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Today's True Fashionista is Catie Nienaber – blogger, writer, business owner, and lover of vintage fashion. When I thought of the True Fashionista series, I knew I had to include her. I have seen her personal style develop over the years, and knew others would find it as inspiring as I do.
Catie is another “old school” blogger friend – we've both been at it since around 2005, and I think I have been reading her blog, Cuffington for almost that long. I'll admit while preparing this post, I spent over an hour scrolling through Catie's blog archives, trying to find when exactly I started reading her blog. I saw many posts that I remembered (and gems like this), but realized I must have been quite a lurker for I couldn't find a comment until October 2007, where I admitted that I too was a fan of Jonathan Adler and Valley of the Dolls.
In 2006 Catie was already shooting and blogging about street fashion, in 2007 she was blogging about Coco Rocha and having BryanBoy comment on her blog. Catie has always been ahead of the times. Her blog appealed to me because she effortlessly mixed fashion history, pop culture, street fashion, and her own personal style. Others also have loved what they found on her blog, for she has been featured on sites such as Style.com and Street Peeper and is a regular contributor for the San Francisco Chronicle.
Not only is Catie a stylish woman and skilled writer, but she also runs Dronning Vintage, her own shop for vintage fashion (also check out the blog for Dronning Vintage!). Catie has a passion for quality fashion with history; this shows in her carefully curated collection of pieces in her online boutique. As with the other True Fashionistas, I asked Catie to answer five questions for me on personal style.
How would you describe your personal style?
A whimsical, light-hearted mix of color, vintage, and modern pieces.
Where did you get your passion for fashion?
It grew organically over a period of several years, but if I had to pick one moment where the light was turned on, it would have been when I visited the Museum of Costume in Bath, England in 2001. My eyes were opened that day, and I've never been the same.
Where do you find sartorial inspiration?
I like looking at old (1930s – 1950s, in color) catalogues and magazines, if not for the way vintage clothes were styled, but also for the exciting ways colors and patterns were combined. Because that's something that can transcend eras. I also love street style photos taken during fashion week, those are the high holy days. Some people see shots from that time of year as stunt dressing for the cameras, but I often find it's when you see some of the most interesting stuff. I mean, as long as it's not a head-to-toe regurgitation of a runway look, you've got my attention.
What is the difference between fashion and style?
I see fashion as the literal manifestation of change, the urge to constantly be new and to transform. Style is more like the tangible piece of all of that that is relevant to you and your body, your budget, your time and place in the world. Fashion is the industry. Style is what you throw on your back.
Any advice for a woman who is starting to find her personal style?
Understand that it takes work! You will have to try on so much stuff (and I don't just mean jeans), especially at the beginning, in order to cultivate a consciousness of what flatters you and what you love. And no matter how finely honed you think your taste is, there's always room to learn something new.