tell us about her in the comments you never know she may end up being featured!

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.

***

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!

Follow Me | Twitter | Facebook
 

True Fashionista: Nancy

Blogger Fashion Trends. They do exist. There’s just some styles that bloggers latch on to, and the trend grows like wildfire. Some, I could do without, but many are so popular because they are just so darn wearable on many different shapes and ages of women, and adaptable on varying clothing budgets. While these trends are rampant across the blogosphere, I rarely find one who wears them in an inspiring way, a way that still shows the woman’s personality, who makes me feel that she truly dresses this way every day, and not just for her blog or because she is a blogger. Those who can adapt the popular trends in a manner that is true to their personal style and taking into account their figure, lifestyle, and budget… they inspire me. Nancy from Adore to Adorn is one of those very women, and that is why I asked her to be part of my True Fashionista series.

Pattern mixing, daytime sequins, Karen Walker sunnies, arm parties, the half tuck, the fur snood, that covetable 3.1 Phillip Lim bag… Nancy wears them, but they don’t wear her. It’s not a costume, these trends are done in a relaxed, realistic manner that makes me give the trends a second chance. Like me, Nancy loves to mix prints with stripes, and does it with ease, be it polka-dot tights or camo-print skinnies. She carefully uses color to add accent and not look like a bag of Skittles, and I adore seeing her re-wear pieces proving that the clothes are a purposeful part of her wardrobe and not just for pageviews.

One of my favorite parts of Adore to Adorn is Nancy’s Wednesday Whim series, where she shares art installations, inspiring photography and graphic design. In these posts, she provides not only context for the images, but her opinion of the art. I believe that fashion is a form of art, and love the marriage of the two on a blog. Sharing art that inspires her also helps understand Nancy’s thought process behind her own personal style, giving it depth and having her stand out in the personal style blogosphere.

Nancy of Adore to Adorn is as friendly and down to earth as she seems in her posts (hooray for another smiling blogger!); I was happy she was willing to be part of this series and asked her to answer the same five questions I have asked of all the True Fashionista; her answers:

How would you describe your personal style?
I’m so inspired by different types of style that I dress like it too. I’m very eclectic in how I approach things. I love color and patterns as much as I love neutrals and minimalistic style.

Where did you get your passion for fashion?
As I look back at my evolution in style I would have to credit my fashion to my mom. She loved to dress me up as a kid but I was such a “tomboy” that I just rolled my eyes at it. But, as I grew into my teenage years, I appreciated more of what she loved and what she had.

Where do you find sartorial inspiration?
Nowadays, I love looking at blogs and just people walking around everyday for everyday, street style. People have such a great sense and it’s more acceptable to display your personality than ever before. I also still love perusing good ol’ fashioned magazines for incredible high fashion and styling inspiration.

What is the difference between fashion and style?
For me, fashion is the industry and style is individualized. Everyone can have their own sense of style and maybe not everyone agrees with it, but that is what is so alluring about it.

Any advice for a woman who is starting to find her personal style?
For anyone trying to find out what works for her the important thing to remember is everything is trial and error. You won’t know what pieces work well on you unless you try it out. There are a lot of things I wouldn’t have thought looked good and I was surprised they did and likewise, there were things I thought would work on me and didn’t. As I’ve gotten older, I have figured out more about my body and what fits well when it comes to clothes. I’m also realizing “never say never” when it comes to clothes. I think the same can be said for people finding their personal style. =)

***

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. And if you know of a True Fashionista in your life, tell us about her in the comments you never know she may end up being featured!

True Fashionista: Buki

Style seems to attract style, at least it seems that way here in DC. Through my stylish friend Alison I met the ever-chic Chelsea, though Chelsea I met the fashionable Rosana, and through Rosana I found Buki’s blog James1542. I loved her positive outlook, spunky style, and true knowledge of fashion and her personal style. Not only does she look fabulous in clothes, she designs and makes many of them! Because of this, I asked Buki to be part of my True Fashionista series.

While Style with Buki is primarily a personal style blog, Buki often discusses trips, home décor, and food. It’s surely what one would call a style blog for you can understand Buki’s personal style clearly through her posts. I love the little style tips she has at the end of each post. Each one is realistic, possible, and can add a touch of flair or style without much effort or money. She also is quite creative with her wardrobe, be it making a rice bag into a purse or belting a thrifted skirt and transforming it into a top. Buki doesn’t have a ginormous wardrobe, and it’s fun to see how she re-wears different pieces in different ways, giving them new lives.  She proves that you don’t need a lot of clothes to have a lot of style.

 

Buki’s positivity is infectious. She’s so grateful for her readers, sees the bright side of every situation, and isn’t afraid to grin from ear to ear in her outfit posts. Her smile is such a welcome change in a sea of serious-faced fashion bloggers and while Buki is expert in accessorizing, her best accessory is that wonderful smile. Her Grateful Four series is a non-materialistic twist on a popular blogger feature and often reminds me to see the good and the beautiful in the everyday. I also love how she blends Nigerian Ankara with current trends, thrifted goodies, and mall staples. She truly is a definition of personal style.

As with every True Fashionista, I asked Buki the same five questions; here are her answers.

How would you describe your personal style?
A Classic twist: I enjoy mixing tailored pieces with feminine silhouettes in textured fabrics and bold prints.

Where did you get your passion for fashion?
I’d have to say, from my mother. She has impeccable taste so at young age, I enjoyed playing dress up in her closet with my and going with her to local tailors as she designed custom clothing.

Where do you find sartorial inspiration?
I get inspired by observing life in general: people, places and events inspire my style. I absolutely love to travel locally and globally. Experiencing new textures in food, different moods created by local musicians and unique colors and patterns in the artwork of different cultures fill my mind with ideas to interpret into my wardrobe!

What is the difference between fashion and style?
Fashion consists of curated items offered to the public seasonally while style is one’s translation and personalization of those curated items.

Any advice for a woman who is starting to find her personal style?
First of all start with your greatest asset, Self Confidence. Then experiment with different silhouettes and trends to see what suits your figure and personality best.