Monday, February 22, 2010

Interview: Stylish White Female

A while ago Terra from Stylish White Female was kind enough to interview me, and I thought it'd be cool to interview her as well! We found each other through Independent Fashion Bloggers (definitely a site I'd recommend). Basically, I'm totally envious of her hair. And she dresses in a classic way with a modern twist. Terra calls Pittsburgh home - yes, the other side of the state in which I reside. I'll let the whole Penguins vs. Flyers thing go... just kidding, I'm not into sports whatsoever. I'll stop my rambling!

A typical question, but perhaps a good point to start - what made you interested in fashion/what made you want to start blogging?

My mom taught me to sew when I was young. Nothing too extravagant but enough to put together some basic pieces. She would always talk about how, as one of five kids, she had to often make her own clothes when she was growing up. So I guess that's where my love for fashion really started. Knowing what little I did about sewing, I thought it was incredible that someone could conceive of an outfit and then put it together into a finished piece. But then again, as a moderately creative person I'm constantly intrigued by those who are supremely creative.

I decided I wanted to start blogging after I spent the majority of my Thanksgiving break reading back posts of What I Wore. Then I started reading blogs she read. And then I did some searching for Pittsburgh personal style blogs and found there was a relatively open market. I love Pittsburgh and I really wanted to highlight the boutiques and designers that are thriving here so that the next time someone visits, they'll know just where to shop to get the best stuff.

Where do you get inspiration from?

I'm inspired by everyone around me. Of course I'm reading a number of personal style blogs every day. I see gals doing things with pieces that I have in my closet and I think to myself, "I can do that." And then I do. It's been a lot of fun. I've started wearing pieces that have somehow survived the numerous Goodwill purges over the years and I'm back in love with them again. It's very exciting.

How do your days normally run, and how do you dress accordingly?

I work in the marketing department at a private university. So I need to be professional but I can play a little bit. Pittsburgh is just caked with snow right now so I prefer wearing skirts and dresses so that I can jump in and out of boots easily. But once I change out of my boots I'll wear anything. Today I wore peeptoe slingback pumps with black tights and they worked out great! Weekends are a slightly different story. If I'm just tooling around South Side, you'll almost always find me in skinny jeans or leggings with knee-high or higher boots. It's easy, keeps my feet and clothes dry, and still looks stylish.

What's more important to you - comfort or style?

The older I get, the more comfort becomes a priority. But I think trends are magnifying my desire for comfort. Leggings and big billowy tops are a girl's best friend! If I really want to look put together, I'll throw on a belt to give myself a waist. Otherwise, I'm enjoying the elasticized waist!

What was your style like... 5 years ago? 10 years ago?

Five years ago, my style wasn't too much different. I was going out more often so I was wearing more party gear. But I really loved classic cuts and styles, even then. Straight leg trousers and fitted blazers have been a staple for a while. Ten years ago is a different story. I was just out of college and I had yet to work at the Express, which is really where I was introduced to the best way to fit clothes on my body. My style then was really all about what I could afford. I had a lot of men's cargo and corduroy pants, my grandfather's bowling shirts and some hideous party clothes. I was an unfortunate mess!

How has your style evolved?

I've worked for several years to build up the staples in my wardrobe - black trousers, black pencil skirt, khaki trench, go-to jeans, a few blazers, classic blouses and sweaters. Now I'm playing with trends again. I can pull in a cheapie piece that will go out of style next season and punch up a well-made, well-fitting, classic piece for a great new look. By no means do I feel like my wardrobe is complete. There are so many things I'm trying to gather - more tights, shoes and bags are high on the list.

Looking back on where I used to be and where I am, I feel like my taste has become more focused. I know what I like and what I don't like. But I try not to allow that notion stop me from trying something new. I hope my style continues to evolve over time. Could you imagine if I was wearing a backless mini dress when I'm 60? I could only be so lucky!

What are your hobbies?

I have two dogs which I love spending time with. I'm the gal who cries during the ASPCA commercials. Yeah. I'm a sucker. I also love to stay healthy so I spend time with my friends and my husband running, doing yoga, pilates, Crossfit... It's not very sexy but it's good to share fitness with friends! When I have time, I love to sew and this Christmas I picked up knitting a bit. I've been thrifting a lot more lately too.

I've noticed you have some great thrifted pieces - do you have any recommendations for thrift shopping?

Thanks! My number one piece of advise is to ignore sizes and give yourself time to try things on. I was always a slave to the sizing and that's so unfortunate. I'm usually a small or sometimes an x-small. But I've grabbed a couple of mediums on my last few outings and they've fit wonderfully! Sizing is so different from label to label and from decade to decade so there's no use in sticking to a size. Just dive in headfirst and go for it.

What is your favorite article of clothing (or any accessory or the like) that you own?

My favorite shirt right now is a striped J.Crew sweater that I thrifted for $4. I had to repair it (it's wool and there were a couple of small holes) so I feel especially attached to it. It's as though I saved it from a permanent existence on a hanger. Now it gets worn... a lot. It looks great with jeans, trousers, a skirt, layered, alone... it's the perfect piece. I'm going to miss it when it gets warm again.

I'm also a big fan of enormous rings. My parents-in-law got me this great gold leaf ring from ModCloth for Christmas. It's just a plastic ring but it covers three of my fingers and it's really shiny. I love it!

Probably another typical question, but what's in your purse?

Oh man, I jump from purse to purse almost every day. The items that I must transfer every time are my enormous wallet, Blackberry, glasses, sunglasses, Lip Smackers, wine-colored lipstick, my university ID, keys, mini umbrella and gum.

Speaking of bags, which do you prefer - shoes or purses?

You're KILLING me here! *sigh* Ok... I'm going with shoes. I seem to have at least 4 times as many of them as I do bags so that must be where my heart lies, right?

Since it's so snowy here right now, my mind is focusing on weather, so which season is your favorite? Why?

Fall, without a doubt. The temperature might be sort of similar to spring, but spring is sloppy with all of the melting snow and the things hidden under the snow and such. You get to wear all sorts of layers in the fall without having to bundle up. It's cool but not uncomfortable. The smells and the colors are brilliant. HALLOWEEN. College football. It reminds me of returning to college each year, which I always looked forward to. I know that sounds goofy but I loved my friends at school so it was always nice to reunite with them. And the anticipation of holiday celebrations is just on the horizon. It's a wonderful time!

This is a little random, but I love your hair! Do you have any hair tips?

Oh you're sweet! It's taken me years to come to terms with my hair. If I do nothing with it, it's neither straight nor curly. It's just an ugly kinky, frizzy mess. Blech.

Here's what I've found works for my hair. First, a good cut. When you find a hairdresser who can work with your hair, hold onto him/her with all of your might. Second, don't shower every day. It's just not necessary unless you have thinner hair. If you see my hair pulled up, it's probably because I didn't shower. (Shhh... ) Finally, don't underestimate the power of appropriate hair products. Mind you, I use Dove shampoo and conditioner, so I don't think expensive equals good. But when I straighten my hair, I use a protective spray (it helps hold the hair and keep it from frying) and a shine serum. They make a world of difference.

If you won a trip anywhere, where would you want to go?

I want to go to Paris. My brother lived there and I've always been in love with the French culture. There is something so fantastic and romantic about the people and their way of life. Ever see Amelie? That's what I think of when I think of France. They make me want to eat bread and cheese and drink wine and read books in a cafe for the rest of my days. If I could move there and not cause my husband too much grief, I would do it in a heartbeat.

What's your favorite way to spend your time?

I'm a firm believer that it's not the place it's the people. I could be doing anything and as long as I'm with the people I love, I'll have a good time. Some of my favorite moments are spent at home heckling the television with my husband. He makes me laugh every single day and in every conceivable situation.

So there you have it!


  1. hehe i totally get you about the tigrer thing ;)

    great interview, yeah she does have amazing hair!

  2. what a fantastic interview and feature! i truly liked her response on style throughout the years... i'm definitely going to check out her blog :)


  3. Lovely interview and lovely photos!

  4. ooo love the plum blazer so awesome

  5. Thanks everyone! I can't thank Catherine enough for taking the time to get to know me. Be sure to check out her interview... she's truly incredible!

    SWF seeks... a gal pal.

  6. Terra is totally one of my blogging besties, but I didn't know some of this stuff! Great job!!

  7. I loved reading about Terra. You asked some great questions.


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