Who What Wear associate editor Kristen is really into Instagram. When she’s not posting photos on her account, she’s logging time on the app to be inspired by stylish women with unique points of view. Now she’s turning her discoveries into an Insta Muse series to regularly share the accounts that are worth a follow.
To kick off the series, I’d like to introduce you to Anna Rosa Vitiello (@annarvitiello). A co-founder of style site &Finally and former editor at Harper’s Bazaar UK, she has a well-trained eye for all things fashion. With all of the accounts I follow on Instagram and the new ones I’m constantly exploring, it takes a particularly great post to make my thumb stop swiping through my feed—and Vitiello’s always make me pause.
She describes her style as “quite polished,” and to me, her outfits feel very editorial. With cool details like sunglass chains and belts over her swimsuits or giant hats with layers of necklaces and earrings, there’s no question that her looks are elevated, but they also strike a wearable note that makes them perfect for everyday styling. She not only has a skill for blending classic wardrobe staples with very modern accessories but also captures beautiful photos of her outfits and the places she’s traveling.
Ahead, get to know the British style star with insights about the world of Instagram, her transition from a traditional career path, and her key shopping picks for the season ahead.
How did you get your start in fashion?
I spent my university life harboring an ambition to work in magazines, so after two long years of interning at various publications, I landed my first job as a fashion features assistant at Harper’s Bazaar. I spent five years there earning my stripes as a writer and stylist, but as the industry started moving ever faster toward digital, I considered a move to an e-commerce or editorial site, eventually launching my own with my friend and colleague Florrie. At the end of last year, I left the magazine to concentrate full time on &Finally: our website and consultancy business that focuses solely on accessories labels from bags to shoes to jewelry and everything in between.
Why did you decide to start &Finally? How are you balancing that with Instagram projects?
Accessories are what many women (and men) spend their hard-earned money on; whether that’s saving for a handbag, sunglasses, or splurging on a special piece of jewelry for someone you love, we were constantly being asked for advice on what to buy, new brands to look out for under $500, etc. We wondered why there wasn’t a website dedicated to it already and decided to start our own. Meanwhile, my own following and that of &Finally were both growing slowly but surely, so as the partnerships started coming in and the interest in &Finally was growing, we realized it was time to leave and launch it as a fully fledged business.
What are key rules for mastering British style?
It’s all about playing with the classics but leaving things a little undone. Working in florals (no, not groundbreaking), gingham, and hats is a playful and irreverent way to reference classic British style.
How is Instagram changing your opportunities in the fashion world?
It widens the net of what I can do and who I can be beyond anything I’d imagined as a fashion assistant in my early 20s. It has made the fashion industry a more diplomatic place—less elitist and more relatable but without losing the element of aspiration. Of course, there are negative aspects to social media and Instagram, but we can use it in a positive way as so many people that I follow and admire are.
Which cool new brands have you discovered on Instagram?
Where do I start? Sodade, Alienina, 711, Lele Sadoughi, Rebecca de Ravenel, Catzorange, Eliurpi, Bessarion, Intentionally Blank, Paloma Wool—I think I could name hundreds if you had the time. And that’s the best thing about Instagram.
How do you gain followers (without hashtags)?
Honestly, I have no idea—does anyone these days? The only thing that seems to work for me is posting regular content that is true to my aesthetic. When I try to deviate from that, my followers seem to disengage, so I’ve learned to try to be as true to my personal style as possible. Even regrams and takeovers seem to fail me on that front, so I now just produce the most “me” content possible and hope for the best. That said, a well-performing post—one that followers seem to engage with quickly and strongly—seems to be the most effective way. Of course, a mention or tag by a friend with a big following can be an incredibly effective way of increasing your following.
Do you ever detox from social media? How/why? And why do you (or don’t you) find it important to take a step back?
Yes. On days when I feel that any pressure to post is causing me anxiety, I do try to take a step back, decide that not posting it’s going to change my life, and wait till the next day. As much as social media can be enjoyable and inspiring, it can also be exhausting, particularly when it becomes your job and you spend your day editing imagery for stories or adding new highlights. That said, I do post on &Finally every day as there is a set schedule, and it’s important to me that our account inspires our followers daily. Nonetheless, if we have a period of slow content or I’m really needing a couple of days off, I will take them. I decided a long time ago that social media doesn’t define me or what I think of other people, so taking it at face value is an important lesson to learn. (Life is what happens off Instagram, as they say.)
Ahead, we’re diving into Anna Rosa Vitiello’s very stylish shopping picks for the season.
Accessories she can vouch for:
While Vitiello is always adding new accessories to her collection, she told Who What Wear, “I don’t necessarily believe in ‘must-haves,’ because I believe in championing individual style.” But she can get behind some of her favorite pieces of the season ahead.
“A way to buy into the sculptural heel, but in a shoe that’s classic enough to keep forever (and also one of my favorite footwear brands),” says Vitiello.
Available in sizes 35 to 41.
“The Fendi logo has made the come back of all come backs this season,” says Vitiello, “but I have my mum’s vintage version in the wardrobe that I still love and wear, and to me, they’re forever pieces. I’d love to add this to my collection.”
“Sunglasses are my greatest vice. I carry a couple of pairs with me all the time and am constantly looking for new brands,” she says. “I love these from Roberi & Fraud.”
“Anklets aren’t going anywhere,” she says, “and in any case, if you invest in a classic piece, you’ll hopefully wear it for a long time to come.”
“Western mania may feel like it’s just hit, but it’s always around. You’ll never regret investing in a pair of incredible cowboy boots,” says Vitiello.
Available in sizes 6 to 11.
Her staples for this summer:
When it comes to shopping, Vitiello tells us she tries “not to buy too much over summer (or any season),” but here, she’s breaking down some of her staples for the months ahead.
“Baskets I can wear in the city and past the summer ones are the kind that I’m happy to invest in. This is the chicest one I’ve seen,” she says.
“In winter I belt coats; in summer, bikinis. I’m going to wear this one over one-pieces and high-waisted bikinis,” she says.
Available in P to L.
“Berets make me feel pulled together, but how to wear them in summer? In wicker, that’s how.”
Available in XS to M.
“I love layering heirloom or vintage-inspired gold jewelry with swimwear (year-round, actually), and this locket is the perfect piece,” she says.
“Vanda is one of my favorites all year round, but her statement pieces are particularly impactful in summer worn with linens and raffia shoes,” she says.
“I love ATP Atelier for elegant yet directional shoes, and their summer offering is just as strong as their boots in winter,” she says.
Available in sizes 36 to 41.
“This bag is the of the kind of thing I’d stumble upon as a child in the Philippines—where my Mum is from—and it’s no less relevant now,” says Vitiello.
“Exquisite linen separates made in small quantities— something I always champion where possible,” she says.
Available in sizes 34 to 40.
“Another of my favorite independent brands that have sustainability at its core (and beautiful classic shirts to boot). I’ll be tucking it into ’80s-style tapered pants,” she says.
Available in sizes S to L.
“Expensive sunglasses can be precarious on the beach,” says Vitiello, “so I have a couple that I’m less precious about but love wearing just as much, including these.”
And now, some theories I tested about Instagram photos.