We hope you enjoyed Part One of GoodwillNyNj’s Style Icon Interview! In it, Essence.com, Honey.com & StyleHive.com writer Adriana Nova discussed what constitutes good style, how to spot never-fail Goodwill finds, and the second chance used clothing deserves.
In this second half, Adriana covers how you can look like a million bucks for just a handful of bills. Plus, for all you fashion bloggers out there, Ms. Nova shares some insight on what you really want to know: what it takes to become a professional style writer – and, if you’re as awesome as Adriana, a Goodwill Style Icon, too.
Adriana, as a contributor to Essence.com, StyleHive, and Honey, we know you know a ton about fashion – but how about affordable fashion? What advice do you have for the girl or guy who wants to make a unique, personalized fashion impression without dropping endless cash for one-of-a-kind boutique creations?
My advice is that it’s entirely possible – and that you might end up looking better than the girl or guy who has endless cash resources. It’s akin to that old saying about good manners: they have nothing to do with class and everything to do with upbringing. Similarly, a keen sense of style has nothing to do with the size of your bank account and everything to do with your decisions.
If you’re working with limited funds, the key is to be strategic about your purchases (see the recommended Splurge and Save items below). Scour eBay, online sample sale sites, consignment shops and, of course, thrift stores like Goodwill for quality goods at prices you can work with. Get together with like-minded fashion friends for seasonal swap parties to exchange clothes. Repurpose current pieces in your closet with tailoring, trim updates, etc., like putting new buttons on a coat.
We’re big fans of repurposing – it’s the easiest way to create a completely unique look. Sometimes, though, we can’t help but want to follow a trend. What, if any, are the trend pieces worth the splurge, and what can be found for less?
Splurge: Handbags, coats, and shoes.
Save: Denim, separates (blouses, blazers, trousers), and accessories like sunglasses, costume jewelry, and belts.
Now a question close to many of our readers’ hearts: What advice do you have for those who dream of becoming fashion writers, but can’t afford each season’s designer items?
The first piece of advice is that fashion writers themselves can rarely afford each season’s designer items, so don’t get into the biz if it’s money you’re after. A living wage is possible, certainly, but it takes time and momentum, which you’ve got to be willing to build largely on your own, to establish yourself.
One of the best pieces of advice I heard about blogging, in particular (but applies to many fields) is that if you wouldn’t do it as a hobby and for no money, you probably shouldn’t get into it at all. There’s a lot of hard work, long nights, and thankless effort involved. That said, it can also be incredibly rewarding, especially when an audience (of even one or two) connects with your writing.
Figure out what you have to say. Do it through just writing exercises, which can be as simple as picking a runway look and articulating your opinion about it. Look at how other writers approach the craft, and observe people both in and outside the field.
Approach fashion as you would any academic topic: learn its history, its players, terminology, and how the business works. Search your network for any fashion connections and, if you find one, ask if you can meet to learn about their experience and ask them questions. If possible, find a mentor to help guide you and provide feedback.
Most importantly, keep at it and never stop learning: it’s the key to staying both motivated and informed.