TCW takes a look into the lives of four fashion bloggers who styled their own looks for this feature.
It wasn’t apparent that Jena Gambaccini would create a fashion blog. Growing up in the Chicago suburbs, she enjoyed dressing her Barbies but hated shopping. “I didn’t start to enjoy shopping for clothes until junior high,” recalls Ms. Gambaccini. “But it wasn’t until college when I realized that when you look good you feel good. That’s when I saw how big an impact fashion can make on your everyday life. Put something together that you really feel good in and you’re more confident.”
Ms. Gambaccini educated herself about trends and designers by researching online and eventually moved from tweeting style tips to writing a blog. Regarding her personal style, she says it’s comfortable and funky. “I like to have a good balance, too. If I’m wearing this crazy printed shirt, I’ll keep the rest of the look pretty simple. I never overdo it.” Ms. Gambaccini also emphasizes the importance of Chicago women investing in a statement coat. “Sometimes you’re too cold to even take your coat off. So cool outerwear is essential.”
Growing up in Ohio then moving to Washington D.C., Dana Weiss knew she wanted to move back to the Midwest when she was older. But with a background in journalism, fashion wasn’t the first thing on her mind.
After leaving the workforce, Ms. Weiss is now a stay-at-home mom interested in fashion that fits her lifestyle. “For me, fashion has to be practical. I can’t show up on the baseball field in five-inch stilettos,” she says. “Style has to fit into my life.”
When describing her personal style, Ms. Weiss says she enjoys layering her clothing and wearing hats. “I also love people who try new things – even if they get it wrong,” she says, remembering a time when she got it wrong. “I have a really vivid memory of wearing thermal leggings under plaid boxer shorts. I thought that was a good look. It definitely was not.” Ms. Weiss is an example of someone who follows a style that fits her life. And she encourages others to do the same.
At age 9, Amy Creyer moved to a cattle ranch in Arkansas and saved her babysitting money to buy a monthly copy of Vogue. She dreamed of living in a big city and was obsessed with fashion. “I lived in the pages of fashion magazines,” she says. “It was how I maintained a connection to the city.”
Fascinated by designers, Ms. Creyer thought if she worked hard enough she could be a part of the fashion world. “I started blogging about street style because I wanted everyone to feel included and know that you don’t have to have money to be fashionable,” she explains. “It’s really about who you are and this idea of self-expression, channeling your personality through what you wear.”
Ms. Creyer’s personal style has transformed over the past few years. “As I became more of a professional in my career, I wanted the way that I dressed to reflect that,” she admits. Although her style may have changed, one thing has not: Ms. Creyer still has a stack of fashion magazines waiting for her at home.
For Nikia Jefferson, born and raised in Chicago, fashion is family orientated. “My mom and grandparents were really stylish so it’s kind of embedded in me,” she says.
Although she’s loved fashion since childhood, living in London for eight months really furthered Ms. Jefferson’s interest in it. While abroad, she discovered clothing and accessories from underground British designers and wanted to do the same at home to give Chicagoans access to local and emerging artists.
“[Clothes make] a first impression, so fashion is a great way to convey who you are,” shares Ms. Jefferson, who personally likes “a lot of classics, especially when it comes to clothing. And I love bold colors, patterns, prints and accessories. Even down to my frames, my eyeglasses have to make a statement.”
From childhood to parenthood, fashion is still closely connected to Ms. Jefferson’s family. Balancing a 9 to 5 job at Northern Trust and keeping up with a son who is not yet two, “I always have my family in mind when I’m writing,” she says. “I want to make them proud and represent them well.”
By Christine Williams | Violet Dominek & John Reilly Photographs