Growing up, my mom made a lot of my sister and my clothes. Easter dresses, corduroy overalls for playtime, Halloween costumes, even my prom dress was made by my mom. When my mom was a single career girl in New York, she sewed the majority of her office fashion (and even made a patchwork bedspread from the remnants that I use to this very day). Though my mom tried very hard to teach me how to sew, I mainly use my sewing machine for repairs and simple crafts. However, I am so inspired by those who use their sewing skills to hone their personal style, and make fashion work for their figure and budget. When I consider a blog like that, I immediately think of Erica B.’s D.IY. Style, where the talented Erica Bunker has blogged her sewing skill and personal style for almost eight years. And since I found Erica’s blog many years ago, I have been a fan and found her to be creative, talented, inspiring, chic, and a True Fashionista.
“How many times have you seen clothes in an upscale department store or a posh boutique and cringed at the sight of the price tag?” asks Erica Bunker on her blog. She caught herself saying to herself, “I could make that!” and so she does, recreating popular trends and silhouettes and providing tips on how she customizes the patterns to fit her body and looks on the runways.
I love how Erica shares where she gets her inspiration, be it yellow for spring, the current Balenciaga print ads, something she saw on Pinterest, or a pair of Tibi trousers that she saw on the runway during Birmingham Fashion Week. She goes into her thought process, how she alters the style, the pattern, why she chooses the colors, the notions, the linings and how she would change it if she used the pattern again.
Erica is proof that you don’t need to have a designer budget to dress in a designer manner. She shows what we hear time and time again – a custom tailored fit will increase the style of a piece and make it look more expensive. She learns from her projects, knows her body, her personal style and how to dress for her here and now. She knows fashion, design, and designers and how to interpret them and learn from them.
Erica’s talent and style is inspiring and awesome, she’s has been a regular in my blog reader for years and I am so honored to have her part of my True Fashionista series. I asked Erica to answer the same five questions I ask of each True Fashionista; her answers:
How would you describe your personal style?
I'd describe my style as colorfully classic, feminine (but not girlie) yet current. I love classic pieces in bright hues and pieces that are cyclical. I know that when I invest the time into tailoring a jacket or a coat, I'm going to wear it for the next 10+ years. But I also love mixing in current trendy pieces.
Where did you get your passion for fashion?
My passion for fashion began when I was a little girl. My favorite day was Sunday. That was the day I could get all dressed up for church. Those frilly dresses and patent leather Mary Janes were everything!
Where do you find sartorial inspiration?
I live for Pinterest, street style and personal style blogs. I'm not so much into watching what celebrities are wearing. I'm inspired by the way regular ladies pull an outfit together without a stylist and a glam squad.
What is the difference between fashion and style?
Great question! I feel fashion relates more to buying the trends and labels. Style is how you put it all together and wear it. Style sets you apart from everyone else.
Any advice for a woman who is starting to find her personal style?
The advice I'd give is to step outside of your comfort zone. Try things you've never worn before. Add color to your wardrobe. Just go to a store or boutique and try on and take pictures. Take your time and build your wardrobe, you don't have to do it over night. Read blogs! Find someone whose style you love and follow them.
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!